On Friday, February 11th antiwar groups United Against War and Militarism, Veterans for Peace, and Massachusetts Peace Action protested at Elizabeth Warren’s office in Boston to demand that she invoke a War Powers Resolution to end US involvement in the nearly 7 year-long proxy war in Yemen. While Warren has expressed nominal opposition to US involvement and voted for a War Powers Resolution while Trump was in office, she has refused to take any concrete action since Biden was elected. All the while, the US and regional and global powers continue to treat Yemen as a battleground in which to contend for power, profits, and influence. During the Trump administration, some Congressional representatives put forward legislation to block US arm sales to Saudi Arabia and to invoke the War Powers Act, both of which were vetoed by Trump.
On Saturday, Warren and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) responded with a letter essentially telling Obama to put up or shut up. If the deal is so great, Warren and Brown wrote, the administration should make the full negotiation texts public before Congress votes on a "fast track" bill that would strip the legislative branch of its authority to amend it. "Members of Congress should be able to discuss the agreement with our constituents and to participate in a robust public debate, instead of being muzzled by classification rules," Warren and Brown wrote in the letter obtained by The Huffington Post. Democrats and some Republican critics have been particularly frustrated by Obama's decision to treat the TPP documents as classified information, which prevents them from responding to Obama's claims about the pact in detail.
The Massachusetts senator has come out forcefully against the misleadingly named trade deals, the TransPacific Partnership and its ugly sister, the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Mind you, these treaties are not about trade. Trade is already substantially liberalized and in keeping, only five of the 29 chapters of the TransPacific Partnership deal with tariffs. What these pacts are primarily intended to do is strengthen intellectual property laws to help US software and entertainment companies, along with Big Pharma, increase their hefty profits, and to aid multinational by permitting the greatly increased use of secret, conflict-ridden arbitration panels that allow foreign investors to sue governments over laws that they contend reduced potential future profits. I am not making that up.
Citigroup is a very large bank that has amassed a huge amount of political power. Its current and former executives consistently push laws and regulations in the direction of allowing Citi and other megabanks to take on more risk, particularly in the form of complex highly leveraged bets. Taking these risks allows the executives and traders to get a lot of upside compensation in the form of bonuses when things go well – while the downside losses, when they materialize, become the taxpayer’s problem. On Wednesday, a provision — drafted by Citigroup — to repeal part of the Dodd-Frank financial reforms (Section 716) was added by House Republicans to their spending bill. On Thursday, Citigroup led the charge to persuade enough Democrats to vote for that bill. The repeal of Section 716 stayed in the spending bill only because Wall Street brought so much pressure and influence to bear.
Bernie Sanders ends his recent column "Let's Stand Together" with this piece of advice: "Let's not be fooled." Quite right. Let's not be fooled by any politician appealing to high ideals when they are in the business of war and empire. Sanders not only defends military contracts that benefit his constituents in Vermont, he also joined the 100 to 0 vote in the Senate to give unalloyed moral and political support to the state of Israel during its most recent bombing campaign against Gaza. . . Sanders is the lone avowed socialist in Congress, though in official partisan terms he was elected as an independent. This has two practical consequences, neither good. In Congress, Sanders caucuses with the other career Democrats. And Sanders does nothing to build the base of any independent party of anti-corporate resistance. Thus any challenge he might raise against Hillary for the presidential nomination amounts, first and foremost, to a vanity campaign.