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Gender: Male
Hometown: Arizona
Home country: USA
Member since: Wed Jul 16, 2008, 08:35 PM
Number of posts: 24,427

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Iraq unrest comes at critical moment in region

BAGHDAD (AP) — The young men and women coordinated on social media. Fed up with an Iraqi political elite they blame for their many grievances, they agreed on a mass demonstration on Oct. 1.

They were met with bullets, water cannons and tear gas, plunging the country into renewed instability just as it was starting to emerge from a bloody war against the Islamic State group.

The response to the unrest has triggered ongoing confrontations with protesters across the country and has claimed the lives of more than 30 people in three days. Hundreds have been injured.

The turmoil in Iraq, a country central to America’s Middle East policy, comes at a critical moment in the region amid soaring tensions between Iran and the United States _ both allies of the Iraqi government. Iraq hosts thousands of U.S. troops and also is home to powerful Iranian-backed militias. There were already concerns the country was turning into a proxy battlefield between the two sides.


America is likely complicit in war crimes in Yemen. It's time to hold the US to account

Saudi-led forces have deliberately targeted civilians since the war’s early days – and US officials have done little to stop it

Since Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in Yemen’s civil war in March 2015, the United States gave its full support to a relentless air campaign where Saudi warplanes and bombs hit thousands of targets, including civilian sites and infrastructure, with impunity. From the beginning, US officials insisted that American weapons, training and intelligence assistance would help the Saudis avoid causing even more civilian casualties.

But this was a lie meant to obscure one of the least understood aspects of US support for Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen: it’s not that Saudi-led forces don’t know how to use American-made weapons or need help in choosing targets. They have deliberately targeted civilians and Yemen’s infrastructure since the war’s early days – and US officials have recognized this since at least 2016 and done little to stop it.

A team of United Nations investigators, commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, presented a devastating report in Geneva in early September detailing how the US, along with Britain and France, are likely complicit in war crimes in Yemen because of continued weapons sales and intelligence support to the Saudis and their allies, especially the United Arab Emirates.

Despite pressure from Saudi Arabia, the Human Rights Council voted last Thursday to extend its investigation.


Bernie Sanders commissioned a federal study in 2016 that showed that poorer Americans die younger

The rich live longer and the wealth gap among older households is growing

A new federal report puts the stakes of rising income and wealth inequality in terms of life and death: Poorer Americans are dying younger than richer Americans.

While average life expectancy has overall risen in the United States, people with lower incomes tend to have shorter lives than those with higher incomes, a study from the Government Accountability Office, commissioned by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in 2016, found. About 74 percent of Americans in the top fifth percentile of mid-career wealth lived into their 70s and 80s, whereas only 52 percent of adults in the bottom fifth lived that long. The study found that disparities in income and wealth among older households have become greater over the past three decades.

“If we do not urgently act to solve the economic distress of millions of Americans, a whole generation will be condemned to early death,” Sanders said in a statement.

The study is yet another data point in a vast field of research around the impacts of inequality. As Vox’s Julia Belluz has reported, there are several studies on the life expectancy gap and income, and mortality rates and education attainment, that have all reached this same well-established conclusion: Being poor is a health risk in the United States.


Prof. Sajida Jalalzai thread on Bernie Sanders







Half a Century Before Colin Kaepernick, Jackie Robinson Said, 'I Cannot Stand and Sing the Anthem.'

A segregationist senator tried to use Robinson to destroy Paul Robeson. Instead, Robinson called out racism.
By Peter Dreier

Seventy years ago today—on July 18, 1949—right-wing and segregationist members of Congress orchestrated a confrontation between the two most well-known and admired African Americans in the country: Jackie Robinson and Paul Robeson. The media salivated at the opportunity to portray the clash of these larger-than-life titans as a surrogate for the Cold War between capitalism and communism.

A few weeks earlier, Robinson—who had integrated Major League Baseball when he signed with the Dodgers in 1947—received a telegram from Congressman John Wood (D- GA), an arch segregationist and former Ku Klux Klan member, who chaired the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). He invited Robinson to address a hearing on “Communist infiltration of minority groups.”

Specifically, he wanted Robinson to attack Robeson for being a disloyal American and Communist agitator who didn’t speak for black people.

The pretext for the hearing was a statement that Robeson had made that April at a left-wing conference in Paris. The media ignored Robeson’s main point—that most Americans, including blacks, did not want to go to war with the Soviet Union. Instead, most news outlets used the Associated Press report, which quoted Robeson saying that if a war broke out between the United States and Russia, “It is unthinkable that American Negroes would go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations against a country which in one generation has raised our people to the full dignity of mankind.”


Greg Stanton is for impeachment

From an email from Greg Stanton

Thank you for contacting me to share your thoughts about impeachment. Like you, this is an issue I take very seriously.

I believe it is time for the House of Representatives to move to the next stages of holding the President accountable, including the extraordinary step of opening an impeachment inquiry.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report detailed Russia's sweeping attack on America's democracy. Yet the President has refused to defend our nation and his inaction leaves us vulnerable to further attack. I am disappointed that, to this day, the President accepts Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials of interference at face value. The Special Counsel also uncovered significant evidence that the President obstructed justice but, as he explained during his July 24 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee - of which I am a member - he was prohibited by Department of Justice policy from filing charges. If the evidence the Special Counsel discovered is accurate, I believe it surpasses the Constitutional threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Since the release of the Special Counsel's report, the President and his Administration have sought to undermine the checks and balances that are the foundation of our democracy. The President defied lawful requests from Congress and attempted to exempt himself and his Administration from oversight by claiming an extraordinary and overly-broad interpretation of executive privilege, an interpretation that no court has recognized. No person is above the law, and the situation we find ourselves in is solely a result of the President's own actions.

I accept that this conclusion will be unpopular with some, but it is the right thing to do. I swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies - foreign and domestic - and Congress must now use all means necessary to protect it and the rule of law.

I appreciate you taking the time to share your views on this matter. If you would like to know more about the work I'm doing in Congress to make a positive difference for Arizona, please visit my website and sign up for my newsletter at stanton.house.gov.

Greg Stanton Signature.
Greg Stanton
Member of Congress

Kaepernick releases powerful video on police killings to mark anthem protest anniversary

Kaepernick asks: ‘How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation … that is so unjust to many of the people living in it?’

Three years to the day since he first began his protest against racist police violence, Colin Kaepernick has posted a stirring and emotional video to remind us that the fight is far from over.



In the video, which features graphic footage of a number of high-profile police killings, Kaepernick asks: “How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates freedom and justice for all, that is so unjust to many of the people living in it?”

Also appearing in the video are family members of people who have been killed by police, including Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

“Basically, he took a knee for all these families that are out here today for freedom,” says Felicia Thomas, mother of Nicholas Thomas, who was killed by police in 2015.


Mueller fallout: Highest-ranking House Democrat to date calls for Trump impeachment

Rep. Katherine Clark, vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, backed beginning the process to remove the president from office.

By Alex Moe
WASHINGTON — Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., became the highest-ranking House Democrat to call for opening an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

"I deeply respect the committee work of House Democrats to hold the president accountable, including hearings, subpoenas and lawsuits. All of our efforts to put the facts before the American people, however, have been met with unprecedented stonewalling and obstruction," the sixth-ranking House Democrat said in a statement Thursday evening, adding, "That is why I believe we need to open an impeachment inquiry that will provide us a more formal way to fully uncover the facts."

Clark made her announcement the day after the former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before two House committees about his investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, possible coordination with the Trump campaign and subsequent efforts by the president to obstruct the probe.

"Since the release of the Mueller report in April, it has been clear that the president committed impeachable offenses by welcoming interference from a hostile foreign power in the 2016 election and then attempting to obstruct the investigation into his unpatriotic actions," Clark said. "Moreover, he said he would do it all again if given the chance."


Colonial Uprising

The protests that brought down Puerto Rico’s governor are also about the island’s troubled relationship with the mainland.

The tidal waves of scandal and public outrage had grown too big to be put off any further. On Wednesday, facing a crowd of clamoring reporters at the Capitol, the speaker of the House made the executive’s options plain: resign or be impeached.

It could have happened in Washington, at nearly the same hour. But it didn’t. Instead, the moment of truth came at the periphery of empire in the territorial capital of San Juan. While the political press was focused on downplaying Robert Mueller’s recounting of his damning report before Congress, Puerto Ricans showed how a leader—dogged by mounting allegations of corruption, illegal campaign activity, and dereliction of office—gets held to account.

Just before midnight, a few hours after the speaker of the Puerto Rican House of Representatives made his threat, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced his intention to resign—the island’s first chief executive to do so since the United States began allowing it to elect its own governors in 1947. Toppling him took the diligent work of defiant journalists and public officials willing to do their duty. But above all, it took the tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans massing in the streets and grinding business to a halt to force the hand of those in power.

When he announced his departure, the crowds, who had waited all day to hear his decision, burst into celebration.


Bernie Sanders Is Right: 3 Billionaires Really Do Have More Wealth Than Half of America

And in addition to the 3 billionaires Bernie mentioned, we should also be worried about the expanding fortunes of multi-generational wealth dynasties

byChuck Collins

The wealthiest 3 billionaires in the U.S. – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — now have as much wealth as the bottom half of the U.S. population combined.

Those were the first words spoken at last week’s 2020 Democratic Debate, citing a wealth inequality study by the Institute for Policy Studies.

In fact, Sen. Bernie Sanders mentioned the study, Billionaire Bonanza, several times during the debate.

(graph at link)

Fact checkers at The New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN verified Sen. Sanders’ claims.

These extreme levels of wealth inequality are possible, in part, because the bottom fifth of U.S. households are underwater, with zero or negative net worth. And the next fifth has so few assets to fall back on that they live in fear of destitution.

“We’re developing into a plutocracy,” said former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

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