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The Election We Should Be Following

For progressives and populists around the country who take an interest in Congressional races there are always a few good challengers we might hope to send to Washington.  Incumbents, we assume, can take care of themselves. 

But in Northern Ohio, redistricting has thrown two incumbents into one district.  It's a heavily Democratic district created purposely to guarantee a number of other districts to Republicans.  The incumbents are both Democrats, both white, both 65, and many imagine that they do similar work in Washington.  In fact, they could not be more different.  One of them does tremendous good for our national politics, working to move our government in a better direction from inside it, just as the rest of us do from the outside.  We cannot afford to lose him.  We would be obliged to work for his reelection even if his opponent were far above average.  The record suggests something else.

A useful example to highlight the contrast between Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is found in the funding of wars.  Between 2001 and 2009, Congresswoman Kaptur voted for $545 billion in war funding, voting Yes over and over again for Bush's wars.  Congressman Dennis Kucinich voted for a total of $17 billion. (See the chart below.) 

In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, Kucinich's was the clearest voice against it.  He circulated evidence of war lies to his colleagues.  He organized many of them to vote No with him.  Kaptur, too, voted No on the authorization.

But once the war had started, many Congress members, including Kaptur, turned around and voted to fund its continuation and escalation, year after year, even as the public turned more and more strongly against the war.  While Kucinich was working to impeach Bush and Cheney, Kaptur was voting to fund their wars.  While Kucinich was advancing resolutions to shift the debate toward ending wars and preventing new ones, Kaptur was claiming wars made us safer and reciting "support the troops" rhetoric, as though what veterans need most is the creation of more injured veterans. 

This distinction matters more than ever as the prospect of a war on Iran looms larger.  Kaptur wants NASA and the Pentagon to work together more closely, while Kucinich opposes the militarization of space.  Kaptur seems to believe the military industrial complex is a beneficial jobs program, whereas Kucinich seems to believe it is what Eisenhower said it would be.

Congresswoman Kaptur has been spending a lot of money on television ads in hopes of defeating Kucinich in the upcoming primary.  Where does her money come from?  Well, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org), in the current election cycle, she gets 77% of her money from PACs, and 5% from small individual contributors.  Kucinich, in contrast, gets 5% from PACs, and 68% from small individual contributors.  Kucinich does not get money from war contractors.  Kaptur is a different story.  Thus far, in the current election cycle, her fourth biggest "contributor" is a little operation known as General Dynamics.  Her third biggest is Teledyne Technologies.  Tied for seventh place are American Systems Corp and Northrop Grumman.  Tied at 16th are Boeing and Lockheed Martin.  Most of these corporations have been among Kaptur's regular funders in past campaigns as well.  They are also among the leading violators of U.S. laws. 

According to the Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (ContractorMisconduct.org), these are the worst four offenders from any industry:

Contractor                           Federal Contract $       Instances of Misconduct        Misconduct $
                                                     (FY2010)                          (Since 1995)                        (Since 1995)

1. Lockheed Martin                      $34367.4m                           57                                       $590.1m

2. Boeing Company                     $19366.6m                            43                                       $1600.5m

3. Northrop Grumman                   $15522.7m                          35                                       $850.7m

4. General Dynamics                  $14908.8m                             13                                        $78.5m

Among the types of misconduct engaged in by these four leaders, as detailed at the above database, are the following: contract fraud, kickbacks, defective pricing, unlicensed exports, emissions violations, groundwater cleanup violations, inflated costs, providing of bribes and sexual favors, nuclear safety violations, nuclear waste storage violations, federal election law violations, radiation exposure, illegal transfer of information to China, violations of the National Labor Relations Act, embezzlement, racial discrimination and retaliation, age discrimination and retaliation, unauthorized weapons sales to foreign nations, retaliation against whistleblowers.  And that's just Lockheed.  In fact, that's just a small sampling of just Lockheed.  Why take money from these companies?

According to the National Priorities Project (CostOfWar.com) Kaptur's Ninth District of Ohio (prior to redistricting) has shelled out over $3.1 billion for wars since 2001.  That expense has been with Kaptur's full cooperation.  And that is an expense measured purely in dollars taken from tax payers to pay for wars.  It does not include further costs for veterans' care, for interest on war debt, for increased fuel prices, or for lost opportunities.  Nor does it include the cost already extracted of several times the $3.1 billion for a base annual military budget that has roughly doubled this decade and done so on the basis of the wars. 

According to a report titled "The U.S. Employment Effects of Military And Domestic Spending Priorities: An Updated Analysis," (PDF) by Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, (October 2009), spending the same dollars on the military (without specifying war spending which would likely make the contrast even greater) produces many fewer jobs than if spent in other industries.  If Ohio's Ninth District's $3.1 billion had been spent on tax cuts for working people, instead of on the military, the people of the Ninth District could have seen a net gain of 9,920 jobs.  That's considering the full impact of jobs lost, directly created, and indirectly created.  Military spending, purely in terms of job creation, is worse than nothing.  Tax cuts -- not for Mitt Romney but for the rest of us -- does more good.

But the same study also shows a better path.  If the $3.1 billion had been taken away from the military and spent instead on clean energy, we would have seen a net gain of 17,050 jobs.  If instead the investment had gone to healthcare, the net gain would have been 24,000 jobs.  And if the choice had been to fund education, the gain in jobs would have been 54,250.  Could Ohio's Ninth District use 54,250 jobs?  Not many people would choose to chase those jobs away in order to support wars based on lies, wars that endanger us, wars that devastate the natural environment, wars that erode our civil liberties, wars that carry a heavy human cost -- not just an economic one.  Not many people, but one of them is Marcy Kaptur.

If you visit Kaptur's campaign website at MarcyKaptur.com, only one specific issue is immediately visible, front and center: celebration of a World War II memorial.  At Kucinich.us there is also only a single issue immediately visible: a petition urging the Congressman's colleagues to stop funding the war in Afghanistan.  In the "Agenda" section of Kaptur's site there is no acknowledgement that war or peace is an issue to be considered at all.  In the "Issues" section of Kucinich's site, there is a section on war and peace that addresses a number of specific wars.

There is also, on the Kucinich site, a lot more detail than on Kaptur's about numerous other issues.  The example of wars and war funding is fairly typical.  In rough terms, Kucinich tends to back peace, justice, and the will of the public, while Kaptur tends to back the very same things when and if the leadership of the Democratic Party happens to do so.  Back on February 25, 2010, she voted to extend the PATRIOT Act without reforms of its abusive procedures.  Kucinich voted No.  Back on October 23, 2007, Kucinich had also voted No on the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, while Kaptur voted Yes.  On December 8, 2010, she voted against the DREAM Act, while Kucinich and a majority of the House and of the Democrats voted for it.  Any elected official will let us down sometimes, but Kaptur is just no Kucinich. 

Many organizations agree. VoteSmart.org lists the rankings of various groups.  Planned Parenthood gives Kucinich a score of 100%, Kaptur 71%.  The ACLU scores Kucinich 94%, Kaptur 75%.  Also favoring Kucinich in their rankings are the Arab American Institute, the Human Rights Campaign, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the League of Conservation Voters, Peace Action, the AFL-CIO, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, etc.  I'm not being selective here.  There don't seem to be any progressive analysts scoring Kaptur over Kucinich on anything.  Progressives like Alan Grayson and Barney Frank are urging us to support Kucinich over Kaptur.

How independent and principled a member of Congress is has a direct, and sometimes devastating, impact on their district and the nation and the world.  Kaptur believes a nuclear power plant at the edge of Lake Erie with a bad history of safety violations should be allowed to continue to operate, while Kucinich has asked for it to be repaired or decommissioned.  Only one of these two representatives is putting the safety of the public first. 

I believe people who care about the future of the United States, from Ohio's new Ninth District or anywhere else, should be following and supporting Kucinich's campaign.  If he loses, we lose.  We may not always agree with him.  He may not always be able to win over a majority of his colleagues.  He may sometimes let us down.  But were he not there, votes that helped end the Iraq war would have never been held.  Debates that have helped curtail further war making would simply not have happened.  Articles of impeachment for Bush and Cheney would never have been introduced.  Countless witnesses before House committees would have gotten off without ever facing the important questions.  Many people pushing for single-payer healthcare in their states would have never heard of it.  Our televisions would be better able than they are now to pretend that majority positions on major issues do not exist, because there would not be that one man in the government willing to raise the issue and publicly lobby his colleagues to join him.

We're such defeatists these days, that we either condemn Kucinich's compromises, forgetting that Kaptur outdoes him in that regard 100-fold, or we imagine that because he's so much better he must be doomed to lose.  On the contrary, Kucinich has a long history of winning congressional elections, both primaries and general.  While the redesigned district includes a larger population from Kaptur's former district than from Kucinich's, it includes more Democrats from Kucinich's than from Kaptur's.  Kucinich inspires his supporters, and in primaries it is the relative turnout of tiny percentages of people that decides. 

Who is in Congress or the White House is going to be of far less importance than who is in the streets and what kind of people's movement is developed to nonviolently resist injustice and war.  But without a single voice inside Congress willing to speak up in the ways Kucinich has, the people's movement will suffer.  There's no lesser-evilism required here.  Kucinich is actually a good representative.  There's no partisanship required here.  Love a party or hate them all; regardless, we should reward those who have listened to our demands.  Or why would anyone listen again?

##

The table below shows enacted appropriations, adapted from "The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11" by Amy Belasco, Congressional Research Service, March 29, 2011, (PDF).  Votes are on final passage of the conference report unless there was no recorded vote.  In that case, the indicated vote is on initial House passage.

Name of Law

Public Law No.

Date Enacted

DOD Funds ($bln)

Kucinich Voted

Kaptur Voted

FY01 Emerg. Supp. Approp. Act for Recovery from and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the US

P.L. 107-38

9/18/01

13.6

Yes

Yes

FY02 Dept. Of Defense and Emergency Terrorism Response Act

P.L. 107-117

1/10/02

3.4

Yes

Yes

FY02 Emergency Supplemental

P.L. 107-206

8/2/02

13.8

No

Yes

FY03 Consolidated Appropriations

P.L. 108-7

2/20/03

10.0

No

Yes

FY03 Emergency Supplemental

P.L. 108-11

4/16/03

62.6

No

Yes

FY03 DOD Appropriationsa

P.L. 107-248

10/23/02

7.1

No

Yes

FY04 DOD Appropriations Act (rescission of FY03 funds)

P.L. 108-87

9/30/03

-3.5

No

Yes

FY04 Emergency Supplemental

P.L. 108-106

11/6/03

64.9

No

No

FY05 DOD Approps Act, Titles IX & Xb

P.L. 108-287

8/5/04

25.0

No

Yes

FY05 DOD Appropriations Actc

P.L. 108-287

8/5/04

2.1

No

Yes

FY05 Supplemental Appropriations

P.L. 109-13

5/11/05

75.9

No

Yes

FY06 DOD Approps. Act, Title IX

P.L. 109-148

12/30/05

50.0

No

Yes

FY06 DOD Appropriations Actc

P.L. 109-148

12/30/05

0.8

No

Yes

FY06 Emergency Supplemental

P.L. 109-234

6/15/06

66.0

No

Yes

FY07 DOD Appropriations Act

P.L. 109-289

9/29/06

70.5

No

Yes

FY07 Supplemental, Amendment #2 (Did not include Withdrawal Deadlines from Iraq)d

P.L. 110-28

5/25/07

94.5

No

No

FY08 Continuing Resolution

P.L. 110-92

9/29/07

5.2

No

Yes

FY08 DOD Appropriations Act

P.L. 110-116

11/13/07

11.6

No

Yes

FY08 Consolidated Approps. Act

P.L. 110-161

3/11/04

70.0

Not voting

No

FY08 Supplemental, FY09 Bridge Approps. Act (Roll call #431)d, e

P.L. 110-252

6/30/08

157.9

No

No

FY09 Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act

P.L. 110-329

9/30/08

2.5

No

Yes

FY09 Supplemental Approps. Act

P.L. 111-32

6/24/09

80.0

No

No

FY10 Consolidated Appropriations Act

P.L. 111-117

12/16/09

1.4

No

Yes

FY10 DOD Approps. Act, Title IX

P.L. 111-118

12/19/09

127.3

No

Yes

FY10 Supplemental

P.L. 111-212

7/27/10

30.8

No

No

FY11 DOD and Year-Long Continuing Resolutionf

P.L. 112-10

4/15/11

159.1

No

No

TOTAL WAR FUNDING VOTED FOR

 

 

 

$17 billion

$545.3 billion

a.      FY03 Appropriations Act included $7.1 billion in regular FY03 defense appropriations for GWOT thatDOD cannot track; the FY04 DOD Appropriations Act rescinded $3.5 billion in FY03 war monies.

b.      Title IX funds in FY05 do not include a $1.8 billion scoring adjustment that reverses the previousrescission of FY04 funds because this did not change wartime monies.

c.      Reflects funds obligated for Operation Noble Eagle from DOD’s regular appropriations as reported by the Defense Finance Accounting Service.

d.     The House took separate votes on different sections of the bill, which were then combined when sent to the Senate.

e.      The FY08 Supplemental included funds for both FY08 and bridge funds for FY09.

f.       This bill was the final DOD Appropriations Act and the final version of the CR.  It was preceded by seven other CRs.

Building a Blue-Green Coalition in California

By Marcy Winograd
Former Democratic Candidate for Congress

After the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, with its codification of imprisonment without charge or trial, I could no longer register voters for the Democratic Party – even with the hope of involving new registrants in the California Democratic Party’s popular Progressive Caucus. If I could not ask someone to join the Democratic Party, I could not in good conscience stay in the party, even as an insurgent writing resolutions and platform planks to end our wars for oil.

The State of Obama's 2008 Promises

Presidential candidate Barack Obama won the Democratic primary last time around largely on the strength of his extremely limited and inconsistent opposition to the war on Iraq.  Then he chose as his running mate Senator Joe Biden, a man who had led efforts in the U.S. Senate to support the invasion. Obama's staff told reporters that he would be inclined to keep Robert Gates on as Secretary of War (or "Defense") -- exactly the same plan proposed by Senator John McCain's campaign. Obama said he'd like Colin Powell to be a part of his administration, and repeatedly announced that his cabinet would include Republicans. Obama had approached leading warmonger Congressman Rahm Emanuel about becoming his chief of staff.

Gingrich Phony Populism Sells in the South

By Michael Collins

Bionic candidate Mitt Romney went from inevitable to simply evitable thanks to South Carolina Republican primary voters. With 600,000 voting, turnout was up 34% over 2008. Ninety eight percent of voters were white. This is even less representative of the nation than Iowa and New Hampshire. But that's how things work in this democracy

The South Carolina exit poll (sponsored by the mainstream media) had a new question for voters as they left their polling places. They were asked if they had a positive or negative opinion of Mitt Romney's background as an investor. Investor refers to Romney's time as an investment banker with Bain Capital and can be taken as a proxy for a pro or anti-Wall Street/financial elite stance.

The results indicate what may turn into a fatal flaw in the Romney campaign. Sixty four percent of voters had a positive view of Romney as an investor with 28% negative. However, Gingrich won 50% of those who had a negative view of Romney's wheeler-dealer days as an investor. Romney took only 3% of voters who had a negative view of his role as an investor.  Mitt can't buy an anti-wall Street vote.

How Newt Gingrich Saved the Military Industrial Complex

The idea of economic conversion, of retooling and retraining pieces of the military industrial complex to build what other wealthy nations have (infrastructure, energy, education, etc.) converged with the end of the Cold War two decades back.  It was time for a peace dividend as well as a little sanity in public spending.  Among the cosponsors of a bill to begin economic conversion in the late 1980s was a guy by the name of Leon Panetta.

Standing in the way was Congressman Newt Gingrich (Republican, Lockheed Martin).

As Mary Beth Sullivan recounts ( http://MIC50.org ),

Climate Change a 'Fabrication'? Ask a Wintering-Over Hummingbird, or Check out Your Daffodils

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

On my Yahoo home page today, there was a picture of the globe, and an instant poll asking me to check one of two choices: Yes or No, Do you believe global warming is a real threat?

 

I don’t usually waste my time on these things, but there was that tantalizing link to “See the results,” and you had to vote to see them, so I voted.

 

Booing the Golden Rule

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. An important rule to live by. So is this corollary: Friends don't let friends watch presidential primary debates.

I think the clip at this link is a safe dose bit.ly/xVAIF6 and I have survived it myself or I would not urge it on others.

I recommend it to you only because I believe it is important for us to stop and ask what it means for a group of people who tend to promote both Christianity and the combination of Christianity with politics to have just booed the golden rule.

Mitt Romney's Hard-Right Agenda

  Mitt Romney's Hard-Right Agenda - by Stephen Lendman

 

Currently, five Republican presidential aspirants remain. Weak support caused others to suspend campaigns or drop out. 

 

In November, voters have unpalatable options between a lawless/crime boss/militarist/pro-war/anti-populist/morally corrupt president, and a rogue's gallery of alternatives looking more like a police lineup than legitimate candidates.

 

The Republicans' Rancid and All-Too-American Dance With Racism

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

As the racist rhetoric oozes from Republican presidential candidates, why are comments contained in Ron Paul newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s being widely considered more offensive than current bigoted banter uttered by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum?

One answer to that question is a politics where partisan criticisms are directed at crippling certain candidates feared as rising stars.

Thus when Congressman Paul began percolating up in the Iowa Caucus polls late last year, news of his caustic comments in those decades-old newsletters became headline news coverage.

Making Sport of Our Future

 


by WALTER BRASCH


           


One of the fun things sports writers do is try to predict the winners and scores of upcoming games, from high school through the pros. For special “look-at-us-we’re important” bonus points, they create lists of “Top” teams and rank them, both pre-season and weekly.


Sports writers have some kind of genetic mutation that leads them to believe they know more about sports than the average schlump who spends almost $200 a year for a newspaper subscription and as much as $500 a year for all-access all-games everywhere cable coverage. However, the reality is that even the best prognosticators—sports writers love big words when they can pronounce them—have a record about as accurate as the horoscope on the comics page.

Santoromney and Rove Call Election for Romney, But Paul Wins

From Daily Caller:

In Clinton County, Rove said, a missing vote tally prompted observers from the Romney and Santorum camps to huddle together and agree on what the reported totals should have been. Their consensus, which Fox News later confirmed through a second source, was that Romney prevailed by 18 votes.

That scenario overcame a previous four-vote Santorum edge and appeared to award Romney a 14-vote victory. When Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn made the final announcement at 1:34 a.m., however, he said the margin was just eight votes. Strawn also cautioned that precincts have two weeks to officially certify their results.

Hours before the margin between the two top finishers reached photo-finish dimensions, Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, led an emotional speech to supporters with a clarion call of “Game on!” Santorum told his crowd that he was taking his surging campaign to New Hampshire in an effort to solidify his role as the conservative alternative to Romney.

 
Ron Paul may have officially come in third tonight, but if the campaign's caucus strategy went off as planned, then Paul may actually be the real winner of the first Republican voting contest.

That's because Paul's massive organizational push in Iowa focused on both winning votes, and also on making sure that Paul supporters  stuck around after the vote to make sure they were selected as county delegates — the first step towards being elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

That's because Iowa's Republican caucuses are non-binding — they are technically just a straw poll, so once selected, delegates are free to vote for whichever presidential candidate they choose.

Montana Supreme Court upholds state ban on corporation spending

HELENA — The Montana Supreme Court on Friday overturned a lower court’s ruling and reinstated the state’s century-old ban on direct spending by corporations for or against political candidates.

The justices ruled 5-2 in favor of the state attorney general’s office and commissioner of political practices to uphold the initiative passed by Montana voters in 1912.

Western Tradition Partnership, a conservative political group now known as American Tradition Partnership, joined by Champion Painting Inc., and the Montana Shooting Sports Association Inc., had challenged the Montana ban after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The U.S. Supreme Court decision granted political speech rights to corporations.

District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock of Helena ruled that the U.S. Supreme Court decision rendered the Montana ban unconstitutional.

But the Montana Supreme Court’s majority saw it differently and overturned Sherlock.

“Citizens United does not compel a conclusion that Montana’s law prohibiting independent political expenditures by a corporation related to a candidate is unconstitutional,” Chief Justice Mike McGrath wrote for the majority. “Rather, applying the principles enunciated in Citizens United, it is clear that Montana has a compelling interest to impose the challenged rationally tailored statutory restriction.”

The court held that corporations are not deprived of political speech by the Montana law.

They can form political committees, as many other groups have done, but must file reports disclosing where they raised their money and how they spent it. They also can hire legislative lobbyists.

“The many lobbyists and political committees who participate in each session of the Montana Legislature bear witness,” the majority opinion said. “Under the undisputed fact here, the political committee is an easily implemented and effective alternative to direct corporate spending for engaging in political speech.”

READ THE REST.

Infiltrating Congress

I cannot stress sufficiently that we will best move Congress toward peace and justice by keeping it at arm's length and pressuring it without self-censorship, compromise, or entanglement with one or the other of its two branches: the Democratic or Republican. We are engaged in a long-term campaign to undo a plutocratic war state. Moving that campaign forward in the general culture is more important than which criminal enterprise has a majority of seats: the Democratic or Republican.

Has America’s stolen election process finally hit prime time?

By Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman

Better than Obama: Why the Establishment is Terrified of Ron Paul

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

 

It’s fascinating to watch the long knives coming out for Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, now that according to some mainstream polls he has become the front-running candidate in the Jan. 3 GOP caucus race in Iowa, and perhaps also in the first primary campaign in New Hampshire.

 

Russian v. US Elections

  Russian v. US Elections - by Stephen Lendman

 

Russia's December 4 elections filled 450 State Duma seats, Russia's Federal Assembly lower house.

 

Claims of electoral fraud followed. All elections have irregularities. At issue is whether results are comprised. Election monitor Golos accusations were spurious. America's National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funds it. It supports regime change in non-US client states.

Republican Security Advisers Tied to $40 Billion in Contracts

National security advisers to the Republican presidential candidates have ties to defense, homeland security and energy companies that have received at least $40 billion in federal contracts since 2008.

Five of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s 41 national security and foreign policy advisers have links to companies that last year alone received at least $7.9 billion in federal contracts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Government analyst Christopher Flavelle. Of that, $7.3 billion came from the Department of Defense.

Romney and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, who are leading in the polls, have advisers who sit on the board of directors of BAE Systems Inc., which has received at least $37 billion in U.S. government contracts since 2008, the most of any of the companies with ties to Republican national security advisers.

William Schneider, an adviser to Gingrich, and Michael Chertoff, who counsels Romney, serve on the board of the U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems Plc, Europe’s largest defense contractor. The American company makes the Army’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle and provides information technology systems to American intelligence agencies and repair services to the U.S. Navy.

READ THE REST AT BLOOMBERG.

The Weakness in Caucusing Uncommitted

Here's the weakness in this plan:

"Occupy Iowa Caucus" Urges Democrats to Back "Uncommitted" Slate

Occupy Activists Arrested in Obama Iowa Headquarters

Eight people affiliated with Occupy Des Moines were arrested this afternoon at the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters in Des Moines.

The eight, whose hands were zip-tied behind their backs, were placed in a police wagon and transported to the Des Moines police station, where they were cited and released.

Each was to be charged with criminal trespassing, which is a misdemeanor. They did not resist arrest and were escorted out of the headquarters at 5661 Fleur Drive without incident.

READ THE REST.

Occupy protesters rally at Obama's Iowa headquarters

Occupy protesters rally at Obama's Iowa headquarters

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Occupy protesters in Des Moines were joined by members of Veterans for Peace outside of President Barack Obama's Iowa re-election campaign headquarters Saturday, calling on the president to end all foreign wars and cut the U.S. military budget in half.

Using the people-powered megaphone the Occupy movement calls a "mic check," some 35 protesters spoke with a unified voice.

"To fulfill the Occupy Wall Street movement's call to return our country's economic and political life back to the 99%, we will need a president who will make the dismantling of the U.S. military empire their number one foreign policy priority," they said.

Protesters had planned to commit an act of civil disobedience, by entering Obama's headquarters and staying put, but were thwarted because the campaign office was closed.

Rather than be discouraged, however, they said the closed office was a victory.

"We know this office is open on Saturdays ... they knew we were coming, and President Obama is afraid to deal with us," said Frank Cordaro, a protester.

A call to the main number at the Des Moines office was not answered on Saturday.

As the Iowa Caucus heats up, so too will the protests in and around Des Moines. The local Occupy movement says it expects hundreds of people from across the country to join its protests in what is being dubbed "Occupy the Caucuses."

From CNN

Occupy activists stake camp at Obama office


PHILIP ELLIOTT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Occupy Des Moines activists on Saturday vowed to shut down President Barack Obama's campaign offices and set up a camp outside they plan to maintain around the clock.

"We have every intention to keep this place closed down until we are satisfied," said Frank Cordaro, an activist and founder of the Catholic Worker group in Des Moines.

Try Not to Think of a Newt

The current President and Congress are destroying our Constitutional rights, our planet's climate, and the vestiges of a social safety net, and you are obsessing over a freak show of self-hating homosexuals and anti-intellectual intellectuals jumping through hoops in a corporate media circus with Ringmaster Donald Trump. Is this a good use of your time?

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