News Release Archive - 2015

Clinton: The “Temporary Populist”

hillary-clinton-my-turn-book-e1446511093415ABC News’ Democratic primary debate is scheduled to air on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. For calendar of events, see: accuracy.org/calendar. See: “Democrats scheduled debates on days when no one will watch.”

DOUG HENWOOD, dhenwood at panix.com, @DougHenwood
Author of the just-released book My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the PresidencyHenwood said today: “It’s been fun to watch Hillary Clinton turn into the Temporary Populist for the primary campaign. Given her long history ‘representing Wall Street,’ as she put it in an earlier debate, anything she says now should be taken very skeptically. Her Wall Street proposals may sound tough and detailed, but they’re merely technocratic tweaks that don’t get to the heart of the vast increase in the power of Big Money over the last 35 years. And her many supporters on Wall Street know this. There’s a reason that Goldman Sachs paid her $400,000 in speaking fees in October 2013 alone — and it’s not because she utters profundities like ‘You can’t win if you don’t show up.’ It’s because it’s their vote of confidence in the fact that she shares their fundamental worldview.”

Anger in Streets of Baltimore

hqdefaultJAISAL NOOR, jaisal at therealnews.com, @jaisalnoor
Noor is a host, producer, and reporter for Baltimore-based Real News Network and largely grew up in Baltimore. His most recent report is “Anger in Streets of Baltimore as Mistrial Declared in Freddie Gray Case.” He has covered the trial extensively. See his prior report, “Media Hypes Potential Unrest as Jury Says It’s Deadlocked in Freddie Gray Case,” which featured legal analyst Douglas Colbert who stresses that it was a hung jury, not an acquittal. Today, Noor is covering the “trial of 18-year-old Allen Bullock who broke a police car window during the Baltimore uprisings. Having turned himself in, he faces life in prison and a bail that is higher than those set for the six police officers charged in the killing of Freddie Gray.”

LAWRENCE GRANDPRE, lawrence.grandpre at gmail.com, @LBSBaltimore
Grandpre is director of research for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, a Baltimore-based grassroots think-tank which “advances the public policy interest of Black people in Baltimore through: youth leadership development, political advocacy, and autonomous intellectual innovation.”

Grandpre said today: “There is a misconception about the situation in Baltimore. Corporate media will cut to shots of young black bodies chanting in the streets, multiple layers of law enforcement ‘staging’ through out the city, and create the perception of ‘a city on the brink.’

“There are multiple layers of law enforcement incentives, from increased overtime, to easier access to funding for equipment (including riot gear), for law enforcement to produce a large show of force. That serves both to intimidate folks in the community, a so-called ‘deterrent’ which is designed to create a climate where police messages about being targets are seen as axiomatically true. In reality, the only targeting we’ve seen is the baseless detention of protesters in front of the Baltimore courthouse Wednesday afternoon.

“Grassroots activists are mobilizing peaceful protest in support of a social justice agenda rarely talked about. There are multiple coalitions staging legislative campaigns to change the law enforcement officers’ bill of rights, which provides police additional protections from public oversight and investigation which creates both a chilling effect on reporting police abuses and prevents accountability. Those marching and mobilizing are doing so for justice for Freddie Gray and systemic change in Baltimore and Maryland, increased investment in indigenous institutions in aggrieved communities, and a comprehensive vision of social justice which is effaced when the public narrative centers on the possible destruction of property and not systemic destruction of black and brown life.”

CNN: Must a President Kill Thousands of Children?

At Tuesday night’s CNN-organized Republican debate, addressing retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Hugh Hewitt of the right-wing Salem Media Group posed this question: “People admire and respect and are inspired by your life story, your kindness, your evangelical core support. We’re talking about ruthless things tonight — carpet bombing, toughness, war. And people wonder, could you do that? Could you order air strikes that would kill innocent children by not the scores, but the hundreds and the thousands? Could you wage war as a commander-in-chief?”

JIM NAURECKAS, jnaureckas at fair.org, @JNaureckas
Naureckas is editor of the media watch group FAIR’s magazine Extra! — see fair.org.

He said today: “It’s horrifying to see our leading cable news network offering, as a litmus test for becoming president of United States, a willingness to kill thousands of innocent children. To equate that with toughness and seriousness about protecting the United States is a violent fantasy of the sort that motivates the people who carry out mass shootings.” See by Sarah Lazare: “Observers Slam CNN for Aiding and Abetting Hate Speech in GOP Debate.”

Also, see “Criticism of CNN’s Democratic Debate Panel.”

Paris Agreement: Is Massive Military Emissions Bootprint Still Exempt?

NICK BUXTON, nick at tni.org, @nickbuxton
Buxton is the co-editor of the recently released book The Secure and the Dispossessed: How the Military and Corporations Are Shaping a Climate-Changed World and communications manager for the Transnational Institute.

He said today: “We don’t have a proper accounting, but we do know the Pentagon is the single largest organizational user of oil and gas. The massive carbon bootprint of the military needs to be radically cut if political leaders are to meet the promises they made at the Paris climate talks. Military emissions were specifically excluded from the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 at the behest of the U.S. government. There are indications in the wake of the Paris Agreement that they may no longer be specifically excluded from greenhouse gas emissions reporting. However, countries’ current reporting of emissions and planned actions known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), have so far failed to include military emissions and they will only be included if there is mass pressure to do so.” See Buxton’s recent interview on The Real News.

He added: “But this is not just an issue of the military’s own emissions. We also need to go further and look at how the military is at the heart of a global fossil fuel economy. The U.S.’ vast empire of 800 bases for example is concentrated in oil-rich regions and is designed to protect long-distance shipping routes and an unsustainable consumer economy that also contributes to climate change. This vast military bootprint, bolstered by a powerful arms industry, ends up fueling conflicts that do untold damage to the environment and kill many civilians.

“We need to open up a debate about how to cut record world military and homeland security expenditure and invest that money instead into climate adaptation for the world’s most vulnerable people. That is the only way to deliver real human security, the security of a safe and sustainable future for everyone.”

Trump’s Islamophobia is Tip of Iceberg

ARUN KUNDNANI, arun at kundnani.org, @ArunKundnani
Today, the Institute for Public Accuracy releases “Calls to Suspend Syrian Refugees and Other Recent Anti-Muslim Statements by Government Officials,” a compilation of statements.

Available for a limited number of interviews, Kundnani is the author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror and a lecturer at New York University. His articles include “The belief system of the Islamophobes.”

He said today: “While it’s very easy to denounce Trump’s recent repugnant, bullying statements — and much of the political class has — it’s important to keep several things in mind:

“First, as the compilation of statements by elected officials makes clear, he made these statements after many officials from across the country made scores of statements playing on unfounded fears against Syrian refugees and other Muslims.

“More deeply, people have been lied to. For more than a decade now, they’ve been told the main thing that we need to be scared about is crazy Muslims coming to kill us. The statistics tell a very different story. Some conservatives hate me for saying it, but the truth is, since 9/11, more people have been killed by right-wing terrorists than by Muslim terrorists in the U.S. Including the San Bernardino attack, 45 people have been killed by Muslim terrorists; yet right-wing terrorists have killed 48. … Around 400,000 have been killed in gun crimes.”

Kundnani also recently wrote: “The promise of the ‘war on terror’ was that we would kill them ‘over there’ so they would not kill us ‘over here.’ Hence mass violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Yemen, and Somalia – in the name of peace in the West. The ‘Authorization to Use Military Force’ that the U.S. Congress passed in the days after 9/11 already defined the whole world as a battlefield in the ‘war on terror’. President Obama continues to rely on the authorization to give his drone-killing program a veneer of legality. This is the old colonial formula of liberal values at home sustained by a hidden illiberalism in the periphery — where routine extra-judicial killing is normalized.”

See by Glenn Greenwald: “When the State Department Tries to Choose Muslim Thought Leaders to Win ‘Hearts and Minds,'” and “Threats and Violent Attacks Against Muslims in the U.S., Just From This Week.”

KHALED BEYDOUN, kbeydoun at gmail.com, @KhaledBeydoun
Beydoun is an assistant professor at the Barry School of Law and an affiliated professor of the University of California-Berkeley Islamophobia Project. He recently wrote the piece, “Islamophobia has a long history in the U.S.,” which notes: “From 1790 until 1952 whiteness was a legal prerequisite for naturalised American citizenship. And Islam was viewed as irreconcilable with whiteness.

“In a 1913 decision called Ex Parte Mohreiz, the court denied a Lebanese Christian immigrant citizenship because they associated his ‘dark walnut skin’ with ‘Mohammedanism.’

“And in 1942, a Muslim immigrant from Yemen was denied citizenship because, writing about ‘Arabs’ the court noted: ‘it cannot be expected that as a class they would readily intermarry with our population and be assimilated into our civilization.'” See Beydoun’s recent appearance on the PBS NewsHour.

9/11 Whistleblower Rowley on Visas and Mideast War Root Causes

COLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan at earthlink.net, @ColeenRowley
Rowley, a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures — was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002.

She said today: “Only a few crickets chirped after our 2014 Huffpost warning of gaps in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Our second post, however, came out at the same time the President and Congress had suddenly clicked into gear to tighten the program, obviously in reaction to the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.”

Rowley criticized the lack of politicians “lamenting his or her terrible mistakes in having okayed the various post 9-11 wars and bombing campaigns to re-make the Mideast — what some warned would be like ‘hitting a hornets’ nest’ and which have only succeeded in vastly increasing the number of terrorist incidents throughout the world, as well as more people everywhere who simply hate the U.S. …

“In its mad rush to push something out to look as if they were quickly remedying the problems, the House skipped normal debate that comes from holding committee meetings, passing its bizarre ‘Trump-lite’ blanket discriminatory provisions in H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act of 2015 [passed on Tuesday 407-19], that would bar citizens of participating countries with Syrian, Iraqi, Sudanese or Iranian ancestry from participating in the waiver program even if they have never set foot in any of these countries.

“A backlash naturally erupted from civil liberties and minority rights groups. For instance, according to the ACLU’s reading of the bill, a person who was born and raised in France but whose father is a Syrian citizen would be forced to get a visa before visiting the United States, even if that person has a French passport and has never been to Syria.

“In a press release Tuesday, NIAC [National Iranian American Council] Action, a group that lobbies on behalf of Iranian Americans, lashed out at the bill. …

“Even worse, in their hurry, is the congresspersons’ choice of the four specific countries to designate for ‘blanket’ exclusion: Iraq (which was supposed to be a democratic paradise by now), Syria, Sudan and (most bizarrely) Iran, whose nationals have not ever launched a terrorist attack inside the U.S. Yet, countries like SAUDI ARABIA (well known as the main country of origin for Al Qaeda, ISIS and other Wahhabi extremism), Pakistan, Yemen, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Nigeria, Chechnya and other nations and regions from where terrorist perpetrators have come from are not designated as ineligible for the program. This truly makes zero sense, making us wonder if congresspersons have any clue as to the nature of the threat from ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorism.”

Rowley wrote to the FBI Director again in February 2003 with some hard questions about the reliability of the evidence being adduced to “justify” the impending invasion of Iraq. See “Coleen Rowley: Ten years after Iraq.”

Paris Climate Deal a “Fraud”

The Guardian reports: “James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, calls Paris talks ‘a fraud.'” Says Hansen: “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2 [degrees] C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”

CHRIS WILLIAMS, ecologyandsocialism at gmail.com
Williams wrote the book Ecology & Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis. He is a long-time environmental activist with a scientific background and has authored numerous articles on the science and politics of climate change and energy for various media outlets. He’s a writer-in-residence at Truthout, educator and professor at Pace University.

Williams said today: “Despite the self-congratulatory statements from world leaders praising themselves for single-handedly saving the world from climate catastrophe on December 12th, 2015, the reality is that they have set the planet on course to burn. Science tells us that emissions of greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide emitted by the combustion of fossil fuels, need to peak by 2020 and come down by 6 to 10 percent every year after that, yet ‘fossil fuels’ are not mentioned once in the entire agreement signed in Paris. Hence, there is no mention of stopping exploration for more, stopping building coal plants, oil pipelines, or fracking for more natural gas. Even more pathetic than the non-deal and failure in Copenhagen in 2009, the Paris text doesn’t even include emissions from air travel or international shipping; a glaring omission when one realizes the two combined add up to the emissions of Germany and Britain, and are projected to increase by 350 percent over the lifetime of the agreement.

“[The agreement] is entirely voluntary and therefore has no enforcement mechanism. Should there be a need to tighten voluntary pledges (and there most certainly is a need, as they have been assessed as putting us on track for 2.7-3.5 degrees C of warming), nothing will be reassessed for another eight years, as world leaders can sit around until 2023. While fossil fuels production continues to get incentivized and subsidized to the tune of trillions of dollars per year, the rich developed world, responsible for 75 percent of historic emissions, can barely muster a commitment to $100 billion annually (let alone the actual cash), in climate finance to help developing countries transition from fossil fuels.

“Should any developing country have the temerity to attempt legal means of redress after suffering from the change in climate that this [agreement] guarantees, the United States made sure language was included that prevented seeking recompense for ‘loss and damage.'”

See series of interviews with Williams on The Real News.

Dow – DuPont Merger: Perpetuating GMOs, Squeezing Farmers and Consumers?

AP is reporting: “Dow Chemical and the DuPont Co. announced Friday that they are merging in a $130 billion chemical industry megadeal.

“The merger would combine two companies that sell agricultural products to millions of farmers around the world, and make a variety of chemicals for consumer and industrial products ranging from electronics, automobiles, and household goods to building materials and safety equipment.

“The two companies will form DowDuPont, then separate into three independent publicly traded companies focused on agriculture, material science and specialty products.”

The following analysts are available for interviews:

WENONAH HAUTER, via Patty Lovera, plovera at fwwatch.org, @foodandwater
Hauter is the founder and executive director of Food & Water Watch and the author of Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America. She said today: “Just a handful of large chemical companies including Dow and DuPont already control most of the seed supply used to grow crops like corn and soybeans, as well as the herbicides that genetically engineered seeds are designed to be grown with. Any merger that consolidates this market into fewer hands will give farmers fewer choices and put them at even more economic disadvantage. And it will make it harder for agriculture to get off the GMO-chemical treadmill that just keeps increasing in speed. The Department of Justice needs to block this merger to prevent the further corporate control of the basic building blocks of the food supply.”

DIANA MOSS, dmoss at antitrustinstitute.org, @antitrustinst
Moss is president of the American Antitrust Institute. She said today: “Any merger on the agricultural inputs side of DuPont and Dow will get antitrust scrutiny. Some of the markets for biotech and seeds are highly concentrated, which has been driven by Monsanto having made so many acquisitions in the past. If you put a new merger in the this mix, it’s going to raise concerns about leaving only two or maybe three firms. That’s a market landscape that doesn’t promote competition, entry, and innovation. Farmers could be squeezed even more and consumers could pay higher prices.”

Netanyahu: * Oil from ISIS * Anti-Muslim

VIJAY PRASHAD, Vijay.Prashad at trincoll.edu, @vijayprashad
Prashad is professor of international studies at Trinity College in Connecticut. He was just on The Real News segment: “Israel Key Link in Exporting ISIS Oil.”

PHILIP WEISS, phil at mondoweiss.net, @philweiss
CNN is reporting: “Trump ‘postpones’ Israel trip after Netanyahu criticism.” Weiss is founder and co-editor of Mondoweiss.net, which focuses on “the war of ideas in the Middle East.” He just wrote the piece: “Trump’s religion test for immigrants is standard practice in Israel,” which states: “The widespread political condemnation of Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and for surveillance of mosques was pretty great yesterday. American leaders left and right said that such policies are unconstitutional and counter to U.S. values. ‘Donald Trump is a race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot,’ Senator Lindsey Graham said emphatically.”

It’s long standing Israeli policy to not allow Palestinians — both Muslim and Christians — back to where they were actually born in present day Israel, see Jerusalem Post: “Netanyahu Rejects Palestinian Right of Return to Israel.”

Weiss continued: “But those leaders are strong supporters of Israel (‘The pro-Israel community has been the heart and soul of my campaign,’ Graham told Jewish Insider), and Israel practices many of the policies that Trump wants the U.S. to implement.

“For instance, Israeli airport security officials routinely ask travelers what their religion is and often bar Muslims as a result. Last night, Chris Matthews was enraged by Trump’s recommendation that American immigration officials ask travelers if they are Muslim. But our own State Department has blasted Israel for denying ‘entry or exit without explanation; — notably to ‘those whom Israeli authorities suspect of being of Arab, Middle Eastern, or Muslim origin.’ [emphasis mine].

“Nour Joudah, an American who was deported from Israel, explained that Israel discriminates against anyone with an Arab name, at Electronic Intifada:

‘”I think it is very clear that they want as few people with Palestinian origin in what they consider Israel and the occupied territories because they don’t even want the [Palestinians] that are there. So why in God’s name would they want us returning in any form or fashion, even if it’s for a limited period or for a visit? … They consider no one’s citizenship valuable if you have an Arab name, end of story.’

“Sadly, Israeli profiling is already being offered as a model for American ports: ‘What’s so great about Israeli security? Profiling.'”

“When Were They Radicalized? That’s Not the Right Question!”

Rev. GRAYLAN S. HAGLER, gshagler at verizon.net@graylanhagler
Hagler is with the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. and chairperson of Faith Strategies. He just wrote the piece “When Were They Radicalized? That’s Not the Right Question!” — which states: “The big question these days dominating the airwaves is when was Syed Farook and Tasheen Malik radicalized; or who radicalized them; and how were they radicalized? This question is a perplexing one because it assumes that without outside influence everything would be all right and that there are no valid grievances, or anger, and no desire for revenge or justice no matter how misguided those desires might be manifested.

“This is a strange line of query because it presupposes that without external forces radicalization would be impossible. This line of questioning illustrates a blind patriotism of empire proportion that believes that anyone upset and acting out is either demented or have fallen under the influences of a political/religious ideology that exploits the weak minded or the mentally deranged. To even ask the question is to make the assumption that everything is OK around us and in our world and would be regarded as such if it were not for outside influences. But this perspective has a tendency to ignore the realities of what so many people live under and have to endure daily. It is often from personal experiences, relationships with those impacted by what most of us don’t see or care about are the radicalizing factors. The present queries act as if there are no valid grievances, no real anger, and as if there is innocence on the part of the powerful, the U.S. and others. But this is not the way that peoples of the Middle East, North Africa and Asia see the U.S. or the West.

“The U.S. and its partners have been at war for more than 14 years in Afghanistan. The U.S. began an unprovoked and preemptive war in Iraq in 2003 and virtually destroyed the country where today ISIL is filling part of the vacuum created by that war, and the President of Afghanistan literally is presiding over nothing but the capital city of that country, Kabul. The U.S. under the cry of removing President Bashar Hafez al-Assad in Syria by helping to orchestrate and sustain a civil war has created a displacement crisis of epic proportion and caused the deaths of more than 250,000 people. Conditions in many countries have worsened under the wars and the remaking of the Middle East and North Africa in the West’s image.” Similarly, Hagler writes: “Our continual military support of Israel against Palestinians challenges the view that everything is OK without the influences of ‘outside agitators’ radicalizing people and calling them to arms.”