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How Many Progressive Budget Analysts Does It Take to Notice the Military?

7:40 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

Whether or not one recklessly and misleadingly includes Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid in discussions of the federal discretionary budget, the fact remains that over half of the discretionary budget (of everything other than Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid) is military. The primary talking point coming out of the White House is the need to freeze all non-military discretionary spending. And yet it is difficult to find a progressive analysis of the budget President Obama proposed on Monday that even mentions the existence of the military.

Here’s Robert Reich arguing for taxing and spending. I agree with everything he says. I would tax the rich if all it accomplished was taxing the rich. I would spend on the poor if the money had to be borrowed. But there has to be some reason why Reich does not mention the option of funding everything he dreams of and more by cutting the military back to merely three times the size of anyone else’s. He must believe the United States benefits from and can survive an ever-larger military budget. Or he must be afraid to say otherwise.

You can find similar, military-free analysis at the Campaign for America’s Future, although CAF does squeeze mention of the military in here, and at the Nation. At Huffington Post the main story doesn’t mention the military, and it’s followed by a blurb misleadingly suggesting that the “defense” budget is being cut, while in reality it is going up. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities includes one half sentence misleadingly suggesting “defense” is being cut.

Ezra Klein, not your most progressive blogger, was, to his credit, among those bucking the trend. He called the United States government An insurance conglomerate protected by a large, standing army and pointed out that The Defense Department won the future, or at least the budget.

You can listen to the audio recording of a phone call the White House held on Monday with progressive bloggers here. Congressional Budget Office spokesman Ken Baer briefly mentions the White House’s misleading claim to be cutting $78 billion from “defense” without stressing that those are theoretical cuts in future years and cuts from a dream list but actually increases above this year’s budget. White House adviser David Plouffe did not mention the military at all in his initial comments when he joined the call late.

Progressive bloggers asked why the budget was so hard on poor people and so easy on the rich, why funding for poor people’s heat was being slashed, how cuts could possibly be good for the economy, et cetera. They wanted spending, not cuts. They dragged in Social Security. But the call was almost over before a single one of them brought up the existence of the U.S. military, despite the fact that over half of discretionary spending goes there, and despite the consensus among economists that the same spending elsewhere would produce many more jobs and jobs with better pay.

Christina O’Connell with FireDogLake, always the best blog that manages to maintain access to these calls, asked about the pretended cuts in military spending and about the ongoing war spending and whether there would be additional off-the-books supplemental bills. Plouffe replied by bashing Bush’s practice of using supplementals despite Obama having broken a promise and used them for the past two years, but did not promise not to go on using them for a third year. At the same time Plouffe meaninglessly bragged about a decrease in war spending in the 2012 budget. He did not reply at all to the first half of O’Connell’s question, regarding the pretense that overall military spending is being cut while in reality it is going up. He did not explain that the theoretical future cuts are only proposed as cuts to wish lists while still allowing the budget to increase year by year.

Why the lack of interest among the other bloggers in the majority of the budget they are reporting on?

Do progressive bloggers consider it their duty to talk (albeit in a better way) about the topics those in power want to talk about? Would it be rude to raise a new topic no matter how relevant?

Or do progressives who are loyal to the Democratic Party and therefore invited on White House phone calls share Barack Obama’s desire to increase the military every year and use it against a growing number of countries each year?

These are serious questions, even deadly serious questions.

The Crematorium of Empires

5:46 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

On Wednesday U.S. senators from both political parties asked the president’s representative to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke what in the world the goal could be for the ongoing war. He had no answer.

Senator Russ Feingold pointed out that our ambassador, Karl Eikenberry, opposed the escalation (at least until he agreed to oppose his own views). Holbrooke had no response.

Senator John Kerry noted that Taliban assassinations in Kandahar began when the United States announced a coming assault there. How then could the assault stop the killings? Holbrooke had no explanation.

I was reminded of General Stanley McChrystal’s comment at a press conference in Washington together with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. A reporter asked if those who helped the US forces tended to get their heads sliced off. McChrystal replied that they did but that this was only to be expected.

Senator Kerry on Wednesday noted that the assault on Marja had been a test for Kandahar and had failed. So why was an assault on Kandahar moving ahead? Who knows. Not Holbrooke.

Senators pointed out that terrorism has been increasing globally during the global war on terror. Holbrooke did not dispute it.

Holbrooke did dispute any comparison between Afghanistan and Vietnam, claiming that the Vietnam War was not about national security, but that the Afghan War is. How so? Well, whoever got to Ambassador Eikenberry apparently got to Holbrooke too. Holbrooke now claims, but didn’t used to, that if the Taliban were in power it would allow al Qaeda to operate out of Afghanistan.

But Holbrooke claimed no particular progress or success, mostly praising the team he’s assembled to "support the military." Nine years in, the best we can do is claim to be putting a strong team on the field. Well, that and blaming the Afghans for failing to trust and fight for foreigners, which is forcing us to "Americanize" the American occupation of their country. Also, nine years in, the COIN (counter-insurgency) strategy that requires 80% of our investment to be civilian contrasts with the reality of 5%, and that 5% is to "support the military."

Oh, and Holbrooke promised that Karzai is upgrading his anti-corruption office. Next I suppose BP will be designing a better EPA.

Not every important point that could have come up did during the portion of Wednesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that I heard. Here are a few more:

The war is illegal, and the strikes into Pakistan are illegal.

The blowback in Times Square involved a would-be bomber whose father used to guard nuclear weapons.

Terrorism in Uganda and around the world is encouraged, not prevented, by occupying Afghanistan and by the prisoner abuse there at Bagram.

The Afghans we’re training to "stand up" are starting to shoot their trainers.

Last year’s escalation was followed by an 87% increase in violence, according to the Pentagon.

U.S. troops are increasingly killing themselves, perhaps in part because they have no better idea than the senators who fund the slaughter what its purpose is.

Howard Hurt, Ray McGovern, and various other CIA experts, some of them on video at RethinkAfghanistan.com say Get Out.

Matthew Hoh, senior US civilian diplomat in Zabul Province and former Marine captain, resigned and says Get Out.

So does former diplomat Ann Wright.

Our National Security Advisor says more troops could just be swallowed up. Doesn’t he get to advise on national security?

Vice President Joseph Biden, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the late Charlie Wilson are among those wondering what in the world we’re up to.

And all the experts who lack the prestige that comes with having been wrong about everything for decades also say Get Out.

Malalai Joya says it. William Polk says it. The U.S. public says it. In a U.S. Army-funded survey, 94% of Kandaharis say they want negotiations, not assault, and 85% say they see the Taliban as "our Afghan brothers."

The RAND corporation says that 90% of insurgencies against weak governments like Afghanistan’s succeed.

So, why are we escalating, rather than ending?

A clue comes from the fact that President Obama sent his first 17,000 troops early last year, openly stating that he would sit down and consider what his strategy was only after sending them. We all know there are interests in wars from those who profit, that we are building military bases, and that Washington insiders like Zbigniew Brzezinski openly point to a gas pipeline as a primary reason to occupy Afghanistan. But the real reason we’re there is pure cynical, and probably wrong, electoral politics. Obama doesn’t want to end a war without having an escalation first, because his advisors tell him that would look bad — even though he still claims to be planning to end another war in Iraq, a country that by some measurements of violence and stability is worse off than Afghanistan.

If all of this sounds less than brilliant, it may be time to really start worrying, because Secretary of War Robert Gates said that if he didn’t get the money for the latest escalation in Afghanistan by the Fourth of July he would have to begin doing stupid things. Begin? Begin?

Gates, who has moved the dealine to the end of this month, meant not that he would have to undo and apologize for an escalation that has not been funded. He meant that he would have to fund it out of the military budget of all crazy things — exactly what Congressman Alan Grayson’s "The War Is Making You Poor Act" would require him to do, eliminating taxes on Americans earning $35,000 or less, while substantially reducing our national debt. How stupid would that be?

But because 6 months have gone by since the president and his not yet insubordinate generals publicly debated the escalation, nobody even talks about the current off-the-books "emergency" war spending bill as an escalation, instead claiming it’s to "support the troops" who are overseas, never mind how they got there or how we’ll get them home.

Frida Berrigan pointed out yesterday what sort of alternatives there are to what we are doing with the money our children will have to pay back to China with interest:

"Rethink Afghanistan — Robert Greenwald’s effort to help us understand the war on terror, its costs, and consequences — has a new Facebook application aimed at breaking down exactly how much we can get for one trillion dollars.

It is fun (in a qualified-world wide web-war on terror sort of way), and eye-opening.

During one round of the game, we were able to spend $999.5 billion to:

* Hire every worker in Afghanistan for one year at a total cost of $12 billion;

* Fund the cleanup of the Gulf oil spill (costs as of May 28th) at a total cost of $930 million;

* Build 4 million affordable housing units at a total cost of $516 billion;

* Provide health care for 4 million average people for one year at a total cost of $13.6 billion;

* Provide health care for 5 million children for one year at a total cost of $11.5 billion;

* Hire 5 million music/arts teachers for a year at a total cost of $292.5 billion:

* Fund Head Start places for three million children for one year at a total cost of $21.9 billion;

* Generate renewable energy for 1 million residences for one year at a total cost of $969.3 million;

* Hire 2 million elementary school teachers for one year at a total cost of $122.2 billion;

* Provide a one-year university scholarship for 1 million students at a total cost of $7.9 billion.

… And have $516.5 million left over (way more than enough to pay off my college loans).

A trillion dollars is also what the United States has spent since 2001 on military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, it is being estimated that another $800 billion plus will be added to the tab before the wars are ended."

And that’s just the add-on, off-the-books bit. The base military budget that Gates doesn’t want to dip into for such trivialities as wars (together with military debt payments) makes up over half of the spending our income taxes go to, and it is destroying our economy. Even tax cuts are better for the economy than military spending, even here at home, and investment in other industries (education, energy, infrastructure) is even better — in fact, necessary. We can have a war economy or a sustainable economy. We have to choose. It’s way to late to be talking about beginning to do stupid things.

The geniuses who run the University of Virginia have decided that with the state cutting them off, the sensible thing is to hike tuition rates up to "the market rate", the same mumbo-jumbo excuse the university uses to pay its workers poverty wages. But there is no market rate for war, or for the nuclear power plants packaged into the same bill. Some things could never survive in a market. Had the Ludlow Amendment passed in 1938, and the public been given the right to vote wars up or down, we’d end wars. The U.S. public wants unemployment benefits extended and overwhelmingly views jobs as the top priority, not deficits — and certainly not the pretense of deficit-concern-except-for-wars. When the Program on International Policy Attitudes showed Americans the federal budget and asked for changes, on average they said to cut 35% out of the military.

Try getting Americans to agree to the war escalation spending bill the House sent to the Senate on July 1st. Try showing them the lines buried in the bill in which the House requires itself to vote on any proposals passed by the Senate out of the President’s Cat food Commission to cut Social Security. Try finding 30% of Americans to support a bill that destroys jobs and retirements to fund the escalation of a war we oppose.

I’ve got a much easier task for you. Take all those senators who just asked Holbrooke what in the world we were in Afghanistan for, and ask them if they’re going to vote to fund the escalation.

David Swanson is the author of "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union"

Related embeddable videos: here.

Tonight They Try to Escalate the War

5:02 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

Tonight the House of Representatives will try to vote over $30 Billion to escalate the war in Afganistan.  Here’s how it’s expected to go down (thanks to Peace Action for some of this):

First they’ll vote on unemployment insurance as a stand-alone bill.

Then, following some unrelated votes, they’ll debate and vote on the Rule for the Supplemental.  Rules are procedural votes that caucuses of congress members serious about blocking something can vote against.  Progressives don’t tend to be serious, but there’s a first time for everything, and we should ask them to vote No on the Rule.  A small group of Blue Dogs and Progressives is urging this.

Then they’ll debate and vote on amendments to the supplemental.  These are expected to include two good amendments to the war spending, which risk however providing members who vote Yes on the money the excuse that they also voted Yes on good amendments. 

Presumably the amendments will also include an amendment for spending on useful things like disaster relief and schools.  Perhaps the war escalation spending will also be voted on as an amendment — it’s not clear.

Then the "last votes" will come in the evening. Presumably these will include a vote on the complete package of the Supplemental.

Regardless of exactly how it goes, our demand is simple: VOTE NO!

Vote No on the Rule!  Vote No on the war escalation funding if offered separately!  Vote No on a bill that includes the war escalation funding!

We’ve already identified more than enough Democratic No votes to stop this train if the Republicans vote No for their own crazy reasons (and some Republicans oppose the war).

Call your Representative through the Capitol Hill switchboard: (202) 224-3121 and Email 21 key members with one click.

Now’s the time to get them on record opposing any more funding for these wars ever.

Check where things stand and report on your progress at http://defundwar.org

Grayson With Ratigan: Best Interview Ever

6:53 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

By David Swanson

The video embeded at the bottom of this article and posted on the frontpage of http://congressmanwithguts.com may be the best corporate television interview ever. Not the funniest or most entertaining, but the most willing to directly and clearly expose the most forbidden topics and insist on the most needed changes in perspective.

The CongressmanWithGuts website is Congressman Alan Grayson’s public and participatory demonstration of a simple fact that should be made known to a few hundred congress members who have not grasped it: If you do what the public wants and reach out to the public, you can raise your own funds and not depend on the Party Leadership to fund your campaigns. This, of course, is what allows you to do what the public, and not the Party Leadership, wants.

An example: H.R.5353 — The War is Making You Poor Act which would require that wars be funded out of the military budget, and which would provide tax credits from the savings on separate war funding, eliminating federal income taxes for everyone’s first $35,000 of income ($70,000 for couples) while also paying down the national debt by over $15 billion. Sound good to you?

Another example: In what I think is an unprecedented move, Congressman Grayson has set up a website for people to lobby his colleagues in Congress to oppose war spending. Here’s how Grayson announced this:

"In the New York Times for June 13th, the Pentagon proclaimed that Afghanistan holds almost one trillion lira – no, sorry, that’s one trillion dollars – in hitherto-unknown mineral wealth.
Allow me to offer these revelations:
(1) Paris Hilton actually is Albert Einstein, with a wig. Think about it – you’ve never seen them together, have you?
(2) The Moon is made of green cheese. Specifically, a lovely Camembert, slightly fruity, that goes very well with cabernet.
(3) While you were at work today, someone broke into your house, stole everything, and replaced it with an exact duplicate (apologies to Steven Wright).
$1 trillion dollars in mineral wealth in Afghanistan. What a lame excuse for a lame excuse.
But the interesting thing is that the Pentagon felt it necessary to serve up this fevered imagining. Why? Because they say that they need another $33 billion for the war by July 4th, or, or, or, I don’t know – they just say that they need it. And for once, Congress isn’t falling all over itself to give the generals whatever they want. So get ready to hear about lithium in Afghanistan, oil in Iraq, and diamonds in your bathtub.
With 14 million Americans out of work, support for endless war is crumbling. People want an America that is #1 in health, #1 in education, #1 in quality of life, not #1 in number of foreign countries occupied.
Send an e-mail to your Member of Congress. Ask him or her to oppose the "emergency supplemental" for more and more war.
Hope. Change. How about some peace, for a change?
Courage,
Alan Grayson"

The http://congressmanwithguts.com website is working on a project to prove to congress members from around the country that they can do this sort of thing too, if they only find the guts. Here’s how Grayson explains his fundraising campaign:

"On JUNE 28, 1919, the United States put an end to a world war, after less than two years of fighting. In 1945, the United States ended another world war, after less than four years of fighting. But in 2010, we are embroiled in two wars, after almost nine years of fighting. When will it end? When Blackwater and Halliburton say so? When we’re all broke? It’s time that someone spoke out for peace. We need jobs, better health, and a clean environment, not endless war. Join our June 28 Peace Party, and contribute. WE WANT PEACE!"

Put something in the hat, please!

And watch this:

Looking Up: War Is Over (if you want it)

9:13 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

The tide is turning against war. 
We’ve permanently shut down the Army Experience Center!
We’ve kept student information from recruiters in Maryland!
The war escalation supplemental funding has stalled!
The attack on Kandahar has been stalled!
The majority of the public is on our side!
Even our puppet president doesn’t want the war!
Dozens of reports and experts are on our side!
The economic and political crises are on our side!
Torture protesters have been acquitted!
Australians are with us!
The Israeli blockade of Gaza is breaking!
Petraeus has fainted in the face of congressional skepticism!
A congresswoman, under tough pressure from us, just told Petraeus he’s making us less safe!
A reporter asked the President when we’ll get out "and spare us the Bushisms".
In an unprecedented act, a congressman just asked us to lobby his colleagues against war funding!
80 congressional candidates are opposing war funding!
The Pentagon has been reduced to making up stories about minerals!
U.S. soldiers have been charged with murder!
The International Criminal Court has defied the U.S. and put aggression on the list of offenses to be tried!
Brown Bag Lunch Vigils are growing!
Wikileaks is planning a new Afghanistan video release!
Resolutions against war spending are being passed by political parties, towns, cities, and labor councils.
Cities are putting Cost of War counters on city hall.
The new car smell is wearing off the new emperor, and people are snapping out of their dazed subservience!
WarIsACrime.org has more bloggers and increased traffic on the site, on Facebook and Youtube and (the place to stay up to the minute) Twitter!
Afghanistan War Weekly is posted every week!
The peace movement (this cannot be assumed) is turning against the war escalation funding!
Resources and whiplist are available at http://defundwar.org
Nationalistic competitive spectators can turn to soccer instead of war!

Do You Want to Be Part of This Movement When We Win?

Then join us at:

The US Social Forum
Detroit, June 22-26

Peace of the Action
Washington, D.C., July 4-17

Brown Bag Lunch Vigils
Everywhere, third Wednesday of every month

National Conference to Bring the Troops Home Now
Albany, July 23-25

PDA Grassroots Leadership Conference
Cleveland, July 23-25

Veterans for Peace National Convention
Portland, Maine, August 25-29

Mass Murder in Charlottesville, Virginia

6:18 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

By David Swanson

During the past five years since I moved back to Charlottesville, Virginia, I had yet to observe the slightest violent incident, prior to the recent spree of horrific mass murders. There was crime, but I hadn’t ever seen it. I had only heard about it in the local media. First there was a young woman picked up hitch hiking and murdered. That was many months ago now. Then there was a man from Charlottesville attacked out of the blue up in the mountains, not actually in Charlottesville. Most recently, a University of Virginia student was alleged to have killed his girlfriend; this made national news, apparently because they were both Lacrosse players.

That was the situation before the blood started flowing. Charlottesville was the kind of town where murder was so rare that any occurrence of it was publicly discussed and mourned in detail. Everyone felt for the victims, whether they knew them or not. All of that has changed.

The change came when I learned that the good people of Charlottesville, some 40,000 strong, had gotten together, pinched pennies, pooled their resources and come up with a fund of $345 million for murdering strangers. How did this happen? No great initiative and organizing was required. It was more an act of absent-mindedness. In fact, if asked, a strong majority of the people of Charlottesville will tell you that they oppose what they’re doing, and most of those will explain that they aren’t entirely clear what it is they’re doing in any detail. Nonetheless, they’ve been pouring their money into this fund at an increased rate this past year and a half.

Allow me to explain. With the full support of Charlottesville’s and Virginia’s representatives in Congress, the people of Charlottesville have been billed or put into debt for payments of $115 million to cover the illegal wars being conducted in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. This price tag does not include interest payments on the debt, the cost of caring for veterans, or the impact of the wars on the price of fuel and the larger economy. By a very conservative estimate, we have to multiply the direct cost by at least three to arrive at a complete tally. Adding reparations for what we’ve done would increase the total further.

These wars have killed over a million people already. Charlottesville’s proportional share in that scalp count is at least 115. For $345 million, we’ve killed 115 people. That’s one person for every three million dollars, or one person for every million dollars in direct payments into the wars. Imagine if the local Charlottesville media gave us saturation coverage of the life stories of each of those murder victims. Imagine if we knew their faces, their childhoods, their friends and loved ones. Imagine if rewards were offered on billboards for tips leading to the prosecution of their murderers.

Then there are the many people we could have saved from easily preventable deaths, in the United States and abroad, for each $3 million. There are kids without clean water, diseases without cures, and workplaces without safety standards. We’ve killed millions of people we haven’t even thought about. Imagine if we were thoroughly introduced to all of their stories. What if we’d put our whole $345 million into green energy and banned BP stations from Charlottesville? The National Priorities Project offers these alternatives for what Charlottesville has spent thus far. (I’ve multiplied all the figures, which were based on $115 million, times three to get a more complete count.) Instead of pointless, murderous, illegal war, Charlottesville could have chosen:

69,579 People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
5,871 Police or Sheriff’s Patrol Officers for One Year OR
6,435 Firefighters for One Year OR
36,411 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
64,764 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550 OR
125,637 Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
47,424 Head Start Slots for Children for One Year OR
63,840 Households with Renewable Electricity – Solar Photovoltaic for One Year OR
5,055 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
170,241 Households with Renewable Electricity-Wind Power for One Year

Remember, this is a town of 40,000 people. We don’t have 170,000 households to provide with green energy. We could have funded more than one of these categories to full capacity. We could have given solar and wind energy to every home and set a national standard, and still given all our kids college scholarships. All of them. Should we have done that or aided those least well off in the world? We would have to choose. Instead we’ve chosen mass murder.

But, I can hear Charlottesvillians remarking, we oppose the wars, there’s nothing we can do about it, and wars aren’t the same as murder. But, legally these wars are precisely the same as mass murder. Article VI of the US Constitution makes treaties that we are party to the supreme law of the land. One such treaty is the United Nations Charter. That charter makes war illegal except under two extraordinary circumstances. One would be if the Iraqis or Afghans or Pakistanis came here and attacked us. Then we would have the right to self-defense. (Hence the propagandistic need to portray a crime by a handful of Saudis as an act of war by Afghanistan and Iraq.) The other would be if the UN Security Council authorized an invasion, but in the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq it refused, and in the case of our drone war on Pakistan we’ve never asked.

Do the people of Charlottesville oppose what is being done with more of their money than anything else? We’re dumping ten times the war money into the Pentagon for its day-to-day affairs, and the war money is extra on top of that. There’s no money for schools or libraries, housing or parks. Why? Because more than half of every federal tax dollar that comes out of Charlottesville goes into the killing machine. The same is true for all the surrounding towns and counties, but internationally Charlottesville stands out as extraordinary. We pay more of our money into war-making than the rest of the world combined. This is why wealthy countries other than ours have healthcare, paid parental leave, paid vacations, free college, and so many other things we don’t even dream about or calculate the possible trade-offs for. And it’s why some poor countries have advantages our wealthy one can’t afford.

Do we oppose this? Well, some of us used to. When our congressman was a Republican, we denounced this course of action in the media, phoned his office, picketed his office, and went to jail for sitting in his office. But for the past year and a half, while the military budget and the war budget have both increased, we’ve said almost nothing. A small group of us have begun organizing protests at the new Democratic congress member’s office, but we’re the only ones he hears from. We’ve spent a good deal of time in his office on two occasions, and I think I have heard his phone ring there a total of twice. Nobody’s calling. And everyone who is not calling is communicating their approval of the mass murder of individual and remarkable and precious human beings.

Congressman Tom Perriello is about to vote for another $33.5 billion to escalate the war in Afghanistan. His phone number is (434) 293-9631.

100 Candidates and Organizations Say No to War $

6:51 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

100 Congressional Candidates and National Organizations Oppose War Spending No Matter What Lipstick Is Applied to It

Seventy-six congressional candidates and 24 national organizations are opposing any more funding for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, no matter what unrelated measures are packaged into the same bill, and no matter whether the bill appears likely to pass or not.  This position contrasts strongly with that of most incumbent congress members who "oppose" and "criticize" the wars.  The new Coalition Against War Spending is inviting more candidates, including all incumbents, and national organizations to join.  The 76 candidates who have already signed on are from 27 different states, and include 28 Greens, 21 Libertarians, 20 Democrats, 4 Independents, 1 Republican, 1 Socialist, and 1 Peace and Freedom Party member (and more may be added to the website by the time you read this).  Sixty-six are candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, and 10 for the Senate.  

The U.S. Senate passed $33.5 billion to escalate the war in Afghanistan last Thursday, and the House is likely to take up the same bill in some form following this week’s recess.

Members of the Coalition Against War Spending do not all agree with each other on many topics, including their reasons for opposing war spending.  But they all back this short statement:

"The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost Americans over $1 trillion in direct costs, and over $3 trillion altogether.  At a time when our national debt exceeds $13 trillion, we can no longer afford these wars.  It’s time for Congress to reject any funding except to bring all our troops safely home."

SIGNED BY CANDIDATES AND ORGANIZATIONS:

Candidates for U.S. House of Representatives:
Ken Adler, AR-01, Batesville, Green | Statement
Nick Coons, AZ-05, Tempe/Scottsdale, Libertarian | Statement
Rebecca Schneider, AZ-06, Phoenix, Democrat
Richard Grayson, AZ-06, Apache Junction, Green | Statement
Carol Wolman, CA-01, northwest corner, Green
Clint Curtis CA-04, northeast corner, Democrat | Statement
Ben Emery CA-04, Nevada City, Green
Jeremy Cloward, CA-10, Pleasant Hill, Green | Statement
Mark Williams, CA-12, San Carlos, Libertarian
Mary V. Larkin, CA-17, Monterey, Libertarian | Statement
Les Marsden, CA-19, Yosemite/Mariposa, Democrat | Statement
Randall Weissbuch, CA-26, Arcadia, Libertarian
Richard R. Castaldo, CA-30, Peace and Freedom Party
Marcy Winograd, CA-36, Los Angeles, Democrat | Video
William Hedrick, CA-44, Riverside/San Clemente, Democrat
Ken Arnold, CA-46, Orange and L.A., Democrat | Statement
Mike Paster, CA-49, Fallbrook, Libertarian
Tracy Emblem, CA-50, San Diego, Democrat | Statement
Michael Benoit, CA-52, San Diego, Libertarian
Lisa Ann Green, CA-53, Venice, Green
Gary Swing, CO-01, Denver, Green | Statement
Jerell Klaver, CO-05, Manitou Springs, Libertarian | Statement
G. Scott Deshefy, CT-02, New London, Green
Doug Tudor, FL-12, Riverview et al, Democrat
Marleine Bastien, FL-17, North Miami, Democrat
Regina Thomas, GA-12, Savannah, Democrat
Matt Reichel, IL-05, Chicago, Green
Bill Scheurer, IL-08, Lindenhurst, Green / Independent
Rodger Jennings, IL-12, Alton, Green
Doug Marks, IL-14, Carpentersville, Libertarian | Statement
Sheldon Schafer, IL-18, Peoria, Green
John Wayne Cunningham, IN-08, Terre Haute, Libertarian | Statement
James E. "Jim" Holbert, KY-05, London, Democrat | Statement
Philip Dunkelbarger, MA-09, Westwood, Independent | Statement
Peter White, MA-10, Cape Cod, Independent
Charlie Shick, MI-03, Wyoming, Green
Anna Janek, MI-09, West Bloomfield, Republican
Diana Longrie, MN-04, Democrat | Statement
Michael Cavlan, MN-05, Minneapolis, Independent Progressive | Statement
Kevin Craig, MO-07, Springfield, Libertarian
William OBrien, MO-09, Mexico, Libertarian | Statement
Thomas Hill, NC-08, Fayetteville, Libertarian
Lon Cecil, NC-12, High Point, Libertarian
Anthony Gronowicz, NY-07, New York City, Green
Jonathan Tasini, NY-15, New York City, Democrat | Statement | Video
Emin Eddie Egriu, NY-28, Buffalo, Democrat
Chris Henry, OR-01, Portland, Green
Michael Meo, OR-03, Portland, Green | Statement
Ebert G. Beeman, PA-03, Lake Erie, Libertarian | Statement
Vernon Etzel, PA-05, Oil City, Libertarian
Ed Bortz, PA-14, Pittsburgh, Green | Statement
Jake Towne, PA-15, Nazareth, Independent | Statement
David Segal, RI-01, Democrat
Robert A. Dobbs, SC-01, Myrtle Beach, Green | Statement
Eric Schechter, TN-05, Nashville, Democrat
Christopher J. Claytor, TX-03, Plano, Libertarian | Statement
Steve Susman, TX-22, Houston, Libertarian | Statement
Martin Nitschke, TX-23, El Paso to San Antonio, Libertarian | Statement
John Jay Myers, TX-32, Dallas, Libertarian | Statement
Claudia Wright, UT-02, Salt Lake City, Democrat
Gail Parker, VA-01, Green
Ron Fisher, VA-08, Arlington, Independent Green/Progressive
David Gillis, VA-11, Green
Larry Kalb, WA-02, northwest corner, Democrat
Diana McGinness, WA-02, Bellingham, Democrat | Statement
Roy Olson, WA-09, Olympia, Green | Statement

Candidates for U.S. Senate:
Duane Roberts, CA, Green | Statement
Gail K Lightfoot, CA, Libertarian | Statement
John Finger, CO, Libertarian | Statement
Bob Kinsey, CO, Green | Statement
Richard A. Weir, NC, Green | Statement
Cecile Lawrence, NY, Green
Dan La Botz, OH, Socialist | Statement
Rick Staggenborg, OR, Green
Mel Packer, PA, Green | Statement
Ben Masel, WI, Democrat (2012)

Organizations:
Backbone Campaign
Campaign Corner: A Home for Progressive Populist Candidates | Statement
CODE PINK: Women for Peace
Consumers for Peace
The Democratic Activist
Democrats.com
End US Wars
Global Exchange
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Global Peace
Green Change | Statement
Jobs for Afghans | Statement
Justice Through Music
Liberty Tree
Military Families Speak Out
Peace Majority Report
Progressive Democrats of America
Progressive Push
Proposition One Campaign
Rethink Afghanistan
Velvet Revolution
Veterans For Peace
Voters For Peace
War Criminals Watch
WarIsACrime.org

READ ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS FROM SIGNERS.

WATCH VIDEOS FROM SIGNERS.

NB: The candidates and organizations listed here are not endorsing each other, and many strongly disagree with each other on many issues. But all fully support the statement at the top.

ADD YOUR NAME AS A CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE OR A NATIONAL ORGANIZATION.


##

The Common Culture of Turkey, the United States, and Iran

1:24 pm in Uncategorized by David Swanson

I’d guess roughly 3% of the Americans who watch the new Disney movie Prince of Persia have any idea that Persia and Iran are the same place. A similar number are probably aware of Iranians’ demonstrations of sympathy following 9-11 and of Iran’s assistance to the United States in Afghanistan in 2001. But surely an even smaller percentage of Americans know that Iran, Turkey, and our own country all fought revolutions against British colonialism, and developed democracies, our own serving as an inspiration for the others, our nation serving as a friend and ally to them. And you could probably fit into one football stadium every American who knows that Turkey’s democratic advance succeeded where Iran’s failed, principally because Teddy Roosevelt’s grandson, working for the CIA, overthrew Iran’s elected leader and installed a dictator, whom the United States proceeded to support and arm for decades.

The people of Iran, despite everything our government has done, are fond of the United States, but I’m not sure the reverse can be said. The people of Turkey want to be partners with western nations, but is the feeling mutual? Any new book by Stephen Kinzer is always worth reading, and his latest is of critical importance. It’s called "Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future." In it, Kinzer argues for partnership and improved relations between the United States and the only two Muslim nations in the Middle East that have significant democratic traditions. And he argues for a reconsideration of the tightness of U.S. relations with two other countries in the region: Saudi Arabia and Israel.

While most US conduct toward Iran in recent decades has been shameful, Kinzer begins his book with a very different account of one American over a century ago, Howard Baskerville, who died struggling for Iranian democracy, and who is honored in Iran to this day. Then Kinzer tells us about Morgan Shuster, an American who, almost a century ago, was hired by the Iranian Parliament to help it throw off the colonial rule of the British and the Russians. Kinzer recounts many misdeeds by the British and the Russians leading up to the turn of the century revolutions against colonial rule in Iran and Turkey. Progress toward democracy was slow and indirect, but progress was being made through the first half of the twentieth century, by Kinzer’s account, and the United States was looking good thus far in the eyes of the reader and of the people of the Middle East.

Then we reach the point in the story where the CIA begins its still-ongoing rampage of regime change by overthrowing Mohammed Mossadegh. This was the beginning of a long string of international crimes, it marked a sharp turn downward in U.S. relations with a whole region of the globe, and — while Cold War ideology was used as an excuse — this was actually a crime committed on behalf of BP, the same corporation on whose behalf we’re now banning journalists from the Gulf of Mexico. The United States for decades supported and armed a dictator and his own Iranian CIA, known as SAVAK. "By the mid-1970s," Kinzer writes,

"dozens of [US weapons companies], including Gruman Aerospace, Lockheed, Bell Helicopter, Northrop, General Electric, McDonnell Douglas, Westinghouse, and Raytheon, had large and busy offices in Iran."

Iranians at this point feared and despised the United States and were terrified, when they overthrew our dictator, that we would put him back in power. It was at this point that Iranians took 52 U.S. diplomats hostage for 444 days. Building on these miserable relations in the 1980s, the United States backed Iraq in a war on Iran, for a time, and then backed both nations against each other. And yet Iranians persisted in admiring the United States and offered to assist it following the 9-11 attacks in 2001. That breakthrough ended when President George W. Bush shocked Iranians by calling their country evil (and invading and occupying the nations to their east and west). Nonetheless, in 2003, Iran quietly offered to negotiate with the United States, and extended the possibility of negotiating on nuclear power and every other point desired. Bush declined.

Kinzer weaves into his narrative the creation of Saudi Arabia and Israel and the creation of the special relationships these nations have with ours, concluding:

"These two relationships are frozen in time. They have not evolved as the world has evolved. Worse, they have proven unequal to the challenge of peace. The decades during which the United States has shaped its Middle East policy according to the perceived interests of Saudi Arabia and Israel have been decades of war, terror, privation, and intensifying hatred. They have also been decades during which the United States has lost much support, influence, and strategic power in the Middle East. This will continue as long as these two relationships remain unchanged."

For decades, these two nations have been suppliers of weapons, money, and oil to U.S. wars and U.S.-backed wars. But they have also provided domestic and international crimes and abuses, including significant anti-U.S. attacks by Saudis, including the attacks of 9-11.

What does Kinzer recommend? He would keep the United States on good terms with these nations, but break off the tight relationship and the willingness to ignore and to instigate the commission of crimes and abuses. Kinzer says, rather too vaguely, that we should "pacify Iraq." Of course, the best way to do that would be to leave Iraq, but Kinzer either disagrees or simply fails to make this clear. We should "refrain from starting new wars," Kinzer adds. And we should "resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict." After arguing that the United States has no business in Saudi affairs and should just step back, Kinzer pushes for direct and dominant involvement in Israeli-Palestinian relations. He asserts that everyone knows what must be agreed upon and that the United States must simply insist that it be agreed upon. This may be right but is at least incomplete without stating that the United States can easily begin by refusing to provide Israel with more weapons or with any more cover for its crimes.

Kinzer recommends coming to an understanding with Iran and partnering with Turkey. He means partnering, as equals, not dominating like an empire. While Turkey and Brazil have famously just advanced the prospects for a nuclear agreement with Iran, Kinzer sees Turkey as the one nation able to negotiate between many others:

"When Israel wished to begin secret talks with Syria, it asked Turkey to arrange them. After Sunnis in Iraq decided to boycott national elections, Turkey persuaded them to change their minds and participate. Whenever Turkish officials land in a bitterly divided country like Lebanon or Pakistan of Afghanistan, every faction is eager to talk to them. Turkey is working to calm tensions between Iran and the United States, between Syria and Iraq, between Armenia and Azerbaijan. No country’s diplomats are as welcome in both Tehran and Washington, Moscow and Tblisi, Damascus and Cairo. No other nation is respected by Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Taliban while also maintaining good ties with the Israeli, Lebanese, and Afghan governments."

But Kinzer recognizes that Turkey’s reputation in other Muslim countries has been boosted by the distance it has kept from the United States, by refusing to allow U.S. planes to use its air base when attacking Iraq, and by denouncing Israel’s attacks on Gaza. Kinzer does not mention that, in blatant disregard for the will of its people, Turkey did grant the U.S. military permission to use its base in the years following the invasion of Iraq, and that resistance to U.S. militarism is still a focus of activism in Turkey. A U.S. partnership with Turkey will need to be radically different from U.S. "partnerships" with other nations. A partnership on equal terms will be one in which we don’t have military bases in their country unless we want them to have bases in our country too.

Turkey has made many democratic advances in hopes of joining Europe, while Iraq and Afghanistan have lagged well behind despite extensive bombing. Kinzer sees Europe’s ultimate acceptance of Turkey into the EU as critically important, along with the United States taking a diplomatic approach more akin to Europe’s, and refraining from trying to solve any problems in Iran using the same tools that have made everything worse in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here in Charlottesville, Va., R.K. Ramazani frequently enlightens readers of the local newspaper on the subject of Iran. And when Virginian activists visit Iran, they come back inspired to build friendships. If Congress turns down the next $33.5 billion to escalate Middle Eastern wars, we could afford to keep our teachers employed, buy our students copies of "Reset," invest very heavily in student exchange programs with Iran, and have several billion left over. I wonder if we’d be wiser in that alternative universe or in the one where we watch "The Prince of Persia".

The One Thing We Can Agree on Is Peace

7:23 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

By David Swanson

Anna Janek is a Republican candidate for Congress from West Bloomfield, Mich. She says: "Socialism, Communism, Welfare-ism, Globalism, Fascism, Obama-ism…it’s all the same: State control of the Human Spirit under the guise of benevolence."

Marcy Winograd is a Democratic candidate for Congress from Los Angeles, Calif. She promises to "establish a new federal agency to employ millions of Americans building rapid transit and repairing bridges, ports, water treatment plants and other infrastructure."

What could Janek and Winograd possibly agree on?

Winograd on healthcare, says: "We need Medicare for All – or a single-payer system that pays doctors, nurses, and other health care providers from a single fund."

Nick Coons, a Libertarian candidate for Congress from Tempe, Ariz., disagrees: "Wherever government is most involved, we see skyrocketing prices and decreased quality. Years ago, our free-market health care system was the envy of the world . . . government involvement was nowhere to be found."

Dan La Botz, a Socialist candidate for the U.S. Senate from Ohio, might not go along with that. According to him, "The capitalist economy of the United States, dominated by the big banks and multinational corporations, fosters growing disparities between rich and poor, encourages social inequalities such as racism, exploits workers and neglects and abuses the poor."

What could all of these candidates for federal office possibly have in common?

They all oppose spending another dime on maintaining, or escalating, our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In fact, 63 congressional candidates and 23 activist organizations have signed a statement at http://caws.us opposing any more funding for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and inviting more candidates, incumbents, and organizations to join them. The 63 candidates, from 25 different states, include 21 Greens, 19 Democrats, 18 Libertarians, 2 Independents, 1 Republican, 1 Socialist, and 1 Peace and Freedom Party member (and more may be added to the website by the time you read this). Fifty-three are candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, and 10 for the Senate.

They do not all agree with each other on many topics, including their reasons for opposing war spending. But they all back this short statement:

"The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost Americans over $1 trillion in direct costs, and over $3 trillion altogether. At a time when our national debt exceeds $13 trillion, we can no longer afford these wars. It’s time for Congress to reject any funding except to bring all our troops safely home."

Some of the candidates who support this statement do so because they hate spending money, others because they hate killing people, others because they want to constrain government power, others because they realize the wars are making Americans less safe, and still others because they actually wish to comply with the law. Even that last category includes those who respect the UN Charter and those who view the UN Charter as illegitimate but believe the US Constitution forbids such wars. Some of the members of this Coalition Against War Spending want to defund wars in order to invest in jobs or education or renewable energy. Some of them want to cut taxes. Others want to reduce the deficit. Many of these divergent policies grow out of the same basic concerns for human well-being, and they re-converge on the widespread agreement that these wars should no longer be funded.

I don’t mean to suggest a moral equivalence between all of these different perspectives. I think socialism will save us, and libertarianism will quickly destroy the world. My point is that someone with a virulently opposed perspective, someone who considers what I just wrote to be satanic or treasonous or, worse, liberal, will more likely than not agree with me on opposing any more war funding for the current wars.

After all, a majority of Americans tell pollsters they think the war in Afghanistan is not worth waging. As Congress votes on funding to escalate it, there ought to be a few candidates for elected office who agree with the majority of the people on something this central to safety, foreign relations, energy policy, and the public budget.

But you’d never know a majority of Americans opposed these wars from the way they’re discussed on television or from the way they’re hardly mentioned at all by members of Congress. Since announcing this new coalition a couple of days ago, I’ve been on lots of progressive radio shows but not heard any interest from the major media cartel.

The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark up a bill Thursday evening that would dump $33.5 billion into escalating the war in Afghanistan. The committee is chaired by Congressman David Obey who maintains that he passionately opposes the wars, and passionately opposes the funding of them outside the normal budget using so-called "emergency" supplemental bills year after year. Obey will bring the bill up for a vote in committee and maintain that he is powerless to do otherwise. But what does he think would be done to him if he refused to bring it up? Waterboarding? Loss of citizenship? A drone attack? An electoral challenge, when he’s retiring this year? I think the accurate answer is probably closer to this: a few disappointed words from Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emanuel, and Barack Obama.

Dozens of congress members claim to be "opponents" and "critics" of the wars. But almost none of them are publicly expressing their opposition to the war escalation funding. Almost none of them have written "Dear Colleague" letters, released press statements, or asked people to lobby their colleagues. None of them have signed onto the statement agreed to by 63 challengers. If the Republicans vote yes, because reckless spending for education and things that don’t kill anyone is left out of the bill, then some Democrats will vote No when the bill reaches the floor after Memorial Day. But few if any of them will spend the next week in their districts speaking out against it.

And what will that majority of us who oppose the wars do, while our congress members are home for a week? Some of us may be willing to nudge them a little, unless they belong to whichever of the two parties we have sworn our loyalty to. In that case, we will preface our protests by assuring them that we will help them get reelected no matter what they do. I think this is a moment in which to reconsider that position. Because these wars make us less safe and in fact gravely endanger our country, because these wars siphon off all the resources we need so that teachers will be laid off in all of our schools, because preventing the ongoing mass murder that is war must be a top priority, I would urge you to connect with the campaigns of candidates in your district and around the country who have committed to not voting another dime. Yes, we have a winner-take-all system, and a challenger can become a spoiler, leading to the election of somebody even worse than what you’ve got now. But they cannot be much worse, that’s no longer possible. And only by using the leverage of threatening to throw them out can we compel incumbents to represent us.

Republican, Socialist Join Opposition to War Funding

8:31 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

Congressional Candidates Opposing War Spending Now Include Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, Independents, and Socialists

Fifty-eight congressional candidates and 20 activist organizations are opposing any more funding for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and inviting more candidates, incumbents, and organizations to join them.  The 58 candidates, from 25 different states, include 19 Democrats, 18 Greens, 17 Libertarians, 2 Independents, 1 Republican, and 1 Socialist (and more may be added to the website by the time you read this). Forty-nine are candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, and nine for the Senate.

They do not all agree with each other on many topics, including their reasons for opposing war spending.  But they all back this short statement:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost Americans over $1 trillion in direct costs, and over $3 trillion altogether. At a time when our national debt exceeds $13 trillion, we can no longer afford these wars. It’s time for Congress to reject any funding except to bring all our troops safely home.

SIGNED BY CANDIDATES AND ORGANIZATIONS:

Candidates for U.S. House of Representatives:
Nick Coons, AZ-05, Tempe/Scottsdale, Libertarian | Statement
Rebecca Schneider, AZ-06, Phoenix, Democrat
Richard Grayson, AZ-06, Apache Junction, Green | Statement
Carol Wolman, CA-01, northwest corner, Green
Clint Curtis CA-04, northeast corner, Democrat | Statement
Ben Emery CA-04, Nevada City, Green
Mark Williams, CA-12, San Carlos, Libertarian
Mary V. Larkin, CA-17, Monterey, Libertarian | Statement
Les Marsden, CA-19, Yosemite/Mariposa, Democrat | Statement
Randall Weissbuch, CA-26, Arcadia, Libertarian
Marcy Winograd, CA-36, Los Angeles, Democrat | Video
William Hedrick, CA-44, Riverside/San Clemente, Democrat
Ken Arnold, CA-46, Orange and L.A., Democrat | Statement
Mike Paster, CA-49, Fallbrook, Libertarian
Tracy Emblem, CA-50, San Diego, Democrat | Statement
Michael Benoit, CA-52, San Diego, Libertarian
Gary Swing, CO-01, Denver, Green | Statement
G. Scott Deshefy, CT-02, New London, Green
Doug Tudor, FL-12, Riverview et al, Democrat
Marleine Bastien, FL-17, North Miami, Democrat
Regina Thomas, GA-12, Savannah, Democrat
Matt Reichel, IL-05, Chicago, Green
Bill Scheurer, IL-08, Lindenhurst, Green / Independent
Rodger Jennings, IL-12, Alton, Green
Doug Marks, IL-14, Carpentersville, Libertarian | Statement
Sheldon Schafer, IL-18, Peoria, Green
John Wayne Cunningham, IN-08, Terre Haute, Libertarian | Statement
James E. "Jim" Holbert, KY-05, London, Democrat
Peter White, MA-10, Cape Cod, Independent
Anna Janek, MI-09, West Bloomfield, Republican
Michael Cavlan, MN-05, Minneapolis, Independent Progressive | Statement
Kevin Craig, MO-07, Springfield, Libertarian
Thomas Hill, NC-08, Fayetteville, Libertarian
Lon Cecil, NC-12, High Point, Libertarian
Jonathan Tasini, NY-15, New York City, Democrat | Statement | Video
Emin Eddie Egriu, NY-28, Buffalo, Democrat
Michael Meo, OR-03, Portland, Green | Statement
Ebert G. Beeman, PA-03, Lake Erie, Libertarian | Statement
Vernon Etzel, PA-05, Oil City, Libertarian
Ed Bortz, PA-14, Pittsburgh, Green | Statement
David Segal, RI-01, Democrat
Eric Schechter, TN-05, Nashville, Democrat
Martin Nitschke, TX-23, El Paso to San Antonio, Libertarian | Statement
John Jay Myers, TX-32, Dallas, Libertarian | Statement
Claudia Wright, UT-02, Salt Lake City, Democrat
Ron Fisher, VA-08, Arlington, Independent Green/Progressive
Larry Kalb, WA-02, northwest corner, Democrat
Diana McGinness, WA-02, Bellingham, Democrat | Statement
Roy Olson, WA-09, Olympia, Green | Statement

Candidates for U.S. Senate:
Duane Roberts, CA, Green | Statement
Gail K Lightfoot, CA, Libertarian | Statement
John Finger, CO, Libertarian | Statement
Bob Kinsey, CO, Green | Statement
Cecile Lawrence, NY, Green
Dan La Botz, OH, Socialist| Statement
Rick Staggenborg, OR, Green
Mel Packer, PA, Green | Statement
Ben Masel, WI, Democrat (2012)

Organizations:
Backbone Campaign
Campaign Corner: A Home for Progressive Populist Candidates | Statement
CODE PINK: Women for Peace
Consumers for Peace
The Democratic Activist
Democrats.com
Global Exchange
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Jobs for Afghans | Statement
Justice Through Music
Liberty Tree
Military Families Speak Out
Peace Majority Report
Progressive Democrats of America
Progressive Push
Velvet Revolution
Veterans For Peace
Voters For Peace
War Criminals Watch
WarIsACrime.org

READ ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS FROM SIGNERS.

WATCH VIDEOS FROM SIGNERS.

NB: The candidates and organizations listed here are not endorsing each other, and many strongly disagree with each other on many issues. But all fully support the statement at the top.

ADD YOUR NAME AS A CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE OR A NATIONAL ORGANIZATION.
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