- To hold the Obama administration accountable on critical issues/ campaign promises
- To engage local groups in advancing their work on the selected issues
- To actively engage citizens in issues that effect their families and/or their community
- To aid in the strengthening of a progressive agenda and the overall movement
- Education Initiative of Obama's admin:
- Increase spending on charter schools
- Mayoral control of schools
- Merit Pay/TAP
- Alternative certifications, Teach For America
- "Race to the Top" initiitives
- Testing and Standardization
- Accountability systems (data tracking)
- Transition GED students to community colleges and provide specific job training.
Andy, Peace Economy Project
Overall worst sign:
Defense spending still increasing by 21 billion under Obama, but could have been over $50 (Obama said no to many requests).
Obama's new plan alleviates need for Stop Loss, but not perfectly (since we're still committed abroad).
Accelerating orders of F35...buying something before we know how its going to work. But this gave him an excuse to cancel F22, one of the most wasteful projects ever (built to fight a non-existant enemy).
Reduction of contractors, cutting to 26% from 35%
Wrapping up production of C17
One of the most positive: radical changes to weapons procurement projects. 70% of such projects are currently over budget.
Mixed bag in general. Military spending can be streamline (hawks and peaceniks can agree on this).
400 bases abroad (more than one per country.
Bill Ramsey asks if Gates' cuts are even possible. If Congress provides the money then Gates might not have any control. Also, we should look at the role of contractors rather than just raw percentage: food service and custodial can be given to local contractors, but security jobs should not be handled by contractors (like Blackwater).
Michael McPhearson, Veterans for Peace
Both Iraq and Afganistan border Iran
Obama states that the mission has fundamentally changed starting in August 31, 2010. But there will be combat troops in Iraq to train and to provide security.
Says their goals are to (1) get rid of al Qeada, (2) prevent Iran from acquiring nukes, (3) create long-lasting peace between Israel and Arab nations
Grades: C Do believe he intends to leave Iraq, but timetable is way too long (and if certain things happen we won't leave).
Goals are much more attainable than Bush's, but not necessarily attainable. Focus on al Qaeda with blinders could be a problem, lead to destabilization of Pakistan.
Bush didn't rely at all on non-military power; Obama does.
Continues to rely on drones. Drones kill a lot of civilians. Afghanistan asked them to stop.
Check out rethinkafganistan.com for more information.
Give People something to do.
Lori Reed, American Friends Service Committee
$171,700,000,000 is the current cost of war in Afganistan.
Could put 388,240 MO kids in Head Start
or provide 47,279 with health care coverage
People are not stupid. They know reasons why U.S. is in Afganistan.
Rand Corporation estimates liklihood of U.S. victory at 7 % .
Life expectancy there is 44 years.
Biggest recipients of U.S Weapons.
Not exactly models of stability.
G20 gives 1 trillion to International Monetary Fund. Need to get rid of forced privatization, limiting government spending on infrastructure, reducing government work force.
Developing nations must be allowed to use fiscal stimulus, just like rich nations
Assistance to low-income nations should be provided in the form of grants rather than loans.
"Anti-poor" conditions must be dropped.
What you can do:
- Join something
- Write a letter to the editor
- Sign the countdown petition
Hedy Epstein says, "those don't work. Only thing that will work is getting millions of people in the street."
Mike Berger: given that our worst nightmare is al Qeada taking over Pakistan with their nuclear weapons, how can any rational military planner continue to use drone attacks (which are angering the Pakistani population)?