News Releases

The Myth of Thanksgiving

ROXANNE DUNBAR-ORTIZ, rdunbaro at pacbell.net, @rdunbaro
Dunbar-Ortiz is author or editor of seven books, including the recently-released An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. She just wrote the piece “The Myth of Thanksgiving,” which states: “Thanksgiving is the favorite holiday of many U.S. Americans; unlike the rather boring or divisive holidays that honor Columbus, Presidents, Martin Luther King, Jr., Independence, veterans and war, the birth of a religion, and a new year, Thanksgiving is centered on sharing food with family and friends. Individuals and families travel long distances at great expense to be with one another. It might be surprising to learn that the cherished tradition of Thanksgiving is, in fact, the most nationalist of all holidays because it narrates the national origin myth. The traditional meal, as we know, consists of the foods cultivated by Indigenous farmers — corn, squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and turkey.

“The U.S. origin story of a covenant with God goes back to the Mayflower Compact, the first governing document of the Plymouth Colony. It is named for the ship that carried the hundred or so passengers, half of them religious dissidents, to what is now Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in November 1620. This compact marked the beginning of settler democracy, which from its inception sought the elimination of the Indigenous. Behind the black clothed and solemn ‘Pilgrims,’ was a corporation of shareholders, the Virginia Company, accompanied by armed and seasoned mercenaries on a colonizing project ordered by the English King James. If any local Natives were present at a colonizers’ celebratory meal, they were surely there as servants, and the foods were confiscated, not offered as a gift.

“‘Thanksgiving’ became a named holiday during the Civil War, but neither Pilgrims, nor Indians, nor food, nor the Mayflower — all essential to today’s celebration — were mentioned in Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation.

“It was during the Great Depression that the Thanksgiving holiday was transformed into a nationalistic origin story to bind a chaotic society experiencing economic and social collapse. But this idea of the gift-giving Indian, helping to establish and enrich what would become the United States, is an insidious smoke screen meant to obscure the fact that the very existence of the country is a result of the looting of an entire continent and its resources.

“In 1970, on the 350th anniversary of the English settlers — ‘Pilgrims’ — occupying land of the Wampanoag Nation, the United American Indians of New England led a protest of the Thanksgiving holiday, which they called a ‘National Day of Mourning.’ Every year since that time, the National Day of Mourning has taken place at Plymouth Rock. They rightly accuse the United States government of having invented a myth to cover the reality of colonialism and attempted genocide. By Thanksgiving 1970, Native Americans from many Indigenous nations had been occupying Alcatraz Island for a year. It was the height of renewed Native resistance to U.S. colonial institutions and calls for sovereignty and self-determination, which have continued and seen many victories as well as new obstacles. In 2007, after three decades of Indigenous Peoples’ lobbying, the United Nations General Assembly passed the ‘Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.’

“Thanksgiving needs another transformation, a day to mourn U.S. colonization and attempted genocide and celebrate the survival of Native Nations through their resistance.”

See her recent talk on C-Span.

Ferguson: Prosecutor’s “Charade”; “Oppression and Pushback”

B3S10m3CYAAJ_LhVERNELLIA RANDALL,randall at udayton.edu
Emeritus professor of law at the University of Dayton, Randall’s writings are at her website: racism.org. She is author of the book Dying While Black.

MARSHA COLEMAN-ADEBAYO, nofearcoalition at aol.com, @nofearcoalition
Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is with the Washington-based Hands Up CoalitionDC, which is organizing a series of protests in Washington, D.C. See the group’s statement and planned protests, which begin tonight. She is the author of No FEAR: A Whistleblower’s Triumph over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA. Her successful lawsuit lead to the passage of the first civil rights and whistleblower law of the 21st century: the Notification of Federal Employees Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act). See her blog at BlackAgendaReport.org.

KAWANA LLOYD, klloyd at piconetwork.org, @PICOnetwork
Lloyd is with the PICO National Network, [People Improving Communities Through Organizing] — which includes clergy, students, artists and others. The group put out a statement on the non-indictment: “The decision is deeply disappointing, but it comes as no surprise. It is another unconscionable blow to the St. Louis community and communities of color across America who have suffered through painful patterns of police abuses, discrimination and aggressive policing tactics at the expense of human life. … Michael Brown’s body was riddled with bullets and left lying in the street for more than four hours. The police response to a grieving and traumatized community was shocking and shameful: tear-gassing peaceful protesters, selective arrests, violations of the constitutional right to free speech and assembly, pointing military-grade weapons at unarmed young people, running police cars over Brown’s memorial, using dogs to intimidate community members, even urinating on the site of the shooting. … St. Louis County Prosecutor [Robert] McCulloch took a standard process designed to protect the public by determining whether there was probable cause in a murder case, and turned it into a charade to protect Darren Wilson from public accountability.”

MICHAEL SHANK, michael.john.shank at gmail.com,@Michael_Shank
Adjunct faculty at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Shank has written or co-written numerous articles on the militarization of policing, including: “Get the Military Off of Main Street” for the New York Times.

He said today: “Ferguson is the deadly and combustible combination of state-sponsored violence and structural racism. We are witnessing similarly sinister developments in other cities, such as Detroit. Whether it’s the weapon of economic oppression or heavily militarized suppression, the terrorizing of marginalized America is igniting a revolution. The people’s protest is just the beginning of a perpetual pushback against the increasing abuse of power. And it will be felt from coast to coast and in cities big and small.”

Hagel’s “Forced Resignation”

HAGEL-web-master675The New York Times reports: “Hagel Submits Resignation as Defense Chief Under Pressure.” The following analysts from the Center for International Policy are available for interviews:

MELVIN GOODMAN, goody789 at verizon.net
Goodman said today: “White House forced the resignation. Obama people dissatisfied with Hagel’s inability to act as spokesman for the Pentagon — and Hagel’s inability to control the public remarks of senior flag officers, particularly chairman of the joint chiefs Martin Dempsey.” Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and adjunct professor of government at Johns Hopkins University. His 42-year government career includes tours with the U.S. Army, the CIA, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. His most recent books are The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA and National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism.

MATTHEW HOH, mphoh1 at yahoo.com
Hoh, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, previously directed the Afghanistan Study Group, a collection of foreign and public policy experts and professionals advocating for a change in U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Prior to that, Hoh served with the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq and on U.S. Embassy teams in both Afghanistan and Iraq. During his service in Afghanistan, five months into his year-long contract in 2009, he resigned and became the highest-ranking U.S. official to publicly renounce U.S. policy in Afghanistan. He said today: “I expect Chuck Hagel’s resignation had much less to do with the as-to-be-expected political ad hominem attacks against Hagel, as it does with Hagel not wanting to go along with the re-escalation of the war in Afghanistan, the most unpopular war in American history, as well as his disagreement with the involvement of American forces in the Iraqi and Syrian civil wars that will prove counter-productive and morally and politically disastrous. I expect, in time, that Hagel’s resignation will be seen as an act of personal integrity and disagreement with perpetual war.”

WILLIAM HARTUNG, hartung at ciponline.org, @WilliamHartung
Hartung is director of the Arms and Security Project, also at the Center for International Policy, and author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex. He said today: “Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s resignation underscores the missed opportunities that marked his tenure as Secretary of Defense. Hagel came into the job as a pragmatic moderate who was skeptical of the Bush administration’s war in Iraq and convinced of the need to sharply reduce U.S. nuclear forces. These were the right priorities, but it is not clear whether Hagel fought for them as Secretary of Defense. Since his appointment, the Obama administration has been moving in the wrong direction, from its renewed war in Iraq to its recent decision to pour billions of additional dollars into an obsolete and unnecessary nuclear arsenal.” Hartung’s recent articles include “The $5 Billion the Pentagon Doesn’t Need” and “Don’t Throw Billions at An Obsolete Nuclear Arsenal.”

Note: Hagel (and Secretary John Kerry) are sometimes called “critics” of the Iraq war, but they both backed the Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, as did virtually Obama’s entire foreign policy team. See IPA news releases: “Kerry Covers up Iraq War Falsifications,” “* Brennan Claimed no Civilian Drone Killings * Hagel, Smeared; Voted for Iraq War” and “Anti-War Candidate, Pro-War Cabinet?

Obama Secretly Extended Afghanistan War

obama_afghan_0_0KATHY KELLY, kathy at vcnv.org, @voiceinwild
Kelly, a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence has spent extensive time in Afghanistan with the Afghan Peace Volunteers. She appeared with Dr. Hakim (Dr. Wee Teck Young) of the Afghan Peace Volunteers from Afghanistan on “Democracy Now!” this morning.

Kelly recently wrote the piece “Obama Extends War in Afghanistan,” which states: “News agencies reported [Friday] that weeks ago President Obama signed an order, kept secret until now, to authorize continuation of the Afghan war for at least another year. The order authorizes U.S. airstrikes ‘to support Afghan military operations in the country’ and U.S. ground troops to continue normal operations, which is to say, to ‘occasionally accompany Afghan troops’ on operations against the Taliban.

“The administration, in its leak to the New York Times, affirmed that there had been ‘heated debate’ between Pentagon advisers and others in Obama’s cabinet chiefly concerned not to lose soldiers in combat. Oil strategy isn’t mentioned as having been debated and neither is further encirclement of China, but the most notable absence in the reporting was any mention of cabinet members’ concern for Afghan civilians affected by air strikes and ground troop operations, in a country already afflicted by nightmares of poverty and social breakdown.”

CommonDreams.org notes in “Endless War: Obama Secretly Extends U.S. War on Afghanistan” that “last May 27, in an announcement in the White House Rose Garden,” President Obama said: “2014, therefore, is a pivotal year. Together with our allies and the Afghan government, we have agreed that this is the year we will conclude our combat mission in Afghanistan… America’s combat mission will be over by the end of this year. Starting next year, Afghans will be fully responsible for securing their country. American personnel will be in an advisory role. We will no longer patrol Afghan cities or towns, mountains or valleys. That is a task for the Afghan people.”

U.S. and UK Whistleblowers Challenge Policies of War and Attacks on Liberty

unnamed1 (2)The Guardian writes in an editorial this morning: “A diverse quartet of characters share a platform at the Foreign Press Association in London on Friday 21 November. They are a mix of effusive and reserved, leftist, conservative libertarian and politically unaffiliated. But all four have worked for US or UK security agencies, and all four have blown the whistle on misconduct as they saw it. They’ve won accolades for their integrity, yet none was in the end able to remain in post with his or her employer after airing inconvenient truths.

“Matthew Hoh, Colleen Rowley and Kirk Wiebe are, like Edward Snowden, all one-time servants of the American security state. The former GCHQ translator, Katharine Gun, exposed an NSA plan to bug the UN offices of countries that George W Bush and Tony Blair regarded as potential swing votes in their doomed quest for a security council rubber-stamp for an invasion of Iraq, on which they were already set. She was, until the prosecution proved unwilling or unable to muster any evidence, pursued under the Official Secrets Acts, legislation that has rendered the British state a notorious shadowland for a century. The US is traditionally seen as blessed with more open government, but the immediate backdrop to today’s event is the increasingly ruthless pursuit of American whistleblowers.

“For all Barack Obama’s background in civil rights law, his administration has charged more people under the Espionage Act, a 97-year old law rushed through in the first world war, than all previous administrations combined. Phone records covering journalists and, presumably, their sources have been subpoenaed. The trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer charged with revealing details of a botched US plan to feed Iran false nuclear leads, is pending. While British journalists are, as we report, resorting to legal action against Scotland Yard for monitoring their activities as part of a ‘domestic extremism’ programme, US government directives and information campaigns are being trained on the ‘insider threat’, the new parlance for employees who are not to be trusted with classified information.”

The whistleblowers — from the NSA, FBI, State Department and GCHQ — spoke about the effects of their governments’ policies on freedom of the press and democracy. They are traveling as a delegation co-sponsored by the U.S.-based organizations RootsAction.org and ExposeFacts, a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy. The U.S. whistleblowers will be back in the U.S. by Monday and are available for interviews. Brief bios of the delegation follow quotes from the U.S. whistleblowers:

J. KIRK WIEBE, jkwiebe at comcast.net
Wiebe, an NSA whistleblower, said today: “Of the ‘Five Eyes’ relationships, the one between NSA and GCHQ is the oldest, closest and most complex. It involves the sharing of data access, collection, processing, as well as the analysis and reporting of intelligence information on a wide variety of subjects of importance to the respective governments and other partners involved. The combined resources of these two behemoth intelligence organizations, augmented by their respective partner organizations in other countries, are collecting — on a 24/7 basis — massive amounts of global information belonging to millions of innocent phone and Internet users around the world. This deep betrayal of privacy on an epic scale constitutes the most egregious and most dangerous threat to democracy in the history of the world.”

COLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan at earthlink.net , @ColeenRowley
Rowley, an FBI whistleblower, said today: “I keep being questioned about governmental secrecy, what changes occurred after 9-11 and what level of secrecy is necessary to protect national security. These questions especially emerged after it was learned through whistleblower disclosures that the NSA and other U.S. and UK spy agencies were illegally collecting and storing massive amounts of (non-relevant) data on hundreds of millions of innocent people of the world. Paradoxically while individuals’ privacy has been greatly reduced, governmental secrecy greatly increased. People now wonder if their own privacy even matters anymore in this ‘collect it all’ system and don’t seem to appreciate the dangers created when citizens are kept in the dark about the actions of their governments, including the cover-up of fraud, waste and abuse, illegality and serious risks to public safety. They don’t understand that it was actually the failure to share relevant information which national security agencies already possessed before the 9-11 attacks: inside and between such agencies and with the general public that enabled the terrorism to occur in the first place and which continues to endanger citizens in many ways. Of course our very form of democratic government under the rule of law is also increasingly threatened given the current state of excessive government secrecy and little personal privacy.

“The answer therefore is to right this upside-down system. There should be increased sharing of governmental information while citizens’ privacy and their legal rights to free speech, association, religion and press, the right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure, the right to due process, right to attorney, etc, should be afforded protection.”

MATTHEW HOH, mphoh1 at yahoo.com
Hoh, a State Department whistleblower, said today: “The U.S. and UK’s special relationship has evolved to the point where both governments rely upon one another, through personal relationships, infrastructure and ideological narrative to justify endless wars overseas, while engaging in a war against civil rights and individual liberties at home. It is imperative for the people of the United States and the United Kingdom to work together to resist and reform our governments’ perversion of a common and shared value system that was once dedicated to democracy, freedom and individual liberty.”

Background:

Katharine Gun is a former translator for GCHQ. In 2003, she leaked to the Observer a top-secret memorandum concerning an NSA operation to bug the United Nations offices of six countries regarded as swing votes that could determine whether the U.N. Security Council approved the invasion of Iraq. After the Observer article appeared, Gun confessed to her GCHQ superiors and was subsequently charged with violating the Official Secrets Act. The case was dropped after the prosecution declined to offer any evidence. For her whistleblowing, Gun was given the 2003 Sam Adams award by the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. Daniel Ellsberg called Katharine Gun’s leak “the most important and courageous leak I have ever seen.” He added: “No one else — including myself — has ever done what Gun did: tell secret truths at personal risk, before an imminent war, in time, possibly, to avert it.”

Matthew Hoh, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, previously directed the Afghanistan Study Group, a collection of foreign and public policy experts and professionals advocating for a change in U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Prior to that, Hoh served with the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq and on U.S. Embassy teams in both Afghanistan and Iraq. During his service in Afghanistan, five months into his year-long contract in 2009, he resigned and became the highest-ranking U.S. official to publicly renounce U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Hoh was awarded The Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling in 2010.

Coleen Rowley, an attorney and former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the agency’s pre-9/11 failures, was one of three whistleblowers named as Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. In February 2003, Rowley again wrote to the FBI Director questioning him and other Bush administration officials about the reliability of supposed evidence being used to justify the impending U.S invasion of Iraq. Under sharp criticism for her comments, Rowley stepped down from her legal position to go back to being an FBI Special Agent. She retired from the FBI in 2004 after 24 years with the agency.

Norman Solomon is the coordinator of ExposeFacts.org, a new project for whistleblowing and independent journalism in the United States. ExposeFacts is part of the Washington-based Institute for Public Accuracy, where Solomon is executive director. He is the author of a dozen books on media and public policy including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org, an online action group that currently has close to half a million active online members.

J. Kirk Wiebe is a retired National Security Agency whistleblower who worked at the agency for 36 years. Wiebe’s colleague William Binney developed the ThinThread information processing system that, arguably, could have detected and prevented the 9/11 terrorist attacks. NSA officials, though, ignored the program in favor of Trailblazer, a program that ended in total failure with costs of billions of dollars. Wiebe and Binney blew the whistle internally on Trailblazer, but to no avail. Post 9/11, the NSA used ThinThread to illegally spy on U.S. citizens’ communications. Unable to stay at NSA any longer in good conscience, Wiebe retired in October 2001. Since retiring, Wiebe and Binney have made several key public disclosures regarding NSA’s massive surveillance program.

Katharine Gun, Matthew Hoh, Coleen Rowley and Kirk Wiebe are on the advisory board of ExposeFacts.org. Norman Solomon is on the ExposeFacts editorial board.

Immigration Move a “Stopgap Measure”

DAVID BACON, dbacon at igc.org, @photos4justice
Bacon is author of several books on immigration, including The Right to Stay Home and Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants. He is a labor and immigrant rights activist, and part of the Dignity Campaign.

He said today: “The administration’s decision to step away, at least partially, from the policy of mass deportations that have hurt millions of people over the last six years is a good step, but it is only a step. It leaves millions more people subject to deportation and vastly increased enforcement.The administration is imposing increasing enforcement and labor programs as a price for deportation relief. The U.S. already spends more money on immigration enforcement than all other federal law enforcement programs combined. Giving Silicon Valley more work visas and tying labor programs to deportation relief is a step towards lower wages, undermining the rights of all workers. At the same time, the administration has announced support for more free trade deals, like the Trans Pacific Partnership, which will lead to more displacement and migration, while eliminating jobs here at home. Instead of a stopgap measure, we must change U.S. immigration law and trade policy to deal with the basic causes of migration, and to guarantee the human, civil and labor rights of migrants and all working people.”

XL Pipeline: Scrutinizing Politicos and PR

The Senate is debating the XL Pipeline and is expected to vote late this afternoon.

MICHAEL KLARE, mklare at hampshire.edu
Klare just wrote the piece “Fossil-Fueled Republicanism, The Grand Oil Party Takes Washington by Storm.” His latest book is The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources.

STEVE HORN, steve at desmogblog.com, @SteveAHorn
Horn is research fellow with DeSmogBlog, which seeks to “clear the PR pollution that clouds climate science” and a freelance investigative journalist based in Madison, Wisc. He summarized three recent DeSmogBlog pieces:

Edelman’s TransCanada Astroturf Documents Expose Oil Industry’s Broad Attack on Public Interest” — “TransCanada has failed for years to win approval of the northern leg of the border-crossing Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, so the company has resorted to using a sophisticated PR plan to curry favor with a skeptical public. The documents obtained by Greenpeace Canada prove that is the case as it applies to another TransCanada tar sands pipeline, Energy East.”

Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s Warburg Pincus May Profit from Tar Sands Exports” — “Geithner’s company Warburg Pincus is chomping at the bit for tar sands dilbit to flow through Enbridge’s Keystone XL Clone and to the global market. His private equity firm’s ownership of MEG Energy symbolizes the likely purpose of both the Enbridge Keystone XL Clone system and the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline System: in large part, an export pipeline through the U.S. and to the global market.”

State Department’s Keystone XL Contractor ERM Approved Project Now Melting Glaciers” — “Houston Chronicle energy reporter Jennifer Dlouly described the looming vote on the northern leg of Keystone XL as a ‘Hail Mary’ for both U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) ‘to claim the title of the oil industry’s biggest champion.’ But if Big Oil catches the Hail Mary pass and runs the ball into the end-zone, it will mean more melting glaciers in the Arctic at the hands of climate disruption, caused by the tar sands production Keystone XL North will incentivize.”

War in the Mideast: Permanent Infrastructure for Perpetual War

USBBC reports: “America’s top general has told U.S. troops in Iraq that momentum is turning against Islamic State militants. Gen Martin Dempsey, on an unannounced visit, called the militants ‘midgets’ but said the battle against them was likely to take years.”

DAVID VINE, vine at american.edu
Author of the forthcoming book Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, Vine just wrote the piece “The Bases of War in the Middle East,” which states: “With the launch of a new U.S.-led war in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State (IS), the United States has engaged in aggressive military action in at least 13 countries in the Greater Middle East since 1980. In that time, every American president has invaded, occupied, bombed, or gone to war in at least one country in the region. The total number of invasions, occupations, bombing operations, drone assassination campaigns, and cruise missile attacks easily runs into the dozens. …

“The rapid disappearance of debate about our newest, possibly illegal war should remind us of just how easy this huge infrastructure of bases has made it for anyone in the Oval Office to launch a war that seems guaranteed, like its predecessors, to set off new cycles of blowback and yet more war. …

“While the Middle Eastern base buildup began in earnest in 1980, Washington had long attempted to use military force to control this swath of resource-rich Eurasia and, with it, the global economy. Since World War II, as the late Chalmers Johnson, an expert on U.S. basing strategy, explained back in 2004, ‘the United States has been inexorably acquiring permanent military enclaves whose sole purpose appears to be the domination of one of the most strategically important areas of the world.’”

Vine, a regular contributor to TomDispatch, is associate professor of anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia.

See, from FAIR: “No Debate and the New War.”

U.S. Pledge to Global Climate Fund “Welcome,” but “Drop in Bucket”

Tus china climatewo days after announcing a joint initiative with China on climate, senior White House officials signal that President Obama will pledge up to $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund at a the G20 meeting in Brisbane, Australia this weekend.

JANET REDMAN, janet at ips-dc.org, @Janet_IPS
Redman, climate policy program director at the Washington D.C.-based think tank the Institute for Policy Studies, had the following reaction: “U.S. military spending topped $575 billion last year alone. While it’s welcome, a White House pledge of $3 billion over four years to climate security is a drop in the bucket by comparison.

“The impacts of climate change — extreme storms, water scarcity, food shortages — are no longer threats. For vulnerable communities around the world they are a reality. The expected commitment from President Obama to provide $3 billion to support these communities as they build resilience to climate disruption and shift to clean renewable energy is a start. But the U.S. will have to step up its ambition in providing finance and cutting greenhouse gas emissions if the international community hopes to secure a fair and equitable climate deal at the end of next year that protects people and the planet.”

FCC Chairman Still Lobbying for Telecom Industry on Net Neutrality?

The New York Times reports: “Pressure Mounts on F.C.C. Chief Over Net Neutrality Rules.” President Obama recently said: “Net neutrality has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.”

MARGARET FLOWERS, M.D., mdpnhp at gmail.com, @MFlowers8
Flowers is an organizer of PopularResistance.org, which is engaging in a series of actions in D.C. on this issue. Flowers directly challenged FCC chairperson Wheeler. See: “Net Neutrality Activists Blockade FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s House.”

CRAIG AARON, caaron at freepress.net, @notaaroncraig
President and CEO of Free Press, Aaron said today that Wheeler “is increasingly isolated and pushing an unworkable plan that no one supports. The FCC Chairman reportedly said he has to ‘find a way to split the baby.’ I’m no biblical scholar, but pretty sure the point of that story is that you can’t split a baby. And you can’t cut the Internet in half, either. You can either stand with the public or just protect the biggest phone and cable companies. That’s the choice Tom Wheeler has to make, and it should be an easy one.”

MALKIA CYRIL, malkia at mediajustice.org, @culturejedi
Executive director of the Center for Media Justice, Cyril said today: “One of the few people who doesn’t seem to get the need for bright line network neutrality rules grounded in Title II authority is FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. He failed to implement a wide public hearing process. Instead of providing market certainty, he’s considering legally dubious ‘hybrid’ rules that offer nothing but uncertainty. Instead of standing with the President on a bi-partisan network neutrality plan, the Democratic Chairman of the FCC is acting like a corporate lobbyist. It’s time for the FCC to do its job and protect the people of the United States from digital discrimination with a swift vote to reclassify broadband as a common carrier service. Communities of color and America’s low income communities can’t wait any more. Enough is enough.”

In 2013, when Wheeler was picked to be FCC Chairman, former FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson noted in an IPA news release that “Wheeler’s background is as a trade association representative for companies appearing before the Commission, a lobbyist in Congress for other FCC customers, and a venture capitalist investing in and profiting from others whose requests he’ll have to pass on. … A bizarre choice.”

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