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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What Created the Populist Explosion and How Democrats Can Avoid the Shrapnel in November

By Drew Westen, neuroscientist, author and Emory University Professor
Huffington Post
Posted: August 31, 2010 08:29 AM

To say that the American people are angry is an understatement. The political brain of Americans today reflects a volatile mixture of fear and fury, and when you mix those together, you get an explosion. The only question at this point is how to mitigate the damage when the bomb detonates in November.

The bad news is that it's too late for Democrats to do what would have been both good policy and good politics (and what the House actually did do), namely to pass a major jobs bill when it was clear that the private sector couldn't keep Americans employed. The "Obama Doctrine" should have been that Americans who want to work and have the ability to contribute to our productivity as a nation should have the right to work, and that if the private sector can't meet the demand for jobs, we have plenty of roads and bridges to fix, new energy sources to develop and manufacture, and schools to build and renovate so our kids and workers returning for training can compete in the 21st century global economy.

From having spent much of the last four years testing messages on a range of issues, from immigration to taxes and deficits, I can say with some certainty that nothing John Boehner or Eric Cantor could say could come within 30 points of generating the enthusiasm -- particularly among swing voters -- of a message that began, "We don't have a shortage of work ethic in this country, we have a shortage of work." That message resonates across the political spectrum. And it isn't even the strongest message we've tested in the last weeks or months that beats back the toughest deficit-cutting language the other side can muster.

But it's too late for that. The administration opted for an alternative doctrine, which Larry Summers enunciated on This Week several months ago: that unemployment is going to remain high for the foreseeable future and eventually come down -- as if there's nothing we can do about it -- and that they will push here and there for small symbolic measures whose symbolism tends to escape people who are out of work. It's hard to be excited by symbolism when your children are hungry or the bank is repossessing your home -- although you didn't do anything to deserve it -- while the people who did are once again making out like bandits.

Although the situation looks bleak for Democrats in November, it ain't over 'til it's over. Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot all over the country, running Tea Party candidates who are so far to the right you can't see Middle America from their porch. And some endangered Democrats will likely see victory in November from theirs if they understand the public mood and speak to it.

What is that public mood? It can be characterized by a single phrase -- populist anger -- and it cuts across partisan lines. On the right, it is alloyed with racial anxiety and prejudice. On the left, it is alloyed with tremendous disappointment at what could have been if we had the kind of bold leadership for which times like these cry out. And among people in the vast political center, populist anger is alloyed with anxiety and uncertainty -- about their jobs, their homes, and their children's future.  

Continue reading here to learn about where we go from here.

Countdown: More on the 'Kochtopus' from Lee Fang, Think Progress

Radical Right-Wing Agenda
by Faiz Shakir
Aug. 25, 2010

For the past two years, ThinkProgress researcher Lee Fang has been digging into the nefarious activities of the Koch family, reporting on their funding of the tea parties, the depth of their astroturfing, and their family’s record of right-wing radicalism.

Using a great deal of TP’s research, The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer published a lengthy article this week that gives the “Kochtopus” ideological network the mainstream media attention it deserves. In order to “alter the direction of America,” the oil family has been “giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups.”

“They are out to destroy progressivism,” Democratic strategist Rob Stein said of the Kochs. Appearing on MSNBC’s Countdown last night, Fang observed the long history of Kochs’ efforts to bring down the progressive movement:

Charles Koch, about 10 years ago, compared himself to the theologian Martin Luther and he said he’s bringing a right wing radical free-market reformation to this country. So, you know, like you said, Fred Koch, the father, did this to President Kennedy, funding the John Birch Society. They did it to Clinton, funding a lot of the attack groups and the rallies on Capitol Hill, smearing Hillary Clinton. They’re doing it to Barack Obama. But they’re going to keep doing it.


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And here is the rest of it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Arizona Republic: Quotes Show Jesse Kelly Is "Really Really Angry Guy"

Jim Nintzel of the Tucson Weekly shares this excerpt from an article Democrats have Republican Ben Quayle right where they want him by Arizona Republic columnist Doug MacEachern.

I met Kelly in an Editorial Board meeting. Honorable fellow: war veteran, like all the district's GOP candidates. Indeed, he was a Marine combat platoon leader, the most dangerous job on earth. He is an honest conservative. And a really, really angry guy.

When asked about priorities, he gave an answer that, while perfectly suitable for a former Marine officer, it seemed a bit over the top for a prospective member of Congress: "We've got to kill all members of radical Islam."

And, when asked if he could work with Democrats in Congress: "I hope there's no Democrats left in Congress when I get there."

Look, I like shock theater, too. And I've been known to be a bit edgy at times. But Kelly is that rare conservative who takes politics so personally that he has morphed into his worst enemy. Like far-left liberals, he doesn't believe his political opponents are merely wrong; they're evil: "I think liberals are destroying the nation. We had better go fight them in Washington before they destroy our children's future."

No wonder Giffords is smiling these days. Kelly dissed candidates endorsed by Sarah Palin as people "who will sell our principles down the river."

Click here to go to the Republic Article.

Strengthen Social Security, Don't Cut It

Simpson's 'Tits' Are the Least of It

By Robert Kuttner, Co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect
Huffington Post
Posted: August 29, 2010 04:30 PM

When you think about it, Alan ("Tits") Simpson is the ideal jester to deflect attention from the bigger joke -- the fiscal reform commission itself. The problem is less Simpson's dopey comments and more the idiocy of the rest of the commission.

Given what is happening to the real economy in the real world, the prospect of a double-dip recession and the prospect of a lost decade of high unemployment, the idea that the bigger menace is Social Security is just whacko. Let's recall that Social Security is in surplus until 2037!

Yet the idea that the road to recovery leads though cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and other social outlays that are keeping the depression from worsening, if anything, is gaining traction among opinion elites.

Exhibit A is a doubly dishonest column by the New York Times' new whiz-kid pundit, Matt Bai, who used a liberal congressman, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, as a prop to make his misleading case.

According to Bai's column, Security is like a giant lottery, based on IOU's that will require a Ponzi Scheme of further debt. Now, it turns out that Bai is not just wrong on the issues, but Blumenauer doesn't believe what Bai attributed to him. In attacking the progressive coalition Strengthen Social Security, Bai wrote:

The coalition bases its case on the idea that Social Security is actually in fine fiscal shape, since it has amassed a pile of Treasury Bills -- often referred to as i.o.u.'s -- in a dedicated trust fund. This is true enough, except that the only way for the government to actually make good on these i.o.u.'s is to issue mountains of new debt or to take the money from elsewhere in the federal budget, or perhaps impose significant tax increases... So this is sort of like saying that you're rich because your friend has promised to give you 10 million bucks just as soon as he wins the lottery.
But this is total malarkey. In fact, the 75-year projection of Social Security's finances shows that under fairly pessimistic assumptions about economic growth, the shortfall in Social Security's finances is just over half of one percent of GDP. Lift the cap on earnings subject to Social Security taxes, and the problem disappears.

Continue reading here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cherny's Vision for Economic Recovery Puts People First; Wins Historic Endorsement from former Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe

Andrei Cherny for State Treasurer
August 26, 2010

Republican Jim Kolbe will endorse and chair Cherny's campaign

PHOENIX - Former Arizona prosecutor and State Treasurer candidate Andrei Cherny today announced a historic endorsement from former U.S. Representative Jim Kolbe. Kolbe will also chair Cherny's campaign on the belief in Cherny's ideas and methods to revive the Arizona economy. The announcement was made this afternoon at Tucson's famed Hotel Congress.

Cherny is the first Democrat on a federal or statewide level that Kolbe has endorsed. In announcing his support, Kolbe spoke to Cherny's track record as a fiscal conservative. "I trust Andrei Cherny and I believe he will do a superb job as State Treasurer," Kolbe said. "Andrei has the background, knowledge and management skills to help get Arizona out of the fiscal mess we're in."

"I am enormously honored to have Congressman Kolbe's support and to have his leadership in our campaign," Cherny said. "As the former Dean of our delegation to the House, he represents the kind of leadership Arizona has been known for in years past but that is so clearly lacking today: thoughtful, dedicated, and willing to work across party lines to get things done. He has been a committed fiscal conservative and a spending hawk and that’s what I hope to bring to the Treasurer’s office."

"I’m a fiscal conservative first and a Democrat second and we need people who will put principle ahead of party," Cherny added. "I am running for Treasurer to help provide leadership that is more interested in crossing the political aisle than in crossing partisan swords."

Watch Arizona Illustrated Video from July 29, 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Goddard: Brewer's Economic Record, "Unbelievable Failure"

Terry outlines his plans for Arizona on 3TV

Friday, August 27, 2010

Brave New Films: Glenn Beck is NOT MLK Jr.

 Sign the Pledge

On August 28th, I will stand with Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a just, diverse and equal society. I do not stand with Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and their attempt to destroy and distort King’s vision.

Ed Show: Director Robert Greenwald's Film Shows Beck Is Opportunist

Cheryl Cage: Circle of Hope

NPR: The Brothers Koch: Rich, Political And Playing To Win

Jon Stewart Calls Out FOX's Beck '"I Have a Scheme"

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
I Have a Scheme
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Beck Rallies In Washington Undercut Church-State Separation, Watchdog Group Charges

Press Release
August 27, 2010
Americans United

Tonight’s event at the Kennedy Center, “Divine Destiny,” is billed by Beck as a way to “reunite” Americans, “heal your soul” and take a “look at the role faith played in the founding of America and the role it will play again in its destiny.”

Tomorrow’s rally, “Restoring Honor,” will be held near the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech. It has been advertised as a chance to honor “our heroes, our heritage and our future.”

In reality, a major goal of Beck’s rallies is to undermine the Founding Fathers’ vision of a nation where government and religion are kept separate. Beck propagates a revisionist historical perspective that says America is an officially religious state. Mainline Christians, Muslims, non-believers and other Americans who fail to meet Beck’s religious test are often maligned.

“Our nation’s destiny will be disastrous, not divine, if Glenn Beck has his way,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “The message Beck and his cronies want to send is clear: if you don’t believe in a government based on his religious vision, you should expect to be treated like a second-class citizen. Beck has made it clear that he has no respect for our Constitution’s promise of religious liberty for all.”

Over the past few months, Beck has teamed up with David Barton, a Texas-based Religious Right activist who has no credentials as a historian. Yet Barton peddles books, videos and other materials that spread his misguided belief that church-state separation was never intended by the founders.

Said AU’s Lynn, “Barton has lurked in the dark corners of the Religious Right house of horrors for years. But now he is playing on a national stage, thanks to Beck. That’s a tragedy, not a comedy.”

Barton is the founder of Wallbuilders, a Texas-based organization that exists to attack mainstream history. He served as an adviser to the Texas State Board of Education when the state’s social studies curriculum was revised to downplay Thomas Jefferson and the role of church-state separation.

Since March, Barton has appeared on Beck’s Fox program at least 15 times as part an endeavor called “Beck University.” The purpose of the “university” – which exists only in cyberspace – is to teach Americans about the true “Christian” roots of the country. (Read more in the September issue of AU’s Church & State Magazine.)

Says AU’s Lynn, “I am confident that Americans will reject the Beck-Barton message of extremism and intolerance. Our nation was built on a foundation of diversity and equality, and we must not let strident voices undercut those principles.”

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cheryl Cage Loves SO AZ

BREAKING NEWS: Billionaire enters Arizona congressional races, via New York

CONTACT: Jennifer Johnson, jjohnson@azdem.org (602) 234-6808 c: (602) 317-5307

Aug. 26, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Billionaire enters Arizona congressional races, via New York

PHOENIX -- Arizona has a brand new congressional candidate, and he’s a Republican strategist’s dream: aggressive, rich, and eager to go negative and spend whatever it takes to win in Arizona.

We’ve just discovered his campaign material and bio:

Click on image to enlarge

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Media Matters: The Goldwater Institute Funders

Founded in 1988 in the name of Sen. Barry Goldwater, the Goldwater Institute is an Arizona-based think tank that uses "research, education, and litigation" to protect and expand "economic freedom, constitutional liberty and educational opportunity."

According to the group's website, "through extensive research, the Goldwater Institute also provides analysis on transportation policy, unemployment insurance reform, and interstate commerce issues." The organization prides itself in its independence, as it "neither seeks nor accepts government funds, and no single contributor provides more than five percent of its revenue."

In line with other conservative organizations, the Goldwater Institute favors free market capitalism with little government oversight or regulation, low taxes and privitization where possible. The Goldwater Institute is also home to the Centers for Constitutional Government, Economic Prosperity and Educational Opportunity.

Here are the big funders. Click here or on image to activate clickable links.

And here is the rest of it.

The Republicans' Increasingly Awkward Dance Around the Truth

By Jared Bernstein,
Chief Economist and Economic Policy Adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden
Huffington Post
Posted: August 25, 2010 05:17 PM

Ever since the Recovery Act passed last February, Congressional Republicans who opposed this economic rescue plan have had to do an awkward dance around the truth. After all, when you declare from the beginning that the Recovery Act won't create a single job, you're going to be forced to do a little two-step around the facts as week after week leading economists, the nation's governors, and even your own constituents say otherwise.

But yesterday, when Representative Boehner declared that "all this 'stimulus' spending has gotten us nowhere" on the same day the nonpartisan CBO said the program has created or saved as many as 3.3 million jobs nationwide and his own home state's Department of Transportation said nearly 9,500 construction workers were on the job in July just on Ohio Recovery Act transportation projects alone... well, let's just say that dance got a little more... awkward.

Now, Representative Boehner was one of the first to declare the Recovery Act dead on arrival -- the day it was signed into law, he declared it would "do little to create jobs." But as soon as June 2009, as funding for Recovery Act transportation projects began to flow into Ohio, he said those dollars would be used for -- get this -- "shovel-ready projects that will create much-needed jobs."

And then when the nonpartisan CBO, Congress's top watchdog and an institution widely respected on both sides of the aisle, began weighing in on the job impact of the Recovery Act, the dance got a little more complicated. Check out these quotes from Rep Boehner, followed by the facts:

Continue reading here.

Turn Off Fox "A Propaganda Machine"

Turn Off Fox
By: James Rucker
Wednesday August 25, 2010 1:42 pm     

Have you ever looked up at the television at a local business — your gym, an auto shop, a bar or restaurant — only to find Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly shouting down at you? Often without thinking about it, many businesses and other public establishments are providing a vehicle for Fox News’ attempts to divide America. Now you can do something about it.

Today, ColorOfChange.org is launching Turn Off Fox — a massive campaign to get Fox News turned off in stores, restaurants, and other public places.

There are several ways you can get involved:

  • Join the campaign by signing our petition calling on businesses in your community and across America to turn off Fox News Channel (you’ll also get a free TurnOffFox sticker!)
  • Know of businesses or other public places that play Fox News? You can help us identify them, and if you’re willing to talk with them, we provide materials that make it easy to explain why they should change the channel.
  • If there are businesses you know that want to tell the world they would never play Fox, you can help them declare themselves a "Fox-free zone."
  • Spread the word and get your friends and family involved in the campaign.
  • Please check out TurnOffFox.org, join us, and get involved!

Get your free Turn Off Fox sticker

When you join the campaign, you’ll also have the opportunity to get a free Turn Off Fox bumper sticker — and even the shipping is free! You can get 5 stickers for a donation of $3, 20 stickers for $10, or 50 stickers for $20. Getting stickers (and sharing them with your friends) isn’t just about making a personal statement of your values. It helps to build awareness of our brand and our message, and makes it easier to educate folks about why Fox News is unparalleled in its propagation of division and bigotry.

Here’s a summary of why we are asking businesses and other public establishments to refuse to play Fox News Channel:

  • Fox News divides our country. Fox News hosts and guests regularly attempt to pit groups of people against one another – white against black, US-born against immigrant, gay against straight and men against women.
  • Some of the network’s most divisive rhetoric is spouted when the topic of race. In July 2009, Fox host Glenn Beck called President Obama a "racist" who has "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture" — a statement with which Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch has since said he agrees. 
  • Frequent Fox guest Jesse Lee Peterson has said that most black people lack moral character, and cited "what they did to the dome" after Hurricane Katrina as evidence. 
  • Recently, Fox News contributor John Stossel called for the repeal of a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prevents business owners from discriminating based on race.
  • And Fox News hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity were the first to air maliciously edited video of Shirley Sherrod’s speech to the Georgia NAACP — video that cost Sherrod her job with the USDA. The recent episode involving Sherrod has helped confirm what we have long known — that Fox is a propaganda machine with no regard for the truth.

Glenn Beck calling President Obama a "racist" was the most blatant example of Fox News leading the effort paint the President as someone who harbors and acts upon deeply held prejudice against white people. But the network consistently tries to create the impression that black political and civic leaders want to "get even" with whites by taking their wealth and giving it to blacks.

We’ve seen the hateful atmosphere that has arisen at Tea Parties because of this false narrative. As the House of Representatives deliberated over health care legislation this past spring, some Tea Party members gathered outside the Capitol shouted "Ni**er!" at black congressmen. One of the protesters spat on Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, while another called openly gay Representative Barney Frank a "faggot" as the laughing crowd imitated his lisp. The Tea Party has been uncritically promoted and embraced by Fox News since its inception.

Fox News is dangerous. The connection between the network’s inflammatory, violent rhetoric and its real world effects is clear. Two examples demonstrate this, though more exist.
Last year, abortion doctor George Tiller was gunned down in his church after being demonized for years by Fox’s Bill O’Reilly as "Tiller the Baby Killer." O’Reilly had compared Tiller to the Nazis and to Al-Qaeda. He said that Tiller had "blood on his hands" and that he wouldn’t want to be Tiller "if there is a Judgement Day."

In another example, a man armed with a rifle, a shotgun and a handgun opened fire on California Highway Patrol officers on an Oakland freeway in July of this year. After he was apprehended, police determined the shooter was on his way to the American Civil Liberties Union and Tides Foundation offices in San Francisco to kill people. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the shooter’s mother said that her son watched a lot of television news and was angry at left-wing politicians and organizations. 

While many Americans are aware of the ACLU’s work, the Tides Foundation is a little-known non-profit organization that most people had never heard of — until Fox’s Glenn Beck started demonizing and spreading false information about the organization. Since Beck’s show premiered in January of 2009, he has pushed conspiracy theories involving Tides on nearly 30 episodes. During the same time period, Tides was never mentioned on other cable or network news channels, according to a report by the watchdog group Media Matters.

  Fox News Channel isn’t really news. Real news stations don’t engage in smear campaigns founded on lies and half-truths.

Fox News insists that they’re a legitimate news network. They engage in divisive rhetoric, race-baiting and attempts at character assassinations, but they do it all under the guise of reporting the news. Often the mainstream media eventually takes the bait and runs with Fox News’ distortions and smear campaigns.

When businesses and public places play Fox News, they become a conduit for its stream of misinformation, and it contributes to the misconception that the network is a credible source for news and information.

This campaign is about organizing people to use their feet and their dollars to encourage establishments not to spread Fox ’s poison in their communities.

To learn more, and to join the campaign, please visit our website at TurnOffFox.org.

Fox and Friends Trying to Bully and Buy Their Way Back to Power

By Bill Boyarsky
Posted on Aug 23, 2010

Fox News and its boss, Roger Ailes, along with Karl Rove and unlimited corporate campaign contributions, pose an enormous threat to President Barack Obama and Democratic candidates this fall.

Although they may not be working in tandem, they pursue common goals: Republicans winning control of Congress in 2010, defeating Obama two years later and restoring conservative business-first Republican policies.

To understand Fox’s importance, think of it as a political campaign rather than a news operation.

Fox’s political role is to stir up the Republican base, which bears a demographic resemblance to the news channel’s audience—older, more conservative, whiter than the audiences of its competitors.

With a single-minded intensity, Fox frames the world through stories that will stir this base—Obama’s religion, taxes, the Obama health care law, the Iran nuclear reactor, immigrants, the economy and, over and over again, the proposed community center and mosque near the World Trade Center site. These issues are presented in news stories, commentaries and talking-head discussion shows and by star personalities such as Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck with their torrent of anti-Obama propaganda.

Leading this de facto campaign is the news channel’s president, Ailes, a veteran Republican political communicator. It’s like a daily tea party rally, hour after hour of right-wing Republicanism, only the audience is at home, in front of television screens, steaming about Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats.
But no matter how much its adherents steam, the Republican base isn’t big enough to capture the Senate and the House in November. The Republicans need independents and Democrats—and plenty of money, more than is being raised by the anemic efforts of the Republican National Committee and its chairman, Michael Steele.

That’s where Rove comes in. His efforts won’t be as visible as those of Fox News, but they are as dangerous to the Democrats.

Rove, who guided George W. Bush to the governor’s office in Texas and then the White House, is more pragmatic than the loud voices of the Republican right. The nativist far right, for example, espouses the Arizona anti-immigrant law. Rove has criticized it and favors giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Unlike the far right, Rove is looking down the road at the increasing number of Latino voters. He’ll do anything to win.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, which lifted limits for corporate political contributions, cleared the way for Rove and his colleague, former Republican National Chairman Ed Gillespie, to form American Crossroads, a national political organization aiming to raise money to finance advertising and grass-roots organizing for Republicans. The court decision allows such organizations to raise unlimited amounts of money under weak disclosure rules for donors and political organizations.

Unions can also raise unlimited contributions, but their resources don’t match those of corporate America. The Open Secrets blog of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics said American Crossroads has pledged to spend more than $50 million for Republican candidates this fall. By midsummer, American Crossroads had raised almost $4.7 million, 97 per cent of it coming from companies owned by just four billionaires.

One of them, Salon reported last month, is Southwest Louisiana Land LLC, which gave $1 million. It is owned by Harold Simmons, a Dallas investor who has contributed to such past causes as Oliver North’s defense fund, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which damaged Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, and the American Issues Project, which ran advertisements in 2008 trying to tie Obama to Bill Ayers, a co-founder of the Weather Underground Organization, an anti-Vietnam War group that claimed responsibility for a dozen bombings between 1970 and 1974.

American Crossroads has already given Republican Ron Portman $454,340 for his race for the Senate in Ohio. An American Crossroads affiliate, Crossroads GPS, has begun running ads in Colorado against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who is in a tight race.against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who is in a tight race.

Continue reading here.

Terry Talks About Why He's the Best Choice for Governor

 Jan Brewer declined to appear on the same program with Terry Goddard.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Goddard Takes Last Minute Stabs At Gov. Brewer

 By Lauren Millette   
Prescott News 
Tuesday, 24 August 2010 13:45

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has led an aggressive campaign to oust Governor Brewer out of office and take her place. Press releases attacking her on a variety of issues have been sent out weekly and sometimes daily over the past month, so today's last minute, mid-day e-mail to the media should come as no surprise to many.

'On Brewer's Watch, Arizona Loses Again' claims Arizona's children will suffer from her lack of attention to federal stimulus assistance for education improvements.

"Arizona's children have lost out again," the press release from Goddard's office states. "Arizona lost the Race to the Top, a federal stimulus grant program that made billions in grants available for states to improve their schools. Governor Brewer's education team made an exceptionally poor showing in the first round applications for Race to the Top, ranking 40th out of the 41 applications submitted.

"In this second round, when it came the time for Arizona to be considered for this critical funding, she couldn't be bothered to go to D.C. to make a case for our students," he states in the release. "Arizonans continue to send their hard earned money to Washington, D.C., and Jan Brewer should be working to get it back for our children."

He explains why he thinks this funding is necessary.

"Obtaining this funding was critical for Arizona schools because Brewer has made massive cuts totaling more than one billion dollars to the education budget since she came into office. As a result of the budgets she signed, Arizona has sunk to 49th out of 50 states in per pupil funding.

"Today's announcement highlights the failures of a governor who has no plan for educating our children. She complains - loudly and often - about so-called 'government bailouts,' but as it turns out, her only hope for our kids was a federal grant that her team couldn't win."

Gov. Brewer has been talking about improvements needed in Arizona's education system since her State of the State address and continues to consider this a key priority, she told Prescott eNews while in Prescott for the Fourth of July Parade.

She has a strategic plan to improve the state's education system but reminds voters that it takes time to implement change.

In the meantime, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate (Goddard) says he sees federal stimulus funding as key to implementing change.

Goddard's detailed plan for improving education in Arizona, Making Arizona Schools Work, calls for Arizona to move from the bottom 10 in national surveys to the top 10 by 2020. The plan emphasizes teacher training and quality, accountability, safety and an agreed-upon set of standards that emphasizes techniques that have been shown to be the most effective in engaging children to learn.

Brewer's plan calls for pretty much the same.

However, Goddard is promising he can deliver more action.

"We've heard a great deal of talk out of this governor and her surrogates, but seen zero action," Goddard said. "We must put schools and education back on the front burner, stop the complaining and make our schools work for students and their families."

Voters will determine by the Nov. 2 General Election which candidate they believe can actually get the job done, but if the primary season is any indicator, the next couple of months promise to be anything but amiable in the gubernatorial race.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Terry Goddard Calls on Brewer to Terminate Private Prison Contract

Message from Attorney General Terry Goddard
"Over the weekend, there was yet another incident in the Arizona State Prison system - a melee in the Florence facility involving 80 inmates, possibly more. At least four corrections officers were hurt."

"Governor Jan Brewer needs to take responsibility for the security meltdown in Corrections.  In just weeks, we have seen an escape from a for-profit private prison that resulted in the murder of two innocent people; another inmate simply walked away; and now, word comes that four officers have been injured. We cannot afford to see other mistakes occur in the next weeks."

"No matter how much she tries to blame others, the responsibility lies with Jan Brewer.  She signed the budget containing millions in cuts to the prison system without exploring other options.  The Department of Corrections' own report found that the Kingman facility operated by Management and Training Corporation of Utah, from where the 3 violent offenders escaped, had a security record with a "culture of indifference."
"I call on Jan Brewer to finally take action.  She should immediately terminate the contract with Management and Training Corporation of Utah and institute the changes needed to return our prison system to the high level of security the people of Arizona deserve."


Philanthropy of Greed: Covert Operations

Billionaire "Kochtopus" brothers who are waging a war against Obama, Bankrolling Tea Party

By Jane Mayer
The New Yorker via Huffington Post
Aug. 30, 2010

On May 17th, a black-tie audience at the Metropolitan Opera House applauded as a tall, jovial-looking billionaire took the stage. It was the seventieth annual spring gala of American Ballet Theatre, and David H. Koch was being celebrated for his generosity as a member of the board of trustees; he had recently donated $2.5 million toward the company’s upcoming season, and had given many millions before that. Koch received an award while flanked by two of the gala’s co-chairs, Blaine Trump, in a peach-colored gown, and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, in emerald green. Kennedy’s mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, had been a patron of the ballet and, coincidentally, the previous owner of a Fifth Avenue apartment that Koch had bought, in 1995, and then sold, eleven years later, for thirty-two million dollars, having found it too small.

The gala marked the social ascent of Koch, who, at the age of seventy, has become one of the city’s most prominent philanthropists. In 2008, he donated a hundred million dollars to modernize Lincoln Center’s New York State Theatre building, which now bears his name. He has given twenty million to the American Museum of Natural History, whose dinosaur wing is named for him. This spring, after noticing the decrepit state of the fountains outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Koch pledged at least ten million dollars for their renovation. He is a trustee of the museum, perhaps the most coveted social prize in the city, and serves on the board of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where, after he donated more than forty million dollars, an endowed chair and a research center were named for him.

One dignitary was conspicuously absent from the gala: the event’s third honorary co-chair, Michelle Obama. Her office said that a scheduling conflict had prevented her from attending. Yet had the First Lady shared the stage with Koch it might have created an awkward tableau. In Washington, Koch is best known as part of a family that has repeatedly funded stealth attacks on the federal government, and on the Obama Administration in particular.

With his brother Charles, who is seventy-four, David Koch owns virtually all of Koch Industries, a conglomerate, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The company has grown spectacularly since their father, Fred, died, in 1967, and the brothers took charge. The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch—who, years ago, bought out two other brothers—among the richest men in America. Their combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.

Read more here

Saturday, August 21, 2010

President Obama's Weekly Address: No Corporate Takeover of Our Democracy.

Hike in class size squarely in lap of Legislature

Aug. 21, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

An ugly reality confronted parents of Scottsdale and Fountain Hills students as school began:

How they vote matters.

 Classes in these districts are more crowded than anyone likes, especially parents. Kindergarten classes have as many as 27 children in Fountain Hills and 30 in Scottsdale. First-, second- and third-grade classes are larger yet. A fourth-grade class in Fountain Hills hit 34 students.

Scottsdale parents say they voted for an override last year believing it would keep elementary classes small. And they voted for Proposition 100, the temporary sales-tax increase, to save teachers' jobs.

So why, they ask, did classes get so big?

It's a good question. The answer lies at the state Capitol.

Putting it politely, the Arizona Legislature is no friend of public education. Once, there was enough support and gubernatorial leadership to fund all-day kindergarten. But supporters lost elections. When gaping budget deficits developed, those who opposed all-day kindergarten from the beginning jumped at the chance to slash the funding.

This put districts in a bind. Scottsdale and Fountain Hills, like many districts, included in their K-3 overrides a legally binding promise to maintain all-day kindergarten.

If districts have to backfill what the state has taken away, it leaves less override money to keep class sizes lower. The only silver lining is that, because Prop. 100 passed, those classes didn't get bigger yet.

Parents are quick to complain to the local superintendent or school board. Legislators escape responsibility.

This is not a rare occurrence. Lawmakers get it into their heads that schools should offer this class or attack that social ill. They mandate the action but provide no funding.

Districts have to hire administrators to implement the programs and file reports, which leads to politicians complaining that schools don't spend enough in the classroom. The charge resonates with the public, which correctly wants more money spent on teachers and less on administration.

This is all worth remembering as you cast your ballot for legislative candidates in the Aug. 24 primary and Nov. 2 general election. If education is important to you, take the time to explore the candidates' positions on the issue.

Do they value public education, or use it as a convenient whipping boy? Do they talk about letting school boards make decisions, or insist that the Legislature must impose a one-size-fits-all solution? When they talk about accountability, are they talking about measuring results or tying the hands of local education leaders?

Read more

EDUCATION: Schooling Scholars on Classroom Success

By Moshe Adler
Posted on Aug 20, 2010

These days everyone seems to think teachers need improving—even people who uncover evidence to the contrary. A group of economists from Berkeley, Harvard and Northwestern recently made headlines when they published a study that was ostensibly about the relationship between teacher quality and student success as adults. The economists made three observations. The first is that when children are assigned to kindergarten classes randomly, test scores in some classes are higher than in others. The authors argue that these differences must be due to differences in teacher performance (as well as peer effects). The second observation is that children who attend high-score kindergarten classes earn more money in their adult life. Based on these two observations, the economists conclude that we should invest in raising the quality of teachers, and The New York Times goes a step further and argues that teachers should be paid according to their performance.

However, the economists also made a third observation that they dismissed as having no bearing on their conclusions: Children who attend high-score classes in kindergarten perform only negligibly better on standardized tests than other students in later years. Why? The authors claim this finding isn’t important. As Raj Chetty of Harvard, one of the economists who produced the study, told the New York Times, “We don’t really care about test scores. We care about adult outcomes.”

Obviously the authors do care about test scores, but only the ones that fit their hypothesis. If a child scores higher than her peers at age 5 but not in later years, why would she earn more than her peers do at age 27 (the age of the adults in the study)? Obviously it is not what she had learned in school that increased her earnings. But if not to begin to prepare their students for academic work in subsequent years, what should kindergarten teachers teach, then? And if academic performance in later years does not matter, what should teachers of any other grade teach? When placed in context, it becomes clear that rather than highlighting the value of teachers’ performance, what this study really does is cast doubt on the value of kindergarten education as a panacea for poverty.

The most interesting numbers in this study are those that the authors do not discuss, because they make it possible to compare the students in the study with students in general. The students in the study were 27 years old in 2007, and their average wage was $1,232 a month. Those who attended the highest-scoring class earned on average about $1,330, and those among all students in the study, regardless of which class they attended, who received nearly perfect scores on the standardized test earned on average about $2,080 a month. In 2007, the average wage for all 27-year-old full-time workers in the U.S. was $2,792, and the top 10 percent among these workers earned $4,800 more. Even the median wage was 20 percent higher than what these top kindergarten achievers were making. Clearly sending your kid to the best kindergarten class will not save her from poverty, and neither will exceptionally high scores on kindergarten standardized tests. What should these parents have done differently?

These children lived in Tennessee, and the very best thing their parents could have done for them would have been to move to another state. Tennessee is a “right to work state” with a law that gives an employer the right to employ a worker even when this worker does not pay union dues. This means that a worker can enjoy the high wages that a union brings without paying the costs that the union must endure, and the result is that union membership in Tennessee is remarkably low, 5.5 percent in 2007 as compared to a national average of 12.4 percent. Tennessee shows its hostility toward workers also by not having a state minimum wage law. Thus, in Tennessee the federal minimum wage applies, but the state does not enforce it. It is not surprising, then, that the median wage in Tennessee in 2009 was $2,456 a month while for the nation it was $309 higher, at $2,765.

Continue reading here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Superintendent candidates on ethnic studies

Voting News: Touchscreens recycled as PacMan games.Verified Voting Internet Voting Pt 1

By Joyce McCloy (about the author)    
For OpEdNews: Joyce McCloy - Writer

Florida Voters Coalition encourages citizens to observe poll closing procedures...Shelby Co TN blames technician for election fiasco, local DEM party launching own investigation...J. Alex Halderman has found a good use for touchscreen machines - reprogram them as PacMan consoles...Mason County WV to volunteer overseas vote for internet vote experiment...Bo Lipari has Part I of Verified Voting's new series on concerns with Internet Voting...

All this and more in today's voting news below...

AL: Bessemer, Ala: mayoral candidate uses fake photo and endorsement; campaign manager confesses to hoax. http://www.votelaw.com/blog/archives/006428.html

: Spend an Hour - Make a Difference on Election Night
Hot dog! This is your chance to spend an hour on election-night to help secure Florida's elections. Observe poll-closing procedures in any precinct near you, and help gather important compliance data we can use to improve future elections.

: Local judicial candidates at odds over fall election ballot
Dreher takes the position that all five candidates should be included under only one ballot listing "without designation as to vacancy." The state's instant-runoff voting system would then be implemented to determine two winners from the list of five.

PA: Team 4: Non-US Citizens Removed From Voter Rolls

PA: Editorial: Cash clouds image of judges
http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20100819_Editorial__Cash_clouds_image_of_judges.html When it comes to spending money to elect state Supreme Court justices, Pennsylvania is No. 1.
Unfortunately, this is not a top ranking to boast about. That's because the river of money that flows into judicial elections creates the perception for many that justice isn't always blind.

: Shelby County Election Commission Releases Its Findings On Election Day Problems*http://www.myeyewitnessnews.com/news/local/story/Shelby-County-Election-Commission-Releases-Its/gpBzJPliuk2KvChu9lvK3g.cspx
Commissioners say on August 5th, Computer Analyst Dennis Boyce loaded the wrong data files into the Electronic Polling Books (EPB). The data he loaded reflected people who voted in last May's election and as a result people like Thompson went to vote on August 5th, only to be told they voted already.
Turner says he's come across voters who say they didn't vote in the May election, but were still turned away on August 5th. The Shelby County Democratic Party is also conducting an investigation and will release its own report and recommendations.

TN: Democrats Claim Voting Machines Can Be Altered
MEMPHIS, TN--The Head of the Shelby County Democratic Party believes investigators have found a way to change votes after they have been cast. Investigators for the Democratic Party have been at the election commission digging for information since the August 5, 2010 election.

"We're pulling down databases, records, looking at machines and trying to figure out what is going on," said party chairman, Van Turner, "what records reveal, I think is just the tip of the iceberg.

: Pair of votes on same day no problem
Morgan County prepared for concurrent special, general elections Nov. 2
http://www.decaturdaily.com/detail/66788.html A special election in Hartselle on the same day as the Nov. 2 general election will not cause problems for Morgan County, officials said.

: New election ordered in commissioner race* (absentee ballot fraud)
Flores charged in his suit that he lost the election by 29 votes to the then-incumbent, Jesus "Cheo" Ortiz, because of illegal mail-in ballots.

Internet Voting Watch

Internet Voting Verified Voting's Internet Voting Series
In a wired world, it was inevitable that the subject of Internet Voting become a hot topic sooner rather than later. But more than just a topic of discussion, this year eighteen states will allow overseas ballots to be returned via email in November's elections. Yet according to security experts, voted ballots sent via Internet simply cannot be made secure, and make easy and inviting targets for attackers ranging from lone hackers to foreign governments seeking to undermine US elections.

WV: Commission adopts Internet Voting Pilot Project
http://www.mydailyregister.com/view/full_story/9199869/article-Commission-adopts-Internet-Voting-Pilot-Project?instance=secondary_news_left_column  POINT PLEASANT -- Mason County has adopted a new computerized voting program, which will take effect during the upcoming general election.

During Tuesday's Mason County Commission meeting, County Clerk Diana Cromley discussed the Internet Voting Pilot Program. According to Cromley, the program is free to Mason County, and is for anyone overseas, such as military personnel.

Continue reading here.

Is Sharron Angle a Christian Reconstructionist?

A unified theory of the Nevada's Senate candidate's stranger musings.

By Amanda Marcotte
Posted Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010, at 11:12 AM ET 

Sharron Angle, the Republican challenger to Majority Leader Harry Reid's Nevada Senate seat, has also emerged this election season to challenge Sarah Palin's throne as the conservative leader most likely to say baffling things in public.

Angle grabbed headlines in June when a radio interview surfaced, during which she suggested that if conservative Republicans can't take back Congress, they may resort to "Second Amendment remedies" to fix the problem. When pressed on what exactly a Second Amendment remedy was, she dodged the issue and said her quote was taken out of context. In the past, Angle has gone beyond the usual vague talk about limiting federal government, suggesting we eliminate the Department of Education, Social Security, and Medicare.

In discussing religion, Angle often edges into the prophetic. When she was confronted about her unwillingness to support exceptions to an abortion ban even in the case of rape and incest, she said straightforwardly, "God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives." She objects to laws that prevent pastors from endorsing candidates from the pulpit. Most interestingly, she claimed that entitlement programs of all sorts violate "the First Commandment," and in case her point wasn't clear, she elaborated in biblical talk: "We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We're supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government."

Continue reading here.

Franken: Without ‘Net Neutrality’, a ‘handful’ of corporations will control the Web

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, August 19th, 2010 -- 6:58 pm

Since his election in the nail-bitingly close campaign against former Republican Senator Norm Coleman, former Saturday Night Live comedian Al Franken has emerged as one of the strongest voices in favor of so-called "Net Neutrality" policies being considered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Franken has called "Net Neutrality" the most pressing free speech issue in modern day America, and supports policies which would require Internet service providers to treat all legal traffic equally.

Speaking Thursday evening before an FCC public hearing on "Net Neutrality," Franken insisted that the U.S. government cannot allow companies to write the rules by which they'll later be forced to play by.
"We don't just have a constitution problem here, we have a First Amendment problem, okay?" he said.

Search giant Google and telecom titan Verizon have both issues a series of "compromise" policy suggestions that would allow companies to create multi-tiered services over wireless networks offering specialty, premium service packages in what critics have called a plan to "cable-ize the Internet."

Continue reading here.

Vince Rabago, Who Warned of the Dangers of Privatizing Arizona's Prisons in 2009, Demands Common-Sense Prison Reform Today

For Immediate Release
August 19, 2010

Will Fight to Bring About Needed Reforms as Attorney General

 Phoenix, AZ -- On a hot summer day in 2009 Vince Rabago joined the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs (AZCOPS) and the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association to stand up for common sense and speak out against turning over Arizona's inmates, and the safety of Arizona citizens, to for-profit prison corporations.

With one of the Kingman Three and his accomplice still on the lam, Vince issues the following statement:

"I am confident that the remaining fugitives, John Charles McCluskey and Casslyn Welch, will be caught. However, I'm troubled by Gov. Brewer's statement earlier this week that the escape of McCluskey and two other dangerous criminals on July 30th 'looks to be a human error, not an institutional one.' Furthermore, yesterday's escape of an inmate in Tucson and Brewer's continued silence on the matter, proves that our governor and all our state leaders, need to get focused now."

"It is most definitely an institutional error, and a profound failure of leadership, when we allow convicted murderers to be sent to lower-security, for profit prisons. Selling murderers and other hardened criminals to the lowest bidder is irresponsible and short-sighted."

"I stand firmly with Attorney General Goddard, the Democratic minority in the Legislature, correctional officers, sheriffs and police officers -- and so many others across the community -- in condemning the current system that allows convicted murderers to be housed in lower-security, for-profit prisons. As Arizona's next attorney general, I will push hard to change the laws that govern where murderers and other hardened criminals can be jailed, to ensure that 'locked up' really means locked up."

 Vince Rabago is a 16-year veteran public prosecutor with experience keeping dangerous criminals behind bars and fighting to maintain the death penalty against the most egregious murderers, at the highest levels of our court system.

As Attorney General, Rabago will protect Arizonans and make sure the bad guys stay behind bars.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rachel Maddow Links Private Prisons to "Papers Please" Roots

Goddard: Zero Tolerance for Private Prison Security Failure Under Brewer's Watch

Friday, August 13, 2010

Maddow: Private Prisons Set to Gain from AZ Immigration Bill

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Phoenix Cuéntame Billboard and Brave New Foundation Attacked On Glenn Beck

By Robert Greenwald
Brave New Foundation
August 11, 2010

Listen to the Clip from Glenn Beck
There is a coordinated effort to devalue everything you value. There is a coordinated effort to highjack this country.” 

This is how Glenn Beck, the man who recently compared Obama’s America to ‘Planet of the Apes’ began his morning referring specifically to Brave New Foundation and attacking our work during his radio show.

Beck’s attack came in response to the billboard we just put up in Phoenix through Cuéntame protesting the immigration law SB1070. Beck himself refers to the law as ‘anti-immigration’ NOT ‘anti-illegal immigration’. Because that is exactly what this law is. It is not comprehensive immigration reform; it is an attempt at institutionalizing discrimination and racial profiling. And we will defend our right to speak up now and in the future. We will not be censored or silenced.

Beck is rallying his troops against us, “So, you're going to have to get involved because look who paid for this billboard…Robert Greenwald…one of the things he did was he bashed the FOX News network with a movie Outfoxed.”

More about Outfoxed
Beck is angry because we consistently point out the mistruths in his and Fox’s propaganda. We must be prepared to keep fighting and defending our rights. Can you help us by contributing an additional $15 so that we can stand up and fight back?

This billboard was decided on and money was raised by the 38,000 members of Cuéntame. Beck is coming after us because, thanks to the contributions from donors like you, we’re able to be so effective at getting our voice heard. Our position and billboard have already been covered by media from the Associated Press to local news stations.

Brave New Foundation stands behind Cuéntame and the collective voice of its members. We will not be silenced by Glenn Beck and his outlandish, fear-based attacks. There is a place for dissenting opinions and Brave New Foundation will continue to be the catalyst for creating important dialogue needed to affect social change.

“I mean, this is it, gang. This is who's controlling your country and now they're coming with Brave New Foundation.”

Robert Greenwald
and the Brave New Foundation team

Monday, August 9, 2010

Statement from AG Goddard regarding inmates who escaped from private Arizona prison


On July 30, three high custody inmates escaped from a private run for-profit prison in Kingman, Arizona. Two of the men, one serving time for murder and the other for attempted murder, are still at large. Investigators now believe these two are responsible for the double-murder of an elderly Oklahoma couple in New Mexico.

Today, Attorney General Goddard released the following statement:

"These dangerous inmates should have never been at a facility intended for DUI offenders. Now they are suspected of killing an elderly couple in New Mexico. I fervently hope they are caught soon, before they commit any more crimes. I urge Governor Brewer to take a long, hard look at her corrections priorities. Recent reports show that some of her closest advisers are paid advocates for private prisons. This kind of personal interest must never trump public safety.

"Upon learning about the escape, Charles Ryan, director of the Department of Corrections and a Brewer appointee, was quick to blame staff for the disaster. Instead of blaming staff, the Brewer administration should carefully examine their management and prisoner classification failures that allowed for these dangerous prisoners to be in a lower-security prison. Even faced with a difficult budget, public safety must never be jeopardized.

"From 2005-2009, the Corrections budget increased about $77 million each year. Under Brewer's watch, however, the Corrections budget instead was cut almost $68 million, leaving the agency $145 million dollars behind where it should be.

"These violent offenders were not an exception in the privately run Kingman facility. Recent reports indicate that 117 inmates at that facility are serving life sentences, with either first or second degree murder charges.

"Last year, Brewer signed into law HB 2010, which privatized most of our correctional system and signed SB 1028, which permitted private vendors to operate one or more of Arizona's state prisons. SB 1028 was to include a 50-year contract and an up-front payment of $100 million. Brewer signed the bill, despite a letter from Corrections Director Ryan pleading with her not to. In the letter he wrote, "Undoubtedly, a private company would pay its employees significantly lower wages and provide them lesser training to realize cost savings. This would lead to higher staff turnover, low morale and place public safety at risk."

"Yet Brewer still signed it.
The Brewer administration has consistently promoted private over public prisons, in spite of the public safety risk. The escape of these two violent offenders makes it clear how dangerous this policy has been. Governor Brewer's priorities are wrong for Arizona." 

A world without nuclear weapons: Ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson says we need to make it real

By Valerie Plame Wilson
Global Zero
Thursday, July 22, 2010

As a former CIA covert operations officer specializing in nuclear counterproliferation, I believe that nuclear terrorism is the most urgent threat we face - and that the only way to eliminate this danger is to lock down all nuclear materials and eliminate all nuclear weapons in all countries: global zero.

We know that terrorist groups are trying to buy, build or steal a bomb and that top nuclear scientists have offered to help them - Osama Bin Laden met with some just before 9/11. There is enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) in the world to build more than 100,000 weapons. There have been at least 25 incidents of lost or stolen nuclear explosive material. Rogue individuals are selling technology on the black market - A.Q. Khan of Pakistan did it for years before my group at the CIA exposed him in 2003.

If terrorists get hold of HEU, they could not be prevented from smuggling it into a targeted city, building a bomb and exploding it. A hundred pounds of HEU could fit in a shoebox - and 100,000 shipping containers come into the United States every day. Radiation sensors at the docks stand almost no chance of detecting such a cache.

The only way to eliminate the threat of nuclear terrorism is to drain the swamp. Terrorists don't have the capacity to produce nuclear weapons or material themselves - they need to buy or steal them. Eliminating all nuclear weapons and locking down all nuclear material is the only way to ensure that terrorists do not get the bomb. This will take years of painstaking work. But the alternative is continued proliferation and, sooner or later, an act of nuclear terrorism.

Many who supported nuclear weapons as a deterrent in the Cold War now believe that we need to move toward global zero. They recognize that the world has changed. The Cold War ended 20 years ago. The threat today is not Russia, but the spread of nuclear weapons and the risk of nuclear terrorism. Ending these present-day threats by eliminating all nuclear weapons worldwide outweighs any benefits in retaining nuclear arsenals.

The U.S. and Russia, with more than 95% of the world's nuclear weapons, need to begin with reductions in their Cold War stockpiles. Then major powers like China will need to join them in leading a global nuclear arms reduction process, establishing this as a global imperative and building overwhelming international pressure that allows no exceptions, including North Korea and Iran.

We will also need to strengthen monitoring systems, allowing international inspectors to inspect any facility in the world without restrictions. We have a strong track record to build on - since 1945, no nation has produced enough nuclear material to build a bomb without being detected by foreign intelligence.

We can get to global zero. We've already reduced arsenals from their Cold War zenith of approximately 70,000 to the 23,000 in the world today. And political support is growing. Presidents Obama and Dmitry Medvedev of Russia endorsed the goal of global zero and signed a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty - the first significant arms reduction agreement in decades. The UN Security Council declared its unanimous support for the goal. And the global zero movement (of which I am a leader) is growing fast, with more than 250 political, military, religious and civic leaders, and more than 400,000 citizens worldwide. (To learn more, go to globalzero.org). We will get a boost this week when "Countdown to Zero" - the chilling new documentary from the producers of "An Inconvenient Truth" - opens in theaters.

In the 20th century, America rose to the greatest challenges of the age - defeating Hitler, rebuilding Europe through the Marshall Plan, enshrining civil rights for all citizens, sending a man to the moon. As a great nation, we must again lead the world to conquer the gravest danger of this young century - nuclear terrorism.


Demand Zero

COUNTDOWN TO ZERO traces the history of the atomic bomb from its origins to the present state of global affairs: nine nations possess nuclear weapons capabilities with others racing to join them, with the world held in a delicate balance that could be shattered by an act of terrorism, failed diplomacy, or a simple accident. Written and directed by acclaimed documentarian Lucy Walker (Devil’s Playground, Blindsight), the film features an array of important international statesmen, including Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pervez Musharraf and Tony Blair. Magnolia Pictures is releasing the film in North America; HISTORY™ has North American broadcast rights. The film was produced by Academy Award® winner and 2009 nominee Lawrence Bender (Inglourious Basterds, An Inconvenient Truth) and developed, financed and executive produced by Participant Media, together with World Security Institute.

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