Tag Archives: military industrial complex

War Supplemental Vote Early Next Week

Here is status of the Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan war supplemental bill for the remainder of 2009.

According to a report I received from a constituent who talked with Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree’s Military Legislative Assistant, Eric Hansen, the bill is in the House Appropriations Committee now and that it would likely be voted on in the House of Representatives as early as next week.

President Obama had requested $83 billion for the war supplemental but House Democrats have added $9.3 billion to that request to bring the supplemental to now stand at $94.2 billion.

According to Hansen Rep. Pingree would vote on the supplemental and he said that she wants to first "see what form the bill takes" before deciding on her vote. He said that the Congresswoman was wanting to see if bench marks and timelines were included in the bill. So far Obama has not submitted any timelines on ending the Afghanistan occupation.

Hansen said that the war supplemental will also include funds for economic assistance to the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He talked about "soft power" options being important like moving some Pakistan funds from the Pentagon to the State Department’s control for diplomatic purposes and for expansion of counter-insurgency capabilities.

Hansen also said that Rep. Pingree was seriously considering signing on as a co-sponsor to a bill presented by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) that would "require the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress outlining the United States exit strategy for United States military forces in Afghanistan participating in Operation Enduring Freedom."

As of today the cost of the war in Afghanistan to American taxpayers has been more than $172 billion and the Iraq war has cost more than $656 billion.

It is important to remember that Obama has also already requested $130 billion for war funding for fiscal year 2010.

Please make a call immediately to your member of your state Congressional delegation. Urge them to vote against any more war funding.

Raising our Voices – End the Empire!

A Green Party colleague from Maine was so inspired by the speech I gave in LA that he came forward to share his speech from 2005 and gave me permisson to post it, so here it is:

It has been at least 35 years since I had the occasion to deliver a rousing speech on the moral monstrosity called The Draft, one of the most putrid violations of progress toward civilization ever invented by those sinister, morally retarded people in power. Upon birth, the universe gives us a tiny sliver of time out of its billions of years of evolution with which to live out a life. That times belongs to each of us individually. The idea that our very lives belong to this or any government is infinite obscenity. This infinite obscenity purports to require us to donate our children as human sacrifices to their god of war and mindless accumulation of wealth for a tiny few of this marvelous planet’s human inhabitants.

The innate love for our children is betrayed by those in high office, including, I must say in all truth, some Democratic liberals who propose conscription as an antidote to the existing poverty Draft which targets children of the poor. This poverty Draft is connected to the export of jobs policies of this adminstration. But to say that the way to correct the class inequalities of the poverty Draft is by instituting conscription is just like saying in 1860 that since slavery of black people is immoral and unjust, that therefore we must enforce slavery on white people too! Same argument! Don’t buy it! All conscription would do is increase the power of tyranny by giving them yet another weapon to use against us who yearn for truth, justice, and peace. Why would we agree to that? The Draft is human sacrifice, not with a single hapless individual as in some primitive societies, but by thousands at a time–a barbaric relic that has no place in real civilization.

The Draft is a death sentence from which one may get a reprieve, depending on luck of the draw. The Draft IS the supreme example of involuntary servitude, prohibited by the 13th Amendment to our Constitution, which reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” (like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib)
If our goal is to alert vulnerable young people about this devastating issue, it is imperative that the effort be increased exponentially. The central task is getting information directly into the hands of students, drop-outs, and recent grads. Lots of information is available from folks of my generation. To them, I say if you can work with us older folks to make this happen, then we can create an avalanche of truth and justice.

Concluding, it is up to us, the people, the ultimate sovereign for whom this government was created, to enforce the meaning of “No involuntary servitude.” We cannot expect the current corporate government to be on our side. Those who, no matter of what party, seek to impose a military Draft in whatever name they call it, including “national service” are calling upon our young people to become hi-tech gladiators (kill or be killed) for their wealth accumulation. Those people are truly as Dylan said forty years ago in his song of the same name, Masters of War. About those, the Halliburtons, the Bechtels, and so on–he said, “Not even Jesus could forgive what you do.” Indeed, promoters of those who persist in imperial aggression have already betrayed the spirit of Jesus who declared, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” He did not say “Blessed are the Dow-Jones averages for corporate munitions makers.”
Brothers and sisters of all ages, WE are the Paul and Paula Reveres of our time. We must warn our fellow citizens: “Take cover and prepare to resist. The imperialists are coming!”

When the warmakers say, “But we need more personnel to carry out the mission,” what should we say? Our answer must be: “That mission has no truth, no honor, no justice! END THE EMPIRE!

Jon Olsen 3/19/2005

October 27 demonstrations – Salt Lake and around

United for Peace and Justice has called for mass actions on October 27 around the country. Salt Lake City is serving as one of the cities where an action will occur.

I have been contacting the folks who are organizing the event in Salt Lake City for over a month now to request at that the Green Party, a coalition member of UFPJ, be well represented with a speaker. My request has been stalled and finally I got an answer over the weekend – NO. Even after I pointed out that I have been speaking nationally on behalf of the Green Party of the United States and that the Green Party is overwhelmingly welcomed at all other events around the country.

The excuse given to me is that there are many “out of state” people speaking. I was then invited to “buy” tabling space for the Green Party at this event. (Note – at all the national actions I have been to, never has there been a request for people to “pay” for tabling space. People and organizations are invited to just show up with their tabling stuff – and warmly welcomed to do so.)

The fact that Utah organizers are shutting out Greens in this event as a strong visible presence in Salt Lake City is gravely disappointing. They are not being inclusive have THE ONLY PEACE PARTY be able to be a rousing addition to the program. I was so enthusiastically received in LA with my speech that I couldn’t even leave the stage before many participants were approaching me with such positiveness that I knew I had said the right things to be so inspiring.

I am hoping the Utah organizers change their minds and decide to include Greens as part of the October 27 event that will happen in Salt Lake City.

March and Rally in LA

Approximately 1,000 people participated in the Anti-War March and Rally in downtown Los Angeles Saturday, September 29, 2007. The event was organized by the Troops Out Now Coalition. Messages centered around withdrawing troops from Iraq immediately, stopping an impending war with Iran, freeing the Jenna 6, getting Greens elected to office, and diverting funds from war to services for people in the United States.

Deanna Tom GPAX banner
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9/11 – “Safe” vs. “Dominated”

Today is the 6th anniversary of the assault on the World Trade Center in New York City which killed thousands of people.  It was a day that will be remembered throughout history no doubt.  But not JUST for the incident itself.  It was a day that began a dark chapter in U.S. history.

Normon Solomon, author of the newly released Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State”, has written the piece Six Years of 9/11 as a License to Kill

It evokes a tragedy that marks an epoch. From the outset, the warfare state has exploited “9/11,” a label at once too facile and too laden with historic weight — giving further power to the tacit political axiom that perception is reality.

“Sept. 11 changed everything” became a sudden cliche in news media. Words are supposed to mean something, and those words were — and are — preposterous. They speak of a USA enthralled with itself while reducing the rest of the world (its oceans and valleys and mountains and peoples) to little more than an extensive mirror to help us reflect on our centrality to the world. In an individual, we call that narcissism. In the nexus of media and politics, all too often, it’s called “patriotism.”

What happened on Sept. 11, 2001, was extraordinary and horrible by any measure. And certainly a crime against humanity. At the same time, it was a grisly addition to a history of human experience that has often included many thousands killed, en masse, by inhuman human choice. It is simply and complexly a factual matter that the U.S. government has participated in outright mass murders directly — in, for example, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Panama, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq — and less directly, through aid to armies terrorizing civilians in Nicaragua, Angola, East Timor and many other countries.

Today should serve as a reminder that our world is not any safer than before September 11, 2001.  The U.S. government has seen to that.  “Safer” isn’t the word.  “Dominated”, yes.


Cindy Sheehan is Back…..and is Walking

Call Out The Instigator

by Cindy Sheehan

Call out the Instigator
Because there’s something in the air
We got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution’s here
You know it’s right!

-Thunderclap Newman

I’m not backing off. I tried to remove myself from the political realm of the US, what BushCo is turning into an Evil Empire, but the blatant audacity of George commuting Scooter’s sentence (he’s not ruling out a full pardon —and you know he will) has dragged me kicking and screaming back in. I can’t sit back and let this BushCo drag our country further down into the murky quagmire of Fascism and violence, taking the rest of the world with them!

I have sat quietly back these past five weeks as the slaughter in Iraq sorrowfully surges along with George’s bloody escalation—and as the philosophical opposition to the war has soared to almost four out of every five Americans. I have remained silent when Senator Barack Obama said that impeachment is only reserved for “grave, grave” breeches! Well, BushCo has created hundreds of thousands of graves dug by their lies and greed. For cripes’ sake, George admitted to breaking the FISA Act (which is a felony) that also breeched the 4th Amendment to our Constitution that already prohibited illegal search and seizure. How was Bill Clinton’s offense graver than George’s, Dick’s, or Scooter’s? Did we ever think that the criminality and arrogance of the Nixon White House would be eclipsed in our time with nary a “baaaah” from the Sheeple in Congress?

 

George has said that America doesn’t “do torture” when we have all seen the images of torture from Abu Ghraib (don’t believe your lyin’ eyes) and know that hundreds of people sold to the US Army for an immoral bounty are incarcerated within the inhumane confines of Guantanamo Prison which is right in our own back yard.

I have had to bite my tongue – HARD — as the George and Dick crime cabal, (formerly known has the executive branch) have claimed that their offices are not to be held up to the same standards of accountability and control as any other entity in the human race, governmental or private.

It has been recently reported that Nancy Pelosi said that impeachment is not “worth it.” Her faulty reasoning is that impeachment would take too much time because they don’t have the votes. If they could “whip” their own Democratic caucus into shape to defend and protect our Constitution and the people of Iraq and our soldiers as they whupped, cajoled, threatened and browbeat the caucus into attaching “non-binding” time lines onto the last war funding bill, then impeachment would not only be possible, but likely.

The recent commutation of I. Scooter Libby’s sentence, however, was the straw that broke my camel’s back of exhausted ennui. Patrick Fitzgerald is a thoughtful and thorough prosecutor who did a heroic job of bringing at least one of the Bush Crime Mob to justice. Even though we were all very pleased, we knew that it was not enough and that Mr. Fitzgerald would delve deeper into the feces infested executive branch. The lawlessness of the Bush Administration has reached wild west proportions and the inmates definitely have control of the US(A)sylum.

A very dear friend of mine, Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, is being harassed by the Air Force for “Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman” because “The Rev” fulfills his duty as an Officer and a Gentleman honorably by protesting Iraq and the Fascist Bush Regime almost constantly. The Rev is still in Individual Ready Reserve so the Air Force believes it is within its parameters to pursue the charges, although every “Officer and Gentleman(woman)” should be protesting the atrocious mistakes in the Middle East. After The Rev’s hearing on July 12th, (in Macon, GA) he is going to begin a “symbolic” walk from the Reverend Martin Luther King’s grave (Atlanta, GA) to DC — I am going to be there for him and to begin the march, but I am not going to make it symbolic.

We are going to walk from Atlanta, GA to Congress beginning July 13th and ending up in DC on July 23rd to send the mis-leaders back home to face the music of justice in their own districts.

It is about time us “peasants” (in the eyes of the Fascist Ruling Elite) march on DC with our “pitchforks” of righteous anger and our “torches” of truth to demand the ouster of BushCo. I have a dream of the detention centers that George has built and filled being instead filled with Orange Clad neo-cons and neo-connettes.

If Congress won’t dig BushCo’s political grave, it is the People’s job to do so. Thomas Jefferson said that we need a Revolution every 20 years, or so, to keep our Republic honest. Over 225 years have passed since our last Revolution (if you don’t count the War Between the States) and we are long overdue for one. Turn off your TVs, kiss your pets goodbye, bring the kids and flock to the federal seat of corruption, or join us on our walk there, for a People’s Accountability Movement to be in the face of the Criminal BushCo and the Complicit Congress for the last week of session before they go on their undeserved vacations (why do they get vacations when the Iraqi parliamentarians don’t?)

On the eve of our first revolution: You know it’s right!

Author’s note: Please, I already see “Attention Whore Back.” If anyone thinks that I am going to walk hundreds of miles in the Deep South during July for attention, then please join us! We will be publishing our route and plans for Accountability events along the way, within the next few days. Stay tuned.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother’s Child and Dear President Bush.

SHUT DOWN WASHINGTON D.C.

There has been a call to action from Sept 22 – 29 in protest to the ongoing Iraq War and the Congress continuing to fund it.

The Troops Out Now Coalition has issued a call for action (below).  I will personally be advocating for people to head to D.C. instead of organizing marches in their areas.  Like the issued statement below, marches and rallies in our respective cities will not shut the war machine down.  We must all head to D.C. in mass!

I have dreamt of this for quite some time – that the masses will head to D.C. and the roads and freeways will be filled with Americans who demand accountability from our government will proceed to the door of the heart of the U.S. government and stay there until it stops!


Congress will not end the war
Marches alone will not end the war
It’s time to shut down Washington DC –
No more business as usual!

SEPT 22- 29: It’s time to move from Protest to Resistance:

SEPT 29: Mass March on the White House

SEPT 22- 29: Encampment in front of Congress – Cut off the War funds – Build a People Peace Congress


National Antiwar Strategy Meeting: Activists call for unified struggle to stop the war

More than 100 anti-war organizers, including many students and youths, labor, community and immigrant organizers, veterans and GI organizers gathered June 16 at the Solidarity Center in New York City for the standing-room only National Antiwar Strategy and Planning Meeting. They came from as far away as California, Cleveland, North Carolina, New Orleans and Boston to discuss the need to move from protest to resistance and build a grassroots movement to stop the war.


September: The next big confrontation over the war

The meeting focused largely on a proposal from the Troops Out Now Coalition for an Encampment to Stop the War and a Mass March in Washington during the week of September 22-29.  According to the Washington calendar, this will be the next big political confrontation on the war. This is when the House and Senate debate war funding for 2008. And it is when General David Petraeus reports to Congress on the status of Bush’s troops “surge.”

Many applauded this proposal as the necessary next step to take the struggle against the war to a new level of resistance. The encampment has the potential to ensure that another war vote does not go unchallenged. The proposal opens an opportunity for an independent intervention representing the people, who are overwhelmingly against the war.

Many ideas were raised for the week-long encampment, including a proposal for a Peoples’ Peace Congress to challenge the corporate war Congress in Washington. At such a gathering, different groups could argue for better uses for the funds now earmarked for war. By demanding funds for health care, education and job creation, for example, they could directly confront the “war Congress” meeting at the Capitol.

Youth activists reported on their work to build a national student strike during the week of the Encampment.  Activists volunteered to begin working on logistics, housing, transportation, and the many other tasks involved in bringing an encampment to Washington.  Others are working to bring musicians, artists, and poets to DC for the Encampment and March.  Activists and organizations have volunteered to set up tents at the Encampment that focus on particular issues. 

Only the people will stop the war
The Democratic Party bait & switch

Many took note of how the Democrats had betrayed their clear electoral mandate to end the war.

House Speaker Pelosi and President George W. Bush

It was clear to all that despite being elected to bring the troops home and end the criminal occupation, the Democrats in Congress have completely capitulated to Bush on the issue of continuing to fund the war.  Even a determined congressional minority of Democrats could block the funding for the war—if they had really decided to end the war. They could disrupt and filibuster. They could call on people from around the country to surround Congress. Instead, while posing as the “anti-war” majority party, the Democrats have completely capitulated to Bush and the Pentagon.

Building an independent movement is more important than ever, as pressure grows to abandon struggle on the streets and surrender the antiwar movement to the Democratic Party, a party that now completely shares in complicity for the criminal war and occupation in Iraq.
  Participants noted that Wall Street and their mouthpieces always want to divert the mass movement into safe channels—into lobbying and voting and trusting in the bought-and-paid-for politicians. The challenge is to develop clear demands that move the struggle into the streets.

Back to the streets:
Unite to shut down the war

Many present noted that the lack of unity in the antiwar movement is a crisis that must be frankly addressed.   Some noted that during the last struggle over war funding in March, the movement had a real opportunity to intervene if it acted decisively.  Instead, organizations and coalitions called competing events in different venues, deliberately timed to undermine participation in other actions.  This sort of cynical maneuvering for organizational advantage weakens the movement, demoralizes activists, and only plays into the hands of Bush and the warmongers in Washington.

TONC organizers and others stressed that the September struggle over the war funding is a crucial fight that can be a real opportunity to galvanize the struggle against the war, particularly if the movement can unite.  There was a broad consensus on the need to reach out to ALL national antiwar coalitions, as well as the many local grassroots organizations, to build a united demonstration that will be as large and as strong as possible.  TONC organizers emphasized that they welcome and encourage discussion and suggestions for modifying and improving the proposal for the actions in September.

Many participants also emphasized the importance of uniting the struggle against the war abroad with the struggle against the war at home. Those at the meeting encompassing these struggles included Teresa Gutierrez, a leading organizer of the May 1st Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Brenda Stokely of the Million Worker March Movement, Larry Hales of the Colorado United Communities Against Police Brutality, along with many trade union activists.

Regarding the content of the anti-war call, there was overwhelming sentiment that it should be for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, with many expressing solidarity with the resistance movements in those countries and in Palestine and Lebanon. The TONC organizers took note of the U.S. threats against Iran and are raising slogans against U.S. aggression against Iran, too.

Together we can and must change the political agenda

The struggle to stop the war has made tremendous gains.  The vast majority of the people are now opposed to the occupation.  G.I. opposition is growing as soldiers increasingly oppose being sent to fight and die in this horrific war, in which they have no interest. The politicians in Washington are clearly on the defensive, as their dreams of Empire in the Middle East crumble, their lies about the war are exposed, and as the vast majority of people here and worldwide oppose their heinous war.

But we must do more!  The war in Iraq is not a “failed policy;” it is a horrendous crime against the Iraqi people.  It must be stopped!  Everyday the occupation brings more death and destruction to the Iraqi people.  It brings more deaths and serious injuries to U.S. youth who are trapped in this war, and return home to find inadequate medical care and benefits.

It will take an independent movement to stop the war, a movement that takes an independent road geared to mobilizing people in this country to challenge all of the war makers in Washington, that strongly demands the withdrawal of all U.S. troops NOW and calls for ending ALL war funding immediately.

This is a crucial time. What is needed now is an unprecedented outpouring of resistance.  We must demonstrate to the politicians in Washington that we will not allow business as usual to continue. 

The Troops Out Now Coalition encourages all of the antiwar coalitions on the local and national level to engage each other and where communication has broken down, to open new lines of communication so that our combined efforts will make us stronger.

Let us join forces with the movements struggling for:

* No War against Iran
* End all occupations now – from Iraq to Palestine, the Philippines, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Afghanistan
* Impeach Bush & Cheney for War Crimes
* No to U.S. intervention – Hands off Cuba, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and the Sudan
* Stop the raids against immigrant workers — Full rights for undocumented workers
* Justice for Katrina survivors – End racist police terror
* Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners
* Money for health care, jobs and education, not endless war

Together let’s unite to demand:
* Immediate withdrawal of all troops
* Cut off ALL war funding


Encampment to Stop the War blog

Encampment to Stop the War MySpace

Vigils

Every week for the past 5 1/2 years I have been participating in a sidewalk vigil in downtown Salt Lake.  We have signs, flags and sometimes do special things for certain events.  We have a fluctuation of participants each week – we’ve had 50 and we’ve had one.  We vigil in all weather every week.

We mostly get positive responses but we do get a percentage of the typical, unintelligent “Get a job!”, “Get a life!”, “We love Bush” stuff.  Sometimes we get things thrown at us.  It’s also amazing how angry some people get at us just over the sign we are holding.

Here is a photo of a vigil participant from last week:

Surprise, surprise: Now we are “anti-troops”

In the article in today’s Deseret News, Anti-war vote called an anti-troops vote,
Sen. John McCain sought to weaken support for a resolution opposing President Bush’s Iraq war strategy Sunday, saying proponents are intellectually dishonest.

There has been a call issued for the coming weeks to do sit-ins in representative offices. I am sure there will be lots to report on with that action.

Rocky Goes to Washington and will speak at anti-war rally there

Rocky to ‘highlight’ D.C. anti-war rally
Speech of SLC mayor is advertised as an example of how unpopular Bush policies are – even in Utah
By Heather May
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 01/19/2007 12:37:43 AM MST


Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson speaks at an anti-war… (Ryan Galbraith Tribune file photo )

He has made national news – twice – for protesting President Bush in Salt Lake City. Now, Rocky Anderson will have a national stage to castigate the commander in chief.
Salt Lake City’s mayor will speak at an anti-war rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 27, sharing the microphone with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, presidential hopeful Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and the father of a military officer who refuses to deploy to Iraq.
The demonstration – expected to draw hundreds of thousands in the largest anti-war protest since November’s elections – is being organized by the New York-based United for Peace and Justice in response to Bush’s plan to send 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq.
The rally will call on Congress to “end Bush’s war and bring the troops home,” according to organizers.
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