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Anti-War Forces Weak in the House
David Swanson, publisher of the influential web site War Is A Crime, calls congressional efforts to halt President Obama’s war on Libya a “huge muddle.” A bid to defund the Libya operation failed by 199 to 229, and legislation to cut off money for the war in Afghanistan garnered only 97 votes.
“I think you really have somewhere around 97 members of the House that are really serious about ending wars,” says Swanson. “You have 199 who will put up some kind of pretense,” but at least half of them are not really serious.
Dems and Labor: A Suicide Pact
Labor gives money and manpower to Democratic politicians, who then vote like servants of huge corporations, according to a commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon. The “murder-suicide” nature of the pact is exemplified by the National Education Association’s (NEA) early endorsement of President Obama’s reelection, despite the administration’s relentless attacks on public school teachers.
Arnie Duncan “Racist” and “Insane”
Education Secretary Arne Duncan declared that Detroit will have “no viable future” as a community if it doesn’t buckle under to Obama’s draconian “Race to the Top” program of high stakes testing, teacher insecurity, and forced charterization. That’s “insane,” says Tom Stephens, a Detroit lawyer and activist, adding, “I thought it was clearly a racist statement” that Duncan would have never directed against a predominantly white city.
“Fear” and “Panic” Among School Teachers
Delegates to the National Education Association’s Chicago convention voted down a proposal to demand that Arne Duncan be fired. Among those on the losing side was Joyce Schon, of the Equal Opportunity Now Caucus of BAMN, By Any Means Necessary. “There was too much fear, too much panic, and too much lack of confidence in their own power and their own abilities to stand up for their own dignity and for the future of their students,” says Schon.
Victory for Affirmative Action in Michigan
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Proposition 2, the measure that outlawed affirmative action in Michigan public education, is unconstitutional. George Washington, representing the BAMN-affiliated Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, argued that Proposition 2 created “a separate and unequal system of political rights. Every group in Michigan can petition to the University of Michigan for special admission programs to benefit their members except racial minorities.” In effect, says Atty. Washington, Proposition 2 created a category of citizen with less rights than others.
It’s Race, Stupid
For more than 60 years, Black unemployment levels have been stuck at roughly twice that of whites. The grim ratio persists in good times and in bad across three generations. Andy Kroll, who wrote the article “The 60-Year Unemployment Scandal,” found that neither educational disparities nor de-industrialization nor other “race-neutral” factors explained the gap. In the end, “it comes down to discrimination in hiring and racism,” says Kroll.
The Texas chain-dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. at the hands of three white men shocked the nation, in 1998. An award-winning documentary on the victim, titled “Byrd: The Life and Tragic Death of James Byrd, Jr.” is now available on Amazon.com, says the film's creator, Eligah “Ricky” Jason. “This documentary focuses on Byrd as a person. It puts a face on the man.”
Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 4:00pm ET on PRN. Length: One hour.
Multiple Wars are Symptoms of the Need to Escape the Quagmire of Empire
By Kevin Zeese
I can't remember a time when the U.S. military has been stuck in so many war quagmires at once. Libya seems destined to fail unless the U.S. gets a lucky shot and kills Gaddafi. U.S. militarists are openly maneuvering to stay in Iraq -- the war Obama told us was over. Relations with nuclear-armed Pakistan are at their lowest levels ever. And, Afghanistan is getting worse with Obama’s minimal, slow withdrawal looking more like staying than leaving.
According to Russia:
Pravda.Ru sources inside Libya have confirmed that the people of Tripoli are dancing in the streets in joy, celebrating a great victory, because NATO has ceased its bombing campaign. Sources in Libya state that negotiations are ongoing with France and meanwhile there has been a cessation of hostilities.
According to Voice of America:
The United States says it is prepared to support Russia's mediation efforts in Libya, as France signals its frustration with the lack of progress in reaching a political solution to the crisis.
U.S. President Barack Obama thanked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for his country's negotiation efforts in Libya, and said the United States supports talks that lead to a democratic transition and the departure of leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Medvedev has joined Western leaders in urging Gadhafi to step down, and Russian envoys have traveled to Libya to meet with government and rebel representatives. . . .
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told a French radio station Tuesday the Libyan government has sent envoys to several countries to say Gadhafi is "ready to go." . . .
Opposition fighters attempting to advance towards Tripoli from front lines near the western rebel stronghold of Misrata came under fierce shelling by pro-government forces Monday. At least six rebels were killed in clashes near the coastal town of Zlitan. . . .
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, speaking in Iraq Monday, said some NATO allies operating in Libya could see their forces "exhausted" within 90 days and that the U.S. will be "looked at to help fill the gap." . . .
Also Monday, the United Nations envoy for Libya, Abdel Elah al-Khatib, said he has urged direct talks between Gadhafi's government and the rebels, but acknowledged the two sides remain far apart.
Khatib said one of the key issues is agreeing on an institutional body to manage a political transition. He said any such group would have to be "all-inclusive and involve representatives from all political and social groups, as well as a wide range of factions, regions and tribes."
Another AP story suggests NATO's trained killers are eager to keep bombing:
NATO spokesman Wing Cmdr. Mike Bracken said Tuesday the alliance would wait and see whether pro-Gaddafi units cease their operations during Ramadan, which starts around 1 August. If they don't "then I think it would be highly appropriate to continue to use the mandate that NATO has to protect those lives," he said.
The Western alliance is operating under a UN mandate that allows the use of force to protect civilians.
NATO is worried that bombing a Muslim nation during the month-long period of prayer, reflection and sunrise-to-sunset fasts could provoke a public backlash in the Islamic world.
The Washington Post, meanwhile, has this misleadingly genocidal sounding headline:
Libyan officials warn rebel-held east could be cut off water supply if there is no cease-fire
But the article explains:
The minister called for a cease-fire to allow the turbines to be repaired.
Ill-equipped teenagers members of the Libyan anti-Gadhafi rebels
Ahmed Abdelrahmin is 15, but he is small for his age and his voice hasn’t changed. On Sunday, he sat patiently in the yard of a former high school in the east Libyan city of Tobruk as a Qatari instructor showed how to dismantle and clean a 50 mm anti-aircraft gun. Then he practised operating a battlefield radio set. In between, there was lots of marching.
By FRANKLIN LAMB, CounterPunch
Tripoli, Libya -- Briefly noted below are five recent instances of undisputed NATO bombings on Libyan civilians selected because they still among the most discussed by residents of Tripoli.
On May 13, 2011, a peace delegation of Muslim religious leaders having arrived in Breda to seek dialogue with fellow Sheiks from the east of Libya was bombed at 1 a.m. in their guesthouse by two MK 82 bombs. Eleven were killed instantly and 14 were seriously injured. NATO claimed the building housed a “Command and Control Center.” All witnesses and the hotel owner have vehemently denied this claim. This observer interviewed the leader of the delegation, Shiek Khalad Ali on three occasions, seeking details. He is recovering from shrapnel wounds to his right leg and confirms the eye-witness accounts. NATO has offered the families compensation.
From The Hill:
The House on Friday again defeated an attempt by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) to cut off funding for the military intervention in Libya.
Kucinich and other members offered multiple amendments during three days of debate on the 2012 Defense Appropriations Act that would have restricted or totally cut off funds for the controversial military operation.
The amendment the anti-war liberal offered on Friday morning would have prohibited funds in the bill be used for the Libya mission unless Congress formerly declares war against the country. The amendment was voted down 169-251.
Frankly that's very easy to answer, the country refuses to demand it's own sacrifice the greater majority cheer on but don't serve in or have direct connection to, especially the political party claiming their strength on "National Security" and it's the total opposite of what's being argued as to this debt ceiling and the growing deficit itself, remember these two present conflicts were kept off the books and fought on borrowed financing until put back on the books and our spending by the present administration. All those costs include the no bid contracts of the growing private armies as well as the numerous other private contractors serving a bottom line and not the country.
The House of Representatives would be better off speaking Arabic. See if you can make heads or tails of this.
The House voted down a bill to end the Libya War.
At the same time, it passed a nonbinding House-only resolution that said the President "shall not" use ground troops in Libya, the war is unauthorized, and Congress could defund the war if it wanted to. The resolution requested that all kinds of information be reported to Congress by the President, much of which has not been reported by the specified deadline.
Next, the House passed an amendment blocking any funds, beginning in October, for troops or contractors on the ground in Libya.
At the same time, the House passed an amendment requiring that when the war is completed (and presumably the U.S. has control of Tripoli), the U.S. troops on the ground there must dig up the bodies of other U.S. troops buried there during a war 206 years ago.
by Bob Parsons, World Can't Wait
July 9 at the White House at Noon
The Answer Coalition is calling for people across the country to demand an end to the bombing of Libya: "After more than 100 consecutive days of bombing, the main complaint of the NATO bombers is that they are running out of missiles and bombs. President Obama tries to placate public opinion at home by asserting that the United States has taken a 'backseat' in the campaign. In fact, the United States bombers have carried out 801 strike sorties against Libya."
"Hundreds of thousands of Libyans took to the streets again in recent days in Tripoli to demand an end to the bombing of their cities and country. Of course, their mass actions and voices are never reported in the corporate-backed media."
Two amendments failed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday: Barbara Lee's to defund the Afghanistan War and Dennis Kucinich's to defund the Libya War.
Someday the House Clerk will get around to posting the roll calls here http://clerk.house.gov/floorsummary/floor.aspx
The vote on the Lee Amendment was 97-322, with Democrats 87-94, and Republicans 10-228.
The vote on the Kucinich Amendment was 199-229. That's the kind of vote you get when congress members in both parties are going against their parties' leadership.
By Dave Lindorff
In ways little and huge, it is clear that we live in a nation, a culture and a society that is terminally ill.
The latest outrage -- the likely execution of a Mexican convicted in Texas of the brutal slaying of a 16-year-old girl in blatant violation of a universally adopted international treaty that requires that as a foreigner he be able to notify his home country’s consulate of his case -- is evidence of this sickness, which appears to have both physical and mental aspects.
As a journalist I have traveled widely in the world, often in police states like China or Laos, and I have always trusted in the fact that if I ran afoul of those police, at least I could count on the fact that the authorities would be legally bound to notify my embassy, so that I could get international attention and, hopefully, legal assistance.
NATO Using Nuclear Weapons in Libya - by Stephen Lendman
As part of a Libya international observer team, Middle East analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya headlined his July 5 Global Research.ca article, "NATO War Crimes: Depleted Uranium Found in Libya by Scientists," saying:
Sites targeted include "civilians and civilian infrastructure." Scientists from the Surveying and Collecting Specimens and Laboratory Measuring Group confirmed "radioactive isotopes (radioisotopes) at bombed sites" from field surveys conducted. Scientific analysis was conducted at the Nuclear Energy Institution of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
It showed that "several sites contain even higher than expected doses of uranium," including holes from NATO missiles and ordnance fragments. In interviews, Nazemroaya also said cluster bombs and other weapons are used freely in civilian neighborhoods targeting non-military sites.
Washington and NATO allies are using illegal "dirty bombs."
An interview with Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International's chief investigator for the Middle East and Africa, who has just spent three months in Libya, in the French newspaper Liberation on June 22nd 2011. See also Patrick Cockburn's report on Amnesty's and other human rights groups' investigations of Western claims about Libya at:
Q: There have been serious war crimes by forces loyal to Kadhafi, we know less about what has happened in zones controlled by the opposition...
Vote on Bipartisan Amendment Expected Thursday Morning
Washington D.C. (July 6, 2011) – A bipartisan amendment to end the war in Libya, cosponsored by Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Justin Amash (R-MI), Tim Johnson (R-IL), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Richard Nugent (R-FL), is expected to be debated tonight or tomorrow. The vote is likely to happen Thursday. The amendment is expected to come up towards the end of consideration of amendments to the FY 2012 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, H.R. 2219.
Congressman Kucinich today took to the House floor to encourage his colleagues to vote to end cut off funds and end the war in Libya. See the video here. The full text of his remarks follows:
“Within the next 24 hours the House will have the opportunity to end U.S. military involvement in Libya, and we should do so for the following reasons:
By Kevin Zeese
A new anti-war movement that can really challenge U.S. militarism is being born. People from across the political spectrum joined together opposing U.S. war and empire. In a letter organized by, Come Home America, they cite a combination of events that present a “historic opportunity to redirect U.S. foreign policy down the pathways of peace, liberty, justice, respect for community, obedience to the rule of law and fiscal responsibility.”
For too long Americans who oppose wars have felt powerless to stop the war machine. Not since the early part of the 20th Century has there been a strong anti-war movement that Americans from across the political spectrum could participate in. The Come Home America letter shows the beginning of such a broad-based movement.
Libya: Flashpoint for Global Conflict - by Stephen Lendman
On July 3, Peter Dale Scott told Progressive Radio News Hour listeners what he fears most. He repeated it in a July 4 email, citing a Paul Joseph Watson Infowars.com article, accessed through the following link:
Using information from DEBKAfile, a Jerusalem-based intelligence site with close Mossad ties (providing commentary and analysis on regional terrorism, intelligence, security, military and political affairs), he discussed a frightening prospect. More on it below.
Founded in June 2000, DEBKA calls itself independent, "pioneer(ing) intensive news coverage and analysis of global (Islamic, not Israeli, US, or other Western) terror before it hits" front pages.
Libyan rebels hire Washington’s No. 1 lobby firm for 'advice and assistance'
By Rachel Leven, The Hill
Washington’s No. 1 lobbying firm is going to work for the Libyan rebels who are fighting to unseat Moammar Gadhafi.
Patton Boggs, perennially the top-earning K Street firm, is lobbying for the rebels to be accepted as the “legitimate government of the sovereign nation of Libya,” according to documents filed this week with the Justice Department.
The firm signed a contract with the Interim Transitional National Council of Libya to provide “advice and assistance on U.S.-Libya bilateral relations,” according to the documents.
Patton Boggs signed the agreement with Ali Suleiman Aujali, the Council’s representative to the United States. Aujali resigned as ambassador to Libya after Gadhafi tried to quell the uprising and started to advocate for the opposition group, which is based in Benghazi, Libya.
Colonizing Libya by Military, Financial, Political and Propaganda Terrorism - by Stephen Lendman
After three and a half terror bombing months and counting, destroying Libya for wealth and power continues, each imperial nation playing its part in this sinister dirty game, masquerading as liberation.
France finally admitted what's already known, that it's been supplying mercenary cutthroats with automatic weapons, rocket launchers, assault rifles, anti-tank missiles, and who knows what else. So have Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, perhaps other US imperial allies, and the Pentagon itself. In mid-April, The New York Times said Benghazi-based rebels got weapons from abroad without naming names.
Pack Journalism Anti-Gaddafi Propaganda - by Stephen Lendman
Western media, especially America's, mostly ignore multiple Obama wars (including against Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia), focusing mainly on promoting terror bombing Libya, slaughtering civilians to save them.
Ongoing since March 19, killing and destruction continue daily. NATO's second in command, US Admiral Samuel Locklear, told Congress that Washington wants Gaddafi assassinated. Earlier, one of his sons and three grandchildren were murdered, as well as around 40 Libyan imans, attending a peace conference to end the carnage. Ruthlessly, Obama, the peace candidate, wants it continued, claiming lawless executive privilege to do it.
On the Progressive Radio News Hour, live Tripoli reports discussed hospitals, schools, residential homes, and other non-military targets bombed, civilians killed, anti-NATO anger, and growing popular Gaddafi support, including a million Libyans rallying in Tripoli on his behalf.
WASHINGTON — More than 100 days after the United States and NATO allies launched what was supposed to be a quick air campaign in Libya, Pentagon officials concede that the effort has little strategic value for the U.S., and the alliance's desired outcome there remains unclear.
Here's the roll call as the House voted not to "authorize" Libya war.
And here's the roll call as the House voted against restricting the funding of the Libya War.
Thus do "war opponents" fund wars.
We should not, however, that the only truly decent vote was against restricting the funding of an illegal war, and a handful of principled members probably voted No but will vote Yes on Kucinich's resolution to block all funding.
Attention Now Turns to Kucinich-Amash Amendment for Total Cutoff of Funds
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 24, 2011) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement after the House of Representatives rejected a measure offered by Representative Rooney that would have limited the U.S. involvement in the war in Libya. The Rooney bill was defeated after a bill authorizing the war in Libya was soundly defeated by 295 to 123.
“Congress today voted overwhelmingly against authorizing the war. The Rooney resolution was defeated because many Members felt that it did not go far enough in that it wasn’t a total cutoff of funding. But that condition is soon to be resolved.
“The most powerful opportunity to end the war in Libya now becomes the bipartisan Kucinich-Amash amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill that would fully cut off all funds for the war," said Kucinich.
“The American people do not support this war. Congress does not support this war.”
From USA Today:
The U.S. House rebuked President Obama over Libya policy today, voting down a resolution that would granted him authority for the military operation against Moammar Gadhafi.
Members are now considering a resolution that would cut off some funds for the military operation, in protest of Obama's refusal to seek congressional approval for the action.