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Saturday, June 30, 2012

“Bad ole days” super courageous women politicians: Chisholm, Schroeder

Flashback 1960s, 70s, 80s
By Carolyn Bennett including editing re-reporting

The year was 1973 and Colorado had elected its first woman to the U.S. House of Representatives but the old guard was hanging on to the past when newly elected Congresswoman Patricia (Pat) Schroeder took her seat and accepted membership on the House Armed Services Committee. The committee chairman Louisiana Democrat reportedly went ballistic.

In interviews for a 2008 piece, former Congresswoman Schroeder said Representative F. Edward Hebert (Felix Edward HÉBERT, 1901 – 1979, D-LA, January 3, 1941-January 3, 1977) “went into a rage about how awful it was and how the only thing he still had control over was the number of chairs at the table. And since, in the Congressman’s eyes, African-Americans and women were only worth half a House member, he made us share a chair.”

Partners in tough woman’s world Congress

At the time Colorado Representative Schroeder was being insulted by a Democratic colleague, U.S. Representative Shirley Chisholm had served two terms in the Congress and had sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidency. So, according to the ole boy’s calculation, the interviewer comments, if women are worth one-half; then Congresswoman Chisholm was “one-quarter of a congressperson.”

Ah, those Good Ole Days

That is the air and attitude Chisholm and Schroeder endured in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Taking her seat in Congress four years after Chisholm, Schroeder said, “We had no women anywhere:

[n]o women pages,
[n]o women at the doorkeeper’s office, in the parliamentarian’s office,
[n]o women Capitol Police.

“You couldn’t go into the gym, where a lot of deals were cut—couldn’t even go out on the balcony, which is off the Speaker’s office. ...

Schroeder said, “The attitude of a lot of women when I got there was, ‘Aren’t we lucky they let us in here?’”

Chisholm, however, took the opportunity to teach another generation of women entering the Congress. She “had this very high profile with people across the country — and women in particular,” Schroeder said. “She understood women’s issues. It came from her being a teacher and from her presidential campaign. Chisholm “was always working for people who didn’t have political action committees; [she] “worked as diligently for them as if they were General Motors ….”

One of her fondest moments with Shirley Chisholm, Schroeder said, was a night during the presidential campaign when her (Schroeder’s) five-year-old daughter asked Chisholm ‘If you got elected, would you keep the White House white?’And Shirley Chisholm responded—

‘I think I’d put polka dots on it of all different colors because that’s how Americans come: in all different colors.’

In her first Congressional term Shirley Chisholm was one of ten women members of the House of Representatives.  In her final term before retirement in 1983, there were 21 women in Congress of which three were African American women.

Chisholm speaks for herself

In her autobiographical work, she reflected, “I was the first American citizen to be elected to Congress in spite of the double drawbacks of being female and having skin darkened by melanin.

“When you put it that way, it sounds like a foolish reason for fame. In a just and free society, it would be foolish. That I am a national figure because I was the first person in 192 years to be at once a member of the U.S. Congress, black and a woman proves, I would think, that our society is not either just or free.”

The nostalgists on the political left, center and right are wrong. Those were not “good days.” They were tough. But some of the most courageous women rose in those bad ole days. They took the baton and led ably, and with unparalleled humanity.

Two outstanding American women
Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm
Patricia Nell Scott Schroeder

Shirley Chisholm ran for the office of U.S. President in 1972.

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-first Congress and to six succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1969-January 3, 1983). She served on the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Education and Labor Committee. At retirement, she was the third highest-ranking member of this committee.

Before her election to the U.S. Congress in 1968, Chisholm was a member of the New York State Legislature (1964). In the 1950s she was an educator: director of the Hamilton-Madison Child Care Center (1953-1959); educational consultant for the Division of Day Care (1959-1964).

Born in Brooklyn, New York, of immigrant British Guyanese [of Guyana in the northeastern corner of South America inhabited by indigenous people who named it Guiana (‘land of water’), the only English-speaking country of South America] and Barbadian (British Commonwealth island country in the southeastern Caribbean Sea) parents; raised from primary school age 3 to 7 in Barbados, and from 1934 on in New York City, Chisholm took her academic credentials at Brooklyn College (B.A., 1946) and Columbia University (M.A., 1952). Smith College in 1975 awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

This outstanding American former politician, educator and author (b. November 30, 1924 – d. January 1, 2005) represented New York for seven congressional terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was the first African American woman elected to Congress, the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination (Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, well known for anti-McCarthyism “Declaration of Conscience,” had previously run for the Republican presidential nomination).

Shirley Chisholm is author of Unbought and Unbossed (1970) and The Good Fight (1973). In 2004, the documentary film chronicling Chisholm’s 1972 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, “Shirley Chisholm ‘72: Unbought and Unbossed,” was featured at the Sundance Film Festival; on April 9, 2006, the film won a Peabody Award. Its director/producer: independent, African American filmmaker Shola Lynch. It 2005, the film aired on U.S. public television.

Pat Schroeder ran for the office of U.S. President in 1987.

Patricia Nell Scott Schroeder was elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-third Congress and to eleven succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1973-January 3, 1997); and chaired the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families (One Hundred Second and One Hundred Third Congresses). She was the first congresswoman to serve on the House Armed Services Committee and was known for advocacy on work-family issues: a prime mover behind the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and the 1985 Military Family Act.

Schroeder was also involved in reform of Congress and worked to weaken entrenchment, the long-standing control of committees by their chairs. She challenged the congressional ‘hideaway” (exclusive resort known to handful of the United States’ highest-ranking officials) and Members’ living in their offices tax free.

Born in Portland, Oregon (July 30, 1940), raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Patricia Nell Scott Schroeder took her academic credentials at the University of Minnesota (B.A., history, 1961) and Harvard Law School (J.D. 1964). In the mid 1960s, she worked for the National Labor Relations Board. In the 60s and 70s, before entering Congress, she was a lawyer in private practice and a teacher.

This outstanding American former politician represented Colorado in the United States House of Representatives from 1973–1997, was a member of the Democratic Party, and the first woman elected to Congress from Colorado. Pat Schroeder is author of 24 Years of House Work . . . And the Place is Still a Mess: My Life in Politics.

Though it is clearly not enough, today’s 112th Congress (2011–2013, House and Senate) seats close to one hundred women.
78 women in the U.S. House of Representatives and
17 women in the U.S. Senate

Sources and notes

“Chisholm Forged A Place for [not only] Black Congresswomen” (Brian Reed), November 4, 2008 [comment, emphasis added],

Biographical sketches

112th Congress, 2011–2013

Women in 112th Congress, 2011–2013, according to the website Women in Congress http://womenincongress.house.gov/historical-data/representatives-senators-by-congress.html?congress=112

Women in U.S. House of Representatives

  1. •Sandra (Sandy) Adams (Republican, FL)
  2. •Michele Bachmann (Republican, MN)
  3. •Tammy Baldwin (Democrat, WI)
  4. •Karen Bass (Democrat, CA)
  5. •Shelley Berkley (Democrat, NV)
  6. •Judy Borg Biggert (Republican, IL)
  7. •Diane Black (Republican, TN)
  8. •Marsha Blackburn (Republican, TN)
  9. •Suzanne Bonamici (Democrat, OR)1
  10. •Mary Bono Mack (Republican, CA)
  11. •Madeleine Z. Bordallo (Democrat, GU)
  12. •Corrine Brown (Democrat, FL)
  13. •Ann Marie Buerkle (Republican, NY)
  14. •Shelley Moore Capito (Republican, WV)
  15. •Lois Capps (Democrat, CA)
  16. •Kathy Castor (Democrat, FL)
  17. •Donna M. Christensen (Democrat, VI)
  18. •Judy Chu (Democrat, CA)
  19. •Yvette D. Clarke (Democrat, NY)
  20. •Susan A. Davis (Democrat, CA)
  21. •Diana L. DeGette (Democrat, CO)
  22. •Rosa DeLauro (Democrat, CT)
  23. •Donna F. Edwards (Democrat, MD)
  24. •Renee Ellmers (Republican, NC)
  25. •Jo Ann Emerson (Republican, MO)
  26. •Anna Georges Eshoo (Democrat, CA)
  27. •Virginia Foxx (Republican, NC)
  28. •Marcia L. Fudge (Democrat, OH)
  29. •Gabrielle Giffords (Democrat, AZ)2
  30. •Kay Granger (Republican, TX)
  31. •Janice Hahn (Democrat, CA)
  32. •Colleen Hanabusa (Democrat, HI)
  33. •Jane F. Harman (Democrat, CA)3
  34. •Vicky Hartzler (Republican, MO)
  35. •Nan Hayworth (Republican, NY)
  36. •Jaime Herrera Beutler (Republican, WA)
  37. •Mazie Hirono (Democrat, HI)
  38. •Kathleen C. Hochul (Democrat, NY)4
  39. •Sheila Jackson Lee (Democrat, TX)
  40. •Lynn Jenkins (Republican, KS)
  41. •Eddie Bernice Johnson (Democrat, TX)
  42. •Marcia C. (Marcy) Kaptur (Democrat, OH)
  43. •Barbara Lee (Democrat, CA)
  44. •Zoe Lofgren (Democrat, CA)
  45. •Nita M. Lowey (Democrat, NY)
  46. •Cynthia M. Lummis (Republican, WY)
  47. •Carolyn B. Maloney (Democrat, NY)
  48. •Doris Matsui (Democrat, CA)
  49. •Carolyn McCarthy (Democrat, NY)
  50. •Betty McCollum (Democrat, MN)
  51. •Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Republican, WA)
  52. •Candice Miller (Republican, MI)
  53. •Gwen Moore (Democrat, WI)
  54. •Sue Myrick (Republican, NC)
  55. •Grace Flores Napolitano (Democrat, CA)
  56. •Kristi Noem (Republican, SD)
  57. •Eleanor Holmes Norton (Democrat, DC)
  58. •Nancy Pelosi (Democrat, CA)
  59. •Chellie Pingree (Democrat, ME)
  60. •Laura Richardson (Democrat, CA)
  61. •Martha Roby (Republican, AL)
  62. •Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican, FL)
  63. •Lucille Roybal-Allard (Democrat, CA)
  64. •Linda T. Sánchez (Democrat, CA)
  65. •Loretta Sanchez (Democrat, CA)
  66. •Janice Schakowsky (Democrat, IL)
  67. •Jean Schmidt (Republican, OH)
  68. •Allyson Schwartz (Democrat, PA)
  69. •Terri Sewell (Democrat, AL)
  70. •Louise M. Slaughter (Democrat, NY)
  71. •Jackie Speier (Democrat, CA)
  72. •Betty Sutton (Democrat, OH)
  73. •Nicola S. (Niki) Tsongas (Democrat, MA)
  74. •Nydia M. Velázquez (Democrat, NY)
  75. •Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Democrat, FL)
  76. •Maxine Waters (Democrat, CA)
  77. •Frederica Wilson (Democrat, FL)
  78. •Lynn C. Woolsey (Democrat, CA)
Women in U.S. Senate

  1. •Kelly Ayotte (Republican, NH)
  2. •Barbara Boxer (Democrat, CA)
  3. •Maria E. Cantwell (Democrat, WA)
  4. •Susan Margaret Collins (Republican, ME)
  5. •Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, CA)
  6. •Kirsten Gillibrand (Democrat, NY)
  7. •Kay Hagan (Democrat, NC)
  8. •Kathryn Ann Bailey Hutchison (Republican, TX)
  9. •Amy Klobuchar (Democrat, MN)
  10. •Mary Landrieu (Democrat, LA)
  11. •Claire McCaskill (Democrat, MO)
  12. •Barbara Ann Mikulski (Democrat, MD)
  13. •Lisa Murkowski (Republican, AK)
  14. •Patty Murray (Democrat, WA)
  15. •Jeanne Shaheen (Democrat, NH)
  16. •Olympia Jean Snowe (Republican, ME)
  17. •Deborah A. Stabenow (Democrat, MI)
WIC Footnotes
1. Suzanne Bonamici was elected in a special election on January 31, 2012, to succeed David Wu.
2. Gabrielle Giffords resigned on January 25, 2012.
3. Jane Harman resigned on February 28, 2011, and was succeeded in a special election by Janice Hahn on July 19, 2011.
4. Kathleen C. Hochul was elected by special election on May 24, 2011, to succeed Christopher Lee.

112th Congress, 2011–2013, http://womenincongress.house.gov/historical-data/representatives-senators-by-congress.html?congress=112

Images: http://www.jofreeman.com/politics/womprez03.htm

Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

Friday, June 29, 2012

More than grain of truth—a self-destructive blinding arrogance

Rodney Shakespeare’s “Time for regime change in USA”
Excerpt, editing, one-line end comment by Carolyn Bennett

In the context of the coming Geneva summit on Syria and U.S. belligerence toward Iran, Press TV’s print pages reported today the thoughts of academic and co-author of Seven Steps to Justice. This is some of what Rodney Shakespeare had to say.

It is “time for all sensible people and all sensible countries (there are quite a lot of them) to consciously question any assertion by the USA that this or that regime is at fault and needs to be overthrown.

“… [A]ll sensible people and countries should start to say that the world is fed up with war-mongering…. Then a way will be opened for impressing on Americans what the situation really requires— regime change in the USA.

The world is turning. Change is afoot. Scores of nations recognize that change is afoot. Russia is an example. In a current crisis, Russia’s leadership supports but the United States opposes Iran’s presence at the table in Geneva to discuss Syria.

Why Iran is crucial to this discussion

“Iran has political, religious and cultural links with the Alawite (Shia sect) government of Syria; and is the one country (not the USA, not Russia, not China, not Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Qatar) that can have frank talks with Syria,” Rodney Shakespeare observes.
Iran is the one country that Syria can trust as understanding its situation.

Iran is the only country that can give hope of avoiding a civil war bloodbath; or, at the very least, a probable decade-long regional war.

Arrogance blinds what others see clearly

The USA’s moral authority went out of the window long ago, so countries are quietly plotting a new course for themselves— breaking free from Western hegemony.

Russia is one of the countries that is not only sensing the change but is actively doing something about it. Countries around the world “are quietly banding together. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization brings together Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and others with India, Pakistan and Iran as observer members. China and Japan have decided to trade in their own currencies and not the dollar… In South America, a number of countries have begun to band together to run their own international bank (the Banco del Sud)…. They can do this because they are directly experiencing a decline in the economic and political power of the USA.”

None so blind as those who will not see
A very old idea

The USA fails to see what is going on, Shakespeare writes. The United States “was completely caught off balance by the Arab Spring. Perhaps it is not surprising that it does not understand that it is hated more than it knows—
[t]hat its traditional mixture of bullying, bribery, and attack are not quite as impressive as it thinks;

[t]hat, in short, others are fed up with a short-sighted arrogance; and even more, with a short-sighted stupidity that is always prepared to go to war—even if that means virtually bankrupting the USA (the current state of domestic affairs) because of its military spending.

I think that's more than a grain of truth, more than a morsel to chew on.

Sources and notes

“Time for regime change in the USA” (Rodney Shakespeare), June 29, 2012, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/06/29/248601/time-for-regime-change--the-usa/

The article’s author, Rodney Shakespeare, is a London-based writer and lecturer; a Trisakti University (Jakarta, Indonesia) visiting professor of Binary Economics, teaching in the international postgraduate Islamic Economics and Finance program. Credentialed at Cambridge (MA), he is also “a qualified UK Barrister and well-known presenter and lecturer, particularly at Islamic conferences dealing with money, the real economy, binary economics, and social and economic justice.” He is co-author of Seven Steps to Justice and is affiliated with the Christian Council for Monetary Justice and the Global Justice Movement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Rodney_Shakespeare

The global justice movement is described as “a network or constellation of globalized social movements opposing ‘corporate globalization’ and promoting equal distribution of economic resources,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_justice_movement


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy


North Africa new era heralded by Cal State professor, Egyptian President Elect

Mohamed Morsi speaks at Revolution Square on pre-inauguration day
Re-reporting, editing by Carolyn Bennett

In today’s speech, Morsi said: 

We will complete the journey in a civil state, a nationalist state, a constitutional state, a modern state.

I don't fear my people.

Respecting the will of the people is the basis of our foreign relations.

No institution is above the people.

We will never give up the rights of Egyptians abroad.

In Mohamed Morsi’s biography

News reports have spelled this name variously: Mohamed Mursi (AllAfrica); Mohamed Morsy (AFP); Mohamed Morsi (Al Jazeera English; Mohammed Mursi (BBC)

On June 24, 2012, Egypt’s election commission announced that Morsi had won that country’s presidential runoff against Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under Egypt’s deposed leader, Hosni Mubarak.

Before becoming president-elect, Morsi was a Member of Parliament, elected as an independent, in the People’s Assembly of Egypt (2000-2005) and a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood.

He was a member of the Guidance Office of the Muslim Brotherhood until the founding of the Freedom and Justice Party in 2011, at which point he was elected by the Brotherhood’s Guidance Office to be the first president of the new party. He had been Chairman of the FJP, a political party founded by the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. In the May–June 2012 presidential election, Morsi stood as the FJP’s candidate.

Mohamed Morsi took his academic credentials in engineering at Cairo University (Bachelor’s and Master’s in1975 and 1978); and at the University of Southern California, U.S. (Ph.D. in 1982; and was an assistant professor at California State University-Northridge (1982-1985). In the later year, he returned to Egypt to teach at Zagazig University.

Muhammad Morsi Isa al-Ayyat (Wikipedia spelling) was born August 20, 1951, in the Sharqia Governorate of in northern Egypt.

The country

Egypt’s land frontiers border Libya to the west, The Sudan to the south, and Israel to the northeast. In the north, its Mediterranean coastline is about 620 miles (1,000 km), and in the east its coastline on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba is about 1,200 miles (1,900 km) Britannica.

Inauguration Day

News sources report that President-elect Mohamed Morsi will formally take his oath tomorrow morning. He will then travel to Cairo University to deliver an inauguration speech.

Sources and notes

“Egypt: Mursi to Take Oath Before Constitutional Court Saturday,” June 29, 2012, http://allafrica.com/stories/201206290015.html

Bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Morsi

“Egypt’s Morsi defies military in fiery speech” (Al Jazeera), June 29, 2012, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/06/201262916347287161.html

Caption at Al Jazeera: Tens of thousands of people gathered in Tahrir Square for the speech, many waiting for hours in the heat [EPA]


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Promote the “general Welfare” — Ginsburg rests case on Constitution

Supreme Court
of the United States
U.S. Supreme Court’s health care ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius
Excerpt, re-reporting by Carolyn Bennett 
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Preamble (1787) to the Constitution of the United States

“Today,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts began in issuing the opinion for the Court, “ we resolve constitutional challenges to two provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010: the individual mandate, which requires individuals to purchase a health insurance policy providing a minimum level of coverage; and the Medicaid expansion, which gives funds to the States on the condition that they provide specified health care to all citizens whose income falls below a certain threshold.”

From today’s ruling in National Federation of Independent Business, et al., Petitioners 11–393 v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al., Department of Health and Human Services, et al.

“We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation’s elected leaders.” Roberts said. “We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s opinion (some of which I have excerpted) rested not on Americans’ or States’ Rights’ selfishness, individual problems, or personal anecdotes; but the “general Welfare” provision guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States of America.

“Far from trampling on States’ sovereignty, the ACA [Affordable Care Act] attempts a federal solution for the very reason that the States, acting separately, cannot meet the need. Notably, the ACA serves the general welfare of the people of the United States while retaining a prominent role for the States. …” (Page 36)

“Ultimately, the Court upholds the individual mandate as a proper exercise of Congress’s power to tax and spend “for the . . . general Welfare of the United States.” … I concur in that determination, which makes THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s Commerce Clause essay all the more puzzling. Why should THE CHIEF JUSTICE strive so mightily to hem in Congress’ capacity to meet the new problems arising constantly in our ever developing modern economy? I find no satisfying response to that question in his opinion.” (Page 37)

“Medicaid is a prototypical example of federal-state cooperation in serving the Nation’s general welfare. Rather than authorizing a federal agency to administer a uniform national health-care system for the poor, Congress offered States the opportunity to tailor Medicaid grants to their particular needs, so long as they remain within bounds set by federal law. In shaping Medicaid, Congress did not endeavor to fix permanently the terms participating states must meet; instead, Congress reserved the ‘right to alter, amend, or repeal’ any provision.” (Pages 38-39)

“The Spending Clause authorizes Congress ‘to pay the Debts and provide for the . . . general Welfare of the United States.” Art. I, §8, cl. 1. To ensure that federal funds granted to the States are spent to ‘provide for the . . . general Welfare’ in the manner Congress intended,” ante, at 46, Congress must of course have authority to impose limitations on the States’ use of the federal dollars.

Supreme Court of the United States
“This Court, time and again, has respected Congress’ prescription of spending conditions, and has required States to abide by them. See, e.g., Pennhurst, 451 U. S., at 17 (‘[O]ur cases have long recognized that Congress may fix the terms on which it shall disburse federal money to the States.’). In particular, we have recognized Congress’ prerogative to condition a State’s receipt of Medicaid funding on compliance with the terms Congress set for participation in the program.

“…  Congress’ authority to condition the use of federal funds is not confined to spending programs as first launched.” (Page 45)

“…Yes, there are federalism-based limits on the use of Congress’ conditional spending power. In the leading decision in this area, South Dakota v. Dole, 483 U. S. 203 (1987), the Court identified four criteria.

“The conditions placed on federal grants to States must
(a) promote the ‘general welfare,’
(b) ‘unambiguously’ inform States what is demanded of them,
(c) be germane ‘to the federal interest in particular national projects or programs,’ and 
(d )not ‘induce the States to engage in activities that would themselves be unconstitutional.’…

“States, for their part, agreed to amend their own Medicaid plans consistent with changes from time to time made in the federal law. See 42 CFR §430.12(c)(i) (2011). And from 1965 to the present, States have regularly conformed to Congress’ alterations of the Medicaid Act.

“THE CHIEF JUSTICE acknowledges that Congress may ‘condition the receipt of [federal] funds on the States’ complying with restrictions on the use of those funds,’ ante, at 50, but nevertheless concludes that the 2010 expansion is unduly coercive. His conclusion rests on three premises, each of them essential to his theory. First, the Medicaid expansion is, in THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s view, a new grant program, not an addition to the Medicaid program existing before the ACA’s [Affordable Care Act] enactment. Congress, THE CHIEF JUSTICE maintains, has threatened States with the loss of funds from an old program in an effort to get them to adopt a new one. Second, the expansion was unforeseeable by the States when they first signed on to Medicaid. Third, the threatened loss of funding is so large that the States have no real choice but to participate in the Medicaid expansion. THE CHIEF JUSTICE therefore—for the first time ever—finds an exercise of Congress’ spending power unconstitutionally coercive. (Page 46)

“The principal standard the ACA [Affordable Care Act] sets is that the state program cover adults earning no more than 133 percent of the federal poverty line. Enforcing that prescription ensures that federal funds will be spent on health care for the poor in furtherance of Congress’ present perception of the general welfare. (Page 48)

“Congress has broad authority to construct or adjust spending programs to meet its contemporary understanding of “the general Welfare.” Helvering v. Davis, 301 U. S. 619, 640–641 (1937). (Page 50)

“At bottom, my colleagues’ position is that the States’ reliance on federal funds limits Congress’ authority to alter its spending programs.

“This gets things backwards: Congress, not the States, is tasked with spending federal money in service of the general welfare. And each successive Congress is empowered to appropriate funds as it sees fit. When the 110th Congress reached a conclusion about Medicaid funds that differed from its predecessors’ view, it abridged no State’s right to ‘existing,’ or ‘pre-existing,’ funds.” (Page 59)

Sources and notes

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES (Nos. 11–393, 11–398 and 11–400)

FLORIDA, ET AL., PETITIONERS 11–400 v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES ET AL., ON WRITS OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT, [June 28, 2012], CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, and III–C, an opinion with respect to Part IV, in which JUSTICE BREYER and JUSTICE KAGAN join, and an opinion with respect to Parts III–A, III–B, and III–D.


John G. Roberts Jr.
Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

Chief Justice Roberts took his seat as Chief Justice of the United States on September 29, 2005. Before that, he was a judge (appointed in 2003) on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

He was Special Assistant to the Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice (1981–1982), Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, White House Counsel’s Office (1982–1986), and Principal Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice (1989–1993). Roberts was in private law practice in Washington, D.C., in the ears 1986–1989; and 1993–2003).

He took his academic credentials at Harvard College (A.B., 1976) and Harvard Law School (J.D., 1979); and clerked for Judge Henry J. Friendly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1979–1980) and for then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist of the Supreme Court of the United States (during the 1980 Term).

Roberts was born January 27, 1955, in Buffalo, New York.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court

Justice Ginsburg took her seat on the Supreme of the United States on August 10, 1993. Before her appointment to the High Court, she was a Judge (appointed in 1980) of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

In the 1970s, she launched the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from (1970, 1973–1980), and on the National Board of Directors (1974–1980).

In the 1960s, Ginsburg was a research associate, associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure (1961–1963); a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law (1963–1972) and Columbia Law School (1972–1980); and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California (1977–1978)

She took her academic credentials at Cornell University (B.A.), Harvard Law School and Columbia Law School (LL.B); and clerked for the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (from 1959–1961).

Justice Ginsburg was born March 15, 1933) in Brooklyn, New York.

About the Supreme Court of the United States, http://www.supremecourt.gov/about/biographies.aspx

Preamble to the Constitution of the United State reprinted at Britannica


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mightier than bombs: “Dialogue”

United Nations
UN News Center photo
UNGA President Al-Nasser, UNSG Ban Ki-moon convene “Understanding, Countering Terrorism Appeal” symposium

 Re-reporting, editing by Carolyn Bennett

This is some of what the top UN leaders had to say about an effective international relations paradigm characterized by unwavering civility and respect, conversation (talking, interaction) and active listening, and understanding in a large and diverse world.

United Nations General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

“Intolerance, ideological factors, social marginalization and discrimination of minority communities are some of the factors that lead to radicalization.” Knowing this, we must develop better and deeper understanding, Al-Nasser said. By considering these factors, we can be in a better position to identify the best policies for successfully addressing these challenges.

By promoting dialogue, tolerance and understanding among civilizations, cultures, peoples and religions, we help promote mutual respect of all. “We must work to effectively combat the defamation of all religions and the incitement to religious hatred.

We can take essential steps to ensure that we foster more open and inclusive societies, Al-Nasser said.

We must address also “the related issues of de-radicalization, re-habilitation in prison settings, and efforts to defeat violent extremism.”

Through appropriate education and the necessary political will, we can remove the conditions that are conducive to the spread of terrorism. “Using obligations under national and international laws to prohibit and prevent incitement to commit terrorist acts,” we can succeed.

Meeting cross-cultural understanding challenge—dialogue, conversation

We should make progress in enhancing dialogue in order to combat violent extremism, the UN General Assembly President said.

We should draw lessons from successful educational programs so we can become more conversant with the challenges of countering the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes. In these efforts, “we must always listen to voices of victims.”

The symposium is an opportunity and guide for later generations “to defeat the extremist narrative” and “stop the violence and bloodshed that often result from extremism.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Hate and violence have no place in a “globalizing” world.

Let us build together “a culture of dialogue and understanding, and ensure that terrorist dogma never finds fertile ground,” the UN Secretary-General said at the start of the “Symposium on Promoting Dialogue, Understanding and Countering the Appeal of Terrorism.” With the children in mind, he said, let us spare no effort in providing for all people an environment in which the young learn early to “cherish values that bind us as human beings; nourish the diversity that enriches our souls.”

Norway to Nigeria, Ban Ki-moon recalled, acts of terror have shown that intolerance leads to violence and loss of innocent life.

“Social disharmony and a climate of intolerance for people defined as ‘other’ are simply out of step with the rapidly globalizing world.” These attitudes “stand against the values and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.”

National governments must take action to foster engagement between and among communities. Help build “tolerant and resilient societies that reject hate-filled narratives of terrorists.”

The seminar on new approaches in countering the appeal of terrorism opens an avenue for new ideas, he said, for sharing good practices, and further contributing to building a global culture of dialogue and understanding.

Sources and notes

“Remarks at the seminar on dialogue, understanding and countering the appeal of terrorism,” Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, June 27, 2012, http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/66/statements/counterterrorism270612.shtml

H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/66/about/index.shtml


Secretary-General’s remarks at Symposium on Promoting Dialogue, Understanding and Countering the Appeal of Terrorism Latest Statements New York, June 27, 2012, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42334&Cr=terror&Cr1=


“United Nations top officials today called for new approaches to address global terrorism and foster dialogue among nations,” June 27, 2012, UN Press News Center

Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser is the 66th Session President of the United Nations General Assembly.

For the past 13 years (1998-2011), Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser has been Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations.

He has taken leading roles such as chairing the General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee (2009-2010) and presiding over the General Assembly High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation (2007-2009). He has chaired the Group of 77 and China at the United Nations in New York (2004), guiding action that paved the way for the Second South Summit of the Group, which took place in Doha, Qatar, in 2005 and led to the establishment of the South Fund for Development and Humanitarian Affairs, a financing mechanism aimed at assisting the countries of the South in addressing issues such as poverty, hunger and natural disasters.

Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser represented his country on the United Nations Security Council during the two-year term of Qatar as a non-permanent member (2006-2007). He was Security Council President for the month of December 2006, when the Council took action on a range of complex peace and security issues, including international cooperation to combat terrorism and the protection of journalists in armed conflict. He also presided over three of the subsidiary bodies of the Council.

During his term as Ambassador to the United Nations, Al-Nasser was a vice president of the fifty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly (2002- 2003) and represented his country at numerous international and regional conferences and other forums. At the same time, he served as non-resident Ambassador to a number of countries in the Americas, including Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser was elected President of the Sixty-Sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly on June 22, 2011 and assumed the Presidency on September 13, 2011.

Al-Nasser was born on September 15, 1953, in Doha, the capital city of Qatar, located on the east coast of the Qatar Peninsula in the Persian Gulf.

Ban Ki-moon

Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations and has had ties to the United Nations dating back to 1975 when he worked for the Foreign Ministry’s United Nations Division. This early work expanded over the years with assignments such as chairing the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization and Chef de Cabinet during the Republic of Korea’s 2001-2002 presidency of the UN General Assembly. He has also been actively involved in issues relating to inter-Korean relations.

At the time of his election as Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon was his country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His 37 years of service with the Ministry included postings in New Delhi, Washington D.C. and Vienna, and responsibility for a variety of portfolios, including Foreign Policy Adviser to the President, Chief National Security Adviser to the President, Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and Director-General of American Affairs.

The Secretary-General was born in the Republic of Korea (June 13, 1944) [The Republic of Korea extends to August 15, 1948, when it was inaugurated, with Seoul as the capital. The previous military government ended; and in December 1948, the UN General Assembly declared that the Republic of Korea was the only lawful government in Korea.] He received academic credentials in international relations from Seoul National University and public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The Secretary-General speaks English, French and Korean.


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Long way from Eleanor Roosevelt’s UDHR—Jimmy Carter’s op-ed

Declaration of Human Rights
Americans must reaffirm commitment to Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Editing by Carolyn Bennett

America’s thirty ninth president (1977–1981)

In his foreign relations practice, even though critics called his vision naïve, U.S. President James Earl (Jimmy) Carter received high marks for championing international human rights.

In 1977, President Carter concluded two treaties between the United States and Panama: one giving Panama control over the Panama Canal (effective at the end of 1999); another guaranteeing neutrality of Canal after 1999.  

Middle East/Africa
In 1978, Carter brought together Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at the presidential retreat in Camp David, Maryland; and, after thirteen days of negotiations, secured the leaders’ agreement to the Camp David Accords, thus ending a state of war that had existed between Egypt and Israel since the 1948 founding of Israel. The negotiated agreement provided for the establishment of full diplomatic and economic relations conditioned on Israel’s returning the occupied Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.

Eastern Europe/Asia
On January 1, 1979, Carter established full diplomatic relations between the United States and China and simultaneously broke official ties with Taiwan.  In the same year, in Vienna, Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev signed a new bilateral strategic arms-limitation treaty (SALT II) intended to establish parity in strategic nuclear weapons delivery systems between the two superpowers on terms that could be adequately verified. Carter removed this treaty from consideration by the U.S. Senate (January 1980) after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. He placed an embargo on the shipment of American grain to the Soviet Union and pressed for a U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics scheduled for Moscow.

Then the” Iran Hostage Crisis”
In reaction to the United States’ approved entry of the deposed Shah of Iran (Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi) into the United States for medical treatment, a group of Iranian students, on November 4, 1979, led by Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, seized sixty-six U.S. citizens and held fifty-two of them hostage.

A standoff ensued. President Carter tried to negotiate release of the hostages and avoid direct confrontation government of Iran.  Mass media’s hysterical drumbeat turned attempted negotiations into a presidential liability and crashed helicopter on a secret U.S. military mission attempting to rescue the hostages further affected the perception of the Carter presidency.  

The “hostage crisis” lasted from 1979 until 1981.  It occurred in the aftermath of Iran’s Islamic revolution (1978–79) and its overthrow of the Pahlavi monarchy. These events had “dramatic effect on U.S. domestic politics [and] poisoned U.S.-Iranian relations.” The president who succeeded Jimmy Carter took advantage of the crisis to secure his own election to the U.S. presidency and committed what was later exposed as the illegal Arms for Hostages/Iran Contra affair. Britannica

Thirty years later and with at least as many years in human rights work, former President Carter writes on U.S. human rights abuses in the era of Washington’s endless Global War on Terror.  This is some of what Carter had to say in his Monday opinion piece, which was widely headlined today.

Dismissed Declaration

United States leadership in 1948 ably assisted in the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which laid “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,” Carter recalls.

This was a bold and clear commitment that power would no longer serve as a cover to oppress or injure people it established equal rights of all people to life, liberty, security of person, equal protection of the law and freedom from torture, arbitrary detention or forced exile.

The declaration has been invoked by human rights activists and the international community to replace most of the world’s dictatorships with democracies and to promote the rule of law in domestic and global affairs.

Clearly, the United States has made mistakes in the past, Carter said, but “the widespread abuse of human rights over the last decade has been a dramatic change from the past.”

Detention without charge or trial

Instead of strengthening the UDHR principles, the U.S. government’s “counterterrorism policies are violating at least ten of the declaration’s 30 articles. Among these breaches is the prohibition against “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Recent legislation has made legal the president’s right to detain a person indefinitely on suspicion of affiliation with terrorist organizations or ‘associated forces’ —a broad, vague power that can be abused without meaningful oversight from courts or Congress (the law is currently being blocked by a federal judge).

This law violates the right to freedom of expression and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, two other rights enshrined in the declaration.

Detained denied utterance of cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment

Prisoners still detained by the United States at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, “have little prospect of ever obtaining their freedom.”

U.S. authorities have revealed that “in order to obtain [prisoners’] confessions, some of the few now being tried (only in military courts) have been tortured more than 100 times by waterboarding; or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills, or by threats to sexually assault their mothers.  And “these facts cannot be used as a defense by the accused because the government claims [torture] occurred under the cover of ‘national security.’

“Most prisoners have no prospect of ever being charged or tried.”

Assassination by remote

U.S. drone strikes that cause the deaths of innocent women and children who happen to be in the vicinity of these strikes are “accepted as inevitable.”  In addition to strikes on Afghans, the United States continues to use drones “in areas of Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen” — countries “not in any war zone.

“We do not know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one approved by the highest authorities in Washington.”

Consequences of Washington’s lawlessness
Citizen responsibility

“Instead of making the world safer,” Carter concludes, “America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends.”  

We the citizenry must therefore hold ourselves responsible, he says. “Persuade Washington to reverse course. Reestablish moral leadership that is consistent with international human rights norms.”

Sources and notes
“A Cruel and Unusual Record” (Jimmy Carter, op-ed New York Times), June 24, 2012,  

Carter background, Britannica


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

Democracies should not have to struggle to achieve democracy

Green Party
Green Party of the United States fighting to provide choice, getting on ballot in 44 states of the United States
Editing by Carolyn Bennett from Green Party material

Why are we willing to accept multiple choices in every aspect of our lives except in politics?

European Greens
Green Party
Hong Kong
At a population of more than 300,000,000 people, five major television and hundreds more cable or satellite networks, dozens of toothpaste brands, varieties of telecommunications access, and vast varieties of bread, the people of the United States of America are thwarted in choosing varieties of leaders and ideas. Voters “are expected to be content with only two political parties representing America’s interests.”

Choice obstructed

Jill Stein
“In a true democracy,” Baltimore City (Maryland), Green Party Chair Brian Bittner writes, “it shouldn’t be a political struggle to be on the ballot in every state, to simply give voters a choice, and to allow them to exercise their basic rights.

“But it is a struggle —and a challenge that thousands are rising to meet.”

In addition to the work of thousands of volunteers in every state of the union, court cases in New Jersey, Illinois and Maryland have challenged the unjust laws that limit political diversity and discourse. 

Bills introduced in state legislatures to change election law have been thwarted by members of the Democratic and Republican parties in order to maintain their inordinate power.

Caroline Lucas
Greens UK, EU
It shouldn’t be this way

Access required

Ballot access in all 50 U.S. states is essential for running local candidates. Eleven states are actively petitioning for ballot access and another sixteen states have deadlines this summer. Green Party access to the ballot will bring “excellent, quality candidates to challenge the establishment” Bittner says.

If all we do is come to out to vote every four years, we cannot expect entrenched government in Washington to consider the interests of ordinary citizens over the interests of corporate lobbyists. We must be willing to work together for change at local and state levels as well.

Why accept multiple choices in every aspect of our lives except in politics? This year more than ever is the time to break the two-party-no-choice option.

Green Party of the United States effort toward multiple choice

On its official website, the Green Party of the United States describes itself as “a federation of state Green Parties committed to ecology, social justice grassroots democracy and non-violence; and committed to renewing democracy in the United States through community-based organizing without the support of corporate donors.”

The Greens describe themselves as “grassroots activists, environmentalists, advocates for social justice, nonviolent resisters, and regular citizens who have had enough of corporate-dominated politics.” Their issues, concerns and solutions focus on area such as universal health care, corporate globalization, alternative energy, election reform, and decent living wages for workers.

Formed in 2001 as an outgrowth of the Association of State Green Parties (1996-2001), the Green Party of the United States has had the initial and continuing primary goals of helping existing state parties grow; and where none exist, promoting formation of Green parties in all states and territories of the United States.

The Federal Elections Commission recognizes the Green Party of the United States as the official Green Party National Committee. The highest Green Party decision making body is the Green National Committee composed of delegates from each accredited state party and caucus. The Green Party of the United States is also a member of the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas and the Global Greens.
Greens Colorado
Greens Canada

Despite Democratic and Republican partisan power and other roadblocks, Green Party candidates “are winning elections throughout the United States.” 


Sources and notes

The Green Party nominee will be selected at the Presidential Nominating Convention to be held in Baltimore, Maryland, July 12-15, 2012. http://www.gp.org/2012/

Green Party of the United States: 7059 Blair Road NW, Suite 104, Washington, DC 20012

Green Party of the United States mailing Address: PO Box 75075, Washington, DC 20013, office@gp.org




Brian Bittner is Chair of the Baltimore City Green Party and Office Manager of the Green Party of the United States


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

Monday, June 25, 2012

End June-Early July protest West's war on Iran, Syria

Stop the War Coalition week of action
Re-reporting, editing by Carolyn Bennett

Protest threatened attacks on Iran, intervention in Syria.

Bath protest at drone conference June 25-28
London-wide public meeting on Syria and Iran June 28
Student protest in Trafalgar Square June 30
Norwich Street Stall June 30
Wandsworth Street Stall June 30
“Independence from America” protest (Menwith Hill base) July 4

Western threat

U.S. oil sanctions on Iran are set to take effect on June 28; EU sanctions on July 1.

“Even in the absence of an immediate conflagration, oil sanctions are an attempt to weaken Iran and are therefore a prelude to war. Not an alternative to it.”

Responding to the United States and European Union’s latest threats of sanctions, Iran has threatened closure of the straits of Hormuz.

South Central Asia
Horn of Africa
After inconclusive negotiations by the P5+1 nations meeting in Iraq, Stop the War Coalition reports, “the UK warned of a ‘25-50 percent’ chance of war with Iran.”

Western threat to Iran

On Saturday, Press TV reported Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov having “dismissed the effectiveness of setting deadlines for the settlement of Iran’s nuclear energy issue [and] denounced such timetables as ‘artificial.’”

Lavrov said the latest round of the multifaceted talks, June 18-19 in Moscow, between Iran and the P5+1resulted in no agreements “on the essence of the Iranian nuclear problem” but from Russia’s point of view “the meeting was quite useful.”

Before the Moscow meeting, Iran and the P5+1 (United Nations Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, plus Germany) had met for two days ending May 24 in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.  In the past three years, before Baghdad, Tehran and the P5+1 have held three rounds of talks: one in Geneva in December 2010 and two in Istanbul, Turkey, in January 2011 and in April 2012.

As this engagement has continued, Press TV reports, “the United States and Israel have repeatedly threatened Tehran with a military strike in attempts to force Iran to halt its nuclear energy program, which they (the U.S. and Israel) claim has a military component” and Iran disputes. Iran’s officials “insist that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran is entitled to pursue nuclear technology for its numerous civilian purposes.”

Notwithstanding unsubstantiated claims and counter claims , the United States and the European Union “have imposed tough embargoes (effectively an act of warfare) against Iran,” which go so far as to include bans not only on “sales of fuel for Iranian passenger aircraft,” but also on “medicine.”

Western threat to Syria

As with Libya “humanitarian” killing
The U.S. joint chiefs of staff chairman threatened, after reports of the “Houla massacre,” that the United States “might take the ‘military option’ if it was ‘asked to do so.’” The new president of France, François Hollande, has also joined the military intervention drive (foreign aggression ‘not to be ruled out’) in Syria, “his country’s former colonial territory.” (More recent news stories confirm that U. S. militants are on Syrian soil.)

“The Houla massacre,” according to Wikipedia, “was an attack that took place on May 25, 2012, in the midst of the Syrian Uprising, in two opposition-controlled villages in the Houla Region of Syria, a cluster of villages north of Homs. The Syrian government alleged that Al-Qaeda terrorist groups were responsible for the killings. Houla residents and opposition groups alleged that the Syrian military and government-hired militias known as Shabiha were the perpetrators.”

A June 13 article by Chris Marsden citing Germany’s leading daily newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, said, “The May 25 Houla massacre was perpetrated by opposition forces aligned with the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

“The report refutes the official account by the United States and other major powers and presented uncritically by the media.

Without providing any serious evidence, the United States and its allies claimed that either the Syrian Army or pro-government Shabiha militias carried out the mass killing of over 100 people.…

“The most important question posed by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung report is what role was played in the massacre by the United States itself.
“Clearly, given its own extensive contacts with the Free Syrian Army, and the political, financial and military backing for the FSA by Washington’s regional allies—Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey—the Obama administration will have been well aware that the massacre was the work of anti-regime insurgents and not the Syrian army, even as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others called for additional action to be taken to depose Assad.

“It is entirely possible that Houla was a massacre made in the USA.

“U.S. policy in Syria has from the start been based on the whipping up of a Sunni-based sectarian insurgency, with the aim of destabilizing and deposing Assad’s Alawite regime. This, in turn, is linked to U.S. preparations for a military attack on Iran, which would be further isolated in the Middle East with the demise of Assad, its major ally in the region.”

Near East
East Africa
Relatively recent Historical context of “humanitarian” killing
Former Yugoslavia
“With the experience of Bosnia and Kosovo to draw upon,” Chris Marsden wrote in the WSWS article, “this was done not merely in the certain knowledge that bloody internecine fighting would result, but with the intention of provoking civil conflict in order to provide a pretext for military intervention in humanitarian guise.”

The disgraced William Jefferson Clinton (U.S. President 1993-2001), in the throes of impeachment affairs, bombed Iraq in 1998; and in 1999, led NATO, in a bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. The figures of dead and displaced in these ventures were estimated in the hundreds of thousands, even millions.

Stop the War Coalition is calling a week of action at the end of June to protest threatened attacks on Iran and intervention in Syria.

Sources and notes

“End of June 2012: Hands off Iran and Syria Week of Action,” June 7, 2012 Iran / Syria Action Local Events, Stop the War national office: email office@stopwar.org.uk or call 0207 561 9311

“Russia rejects effectiveness of setting deadlines for Iran nuclear issue,” June 23, 2012

“U.S. urges Iran to take ‘concrete action’ regarding N-issue amid pressure,” June 2, 2012,
Iran and the P5+1 - Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States plus Germany - wrapped up their meetings in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on May 24 and agreed to hold another round of talks in Moscow on June 18-19.


“Houla massacre carried out by Free Syrian Army, according to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (Chris Marsden), June 13, 2012, http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/jun2012/syri-j13.shtml

U.S. in the former Yugoslavia

Early estimates said at least 200,000 people died and more than 2,000,000 were displaced during the 1992–95 war. Later studies put the death toll at approximately 100,000.

In May 1995, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces launched air strikes on Serbian targets after the Serbian military refused to comply with a UN ultimatum. To enforce a November agreement taken at U.S.-sponsored peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, a 60,000-member international force was deployed in December. Britannica

Worldatlas maps

Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy