Category: - No Cure For That
No Cure For That
 
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I am proud to be an initial signer of this document (from War is a Crime). Please join me in vowing to impede Obama's war policies.
-Dennis Trainor, Jr

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We the undersigned share with nearly two-thirds of our fellow Americans the conviction that our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be ended and that overall military spending should be dramatically reduced.  This has been our position for years and will continue to be, and we take it seriously.  We vow not to support President Barack Obama for renomination for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses them. 

Since he became president, Obama has had three opportunities to work with Congress to reduce military spending, but instead has championed increases in that spending each time, despite the fact that this spending represents a clear threat to the economic future of our country.  He has continued as well to try to hide the true costs of the wars by funding them with off-the-books supplemental spending bills, despite the fact that he campaigned against this very practice.

The President has escalated a war on Afghanistan in which rising civilian deaths and atrocities have become routine.  

He has given the CIA even greater freedom of action to launch lethal drone strikes against civilian houses in Pakistan on mere assumption of some connection with Taliban or other organizations, despite the warning from the U.S. Ambassador in late 2009 -- revealed in a Wikileaks cable -- that such attacks could "destabilize" the Pakistani government, despite many reports that civilians, including children, are disproportionately victims, and despite the contention of the United Nations and many U.S. allies that this practice is illegal.

Obama has approved an increase in covert operations by CIA-controlled Afghan troops into Pakistan, and his administration has remained silent while the U.S. command in Afghanistan leaked to the New York Times plans for new Special Operations Forces raids into Pakistan aimed at Afghan Taliban targets.

The President has expanded the use of Special Operations Forces (SOF), operating in virtually total secrecy and without any accountability to Congress, in one country after another.  SOF troops are presently in some 75 nations -- 15 more than when Obama took office.
 

President Obama has, on a later schedule than he campaigned on, finally reduced U.S. troop presence in Iraq.  But he has not fully withdrawn U.S. combat forces from Iraq or ended U.S. combat there, his claims to have done so notwithstanding.  His vice president has suggested, without correction by the President, the possibility of a U.S. military presence in the country even after the deadline for withdrawal under the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement, if only through the use of military contractors.

The Obama administration has announced plans to form an army of mercenary troops from private military contractors in Iraq which is to have its own air force and its own fleet of mine-resistant military vehicles.  The plan includes continued contracts with the company formerly called Blackwater, despite the knowledge that it was guilty of atrocities against civilians in that country, and despite the openly declared opposition of the Iraqi government to such a continued role.

Obama has overseen increased weapons sales to foreign nations, and assisting in those sales has been a major function of his State Department.  He has approved increased funding for work on nuclear weapons, even while supporting an arms control treaty.  He has established a policy of potential nuclear first strike against Iran or North Korea.

President Obama has argued for the justness of war-making in widely watched speeches from the Oval Office and in Oslo, Norway, where he was accepting a Nobel Peace Prize.  He has, in his Oval Office speech last August, defended false statements that took our nation into the current wars and false statements that have prolonged them.

The President has supported sanctions against Iran and Syria that punish the people, especially children, and not the leadership, of those countries.  He has sent ships and missiles to Iran's border.  He has risked hostilities with North Korea through the ongoing construction of new military bases in South Korea and provocative war games exercises.  His administration has helped a military coup succeed in Honduras.

President Obama has sought to allow more Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.  He has protected Israel's killing of activists on a humanitarian aid ship, not even protesting at the murder of an unarmed American youth.  He issued a presidential memorandum on October 25, 2010, giving U.S. approval for the use of child soldiers by Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen.  He has backed Indonesian armed forces that assassinated civilian activists in late 2009.  He has expanded the U.S. military presence in Colombia, Costa Rica, Haiti, Guam, Italy, and Diego Garcia, as well as overseeing an enormous military base construction project in Afghanistan.

President Obama has not closed the prison at Guantanamo Bay and continues to maintain a network of detention facilities in Afghanistan through which prisoners, according to the most recent informationavailable, are still being subjected to harsh treatment.  He has claimed the right to imprison people, including American citizens, indefinitely without charge or trial, thus further cementing in place the elimination of the rights of prisoners of war and the elimination of the right of habeas corpus for anyone, as well as the rights found in the Fourth through Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  The President has claimed the power of rendition.  His CIA Director Leon Panetta and his senior advisor David Axelrod have asserted, without correction by the President, that the President maintains the powerto torture.  In the recent case of Gulet Mohamed, the Obama administration, for a time, claimed the power to forbid an American to reenter the country, absent any conviction or even any charge of a crime, and apparently collaborated with Kuwait to torture that American.  The President has also openly claimed the power to order the assassination of Americans abroad.  In Iraq, the U.S. military has continued towork with and protect from accountability an Iraqi military that is known to regularly use torture.

The President has expanded the use of warrantless spying.  Under his leadership, the FBI has infiltrated peace groups and raided the homes of peace activists.  It has set up and entrapped in terrorism charges people whose training and motivation came largely or even entirely from the FBI.  He has supported the re-authorization of the PATRIOT Act, which strips away Americans' civil liberties.

President Obama, in direct violation of the Nuremberg Charter, a U.S. treaty commitment, has publicly instructed his Attorney General not to prosecute individuals responsible for crimes, including torture.  His administration has worked hard to provide retroactive immunity to corporations engaged in warrantless spying and individuals engaged in sanctioning torture.  He has kept secret a vast trove of documents, photos, and videos pertaining to prisoner abuse.  He has advanced unprecedented claims of secrecy powers in defending the crimes of his predecessor. President Obama's White House has put great pressure on European states not to investigate or prosecute U.S. war crimes.

This president has restricted the release of the names of White House visitors and has pursued the prosecution and punishment of government whistleblowers more aggressively than any previous president.  His administration is responsible for the cruel and unusual lengthy confinement in a 6' by 12' cell, prior to any trial, of alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning.  His vice president, Joe Biden, has publicly labeled an Australian journalist, Julian Assange, a "terrorist."  President Obama has used a private propaganda firm that had been exposed planting lies in Iraqi media, to screen potential embedded reporters for coverage of the U.S. military. He has used the military to restrict reporting by American journalists on an oil spill in American waters.

Perhaps most perilously, President Obama has claimed the right to engage in many of these activities without the authorization of Congress.  He has even claimed the power first developed by his predecessor to rewrite new laws through the extra-Constitutional use of presidential signing statements.  Expanded powers that are not opposed now will be far more difficult to oppose later with another president able to claim past precedent.

The President's own deficit commission recommended cuts of $100 billion to the military budget.  The United States spends about $1 trillion each year on the military, through a variety of departments, and has spent over $1 trillion already on the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.  Over half of every U.S. dollar of income tax is going to war making.  The Department of Defense budget alone is larger than the military expenditures of the next largest 16 militaries in the world combined.  That budget could be cut by 85% and still be the largest in the world.  In addition to the lessening of hostility toward our country that would result from a significant decrease in U.S. military presence around the world, by shifting our financial resources we could create jobs, green energy, top quality free education, public transportation and infrastructure.  We could also end all talk of reducing our Social Security or health coverage.  We intend to support public servants who put our money where it serves the public.

We are not concerned with whether President Obama is acting enthusiastically or reluctantly in pursuing a militaristic policy abroad and more repression of dissent at home.  It matters little whether he is submitting to powerful forces or freely following his preferred course.  We do not elect his soldiers or spies, his advisors, his campaign funders, or the owners of our major media outlets.  We elect the president.  We will not support his nomination for another term, and we believe that a large proportion of Americans who voted for him in 2008 will not do so again unless he reverses the most egregious policies to which we have referred -- especially by taking decisive steps to end the war on Afghanistan and to make deep cuts in the military and war budgets.

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Some of those who have signed: 

Nic Abramson, U.S. Boat to Gaza
Meredith Aby, MN Anti-War Committee
Elliott Adams, president, Veterans For Peace
Will Allen, author, The War on Bugs
Maria Allwine, Pledge of Resistance Baltimore
Vicki Andrews, Peace Circle - Grand Rapids MN
Jean Athey, coordinator of Peace Action Montgomery (MD)* and national board member, Peace Action*
Nellie Hester Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council & Black Agenda Report
Anna Baltzer, activist
Mark Bebawi, producer/host, The Monitor, KPFT
Medea Benjamin,  cofounder, Code Pink*
Frida Berrigan, War Resisters League*
Toby Blome, activist, Bay Area Code Pink
William Blum, author of books on U.S. foreign policy
Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret), Vice-President, Veterans For Peace
Linda Boyd, activist
Lenni Brenner, author, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators
Elaine Brower, military mom, World Can't Wait
Mike Byerly, Alachua County Commissioner, Gainesville, Fla.
Scott Camil, President, Gainesville Florida Chapter, Veterans For Peace
Patty Casazza, 9/11 widow, former 9/11 Commission Family Steering Committee Member
Oskar Castro, board member, War Resisters League
Zach Choate, operation recovery field organizer, Iraq Veterans Against the War
David Cobb, Move To Amend coalition*
Jeff Cohen, author/media critic
William John Cox, Voters Evolt!
Catarina Correia, video editor, coordinating committee member, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Bud Courtney, New York Catholic Worker
David Culver, publisher, Evergreene Digest
Ronnie Cummins, national director, Organic Consumers Association
Matthew W. Daloisio, Witness Against Torture*
Nicolas J S Davies, author, Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq
Elena Day, People's Alliance for Clean Energy
Sibel Edmonds, founder & director, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
Cherie Eichholz, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Roy Eidelson, past president, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Pat Elder, Coordinating Committee, National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth*
Daniel Ellsberg, former State and Defense Dept. official, whistleblower of Pentagon Papers
Samuel S. Epstein, professor
Desiree Fairooz, Northern Virginians for Peace and Justice
Mike Ferner, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Joy First, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Robert Fitrakis, professor, editor
Lisa Fithian, convenor, United for Peace and Justice
Margaret Flowers, M.D., Physicians for a National Health Program*
Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report*
George Friday, Independent Progressive Politics Network
Sarah Fuhro, board member, Military Families Speak Out*
James Clay Fuller, retired newspaper editor
Monica Gabrielle, 9/11 widow, former 9/11 Commission Family Steering Committee Member
Bruce K. Gagnon, coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space*
Lila Garrett, radio host
Nate Goldshlag, national board member and treasurer, Veterans For Peace
Michelle Gross, president, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Thomas John Gumbleton, retired Roman Catholic Bishop
Connie Hammond, Progressive Peace Coalition, Columbus, Ohio
Kathy Hass, activist, Central Florida Code Pink
Bill Habedank, Veterans for Peace
Jim Haber, coordinator, Nevada Desert Experience
Susan Harman, Progressive Democrats of America*, Code Pink*
David Harris, Veterans for Peace
David Harris, draft resister, author
Leslie Harris, activist, Code Pink Greater Dallas*
Bob Heberle, former national board member, Veterans for Peace
Chris Hedges, author, Death of the Liberal Class
Dud Hendrick, Maine chapter president, Veterans for Peace
Steve Hendricks, author, A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trial
Martha Hennessy, Catholic Worker
John Heuer, chair and national board member, NC Peace Action
Herbert J. Hoffman, vice president, Maine Veterans for Peace
Connie Hogarth, Cofounder WESPAC (Westchester Peoples Action Coalition)*
Lydia Howell, writer and host, "Catalyst", KFAI Radio
Sam Husseini, activist
Hugh Iglarsh, writer/editor
Rick Jahnkow, Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft*
Dahr Jamail, journalist/author
Mark C. Johnson, executive director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Tarak Kauff, Veterans For Peace
Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence*
Nada Khader, WESPAC Foundation
Joey King, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Howie Klein, publisher, DownWithTyranny.com
Michael Knox, professor and clinical psychologist
Georg Koszulinski, filmmaker
Joel Kovel, author, The Enemy of Nature, Overcoming Zionism
Andrew Kolin, author, State Power and Democracy: Before and During the Presidency of George W Bush
Steve Lane, activist
Jesse Lemisch, Historian, Emeritus Prof, John Jay Coll of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun/Network of Spiritual Progressives
Linda LeTendre, LMSW Christian Peace Witness
Dave Lindorff, editor, Thiscantbehappening.net
Erik Lobo, Veteran For Peace
Ralph Lopez, JobsForAfghans.org  
David MacMichael, Ph.D., former CIA analyst
Sarah Martin, subpoenaed antiwar and international solidarity activist
Gene Marx, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Ethan McCord, IVAW, VFP, former army specialist from "collateral murder" video
Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst
Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman and 2008 Green Party Nominee for U.S. President
David McReynolds, Socialist Party USA*
Bob Meola, War Resisters League National Committee* and Courage to Resist Organizing Collective*
Michael T. McPhearson, co-convenor United For Peace and Justice, former executive director of Veterans For Peace
Camilo E. Mejia, activist, resister
Linda Milazzo,  activist, writer
Dede Miller, activist
Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor
Nick Mottern, Consumers for Peace
Gael Murphy, co-chair, Legislative Working Group, United for Peace and Justice*, co-founder, Code Pink*
Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy*
Bruce Nestor, past president, National Lawyers Guild
Brad Newsham, activist
Georgianne Nienaber, activist and author
Stirling Newberry, former military contractor
Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Jeanne Olson, veteran, activist
Paul Ortiz, Veterans for Peace, author
Cynthia Papermaster, director, National Accountability Action Network*
Judith Mahoney Pasternak, War Resisters League*
Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist
Lewis Pitts, Legal Aid of NC
Gareth Porter, author and journalist
Bill Quigley, Center for Constitutional Rights and professor of law, Loyola University New Orleans*
Jesselyn Radack, former Department of Justice legal adviser
Garett Reppenhagen, chair of the board of directors, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Ward Reilly, advisory committee member, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, VVAW
Jill Richardson, author
Katie Robbins, national organizer, Healthcare-NOW!
David Rovics, singer/song writer
Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent, one of TIME's 2002 Persons of the Year
Richard E. Rubenstein, author, Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War
Stephanie Rugoff, project coordinator, War Criminals Watch
A.F. Saidy, M.D., Coalition for Peace in M.E. in L.A.
Nicole Sandler, radio host
Lisa Savage, Code Pink Maine*
Linda Schade, WikiLeaksisDemocracy.org
Bill Scheurer, PeaceMajority Report
Sue Serpa, coordinator, JobsForAfghans.org
Jamilla El-Shafei, Peace Action Maine, Code Pink
Joanne Sheehan, coordinator, War Resisters League New England
Robert Shetterly, artist, Americans Who Tell the Truth
Gar Smith, Environmentalists Against War
Michael Steven Smith, Law and Disorder Radio; board member, Center for Constitutional Rights*
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Democracy Unlimited
Jeffrey St Clair, CounterPunch
John Stauber, author, Weapons of Mass Deception
Josh Stieber, conscientious objector
John Stockwell, former intelligence officer, author
David Swanson, WarIsACrime.org
Rev. James L. Swarts, professor, Veterans For Peace, Progressives In Action Peace Committee Chair
Dennis Trainor, Jr., NoCureForThat.org
Diane Turco, Cape Codders for Peace and Justice
Sue Udry, Defending Dissent Foundation*
Elizabeth De La Vega, former assistant U.S. attorney, author
Robert C. Walter, Peace Action Maine, associate member of Veterans for Peace
Harvey Wasserman, author
Janet Weil, military family member
Alison Weir, president, Council for the National Interest
Beverley Whipple, Fla. chapter leader, Military Families Speak Out
Paki Wieland, activist
S. Brian Willson, Viet Nam Veteran, activist
Diane Wilson, shrimper, activist, author, Veterans for Peace
Marcy Winograd, former Democratic congressional candidate
Ann Wright, US Army Reserve Colonel and former US diplomat
Dan Yaseen, Peace Fresno
Charles M. Young, contributing editor, Thiscantbehappening.net
Kevin Zeese, Voters For Peace
Maggie Zhou, Climate SOS

*for identification purposes only

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 Glenn Beck, with his usual array of charts and pictures and implements of distraction, has made the argument that Progressives caused the economic collapse of Detroit, not through ineptitude, or negligence, but by design.

According to Beck, it is all part of a larger design to usher in a new age of socialism.

You heard me right.

Detroit was not crushed by NAFTA and a greedy, regulation free culture that allowed for the unprecedented re-distribution of Wealth upwards while blue collar jobs went overseas, no; Detroit was not destroyed by Hypercapitalist, Detroit was crushed by the Godless commies.

What then, is the sinister plan of the all powerful communist/ socialist shadow government that is really pulling the strings in Washington?

Glenn Beck has your answer:

First, he says, it started in Watts, with the riots in the 1960s. Yes, I know Watts is in Los Angeles and not Detroit, but stay with Glenn- he is going to connect all of the dots for you.

First, he tells us that the Watts riots was not the product of systematic Police Brutality and other societal injustices suffered by the black community, but the Watts riots were a tool to seek “guaranteed income, that’s communism but Nixon was in power so they realized they had to put people in power to implement a solution.” (emphasis mine)

At his professorial blackboard, Beck goes on to tell us that they have a plan that includes “creating or exploiting problems that would overwhelm and collapse the financial system by getting more and more people onto welfare until it just can not hold anymore”

Gee Glenn, so a sinister force running the country is actually seeking a classless society, where we redistribute the wealth according to need, and – according to you, I’m just trying to understand this- this secret communist agenda is going to accomplish this by waging a class war? By making consolidating power in the hands a few wealthy elite?

What will that accomplish?

To which Beck responds (and I paraphrase here)- people will become so poor that they will riot and the result of those riots and the people will cry out for the government to do something to end all of the strife at which time- WHAMMO- the government will (remember: and this was the plan all along) impose Communism on all of us. Then Beck pauses, and with all of the conviction of a decent actor in a middle school production of Rome and Juliet, starts to get a little emotional as he tells us “gosh, how do people not see this?”

You're right, Glenn. Just like the magical era of a post Watts Los Angeles, Communism is coming to America.

I remember it now; the 1970s in LA was a golden age in Communism, blotted out of the history books by good religious folk like you lest the evil ways of the Godless commies took root. Perhaps God has indeed blessed America Glenn, for the power of California to spread fads worldwide is well documented; how the golden age of Communism that came to be as a result of the Watts Riots never spread far and wide is one of the great mysteries of socio-political history.
 
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Our new tearful leader
written by
Dennis Trainor, Jr. 

The 112th session of Congress gets underway today with Republicans sauntering into town with itchy fingers floating above their holsters like Cowboys seeking vengeance in an old western.

Ah, the spirit of America.

The Democrats don’t seem eager for a showdown, or, as Rep. Anthony Weiner put it, the Democrats are entering the new session “in the fetal position.”

The number one issue that Republicans are taking aim at is nothing less than the signature piece of legislation passed by the Obama administration: the health care reform bill. Republicans have vowed to vote on repealing healthcare reform as early as next week. John Boehner, our new speaker of the house, is on the record as saying that Obama’s Health Care reform will “ruin the best health care system in the world and bankrupt our country.”

While many (myself included) feel as if the health care reform championed by the Obama administration did not go nearly far enough to make health care (not insurance) available to all, the murderous position that is championed by Boehner and the Regressives on the right wing must be filed under the category of class warfare. One can only hope that the Democrats find the political will to extricate themselves from the fetal position and stand for… something.

With the notable exception of a few, like Anthony Weiner, I would not hold your breath. Rep. Weiner said on Countdown with Keith Olbermann the other night:

“If they want their very first vote to take away prescription drug money from senior citizens, to take away coverage from young Americans 21- 26, to take away coverage for people who have pre-existing conditions, this is the first thing they want to do? If they want that fight, bring it on, chicky.”

I am not sure who Chicky is, but I do admire Anthony Weiner’s pluck.

And yes, clearly the GOP does want this fight.  Their position, as articulated by the tearful leader, is that we now have the best health care system in the world.

This, in fact, may be true. For some. For instance, if I go to see Kobe Bryant and the Lakers play against LeBron James and I sit in the noose bleed seats and watch the best game in the world, my experience of that game is far different than Jack Nicolson’s. Jack is sitting courtside where he has a close up view; he can listen in on the huddle, he can high five the players after a great play, he can smell Kobe Bryant’s sweat. I, on the other hand, have my 12-dollar beer spilled all over me by some hoodlum who keeps jumping up and down to block my view.

And I was lucky enough to get into the stadium. Many were forced to watch on TV (not all that bad) while others don’t even get to watch the game.

Healthcare, obviously, is not basketball. For the large majority of American citizens, our healthcare system is not the best in the world. It is merely adequate when compared to many industrialized nations, with the following added weight: Access to healthcare in this country is predicated on corporate profit. Simply put, if you have health insurance you are the beneficiary of a game that wins when people suffer and die.

Period. Full stop. End of fucking story. The health care insurance racket provides access and makes a disgusting profit with a direct correlation to how many people it denies coverage. In other words, when people die health care insurance companies do well.

Which is why, when Republicans revive the death panel myth, as they certainly will, I don’t think we should lament this a travesty, as Dr. Atul Gawande did today on Democracy now (video below); I think we should see this as an opportunity.

Perhaps, as the health care debate revives, Obama or some Democrat will find the will to do what no one did during the town hall debates (hijacked as they were by Tea Party Town Hall Terrorists) and that is this: walk to the steps of Blue Cross Blue Shield or Aetna with a camera crew, march to the office of the CEO and show the American people where the very real death panels reside. How much creative imagination and PR moxy does it take to outfox the GOP on an issue where the status quo is killing people?

Literally.

For the die hard (no pun) right wing lunatics who claim that we simply can not afford to provide health care for all and who choose to ignore the fact that single payer health care is actually cheaper than our current system, perhaps a baby step forward might be to take the money out of our bloated, wasteful, military budget and fund a system (insurance based or no) that will provide health care for all. That the GOP and the right wing Regressives will not entertain this displays clearly that the leaders who have just marched into the 112th congress (and the people who elected them) are much like the renegade and vengeance seeking Cowboy described at the top of the piece: cold blooded murderers.

Ah, the spirit of America.