News Releases

White House Climate Proposal “Woefully Inadequate”

JANET REDMAN, janet at, @Janet_IPS
Redman is climate policy program director at the Washington D.C.-based think tank the Institute for Policy Studies.

The group notes: “Today the White House released a proposal for U.S. action on climate change that it will bring to the table at the UN climate negotiations for a global agreement this December in Paris. The Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, as the formal submission is known, includes a cut in U.S. emissions of 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, but little else.”

Redman said today: “As the biggest historical emitter of climate pollution, we welcome the U.S. putting hard targets for reducing carbon emissions on paper. Unfortunately, the science is clear that this target is woefully inadequate to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst impacts in our communities. To do our fair share, the U.S. should cut carbon pollution by twice as much, and put a number on the table for 2020 when the climate agreement kicks in.

“In addition, if the Obama administration intends to rely on policies like the Clean Power Plan as the pathway to emissions cuts, it must abandon the push for dirty and dangerous technologies like natural gas, waste incineration, and nuclear energy. The U.S. can and must support the transition to clean renewable energy, zero waste, sustainable food systems, efficient public transportation and housing, and other local and state action to dramatically lower emissions while protecting public health and local economies at home.

“Globally, our contribution can not end at emissions cuts. Conspicuously absent from the U.S. climate submission is any commitment of financing to support developing countries adapt to climate disruption and shift toward clean energy economies. Delivering finance to those countries least responsible for creating the climate crisis is not only morally right, it is our legal responsibility under the UN climate convention.”

Schumer’s Record: Pro-War, Backed by Wall Street

Politico reports in “Iran deal a big test for Schumer” that: “The Democratic leader-in-waiting could decide whether Congress has the votes to scuttle a nuclear agreement.” Robert Naiman notes: “On Thursday, Schumer officially became a co-sponsor of the main Republican bill in the Senate designed to blow up the Iran talks: the Corker-Menendez bill.” Also see Washington Post: “Will Senate Democrats really help kill an Obama nuclear deal with Iran?

Schumer voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. In his speech, he repeatedly invoked 9/11 and voiced some of the same fabrications that the Bush administration became famous for: “While this behavior is reprehensible, it is Hussein’s vigorous pursuit of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, and his present and potential future support for terrorist acts and organizations, that make him a terrible danger to the people to the United States.” See video at C-Span (which includes transcript) and here. In 2005, Schumer said he didn’t regret his war vote.

According to, his biggest funders are from the following sectors:

Securities & Investment: $3,877,905
Lawyers/Law Firms: $2,632,447
Real Estate: $1,583,089
Lobbyists: $717,513
Misc Finance: $682,200

ZAID JILANI, Areo64 at, @ZaidJilani
Jilani recently wrote the piece for Alternet: “Chuck Schumer — Friend Of Wall Street and War — Ready to Be Anointed Head of the Senate Democrats.”

The piece states: “It’s not surprising that Schumer would be able to collect so much support in such a short period of time. Recall that he was head of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, and helped recruit as many as one-third of the current Senate Democratic caucus — and that he was the one who set about raising the funds necessary to bring them to power in the first place. …

“‘Wall Street Welcomes Expected Chuck Schumer Promotion,’ read a CNN headline on Friday. ‘It’ll be a big plus to have somebody like that if he ends up being Democratic leader,’ said former Republican Senator Judd Gregg, who until recently was head of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. …

“When Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) introduced an amendment to break up the largest banks, they were able to recruit the support of a handful of GOP senators, but Schumer worked alongside the Obama administration to kill it. He insists that capital gains tax rates stay lower than those of other income, a direct gift to fund managers. And he has kept alive the idea of granting corporations that store cash overseas to bring funds back to the United States if they are granted a large tax cut.”

As Saudi Arabia Escalates Bombing of Yemen, Dozens Killed at Camp

The Los Angeles Times is reporting: “As a Saudi Arabia-led coalition pounded rebel positions across Yemen with airstrikes Monday, an apparent aerial bombardment hit a camp for displaced persons near the border of the two countries, killing dozens of people, aid workers said.” See Twitter feed on the crisis below.

In related news regarding the Saudi regime, see from the Washington Post: “How Saudi Arabia turned Sweden’s human rights criticisms into an attack on Islam.”

AJAMU BARAKA, ajamubaraka2 at
Baraka is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies who is based in Colombia. He recently wrote the piece “Saudi Arabia Invasion of Yemen Perpetuates Chaos and Lawlessness in Middle-East,” which states: “The intervention by the Saudis … continues the international lawlessness that the U.S. precipitated with its War on Terror over the last decade and a half. … U.S. and Saudi geo-strategic interest in containing the influence of Iran has trumped international law and any concerns about the lives of the people of Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain.”

ALI AL-AHMED, alialahmedx at, @AliAlAhmed_en
Director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, al-Ahmed is a noted critic of the Saudi regime.

WILLIAM PICARD, picard at, @yemenpeacenews
Picard is executive director of the Yemen Peace Project.

WILLIAM HARTUNG, whartung at, @WilliamHartung
Hartung is director of the Arms and Security Project 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: “The Saudi intervention in Yemen is just the latest example of the potentially disastrous consequences of runaway U.S. arms exports to the Persian Gulf. The Obama administration has set new records for the value of U.S. weapons deals with the Saudi regime, approving over $40 billion in new agreements in the past few years alone. The Saudis have used U.S.-supplied weaponry to help put down the democracy movement in Bahrain, and now to expand the conflict in Yemen to the point that it may spark a region-wide war. In addition, over $500 million in U.S weaponry destined for Yemeni security forces has gone missing, and may have found its way to Houthi forces or even to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The faction of the Yemeni army that has joined hands with the Houthi rebellion has ample U.S.-supplied armaments as well. It’s hard to imagine a clearer example of the negative consequences of aggressive arms dealing than the current situation in Yemen.”

Background: See Washington Post: “Pentagon loses track of $500 million in weapons, equipment given to Yemen.”

See this piece from The Real News on Saudi repression of Bahrain.

Profile of U.S. military and police aid to Yemen by the Security Assistance Monitor.

What Bergdahl Case Offers

MATTHEW HOH, mphoh1 at
Hoh, a State Department whistleblower, wrote the piece “Stop Persecuting Bowe Bergdahl” for Politico. He said today: “With more than 4 out of 5 Americans against the war in Afghanistan, and a majority of Americans saying the war was a mistake, Sergeant Bergdahl’s concerns about the war resonate with many Americans.

“As you will see from Sergeant Bergdahl’s lawyers’ statement, the report conducted by the Army found Sergeant Bergdahl not to have the intention to desert permanently; not to have the intention of joining the Taliban or assisting the enemy; that he did not cooperate with his captors, but rather attempted to escape 12 times; that no American soldiers died looking for Sergeant Bergdahl; and that Sergeant Bergdahl left his post to report ‘disturbing circumstances to the attention of the nearest general officer.’

“Sergeant Bergdahl’s disaffection with the war can be seen and understood, not only through the failure of the American war effort in Afghanistan, but through the ongoing civil wars in the Greater Middle East and in the rise of the Islamic State.”

“While I am saddened for Sergeant Bergdahl’s family, with whom I am friends, and hopeful that no charges will be brought against him at his Article 32 hearing, I do believe Sergeant Bergdahl’s case offers a valuable opportunity for our nation to discuss our wars, evaluate our wars’ executions and results, and question whether or not the sacrifices of our young service members and their families, as well as the suffering of millions of people throughout the Muslim World, has been worthwhile.”

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. See Washington Post profile of Hoh: “U.S. official resigns over Afghan war.”

WikiLeaks Exposes TPP Secrecy and Big Business Agenda

The New York Times reports: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership — a cornerstone of Mr. Obama’s remaining economic agenda — would grant broad powers to multinational companies operating in North America, South America and Asia. Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations. …

“The chapter in the draft of the trade deal, dated Jan. 20, 2015, and obtained by The New York Times in collaboration with the group WikiLeaks, is certain to kindle opposition from both the political left and the right.”

WikiLeaks notes in the group’s analysis of the TPP investment chapter: “The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations.”

PATRICK WOODALL, pwoodall at, @foodandwater
Research director and senior policy advocate for Food & Water Watch, Woodall said today: “The leaked Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) investment provisions provide a new and powerful avenue for foreign corporations to attack commonsense public health, environmental and consumer safeguards. They are designed to provide special rights for corporations at the expense of the public interest, letting foreign companies demand financial compensation in response to federal, state and local laws and regulations they feel harm their investments.

“The TPP would empower companies from New Zealand, Australia and Japan with new rights to attack our federal and local laws. For example, one natural gas company has already challenged a fracking moratorium in the Canadian province of Quebec under NAFTA’s investment provisions. These corporate lawsuits have a chilling effect on communities that want to protect their citizenry but lack the resources to defend against a colossal corporate lawsuit, including the more than 250 localities (including New York state) that have banned or imposed moratoriums on fracking.

“The leaked investment text highlights the lack of TPP transparency. It includes a provision that keeps the investment chapter confidential until four years after the TPP goes into effect. If these special rights for corporate interests are so beneficial, why must it be classified?”

SEAN FLYNN, sflynn at
Flynn is associate director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the Washington College of Law at American University. He just wrote the piece “Leaked TPP ISDS Chapter Threatens Intellectual Property Limitations and Exceptions,” which states: “Today’s leak of the Investor State Dispute Settlement chapter proposed for the Trans Pacific Partnership [PDF] agreement would give new rights to private companies to challenge limitations and exceptions to copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights inunaccountable international arbitration forums. The text contains the same provisions that are being used by Eli Lilly to challenge Canada’s invalidation of patent extensions for new uses of two medicines originally developed in the 1970s. The same language is also being used by Philip Morris to challenge Uruguay’s regulation of advertising on cigarette packages as an ‘expropriation’ of their trademarks. But the TPP language goes farther. It includes a new footnote, not previously released as part of any other investment chapter and not included in the U.S. model investment text — clarifying that private expropriation actions can be brought to challenge ‘the cancellation or nullification of such [intellectual property] rights,’ as well as ‘exceptions to such rights.’

“Instead of combating the ability to bring cases such as Eli Lilly’s, it invites them. Any time a national court — including in the U.S. — invalidates a wrongfully granted patent or other intellectual property right, the affected company could appeal that revocation to foreign arbitrators.”

ILANA SOLOMON, via Dan Byrnes, daniel.byrnes at
Solomon is director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program. She said today: “It is outrageous that we have to continue to rely on leaked texts to expose the details of this trade pact — and that every leak confirms the threats of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to clean air and water.

“If the Trans-Pacific Partnership locks in this flawed text, the trade deal would expand a system of investor privileges provided in NAFTA that threatens new safeguards on our air, water, and climate — from fracking moratoriums to carbon-pollution reductions to anything in between.

“Trade negotiators must release the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership so that the public and our policy makers can have a real conversation about its impacts on communities, our environment, and the climate. Members of Congress must be able to take a fine-toothed comb to trade deals and reject fast track, which would eliminate their ability to ensure that the rules of this and other trade deals actually put people before polluter profits.”

Left and Right Teaming up for Surveillance State Repeal Act

The Daily Caller reports in “House Revives Bill To Completely Repeal The Patriot Act, Dismantle NSA Spying,” that: “Some of the strongest reforms to the U.S. national security apparatus ever introduced in Congress were revived Tuesday by a pair of congressmen in the House of Representatives.

“Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan and Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie announced in a press release their intention to reintroduce the Surveillance State Repeal Act — a bill first introduced following the Snowden leaks in 2013 that would completely repeal the Patriot Act and the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, as well as introduce reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

“The bill would legally dismantle the National Security Agency’s most aggressive surveillance programs, including the bulk collection and retention of virtually all Americans’ landline phone records justified under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The repeal of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act would also prevent the agency from tapping the physical infrastructure of the Internet, such as undersea fiber cables, to intercept ‘upstream’ data in bulk, which critics including the ACLU claim the NSA uses to collect data on Americans.”

SHAHID BUTTAR, media at, @bordc@sheeyahshee
Executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Buttar spoke at a briefing yesterday at the Capitol on this subject. He said today: “The Surveillance State Repeal Act, HR 1466, represents a profound challenge by members of Congress from across the political spectrum fed up with the national security establishment and its continuing assault on our Constitution.

“Most policymakers forget the 9/11 commission’s most crucial finding: the intelligence community’s failures that enabled the 9/11 attacks were not failures of limited data collection, but rather failures of data sharing and analysis. Over the last 15 years, Congress has allowed the agencies to expand their collection capacities, solving an imaginary problem while creating a host of real threats to U.S. national security far worse than any act of rogue violence: the specter of state omniscience, immune from oversight and accountability, and thus vulnerable to politicization.

“This was among the fears of which President Eisenhower warned us in his farewell address.”

PATRICK EDDINGTON, Peddington at, @pgeddington
Eddington is a policy analyst at the CATO Institute and also spoke at the briefing organized by Reps. Pocan and Massie. Eddington just wrote the piece “Legislators move against mass surveillance” for The Hill, which states: “In renewing the fight to reform America’s surveillance practices, Massie and Pocan have the clock on their side. Three existing provisions of the PATRIOT Act are due to expire on June 1st, and executive branch officials are once again fear mongering about the prospect, especially since Congress will adjourn on May 22 for a long Memorial Day recess that will run beyond the provisions’ expiration date. Civil liberties advocates argue that all three provisions should be allowed to expire, especially Sec. 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which was the source of the metadata mass surveillance program exposed by Snowden.

“The pressure of that looming expiration date provides an opening for Massie, Pocan and other surveillance reformers to force real changes in surveillance law through Congress. In making the attempt, they will not only have to deal with reluctant colleagues in both chambers, but a U.S. intelligence community and federal law enforcement leadership that is even now still seeking to weaken basic internet security standards in the name of ‘national security.’ One of the most important public battles over the issue of security versus surveillance is about to begin.”

Afghanistan: “Fiction” of Sovereign Government, U.S. Funding “War of Attrition”

The New York Times reports: “President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan is expected to urge President Obama in a White House meeting on Tuesday not to pull American military forces out of his country as quickly as planned, requesting an extension of assistance in combating a tenacious Taliban insurgency.”

ANAND GOPAL, anandgopal80 at, @Anand_Gopal_
Available for a limited number of interviews, Gopal has spent extensive time in Afghanistan and is author of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes, which just won the 2015 Ridenhour Book Prize.

He said today: “The agreement funding the army implies that there’s a foreseeable time when Afghanistan has a functioning government and that’s just not the case. The U.S. is funding a war of attrition.

“A main result of this war is that Afghan civilians are dying in greater numbers. Last year saw more civilian deaths than any year since 2001. Most of the violence is coming from U.S. proxies and the Taliban insurgents.

“The U.S. is allied with power brokers, warlords who are fighting the ‘war on terror’ on the U.S.’s behalf. When people talk about ‘counterterrorism operations,’ what they mean is night raids, targeted killings and allying with these warlords. When I say warlords, I mean private contractors because the U.S. is paying for them essentially, they are mercenaries, they’re paramilitary forces, there’s hundreds of thousands of them around the country.

“It’s a fiction that Ashraf Ghani has a sovereign government. On the one hand, he’s beholden to foreign aid and on the other he is constrained by warlords and strongmen in the countryside that exert a tremendous amount of power.”

SONALI KOLHATKAR, sonali at, @sonalikolhatkar
Kolhatkar is co-author of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence and is co-director of the Afghan Women’s Mission. Google Ads Skewing Internet Content

antiwar image

The bodies of people killed by Ukraine government forces around the airport are piled up at a city morgue in Donetsk, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Photo: Vadim Ghirda, AP

ERIC GARRIS, egarris2 at, @Antiwarcom
Founder and director of, Garris just wrote the piece “Google Doubles Down: Demands Review of All Content,” which states: “On Wednesday morning (3/18/15), Google AdSense suspended ad delivery to demanding that we remove our 11-year-old pages that showed the abuse by U.S. soldiers of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib. We publicized this and got a bit of coverage. [See in Gawker: 'Google Suspends Site from Ad Network for Abu Ghraib Photo."]

“Yesterday [Thursday] Google contacted us and told us that they had given in and would be restoring ad service to shortly.

“However, this morning [Friday] they contacted us demanding that we remove this article.

“ has no intention of allowing Google to dictate our content. We are looking into alternate sources of advertising and will not likely be working with Google AdSense in the future.”

JILLIAN YORK, jillian at, @jilliancyork@onlinecensors
York leads the new project at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She said: “While Google is well within its legal rights to regulate content — and has good reasons to ensure certain violent content doesn’t make it to AdSense, in this case it came down on the wrong side of what was clearly content in the public interest: images that demonstrate torture by the U.S. military.”

In her article “Can Apple Refuse to Sell a Laptop to an Iranian Citizen? Maybe,” York noted: “Google reportedly blocks Persian-language advertisements because of the prohibition on financial transactions targeting Iranians. Given that there are only small pockets of Persian speakers outside of Iran, it would be difficult for Google to argue they’re not targeting Iranians with ads in Persian; therefore, blocking the advertisements entirely ensures that they’re in compliance with the regulations.”

Netanyahu’s Warning on Arab Voters “Encapsulates Israel’s Contradiction”

CNN is reporting that in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s interview with Andrea Mitchell to be aired tonight on “NBC Nightly News” that Netanyahu “walked back another controversial campaign remark, when he urged his supporters to go out to counteract the effect of Arab voters who he said were rushing to the polls ‘in droves.’

“‘I wasn’t trying to suppress the vote,’ Netanyahu said. ‘I’m very proud to be the prime minister’ of all Israel’s citizens.’ Netanyahu went on to point out that he drew support from ‘quite a few Arab voters.’”

Dr. HATIM KANAANEH, hatimkanaaneh at
Currently in D.C. and in New York City next week, Kanaaneh is a public health physician, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, and the author of the recently released short story collection, Chief Complaint: A Country Doctor’s Tales of Life in Galilee.

He said today: “Of course the vast majority of Palestinian citizens of Israel voted for the non-Zionist Palestinian parties, but these parties are constantly threatened and excluded by politicians like Netanyahu.

“The appeal that Netanyahu issued — warning that Arabs were voting en mass — really encapsulates for the world Israel’s contradiction: it claims to be both Jewish and democratic. The notion that a leader of a country would be complaining that part of the population is voting is extraordinary. It’s not just an election issue, that’s the pain of our existence in Israel that affects every aspect of our lives. … The Palestinian population in Israel has been widely ignored, but can and should play a role in meaningful peace efforts.”

Kanaaneh recently wrote the piece “Israel’s Arab voters threatened” in The Hill, which states: “Since the Oslo Agreement, settler politicians have brought their hateful rhetoric and open violence against Palestinians back across the green line [between Israel and the territories it occupies] with calls for exiling the remaining Palestinian minority in Israel. Rightist Zionist parties have incorporated exile planks into their election platforms. This past weekend, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated his support for ethnic cleansing by calling for removing Palestinian citizens to areas nominally controlled by the Palestinian Authority. And he doubled down on those statements, which we’ve heard from him previously, with a call for beheading Palestinian citizens of Israel who don’t display his brand of loyalty to the state: ‘Anyone who’s with us should be given everything — up to half the kingdom. Anyone who’s against us, there’s nothing to do — we should raise an axe and cut off his head; otherwise we won’t survive here.’ …

“Since the establishment of Israel, no lead party has ever entered into negotiations with the Arab Knesset members to include them in a coalition to form a government. Conveniently, Arab politicians have refrained from clamoring to be included in coalitions sure to oppress Palestinians in the occupied territories. Palestinian citizens of Israel remain all too much like the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964 that was cruelly disenfranchised at the Chicago Convention. As John Lewis (D), now a U.S. congressman from Georgia, said then, ‘We had played by the rules, done everything we were supposed to do, had played the game exactly as required, had arrived at the doorstep and found the door slammed in our face.’

“Arab parties have yet to break the exclusionary Zionist mold of the executive. Still intact are long-standing practices solidifying such undeclared principles as the Jewishness of the state, the unitary and supreme nature of Hebrew as Israel’s only de facto official language, and the sanctity of the Law of Return. Worse, and too frequently unmentioned, is the fact that four million more Palestinians in the occupied territories, whose lives are effectively controlled by Israel, have no vote whatsoever for the government which most dictates the nature of their lives and circumscribed liberties.”

Kanaaneh is on a speaking tour and will be giving a talk at the Palestine Center in D.C. on Friday at 1 p.m.

Does Netanyahu’s Victory Open Door for One State? Bigger BDS?

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at
Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, served as legal adviser to the PLO. His books include thePalestinian Right of Return under International Law. He just wrote the piece “Netanyahu Victory Opens Door for One-State Solution.” He said today: “Many have argued that the two-state solution has failed and therefore the Palestinian leadership should go back to pursuing a one-state solution, akin to how the South African conflict was resolved, giving one-person-one-vote to everyone regardless of their religious, ethnic or language group. Indeed, the Palestinian leadership has indicated it would embrace it if the two-state solution proved a dead end. For example, almost exactly three years ago, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, was asked: ‘Do you think that after one, two, or three years the PLO would say that it is time to pursue a one-state option?’ She responded: ‘It probably might be even sooner than one, two, or three years, because at the pace that is being pursued by this Israeli government, they really are making sure that the two-state solution is dead.’”

NAOMI DANN, naomi at, @jvplive
Dann is media coordinator at Jewish Voice for Peace, which released the statement “Likud’s win bolstered by Netanyahu’s racism and opposition towards peace with the Palestinians,” which states: “While Israel calls itself ‘the only democracy in the Middle East,’ 4.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza (over 36 percent of the people living under Israeli rule) do not have the right to vote for the government that ultimately decides their fate.

“Given the racist war-mongering and rejection of the two-state solution, American Jews who express support for peace will need to rethink their relationship to an Israeli government that is explicitly anti-peace. As Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf wrote yesterday, ‘For years we have been hearing that Israel will either end the occupation or cease to be a democracy. Could it be that the Jewish public has made its choice?’ …

“While election results offer little hope for immediate change to Israeli policies, a government led again by Netanyahu will likely increase Israel’s growing global isolation, and prompt increasing pressure from outside forces including the United States and the grassroots, global movement for justice and equality to hold Israel accountable for its continued occupation, violations of international law, and human rights abuses.”

The group ”endorses the call from Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) as part of our work for freedom, justice and equality for all people. We believe that the time-honored, non-violent tools proposed by the BDS call provide powerful opportunities to make that vision real.”

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