Articles & Op-Eds

U.S. to reduce troop level in Afghanistan to 9,800 by year's end

May 27, 2014

President Obama's plan to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to fewer than 10,000 by year's end seeks to balance fear that a speedier withdrawal would push Afghan forces to collapse against his desire to end more than a decade of war. The result is to keep some U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan until the end of his presidency but potentially leave the final outcome of the war to his successor. After the experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, "I think Americans have learned that… Continue Reading

White House To Use West Point Speech To Launch New Foreign Policy Offensive

May 27, 2014

Under fire from the left and the right for its handling of foreign policy, the Obama administration is about to go on the attack with a high-profile speech at West Point designed to show that it has plans in place to deal with Islamist militants in Afghanistan, Syria, and Africa. The speech Wednesday is unlikely to satisfy hawks in Congress who have pressed the White House to send more weaponry to Syria's beleaguered rebels, provide more military assistance to Ukraine during its standoff with… Continue Reading

The House Will Have 10 Minutes To Debate Repealing Post 9/11 Military Authorization Law

May 21, 2014

House Republicans will allow 10 minutes of debate to determine whether or not they should repeal the sweeping law that authorized the war on terror. The debate will occur over Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which calls for the full repeal of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, one year after the NDAA goes into place. Republicans on the Rules Committee shot down a separate amendment, introduced by Democratic Rep. B… Continue Reading

A Baffling Hearing on Endless War

May 21, 2014

The Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed by Congress in the days following the attacks of September 11th, 2001, is a 60-word resolution granting the president the authority to use force against the "nations, organizations, or persons" who carried out those attacks, or nations that harbored such groups. It has served as the underlying legal rationale for nearly every military and intelligence operation by the U.S. for more than a decade; one journalist has called it "the mos… Continue Reading

Obama Administration Doesn't Think It Needs Authorization From Congress to Wage War Anywhere in World

May 21, 2014

Does the President have to have a statute authorizing the use of military force in order to legally wage war against terrorist groups that may or may not pose an imminent threat to the United States? Or can the President simply target, capture and kill whomever in whatever terrorist group wherever, even if Congress has not authorized action? This was the subject of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in which two officials from President Barack Obama’s administration—Mary McLeod, pri… Continue Reading

Congresswoman Lee Receives Honorary Doctrate

May 19, 2014

Congresswoman Barbara Lee was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the American Baptist Seminary of the West (ABSW) during its 143rd commencement ceremony last weekend at the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church in Oakland. The organization’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved Congresswoman Lee’s nomination for this distinguished honor. “I am humbled to receive this honor from the American Baptist Seminary of the West,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “This historic and prestigious … Continue Reading

Rep. Barbara Lee Speaks at United Nations

May 19, 2014

Rep. Barbara Lee, the congressional representative to the United Nations, spoke this morning at the 68th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City. Lee, D-Oakland, spoke in support of the consensus resolution “Interaction between the United Nations, national parliaments and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.” The Inter-Parliamentary Union is an international organization created in 1889, long before the U.N., as a venue for world-wide dialogue, efforts toward for peace and cooperation… Continue Reading

Barbara Lee Announces $16M in Federal Health Grants

May 15, 2014

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) announced a total of $15,926,537 in Department of Health and Human Services grant to Bay Area community health care providers. These grants will allow Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, Asian Health Services, La Clinica de La Raza, Lifelong Medical Care and West Oakland Health Council, Inc. to provide quality and affordable medical and dental services to underserved populations in the East Bay. “I am proud that these community health centers will r… Continue Reading

Who will fight for social justice?

May 14, 2014

There is a push among social workers to return to the profession’s strong commitment to social justice. Two significant events occurred last week. On Wednesday, a group of supporters gathered to mark the first year of existence of the Congressional Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP) and the presentation of our 2014 Social Justice Champion awards to two social work stalwarts. Rep. Barbara Lee, the Democratic congresswoman from the 13th District in California, and Dr. Nancy A. Humphreys,… Continue Reading

Paul Ryan's Approach To Poverty Is Straight Out Of The 19th Century

May 14, 2014

Bob Woodson recalled the day 11 years ago when two of his sons left the house to go buy some CDs at the now-defunct electronics superstore Circuit City. "Three minutes later I got a harried call from my [younger] son that they were turned over in their car on the highway right outside of my house," Woodson said. "And my wife and I came there and the ambulance and fire trucks had not arrived yet, and we were the first ones to hear my son scream and to watch the body of my older son pulled fr… Continue Reading

Oakland Says, “Bring Back our Girls”

May 09, 2014

From Oakland to the White House, to cities around the world, millions of people are picking up the cries of Nigerian mothers: “Bring Back Our Girls.” Boko Haram - meaning “Western Education is Sinful” - an Islamic military group that kidnapped more than 200 Nigerian girls from their boarding school on the night of April 14. Since then, the leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau, has threatened to sell the girls, claiming they should not be in school but should be getting married. East Bay Co… Continue Reading

US Lawmakers Meet with Cuba’s American Jewish Prisoner, Alan Gross

May 06, 2014

Four U.S. lawmakers met in Cuba on Monday with imprisoned American Jewish hostage Alan Gross. The legislators visited the jailed social worker at a prison hospital due to his medical condition, which is precarious. Gross was arrested in December 2009 while visiting Cuba to provide internet access for the Jewish community there. According to a report posted by the Havana Times he was employed at the time by Development Alternatives, Inc., and contracted by USAID, an American government agency.… Continue Reading

The making of American foreign policy in the post-9/11 world

May 06, 2014

Let’s be honest, foreign policy making has never been democratic. The label of national security has offered governments around the world the power to hide information from their citizens. Aside from this statement, the making of American foreign policy has completely shifted since 9/11. Not only this shift was abrupt and made under intense emotional stress, but it has also created a precedent in the way the U.S. engages in the world. Additionally, American foreign policy has become much more mi… Continue Reading

Will Big Money Beat the Conservative Who Dares to Say ‘No’ to Big Money?

May 05, 2014

The Republican Party is not yet a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wall Street. There are still a few Republicans, some of them stalwart conservatives, who think they owe a greater duty to their ideals and their constituents than to the bankers and bundlers who write campaign checks. That unsettles bonus-rich CEOs, insider traders, short-selling speculators and the political grifters who serve their interests in Washington. So they are using their immense wealth, and their immense influence with… Continue Reading

U.S. Congressmen visit Gross in Cuban prison hospital

May 05, 2014

Four U.S. congressmen visited jailed American contractor Alan Gross at a prison hospital in Cuba. U.S. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D.-Calif) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) met Monday with Gross, 65, who is serving a 15-year sentence for “crimes against the state.” On a mission to hook up Cuba’s small Jewish community to the Internet while working as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Gross was arrested in December 200… Continue Reading

Congresswoman Lee: Raise California’s minimum wage to $26 an hour

May 05, 2014

Impressed with the Seattle mayor’s proposal proposal to raise the minimum wage in his city to $15 per hour, a California congresswoman thinks the bottom in her state should be set at $26 per hour. “Good for him,” U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee said on CNN’s “Crossfire” Sunday. “In California, more than likely, from what I remembered, a living wage where people could live and take care of their families and move toward achieving the American dream was about $25 - $26 an hour,” she said. Co-host N… Continue Reading

Congresswomen urge Dirks to improve campus sexual assault prevention and response

May 05, 2014

Amid a federal investigation and state audit into UC Berkeley’s handling of sexual assault cases, two U.S. congresswomen compiled recommendations to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks on Monday, fewer than three weeks after they met with Dirks and student survivors on campus. Reps. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, and Barbara Lee, D-Oakland,sent a letter to Dirks on Monday outlining recommendations for enhanced prevention and response to sexual assault incidents. Speier and Lee met with Dirks and several U… Continue Reading

US Congress Delegation Visits Alan Gross in Cuba

May 05, 2014

Four US Congresspersons were in Havana on Monday to visit with imprisoned Maryland resident Alan Gross and meet with Cuban officials, with the aim of promoting negotiations to free the prisoner now in his fifth year of a fifteen year sentence, reported dpa news. “It is of the interest to both our countries to start negotiations, not just talks,” said California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, heading the parliamentary group of four Democratic Party representatives. She spoke at a brief press confe… Continue Reading

US lawmakers meet with American jailed in Cuba

May 05, 2014

Four US lawmakers Monday visited an American serving a 15-year prison term in Cuba, urging Havana and Washington to being negotiations "without preconditions" to secure his release. Alan Gross, who turns 65 on Friday, was arrested in December 2009 for allegedly distributing telecommunications equipment in Cuba while he was working as a contractor for the US Agency for International Development (USAID). California representative Barbara Lee, who headed the US delegation, told reporters the … Continue Reading

U.S. delegation urges talks to free American jailed in Cuba

May 05, 2014

(Reuters) - Four U.S. lawmakers visiting Cuba on Monday urged President Barack Obama to authorize negotiations with the Cuban government about freeing jailed U.S. contractor Alan Gross. The visiting Americans, who met with Gross in his hospital prison, also expressed hope those talks would cover other issues such as the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba and the case of three Cuban spies serving long prison terms in the United States. Gross, 65, is serving a 15-year sentence over his 2009 arrest a… Continue Reading

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