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House Votes Today on Afghan, Pakistan Wars

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this afternoon on the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This morning, the Senate version of the Afghanistan war supplemental was brought up under "suspension" rules, which require a 2/3 majority to pass. This expedited procedure is generally used for measures considered "uncontroversial," which is odd, to say the least, since the war in Afghanistan is anything but uncontroversial, with the most recent evidence being the release by Wikileaks of secret documents on the war, which the New York Times reported "offers an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal."

House Appropriations Chair David Obey, who will vote no on the war supplemental, asked for a roll call, which is expected this afternoon, some time after 2pm Eastern.

On July 1, 162 Members of the House voted for the McGovern-Obey-Jones amendment that would have required President Obama to establish a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, the position of 54% of Americans, according to a recent CBS poll. The measure being voted on this afternoon contains no provision concerning a timetable for withdrawal. Nor does it include the money to prevent the layoffs of teachers that the House attached to the war supplemental on July 1.

If 90% of the Members who voted for the McGovern-Obey-Jones amendment on July 1 vote no this afternoon on the war supplemental, the measure will fail.

Defense News: War Supplemental Not Needed to Fund Troops

According to a plausible AP report last Thursday, heavy political pressure was expected on the House Democratic leadership this week to approve a war supplemental for Afghanistan that contains no money to avoid impending layoffs of school teachers and other public employees, nor any kind timetable for military drawdown from Afghanistan. No doubt many Republicans who support the endless and pointless war and who oppose spending to avoid layoffs of teachers and other public employees and to boost the domestic economy might be sorely tempted to try to bully House Democrats into quickly approving the war money by accusing them of "not supporting the troops" if they refuse to approve the money this week, trying to imply that if the war supplemental is not approved this week, pay or supplies for the troops might be endangered.

But this claim has been objectively refuted by Obama Administration officials. If the war supplemental is not approved this week, the troops will still be paid and the troops will still be fully supplied. There is no "emergency" requiring action this week; there plenty of time for the House Democratic leadership to insist on provisions in the war supplemental different from those preferred by the Senate, including money for teachers and some kind of timetable for military drawdown in Afghanistan.

Defense News reports:

 

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Will House Dems Oppose a Jobless War Supplemental?

The war supplemental for Afghanistan is expected to come back from the Senate to the House next week - without any kind of timetable for military withdrawal from Afghanistan, and without money to save teachers' jobs attached.

AP reports:

 

In a take-it-or-leave-it gesture, the Senate voted Thursday night to reject more than $20 billion in domestic spending the House had tacked on to its $60 billion bill to fund President Barack Obama's troop surge in Afghanistan.

[...]

The moves repel a long-shot bid by House Democrats earlier this month to resurrect their faltering jobs agenda with $10 billion in grants to school districts to avoid teacher layoffs, $5 billion for Pell Grants to low-income college students, $1 billion for a summer jobs program and $700 million to improve security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Labor unions had strongly backed the House Democratic effort to attach money to the supplemental to boost employment and avoid teacher layoffs. Will these unions now urge House Democrats to vote no on any jobless war supplemental?

Few expect that the House, in a freestanding vote next week, would reject the $33 billion request for the Afghanistan war, since until now there has been a solid block of more than 90% of House Republicans committed to voting yes on what they would consider a "relatively clean" war supplemental.

JFP 7/23: Teacherless War Supplemental Coming Back to the House

Just Foreign Policy News
July 23, 2010

KPFK Uprising: The U.S.-U.K. "Special Relationship" and Afghanistan
Just Foreign Policy talks with Sonali Kolhatkar and argues that the US-UK "special relationship," in which Britain is expected to collaborate with U.S. wars even when they are unpopular and illegal, is in the interest of the majority in neither country.
http://uprisingradio.org/home/?p=14541

Urge Your Rep. to Vote No on the War Supplemental
The war supplemental for Afghanistan is expected to come back to the House next week - without any kind of timetable for military withdrawal from Afghanistan, and without money to save teachers' jobs attached. Urge your Representative to vote no on the war supplemental. FCNL has established a toll-free number: 1-888-493-5443. If you use this number, it will add to FCNL's count of how many people called Congress against the war supplemental, so your call will make two marks.

Don't Let Petraeus Sabotage Afghan Peace Talks
54% of Americans want the U.S. to establish a timetable for military withdrawal from Afghanistan, CBS News reports. But if General Petraeus has his way, the U.S. will dig in deeper. Petraeus wants the State Department to designate part of the Afghan Taliban as a "foreign terrorist organization," which, as the New York Times noted, would undermine Afghan government efforts to end the war through political reconciliation with the Taliban - efforts that the U.S. claims that it supports [see e.g. Guardian story, below]. Urge your representatives in Congress to oppose Petraeus' "backdoor escalation" to prolong the war.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/petraeus

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JFP 7/21: Congress doubts war strategy; White House backs talks with senior Taliban

Just Foreign Policy News
July 21, 2010

Don't Let Petraeus Sabotage Afghan Peace Talks
54% of Americans want the U.S. to establish a timetable for military withdrawal from Afghanistan, CBS News reports. But if General Petraeus has his way, the U.S. will dig in deeper. Petraeus wants the State Department to designate part of the Afghan Taliban as a "foreign terrorist organization," which, as the New York Times noted, would undermine Afghan government efforts to end the war through political reconciliation with the Taliban - efforts that the U.S. claims that it supports [see e.g. Guardian story, below]. Urge your representatives in Congress to oppose Petraeus' "backdoor escalation" to prolong the war.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/petraeus

South of the Border, scheduled screenings:
http://southoftheborderdoc.com/in-theatres/

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.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

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U.S./Top News

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JFP 7/20 - Diplomat: Kandahar offensive "particularly foolish" since Taliban will get it anyway

Just Foreign Policy News
July 20, 2010

Groups urge State Dept. to denounce human rights violations in Honduras
In a letter to Secretary of State Clinton, 26 religious and human rights organizations urge the State Department to publicly denounce human rights violations in Honduras. The letter points to systematic violations of human rights directed against human rights defenders, activists and journalists in Honduras that have taken place since the inauguration of Lobo on January 27. The signers ask the Obama Administration to condition U.S. assistance on concrete actions that demonstrate a commitment by the Honduran government to uphold the rule of law and to support the establishment of an office of the UN Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras.
http://bit.ly/9jDbSX

Vote: Dumbest Mistake in a "South of the Border" Review!
A host of reviews of "South of the Border" get countries and presidents mixed up with each other, confuse democratic elections with coups d'etat, and other errors. What do you think is the dumbest mistake in a "Border" review so far? Vote in the poll.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/7/13/154938/096

South of the Border, scheduled screenings:

http://southoftheborderdoc.com/in-theatres/

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.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

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JFP 7/19: Haass: Decentralize in Afghanistan; US activists launch campaign for Gaza boat

Just Foreign Policy News
July 19, 2010

Iara Lee: Slandering the Good Guys: Some Basic Facts About IHH
Filmmaker Iara Lee, who was part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, responds to attacks on the Turkish humanitarian NGO IHH.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/iara-lee/slandering-the-good-guys_b_649604.html

WaPo: "A hidden world, growing beyond control"

A Washington Post investigation looks at the explosion of the "national security state" since September 11, 2001. An accompanying map documents "secret facilities" around the country.
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/

Vote: Dumbest Mistake in a "South of the Border" Review!
A host of reviews of "South of the Border" get countries and presidents mixed up with each other, confuse democratic elections with coups d'etat, and other errors. What do you think is the dumbest mistake in a "Border" review so far? Vote in the poll.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/7/13/154938/096

South of the Border, scheduled screenings:

http://southoftheborderdoc.com/in-theatres/

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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JFP 7/16: Mark Weisbrot on South of the Border; U.S. Wounded, Suicides Breaking Records

Just Foreign Policy News
July 16, 2010

FAIR/CounterSpin: Mark Weisbrot on South of the Border
Oliver Stone's film South of the Border looks at the leftward shift in Latin America. The film attempts to correct for what it argues is a skewed presentation in the U.S. media of these developments. So what kind of reaction has the film received so far? CounterSpin talks to Mark Weisbrot, president of Just Foreign Policy and a co-writer of the film.
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4115

54% Want Afghan Exit, but Petraeus Could Nix Peace Talks with Terror Naming

54% of Americans want the U.S. to establish a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, CBS reports. But if General Petraeus has his way, the State Department will designate part of the Afghan Taliban a terrorist organization. That would undermine peace moves, the New York Times reports - peace moves the Administration says it supports. Petraeus' move would undermine not only a timetable for withdrawal, but the "serious drawdown" in July 2011 that Vice President Biden told Newsweek we can "bet on" and Speaker Pelosi told the Huffington Post she expects.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/54-want-afghan-exit-but-p_b_647626.html

Vote: Dumbest Mistake in a "South of the Border" Review!
A host of reviews of "South of the Border" get countries and presidents mixed up with each other, confuse democratic elections with coups d'etat, and other errors. What do you think is the dumbest mistake in a "Border" review so far? Vote in the poll!

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JFP 7/15: 54% Want Afghan Exit, but Petraeus Could Nix Peace Talks with Terror Naming

Just Foreign Policy News
July 15, 2010

54% Want Afghan Exit, but Petraeus Could Nix Peace Talks with Terror Naming
The majority of Americans want the U.S. to establish a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, CBS News reports. But if General Petraeus has his way, the State Department will designate part of the Afghan Taliban as a terrorist organization. That would undermine peace moves in Afghanistan, the New York Times reports - peace moves that the Administration told Newsweek that it supports. Petraeus' move would undermine not only a timetable for withdrawal, but the "serious drawdown" in July 2011 that Vice President Biden told Newsweek we can "bet on" and Speaker Pelosi told the Huffington Post she expects.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/54-want-afghan-exit-but-p_b_647626.html

J Street Calls for Treasury Investigation Into Settlement Charities
J Street is calling on the U.S. Treasury Department to launch an investigation into whether American charities that fund Israeli settlement activity have broken the law. These tax-exempt organizations are working to undermine a two-state solution by deepening the occupation. Some even fund settlement outposts that the Israeli government considers illegal.
http://jstreet.org/campaigns/j-street-calls-treasury-investigation-into-settlement-charities

Vote: Dumbest Mistake in a "South of the Border" Review!

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54% for Afghan Exit, but Petraeus Move Could Nix Peace Talks with Terror Naming

The majority of Americans want the Obama Administration to establish a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, CBS News reports. 54% think the U.S. should set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, with 41% opposed. Among Democrats, 73% think the U.S. should set a timetable, with 21% opposed; among independents, 54% support a withdrawal timetable, with 40% opposed; among Republicans, 32% support a withdrawal timetable, with 66% opposed.

Two weeks ago today, Members of the House of Representatives were polled on a similar proposition, when the House voted on an amendment introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern [D-MA], Rep. David Obey [D-WI], and Rep. Walter Jones [R-NC] that would have required the President to establish a timetable for the redeployment of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan. That amendment failed, with 153 Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, voting yes, and 98 Democrats voting no; while 9 Republicans voted yes and 162 Republicans voted no. So in the McGovern-Obey-Jones "poll," Democrats in the House were 60%-38% in favor of a withdrawal timetable, while House Republicans were 91%-5% against.

If Democratic and Republican voters in the CBS poll had been allowed to stand in for Democrats and Republicans in the House two weeks ago (ignoring independents, also pro-timetable), the McGovern amendment would have passed 243-171, with 186 Democrats and 57 Republicans voting yes, and 54 Democrats and 117 Republicans voting no.