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Stop Tightening the Thumb Screws, A Humanitarian Message

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by Kathy Kelly

U.S. sanctions against Iran, cruelly strengthened in March of 2018, continue a collective punishment of extremely vulnerable people. Presently, the U.S. “maximum pressure” policy severely undermines Iranian efforts to cope with the ravages of COVID-19, causing hardship and tragedy while contributing to the global spread of the pandemic. On March 12, 2020, Iran’s Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif urged member states of the UN to end the United States’ unconscionable and lethal economic warfare.

Addressing UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Zarif detailed how U.S. economic sanctions prevent Iranians from importing necessary medicine and medical equipment.

For over two years, while the U.S. bullied other countries to refrain from purchasing Iranian oil, Iranians have coped with crippling economic decline.

The devastated economy and worsening coronavirus outbreak now drive migrants and refugees, who number in the millions, back to Afghanistan at dramatically increased rates.

In the past two weeks alone, more than 50,000 Afghans returned from Iran, increasing the likelihood that cases of coronavirus will surge in Afghanistan. Decades of war, including U.S. invasion and occupation, have decimated Afghanistan’s health care and food distribution systems.

Jawad Zarif asks the UN to prevent the use of hunger and disease as a weapon of war. His letter demonstrates the  wreckage caused by many decades of United States imperialism and suggests revolutionary steps toward dismantling the United States war machine.

During the United States’ 1991 “Desert Storm” war against Iraq, I was part of the Gulf Peace Team, – at first, living at in a “peace camp” set up near the Iraq-Saudi border and later, following our removal by Iraqi troops, in a Baghdad hotel which formerly housed many journalists. Finding an abandoned typewriter, we melted a candle onto its rim, (the U.S. had destroyed Iraq’s electrical stations, and most of the hotel rooms were pitch black). We compensated for an absent typewriter ribbon by placing a sheet of red carbon paper over our stationery. When Iraqi authorities realized we managed to type our document, they asked if we would type their letter to the Secretary General of the UN. (Iraq was so beleaguered even cabinet level officials lacked typewriter ribbons.) The letter to Javier Perez de Cuellar implored the UN to prevent the U.S. from bombing a road between Iraq and Jordan, the only way out for refugees and the only way in for humanitarian relief. Devastated by bombing and already bereft of supplies, Iraq was, in 1991, only one year into a deadly sanctions regime that lasted for thirteen years before the U.S. began its full-scale invasion and occupation in 2003. Now, in 2020, Iraqis still suffering from impoverishment, displacement and war earnestly want the U.S. to practice self-distancing and leave their country.

Are we now living in a watershed time? An unstoppable, deadly virus ignores any borders the U.S. tries to reinforce or redraw. The United States military-industrial complex, with its massive arsenals and cruel capacity for siege, isn’t relevant to “security” needs. Why should the U.S., at this crucial juncture, approach other countries with threat and force and presume a right to preserve global inequities? Such arrogance doesn’t even ensure security for the United States military. If the U.S. further isolates and batters Iran, conditions will worsen in Afghanistan and United States troops stationed there will ultimately be at risk. The simple observation, “We are all part of one another,” becomes acutely evident.

It’s helpful to think of guidance from past leaders who faced wars and pandemics. The Spanish flu pandemic in 1918-19, coupled with the atrocities of World War I,  killed 50 million worldwide, 675,000 in the U.S. Thousands of female nurses were on the “front lines,” delivering health care. Among them were black nurses who not only risked their lives to practice the works of mercy but also fought discrimination and racism in their determination to serve. These brave women arduously paved a way for the first 18 black nurses to serve in the Army Nurse Corps and they provided “a small turning point in the continuing movement for health equity.”

In the spring of 1919, Jane Addams and Alice Hamilton witnessed the effects of sanctions against Germany imposed by Allied forces after World War I. They observed “critical shortages of food, soap and medical supplies” and wrote indignantly about how children were being punished with starvation for “the sins of statesmen.”

Starvation continued even after the blockade was finally lifted, that summer, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Hamilton and Addams reported how the flu epidemic, exacerbated in its spread by starvation and post-war devastation, in turn disrupted the food supply. The two women argued a policy of sensible food distribution was necessary for both  humanitarian and strategic reasons. “What was to be gained by starving more children?” bewildered German parents asked them.

Jonathan Whitall directs Humanitarian Analysis for Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders. His most recent analysis poses agonizing questions:

How are you supposed to wash your hands regularly if you have no running water or soap? How are you supposed to implement ‘social distancing’ if you live in a slum or a refugee or containment camp? How are you supposed to stay at home if your work pays by the hour and requires you to show up? How are you supposed to stop crossing borders if you are fleeing from war? How are you supposed to get tested for #COVID19 if the health system is privatized and you can’t afford it? How are those with pre-existing health conditions supposed to take extra precautions when they already can’t even access the treatment they need?

I expect many people worldwide, during the spread of COVID – 19,  are thinking hard about the glaring, deadly inequalities in our societies, wonder how best to extend proverbial hands of friendship to people in need while urged to accept isolation and social distancing. One way to help others survive is to insist the United States lift sanctions against Iran and instead support acts of practical care. Jointly confront the coronavirus while constructing a humane future for the world without wasting time or resources on the continuation of brutal wars.

Kathy Kelly co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence. (www.vcnv.org)

Timeline: How DNC Manipulated 2016 Presidential Race 

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by Michael Brennan

December 16, 2014: President Obama signs into law omnibus spending bill that increases maximum possible individual political contributions from $129,600 annually to $777,600, substantially increasing the amount of money flowing through party committees. (Congressional Research Services)

April 7, 2015: A Clinton campaign memo to the DNC articulates “Pied Piper” strategy to elevate the most extreme Republican candidates: “Our hope is that the goal of a potential HRC campaign and the DNC would be one-in-the-same: to make whomever the Republicans nominate unpalatable to a majority of the electorate. We have outlined three strategies to obtain our goal: 1) Force all Republican candidates to lock themselves into extreme conservative positions that will hurt them in a general election; 2) Undermine any credibility/trust Republican presidential candidates have to make inroads to our coalition or independents; 3) Muddy the waters on any potential attack lodged against HRC.” (Salon)

May 26, 2015: An updated confidential Clinton campaign memo to the DNC is circulated, including new language (as disclosed by “Guccifer 2.0” on 6/15/16): “3) Use specific hits to muddy the waters around ethics, transparency and campaign finance attacks on HRC… Working through the DNC and others, we should use background briefings, prep with reporters for interviews with GOP candidates, off-the-record conversations and oppo pitches to help pitch stories with no fingerprints and utilize reporters to drive a message. ”

August 27, 2015: DNC announces “Hillary Victory Fund” joint fundraising agreement with Hillary Clinton’s campaign with a maximum possible individual contribution of $356,100 ($2,700 to Hillary for America, $33,400 to the DNC, and $10,000 to 32 of the state parties).

November 13, 2015: Associated Press releases a widely-cited survey of superdelegates’ public support: 359 for Clinton, 8 for Bernie Sanders, 2 for Martin O’Malley, and 210 uncommitted.

February 21, 2016: New York Times publishes front-page story proclaiming Sanders faces “steep climb” in delegates, despite trailing Clinton by only one pledged delegate following the Nevada caucus. Clinton’s “inevitability” narrative was largely based on the implicit assumption that her institutional support — including public commitments by superdelegates — would be too powerful for Sanders’ insurgency to overcome.

March 5, 2016: DNC vice-chair Donna Brazile provides Clinton with a debate question on the Flint water crisis the day prior (as disclosed by Wikileaks on 10/11/16).

March 12, 2016: Brazile shares question with Clinton on the death penalty the day before a CNN town hall (as disclosed by Wikileaks on 10/11/16). (Washington Post)

April 19, 2016: More than 117,000 Brooklyn voters are unable to cast their New York primary vote due to illegal “voter purges” by the New York City Board of Elections. (New York Times)

April 26, 2016: DNC staffer shares messaging preparing for when Sanders ends his campaign (as disclosed by Wikileaks on 7/22/16). (The Intercept)

May 2, 2016: Politico reports bombshell on how the Hillary Victory Fund was being utilized to circumvent campaign contribution limits by the Clinton campaign and DNC.

May 5, 2016: DNC officials conspire “atheist” smear against Sanders: “It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist,” said DNC CFO Brad Marshall (as disclosed by Wikileaks on 7/22/16). (Washington Post)

May 14, 2016: The Nevada Democratic convention unfolds chaotically: Chairwoman Roberta Lange passes a motion to arbitrate unverified voice votes. 56 Sanders delegates were denied voting status for administrative reasons, swinging the at-large and party leaders pool to Clinton. Lange rejected a voice vote to reconsider the delegates’ rejection and abruptly adjourned the convention to the dismay of Sanders’ supporters. Despite no evidence suggesting violence, major outlets uncritically repeat the myth of “pro-Sanders violence and chair throwing.“

May 17, 2016: DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz calls Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver a “damn liar” in DNC internal emails (as disclosed by Wikileaks on 7/22/16).

May 18, 2016: Wasserman-Schultz promotes “pro-Sanders violence at Nevada convention” myth on MSNBC.

May 21, 2016: DNC national press secretary pitches an anti-Sanders story to DNC comms director: “Wondering if there’s a good Bernie narrative for a story, which is that Bernie never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess,” (as disclosed by Wikileaks on 7/22/16). (The Intercept)

June 6, 2016: On eve of the second biggest primary day (California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, and South Dakota), Associated Press publishes major story calling the primary for Clinton: “Clinton has delegates to win Democratic nomination.” This count includes public superdelegate commitments who will not vote until July 25.

June 15, 2016: “Guccifer 2.0” releases documents stolen from the DNC server including opposition research on Donald Trump, Clinton donor information, and the 5/26/15 strategy memo.

June 28, 2016: Donors to Sanders file a class action lawsuit against the DNC and Wasserman Schultz alleging fraud, specifically that they violated Article 5, Section 4 of the Charter of the Democratic Party: “…the Chairperson shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns. The Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process.”

July 22, 2016: Wikileaks releases first batch of DNC emails three days before the Democratic National Convention, demonstrating anti-Sanders bias from senior DNC officials.

July 24, 2016: DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz resigns on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. (Reuters)

July 26, 2016: Sen. Nina Turner, a prominent Sanders surrogate, is prohibited from joining Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for Sanders’ nominating speech. Following the roll call vote nominating Clinton as the Democratic presidential candidate, hundreds of Sanders delegates stage a “No Voice No Unity” walkout protest off the convention floor.

October 11, 2016: Wikileaks releases “The Podesta Emails Part 3,” revealing collusion between Donna Brazile and Clinton.

April 25, 2017: In class action lawsuit alleging DNC fraud, DNC attorney argues the party has the right to ignore primary voters: “The party has the freedom of association to decide how it’s gonna select its representatives to the convention and to the state party. Even to define what constitutes evenhandedness and impartiality really would already drag the court well into a political question and a question of how the party runs its own affairs. The party could have favored a candidate. I’ll put it that way… We could have voluntarily decided that, ‘Look, we’re gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way.’” (See Newsweek: “Was the Election Rigged Against Bernie Sanders? Dnc Lawsuit Demands Repayment for Campaign Donors.”)

August 25, 2017: Judge dismisses DNC lawsuit on lack of standing: “Not one of them alleges that they ever read the DNC’s charter or heard the statements they now claim are false before making their donations. And not one of them alleges that they took action in reliance on the DNC’s charter or the statements identified in the First Amended Complaint. Absent such allegations, these Plaintiffs lack standing.” (Washington Post)

November 2, 2017: Brazile reveals Hillary Victory Fund agreement “specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised… [Clinton’s] campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.” (Vox)

Michael Brennan is a graduate student in public policy at the University of Maryland and a past intern at the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Francis A. Boyle in Defense of Kings Bay Plowshare 7 Activists

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Pursuant to 28 USC I746, Francis A. Boyle declares under penalty of perjury:

l. I submitted a Declaration in this matter dated June 25, 2018. This Declaration supplements that original Declaration and should be read in light of that document.

2. I am an expert in International Law and Foreign Policy and my credentials are set out in the previous Declaration.

3. It was my conclusion in June 25, 2018, for the reasons set out at length in that document, that the existence, threat or use of any of the Trident thermonuclear weapons at Kings Bay is absolutely illegal and criminal under the laws of the United States and international law.

4. Recent events have made the existence, threat or use of those weapons of mass destruction like the Kings Bay Tridents even more horrific and the possibility of nuclear war even more likely.

5. In October of 2018, President Donald Trump and his U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton declared it is the intention of the U.S, to withdraw from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

6. The INF Treaty was signed on December 8, 1987 by President Ronald Reagan of the United States and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union.

7. The INF Treaty barred both the United States and Russia from deploying nuclear and conventional ground launched ballistic missiles and cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5500 kilometers or 300 to 3400 miles.

8. As a result of the INF Treaty, the U.S. and the Soviet Union destroyed a total of 2,692 shot, medium, and intermediate range missiles by June l, 1991.

9. Reactivating Intermediate Range Nuclear Missiles will make the world and the United States a much more dangerous place, and will greatly exacerbate the current violations of U.S. and international law which I discussed in my initial Declaration.

10. New Intermediate Range Nuclear Missiles, combined with the Trident missiles, give the United States an even more obvious and effective illegal and criminal offensive first-strike nuclear weapons capability against both Russia and China.

11. Intermediate Range Nuclear Missiles will be able to reach Russia in as little as 3 minutes from launch in Eastern Europe and the Tridents can reach Russia in around 15 minutes.

12. The Intermediate Range Nuclear Missiles would primarily target strategic nuclear weapons command centers in Russia, while the Tridents will be targeted at all other civilian population centers and infrastructure locations and nuclear forces.

13. U.S. INFs in Europe will provide Russia with an enormous incentive to “use it or lose it” by launching a preemptive strategic nuclear attack upon the Continental United States in the event of a crisis or an accident or a computer malfunction or a radar misinterpretation or human error. These phenomena have repeatedly happened before.

14. According to President Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton, one of the other reasons for pulling the United States out of the INF Treaty is so that the United States can deploy INFs against China and thus better threaten China with an illegal and criminal offensive first-strike nuclear weapons attack.

15. The Intermediate Range Nuclear Missiles would primarily target strategic nuclear weapons command centers in China, while the Tridents will be targeted at all other civilian population centers and infrastructure locations and nuclear forces.

16. U.S. INFs in Asia will provide China with an enormous incentive to “use it or lose it” by launching a preemptive strategic nuclear attack upon the Continental United States in the event of a crisis or an accident or a computer malfunction or a radar misinterpretation or human error. These phenomena have repeatedly happened before.

17. These actions announced by the Trump administration further violate the international law obligations of the United States under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT) Treaty which is designed to achieve nuclear disarmament as interpreted by the International Court of Justice Nuclear Weapons Advisory Opinion, as I discussed in my earlier Declaration and as I discussed in my book THE CRIMINALITY OF NUCLEAR DETERRENCE (Clarity Press 2002).

18. These actions announced by the Trump administration are further violations of the laws of war and international humanitarian law.

19. These actions announced by the Trump administration are further violations of criminal law under U.S. and international laws. They can only result in genocide and are threatening to commit genocide.

20. The Trump administration pulling out of the INF Treaty seriously jeopardizes the renewal of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) between the United States and Russia that imposes severe constraints on the offensive strategic nuclear weapons systems of these two nuclear superpowers. Non-renewal of the New START Treaty would set off a frantic nuclear arms race between the United States and Russia as well as by the other acknowledged nuclear weapons states such as China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea.

21. These developments would lead to the unraveling, dissolution, and nullification of the seminal Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty itself and the research, development, testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons by every state in the world with a nuclear power plant. Currently 30 countries in the world have operational nuclear power plants – that figure is 31 if Taiwan is considered separately from China. See Operational & Long-Term Shutdown Reactors, Int’l Atomic Energy Agency, https://pris.iaea.org/PRIS/WorldStatistics/OperationalReactorsByCountry.aspx (last updated Oct. 28. 2018).

22. The non-violent symbolic disarmament actions of Defendants in this matter take on greater and compelling urgency in light of the announcement by the United States that it will withdraw from the INF Treaty.

23. I repeat my opinion that the charges against these Defendants should be dismissed. The Court must recognize that the possession, preparation for use, threat of use or use of Trident nuclear weapons at Kings Bay is illegal and criminal.

24. The non-violent, symbolic disarmament actions by Defendants in this matter are in full compliance with the laws, treaties and principles of U.S. and international law and served a lawful purpose: preventing the ongoing commission of genocidal international and U.S. domestic crimes.

25. The very existence of humanity is at risk!

26. I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. I am prepared to testify under oath and answer questions on these and related matters.

Signed on 1 November 2018.

[See news release on this issue: “Facing Decades in Prison, Activists of Conscience Confront ‘Culture of Death.’“]

Affidavit by Daniel Ellsberg for Plowshare Activists Being Allowed a Defense of Necessity

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Pursuant to 28 USC Section 1746 I swear the following is accurate and true.

  1. I am Daniel Ellsberg. I am a 1952 graduate of Harvard with a B.A. Summa Cum Laude in Economics. I received a Woodrow Wilson scholarship to student at King’s College, Cambridge University. From 1954 to 1957, I served in the U.S. Marines. In 1962 I was awarded a PhD in Economics from Harvard. I was a consultant to the Defense Department and the White House in the late 1950s and the early 1960s. In 1964 I joined the Defense Department. In 1965 I served in the State Department to serve in the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam. In 1971 I gave the U.S. Senate, the New York Times and the Washington Post copies of what have come to be known as The Pentagon Papers. I was arrested on twelve felony counts. My trial was dismissed because of government misconduct which figured in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon. I am the author of three books, including The Doomsday Machine, which I have learned was brought onto the grounds of the Kings Bay Naval Station by the people on trial in this matter.
  2. I give this declaration to support the defense of necessity advanced by the defendants in this matter.
  3. In 1971 I was asked to be an expert witness, as a former government official, in the trial of the “Minnesota Eight,” college students and seminarians who had destroyed draft files just as Brother John Simpson did on Christmas Eve, 1970. I took copies of the Pentagon Papers with me to Minneapolis hoping to present them as documentary evidence to support my testimony that the government had been manipulating the democratic process and concealing its own law breaking by lying to the public, a situation that called for dramatic challenge of the sort the defendants had done.
  4. But the Pentagon Papers did not get into the public record on that occasion. The federal judge refused to allow my testimony on this particular point, when he heard me use the word “lie;” he had earlier warned the defense attorney that he would not entertain expert testimony “critical of the federal government.”
  5. It was precisely this sort of consciousness that seemed to me to need changing if our democratic system were to end the Vietnam tragedy, and I saw nothing other than the Pentagon Papers that might do the job. But that meant that I had to be willing to take measures that would sharply increase the risk of spending the rest of my life in jail. That willingness, at that point, was crucially renewed and strengthened in me by the example of the defendants I met and heard that day in court, in particular the seminarian and lay theologian Francis Kroncke. The immediate and direct effect of their testimony was to cause me to reexamine what more I could do to inform the public at greater personal risk if necessary and to decide to seek newspaper publication.
  6. Two years later, sitting in court at my own trial, I heard my defense lawyer refer to the appellate case United States v. Kroncke. Listening to him, I learned that the trial court’s rejection of Kroncke’s necessity defense had been upheld by the 8th Circuit on the grounds that he had failed to demonstrate a reasonable basis for inferring a direct causal chain between his action and the shortening of the war.
  7. My lawyer’s point was that my case was different from Kroncke’s; it was clear that the publication of the Pentagon Papers had already played a significant role in creating the climate of public awareness and Congressional pressure that had led the Administration, reluctantly, to negotiate the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Vietnam.
  8. But knowing as my lawyer did not, and the 8th Circuit Appellate Court did not, the effect of Kroncke’s actions and defense on my own decisions, I could recognize that exactly the same argument applied to his case as well. At the defense table I wrote a note to myself: “I am a link in Frank Kroncke’s causal chain.”
  9. The chain of effects was not yet ended. The disclosures that ended my trial on May 11, 1973 daily revelations for two weeks of a whole series of criminal actions that the Administration had taken against me to stop further truth telling about government policy by me or others further strengthened Congressional determination to cut off spending on American weapons and bombs that were still killing Vietnamese, even though U.S. casualties had ceased. (The first House majority vote to suspend funding on the war, for bombing of Cambodia, came on May 10, the day before my trial was finally dismissed).
  10. Moreover, these same revelations played a major part in impeachment proceedings that ultimately led to the resignation of a Chief Executive who, unlike his replacement, might well have defied the Congressional restrictions on spending in face of the upsurge of fighting in Vietnam in 1975, prolonging the war and U.S. involvement in it indefinitely. His unprecedented replacement in office, in other words, was essential, like the unprecedented cutoff of Congressional funding, to the ending of the war.
  11. Thus, the copying, and much later the publication of the Pentagon Papers can reasonably be held to have contributed, first, to the ending of U.S. casualties in Vietnam, and subsequently to the ending of the war.
  12. Both of these effects depended largely on the illegal over reaction of the Administration to my actions, in fear of the political consequences of better public information on a policy that was still being conducted largely in secret to hide its illegal, reckless and unconstitutional aspects.
  13. Congressional statutes and the Constitutional requirements of our democratic system have not, in fact, been observed in the making or implementing of Executive policy toward countries. Nor have the requirements of international law and our treaty obligations, as found by the International Court of Justice. Nor the demands of prudence, in averting an impending catastrophe, measured in terms of our experience in Vietnam.
  14. To my knowledge, in the domain of nuclear weapons policy, there has been throughout the nuclear era an equally great divergence between public desires and beliefs, public declarations of official policy, and the demands of law and prudence, on the one hand, and actual, secret governmental policy and practice on the other: with a potential for catastrophe incomparably greater.
  15. In neither of these areas have the “normal,” legal processes of democracy functioned adequately or even been permitted to operate, in terms of openness and public awareness to protect American citizens and other humans from vast, in some cases unprecedented and unlimited risks of harm.
  16. Will any of these risks to our democracy and our legal system as well as to human lives be terminated or averted without such actions, to awaken the consciences of democratic citizens, as are on trial in this case?
  17. In other contexts, then existing laws have expressed anachronistic racial or gender or class prejudices in ways that violated the fundamental spirit of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and no longer reflected an evolving public sense of justice.
  18. Yet American history reveals that it was not until widespread campaigns of civil disobedience, affecting public awareness and conscience for example, relating to women’s right to vote, civil rights, and the right to unionize that the electoral and legislative and legal processes began to function to extend and protect these rights in a way we now take for granted as fundamental to democracy. The non-violent actions that were crucial to the extension of real voting rights to women and blacks were as much a part of the democratic process as the subsequent voting.
  19. One of the sources of my own education on these matters has been the testimony by defendants and expert witnesses in trials in which I have been a participant. A notable instance was the testimony of the former Attorney General of the United States, Ramsay Clark, in a trial in Beatty, Nevada, in which I was a defendant for obstructing the entrance to the Nuclear Test Site. Speaking to the same issue I have addressed here, the actual causal effects of civil disobedience as shown by past experience, he testified on its effects on policymaking during his own time in office.
  20. Clark told the judge that in March of 1965, 1% of blacks in the state of Alabama were registered to vote. That was the month in which blacks held a march from Selma to Montgomery, in which hundreds of participants were arrested and Violet Liuzzo was killed. Clark, as Attorney General, was ordered to go to Selma to take charge of the National Guard, called out to protect a later march in which Martin Luther King participated. By the end of that later march, he said 2% of blacks were registered “not very many, but a 100% increase in the course of the month.”
  21. Testifying under oath as an expert witness, the former Attorney General stated: “Without the marches” which, in Alabama at that time, were treated as civil disobedience “the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would never have passed.”
  22. In my understanding as both a student of and participant in such campaigns, in none of these cases is the public movement, and specifically the tactic of civil disobedience, properly to be seen as an “alternative” to, or a substitute for, the more traditional and unarguably legal processes of our political system: but as a sometimes necessary complement to such processes, stimulating and reinforcing them in a way that is not infrequently essential to achieving urgent, legitimate public ends.
  23. In my own experience, participants in civil disobedience virtually never conceive of these particular actions as the sole effective means, by themselves, of averting specific harms, or as sufficient in themselves to do so. The issue, from the perspective of these actors, is not whether other approaches, unchallengeably legal, exist to further their aims, but whether these unquestionably necessary approaches, by themselves and excluding dramatic campaigns of civil disobedience, are adequately effective, whether they can “work” or work in time to avoid great harm without the historically proven catalyst of committed, conscientious, risk taking exemplary action.
  24. These considerations bear on two other elements of the necessity defense, the “lack of legal alternatives” and the “imminence” of the harms to be averted. Again, I speak from my own experience, but not only mine, in saying that it is the perceived insufficiency of other means, by themselves not their unavailability or irrelevance that impels one to add, in some circumstances, tactics that risk arrest to a program of social action. And the urgency of such means reflects the prolonged time required to mobilize political efforts perhaps measured in months or years to avert deaths and injuries that will not be averted at all without campaigns that include these dramatic elements.

I swear the above is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

[See accuracy.org news release “Ellsberg: Plowshares Action Justified to Prevent Omnicide” on this issue.]

A Long List of Democratic Candidates Requires a Large Catalog of Their Funders

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By Sam Haut

As the first debates for the Democratic primary begin, and the list of candidates has grown to 24, it can be difficult to contextualize where each candidate has received funding from over the course of their time in office. What follows is a list of the Democratic candidates and the top sources for how much money they’ve made and where those top sources come from. Candidates with the highest polling numbers are at the very top. The data was compiled using information from Open Secrets, Follow the Money, and the FEC website.

 

For the most part, someone like Biden, who is currently polling at the top of primary, has raised the most money, followed by Sanders who usually polls second, having raised the second most over his career. While Biden is at the top, the money he has raised gets a little muddled when it comes to the 2008 and 2012 elections. While figures from his time in the Senate are simple to quantify, when running with Obama his figures were conflated with the Obama Victory Fund, which existed to elect and then re-elect Obama and Biden in 2008 and 2012. The biggest donations for most candidates came from unitemized donations or uncoded ones. Usually following that were large donations from a category of donors called Lawyers and Lobbyists. Several times the law firms that donated the most to several candidates were places that had a connection to said candidates, whether they had worked there in the past (Gillibrand and Klobuchar), had spoken at a fundraiser (Booker), or were a firm with some kind of connections to the candidate (Buttigeig and Harris).

 

  • Joe Biden

There are several different numbers for Biden: one of his biggest is from while he was a candidate from 1989-2010, with MBNA Corp (bank holding company owned by Lloyds Banking Group) donating $212,575, while the second biggest came from Pachulski, Stang et al  $208,425. It’s worth noting that not only has this law firm donated to a plethora of other democratic candidates like Klobachur, Booker and Harris, they have also given to many Republicans like Cruz, Rubio and Graham. Despite their variety of donors, while Biden was running in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008, he received the most money from the firm out of anybody. While he was a candidate in the 2008 Dem. primary the largest amount was from Young, Conaway et al (a law firm) donating $54,720, who donated even more, $176,561, while he was running for the Senate. Biden also received large amounts from the Law Offices of Peter G Angelos (a law firm based in Baltimore, Maryland) donating $54,600, which is also eclipsed by the amount they gave in the years prior, $142,200. When he was a possible candidate in the 2016 election the PAC Draft Biden 2016 listed a bunch of donors, and of the ones that are publicly available, the biggest donor was from Law Offices of Peter G Angelos, that same office mentioned before, who have donated to many Democrats running for office, and will pop up again later down the list, donating $272,000. Interestingly enough Biden also received a sizable amount from the Rollins Foundation, $100,000, the philanthropy arm of the Rollins family, who you may know as the parent company of Orkin, the pest control company. Along with those donations, there are the much larger numbers for Biden during his re-election with Obama in 2012 which, as might expected of a presidential campaign, has extremely large donations for Uncoded, which accounted for $298,454,710, followed by Unitemized totaling $292,849,728. These are followed by the slightly lower haul from the Joint Campaign Committee, in this case being from the Obama victory fund in 2012, which received a total of $140,653,739. There were also sizable donations from the more concrete categories of Lawyer and Lobbyist, which gave $18,057,945, and the Education category, which gave $11,076,008. Also worth noting is that Biden’s 2008 campaign was subjected to an audit for several errors in recording the money it received, resulting in several fines. All told, from 1975 to the end of Biden’s failed 2008 presidential bid, the former vice-president raised a total of $18,907,687 through the Citizens for Biden campaign committee, which will be what Biden is going to use for his 2020 run.

 

  • Bernie Sanders

Sanders received a wide variety of donations from a variety of specific sources. These donations, like from Alphabet Inc. totaling $399,941, aren’t from Google but from people who have listed the organization the work for as Alphabet Inc. The same holds true for the $358,993 from those working for the University of California and the $176,258 from Microsoft corp. Worker for the U.S. Postal service donated $151,918 along with money from Apple Inc. for $142,938. All of these specific donors pale in comparison to the donations he get from both Unitemized donations, $196,058,619, and Uncoded donations for $86,345,206, with the majority of those donations being from Sander’s failed 2016 bid. The Bernie Sanders Campaign Committee, the committee that funded Sanders during the 2016 primary and will be helping fund his 2020 campaign, contributed significantly less at $4,000,000. Rounding out some of the categories for Sanders are from Education, which donated $1,980,240 and Computer Equipment & Services, for $1,227,391. Sanders often refrains from receiving PAC money, and the numbers for the most part show that. The most money he’s gotten is from the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail & Transportation Union, $95,100 in total over the course of several campaigns.

 

  • Elizabeth Warren

Warren has gotten large donors from a few ideological organizations like EMILY’s List, a pro-choice PAC that tries to elect female candidates, at $635,027 ($5,000 of which was listed as PAC money), and from Moveon, a group advocating progressive policies and liberal candidates, that gave $475,428 ($328,977 of which was listed as PAC money). Besides ideological groups, Warren has also gotten donations from Harvard University equaling $460,786, as might be expected considering Warren taught at Harvard law school from 1992 until she was elected to the Senate in 2012. However, Harvard wasn’t the only college Warren received donations from as those who work for the University of California gave $187,506 along with people from MIT donating $160,700. Like Sanders before and many of the candidates after, the donations listed as Unitemized and Uncoded made up a much greater share of Warrens contributions, $42,281,432, and $28,765,238 respectively. There are also several different committees that Warren has which have contributed to her campaigning. There’s the Elizabeth Warren Campaign Committee which is what she is using for her current 2020 bid, which has raised $10,415,000. There’s the Elizabeth Warren Action Fund, used for raising money for her 2018 Senate re-election that raised $3,686,270 and there’s also the Cantwell-Warren Washington Victory Fund, a joint fundraiser between Senators Elizabeth Warren and Maria Cantwell, which was closed at the beginning April 2018, that contributed the much lower sum of $138,741.

  • Kamala Harris

For Harris’s biggest specific donors, the data comes from her 2016 Senate race with Time Warner donating $127,725, while the second biggest donor was from 21st Century Fox that donated $89,325. Interestingly there’s Harris’s third largest donor, a company called Venable LLP. While many probably haven’t heard of them, it’s likely that Harris has, as they are a law firm that has Harris’s husband, Douglas Emhoff, as their west coast managing director. They have given $86,575 to Harris’s 2016 campaign. The fourth biggest came from a company called Creative Artists Agency, donating $85,683, that also have connections to Harris. While they are a talent and sports agency based in Los Angeles, they have had Harris speak for a take action day they hosted in 2017. As with all the candidates, while they may have donations from several specific sources, the money they’ve gotten from the less specific sources are where a majority of their funding comes from. For broader donations the biggest is from Uncoded donations that gave $18,820,290, followed by Unitemized donations that donated $7,647,851, followed by Lawyers and Lobbyists that gave $4,116,596. While the last three categories are ones the majority of candidates have in their top three, the next one is unique to Harris, with the TV/Movie Production/Distribution category, with several Creative Artists Agency members present, donating $1,159,482 and ending with the rare, but not unique, category of General Trade Unions (several from California, the biggest from the United Long Term Care Workers Local 6434 and Northern California Carpenters Regional Council that each donated $53,000) that gave $971,178.

 

  • Pete Buttigieg

The data for Buttigieg mostly comes from either the current 2020 race or a race he lost in 2010 for Indiana’s treasurer. Buttigieg is unique in that he is the only one with a single person, Indiana philanthropist Ann Stacks donating $19,000, as his biggest specific sources of revenue. While Stacks donated both in 2010 and for the 2020 campaign, the rest of the more specific donors are from 2020 with venture capital firm Wicklow Capital donating $16,800, followed by a more connected donation from Barnes & Thornburg for $14,425. This law firm is based in Indiana and was provided some assistance by Buttigeig’s administration in setting up their new office building in South Bend. Another entity with some connection to Buttigieg is the multinational risk management firm Willis Towers Watson, whose managing partner co-hosted a fundraiser by Buttigeig in late April. They have donated $13,700. Less connected are donations from Alphabet Inc. for $13,675, but there are also donations from University of Notre Dame for $13,300. Notre Dame is interesting because it is the university that Buttigeig’s father taught at/worked for from 1980-2017. On the whole, he’s gotten the biggest donations from Unitemized, $4,539,381, and Uncoded donations, $2,363,081, with the third biggest going to Lawyers & Lobbyists $68,562. also has Securities and Investment donating a total of $47,310, and has General Trade Unions donating $31,880.

  • Cory Booker

Like many candidates, some of the biggest donations Booker got from specific groups were law firms, in this case Paul, Weiss et al, receiving $303,670. Though for this specific law firm Booker has some connection, having spoken at one of their past diversity networking receptions. Booker has also gotten a decent amount of money from NorPAC, a PAC working to strengthen the United States–Israel relationship, which donated $203,471, though $4,827 is listed as PAC money. Then there’s Gibbons PC, where Booker also has a connection. They are a New Jersey based law firm where Booker hosted a for fundraiser in 2015, with Gibbons donating $176,900, $10,000 of which was PAC money. Less connected to Booker but equally connected to many politicians are the law firms Sullivan & Cromwell, donating $173,060, and  Greenberg Traurig LLP, donating $113,160. Once again, broad donors lead to lots of money from Uncoded donations, $15,781,771, and Unitemized donations, $3,015,152, with the Lawyer and Lobbyist category lagging further behind at $947,149. Going even further down the list, there’s donations from  Securities and Investment, $663,350, and money from the Candidates Committee for $504,110. When looking at the committee group, most of the money, $481,669 of it, comes from the Booker Senate Victory committee from 2014, the same one he’s using to finance his 2020 campaign, but there are a few other sources of note in this category. Booker has taken money from several different Leadership PACs, like $5,000 from the LOBO PAC, a committee that donates to a variety of candidates through less direct means, and $2,000 from the Keystone America PAC, who get their money from sources like Comcast and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

 

  • Beto O’Rourke

Most likely due to being from Texas and liked by the liberal crowd, O’Rourke has a large donor group from the University of Texas, whose faculty and staff have donated a total of $509,922, while the second biggest donor is Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc. that have donated a total of $252,588. After those two come a different donor, one that no other candidate shares this high on their list, JStreetPAC. This group is the PAC arm of the group J Street, who support ending the conflict between Israel and Palestine, which isn’t inherently wrong, but gives an hint towards what O’Rourke will support. JStreetPAC has donated $193,684. Less unique are donations from the University of California, giving $168,805, and AT&T Inc. donating $137,238, which comes from a variety of employees of AT&T donating money. Of note is that $4,000 of that money is from a PAC. Large donations come again from Unitemized, $41,681,252, and Uncoded, $40,059,383, followed by the Lawyer and Lobbyist at the much lower amount of $1,473,035. Bringing up the rear is Education and Computer Equipment and Services, accounting for $645,939 and $496,700 respectivily.

 

  • Tulsi Gabbard

Many of Gabbards specific donors are a little less intuitive, with American Spraytech LLC,  that manufactures spray products like hairspray and sunblock, donating $48,399 and At Last Sportswear, designs casual wear, giving $45,200. Slightly more expected is the State of Hawaii donating $43,213, but they are followed by the less expected Star Pipe Products, that manufactur various iron-based products like pipes and joint restraints, donating $40,401 and Mosaic Media Group, a marketing and design firm, that donated $39,500. None of these companies are from Hawaii. While many of her donations total are a lot lower than those polling higher, Gabbard still gets the bulk of her donations  from Uncoded for $3,438,415 and Unitemized at $2,779,917. The Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo Campaign Committee has also provided for a great deal of her funding at $2,500,000. This campaign committee is the one Gabbard was using for re-election in Hawaii and had funds transferred to the 2020 campaign Tulsi Now. After those three, the amount for donations in other categories drops significantly, with General Trade Unions giving $240,100 and Lawyers and Lobbyists giving $175,613. While she may not have gotten as much money from unions, there are still many that have donated. There’s the National Automobile Dealers Association (a trade organization representing around 16,500 car/truck dealerships across the US) that has donated $31,000, followed by the Air Line Pilots Association that have given $30,000, the International Association of Bridge Structural Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers and the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace workers. Perhaps to give some details into the donations from the Mosaic Media Group, Cheryl Nakao-Miller has given $32,000. Nakao-Miller seems to be a producer or entertainment manager at Mosaic Media.

 

  • Kirsten Gillibrand

Reappearing on the donor are more law firms, the first one being Boies, Schiller & Flexner, one Gillibrand used to work at as a partner, that donated $819,033, followed by another law firm, Davis, Polk & Wardwell, that also Gillibrand worked at, as an associate, that donated $696,020. Popping up again is the law firm Paul, Weiss, that has given to many camapaigns like Biden and Harris, whose employees donated a total of $302,255. After the law firms is a lesser known glass company, Corning Inc, that donated $267,466 ($22,500 of which was PAC money) and a more well known company, Morgan Stanley, donating $222,070 ($23,500 of which was from PAC money). For broad donations, again there’s Uncoded at $25,532,978, though it’s instead followed by Canidate Committees donations. This is money raised from Gillibrand’s previous campaigns which have transferred $9.6 million into her 2020 bid, but in total have donated $9,881,883. Then there’s the usual suspects of Unitemized, at $9,295,914, Lawyers and Lobbyist at $3,387,916 and Securities and Investment at $1,672,108.

  • Julián Castro

While Castro doesn’t have data listed on Open Secrets from his past campaigns as mayor or HUD Secretary, it does list donations made so far in the 2020 primary. Despite having relatively smaller donations, Castro still had some connection to his biggest so far, Stris & Maher. This law firm is headquartered in Los Angeles and it also turns out their founder is the current senior external adviser to Castro. They’ve donated $27,600 this cycle, while another firm with perhaps less of a connection is MAS Law Firm that gave $19,400. Castro also got $12,271 from the University of California, like many other candidates. Those donors listed as Uncoded and Unitemized contributed $826,898 and $394,529 respectively, while Lawyers and Lobbyists only gave $39,650.

 

  • Michael Bennet

It may be a surprise, but for Bennet, his biggest donor is not a law firm or financing firm but the League of Conservation Voters, an environmental advocacy organization, donating $340,147, though $19,391 is PAC money. After that however, comes the investment firm, Oaktree Capital Management, that have given $179,050 and a law firm, Brownstein, Hyatt et al, donating $177,004, which gave $15,500 in PAC money. While they don’t seem to have a more personal connection to Bennet, their founding partner has said that a big dividing line for them when it comes to supporting a candidate is whether they support Israel, which. Just like Castro, Bennet had his biggest from Uncoded, $10,424,881, Unitemized, $3,703,022, and Lawyer and Lobbyist, $2,467,866, though the numbers were a little higher because he’s run for Senate.

 

  • Amy Klobuchar

Like Warren, Klobuchar’s top donor is EMILY’s List, that PAC helping to elect Democrats that support pro-choice, the PAC has donated $391,258, with $15,594 from PACs. And like Gillibrand, Klobuchar got donations from a law firm she used to work at, Dorsey & Whitney, for $214,960 and $27,950 of that money was from PACs and, like many other candidates, getting money from a college, in this case University of Minnesota giving $197,129. There is another firm with connections to Klobuchar, this time from Robins Kaplan LLP, that had one of their lawyers become the Minnesota attorney general after Klobachur recommended him, that donated a total of $152,341, with $27,000 being PAC money. No surprise for general donations with Uncoded and Unitemized contributions at the top with $11,049,493 and $6,857,056 respectively. Mixing it up a bit is donations from Candidate Committees, with most of the money, $4,274,651 of $4,337,151, from the Amy Klobuchar Campaign Committee, which is followed by the usual Lawyer and Lobbyist category donating $1,420,835.

 

  • John Delaney

While not associated with any law firms, Delaney makes up for that with donors from investment firms like is CapitalSource Inc, donating $140,900. This firm is particularly relevant, because it was founded by Delaney back in 2000, and while he has stepped down from the companies board, he still owns millions in their stock. A more familiar face comes from JPMorgan Chase & Co that has donated $73,300 to Delaney, while a company called Alliance Partners has donated $61,875. This company also has connections to Delany, in the form of BancAlliance, founded by Delaney, manages the assets of Alliance Partners. With the lack of law firms comes a difference in where the greatest donations comes from, with Candidate Contributions equaling $20,003,579, followed by Uncoded at $3,376,924. As Delaney received the most from investment firms, he received much from Securities and Investments at $578,251.

 

  • Andrew Yang

Because Yang has not run for office before, his list of specific donors falls short of many other experienced politicians. With this in mind, he has received the most from Google at $9,536, Medavante-Prophase at $8,100 and Microsoft Corp at $6,634. Of note is that Yang, according to his LinkedIn profile, he is the director of Prophase, which were consolidated into Medavante-Prophase.  Once again, the most donations came from Unitemized contributions at $1,434,705 and Uncoded at $324,066. Unique for Yang is getting money from Food and Beverage, giving $5,600, which is even more unique when looking at who gave donations. All of it came from someone named Chei C Yin, who is the owner of Yin’s McDonalds, though this category for Yang only has 9% of the available files so more money might appear when more files listed.

 

  • Tim Ryan

Biggest donor is Goodyear Tire & Rubber (the manufacturing company that makes car tires) that have donated a total of $94,080, with the second largest donor being from FirstEnergy Corp (an electric utility company based in Ohio) that have donated a total of $93,038, the third largest is the Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union (a union that covers much of North America with around 600,000 active/retired members) that have donated a total of $90,500, and the fourth largest donor is the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail & Transportation Union (a union that represents a variety of transportation/metal workers across North America with over 200,000 members) that have donated a total of $90,000. For broader donations the most is from Uncoded donations which accounted for $1,623,250, followed by General Trade Unions which accounted for $588,050, followed by Lawyers and Lobbyists which accounted for $364,382.

 

  • Jay Inslee

Inslee’s list of donors, compared to Hickenlooper, is uninteresting, though has more PAC money involved, with Microsoft Corp donating $440,415, though $63,500 of that is from PACs, and Amgen Inc donating $89,669, with $28,219 from PAC money. Like Hickenlooper, Inslee has Uncoded donation, at $8,409,377, followed by, not unitemized, but Party Committee, mostly from the Washington State Democratic Party, at $5,232,569 and Lawyers and Lobbyists at $2,155,969, which is then where Unitemized appears at $1,583,087.

 

  • Bill de Blasio

It doesn’t appear that De Blasio has specific donors listed on Open Secrets, though Follow the Money does. Like with Inslee, De Blasio’s donors start with Uncoded, totaling $12,254,777, and is not followed by unitemized, but instead from Public Subsidy, all of which comes from the N.Y.C. Campaign Finance Board, at $7,482,620, followed by Lawyers and Lobbyists for $868,649.

 

  • Steve Bullock

Like De Blasio, Bullock also doesn’t appear to have donors on Open Secrets but does on Follow the Money. Once again, donors have Uncoded at the top with $1,449,559 followed by Lawyers and Lobbyists at $984,154. While Bullock, unlike De Blasio, does have unitemized listed, it’s seventh down, and gets  Retired as his third largest at $440,773.

 

  • Seth Moulton

As Moulton has run for the House several times, his Open Secrets page is more complete, with his biggest donor, Democracy Engine, having donated $1,182,669 and money from Harvard University, where Moulton graduated in 2001, donating $143,608. Moulton also donations from Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate holding company, totaling $58,300, $12,000 being PAC money. Moulton, like most, got the most donations from Uncoded with $3,914,979, though unlike most had large contributions from Computer Equipment and Services for $1,396,272 and the Liberal Policy Organization, which includes various organizations like ActBlue and Democrats Reshaping America, accounting for $1,191,676.

 

  • Marianne Williamson

Williamson, as a newcomer to politics, only has money listed from her current 2020 bid, which for specific donors is quite low, getting  $8,100 from Evolving Wisdom and $7,005 from Global Green USA. The former has Williamson listed as a faculty member for their e-learning classes while the latter had Williamson on their board of directors from 2010 to 2012. Returning to form, the two biggest donors are Unitemized at $1,434,793, and Uncoded at $1,320,477. While the lawyer and lobbyist category is high up on Williamson’s list,  Candidate Contributions comes in third with $450,121.

 

  • Wayne Messam

Compared to all other candidates, Messam seems to have raised the least for this campaign, pulling in $43,532. His list of donors is only four categories long, with Uncoded at the top with $29,960, followed by Unitemized at $11,572. Bringing up the rear is Lawyers and Lobbyists with $1,500 and Miscellaneous Services at $500. 

Biggest donor is Uncoded donations that have donated a total of $3,389,828, while the second largest donations comes from Unitemized contributions that have donated a total of $519,851, with the third largest donations coming from lawyers and lobbyists that have donated a total of $420,617, and the fourth largest donations come from General Trade Unions (variety of different unions from International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to Communications Workers of America) that have donated a total of $291,835.

For Gravel, while Open Secrets doesn’t have any data for 2020, as it doesn’t appear he has filed his reports for 2020, they do list donors for his failed 2008 Democratic primary bid. And while the numbers are low, Gravel did get $2,550 from Floor Surplus and $2,300 from a bunch of different companies like New Perspectives Quarterly, Exxon Mobil, Phyllis Morris and Decision Capital. Gravel was also a senator for Alaska from 1969 to 1981, though the FEC website only lists data from 1975 to 1980, where he raised a total of $918,679.

Looking at the numbers for the 2020 race, Hickenlooper has gotten $41,000 from Liberty Media Group, with some personal connections as well. They are a  communications company that owns Sirius XM radio and Formula 1 and also has Hickenlooper’s wife, Robin Hickenlooper, as their senior vice president of corporate development. Continuing the connected donations trend is the $22,400 Hickenlooper has gotten from the Foundry Group. In this case, the venture capital firm based in Colorado has an executive director, Brad Feld, who is friends with Hickenlooper. Somewhat less connected is the law firm Brownstein, Hyatt Farber Schreck, founded in Colorado and giving $17,050. They have donated to Hickenlooper’s PAC and have been honored by the governor for their 50th anniversary. Hickenlooper has donations from Uncoded, totaling $4,464,512, and from Lawyers and Lobbyists at $1,109,003.

Legend for certain classifications of donors:

Unitemized donations- donations that are below a certain dollar threshold and thus don’t have their personal details recorded

Uncoded donations- a group of donations that don’t have a unifying job that allows them to be placed in one of the other categories 

Lawyers and Lobbyists – a category of donors that have jobs that are something along the lines of a lawyer/attorney/lobbyist/consultant/CEO/policy adviser

Candidate contributions- this donation category that comes from money given personally by a candidate to their campaign

Securities and Investment- Category for people who have jobs relating to finance/insurance/real estate

Computer Equipment and Services- Category of donors who work in various IT and engineering positions for a variety of tech companies

General Trade Unions- Category for donations from those representing a variety of different unions across the country for steel workers or teachers or airline workers

Retired- This category includes government employees and educators, as well as clergy, military, and those listed as retired

Candidate Committee- Donations from this category are filed under those received from a specific committee associated with each candidate

Education- Collection of donors who work for various colleges and universities as staff or faculty members

TV and Movie Production/Distribution- These are donors who work for various entertainment studios like Lionsgate or Disney

Public Subsidy- These donations are from public government sources

NATO and US Foreign Policy: Dangers Ahead

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RootsAction.org held a news conference Thursday on “NATO and U.S. Foreign Policy: Dangers Ahead” hosted by the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Speakers:
Matthew Hoh: Former State Department official, diplomat in Afghanistan and U.S. Marines company commander in Iraq
Ann Wright: Retired U.S. Army Colonel and diplomat who served at the NATO subcommand Allied Forces Central Europe
Martin Fleck: Physicians for Social Responsibility

The event was moderated by Norman Solomon.

Media Advisory: “NATO and U.S. Foreign Policy: Dangers Ahead”

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Media Advisory

“NATO and U.S. Foreign Policy: Dangers Ahead”

WHAT:  News Conference at the National Press Club

WHEN:  10 a.m. Tuesday, April 2, 2019

WHERE:  National Press Club, Zenger Room, 529 14th St. NW, 13th floor, Washington

On the same day that President Trump is scheduled to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House, this news conference will focus on the U.S.-NATO relationship.

SPEAKERS:

*  Matthew Hoh — former State Department official, diplomat in Afghanistan and U.S. Marines company commander in Iraq

*  Ann Wright — retired U.S. Army Colonel and diplomat who served at the NATO subcommand Allied Forces Central Europe

*  Martin Fleck — Physicians for Social Responsibility

News conference sponsored by Action for a Progressive Future / RootsAction.org and hosted by the Institute for Public Accuracy

For further information:

solomonprogressive at gmail.com

_______________________

Matthew Hoh: As a State Department official, Hoh resigned in protest of U.S. escalation of the war in Afghanistan in 2009. He previously took part in the American occupation of Iraq on assignment with the State Department and as a Marine Corps company commander. He has been a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy since 2010.

Ann Wright: Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel. She was on the small team that reopened the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in December 2001. Previously, she served at the NATO subcommand Allied Forces Central Europe, the U.S. Southern Command and the Office of International Security Affairs of the Secretary of Defense. She also was a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and served in U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. She resigned from the U.S. government in March 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war.

Martin Fleck: On the staff of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Fleck is Director of the Nuclear Weapons Abolition Program. He has been working to promote nuclear disarmament for 35 years. Fleck’s recent work for PSR has included organizing delegations to promote the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations.

Statement by Floyd Abrams in response to Attorney General nominee William Barr’s remarks on the First Amendment

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“It’s one thing to say that there could be circumstances in which a journalist’s need to protect her sources could lead to a potential finding of contempt of court if she refused to obey a court order requiring such disclosure. But the notion that a journalist could properly be jailed for publishing material that the government thinks could ‘hurt the country’ is something else entirely and would be deeply threatening to First Amendment norms in general and journalistic freedom in particular.”
FLOYD ABRAMS, author, The Soul of the First Amendment

Statement on NAFTA’s “Kafkaesque” Turn

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Associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Manuel Pérez-Rocha wrote the articles, “NAFTA Pushes Many Mexicans to Migrate,” and “NAFTA’s 20 Years of Unfulfilled Promises: The trade deal has become an engine of poverty in Mexico.” 

The supposedly concluded renegotiation of NAFTA has reached a Kafkaesque stage. As the United States Trade Representative has stated: “The United States and Mexico have reached a preliminary agreement in principle, subject to finalization and implementation.”

Not only the negotiations have not been finalized, and without Canada, but the texts remain hidden from the public.

However, it is not surprising that the governments have conducted the negotiations in complete secrecy from the very beginning of Trump’s imposition to renegotiate NAFTA.

What is unconceivable is the blind support of Mexico’s newly elected government, not only to the current Mexican government’s negotiating position, but the whole process. AMLO’s [President Elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador] office came out immediately, yesterday, to support the “understanding between Mexico and the United States in the renegotiation of the Free Trade Agreement.” It declared that “it reflects the main concerns raised by the president-elect’s team. Especially, those related to the Mexican energy sector; the labor and salary conditions of our workers and the maintenance of trilateral spaces for the settlement of disputes, as well as the medium-term certainty of the Treaty itself.”

Unfortunately, the public doesn’t have an idea of what the exact decisions on energy are, labor organizations have been kept completely aside from the negotiations and in terms of the settlement of disputes these mechanisms will only handcuff AMLO’s government when it starts office on Dec. 1.

With respect to Chapter 11 of NAFTA and the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms that give supranational rights to transnational corporations, and rights to avoid the host country courts, it is paradoxical that the Mexican government is the one that wants to keep it. Mexico is the fifth country most sued under these investor-friendly rules and has had to pay more than $200 million in “compensation” for profits lost over governmental decisions in favor of the public interest and the environment. Moreover, under pending suits under NAFTA and other investment treaties (notably with European countries) it may be already liable to pay billions of dollars to transnational companies.

The newly elected government of Mexico must ensure that preeminence is given to human and environmental rights of Mexican communities instead of yielding to investors’ demands. The renegotiation of NAFTA in the present terms and process is incompatible with AMLO’s new project for the nation.

What’s the Cost of Medicare for All?

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Even a Koch-backed think tank finds Medicare for all would cut health care spending. In a report released by the Mercatus Center, a single-payer health care system would offset costs with even greater savings.

The Intercept and other media reporting on this are citing the work of Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler. They are distinguished professors of health policy at the City University of New York at Hunter College and lecturers in medicine at Harvard Medical School. They have written an analysis of the work of the Koch-backed think tank, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, which is shown below.

PDF of the report

Comments_on_Blahous_analysis_of_Sanders__Bill__1_.doc

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