July 2012

JFP 7/31: Romney insults Palestinians; LAT slams drone strikes; Julian's mom appeals to Ecuador

Just Foreign Policy News, July 31, 2012
Romney disses Palestinians; LAT slams drone strikes; Julian's mom appeals to Ecuador

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I) Actions and Featured Articles

RootsAction: Campaign Targets New NBC War "Reality" Show
"'Stars Earn Stripes' is a reality show cohosted by retired U.S. General Wesley Clark, co-starring Todd Palin, and with no apparent role for reality," said RootsAction campaigner David Swanson. "The ads brag about the use of real bullets, but depict war as a harmless sport. Celebrities paired up with soldiers competing at 'long-range weapons fire' is not a continuation of the Olympics. It's a normalization of war that erases the death and suffering." A petition to NBC urges them to air an in-depth segment showing the reality of civilian victims of recent U.S. wars.
http://StarsEarnStripes.org

Stephen Walt: What I'd like to ask Mitt Romney about his foreign policy
How, exactly, would Romney differ on Afghanistan, on Iran, on Israel/Palestine?

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JFP 7/28: Catholics, Jews condemn Bachmann's anti-Muslim conspiracy theories

Just Foreign Policy News, July 28, 2012
Catholics, Jews condemn Bachmann's anti-Muslim conspiracy theory

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*Action: House Must Sanction Bachmann for Anti-Muslim McCarthyism
Rep. Michele Bachmann is using her position on the House Intelligence Committee to promote a conspiracy theory that government officials, including State Department official Huma Abedin, are part of a Muslim Brotherhood plot to infiltrate the U.S. government. Bachmann also claims that Rep. Keith Ellison is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. Bachmann has refused to apologize or back down, even after prominent Republicans like Senator John McCain demanded that she stop. Bachmann's Muslim conspiracy-mongering is part of a broader campaign to intimidate Muslim-Americans from speaking out about U.S. foreign policy. Urge your Representative to take action.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/sanction-bachmann

The Nation: How WikiLeaks Transformed Brazil's Media

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JFP 7/26: Top Romney Adviser Bolton Backs Bachmann anti-Muslim Witch Hunt

Just Foreign Policy News, July 26, 2012
Top Romney Adviser Bolton Backs Bachmann anti-Muslim Witch Hunt

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JFP 7/24: Roll-call Mulvaney; Dubai: Navy killing "murder"; CPJ/HRW Ecuador lies

Just Foreign Policy News, July 24, 2012
Roll-call Mulvaney; Dubai: Navy killing "murder"; CPJ Ecuador lies

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I) Actions and Featured Articles

Roll call on the Mulvaney-Frank amendment
The Mulvaney-Frank amendment, freezing Pentagon spending at FY2012 levels (a cut of $1.1 billion), passed the House 247-167. Voting yes were 158 Democrats and 89 Republicans. Voting no were 146 Republicans and 21 Democrats. Thanks to everyone who contacted their Rep!
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2012/roll495.xml

*Action: Ask the Times of Israel to correct the record
An article in the Times of Israel claimed President Obama has repeatedly pledged that he "will not allow the Islamic Republic to acquire nuclear weapon capabilities." That's not true: Obama promised he would not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear *weapon*. The distinction is crucial. Ask the Times of Israel to correct the record.
The article is here:

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New York Times Blames Iran For Bulgaria Bombing--But Where's The Evidence?

There are two major items of concern in the July 19, 2012 New York Times story "Hezbollah Is Blamed in Attack on Israeli Tourists in Bulgaria."

First, the article states

The bombing comes at a time of heightened tensions over Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes but Israel and the West say is a cover for developing weapons.

But it is not true that Israel and the West say that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. A number of top US and Israeli military and intelligence officials have publicly stated that they do not believe that Iranian leadership has decided to develop nuclear weapons. Furthermore, neither the most recent intelligence reports out of the US and Israel, nor recent reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency, say that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

Second, the author's use of "confirmed" in the first sentence of the article is, I believe, misleading:

JFP 7/19: Indian fishermen challenge US Navy claim; India presses investigation

Just Foreign Policy News, July 19, 2012
Indian fishermen challenge US Navy claim; India presses investigation

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*Action: A Great Week to Cut the Pentagon Budget and End the War!

The 2013 "Defense" Appropriations Bill is expected to be voted on in the House this week. Members of Congress are introducing amendments to cut the military budget and to end the war in Afghanistan. Urge your Rep. to support these amendments.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/defense-approps-2013

For Barney Frank's Legacy: Pass the Mulvaney Amendment
Frank is retiring from the House this year after thirty-two years of service. In the cause of working to rein in America's out-of-control military spending, Frank has stood out from his colleagues. Now Frank is trying to do something about the fact that, despite all the bloviating about the deficit, the House is on track to pass a military budget that busts the spending caps of the Budget Control Act.

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JFP 7/19: Indian fishermen challenge US Navy claim; India presses investigation

Just Foreign Policy News, July 19, 2012
Indian fishermen challenge US Navy claim; India presses investigation

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*Action: A Great Week to Cut the Pentagon Budget and End the War!

The 2013 "Defense" Appropriations Bill is expected to be voted on in the House this week. Members of Congress are introducing amendments to cut the military budget and to end the war in Afghanistan. Urge your Rep. to support these amendments.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/defense-approps-2013

For Barney Frank's Legacy: Pass the Mulvaney Amendment
Frank is retiring from the House this year after thirty-two years of service. In the cause of working to rein in America's out-of-control military spending, Frank has stood out from his colleagues. Now Frank is trying to do something about the fact that, despite all the bloviating about the deficit, the House is on track to pass a military budget that busts the spending caps of the Budget Control Act.

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An Open Letter to Congress in Support of Reining in Runaway Spending by the Pentagon

[This letter in support of the Mulvaney-Frank amendment was organized by the Project On Government Oversight. The PDF is here:]

July 18, 2012
An Open Letter to Congress in Support of Reining in Runaway Spending by the Pentagon

Dear Members of the House of Representatives,

We, the undersigned organizations, strongly urge you to support the bipartisan amendment to freeze profligate Pentagon spending at Fiscal Year 2012 levels. Offered by Representatives Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) and Barney Frank (D-MA), this proposed amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2013 is a common-sense step towards reining in the runaway Pentagon budget.

Though our groups have advocated for deeper cuts, we welcome the Mulvaney-Frank amendment to keep base military spending at the FY 2012 level of $518 billion. It is a modest $1.1 billion reduction of the currently proposed spending in the House bill—which inexplicably provides for $3.1 billion more than requested by the military. Keeping spending at current levels will still be higher than the Pentagon’s requested amount, but will at least halt the unnecessary escalation currently proposed and is the same level that nearly 300 members recently supported in the “megabus.” The amendment excludes spending on military personnel, the Defense Health Program, and the overseas contingency operations from the freeze. It allows the commanding officers to make strategic spending decisions.

The Mulvaney-Frank amendment represents a compromise that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on.

In fact, the House has already agreed to greater reductions to the Pentagon budget. Just last year, Congress passed the Budget Control Act to enforce discretionary spending caps.

JFP 7/17: Indian fisherman: US Navy didn't warn before shooting near Iran

Just Foreign Policy News, July 17, 2012
Indian fisherman: US Navy didn't warn before shooting near Iran

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Action: A Great Week to Cut the Pentagon Budget and End the War!

The 2013 "Defense" Appropriations Bill is expected to be voted on in the House this week. Members of Congress will be introducing amendments to cut the military budget and to end the war in Afghanistan. Urge your Rep. to support these amendments.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/defense-approps-2013

It's a Great Day to Act to Cut the Pentagon Budget
What happens in these votes will have a big influence on the expected negotiations over replacing the impending "sequester" automatic cuts of the Budget Control Act with a package of revenue increases and spending cuts. If you want cuts in military spending to be on the table, now is the time to speak up.

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It's a Great Day to Act to Cut the Pentagon Budget

This week, a series of showdowns is expected in the House over the Pentagon budget, when House Members vote on amendments to the Defense Appropriations Bill to cut the overall level of military spending, end or limit the war in Afghanistan, and draw down troops permanently stationed in Europe.

What happens in these votes will have a big influence on the expected negotiations over replacing the impending "sequester" automatic cuts of the Budget Control Act with a package of revenue increases and spending cuts. If you want cuts in military spending to be on the table, now is the time to speak up.

Until now, the bigfoot military contractors and their most stalwart allies in Congress have fought with great success to keep real cuts in military spending away from the table. What has mostly happened until now is that most of the previously projected increases in spending have been cut, so that under the President's plan military spending would rise roughly with inflation. It's an important start, certainly, to stop the previously projected increase, but it's not a real cut from past spending levels. If the automatic cuts were to go through, that would cause a real cut in military spending, although military spending would still be above what it was during the Cold War. But the conventional wisdom is that the automatic cuts won't happen; at the end of the day, they will be replaced by a package of revenue increases and spending cuts.

The question is what is going to be in that package.

Until now, the GOP leadership position has been that cuts in military spending are off the table.