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18 Senators Support Feingold Amendment Requiring Timetable for Afghanistan Withdrawal

Today the Senate votes on Senator Feingold's amendment to the war supplemental, that would direct the President to establish a timetable for the redeployment of U.S. forces from Afghanistan: Senate Amendment #4204 to H.R. 4899.

Feingold's amendment was co-sponsored by Senator Durbin, Senator Boxer, Senator Merkley, Senator Sherrod Brown, and Senator Sanders.

Eighteen Senators voted yes. Baucus, Boxer, Brown (OH), Cantwell, Dorgan, Durbin, Feingold, Gilibrand, Harkin, Leahy, Merkley, Murray, Sanders, Schumer, Specter, Tester, Udall (NM), and Wyden.

Among others, Franken, Feinstein, and Burris voted no.

The text of the amendment is here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/sites/default/files/Timetable_Amend_420...

Regime Change Redux? Reading Tom Friedman in Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo - New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is on the warpath. Not only against his "Great Satan" of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also against Brazil's President Lula and Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan, because they had the temerity to succeed in negotiating an agreement with Iran to try to de-escalate the confrontation between the United States and Iran over Iran's nuclear program without the subsequent approval of Washington. [Apparently Brazil and Turkey had White House approval to try - a week before the effort, but it seems that they did not have White House approval to succeed.]

Friedman claims that a May 17 picture of Iran's president joining Lula and Erdogan "with raised arms" after their signing of a "putative deal" to defuse the crisis over Iran's "nuclear weapons program" [does the New York Times do fact-checking on Friedman?] was "about as ugly as it gets."

If it's literally true that that picture was "as ugly as it gets," then presumably that would imply that it was at least as ugly - if not more ugly - than, for example, the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, an invasion which was clearly illegal under the U.N. Charter, as former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan affirmed in 2004, an invasion which likely resulted in the deaths of more than a million Iraqis - and an invasion which Tom Friedman supported, as he explained to Charlie Rose in May 2003:

 

U.S. Media Censors U.S. Support of Iran Fuel Swap

Sao Paulo - If you get your information from major U.S. media, and you follow U.S. foreign policy, then you know that last week Iran, Brazil, and Turkey signed an agreement for Iran to ship about half of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Turkey, in exchange for subsequent Western supply of higher-enriched uranium to fuel Iran's medical research reactor - fuel Iran needs in order to treat Iranian medical patients, fuel to which Iran is entitled as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. 

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JFP 5/24: Brazil, Turkey: Obama Asked Us to Get the Deal

Just Foreign Policy News
May 24, 2010

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Tell Obama: Talk to Iran
As Senator Obama argued in his campaign for the Presidency, the U.S. should "never fear to negotiate." Urge President Obama to follow through on his promise to talk with Iran - and spread our video documenting President Obama's promises to negotiate.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/iran

Here comes the war supplemental
The White House wants the Afghanistan war supplemental by Memorial Day. Urge your Representative and Senators to 1) Support the Feingold McGovern bill, requiring the President to establish a timetable for military withdrawal 2) Oppose the war supplemental.
Currently the McGovern bill has 91 cosponsors in the House.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern

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U.S./Top News

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JFP 5/20 - Kinzer: UN sanctions risk real progress on Iran

Just Foreign Policy News
May 20, 2010

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial support allows us to educate Americans about U.S. foreign policy and to create opportunities for Americans to advocate for U.S. policies that are more just.
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Here comes the war supplemental
The White House wants the Afghanistan war supplemental by Memorial Day. Urge your Representative and Senators to 1) Support the Feingold McGovern bill, requiring the President to establish a timetable for military withdrawal 2) Oppose the war supplemental 3) join the "Out of Afghanistan Caucus" (see below.)

Email:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern
Call:
1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard.

Out of Afghanistan Caucus Formed
Rep. Conyers has established an "Out of Afghanistan" Caucus in the House.
http://conyers.house.gov/_files/OutofAfghanistanCaucusPrinciples.pdf

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U.S./Top News
1) By reflexively dismissing the Brazil-Turkey-Iran deal, the US risks seeming unreasonable and petulant, writes Stephen Kinzer for GlobalPost. A wiser course would be to welcome the deal as a promising foundation, and seek positive ways to build on it.

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JFP News 5/18: Parsing the White House Statement on the Iran Fuel Swap Deal

Just Foreign Policy News
May 18, 2010

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial support allows us to educate Americans about U.S. foreign policy and to create opportunities for Americans to advocate for U.S. policies that are more just.
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Here comes the war supplemental
The White House wants the Afghanistan war supplemental by Memorial Day. Urge your Representative and Senators to 1) Oppose the war supplemental and 2) Support the Feingold McGovern bill, requiring the President to establish a timetable for military withdrawal..
Email:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern
Call:
1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard.

Parsing the White House Statement on the Iran Nuclear Fuel Swap Deal
Unlike many commenters - such as the German government - the White House response leaves the door open for a negotitated deal, by focusing its objection on 20% enrichment, rather than enrichment per se; unlike the response of other critics, the White House response is at least consistent with the original spirit of the deal, the whole point of which was to open up a road for dealing with international concerns about Iran's nuclear program without recourse to the non-starter demand of suspension of all enrichment.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/581

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U.S./Top News

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Parsing the White House Statement on the Iran Nuclear Fuel Swap Deal

Perhaps I still have a bit too much of that "hopey-changey" Kool-Aid in my system, but I read the White House statement in response to the Iran-Turkey-Brazil announcement as saying to Iran: "We acknowledge that you moved. We're still ready to deal, and we'll see you in Geneva."

The White House statement is here:

I think it's fair to assume that a good deal of thought went into crafting this statement. Robert Gibbs did not come up with these words on his own. The folks in the Obama Administration who run nuclear diplomacy chose these words.

So what words did they choose, and what should we infer from them?

1. "We acknowledge the efforts that have been made by Turkey and Brazil."

This is positive. Regardless of what the Obama Administration said before the President of Brazil went to Iran, what the Obama Administration is saying now is: "Mazl Tov! Parabens! Tebrikler!" This is good. If you want a deal, the role of Brazil and Turkey is positive, not negative. Clearly, the involvement of Brazil and Turkey is raising the comfort level of the Iranians with the fuel swap deal. That's a good thing that should be encouraged. If you want a deal, you want the other side to be comfortable with the deal. Plus, now Brazil and Turkey have skin in the game. If Iran reneges, it's going to make Brazil and Turkey look bad. That's good. We are now in a situation where it's not "P5+1" on one side of the table and Iran on the other, but P5+1 on one side of the table and Iran +2 on the other. If your goal is to isolate Iran, that's bad. But if your goal it's to get a deal, that's good. The more signatures there are on the paper, the stronger the deal is.

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JFP 5/17: "Gooaal!" for Lula Against Western Push for Iran Sanctions

Just Foreign Policy News
May 17, 2010

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It's "Gooaal!" for Lula Against Western Push for Iran Sanctions
AP reports that the fuel swap deal that Iran has agreed to with Brazil and Turkey is substantially the same deal that the US has been promoting. Is the Obama Administration prepared to take "yes" for an answer?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/its-gollllllll-for-lula-a_b_578390.html

Statement by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Iran

Acknowledges efforts made by Turkey and Brazil; says proposal announced in Iran must be conveyed to the IAEA before US can formally respond; says it would be a positive step for Iran to transfer low-enriched uranium off of its soil; notes Iran said it would continue its 20% enrichment, which Iran originally justified by pointing to the need for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor; says US remains committed to a diplomatic solution.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/statement-white-house-press-secretary-robert-gibbs-iran

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U.S./Top News

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It's "Gollllllll!" for Lula Against Western Push for Iran Sanctions


If I were in Washington this morning, I would run down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to Congress with a big Brazilian flag, as the young Brazilians run down the Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo during the the "football" match, shouting "Gollllllll!"

Because with the news this morning that Iran has agreed to ship most of its enriched uranium to Turkey, in a nuclear fuel swap deal reached in talks with Brazil and Turkey that could "deflate a U.S.-led push" for new sanctions against Iran, the President of Brazil has scored a goal against the neocons in the West who want to gin up confrontation with Iran towards a future military conflict.

AP reports:

 

JFP 5/14: Could Congress Block Antiworker IMF 'Bailouts' in Europe?

Just Foreign Policy News
May 14, 2010

Could Congress Block Antiworker IMF 'Bailouts' in Europe?

Republicans are trying to block the Treasury Department from supporting U.S. tax funded IMF contributions to the "bailouts" in Europe, which, as economist Mark Weisbrot explains, aren't bailouts for working families at all - for working families, the IMF programs guarantee extreme hardship, and most Europeans would be much better off if these IMF packages collapse - but bailouts of European banks with bad loans. If a handful of anti-IMF Democrats decide to pile in with the Republicans, it's a whole new ballgame.
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/05/14-9

VIDEO: Zackie Achmat speech (Treatment Action Campaign, South Africa) at May 13th Obama AIDS (non-)treatment protest in NYC

See also article from the Advocate, #5 below; 8 people were arrested.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=futmdmjE2ew&

VIDEO: Urge Congress to End the War in Afghanistan

Just Foreign Policy made a short video to help publicize the McGovern bill and the importance of a timetable for military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Spread it all around. http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/video/feingold-mcgovern

Beverly Bell - The Urgency of Housing in Haiti: First Priority in Addressing Widespread Rape
Conditions in the camps substantially heighten the risk.
http://www.truthout.org/the-urgency-housing-haiti-first-priority-addressing-widespread-rape-part-i59464

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