Dupont Circle, Washington DC, vigil (which was a celebration since the Senate vote this afternoon to uphold the Iran peace agreement). Photos by Eric Swanson, Peace Action’s Database Manager (for nearly 20 years!)
by Paul Kawika Martin
It’s that time of year when Congress figures out the federal budget for next year. The House will take up the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week. Despite the Republican stranglehold in the House they may allow a few amendments to be voted on where we can make a difference.
Please call your Representative now at 202-224-3121 and ask them to support amendments to the NDAA that cut Pentagon spending and cut the OCO slush fund.
You’ve heard us talk about the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. It is supposed to be used to fund the U.S. wars abroad that we oppose. The Republicans and, to a lesser extent, the Obama administration has been using it as a slush fund to cover costs for programs the Pentagon would otherwise be forced to cut. Indeed, the Republicans almost doubled the account to nearly $100 billion at a time when the war in Afghanistan is supposed to be winding down.
This week, Congress may vote on amendments to slash the OCO, make the slush fund more transparent, or both. Additionally, House amendments might address various Pentagon boondoggles like the wasteful F-35 and unneeded nuclear weapons.
This is not how we want our hard earned tax dollars spent. Pick up your phone now and call your Representative, 202-224-3121, and tell them to slash the OCO slush fund and cut Pentagon pork like the F-35 and nuclear weapons.
With a little over a month to go before negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) are concluded, everything is proceeding as planned. The technical details are being worked out in Vienna with no obvious hurdles in evidence at this writing. The deadline for presenting a final document, expected to be several hundred pages long, is June 30, 2015.
Meanwhile, the Corker Bill, which we have been opposing, has passed the Senate, but it’s been watered down and has yet to pass the House. Just last week, Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and David Price (D-NC) sent a letter, signed by 151 Representatives, to President Obama praising the work of his administration to finalize an agreement that verifiably ensures Iran will refrain from developing nuclear weapons. The letter demonstrates strong support for the agreement in the House, sufficient to sustain a presidential veto on any effort by congressional opponents of the deal should they attempt to torpedo an agreement this summer.
Peace Action affiliates across the nation generated calls, letters and emails to Representatives urging them to sign on to the letter and will continue to pressure Congress until a final agreement is reached and implemented. Thanks to all our members and our allies for all your hard work.
Carrying the banner of tolerance and understanding, Liquid Blue revisits classic peace songs on their latest album, Peace Anthems, and is sharing 25% of proceeds with Peace Action! Thanks Liquid Blue!
Liquid Blue, indie pop rock band formed in San Diego, has performed in more than 500 cities in 100 countries on six continents and has been recognized as “the world’s most traveled band”. They are more popular in parts of Asia and Europe than in their home country (USA).
Hear Liquid Blue perform Earth Passport
Hear Liquid Blue perform Imagine
Peace Action just completed a series of successful events around the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the United Nations. We helped organize an international conference attended by over 700 nuclear abolition activists, a rally, march and peace festival where Mayor Kazumi Matsui, of Hiroshima, Jackie Cabasso, Joseph Gerson and Kevin Martin, co-conveners of the Peace and Planet Mobilization, and Hiroshi Taka, a Director of the Japan Council against A-& H Bombs, presented the eight million petition signatures to U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane and Ambassador Taous Feroukhi, the President of the NPT Review Conference.
The Peace and Planet conference was endorsed by more than 300 organizations in 20 countries. More than a dozen nations sent official delegations, with roughly 1,000 activists traveling from Japan. The rally included speeches by Yuko Nakamura, a Hiroshima A-bomb survivor; Tony de Brum, Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, which is suing the nuclear-armed nations in the International Court of Justice; Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower and former senior nuclear war planner; and Rev. Osagyefo Sekou one of the leading clergy for racial justice in Ferguson, Missouri. It was attended by 80 A-bomb survivors from Japan and Korea, members of the German, Japanese and European parliaments, and peace, justice and environmental leaders from across the U.S. and around the world.
Conference organizer Sofia Wolman (above top), Peace Action of New York State (PANYS) President Jim Anderson (above center), Peace Action Fund of New York State Board Chair, Sally Jones (directly above) and the entire PANYS team did a tremendous job throughout the entire 3 days of events.
Thank You Party and fund appeal honoring Judith Le Blanc, former National Field Director, Peace Action
Monday, April 27, 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Turtle Bay Tavern
987 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022
between 52 and 53 Streets, a short walk from the United Nations
Our esteemed and beloved colleague, friend, and peace and justice force of nature, Judith Le Blanc, has left Peace Action after serving six wonderful years and moving to the Alliance for a Just Society to work on a new project to create a national American Indian leadership network.
Let’s join together and celebrate Judith’s amazing contributions to our collective work by coming together in her honor. Whith many of us will be in New York for the Peace and Planet Mobilization and the NPT Review sessions, there is no better time to have a party for Judith!
Please join us. But, if you cannot attend, please consider a contribution to help us carry on the work of Judith who organized around the country on behalf of Peace Action for a sustainable, just, peaceful and nuclear-free world.
Sponsored by Peace Action Education Fund and Peace Action Fund of New York State.
Humbly for Peace,