Action Alert: Call the Senate in support of Syrian and Iraqi refugees

November 23, 2015

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Last week, the House of not always so Representative(s) voted for the misnamed American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act, aka the stiff the Syrian and Iraqi refugees bill to put more hurdles in the way of desperate people fleeing wars and carnage for which the U.S. bears much responsibility. Forty-seven Democrats joined all but two Republicans in supporting this fear-mongering wrong-headed reaction to the recent tragic attacks in Paris. The vote in the House is right on the cusp of the 2/3 majority needed to override a promised presidential veto.

We can’t let the Senate make the same mistake. While Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says he will keep a similar bill from even being voted on in the Senate, we need to raise our voices, especially as the issue could be attached to a must-pass Omnibus spending bill in a few weeks, even if the Senate doesn’t vote on the anti-refugee bill.

Please make two calls to your Senators today. You can reach their Washington, DC offices via the Congressional switchboard at 844-735-1362.  As Congress is in recess for the Thanksgiving holiday, you may have better luck calling their home offices. You can find those phone numbers on your Senators’ websites or via links from this page

Please tell your Senators to oppose any and all attempts, such as the House bill, to make it harder for refugees from Iraq and Syria to come to the U.S. Instead, we should not only welcome but provide more assistance to refugees.

The moral stakes are simple — the golden rule on a global scale. What would we want for our families if our communities were torn apart by unthinkable violence?  The United States has a proud tradition of welcoming the persecuted. Now is no time to turn back on that tradition.

Please call the Capitol Switchboard now: 844-735-1362
. Urge your Senators to vote no on bills that would stop the US from welcoming these refugees.

Thank you in advance for your compassionate action.

Peacefully Yours,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

P.S. Check out Peace Action West Executive Director Jon Rainwater’s excellent article on Huffington Post from last Friday. 

Action Alert: Ask your Rep to vote against slamming the door on Syrian refugees

November 18, 2015


If we don’t mobilize quickly, in the next few days, Congress may shut the door on long-suffering Syrian refugee families.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told House Republicans yesterday that he wants a vote this week to block Syrian refugee resettlement.

Can you call Congress today and ask them to vote against slamming the door on Syrian refugees?  The bill we are opposing is officially titled HR 4038 – The American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act. It was introduced last night.

Call the Capitol Switchboard: 844-735-1362

Ask to speak with your Representative and tell them the following:

“I strongly support the U.S welcoming Syrian refugees. Please vote against of HR 4038 – The American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act designed to turn away the refugees.”

The level of misinformation broadcast by governors and presidential candidates about refugee resettlement has been staggering. Many critics claimed that there’s “no real vetting” of Syrian refugees. In fact, refugees receive greater scrutiny than any other group coming into the country. They are vetted by the UN and then by multiple US agencies long before they get here. This rigorous process often takes years.

The moral stakes are simple — the golden rule on a global scale. What would we want for our families if our communities were torn apart by unthinkable violence?  The United States has a proud tradition of welcoming the persecuted. Now is no time to turn back on that tradition.

The fear-mongering is as strategically short-sighted as it is morally repugnant. Most analysts believe that the Paris attacks were designed to invite a backlash against refugees and Muslims. Such a backlash is powerful fuel for the sense of grievance that is the lifeblood of ISIS recruitment.

Please call the Capitol Switchboard now: 844-735-1362. Urge your representative to vote no on bills that would stop the US from welcoming these refugees.

Thank you in advance for your compassionate action.

Humbly for Peace,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

Budget Deal Reached, Pentagon Gives Thanks

November 13, 2015

After years of gridlock and partisan rancor, the budget impasse may finally be broken. The President won increases in ‘non-defense’ spending as part of the deal, but the Pentagon will still gobble up more than 50% of the discretionary budget.  Allowed to increase spending at this pace, the Pentagon can look forward to its first trillion-dollar budget a decade from now.

Peace Action opposes the planned increases in Pentagon spending to $548 billion in fiscal 2016 and $551 billion in fiscal 2017.

The agreement would also increase the Pentagon slush fund, the Overseas Contingency Operations Fund (OCO), which is not subject to the budget caps. The deal would allow about $16 billion more than President Obama requested bringing the total number of tax dollars at the Pentagon’s disposal to over $600 billion for fiscal 2016.

Holding our elected leaders accountable for their rubber stamp approach to war and weapons spending is the first step.  With elections less than a year away, Peace Action is doing just that through our Peace Voter campaign.  Here’s an example of that work, as Will Hopkins, Executive Director of New Hampshire Peace Action asks Hillary Clinton about her “close ties to elements within the military industrial complex” last month on the Today show.

Peace Action continues to work with our allies on Capitol Hill pressing Congress to cut funding for big ticket items like the F-35 and nuclear overkill.  We are investing resources in our grassroots campaign to Move the Money from the Pentagon to meet the needs of our communities, working to build and strengthen local coalitions.  Over the past three years we have conducted workshops in 10 states training local activists in the workings – inside and out – of military budgets. Presently, we are planning trainings in Florida and Oregon for 2016.

More money for high-tech weaponry and unending war means less for our communities and people in need and less invested in green technologies necessary to avert climate disaster.  The federal budget is all about choices.

The federal budget represents our priorities as a nation and it should reflect our values. But powerful ideological forces and financial interests have hijacked the budget process for their own gain.

Martin Luther King Jr challenged us with the admonition, ‘those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.’

The political power required to bring democracy to decisions on federal budget priorities and foreign and military policies is not beyond us.  We are more than capable and we will make it happen.

Peace Talks To End Syrian War Begin

November 12, 2015

Negotiations to end the ‘nonstop horror’ of the Syrian civil war have begun. Peace Action applauds the parties for finally getting to the table – better late than never – but decries the endless political machinations that caused the governments involved from doing so long ago.  These same calculations are still in play, however, and hope for a ceasefire and finally, an end to the war, is still tenuous at best.

For that reason, we – and our peace movement allies – are continuing to collect signatures on our petition calling for a political settlement to the Syrian civil war.  If you haven’t signed, please do.  If you have, please forward the link to your friends and family and ask them to join the effort.

Peace Action is supporting a bi-partisan emergency spending bill introduced by Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Graham (R-SC) that would would allow for resettlement of up to 100,000 refugees over 2 years and provide a billion dollars to help deal with the refugee crisis caused by the Syrian civil war.  It’s a human catastrophe that we can’t close our eyes to, yet the U.S. has taken in less than 1,500 Syrian refugees. In contrast, countries like Lebanon have taken in 1.1 million. The U.S. plans on taking in only 10,000 refugees next year – Germany did that in a day.

Please call your Senators today and ask them to co-sponsor the Leahy-Graham bill to provide emergency relief to those who have been displaced by over 4 years of brutal warfare. The number is 202.224.3121.

Don’t Bank On The Bomb

November 12, 2015

Did you know that nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not prohibited under international law?  We trace Peace Action’s efforts to delegitimize nuclear weapons to the founding of Peace Action in 1957.  The Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy, as we were known at the time, has been a part of every major initiative to abolish nuclear weapons since then.

In April, Peace Action teamed up with American Friends Service Committee and the Western States Legal Foundation and a number of our national and international partners to organize the Peace and Planet mobilization during the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the United Nations in New York.
In addition to addressing nuclear disarmament issues, the Peace and Planet conference, and subsequent rally and march, also made connections to issues of climate change, civil rights and economic and social justice.

Don’t Bank on the Bomb is an international campaign to push financial institutions to divest from nuclear weapons.  Thus far, 53 financial institutions have joined the campaign, led by the Dutch group, PAX.  Peace Action has endorsed Don’t Bank On The Bomb and while it has received little attention in the U.S. that will change as more groups get involved in pressing financial institutions here to divest.

For more information:

An Iraq war veteran turned peace activist’s powerful Armistice Day message

November 10, 2015

Tomorrow is Veterans Day, originally Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I. New Hampshire Peace Action Director Will Hopkins is an Iraq war veteran, one with a powerful message we hope you will share.

Forum on Syria Crisis this Thursday in DC

November 9, 2015

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The Syrian Refugee Crisis & the U.S.:
What is Our Responsibility?

Three experts on the Syrian crisis will address the issues faced by refugees, the role of the U.S. in creating and solving this crisis, and what the U.S. can do to assist and welcome Syrian refugees.

Speakers include Pam Bailey, human rights activist and journalist; Phyllis Bennis, author of numerous books and articles on U.S. policy in the Middle East; and Rafif Jouejati, Syrian activist and director of FREE-Syria. The forum will be moderated by Andy Shallal, activist and owner of Busboys and Poets.

The forum starts at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Takoma Park Busboys and Poets, 235 Carroll St. NW, Washington, D.C.  Come early so you’ll be sure to get a seat!


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