Alert: Tell the President to go to Hiroshima, but with a purpose!

April 28, 2016
The Cenotaph at ground zero in Hiroshima, where the U.S. dropped the first nuclear bomb 71 years ago

The Cenotaph at ground zero in Hiroshima, where the U.S. dropped the first nuclear bomb 71 years ago

There is still time before he leaves office for President Barack Obama  to reduce the danger of nuclear weapons, as he advocated in his Prague speech in 2009.

Working with our Japanese colleagues, Peace Action has called on the president to go to Hiroshima, but not just for symbolic sake. We call on President Obama to visit with Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) to learn from their powerful witness, and to take further steps toward nuclear disarmament, including:

-further nuclear reductions in the U.S. arsenal, in concert with Russia;
-initiating negotiations for the verifiable global elimination of all nuclear weapons, as the U.S. and other nuclear states are required to do by Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty;
-canceling the 30 year, $1 trillion planned boondoggle to completely overhaul the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.

We expect an announcement from the White House soon.  So, please call the President today – 202.456.1111.

Peace Action and our allies continue to press the issue through our grassroots network and in the media.  You can listen to a radio interview I did last Sunday on KPFA or you can read an op ed that I wrote and was published last Saturday in Greenville, NC’s Daily Reflector.

Most importantly, please call the President today – 202.456.1111.

Peacefully yours,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action


Hillary to voters: “I got this.” Voters and Bernie to Hillary: “Not so fast.”

February 12, 2016

 

–Kevin Martin, Executive Director

Somehow I had avoided watching more than a few minutes of any of the presidential debates of either party prior to last night (presumably I’ll live longer for it), but I tuned in to the chatfest from Milwaukee somewhat dutifully. My main interests were how would Bernie Sanders come across (reasonable or no) and how desperate would Hillary Clinton be after the shellacking New Hampshire voters gave her on Tuesday.

Generally speaking, I think Mrs. Clinton is plenty desperate to be president, but for the most part last night she did not betray that, other than nakedly obvious pandering to African American voters in continually praising President Barack Obama. Instead, for now Hillary’s main argument to the voters comes down to “I got this, I can manage things” on whatever issues come up. As Bernie said however (to repeated presumptive off-key “when I’m in the White House” statements by Hillary), she’s not in the White House, yet, and I suspect odds are about even she won’t be come next January.

I could go into her high negatives with voters, her hawkishness and militaristic bent (more on that soon, but it’s not a big stretch to say her 2002 vote to support the Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq may cost her the presidency once again, as it did in 2008), her Wall Street patrons and other problems, but my main sense is her “I got this” mantra is weak tea compared to Bernie’s call for a political revolution.

One need not necessarily believe our country, the world, humanity and our very Earth are in mortal danger (from MLK’s “triple evils” of racism, militarism and extreme materialism), as I do, to get on board Bernie’s “A future you can believe in” train, though it’s easy to see why young voters, even young women, are doing so in droves. Americans, at least the ones voting in Democratic primaries (to limit the scope of this for now) broadly agree on the problems we face, so the question is not just who has better solutions, but whose campaign wants to empower people to “be the change we seek in the world,” to quote Mohandas Gandhi. One could also just compare, on every issue, that Bernie’s proposals, far from being radical, would actually solve the problems they are intended to address (or at least go a long way toward doing so), while Hillary tut-tuts condescendingly that Bernie is unrealistic, but they share the same goals (a victory for Sanders), and then offers more tepid proposals.

On both scores, concrete solutions and empowerment, Bernie is the far more genuine candidate. I don’t believe it’s even close.

Lastly, recent “I got this” presidential candidates, broadly defined as those who were complacent, overconfident or felt entitled to the White House, usually lose (Jimmy Carter 1980, George Herbert Walker Bush 1992, Bob Dole 1996, Al Gore 2000, John Kerry 2004, John McCain 2008, Mitt Romney 2012). Perhaps Barack Obama was an “I got this” candidate in 2008 and 2012, but he benefited from the country’s revulsion with the Bush/Cheney train wreck and extremely weak general election opponents in McCain (with running mate Sarah Palin!) and then Romney.

So no, Hillary, you ain’t got this, not by a long shot, and your “I will fight for you” mantra rings very hollow to me. You don’t have credible solutions to the crises in health care, the economy, climate change, racism, police brutality, extreme wealth disparity or even your supposed strong suit, foreign policy. Lots more campaigning to do, lots more votes to be counted, and I suspect many more people supporting Bernie for real hope and practical solutions they can help be a part of creating.


Largest Peace NGO Opposes Obama’s War Proposal

February 11, 2015

Washington, DC — February 11, 2014 — In response to President Obama this morning sending proposed language for an Authorization of use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS to Congress, Peace Action, the largest peace group in the U.S. released the following statement by its policy and political director, Paul Kawika Martin:

After six months of Congress ignoring its constitutional duty, finally President Obama sent language to Congress to authorize war for the next three years (an Authorization for the Use of Military Force or AUMF) against ISIS.  It’s about time that Congress fully debate the U.S. war being waged in the Middle East.  Peace Action agrees with past statements of the president that there is no military solution to ISIS and so we oppose any AUMF.

While we oppose any AUMF because the war is not working, we encourage members of Congress to push for tighter restrictions than what President Obama proposes should an AUMF move forward.   Limitations could include:  a one-year sunset clause; geographic limitations; definitively no combat troops on the ground; repealing both former AUMFs, not just one;  and robust reporting requirements including civilian deaths.

The president’s proposed AUMF does one good thing: it repeals the outdated and ill-advised Iraq AUMF.  It fails, however, to repeal the 2001 AUMF which has been used as a blanket “war on terrorism.”  Additionally, it uses the legally ambiguous language of no “enduring offensive ground operations” rather than expressly forbidding combat troops.

As it stands, it doesn’t seem that the current military strategy is working against ISIS.  Instead the international community should:

*Reduce civilian deaths, casualties and the destruction of civilian infrastructure that tends to recruit financial support and foreign fighters for ISIS.

*Weaken ISIS by reducing its income (oil, antiquities, sex trade), freezing assets, reducing military resources (weapons, training and foreign fighters).

*Support political solutions to the Syrian civil war and Iraqi ethnic tensions.

*Increase humanitarian aid and refugee support.

*Support actions that will help prevent extremism in the first place: education, religious tolerance, poverty alleviation and justice.

###

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


President’s Budget: Social Media Action Today

March 4, 2014
MOVE Square

Rethink Media has prepared fabulous sample tweets and posts for Facebook for social media response to today’s announcement of the President’s budget. Our aim is to shine a spotlight on the wasteful spending in the Pentagon budget.

 

Sample Tweets on Budget Release:

When we’re winding down two wars, why does the #DoDBudget remain sky-high? http://ow.ly/udU7P

The #Pentagon wastes billions of #DoDBudget on programs driven by special interests that do not advance American security

#DoDBudget should prioritize needs for 21st Century threats, not special interests pet projects http://ow.ly/udV2K

Sample Tweets on F35

Instead of raising the #DoDBudget cut the #F35, the most expensive weapons program everhttp://youtu.be/KTF_a1DuIyE via f35baddeal.com

Want to know why the #DoDBudget is so big? The #F35 is one reason http://youtu.be/KTF_a1DuIyE via f35baddeal.com

$1.5 TRILLION – the #F35 is the most expensive weapons program ever, and it doesn’t even work: http://youtu.be/KTF_a1DuIyE

“Can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run” – the #F35 is a bad deal for American #DoDBudget http://ow.ly/u1XLq #F35baddeal

#F35: 10 years late and devouring the #DoDBudget – great new film by @BraveNewFilms http://ow.ly/tjE9B  #NoF35 via f35baddeal.com

Can’t fly at night? See why the #F35 is a BAD DEAL for #DoDBudget in new film by @BraveNewFilms http://ow.ly/tjE9B

Amplifying Good Media Coverage Tweets

 @StephenatHome calls the #F35 “jobsolete” – watch here http://ow.ly/u23Mh and see why the #F35 is a BAD DEAL at f35baddeal.com

The “jobsolete” #F35 – @colbertreport calls out #Pentagon waste – watch here http://ow.ly/u23Mh and see f35baddeal.com

Graphics:

New Win Without War F-35 Graphic https://twitter.com/WinWithoutWar/status/439118060952117248/photo/1

Defense Budgets Across the world (AFP) http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bf6B0lZIUAEc7xu.jpg



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


Shutdown the Shutdown Talking Points and Resources

October 4, 2013

Compiled by Peace Action’s Move the Money Working GroupID-10055209

We need to find ways to connect the current Congressional crisis with the ongoing struggle to change national spending priorities: Move the Money from wars and weapons to fund jobs, human services and diplomacy.

Two immediate actions we can take:

1. Public education: Letters to the Editor (LTE), op-eds and using social media.

2. Join in solidarity with domestic needs, labor and others taking action in our communities to pressure Congress to end the shutdown and change national spending priorities. Although the bottom line is ending the shut down it is also true that the struggle over the passage of a budget and the debt ceiling are all connected.

Talking Points & Resources for LTE, op-eds and social media: some of theses points are the biggest demand we can make, others are shorter term points suited to appeal across the political spectrum. You are the best judge of which will be appropriate for your audience. Use National Priorities Project’s handy interactive online tools to get specific data on your state, city or town and the federal budget to make your LTE or op-ed hit home.  Read a brief history of how we got to the shutdown.

Immediate impact of shutdown: 800,000 workers are furloughed and may not get a paycheck while tens of billions will be wasted to implement the shutdown and restart services when it is over. Read what the National Priorities Project estimates. For the most up-to-date information on the shutdown including the impact on the state level can be found here: Center for Effective Government

• Democracy: The shutdown and failure to pass annual budgets and resorting to Continuing Resolutions are limiting the rightful role of constituents and the grassroots to dialogue and inform Congressional decision-making on federal budget priorities. The ball keeps getting kicked down the field with Continuing Resolutions. Time for Congress to pass a budget and decide on national spending priorities!

Role of government: Speeches from the floor of the House of Representatives say better to have less government and the shutdown proves that. We need effective government with a federal budget, which reflects the needs and aspirations for a better country and world. Not a government which spends 57% annually on wars and weapons while there is high unemployment and cuts to community services.

Government is not broke. We can’t let the norm for federal budget decisions become the Budget Control Act or what is called sequestration. The problem is that a federal budget has not been passed in years. It’s been replaced by stopgap Continuing Resolutions, which now lock in cuts, set by sequestration. We need, even with limited resources, a thoughtful prioritization for annual spending. We need to Move the Money!

In fact, there is growing support for cutting the Pentagon budget if the political will exists.

What can be cut in the Pentagon budget so we can have more funding of essential community programs?  Read 27 recommendations for budget cuts in the 2015 budget drafted by 17-member defense advisory committee, which includes two former vice chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, a former Air Force chief and a former chief of naval operations. Read entire Stimson Center report issued on 9/25/13

Use Peace Action’s website to send your Letter to the Editor.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Shutdown the Shutdown

October 2, 2013

10390807-words-related-to-a-possible-government-shutdownHow is it that the Radical Right can work itself into such a lather over Obamacare but seems content to allow the free-spending Pentagon to continue dispensing hundreds of billions of dollars each and every year without ever having to meet an audit?  They don’t have the faintest clue as to where all that money has gone or where all the money they are prepared to send after it will go.

They know they can’t win.  Plain and simple – they are in the minority.  They claim the public doesn’t want the Affordable Care Act, but I don’t see it.  It’s just the Tea Party making a lot of noise.  So, unable to get their way, they would rather burn the house down than have to live in it with the rest of their family if they can’t get what they want.  Is this how they think a representative democracy conducts its business?  They must have been sleeping during civics class.

Write a Letter to the Editor and remind your neighbors that Obamacare isn’t the issue here – its budget priorities.  We need a budget that mirrors our values.  We are not lobbyists or corporations.  We are people who live in communities that have real needs, not ideological concerns or special interests.

A shut down, even for a few days, generates anxiety for people who depend on essential government services. Forced furloughs put the burden on government workers and their families.

The night before the shutdown, the Pentagon scrambled to award $5 Billion in contracts to military corporations while 800,000 government employees were locked out the next morning. Wrong priorities!

Letters to the Editor is the contemporary Town Square, the place where you can forward your opinion and invite your neighbors to stand with you.  It is one of the most read sections of the newspaper.   It’s simple, just follow the links andsee for yourself.

Now, let’s be clear. Whether the government shutdown lasts a few days, or a few weeks, running around as if your hair is on fire isn’t how the matter will be resolved.  In the end, I suspect poll numbers will speak loud and clear and this gaggle of overheated loud mouths will be forced to give way once the other members of their party see the writing on the wall.  They will not slink away meekly having been schooled in Democracy 101, but perhaps they will lose enough juice so the rest of the Congress can get down to the business of passing a budget and increasing the debt limit.

And when they finally get down to business, we need to make sure Congress passes a budget that reflects our values.

Writing a Letter to the Editor is a simple and powerful way to get our jobs not war, budget priorities message to thousands of people in your community.  And, that’s the debate we have to win.

Your letter will validate what many of your neighbors already suspect, that the Tea Party war on Obamacare is a smokescreen covering subsidies and tax forgiveness for large corporations and the super rich and all the money being wasted on endless war and gold-plated weapons.


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