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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

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For a DREAMy, Wartime, National Service Draft

Recently, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been sounding the alarm about the fact that the burden of "our" wars is being disproportionately borne by a very small slice of the population: soldiers and their families.

Like, I am sure, many Americans, I have sharply conflicted feelings about this.

One the one hand: I strongly agree with Secretary Gates that the burden is disproportionately falling on a few, and that this is unjust, and I am glad that he is trying to use his position to call attention to this injustice and urge that it be remedied.

On the other hand: they are not my wars. I did not vote for them, I did not and I do not support them. I have worked with others to end them; obviously, my companions and I have not yet succeeded in this endeavor, but going forward, I am more seized with the urgency of ending the wars than with the urgency of spreading the pain more fairly while they continue.

Moreover, I am not a little irritated that my opinions, and those of my companions, are systematically marginalized when major decisions about the wars are made, but we are then urged to more fully share the sacrifices resulting from the decisions into which we were told that our input was not welcome.

Secretary Gates is surely aware of the paradox of his position: he bemoans the fact that the burden of the wars falls disproportionately on a few, but he is well aware that the fact that the burden falls disproportionately on a few is a policy choice that has been made by his colleagues with the goal of facilitating war politically.

If we allow ourselves to consider all possible remedies to the problem posed by Secretary Gates, including those that are politically absurd, an obvious solution presents itself: reinstate the military draft.

But this is a dead letter politically. The Pentagon doesn't want it; Congress will never approve it.

JFP 10/13: Brazil Should Lead on Access to Essential Medicines

Just Foreign Policy News
October 13, 2010

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. (Text of a talk JFP delivered in Sao Paulo on Monday.)
http://www.truth-out.org/brazil-should-lead-access-essential-medicines64129

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1) The number of Afghan civilians hospitalized for serious war wounds has doubled in 12 months in Kandahar, the Guardian reports. In August and September, Mirwais regional hospital admitted almost 1,000 new patients with weapons injuries, according to the Red Cross. The total for the same period of 2009 was 500. The Red Cross reported a "drastic increase" in the number of amputations from war injuries. The Red Cross says a consequence of the increasing violence has been the inability of local people to reach healthcare centers. "The result is that children die from tetanus, measles and tuberculosis - easily prevented with vaccines - while women die in childbirth and otherwise strong men succumb to simple infections," said a Red Cross official.

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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.


With this in mind, I gave the following presentation on October 11 at a conference of doctors and health care workers in Sao Paulo.

***

I want to begin by establishing some context that I think is important for understanding what it is that I am trying to communicate today and what it is that I am urging you to do.

If you ask yourself, how did it come to pass that important social reforms were won, an important part of the story is that groups of people banded together to pursue what they perceived to be a collective self-interest. You can't explain social change if the only possible actor in your head is an individual who is either individually self-interested or individually altruistic. Around the world, human slavery used to be commonplace, now it is not, how did that come to pass? You can't tell a story that makes sense without collective action based on perceived collective self-interest.

If you look at the anti-slavery movement in the United States, important leaders were themselves former slaves. You might say: that's no surprise, they knew what they were talking about. But if they were only acting on the basis of their individual self-interest, why bother? They were already free. Why not simply enrich themselves and tend their gardens?