News Release Archive - 2017

DNC Chair Perez’s “Disingenuous” Responses to Brazile

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NORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive at gmail.com, @Roots_Action
Solomon appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journalon Sunday to talk about the new report that he co-authored, “Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis.” He is co-founder of RootsAction.org and former national coordinator of the Bernie Delegates Network.

Solomon said today: “In his responses to Donna Brazile’s book excerpt that appeared in Politico, Perez has pledged to make the DNC evenhanded — yet he has doubled down on defending the indefensible deal that the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign cut with highly unethical joint fundraising arrangements.”

PIA GALLEGOS, pia at gallegoslaw.com
Gallegos is a civil rights lawyer and progressive Democratic Party activist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She wrote the “Democracy and the Party” section of the Autopsy report.

She said today: “Current DNC chair Tom Perez is being disingenuous when he responds to current criticism by saying that the ‘joint fundraising agreements were the same for each campaign except for the treasurer.’ In fact, ‘except for the treasurer’ is a huge exception.”

The Autopsy report explains: “The joint funding agreement provided that the Hillary Victory Fund was to be administered by the Clinton Campaign’s own chief operating officer, Elizabeth Jones, who notably controlled how money was transferred to both the states and the DNC. Jones had the ‘sole discretion’ to decide when transfers of money to and from the state parties would occur through the vehicle of a shared account, thereby facilitating the pass-throughs to the Clinton Campaign.”

Gallegos added today: “The way it was structured enabled Clinton to lock in the superdelegate support months before any vote was cast in the caucuses or the primaries and helped funnel millions of dollars early to the Clinton campaign.”

Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

* Asia * Saudi * Lebanon

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JAMES BRADLEY, [in Vietnam] james at jamesbradley.com
As Trump begins his Asia trip, Bradley is available for comment. He is author of several bestsellers including Flyboys, Flags of Our Fathers and The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia.

CHRISTOPHER DAVIDSON, [In Britain] cmd@christopherdavidson.net, @dr_davidson
Davidson’s books include After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies and Shadow Wars: The Secret Struggle for the Middle East.

Davidson said today: “What seems to be a mixture of high profile arrests (and apparently also mysterious deaths, following the helicopter crash in Asir province), can be read as a multi-pronged effort to remove all possible opposition in advance of the King’s expected abdication and the crown prince’s expected succession.

“While some media outlets have been content to take at face value the Saudi authorities’ message that this is an ‘anti-corruption drive,’ and have focused mostly on the arrest of billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the reality is that in the last 24 hours several of the crown prince’s key potential rivals and critics have also been taken out of the running, including: a prominent son of former King Abdullah who has been in charge of the all-important national guard, a son of former Crown Prince Muqrin, the head of King Abdullah’s court, and a former finance minister who has already demonstrated that he is willing to speak publicly about the true condition of the Saudi economy.”

RANIA MASRI, [in Lebanon] rania.z.masri@gmail.com, @rania_masri
An Arab-American academic based in Lebanon, Masri is available to discuss the workings of Lebanese politics. She just translated Hezbollah leader’s Hassan Nasrallah’s speech following Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri’s submitting his resignation from Saudi Arabia.

Following Saudi actions, Rula Jebreal tweeted: “Following PM Hariri’s staged resignation, Saudi diplomats are vacating Saudi embassy in Beirut. Prospect of Israeli war is looming.” But Amal Saad asked, “who needs Israel” when you have the prospect of Saudi intervention in Lebanon?

“Why the Papadopoulos Plea Isn’t a Smoking Gun”

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AARON MATÉ, aaronmate at therealnews.com, @aaronjmate

Maté is a host/producer for The Real News. He has written a series of pieces on “Russiagate” including the just-published “Why the Papadopoulos Plea Isn’t a Smoking Gun” for The Nation. See his past reports including “Did the Russians ‘Meddle’ Just for Clicks?

He writes in his latest piece: “In liberal circles, there seems to be little doubt that the first indictments from special counsel Robert Mueller have resolved the issue at the heart of Russiagate. …

“The main impetus for this certitude comes not from the case against Trump’s campaign chair Paul Manafort and former business partner Rick Gates. The tax-fraud, money-laundering, and conspiracy charges against them have no direct connection to Russia or the 2016 campaign. Instead, it comes from the plea agreement of former Trump foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who has admitted to lying to investigators about his contacts with foreign nationals said to be tied to Russia.

“It is true that Papadopoulos’s plea document details the most tangible link known to date between Trump’s election team and the alleged Russian interference campaign. …

“What we do know is that Papadopoulos has a record of embellishing his credentials. And more importantly, we already know that he reported false claims to the campaign about his contacts as he tried to position himself as the middleman to Moscow. He transmitted one of the false claims knowingly: Papadopoulos e-mailed his superiors that he had met with the Russian ambassador in London, which prosecutors say never happened. He also told them he had been introduced to a ‘Female Russian National’ identified as ‘Putin’s niece,’ who turns out to have no relations to Putin. …

“It is possible that all of Papadopoulos’s claims will prove to be true. If they are, investigators will hopefully determine not just what the Trump campaign knew but what the Russian government had on offer. Both sides — the Clinton camp funding the Steele dossier and meeting with Ukrainian officials, the Trump camp taking a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer promising incriminating information on Clinton — have shown their willingness to accept ‘oppo’ from abroad. But trafficking in stolen e-mails would raise the bar.

“It is also possible Papadopoulos is lying, or was misled. If the latter, he would be far from alone. As I wrote for The Nation in October, the Russiagate controversy is short on concrete evidence and suffused with innuendo, supposition, and unverified — or even demonstrably false — claims. Mueller may end up reversing that trend, but at this point in his probe, it appears that not much has changed.”

How to Unrig the Democratic Party

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Karen Bernal — the chair of one of the largest caucuses of the California Democratic Party, the Progressive Caucus — sent a letter Thursday night to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, a few hours after Bernal and colleagues met with Perez’s Senior Adviser Will Hailer at DNC headquarters in Washington for 90 minutes Thursday afternoon.

The “Democracy and the Party” section of the just-released Autopsy and the full report provide context for the current uproar over Donna Brazile’s new account of the Clinton campaign “rigging” the primary, “internal corruption” and “unethical” finances at the DNC.

PBS reports: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren says 2016 Democratic primary was rigged.”

KAREN BERNAL,  nekochan99 at hotmail.com, @karenbernal5
Bernal chairs the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party. She wrote the section on social movements in the Autopsy report and co-wrote the section on the future of the Democratic Party.

NORMAN SOLOMON,  solomonprogressive at gmail.com, @Roots_Action
    Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and former national coordinator of the Bernie Delegates Network. He participated in the meeting at the DNC Thursday. Solomon wrote the war section of the Autopsy report and co-wrote the “The Future” section with Bernal. Solomon is also the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. Research for the Autopsy report was funded by Action for a Progressive Future, the organization that sponsors RootsAction, which currently has 1.3 million active supporters online nationwide.

Following is the letter to the DNC, PDF here:

Tom Perez
Chair, Democratic National Committee
430 South Capitol Street SE
Washington, DC 20003

Dear Chairman Perez:

My colleagues and I were pleased to meet with Will Hailer and others on the DNC staff today. Given the urgency of strengthening our party’s efforts for the midterm elections, I am submitting the following questions and respectfully request that you send along responses to the questions by Thanksgiving.

1) What are the DNC’s plans to further accelerate its gear-up of staffing to fight against the multi-front assaults on voting rights that include voter ID laws, purges of voter rolls and intimidation tactics?

2) How can we assure fellow Democrats that the DNC has committed itself to scrupulously adhering to its Charter’s requirement to be evenhanded in the presidential nominating process?

3) What is the status of decision-making as to the voting power of superdelegates at the 2020 Democratic National Convention?

4) In an article published on Nov. 1, 2017 by The Progressive, journalist Christopher D. Cook wrote: “My repeated calls to the Democratic National Committee for comment on the [Autopsy] report went unanswered. When messages left on the main line went unanswered, I called the donations and member services line, where I was sure to get a live person. Stunningly, that office claimed it had no phone number it could give me for press or communications.” Why would a journalist encounter such problems in reaching the DNC?

5) In a recent article published by The Nation (“The Obsession With White Voters Could Cost Democrats the Virginia Governor’s Race,” Oct. 23), Democracy in Color founder Steve Phillips described a disturbing continuation of spending priorities that lavish enormous amounts of funds on ostensibly persuadable voters who normally vote Republican — while relatively neglecting people of color even though they comprise an essential portion of our party’s base. How do you explain such priorities and do you intend to help change them?

6) On May 28, 2017 (NBC News, “Open Letter to DNC Chair: ‘There’s Too Much at Stake to Ignore Black Women’”), thirty-one eminent African-American women, including seven members of Congress, wrote to you about serious concerns: “The Democratic Party has a real problem. The data reveals that Black women voters are the very foundation to a winning coalition, yet most Black voters feel like the Democrats take them for granted. The Party’s foundation has a growing crack and if it is not addressed quickly, the Party will fall even further behind and ultimately fail in its quest to strengthen its political prospects.” In the five months since then, what has the DNC done to address the concerns expressed in that letter, and what are your plans for the near future in that regard?

Thank you very much. I look forward to hearing from you.

With best wishes,
Karen Bernal
Chair, Progressive Caucus
California Democratic Party

Money and the DNC Nomination

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Former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile, who has a book coming out soon, wrote a just-published piece in Politico: “Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC.”

Members of the task force that produced the new report “Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis” are available for comment on the anniversary of the 2016 presidential election as well as Brazile’s article. See full report as well as executive summary and breakdown by subject at: DemocraticAutopsy.org.

PIA GALLEGOS, pia at gallegoslaw.com
Gallegos is a civil rights lawyer and progressive Democratic Party activist based in New Mexico. She wrote the “Democracy and the Party” section of the Autopsy report.

KAREN BERNAL,  nekochan99 at hotmail.com, @karenbernal5
Bernal chairs one of the largest caucuses in the California Democratic Party, the Progressive Caucus. She wrote the section on social movements and co-wrote the section on the future of the Democratic Party. She spoke at a news conference about the Autopsy report on Thursday morning at the National Press Club; video.

NORMAN SOLOMON,  solomonprogressive at gmail.com, @Roots_Action
Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and former national coordinator of the Bernie Delegates Network. Solomon wrote the war section of the Autopsy report and co-wrote the “The Future” section with Bernal.

Gallegos said today: “Brazile’s piece certainly conforms to what we found in our work in the Autopsy report. This was not really ‘secret.’ A large part of the Clinton strategy focused on getting the superdelegates to back her early. The Clinton camp did this by promising the state parties funds from joint fundraising with the DNC, which the superdelegates figured they’d get some of for upcoming elections. This violated the DNC’s obligations under its Charter to be impartial between the various Democratic Party primary candidates. Getting the superdelegates on board early was one of the ways the DNC process undermined democratic decision-making by creating the sense of inevitability of Clinton as the presidential nominee. In the end, the money didn’t even come through for the states — the DNC and the Clinton campaign swallowed almost all of it.

“Of course, Brazile helped tilt the scales for Clinton as well, giving her questions before a high profile debate.

“Undemocratic moves continue at the DNC. Tom Perez, the current chair of the DNC, has the right to appoint 75 superdelegates — so they’re not even elected officials.” See recent piece by Cory Doctorow: “The DNC picked a bunch of sleazy lobbyists as superdelegates, can’t figure out why no one is donating.”

Journalist Christopher D. Cook just wrote the piece “Can the Democrats Save Themselves?” for The Progressive and tried unsuccessfully to find someone at the DNC to comment: “My repeated calls to the Democratic National Committee for comment on the [Autopsy] report went unanswered. When messages left on the main line went unanswered, I called the donations and member services line, where I was sure to get a live person. Stunningly, that office claimed it had no phone number it could give me for press or communications.”Some related excerpts from the Autopsy report:

“In August 2015 — six months before the first vote was cast in any primary or caucus — the DNC worked directly with the Clinton Campaign and 32 state Democratic parties to implement the Hillary Victory Fund. … Essentially, the DNC-Clinton Campaign deal was an enticement for superdelegates from various states to get on the bandwagon early. The joint funding agreement provided that the Hillary Victory Fund was to be administered by the Clinton Campaign’s own chief operating officer, Elizabeth Jones, who notably controlled how money was transferred to both the states and the DNC. …

“The Democratic Party’s national charter requires the DNC to be evenhanded in the presidential nominating process, but the DNC’s use of a joint fundraising committee that favored one candidate during the primary season violated this charter obligation. …

“The DNC has refused to renounce, or commit to end, its undemocratic practices during the 2016 primary campaign that caused so much discord and distrust from many party activists and voters among core constituencies. …

“The superdelegate system, by its very nature, undermines the vital precept of one person, one vote … the voting power of all superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention must end. …

“A poll in spring 2017 found that two-thirds of the public sees the Democratic Party as ‘out of touch with the concerns of most people in the United States today.’ Meanwhile, a recent review of census data by the Washington Post found that African Americans are ‘the only U.S. racial group earning less than they did in 2000.’ The unfettered capitalist economy partly enabled by Democrats since the 1990s has devastated the working class, doubly so the black working class, and the Democratic Party’s major role in that devastation continues to have a harmful effect on party prospects. …

“The idea that the Democrats can somehow convince Wall Street to work on behalf of Main Street through mild chiding, rather than acting as Main Street’s champion against the wealthy, no longer resonates.”

Solomon is also the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. Research for the Autopsy report was funded by Action for a Progressive Future, the organization that sponsors RootsAction, which currently has 1.3 million active supporters online nationwide.

* NYC Attack * Manafort in Ukraine

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BEAU GROSSCUP,  bgrosscup AT csuchico.edu
Grosscup is author of several books, including The Newest Explosions of Terrorism. He is available for a limited number of interviews. Also see the just-published piece from former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray: “Blowback and the Manhattan Terror Attack.”

NICOLAI PETRO, npetro AT uri.edu
Available for a limited number of interviews, Petro is Silvia-Chandley Professor of Peace and Nonviolence at the University of Rhode Island. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine from 2013–14, and is the editor of Ukraine in Crisis (Routledge, 2017).

He said today: “Since 2006 [Paul] Manafort was an advisor to the Party of Regions (PR), once Ukraine’s largest political coalition. He assisted in the campaigns of Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s wealthiest oligarch, and later in the national presidential campaign of Victor Yanukovych. He ran a traditional American-style campaign of getting out the elderly vote and appealing to your base. To this end, he controversially urged the party not to waste its time and money in Western and Central Ukraine, and to concentrate all its efforts on appealing to voters in the South, East, and Crimea, whose key issues were equality for Russian-speakers and bolstering Russian investment in Ukrainian industry, which is heavily concentrated in these regions.

“This strategy was controversial within the PR because it meant making the country’s already deep ethnic, religious, and linguistic divisions into a political division as well. The PR did not adopt this strategy and continued to try to appeal, unsuccessfully, to Western and Central Ukrainian voters.

“Some Ukrainian political analysts believe that Manafort and his team knowingly pursued a policy of dividing the country because it served his political and financial sponsors in the United States. They therefore blame him for sharpening the country’s divisions. Others, however, feel that Manafort and his team were only interested in the success of their candidates, and argue that this strategy worked.”

What Killed the Democratic Party?

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In “What Killed the Democratic Party?” in The Nation, William Greider writes: “The Democratic Party lost just about everything in 2016, but so far it has offered only evasive regrets and mild apologies. Instead of acknowledging gross failure and astounding errors, the party’s leaders and campaign professionals wallowed in self-pity and righteous indignation. The true villains, they insisted, were the wily Russians and the odious Donald Trump, who together intruded on the sanctity of American democracy and tampered with the election results. Official investigations are now under way.

“While the country awaits the verdict, a new and quite provocative critique has emerged from a group of left-leaning activists: They blame the Democratic Party itself for its epic defeat. Their 34-page ‘Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis’ reads more like a cold-eyed indictment than a postmortem report. It’s an unemotional dissection of why the Democrats failed so miserably, and it warns that the party must change profoundly or else remain a loser.”

There will be a news conference about the Autopsy report on Thursday morning at the National Press Club. In addition to authors of the Autopsy report, the news conference will feature Donna Smith, executive director of Progressive Democrats of America.

The complete report as well as an executive summary and sections by subject are available at DemocraticAutopsy.org.

Among the task force members who prepared the report available for interviews are:

PIA GALLEGOS, pia@gallegoslaw.com
Gallegos is a civil rights lawyer and progressive Democratic activist based in New Mexico. She wrote the “Democracy and the Party” section of the Autopsy report.

SAM McCANN, sammccann1@gmail.com
McCann, a New York-based communications specialist focused on issues of justice, wrote the section “Race and the Party.”

KAREN BERNAL, [in D.C. Wednesday] nekochan99@hotmail.com
Bernal chairs one of the largest caucuses in the California Democratic Party, the Progressive Caucus. She wrote the section on social movements and co-wrote the section on the future of the Democratic Party.

NORMAN SOLOMON, [in D.C.] solomonprogressive@gmail.com
Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and former national coordinator of the Bernie Delegates Network. Solomon wrote the war section of the Autopsy report and co-wrote the “The Future” section with Bernal.

Solomon is also the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Research for the Autopsy report was funded by Action for a Progressive Future, the organization that sponsors RootsAction, which currently has 1.3 million active supporters online nationwide.

Mueller Indictments Won’t Save Democrats at Election Time: New Report

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A new report out today says that the Democratic Party must change in order to win elections.

Coming a week before the anniversary of last year’s presidential election, the scathing new report blasts the Democratic Party’s national leadership.

The 34-page report — “Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis” — found that “the Democratic National Committee and the party’s congressional leadership remain bent on prioritizing the chase for elusive Republican voters over the Democratic base: especially people of color, young people and working-class voters overall.” According to the report, such priorities amount to a losing strategy.

The complete 13,000-word report, just posted at DemocraticAutopsy.org, states: “Rather than addressing topics beyond the control of the Democratic Party (whether FBI Director Comey, Russia, misogyny of some voters, etc.), this Autopsy focuses on some key factors that have been significantly under the party’s control.”

Among the task force members who prepared the report available for interviews are:

PIA GALLEGOS, pia at gallegoslaw.com
Gallegos is a civil rights lawyer and progressive Democratic activist based in New Mexico.

KAREN BERNAL, [in D.C. later this week] nekochan99 at hotmail.com, @karenbernal5
Bernal chairs one of the largest caucuses in the California Democratic Party, the Progressive Caucus.

RICHARD ESKOW, [in D.C.] rjeskow at gmail.com, @rjeskow
Eskow is senior advisor, health and economic justice, for Social Security Works and is the host of The Zero Hour on Free Speech TV and WCPT Radio in Chicago. He recently wrote the piece “Why ‘Centrists’ Will Sink the Democrats, If They Haven’t Already” at OurFuture.org.

He has read the Autopsy report and commented today: “The Democrats are mistaken if they think that revelations of Trump corruption will drive voters to their party in droves. Experience shows us that corruption charges generally breed cynicism, not citizen involvement. That’s especially so in this case, where Republicans will undoubtedly bring up Tony Podesta as well Bill Clinton’s $500,000 speaking fee from a Russian bank.

“The best way to fight cynicism is: Voters need to believe that their vote will actually change things for the better.”

The report concludes:

*  “Aggregated data and analysis show that policies, operations and campaign priorities of the national Democratic Party undermined support and turnout from its base in the 2016 general election.”

*  “After suffering from a falloff of turnout among people of color in the 2016 general election, the party appears to be losing ground with its most reliable voting bloc, African-American women.”

*  One of the large groups with a voter-turnout issue is young people, “who encounter a toxic combination of a depressed economic reality, GOP efforts at voter suppression, and anemic messaging on the part of Democrats.”

*  “Emerging sectors of the electorate are compelling the Democratic Party to come to terms with adamant grassroots rejection of economic injustice, institutionalized racism, gender inequality, environmental destruction and corporate domination. Siding with the people who constitute the base isn’t truly possible when party leaders seem to be afraid of them.”

*  “The Democratic Party’s claims of fighting for ‘working families’ have been undermined by its refusal to directly challenge corporate power, enabling Trump to masquerade as a champion of the people. Democrats will not win if they continue to bring a wonk knife to a populist gunfight. Nor can Democratic leaders and operatives be seen as real allies of the working class if they’re afraid to alienate big funders or to harm future job or consulting prospects.”

In addition to Bernal and Gallegos, the task force that conducted the Autopsy also included Norman Solomon, RootsAction.org co-founder, a Democratic National Convention delegate in 2008 and 2016 who was the national coordinator of the independent Bernie Delegates Network last year. (Solomon is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)

The Autopsy recommends some specific reforms at the Democratic National Committee and a drastic overhaul of the party’s political approach. The recommendations include:

*  “The Democratic National Committee must make up for lost time by accelerating its very recent gear-up of staffing to fight against the multi-front assaults on voting rights that include voter ID laws, purges of voter rolls and intimidation tactics.”

*  “The Democratic National Committee should commit itself to scrupulously adhering to its Charter, which requires the DNC to be evenhanded in the presidential nominating process.”

*  Because “the superdelegate system, by its very nature, undermines the vital precept of one person, one vote,” the voting power of all superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention must end.

*  “The party should avidly promote inspiring programs such as single-payer Medicare for all, free public college tuition, economic security, infrastructure and green jobs initiatives, and tackling the climate crisis.”

*  “While the Democratic Party fights for an agenda to benefit all Americans, the party must develop new policies and strategies for more substantial engagement with people of color — directly addressing realities of their lives that include disproportionately high rates of poverty and ongoing vulnerability to a racist criminal justice system.”

*  “While the short-term prospects for meaningful federal action on climate are exceedingly bleak, state-level initiatives are important and attainable. Meanwhile, it’s crucial that the Democratic Party stop confining its climate agenda to inadequate steps that are palatable to Big Oil and mega-players on Wall Street.”

*  “What must now take place includes honest self-reflection and confronting a hard truth: that many view the party as often in service to a rapacious oligarchy and increasingly out of touch with people in its own base.” The Democratic Party should disentangle itself — ideologically and financially — from Wall Street, the military-industrial complex and other corporate interests that put profits ahead of public needs.

Research for the Autopsy report was funded by Action for a Progressive Future, the organization that sponsors RootsAction.org, which currently has 1.3 million active supporters online nationwide.

Do Military Enlistees Actually “Know What They Are Getting into”?

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Following the death of Sergeant La David T. Johnson in Niger, Johnson’s family reported that President Donald Trump told them Johnson “knew what he signed up for.” Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly, in attempting to explain Trump’s remark also stated Johnson “knew what he was getting himself into.” While this has received a fair amount of attention in terms of the appropriateness of such remarks, few have examined whether or not military enlistees like Johnson do know what they are signing up for.

PAT ELDER, pelder at studentprivacy.org, @studentprivacy
Author of the recently released book Military Recruiting in the United States, Elder is director of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, an organization that confronts militarism in the schools. His  pieces for Truthout include: “The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Is Not A Substitute For Education.”

Elder argues that between economic pressures, racial prejudices, lack of educational opportunities and deceit in the military recruitment process faced by many enlistees, they frequently don’t actually know what they are signing up for.

He said today: “Johnson graduated from Miami Carol City Senior High School in 2010. The school is 99 percent minority with 86 percent identified as economically disadvantaged. Just 14 percent of the students are proficient in math and 23 percent are proficient in English. The school’s college readiness index is a 7.5 on a scale of 0 to 100. Trayvon Martin also attended Miami Carol.

“Miami Gardens, where La David lived, is a city of 110,000 that is 98 percent African-American and Hispanic. Over half of the city’s population were stopped by police between 2008 and 2013. Miami Gardens is one of the most crime-ridden cities in America. The murder rate is three times the national average.

“La David’s daughter was born in 2011, the year after he graduated from high school. He worked in the produce department at the local WalMart. In 2014, he married Myeshia Manual and enlisted in the Army as a wheeled vehicle mechanic. He wanted to take care of his wife and child.

“Like others, La David’s enlistment was a gamble that he hoped would provide a way out of poverty without getting killed or seriously injured. …

“Misrepresentation is rampant in the military recruiting process. The top seven lies recruiters tell are:

“1. Your chances of being sent to a combat zone are slim.

“2. It’s fairly easy to get out if you don’t like it.

“3. You’ll get the job on your enlistment contract.

“4. If you refuse to ship out to basic training you will go to jail.

“5. Once you complete your enlistment you can get out and won’t be called back again.

“6. You’ll get the location you want.

“7. You don’t have to disclose your mental health issues.

“Currently, over 40 percent of those who enlist do not make it through their first term. For many, this is because of unrealistic expectations based on the lies proffered by the recruiting command. There were more than 20,000 deserters from the Army alone during the period from 2006 to 2014. Desertion is so common the military often looks the other way. The Army has pursued just 1,900 cases of desertion since 2001, and most of these prosecutions have resulted in little more than a slap on the wrist. The perpetual demand for new recruits, coupled with a military recruiter quota system, conspires to bring vast numbers of pathetic souls into an unforgiving, hostile environment that discards pitiful, failing youth like scrap materials filling military landfills.”

Balfour Declaration at 100: Cause of Mideast Instability?

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Next Thursday, Nov. 2, marks 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, issued in 1917 by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour in the form of a letter to Lord Walter Rothschild. It communicated to Zionist organizations that the British government “will use their best endeavor to facilitate the achievement” of the creation of a future state of Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reports now: “World Zionist Organization finally responds to Lord Balfour in letter.” Benjamin Pogrund just wrote in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz the piece “The Balfour Declaration Promised Lebanon and Jordan to the Jews, Too,” which states: “As the First World War raged, the imperial powers raced to recognize Jewish self-determination. France put out its pro-Zionist statement five months before Balfour, while Britain worried that enemy Germany would also pre-empt it.”

Famed liberal lawyer Louis Brandeis, by then on the U.S. Supreme Court and a prominent Zionist leader, played a significant role in the Balfour Declaration. Samuel Landman, then secretary of the World Zionist Organization would later write: “After an understanding had been arrived at between Sir Mark Sykes [of the Sykes-Picot agreement to divide the Mideast between Britain and France after World War I] and [Zionist leaders Chaim] Weizmann and [Nahum] Sokolow, it was resolved to send a secret message to Justice Brandeis that the British Cabinet would help the Jews to gain Palestine in return for active Jewish sympathy and for support in the USA for the Allied cause, so as to bring about a radical pro-Ally tendency in the United States.” See “Who Wrote the Balfour Declaration and Why: The World War I Connection” by Alison Weir and “Louis Brandis, Arthur Balfour and a Declaration that Made History” [PDF] by Peter Grose.

Al Jazeera reports: “Palestinians in the UK have welcomed [Labour Party leader] Jeremy Corbyn’s decision not to attend events organized by a pro-Israel group celebrating the Balfour Declaration centenary.”

Wafa [Palestine News Agency] reports in “Worldwide protests await Britain’s celebration of Balfour anniversary” that “Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative and a lawmaker, said … that the Balfour declaration ‘has established the basis for the apartheid system’ in Israel. He said the declaration was not made for concern for Jews around the world, rather more so for colonial reasons. ‘The declaration has created instability in the Middle East, which has been going on for 100 years,’ he said.”

RAMZY BAROUD, ramzybaroud at gmail.com, @RamzyBaroud
Baroud is editor of The Palestine Chronicle. His recent pieces there include “Hamas and Fatah Must Transform to Speak on Behalf of Palestinians.” He is author of the newly released book The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story

He recently wrote “The Balfour Declaration Destroyed Palestine, Not the Palestinian People” for the Middle East Monitor, which states that Balfour “cared little about the fate of Jewish communities. His commitment to establishing a Jewish state in a land that was already populated by a thriving and historically-rooted nation was only meant to enlist the support of wealthy Zionist leaders in Britain’s massive military buildup during World War I. …

“Yet, he clearly had no genuine regard for the millions of Palestinian Arabs — Muslims and Christians alike — who were to suffer the cruelty of war, ethnic cleansing, racism and humiliation over the course of a century.

“The Balfour Declaration was equivalent to a decree calling for the annihilation of the Palestinian people. Not one Palestinian, anywhere, remained completely immune from the harm invited by Balfour and his government.

“Tamam Nassar, now 75 years old, was one of millions of Palestinians whose life Balfour scarred forever. She was uprooted from her village of Joulis in southern Palestine, in 1948. She was only five.

“Tamam, now lives with her children and grandchildren in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp in Gaza. Ailing under the weight of harsh years, and weary by a never-ending episode of war, siege and poverty, she holds on to a few hazy memories of a past that can never be redeemed. …”

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