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Restore Sanity? Jon Stewart Gave Senator Coburn a Bum Rap on Haiti Aid

Like many Americans, I have a great deal of sympathy with the thrust of Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity on October 30. It's bad enough that the debasement of public discourse is unpleasant, and encourages some Americans to want to withdraw from politics completely; but the debasement of public discourse is also a major obstacle to enacting policies that America needs.

If you think, for example, that endless war in Afghanistan is not in America's interest, and that we would be better off seriously pursuing a negotiated political solution with leaders of the Afghan Taliban and with countries in the region including Pakistan and Iran, it's not in your interest to have a political environment where someone can essentially shut down your voice by accusing you of wanting to "cut and run," or of being "soft on terrorism," or of "not caring about Afghan women." Such a political environment is a mandate for endless war. The debasement of public discourse has been a major obstacle to ending the war in Afghanistan.

This week the New York Times reported that serious efforts towards "talks about talks" have begun between the Afghan government and leaders of the Afghan Taliban. This and similar reports have sparked significant debate: are these developments really significant, or are they being hyped? Are Taliban leaders of sufficient rank being included to make the talks meaningful? Is Mullah Omar, leader of the main branch of the Afghan Taliban, being excluded? Is Pakistan being excluded? If key players remain excluded, won't that be likely to sink the talks?

JFP 10/21: Sen. Coburn gets a bum rap on Haiti aid

Just Foreign Policy News
October 21, 2010

Britain's Budget Cuts - Will the Bell Toll For Us?
Failure to cut military spending in Britain will mean draconian cuts in domestic spending, the New York Times reports. Their fate will likely be ours if we don't get serious about cutting the military budget. But we can't get serious about cutting the military budget until we end the war in Afghanistan. By dithering about peace talks - excluding Pakistan and key Taliban leaders - the Pentagon is threatening your Social Security check.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/britains-budget-cuts--wi_b_771570.html

FCNL: Put the Pentagon Budget on the Table
Urge those who seek to represent you to support cuts to the military budget.
http://www.capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=18902746

Nago Resolution demands retraction of Japan-U.S. agreement to relocate Futenma within Okinawa
On October 15, the city assembly of Nago, Okinawa, demanded the retraction of the agreement to relocate the US base within Okinawa, as demanded by public opinion in Okinawa. The resolution was addressed to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.
http://peacephilosophy.blogspot.com/2010/10/nago-citys-resolution.html

Beverly Bell: Surviving in Haiti

A survey of camp-dwelling families by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti found that in more than half of the families, the children went at least one entire day in the prior week without eating at all; 44% primarily drink untreated water; 78% live without enclosed shelter.

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Britain's Budget Cuts - Will the Bell Toll For Us?

This week, the British government announced plans to cut its military personnel by 10 percent, scrap 40 percent of the army's artillery and tanks, and withdraw all of its troops from Germany within 10 years, the New York Times reports. The plan will involve a cut of about 8 percent in real terms in Britain's annual defense budget, significantly less than the 10 to 20 percent cuts that were under discussion. The Times attributes the reduced military cuts, in part, to US government pressure.

The reduced cuts in military spending are expected to lead to increased cuts in domestic spending:

 

The more modest scale of the military cutbacks placed extra strain on the government's overall effort to save more than $130 billion through spending cutbacks by 2015, a commitment that will require other government departments to make cutbacks averaging 25 percent. [my emphasis]

This what we have to look forward to with a Republican Congress: demands for budget cuts from which military spending is largely spared and which therefore will fall on domestic spending, like Social Security.

JFP 10/20: US Blocks Salvadoran Activist from testifying at Human Rights Commission

Just Foreign Policy News
October 20, 2010

CISPES: U.S. Prevents Anti-Mining Activist from testifying before Inter-American Human Rights Commission
On October 18, the US Consulate in El Salvador refused to allow Hector Berríos to travel to Washington D.C. and appear before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) to give testimony on mining-related violence in El Salvador. He is the fourth anti-mining activist to be denied a travel visa to the United States this month. Requested action at link.
http://www.cispes.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=771&Itemid=1

30 Reps Urge Suspension of US Aid to Honduras
30 Members of Congress have written to Secretary of State Clinton, urging that US assistance to Honduras, particularly military and police aid, be suspended until the Lobo government adequately addresses human rights violations.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/734

Video: Mark Weisbrot Debates the IMF
As part of the IMF/WB Fall meetings, Just Foreign Policy President Mark Weisbrot debated Petya Koeva Brooks, chief of the World Economic Studies Division at the IMF: are IMF policies appropriate for the current global economic recovery? http://www.cepr.net/index.php/events/events/macroeconomic-policy-what-are-the-global-trends

A Robin Hood Tax to Pay for the Wars?

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US Reps Urge Suspension of US Aid to Honduras

30 Members of Congress have written to Secretary of State Clinton, urging that US assistance to Honduras, particularly military and police aid, be suspended until the Lobo government adequately addresses human rights violations. The letter is here.

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JFP 10/19: A Robin Hood Tax to Pay for the Wars?

Just Foreign Policy News
October 19, 2010

A Robin Hood Tax to Pay for the Wars
Instead of just saying that the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans should be allowed to expire, let's say that they should be allowed to expire and that the money saved shall be earmarked for the veterans' trust fund. That will give the super-rich a powerful incentive to push back against the permanent war.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/robin-hood-taxes-to-pay-f_b_768171.html

"Taking the Public Out of Public TV": FAIR Study Shows Pro-War Bias
On segments focusing on the Afghan War, though polls show consistent majorities of Americans have opposed the war for more than a year, not a single NewsHour guest represented an antiwar group or expressed antiwar views. Similarly, no representative of a human rights or humanitarian organization appeared on the NewsHour during the study period.
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4178

Pew: Cell Phones and Election Polls
Polling that doesn't include cell-phone only people may introduce bias.
http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1761/cell-phones-and-election-polls-2010-midterm-elections

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A Robin Hood Tax to Pay for the Wars

Two weeks until Election Day, and no-one is talking about the wars, the New York Times reports. (Of course, that's not quite true: as the Washington Post reports, for example, this former Army Green Beret is running for Congress in Missouri on a platform of ending the war in Afghanistan.)

Unsurprisingly, the wars may have slipped down on many people's lists of top concerns in the face of 9.5% officially measured unemployment and the foreclosure crisis. But some people are talking about projected U.S. budget deficits and what to do about them, and since the permanent war is a major cause of projected budget deficits, that means the permanent war is on the table.

Furthermore, a key question hanging over the election is this: in America today, is it politically feasible to make the super-rich pay their fair share of taxes? So far, the answer given to this question by the election season seems to be no. Some Democrats thought that they had a winning issue politically in allowing the Bush tax cuts on the super-rich to expire, but, so far, it seems that they were wrong.

JFP 10/18: US Drops Pretense on Iran Sanctions

Just Foreign Policy News
October 18, 2010

Photo: UN soldier points his gun at independent journalist Ansel Herz
Your tax dollars at work in Haiti.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52027548@N04/5086378830/

Beverly Bell: Citizen Protests, Government Repression Mount in Haiti
Haitians have been taking to the streets with increasing frequency since August in calls for redress of the economic and social crisis which has followed the earthquake.
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/10/18-3

AFSCME Council 5 Condemns FBI Raids on Peace Activists
The AFSCME resolution notes that four anti-war activists targeted by the FBI "have not been arrested or charged with any crime," "These four members in good standing are well-known and respected activists in our union," and "FBI spokespersons have stated that the raids were prompted by the activities of these four members, and other individuals subject to the same raids, in seeking peace and justice for workers and other oppressed peoples throughout the world."
http://stopfbi.net/2010/10/03/afscme-council-5-resolution-on-judicial-police-intimidation-of-union-members/

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JFP 10/15: "Palestinian Gandhi" Sentenced to Year in Prison

Just Foreign Policy News
October 15, 2010

For a DREAMy, Wartime, National Service Draft
How could we share the burden of war more fairly, end current wars more quickly, and deter future wars, while not compelling Americans to directly participate in unjust wars against their will? We could institute a wartime national service draft. A universal time tax would disproportionately inconvenience the super-rich, who would then be likely to use their disproportionate political influence to end current wars and stop new ones. A national service draft could also give undocumented Americans of service age a path to citizenship, and give the government a means to soak up unemployed labor and put it to good use.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/for-a-dreamy-wartime-nati_b_762757.html

Brazil Should Lead on Access to Essential Medicines
By the greater use of compulsory licenses, Brazil could lower drug costs not only in Brazil, but in developing countries overall. At a time when the New York Times is reporting that "the global battle against AIDS is falling apart for lack of money," it is absolutely essential that the price of lifesaving medicines in developing countries be driven down to the absolute minimum possible.
http://www.truth-out.org/brazil-should-lead-access-essential-medicines64129

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JFP 10/14: For a DREAMy, Wartime, National Service Draft

Just Foreign Policy News
October 14, 2010

For a DREAMy, Wartime, National Service Draft
How could we share the burden of war more fairly, end current wars more quickly, and deter future wars, while not compelling Americans to directly participate in unjust wars against their will? We could institute a wartime national service draft. A universal time tax would disproportionately inconvenience the super-rich, who would then be likely to use their disproportionate political influence to end current wars and stop new ones. A national service draft could also give undocumented Americans of service age a path to citizenship, and give the government a means to soak up unemployed labor and put it to good use.
http://www.truth-out.org/for-a-dreamy-wartime-national-service-draft64206

Brazil Should Lead on Access to Essential Medicines
By the greater use of compulsory licenses, Brazil could lower drug costs not only in Brazil, but in developing countries overall. At a time when the New York Times is reporting that "the global battle against AIDS is falling apart for lack of money," it is absolutely essential that the price of lifesaving medicines in developing countries be driven down to the absolute minimum possible.
http://www.truth-out.org/brazil-should-lead-access-essential-medicines64129

Help Support Our Work
Your donation helps us educate Americans and create opportunities to advocate for a just foreign policy.
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