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European Electoral Postmortems
by Stephen Lendman
The morning after election Sunday, French and Greek voters have major issues unresolved. Austerity harmed people in both countries. Technocrats remain in charge. Odds remain long for change.
Choice Not on Ballot in French Election
by Stephen Lendman
France replicates most Western societies. Elections give voters little choice at best. Most often there's none. Two dominant parties usually compete. In France, there's three.
Chavez in 2012
by Stephen Lendman
After 12 years in office, Chavez remains overwhelmingly favored for reelection in October. Given the alternative, most Venezuelans have a clear choice.
Americans who went to the polls in 2008 believing that a vote for Barack Obama was a vote for peace, now face the prospect of a presidential election in which both major party candidates will be openly wedded to endless war, cold-blooded “targeted killings,” record military budgets, and the systematic violation of U.S. and international law.
I recently wrote about a conversation I'd had with a fairly typical Democratic candidate for Congress (O.K. perhaps he was below average) -- a former military officer who claims to be for peace, but whose every solution involves war. I asked him to make commitments on what sort of things he would vote for or against, and he evaded every such question, while maintaining that he held a desire for peace somewhere in his heart.
The suspicion might arise in a reasonable reader that candidates simply don't make commitments and perhaps shouldn't. Every situation is unique. Candidates can't know the details of a future bill or the context in which it might be brought to a vote. They can simply tell you what values they hold dear, what accomplishments grace their resumes, and how utterly worthless their opponents are. More than that one should not ask.
I just had a chat with a Democratic candidate who has just about wrapped up his party's nomination for Congress here in Virginia's Fifth Congressional District. John Douglass is a retired Brigadier General, a former Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and a former deputy U.S. military representative to the NATO Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium.
Obviously a candidate for war, right? That's not what people were telling me, and not what Douglass himself says. He tells me he's for peace and for moving from an offensive military to one that is truly defensive. Rather than wars in the Middle East, he says, he'd like to search every container that enters our country and control every passage across out country's borders. Such policies, he says, don't threaten anyone or produce terrorism.
By Keane Bhatt, Truthout
Norman Solomon, a longtime activist and media scholar, first came under FBI scrutiny at the age of 14 for picketing a segregated apartment complex near his home in Maryland. In the following years, Solomon campaigned against nuclear weapons and warfare, spending a total of 40 days in jail for nonviolent civil disobedience. He is author of a dozen books and numerous op-eds that have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times, among other outlets. Currently, he has been engaged in a competitive campaign to represent Northern California's District 2 in the US House of Representatives.
Keane Bhatt for Truthout: The US appears to be committing itself to yet another intervention. At the end of March, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Saudi King Abdullah, an autocrat who recently signed a $60 billion agreement to buy US bombs, missiles, helicopters and 84 F-15 fighter jets. After conferring with him, Clinton joined the "Friends of Syria" coalition and the US will now equip and pay the rebels in Syria. UN envoy Kofi Annan considered a further militarization of the conflict and the arming of rebels "disastrous." What is behind this continuity in US foreign policy?
By Dave Lindorff
I've often wondered why so many innocent people who are shot by police end up dead.
Granted that police officers spend a fair amount of time training with their service revolvers, and are thus likely to be better shots with a pistol than your average gun-owner. But even so, in so many cases where some unarmed person is shot by police, the result is death, and it makes you wonder how cops, often in the dark and on the run, manage with their notoriously hard-to-aim pistols to hit a vital organ with such depressing regularity.
Rocky Anderson is the Justice Party candidate for U.S. president. He explains why he's running and what he thinks we need to do to get our country headed in a more just and peaceful direction. Rocky's website is VoteRocky.org.
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After defeating the second-placed Labour candidate by more than 2-to-1, George Galloway had this to say about his former party:
"They have to stop supporting illegal, bloody, costly foreign wars because one of the reasons why they were so decisively defeated this evening is that the public don't believe that they have atoned for their role in the invasion and occupation of other people's countries and the drowning of those countries in blood."
By Rocky Anderson
Let us consider the fundamental guiding principles for the United States of America -- freedom, equal opportunity, compassion, and security.
Then let us consider how those principles have been severely undermined, and how we, the American people, can restore them so that once again our government is of, by, and for the people, rather than a tool of oppression cynically utilized for the benefit of a small, powerful, abusive, elite political and financial class, to the detriment of the vast majority of U.S. citizens, as well as billions of people around the world.
Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
Citizens United rejected a congressional legislative ban on corporate campaign contributions. It says nothing about the ability to tax such contributions...
'A date which will live in infamy'
Jan. 21, 2010 has become, as we predicted it would be, "a date which will live in infamy."
California's North Coast is nearly synonymous with a New Age-y strand of progressivism. For two decades, Rep. Lynn Woolsey has represented it in Congress by denouncing the wars waged by both major parties' presidents: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya. She proudly identified herself as the first former welfare mother in Congress. Now Woolsey is retiring, and the campaign to succeed her prominently features two self-described progressives vying for votes in a June 5 open primary.
Woolsey is staying out of the endorsement game, so voters in her district have been left to make up their own minds. Elect Norman Solomon, who has rallied against America's adventures abroad since Vietnam, or pick Jared Huffman, who has five years' experience in the California Assembly.
"Congress is in danger of losing a lot of its lifeblood, its moral center. We can't afford to lose Lynn Woolsey, Dennis Kucinich, other voices for good alternatives to war," Solomon told HuffPost. "We've got to replenish the strength of antiwar and social justice representation in Congress. Our district and my campaign are crucial to that process."
Solomon, whose hair is streaked with silver and whose face easily melts into a grin, wields a resume more typical of a soapbox rabble-rouser than a congressional candidate. He's never been an elected official. He took Sean Penn with him to Iraq in 2002 to oppose a then-looming invasion. He directed a documentary adaptation of his book War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He touts his endorsement by Phil Donohue.
All of that, plus the support of liberal advocacy group Democracy for America, might make him seem liable to the same pitfalls that have befallen losing netroots candidates like Ilya Sheyman in Illinois. But Solomon is quick to argue that his candidacy has more than a virtual presence.
The Post revealed that President Obama -- in hopes of making a "grand bargain" on the budget with Republicans last summer -- had offered billions of dollars of cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
And there’s something even scarier in the new Post account: "White House officials said this week that the offer is still on the table."
Still on the table!
It's bad enough when Congressman Paul Ryan and the Republicans try to gut Social Security and Medicare -- they don't need any help from so-called "moderate Democrats."
I want to go to Congress to stop the right-wing agenda. Even if that sometimes means pushing back against the Democratic Party establishment.
Please support my campaign so I can stand up to immoral budget deals -- just as Sen. Bernie Sanders did when he inspired millions with his filibustering speech against President Obama’s deal with the GOP to extend Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy.
Believe me: I was thoroughly honored when a member of Congress (Democrat Mike Honda), after hearing me speak, called me "a young Bernie Sanders."
Please donate if you want me to go to Congress to promote a totally different plan for deficit reduction:
#1 -- Defund the wars, bring our troops home and make major cuts in military spending, which accounts for the majority of federal discretionary spending. Most Americans support big military cuts.
#2 -- Raise taxes on the top 1% and end tax loopholes and subsidies for large corporations. Most Americans want the wealthy to pay their share.
#3 -- Impose controls on Wall Street to curb the gambling that tanked the global economy, including a Financial Transaction Tax that raises revenue while reducing speculation.
If you want to help me fight for this program in Washington, please click here.
In Congress, I will be loud and proud in putting these popular proposals on the table – while standing rock-solid against cuts to our sacred safety-net and healthcare programs.
If we stand and fight for progressive values in Washington, the American public will be with us.
Please help me get to Congress.
By Don Smith, OpEdNews
There's a movement underway to recruit Dennis Kucinich to run for Congress in Washington State.
On March 6, Kucinich lost a primary battle for his redistricted and gerrymandered Ohio congressional district. (See here , here and here.) His loss generated national coverage with commentators lamenting the "end of an era."
Last summer and autumn Kucinich made numerous visits to Washington State, giving speeches (e.g., this) and appearing at fundraisers, largely to test the waters about a possible move to Washington State. However, State Democratic Chair Dwight Pelz reportedly opposed the move, as did Kucinich's likely Democratic opponents for Congress. See the July article Dennis Kucinich looking for a political home, needs our help?
Now Washington Citizens for Kucinch, created by progressive activist David Spring and operating independently of Kucinich, is asking citizens to jump on board the Kucinich bandwangon and sign a petition calling for Kucinich to run here.
Believers in the cause of Peace are not sitting idly by and allowing war profiteers to use gerrymandering and black box voting to drive the leader of the U.S. Peace Movement out of Congress. Clearly, greedy Wall Street bankers and reckless multinational corporations stacked the deck against Dennis Kucinich in Ohio. They've long realized Dennis does not work for them. Thankfully, there are three Open Congressional Seats in the State of Washington -- with no Democratic incumbents running in any of them.
There is also a facebook page for the effort.
As Spring says, "I and thousands of other Peace Activists will support Dennis's campaign where ever he decides to run."
Spring points out there are multiple Congressional districts in Washington State that do not have an incumbent Democrat running for re-election, including the 1st (incumbent Jay Inslee is running for governor), the 8th (=new 9th, where the incumbent is Republican Dave Reichert), and the 6th CD (where incumbent Norm Dicks is retiring). The new 1st CD, which borders Seattle, might be the most convenient for Seattle-based activists, but the district in Olympia, for example, would have a more Democratic-leaning constituency: the new 1st CD extends all the way to the Canadian border.
Homegrown Democratic candidates for Congress would likely oppose a Kucinich run, but his presence would energize thousands of activists and bring lots of national attention to the race and to the state.
Indeed, Kucinich will be coming soon to Washington State. Robby Stern of the Washington State Labor Council reports:
We are very pleased that Rep. Dennis Kucinich will be speaking at the Social Security forum at Highline Community College on April 12th from 6:30 -- 8:30 p.m.
Entitled "The Threat to Social Security -- An Issue for All Generations" the forum will be held in the Student Union Building (Building eight) on the Highline C.C. campus. Additional outstanding speakers include Pramila Jayapal, Executive Director, One America, Marilyn Watkins, Policy Director, Economic Opportunity Institute, and Magdaleno Rose-Avila, Executive Director, The Latino Equality Initiative and a member of PSARA's Executive Board.
Perhaps Kucinich is again testing the waters.
Kucinich has until May 18 to file to run for Congress in Washington State.
By David Swanson, Remarks at Left Forum
I think two opposing trends have been at work in U.S. history. One is that of allowing more people to vote. This is an ongoing struggle, of course, but in some significant sense we've allowed poor people and women and non-white people and young people to vote. The other trend, which has really developed more recently, is that we've made voting less and less meaningful. Of course it was never as meaningful as many people imagine. But we've legalized bribery, we've banished third parties and independents, we've gerrymandered most Congressional districts into meaningless general elections and left one party or the other to exercise great influence over any primary. Rarely does any incumbent lose, and rarely does a candidate without the most money win. Extremely rare is a winning candidate who lacks some major financial backing. Rarer still is a candidate who even promises to pursue majority positions on most major issues, or who convincingly commits to following the will of the public over the will of the party. Most Congress members are pawns in a government with two partisan voices, not the voices of 535 individual representatives and senators. Rare, as well, is any possibility in a close primary or general election of verifying the accuracy of a vote count.
By John Grant
When does a determination to look on the bright side turn into a state of denial? That is, when do leaders of a secrecy-obsessed US government admit the decision-making surrounding the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan was misguided from the beginning and the endgame is a mess because of it?
While the leadership of America is mud-wrestling with itself in the election "silly season," the nation is watching the wheels come off its military occupation of Afghanistan. It feels like that special effects TV ad for a new SUV in which, as the SUV speeds forward, thousands of its parts magically come flinging loose until we see nothing but the truck chassis speeding ahead.
If Congressman Dennis Kucinich becomes simply Dennis Kucinich sans the "Congressman" his value to the peace movement need not diminish.
I admit it's been nice having someone in Congress who would say and do what he would. There have been and remain other relatively strong voices for peace, but none as strong as Kucinich's. His resolutions have forced the debates. His bills have changed the conversation. His questioning of witnesses has afflicted the comfortable while seeking to comfort the afflicted. Perhaps Congressman Norman Solomon will pick up the baton. Time will tell.
by Stephen Lendman
Pre-election polls predicted around a 60% majority. Final results show Putin won 63.6% of the vote. He got a clear third term mandate. In 2004, he won 71%.
Five candidates contended:
We need his voice in Congress
This is your last chance to help Dennis Kucinich win his tough primary fight.
The election is Tuesday.
If you want to help one of our truly great progressive members of Congress, you need to act now.
Click here to donate to the Kucinich campaign. Any amount helps!
I know you remember when Dennis stood up as that first brave and prophetic voice against the Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq.
I know you remember when he brought articles of impeachment to the House floor, a lonely progressive, trying to defend the Constitution against the illegal and immoral acts of the Bush/Cheney crowd.
I know you remember when he was the last member of Congress publicly defending single-payer health care for all.
I know you remember when he was one of the few who voted "no" on the original Patriot Act. Remember why? He read it.
And I know you understand that Dennis is still fighting these battles today, one of the few still standing up to prevent the deja vu of an attack on Iran, under the same false pretenses as the attack on Iraq a decade ago.
No one else has a record of leading the progressive struggles we care about like Dennis Kucinich. Shouldn't we be doing everything we can to keep him in Congress?
Think of how much we will miss him next year, if Dennis is not there to hold the warmongers accountable, to raise his passionate and intelligent voice for peace, to keep pressing for Medicare for All.
Click here to make a last-minute donation to Dennis. We need him back in Washington!
Then pass this email on to all your lists, call your friends in northwest Ohio, to make sure they vote for Dennis on Tuesday.
Dennis Kucinich helped PDA get off the ground back in the summer of 2004. With your help, we can keep working together for a better nation.
Thanks for all you do,
Tim Carpenter & Steve Cobble of PDA
Last chance--donate to Dennis now. The election in Ohio is Tuesday!
|Paid for by Progressive Democrats of America (http://www.pdamerica.org)
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee
Electoral Politics in America
by Stephen Lendman
He said, she said, who's ahead, who's behind discourse dominates political reporting. As a result, issues go unaddressed. People are left uninformed in the dark. Media scoundrels focus on popularity, not competence, and what readers and viewers most need to know.
By John Grant
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (or AIPAC) is having its three-day annual meeting in Washington DC beginning Sunday March 4th. AIPAC is arriving in an atmosphere of beating war drums and rattling sabers against Iran.
Israel preemptively starting a war with Iran would be bad enough, but the assumption that the United States will be part of that war should be very disturbing to Americans -- who are just getting over one misguided, costly war in Iraq and are still involved in another in Afghanistan.
By Gary Lindorff
Yearning for this or that impossible thing,
I started to become indifferent,
Which was for the best. . .
Stubborn as I was proud,
I still wanted them to stop
What they were doing in my name.
I wanted them to listen to my stewing.
All I got was bad dreams.
So I gave my conscience an ultimatum:
By Jeff Cohen
. . .even if you don’t live in his California North Coast district. TELL FRIENDS they can vote, too. (It’s legal, NOT Chicago ballot stuffing!)
Norman came in 3rd out of 200 liberal/progressive Congressional candidates nationwide in the first round of the online ‘Grassroots All-Star’ straw poll.
If you VOTE FOR NORMAN (it takes 3 seconds) in the final round of voting among the 10 finalists, you help him get access to grassroots $$ and volunteers. Vote here: http://grassrootsallstars.com/norman-solomon
Norman has built one of the biggest grassroots campaigns ever. If sent to D.C. in November, Norman will function as "America's Congress member" -- an advocate for all of us committed to peace and justice.
BARBARA EHRENREICH said this: I strongly endorse Norman Solomon for Congress. I’ve followed his activism and advocacy for years – voters can trust that he is a historical progressive, not a rhetorical one. Norman is a fighter for women’s rights who understands class in America and how our country’s “social safety net” now resembles a greased chute. He would never take money from Walmart or any corporation. To turn our country around, we need independent progressive Democrats like Norman Solomon in Congress, not business-as-usual Democrats.