Two Local Events in the DC area featuring Jeremy Scahill and Bill Hartung

June 5, 2013

We hope you can attend both these upcoming events

“Dirty Wars” Opens in D.C. Weekend of June 7-9

“Dirty Wars”, the new film featuring Jeremy Scahill, is playing every day at 12 noon, 2:30pm, 5:00pm, 7:30pm, and 9:55pm at Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St NW, Washington, DC

You can buy tickets now at E St Cinema

Following the 12:00, 2:30, and 5:00 showings on June 7th, Amnesty International’s Jiva Manske will lead a discussion of the film and of activism that can address some of what the film covers.
Following the 7:30 showing on June 7th, *Code Pink* will lead a discussion of issues surrounding the film.
Following the 2:30 screening on June 8th, RootsAction’s David Swanson and Yemeni-American activist Rooj Alwazir will lead a discussion of the film and, in particular, of an imprisoned journalist whose story is told.
Following the 5:00 and 7:30 screenings on June 8th, Jeremy Scahill will take questions.
Following the 2:30 and 5:00 showings on June 9th, Afghan War whistleblower Matthew Hoh will lead a discussion of the film and whistleblowing.

For a more in-depth discussion, the following free and public event has been planned:
WHAT: Discussion of Jeremy Scahill’s new film and book Dirty Wars
WHO:
- Jeremy Scahill, author of *Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield* and
star of the film by the same name.
- Rooj Alwazir, Yemeni-American activist and co-founder of SupportYemen media collective.
- A former operative with the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command
(name to be revealed at the event).
WHEN: 5-7 p.m., Saturday, June 8, 2013
WHERE: Busboys and Poets restaurant at 5th and K Streets NW, Washington, DC
SPONSORS: Amnesty International, Code Pink, Peace Action, Iraq Veterans Against the War, RootsAction, Veterans for Peace.
Busboys is a restaurant, and you can order dinner during the event.
Books will be sold and signed.
Sign up on Facebook for Busboys event
and for opening weekend in general
To learn more about the film

Please join us in Silver Spring on June 11 to hear a terrific speaker and engage in a dialogue.
William Hartung, noted journalist and military analyst, will discuss his powerful book Prophets of War, a trenchant historical expose of
the world’s largest military contractor, Lockheed Martin, whose world headquarters is located in Bethesda.
We won’t just listen (to a fabulous speaker)–we’ll also talk about how we can move the money, to invest in institutions for social justice in the U.S. and around the world, instead of in new weapons systems.

Bring your family and friends:
Prophets of War
William Hartung
Tues., June 11th, 7 p.m.
Silver Spring Civic Building
One Veterans Plaza


A Decade Ago, The World Said No to “Pre-emptive” War and Yes to Peace

February 15, 2013

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Ten years ago, in the largest demonstration in history, over 15 million people worldwide hit the streets to call for peace instead of George Bush’s “pre-emptive” war of aggression against Iraq. While we didn’t stop the war, that day remains an inspiration for many who marched. The New York Times called us “the other world superpower,” and veteran columnist Jimmy Breslin wrote a moving article calling the demonstrators the nicest people he’d ever met.

I was in New York City, freezing my tuchus off with our Japanese friends and colleagues from our sister peace group Gensuikin, who arranged to come all the way from Japan to stand in solidarity with the U.S. peace movement. The heavy handed, menacing (near snarling, to be truthful) police presence in Manhattan that day was overwhelmed by the power of hundreds of thousands of nonviolent peacemongers!

Were you there in New York, or in another city in the United States or another country? Have any stories, photos or videos to share?

Soon, a documentary film We Are Many about that beautiful day will be released (see the website and a teaser for the film). We’ll keep you posted as to the premiere and ways to promote and distribute the film as we get the details.


Be a Patriot, Uphold the Constitution: Save Obama From His Tortured Justifications For Drone Strikes, Kill Lists and Targeted Assassinations

February 8, 2013
–Kevin Martin, Executive Director
My cousin David has a cool used record and bookstore in downtown Lancaster, PA (my hometown) called BohoZone, check it out if you visit Lancaster. Bought my son Max a paperback copy of Fahrenheit 451 for Xmas, which he of course forgot and left in the car. So I read it, for the first time since high school (and will now give it back to Max for him to read). Really dug it, forgot that Ray Bradbury knew how to write for popular audiences. Want to see the movie again too (directed by one of the all-time greats, Francois Truffaut, starring Oskar Werner and the inimitable Julie Christie). Gotta admit I dig the future dystopia genre, especially the ones where there is some hope or at least fightback by the people (I also like the “we’re screwed and destined to succumb to the fascist police state and there’s no hope” ones too as I hope they’ll serve as a cautionary tale and wake people up.)
I especially like the one where the supposedly liberal or even “socialist” president decides who he can kill with impunity, using robots to deliver bombs, even if he doesn’t even know the person’s name, in countries with whom we are not at war, with no congressional or judicial oversight, justified by lawyers accountable only to him, with hundreds (at least) of civilians being killed.
Oh wait that’s not some future dystopia, that’s called the Obama Administration.
While many peace activists and human rights researchers have been protesting and educating and agitating about drone strikes and the president’s “kill list” for quite some time, this week seems to have brought something of a breakthrough, at least in media coverage and perhaps in Congressional scrutiny of these morally and legally dubious (and that’s being kind, many folks would just say “illegal”) practices by our Nobel Peace Laureate president. CIA Director-designate John Brennan took much of the heat on this in the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Wednesday (with some justification, as he has been the president’s counterterrorism chief and was in the CIA under Bush/Cheney), but the president is the one accountable for these policies, and the one who could, and should, end them.
Brevity prevents a full listing of all the problematic aspects of drone strikes (our colleague and former Peace Action staffer and board member Duane Shank of Sojourners had a nice rundown on his Drone Watch blog post the other day, with links to many articles), but the civilian death toll and paper-thin legal “justification” for drone strikes being authorized by the Congressional resolution right after 9/11 are enough to call this whole shebang to a halt. (Certainly Constitutional Law Professor Barack Obama would have understood this.)
Those two concerns are the main reasons cited for the announcement late last month that the UN will open an investigation into drone strikes and targeted killings. Unites States’ UN Ambassador Susan Rice said the administration “has not ruled out full cooperation” with the investigation, as if we can pick and choose, as a UN member state. when to cooperate.
Momentum against drones (and I haven’t even gone into the frightening spectre of the proliferation of domestic surveillance drones just on the horizon that even Bradbury couldn’t have imagined) is building fast. Nationally coordinated grassroots actions on drones are planned for April. I had a suggestion the other day that we ought to start a call-in campaign to the White House every Tuesday. Why? That is supposedly the day the president looks at the kill list and approves targets for murder.
I know many liberals and progressives are loathe to criticize the president, and/or feel it’s their job to protect him from the right-wing. But it’s our Constitution that needs protecting, from this or any president who would declare himself judge, jury and executioner. Do him a favor and demand he end this madness.

Defense Budget Not ‘Sacrosanct’ – Superb op-ed by NJ Peace Action’s Madelyn Hoffman in the Bloomfield Life

November 29, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

BY MADELYN HOFFMAN
GUEST COLUMNIST
Bloomfield Life

As the calendar propels us toward the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, there is no issue the U.S. Congress and President Obama will address more important for our states and our communities than the federal budget. If our elected officials can’t agree on a restructured budget before the end of 2012, an agreement reached under the Budget Control Act of 2011 will kick in:

* tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans initiated under George W. Bush will expire,

* tax rates on virtually everyone will increase, and

* automatic budget cuts will occur to hundreds of programs, including the military and Medicare

While some Congressional leaders fear this “fiscal cliff,” New Jersey Peace Action and our allies in Congress demand a fiscal showdown. We agree with retired Gen. Colin Powell. There is no rational reason why we can’t deal with the deficit if we cut the Pentagon budget saying “I don’t think the defense budget should be made sacrosanct.”

On a recent CNN State of the Union, Powell noted that when he was the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Dick Cheney was the Secretary of Defense, they presided over a 25 percent cut in the Pentagon budget. And still, today, the United States spends as much on war and weapons as the rest of the world combined.

We call on our elected officials to reject the agenda of “austerity” whose proponents consider the Pentagon budget and the taxes of the top 1 percent untouchable. Implementing this agenda will force most of us to pay the cost for an economic meltdown caused by Wall Street and the banks and by nearly $1.4 trillion in runaway military spending, including the expense of two lengthy wars. More jobs are created per dollar spent in almost any other sector except the military, so redirecting our spending from the military will put the country on a road to creating jobs while protecting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. None of these programs contributed a dime toward the deficit. Many low-to-moderate Americans paid into these programs and depend upon them for survival.

In addition, at a time when our need for fiscal responsibility has never been greater, we can also cut our nuclear weapons budget.

In mid-November, U.S. Rep. Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Congressional leadership on the issue of nuclear weapons and the fiscal cliff. He writes:

…Unchecked spending on nuclear weapons threatens to push us over the fiscal cliff.  It imperils both our national and economic security. It makes us less safe by preventing investment in the systems that our soldiers need most. It jeopardizes our future by forcing cuts to programs that fund life-saving medical research, train teachers, and ensure seniors and the most vulnerable receive essential healthcare.

The Ploughshares Fund estimates that the U.S. is projected to spend more than $640 billion on nuclear weapons and related programs over the next 10 years…

Cuts to nuclear weapons programs upwards of $100 billion over the next ten years are possible…Cut Minuteman missiles. Do not cut Medicare and Medicaid. Cut nuclear-armed B-52 and B-2 bombers. Do not cut Social Security. Invest in the research and education that will drive our future prosperity, not in weapons for a war [Cold War] we already won.

Congress must ensure that corporations and the super-rich pay their fair share of taxes. Congress can and must end the war and occupation of Afghanistan. Ending the war in Afghanistan and cutting funding for weapons even the military says it no longer needs would release enough money to eliminate all the states’ budget deficits, thus protecting the jobs of teachers, firefighters, police and other public employees.

Our elected officials need to restructure our economy so it is no longer dependent on wars and weapons and, instead, supports prosperous communities. Why not invest in renewable energy programs that both conserve resources and help slow down global warming? If we divert at least 25 percent of the military budget to community programs we can meet the growing demand for quality health care, housing and transportation as well as address the need for adequate supplies of food and clean water.

Join New Jersey Peace Action in contacting our U.S. senators and U.S. representatives about our priorities. It is important to raise our voices now as budget negotiations during this lame duck session continue. Congress last approved a budget in 1997. Every year since, our elected representatives have avoided confrontation around differing budget priorities by passing continuing resolutions and approving debt ceiling increases.

This year, let’s tell Congress to negotiate a fair deal that truly protects our communities without sending us over the fiscal cliff. The re-election of President Obama indicates that many Americans would support our approach and priorities.

Call U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg at 973-639-8700, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez at 973-645-3030, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell at 973-523-5152 and incoming U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. at 973-645-3213.

The writer is executive director of New Jersey Peace Action, based in Bloomfield.


Mitt Romney sounded like Gandhi last night, and Au Revoir to a true man of peace

October 23, 2012

Mitt Romney sure mentioned the word “peace” an awful lot in the last presidential debate Monday night. While my take is that he did so in a pretty cynical way, trying to make folks think he is less of a dangerous guy than he really is, it was interesting, and I think good sign, perhaps counterintutively.

Now I don’t for a moment want Mitt Romney to be president. His proposals to amp up Pentagon spending, his hawkish views regarding Iran, his desire to build up U.S. nuclear forces instead of reducing them, his kowtowing to Bibi Netanyahu and conservative Jews in the U.S., to name just a few policies that are out of whack with the interests of the American people, speak much more loudly than his kumbaya-ing last night.

However, it’s clear that Romney and his campaign handlers want to at least appear to be breaking with some of the policies of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (and with some of his own previous bellicose positions), to appear kinder and gentler, more acceptable as a possible commander in chief. And even if it was cynical, the fact that he thought he had to appear to be more of a peacenik is a good sign. “Peace” shouldn’t be a dirty word in presidential campaigns, especially in a country nearly always at war (and where the current Nobel Peace Prize-winning president presides over drone strikes to get folks on a “kill list,” yet who is also talking like he wants his second term to be more peaceful, many contradictions with his current policies notwithstanding).

I guess for me it comes down to being somewhat surprised, but glad, that the two main presidential candidates are talking about peace, even when we know their policies don’t live up to their words. Peace is one of the values that human beings hold dearest, but it shouldn’t be used cynically. And of course our job is to hold them accountable to actually carrying out more peaceful policies after the election.

How did you react to Romney’s peace prose last night? Please share your thoughts and feelings.

Remember the last true peace candidate for president (of the “major” parties that is)? Senator George McGovern passed away at the age of 90 over the weekend. I couldn’t add anything to this moving tribute by William Greider at The Nation, so I won’t try, except to say he was the first candidate I can remember. My mom volunteered for him, and in the straw poll in my 5th grade class (I think it was 5th grade), I may have been the only McGovern “supporter.” Rest in peace, good man, and thanks for all your peace-and-justice-mongering and truth-telling. Would that we had some leaders like you today.


Stephen Colbert Skewers President Obama Over Drone Strikes and Kill List (and he richly deserves it); Do Not Kill List Urged on White House Website!

June 1, 2012

Whatever one thinks of President Obama, his foreign and military policy, and how much worse a Romney presidency might be, the president is in very bad territory with his actions regarding “signature” drone strikes and kill lists. If there aren’t laws against presidents being judge, jury and executioner, there ought to be (I’m no constitutional law professor, like, oh, the president, but I’m pretty sure there are such laws). Congress needs to step in here and do its job. Thanks to Erik Sperling for this.

The Colbert Report did two consecutive segments focusing on the Obama administration’s drone policy last night (a frequent topic for him).

They are definitely worth watching and sharing. The links are below, along with a few quotes. -Erik

Thursday May 31, 2012

Segment (2:02):

Barack Obama’s Righteous Drone Strikes

The government takes out Al Qaeda’s “number two,” and Barack Obama finds an alternative to shutting down Guantanamo Bay.

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/414703/may-31-2012/barack-obama-s-righteous-drone-strikes

Segment (3:32):

The Word – Two Birds With One Drone

The Obama administration reasons that anyone in a strike zone is likely Al Qaeda, so no one has to feel guilty about civilian casualties. (03:32) http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/414704/may-31-2012/the-word—two-birds-with-one-drone

Quotes:

“Obama has carried out more than five times as many covert drone strike as George Bush. So what’s behind the president’s righteous kill spree? Could it be that he’s just gunning for another Nobel Peace Prize?”

“Rather than sending prisoners to Gitmo, he is taking the high road by sending them to their maker. As the New York Times put it, Mr. Obama has avoided the complications of detention by deciding to take no prisoners alive. It’s brilliant — he doesn’t have to worry about habeas corpus because after a drone strike, sometimes you can’t even find the corpus.”

“The administration has developed a brilliant system of ensuring that those building engulfing explosions don’t kill non-combatants: they just count all military age males in a strike zone as combatants.”

“This isn’t just the president executing innocent people around the world by fiat, there is an appeals process. The men are considered terrorists unless ‘there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent,’ in which case, I assume, there is a legal process that un-kills them.”

Meanwhile, progressive talk show host David Sirota has created a “Do Not Kill List” petition drive on the White House website! Also brilliant! Hopefully Colbert will help publicize it too!


Should NATO disappear?

May 16, 2012

Well let’s make it go poof! Join the NATO Counter Summit this Friday and Saturday in Chicago!

Here’s an excellent op-ed by Chicago Area Peace Action’s Michael Lynn and Roxane Assaf in today’s Chicago Tribune.

NATO’s Hard Sell at the Summit

By Michael Lynn

May 16, 2012

In 1949, shortly after the Soviet Union exploded its first nuclear weapon, the United States and 11 WesternEuropean nations formed NATO. The organization’s original goals were the deterrence of Soviet aggression against the war-ravaged nations of Western Europe and containing Soviet influence within the boundaries of its already existing Eastern bloc.

Now, more than six decades later, as the 28-country alliance gathers in Chicago for its summit, the Afghan war and U.S. military spending in general are due for some increased scrutiny. President Barack Obama‘s recently announced joint agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai calls into serious question Obama’s intention to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014 and the administration’s promise to be the most transparent in American history — ironic, since the proposed agreement bypasses Congress entirely.

If there is no accountability to Congress, the will of the American people is being ignored. A recent New York Times poll shows that nearly 7 out of 10 Americans (69 percent) believe the U.S. should not be at war in Afghanistan. Opposition to the war cuts across ideological divides, with 68 percent of Democrats saying the war was going somewhat or very badly and 60 percent of Republicans agreeing. Strikingly, a plurality (40 percent) of Republicans asserted that the U.S. should exit Afghanistan earlier than 2014. A recentChristian Science Monitor poll showed that 63 percent of U.S. respondents rejected the Obama-Karzai deal, while only 33 percent approved.

With such overwhelming public opposition, it is no surprise that 39 peace and justice groups nationwide have formed the Network for a NATO-Free Future and will host a “Counter-Summit for Peace and Economic Justice” prior to the NATO affair.

But activists and street protesters are not the only ones voicing discontent. The unpopularity of the war is shared in other NATO nations, and some governments are listening. Five member states have completed or announced withdrawal plans: Canada in 2011, Poland in 2012, the United Kingdom by 2015, France is set to leave by the end of the year, and Australia is about to announce its own acceleration of troop withdrawal. Yet on NATO’s agenda in Chicago is an attempt to shore up flagging support from allies as well as selling them on the new agreement.

Is there still a need for NATO? With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO’s original raison d’etre disappeared. With Europe rebuilt, the threat from a greatly diminished Russia was no longer credible. The U.S. had emerged from the Cold War as the globe’s only remaining superpower. With the ideological struggle of the Cold War a thing of the past, thoughts turned to a future with less need for expensive military alliances, such as NATO. It was the era when all were wondering how the so-called peace dividend would be spent.

A funny thing happened on the way to that bright and happy future. NATO did not wither away, but grew steadily. It reimagined and re-missioned itself, poised to confront what it termed “complex new risks to Euro-Atlantic peace and stability.” It might not have been clear at the time exactly what those risks were, but the military bureaucracy seemed sure they existed.

Notwithstanding NATO’s intervention in the former Yugoslavia in 1995, its central mission remained vaguely defined until after Sept. 11, when it became a partner-in-arms to then-President George W. Bush‘s “global war on terror.” The terrorist attacks led to the first invocation of Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which states that an attack on any member state will be treated as an attack on all.

Within a month, NATO was involved in the U.S.-led attack on Afghanistan. The attack was defined as an attempt to effect regime change, dismantle al-Qaidaand, in particular, capture or kill Osama bin Laden.

Fast-forward to the present day. Bin Laden is dead. The CIA estimates fewer than 100 al-Qaida members remain in Afghanistan. The Taliban no longer rules that nation. Yet the U.S. and its NATO allies remain embroiled in a stalemated quagmire that is arguably the longest war in U.S. history. The war in Afghanistan has taken the lives of nearly 2,000 U.S. military personnel and untold thousands of Afghan civilians. At the time of this writing, the economic costs totaled a staggering $527 billion.Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has estimated the total long-term costs of the Iraq and Afghan wars at $4 trillion. For perspective, that is roughly 28 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, the total of all economic activity in the country each year.

Details of the U.S.-Afghan Status of Forces Agreement to stay in Afghanistan are supposed to be worked out in the next year, potentially committing tens of thousands of troops and billions of tax dollars through 2024 with little congressional oversight. While President Karzai stressed that the agreement would need to be approved by the Afghan parliament, the White House has maintained that the agreement — despite its authorization of continued military alliance with a sovereign foreign nation — is not a treaty and therefore not in need of ratification by the Senate. One wonders which country is the established democracy.

As Chicago closes schools and imposes draconian cuts on agencies crucial to the city’s most vulnerable, our national leaders will be arguing for increased military spending, which already consumes more than half of the discretionary budget of the U.S. government. It should be a hard sell.

Does anyone truly believe that spending those funds fighting an unwinnable war and killing innocent Afghan civilians in drone attacks is making anyone anywhere more secure? Clearly the American people do not believe so. It’s time for their government to listen to them.

Michael Lynn is a board member of the Chicago chapter of Peace Action, and Roxane Assaf is the outreach coordinator for the group’s Chicago affiliate.


NUCLEAR TWO-STEP, ONE STEP FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK

June 10, 2011

By Yeabu Conteh

CTBT– The Next Sensible Step Toward Nuclear Abolition

Long part of Peace Action’s strategy for a nuclear-free world, we are renewing our efforts to secure Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).  CTBT is a multi-lateral treaty that outlaws explosive nuclear testing and is a simple, but effective, way to help stop the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology.  Currently, 179 nations, including the United States have signed the CTBT and 144 have ratified it.  In order for the CTBT to become recognized internationally as law, the United States and eight other nations must ratify it. 

In May, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Ellen O. Tauscher spoke before the Arms Control Association’s annual meeting on “The Case for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.”  She informed those present that the Obama administration would soon begin talks with Republican and Democratic Senators on the CTBT, including a discussion of key technical issues that was met with some resistance during a congressional debate on the treaty in 1999. The President also plans to soon start an education campaign to help lead to CTBT ratification.

As we near the start of another election campaign season, Peace Action will be working closely with our congressional and organizational allies to make the case for CTBT ratification.  There is a good chance that a vote will happen before the 2012 elections. Given the success we had with passing START (Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty), we are in a good position to ratify CTBT, but only if we keep the pressure on.

From our founding in 1957 as the Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy, Peace Action has been a principal advocate of a test ban, working to impose a moratorium on testing during the administration of George H.W. Bush and pressing for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) during the Clinton Administration. 

What’s the Bottom Line?
By ratifying CTBT, the Obama administration will fulfill an important campaign promise taking another step along the path he laid out in Prague in 2009, the path that leads to nuclear abolition.  It will take a lot of work from those of us who care about our planet, the future of our children and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, but in the end our world will be much safer for our efforts.
 

COMPLEX “MODERNIZATION” – Don’t Step Back

When the Senate ratified New START in December, it was a satisfying victory for Peace Action and the peace and disarmament community as a whole. The underlying stipulations for its passage however, specifically the bargain struck between President Obama and Senate Republicans to invest approximately $185 billion over the next ten years to “modernize” the nuclear weapons production complex, demonstrates the extent to which the far-right and the military-industrial complex are committed to this ‘nuclear weapons forever’ program.  This move clearly undermines President Obama’s stated commitment to a nuclear-free world and the work of the disarmament community to help the President achieve this goal. 

For fiscal year 2012, the Department of Energy requested $7.63 billion for nuclear weapons programs and activities.  After inflation, this request is 21 percent more than Ronald Reagan’s largest nuclear weapons budget and 19 percent more than George H.W. Bush’s highest spending level.  Instead of spending nearly $8 billion to upgrade nuclear weapons, that money would be more wisely spent on increasing the rate of dismantling the U.S. stockpile.  Less nuclear weapons makes Americans safer and sends the right message to the rest of the world.

Currently, there are plans underway to “modernize” the following nuclear weapons facilities in the United States:

  • CMRR-Nuclear Facility at Los Alamos, NM
  • Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 in Oak Ridge, TN
  • Kansas City MO Plant

In addition to these rather new facilities, the US currently maintains and operates five other facilities; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Nevada Test Site, Pantex Plant, Savannah River Site and the Sandia National Labs.

How is Peace Action Responding?
Peace Action chapters and activists in communities long forced to live with nuclear bomb making plants in their backyards are mobilizing local opposition to these plans.  Peace Action New Mexico, Peace Action West and Kansas City PeaceWorks have already done some excellent work to educate their communities and build local campaigns to stop plans for ‘modernization.’
Peace Action is lobbying Congress and the Obama administration to overturn this exorbitant and hypocritical proposal, as it directly undermines progress toward nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

In 2008, Peace Action defeated similar plans to “modernize” the US nuclear arsenal by then President George W. Bush called the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) and in 2009 we defeated Bush’s plan for Complex Transformation (better known in activist circles as “Bombplex”), the Bush administration’s $150 billion proposal for rebuilding US nuclear weapons production capabilities, enabling the production of as many as 125 new nuclear warheads a year.  Bombplex proponents refused to accept the defeat and waited for a suitable hostage (New START) to leverage support for their nuclear weapons forever program.

In May of this year, Peace Action lobbied Congress to increase funding for nuclear non-proliferation programs designed to dismantle Russia’s nuclear arsenal and secure its bomb grade materials by $190 million over their previous levels. Republicans sought a $600 million cut in funding. So, rather than spend $600 million to help reduce Russia’s nuclear arsenal, congressional Republicans – deficit hawks all – would spend $185 billion in the next 10 years building up our nuclear overkill. 
 
This is far from over.  We will be ramping up our outreach and education campaigns across the country around our annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemorations in August.  Watch for alerts and bulletins from Peace Action on how you can organize and participate in your community.

 

 


Cut the F-22 Outdated Fighter and get an Afghanistan exit strategy in a Few Days

June 22, 2009

We have a chance to win on two issues in the next few days:

1. Cut the funding for the outdated F-22 Jet, which both Pres. Obama and Def. Sec. gates want cut.
2. Get an exit strategy from the Obama Administration on Afghanistan

Amendments on H.R. 2647 will be taken by House Rules Committee until 7:30 PM tonight.  Then, the rule will be voted on in the Rules Committee tomorrow, Tuesday after 5:00 PM.  Even though there’s still some shifting about which bills will come up in what order this week, it appears that H.R. 2647, the FY 2010 National Defense Authorizations Act/NDAA, will come to the House floor on Wednesday, June 24th, immediately following the completion of the FY 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Act.

Debate on the defense bill and amendments to the defense bill will likely continue into Wednesday night, with votes on those amendments being rolled over to Thursday, June 25th.   Any remaining debate and votes on the defense bill and amendments will be completed on Thursday, June 25th.  The annual White House picnic is “Hawaiian style” this year and on Thur. eve.  Members hope to have finished up the defense bill by that time (i.e. 6-ish), but if not, there will be a break in voting while debate on the bill and amendments continues, with votes rolled until later in the evening or the next morning.

Here’s some of the strategy that various coalitions are working on:

Focus on the F-22 should be Dem. leadership and our normal allies asking them to support any amendments that cut the F-22.

Focus on the Afghanistan Exit Strategy Amendment should be on those allies that are not current cosponsors of HR2404


The War Supplemental Vote in the House Soon

June 16, 2009

The U.S. House of Representatives is on the verge of voting on the final war supplemental!

They have passed the rule, but it doesn’t look like they have the votes yet to pass the supplemental.  Please inform your representative that you want to see an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His or her phone number may be found here or call the Congressional switchboard directly at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Representative’s office.

ALSO… 

Please ask your member’s office if they are cosponsors of Rep. Jim McGovern’s request for an exit strategy from Afghanistan (HR 2404). If they are not yet cosponsors, encourage your member to sign onto HR2404 and join Rep. McGovern and other members of Congress to end the war in Afghanistan.

Please post the outcome of you calls to this blog.

We are working with allies inside Congress and outside on getting “no” votes.


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