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A "Pledge of Resistance" to Defend Social Security (and Defund the Empire)

For the third time in the last 20 years, establishment voices, with high-profile slots in traditional media, are trying to convince the public to accept cuts to Social Security by endlessly claiming such cuts are necessary without giving coherent evidence to justify the claim. Twice, under President Clinton and the second President Bush, these voices were defeated. But they didn't give up. And now they are in striking distance of their goal: the fact that Republicans have taken over the House, combined with the fact that the President appointed a deficit reduction commission which nearly recommended a cut in Social Security benefits, and might well have done so if Rep. Schakowsky hadn't worked to undermine the co-chairs' plan, means that one can't be complacent; some reports have suggested that the President may indicate support for cuts to Social Security in his State of the Union speech. Of the two principal Washington political actors who will shape the outcome - the Republican leadership and the President's team - one is a determined adversary of the public interest, the other a very uncertain ally. The most successful anti-poverty program in U.S. history is again in grave danger.

Twenty years ago, Social Security was called the "third rail" of U.S. politics. Touch it, you die. But it turned out that was not true. The Establishment greedheads were not, in fact, afraid to try to mess with this wildly popular program. Maybe Wall Street political power is the third rail.

In these two decades, Social Security hasn't been the third rail. Instead, it's been the Grey Goose of folk song legend. The knife couldn't cut him and the fork couldn't stick him. Try as they might, they couldn't kill him. Can the Grey Goose survive the next assault?

JFP 1/4: 63% oppose war; GOP MEK support a crime? Iran Pres sought fuel swap

Just Foreign Policy News
January 4, 2011

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A House that Votes for Peace: Is There a Path to 218?
On July 1, the representatives of 44 House districts that lean Democratic voted against establishing a timeline for military withdrawal from Afghanistan, even as Speaker Pelosi and 61% of House Democrats were voting in favor.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/a-house-that-votes-for-pe_b_802292.html

60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll: Public prefers military cuts to cutting Social Security

In response to "what would you do first," 20% say cut "defense" spending, while only 4% say cut Medicare and only 3% say cut Social Security. (61% say increase taxes on the wealthy.)
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/22/60minutes/main7175226_page8.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody

CNN Poll: U.S. opposition to Afghanistan war remains high

Sixty-three percent oppose the war, 35 percent in favor. Democrats: 74% oppose, 24% favor; Independents: 63% oppose, 35% favor; Republicans: 52% favor, 44% oppose. CNN finds "Tea Party" supporters the same as Republicans overall: 52% favor, 45% oppose. Poll conducted December 17-19, 2010.
http://afghanistan.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/03/cnn-poll-u-s-opposition-to-afghanistan-war-remains-high/

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JFP 1/3: Sen. Graham calls for permanent bases in Afghanistan

Just Foreign Policy News
January 3, 2011

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A House that Votes for Peace: Is There a Path to 218?
On July 1, the representatives of 44 House districts that lean Democratic voted against establishing a timeline for military withdrawal from Afghanistan, even as Speaker Pelosi and other Democratic leaders were voting in favor.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/a-house-that-votes-for-pe_b_802292.html

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Table 2: Districts lost by Democrats which supported Afghanistan timetable for withdrawal

Here are the 17 districts (by descending PVI) lost by Democrats in which the Representative in the 111th Congress supported a timetable for withdrawal:

Table 1: Democratic districts which voted against a timetable for withdrawal

The following 51 Congressional Districts have the following two properties: 1) they lean Democratic (or, in the case of the last seven, are even) according to the Cook Partisan Voting Index; and 2) on July 1, 2010, their Representative in the House voted no on requiring that a timetable be established for the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan.
 

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JFP 12/23: Conyers, 30 Reps: Petraeus Must Testify on Afghan Review

Just Foreign Policy News
December 23, 2010

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Rep. Conyers and 30 other Members sent a letter to President Obama asking that General Petraeus be made available to testify before the House early in the 112th Congress on conditions in Afghanistan. "It is absolutely critical that there are oversight hearings on the War in Afghanistan, which include General Petraeus, early in the 112th Congress," said Conyers. " Fighting in Afghanistan this year has resulted in more troop deaths, more civilian deaths, and an ever-expanding $2 billion a week financial commitment… It is difficult to argue that this constitutes progress."

2) WikiLeaks says it will publish hundreds of "sensitive" US diplomatic cables on Israel, AFP reports. "Sensitive and classified documents" on Israel's 2006 war on Lebanon and January's assassination in Dubai of Hamas militant Mahmud al-Mabhuh would be released, Julian Assange told Al-Jazeera.

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JFP 12/22: Citing WikiLeaks, Mauritius denounces "deceit" on US military base

Just Foreign Policy News
December 22, 2010

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) The prime minister of Mauritius has accused Britain of pursuing a "policy of deceit" over the Chagos islands, its Indian Ocean colony from where islanders were evicted to make way for a US military base, the Guardian reports. The British government's decision to establish a marine reserve around Diego Garcia and surrounding islands was exposed this month by WikiLeaks as the latest ruse to prevent the islanders from ever returning to their homeland. A US diplomatic cable dated May 2009 revealed that a Foreign Office official had told the US a decision to set up a "marine protected area" would "effectively end the islanders' resettlement claims." A US state department official commented: "Establishing a marine reserve might, indeed, as the FCO's Roberts stated, be the most effective long-term way to prevent any of the Chagos Islands' former inhabitants or their descendants from resettling in the BIOT."

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JFP 12/21: US moots opening new war front in Pakistan

Just Foreign Policy News
December 21, 2010

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Afghanistan experts call for peace deal and exit strategy

Afghanistan experts with decades of experience in the country call on President Obama to change course and push for a peace settlement and exit strategy. Signers include: Scott Atran, Michael Cohen, Gilles Dorronsoro, Bernard Finel, Joshua Foust, Anatol Lieven, Ahmed Rashid, and Alex Strick van Linschoten.
http://www.afghanistancalltoreason.com/

In These Times: "Terrorist by Association"
The Justice Department targets nonviolent solidarity activists.
http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/6745/terrorist_by_association

Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Senior US military commanders in Afghanistan are pushing for an expanded campaign of Special Operations ground raids across the border into Pakistan's tribal areas, the New York Times reports. The decision to expand US military activity in Pakistan would amount to the opening of a new front in the nine-year-old war, the Times says.

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JFP 12/20: Biden: '11 drawdown won't be "token"; out in '14 "hell or high water"

Just Foreign Policy News
December 20, 2010

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Reporters Without Borders: WikiLeaks is Protected by First Amendment
"Prosecuting WikiLeaks' founders and other people linked to the website would seriously damage media freedom in the US and impede the work of journalists who cover sensitive subjects. It would also weaken the US and the international community efforts at protecting human rights, providing governments with poor press freedom records a ready-made excuse to justify censorship and retributive judicial campaigns against civil society and the media. We believe the US credibility as a leading proponent of freedom of expression is at stake, and that any arbitrary prosecution of WikiLeaks for receiving and publishing sensitive documents would inevitably create a dangerous precedent."
http://en.rsf.org/open-letter-to-president-obama-and-17-12-2010,39075.html

Afghanistan experts call for peace deal and exit strategy

Afghanistan experts with decades of experience in the country call on President Obama to change course and push for a peace settlement and exit strategy. Signers include: Scott Atran, Michael Cohen, Gilles Dorronsoro, Bernard Finel, Joshua Foust, Anatol Lieven, Ahmed Rashid, and Alex Strick van Linschoten.
http://www.afghanistancalltoreason.com/

Rap News 6 - Wikileaks' Cablegate: the truth is out there
Latest installment from Robert Foster.

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JFP 12/17: WikiLeaks cables show why UN troops should leave Haiti

Just Foreign Policy News
December 17, 2010

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RT video: US wasted billions in Afghanistan
Just Foreign Policy tells RT: "To claim progress is fundamentally misleading. There's no evidence that the quagmire has changed or that it will change anytime in the foreseeable future."
http://rt.com/usa/news/usa-billions-afghanistan-nato-war/

Bogus Afghan "Review" Shows Need for Journalism on Classified Information
U.S. intelligence agencies say Pakistan remains unwilling to stop providing support and sanctuary for members of the Afghan Taliban. Experts inside and outside of the government think there is no reason to expect Pakistan's policy will change, because it is based on Pakistani perception of core national security interests and opposition to what the Pakistanis see as a pro-India U.S. policy in Afghanistan, which the U.S. has no plans to change. The clear implication of the intelligence agencies assessment is that the current U.S. war policy is doomed to costly failure.

The reason that we know this is because news outlets like the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times report on classified information, and because of WikiLeaks. That's why the attacks on WikiLeaks are not only attacks on freedom of the press, but also attacks on the ability of the public to end the Afghanistan war and prevent new wars.

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