By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit. Few people outside of single payer activist circles are aware that Senator Sanders introduced an amendment on the Senate floor in December 2009 that would have replaced the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a single payer health system. It was the first time in the history of the United States that single payer legislation was brought to the floor for a vote. Sadly, it was a Republican doctor who killed the amendment. This happened during the height of the health reform process in the Senate; the House had already passed its version of the legislation. It was the result of a year of pressure to include a single payer health system, National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA), in the health reform debate, grassroots pressure that included nonviolent direct action.
By Craig Murray for Information Clearinghouse. In his final press conference, beginning around 8 minutes 30 seconds in, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material. This undermines the stream of completely evidence-free nonsense that has been emerging from the US intelligence services this last two months, in which a series of suppositions have been strung together to make unfounded assertions that have been repeated again and again in the mainstream media. Most crucially of all Obama refers to “The DNC emails that were leaked”. Note “leaked” and not “hacked”. I have been repeating that this was a leak, not a hack, until I am blue in the face. William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, has asserted that were it a hack the NSA would be able to give the precise details down to the second it occurred.
By Micah Zenko for Reader Supported News. As President Obama enters the final weeks of his presidency, there will be ample assessments of his foreign military approach, which has focused on reducing U.S. ground combat troops (with the notable exception of the Afghanistan surge), supporting local security partners, and authorizing the expansive use of air power. Whether this strategy “works”—i.e. reduces the threat posed by extremists operating from those countries and improves overall security and governance on the ground—is highly contested. Yet, for better or worse, these are the central tenants of the Obama doctrine. In President Obama’s last year in office, the United States dropped 26,171 bombs in seven countries.
By Arnie Saiki for Imipono. As we move out of 2016, let us at least acknowledge that we have become estranged from the roots of democracy. Perhaps 2017 will reveal that our participation in social media and our willingness to provide streams of data driven information to the corporate plutocracy inhabits a different space in the world with people who are on the outside. Even if social media has been a tremendous tool for digging deeper and casting wider nets, it is not a replacement for our democratic institutions or practices. For as long as the U.S has capitalized from being an anti-communist, then unipolar hegemon, we’ve never been able to really live up to the fulfillment of equitable and democratic institutions. Now, much of the world seems to be moving in that direction, whereas the largest of the advanced economies seem to be moving in the opposite: towards greater nationalism, xenophobia and isolationism. How we reflect upon 2016 and what we carry into 2017 can make all the difference in the world.
By Kevin Thomas for DC Media Group. Washington, DC – Undocumented immigrants and their allies traveled this week from Trump Tower in New York City to the White House in Washington, DC, as part of a movement called “Caravan of Courage” to demand action from President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump. The Dream Action Coalition, a New York-based advocacy group, organized the march in the wake of Trump’s election and as Obama’s presidency, which has seen a record number of deportations, enters its final weeks. On their trip from Trump Tower to the White House, the group made stops along the route to support other activists, including organizers against a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Philadelphia.
By Staff of Telegraph Video, and AP – Greek riot police used tear gas and stun grenades in central Athens on Tuesday to disperse about 3,000 Left-wing marchers protesting a visit by President Barack Obama, after they tried to enter an area declared off-limits to demonstrators. No injuries or arrests were reported. The violence broke out as youths in motorcycle helmets and gas masks, armed with wooden clubs and petrol bombs, tried to break a police cordon in front of a barrier formed by police buses.
By Flush the TPP. We have been fighting the TPP for the past 5 years. The work of activists across the country and in solidarity with activists around the world succeeded in pushing the TPP fight into an election year and making it politically toxic. We were told two years ago that voters didn’t care about trade, yet it was the TPP that played a critical role in the Democrat’s loss in the elections. Voters supported Trump to protest the Democrat’s support for the TPP and failure to address the needs of working people and the poor. Now we are in the battle of the year: President Obama says that he will do all that he can to ratify the TPP before he leaves office. Trump opposes the TPP. Members of Congress who have lost their seats or are retiring are not accountable to voters. We can stop the TPP if we take action now to prevent its ratification in the lame duck session of Congress!
By Staff for RT America. Washington, DC – The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may not be dead in the water, but it’s struggling to stay afloat now that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has said he’s not willing to serve as its lifeguard. McConnell said he will not bring the TPP up for a vote in the Senate this year. “The current agreement, the Trans-Pacific [Partnership], which has some serious flaws, will not be acted upon this year,”McConnell said at the Kentucky State Farm Bureau breakfast on Thursday, The Hill reported. The Obama administration’s signature trade deal to establish regulations between a dozen countries in the Pacific Basin has been largely negotiated in secret. Its opponents say these regulations would undermine jobs in the US and work to the benefit of corporations rather than the 12 nations’ workers.
By Meagan Day for Timeline. Throughout his tenure, President Obama’s hesitation to use his executive pardon power has left critics scratching their heads. He granted zero clemencies during the first two years of his first term — except for Thanksgiving turkeys, of course — and the numbers have been in the low double digits every year since. But recently Obama picked up the pace, commuting the sentences of 214 federal inmates. All of them were non-violent drug offenders, sending a clear message to the legislative branch. But Obama has released for fewer prisoners than many presidents, including Richard Nixon. Even if Obama grants a slew of commutations here at the end of his presidency, it will hardly make a dent in the number of inmates that have been stuffed into federal prison since the beginning of the tough-on-crime era.
By Adam Behsudi for Politico. Washington, DC – The White House put Congress on notice Friday morning that it will be sending lawmakers a bill to implement President Barack Obama’s landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement — a move intended to infuse new energy into efforts to ratify the flat-lining trade pact. The move establishes a 30-day minimum before the administration can present the legislation, but the White House is unlikely to do so amid the heated rhetoric of a presidential campaign in which both major party nominees have depicted free trade deals as massive job killers. Friday’s notification is the clearest signal yet that the White House is serious about getting Obama’s legacy trade deal — the biggest in U.S. history — passed by the end of the year, as he has vowed to do despite the misgivings of Republican leaders and the outright opposition of a majority of Democrats in Congress.
By Michael Hudson for Counterpunch. Leading up to Monday’s Democratic Party convention, Hillary chose Blue Dog Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia as her VP. This was followed by the Wikileaks release of Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mail files showing it acting as the Clinton Campaign Committee even to the point of using the same lawyers as her own campaign to oppose Bernie Sanders. The response across the Democratic neocon spectrum, from Anne Applebaum at the Washington Post to red-baiting Paul Krugman and the Sunday talk shows it was suggested that behind the Wikileaks to release DNC e-mails was a Russian plot to help elect Trump as their agent. Former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul lent his tattered reputation to claim that Putin must have sponsored the hackers who exposed the DNC dirty tricks against Bernie.
By Friends of the Earth. Washington, DC – This week, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed a bill that would require lease sales for offshore oil and gas drilling to be held online rather than in person. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has already moved to shift an onshore public lands auction – originally planned to take place in Washington, DC in September – to be held online. This shift is clearly a response to the mounting pressure from more than a thousand local citizens and activists, who have protested these auctions in communities across the country as part of the “Keep It in the Ground” movement calling on President Obama to define his climate legacy by stopping new fossil fuel leases on public lands and oceans. Moving the auctions online serves one purpose: to make it easier for the fossil fuel industry to take control of our public lands, shielded from public scrutiny and input.
By Flush the TPP. Open government groups and others have been calling for the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) to be more transparent about the agreements that it negotiates on behalf of all of us. That seems reasonable, doesn’t it? Apparently not. The administration’s response to requests for transparency have been to obfuscate. When asked to create a Transparency Officer, the USTR chose its legal counsel, Timothy Reif, the person in charge of defending its secrecy. Members of Congress say that Reif seemed to interpret his new responsibilities as finding ways to avoid being transparent. Last week, in response to a request from last July for Clinton’s emails about the TPP negotiations, the State Department suddenly decided that it would not cooperate with the request until after the November election. Hmmmmm……. what are they hiding?
By Vicki Needham for The Hill. It is remarkable to see the blatant misinformation put forth by President Obama as he sees the time clock ticking on his final term in office and the lack of Congressional support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Over the years, we’ve worked to expose the truth about the TPP when the Obama Administration lied about it. Even the Washington Post once gave the Obama Administration four “Pinocchio Noses” for his claim about the TPP creating jobs. But we have not seen so many lies in one speech. Despite the recent US International Trade Commission’s economic impact statement, which showed that the TPP would bring a tiny 0.2% increase to the GDP by 2032, increase the trade deficit by $22 billion and harm 16 out of 25 industrial sectors, the Obama Administration continues to claim that the TPP will benefit the economy.
By Kevin Gosztola for Shadow Proof. On May 5, I interviewed The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill about the new book released this week, “The Assassination Complex.” It has a foreword from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and an afterword by The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald. The book collects the organization’s journalistic work based on the “Drone Papers,” which were provided to the media organization by a whistleblower, who disclosed top secret documents on the government’s expansion of assassination policy in warfare on, and away from, declared battlefields. Scahill spoke with me for a little over 40 minutes. It was part of a series of web-based book events, which Shadowproof has planned for this spring. (We plan to have another series in the summer.) Below is a transcript of the interview, and the full interview can be watched by clicking on the below player.