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Congressman Kucinich: Why I Support Norman Solomon for Congress

Dennis Kucinich photoDear Friend,

I'm writing you in support of one of the top peace candidates for Congress anywhere in the country: the internationally-known and respected antiwar advocate and author, NORMAN SOLOMON. It is important that you help to elect him.

Norman and I have been friends for almost 15 years. He is a powerful intellectual, a gifted writer and an activist who is willing to put himself on the line for the principled causes of peace, justice and the environment.

He will be one unique member of Congress ... but he won't get here without your help NOW.

Norman is a true progressive. He is an independent thinker. Too many Democrats go along with outrageous military spending, deadly wars and Wall Street greed, all of which demoralize our nation, drain our federal treasury and cause resentment around the world. Norm Solomon is unafraid to stand up and speak out when others are silent.

Norman will stand up to the Wall Streeters who continue their high-stakes gambling at public expense. He refuses to take corporate PAC money or lobbyist donations. That puts him at a disadvantage in this primary battle. This is where you can help.

As you know, I will not be returning to Congress next year. We need Norman in Congress so that he can share his insight with all members. Because of his fierce dedication to the public interest, Norman will be an instant leader in Congress -- on war, on bloated military spending, on Wall Street, on threats to Social Security and Medicare (from either party).

Norman Solomon was an advocate for the 99% -- challenging the 1% -- before there was an Occupy Wall Street movement. Every supporter of mine should be a natural supporter of Norman. Help him carry on the legacy of strong peace and justice advocacy in the U.S. Congress.

Each of you -- in the next few days -- can make THE DIFFERENCE for Norman. Voting has already begun by mail. The June 5 election is in your hands. Help Norman's final outreach to primary voters -- talk to your neighbors about Norman and sign up for phone banking.

And please send him a last-minute donation before the June 5 primary.

Sincerely,

Dennis

P.S. - As always, I welcome your comments at Kucinich.us

Elizabeth Warren vs. the Establishment

U.S. Senate candidate from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren is taking on the establishment.  Her campaign website declares:

"Iran is a significant threat to the United States and our allies.  Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, it is an active state sponsor of terrorism, and its leaders have consistently challenged Israel’s right to exist. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is unacceptable because a nuclear Iran would be a threat to the United States, our allies, the region, and the world. The United States must take the necessary steps to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. I support strong sanctions against Iran and believe that the United States must also continue to take a leadership role in pushing other countries to implement strong sanctions as well. Iran must not have an escape hatch."

Warren has been asked by local and national activists for months to take this down or correct it.  Instead, she is standing by principle and against a corrupt ill-informed establishment.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons.  He's joined in that outrageous claim by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, and their Israeli counterparts.  Elizabeth Warren knows better, and she knows enough not to cite her sources.  We are better off just trusting her, and we feel better just trusting her.

The idea of Iran as a significant threat to the United States and our allies is mocked and laughed at by a motley crew made up of just about everyone who knows anything about the world whatsoever.  Iran spends a half a percent of what the United States spends on its military, and a much smaller fraction of what all NATO nations spend together.  Iran has never threatened the United States or any of its allies.  Iran is literally surrounded by U.S. bases and ships.  Iran is seeking to avoid conflict by agreeing to inspections and restrictions on civilian nuclear power not required by any treaty or law.  But don't let the established facts fool you.  They're a trick of the establishment, and Elizabeth Warren knows better.

Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor admitted that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never said Iran wanted to "wipe Israel off the face of the map" in an interview with Al Jazeera in April, agreeing somewhat anticlimactically with the known facts as understood by such irresponsible commentators as anybody reading reliable news sources or accurately translating the original speech. 

When Madeline Albright said that strong sanctions on Iraq did more good than the harm done by killing over a half a million children, the uninformed imagined they were witnessing a burst of courageous feminism.  Ha!  They ain't seen nothing yet.  If what you want is strong female leadership, and the facts and human lives be damned, get ready for the one, the only, the lying scheming warmongering candidate who will make the bankers pay for part of the killing so it's all OK, Elizabeth Warren! 

Elizabeth Warren will stand alone against a mountain of evidence when need be, but if Palestine tries to join the United Nations with the support of the other nations of the world, Warren will denounce any such move as "unilateralism" and support a unilateral veto of it.

Elizabeth Warren says, "We need to continue our aggressive efforts against Al Qaeda, and we need to continue to support the efforts of our intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security, and military professionals."  And if that means dumping over half of discretionary spending into war preparations every year, well so be it -- we'll be responsible by not borrowing the money.  We'll get a bit of it from the banksters.  We'll be bad-ass killers and populists, even if the killing isn't especially popular.

You don't need to understand.  You need to trust in Elizabeth.

For more of this profile in courage read:
 http://elizabethwarren.com/issues/national-security-foreign-policy


Dropping Planes, Not Bombs: US Attack on Iran with F-22 Stealth Fighters would be Laughable

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The Iranian military must be enjoying the latest spectacle of Pentagon waste and bungling.

 

Only a few weeks ago, the US attempted to ramp up the pressure on Iran by deploying to the Persian Gulf at the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, just across the gulf from Iran, a squadron of the Air Force’s spanking new and never battle-tested supersonic F-22 stealth fighter-bombers.

 

An Open Letter to Opponents of Aggressive, Undeclared, and Unconstitutional Invasions, Wars and Occupations

This open letter will be straight to the point--if you opposed the Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq--if you knew Bush and Blair were lying about the Downing Street Memo--if you wanted (and still want) Guantanamo shut down--if you oppose the "secret" drone wars--if you opposed the Obama "surge" in Afghanistan--then there is one anti-war candidate running for Congress this year who stands head and shoulders above everyone else--Norman Solomon.

In fact, if you have demonstrated against any of the undeclared, unconstitutional wars that the U.S. has waged over the last 40 years, from Vietnam to El Salvador to Iraq, Norman Solomon was right there with you. He marched; he was arrested for nonviolent protest; he wrote and spoke out; he organized high-profile peace missions to Iraq and Afghanistan; he led the fight for "Healthcare, Not Warfare!"

And since next year's Congress will be missing two of our most dedicated peace leaders, Dennis Kucinich and Lynn Woolsey, we need Norman Solomon elected to stand up for us, no matter where we live.

We know Norman. We've worked with him against illegal wars for 4 decades now. And we can state for a fact that there is no pro-peace candidate running for an open seat in Congress this year who is more deserving of the votes, the donations, or the volunteer help of anti-war activists all across the country.

And now is the time--mail-in voting is starting in California, and primary day is in less than a month. Norman has a great volunteer base, and has raised half-a-million dollars--but two of his opponents have raised even more. Norman does not accept corporate donations, so he needs our help to win.

If you want to donate to Norman Solomon for Congress, click here.
Thank him for his lifetime of standing up against illegal, immoral wars.

If you want to volunteer to make phone calls for Norman's campaign, email Mike Fox.
Thank him for fighting for the Constitution, and against a militarized America.

And if you know someone who lives along the Left Coast, anywhere in northern California along the Pacific Ocean, from the Golden Gate Bridge up to the Oregon border, please remind them to vote for Norman on Tuesday, June 5th.

Norman Solomon has spent his life opposing wars and standing up for peace. He's earned our support. The question for the peace movement is--will we come through for him?

For Peace,

Noam Chomsky
Tim Carpenter
Phyllis Bennis
Phil Donahue
Medea Benjamin
David Swanson
Sarah Anderson
Howie Klein
Mimi Kennedy
Bob Fertik

Andrea Miller
Leslie Cagan
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Jodie Evans
Sam Husseini
Danny Goldberg
Michael Eisenscher 
David Segal
Karen Dolan

Daniel Ellsberg
Thom Hartmann
Tom Morello
Carolyn Eisenberg

Gael Murphy, Beth Schulman

Mike Ferner, Marcos Rubinstein

Kevin Alexander Gray, Jeff Cohen

Steve Cobble

 

 

 

       
 

Progressive Election Strategy and the Norman Solomon Campaign

We can’t devise a successful electoral strategy for “The Left”—meaning the forces of peace, social/economic justice and sustainability—unless we face a simple fact: We’re getting our asses kicked.

For three decades, our country’s politics have moved steadily rightward and become more corporate-dominated. With few exceptions (gay rights, for example), the right wing has been winning on almost every issue. That’s why we have record levels of war-spending, with near record levels of poverty and wealth disparities. Labor is weakened and under attack, while corporate power over government and both major parties keeps increasing. Our earth faces environmental disasters while the mindless “Drill, Baby, Drill” slogan gains popularity. Issues we thought we’d won decades ago—like reproductive rights and separation of church and state—are under constant threat.

There’s an essential reason for this sad state of affairs: Rightwing activists have seized one of the two major parties, the GOP, and used that party to amass power and dominate the terms of debate on most issues since Reagan was elected in 1981.

Rightwing activists—not always with corporate backing—have been resolute in taking over local and state Republican organizations and electing movement allies to office at all levels. Unlike many liberal/progressive activists, these conservative activists don’t instinctively make apologies for politicians who sell them out or fail to deliver. Instead of apologizing for the GOP elite, rightwing activists keep electing a new crop—ever further right and more closely aligned with their extremist demands and litmus tests.

This determined, strategic electoral activism is the reason that what passes for “mainstream” GOP positions today—denying Darwin and global warming while bestowing personhood on fetuses and ExxonMobil—are more rightwing than 30 years ago. And one can argue that the Tea Party-influenced 2012 Republican presidential frontrunners (including Mr. Etch-A-Sketch) were further right than George W. Bush . . . who was further right than the 1994 Gingrich “revolutionaries” . . . who were further right than Reagan . . . who was further right than the Republican mainstream of previous decades.

A Roadmap for Progressive Power?

Have rightwing activists given progressives a roadmap for political power? If so, why has there not been a concerted effort by progressive movements and activists to enter and transform the Democratic Party into a vehicle that can move our country in a dramatically progressive direction?

Unfortunately, instead of implementing a “remake-the-Democratic-party” strategy, constituency groups like labor and the liberal netroots often function as loyal party operatives, pouring money behind whatever mediocre candidates the Democratic establishment serves up. Some big-spending unions are loath to intervene in primaries—which is where their money and activism could prove decisive in replacing business-as-usual Democrats with genuine progressives.

It should be clear by now that electing Democrats—even Democratic majorities—is not enough. In 2009, Democrats held both Congress and the White House, as they did in 1993-94. How’d that work out for us? We got NAFTA, but no Employee Free Choice Act. It’s more than a trivial matter what kinds of Democrats are nominated.

Among hardened leftists, there’s a different objection to the “transform-the-Democrats” strategy: a purist rejection of dealing with the Democratic Party—one of the “twin parties of capitalism.” So, even in this current period of mass disgust with the powers that be, electoral activism consists of running marginalized protest or third party campaigns that pick up a tiny percentage of votes.

While it’s true that today’s Democratic Party is a corporate-dominated party bolstering elite rule, it’s also the party that most young people, women, people of color and progressive-inclined Americans look to for their choices. The Left needs to offer these groups vastly different choices, and transform the party in the process.

I sure wish rightwingers had spent the last few decades as electoral purists—and instead of working to take over the GOP, they’d confined themselves to “protest politics” and self-marginalizing minor parties. Our country would be much better off.

But the right wing went about seizing a major party, beginning with the failed Goldwater insurgency of 1964. We need to remember that the Republican Party of President Eisenhower was a moderate, status quo party that had acquiesced to the New Deal—with 90% tax rates on the 1 percenters, federal jobs programs and virtually no union-busting.

Perhaps the main excuse for electoral timidity or abstention from progressives of various stripes is: “Rightwing movements have big corporate money behind them, and we don’t.” Actually, we do now have the ability to raise big money from small donors online. And corporate money doesn’t always explain rightwing success: the religious right, which drove much of our country’s conservative shift in recent decades, was largely a grassroots movement of middle-class whites, often triumphing over the moneyed Republican Old Guard.

In my view, money is not the main advantage rightwing movements have over progressive ones. It’s leadership. And zeal for transformative change. Look at a rightwing leader like the late Paul Weyrich, who coined the term “Moral Majority,” founded grassroots religious right organizations and pioneered direct mail fundraising among small donors. (Yes, he also cofounded corporate fronts like Heritage and ALEC.) Thirty years ago, Weyrich remarked: “We are different from previous generations of conservatives. . . . We are no longer working to preserve the status quo. We are radicals, working to overturn the present power structure of this country."

Those who’ve led rightwing activists to power in recent decades have burned with a passion to radically transform our country. Meanwhile, those who lead large liberal/progressive groups today seem to burn with a passion to have lunch with Democrats in Congress, to hobnob with “our friends on the Hill,” to explain to the base why we can’t push too fast or demand too much of the Democrats.

In the past century, the two periods of dramatic progressive reform—the 1930s New Deal era and the 1960s Civil Rights/War on Poverty era—were times when independent Left movements made increasingly bold demands on the Democrats. Martin Luther King, Jr. was repeatedly asked by the Kennedys and LBJ to slow down, but he never did—and he went to his grave as a vocal opponent of the Democrats’ war in Vietnam.

In those eras of social progress, there were progressive movement leaders who acted with independence—more attuned to the base than to Democratic elites. They weren’t prone to constant apologizing for party leaders.

In other words, they acted like left versions of the rightwing leaders of recent decades.

It’s not glamorous work for activist movements to try to transform a major party. It’s slow and arduous—with more defeats than victories. But rightwing movements have shown it can be done.

To do something similar in the Democratic Party will require coordinated efforts—across issues and movements—to elect progressive activists at every level: from local and state Democratic committees (reforming party platforms along the way) to local public offices to state houses. And ultimately to Congress.

If such a process caught fire, we’d hear a drumbeat from mainstream punditry—not just at Fox News—about the “extremism” of progressive Democrats (despite their own polls showing that ending war, taxing the rich, protecting entitlements, etc., are majority views).

Currently, we do have a Congressional Progressive Caucus of 75 members, the largest and most multiracial caucus in Congress. But it lacks cohesion and teeth. About 60 members pledged to reject any healthcare bill that lacked a public option—and then caved. More powerful than the current caucus might be a cohesive 25-member group ready to vote as a bloc against war and corporate policies, even when it’s a Democratic White House promoting such policies.

Getting to a bloc of 25 genuine, principled progressives in Congress is attainable. What’s needed is a strategy and resources to develop candidates in dozens of solidly progressive congressional districts nationwide: black, Latino, college town, liberal urban, etc. When an incumbent Democrat sells-out or leaves office, activists in such a district should be able to call upon national organizational and netroots support to get a 100% progressive into Congress. Once elected by the grassroots in such districts, it’s hard for corporate or conservative forces to ever get them out. Think Bernie Sanders. Think Barbara Lee.

The Norman Solomon InsurgencyNorman Solomon

Which brings me to the Congressional campaign of lifelong progressive activist/author Norman Solomon (full disclosure: he’s a close friend, with whom I’ve written three books and hundreds of columns). An acclaimed antiwar leader who led three dramatic trips to Iraq in an effort to avert the U.S. invasion, Norman is running in a new, extremely progressive district on California’s North Coast that stretches from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. The seat is open due to the retirement of Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a steadfast peace advocate who once co-chaired the Progressive Caucus.

To prepare for this race, Norman paid his dues in local Democratic work. He’s been elected three times to be a delegate from the North Bay to the state Democratic central committee (where he coauthored the party’s “troops-out-of-Afghanistan” position). In 2008, he was elected as an Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention—but he has never refrained from criticizing Obama policies that bolster Wall Street or the warfare state.

Norman may or may not win, but he’s built one of the strongest, grassroots campaigns for Congress ever—with over 1,000 volunteers and more than 5,000 donors. He’s been endorsed by local elected officials in the district (both Democrats and Greens) as he’s campaigned on an uncompromising agenda popular with voters: tax Wall Street to fund federal green jobs programs; major military cuts; no attack on Iran; enhanced “Medicare for All”; end nuclear power. The primary is June 5, with voting-by-mail to begin early May.

The good news is that the Solomon campaign raised—in mostly small, grassroots donations—an impressive half-million dollars by the March 31 federal filing deadline. The bad (but expected) news is that two corporate-connected Democrats raised $865,000 and $740,000; both will significantly outspend Norman on TV/radio ads. It’s a classic battle of grassroots vs. big bucks. Will his volunteer-based ground game beat the air attack of the moneyed candidates, as Paul Wellstone did when he got into the U.S. Senate after being outspent 7 to 1? (Like Norman, Wellstone had never previously held elected office.)

In a 12-candidate race, experts in the district see Norman as now running second. The frontrunner is the Democratic establishment candidate, a well-funded state assemblyman who has received most of the labor and environmental endorsements—despite having accepted donations in recent years from companies like Walmart and PG&E that are despised by union and green activists. (The Solomon campaign refuses corporate and lobbyist money.)

These membership groups face a choice in primaries: Do they embrace party regulars and the status quo, or back outsider candidates who want to transform the party . . . and the country. Several unions have endorsed the Solomon campaign, including the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). One of the strongest unions in the state, SEIU California, hedged its bets by endorsing Norman, along with the state assemblyman and another elected official in the race. Some progressive unions (like the California Nurses Association) have so far stayed out.

National groups like Progressive Democrats of America and Blue America have backed the campaign from the start. Norman won the endorsement of Democracy for America (founded by Howard Dean) by finishing second out of 200 liberal/progressive candidates in DFA’s nationwide online straw poll.

The Solomon campaign earns free media coverage each time a notable like Phil Donahue, Daniel Ellsberg or Sean Penn comes into the district to campaign. Other progressive leaders have endorsed, including Barbara Ehrenreich, Dolores Huerta, Rep. John Conyers and Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva. Musician Tom Morello tweeted his support of the “antiwar, pro-Occupy candidate” to his 200,000 twitter fans. Blogger Glenn Greenwald, known for criticizing both Republican and Democratic politicians, was effusive: “When it comes to Congressional candidates, it just doesn’t get any better than Norman Solomon.”

The Solomon movement is up against tough odds and big money. But, win or lose, it offers a model—a campaign that inspires activists and challenges power and the Democratic establishment, a campaign promoting the full progressive agenda without settling for a puny number of protest votes.

It’s the kind of campaign we need to see in communities across the country in the coming years.

The views expressed here are the author's alone—not those of any organization or campaign.This article is part of a symposium on the elections organized by New Politics.

European Electoral Postmortems

  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

  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

  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.

 

The Crown family: investing in weapons, war ...and Obama

 http://www.zcommunications.org/investing-in-weapons-war-and-obama-by-nicolas-j-s-davies   


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.

What a Real Peace Candidate Looks Like

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.

How to Tell if a Candidate Backs War or Peace

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.

Congressional Candidate Norman Solomon on What Makes a Healthy Progressive Ecosystem

By Keane Bhatt, Truthout

042112-5Norman Solomon. (Photo: Steve Rhodes / Flickr)

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?

READ THE REST.

The Killers All Around Us

 

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.

Talk Nation Radio: Rocky Anderson on His Campaign for President

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.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive.org or AudioPort or Radio4All or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

<object autostart="false" data="http://davidswanson.org/sites/davidswanson.org/files/talknationradio/talknationradio_20120404b.mp3" height="100px" width="400px"></object>

George Galloway is back in UK parliament!

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." 

  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17549388        

 

  

  

An End to Authoritarianism and Plutocracy in the United States: It's Up to Us

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.

Quick Fix to Citizens United: 'Tax Super-PACS'

 
UPDATE: CA Assembly asks U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United...

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."

Norman Solomon, Anti-War Progressive Running For Congress

Norman Solomon
By Matt Sledge, Huffington Post

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.

Norman Solomon Commits to Bringing Peace and Justice Movement into Congress

Over the weekend, The Washington Post published a long, inside report that should scare the wits out of every progressive in this country. And it has further energized our campaign for Congress.

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.

Yours truly,

Norman Solomon

Draft Kucinich movement starts in Washington State

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.

Kucinich

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.

 

http://waliberals.org

Elections: What Are They Good For?

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.

Afghanistan: The Wheels Are Coming Off

 

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.

The Peace Movement Needs Kucinich, With or Without Congress

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.

Putin Wins

  Putin Wins

 

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:

 

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