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By Dave Lindorff
The smoking ruin that is the the Obama White House, and the rotting corpse that is the Democratic Party, have, incredibly, together been boxed into a corner by, of all things, the certifiably insane Republican Party.
This amazing situation has resulted not through any brilliant strategy on the part of the Republicans, but by the self-inflicted wounds of the Democrats.
This wouldn't create clean elections. It's not public financing. It includes no ban on private financing. But it would permit such bans by Congress and by states. It bans non-citizens and foreign associations from funding U.S. elections. I wish it included mention of U.S. associations, or more to the point: corporations. But it's a good contribution.
Congressman Kurt Schrader has proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would give individual states and Congress the authority to limit the influence of special interests in our elections.
Here's the full text:
July 10, 2011 - This story was first published Oct. 17, 2010. It was updated on June 21, 2011.
One weekend a year, nearly a thousand military veterans assemble in a camp in San Diego. What brings them is what they have in common: they're all homeless. The vets gather for something called "Stand Down," started in 1988 by a soldier turned psychologist named Jon Nachison.
Then, it was an emergency response to homelessness among Vietnam vets but, all these years later, Nachison is welcoming the generation from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Frankly that's very easy to answer, the country refuses to demand it's own sacrifice the greater majority cheer on but don't serve in or have direct connection to, especially the political party claiming their strength on "National Security" and it's the total opposite of what's being argued as to this debt ceiling and the growing deficit itself, remember these two present conflicts were kept off the books and fought on borrowed financing until put back on the books and our spending by the present administration. All those costs include the no bid contracts of the growing private armies as well as the numerous other private contractors serving a bottom line and not the country.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
So, some black folks are bashing Princeton Professor Cornell West for his sharply phrased critiques of President Barack Obama’s failure to specifically address crisis- proportion problems in a long-suffering segment of American society: the black community.
Black supporters of the first African-American president echo the rationale advanced by Obama himself that he is the president of all Americans so addressing issues specific to African-American would be inappropriate.
However, that view side-steps the critical issue of the very American right to criticize a U.S. President.
Compounding the First Amendment criticism issue is the reality that Obama has addressed issues important to specific groups, including gays and women. He has even been addressing the issues of his political adversaries, the Republicans, like his embracing their demands for deficit reducing austerity by slashing services to the most needy.
By Norman Solomon, San Francisco Bay Guardian
Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Marin, Sonoma counties) is a rarity on Capitol Hill. She's a lawmaker with guts who speaks from the heart.
Whether focusing on children and seniors at home or the victims of war far away, Woolsey insists on advocating for humane priorities. Several hundred times, she has gone to the House floor to speak out against war. She stands for peace, social justice, human rights, a green future, and so much more.
Last week, after more than 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Woolsey announced that she will not run for reelection next year.
She has set a high bar for representing the region in Congress. It's a high bar that I intend to clear.
Back in January, I wrote in the Guardian that "if Rep. Woolsey doesn't run in 2012, I will" ("Why I may run for Congress," 1/25/2011).
When it comes to New York’s suddenly vacant Ninth Congressional seat, Elizabeth Holtzman is not exactly playing it coy.
She wants the job.
“I could hit the ground running,” she said of the post, now up for grabs since Representative Anthony D. Weiner resigned. “I know I could fight effectively for the people of this district. I was in Congress.”
Ms. Holtzman, the youngest woman to be elected to Congress, represented Brooklyn in the House from 1973 to 1981, later becoming the district attorney in Brooklyn and comptroller for New York City.
Like Mr. Weiner’s, her credentials as an unapologetic liberal — generally a plus in the Brooklyn-Queens district — are indisputable: a few years back she called for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for their handling of the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina.
In a telephone interview the other day, Ms. Holtzman said she had already expressed her interest in the job to Representative Joseph Crowley, the head of the Democratic Party in Queens, who will play an influential role in selecting the party’s nominee. A special election is scheduled for Sept. 13, and there will be no primaries — instead, party leaders will select the candidates, and at this point there is no indication whom they have in mind.
“I think I have tremendous advantages in that special election, given my name recognition, substantial record and ability to raise funds,” Ms. Holtzman said.
She is not, of course, the only veteran Democrat raising her hand (or letting others raise it for him or her). So too, with varying degrees of discretion, are Assemblyman Rory I. Lancman; Assemblyman David I. Weprin; former City Councilwoman Melinda R. Katz and former City Councilman Eric N. Gioia, among others.
But of all of them, only Ms. Holtzman can claim nearly a decade in the House. And since Mr. Weiner left office in the middle of a term, she argues, what his constituents may need most is an experienced hand who already knows how to navigate the corridors and conflicts of Washington.
“I know the rules, I know the process,” she said. “I could become an effective voice in the Congress.”
A 'Patriotic' U.S. company ripping off the Army and the American Tax Payers, and military procurement officers allowing it to happen, knowing many will go to work for these defense contractors after their service, especially with two long occupations still ongoing, say it ain't so!
BY LINDSAY DOUGLAS, The Daily Iowan
Organizers in Iowa City are frustrated at President Obama’s war record and are organizing caucus delegates to push for a quicker end to the war in Afghanistan.
With the group Health Care Not Warfare, University of Iowa history Professor Jeff Cox is spearheading that movement by recruiting volunteers to act as precinct coordinators who will attend 2012 Iowa caucuses and persuade uncommitted delegates to stand up for national health-care insurance and peace in Afghanistan.
Cox said he is not particularly committed to anyone but said Obama has been promising to get troops out of Afghanistan since he’s been in office, and it hasn’t happened.
“One more death is one unnecessary death,” said Cox.
By PA Farruggio
Once upon a time there was this king who suspected that his wife was cheating on him. He found a seer who told him that she was in fact cheating on him. The king got angry at hearing this revelation and fired the seer. ‘Find me another seer who I can trust ‘, demanded the king. A new seer was found and told the king what he wanted to hear, that the queen was not cheating on him. One day not too long after, the king found her in bed with another man. He had the seer executed. ‘No one must know about this ‘, the king demanded. ‘No one! ‘
For the majority of people in the United States -- a majority does not vote, a majority believes the government is broken, a majority thinks our public policy is headed in the wrong direction -- the fact that we call this place a democracy is apparently outweighed by the fact that our national government almost never does what a majority of us want done. Some of the things we don't want done include the destruction of the planet's environment, the mass slaughter of war, the spreading of violence, and the concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny aristocracy while millions at home and billions abroad suffer horrifically for lack of readily available resources.
The following chart is organized alphabetically by wars, and then by candidates' last names. Please add more quotations in the comments below, ideally with links to sources.
Herman Cain: It seems to be yet another foggy foreign policy coming from this administration. Instead of providing the American people with clarity, President Obama proposes an abrupt withdrawal of our troops that could potentially compromise the legitimate gains we have made in Afghanistan. Sadly, I fear President Obama's decision could embolden our enemy and endanger our troops. President Obama is correct on one account: it is time for nation-building at home and high time the Afghan people take more responsibility in bringing peace and stability to their own country. -June 22, 2011.
Did you hear the one about the Ex Democratic Party Chairman and the peace activist walking into the coffee shop?
That was Tim Kaine and me on Saturday.
He's the former governor of Virginia, former DNC Chair, and current candidate for the US Senate.
He arrived nearly an hour late for his event here in Charlottesville at a local coffee shop. I met him outside and walked in with him to ask him a question on the way, knowing I'd have to leave before he got around to taking questions as part of the event itself.
I pointed out to him that the US Conference of Mayors was expected to vote on Monday to ask Congress to end its unpopular wars in order to direct the spending to something useful. Would you, if elected, I asked him, vote to continue funding these wars?
One possible answer, a democratic if not Democratic one, would have been this: "No."
Another would have been: "That depends . . . . "
And yes I do realize there are 'Gold Star Children' who have lost Mothers, especially in these two long conflicts, not minimizing the fact that many of the women soldiers killed were possibly Mothers as they all were Daughters, Sisters or Nieces and Aunts, the greater numbers killed still in war are male.
CBS sought out a message with meaning for Fathers Day, that aired June 17 2011, and I totally agree with the one they found which among many messages it should send ties our long war of choice, Vietnam where this Country said it would remember the lessons of, to both current wars of choice, Afghanistan and Iraq, lessons forgotten five minutes after Vietnam and so many DeJa-Vu's of then repeated with many enhanced and coming on faster.
And now we're over a decade of oh so many lessons not learned and in not one but two theaters of with a third front being bombed and invaded right next door to one of the two and joined with NATO in bombing another that the previous administration had brought the leader of back into the fold after years of calling him a terrorists supporter and supporting terrorists criminal acts!
As we were coming out of Vietnam, especially in the end of, the Country with almost one voice said they'd "never forget the lessons of!" that lasted oh probably five minutes or, even without cable then, a couple of news cycles as we've seen during this whole past decade. The War Hawk Neo-Cons thought they had the lessons, not the real lessons of wars of choice, needed to occupy and control an invaded country, well a decade plus later DeJa-Vu all over again.
Americans are feeling the chill of economic malaise, and the policy response should be to divert part of the defense budget and to tax U.S. corporations' offshore profits to develop an alternative energy infrastructure, columnist Cate Long writes.
Jun 8, 2011 - Our nation is in a serious economic crisis. Both political parties dance around each other with varying demands for cuts in entitlement programs, tax increases and a rise in the debt ceiling. It’s a doomsday prospect and the American people are feeling the chill of economic malaise.
Humala Wins Peru's Presidential Runoff - by Stephen Lendman
On April 10, Ollanta Humala received most support among five presidential candidates, but not a majority. Eliminated were former neoliberal President Alejandro Toledo, his former economic minister and Lima mayor Luis Castaneda Lossio, and former Prime Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
Discredited and now imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori's daughter Keiko proceeded to a runoff with him.
On June 6, New York Times writer Simon Romero headlined, "Ex-Officer Set to Win Narrow Victory in Peru," saying:
Incomplete returns show him heading for victory, rebuking Peru's "economic model that has driven (its) robust growth, (but left) millions of (its) citizens....mired in poverty...."
Notice how the congressional tepublicans, and especially their cult like followers, never mention the Wars after rubber stamping everything but Veterans Care and even Military Care related to while talking about the growing budget problems they created when they controlled it all. Even now gaining back the House and a few more in the Senate, to continue obstruction, they have sought to cut area's of the Veterans Admin budget!
June 3, 2011 - Even as the wars wind down in Iraq and Afghanistan the financial cost of taking care of veterans continues to mount and could reach a trillion dollars in coming decades
ScienceDaily (May 28, 2011) — "One person, one vote" is often the rallying cry for democratic reform, suggesting everyone should get an equal say in their government.
Yet in some of the oldest and largest democracies, some votes are worth far more than others by design. A Wyoming voter, for instance, is significantly over-represented compared with a California voter. Each state has two U.S. senators, but California has 66 times more people.
How much does it matter? According to a recent study of decades of data, from the U.S. and eight other countries, it matters a lot when it comes to money.
A Jarring Disconnect: If Joblessness and Hopelessness Undermine Democracy in the Middle East, What About Here at Home?
By Dave Lindorff
In his latest speeches on the Middle East, President Obama, both at the State Department and at the G8 meeting in France, has pledged billions of dollars in economic aid to Middle Eastern countries, drawing a direct connection between the unrest and demonstrations that brought down the dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, and the joblessness and hopelessness felt by the young people in those two countries.
His adviser on international economics, David Lipton, has been more specific, saying that, “We believe that these two pillars go hand in hand. Without economic modernization, it will be hard for governments trying to democratize to show people that democracy delivers.”
Unemployment in Egypt among young men and women is about 30%. In Tunisia, it is over 40%. The White House claims that with figures like that, the future for democracy in those countries is tenuous.
North Bay congressional candidate Norman Solomon said Monday (May 23) that his position for closure of California’s two nuclear power plants means that voters will have “a clear alternative to nuclear business as usual.”
Solomon, a longtime opponent of nuclear power, has called for closure of the state’s Diablo Canyon and San Onofre nuclear power plants.
In contrast, Solomon’s only declared opponent for Congress, Assemblyman Jared Huffman, has been equivocal about California’s nuclear power plants, saying he’d support closing them “if studies reveal that there is a risk that would warrant immediate closure” (Marin IJ, 5/8/11).
In a full-page ad that appears in the current Pacific Sun weekly newspaper, the Solomon campaign asks: “Do we really need more ‘studies’ from nuclear-friendly agencies in Washington to tell us whether nuclear power is an acceptable ‘risk’ -- particularly in earthquake country?”
Former Marine Corps Veteran Ron Kovic of Redondo Beach sends out a series of phone calls urging voters to cast their ballots for Marcy Winograd on Tues., May 17th. Kovic, author of "Born on the 4th of July," an autobiography made into a movie with Tom Cruise, applauds Marcy for her commitment to bringing our troops home and transforming the weapons-industry, anchored in the South Bay, into a green energy capitol.
Please share this message from Ron Kovic with your friends in the 36th CD (Venice to the harbor). http://winogradforcongress.com/2011/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Kovic.mp3
"I am deeply honored to have Ron's endorsement," said Winograd, who met Kovic on the 4th of July three decades ago, when fireworks lit up the night on Venice Beach. "I knew he was a soul brother back then," added Winograd, "because we shared a commitment to peace and a history in the anti-war movement. Never bitter, always hopeful, Ron's visionary outlook continues to inspire me and countless others."
Please phone someone in Los Angeles now and tell them to vote and volunteer for Marcy Winograd tomorrow.
Here's the footage discussed above:
Two-thirds of America wants the war on Afghanistan ended. Veterans for Peace asked the candidates in this Tuesday's special election to sign a commitment not to fund more war. Marcy Winograd agreed to sign. Janice Hahn and Debra Bowen made up lame excuses for not signing. Watch the videos above.
Here's who lives in the 36th district:
Here's Marcy's site:
PS to LA Peace Activists who are not backing Marcy: please, no whining about your warmonger representative if Marcy loses, and no claiming they don't represent you.
By Ken Ferguson
The stunning victory in last week’s elections by the pro-independence
Scottish National Party was a result which was supposed to be
Scotland, after all, ceased to be an independent country in 1707, when it was
forcibly joined with England to form Great Britain.
The union took place against a background of popular riots put down by
troops and has been controversial, to a greater or lesser degree, ever
In 1999, following years of agitation and its endorsement in a
Scotland-wide referendum, the Scottish Parliament reconvened with
powers over a wide range of domestic matters such a health, education,
The new parliament was designed with an electoral system designed so that it
would supposed be impossible for any one party to win a majority -- the explicit intention being to prevent the SNP from using it a stepping stone
Numbers Racket: Why the Democratic Party is a Corporate Lickspittle and Cannot Be the People’s Party
By Dave Lindorff
A new Gallup Poll conducted for USA Today earlier this week reports that a majority of Americans (52%) say that they would prefer a third party instead of the two parties, Republican and Democrat, that have dominated American politics for nearly centuries.
The poll shows that one third of Democrats say there’s a need for a new political party, while 52% of Republicans say the same thing. Meanwhile, 68% of independents say they have no use for either Democrats or Republicans and would prefer another option (no surprise there--that’s why they are not registered with either of the two major parties).
DAVID SWANSON: Okay, we’re recording, this is David Swanson, I’m speaking with Harvey Wasserman, long time wonderful activist, author, author among other of wonderful books of "Solartopia," and Harvey, you were emailing me yesterday a little bit about success stories. Do you want to elaborate?
Democracy, Haitian Style - by Stephen Lendman
Except for Aristide's tenure, what passes for Haitian democracy would make a despot blush, thanks to America's imperial grip on the hemisphere's poorest, long-suffering people.
As a result, last November's presidential and legislative elections might best be called a cruel joke. The entire process was rigged to exclude 15 parties, including by far the most popular, Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas.
Moreover, the election was so tainted by brazen disenfranchisement and fraud, including ballot box stuffing and other irregularities, that legitimate independent observers would have demanded throwing out the results and starting over.
Most Haitians, however, weren't fooled. A scant 22%, in fact, voted, a hemispheric low since record keeping began over 60 years ago.