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* Poverty in Philly * Cáceres at TPP Rally

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CHERI HONKALA,
cherihonkalappehrc[at]gmail.com
Honkala is with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, which highlights glaring poverty and gross income inequality in Philadelphia, Penn.

See: “A guide to the Philadelphia DNC that media won’t show you, from extreme poverty to police misconduct,” from Salon.

The group helped organize the “March for Our Lives,” which released a statement: “The city will spend thousands of dollars to host this convention for millionaires and billionaires, yet fails to provide for its most vulnerable citizens. Demonstrate that this hypocritical practice is UNACCEPTABLE. Join us in demanding an end to unemployment, hunger and homelessness; money for education; affordable, accessible housing; living wages; and an end to the prison industrial complex. Money for the poor not for WAR!”

LAURA CACERES, via Lillian Boctor, lillian[at]ggjalliance.org
Laura Cáceres is daugher of slain Honduran Indigenous activist Berta Cáceres. She will join a rally against the Trans-Pacific Partnership at the DNC Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 p.m.

It Takes Roots to Change the System released a statement: “Laura Zuñiga Cáceres arrived in Philadelphia this weekend on a bus full of multiracial organizers from across the U.S. who have been on the road with the It Takes Roots to Change the System People’s Caravan from Cleveland to Philadelphia demanding justice for her mother, Berta Cáceres. Berta Cáceres, a Lenca woman, was one of the leading organizers for indigenous land rights in Honduras. Internationally recognized for her Human Rights work, Cáceres won the renowned Goldman Environmental Award in 2015 for her leadership in the campaign to stop one of Central America’s biggest hydropower projects, the Agua Zarca cascade of four giant dams in the Gualcarque River basin. On March 2, 2016, Berta Cáceres’s life was taken from her and those who loved her when armed gunmen stormed into her home and shot her.”

Laura Cáceres said: “We know very well the impacts that free trade agreements have had on our countries. They give transnational corporations, like the one my mom fought against, the power to protect their profits even if it means passing over the lives of people who defend the water, forest and mother earth from destruction caused by their very own megaprojects.”

The group states: “The assassination of Berta Cáceres has become one of the most controversial issues of Secretary Clinton’s campaign because of her support of the military coup in 2009. Organizers on the caravan are calling on Secretary Clinton to take responsibility for the role of the U.S. in supporting the military coup, and to take immediate action to end U.S. military aid to Honduras. Among the DNC platform committee are House Representatives Keith Ellison (MN), Barbara Lee (CA) and Luis Gutierrez (IL) who are co-sponsors of the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act which calls for an end to U.S. military aid and training to Honduras.”

Protests at DNC

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RUSSELL MOKHIBER,
russellmokhiber[at]gmail.com,
@corpcrimereport
Currently in Philadelphia, Mokhiber is editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, a weekly print newsletter based in Washington, D.C. Mokhiber also produces a daily podcast — the Corporate Crime Reporter Morning Minute. On Monday afternoon he wrote the piece “Bernie Delegates Take on Bernie Sanders,” which foreshadowed the chanting and protests of the first night of the Democratic convention. On Twitter, he noted what some delegates were chanting during the speeches. This included — as speakers were claiming Hillary Clinton would be tough on Wall Street — “Release the transcripts!” and “Goldman Sachs! Goldman Sachs!” When Bernie Sanders talked about Hillary Clinton on crime, some shouted, “super predators!”

RAED JARRAR, rjarrar[at]afsc.org, @raedjarrar
Jarrar is acting director of public policy and advocacy at the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization based in Philadelphia. The group has worked with other groups in a series of protests in Philadelphia, see: dncactioncommittee.com/about/calendar for events. See recent interview with Jarrar, who focuses on foreign policy.

* DNC “Naked Conspiracies” * Tim Kaine’s Wall St. Ties

wikileaks-dnc-email-leak

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared on “Democracy Now” this morning, referring to the Democratic National Committee’s engaging in “naked conspiracies against Bernie Sanders — trying to present Sanders as an atheist … covertly get into media anti Bernie Sanders stories.” Assange stated that the emails exposed more than just anti-Sanders rhetoric, but “instructions from the DNC … [including] calling up MSNBC in the middle of a program saying pull that segment now.'”

On Friday, WikiLeaks released the “DNC Email Archive.”

Referring to DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz stepping down from that position and then Hillary Clinton naming her chair of Clinton’s own campaign, Assange said the message was “If you act in a corrupt way that benefits Hillary Clinton, you will be rewarded.”

Interim DNC chair, Donna Brazile claimed someone had “stolen” the DNC’s “intellectual property. … I want to learn what is behind all of this, because more emails are coming.”

Responding to allegations that the Russian government was responsible for the DNC email exposure, Glenn Greenwald is tweeting: “DNC explicitly said its strategy would be to highlight Russia claim so as to obfuscate content of revelations. … It would be serious if Russian Govt were responsible for this hack. But that needs *evidence.”

ADAM JOHNSON, ahubbardjohnson[at]gmail.com,  @adamjohnsonNYC
Johnson just wrote the piece “With DNC Leaks, Former ‘Conspiracy Theory’ Is Now True — and No Big Deal,” for the media watch group FAIR.

Also see from Matea Gold in the Washington Post: “Leaked DNC emails reveal the inner workings of the party’s finance operation.”

WILLIAM K. BLACK, blackw[at]umkc.edu, @williamkblack
Black is an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A former bank regulator who led investigations of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, he is the author of the book The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.

He just wrote a piece in Consortium News on Hillary Clinton’s choice for vice president: “By picking Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton has revealed her true preferences and shown that her move to the left on policy issues during the primaries was simply a tactical move to defeat Bernie Sanders. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. Clinton can talk about caring about the U.S. public, but this choice cuts through the rhetoric.

“The two politicians to whom she gave serious consideration to choosing as her running mate were Kaine and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. What both men share in common is, like the Clintons, being leaders of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). The DLC was, on economic and foreign policy issues, a servile creature of Wall Street — funded by Wall Street.”

 

Kaine: Wall Street VP

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Hillary Clinton has just announced Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine will be her vice presidential running mate.

The Intercept reports: “Hours Before Hillary Clinton’s VP Decision, Likely Pick Tim Kaine Praises the TPP.”

CommonDreams writes: “Will Clinton VP Pick Be ‘Pronounced Middle Finger’ to Millions Who Voted for Bernie?

New York magazine in “Clinton VP Favorite Just Gave the Left Two More Reasons to Distrust Him” states: “While Kaine stepped up to the plate for banking interests this week, he simultaneously snubbed consumer-advocacy groups. On Wednesday, Kaine was one of 13 Democratic senators to withhold his signature from a letter authored by Sherrod Brown, which called for strengthening new rules against abusive payday lenders.”

WILLIAM K. BLACK, blackw[at]umkc.edu, @WilliamKBlack
Black is an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A former bank regulator who led investigations of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, he is the author of the book The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.

“By picking Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton has shown her revealed preferences. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do.

“Clinton can talk about caring about the U.S. public, but this choice cuts through the rhetoric. Kaine — like Clinton herself — is a quintessential ‘New Democrat’ — meaning they are allies of Wall Street. They embrace a neo-liberal, pro-corporate outlook that has done incredible damage to the vast majority of Americans.

“What’s especially noteworthy about this is that they are doing this while the Republican party is repudiating some of these policies. The Republican Party platform calls for reinstating Glass Steagall. This New Deal reform was overturned by Bill Clinton. The Republican platform is for putting it back and the alleged liberals Clinton and Paul Krugman are against reinstating it.

“This shows Hillary Clinton hasn’t learned a thing from the failed pro-Wall Street policies that have wrecked the economy. It’s bad politics and it’s bad policy.

“Actually, that’s not quite right. These policies have worked brilliantly for the top 1/1000th of one percent. They have been disastrous for nearly everyone else in the U.S. — and around the world.

“And that’s just the finance. One the economics, it’s doubling down on the same old austerity outlook. Recall, that Bill Clinton tried to privatize Social Security. The only reason it didn’t happen is that the Republican rebels asked for too much and that scuttled the deal that Bill Clinton was making with the Republican congress.”

What Trump is Right About: NATO

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ABC reports: “Donald Trump Gets Bipartisan Condemnation for NATO Comments.”

DAVID N. GIBBS, dgibbs[at]arizona.edu
Author of First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, Gibbs is a professor of history and government at the University of Arizona. He has written extensively on NATO.

Gibbs said today: “Trump’s recent criticisms of the NATO alliance are reasonable. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has provoked post-communist Russia into a stance of belligerence vis-a-vis the United States and its Western allies. The new Cold War with Russia resulted from NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders, in violation of a 1990 U.S. commitment that it would not expand NATO. Trump is right to question NATO’s value in promoting U.S. security, and also to raise the issue of the enormous financial cost of this alliance to the U.S. taxpayer. While Trump’s views on foreign policy are often dangerous, his positions on NATO seem quite sensible. He is raising an issue that no mainstream political figure is willing to address, and this will hopefully trigger a long overdue debate on the value (or lack of value) of America’s overseas military presence.”

See by Robert Parry: “The Bigger Nuclear Risk: Trump or Clinton?” and “Turkey Provokes Russia with Shoot-down.”

See by Mary Elise Sarotte: “A Broken Promise? What the West Really Told Moscow About NATO Expansion.”

Convention Spin vs Actual Issues

Untitled design (10) RANIA KHALEK,
raniakhalek[at]gmail.com, @RaniaKhalek
Khalek is associate editor at the ElectronicIntifada.net and co-host of the “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast. She tweeted: “While everyone was losing their minds over the Republican circus, Obama oversaw the killing of over 100 ppl in a matter of hours.” See CNN.com: “Several human rights group said airstrikes this week killed dozens of people, pushing the death toll past 100.” AirWars.org shows updates on the U.S. bombing of Syria and Iraq. Khalek will be in Philadelphia next week.

RUSSELL MOKHIBER, russellmokhiber[at]gmail.com, @corpcrimereport
Currently in Cleveland, Mokhiber will be in Philadelphia during the Democratic Party Convention. He is editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, a weekly print newsletter based in Washington, D.C. Mokhiber also produces a daily podcast — the Corporate Crime Reporter Morning Minute.

GREG COLERIDGE, gcoleridge[at]afsc.org, @gregcoleridge
Coleridge is director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization. He said today: “We’ve helped organize — with lots of other groups — the People’s Justice and Peace Convention and a March to End Poverty here in Cleveland. We’re raising a bunch of issues, but corporate media seem far less interested in issues than in the prospect for bedlam and violence. It’s almost as though they were egging on. … I’ve never seen such a militarized city. …

“Issues at our convention included climate, the military-industrial-congressional complex, money in elections and the mis-named ‘trade deals’. The establishment politicians are rarely addressing these and when they do, it’s in a twisted fashion. We tried to go beyond reacting and responding, to put forward a positive vision.

“The rally against poverty brought out over 1000 people, including grassroots organizations themselves representing poor people. In Cleveland today, 40 percent of people are low income. That has so many consequences in terms of healthcare, of retaining a job, of trying to have a tax base to maintain infrastructure. It’s not a question of resources. It’s a question of political will. These are profound crises and the solutions need to be systemic in nature.”

The Trump-Pence Threat to Religious Liberty

religion FREDERICK CLARKSON, f.clarkson[at]politicalresearch.org
Clarkson is senior fellow for Religious Liberty at Political Research Associates, a progressive thinktank in Somerville, MA. He is the author of the recent report, When Exemption is the Rule: The Religious Freedom Strategy of the Christian Right.

Clarkson said today, “The religious freedom claims of leading Republicans speaking at the Republican National Convention belie an effort to curtail the religious and civil rights of others.

“Wednesday’s line up may well include Orwellian invocations of religious liberty intended to cloak efforts to diminish the rights of others and to seek exemptions from the law.

“Governor Mike Pence signed into law an Indiana state version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015 which would have effectively allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people if they claimed a religious reason for doing so. He claimed that it was identical to federal legislation and bills by the same name in other states. But this was false.

“Other such bills — including one introduced by then State Senator Barack Obama in Illinois– held states to a high standard of state interest in order to impinge on the religious views and practices of individuals. But these bills did not provide for third parties such as businesses to declare religious exemptions from the law.

“A national economic boycott in Indiana compelled Pence and the legislature to amend the law to specify that it was not to be construed as legitimizing discrimination.

“Meanwhile Ted Cruz, Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump, and the 2016 GOP platform have darkly declared that an unholy army of bogeymen led by the Democrats are coming for people’s First Amendment right to freedom of religion and speech. They do this in much the same way that the NRA claims that the feds are coming for people’s guns.”

9/11 Widow/Activist on Declassified Saudi Arabia Pages

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Last Friday afternoon, just before Congress left for its summer vacation, the U.S. government declassified with light redactions several pages of a document that reveals ties between the 9/11 terror attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia.

The document states: “While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected with the Saudi government.”

KRISTEN BREITWEISER, kdianbreit[at]aol.com
Breitweiser is a 9/11 widow and activist. Working with a group of other 9/11 widows known as the “Jersey Girls,” she was able to pressure the U.S. government to conduct a formal investigation into the 9/11 attacks. Her piece “The Long-Hidden Saudi-9/11 Trail” was recently published on Consortiumnews.com.

She writes: “Our government’s relationship to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is no different than an addict’s relationship to heroin. Much like a heroin addict who will lie, cheat and steal to feed his vice, certain members of our government will lie, cheat and steal to continue their dysfunctional and deadly relationship with the KSA — a relationship that is rotting this nation and its leaders from the inside out. …

“President Bush has deep ties to the KSA and its royal family and only wanted to protect the Kingdom. President Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq — not Saudi Arabia. So, a 29-page chapter that said ‘Saudi’ and ‘Bandar’ instead of ‘Hussein’ and ‘Iraq’ was a huge problem for President Bush. (The solution was to hide the information for 13 years.) …

“To be clear, the 9/11 Commission did NOT fully investigate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Staff Director Philip Zelikow blocked any investigation into the Saudis. Zelikow even went so far as to fire an investigator who had been brought over from the [Congressional] Joint Inquiry to specifically follow up on the Saudi leads and information uncovered in the Joint Inquiry. I will repeat — the investigator was fired.

“In addition, Zelikow re-wrote the 9/11 Commission’s entire section regarding the Saudis and their connection to the 9/11 attacks. Former 9/11 Commissioners John Lehman, Bob Kerrey and Tim Roemer have all acknowledged that the Saudis were not adequately investigated by the 9/11 Commission. Thus, for any government official to hang his or her hat on the 9/11 Commission’s Final Report when Commissioners themselves have admitted that the Saudis were not fully investigated is absurd and disgraceful.

“For example, one glaring piece of information not mentioned in either the 9/11 Commission or the Joint Inquiry’s 29 pages is the information regarding Fahad Thumairy and Khallad bin Attash found in both an FBI report and a CIA report that are now declassified.

“Both reports indicate that Fahad Thumairy — a Saudi Consulate official — helped bring Khallad bin Attash into the United States in June of 2000 so he could meet with two of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al Mihdhar and Nawaf al Hazmi. Thumairy escorted bin Attash — a known Al Qaeda operative — through INS and Customs at Los Angeles International Airport evading security and any possible alarm bells. Again, this information is found in both a CIA and FBI report.

“Four months after Khallad bin Attash met with the two 9/11 hijackers in Los Angeles, the USS Cole was bombed and 17 U.S. sailors were killed. Khallad bin Attash, Khalid al Mihdhar and Nawaf al Hazmi were all named as co-conspirators in the bombing of the USS Cole. Where is the information regarding bin Attash and Thumairy? Has it ever been investigated?

“Had our intelligence agencies capitalized on the known connection between Thumairy and bin Attash, they would have been able to thwart the bombing of the USS Cole. In addition, they would have had access and the ability to weave together nearly all the pieces of the 9/11 attacks — more than nine months before the 9/11 attacks happened. But as history shows, Saudi Consulate official Fahad Thumairy was not investigated and 17 sailors in addition to 3,000 others were killed.

“I’m sure that Barack Obama, [CIA Director] John Brennan, [Assistant Secretary of State] Anne Patterson, and Philip Zelikow would all consider Thumairy’s operational and financial support of Attash, Mihdhar and Hazmi as within the threshold of being an “ally” of the United States. I, and the rest of America, would not.”

Sanders Delegates See Clinton VP Pick Causing Clash

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The group RootsAction.org states: “The first major survey of Bernie Sanders delegates reveals big concerns about Hillary Clinton’s pending choice of a vice presidential candidate, with many delegates expressing their willingness to publicly denounce prospective running-mates and even protest on the convention floor.”

See Daily Caller: “Survey: Bernie Delegates Would Hate It If Hillary Picks One Of These People For VP.” Truthdig reports on the survey: “The six potential Clinton running mates listed were: Tim Kaine, junior Virginia senator; Julian Castro, Housing and Urban Development secretary; Mark Warner, senior Virginia senator; Cory Booker, New Jersey senator; retired Adm. James Stavridis; and Adm. Mike Mullen, former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman. All of them received “Not Acceptable” survey scores of 72 percent or higher. Sen. Mark Warner garnered the highest, with 91.6 percent of the delegates stating he would be an unacceptable vice presidential pick.” See survey at “First survey of Sanders delegates: potential clash ahead.”

KAREN BERNAL, nekochan99[at]hotmail.com, @karenbernal5
Bernal, a delegate from Sacramento who was elected as co-representative of the Sanders delegation from California, commented: “We Sanders delegates represent millions of progressive voters and activists. This survey suggests that a large proportion of the base that delivered 23 states and 13 million votes for Senator Sanders would be repelled by the potential running-mates for Secretary Clinton who are now being most widely touted. Can any Democratic presidential candidate afford to do without solid support from this base in a general election? That is the question Secretary Clinton and her advisers should think long and hard about.”

DONNA SMITH, donna[at]pdamerica.org, JEFF COHEN, jeffco[at]hvc.rr.com, @Roots_Action
The nationwide survey was conducted by the independent Bernie Delegates Network, an initiative launched by RootsAction.org in partnership with Progressive Democrats of America. Cohen is co-founder of RootsAction. Smith, director of PDA, said: “While Trump has moved to unify his party by selecting a running-mate who is trusted by the Republican activist base and who had endorsed his top opponent, we fear that Secretary Clinton is looking in the wrong direction for her running-mate. Democratic and independent voters throughout the nation could be lost if the party’s presidential ticket fails to truly reflect strong progressive positions.”

The survey found that the vast majority of surveyed delegates said that — if Clinton “selects as her vice presidential running-mate one of the individuals whom you’ve marked as unacceptable or someone politically similar” — they would “seriously consider participating” in one or both of these actions:

— “Denouncing the VP pick as a clear indication that Hillary Clinton does not intend to seek common ground with the progressive ideals and positions of the Bernie Sanders campaign.”

— “Nonviolently and emphatically protesting in the convention hall during Clinton’s acceptance speech.”

See Cohen’s commentary on the survey on Common Dreams.

Terrorism and the “Series of Absurdities”

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JEAN BRICMONT, [in France] jean.bricmont[at]uclouvain.be,
@JeanBricmont
Bricmont is author of Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War. He is also a mathematical and statistical physicist at the University of Louvain, and the co-author of Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science [PDF].

“At this moment, we do not know what the motivations of the truck driver were. But, speaking of Islamic terrorism in general, one can at least ask what the root causes of that terrorism are.

“First of all, one must be clear about the difference between terrorism and armed struggle or resistance: the latter targets the army, the police, maybe state officials or even settlers, but the former targets totally innocent civilians, usually because they belong to the ‘wrong’ ethnic or religious group.

“Now, terrorism was used by the Saudi-U.S. alliance in Afghanistan during the communist regime (which was not very communist) even before the Soviet intervention. It then spread to other countries such as Bosnia and Algeria, where it was one of the roots of the conflicts during the 90’s.

“Terrorism was further enhanced by the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the subsequent U.S. policy of playing the Shiites against the Sunnis and vice-versa to maintain a semblance of control over that country.

“The final step was the support for Islamist rebellions in Libya and Syria, support which, it must be said, was approved often with enthusiasm by the ‘human rights’ left.

“Our policies are a veritable series of absurdities: we invent enemies like Putin and Assad who have done nothing to us, and we help our real enemies, like the Islamic terrorists, in order to fight our imaginary ones. On top of that, all our politicians are fighting each other to prove that they are more pro-Israel than the guy next to them, which would make us hated in the Muslim world if there were no other reasons.

“It seems to me that there are two options (none of which will be adopted): either withdraw entirely from the Middle East (including dropping support for Israel). Or join Syria and Russia in fighting ISIS (which is not what is being done when the fight against ISIS is ambiguous, because of the support for ‘moderate rebels,’ and [that it is not being] coordinated with troops on the ground). As long as ISIS appears successful, it will attract alienated Western youngsters. And terrorism will continue.”

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