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Kucinich, Paul and Holt Introduce Bipartisan Resolution to Compel White House to Release Legal Justification for Drone Strikes

Washington D.C. (November 28, 2012) – Congressmen Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Ron Paul (R-TX) and Rush Holt Jr. (D-NJ) today introduced H. Res. 819, a resolution of inquiry to compel the Administration to release documents which it reportedly uses as the legal justification for the use of drones to assassinate people abroad, including United States citizens, without trial. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, our drone strikes have killed more than 3,000 people including as many as 1,105 innocent civilians since 2002.

“We must reject the notion that protecting our national security requires revoking the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens.  No President can act as judge, jury and executioner, and any attempt to do so is in direct violation of our Constitution which gives our citizens a right to life and a fair trial. 

“According to a memorandum prepared by the White House Office of Legal Counsel, when the United States conducts such an attack it is legal. The Congress and the American people have a right to know this legal framework. Congress has an obligation as the sole authority under the Constitution to declare war to know how the use of force abroad is being used, especially against U.S. citizens,” said Kucinich.

Congressman Kucinich today introduced a Resolution of Inquiry, a resolution used to compel information from the White House, which, if passed, would require the White House to make the Office of Legal Counsel memo available to Congress.

“Our strikes are creating a legal precedent that the world will emulate. From Iran to China, other nations are very close to developing comparable technology. If Congress doesn’t act to ensure proper oversight and legal authority for the use of this technology, the consequences could be dire for the American people,” said Kucinich.

See a copy of the legislation here.  Under the parliamentary procedure of a Resolution of Inquiry, the resolution must be sent to committee and considered under expedited rules.

Neither Grand, Nor a Bargain

Liberal groups have been organizing protests of the looming "grand bargain" (a bargain between two political parties aimed at saving us from the fictional "fiscal cliff" by giving more of our money to the super-rich and the war machine).  But they've been doing so only in Republican Congressional districts and with messages placing all the blame on "the Republicans," thus telegraphing the message that all shall be tolerated if labeled "Democratic." 

We're supposed to be against a bargain, but only against one of the two partners to the bargain.  Any bets on how well that'll work?

Meanwhile Obama's senior advisor David Plouffe hypes the danger of the "fiscal cliff," calls for lower corporate taxes and cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, but says not one word about military spending. He also claims to want to end tax cuts for the wealthy but is much more passionate about the danger of ending those cuts across the board, suggesting -- as did Obama's statements and silences at his first post-election press conference -- that the White House will not in the end refuse to extend the "Bush" tax cuts for everyone, including the multi-billionaires -- just as it's done before.  At the same press conference, Obama volunteered that we need "deficit reduction that includes entitlement changes."

Liberal groups have written to the president politely suggesting what they'd like, but with nothing in the way of consequences if they don't get it.  And what they'd like is slightly higher taxes on the super-rich, and no cuts to Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid.  Or else . . . or else . . . they'll be sadly loyal until death do them part. 

Neither Plouffe nor Obama nor any liberal activist group mentions that half of discretionary spending goes into war preparations.  None proposes to raise corporate taxes, restore the estate tax, remove the cap on Social Security taxes, tax financial transactions and capital gains, tax carbon emissions, massively and urgently invest in green energy jobs, or cut the $1.3 trillion war preparations budget in half.

We are not broke.  We are being robbed.

I get emails every day now on the "This isn't what we voted for" theme.  "TPP is not what we voted for."  "Drone kills are not what we voted for."  As if you can ignore the candidate's platform and vote for your own fantasy under his name, and then "pressure" him to become what you fantasized even while swearing your allegiance to his party come hell or high water or hurricanes.  Well, guess what, the Grand Bargain is what Democrats and Republicans voted for.  But that doesn't mean we have to stand for it.  Having voted against it wouldn't have stopped it.  Only getting out of our houses and nonviolently resisting it now will stop it.

The peace movement is ready to take to the streets and the suites, but worried that it doesn't have the size to do the job.  Of course it does have the size to start something big if it merely finds the determination.  But imagine what could happen if Tahrir Square inspired us all again and more seriously, and with four years rather than two years to work with before the next debilitation by the latest "Most Important Election of Your Lifetime."  Imagine if liberal organizations and labor unions openly recognized where all the public money is (in the war machine) and demanded it for useful purposes. 

The peace movement is in favor of everything they're in favor of: the right to organize, civil liberties, an end to for-profit prisons and drug wars and racism, affordable housing, a living wage, education, healthcare, and a sustainable environment.  The enemy of these things is the military industrial complex, and if it remains beyond challenge, a just society will remain unachievable.  When Dr. King opposed "racism, extreme materialism, and militarism," he didn't mean for us to ignore the third one.  He didn't mean for us to imagine that the three were separable and that we could oppose one or two of them effectively without opposing the combination.

Let's stop obediently opposing the worst bits of a Grand Catastrophe and begin denouncing and resisting the whole charade, replacing it with a grand vision of our own devising.  RootsAction.org, created just last year, is already approaching 200,000 active members, and has been flooding Congress and the President with this message:

"Here's a grand bargain we want: expand Medicare and Social Security, invest in green energy, raise taxes on the rich and corporations, and cut military spending back to the level of 12 years ago."

The message is editable, meaning that you can and should add your own comments.  I encourage everyone to do so, to ask friends to do so, and to be preparing for serious nonviolent action.

Thinking the Unthinkable: What if America’s Leaders Actually Want Catastrophic Climate Change?

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

What if the leaders of the United States -- and by leaders I mean the generals in the Pentagon, the corporate executives of the country’s largest enterprises, and the top officials in government -- have secretly concluded that while world-wide climate change is indeed going to be catastrophic, the US, or more broadly speaking, North America, is fortuitously situated to come out on top in the resulting global struggle for survival?

Where’s the News?: World Bank Warns Globe Could be Cooked by 2060

 

By Dave Lindorff


Run a google search of “World Bank” and “climate change” and you’ll discover that this month the World Bank released a major study predicting a global “cataclysm” if world-wide temperatures increase by a predicted four degrees celsius (that’s roughly 8 degrees fahrenheit).  

Congress Hears Expert Testimony About Combat Drone Wars

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 16, 2012) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today hosted a Congressional briefing to examine the United States’ policy regarding the use of armed drones.  U.S. drone strikes are estimated to have killed thousands of people. In Pakistan have killed an estimated 3,378 people; in Yemen such strikes are estimated to have killed as many as 1,952 people. Drone strikes in Somalia have killed as many as 170 people. The first U.S. drone strike took place in 2002.

Read Congressman Kucinich’s opening statement here.

See video of the full event here.

Experts included:

Professor James Cavallaro: The founding director of Stanford Law School’s International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic.

Bob Naiman: Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy and participant in recent delegation trip to Pakistan.

Medea Benjamin: Cofounder of Global Exchange and Code Pink and participant in a recent delegation trip to Pakistan.

Frank Jannuzi: Deputy Executive Director of Amnesty International USA.

How to Not Fix the Filibuster

Leaving the 41-senator filibuster in place but requiring that they run their mouths (and some of us have to listen) is not exactly the kind of Change most of us Hope for.  Nor is it supported by the Constitution, any other law, any treaty, any rule necessary to the functioning of our government, anything or anyone we just voted for, or any public opinion poll.  The proper thing to do with the filibuster is to eliminate it, which 51 senators can do at the start of the session if they see fit. I know you've been told they can't, but keep reading.

Join Bipartisan Letter to President Obama Urging Accelerated End to War in Afghanistan

From: The Honorable Barbara Lee
Sent By:
Date: 11/14/2012

Dear Colleague,

As we welcome each other back to Washington after the recent election, our responsibility to our men and women in uniform in Afghanistan is as important as ever.  The Pentagon is providing President Obama with a set of recommendations for U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.  We owe it to our troops to earnestly deliberate our policies in Afghanistan.

In the coming weeks, we have an opportunity to ensure that our brave troops are brought home in a swift and responsible manner so that we can create jobs and engage in nation-building here at home.

We invite you to become a co-signer to the letter below to President Obama, calling for an accelerated end to the war in Afghanistan.  The overwhelming majority of Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike, believe it is time to bring a responsible end to the war in Afghanistan.

To join as a co-signer before the deadline this Friday, November 16 at noon, please contact Teddy Miller in Rep. Lee’s office.

Thank you,

Barbara Lee                                          Walter Jones

Member of Congress                          Member of Congress

 

***

November XX, 2012

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear President Obama:

Your military advisors will soon be providing you with a set of military options in Afghanistan.  We are writing to urge you to pursue a path in Afghanistan that best serves the interests of the American people and our brave troops on the ground.  That path is simple: an accelerated withdrawal to bring to an end the decade long war as soon as can safely and responsibly be accomplished.

This is one issue that overwhelmingly unifies Americans: the desire to bring the war in Afghanistan to an accelerated close.  Polls show over 70% of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, say that the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting.

We write to request that you respond to the consensus amongst military experts, diplomats, and the American people.  It is time to announce an accelerated transition of security responsibility to the Afghan government and to bring our troops home as soon as can be safely and responsibly accomplished.

Al Qaeda’s presence has been greatly diminished and Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to the United States.  There can be no military solution in Afghanistan.  It is past time for the United States to allow the Afghanistan government to assume responsibility for its own security.

While many of us would prefer an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan starting today, there is broad recognition that the primary objectives have been completed and after 10 years and almost $600 billion, over 2,000 American lives, and 18,000 wounded - it is time to accelerate the transition to full Afghan control. 60 coalition soldiers have been killed this year alone by their Afghan allies. To quote a former Commandant of the Marine Corps, “when our friends turn out to be our enemy, it is time to pull the plug.” We also would like to remind you that any long term security agreement committing U.S. troops to Afghanistan must have congressional approval to be binding.

We look forward to working with you.

Barbara Lee                                        Walter Jones         

Member of Congress                        Member of Congress

Zionist Lobby in US Takes a Hit in Latest National Election

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

One little-noted but important result of the November election in the US that returned President Barack Obama to the White House for another four years is that the right-wing Israeli government and the Zionist lobbying organization AIPAC (for American Israel Public Affairs Committee) took a surprising drubbing and emerge a much weaker political influence going forward in US politics.


Election's Over: It's Time to Organize!

 

By Dave Lindorff


Okay, the etch-a-sketch vulture capitalist who would have given us four years of that smarmy missionionary-at-your-door smile, was thankfully sent packing by the voters, and Barack Obama gets four more years in the White House.


Kucinich Announces Congressional Briefing on U.S. Combat Drone Program

Massive Death Toll Belies Claim that Drone Strikes are only used in Cases of an “Imminent Threat”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 3, 2012) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following video criticizing the lack of oversight in the United States’ combat drones program. Kucinich also announced plans to hold a Congressional briefing on the drone program on November 16, 2012.  

See the video here.

“The Washington Post recently published a three part series on the plans of the Obama Administration to institutionalize the practice of targeted killing by unmanned drones abroad.  According to previous and current Administration officials who were interviewed, the institutionalization and expansion of the drone program means that we have only reached ‘the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism.’ This means that the targeted killing of suspects by the United States is becoming a permanent feature of our counterterrorism strategy.

“Yet the program has thus far been conducted with virtually no oversight from Congress or any other judicial body and absolutely no due process.  Congress has even been denied the right to be informed of and view the legal memos which the Administration uses as its basis to justify these killings. Despite increasing calls for transparency and the legal justification from both Members of Congress and a broad range of advocacy organizations, targeted killing is ‘so routine that the Obama Administration has spent much of the past year codifying and streamlining the processes that sustain much of it.’

“The battlefield has been stretched to include nearly anywhere in the world, making it easier to justify the flouting of international law and the laws of war. But the United States is not at war with Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan.  Such killings are only lawful under a very narrow set of circumstances.  We cannot claim to be meeting those narrow circumstances when the number of people killed by such strikes, including innocent civilians, is estimated to exceed 3,000.  This number alone demonstrates that the Administration’s claims that such strikes occur only under ‘imminent threat’ is patently false.                                                                                    

“The expansion of the use of surveillance drones here in the United States also raises significant concerns about the safeguarding of privacy and what information may be collected without prior authorization.  Any government or local law enforcement agency deploying such drones must ensure that the 4th amendment rights and the right to privacy of U.S. citizens are not being violated by the use of this technology.

“Congress cannot stand idly by as these actions are being taken in the name of the American people. That is why I am hosting a briefing on Friday, November 16, 2012 to discuss the implications of our drones policy here at home, and abroad.”

The Sticky Wicket in Benghazi and Seal Team Imperialism

 

 

By John Grant


In the parlance of the classic British colonial era, President Obama is faced with a bit of a sticky wicket in Benghazi, Libya. That metaphor, of course, refers to a patch of rough grass making it hard to hit the ball through the wicket in the British sport of cricket. British colonials liked to bring a little of England to the warm climes they colonized and played cricket on native-tendered grass between dealing with unruly wogs and quaffing gin and tonics to fight boredom and malaria.

Late Senator Arlen Specter Spoke in Support of Mumia Abu-Jamal

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.


Much is rightly made of the ‘maverick’ character of former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Arlen Specter in obituaries and other media coverage since his recent death.

That maverick streak certainly animated Specter’s December 2010 Farewell Speech from the Senate where he criticized the lack of civility currently rampant in that body plus assailed both political parties for perpetuating legislative gridlock and abuses of Senate rules.

What Senator George McGovern Got Right

Listen to my interview of Senator George McGovern four and a half years ago HERE.

Six years ago, I wrote the following about McGovern's plan to end the then-extremely-deadly war on Iraq:

Former Senator George McGovern has co-authored a book with William Polk titled "Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now." This book does one of the better jobs I've seen of explaining the historical context of the disaster we've created in Iraq. But, more importantly, it proposes a way out, including specific steps, noting that some of them will cost money and estimating how much. McGovern and Polk propose that we pay:

$6 billion for a two-year, Muslim, international force;
$1 billion to help Iraq create, train, and equip a police force, not an army;
$0.5 billion to help create and train a national reconstruction corps, made up of Iraqis;
$0.25 billion to survey and plan the removal of landmines, unexploded ordinance, and depleted uranium;
$1 billion for surveys, planning, and organization of rebuilding damaged property (plus loans and grants of an unspecified amount to assist Iraqis in rebuilding);
$0.5 billion to dismantle and dispose of blast walls, wire barriers, and other architecture of war and occupation;
$0.25 billion to restore archeological sites;
$0.1 billion to audit the Coalition Provisional Authority and find out where oil profits meant for the Iraqi people went;
$0.00001 billion in reparations for each civilian killed or grievously wounded (plus an unspecified amount for victims of torture) [following the authors' calculation, but using the Lancet study's much higher estimate of deaths, this comes to $9.75 billion];
$0.5 billion in fellowships to train lawyers, judges, journalists, social workers;
$0.5 billion to bring professionals who emigrated back to work in Iraq;
$1.7 billion to rebuild Iraq's public health system.

This adds up to $22.05 billion. That's the cost of twelve and a half weeks of occupying Iraq. And if we spend that $22.05 billion, we'll still have $47.95 billion left, money that has already been approved by Congress to pay for the war and put our grandchildren into debt. It will not cost $47.95 billion to put all of our troops on planes and bring them all home by June 2007, as McGovern and Polk propose. It will cost $3.8 billion according to a proposal from John Isaacs.

The rest of the money ($44.15 billion), plus the $160 billion that we now won't need for war at all (bringing the total to $204.15 billion), I'd propose, should be spent on the following priorities:

Physical and psychiatric care and career counseling for veterans ($1 billion);
Restoration of people's homes that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina ($10 billion)
Creation of universal, single-payer health care (Sen. Wyden has a new quasi-single-payer plan with costs covered by shifting current expenses);
Restoring a decent minimum wage (no cost);
Establishment of free college tuition for all ($60 billion per year by Rep. Kucinich's estimate);
Creation of a cabinet-level Department of Peace (2% of "Defense" budget = $8 billion).

Of course, we're still left with $125.15 billion, so we may just have to take a drastic step – and I know how unpopular this is: we may just have to CUT TAXES. Just for kicks we could change it up this time and cut taxes on working people rather than the rich. I bet voters would just hate that!

The Consequences of Blind Support: Black Backlash Against Obama

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.


After spending much of her 94-years as a civil rights activist this Washington, DC resident is understandably supportive of the Barack Obama presidency because she like many African-Americans never thought she’d ever see a black man sitting in that Oval Office seat designated for the most powerful person on earth.

Congress Tries to Force U.S. Army to Accept New Tanks

More than 2,000 M-1 Abrams tanks are sitting in a parking lot in Herlong, California because of a disagreement between the U.S. Army, Congress and the military industrial complex.

The U.S. Army's chief of staff General Raymond T. Odierno told Congress, earlier this year, that the U.S. has more than enough combat tanks and the U.S. Army can save taxpayers as much as $3 billion if they do not off repair, or make new tanks, for three years when new technologies are expected, reports CNN (video below).

However, 173 House Democrats and Republicans are urging Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, to support their decision to produce more unwanted tanks.

The 173 members of Congress claim that if the U.S. Army stops tank production and repair, the actions will damage the nation's economy.

While Congress claims they are worried about the economy, their fears seem to be about the military industrial complex. Defense contractor General Dynamics, which builds tanks, gives contributions to Congress when votes come up on weaponry.

Rep. Buck McKeon, Chairman of the House armed services committee, actually told CNN that he didn't know General Dynamics had given him $56,000 in campaign contributions since 2009.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes, who has received $64,000 from General Dynamics since 2001, said he is worried about the workforce if General Dynamics' Lima, California plant is closed for three years.

Shooting to Kill Immigrants on the Mexican Border: WTF? A Border Agent Fired First at Immigrant Smugglers?

 

By Dave Lindorff


Sometimes it takes a small tragedy to call attention to expose a much bigger one.


The small tragedy happened when Nicholas Ivey, a US Border Patrol agent, was shot dead on a dark night in rough terrain along the border with Mexico in Arizona, a state that has been obsessing about illegal border crossers coming into the US from Mexico seeking jobs.

Israel is not Calling the Shots in this US Election

 

By Dave Lindorff


Netanyahu blinked.


That’s the takeaway from the goofy address by the right-wing, Cheltenham,PA-raised, MIT-educated Israeli prime minister to the United Nations General Assembly Thursday.

Nadler and Schakowsky Rush to Protect Military Spending

The sociopathology of war spending as (least efficient possible) jobs program is on display in Congress:

Reps Nadler and Schakowsky Push to Repeal Sequestration and Prevent Catastrophic Cuts to Defense and Domestic Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, September 21, 2012

CONTACT:

Ilan Kayatsky (Nadler), 212-367-7350

Adjoa Adofo (Schakowsky), 202-225-2111

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced crucial legislation to halt sequestration, the process laid out in the Budget Control Act of 2011 to cut $1.2 trillion in federal spending on defense and domestic programs over 10 years. The Save America’s National Economy Act, aka the SANE Act, would save 2.6 million jobs estimated to be lost because of these cuts in the first three years alone, while safeguarding vital funds for housing, education, and health care for millions of Americans. By stopping the reckless 8% across-the-board cuts slated to begin on January 1, 2013, the SANE Act would return much-needed sanity to our budgeting process so that we can continue the economic recovery without sacrificing the middle class, kids, seniors, and the most vulnerable members of our communities. Nearly 3,000 national and local organizations in all 50 states joined together to state their strong opposition to sequestration.

“This legislation is intended to prevent the catastrophic results of sequestration,” said Rep. Nadler. “The simple truth is that no one – not the president and not the Congress – ever wanted or expected sequestration to take effect. Why? Because we have a jobs problem, and the spending cuts demanded by mandatory sequestration are a huge jobs killer and a major blow to our economy. It is imperative that we stop the misguided and self-made disaster that sequestration, or equivalent spending cuts, will bring.”

“Sequestration would have a devastating impact on American families and workers. This bill says enough is enough,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “The fact is, the sole reason we face sequestration is because HouseRepublicans refuse - time after time - to ask a single dime more from the richest 2 percent of Americans.Instead, Republicans are asking the middle class, low-income families, and seniors to bear the burden of deficit reduction. It’s time for sane budget policies; it’s time to pass the SANE Act.”

In 2013 alone, sequestration would require that defense and discretionary domestic programs each incur an across-the-board $54.7 billion cut. The following are just a handful of the effects should sequestration occur:

·According to the Economic Policy Institute, these cuts would result in the loss of 1.3 million defense jobs and 1.3 million non-defense jobs in just the first three years, with a total job loss of 2.6 million American jobs the first three years.

·According to a joint report issued this month by the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and American Nurses Association, sequestration’s 2% cut for Medicare would result in 496,000 health-related jobs lost in just the first year, and 766,000 jobs lost by 2021 – 49,121 of which would be in New York and 30,265 in Illinois.

·According to the Healthcare Association of New York State, sequestration would subject hospitals nationwide to $40 billion in Medicare reductions, with more than $2 billion of that loss hitting New York’s health care system.

·According to a recent report from the Office of Management and Budget, sequestration would cut some $329 million from the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides health care and compensation to first responders and survivors sickened after 9/11, and of which Rep. Nadler is a lead sponsor.

·According to the AIDS Institute, sequestration would cut $538 million from domestic HIV/AIDS programs, imperiling thousands who depend upon services for their stability and survival.

·According to Federally Employed Women, sequestration would mean the loss of jobs for 25,000 teachers and aides, responsible for hundreds of thousands of children. In addition, 100,000 school children would lose places in Head Start.

The SANE Act will cut the deficit through enhanced taxation of millionaires and reduced expenditures from the war in Afghanistan.

Stop Last Minute Senate Vote to Adopt Netanyahu's War Red Line

By: NIAC Action Alert

NetanyahuThe Senate is poised to commit the U.S. to a red line for war demanded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposed by the Obama Administration.  The resolution by Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Bob Casey (D-PA) expresses support for Netanyahu’s red line for military action against Iran and may come up for a vote TODAY.
 
Please call your Senators to tell them you oppose the Iran red line resolution.  Call 1-855-68 NO WAR to be directed to your Senators offices and tell them to oppose S.J. Res 41.

Learn More & Take Action>>
READ: New Senate Push for Iran War Red Lines as Netanyahu Ups Pressure>> 

Congressman Kucinich Opposes New National Park Which Celebrates Manhattan Project

"The technology which created the Bomb cannot be separated from the horror which the Bomb created."

Washington D.C. (September 18, 2012) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced opposition to legislation expected to be considered on the House floor tomorrow. H.R. 5987 will establish a new National Park celebrating the technological achievement of the Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was a top-secret endeavor to develop the atomic bomb, which was subsequently used on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians were killed as a result of the atomic bomb attack. According to CBO, the park will cost as much as $21 million over five years.

"The technology which created the Bomb cannot be separated from the horror which the Bomb created. The celebration of the technology of the Bomb bespeaks a moral blindness to its effects, which include not only the devastation of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the ten trillion dollar cold war between the U.S. and Russia, and the tens of thousands of nuclear weapons which today hang as swords of Damocles over the world.

“At a time when we should be organizing the world toward abolishing nuclear weapons before they abolish us, we are instead indulging in hideous admiration at our cleverness as a species. The Bomb is about graveyards, not National Parks," said Kucinich.

Rep. C.W. Bill Young Drops Staunch Support Of Afghanistan War: 'We're Killing Kids That Don't Need To Die'

From Huffington Post

A Republican congressman who has long been a staunch supporter of sticking with the war in Afghanistan is now changing course, arguing that the United States needs to pull out as quickly as possible.

"I think we should remove ourselves from Afghanistan as quickly as we can," Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday. "I just think we're killing kids that don't need to die."

Young has consistently opposed even setting a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. In May 2011, an amendment requiring the president to present Congress "with a timeframe and completion date" for the war failed by just 12 votes, garnering the support of 26 Republicans. Young, however, was one of the ones who voted to kill it.

Young, who is chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, also told the Times that he believes many of his GOP colleagues now feel the same way he does, but "they tend not to want to go public." He added that when he's talked to military leaders about his views, he doesn't "get a lot of reaction."

The congressman said he came to his new position after talking with veterans over the past three months and hearing about what a "real mess" Afghanistan is in.

According to the Times, Young was particularly affected by the death last month of 26-year-old Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Sitton, who attended the Christian school run by the church Young attends.

Before he passed away, Sitton wrote Young a letter about the problems in Afghanistan, including with the command structure and the fact that they were "being forced to go on patrol on foot through fields that they knew were mined with no explanation for why they were patrolling on foot."

Sitton died after stepping on an improvised explosive device.

General’s Defence on Afghan Scandal Ducks Key Evidence

By Gareth Porter, IPS

WASHINGTON, Sep 13 2012 (IPS) - Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, the former commander of NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan, denied to a U.S. Congressional panel Wednesday that he had cited the impact on Congressional elections in opposing the timing of a request for an investigation of high-level Afghan military corruption and its impact on neglect of patients at the Afghan National Military Hospital (NMH) two years ago.

But Caldwell and his former deputy, Brig. Gen. Gary Patton, both made statements suggesting that Caldwell had indeed wanted to stop the investigation by the Department of Defence Inspector General (DOD IG) because it might give ammunition to opponents of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

Bill Provides Another $100 Billion for War, Kucinich Calls on Congress to Stop Funding

Washington D.C. (September 13, 2012) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today spoke out against bloated Pentagon spending and hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer money wasted on unnecessary wars. Kucinich vowed to vote against the “Continuing Resolution” which will fund the federal government for another six months.

See video here.

“I rise in opposition to the rule for the Continuing Resolution. The Continuing Resolution contains $99.9 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operation funds to continue the war in Afghanistan and to fund other operations in the so-called war on terror.

The Democratic Party is a Big Fraud

 

By Dave Lindorff


This article was first published on the website of PressTV


Just looking at the video images of the two conventions -- the Republican one last week in Tampa, Florida, and this week’s Democratic convention in Charlotte, NC -- one can see the fundamental contrast between the rank-and-file of the two parties. 

Is There a Way Beyond Israeli Madness?

 

By John Grant

 

The patient, by the name of Israel, walks into the room and instantly bursts into a tirade of arguments conclusively proving his credentials, and says that he is better than everyone else.

 

-Ofer Grosbard

Israel On The Couch: The Psychology of the Peace Process

 

Americans have an Israel problem.

 

Victory: Treasury Department Allows Humanitarian Assistance to Reach Earthquake Victims in Iran

U.S. Government Supports the Good Will of the American People
By Dennis Kucinich

Washington D.C. (August 21, 2012) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today issued the following statement after the U.S. Treasury Department announced the issuance of a general license allowing U.S.-based organizations to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims of an earthquake in northwestern Iran. Kucinich led fourteen Members of Congress requesting that President Obama allow the humanitarian aid to flow to those who so desperately need assistance.

“The people of Iran are suffering and we have it in our capacity to alleviate some of that suffering. It is the strength of the American people that we help those in need. I thank President Obama for heeding our call, and the call of the American people to allow humanitarian aid to reach the people of Iran,” said Kucinich.

U.S.-based humanitarian organizations had been prohibited from sending aid to Iran without a general license under current U.S. sanctions against Iran. Today’s announcement by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control will allow humanitarian organizations to transfer funds to Iran for the purposes of relief and reconstruction activities.

“Our hopes and prayers continue to be with the thousands of people in Iran who have suffered from this tragedy. We are now able to offer real help providing assistance to the people,” said Kucinich. “This is a time for unity. Perhaps this tragedy can create an opportunity for our nations to work together and begin to build trust between our nations.”

Let's Start a Medicare and Social Security Action (MASS Action) Party!

 

By Dave Lindorff


If you want to know how moribund the Democratic Party is, how completely owned by Wall Street the president is, and how sick our national politics have become, just consider Social Security.


Democracies Don't Start Wars, But Fake Democracies Sure Do!

 

 

By Dave Lindorff


We’ve all heard it said by our teachers when we were in school, we’ve all heard it said by politicians, including presidents: “Democracies don’t start wars.”


Kucinich Announces Legislation to Protect Congress’ Constitutional Authority to Declare War

Washington D.C. (August 9, 2012) – Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to authorize or declare war. Yet, instead of getting authorization from Congress, Presidents of late have preferred to get “authorization” from the United Nations or other international bodies instead of Congress for the participation of U.S. Armed Forces in hostilities. Most recently, the President authorized U.S. military action in Libya through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), with the “authorization” from the United Nation’s Security Council. That is not a substitute for a Congressional declaration of war or authorization for the use of military force and it is in clear subversion of the Constitution. 

Today, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced legislation, H.R. 6290, that would prohibit the deployment of a unit or individual of the U.S. Armed Forces or an element of the intelligence community in support of a NATO mission absent prior statutory authorization for such deployment from Congress, as enshrined in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

“There is no doubt that another war of choice can happen again at any time. After 10 years and trillions of dollars spent waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is clear that we cannot afford to further commit our already overcommitted military. The war in Libya cost the United States $1 billion.

“According to NATO’s website, NATO is currently operating in Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Mediterranean Sea, the Horn of Africa and Somalia. Other recent NATO operations have taken place in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iraq, Greece, Pakistan, Sudan, the Gulf of Aden, and most recently, Libya.  Even 13 years after a U.S.-NATO led intervention, 5,576 NATO troops (PDF) remain in Kosovo. Seven hundred eighty one of them are U.S. troops.

“Congress must reestablish itself as a coequal branch of government and ensure that the U.S. is not committed to another NATO mission absent prior Congressional statutory authorization,” said Kucinich. “The Constitution is clear: Article 1, Section 8 provides only Congress with the ability to declare war or authorize the use of military force. Congress cannot stand by idly as the Constitution is circumvented.” 

 

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