Sep 07 2012

Weekly Digest – 09/07/12

Our weekly edition is a nationally syndicated one-hour digest of the best of our daily coverage.

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This week on Uprising:

* Dissecting Obama’s DNC Acceptance Speech
* Undocumented Immigrants Ride to Charlotte to Raise Awareness – a Report by Aura Bogado
* Four Years Makes a Difference: The Democratic Party on Civil Liberties
* Elephant Massacres Linked to African Armed Conflicts

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Dissecting Obama’s DNC Acceptance Speech

President Obama on Thursday formally accepted his party’s nomination for reelection at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Speaking for 40 minutes, Obama laid out specific examples of how his economic recovery efforts have led to the saving of jobs and industries. He also brought up the issue of war, more so than any one has so far during the political conventions. Raising his foreign policy credentials, the President contrasted himself with his opponent Mitt Romney’s lack of experience on international affairs. Throughout the speech he also reiterated the DNC’s theme, that this year’s election is a clear choice: a vote for Obama means to “move forward,” while voting Republican is to “go back.”

Throughout his speech Obama made several assertions that were fact-checked by the Associated Press and found to be misleading. Among them was his claim that he would never ask seniors to pay more for Medicare. AP counters that the Obama administration has considered budgets in the past that have involved higher payments from Medicare recipients. He has since backed off from these proposals.

Obama also claimed to have increased manufacturing jobs by half a million over the past 2 and a half years. But according to the AP, since the President’s term began, there has been a net loss of half a million manufacturing jobs.

Obama also claimed that the war in Afghanistan will end by 2014. However, military analysts expect as many as 20,000 US troops will stay past that deadline.

GUEST: Arun Gupta, Independent journalist and regular contributor to AlterNet, Truthout and The Guardian, Gupta is a co-founder of the Occupied Wall Street Journal and The Indypendent. Arun is also Uprising’s 2012 Election Analyst

Undocumented Immigrants Ride to Charlotte to Raise Awareness – a Report by Aura Bogado

After a five week long journey starting in Arizona and traveling through more than 10 states the Undocubus finally arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina at the site of the Democratic National Convention last weekend. The 1972 aqua blue bus stopped in more than 15 cities to hold protests and musical events to bring critical attention to the plight of undocumented immigrants. Calling their journey the “No Papers, No Fear Ride for Justice” riders chose to stop at the Democratic National Convention to have their voices heard about the proliferation of anti-immigrant policies sweeping the country. Colorlines.com and Nation Reporter Aura Bogado was on the bus and documented its journey.

Ten of the undocumented immigrants who were on the bus were arrested outside the DNC as they chanted, “No papers, no Fear! Dignity is standing here! Although fearful of being deported, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement or ICE has since released all those in custody.

Watch the video here:

Four Years Makes a Difference: The Democratic Party on Civil Liberties

In 2008, newly elected President Obama pledged to shut down the US prison at Guantanamo Bay. However, four years later, the facility remains open. In fact, the difference in the Democratic Party’s position on Guantanamo is apparent in the party’s platforms in 2008 and 2012. Writing for Mother Jones, earlier this week Adam Serwer analyzes the liberal party’s position on civil liberties in general. Serwer found, that while President Obama pledged in 2008 to fight for civil liberties both at home and abroad, over the past four years, Obama and the Democrats have instead, continued and expanded the national security policies of the George W. Bush Administration. In addition to keeping Guantanamo open, these policies include: expanding the parameters of indefinite detention to US citizens, continuing warrantless surveillance and racial profiling, extending the Patriot Act, and preserving and defending torture networks internationally.

The DNC’s 2008 platform spelled out: “We will close the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, the location of so many of the worst constitutional abuses in recent years.” But this year’s platform simply pledges to “substantially reducing the population at Guantánamo Bay without adding to it,” while adding, “we remain committed to working with all branches of government to close the prison altogether.”

GUEST: Shahid Buttar, Executive Director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.

Visit www.bordc.org for more information.

Elephant Massacres Linked to African Armed Conflicts

A New York Times investigation earlier this week explored a recent spike in elephant massacres in a number of African countries. The elephants’ ivory tusks are sought by rebel militia forces and national armies alike to procure large shipments of weapons and fuel on-going bloody conflicts.

The predominant demand for the ivory comes from Chinese markets. The Times writes that “as much as 70 percent [of African ivory] is flowing to China, and though the Chinese have coveted ivory for centuries, never before have so many of them been able to afford it.” On average, the tusks of a single elephant can sell for up to $20,000 in China. Tom Milliken, director of the Elephant Trade Information System classified the poaching and smuggling operations as, “African based, Asian-run crime syndicates.” Chinese officials from the Forestry Ministry declined to discuss the issue saying, “This is a very sensitive topic.”

According to reporter Jeffrey Gettleman, “like blood diamonds…ivory…is the latest conflict resource in Africa.” Gettleman adds, “Last year, poaching levels in Africa were at their highest since international monitors began keeping detailed records in 2002.” The groups involved in the poaching include “some of Africa’s most notorious armed groups” like the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Somalia’s Al Shabaab and Darfur’s Janjaweed rebels. Even some African national armies, such as those of Uganda, Congo, and South Sudan, who benefit from US training and financial support, are involved.

Among the forces on the front lines of curbing elephant slaughter are rangers, like the 140-strong outfit in the Congo’s Garamba National Park. Chief Ranger Paul Onyago told the New York Times how he has witnessed the poachers’ increased access to military weaponry firsthand. Eleven of his men have perished in the past four years in the course of their work.

GUESTS: Jeffrey Gettleman, East Africa Bureau Chief for the New York Times and this year won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, joining us live from Nairobi, and Kambale Musavuli, Congolese activist, student coordinator and spokesperson of Friends of the Congo

Visit www.congojustice.org for more information about Friends of the Congo.

Click here to read Jeffrey Gettleman’s article in the New York Times.

Sonali’s Subversive Thought for the Day

“If you want peace, work for justice.” — Henry Louis Mencken

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