Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘foreign policy’

Antiwar.com: You have a choice!

In Activism, Congress, Economics, Iraq War, Libertarian, Media, Taxation, US Government, War on November 11, 2008 at 6:53 pm

They’re Bailing Out the Banks
With Your Tax Dollars.

But you have a choice!

Nobody asked you if you wanted to bail out the banks. The powers that be in Washington, D.C., just went ahead and did it. They wrote a check for almost $1 trillion to the biggest financial institutions in the country, saving them from their own disastrous investments. Andyou get the bill.
But it doesn’t have to be a total loss. You can direct some of your tax dollars to a worthy cause. Instead of rewarding the greed and hubris of “businessmen” whose only assets seem to be their friends in Washington, you can send your tax dollars to work for peace. 
Unlike the hundreds of billions going to the banks, yourtax-deductible contribution to Antiwar.com is a good investment: it will keep you informed about the world you live in, warning you of the dangers to peace just around the bend. 
Since the mid-’90s, Antiwar.com has been the place to find out what’s really going on in hotspots around the globe. And since our beginning, we’ve depended on the generosity of our readers to keep us online.
Now hard times have hit all of us, at the very time when Antiwar.com is most essential. Our fight for a noninterventionist foreign policy is making some real gains, for the first time in years. But with charitable giving down, we are feeling the pinch. We need your help, and we need it now.
The choice is yours: would you rather give your hard-earned dollars to the big banks and the war profiteers, or to Antiwar.com?

Don’t delay.

Sorry for the interruption.
Continue to Antiwar.com

 

Contact akeaton@antiwar.com or call 323-512-7095 for more information.

The shamelessness of the neocon business press

In Drug War, Iraq War, Media, Politics, War on May 1, 2008 at 5:25 am

Investor’s Business Daily is a great paper for monitoring the financial markets. It’s also great for monitoring the deranged hysteria of the right-most Fascist fringe of the neoconservative movement.

Wednesday’s editorial page featured an absolutely shameless hit-piece against the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Although I do not agree with Rev. Wright’s racially collectivist views, his foreign-policy outlook seems right on the money, at least from what I’ve read and heard. But IBD characterizes Wright’s politically incorrect truth telling as “lying.” Apparently, anything said against the Regime qualifies as a “lie” — regardless of whether it is factually accurate or not. Ignorance really is strength!

From the article:

It’s a lie that the U.S. government pumps drugs into the black community to entice black men into prison. . .

Really? So agents of the U.S. government, i.e. the FBI, don’t sell drugs as part of undercover operations? Is that what IBD is alleging here? With a straight face? Come on! But of course, the federal government’s “pumping” operations go much deeper than that. Even if widely documented accounts of the CIA drug trafficking can be denied, it cannot be disputed that the U.S. government’s unconstitutional prohibition of illicit drugs results in reduced supply, higher prices, greater profits, and stimulated demand.

I guess one could quibble over what the definition of “pumping” is. But can you believe that IBD actually had the audacity to go here?

Wright added another lie — that if we wanted to know if Saddam Hussein was using chemical and biological weapons, all we had to do is check our sales records: “We sold him those biological weapons that he was using against his own people.”

I know plenty of neocons who don’t even deny this fact — even neighborhood fascists who still claim Saddam had WMDs buried in the desert! One has to truly be oblivious to reality to characterize the above as a “lie.”

Now how about this one:

“We have troops all over the world, just like Rome had troops stationed all over the world. That notion of imperialism is not the message of the gospel of the prince of peace, nor of God, who loves the world.”

What is IBD saying when they say the above is a lie?

  • We don’t have troops stationed all over the world?
  • Rome didn’t have troops stationed all over the world?
  • Imperialism is the message of the gospel of the prince of peace and of God?
  • God does not love the world, but in fact hates it?

I know; it’s all of the above.

But if you think it couldn’t get worse, just read how IBD actually portrays U.S. military presence in the Middle East. This is no joke, they really wrote this:

We prefer to think of Marines engaged in Operation Iraqi Freedom and its aftermath not as imperialist murderers but as heroes laying down their lives for their friends. Greater love has no man.

I’m sorry. I should have warned you to have a barf bag at hand before reading the above. I hope you didn’t sully anything precious.

It’s one thing to disagree with the traditional American foreign policy — the non-interventionism of Washington, Jefferson, the Old RIght, and (apparently) Jeremiah Wright. But to label politically inconvenient truths as lies just because they don’t support the neocon agenda is beyond the pale — even for the bloodthirsty chickenhawks at IBD.

It seems as though neoconservatism is legitimately a mental illness (Thomas Szaz be damned). The only question is whether or not these clearly deranged individuals even have any conception of what the truth is anymore. To neocons, the “truth” is merely the opposite of whatever the Goldstein of the day says. We were always at war with Eurasia.

LP Presidential Candidate, Senator Mike Gravel, Interviewed By Newsweek

In Barack Obama, Censorship, Democracy, Democrats, Iraq War, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, US Government, War on April 1, 2008 at 12:11 am

Senator Mike GravelSenator Mike GravelLP Presidential candidates normally don’t get this level of media exposure, ever. Senator Mike Gravel’s switch to the Libertarian Party is causing a great deal of positive mainstream media attention. Below is an excerpt from the Newsweek interview, posted today. I will note that Last Free voice beat Newsweek to the punch, interviewing Senator Gravel within 48 hours of his decision to run as an LP candidate.

After the crowded presidential primary shrunk from eight Democrats and 11 Republicans to only three viable candidates between the two parties, what’s a spurned presidential hopeful to do? Well, if you’re Ron Paul, you ignore John McCain‘s inevitability and keep running anyway. If you’re former U.S. senator Mike Gravel, you switch parties.

Last Monday, the former Democrat swung by the Libertarian Party‘s national headquarters and defected. “We handed him a [membership] card on the spot,” says Shane Cory, the party’s executive director. Two days later, Gravel formally announced he would run to be the Libertarian candidate for president, joining a field of 15 others. Cory wouldn’t comment on Gravel’s chances at the convention, which will take start in Denver on May 22, but he did say that Gravel’s party swap has garnered some much-appreciated exposure for the Libertarians.

Gravel spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Sarah Elkins about the 2008 race and why he’s still running. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: You’ve been a Democrat for your entire political career. Was it a tough decision to switch parties?
Mike Gravel:
It had been eating at me–believe me–ever since I was a senator [he served from 1969 to 1981]. When I was in the Senate, I was a maverick and, at the end of my term, I was not particularly happy with my progress in terms of partisanship with the Democrats and Republicans. So when I left office, I stayed away from partisan politics altogether. But when I decided to get back in the game and to get my message out to the American people about the National Initiative [a political movement that would allow ballot initiatives at the federal level], I had to pick a party that would allow me to get into the debates … But of all the parties I was probably closest to the Libertarians.

It sounds like you’ve been interested in leaving the Democratic Party for some time. Why didn’t you make the move sooner?
It wouldn’t have made any sense for me to enter the race as a Libertarian. [As a Democratic candidate], I got into the debates and got a fair amount of visibility up until General Electric [which owns NBC] along with the Democratic Party leadership, said they would get me out of the debates. And they did. GE said I did not meet their criteria for participating in the debates. I think it’s very interesting that a defense contractor said I had to meet their criteria in order to participate in the MSNBC debates. We’ve really come down in democracy when a defense contractor can decide what the American people hear from a candidate. It was a [Democratic National Committee] sanctioned debate, so we complained to the DNC and found out that Howard Dean had agreed to it and that not a single one of the other Democratic nominees raised a finger in protest, meaning that they were totally tone deaf to the censorship of the military-industrial complex.

So you didn’t consider running as a Libertarian from the get-go?
I would have preferred to run as an independent or Libertarian or Green Party, but I knew that none of those candidates would have gotten any traction. So I used my position as a legitimate Democratic candidate to get my name out there.

You still have to win the Libertarian primary in order to run as the party’s candidate.
I am probably the most well known and certainly the most experienced in terms of running for president and as a government official. I have 16 years of experience in elected office and have been a senator, and I have a great deal of foreign-policy experience.

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You can read the very interesting three-page interview excerpt with Newsweek here.

Gravel announces Libertarian presidential run

In Congress, Global Warming, Guantanamo, Health, Iran, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Science, Taxation, Torture, US Government, Veterans, War on March 26, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Mike Gravel

A Personal Message from Mike

I wanted to update you on my latest plans before news gets out. Today, I am announcing my plan to join the Libertarian Party, because the Democratic Party no longer represents my vision for our great country. I wanted my supporters to get this news first, because you have been the ones who have kept my campaign alive since I first declared my candidacy on April 17, 2006.

The fact is, the Democratic Party today is no longer the party of FDR. It is a party that continues to sustain war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism — all of which I find anathema to my views.

By and large, I have been repeatedly marginalized in both national debates and in media exposure by the Democratic leadership, which works in tandem with the corporate interests that control what we read and hear in the media.

I look forward to advancing my presidential candidacy within the Libertarian Party, which is considerably closer to my values, my foreign policy views and my domestic views.

Please take a moment to make your most generous donation to my presidential campaign today. $10, $20, $50 — whatever you feel you can afford.

I want to thank you all for your continued support.

_______________________________

So, what are Gravel’s views on the issues? Here are some issue statements from his website:

The War in Iraq Senator Gravel’s position on Iraq remains clear and consistent: to commence an immediate and orderly withdrawal of all U.S. troops that will have them home within 120 days. The sooner U.S. troops are withdrawn, the sooner we can pursue aggressive diplomacy to bring an end to the civil war that currently consumes Iraq. Senator Gravel seeks to work with neighboring countries to lead a collective effort to bring peace to Iraq.

One of the leading opponents of the Vietnam War, Senator Gravel was one of the first current or former elected officials to publicly oppose the planned invasion of Iraq in 2002. He appeared on MSNBC prior to the invasion insisting that intelligence showed that there were indeed no weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq posed no threat to the United States and that invading Iraq was against America’s national interests and would result in a disaster of epic proportions for both the United States and the Iraqi people.

Today, more than four years into the invasion, the death toll of U.S. troops has climbed over 3,300 with over 50,000 more permanently maimed, some having lost limbs, others their sight. Tens of thousands more are afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and urgently need psychological care. The Iraqi civilian death toll nears three-quarters of a million, and still there remains no end in sight to the bloodshed.

As President, Senator Gravel will call for a U.S. corporate withdrawal from Iraq and hand over reconstruction contracts to Iraqi businesses which will empower Iraqi nationals to reconstruct their own country.

The National Initiative for Democracy Mike fully supports the National Initiative for Democracy. The NI4D is a way to bring legislative power back to the people. In many states, citizens can put measures on the ballot and Mike believes as citizens of the United States we should all have that power.

Iran and Syria Senator Gravel opposes a military confrontation with Iran and Syria and advocates a diplomatic solution to the current situation.

Global Warming/Climate Change Senator Gravel believes that global climate change is a matter of national security and survivability of the plant. As President, he will act swiftly to reduce America’s carbon footprint in the world by initiating legislation to tax carbon at the source and cap carbon emissions. he is also committed to leading the fight against global deforestation, which today is second only to the energy sector as a source of greenhouse gases. However, any legislation will have little impact on the global environment if we do not work together with other global polluters. China, India, and under-developed nations all work together fighting climate change can only be effective if it is a collective global effort. As President, Senator Gravel will see that the U.S. launches and leads a massive global scientific effort, integrating the world’s scientific and engineering community, to end energy dependence on oil and integrate the world scientific community in this task.

Progressive Taxes – A fair Tax Senator Gravel’s Progressive Fair Tax proposal calls for eliminating the IRS and the income tax and replacing it with a national sales tax on new products and services. To compensate for the tax on necessities, such as food, lodging, transportation and clothing, there would be a “rebate” to reimburse taxpayers. This would be paid in a monthly check from the government to all citizens. The focus on taxing new goods would also help tackle the global climate change problem.

Healthcare Senator Gravel advocates a universal healthcare system that provides equal medical services to all citizens, paid for by a retail sales tax (a portion of the Progressive Fair tax). Citizens would pay nothing for health benefits.

Reproductive Rights Senator Mike Gravel supports a woman’s right to decide if and when to have children. He also supports a woman’s right to make the difficult decision about abortion without interference by government authorities. Comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education, including accurate information about contraception, can always be provided in order to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions. Parity in health insurance and access to specialized family health care services, including family planning education, would also benefit the health and welfare of infants and children, who need and deserve to be wanted and loved.

Immigration Senator Gravel favors protecting our borders and monitoring the flow of immigrants into our country. He also favors a guest worker program and setting up naturalization procedures that would fairly bring immigrants into legal status. America must address the root cause of illegal immigration. Any discussion of immigration must include NAFTA and the concept of “free trade.” The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a disaster for the working class of both the U.S. and Mexico and a boon to the international corporate interests. A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that over 1 million U.S. jobs were lost as a result of NAFTA, a third of them manufacturing jobs. In Mexico, 1.3 million farm workers lost their jobs in the same period. This has led to a wave of immigrants looking for work in the U.S. Reforming unfair trade policies spawned by measures like NAFTA will stimulate job growth on both sides of the border.

LGBT Rights Senator Gravel supports same-sex marriage and opposes the Defense of Marriage Act. He supports expanding hate-crime legislation and opposes laws that allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or one’s gender identity or expression. Senator Gravel strongly opposes the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” legislation on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, as it restricts the rights of gay Americans. He opposes any state or national constitutional amendment that restricts the rights of the gay community.

Social Security Senator Gravel wants to put real money, rather than borrowed money, in the Social Security Trust Fund. He advocates investing it properly and identifying the interests of individual beneficiaries so they can know what their retirement fund is and leave surplus funds to heirs.

Education Access to public education is a bedrock American value. Why is it then that the United States ranks 49th in literacy and that an estimated 30% of our students don’t graduate from high school? Investing in education provides a pathway to a thriving national economy, to individual and family economic opportunity, and to the reduction of poverty. A successful education system requires the commitment of families, the community, and government. It’s time to re-order our national budget priorities in order to improve the American education system. Parent education and access to preschool programs such as Head Start need to be expanded so that children from low income families are equally ready to benefit from elementary school. Universal pre-kindergarten would also enhance readiness. Encouraging our students to be the best they can be will require flexibility from the federal and state governments, within school systems, and from groups with a stake in educational success. Flexibility may mean extended school days and summer learning opportunities or extended school years. It may mean online and broadcast courses to provide access to highly qualified teachers. It may mean charter schools to address the needs of local communities, smaller classes, enrichment programs for students at risk, and vocational options. One thing we know for sure: No Child Left Behind has left too many children behind. It needs to be reformed and adequately funded. It needs to acknowledge the need for a fuller curriculum that encourages critical thinking-not just math and science test-taking. A high school diploma should be the minimum goal for all students; without it, our children will be condemned to a substandard economic existence.

Veteran’s Affairs As President, Senator Gravel would ensure that veterans receive full funding for their most important needs, including healthcare that is indexed to the increasing cost of care and medicine. He would make sure that all soldiers receive a full medical diagnosis to assess what their individual needs would be. He would also make sure that the VA system is fully financed and has sufficient well-trained personnel to provide the finest care that is available. As the Senator says, “We can do no less and we will do much more.” Mike Gravel is the only military veteran in the democratic race.

The War on Drugs The War on Drugs has been a failure. It is time to end prohibition and start treating addiction as a public health problem. This has ravaged our inner cities, and we are losing an entire generation of men and women to prisons. We must regulate hard drugs for the purpose of treating addicts, which would emphasize rehabilitation and prevention over incarceration. We must decriminalize minor drug offenses and increase the availability and visibility of substance abuse treatment in our communities as well as in jails and prisons. The United States incarcerates more people and at a higher rate than any other industrialized nation in the world. Some 2.3 million Americans are now behind bars. This tragedy must end.

Net Neutrality Net Neutrality aims to keep the Internet free from large companies, which are trying to limit the number of web sites their customers can view and the speed at which they can view them. Senator Gravel guarantees a free and open Internet with unlimited access to all sites. He will do this by supporting legislation and regulation that keeps you in control of your Internet usage and promotes free speech.

Human Rights Senator Gravel is adamantly opposed to torture, indefinite detention, and the deprivation of lawyers/speedy trials. He opposes the Military Commissions Act, flagrant ignorance of the Geneva convention, and Guantanamo.

LP gets mainstream press coverage in Philadelphia Inquirer

In Christine Smith, Civil Liberties, Daniel Imperato, George Phillies, Iraq War, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Mike Jingozian, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, Taxation, Torture, War, Wayne Allen Root on March 14, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Philly.com logoThe following article from the Philadephia Inquirer seems to place the LP in a positive light in the mainstream media, and they even got their information right. The only error I see is that Dr. George Phillies is an MIT-educated Physicist, not a chemist. On the other hand, the writer does seem to pick up on the strangeness which is Daniel Imperato, by listing him as a “self described” Papal Knight and Knight of Malta.

Good job and many thanks to Sam Wood at the Inquirer!

LIBERTARIANS HOLD CONVENTION IN PA

By Sam Wood, Inquirer Staff Writer

There’s a joke making the rounds that the Libertarian Party would like to dispel.

Q: What is a Libertarian salad?

A: Lettuce alone!

Libertarians prize individual rights, say party leaders. But really, the emphasis on “individual” ends there. They’re tired of being alone. They’d love to make more converts.

In fact, Libertarians are aggressively pursuing voters in the region, seeking to raise the profile of their party’s presidential candidates. (There’s at least 8.)

This weekend in Malvern, Libertarians from Pennsylvania and New Jersey will hold a joint convention scheduled to run three days at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center.

“Everyone’s invited,” said James C. Babb, a small Main Line businessman and organizer of the weekend gathering, which begins tomorrow. “Saturday is the best day for someone who is not already a party member.”

The confab will give regional Libertarians an opportunity to size up eight presidential candidates before the party’s May 22 national convention in Denver, Colorado. About 200 delegates are expected to attend the Malvern event.

Babb said he’s routinely asked why the Libertarians even bother to run a presidential candidate.

“People say, ‘Gosh, you’re never going to win. Isn’t it a wasted vote?’

“But voters are really disappointed with the Democrats and the Republicans right now,” Babb said. “This is an opportunity to make a statement.”

The Libertarian party platform, Babb said, reflects the values of the Founding Fathers.

Babb said the party stands for a humble foreign policy, a sound currency, protection of individual rights, the elimination of taxes, an end to the war on drugs, no torture and no wiretapping.

He said the Republican Party had used bait-and-switch tactics to win the White House for the past eight years.

“They promised no nation building and invaded Iraq. They promised fiscal conservatism and they brought us a $3.1 trillion budget. And that’s just one year’s worth of squandering.”

Democrats, he said, haven’t done much better.

“They swept the House of Representatives promising to get us out of Iraq, but they’ve continued to fund the war and they’ve failed to protect civil liberties.”

Bill Redpath, the national party chairman, will also attend.

Among the candidates wooing voters in Malvern this weekend include:

Bob Jackson, 68, born in Woodbury, NJ and a 1961 graduate of Lehigh University. An inventor and engineer now based in Michigan, Jackson operates import-export businesses Triax Inc. and Jackson International.

Michael Jingozian, 48, an Oregon entrepreneur and founder of Angelvision Technologies, an internet marketing firm.

Alden Link, 76, businessman and entrepreneur from White Plains, New York. He owns Sundance Industries, the nation’s leading manufacturer of wheat grass juicers.

George Phillies, 61, M.I.T. trained chemist, former Libertarian congressional candidate, ACLU activist, and resident of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Wayne Allyn Root, 47, a Las Vegas-based sports oddsmaker, author, self-made millionaire and television personality.

Daniel Imperato, 50, of West Palm Beach, Fla. Businessman and self-described former semi-pro hockey player, Papal Knight and Knight of Malta.

Christine Smith, 31, a humanitarian activist from Golden, Colorado and author of A Mountain In The Wind – An Exploration of the Spirituality of John Denver.

For more information, see the state party websites at www.lppa.org and www.njlp.org or the national party website at www.lp.org.