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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 ),
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.
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 - 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.”
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.
By Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
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 - 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.
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.
Here's the weakness in this plan:
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.
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."
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.
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?
By Jeff Cohen
What an exciting trip I just took up and down the beautiful North Coast of California. But I wasn’t on vacation. Nor harvesting pot. I was campaigning for my buddy Norman Solomon for Congress.
Over the years, Norman and I have written hundreds of columns and three books together. He cofounded FAIR with me.
Today he’s building an amazing, grassroots campaign – more a movement than just a congressional campaign. Call it “Occupy Congress.” If he can win in 2012, he’ll be unbeatable forever in that progressive district . . . another powerful Bernie Sanders or Barbara Lee in Congress.
Norman’s got one need above all else right now: MONEY. He needs it this month. Please send anything you can.
Catch Rocky on Rachel Maddow Show at 9:40 tonight.
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
Disgusted with what he calls the corrupting influence of corporate money and militarism in politics, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson is launching a new national political party and will likely be its presidential nominee.
“The end game is changing public policy in the interest of the people of this country. It’s changing our government,” Anderson said. “This is about taking on the two corporatist, militarist parties and in the process bringing the people of this country together so they can see that their interests, by and large, are really aligned.”
Anderson said he will likely be a candidate for the presidential nomination for the new party — which is yet to be named. He said the formation of the party will be announced next week “and shortly thereafter, I’ll be announcing my candidacy.” He has already started filling out paperwork for a presidential exploratory committee.
Once the announcement is made, he said a major effort to get on the ballot will start soon in all 50 states. The focus will first be on Mississippi and Vermont, which have a Jan. 1 deadline, but a relatively low bar to get on the ballot, Anderson said.
Illegitimate Egyptian Elections - by Stephen Lendman
Last February, Mubarak's 30-year dictatorship ended. Another one replaced him. Egypt's military holds absolute power.
Authoritarian dominance is unchallenged. Elections are more theater than real. Egypt's multi-round complex process complicates them further. So do logistics. Understanding what to do is daunting.
By Dave Lindorff
What a devilishly sneaky guy that Jose Danial Ortega Saavedra is!
Why this president of Nicaragua, and former leader of the Sandinista rebels in their successful 1979 overthrow of U.S.-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle, in order to win re-election this fall, as he appears to have done, according to the New York Times, “shrewdly adopted policies aimed at pleasing his base of poor and working-class Nicaraguans, including supplying them with government-donated food”!
Why of all the nerve! What a crook and a scheister! Imagine catering to the needs of the poor in order to win an election. How low can a politician stoop?
Our campaign for Congress has climbed into second place. The presumed frontrunner keeps socking away corporate cash -- he recently had a PAC fundraiser just a few blocks from the Capitol -- while I refuse to take a single dollar of corporate PAC money.
Our strength is at the grassroots. At the same time, we need more resources to get our message out: No to Wall Street power. Democracy not "corporatocracy." Healthcare not warfare. A sustainable future.
Can you pitch in?
I'd sure appreciate whatever you can do. To contribute, or for background info, please click here.
Thanks a lot --
P.S. -- Can I win? The latest polling results say YES. But I need your help!
By John Grant