News Release Archive - 2010

Federal Reserve and Unemployment

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MARK WEISBROT
Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He said today: “While America is suffering through its worst spell of unemployment since the Great Depression, some Republicans in Congress actually want to change the law so the Fed can’t legally pursue full employment as it is supposed to do now. This is pretty crazy stuff. Meanwhile, there is backlash against the Fed for actually doing something right this time — ‘quantitative easing’ — and fears of inflation when it is actually too low. The Fed’s latest move can actually reduce the interest burden of the country’s public debt and makes it easier for the Congress to do what it should have done two years ago: enact a stimulus that is big enough to actually pull the economy out of its current slump and put people back to work. It’s not enough, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Left-Right Alliance on Cutting Military Budget

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MarketWatch is reporting: “Illinois Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who is a member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, on Tuesday offered up her own proposals for budget cutting that relies on defense spending cuts and corporate and estate tax hikes.”

CARL CONETTA
Conetta is co-director of the Project on Defense Alternatives at the Commonwealth Institute. He said today: “Earlier this year the president established a bipartisan National Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and asked it to recommend a plan for bringing the federal deficit into primary balance in 2015. …

“The defense budget has been responsible for more than 60 percent of discretionary budget growth since 2001 and almost a quarter of the growth in total federal spending. The rise in Pentagon spending since 1998 has been without precedent in all the years since the Korean War. …

“In March of 2010 the Sustainable Defense Task Force was formed in response to a request from Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), working in cooperation with Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.), Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), to explore possible military budget contributions to deficit reduction efforts that would not compromise the essential security of the United States. The Task Force reported back with nineteen options that in total would save nearly $1 trillion over ten years. For the year 2015 the savings would be $111 billion.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Left-Right Alliance on Cutting Military Budget

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MarketWatch is reporting: “Illinois Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who is a member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, on Tuesday offered up her own proposals for budget cutting that relies on defense spending cuts and corporate and estate tax hikes.”

CARL CONETTA
Conetta is co-director of the Project on Defense Alternatives at the Commonwealth Institute. He said today: “Earlier this year the president established a bipartisan National Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and asked it to recommend a plan for bringing the federal deficit into primary balance in 2015. …

“The defense budget has been responsible for more than 60 percent of discretionary budget growth since 2001 and almost a quarter of the growth in total federal spending. The rise in Pentagon spending since 1998 has been without precedent in all the years since the Korean War. …

“In March of 2010 the Sustainable Defense Task Force was formed in response to a request from Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), working in cooperation with Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.), Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), to explore possible military budget contributions to deficit reduction efforts that would not compromise the essential security of the United States. The Task Force reported back with nineteen options that in total would save nearly $1 trillion over ten years. For the year 2015 the savings would be $111 billion.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Afghanistan Policy: Fueling War

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JEREMY SCAHILL
Available for a limited number of interviews, Scahill is recently back from Afghanistan and just wrote the piece “Killing Reconciliation.” Scahill states that while the Obama administration says it is backing a strategy of reconciliation with the Taliban, night raids by U.S. Special Operations are killing that reconciliation.

Scahill is author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He was recently interviewed on Democracy Now.

KATHY KELLY
JERICA ARENTS
DAVID SMITH-FERRI
Kelly, Arents and Smith-Ferri are with the group Voices for Creative Nonviolence and have also recently returned from Afghanistan. Kelly said today: “While the U.S. military conducts deadly night raids, rounds up and imprisons young Afghan men and bulldozes homes and schools in villages outside Kandahar city in southern Afghanistan, NATO leaders will meet in Lisbon [this week] to discuss extending NATO troop presence to 2014.

“We met with Afghan people who hunger for food, justice, electricity and security. Many expressed dismay over NATO and U.S. support for a corrupt government. Still others emphasized angry weariness from three decades of warfare. Given this context, the delegation was particularly impressed by the earnest interest of Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers in building a better future based on tolerance, justice and an insistence that bombs and bullets won’t solve their problems.”

Background: Steve Clemons notes that while the “cost of America’s military effort in Afghanistan is $65 billion per year … the entire GDP of Afghanistan is just $22 billion.

“We are spending — just on the military and not counting allied force commitments or NGO and other non-military aid — more than three times the entire GDP of the country.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

The Battle for Social Security

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NANCY ALTMAN
Altman is co-chair of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, a coalition of over 215 national and state organizations representing more than 50 million Americans. She said today: “An angry electorate last week expressed its frustration with a Washington political class that does not appear to be listening. Now, the Fiscal Commission Co-Chairs’ Social Security proposal totally ignores the will of the people. Poll after poll has shown that Democrats, Republicans and independents reject the punitive cuts in America’s economic security that the co-chairs have proposed. The chairmen say that Social Security does not and cannot contribute one penny to the deficit. We agree wholeheartedly. Why then are they, charged with reducing that deficit, … proposing massive cuts to Social Security?” Altman wrote the book The Battle For Social Security: From FDR’s Vision To Bush’s Gamble.

JANE SLAUGHTER
Slaughter is with Labor Notes and just wrote a piece titled “Why does a billionaire want to take away your Social Security benefits?” which states: “Peter Peterson is 84 years old. He’s old enough to relax and enjoy the fruits of the years he was well paid for managing other rich people’s money. Why is he spending his fortune to convince politicians they should ruin the average guy’s retirement?

“[Tuesday] Peterson announced the next facet in his long campaign to hack Social Security, including a joke presidential candidate named Hugh Jidette (‘huge debt’) and a website called Owe No. His aim is to convince Congress to raise the retirement age, cut Social Security’s cost-of-living increases — and raise the payroll taxes we pay for Social Security and Medicare.

“It wouldn’t matter what one cranky octogenarian billionaire had to say if he weren’t putting $6 million into ads, funding ‘expert’ commissions, and spreading lies designed to panic the populace.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

U.S. and Murderous Military in Indonesia

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ALLAN NAIRN
Currently in Indonesia, Nairn is available for a limited number of interviews with major media outlets. He just wrote the piece “Breaking News: Secret Files Show Kopassus, Indonesia’s Special Forces, Targets Papuan Churches, Civilians. Documents Leak from Notorious U.S.-Backed Unit as Obama Lands in Indonesia.”

The piece states: “Secret documents have leaked from inside Kopassus, Indonesia’s red berets, which say that Indonesia’s U.S.-backed security forces engage in ‘murder [and] abduction’ and show that Kopassus targets churches in West Papua and defines civilian dissidents as the ‘enemy.’

“The documents include a Kopassus enemies list headed by Papua’s top Baptist minister and describe a covert network of surveillance, infiltration and disruption of Papuan institutions. …

“When the U.S. restored Kopassus aid last July the rationale was fighting terrorism, but the documents show that Kopassus in fact systematically targets civilians.”

See IPA release of March 24, 2010: “Exposing U.S.-backed Indonesian Military Assassinations Leads to Arrest Threats and Censorship for Journalist

JOHN M. MILLER
National coordinator for the East Timor & Indonesia Action Network, Miller said today: “We urge President Obama to use the opportunity of his visit to decisively break with past U.S. support for torture, disappearances, rape, invasion and illegal occupation, extrajudicial murder, environmental devastation and more. U.S. weapons, training, political backing and economic support of Indonesia facilitated these crimes.”

Nairn and Miller appeared on the program Democracy Now this morning:

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

India: Security Council, Gandhi, Walmart and Bhopal

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JAMES PAUL
Available for a limited number of interviews, Paul is executive director of the Global Policy Forum. He said today: “U.S. statements regarding including India as a permanent member of the Security Council are fake and everyone knows it. It won’t happen. And it shouldn’t. The Security Council is an extremely problematic institution, constantly prevented from needed action by U.S. and other vetoes and dominated in all its actions by the existing five permanent members. The way to fix it is certainly not to create more permanent seats. Democracy is not advanced by more members-for-life!” Paul co-wrote “Theses Towards a Democratic Reform of the UN Security Council.”

ARUN GANDHI
Arun Gandhi lived with his grandfather Mahatma Gandhi [sometimes affectionately called Gandhiji] from 1946 until his assassination in 1948. Arun Gandhi’s books include Legacy of Love: My Education in the Path of Nonviolence. He said today: “India is seeking business from the U.S.; the U.S. wants markets for its products so this Indo-U.S. relationship is nothing but an attempt to exploit each other. From the western point of view it is economic colonization. India has sold its soul to materialism and will bend over backwards to get some dollars from the U.S. … The descendants — the people who subscribe to the same theories — of Ghandhiji’s assassins — are very powerful today in India with the rise of the BJP, the largest opposition party. There is no one at the governmental level advocating today what Gandhiji advocated, though there are many activists at the grassroots level doing so. … Leaders of each country are trying to do what they think is best for them. What is good for the world is what is important, but India is going to spend alot of money on the military and modernizing the army while half the population is still living below the poverty line.”

RADHIKA BALAKRISHNAN
Balakrishnan is executive director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership and professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. She has worked at the Ford Foundation as a program officer in the Asia Regional Program. Balakrishnan said today: “Obama, like Clinton before him, talks a great deal about U.S.-India trade developing entrepreneurs, but the lead company in the entourage of 200 U.S. corporations with Obama is Walmart. CEO of Walmart Mike Duke is pushing for the liberalizing of the retail industry. A proliferation of Walmart in India is going to hurt small rural farmers and small sellers.” Balakrishnan edited the book The Hidden Assembly Line: Gender Dynamics of Subcontracted Work in a Global Economy.

SHANA BLUSTEIN ORTMAN
The Washington Post reports today: “More than 400 survivors of the 26-year-old Union Carbide gas leak protested on the streets in the heart of New Delhi on Monday and demanded justice from President Barack Obama, who spent the morning locked in meetings with senior Indian officials not too far away.” Ortman is U.S. coordinator of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Why Initiative to Gut Calif. Environmental Law Failed

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California’s Proposition 23 sought to suspend a 2006 law (AB 32) intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

DAVID CHENG
Available for a limited number of interviews, Cheng is a senior manager at the Cleantech Group, a research and advisory company focused on clean tech innovation. He is also a member of E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), a national community of individual business leaders who advocate for good environmental policy while building economic prosperity.

He said today: “California voters overwhelmingly looked ahead towards a clean energy future by voting down Prop 23. As a good barometer, I look to the smartest people in the room and learn from them. In this case, the ‘No on 23’ campaign recruited a large tent of Republicans and Democrats, capitalists and environmentalists to this cause. I look forward to the wave of innovation and jobs that will stem from California’s clean energy policies, most notably AB 32.”

LARRY FAHN
Fahn is president of As You Sow and member of the board and past president of the Sierra Club. He said today: “California voters saw through the special interest deception and showed their determination that California remain a leader in the transformation to a clean energy future.” Fahn says he realized that the “No” side would likely prevail when the Palm Springs Desert Sun became the 50th California newspaper to publish a “No on 23” editorial, joining the L.A. Times, San Diego Union Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee and most of the other major papers in the state.

ABEL HAPTEGEORGIS
Haptegeorgis is with the Ella Baker Center, which released a statement: “Early polling showed that many of California’s ethnic minority communities were more supportive of Prop. 23 than white voters, but polls released in late October showed a marked shift against the initiative. … Much credit may belong to a massive grassroots effort to educate voters of color … through door-knocking, phone calls, direct mail, radio ads and ethnic media outreach. The campaign was mounted by Communities United Against the Dirty Energy Proposition, a coalition of over 130 organizations representing low-income communities and people of color in California.”

GABE ELSNER
Elsner is campaign director of Power Vote California. He said today: “The California Student Sustainability Coalition’s Power Vote Campaign united thousands of young Californians behind a creative grassroots campaign that exposed Big Oil’s dirty ploy, and mobilized thousands of voters to defeat it. The campaign partnered with student networks across the state to turn out the youth vote, worked with a community coalition to launch the Clean Energy Tour, a music tour merging arts and activism, and directly confronted oil interests bank-rolling the initiative, like the Koch brothers.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Haiti Destruction “Man-Made, Not Natural Disaster”

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MELINDA MILES
Available for a very limited number of interviews, Miles is with Let Haiti Live. She can speak about conditions on the ground, role of environmental destruction, trade and aid policies and earthquake response.

BRIAN CONCANNON
Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Concannon lived in Haiti for eight years. He said today: “The extensive damage from Tomas in Haiti is in large part the product of policies, including international aid and trade policies, and the undermining and overthrow of democratic regimes in Haiti from abroad, that have kept Haiti vulnerable, and its government unable to provide the basic services necessary to reduce this vulnerability.” See: “Hurricane Tomas: Anticipated Destruction Will Be a Man-Made, Not Natural Disaster

NORA RASMAN
Rasman is with TransAfrica Forum, Washington D.C. and can address U.S. policy towards Haiti and earthquake response.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Obama in India

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VIJAY PRASHAD
Prashad just wrote the piece “Obama in India.”

He is the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, Conn. His most recent book is The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167