Obama

Submitted by tnjp on October 26, 2010 - 6:10pm.

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange on Iraq War Logs, "Tabloid Journalism" and Why WikiLeaks Is "Under Siege"

In an extended interview, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange discusses the release of nearly 400,000 classified US military records on the war in Iraq, the biggest intelligence leak in US history. The disclosure provides a trove of new evidence on the number of civilian casualties, violence, torture and suffering that has befallen Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion...

Submitted by tnjp on October 20, 2010 - 2:18pm.

October 18, 2010
Officials Push to Bolster Law on Wiretapping
By CHARLIE SAVAGE

WASHINGTON — Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, citing lapses in compliance with surveillance orders, are pushing to overhaul a federal law that requires phone and broadband carriers to ensure that their networks can be wiretapped, federal officials say.

The officials say tougher legislation is needed because some telecommunications companies in recent years have begun new services and made system upgrades that caused technical problems for surveillance. They want to increase legal incentives and penalties aimed at pushing carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast to ensure that any network changes will not disrupt their ability to conduct wiretaps.

An Obama administration task force that includes officials from the Justice and Commerce Departments, the F.B.I. and other agencies recently began working on draft legislation to strengthen and expand the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act, a 1994 law that says telephone and broadband companies must design their services so that they can begin conducting surveillance of a target immediately after being presented with a court order...

Submitted by tnjp on October 19, 2010 - 12:50pm.

Tom Hayden
The Peace Exchange Bulletin

The Costs of Iraq and Afghanistan

The White House and Pentagon worry about the political costs if the American people learn the true costs of Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of casualties and taxpayer dollars.

These costs are the main factors driving 58 percent of the American public, including over 70 percent of Democrats and a majority of independent voters, to question whether these wars are justified.

It seems unbelievable, and certainly unconscionable, to keep these facts smothered in fog, when they need to be communicated in every blog, every leaflet, every speech given by anti-war activists.

The Costs of Iraq and Afghanistan.pdf

Here are the best estimates that have been hidden from the public:

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 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 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 March 29, 2009 - 1:41am.

Call for National Action for Peace in Afghanistan

Today, President Barack Obama announced his plans to send another 21,000 troops to Afghanistan: he is girding the nation for a long and costly military occupation there. While he also made some good statements on increasing diplomacy and economic aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the emphasis is clearly on military operations. Predictably, the Pakistan and Afghan factions of the Taliban are already uniting to oppose our escalation of troops. As the spring fighting season approaches, only one thing is certain -- more death, destruction, and misery in a desperately poor country that has had little respite from war for decades.

Here in the U.S., Obama's escalation in Afghanistan and the continuing occupation of Iraq threaten our nation's urgent economic and domestic agenda. Now is the time for more diplomacy, not more war!

United For Peace and Justice calls for immediate action for peace in Afghanistan. Here are three things you can do:

1) Call the White House today ? 202-456-1414

Make sure President Obama knows that you disagree with his plans to send more troops to Afghanistan. Call the White House comment line at 202-456-1414 between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET.

2) March with UFPJ on April 4!
www.unitedforpeace.org/april4
Building on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are marching on the anniversary of his historic speech against the war in Vietnam and the anniversary of his assassination. On Saturday, April 4, we are taking our message to Wall Street in NYC: addressing this country's economic crisis must include drastic cuts in military spending and that means ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The last thing our country needs is a new quagmire in Afghanistan ? it is time to bring the troops home, not send more...

Submitted by tnjp on March 19, 2009 - 11:00pm.

Our Troops and Iraqis are Still Dying

An Open Letter to the Peace/Anti-War Movement from Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans For Peace

After six years of war and the historic election of a new President, we as veterans, military and Gold Star families felt an urgent need to reach out to the larger peace/anti-war movements to make our position on Iraq clear during this time of political and economic uncertainty. Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out and Veterans For Peace continue to stand together in our demand to Bring the Troops Home Now! We ask all those who have stood with us in the past to stay faithful to the cause.

President Obama has announced a plan to gradually reduce troop levels in Iraq. Many in the peace/anti-war movements are breathing a sigh of relief, and suggesting that it is time for us to scale back our efforts to bring an end to the occupation of Iraq. But for our troops on the ground, their families and the Iraqi people, the nightmare continues. They need all of us to stay in the struggle. IVAW, MFSO and VFP have been long united in our call for an immediate and complete end to the occupation of Iraq and will not shift our stance under any circumstances...

Submitted by tnjp on March 19, 2009 - 9:12pm.

Peace Grannies Arrested in Times Square Wednesday, March 18th by Joan Wile

Relax, everyone! The New York City police are really on the job these days. With rapists, murderers, bank robbers and dope peddlers, not to mention corporate thieves, rampant throughout the City, they made a significant dent in the crime statistics yesterday, March 18, when they arrested seven grandmothers aged 67 to 90 in Times Square.

The grannies, all members of the Granny Peace Brigade, were sent to jail while protesting at the Times Square recruiting station. Their arrest occurred during what is believed to be the first antiwar protest of the Obama Administration, in an attempt to urge the President to reconsider his decision to retain 50,000 troops in Iraq after the official withdrawal scheduled to be completed in the next 18 months and his order for 17,000 more troops sent to Afghanistan. The women feel strongly that these measures will only result in increased death and destruction for Americans, Iraqis and Afghanis and further solidify anti-American feeling throughout the world.

Said 94-year-old Brigadier Marie Runyon, "Peace can only be achieved through diplomacy and humanitarian aid." The Granny Peace Brigade women are mostly strong supporters of Barack Obama but were responding to his request that his constituency pressure him to do the right thing when they feel he is on the wrong path...

Submitted by tnjp on March 19, 2009 - 4:33pm.

Dog The (Blue) Dogs

President Obama’s budget proposes bold reforms that will pave the way for quality, affordable health care for all, and a clean energy economy. Republicans in Congress have already vowed to say “no” to these plans. But some Democrats—in the House, they call themselves “Blue Dogs”—are indicating that they want to nuzzle up to the conservative obstructionists to block Obama’s proposals, regardless of the mandate the voters gave Obama to move forward.

It is time for progressives to “dog the dogs” — to call conservative Democrats in the House and Senate and tell them to not be lapdogs for the “Dr. No’s” on the right who want to obstruct the administration’s common-sense agenda.

The members listed on this page are self-identified “Blue Dog” or right-leaning Democrats who will make the difference between a budget that moves us toward health care for all and a clean energy economy and a budget that mires us in an unsustainable status quo. Many of the House members have already voted against the economic recovery bill or against mortgage relief. More recently, seven Democratic senators joined with conservative obstructionists in an attempt to block the president’s clean energy strategy, which would limit carbon pollution, make private companies pay for polluting public sky, and put the proceeds into consumers’ pockets and into clean energy investments.

Pick one of more Blue Dogs and say, “Don’t let the right-wing Dr. No’s in Congress pull your leash. I support President Obama’s budget proposals and so should you.”

Take action! http://www.ourfuture.org/node/36490

Submitted by tnjp on March 16, 2009 - 9:49pm.

A Progressive Response to MoveOn - From the Maryland Green Party

News that the Obama Administration will enlist its massive campaign "army" of grassroots activists to push the budget through Congress has raised the stakes in this already high stakes battle, and reactions to President Obama's program are hitting the extremes. Republicans raise the specter of socialism while Democrats expect a new FDR, rescuing us from all the problems that have festered for the last thirty years.

While few in the public are buying the reactionary hysteria of Republicans, though, too many progressive organizations are uncritically accepting the hype surrounding President Obama's plans - a recent MoveOn email message, b10 things you should know about Obama's plan (but probably don't)," is a typical example.

We give President Obama credit for the scope of his proposals, and acknowledge that many of his policies are dramatically better than President Bush's. At the same time, his policies are often less ambitious than the rhetoric would suggest, and fall short of what is needed. At other times, his solutions to problems are constrained by corporate interests that will render them ineffective. And while truly prodigious amounts of money are being spent in the effort - money that must be repaid by us and our children, let us not forget b what is often required is not more money, but deeper systemic changes.

Simply being better than Bush is not a sufficient standard to meet the immense challenges we face today. If we are to solve these problems, we will need to face them critically. Mere cheerleading will not be enough; an honest look at the Obama proposals is required.

Below is a progressive response to the MoveOn email message of March 1st, one which we hope will stimulate a more serious discussion...

Submitted by tnjp on January 20, 2009 - 11:12pm.

ProsecuteBushCheney.org
WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Prosecutions:

Federal:
Add your organization or individual name to joint statement requesting a Special Prosecutor. Ask organizations you're in touch with to sign on. The demand for prosecution has been supported by many members of Congress.


Sign a petition asking Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in war crimes. Sign now.


Collect signatures in the real world by printing out this PDF. Please enter the data you collect on the petition online and/or mail the completed (or partially completed) forms to JDS, 4407 Garrison Street NW, Washington DC 20016.


Phone and Email and fax the Office of the Attorney General at 202-514-2001 AskDOJ@usdoj.gov fax:202-307-6777 to request a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in war crimes.


In June 2008, 56 Democratic Congress members, led by Congressman John Conyers, wrote to Attorney General Mukasey asking for a Special Prosecutor. Conyers and Congressman Jerrold Nadler wrote to Mukasey again in December 2008. Please ask them to re-send these letters to the new Attorney General, Eric Holder. Conyers 202-225-5126, Nadler 202-225-5635. Nadler says he's drafting a new letter.


Congressman John Conyers has proposed extending statutes of limitations on Bush-Cheney crimes. Help make this happen.


Contact the State Department's Office of War Crimes Issues and urge them to ask Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in war crimes.


Here are tips and info. on contacting Congress.


State and Local:
Bush and others can be indicted at the state or district level for murder. Please take these steps. They have also violated state laws against warrantless spying and various other crimes. Persuade or elect a decent prosecutor!

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