Politics

Submitted by tnjp on October 12, 2010 - 1:23pm.

The Road Ahead for Progressives: Back to Basics
Gara LaMarche and Deepak Bhargava
October 11, 2010

Twenty-one months after Barack Obama was inaugurated on a wave of hope for change in America's politics and policies, at least two important and seemingly contradictory things can be said.

First, there has been a series of significant progressive reforms: an economic stimulus bill that contained far-reaching antipoverty, infrastructure, green jobs and conservation measures, and that is widely credited with pulling the economy from the brink; comprehensive healthcare reform that has eluded presidents of both parties for a century; and financial regulatory reform.

For progressives, each of these accomplishments are flawed—the stimulus could have been bigger, there could have been a public option in healthcare and more teeth in financial regulation—but they are long strides in the right direction, and given the near-total opposition of Republicans and the conservatism of key Democrats, this is an impressive substantive record that has made and will make a big difference in people's lives.

Second, the nation's politics are more toxic than ever. The president's approval ratings have fallen steadily, even if they may have bottomed out. Independents are said to be disillusioned, many Democrats are demoralized and Republicans are in the grip of an increasingly—there is no other way to say it but—crazy "base," ousting very conservative officeholders in favor of extremist Tea Party candidates who oppose virtually every role government plays.

That's where things stand today...

Submitted by tnjp on October 11, 2010 - 11:56am.

Dissent in the age of Obama - Peace activists had high hopes of an Obama presidency only to face the harsh realities of FBI raids and intimidation.
Cindy Sheehan Last Modified: 09 Oct 2010

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.” - Albert Camus

Recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) raided the homes of at least eight anti-war/social justice activists here in the US.

I happen to be a prominent anti-war activist myself, and have joked that I am a “little hurt” that I was not raided and perhaps I should try harder. Even though, we have the urge to try and be light-hearted in this time of an increasing police state, with civil liberties on the retreat, it really isn't funny considering that the activists could face some serious charges stemming from these raids.

I have felt this harassment on a smaller scale myself and I know that defending oneself against a police state that has unlimited resources, time and cruelty, can be quite expensive, time consuming and annoying.

There is nothing noble about an agency that has reduced itself to being jackbooted enforcers of a neo-fascist police state, no matter how much the FBI has been romanticized in movies, television and books...

Submitted by tnjp on October 9, 2010 - 11:51am.

Barack Obama accused of exaggerating terror threat for political gain

• Pakistani diplomat launches scathing attack on White House
• European intelligence claims raised terror alerts 'nonsensical'

Simon Tisdall and Richard Norton-Taylor
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 7 October 2010
A US terror alert issued this week about al-Qaida plots to attack targets in western Europe was politically motivated and not based on credible new information, senior Pakistani diplomats and European intelligence officials have told the Guardian.

The non-specific US warning, which despite its vagueness led Britain, France and other countries to raise their overseas terror alert levels, was an attempt to justify a recent escalation in US drone and helicopter attacks inside Pakistan that have "set the country on fire", said Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the high commissioner to Britain.

Hasan, a veteran diplomat who is close to Pakistan's president, suggested the Obama administration was playing politics with the terror threat before next month's midterm congressional elections, in which the Republicans are expected to make big gains.

He also claimed President Obama was reacting to pressure to demonstrate that his Afghan war strategy and this year's troop surge, which are unpopular with the American public, were necessary...

Submitted by tnjp on October 8, 2010 - 10:26pm.

From CodePink...
*Tell Hillary Clinton: Stop Doing Business with Blackwater!*
October 6, 2010

As we mark the 9th year of this bloody war in Afghanistan, please join us in calling on Secretary Clinton to stop giving our taxdollars to the mercenary firm Blackwater. We'll never end the war in Afghanistan as long as companies like Blackwater can make a killing out of killing. *Tell Hillary Clinton: Stop Doing Business with Blackwater!*

**As part of our Cut Blackwater Loose campaign, CODEPINK's *Medea Benjamin teamed up with DC's premier hiphop artist Head-Roc *to create a rap video "Blackwater Makes a Killing."Check it out.


**Also check out this WIRED report on all the shady things private security firms can do and still walk away with a wheelbarror full of your tax dollars, including killing civilians, lying to investigators, retaliating against whistle-blowers, stealing guns, running guns, and buying drugs...

Submitted by tnjp on October 8, 2010 - 2:04pm.

October 6, 2010
Attention Left, Liberal and Radical Groups - Pennsylvania Has Been Monitoring You!
By BILL QUIGLEY and RACHEL MEEROPOL

Thank you, Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), for reminding us how many bad-ass, dedicated, and creative groups we count as allies in our efforts to create a more just world! 

Our friends at MoveON.org, the Ruckus Society, Immokalee Workers, the new SDS, Jobs with Justice, the Brandywine Peace Community, ANSWER, PETA, Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty, MOVE, The Yes Men, Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, Climate Ground Zero, the Rainforest Action Network, pro-Palestinian Groups, Puerto Rican nationalists, prisoners’ rights organizations, citizen conservation groups, and immigration activists opposing Arizona’s crazy attempts to criminalize all non-citizens should know – Pennsylvania has been monitoring you. 

Just over a month ago, ProPublica broke the story that Pennsylvania’s Office of Homeland Security contracted with the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), a private Israeli-based company, to assess terrorist threats impacting law enforcement priorities in Pennsylvania...

Submitted by tnjp on October 7, 2010 - 8:20pm.

Operation Recovery launches publicly today
Today Iraq Veterans Against the War publicly announces our Operation Recovery campaign to Stop the Deployment of Traumatized Troops. Our team of campaign organizers has been working around the clock for the past month to prepare for today's action in Washington, D.C.

You can do your part to raise awareness by sending a Letter to the Editor of your local paper. Click here to send a Letter to your local Editor. We've made it easy.

Today's Action


  • The campaign launch will start at 9:15 AM EST at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center where we will hold a ceremony in honor of all those wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • From there we march 6 miles to Capitol Hill, where we will testify about our experiences being deployed in war zones while suffering from traumatic injuries.

  • At Capitol Hill, we will read a letter out loud before delivering it to the offices of members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. (The letter is also being sent by mail to officials within the Pentagon and Veterans Administration.) The letters will serve to put these officials on notice that service members and veterans are standing up for their right to heal, and we will expose those responsible for the deployment of troops who are suffering from trauma.


Today's launch marks the beginning of Phase One of our campaign. Over the next several weeks, we will work to investigate the issues, decide which officials will become our campaign's targets, and work to raise awareness about the campaign.

That's where you come in.....

Submitted by tnjp on October 7, 2010 - 6:47pm.

The Long War: Year Ten
Thursday 07 October 2010
by: Andrew Bacevich |

In January 1863, President Abraham Lincoln’s charge to a newly-appointed commanding general was simplicity itself: "give us victories." President Barack Obama’s tacit charge to his generals amounts to this: give us conditions permitting a dignified withdrawal. A pithy quote in Bob Woodward’s new book captures the essence of an emerging Obama Doctrine: "hand it off and get out."

Getting into a war is generally a piece of cake. Getting out tends to be another matter altogether - especially when the commander-in-chief and his commanders in the field disagree on the advisability of doing so.

Happy Anniversary, America. Nine years ago today - on October 7, 2001 - a series of U.S. air strikes against targets across Afghanistan launched the opening campaign of what has since become the nation’s longest war. Three thousand two hundred and eighty five days later the fight to determine Afghanistan’s future continues. At least in part, "Operation Enduring Freedom" has lived up to its name: it has certainly proven to be enduring.

As the conflict formerly known as the Global War on Terror enters its tenth year, Americans are entitled to pose this question: When, where, and how will the war end? Bluntly, are we almost there yet?....

Submitted by tnjp on October 7, 2010 - 1:40pm.

Afghanistan Veterans Speak Out on 10th Anniversary

Submitted by tnjp on October 7, 2010 - 1:21pm.

In January 2010, five Republicans on the Supreme Court gave foreign corporations a Constitutional right to buy Congress and our next President.

If foreign corporations want to buy our elections publicly, they can simply create U.S. subsidiaries. If they want to buy our elections secretly, they can launder their money through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which aggressively raises foreign money, or through Karl Rove's secretive American Crossroads GPS, both of which are spending millions in this year's elections.

That means foreign leaders like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Hu Jintao of China, and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia can use their enormous wealth to steal millions of American jobs, keep us dependent on foreign oil and even make us fight their wars.

Watch our powerful ad and tell Congress to Stop the Foreign Takeover:

The Supreme Court put America's national security in danger. They were absolutely wrong and their ruling (Citizens United v. FEC) must be overturned.

Urge your Representatives to co-sponsor the DISCLOSE Act to require full disclosure of all corporate campaign spending and ban foreign corporate spending...

Submitted by tnjp on October 7, 2010 - 12:10pm.

Media Advisory
http://www.fair.org/

One Nation Fails to Impress Corporate Media
Progressive D.C. rally doesn't get Tea Party treatment

10/6/10

Thanks to the efforts of independent media outlets like Free Speech TV (10/2/10), GritTV (10/4/10) and Democracy Now! (10/4/10), you may have been able to follow the happenings at last weekend's One Nation Coming Together rally. Organized and endorsed by hundreds of progressive citizens' groups, labor unions and grassroots activists, the gathering drew tens of thousands to Washington, D.C., to make the case for jobs, peace and social justice. But the corporate media seemed mostly less than impressed, either ignoring the rally completely or framing it in the shadow of the Tea Party.

The network evening newscasts were mostly uninterested, with NBC Nightly News the only one of the big three to file a report, according to a search of the Nexis news database. The PBS NewsHour did not cover One Nation, though a few weeks prior Tea Party organizer Dick Armey was featured in a long one-on-one interview (FAIR Blog, 9/10/10). And far-right Fox News personality Glenn Beck's August rally in Washington was covered on the NewsHour before it happened (8/27/10) and afterwards as well (8/30/10)...

Submitted by tnjp on October 6, 2010 - 12:22pm.



By Kevin Gosztola
Video: Interview w/ Medea Benjamin on Pushing Hard to Get Peace Message into "One Nation" Rally
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODE PINK and "fair trade" advocacy group Global Exchange talks about the One Nation Working Together rally. She explains what it took for the peace movement to be a part of the organizing committee and what she thinks progressives should do to get their demands for peace and justice acted upon. She also addresses how CODE PINK has been singled out by Jon Stewartas a group contributing to insanity in politics...

Submitted by tnjp on October 6, 2010 - 10:49am.



Harry Belafonte takes President to task over war policy and One Nation should take note

....The 83-year-old Belafonte spoke of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s opposition to the Vietnam war and reminded the crowd of Dr. King's words saying "America would soon come to realize that the war that we were in at that time, that this nation waged in Vietnam, was not only unconscionable but unwinnable."

With a voice strained yet strong, Mr. Belafonte declared "Now today, almost a half-century later as we gather at this place where Dr. King prayed for the soul of this nation, tens of thousands of citizens from all walks of life have come here today to rekindle his dream and once again hope that all America will soon come to the realization that the wars that we wage today in faraway lands are immoral, unconscionable and unwinnable."

Questioning U.S. presence in the region, he continued "The Central Intelligence Agency in its official report, tells us that the enemy we pursue in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, the Al Qaeda, they number less than 50. I say 50 people! Do we really think that sending 100,000 young American men and women to kill innocent civilians, women and children, and antagonizing the tens of millions of people in the whole region somehow makes us secure? Does this make any sense?"

Belafonte then broke ranks with the other speakers and directly challenged President Obama's policy and its consequences. "The President's decision to escalate the war in that region alone costs the nation 33 billion dollars. That sum of money could not only create 600,000 jobs here in America but would even leave us a few billion to start rebuilding our schools, our roads, our hospitals and affordable housing. It could also help to rebuild the lives of the thousands of our returning wounded veterans."

Submitted by tnjp on October 5, 2010 - 6:36pm.

Targets of FBI raids say they won’t testify before grand jury
By MICHAEL TARM
Associated Press Last update: October 5, 2010 - 10:54 PM

Anti-war activists whose homes or offices were raided as part of an FBI terrorism investigation will refuse to testify before a grand jury as ordered, a show of defiance that could land them in jail.

Some of the anti-war activists won't testify because they don't want to be complicit in what they see as an attempt to stifle freedom of speech and assembly, said Jess Sundin, whose Minnesota home was raided.

"We feel like the reason we're being called and we're being looked into is because of our very legitimate and constitutionally protected work in the anti-war movement," she said.

The homes of two other longtime Minneapolis anti-war activists, Mick Kelly and Meredith Aby, were also among those searched last month.

On Tuesday, peace activists protested outside federal buildings in Minneapolis and in Chicago, where the grand jury was to convene.

"We will not be silent," Stephanie Weiner told protesters...

Submitted by tnjp on September 26, 2010 - 3:13pm.

Ironically, the NLG issued this report the SAME DAY as the most recent illegal government raids occurred...

National Lawyers Guild Issues New Report on Unlawful Police Tactics
For Immediate Release - 09/24/2010
Contact: Paige Cram, Communications Coordinator communications(at)nlg.org 212-679-5100, ext. 15
New York:

The National Lawyers Guild has released its third comprehensive report on government violations of First Amendment rights on the one-year anniversary of the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh. “The Policing of Political Speech” documents how police over-reaction to protected speech has informed unlawful police tactics at National Special Security Events, such as the 2008 Republican National Convention and the 2009 G-20 Summit.

The report lays out age-old government tactics that have been reintroduced under new anti-terrorism policies and legislation. Spying on and infiltration of activists’ meetings, the use of agents provocateurs, raiding organizers meeting spaces and the misuse of grand juries to collect information are some of the practices that are backed up with recent incidents observed and being challenged in court by National Lawyers Guild members...

Submitted by tnjp on September 26, 2010 - 2:49pm.


Minneapolis, September 24, 2010. The many faceted local peace community rallied quickly to protest and to act against the FBI search and seizure of 6 homes of peace activists and a local peace office. Computers, cell phones, files and records, passports were among items swept up in the early morning raid. This action came a few days after the FBI's Inspector General criticized the FBI for lying to Justice Department about raids and surveillence of peace groups after 9/11. see - Washington Post The 5:30 rally turned out several hundred concerned citizens who heard the first-person stories of the searches...

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