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JFP 1/5: A Pledge of Resistance to Defend Social Security and Defund the Empire

Just Foreign Policy News
January 5, 2011

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A "Pledge of Resistance" to Defend Social Security (and Defund the Empire)
If we had a "Pledge of Resistance" to defend Social Security, like the "Pledge of Resistance" that pledged to resist a U.S. invasion of Nicaragua, much of the support for cutting Social Security benefits would likely evaporate. Such a Pledge could force a national debate in which proposed cuts to domestic spending and proposed military spending are examined on the same chalkboard.

The deficit commission co-chairs' proposal to cut Social Security by lowering the cost of living adjustment would save $70 billion by 2020. By comparison, drawing down U.S. troops in Afghanistan to where they were when Obama took office would save $150 billion by 2014.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/a-pledge-of-resistance-to_b_804692.html

The Nation: A Real December Review for Afghanistan
The Nation's Greg Kaufmann talks to Michael Shank, senior policy adviser for Congressman Michael Honda, who says that U.S. "development" efforts in Afghanistan are not serious, just for show, fueling conflict; policing, negotiations, and development more effective than military for reducing conflict, but US is doing the opposite.
http://www.thenation.com/article/157439/real-december-review-afghanistan

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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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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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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

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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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