Protest War and Racism, in Chicago, on August 25th

Commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Democratic National Convention Protests

(This article is posted here.)

The following is the prepared text of remarks Rich Whitney made on behalf of the Chicago Committee Against War and Racism at a press conference on July 24th, 2018 in Grant Park in Chicago, near the statue of John A. Logan, General John Logan Statue in Grant Park, scene of one of the most iconic protests against the Vietnam War during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. 

The CCAWR has issued a Call for a demonstration against war and police violence on August 25th, marking the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, when the movement against the Vietnam War was suppressed inside the convention hall, and brutally attacked by Mayor Richard Daley’s police on the streets of Chicago. If you can, won’t you please come to Chicago, and help change the world, on August 25th!

In calling for this demonstration, the Chicago Committee Against War and Racism declares that in many respects we are confronting worse evils today than we were 50 years ago — but we are still confronting the same institutional barriers to peace and progress.

Just 11 days ago, U.S.-led coalition warplanes in Syria conducted intensive airstrikes near Abu Kamal in the Deir ez-Zor province, with estimates of civilian casualties ranging from 30 to 54, the higher estimate coming from The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. All too typically, this received little media attention. It was not part of the so-called “national conversation.” But acts like these, occurring on a regular basis, need to become part of the national conversation, and that is part of what motivates us to call for this protest. These acts of aggressive war are not somehow magically transformed into moral acts simply because relatively few U.S. personnel are at risk of harm.

In 1968, the U.S. government was engaged in one illegal war. Now the U.S. illegally bombs, drone-strikes and/or occupies territory in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen. It is responsible for millions of casualties, horrific devastation and suffering, and the displacement of millions of refugees. It has also been financing covert destabilization, “regime change” and support for repressive governments in much of Central and South America –and then it cruelly imprisons and punishes the hundreds of thousands of refugees who come to this country seeking safety and the opportunity to work. It spends $10.3 million a day of our tax dollars in military support for the repressive, now officially apartheid regime in Israel.

Every single one of these attacks on countries that never attacked the United States are illegal under established international law, including the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the Nuremberg Charter and the United Nations Charter. As in 1968, we have no right to attack other nations that never attacked us.

Let us be clear. These wars are not only thoroughly immoral and illegal in their direct impacts, they are also part of a war at home against the American working class, and especially its most oppressed members, people of color. We spend over $1.3 trillion a year on wars and maintaining a military machine, including about 1,000 military bases in about 135 different countries — while working people and students are being driven into poverty and debt, and while millions of people go without access to health care, decent schools, higher education, decent and affordable housing, safe drinking water, decent public transportation and other necessities. And our government spends these colossal sums on what amounts to corporate welfare, to help ensure the continued profits of giant energy corporations, weapons manufacturers and others, to maintain an empire and continue policies of global domination that actually make us all less safe.

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NPR: U.S. Announces Its Withdrawal From U.N. Human Rights Council

June 19, 2018 5:09 PM ET

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks Tuesday at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks Tuesday at the Department of State in Washington, D.C.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

After more than a year of complaints and warnings — some subtle and others a little less so — the Trump administration has announced that the United States is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley announced the decision in a joint statement Tuesday.

“I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from human rights commitments,” Haley told the media. “On the contrary, we take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”

The move comes as little surprise from an administration that frequently has lambasted the 47-member body for a gamut of perceived failures — particularly the dubious rights records of many of its member countries, as well as what Haley has repeatedly called the council’s “chronic bias against Israel.”

Haley harked back to a speech she delivered to the council one year ago this month, in which she laid down something of an ultimatum. At that point, she told members that they must stop singling out Israel for condemnation and must clean up their roster — which includes VenezuelaChina and Saudi Arabia, among others — or the council could bid the U.S. farewell.

“If the Human Rights Council is going to be an organization we entrust to protect and promote human rights, it must change,” she said. “If it fails to change, then we must pursue the advancement of human rights outside of the council.”

In the year that has elapsed since those speeches, such reforms never happened. Instead, she said, the council stayed silent on violent repression in Venezuela, a member state, and welcomed another country with a problematic record of its own, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“The council ceases to be worthy of its name,” Haley said, explaining the U.S. withdrawal. “Such a council in fact damages the cause of human rights.”

Trump’s diplomatic team is not the first within the U.S. to voice such criticism.

When the council was first established in 2006,the administration of George W. Bush withheld its membership over similar concerns. And when the Obama administration announced in 2009 that it would reverse course and seek membership, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. at the time, Susan Rice, said the decision was made out of a belief “that working from within, we can make the council a more effective forum to promote and protect human rights.”

Several U.S. critics, in condemning the decision Tuesday, echoed precisely this desire for reform as a principal reason to stay in the council, not leave it.

“The UN Human Rights Council has always been a problem. Instead of focusing on real human-rights issues, the council has used its time and resources to bully Israel and question Israel’s legitimacy as a sovereign state,” Rep. Eliot Engel, the ranking Democratic member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in a statement Tuesday. “But the way to deal with this challenge is to remain engaged and work with partners to push for change.

“By withdrawing from the council, we lose our leverage and allow the council’s bad actors to follow their worst impulses unchecked — including running roughshod over Israel.”

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said the U.S. focus on Israel’s treatment has actually caused American officials to lose sight of the good work the council has done elsewhere.

“The U.N. Human Rights Council has played an important role in such countries as North Korea, Syria, Myanmar and South Sudan, but all Trump seems to care about is defending Israel,” Roth said in a statement to NPR. “Like last time when the U.S. government stepped away from the Council for similar reasons, other governments will have to redouble their efforts to ensure the Council addresses the world’s most serious human rights problems.”

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, seen earlier this year during a presentation on the conflict in Syria. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador Nikki Haley announced that the U.S. will be withdrawing from the council.
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

And Richard Gowan, a fellow at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, told NPR’s Michele Kelemen that there is another potential issue muddying the waters of this decision: the recent condemnations leveled at the Trump administration’s immigration policies by international human-rights officials.

In a span of less than two months, U.S. officials have separated some 2,300 children from their parents after they crossed the border into the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security. And the administration’s policy has attracted a sharp rebuke from the U.N. high commissioner on human rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein.

“The thought that any State would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable,” he said Monday, in comments opening the 38th session of the Human Rights Council.

Hussein pointed to criticism from the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who referred to the border policy as “government-sanctioned child abuse.” And the commissioner noted that the U.S. remains the sole U.N. member not to ratify the Convention of the Rights of the Child, a landmark agreement passed nearly three decades ago.

Pompeo, however, said the matter is simple: The U.N. Human Rights Council is not capable of fulfilling its mission without reform — and those desired reforms remain unfulfilled.

“The Human Rights Council has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy, with many of the world’s worst human-rights abuses going ignored and some of the world’s most serious offenders sitting on the council itself,” he said Tuesday. “The only thing worse than a council that does almost nothing to protect human rights is a council that covers for human-rights abuses — and is therefore an obstacle to progress and an impediment to change.”

Green Party Condemns Trump’s Withdrawal from Iran Nuclear Deal

The Green Party of the United States condemns President Trump’s reckless withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Tuesday afternoon, May 8, 2018, and rejects the President’s baseless statement that “this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made.”

In spite of the saber-rattling rhetoric, Iran has remained compliant with the deal, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Green Party notes the one-sided nature of this deal, which punishes Iran while allowing Israel to proliferate nuclear weapons for “self-defense,” a move that increases the possibility for escalated conflict in the Middle East. As stated by Michael J. Koplow of Haaretz Tuesday, “Netanyahu has convinced Trump that leaving the Iran deal protects Israel. But the U.S. walkout means a full on Israel-Iran war in Syria now becomes far more likely. ”


Green Party of the United States
http://www.gp.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2018

CONTACT
Ann Link, Co-Chair, Media Committee, ann.link@gp.org
Justin McCarthy, Co-Chair, Media Committee, justin.mccarthy@gp.org
Marie Spike, International Committee member, MarieLMHC@gmail.com


According to Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), “Donald Trump has committed what will go down as one of the greatest acts of self-sabotage in American’s modern history.”

“The US has been the clear instigator in reviving a global nuclear arms race and remains the only nation to use nuclear weapons as an act of war. The United States has committed to nuclear weapon modernization program with a price tag of more than a trillion dollars, with the goal of ensuring a clear first-strike global advantage,” noted Tony Ndege, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

The Green Party vice presidential nominee in 2016 and noted human rights activist, Ajamu Baraka, stated, “The first item is to call for the agreement to be respected as a framework for further agreements, including a de-nuclearized Middle-East region.” Mr. Baraka went on to point out that the Green Party condemns any moves toward the justification for military conflict, and he continued, “we oppose war, nuclear weapons and militarization, without any hesitation.”

Bahram Zandi, co-chair of the Green Party International Committee sharply pointed out that “the United States never did its share of diplomacy, holding only Iran to the terms of this deal to stabilize the region, while Israel kept its nuclear weapons and threatened, attacked and killed people in neighboring Syria, including Iranian soldiers on the ground.”

The Green Party calls for equilibrium in the Middle East and for all regional stakeholders to be held equally accountable for peace. “The United States should call for a nuclear weapons freeze for all including Israel, in order to level the playing field of the responsibility of keeping the peace,” remarked Dr. Zandi.

Resource links:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/world/middleeast/trump-iran-nuclear-deal.html

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/iran

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-donald-trump-is-about-to-put-israel-in-immediate-danger-1.6070248

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Why 55 U.S. Senators Voted for Genocide in Yemen

Tuesday’s debate and vote in the U.S. Senate on whether to end (technically whether or not to vote on whether to end) U.S. participation in the war on Yemen can certainly be presented as a step forward. While 55 U.S. Senators voted to keep the war rolling along, 44 voted not to table the resolution to end it. Of those 44, some, including “leaders” like Senator Chuck Schumer, said not a word in the debate and only voted the right way once the wrong way had won. And conceivably some could say they were voting in favor of having a vote, upon which they would have voted for more war. But it’s safe to say that at least most of the 44 were voting to end a war — and many of them explicitly said so.

I use the phrase “end a war,” despite the fact that Saudi Arabia could continue its war without U.S. participation — in part, because it’s easier, and in part because experts have suggested that Saudi Arabia could not do anything like what it is doing without the participation of the U.S. military in identifying targets and refueling planes. It is of course also true that were the United States to go beyond what was under consideration on Tuesday and cease providing Saudi Arabia with planes and bombs, and use its influence as an oil customer and general war partner to pressure Saudi Arabia to end the war and lift the blockade, the war might end entirely. And millions of human lives might be spared.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine has for years been a leading proponent of getting Congress to authorize wars, making clear that he wanted to keep those wars going but with Congressional authorization. This time was different. Kaine pushed publicly for votes to end U.S. participation in the war on Yemen. He and even his colleague from Virginia Mark Warner (!) voted to end the U.S. war. I’m not sure any senator from Virginia had ever done such a thing before. And, in fact, no senator from anywhere had ever voted on a resolution raised under the War Powers Act before, because this was the first time any senator had bothered to try such a thing. Kaine tweeted:

“Millions in Yemen may starve and 10,000-plus are dead because of a war with no end in sight, that the U.S. has stumbled into. Proud to support this proposal to direct the removal of U.S. armed forces.”

“Stumbled into”? Forget it, he’s rolling.

And Kaine was the least of it. To watch Dianne Feinstein argue for ending a war had a very Twilight Zone aspect to it. Look through the list of who voted “Nay” and re-define them in your mind as people who under just the right conditions (possibly including guaranteed failure to reach a majority) will sometimes vote to end a war. I’d call that progress.

But if you watch the debate via C-Span, the top question in your mind might not be “What incredible activism, information, accident, or luck got 44 people to vote the right way?” but rather “Why did 55 cheerful, well-fed, safe people in suits just vote for mass-murder?” Why did they? Why did they take a break for political party meetings in the middle of the debate, and debate other legislation just before and after this resolution, and walk around and chat with each other exactly as if all were normal, while voting for genocide?

The facts of the matter were presented very clearly in the debate by numerous U.S. senators from both parties. They denounced war lies as “lies.” They pointed out the horrendous damage, the deaths, the injuries, the starvation, the cholera. They cited Saudi Arabia’s explicit and intentional use of starvation as a weapon. They noted the blockade against humanitarian aid imposed by Saudi Arabia. They endlessly discussed the biggest cholera epidemic ever known. Here’s a tweet from Senator Chris Murphy:

“Gut check moment for the Senate today: we will vote on whether to continue the U.S./Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen which has killed over 10,000 civilians and created the largest cholera outbreak in history.”

Senator Jeff Merkley asked if partnering with a government trying to starve millions of people to death squared with the principles of the United States of America. I tweeted a response: “Should I tell him or wait and let his colleagues do it?” In the end, 55 of his colleagues answered his question as well as any history book could have done.

The ridiculousness of arguments for continuing the war was called out by senators on the floor. Senator Mitch McConnell and others made the claim made to them by Secretary of War (“Defense”) James Mattis, that ending U.S. participation in bombing civilians in Yemen would mean more civilian deaths in Yemen, not fewer. Others trotted out the claim made by Trump’s lawyers, parroting Obama’s lawyer Harold Koh, that bombing a nation flat is neither “war” nor “hostilities” if U.S. troops are not on the ground being shot.

Senator Bernie Sanders put a stop to such nonsense. He recommended trying telling the people of Yemen being bombed with U.S. bombs and U.S. targeting and U.S.-fueled planes that the United States is not really involved.

The idea that the full Senate should leave to a committee a matter the committee had not bother to touch in years was also appropriately laughed out of court.

Senator Mike Lee reassured his colleagues that ending the U.S. war on Yemen on grounds of illegality wouldn’t slow or halt any other illegal US wars. (I’m sure you’re relieved to hear that!)

To their credit, Senators Murphy and Lee and Sanders were very clear that a vote to table, rather than directly vote on, their resolution to end the war, would be a cowardly vote not to have a debate and not to obey the U.S. Constitution. And to their greater credit, they went ahead and had the substantive debate prior to the vote to table. In the past on at least one occasion of the many times that we’ve seen such resolutions brought forward in the House, the war-proponents talked substance while the opponents talked only procedure. This change, too, was progress.

So, why? Why did the Senate vote for genocide? And why is nobody surprised by it?

Well, the arguments made by the Senators on the right side of the debate certainly left something to be desired. Sanders spoke of the dead in the wars on Vietnam and Iraq, and they were all Americans. He said the war on Vietnam almost destroyed an entire generation of Americans. This was a war that killed 6 million people in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, plus 50,000 from the United States. How can people come to think about one-sided slaughters if we pretend they don’t really exist?

Senator Tom Udall said that from WWII until the presidency of Donald Trump the United States was a noble, law-abiding, altruistic leader of spreading democracy, although not quite perfectly. In so saying, Udall bestows on Trump a sort of magical power, as well as rewriting U.S. history. The U.S. public was allowed no vote on Tuesday. Neither was Trump.

The resolution itself was limited, marred by loopholes, and not truly whipped for by many of those who voted against tabling it. Perhaps a stronger resolution would have failed even more badly. Or perhaps a more coherent case against war would have been more persuasive. I do not know. But the notion that you should arm and assist the Saudi dictatorship in bombing people when it’s called anti-ISIS and not when it’s called anti-Houthi seems a trickier case to make than the one that you should stop arming and assisting in the slaughter of human beings, generating more enemies, impoverishing the public, draining funds from human needs, damaging the environment, eroding the rule of law, imperializing the presidency, militarizing your culture and schools and police, and aligning your government with a brutal monarchy.

Perhaps that’s a case that has to be made to the public first and then to the senators, but many senators made clear how they were thinking. Lee was not off in trying to reassure them about the setting of precedents. One of them openly worried that if refueling bombers that were blowing up people’s homes in one country was counted as “hostilities,” then refueling bombers that were blowing up people’s homes in any country could be counted as “hostilities.” And then what kind of a world would we have?!

So, a vote against one war is never just a vote against one war. It’s a vote to challenge, if ever so slightly, the power of the war machine. These Senators are paid not to do that.

Here is a list of Senators and their 2018 bribes (excuse me, campaign contributions) from dealers of death (excuse me, defense companies). I’ve indicated how they voted on tabling Tuesday’s resolution with a Y or N. A pro-war vote is a Y:

Nelson, Bill (D-FL)     $184,675                               Y

Strange, Luther (R-AL)         $140,450                   not in senate

Kaine, Tim (D-VA)     $129,109                               N

McSally, Martha (R-AZ)       $125,245                   not in senate

Heinrich, Martin (D-NM)     $109,731                   N

Wicker, Roger (R-MS)           $109,625                   Y

Graham, Lindsey (R-SC)       $89,900                     Y

Donnelly, Joe (D-IN) $89,156                                 Y

King, Angus (I-ME)   $86,100                                 N

Fischer, Deb (R-NE) $74,850                                 Y

Hatch, Orrin G (R-UT)           $74,375                     Y

McCaskill, Claire (D-MO)     $65,518                     N

Cardin, Ben (D-MD) $61,905                                 N

Manchin, Joe (D-WV)           $61,050                                 Y

Cruz, Ted (R-TX)       $55,315                                 Y

Jones, Doug (D-AL)   $55,151                                 Y

Tester, Jon (D-MT)   $53,438                                 N

Hirono, Mazie K (D-HI)         $47,100                     N

Cramer, Kevin (R-ND)         $46,000                     not in Senate

Murphy, Christopher S (D-CT)       $44,596         N

Sinema, Kyrsten (D-AZ)       $44,140                     not in Senate

Shaheen, Jeanne (D-NH)     $41,013                     N

Cantwell, Maria (D-WA)       $40,010                     N

Reed, Jack (D-RI)       $37,277                                 Y

Inhofe, James M (R-OK)       $36,500                     Y

Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI)   $36,140                     N

Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY)   $33,210                     N

Rubio, Marco (R-FL) $32,700                                 Y

McConnell, Mitch (R-KY)     $31,500                     Y

Flake, Jeff (R-AZ)       $29,570                                 Y

Perdue, David (R-GA)           $29,300                     Y

Heitkamp, Heidi (D-ND)       $28,124                     Y

Barrasso, John A (R-WY)     $27,500                     Y

Corker, Bob (R-TN)   $27,125                                 Y

Warner, Mark (D-VA)           $26,178                     N

Sullivan, Dan (R-AK) $26,000                                 Y

Heller, Dean (R-NV) $25,200                                 Y

Schatz, Brian (D-HI) $23,865                                 N

Blackburn, Marsha (R-TN)   $22,906                     not in Senate

Brown, Sherrod (D-OH)       $21,373                     N

Cochran, Thad (R-MS)         $21,050                     Y

Baldwin, Tammy (D-WI)     $20,580                     N

Casey, Bob (D-PA)     $19,247                                 N

Peters, Gary (D-MI) $19,000                                 N

Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA)     $18,350                     N

Moore, Roy (R-AL)     $18,250                                 not in Senate

Jenkins, Evan (R-WV)           $17,500                     not in Senate

Tillis, Thom (R-NC)   $17,000                                 Y

Blunt, Roy (R-MO)     $16,500                                 Y

Moran, Jerry (R-KS) $14,500                                 N

Collins, Susan M (R-ME)       $14,000                     N

Hoeven, John (R-ND)           $13,000                                 Y

Durbin, Dick (D-IL)   $12,786                                 N

Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-RI)           $12,721                     Y

Messer, Luke (R-IN) $12,000                                 not in Senate

Cornyn, John (R-TX) $11,000                                 Y

Cotton, Tom (R-AR)   $11,000                                 Y

Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK)       $11,000                     Y

O’Rourke, Beto (D-TX)         $10,564                     not in Senate

Rounds, Mike (R-SD)           $10,000                                 Y

Warren, Elizabeth (D-MA)   $9,766                                   N

Rosen, Jacky (D-NV) $9,655                                               not in Senate

Sasse, Ben (R-NE)     $9,350                                               Y

Portman, Rob (R-OH)           $8,500                                   Y

Nicholson, Kevin (R-WI)       $8,350                                   not in Senate

Rosendale, Matt (R-MT)       $8,100                                   not in Senate

Menendez, Robert (D-NJ)   $8,005                                   Y

Boozman, John (R-AR)         $8,000                                   Y

Toomey, Pat (R-PA) $7,550                                               Y

Carper, Tom (D-DE) $7,500                                               N

Crapo, Mike (R-ID)   $7,000                                               Y

Daines, Steven (R-MT)         $6,500                                   N

Ernst, Joni (R-IA)       $6,500                                               Y

Kennedy, John (R-LA)         $6,000                                   Y

Sanders, Bernie (I-VT)         $5,989                                   N

Scott, Tim (R-SC)       $5,500                                               Y

Ward, Kelli (R-AZ)     $5,125                                               not in Senate

Enzi, Mike (R-WY)     $5,000                                               Y

Fincher, Steve (R-TN)           $5,000                                   not in Senate

Isakson, Johnny (R-GA)       $5,000                                   Y

Lankford, James (R-OK)       $5,000                                   Y

Shelby, Richard C (R-AL)     $5,000                                   Y

Duckworth, Tammy (D-IL)   $4,535                                   N

Burr, Richard (R-NC)           $4,000                                               Y

Capito, Shelley Moore (R-WV)         $4,000                       Y

Gardner, Cory (R-CO)           $4,000                                   Y

Mandel, Josh (R-OH) $3,550                                               not in Senate

Hassan, Maggie (D-NH)       $3,217                                   N

Hartson, Alison (D-CA)         $3,029                                   not in Senate

Brakey, Eric (R-ME) $3,000                                               not in Senate

Diehl, Geoff (R-MA)   $3,000                                               not in Senate

Downing, Troy (R-MT)         $2,700                                   not in Senate

Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN)     $2,498                                   N

Blumenthal, Richard (D-CT)           $2,090                                   N

Coons, Chris (D-DE) $2,027                                               Y

Leahy, Patrick (D-VT)           $2,002                                   N

Alexander, Lamar (R-TN)     $2,000                                   Y

Bennet, Michael F (D-CO)   $2,000                                   N

Johnson, Ron (R-WI) $2,000                                               Y

Renacci, Jim (R-OH) $2,000                                               not in Senate

Rokita, Todd (R-IN)   $1,500                                               not in Senate

Masto, Catherine Cortez (D-NV)     $1,435                       not in Senate

Booker, Cory (D-NJ) $1,380                                               N

Harris, Kamala D (D-CA)     $1,313                                   N

Van Hollen, Chris (D-MD)   $1,036                                   N

Thune, John (R-SD) $1,035                                               Y

Lee, Mike (R-UT)       $1,000                                               N

Morrisey, Patrick (R-WV)     $1,000                                   not in Senate

Petersen, Austin (R-MO)     $1,000                                   not in Senate

Stewart, Corey (R-VA)         $1,000                                   not in Senate

Young, Bob (R-MI)   $1,000                                               not in Senate

Young, Todd (R-IN) $1,000                                               Y

Udall, Tom (D-NM)   $707                                       N

Lindstrom, Beth (R-MA)       $700                           not in Senate

Murray, Patty (D-WA)         $635                           N

Mackler, James (D-TN)         $625                           not in Senate

Merkley, Jeff (D-OR) $555                                       N

Barletta, Lou (R-PA) $500                                       not in Senate

Monetti, Tony (R-MO)         $500                           not in Senate

Olszewski, Al (R-MT) $500                                       not in Senate

Paul, Rand (R-KY)     $500                                       N

Faddis, Sam (R-MD) $350                                       not in Senate

Paula Jean Swearengin (D-WV)     $263               not in Senate

Vukmir, Leah (R-WI)           $250                                       not in Senate

Wilson, Jenny (D-UT)           $250                           not in Senate

Ross, Deborah (D-NC)         $205                           not in Senate

Hildebrand, David (D-CA)   $100                           not in Senate

Wyden, Ron (D-OR) $75                                         N

Singer, James (D-UT)           $50                                         not in Senate

Schumer, Charles E (D-NY) $16                             N

Sbaih, Jesse (D-NV)   $5                                           not in Senate

Roberts, Pat (R-KS)   $-1,000                                   Y

Franken, Al (D-MN) $-1,064                                   not in Senate

Kander, Jason (D-MO)         $-1,598                       not in Senate

Edwards, Donna (D-MD)     $-2,700                       not in Senate

Obviously one must look at numerous votes and other actions, and at bribes from previous years, and at the relative cost of running in each state, etc., but we do see here 51 of the 55 yes votes receiving weapons profits, and most of them near the top or middle of this list. And we see 42 of 44 no votes receiving weapons profits, and most of them near the middle or bottom of this list. Of the top 70 recipients, 43 voted yes. Of the bottom 20 recipients, 14 voted no.

A bigger factor would seem to be political party, since 45 of the 55 yes votes were Republican (plus 10 Democrats), and 37 of the 44 no votes were Democratic (plus 2 Independents and 5 Republicans). But this can hardly be separated from funding, as the amounts above are dwarfed by the money brought in and distributed to candidates by parties, with the “defense” profiteers giving the Republican party $1.2 million, and the Democratic Party $0.82 million. One can be very confident that neither party’s “leadership” privately asked its members to vote to end the war on Yemen. Publicly, the Republican party leadership urged a vote for continued genocide. If we look at party and money combined, we see that all of the Republicans who voted no are pretty low in the list, while the relevance of bribes is less clear with Democrats who voted yes. But a no vote as part of a majority — had such a thing happened — would have been unlikely to have pleased either party.

Then there’s the media problem. The Democratic Party-promoting MSNBC was silent, while NPR told its listeners that poor innocent Saudi Arabia was surrounded and under attack by the demonic Iran. The New York Timeseditorial board did better than its reporters. But if any coverage of the U.S. role in Yemen had made it onto television, then I would be able to find people when I travel around the United States who are aware that there is a war in Yemen. As it is, I can find few who can name any current U.S. wars. If Senator Sanders had opposed this war when he was running for president, instead of urging Saudi Arabia to spend more and get its blood-soaked hands dirty, progressives would have heard that — and I would have backed Sanders for president.

Or what if Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, ACLU and other groups claiming to support human rights had helped oppose the war on Yemen? Or what if pundits stopped referring to such groups as human rights groups and called them, instead, Pro-U.S.-War/Human Rights groups? Would that have made a difference?

What about the rest of us? I work for two groups that tried: RootsAction.org and World Beyond War. So did many others. Many formed big coalitions to try to have a bigger impact. Could we have done more? Of course. What about people who didn’t sign anything, go to anything, phone or email any Senators? It’s hard to say that any of us have clean hands.

I happened to read a column on Wednesday that proposed that everyone cease honoring any former U.S. president who owned people as slaves. I’m all for it. But the same column proposed as a noble and honorable factor being a decorated and “successful” (German) soldier. This gives me pause in denouncing slave-owners as “monsters.” Of course slavery is monstrous and those who do it are responsible for it. Their statues should all come down and be replaced by worthy ones, including ones of slavery-abolitionists and civil-rights activists, ideally memorials for movements rather than individuals.

But what if we come someday to understand that war is monstrous? Then what should we make of war supporters, including columnists? And what am I to make of things I myself thought a decade or three ago and now no longer think? Isn’t there something a shade monstrous about praising war on the anniversary of the 2003 attack on Iraq and at the same moment that the U.S. Senate is voting to kill the (non-“white”) people of Yemen? And yet, isn’t such behavior found in a column opposing racism, written by an anti-racism activist the work of something other than a monster? Perhaps senators aren’t monsters either. Perhaps we can bring them around yet. We have to try.

Green Party National Women’s Caucus demands passage of House bill upholding human rights for Palestinian minors and international law

Women’s Caucus condemns the brutal treatment of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi by Israeli military

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Women’s Caucus of the Green Party calls on Congress to pass HR 4391, “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act.”

The bill, submitted by Congresswoman Betty McCollum (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party-Minn.), would prevent the use of U.S. tax dollars for the Israeli military’s ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children.

IMG_1719-edit.jpgRecent news of Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teenager who was interrogated and charged with assault by Israeli military forces for slapping an Israeli soldier in December and threatened with rape by an Israeli journalist, highlights the need to recognize that massive detentions and violent interrogations of minors are horrific violations of human rights and international law and need to end. Continue reading “Green Party National Women’s Caucus demands passage of House bill upholding human rights for Palestinian minors and international law”

Zelaya: Open Letter to the American People

“The electoral fraud supported by the U.S. State Department in favor of the dictatorship has forced our people to protest massively throughout the country, despite savage government repression that has taken the lives of more than 34 young people since the election, and in which hundreds of protestors have been criminalized and imprisoned.”

Zelaya: Open Letter to the American People

SOUTH AMERICA  •  December 22, 2017  •  José Manuel Zelaya Rosales

People of the United States:

For the past century, the owners of the fruit companies called our country “Banana Republic” and characterized our politicians as “cheaper than a mule” (as in the infamous Rolston letter).

Honduras, a dignified nation, has had the misfortune of having a ruling class lacking in ethical principles that kowtows to U.S. transnational corporations, condemning our country to backwardness and extreme poverty.

We have been subject to horrible dictatorships that have enjoyed U.S. support, under the premise that an outlaw is good for us if he serves transnational interests well. We have reached the point that today we are treated as less than a colony to which the U.S. government does not even deign to appoint an ambassador. Your government has installed a dictatorship in the person of Mr. Hernández, who acts as a provincial governor–spineless and obedient toward transnational companies, but a tyrant who uses terror tactics to oppress his own people. Certain sectors of Honduran private industry have also suffered greatly from punitive taxes and persecution.

You, the people of the United States, have been sold the idea that your government defends democracy, transparency, freedom and human rights in Honduras. But the State Department and Heide Fulton, the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires who is serving as de facto Ambassador to Honduras, are supporting blatant electoral fraud favoring Mr. Hernández, who has repeatedly violated the Honduran Constitution and (as noted by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) basic human rights. He is responsible for the scandalous looting of USD $350 million from the Honduran Social Security Institute and while he lies to you shamelessly that he is fighting drug cartels, he has destroyed the rule of law by stacking the Supreme Court with justices loyal to him.

The people of the United States have the right to know that in Honduras your taxes are used to finance, train and run institutions that oppress the people, such as the armed forces and the police, both of which are well known to run death squads (like those that grew out of Plan Colombia) and which are also deeply integrated with drug cartels.

People of the United States: the immoral support of your government has been so two-faced that for eight consecutive years the U.S. Millenium Challenge Corporation has determined that the Hernandez regime does not qualify for aid because of the government’s corruption, failing in all measures of transparency. With this record, the Honduran people ask: Why is the U.S. Government willing to recognize as president a man who the Honduran people voted against, and who they wish to see leave office immediately?

People of the United States: We ask you to spread the word, to stand up to your government’s lies about supporting democracy, freedom, human rights and justice, and to demand that your elected representatives immediately end U.S. support for the scandalous electoral fraud against the people of Honduras, who have taken to the streets to demand recognition of the victory of the Alliance Against the Dictatorship and of President-Elect Salvador Alejandro César Nasralla Salúm.

We can tolerate difference and conflict, seeking peaceful solutions as a sovereign people, but your government’s intervention in favor of the dictatorship only exacerbates our differences.

The electoral fraud supported by the U.S. State Department in favor of the dictatorship has forced our people to protest massively throughout the country, despite savage government repression that has taken the lives of more than 34 young people since the election, and in which hundreds of protestors have been criminalized and imprisoned.

We stand in solidarity with the North American people; we share much more with you than the fact that the one percent has bought off the political leaders of both our nations.

As descendents of the Independence hero Morazán, we want to live in peace, with justice and in democracy.

The Honduran people want to have good relations with the United States, but with respect and reciprocity. •

Tegucigalpa, December 21, 2017

José Manuel Zelaya Rosales

Consitutionally Legitimate President of Honduras 2005-2010

Chief Coordinator, Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship

José Manuel Zelaya Rosales is the Constitutionally Legitimate President of Honduras (2005-2010), and Chief Coordinator of the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship.

Chris Hedges, Zero Hour in Palestine via Jill and Truthdig

Trump’s support for Israel’s claim to Jerusalem makes it clear that US elites don’t want peace in the Middle East. No, they’re firing up yet another endless war to be paid in blood and treasure by the poor and disempowered at home and abroad.

This provocation – backed by top Democrats – not only endangers Middle Eastern lives in another outbreak of violence, but also puts the safety of Americans at risk. It makes a mockery of his campaign pledge to “put America first”.

The truth about Israel-Palestine is: there is no “peace process”. The cycle of violence and oppression will continue until the occupation ends.

This is a wake-up call to all who want justice for Palestine. More than ever we must build the boycott-divest-sanction movement to stop the slow-motion genocide of the Palestinian people.

We helped South Africans end apartheid with a movement to boycott-divest-sanction; now we must help Israelis and Palestinians end apartheid and win peace with justice. #BDS

Zero Hour in Palestine