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Rep. Lee anti-escalation event in Oakland Monday 11/23

Representative Barbara Lee, whose bill HR 3699 would prohibit an increase in US forces deployed to Afghanistan, is having an event on 3699 and an exit strategy for Afghanistan in Oakland Monday, at the Dellums Federal Building, at noon.

The flyer is here.

Please spread this information around to contacts in the Bay area and the California press. Perhaps this event can have some impact on other Members of the California delegation...

Will the National Democratic Institute Support the Coup in Honduras?

A statement put out by Senator Lugar's office this week contained a striking revelation: apparently, the State Department intends to fund election observer missions of the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute for the controversial November 29 Honduras election supervised by the coup regime. If the US sends election observers before President Zelaya is restored, it would prepare the ground for recognizing the coup regime and its election as legitimate, putting the U.S. at odds with the rest of the hemisphere. Funding election observers appears to be part of a strategy of legitimizing the June coup against President Zelaya.

Both the IRI and the NDI are funded by Congress through the National Endowment for Democracy.

The International Republican Institute is affiliated with the Republican Party and the National Democratic Institute is affiliated with the Democratic Party. The IRI has a sordid history of anti-democratic actions, like supporting the 2004 coup in Haiti.

The NDI, on the other hand, is at least nominally accountable to the Democratic Party, so its involvement in trying to legitimize elections under the coup regime is quite surprising. Democratic leaders in Congress, like Senator Kerry and Representative Berman, have strongly opposed the coup. Congressional Democrats have urged President Obama not to recognize elections under the coup regime.

JFP 11/19: National Democratic Institute Supporting Coup in Honduras?

Just Foreign Policy News
November 19, 2009


Will the National Democratic Institute Back the Coup in Honduras?
Senator Lugar's office suggests that the US-funded National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute will be sending observers to the Nov. 29 elections in Honduras - a step towards recognizing the elections of the coup regime, which would put the U.S. at odds with most of Latin America. Ask your Represenative to oppose funding for observers of the Nov. 29 election unless President Zelaya is reinstated.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/observers

For background, see: Mark Weisbrot's commentary on the JFP blog:
Mark Weisbrot on Senator Lugar's Call to Recognize Honduran Election
http://bit.ly/honduras-weisbrot

Monday: Call the White House Against Escalation in Afghanistan
There will be a national call-in day to the White House Monday against military esclalation in Afghanistan.

Prepare for Local Reaction to the President's Escalation Speech
If President Obama announces he is sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, groups around the country will hold events to coincide with the President's speech.
Post a local event:
http://bit.ly/noescalation-event-post
Sample Press Release:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/409

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Mark Weisbrot on Senator Lugar's Call to Recognize Honduran Election

Senator Richard Lugar's office has issued a statement supporting recognition of the Honduran elections on November 29. Just Foreign Policy President Mark Weisbrot comments:

This is not surprising, Lugar has been with his party leadership on this all along, including his letter in July that got the State Department to write their response that appeared to blame Zelaya for the coup. Honduras has become a real cause for the Republican party leadership, which sees it as a strategic battle in their long-term fight against the Latin American left (which for them includes Lula). Although Lugar is of course different from them, for some reason he has joined with them in this battle.

This has to be a disappointment to people who see Lugar as a moderate, since it is tough for a moderate to defend the position that a a group of people can overthrow the elected president, arrest, jail, and beat thousands of people, torture and even kill some people, close down opposition media intermittently throughout the legally designated 3-month electoral campaign period, and then have a valid "election" -- no matter how "clean" it is on election day.

 Lugar's statement will give some lobbyists, pundits, editors, etc. some ammunition to say that not only the wingnuts that hold this position.

The State Department effectively has the same position as Lugar in what it is trying to accomplish, but for now is reluctant to state it unambiguously, so as not to further distance itself from Latin America. So it does help all parties, including the State Department, that want to legitimate the election.

JFP 11/18: Students force re-opening of unionized Honduran factory

Just Foreign Policy News
November 18, 2009


Monday: Call the White House Against Escalation in Afghanistan
Just Foreign Policy, Peace Action, UFPJ and other groups are collaborating on a call-in day to the White House Monday against military esclalation in Afghanistan. There will be a toll-free number.

Prepare for Local Reaction to the President's Escalation Speech
If President Obama announces that he is sending tens of thousands of more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in 2010, groups around the country will be holding vigils and protests to coincide with the President's speech, trying to get into the same news cycle as the President's announcement, saying that military escalation is not the answer. Will your town be ready? Just Foreign Policy has drafted a press release you can use.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/409

Cong. Progressive Caucus Requests Meeting with Obama on Afghanistan
Yesterday, the Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to President Obama, noting support in the CPC for a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, opposition to sending more troops, support for redirecting resources from the military to aid, and support for reconciliation in Afghanistan; and requesting a meeting with the President to discuss these concerns. The letter is posted here:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/407

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy

Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

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Draft Media Advisory for the President's Afghanistan Escalation Speech

In the event that President Obama announces a military escalation in Afghanistan - some press reports have speculated that in the next few weeks President Obama will announce that he will send tens of thousands of more troops in 2010 to remain for the indefinite future - groups around the U.S. will be having protests and vigils to coincide with the President's speech. Just Foreign Policy has drafted a "sample" press advisory for use by local groups. Adapt as you see fit. The sample press advisory is here.

JFP 11/17: Progressive Caucus Writes Obama on Afghanistan

Just Foreign Policy News
November 17, 2009


Cong. Progressive Caucus Requests Meeting with Obama on Afghanistan
Today the Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to President Obama, noting support in the CPC for a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, opposition to sending more troops, support for redirecting resources from the military to aid, and support for reconciliation in Afghanistan; and requesting a meeting with the President to discuss these concerns. The letter is posted here:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/407

Trumka: Free Elections Not Possible Now in Honduras

The continued repression of trade unionists by the regime set up in Honduras after a June 28 coup makes it impossible to hold free and fair elections, wrote AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a Nov. 13 letter to Secretary of State Clinton. Trumka called on the U.S. government to oppose national elections in Honduras unless President Zelaya is reinstated.
http://blog.aflcio.org/2009/11/16/trumka-free-elections-not-possible-now-in-honduras/

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy

Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
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U.S./Top News
1) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested that a "countdown towards Britain's exit from the war in Afghanistan" could start in 2010, the Times of London reports.

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Progressive Caucus Requests Meeting with Obama on Afghanistan

On November 17, the Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to President Obama, noting support in the CPC for a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, opposition to sending more troops, support for redirecting resources from the military to aid, and support for reconciliation in Afghanistan; and requesting a meeting with the President to discuss these concerns. The letter is posted here.

JFP 11/16 Trumka: Free Elections Not Possible Now in Honduras

Just Foreign Policy News
November 16, 2009


Trumka: Free Elections Not Possible Now in Honduras
The continued repression of trade unionists by the regime set up in Honduras after a June 28 coup makes it impossible to hold free and fair elections, wrote AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a Nov. 13 letter to Secretary of State Clinton. Trumka called on the U.S. government to oppose national elections in Honduras unless President Zelaya is reinstated.
http://blog.aflcio.org/2009/11/16/trumka-free-elections-not-possible-now-in-honduras/

California Dems Call for End to Afghan War

The California Democratic Party has passed a resolution calling for a timetable for military withdrawal.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/11/15/804622/-California-Dems-Call-for-End-to-Afghan-War

While Obama Deliberates, Illinois Grad Employees Strike for Education Security

While President Obama mulls flushing another $40 billion a year in our tax dollars down the toilet in Afghanistan, graduate employees at the University of Illinois are on strike to protect their ability to complete their education. If Obama said no to escalation, that would free up $1.7 billion for Illinois to spend on education.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/405

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Illinois Grad Employees Strike for Education Security

While former Illinois Senator Barack Obama mulls flushing another $40 billion a year in our tax dollars down the toilet in Afghanistan - that's the estimated annual cost of sending 40,000 more troops for the next several years - graduate employees at the University of Illinois, a "land grant" public institution, are going on strike at 8 AM this morning Chicago time to protect their ability to complete their education, against threats from the University administration to withdraw tuition waivers from graduate employees.

For many teaching assistants and graduate assistants, the withdrawal of a tuition waiver would be an educational death sentence, a de facto financial expulsion from the University. But even though access to a tuition waiver is a basic condition of employment, since without also being students graduate employees would lose their jobs, the University of Illinois administration refuses to bargain the issue with the members of the Graduate Employees Organization, a local of the American Federation of Teachers, even though under Illinois labor law the GEO is the recognized bargaining agent for graduate employees.

The University administration claims that in a time of financial constraint, it needs "flexibility" to undermine a basic condition of graduate employment. It's true, of course, that the University is financially constrained, given the decline in government support for public higher education. But how the University responds to that environment is a choice. Trying to balance your budget by taking essentials away from the weakest people in the food chain is a choice - a choice often made, but still a choice.