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Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 12,457

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The Troubling Implications of Hillary's Anti-BDS Letter

The Troubling Implications of Hillary's Anti-BDS Letter
Friday, 17 July 2015 * By Stephen Zunes * TruthOut

On July 2, former secretary of state and frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination Hillary Clinton wrote a letter to Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban, a strong supporter of the right-wing Netanyahu government, denouncing human rights activists who support boycott/divestment/sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli occupation.

In the letter, made public a few days later, Clinton made a number of statements which are not only demonstrably false but raise serious concerns regarding what kind of policies she would pursue as president.

She claimed that the BDS movement was working to "malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people." Though some BDS activists target Israel as a whole, most efforts on college campuses and elsewhere focus solely on the Israeli occupation, particularly companies that profit from that occupation and support illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In any case, the BDS campaign does not "malign and undermine" Jews. This cynical effort to depict the movement as anti-Semitic could be an indication of the kind of rhetoric she would use as president to discredit human rights activists who challenge her policies elsewhere.

Clinton claims in the letter that initiatives through the United Nations critical of Israeli violations of international humanitarian law are inherently "anti-Israel," thereby implying that those who raise concerns about a given country's human rights record do so not because of a desire to uphold universally recognized ethical and legal principles, but because of an ideological bias against a particular country. Although some UN agencies have disproportionately targeted Israel for criticism, the vast majority of such reports and resolutions have been consistent with findings and concerns raised by reputable international human rights organizations (such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch) and Israeli groups (such as the B'tselem human rights group and the veterans' organization Breaking the Silence.)


Republicans Terrified As Texas Demand For Bernie Sanders Forces Rally To A Bigger Venue

Texas? The Belly of the Beast? GO Bernie!!

Republicans Terrified As Texas Demand For Bernie Sanders Forces Rally To A Bigger Venue
By: Jason Easleymore from Jason Easley * Friday, July, 17th, 2015 * PoliticusUSA

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has a message that is so popular that he was forced to move a rally in Texas to a larger venue to accommodate the growing crowd.

The Sanders campaign announced the change in venue for the Democratic candidate’s Houston, TX rally on July 19, “With turnout projections mounting, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign has shifted the location of Sunday’s town meeting in Houston, Texas, to the Hofheinz Pavilion.”

THIS is what the Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston looks like:

These events were intended to be town hall meetings, but demand is so high that format has been getting changed to a campaign rally. I anticipate that the Houston event will also be more of a rally than a town hall.

Demand has also forced the campaign to move a Saturday rally in Phoenix to a larger venue, as the big crowds are showing no signs of diminishing for Bernie Sanders.

Republicans should be terrified of Bernie Sanders’ popularity because Texas is the heart of the Republican Party. The state is demographically changing, but the reason Republicans should be worried about Sanders is that he is demonstrating the power of a liberal populist economic message in red states.


Just in Time to Elect Bernie Sanders: "The End of Capitalism has begun"

In light of this, anything short of electing Bernie would be folly IMHO

The end of capitalism has begun
Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian
July 17, 2015 * by Paul Mason * The Guardian

The red flags and marching songs of Syriza during the Greek crisis, plus the expectation that the banks would be nationalised, revived briefly a 20th-century dream: the forced destruction of the market from above. For much of the 20th century this was how the left conceived the first stage of an economy beyond capitalism. The force would be applied by the working class, either at the ballot box or on the barricades. The lever would be the state. The opportunity would come through frequent episodes of economic collapse.

Instead over the past 25 years it has been the left’s project that has collapsed. The market destroyed the plan; individualism replaced collectivism and solidarity; the hugely expanded workforce of the world looks like a “proletariat”, but no longer thinks or behaves as it once did.

If you lived through all this, and disliked capitalism, it was traumatic. But in the process technology has created a new route out, which the remnants of the old left – and all other forces influenced by it – have either to embrace or die. Capitalism, it turns out, will not be abolished by forced-march techniques. It will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which will break through, reshaping the economy around new values and behaviours. I call this postcapitalism.

As with the end of feudalism 500 years ago, capitalism’s replacement by postcapitalism will be accelerated by external shocks and shaped by the emergence of a new kind of human being. And it has started.

MORE http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/17/postcapitalism-end-of-capitalism-begun

It's Official -- Bernie Sanders Has Overtaken Hillary Clinton In the Hearts and Minds of Democrats

It's Official -- Bernie Sanders Has Overtaken Hillary Clinton In the Hearts and Minds of Democrats
07/07/2015 * HuffPo * H. A. Goodman

According to PBS, Bernie Sanders is "gaining against Clinton in early polls." Salon's Bill Curry believes "Hillary Clinton is going lose," primarily because millions of voters longing for a truly progressive candidate will nominate Sanders. POLITICO explained recently that Early-state polls hint at a Bernie Sanders surge, a headline that was unthinkable only several months earlier. Yahoo's Meredith Shiner calls Sanders a "progressive social media star and pragmatic legislator" and states that "Sanders also has a much more substantial legislative history" than any GOP challenger. In Iowa, 1,100 people packed a gym to hear Bernie Sanders speak in May.

In contrast, Team Hillary had an intimate business roundtable discussion with five "ordinary" Iowans. The only problem was that according to The Washington Post, "All five were selected to attend her events." In fact, Clinton's "staged roundtables" were attended by a total of 13 Iowans, picked by either the campaign or the host.


Therefore, a paradigm shift has taken place. Many Iowans drove 50 miles to hear Sanders speak in Des Moines, primarily because Bernie Sanders has surpassed Clinton as the ideal choice for Democratic nominee. Regarding electability, Sanders has also surpassed Clinton as the realistic choice for Democratic nominee in the minds of many voters, because as one Salon piece illustrates, Hillary "just doesn't get it." (snip)


According to a POLITICO piece titled The 2016 Results We Can Already Predict, "Assuming the lean, likely, and safe Democratic states remain loyal to the party, the nominee need only win 23 of the 85 toss-up electoral votes." Therefore, there's no need to jettison cherished values for the sake of pragmatism; those days are over. Senator Bernie Sanders, known in Washington and throughout the nation as an advocate for middle class Americans, veterans, the environment, and other cherished causes can win crucial electoral votes just as easily as Hillary Clinton.

Finally, we're all asking a question that we've been too frightened to ask, for fear of seeming unrealistic:"Why Not Bernie?"

MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/h-a-goodman/its-official-bernie-sande_b_7660226.html

Suffragettes, Sanders, and When to Vote ... like, NOW.

Suffragettes, Sanders, and When to Vote
by Mary Petiet * Friday, July 17, 2015 * by Common Dreams

My Aunt Louisa was a suffragette. As a girl she ran away from home and a well-planned future. She secretly took the train from Annapolis to Boston, and enrolled herself at Radcliff College before they noticed her missing. She became a mathematician, a teacher, a Quaker, and a suffragette. At no small risk to herself, she rallied and marched and held signs, and she was there when the right to vote was finally granted.

That right was hard won, and until recently I had never imagined abstaining. The power of electoral input was granted American women, only after years of struggle, in 1919. We have been able to vote for almost one hundred years. That is a mere blip in time in the course of political power, yet within that time we have produced female politicians and even female contenders for the White House. We’ve come a long way, baby.

“How can you even think of not voting?” my mother would demand in my younger, more apolitical days. I would shrug with adolescent non-nonchalance, but in the end I would always turn up at the polls. Other women had suffered to win us this right, and I could not let them down, or myself. This was important.

I did not always vote wisely at first, but my choices improved as I became more informed, until finally my choices began to reflect the world view that I had created. My world view is inclusive and implies a certain degree of freedom, integrity and social responsibility. (snip)

Benito Mussolini is said to have described fascism as “corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power." That sounds an awful lot like what we are facing here, now, and today. But recently a solution turned up. On April 20, the senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, announced his candidacy for the democratic primaries. Even though he knows he is the underdog, he is getting his message out, and his biggest point is that he is unowned. Nobody owns Bernie Sanders. He has made this very clear. His idea of a super pac is 200 million people with $1 each. He told the corporations that he does not want their support, and advised the 1% to not vote for him because it would be against their own self-interest. The audacity, the bravery, the honesty!


The Ugly Reason GOP clamors for war with Iran: "Why Private Defense Contractors Need War to Keep Profits High"

Private Defense Contractors Need War to Keep Profits High
Friday, 17 July 2015 05:46 * Buzzflash/Truthout * by MARK KARLIN

The National Priorities Project, an organization that analyzes the US budget, projects that "in fiscal year 2015, military spending is projected to account for 54 percent of all federal discretionary spending, a total of $598.5 billion."

That does not include funding for the National Intelligence Programs - including the Central Intelligence Agency - which will separately receive $45.6 billion dollars in congressional discretionary funding in 2015, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

In addition, no one can accurately track all the military and intelligence discretionary spending buried in other line item allocations. This is because many projects related to military spending are intentionally concealed in unlikely funding areas.

That money is disproportionately going into the bank accounts of private defense contractors. AllGov.com reported in 2013:

Take the case of the Defense Department (DOD), the largest federal bureaucracy, with 2.48 million federal employees and 700,000 contractor employees who generally work alongside civilian and uniformed employees. When Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that Pentagon budget cuts would include contractors, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) pressed him on the issue of contractor inefficiency.

Durbin pointed out that a recent DOD report “emphasized that the average contract employee costs two to three times as much as the average DOD civilian employee for performing similar work, contract employees comprised 22% of workforce but accounted for 50% of its cost,” figures confirmed on the spot by Defense Comptroller Robert Hale.

Even though the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are now less intensive, for-profit contractors are still making a killing. ThinkProgress noted in 2013: "Defense contractors have managed to not only stay afloat but also thrive in a climate of government closure and massive cuts to the Pentagon’s budget, continuing to rake in billions upon billions of dollars in profits."

The National Priorities Project recently listed the top ten defense contractors (again, this list does not include the intelligence agency private contractors, which may consume up to 70 percent of the intelligence budget). Coming in at number one for Defense Department contractors is Lockheed Martin:


Hillary Clinton viewed unfavorably by nearly half of country, poll finds

Hillary Clinton viewed unfavorably by nearly half of country, poll finds
July 16, 2015, 12:09 pm * The Hill * By Jesse Byrnes

The percentage of people who view Hillary Clinton unfavorably has jumped 8 points since she announced her 2016 Democratic presidential campaign in April, according to a new poll.

Clinton is viewed unfavorably by 49 percent of people in the United States, the Associated Press-GfK poll released Thursday found, up from 41 percent who expressed that view in late April.

The percentage of people who view the former secretary of State favorably has fallen 7 points since the April poll to 39 percent, according to the poll. Among Democrats, that rating has fallen 11 points to 70 percent.
Meanwhile, President Obama's approval rating in the poll, 46 percent, has stayed constant during the same period, with more than eight in 10 Democrats holding a favorable view of him.

Clinton's receives poor marks on honesty, compassion, inspiration and likability in the poll, though she is more positively viewed on metrics such as competence and decisiveness.

Her campaign has sought to reintroduce the former first lady and New York senator in recent months, but has faced a barrage of attacks from Republicans over her email and family foundation.

Entire Article: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/polls/248183-hillary-clinton-viewed-unfavorably-by-nearly-half-of-country-poll

President Obama made me proud to be an American today, at WH Presser on Iran deal.

That's a feeling I don't get nearly enough these daze, but today I was flooded
with joy and a sense of relief, seeing, finally, the US leading the world towards
peace, not war.

Obama's speech delivery & fielding press' questions was both forceful & graceful, compellingly
clear in detailing the treaty's air-tight mechanisms for verifying Iran's compliance, and reminding
us all that this agreement is to accomplish the one thing everyone agrees is a top priority for achieving
relative peace, not war, both with Iran and in the ME in general.

And that top priority is this: that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon capability with which to
threaten Israel & other ME neighbors, and world peace in general. BAM! Done.

It was SO damned refreshing to see my president stand strong for peace, while out-flanking
the Congressional war-heads' saber-rattling & hawkish posturing with regard to Iran.

Bravo Mr. President. Well fucking done!

Good on Obama: Calls for 'justice and redemption' prison reform

Thank you Mr. President

Obama cites 'justice and redemption' in call for comprehensive prison reform
Speaking at NAACP convention in Philadelphia, president urges shorter sentences for some drug crimes and says felons should have right to vote
July 14, 2015 * The Guardian * by Alan Yuhas in New York

Barack Obama called for comprehensive reform of the US criminal justice system on Tuesday, including shorter sentences for certain drug offenses and the right to vote for convicted felons.

“Justice and redemption go hand in hand,” Obama said in a speech to the NAACP’s annual convention in downtown Philadelphia.

“I see those young men on street corners and eventually in prisons, and I think to myself: ‘They could be me,’” he said. “The main difference between me and them is I had a more forgiving environment so that when I slipped up, when I made a mistake, I had a second chance.”

Obama announced no new executive orders but tied together several of his administration’s campaigns from the last few years. He called for cities to embrace the recommendations of his task force on policing, cited the need for early education as a means to use opportunity to prevent crime, and highlighted the stark inequalities in incarceration, employment and education between white people and minorities.

He also voiced support for several proposals circulating in Congress, going so far as to commend Republican senators Rand Paul and John Cornyn for their support of reform. He also noted the “unlikely” bedfellows of the movement, which is supported by a cast that includes polar opposite senators Ted Cruz and Cory Booker and organizations as ideologically varied as the ACLU, Koch Industries and Americans for Tax Reform.

MORE: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/14/obama-prison-reform-speech-naacp-philadelphia

Bernie & Hillary: What are their policy differences?

Bernie Sanders criticizes Clinton's policy stances – but don't call them enemies
The Vermont senator has carefully avoided negativity, but on Tuesday he offered a slew of issues upon which he differed from his main Democratic rival
July 14, 2015 * The Guardian * by Paul Lewis and Sabrina Siddiqui

Bernie Sanders has scrupulously avoided throwing punches at political rivals during a career that has lasted close to half a century. The independent Vermont senator is not about to take off his gloves, even in the midst of a race for the Democratic nomination for president.

But on Tuesday, with the frontrunner for the Democratic 2016 ticket, Hillary Clinton, walking the corridors of the Capitol building, Sanders did attempt a few delicate jabs.

He emerged from a lunch of Democratic senators (also attended by Clinton) to give reporters a slew of issues upon which he said he differed from the former secretary of state. It was not a short list, and included issues as varied as trade, war, surveillance, climate change and the minimum wage.

It was hardly hand-to-hand political combat, but Sanders, who famously ducks requests from reporters to put the boot into rivals, looked a little reluctant.

“I don’t like negative campaigns – I’ve never run a negative ad in my life,” Sanders told reporters at the start of his remarks.

He ended up concluding like this: “I’ve known the secretary for 25 years. I knew her as first lady, obviously I knew her when we were together here in the Senate. I like her, I respect her, I hope we can run a campaign where we can express the differences of opinion that we have do it in a way that is straightforward.”

MORE on the issues: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/14/bernie-sanders-hillary-clinton-differences
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