July 24 National Day of Action for an Immediate Ceasefire & Ending Assault on Gaza

July 22, 2014

Originally posted on Peace Action Blog:

By Judith Le Blanc, Field Director, Peace Action

On Thursday, July 24, Join Peace Action and other in a national day of Congressional action for an immediate ceasefire and for an end to the Israeli military attack on Gaza. History proves that even after decades of violence on all sides, ceasefire and negotiations are the only way out of a devastating humanitarian crisis.

Two ways to join the July 24 national day of action:

Call the Senate: (202) 224-3121  Urge an immediate ceasefire. The U.S. can and should join the international call, including the United Nations Security Council, for an immediate ceasefire. Instead last week, the Senate voted to send an additional $621 million to Israel, on top of the $3.1 billion already being sent to Israel every year which is largely military aid. Our government’s one-sided support to Israel is causing misery for the people of Gaza and…

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2014 Global Day of Action on Military Spending: Move the Money!

May 28, 2014

Fourth Annual Day of U.S. Actions 

By Judith Le Blanc, Field Director, Peace Action+GDAMS-Ad

Over 80 activities were organized, for the 2014 Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) in the U.S. GDAMS has become an annual day of U. S. action, part of the ongoing national effort to build a movement strong enough to “move the money” from the Pentagon and wars to fund jobs and public services.

U.S. organizers used U.S. Tax Day as a media hook and opportunity to engage the public in a dialogue on how national governmental taxes are spent by pinpointing the Pentagon budget and wars as a drain on the resources urgently needed for economic security in our communities and to address pressing global problems.

This year, the annual activities targeted the U.S. Congress with grassroots political pressure. The popular education methods, the street visibility actions and media work emphasized the connection between a militarized national budget with a militarized U.S. foreign policy. Without an informed public, fundamental shifts in government policy, foreign or domestic, are impossible. GDAMS is also an important tool to connect the ongoing social justice organizing in the U.S. with solidarity with peace and disarmament movements around the world.

From “penny polls” on city streets and at post offices where pedestrians were asked to share their opinions on national governmental spending priorities to public forums and Congressional town hall meetings the message was clear: it’s time to change national governmental spending priorities from wars and weapons to jobs creation and public services.

Read what the “penny poll” participants said in New Hampshire and in Austin, Texas. about national governmental spending priorities.

In Eugene, Oregon, Community Alliance of Lane County, (CALC), Eugene Springfield Solidarity Network-Jobs With Justice (ESSN), Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Taxes for Peace Not War, Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Veterans for Peace asked their community to voice how they would spend their tax dollars. The results were: 42% for Human Services, 31% for Infrastructure/Environmental Services and 1 % for Military: Present & Past.

“If Eugeneans were in charge in Washington, D.C., things would be radically different — our tax dollars would be fighting climate change and not endless war”, said event organizer Michael Carrigan of CALC. An opinion article by the organizers was also published in the local newspaper, The Register-Guard entitled, “Move tax dollars from Pentagon back to people.”

In Boston, Massachusetts, on April 12, the Budget for All Coalition organized a visibility action at the Bank of America followed by a forum with 200 people. Both events touched on the need to close corporate tax loopholes and tax the 1% as well as redirect Pentagon spending to domestic needs.

In northern California, the New Priorities Campaign (NPC) organized for the fourth year in a row, a distribution by 24 organizations of 15,000

Bay Area, CA GDAMS brochure

Bay Area, CA GDAMS brochure

brochures on excessive U.S. military spending at 34 rapid transit light rail stations in both the East Bay and San Francisco. NPC asked organizations to adopt a station.  Each year the number of stations covered and number of brochures distributed has increased.

In Bethesda, Maryland, Representatives of the Fund Our Communities Maryland coalition co-lead by Montgomery County Peace Action and Progressive MD, “flew” an F-35 aircraft to celebrate Tax Day. The plane fell apart—exhibiting the absurdity of using our taxes on a plane that doesn’t work and will end up costing $1.5 trillion. The action was part of the ongoing local campaign to hold Lockheed Martin accountable on local and state tax issues and to advance “ defense industry transition” state legislation.

In Saint Louis and Clayton, Missouri, Missouri Pro-vote hosted events with the Peace Economy Project, Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom and Veterans for Peace conducting a “chalk-talk” using sidewalks as a blackboard with concise messages about national governmental budget trade-offs.

Virginia Organizing & Richmond Peace Education Center, Richmond, VA GDAMS action

Events were held in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio; Charleston, West Virginia; Superior, Wisconsin; Duluth, Minnesota; Buffalo, New York; Los Angeles, California; Bay Ridge and Staten Island, New York; Dallas, Texas; San Jose, California; Kansas City, Missouri, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Indianapolis, Indiana; Royal Oak, Michigan; Des Moines, Iowa; Greensboro, North Carolina; Bath, Maine and many other small towns and big cities reflecting the commitment of local economic justice and peace groups to build a national consensus that we must “move the money from the Pentagon to fund our communities!”

U.S. Congress heard GDAMS!

In some areas, vigils and informational leafleting were done outside of Congressional offices, while in other areas Congressional representatives or their staff participated. In Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Congressional Representative Barney Frank sent video greetings to the GDAMS Budget for All forum.

On April 15, Women’s Action for New Directions/WiLL released a letter sent to U.S. Congress signed by 290 women state legislators calling on the Congress to cut the Pentagon budget to fund human needs.

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AFSC youth delegation visits U.S. Congressional representatives.

On April 12, in Washington, D.C sixty five youth from across the country came to D.C. for a film festival and leadership training on national budget priorities. This annual event has become the Capitol Hill visibility event for the U.S. GDAMS actions.  The “If I Had a Trillion Dollars” youth film festival had its world premiere screening at Busboys and Poets on April 13.  On April14, the youth had meetings at the Congressional offices of U.S. Senators Portman (OH), Blunt (MO), Kirk (IL), Durbin (IL), Gillibrand (NY), Casey (PA), Toomey (PA) and U.S. Representatives Becerra (CA) and Coble (NC).

U.S. GDAMS goes cyber!

Social media was used creatively to engage, mobilize and educate.Network, the Catholic social justice group, collaborated with GDAMS with a social media campaign to show how local activists want their tax dollars spent. Hundreds of people including 2 Congressional representatives sent photos in. 

Win Without War Meme

Win Without War Memesocial media campaign to show how local activists want their tax dollars spent. Hundreds of people including 2 Congressional representatives sent photos in. 

Groups contributed social media memes and organized a Thunderclap, which had a social media reach of 272, 955 people. Twitter was used to mobilize and even report on the days activities in real time.

Here is a sample Tweet from April 14: “Students from SFSU took #GDAMSbayarea brochure, happy to share info. #GDAMS #movethemoneyhttp://twitpic.com/e15jsa

GDAMS in the news

The National Priorities Project was the “go to” resource for research, materials and media efforts. As a nationally recognized institution their commentaries and comments on Tax Day appeared in a cross section of traditional and online media from Boise, Idaho to Tucson, Arizona to Cape Cod, Massachusetts to the Wall Street Journal Market Watch to Al Jeerzera-America. We were able to track 43 articles, radio, blog and TV appearances.

Times News April 16 2014 (2)Some local actions got front page in their town newspaper like Burlington, North Carolina’s The Times-News and many areas had letters to the editor, opinion pieces and radio.

A National Infrastructure for Local Action

Local organizers sparked community actions supported by a national infrastructure of organizations that are committed to supporting the growing of a national grassroots infrastructure for the long-term.

In 2014, national sponsoring groups agreed to host a series of webinars and training opportunities to build local organizing capacity in 2014 and continue to build the “move the money” movement.

Starting in early March, four webinars/conference calls were organized which engaged from 20-100 local and national organizers in trainings on creative tactics with a contributor to Beautiful Trouble, a national budget review with National Priorities Project, a special review of the Overseas Contingency Operation budget line item or what has been called , the Pentagon’s “Slush Fund” and a briefing on how to use social and traditional media for local actions conducted by the Pentagon Budget Campaign.

Templates for leaflets, fact sheets, organizing tool box, state tax receipts and even more were made available on the global GDAMS website. Montgomery County, Maryland Peace Action that has been locked in battle with the greedy Lockheed Martin defense contractor for years, created a “Mockery Newspaper” to bring a smile or a howl.

Looking ahead, GDAMS offers the best and most exciting opportunity every year to link foreign and domestic policy with global solidarity actions around the world.

U.S. groups sponsoring Tax Day/GDAMS events: Alliance for Global Justice, American Friends Service Committee, CODEPINK, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Foreign Policy in Focus, Friends Committee on National Legislation, National Priorities Project, National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, Peace Action, Progressive Democrats of America, United for Peace and Justice, USAction, US Labor Against the War, War Resisters League, Women’s Action for New Directions & Women’s Legislators

The author, Judith Le Blanc, Peace Action’s Field Director  was the U.S. coordinator for GDAMS. 2014 GDAMS was a grand success due to the special efforts of  American Friends Service Committee’s Mary Zerkel, National Priorities Project’s Jo Comerford, Foreign Policy In Focus intern Ved Singh and the incredible leadership and staff of the International Peace Bureau, Colin Archer and Mylene Soto.


Americans Want to End Afghanistan War

May 27, 2014

Washington, DC — May 27, 2014 — Despite polling that Americans think that the Afghanistan War was a mistake and is definitely not worth fighting, the Obama administration is poised to announce its plans to leave 9,800 troops and an unknown amount of contractors in the country after the end of this year.

 

“Americans are tired of war.  It’s time for the longest U.S. war in history to be over.  Instead, the Obama Administration wants to leave nearly 10,000 troops and untold contractors in Afghanistan after the end of year costing billions of dollars,” observed Paul Kawika Martin, the political director of Peace Action — a group founded in 1957 and the largest grassroots peace organization in the U.S.  His comments came after news reports of an immanent announcement by President Obama.

 

Experts agree that the long-term cost of the Afghanistan War may reach trillions of dollars and it’s unclear that troops in the country will really help with stability.  

 

It is known that the administration will only finalize the decision about troop presence when a bilateral agreement is reached with the Afghanistan government.  Presently, President Karzai refuses to sign but the two candidates embroiled in a runoff election say they will sign when the take office sometime late in the summer.

 

Republican House leadership block a recent amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would of required congressional approval to leave troops beyond 2014.  Congress may still weigh in on this issue with several other bills they have on their docket.  It’s possible that Congress would not approve the President’s troop levels if it came to a vote. 

 

“No strong evidence suggests that the cost of blood and treasure of leaving troops and contractors in Afghanistan after this year will make Americans safer or the region more stable,” concluded Martin who traveled to the country in 2010.

 

###

 

Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to the conflicts with Afghanistan and Iran. The public may learn more and take action at http://www.Peace-Action.org. For more up-to-date peace insider information, follow Peace Action’s political director on Twitter. http://twitter.com/PaulKawika


Join us in DC for 5/20 event on Okinawa and the struggle to evict U.S. bases

May 19, 2014

Several Peace Action staff and activists, including yours truly, have had the honor to travel to the breathtaking island of Okinawa. In addition to meeting beautiful people and sampling the lovely scenery, food, music and ocean (I got to go snorkeling twice among fish of countless shapes, sizes and colors above pristine coral reefs, an unforgettable experience!) we’ve learned of the struggle to rid this gorgeous part of the world of the stain of U.S. military bases. Now, the U.S. and Japanese governments appear hell-bent on a reckless plan to construct a base on the northeast part of the island. The base would be built on landfill out into the ocean, and destroy precious, irreplaceable coral reefs as well as the habitat of the dugong, the Asian manatee. This plan is, not surprisingly, strenuously opposed by the Okinawan people. Please join me and Susumu Inamine, Mayor of Nago City on Okinawa, next Tuesday in D.C. to learn more about how we can help stop this military madness!

US Military Bases in Okinawa and the Japan-US Relationship

An Evening with Susumu INAMINE, Mayor of Nago City, Okinawa in Washington, DC May 20th.

Seventy years after World War II, Okinawa, devastated as a battleground in the Pacific War (1941-45), continues to be occupied by the US military, mostly marine bases, which pose threats to safety, health, and life of people and the environment. Despite steadfast opposition by the majority of the people in Okinawa, the US and Japanese governments are forcing through their plan to build yet another marine airbase with a military port. The massive reclamation required would damage the endangered bio-diverse environment of the northeastern shore. Mayor Susumu Inamine of Nago City, site of the planned base construction, was first elected in 2010 and re-elected this January, both times on a platform of opposition to the new base. This is his second visit to the United States to lobby with policymakers and to raise awareness in the United States to support his appeal. Please join Mayor Inamine and a panel of experts to discuss the critical issue.

 

Time and Date:        Tuesday, May 20, 2014

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Place:                                     Busboys and Poets, 14th & V

2021 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

phone: 202-387-7638

http://www.busboysandpoets.com/about/14th-v

 

A Discussion with Nago City Mayor Susumu Inamine, Member of the Japanese House of Representatives (Okinawa) Denny Tamaki

 

Organized by:           Busboys and Poets & New Diplomacy Initiative (ND)

http://www.busboysandpoets.com/events/event/us-military-bases-in-okinawa-and-japan-us-relationship

New Diplomacy Initiative, info@nd-initiative.org


Free Climate Crisis Film Directed by Peace Action Member – NYC Premiere this Sunday

May 8, 2014

Filmmaker John Ankele, a longtime Peace Action member, makes terrific documentaries with peace, justice and environmental themes. Don’t miss this free premiere!

Celebrate Mother’s Day by Honoring Mother Earth!
 
Come to the NYC premiere of: 

THE WISDOM TO SURVIVE
 
Climate Change, Capitalism & Community 

Sun., May 11, 2-4 pm 
Judson Memorial Church 
Free 
Filmmaker John Ankele present 

“A starkly prophetic film. It combines the direst of warnings with deep love of life. Better than any other film I know, it makes clear that our profit-oriented growth economy has caused the climate catastrophe and cannot itself rescue us from disaster. We need new thinking and a new way of life.”
—Tom F. Driver, Paul Tillich Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary 

“Brilliant, achingly poignant. Please SEE THIS FILM—bring it to your community, talk about it, share it with others. It is one of the most artfully-rendered films on the planet’s crisis (and how we move through it) I have ever seen. Extraordinarily moving.”
—Shyla Nelson, Founder, One Earth One Voice Campaign 

In discussions with thought leaders and activists, The Wisdom to Survive explores how unlimited growth lies behind climate disruption, and is devastating our planet’s life support system, our social fabric, and the lives of billions of people. Featured: Bill McKibben (350.org), author Joanna Macy, whale scientist Roger Payne, Herschelle Milford (Surplus People Project), Quincy Saul (Ecosocialist Horizons), and more. 

Judson Church is located at 55 Washington Square South, NYC, 10012. 

Presented in partnership with 350 NYC. 

Through their non-profit company Old Dog Documentaries, Macksoud and Ankele have produced timely documentaries on urgent issues about the environment, social justice, and spirituality for over 25 years. Like their past films, The Wisdom to Survive supports Old Dog’s mission of promoting environmental justice and inspiring viewers to become activists. 

For more information, visit http://olddogdocumentaries.org.


Jonathan Schell, Presente!

March 28, 2014

The peace and disarmament community has lost one of our most eloquent champions, author and activist Jonathan Schell, who died earlier this week from cancer.

I had the distinct pleasure of working closely with Jonathan for a few years, from 1999 to 2001 when I served as director of Project Abolition, a nuclear disarmament coalition on whose Steering Committee Jonathan served (Peace Action and about a half dozen other groups were members). Jonathan was wonderful to work with, very serious, committed and very generous with his time. In informal, social settings I found him to be a delightful conversationalist and overall a very nice, kind, gentle man. A great loss. Here is a remembrance and a sample of his writing for The Nation magazine. 

–Kevin Martin


Thanks to you, Congress spoke for diplomacy

February 19, 2014

Last week, because of your continued pressure, 105 Representatives signed a letter to President Obama to support his administration’s efforts to work with the world community and seek a diplomatic solution with Iran over their nuclear program.

While some in Congress seem to want to derail diplomacy by enacting more sanctions even though the U.S. agreed not to as a part of the historic temporary agreement with Iran. This agreement significantly walks back Iran’s nuclear program while providing them with sanction relief while allowing time for the international negotiators to come to long-term agreement with Iran.

And while we have been able to keep the congressional hawks at bay, we need to continue to press for diplomacy. Please take a moment and look at the list of Representatives that signed the “Give Diplomacy a Chance” letter below and thank those that signed and admonish those who didn’t.

You can find and reach your Representative at 202-224-3121 or calling one of their local offices.

For the last eight years we have worked tirelessly for a diplomatic solution with Iran. It is now within reach and we continue to need your help.

Here’s the letter:

Dear Mr. President,

As Members of Congress—and as Americans—we are united in our unequivocal commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East would threaten the security of the United States and our allies in the region, particularly Israel.

The ongoing implementation of the Joint Plan of Action agreed to by Iran and the “P5+1” nations last November increases the possibility of a comprehensive and verifiable international agreement. We understand that there is no assurance of success and that, if talks break down or Iran reneges on pledges it made in the interim agreement, Congress may be compelled to act as it has in the past by enacting additional sanctions legislation. At present, however, we believe that Congress must give diplomacy a chance. A bill or resolution that risks fracturing our international coalition or, worse yet, undermining our credibility in future negotiations and jeopardizing hard-won progress toward a verifiable final agreement, must be avoided.

We remain wary of the Iranian regime. But we believe that robust diplomacy remains our best possible strategic option, and we commend you and your designees for the developments in Geneva. Should negotiations fail or falter, nothing precludes a change in strategy. But we must not imperil the possibility of a diplomatic success before we even have a chance to pursue it.

Sincerely,

Arizona
Grijalva
Pastor

California
Bass
Capps
Eshoo
Farr
Garamendi
Huffman
Lee, Barbara
Lofgren
McNerney, Jerry
Miller, George
Negrete McLeod
Roybal-Allard
Speier
Takano
Thompson, Mike
Waters

Colorado
DeGette
Polis

Connecticut
Courtney
DeLauro
Larson

District of Columbia
Norton

Florida
Brown

Georgia
Bishop, Sanford
Johnson, Hank
Lewis

Guam
Bordallo

Illinois
Davis, Danny
Enyart
Foster
Gutierrez
Kelly, Robin
Rush
Schakowsky

Indiana
Carson
Visclosky

Iowa
Loebsack

Kentucky
Massie
Yarmuth

Maine
Pingree

Maryland
Cummings
Edwards
Ruppersberger
Van Hollen

Massachusetts
Capuano
Keating
Lynch, Stephen
McGovern
Tierney
Tsongas

Michigan
Conyers
Dingell
Kildee

Minnesota
Ellison
McCollum
Nolan
Walz

Mississippi
Thompson, Bennie

Missouri
Clay
Cleaver

New Hampshire
Kuster
Shea-Porter

New Jersey
Holt
Payne
Velazquez

New York
Clarke, Yvette
Hanna
McCarthy
Meeks
Rangel
Slaughter
Tonko

North Carolina
Butterfield, GK
Jones, Walter
Price, David

Ohio
Beatty
Fudge, Marcia
Kaptur
Ryan, Tim

Northern Mariana Islands
Sablan

Oregon
Blumenauer
DeFazio

Pennsylvania
Cartwright

Puerto Rico
Pierluisi

South Carolina
Clyburn

Tennessee
Cohen
Cooper
Duncan Jr

Texas
Doggett
Jackson-Lee
Johnson, EB
O’Rourke

Utah
Matheson

Vermont
Welch

Virginia
Christensen
Connolly
Moran, Jim
Scott, Bobby

Washington
McDermott

West Virginia
Rahall

Wisconsin
Moore
Pocan


Urgent Action: Tell the House, “No New Iran Sanctions, Support Diplomacy”

January 15, 2014
Last week, we asked you to contact the Senate to oppose new economic sanctions on Iran, which could scuttle the promising nuclear deal and lead to the unthinkable, another Middle East war. The good news is the bill, S. 1881 sponsored by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), is not moving forward to a vote in the Senate, even though it has 59 co-sponsors. Your calls have made a difference; White House and Senate staffers have expressed appreciation for our grassroots pressure (so don’t let anyone tell you your voice doesn’t count anymore in Washington!).

Unfortunately (but as we suspected), the Republican House leadership is considering a vote to pass the Senate sanctions bill’s language. We need to head this off with a nonviolent “pre-emptive strike” on the House!

Please call your U.S. Representative now at 855-68-NO-WAR (855-686-6927)* and tell her or him no new Iran sanctions, don’t undermine diplomacy.

You can reference the Menendez (D-NJ) – Kirk (R-IL) Senate bill, that you don’t want that language passed in the House, but it’s not necessary. You can just tell your Representative you want no new sanctions on Iran. The U.S. and its allies agreed not to sanction Iran further while negotiations over its nuclear program are ongoing, so Congress should stay out of this and support diplomacy. It’s that simple.

Humbly for Peace,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

P.S. I’m sure you are busy, but one phone call to your Representative, toll-free, at 855-68-NO-WAR (855-686-6927)* telling her or him to give diplomacy a chance and oppose any new sanctions on Iran, will make a huge difference, as it already has!

*Toll-free number generously supplied by the Friends Committee on National Legislation


Weapons Pushers vs. AARP – whose side are you on?

October 21, 2013

We’ll have more on this soon, but a New York Times article from Saturday makes very clear the Pentagon, its defenders in Congress and the merchants of death (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and their ilk) seek to spare the Pentagon from $20 billion in budget cuts under sequestration, and that the money should instead be cut from education, Social Security and Medicare.

Needless to say, lots of people and organizations will oppose such misguided priorities. The American Association of Retired People (AARP) is first out of the starting gate with a radio ad campaign opposing cuts to seniors’ programs. More soon from the peace and justice and human needs forces, as this struggle is just beginning.


Diplomacy advocate lectures congregation

September 26, 2013

The Island Now
Thursday, September 26, 2013
By Bill San Antonio

As the executive director of Peace Action, the nation’s largest grassroots disarmament organization, Kevin Martin said Tuesday he has seen firsthand the militarization of the United States’ foreign policy in the last decade.

But in his lecture at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation entitled “Endless War on Peace,” Martin said he was confident that America’s recent history of military strikes and occupations of nations seen as a threat to national security would evolve into a more diplomatic approach to foreign policy – particularly because of the recent diplomatic efforts to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons and the start of talks with Iran.

“At a certain point, we’re just not going to buy that anymore,” Martin said. “We’re just not going to buy that there’s a terrorist at every corner of the globe.”

Martin began the lecture, which was sponsored by the Shelter Rock Forum, the Great Neck SANE/Peace Action and the Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, by calling out the names of 11 nations — China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Italy, Brazil and South Korea – whose combined military budgets equals what the United States spends on its own military each year.

But for all its spending, Martin said the United States is ranked No. 99 on the Global Peace Index, tied with Papua New Guinea despite being known as the world’s last superpower.

“We can’t keep doing this, we can’t keep marauding around the world and trying to kill more terrorists than we create, because we will fail,” Martin said.

Martin said the U.S. spends approximately $600 billion each year on its military and $1 trillion on national security, and in the next 10 years will implement a $200 million arms refurbishment program.

“How do we have any credibility going to Iran or anyone else, saying they shouldn’t have weapons of mass destruction, shouldn’t have nuclear weapons, when we not only intend to keep ours, we intend to modernize them?” Martin said.

Martin also cited a University of Massachusetts study that said military spending is the worst way to create jobs and stimulate the economy, adding that the money America puts toward military spending could better serve the job market if it were used on education.

“Military spending does not help our economy in any way other than keep people employed,” Martin said. “If you can separate the nonsense about the economic benefits of military spending from the real security issues we have in this country, we can win that argument.”

Martin said the mainstream media has more recently played a role in more diplomatic measures in America’s foreign policy.

With Syria, Martin said the mainstream media took greater interest in covering the different angles toward President Obama’s recent request to Congress for a military strike on Syria after those who have been known to be pro-war were coming out against the strike.

Within a day or two, Martin said the media began covering what he called “better alternatives” to avoid the strike, such as sending supplies and weapons to those who are fighting off the Syrian army and rebel fighters who may have ties to terrorist organizations.

“That’s when I knew Obama was sunk, because he could try to scare us or try some fandango, but once better alternatives were out there, he lost control of the conversation,” Martin said.

Martin added that there could be a “spillover effect” from the diplomatic solution toward America’s approach to Syria that could impact future negotiations with Iran over the destabilization of its nuclear program.

“Now diplomacy seems like this limb we’ve learned to use again,” Martin said.

Martin said he does not think major arms manufacturers will continue to have a strong influence in lobbying the federal government into increased military spending, if better alternatives continue to present themselves in America’s foreign policy and people continue pushing for peace.

“If peace actually breaks out, you just can’t justify using such a huge percentage of our tax dollars on tanks and missiles and that $200 million over the next 10 years to refurbish our weapons,” Martin said. “You just can’t justify that anymore.”

If the United States opted for diplomacy more frequently, Martin said the short-term effect would be that other countries would fear and hate the United States less, though its history of invasions and military attacks would likely mean it would take longer for the world to “love us more.”

But the process of healing America’s reputation around the world starts with money coming out of the “war machine” and being put toward more “life-affirming functions,” and for people to “stand up for the values this country says its for” and be more vocal about a peaceful and diplomatic foreign policy, Martin said.

“We have hope, we have real solutions, we have better alternatives, we have better policies,” Martin said. “They have a lot of money and guns and weapons, but really all they have is fear.”


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