Commentary

U.S. Anti-Tank Rockets in Syria: Did Congress Approve?

 Reuters reports (emphasis mine):

Online videos show Syrian rebels using what appear to be U.S. anti-tank rockets, weapons experts say, the first significant American-built armaments in the country's civil war. ...

QR codes for Illinois, New York, Maryland petitions against anti-boycott free speech legislation

Note: this memo is primarily aimed at tech-savvy kids, not at old fogie technophobe Luddites. If you are a technophobe, move along, nothing to see here.

Background: the world has changed, right? We do online petitions now. It's more efficient on both sides of the interaction - easier to pass, easier to sign; you don't have to mess around with re-copying or trying to read people's illegible handwriting (speaking as a top offender of illegible handwriting); if you sign on your own device, you probably have your own information already saved in your browser, which makes signing go tschik-tschok, as they say in Hebrew.

OK, but we still want to pass petitions at events. Does that mean we have to go back to pen and paper?

You know how when you ride the Amtrak, and sometimes on planes, they use QR codes, so you don't need a paper ticket. You just hold up your smart phone showing your electronic ticket with the QR code on it and the conductor/airline employee uses a QR reader to capture the information from your electronic ticket's QR code.

We can use this technology for online petitions too. You generate a QR code for the website that has the petition on it, you point a smart phone (or laptop's) camera at it, and after the image is captured, the smartphone jumps to the URL of the petition site, where you can sign the petition on your smartphone.

The smartphone or laptop has to have a QR reader installed. But you can easily download QR readers for free. Just go to the app store on your device, search for "QR reader", and choose one of many free options. On my iPhone, I have installed the free QRReader app.

So, with that background concluded, here is the ask. I'm going to try to get signers on the Illinois anti-anti-boycott petition at Rabbi Brant Rosen's talk tonight at UIUC, using a QR code that Just Foreign Policy has generated for the petition's website.

Two ways you can help me test:

Keep Your Promise: A Left-Right Coalition to Help Veterans and Cut the Debt

 There is wide political agreement that we need to do more to support our veterans and their families. A recent spectacular demonstration was the 326-90 vote in the House and 95-3 vote in the Senate to repeal the military pension cuts to veterans and active service members that were in the Ryan-Murray budget deal. A key question in the current federal budget environment is how we are going to pay for increased veterans' benefits, given broad Republican resistance to raising revenue or increasing the deficit.

An obvious answer is this: Cut unnecessary Pentagon spending and split the savings between helping veterans and reducing government debt. This should appeal to Democrats and Republicans who want to help veterans and to Democrats and Republicans who are willing to cut unnecessary Pentagon spending to reduce government debt. It should also appeal to organizations representing veterans.

Some people are under the impression that cutting unnecessary Pentagon spending is a non-starter with all Republicans, or almost all of them. But in the recent past, there has been a substantial group of Republicans in the House who were willing to vote to cut the Pentagon budget.

letter to Sonya Michel on her ASA BDS vote misrepresentation claim in the NYT

Sonya Michel

Professor of history, women’s studies and American studies
University of Maryland
College Park, Md.
 
 

Dear Ms. Michel,

Extend Unemployment Assistance by Cutting the War Budget

 Just over a week ago, the Senate fell one vote short of overcoming a Republican filibuster to pass a three-month extension of assistance for the long-term unemployed.

The New York Times reported:

Could We Make @BilldeBlasio Meet with J Street?

 It was, without doubt, a world-historical moment last Thursday when AIPAC concededthat its push to sabotage U.S. diplomacy with Iran had been decisively rebuked. As theNew York Times noted, it had been decades since AIPAC lost such a high-profile showdown so decisively.

The Big Wins of 2013

2013 was a big year for Just Foreign Policy. Here's a brief summary of our greatest wins.

Preventing a US military strike on Syria. When President Obama announced his intention to bomb Syria, Just Foreign Policy was the first progressive organization to say that Obama should go to Congress to seek authorization. We initiated a petition to Congress to get them to demand that the President come to them. We also worked to get Democratic signatures on two Congressional letters to the same effect. When Obama announced he would go to Congress, we urged members to oppose authorization. Read more >

Getting the US to talk to Iran. This year, the Obama administration took major steps toward a comprehensive deal with Iran, something that we have been pushing for since our inception. Read more >

Going up against AIPAC many times—and winning. Starting with its failed fight to against Chuck Hagel's nomination for Defense Secretary, AIPAC has lost many a battle against us and our coalition partners this year. Read more >

Raising a $70,000 bounty on the TPP—and WikiLeaks publishing the text. Last year, we initiated a campaign to crowdsource a reward for WikiLeaks should it publish the draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). After attracting attention from mainstream media and techie sites alike, we had raised over $70,000 in pledges by the time WikiLeaks published the most controversial portions of the agreement in November. Read more >

President Karzai, Stand Tall Against U.S. Pressure to Sign the Troop Deal

A key reason that many Americans are turned off by politics is that they don't experience news sportscasters who are on their side. The average American, if she read the New York Times, would feel like a Chicagoan watching the Cubs game on St. Louis TV. Her team hits a home run and the sportscaster is melancholy. Her team strikes out and the sportscaster does a dance. Who wouldn't be turned off?

The day after the budget deal, we should have had a National Day of Gloating Over Wall Street because Social Security once again evaded the knives of the Wall Street greedheads. The day after the U.S. didn't bomb Syria, we should have had a National Day of Gloating Over AIPAC and the Neocons. But the U.S. news media was so sad! No Social Security cuts. No new war. What is America coming to?

Victory! Sen. Warren Backs Interim Iran Deal (Video)

At a Senate Banking Committee hearing on December 12, Sen. Warren backed the interim Iran deal between the P5+1 and Iran.

Thank you, Sen. Warren, and thank you to the over 14,000 JFP supporters who signed the petition!

Watch the clip here.

Here's a transcript:

Senator Warren: (To Chairman Johnson) Thank you Mr. Chairman; (to Ms. Sherman and Mr. Cohen) thank you for being here.

Does Hillary's Silence on Iran Deal Show Neocon Pull on Her Presidential Run?

People have noticed the silence of former Secretary of State and widely presumed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry. Where does she stand? How long can she dodge? And how long can former President Bill Clinton dodge?

It's not like the Clintons have gone into seclusion on public affairs in general or U.S. foreign policy in particular.