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DPP Update - May 24, 2013



Sunday, June 2:

Join DPP in the Dorchester Day Parade!

On Dorchester Day Dorchester People for Peace will be marching again with our friends and allied organizations.  Together we bring our vision and our values to thousands of people along the four-mile route. Join us this year! Contact mikeprokosch@verizon.net if you can join us June 2 and we'll get you the time-and-place details. We’ll have our regular cookout after the parade at Jeff’s house, 123 Cushing Ave. (Look for details in next week’s DPP Updates)

At the Parade we reach as many people as we do the rest of the year combined. This year march or ride with us, hand out leaflets, and get together for our annual cookout afterward. Every year Dorchester People for Peace reserves a place in the parade, then invites our friends. 

Our message will focus on ending the war in Afghanistan and opposing any new military intervention in Iran or Syria; reducing the military budget; and funding urgent needs at home in our neighborhoods and communities.  Thousands of marchers and parade watchers will see our banners and get our anti-war flyers!

Marchers will gather around Noon in Dorchester Lower Mills along Richmond Street between Dorchester Ave and Adams Street with the parade kick-off about 1pm.  We’ll have our after-Parade barbeque and celebration at Jeff Klein’s house, 123 Cushing Ave. from about 3:30pm. Brink something to eat or drink if you can.  You can drop things off before the parade.  Call Jeff: 617-288-4578

Look for the Dorchester People for Peace van

You can’t drive or park anywhere near there on Dorchester Day, so travel early and travel by T (to Ashmont Station on the Red Line, Butler or Milton on the Mattapan trolley) …. Or park a ways away and walk.

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Next DPP Membership Meeting

Monday, June 10:  We will look at local campaigns on mass incarceration (aka the prison-industrial complex, the school-to-prison pipeline, mandatory minimum sentencing...) and next steps on the federal budget (redirect Pentagon spending to vital services and jobs). 7 to 9 pm at the Vietnamese American Community Center, 42 Charles Street near the Fields Corner T stop. 

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Monday, May 27

Memorial Day for Peace

1-3pm, Christopher Columbus Park, 105 Atlantic Ave. Boston

 Please join Veterans For Peace, Smedley Butler Brigade, Chapter 9 and Samantha Smith, Chapter 45, Military Families Speak Out, Mass Peace Action and United for Justice with Peace as we commemorate Memorial Day.  There will be no parade, no marching band, no military equipment, no guns and drums, no Air Force fly-overs.

 There will be veterans and supporters who have lost friends and loved ones. There will be veterans who know the horrors of war and the pain and anguish of loss. There will be friends and families of soldiers, remembering their loved ones. There will be Iraqi Refugees who have suffered terrible losses and will join us as we remember and show respect for their loss.

 There will be flowers dropped into the harbor for each fallen U.S. soldier from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Flowers will also be also be dropped into the harbor remembering the loss of Iraqi family and friends.  Please join us

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Bradley Manning, Political Prisoner

 

Saturday June 1

Boston Private Bradley Manning Stand-Out

(Part Of An International Day Of Solidarity)

1pm,  Park Street Station

VFP and Bradley Manning activist Al Johnson writes:

Let’s Redouble Our Efforts To Free Private Bradley Manning-President Obama Pardon Bradley Manning -Make Every Town Square In America (And The World) A Bradley Manning Square From Boston To Berkeley to Berlin-Join Us At Park Street Station In Boston On June 1st At 1 PM For A Stand-Out In Solidarity Before Bradley’s June 3rd Trial

And DPP’s Rosemary adds:

I just signed this petition -- will you join me?

Acknowledge Bradley Manning as a "Political Prisoner"

To: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch

The petition is really important and could use our help. Click here to find out more and sign:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Acknowledge_Bradley_Manning_as_a_Political_Prisoner/?krXvqab

Thanks so much,

Rosemary

 

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Ben & Jerry's: End Your Ties with Israeli Settlements!

DPP has joined a campaign initiated Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel (VTJP) launched an international campaign calling on Ben & Jerry's to cease selling and catering ice cream in illegal Israeli settlements. The petition and letters have already generated movement. For example, the president of the Ben & Jerry's Board of Directors, Jeff Furman, told the Burlington Free Press that he believes catering operations to the settlements have stopped since VTJP brought the matter to the company's attention. We have to keep the pressure up! 

See more here.

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Our friend and DPPer Hayat Imam had to rush back to Bangladesh, where her mother’s health has taken a turn for the worse. Our hearts are with her.

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BUDGET BATTLE and the PENTAGON

 Successful rally: 110 labor, community, and peace activists attended a “Stop the Cuts –Tax the Corporations-Cut the Pentagon” rally at the O’Neill Federal Building on Thursday May 16. DPPers and 25% Coalition members were there to hear Mass. AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman, State Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, City Councilor Charles Yancey, and other speakers support the “Budget for All.” Boston Neighborhood Network News and the Boston Globe both covered the rally and we anticipate coverage in the Banner and Open Media Boston.

 

Don’t Cut Social Security!

Please join with Senator Sherrod Brown by signing our petition urging all U.S. senators to oppose any bill containing cuts to Social Security, including chained CPI. Click here to sign the petition.

KRUGMAN: How the Case for Austerity Has Crumbled

At this point, then, austerity economics is in a very bad way. Its predictions have proved utterly wrong; its founding academic documents haven’t just lost their canonized status, they’ve become the objects of much ridicule…  This raises the obvious question: Why did austerity economics get such a powerful grip on elite opinion in the first place? …It’s also worth noting that while economic policy since the financial crisis looks like a dismal failure by most measures, it hasn’t been so bad for the wealthy. Profits have recovered strongly even as unprecedented long-term unemployment persists; stock indices on both sides of the Atlantic have rebounded to pre-crisis highs even as median income languishes. It might be too much to say that those in the top 1 percent actually benefit from a continuing depression, but they certainly aren’t feeling much pain, and that probably has something to do with policymakers’ willingness to stay the austerity course.  More

 

CBO: Federal budget deficit plummeting

The federal budget deficit will plummet to $642 billion this year, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday, reducing their previous forecast by roughly $200 billion.  The CBO credited recovering tax revenues and an infusion of cash from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the dramatic reduction, which puts the nation on track for its smallest deficits since the economic crisis hit in 2008.  More

 

Senate committee slashes food aid, again

The Senate Agriculture Committee completed work on the 2013 Farm Bill Tuesday, and took another big and totally unnecessary whack at food aid, again. They voted to cut the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, by $4.1 billion.  That's nothing compared to what the House has in mind: $21 billion in cuts to SNAP. But it's still too much and it's still unnecessary and wrong-headed. CBPP estimates that cuts as large as what the House is calling for would eliminate food aid to two million people, many families with children and the elderly.  More

 

How Austerity Kills

The correlation between unemployment and suicide has been observed since the 19th century. People looking for work are about twice as likely to end their lives as those who have jobs… Initially, the 2009 stimulus package shored up the safety net. But there are warning signs — beyond the higher suicide rate — that health trends are worsening. Prescriptions for antidepressants have soared. Three-quarters of a million people (particularly out-of-work young men) have turned to binge drinking. Over five million Americans lost access to health care in the recession because they lost their jobs (and either could not afford to extend their insurance under the Cobra law or exhausted their eligibility). Preventive medical visits dropped as people delayed medical care and ended up in emergency rooms… OUR research suggests that investing $1 in public health programs can yield as much as $3 in economic growth. Public health investment not only saves lives in a recession, but can help spur economic recovery.  More

But Contractors, Politicians Worry about Pentagon Cuts. . .

Proposed budget cuts imperil defense jobs in Mass.

The proposed cut in Massachusetts is contained in a $7 billion request to shift funding out of dozens of weapons projects to pay for current operations. The shift, which was first reported by InsideDefense.com, gives precedence to the daily needs of forces. In exchange, the Army’s plan to outfit brigades with new communications equipment is placed on the back burner… Kennedy, who signed a letter to Hagel along with the rest of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, said he, too, is concerned about the reverberations the cuts could have on the “corner store, the supermarket, the CVS pharmacy.” “It does have a real ripple effect,” he said in an interview. “ I think you are starting to see that cascade out now.”  More

“How America Became a Third World Country”

The military got its blank check for overseas wars, for sending out the drones and the special operations forces, and has no plans to change that before 2023, if not 2033. In other words, for at least the next decade, the GWOT, whatever label it's given, will continue to be the central fixture of American foreign policy.  It's not going anywhere. Mattea Kramer and Jo Comerford of the invaluable National Priorities Project look at the "homeland" a decade into the future, as the effects of Congress's austerity policies sink in. Put the two together and what a grim scene you have: a country investing in war in distant lands as it crumbles here at home.   More

Sen. Warren: A SEQUESTER SOLUTION

People with cancer or families dealing with autism or Alzheimer's shouldn't be ignored. Flight delays are bad for all of us, but it's also bad for all of us when we cut funding for Meals on Wheels and Head Start. And it's bad for all of us when medical research gets sidelined and when young scientists' work can't get funded.  The truth is that we could end those cuts and put a stop to sequestration right now if we just made big corporations, millionaires, and billionaires pay their fair share.  More 

Senator Warren is referring to:

S. 278: Job Preservation and Sequester Replacement Act of 2013 introduced by RI Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, would replace the Sequester with taxes that close loopholes favoring corporations and the wealthy.  Have you heard of it?  It has only 6 cosponsors and is given 0% chance of becoming law by Govtack. . .

 

Tell Congress: Fix the entire sequester, not just the parts annoying rich people here

 

NATIONAL PRIORITIES PROJECT overview of President Obama's 2014 budget here 

The AFSC has put together an action toolkit called Invest in People, Not the Pentagon that will probably be pretty helpful for us. 

 

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WARS – Old and New – GRIND ON. . .   Are you feeling safer now?

President Obama’s speech yesterday received an enormous amount of coverage, with reporters apparently hearing very different messages, according to the orientation of their press outlets.  One liberal website had the breathless headline: Obama Declares and End to the War on Terror.  Not quite: The President said “someday”. . .

Obama outlines future of counterterrorism efforts

President Obama outlined the future of his counterterrorism polices Thursday in a wide-ranging speech that sought to more clearly define the American enemy, make lethal government actions more accountable to Congress and signal that the nation’s long war against al-Qaeda will one day end… Obama also outlined for the first time the legal guidelines surrounding the use of armed drones in defined war zones and outside of them. The program, which Obama has expanded significantly since taking office, remains classified, but the president has said that he would be open to working with Congress on establishing an independent court to review future drone targets… But Obama stopped well short of ending the CIA’s drone program, leaving ample latitude for continued strikes in Pakistan as room for the agency to operate in other countries that allow their territory to be patrolled by U.S. military drones.   More

 

Obama: US will Continue its Targeted Killing with Drones

Barack Obama has made it clear that the US will continue with its controversial targeted killing programme. In a major speech the US president also announced that he has signed into force a new – and secret – rule book for lethal action that provides ‘clear guidelines, oversight and accountability’ for covert drone strikes… According to the New York Times, the rules will also ’impose the same standard for strikes on foreign enemies now used only for American citizens deemed to be terrorists’. More

 

Despite PR Spin, America Not Shifting Away from Treating World as a Battlefield

Obama, again, rejected the notion of perpetual war, saying, “We cannot use force everywhere that a radical ideology takes root; and in the absence of a strategy that reduces the well-spring of extremism, a perpetual war – through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments – will prove self-defeating, and alter our country in troubling ways.”  … Yet, as he seemed to admit America is on a path where it is engaged in perpetual war…  Truly shifting away from perpetual war would mean dismantling the vast network of military bases, abandoning the operation of several drone bases and moving away from using them as “lily pads” that can aid in the carrying out of covert operations anywhere in the world. It means not having military forces in over 74 nations that are training or helping forces fight.   More

 

WAR ON TERRA

We have a word for the conscious slaughter of a racial or ethnic group: genocide.  And one for the conscious destruction of aspects of the environment: ecocide.  But we don’t have a word for the conscious act of destroying the planet we live on, the world as humanity had known it until, historically speaking, late last night.  A possibility might be “terracide” from the Latin word for earth.  It has the right ring, given its similarity to the commonplace danger word of our era: terrorist.  The truth is, whatever we call them, it’s time to talk bluntly about the terrarists of our world…  To destroy our planet with malice aforethought, with only the most immediate profits on the brain, with only your own comfort and wellbeing (and those of your shareholders) in mind: Isn’t that the ultimate crime? Isn’t that terracide?  More

 

America’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ Legacy to Iraq: Sectarian Violence Mounts with 95 Dead

The Sunni-Shiite violence is a legacy of the way George W. Bush and the Neoconservatives governed Iraq in 2003-2008. They deliberately installed the Shiites in power, in an exclusivist sort of way… The Americans played strong favorites for years. They avoided having a truth and reconciliation process. They castigated the Sunni Arabs, many of whom had had ties to the Baath Party (r. 1968-2003), as little short of Nazis, and encouraged the Shiites to fire thousands of them from government employment. At the same time the Americans closed down state factories and created massive unemployment. A ‘Debaathification Commission’ fired thousands of Sunni schoolteachers and brought in Shiite cronies instead… A little over ten years ago, George W. Bush gave his infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech about how permanent warfare could now be deployed in a humanitarian fashion and without substantial loss of life to build up and maintain an global American empire. Wow. More

 

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BOMB SYRIA NOW. . . IRAN LATER?

Last week at a support Israel rally organized by the Neocon Jerusalem Post, the keynote speaker said she would limit her comments on the Iran issue to two words: “Bombs Away!” – and they gave her a standing ovation. (source)

 

Syria Conference Offers Glimmer of Hope, Many Challenges

The critics will continue to insist that the US provide arms to the rebels, but it will be difficult to get more traction for this while the initiative with the Russians holds out hopes, although slender, for the beginning of a process that could halt the slaughter of Syrian civilians…  The battle in the conference room will mirror the deadly one within Syria. The representation from the Syrian rebels is a rats’ nest defying any rational decision. There are at least four or more main fighting groups and probably a dozen or more additional armed elements ranging from al-Qaeda terrorists to every shade of Salafist thought, and regional/ethnic loyalty to a local leader…   The US faces an extraordinarily difficult dilemma with respect to Iran. Russia has already announced that it will insist that Iran be seated as a full participant and the Chinese might side with the Russians. Will the US risk the future of the conference to keep Iran excluded or will Congress take action demanding our non-appearance if Iran is invited?  More

 

Arming Syria's Rebels Is Still a Bad Idea

The same armchair warriors who relied on phony WMD claims to drive us into Iraq—William Kristol, Robert Kagan and others—started pounding the war drums again. They did so even amid uncertainty over nearly everything having to do with the chemical weapons reports: not simply whether they were used, but who—rebels or regime—may have used them… Washington has no legal basis for waging war on Syria, direct or indirect. The Assad regime has not attacked, nor does it pose an imminent threat to, the United States. There is no UN resolution that can be stretched to provide even the flimsiest cover for armed intervention, as was done for Libya. Liberal interventionists suggest that the humanitarian tragedy provides justification for war, but that flies in the face of international law.  More

 

Why There Is No Military Solution to the Syrian Conflict

Today, as violence intensifies in Syria, external powers, including the United States, are openly debating direct intervention. Such intervention is justified as serving multiple goals at once: it is a means of securing chemical weapons caches; a mechanism to protect the civilian population; and a necessary measure to ensure that the successors to the Asad regime are adequately beholden to the United States and its regional allies. However, whether the intentions are humanitarian or strategic, policies of arming opposition groups, along with discussions of establishing “safe zones,” using Patriot missile batteries to enforce a “no-fly zone,” and more direct calls for military intervention, are counterproductive at best, and at worst embody goals that further undermine the interests of the local population. If anything, it is intervention, not its absence, that fuels the blood-letting in Syria.    More

 

Brinkmanship in Syria Boosts Risk of Regional War
The dangerous brinkmanship pitting Israel against the alliance of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah has brought the region closer to war than at any time since the end of the July-August 2006 conflict.  A combination of bellicose rhetoric, aggressive acts, warnings and threats set against the backdrop of Syria’s grueling civil war and its critical implications for the Middle East has revived the era of miscalculation after nearly seven years of calm and restraint, with potentially disastrous consequences, diplomats and observers say… Indeed, Israel upped the stakes by using Thursday’s edition of the New York Times to deliver a clear warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad that he would “risk forfeiting his regime” if he fulfilled the vow of retaliation to any further airstrikes. That same warning was delivered by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon to CIA Director John Brennan Thursday.  More

 

You would have a hard time finding anything about this in the US press…

Senate votes to back possible strike on Iran nuclear weapon program

In a show of force, the United States Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution urging an uncompromising US stance against Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, calling for Washington’s support should Israel strike the program.  “If the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with United States law and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence,” the resolution reads…  While senators are careful in their calls for US military intervention, the resolution is seen as the most direct expression yet heard from Washington of support for a potential Israeli strike.   More

 

Congress Moves Toward Full Trade Embargo on Iran

Congress moved closer here Wednesday to imposing a full trade embargo against Iran and pledged its support to Israel if it felt compelled to attack Tehran’s nuclear programme in self-defence. The Senate voted 99-0 to adopt a resolution that urged President Barack Obama to fully enforce existing economic sanctions against Iran and to “provide diplomatic, military and economic support” to Israel “in its defense of its territory, people and existence”… At the same time, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Republican-led House of Representatives unanimously approved new sanctions legislation that, if passed into law, would blacklist foreign countries or companies that fail to reduce their oil imports from Iran to virtually nil within 180 days.  The same bill would expand the current blacklisting of companies that do business with Iran’s financial sector to include those engaged in the country’s automotive and mining sectors, as well.  In perhaps its most controversial section, the bill also eliminates President Obama’s ability to waive most sanctions for national-interest or national-security reasons.   More

 

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced the Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act  H.R. 783 – Jim McGovern is the only cosponsor from Mass so far: Let him know you appreciate it (202) 225-6101 --  and ask Capuano (202-225-5111) and Lynch ((202) 225-8273) to join in cosponsoring).  This important bill supports diplomatic efforts to solve our challenges with Iran. 

 

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ISRAEL/PALESTINE and the MIDDLE EAST

 

Kerry’s Latest Mideast Trip Doomed Before It Starts

It may seem like US Secretary of State John Kerry is chasing his own tail with regard to the Israel-Palestine issue. But he is, intentionally or otherwise, raising some important questions. One is what the official Israeli position really is on the two-state solution. Perhaps the most important one is how foolish, inept and impotent will the United States allow Israel to make it appear? And of greatest concern to Americans, why is this President even less willing to confront Israel, at so dire a time, than any of his predecessors?  More

 

Palestinians mark their 1948 displacement

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the West Bank and Gaza on Wednesday to mark the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war that followed Israel's founding in 1948.  Every May 15, Palestinians commemorate the "nakba," or "catastrophe" - the term they use to describe their displacement. Hundreds of thousands fled or were driven out during the fighting. The dispute over the fate of those Palestinians and that of their descendants, now numbering several million people, remains at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  More

 

The Ongoing Nakba: The continuous forcible displacement of the Palestinian people

Israeli practices and policies are a combination of apartheid, military occupation, and colonization as a means to ethnically cleanse the territory of historic Palestine from the indigenous Palestinian presence. This Israeli regime is not limited to the Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), but it is also targeting Palestinians residing on the Israeli side of the “1948 Armistice Line” as well as those living in forced exile. Reflections on whether a one or two-state solution would be the appropriate means to end the injustice and suffering in historic Palestine overlook the fact that one legal entity has already been established within that specified territory: Indeed, Israel’s treatment of non-Jewish Palestinians throughout Israel and the oPt constitutes an overall discriminatory regime aiming at controlling the maximum amount of land with the minimum amount of indigenous Palestinians residing on it.   More

 

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OTHER EVENTS

 

Sunday, May 26: Healing from Tragedy and Resisting a Bigoted Backlash, 11am-2pm, Community Church of Boston • 565 Boylston St. • Boston.  Community Church of Boston is located in Copley Square, not far from the finish line of the Boston Marathon where fatal bombings took place on 4/15. Events such as these challenge our communities in several ways as we deal with trauma from the bombings themselves, the ensuing police and military response, and the predictable xenaphobic and Islamaphobic backlash. Join us for a guided community discussion as we sort through feelings and ideas about how we might best respond.

 

Monday, May 27: Memorial Day for Peace, 1-3pm, Christopher Columbus Park, 105 Atlantic Ave., Boston.

Please join Veterans For Peace, Smedley Butler Brigade, Chapter 9 and Samantha Smith, Chapter 45, Military Families Speak Out, Mass Peace Action and United for Justice with Peace as we commemorate Memorial Day on Monday May 27, 2012.  There will be no parade, no marching band, no military equipment, no guns and drums, no Air Force fly-overs.

 

Wednesday,  May 29:  ANNUAL FUNDRAISER: The Palestinian House Of Friendship And Smiling Faces Summer Camps,  6:30-8:30pm,  Arts at the Armory Café,  191 Highland Ave., Somerville.  Featuring director Mohammed Sawalha from Nablus, Palestine.  Learn about life under occupation from a peacemaker, organizer, educator and father.  View photos of the current reality and of the camps that seek to give respite to the children.  Middle Eastern food

provided.  Cash bar for drinks.

 

Thursday, May 30: Harvard Graduation Day Demo for Palestine, 4:30- 6pm, (Holyoke Center/Harvard Square). People from all over the world attend the graduation.  JOIN US!  We will ask them to support the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment campaign wherever they live.  Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights

 

Saturday June 1: Bradley Manning Stand-Out (Part Of An International Day Of Solidarity), 1pm,  Park Street Station. VFP and Bradley Manning activist Al Johnson writes: Let’s Redouble Our Efforts To Free Private Bradley Manning-President Obama Pardon Bradley Manning -Make Every Town Square In America (And The World) A Bradley Manning Square From Boston To Berkeley to Berlin-Join Us At Park Street Station In Boston On June 1st At 1 PM For A Stand-Out In Solidarity Before Bradley’s June 3rd Trial

 

Friday, June 7: Poet Suheir Hammad featured at First Friday Open Mic, 7pm, First Baptist Church,  633 Centre Street, JP. Presented by The First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain and co-sponsored by the Jamaica Plain Christian Science Meeting, Jewish Voice for Peace Boston, and Grassroots International.

 

 

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CONTACTING DPP and Joining Our Work:

To make it easier to get involved with DPP, we've decided to publish contact info for our coordinators in every issue of this update. We will also regularly publish upcoming meetings of work committees, create a brochure or flyer about DPP, and greet new people at monthly meetings with an explanation of how we work. Here's how to reach them.

Facilitation Committee
:
Mike Prokosch (mikeprokosch@verizon.net); Betty Case (bcase@bcasesite.com), Gerry Bilodeau gbilodeau@boston.k12.ma.us, Alison Gottlieb alison.gottlieb@umb.edu.


The Anti-War Committee pressures Congress, does community outreach and education to end the wars in the Middle East. Contact Denise Zwahlen at
denisezwahlen@yahoo.com .
 
The 25% Campaign Committee is centering the Coalition to Fund Our Communities---Cut Military Spending 25%, which is made up of community groups from Dorchester, Roxbury, and surrounding neighborhoods.  The 25% committee also promotes other aspects of the campaign, including coordinating with UJP's 25% Solution Task Force, and with DPP's Anti-War Committee. Contact Daryl Wright, dwright@youthbuild.org or Becky Pierce, 617-282-3783 or beckyp44@verizon.net .

The Multi-Cultural Competence Committee promotes internal and public education on racism and the diverse cultures of Dorchester. Contact Jane Taylor, janetaylor11@gmail.com.

The Counter-Recruitment Committee educates youth and their parents about alternatives to military service and how to keep military recruiters from getting their contact information. Contact Alison Gottlieb at alison.gottlieb@umb.edu.

The BIOLAB Committee opposes the bioterror laboratory that BU is building at Boston Medical Center. Contact Mike Coté at mike_j_cote@yahoo.com .

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 NEXT DPP MEMBERSHIP MEETING  --  on the THIRD Monday because of the Columbus Day holiday on October 8

Monday, October 15:  7-9pm, Vietnamese American Community Center, 42 Charles St., Fields Corner (just behind the Red Line station).  We'll continue to work on the Budget Policy Referendum campaign and plan for the annual DPP Retreat – probably Sunday, November 18 – Save the Date!  If you have suggestions, please contact Denise (denisezwahlen@yahoo.com), Betty (bcase@bcasesite.com) or Mike (mikeprokosch@verizon.net)  – we have two new Facilitation Team members, with a third to be added soon.  Denise has agreed to stay on in the interim.

 

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BUDGET REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN

 

Ballot question to appear in 91 communities

Mass. voters will have say in federal deficit debate

About one third of Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to say whether they support a mix of tax increases for the highest earners and cuts in military spending as a means to shrink the federal deficit. A coalition of peace activists and labor organizations has gathered enough signatures to put a question on local ballots asking voters whether they support proposals to both protect some areas of the federal budget while raising revenues and cutting costs in other areas. The coalition claims more than 1 million people in Massachusetts will have the chance to vote on the non-binding question this November. More

 

Election Day Poll Coverage Needed!

Sharon Bilodeau (sgbilodeau@gmail.com / 617-265-5677) writes:

I'm writing to ask: Can you take a shift at a polling place on Election Day to urge voters to vote for the Budget for All? Please let me know if you can take a morning (7-9 am) or evening (5-8 pm) shift. Let me know which polling place you would like to cover. Finally, let me know if you can make phone calls and recruit others to do poll coverage with us. There are about 40 polling places in Dorchester so we have a big goal.

More information about the statewide budget referendum campaign here

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ISRAEL, IRAN and the US

There has been so much news on this issue during the past week. A selection of articles is linked below, but it is hard not to comment on some startling developments. Israel and its supporters have been jockeying for years to involve the US in a war with Iran – nothing new here (see a recent article I wrote about this).  What is truly startling is that Israel’s interference in US politics – and especially in the presidential campaign – is now being noted and very negatively assessed by much of the mainstream media and the Liberal commentariat.  Recent events (like the Jerusalem vote fraud at the Democratic Convention) and national polling have also exposed a growing partisan divide on the question of blind support for Israel.  The Democratic Party base – though not yet the leadership to any extent in public –  is becoming decidedly less enthusiastic about Israel, while fervent support for the right-wing Israeli government is increasingly limited to some Conservative Republicans, including wealthy Zionist extremists like Sheldon Adelson and Christian fundamentalists who are eagerly waiting for Armageddon and the Second Coming in the Holy Land.  This partisan divide will only grow and one has to expect that it will eventually expressed by Democratic politicians.  Israel and its supporters are rightly worried.  Two articles represent this anxiety: here and here.

The current violent anti-American upheavals in Middle East capitals reflect some of this too. Although the vile anti-Muslim video which sparked mass outrage was actually produced by Christian and Arab Coptic right wingers (see more on this below), the provocateurs behind the project thought it would be more inflammatory (and perhaps more believable) to claim that it was produced by an American-Israeli real-estate magnate.  Moreover, investigative reporters have discovered that the perpetrators of the fraudulent film had ties to prominent Zionist anti-Islamic activists.  What they share (with the Neocons and others on the US right) is the belief that fomenting Islamophobia and culture clash with Muslims is useful in maintaining the War on Terror – and good for Israel. 

Jeff

 

The Folly of Drawing a 'Red Line' On Iran

Underneath the headlines of the presidential campaign, there are growing signs that we are moving toward another war in the Middle East. This week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly scolded the United States for refusing to draw a “red line” on Iran’s nuclear program that, if crossed, would commit Washington to military strikes. He added that he would not accept a “red light” placed in front of Israel. Unless something dramatic changes its course… The Obama administration is trying to assure Israel not to act. But in doing so, it will have to be careful not to lock itself onto a path that makes U.S. military action inevitable. We should have a national debate before the United States finds itself going to war in the Middle East — again — on auto-pilot.  More

 

Has Netanyahu Gone Too Far?

Maybe this time the Israeli prime minister has gone too far in his bullying and arrogance in dealing with the United States of America — so far as to undermine the habits and attitudes in the United States that have made such swagger possible in the first place… Going beyond the Iranian nuclear issue, perhaps we are seeing some fear that the whole political edifice that has enabled Netanyahu and other Israeli prime ministers to get their way in the United States is showing some cracks. It ought to crack. After all, the overall nature of the relationship, in which the superpower that lavishes billions of aid and dozens of United Nations vetoes on the smaller state gets pushed around by the latter, rather than the other way around, is crazy and illogical.    More

 

[Time Magazine] JOE KLEIN: Netanyahu Trying to Push US to War

Netanyahu’s recent behavior is outrageous. He is trying push us into a war that is not in our national interest, a war that would only further destabilize a region that is already teetering near chaos… President Obama will not yield to this pressure, nor should he–and every American should know the implications of what Netanyahu and his American neoconservative allies, including Mitt Romney, are proposing… The truth is, Iran is a political issue more than a national security challenge. It has achieved the prominence in the current debate that it was because Bibi Netanyahu and his neoconservative pals have made it an issue, because twisted American zillionaires like Sheldon Adelson have bought politicians to promote it, because Jewish organizations like AIPAC and the ADL and the AJC have conflated Israel’s national security with our own…

 

[New York Times] Israeli Fallout

But the question in the presidential campaign is not whether attacking Iran now or later is a good idea, but whether a decision with enormous geo-strategic consequences should be made by the American president or by the leader of an ally dependent upon American power… Yet senior Israeli officials take the view that the Israeli government believes it can defy American wishes and bypass the president. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, “Ehud Barak says that if Israel were to act now against U.S. wishes, the U.S. Congress would still favor Israel over Iran.” Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, who was appointed by Netanyahu, says “the American people and Congress would support Israel right now if it were engaged in a war with Iran.”  More

 

[more New York Times] Mitt and Bibi: Diplomacy as Demolition Derby

Netanyahu’s crude intervention in our politics may – and should – embarrass his preferred candidate, Mitt Romney. Romney’s options now are to join his friend Netanyahu in attacking U.S. foreign policy (so much for politics stopping at the water’s edge), to distance himself from the foreign leader he has most enthusiastically embraced, or to shut up.  More

 

[The new Yorker] Neocon Gambits

Now Netanyahu seems determined, more than ever, to alienate the President of the United States and, as an ally of Mitt Romney’s campaign, to make himself a factor in the 2012 election—one no less pivotal than the most super Super PAC. “Who are you trying to replace?” the opposition leader, Shaul Mofaz, asked of Netanyahu in the Knesset on Wednesday. “The Administration in Washington or that in Tehran?” … The Israeli Prime Minister has made no secret of his distrust, even though Israeli politicians acknowledge that intelligence and defense coöperation has never been stronger. His trusted American allies are not the elected President but, rather, his friends on the American right, the politicians, business people, and lobbyists, who are never willing to disagree with Israel at all.  More

 

Israeli: Mainstream American media and pro-Israel pols are turning against Netanyahu

Mainstream America is not interested in going to war with Iran, it seems. Nor does it take kindly to a foreign leader meddling so obviously in domestic politics. Perhaps the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens was the final straw, but I think the remarks made by Boxer, Klein and Remnick were a long time coming. The fact that they are all Jewish gives the lie to Sheldon Adelson’s claim that he represents the mainstream Jewish community’s point of view – as does a quick perusal of the names of the biggest donors to the Obama campaign (the bundlers).  More

 

Expert Report: US Strikes on Iran Would Risk Major War

U.S. military strikes on Iran would shake the regime's political control and damage its ability to launch counterstrikes, but the Iranians probably would manage to retaliate, directly and through surrogates, in ways that risked igniting all-out war in the Middle East, according to an assessment of an attack's costs and benefits… The report compiled by former government officials, national security experts and retired military officers is to be publicly released Thursday. It says achieving more than a temporary setback in Iran's nuclear program would require a military operation - including a land occupation - more taxing than the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.  More

 

Iran War Weekly September 10, 2012

Nuclear talks between Iran and the United States-led “P5+1” remained stalled this week, with expectations that nothing will happen until after the UN convenes later this month.  The P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) appears to be relying on economic sanctions to force Iran to bargain on terms that would essentially bring Iran’s nuclear program to a halt.  While minor issues, such as the alleged nuclear activity at Iran’s military base at Parchin (see below), continue to be in play, Iran’s offers to resume negotiations have been ignored. More news and commentary here

 

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SAVE THE DATE!

Saturday-Monday, October 13-15

“Expose AIPAC”

 

AIPAC is holding its 2012 annual national summit for its prime financial backers in Boston, at the Seaport Hotel, Oct 13-15. The summit is reserved exclusively for those who contribute a minimum of $3600 annually to AIPAC.  Boston-area pro-Palestine activists are countering AIPAC's 3-day national summit in Boston with its own 3-day Expose AIPAC summit.  With the any-moment-now finalization of the exposeaipac.org website, there will be a blast to area Palestinian groups, alerting them to this event and seeking volunteers/participants.

Saturday, Oct 13 – People's Forum at Palestine Cultural Center for Peace

Speakers:

Stephen M. Walt – Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is co-author, with John Mearsheimer, of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, a book that set off a firestorm of controversy about the role of AIPAC and the broader, pro-Israel lobby within American politics.

Jamal Abdi -- Policy Director for the National Iranian American Council (NIAC); directs NIAC’s efforts to monitor policies and legislation, and to educate and advocate on behalf of the Iranian community.

Denise Provost – Democratic State Representative for the 27th Middlesex District. She has openly resisted heavy, external pressure to pass an Iran divestment bill in the Massachusetts statehouse.

Kristin Szremski – director of media and communications for the American Muslims for Palestine. She is an award-winning journalist, spending more than 20 years as an investigative reporter and editor

 

Sunday and Monday, Oct 14-15, Days of Action outside the Seaport Hotel.

 

 *    *    *    *

ISRAEL/PALESTINE and the MIDDLE EAST

 

Anti-American Protests Over Film Expand to More Than a Dozen Countries

The violently anti-American rallies that have roiled the Islamic world over a video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad expanded on Friday to more than a dozen countries, with demonstrators storming the American Embassy in Tunisia in a deadly clash and protesters in Sudan’s capital broadening the targets to include Germany and Britain.  More

 

Inside the strange Hollywood scam that spread chaos across the Middle East

Produced and promoted by a strange collection of rightwing Christian evangelicals and exiled Egyptian Copts, the trailer was created with the intention of both destabilizing post-Mubarak Egypt and roiling the US presidential election. As a consultant for the film named Steve Klein said: "We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen." … For far-right Christian right activists like Klein, the attacks on American interests abroad seemed likely to advance their ambitions back in the US. With Americans confronted with shocking images of violent Muslims in Egypt and Libya on the evening news, their already negative attitudes toward their Muslim neighbors were likely to harden.  More

 

What "Undivided Jerusalem" Is Really About

The United States initially extended de facto recognition to the Israeli government in May 14, 1948 and de jure recognition of the government of Israel followed after elections in January of 1949…  In the partition plan, Jerusalem—all of it—was treated as a "Corpus Seperatum," or a separate entity that would be neither sovereign Arab nor Jewish territory… But 1967 added a new wrinkle to this complex issue. When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, it unilaterally expanded the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem so that “East Jerusalem” went from about 2.5 square miles to about 28 square miles. Simple arithmetic tells us that Israel unilaterally claimed and annexed approximately 25 square miles of the occupied West Bank into what they refer to as municipal Jerusalem… So when people people argue that the U.S. should recognize Jerusalem as the “eternal, undivided capital” of Israel, what they are actually arguing for is that the United States should recognize the legitimacy of Israeli claims to land it occupied and illegally annexed and colonized.  More

 

What the Arab Spring Really Was

The truth is that the Arab Spring uprisings, not just in Libya but across the Arab world, drew much of their explosive strength from the combination of very different people and strands of opinion united by hatred of oppressive and corrupt autocracies. It is not exactly that the revolutionaries of yesterday were always anti-American or anti-Western. It is rather that, for decades, Arab rulers almost instinctively took pro-Western positions in opposition to the wishes of their own people…  The Arab Spring was never a collective vote in favour of Western states, but a series of real revolutions that have other surprises, both good and nasty, in store.  More

 

Rebel Violence Drains Support of Fellow Syrians

As the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, show, sometimes armed and violent rebels who help to oust a dictatorship can later become destabilizing forces who kill with impunity… The rebel bombings that hit important military and security compounds in the heart of Damascus in recent weeks have served as one more immediate sign that the Syrian government is crumbling. The Free Syrian Army, which claimed responsibility, delighted in the operation’s success.

But many local Damascenes looked on in horror. Even though a majority of middle-class Syrians don’t like the regime of Bashar al-Assad and are appalled by its violence, they draw a line when they see the rebels’ own appetite for guns and killing. After 18 months, the revolt has left many young urban families disillusioned and exhausted. “Revolt fatigue” has set in among those who have done well under Assad.  … it is striking that a “silent majority” in Damascus and Aleppo is blaming the rebels and the uprising.  More

 

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BUDGET BATTLE and the PENTAGON

 Romney’s ads against military cuts promise more jobs through government spending

Romney has been talking up the military and the defense industry as an employment haven for weeks. On Aug. 14, he warned that looming defense cuts would “threaten 150,000 defense-related jobs” in Virginia. A week later, his new running mate, Paul Ryan, declared that the cuts “could put almost 44,000 jobs at stake right here in Pennsylvania. We're not going to let that happen.” … Romney wouldn’t just protect the military budget. He would radically increase it. He explicitly vows to set “core defense spending … at a floor of 4 percent of GDP.” This would require more government spending, regardless of need, just because the economy is growing.  More

 

U.S. Public Satisfied With Less Militarised Global Role

Disillusioned by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. public is becoming increasingly comfortable with a more modest and less militarised global role for the nation, according to the latest in a biennial series of major surveys. That attitude is particularly pronounced in the so-called Millennial Generation, citizens between the ages of 18 and 29, according to the poll. They are generally much less worried about international terrorism, immigration, and the rise of China and are far less supportive of an activist U.S. approach to foreign affairs than older groups, it found.

Political independents, who will likely play a decisive role in the outcome of November’s presidential election, also tend more than either Republicans or Democrats to oppose interventionist policies in world affairs, according to the survey, which was released at the Wilson Center for International Scholars here Monday by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (CCGA).  More

 

7 Ways to End the Deficit (Without Throwing Grandma Under the Bus)

These seven simple steps would raise close to $550 billion a year. They would quickly erase the fiscal deficit  and return the country to a healthy budget surplus. There would be hundreds of billions left to invest in key sectors that could make the country more secure, more green, and more equitable: care jobs, green jobs, infrastructure jobs. In other words, this plan could help erase the nation's dangerous social and environmental deficits.  Many groups-from Jobs with Justice to National People's Action to the AFL-CIO-are organizing to counter a push by the Right to use the deficit crisis to shred social programs and our nation's safety net. Let's up the ante and spread the message. America is not broke. We have plenty of resources to rebuild shared prosperity in the U.S.  More

 

Indefensible: The Truth About Pentagon Spending
With the U.S. war in Iraq officially over and our operations in Afghanistan drawing down, this is the perfect time to stop partisan squabbling and rethink the way we fund the Pentagon. Americans on both sides of the aisle agree that economic security goes hand-in-hand with national security. A majority of us support cutting the defense budget by 18 percent, or more than $100 billion, according to a recent Stimson Center study. It's time we started spending smarter on our military and weapons. We need a sensible, balanced, and long-term approach to national security.  … A mountain of misleading rhetoric put forth by big Pentagon contractors -- who are spending millions on lobbying and campaigns -- has buried the facts. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the top 10 government contractors spent a combined total of more than $56.3 million on lobbying expenditures and more than $9 million on campaign contributions last year. A number of these companies spending millions on expanding their undue influence collect most of their revenues in taxpayer dollars. Now members of Congress are parroting their talking points.   More

 

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A People's Guide to the Federal Budget

 New book is a comprehensive and engaging resource on what every American should know about how our government raises and spends our tax dollars

From history of the budget process to detail about the ongoing conflict in Washington, from charts explaining where every federal dollar goes to simple explanations of budget terminology, A People's Guide to the Federal Budget - a new book from National Priorities Project - covers it all in a way everyone can understand.  More info here

 

*    *    *    *
WARS – Old and New – GRIND ON. . .   Are you feeling safer now?

 

Who Pays for War?

“We are at War. Somebody is Going to Pay.” George W. Bush, Sept 11th, 2001.

Eleven years later, we are still at war. Bullets, mortars and drones are still extracting payment. Thousands, tens of thousands, millions have paid in full. Children and even those yet to be born will continue to pay for decades to come… 84,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan. While the occupation is rarely mentioned in the U.S. mainstream media, that doesn’t mean the killing has stopped... The American public has turned their attention to feeding their families, keeping their homes, and finding employment. But what of the $2 billion dollars per week we are spending on war in Afghanistan? What would $2 billion per week look like in our devastated communities, in our schools, in creating jobs or in caring for our elders? Politicians in both parties claim our first priority is to reduce the debt. If they were really serious, if they were honest, they would end this occupation and stop calling for cuts to Medicaid, Food Stamps, and Social Security.  More

 

Washington Invested in War

…the United States is alone on the planet, not just in its ability, but in its willingness to use military force in drug wars, religious wars, political wars, conflicts of almost any sort, constantly and on a global scale…  Washington may be mobilized for permanent war.  Special operations forces may be operating in up to 120 countries.  Drone bases may be proliferating across the planet.  We may be building up forces in the Persian Gulf and “pivoting” to Asia.  Warrior corporations and rent-a-gun mercenary outfits have mobilized on the country’s disparate battlefronts to profit from the increasingly privatized twenty-first-century American version of war.  The American people, however, are demobilized and detached from the wars, interventions, operations, and other military activities done in their name.   More

 

BACEVICH: How We Became Israel

A nation seeking peace-as-dominion will use force more freely. This has long been an Israeli predilection… What’s hard to figure out is why the United States would choose to follow Israel’s path. Yet over the course of the Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama quarter-century, that’s precisely what we’ve done. The pursuit of global military dominance, a proclivity for preemption, a growing taste for assassination—all justified as essential to self-defense. That pretty much describes our present-day MO.  … the United States has stumbled willy-nilly into an Israeli-like condition of perpetual war, with peace increasingly tied to unrealistic expectations of adversaries and would-be adversaries acquiescing in Washington’s will.  More

 

AFGHANISTAN WEEKLY READER: Questions Surround $1.1 Billion Afghan Aid Fund

The U.S. government watchdog that oversees reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan has raised concerns about the $1.1 billion program for supplying fuel to the Afghan National Army. A report the watchdog agency highlighted several accountability issues, chief among them that financial records covering $475 million in fuel payments have been shredded.  Meanwhile, a new poll finds that public support for the Afghanistan war is declining, with large majorities of U.S. and European respondents favoring withdrawal or an immediate troop reduction.   More news and commentary here.

 

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99%  --  1%

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Updates and Calendar at http://www.occupyboston.org/

 

Tuesday, September 18: Boston Premiere of American Autumn: An Occudoc, @ Emerson College/ Bright Family Screening Room/ 559 Washington Street (4th Floor) - Doors open 6:30pm.  FREE! "We now have a film of our own. (American Autumn) is as well made as any Hollywood blockbuster." - MichaelMoore.com Here are two trailers to wet your whistle: http://youtu.be/IeMbERJggt4 http://youtu.be/EWeVOgeKzVw


Middle-class pay falls, widening income gap

The income gap between the wealthiest 20 percent of US households and the rest of the country grew sharply in 2011, the Census Bureau reported, as the overwhelming majority of Americans saw no gains from a weak economic recovery in its second full year. Income for the top fifth of US households rose by 1.6 percent in 2011, driven by even larger increases for the top 5 percent of households, said David Johnson, the Census Bureau official who presented the findings. All households in the middle of the scale saw declines, while those at the very bottom stagnated. “You’re really struck by the unevenness of the recovery,’’ said Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard. ‘‘The top end took a whack in the recession, but they’ve gotten back on their feet. Everyone else is still down for the count.’’ More

 

It’s worse than this, actually, since benefits have also been steadily cut. . .  

Workers bearing more costs of benefits

 

“ELECTIONS” 

For those who want to support the Elizabeth Warren Campaign, there are on-going Dorchester-based activities:

Contact Joyce Linehan joyce@ashmontmedia.com  Click here to order a Warren lawn sign.

 

Elizabeth Warren held a forum at the Carpenters Union Hall in Dorchester Yesterday. . .  This was my question:

I’m a retired local union president getting by on SS and two small pensions, so I thank you for your remarks defending Social Security and supporting the right to a retirement with dignity for everyone.   But I want to ask you about something else.  I want to know what you will do to get us out of these wars all over the world that are bankrupting our country.  And I want to ask whether you will use some of that $1 Trillion we spend every year on the military – which isn’t making us safer – to spend on nation-building at home?  [BIG APPLAUSE around the hall]

Warren answered basically that she supported Obama’s foreign policy – as opposed to Bush/Romney -- but deplored the waste of $2 billion every week in Afghanistan.  I don’t doubt that she mostly agrees with the question, but It was clear that she didn’t particularly want to campaign on “foreign policy”.  Several people said directly to me that they liked my question.

 

Fossil Fuel Industry Ads Dominate TV Campaign

This year’s campaign on behalf of fossil fuels includes a surge in political contributions to Mitt Romney, attack ads questioning Mr. Obama’s clean-energy agenda, and television spots that are not overtly partisan but criticize administration actions like new air pollution rules and the delay of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada… With nearly two months before Election Day on Nov. 6, estimated spending on television ads promoting coal and more oil and gas drilling or criticizing clean energy has exceeded $153 million this year… After imposing a yearlong oil and gas drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico in response to the disastrous BP spill in 2010, President Obama recast himself as favoring an “all of the above” energy strategy, allowing the industry to drill offshore as deep as ever and moving to open up new regions like Alaska’s Arctic waters.   More

 

Chicago Teachers Strike a Critical Moment in the Future of Public Education

The Chicago teachers strike could end by Monday, CTU President Karen Lewis now projects…  Emanuel tried to take away the ability of the union to strike. He took their raises and trashed them. He has a stated policy of increasing charter schools and closing public schools. This is an agenda of privatization. The union, in overwhelming numbers, stood up and said no. This is literally the first time that a union has tried to stop the rightward drift of education policy over the past several years.  More

 

Poll Proves Majority of Parents and Taxpayers Approve of Fair Contract

…the poll of 1,344 voting Chicago households asked, "In general, do you approve or disapprove of the Chicago Teachers Union's decision to go on strike?" 55.5 percent said they approved and 40 percent disapproved.  Another 4 percent had no opinion.  The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent," according to Rich Miller, the report's publisher…  (CTU) support jumped to 66 percent among parents of public school children.  Less than a third of those parents, 31 percent, disapproved of the strike, according to the poll.  Among people with no school-age children, 51 percent approved of the job action, while 44 percent disapproved.  More

 

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OTHER EVENTS


Friday, September 21:
LAWRENCE LESSIG -  “Money, Corruption and Politics,” 7:30pm, All Saints Church (Ashmont)

If you’re interested in politics, especially in this Citizens United era, you might be interested in hearing Lawrence Lessig’s talk. . .  It’s part of the Dorchester Speaker’s Forum, and it’s free. Lessig is Director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is the author of Republic Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress — and a Plan to Stop It.

 

Saturday, September 22: Occupy Lawrence, 1912 : An Evening of Folk Music & History,  7pm,  Arlington Center for the Arts • 41 Foster St. Charlie King and Karen Brandow present Occupy Lawrence 1912 a multi-media performance about the Bread and Roses textile strike that took place in Lawrence, Massachusetts 100 years ago.  Chris Nauman and Kenny Selcer open. Steve Early discusses unions – then and now.  Tickets will go on sale at 6 pm. Parking available * Wheelchair accessible * On public transportation (#77 bus)  Sponsored by Arlington United for Justice with Peace, Jobs with Justice, Occupy Arlington, the 25% Solution (Arlington), with thanks to New England War Tax Resistance for a grant. Contact: arlingtonujp@yahoo.com www.arlingtonujp.org

 

Save the Dates!

 

Saturday, October 13: AFAB (Association of Haitian Women in Boston) / KAFANM,  16th Annual Fundraiser Dinner, 7pm,  Cedars Hall, 61 Rockwood St., JP.  Let’s Keep Hope Alive!  Featuring Guest Speaker: State Rep Gloria Fox. For tickets, call: (617) 287-0096 www.afab-kafanm.org  Prices: Adult—$60, Student—$30


Thursday-Saturday, October 18-10: National Conference on Mass Incarceration, Boston University Law School. Goals: moratorium on prison construction; raising awareness about mass incarceration and effects on minority communities. Keynote speaker on opening night: Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow.  See www.conferenceonmassincarceration.com for details and schedule, the many sponsoring organizations or to register.

 

Friday, November 9: Boston Workers Alliance 2012 Celebration and Fundraiser, 6-10pm (Program Starts at 7pm), SEIU 1199, 150 Mt. Vernon St. (2nd floor), Dorchester (near JFK T-Stop).  Come celebrate the courageous members, staff and board of the Boston Workers Alliance who give their time and energy to fight for good jobs, a fair criminal justice system, and a green and healthy future for our communities.  This event will recognize our outgoing executive director for his 7.5 years of service and welcome new leadership to our community.     The evening will include: - Heavy hors d'oeuvres from a local caterer - Awards and recognitions of our leaders and allies - Live music, DJ, dancing - Silent auction, raffle, door prizes  - Community building, networking and celebration!   Please purchase your ticket today: http://tinyurl.com/BWA-event

 

 

 ***********************************************************

Monday, September 10:   DPP Membership Meeting, 7-9pm,  Vietnamese American Community Center, 42 Charles St., Fields Corner (just behind the Red Line station).  We'll do more Budget4All referendum campaign coordination and elect a new facilitation team -- please consider volunteering. If you have suggestions, please contact Denise (denisezwahlen@yahoo.com), Rosemary (rosemarykean@yahoo.com) or Jeff, (jjk123@comcast.net)

 

Saturday, September 8:  New England United for Justice BBQ, 12-5 PM, NEU4J office, 196 Adams St., Fields Corner NEU4J End of Summer BBQ Call 617-265-7100 to RSVP or volunteer to help Music bring soda, juice, or dessert if you can.

DPP worked closely with NEU4J on the budget referendum campaign.

 

*    *    *    *

REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN

Budget for All Referendum to Reach 1 Million Massachusetts Voters

What do you want? Tax cuts for the rich, runaway military spending, or Social Security and funding for our neighborhoods? Paul Ryan as vice presidential candidate puts these national budget choices at the center of this election. And in Massachusetts, those choices will actually be on the ballot. This fall we can not just vote for candidates, we can tell them what we want. Austerity... or prosperity?   More

 

Sharon Bilodeau writes:

As this election season heats up, I'm looking forward to being together with you on Monday.
The conventions have put me in the mood for our kind of democratic participation. I hope you're in the mood too because we're hoping to cover lots of polling places on Election Day with our message: VOTE YES on the BUDGET for All!

I'm writing to ask: Can you take a shift at a polling place on Election Day to urge voters to vote for the Budget for All? Please let me know if you can take a morning
(7-9 am) or evening (5-8 pm) shift. Let me know which polling place you would like to cover. Finally, let me know if you can make phone calls and recruit others to do poll coverage with us. There are about 40 polling places in Dorchester so we have a big goal.

We can do some of this work at our meeting on Monday, but I ask you now because it will give us a jump start and hopefully keep us from getting bogged down with logistics at our meeting

Timeline -- what's next

Our August 14 planning meeting decided to:
*Do presentations to neighborhood groups -- civic associations, organizing groups -- about the four issues in the referendum, and ask them how those affect their lives. Please think of a group you belong to where you or someone could come do a short presentation.
*Organize a press event about the referendum and how it affects Dorchester with community leaders, people hit by cuts and job loss, and elected officials.
*Set up meetings with state and federal legislators.
*Put up yard signs and use the leaflets etc that the statewide campaign will create.
*Door-knock our own blocks.
*Coordinate poll coverage in Dorchester on Election Day, November 6,
with help from our partners New England United for Justice, Mass Affordable Housing Alliance, the 25% Coalition, and Right to the City

 We also can volunteer to door-knock with New England United for Justice (Saturdays from 10 am to noon), phonebank with them (Mondays and Tuesdays 4 to 8:30 pm), maybe organize mini-forums or speakouts. Contact Mike (mikeprokosch@verizon.net) with what you can do, and we'll review all this at our monthly meeting September 10.
 

*    *    *    *

Tuesday, September 11:  UJP Meeting to Plan the Campaign to Vote "Yes" for the Budget for All ballot question

 

Vote for the Peace and Justice Referendum on Election Day, Nov. 6!

The presidential election campaign this fall is a time when many Americans are talking politics, open to discussion and new ideas.  Yet the two major national parties limit the debate and many proposals for real solutions are "off the table."   This is our chance to send a clear message to Congress, the president and the nation about what the people of Massachusetts really want.  We need an overwhelming "yes" vote!

UJP groups were key in initiating and gathering signatures for Budget for All.  The coalition collected over 24,000 signatures and the referendum will appear on the ballot in 8 senatorial districts and 24 state representative districts.  This is more then any other prior nonbinding question.  Now we will gather with coalition partners to make a plan of action to publicize the referendum and get out the vote!  We need people to talk to their friends,  meet and table in the community, place articles in the local press, and leaflet T-stations.  What are your creative plans?  Share them with all of us.

Meet at AFSC, Tuesday Sept. 11 at 7:00 pm.

For more information:info@justicewithpeace.org or 617-383-4857  

 *    *    *    *

HELP NEEDED IN HUMMUS BOYCOTT CAMPAIGN

 (DPP Voted last year to endorse this effort)

 Dear Friends,
 
You signed our petition. Now we need your help!
 
A few weeks ago we turned 510 member signatures in support of the referendum, as well as over 500 more signatures from frequent shoppers, to the Harvest board. But the board refused to grant us a referendum. They say that we fell short of the number of required member signatures, claiming that 136 of member signatures we submitted were from members deemed “inactive” by the board.
 
But we will not take no for an answer! We have clearly demonstrated that there is more than enough community support to have a simple vote on whether to boycott Sabra and Tribe. Help us show the board that their membership demands the democratic right to decide and that we are not going away!

 

Please:

1. Come to the Harvest Co-op Board Meeting on Monday, September 10 at 6:30 pm at 1035 Cambridge St, Suite 16c Cambridge MA 02141. We need a massive presence at this meeting to show that the community supports the vote!
2. Send an email demanding a vote.
Email Chris Durkin, Harvest Co-op Director of Membership and Community Relations, at cdurkin@harvest.coop  
AND Christina Lively, President of the Harvest Co-op Board, at clively@harvest.coop
Tell them you care about human rights and you want member voices heard!

Thanks so much for your support! We need you!
 In Solidarity,
The Boston Hummus Campaign

More info on this campaign here.

*    *    *    *

BUDGET BATTLE and the PENTAGON

A Good Sign?

Mike Prokosch noticed this in Obama’s convention speech:

And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don't even want, I'll use the money we're no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways.  After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it's time to do some nation-building right here at home.

(…and Bill Clinton repeated similar comments in his speech the night before.)

 

Cut the Pentagon Budget, Not Social Security and Veterans' Benefits
Some people want to cut Social Security and veterans' benefits by changing the way inflation is measured in calculating the cost of living adjustment. The Congressional Budget Office says the change would "save" the government $145 billion over 10 years by cutting Social Security, veterans' benefits, and federal pensions. A December 2011 paper by Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier showed that domestic spending creates more jobs than military spending. It showed that replacing cuts to domestic spending with cuts to military spending reduces the job losses from those cuts by at least 25.8 percent Thus, cutting $145 billion from the Pentagon budget over ten years instead of changing the way inflation is calculated to cut Social Security and veterans' benefits would save about 380,000 jobs. More

 

Protecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security Is a Political Winner

As Republicans target America's social safety net, a top Democrat is now urging colleagues to join the fight, describing Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as "winners."  Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Co-Chair of the House Task Force on Seniors, spoke with reporters today to mark the 47th anniversary of Medicare. She said, "If everybody took a deep breath and looked at the reality of how this is going to help them and their families, this is a great issue for us to campaign on."  More

 

Government Has Smallest Workforce Since 1968

We’ve been talking about how this Great Recession, and its aftermath, represents a private-sector recovery and a public-sector depression. We haven’t seen government payrolls get slashed this deeply in some time in America. In fact, we now have statistics to put to that, courtesy of Jordan Weissman at the Atlantic. He looks at the ratio of government employment – at the local, state and federal levels – to the US population, and finds that the ratio is at its smallest point since 1968. That’s displayed in the chart above.  More

 

A Smarter Way to Trim the Pentagon Budget?

Unlike most American’s household accounts, the Pentagon’s “base budget” (which excludes the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars) has grown by 40% over the past decade, in inflation-adjusted dollars. It is reasonable to expect some room for significant savings… There are numerous ways to save defense dollars that avoid both institutional disruption and most of the economic pain associated with deep cuts to government spending. An illustrative option is the “Reasonable Defense” plan, which will soon be released in its entirety by the Project on Defense Alternatives.

The Reasonable Defense plan would reset and reshape America’s defense posture in response to new strategic challenges and circumstances. Based on a more realistic and cost-effective defense strategy, the new posture would enable a sustainable balance between military power and other elements of national strength.   More

 

*    *    *    *

A People's Guide to the Federal Budget

 New book is a comprehensive and engaging resource on what every American should know about how our government raises and spends our tax dollars

From history of the budget process to detail about the ongoing conflict in Washington, from charts explaining where every federal dollar goes to simple explanations of budget terminology, A People's Guide to the Federal Budget - a new book from National Priorities Project - covers it all in a way everyone can understand.  More info here

 

*    *    *    *

“Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb IRAN”?

Report Shows Iranian Nuke Restraint

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report made public Thursday reveals that Iran has actually reduced the amount of 20-percent enriched uranium available for any possible “breakout” to weapons grade enrichment over the last three months rather than increasing it.

Contrary to the impression conveyed by most news media coverage, the report provides new evidence that Iran’s enrichment strategy is aimed at enhancing its bargaining position in negotiations with the United States rather than amassing such a breakout capability.   More

 

Obama Impedes Israel’s Iran Attack?

President Barack Obama’s explicit warning that he will not accept a unilateral Israeli attack against Iran may force Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step back from his ostensible threat of war.  Netanyahu had hoped that the Obama administration could be put under domestic political pressure during the election campaign to shift its policy on Iran to the much more confrontational stance that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have been demanding.  More

 

Netanyahu and Barak have overplayed their hand

From Haaretz's interview with "the decision maker," aka Barak, to the leaks of classified information regarding the dialogue with the United States, Netanyahu and Barak have been ratcheting up the pressure. But they appear to have overplayed their hand.  The result has been a tougher American stance that has led Israel to calm down a bit, as reflected in recent reports that Barak has changed his mind and now opposes attacking at this time. Thus many officials now believe an attack is not as inevitable as it previously seemed. Yet the disagreement between Jerusalem and Washington over Iran has become even more fraught, and the issue of American support for Israel has consequently gained prominence in the U.S. presidential campaign. Over the long run, this is liable to be a serious mistake.   More

 

The Non-Aligned Movement Meeting Strengthened Iran’s Hand vs. US, Israel (Azad)

Although it was largely ignored by the Western media, the Teheran Non-Aligned Summit concluded its work last Friday. It approved a statement supporting Iran on the nuclear issue; opposing unilateral economic sanctions (i.e. US-led sanctions against Iran), and; condemning any attack or threat of attack against peaceful nuclear facilities (an indirect reference to Israeli threats of attack against Iranian nuclear facilities). Iran claims that it has scored a big diplomatic victory by securing the support of all NAM members on these issues. Against the background of the strong campaign carried out by the US and Israel prior to the conference to discourage Non-Aligned leaders as well UN Secretary General from participating in the meeting, it arguably seems so…  More

 

What about Israel’s nuclear weapons?

Israel refuses to acknowledge publicly that it has nuclear weapons. The U.S. government also officially does not acknowledge the existence of such a program. Israel’s official position, as reiterated by Aaron Sagui, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy here, is that “Israel will not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. Israel supports a Middle East free of all weapons of mass destruction following the attainment of peace.” The “introduce” language is purposefully vague, but experts say it means that Israel will not openly test a weapon or declare publicly that it has one… Because Israel has not signed the treaty, it is under no legal obligation to submit its major nuclear facility at Dimona to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections. Iran, in contrast, did sign the treaty and thus agrees to periodic inspections. IAEA inspectors are regularly in Iran  More

 

MIDDLE EAST NUCLEAR WEAPONS FREE ZONE -  Background/Status:

You can view reports and documents on the background and progress toward the next Conference on NWFZ in the Middle East here:

http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/resources/publications/5456-npt-action-plan-monitoring-reports

 

Iran War Weekly September 2, 2012

A report this week on Iran’s nuclear program re-charged the debate on whether Israel should or would attack Iran before the US presidential election in November.  The quarterly report of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) highlighted what it said was a significant jump in Iran’s nuclear enrichment capacity.  However, a closer look at the report (as in several articles linked below) shows that the IAEA’s conclusion is simply not true…  A second significant development this week was the public distancing of the Obama administration from the threats of Israel’s President Netanyahu to attack Iran.    More news and commentary here

 

*    *    *    *
WARS – Old and New – GRIND ON. . .   Are you feeling safer now?

 

The Dumbing Down of American Foreign Policy

After 9/11, when “soft” became an increasingly suspect word, Washington policymakers began to use “smart power” to denote a menu of expanded options that were to combine the capabilities of both the State Department and the Pentagon…  But diplomacy has not been at the vanguard of Obama’s foreign policy. From drone attacks in Pakistan and cyber-warfare against Iran to the vaunted “Pacific pivot” and the expansion of U.S. military intervention in Africa, the Obama administration has let the Pentagon and the CIA call the shots.    More

 

An All-Clear for Bush’s Torturers

The Obama administration has closed the books on prosecutions of those who violated U.S. and international laws by authorizing and conducting the torture and abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody. Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that his office would investigate only two incidents, in which CIA interrogations ended in deaths. He said the Justice Department “has determined that an expanded criminal investigation of the remaining matters is not warranted.” With that decision, Holder conferred amnesty on countless Bush officials, lawyers and interrogators who set and carried out a policy of cruel treatment.  More

 

AFGHANISTAN WEEKLY READER: The $50 Billion Afghan Security Force

Looking for ways to address recent attacks by Afghan troops on their ISAF trainers, the U.S. military suspended training for some 1,000 Afghan forces this weekend while it conducts more extensive background checks. Afghan officials, who had attributed the attacks to infiltration by foreign spies, said more recently that inadequate vetting and links to insurgents may be the cause. In light of the high costs of the war – the U.S. has spent approximately $50 billion on the Afghan security forces alone – some are wondering how long U.S. policymakers will stay silent on Afghanistan.  More news and commentary here.

 

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99%  --  1%

Updates and Calendar at  http://www.occupyboston.org/

“ELECTIONS” 

For those who want to support the Elizabeth Warren Campaign, there are on-going Dorchester-based activities:

Contact Joyce Linehan joyce@ashmontmedia.com

Voter Suppression: The Unraveling of American Democracy

How will the American presidential election be won in November 2012? By the Republicans buying the election? Perhaps. But money cannot always buy an election. That is why Republicans have spent the last four to six years passing a spate of voter suppression laws in "swing states" that will make it more difficult and costly for the young, the elderly, minorities, union members and single and elderly women to cast a vote for Barack Obama.  More

 

Former GOPer: How Republicans Went Crazy, Dems Lost Their Mojo, and the Middle Class Got Shafted

Both parties don't really seem to care about having a vibrant manufacturing base in this country, regardless of their rhetoric. I remember throughout the '90s the Clinton administration was lobbying relentlessly for free trade deals. And the promise for each one was, it will bring jobs to America. And in every case, the jobs left…  The Federal Reserve, in one of their recent reports, found that net household income fell about 40 percent since 2007. That's a tremendous drop…  The [Republican] party is really oriented towards the concerns of the rich. It's about cutting their taxes, reducing regulation on business, making things wide open for Wall Street. Now you're not going to get anybody to the polls and consciously pull the lever for the Republicans if they say, "Our agenda is to further entrench the rich and, oh by the way, your pension may take a hit." … Now you're not going to get anybody to the polls and consciously pull the lever for the Republicans if they say, "Our agenda is to further entrench the rich and, oh by the way, your pension may take a hit." So they use the culture wars quite cynically, as essentially rube bait to get people to the polls.  More

 

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ISRAEL/PALESTINE and the MIDDLE EAST

Democratic Party Leaders Undermine Israeli-Palestinian Peace and Their Own Procedures
In a stunning violation of its own rules, the wishes of the majority of delegates at its national convention, and positions taken by the United Nations and virtually every country in the world, the Democratic Party leadership pushed through an amendment to its platform early during its proceedings on Wednesday, with barely half the delegates present and without allowing for any discussion or debate, stating that Jerusalem "is and will remain the capital of Israel” and should be “undivided.”  The language, as foreign policy analysts noted, is in "in direct opposition to longstanding U.S. policy on Jerusalem" that the status of the city should be determined by talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, both of whom desire Jerusalem as their capital, and that the city should not be unilaterally recognized as the capital of either Israel or Palestine until then.   More

Watch For Yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoPrBnrWvrE

 

Whitewashing Rachel Corrie’s Death

Two recent rulings, one in Israel blaming American Rachel Corrie for her own death while obstructing the demolition of Palestinian homes and another in America absolving torturers in the murder of detainees, suggest that national security trumps justice and international law is easily brushed asideMore

The remapping of the Middle East

The invasion of Iraq was followed by the destruction of Iraq as a unitary state. The constitution written in Washington - much as the constitutions of Iraq and Egypt in the 1920s and 1930s were written in London - turned a secular state into a state with a sectarian religious basis. It created a weak central government and fostered the growth of an increasingly powerful Kurdish governorate in the north. By submitting the future of Kirkuk to a referendum (yet to be held) it encouraged the demographic war that has been taking place as the Kurds seek to build up their numbers in and around this city. Syria lends itself to the same process of ethno-religious separation if the country can be collapsed and there is opposition to a Western-installed government. In 1918, the imperial powers divided the Middle East in a certain way that suited their interests at the time. They are now remapping it again - and again to suit their interests. It is not coincidental that this program dovetails with Israel's own long-term strategic planning.  More

 *    *    *    *

OTHER EVENTS


Saturday, September 8:  
New England United for Justice BBQ, 12-5 PM, NEU4J office, 196 Adams St., Fields Corner NEU4J End of Summer BBQ Call 617-265-7100 to RSVP or volunteer to help Music bring soda, juice, or dessert if you can

 

Thursday September 20: The Latino Vote 2012 - A Conversation with Oscar Chacón, 6pm, City Year Civic Room, 287 Columbus Av. Back Bay, Boston.  Fundraiser for AFSC’s Project Voice  Oscar Chacon serves currently as Executive Director of the National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities (NALACC). Until December 2006, Mr. Chacon served as director of Enlaces América, a project of the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights. Mr. Chacón served for most of the 1990’s as executive director of Centro Presente in Massachusetts.  Donation: $25

 

Friday, September 21: LAWRENCE LESSIG -  “Money, Corruption and Politics,” 7:30pm, All Saints Church (Ashmont)

If you’re interested in politics, especially in this Citizens United era, you might be interested in hearing Lawrence Lessig’s talk. . .  It’s part of the Dorchester Speaker’s Forum, and it’s free. Lessig is Director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is the author of Republic Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress — and a Plan to Stop It.

 

Saturday, September 22: An Evening of Folk Music and History,  7pm,  Arlington Center for the Arts • 41 Foster St. Charlie King and Karen Brandow present Occupy Lawrence 1912 a multi-media performance about the Bread and Roses textile strike that took place in Lawrence, Massachusetts 100 years ago.

Chris Nauman and Kenny Selcer open. Steve Early discusses unions – then and now.  Tickets will go on sale at 6 pm. Parking available * Wheelchair accessible * On public transportation (#77 bus)  Sponsored by Arlington United for Justice with Peace, Jobs with Justice, Occupy Arlington, the 25% Solution (Arlington),

with thanks to New England War Tax Resistance for a grant. Contact: ar

Save the Dates!

 

Saturday, October 13: AFAB (Association of Haitian Women in Boston) / KAFANM,  16th Annual Fundraiser Dinner, 7pm,  Cedars Hall, 61 Rockwood St., JP.  Let’s Keep Hope Alive!  Featuring Guest Speaker: State Rep Gloria Fox. For tickets, call: (617) 287-0096 www.afab-kafanm.org  Prices: Adult—$60, Student—$30


Friday, November 9: Boston Workers Alliance 2012 Celebration and Fundraiser, 6-10pm (Program Starts at 7pm).  Come celebrate the courageous members, staff and board of the Boston Workers Alliance who give their time and energy to fight for good jobs, a fair criminal justice system, and a green and healthy future for our communities.  This event will recognize our outgoing executive director for his 7.5 years of service and welcome new leadership to our community.     The evening will include: - Heavy hors d'oeuvres from a local caterer - Awards and recognitions of our leaders and allies - Live music, DJ, dancing
- Silent auction, raffle, door prizes  - Community building, networking and celebration!   Please purchase your ticket today: http://tinyurl.com/BWA-event


 **********************************************************

 

Jobs, Peace, Budget Priorities, Tax the Rich

JOIN THE REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN!

We’ve started gathering signatures to put a nonbinding question on November's ballot: create jobs, save services, tax the 1%, end the wars and cut the Pentagon.   See more info below or email/call Mike 617-282-3783 /  mikeprokosch@verizon.net

 

*    *    *    *


SAVE THE DATE!

Sunday, June 3

Dorchester Day Parade 

Parade step-off at 1pm from Lower Mills; gather along Richmond Street (off Dot Ave.) between 11am-12:30pm.

We’ll be marching with our friends and allies from City Life, Vets for Peace and others  -- and collecting signatures for the referendum.  DPP Volunteers will gather signatures as the parade stages around Dot Ave. and Richmond Streets and also before the parade among spectators along the route. Call 617-282-3783 if you can help.

Don’t miss this terrific event – where many thousands of views will see – and cheer! -- our message.

 COOKOUT AT JEFF’S HOUSE from around 3:30 after the parade, 123 Cushing Ave. (near the end of the parade route) 617-288-4578 / jjk123@comcast.net    We’ll have hamburgers and hotdogs, plus fixings.  Bring a dish or something to drink if you can and you can drop them off before the parade or bring along afterward. Kick back and relax after the parade!

 *    *    *    *

This Monday!   May 28:  Memorial Day for Peace

1-3pm, Christopher Columbus Park (105 Atlantic Ave, near the Aquarium)

 

Please join Veterans For Peace, Smedley Butler Brigade, Chapter 9 and Samantha Smith, Chapter 45, Military Families Speak Out, Mass Peace Action and United for Justice with Peace as we commemorate Memorial Day.

 

There will be veterans and supporters who have lost friends and loved ones. Veterans who know the horrors of war and the pain and anguish of loss. There will be friends and families of soldiers, remembering their loved ones. There will be Iraqi Refugees who have suffered terrible losses and will join with us as we remember and show respect for their loss. There will be flowers dropped into the harbor for each fallen U.S. soldier from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Flowers will also be also be dropped into the harbor remembering the loss of Iraqi family and friends.

 

Honoring Troops with the Truth

Facing the truth is hard to do, especially the truth about ourselves. So Americans have been sorely pressed to come to terms with the fact that after 9/11 our government began to torture people, and did so in defiance of domestic and international law. Most of us haven’t come to terms with what that meant, or means today, but we must reckon with torture, the torture done in our name, allegedly for our safety. It’s no secret such cruelty occurred; it’s just the truth we’d rather not think about.  More

 

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Monday, June 11, DPP Monthly Meeting, 7-9pm,  Vietnamese American Community Center, 42 Charles St., Fields Corner (just behind the Red Line station).  Agenda:  TBA   If you have suggestions, please contact Denise (denisezwahlen@yahoo.com), Rosemary (rosemarykean@yahoo.com) or Jeff, (jjk123@comcast.net)

 

*    *    *    *

DPPers at the Haitian Unity Day Parade last Sunday

We marched with our friends from AFAB up Blue Hill Ave.. . .

http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/560482_2159884933909_1750111999_1063958_1990990745_n.jpg

 

*    *    *    *

Jobs, Peace, Budget Priorities, Tax the Rich

JOIN THE REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN!

We’ve started gathering signatures to put a nonbinding question on November's ballot: create jobs, save services, tax the 1%, end the wars and cut the Pentagon.  

 

SOME IDEAS ABOUT WHERE TO GATHER SIGNATURES:

---little league baseball and youth soccer games, now through June 2 at Savin Hill, Town Field and Pope John Paul II Park

Schedules here, here, and here

---supermarkets---Lower Mills, Morrissey Blvd., South Bay; Lambert's
---your neighbors, friends, family; people at events and neighborhood meetings you go to
---T stations, in the afternoon---Savin Hill and Shawmut are local-only; or local (non-bus) exits at the bigger stations
---post offices, especially Codman Square and Fields Corner, at busy times
---yard sales and festivals---Denise and Alison got dozens, fast, at the Ashmont Hill yard sale

---Castle Island (and parks in general on nice days
---America's Food Basket supermarket in Codman Square


---and DO SIGN UP FOR A JUNE 3 PARADE TEAM with Mike, Sharon, or me if you haven't already


Send your ideas and planned dates/times around and invite others to join you if you can.
Send around festivals and yardsales and events you hear about in Dorchester and Mattapan.

---Becky will coordinate a Sat. June 9 tabling at Codman Square Post Office, 10:30 AM to 12:30.  Can you come?
---Can someone do the Fields Corner Post Office that day or a later Saturday?

Otherwise, you can

·         Go door to door in your neighborhood and ask your neighbors to sign. Pick up petition sheets and guidelines for signature collecting on the porch at 41A Brent St.

·         Adopt a T station, set a goal (say, 100 signatures), and keep going back till you reach it. This may work best if two or three people are doing it together.

 

A few signature gathering tips/cautions:
---people MUST sign a first and last name.  First initial only will probably NOT be accepted.
---for the address: best to ask for no., street, apt. no. only, and zip code if room (not required): it's important that they NOT run over outside the box and into the ward/precinct space
---stress clarity of signature or printed name, and writing small to leave room to print as well in the same box if legibility is at all in doubt
---if early signers on your sheet have violated these rules, start a new sheet, so others won't follow their example

Becky writes:

58 Hart signatures out of 170 were rejected.  None for illegibility. 

The rejections were evenly divided between:

1.  That name not registered at that address; and 2.  "wrong community:" that address is NOT in that district (so the person signed the wrong sheet, or was near the district line and we didn't catch it).  Many of these were Chang-Diaz district people (Roxbury, JP, Dorchester near the line/over the line).

 

SO, LESSONS TO LEARN FROM THIS:

1.  It's really important, after asking if they're a registered voter in Boston, to ask them if they've moved in the last 6 months/since the last time they voted, and if so, did they re-register at their new address; and have a stock of voter registration cards, and sign them up on the spot with their new address.  (More voter cards on the porch at 41A Brent St., along with the petition forms and instructions.) 2.  We need to get more familiar with the Chang-Diaz/Hart dividing line between the districts.  I've made some 11 x 17 street maps of the wiggly, counter-intuitive part of those districts' shared boundary. 

They are also on the porch with the other papers, and I'll print a lot more next week.  (I also have more street maps of the whole city, marked to show the district boundaries; let me know if you need one.)

 

HERE’S THE TEXT OF THE REFERENDUM QUESTION:

Shall the Representative (or Senator) from this district support a resolution calling upon the Congress and the President of the United States to:

1.  Prevent cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or Veterans benefits, or to housing, food or unemployment assistance;
2. Create and protect jobs by investing in manufacturing, schools, housing, renewable energy, transportation and other public services;
3.  Provide new revenues for these purposes and for long-term deficit reduction by closing corporate tax loopholes and offshore tax havens, and raising taxes on incomes over $250,000;  and
4. Redirect military spending to these domestic needs by reducing the military budget, ending the wars and bringing our troops home safely now

 

*    *    *    *

BUDGET BATTLE and the PENTAGON

 

http://media.caglecartoons.com/media/cartoons/16/2012/04/25/110570_600.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Much Does Washington Spend on "Defense"?
Recent months have seen a flurry of headlines about cuts (often called “threats”) to the U.S. defense budget. Last week, lawmakers in the House of Representatives even passed a bill that was meant to spare national security spending from future cuts by reducing school-lunch funding and other social programs.  

Here, then, is a simple question that, for some curious reason, no one bothers to ask, no less answer: How much are we spending on national security these days? With major wars winding down, has Washington already cut such spending so close to the bone that further reductions would be perilous to our safety?

In fact, with projected cuts added in, the national security budget in fiscal 2013 will be nearly $1 trillion… The Pentagon’s base budget doesn’t include war funding, which in recent years has been well over $100 billion. With U.S. troops withdrawn from Iraq and troop levels falling in Afghanistan, you might think that war funding would be plummeting as well.  In fact, it will drop to a mere $88 billion in fiscal 2013. By way of comparison, the federal government will spend around $64 billion on education that same year.   More

 

Cutting the Pentagon's Budget Could Boost the Economy …it is indisputable that the Pentagon is a major employer in the US economy. How could it be otherwise, given that the Pentagon’s $700 billion budget is equal to nearly 5 percent of the GDP?  …In fact, compared with these alternative uses, spending on the military is a poor source of job creation. As we see in the graph below, $1 billion in spending on the military will generate about 11,200 jobs within the US economy. That same $1 billion would create 16,800 jobs through clean energy investments, 17,200 jobs within the healthcare sector or 26,700 jobs through support of education…    If we are going to advance beyond the past decade of war and the wreckage caused by the Great Recession to build a stable, secure and environmentally sustainable society, we need to break the grip of the military-industrial complex on the $700 billion military budget. That is, we need to take seriously President Eisenhower’s warnings about the “disastrous rise of misplaced power” wielded by this nexus of forces. To advance its aims, the military-industrial complex is creating a seriously distorted picture of the effect of military spending cuts on national security and the economy. The way to fight back begins with the simple task of presenting the facts—and advancing policies for a widely shared economic revival grounded in these facts.    More

 

ABOVE AND BEYOND FOR ISRAEL?

Should the United States put solving Israel’s budget problems ahead of its own? When it comes to defense spending, it appears that the United States already is. Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, will meet Thursday in Washington with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta to finalize a deal in which the United States will provide an additional $680 million to Israel over three years. The money is meant to help pay for procuring three or four new batteries and interceptors for Israel’s Iron Dome short-range rocket defense program…  The House committee report noted that the United States will have put $900 million into the Iron Dome system if the full $680 million is used on the program “yet the United States has no rights to the technology involved.” …So here is the United States, having added to its own deficit by spending funds that it must borrow, helping to procure a missile defense system for Israel, which faces the threat but supposedly can’t pay for it alone.  More

 

Very useful resources from the National Priorities Project: http://nationalpriorities.org/  

A People's Guide to the Federal Budget

 New book is a comprehensive and engaging resource on what every American should know about how our government raises and spends our tax dollars

From history of the budget process to detail about the ongoing conflict in Washington, from charts explaining where every federal dollar goes to simple explanations of budget terminology, A People's Guide to the Federal Budget - a new book from National Priorities Project - covers it all in a way everyone can understand.  More info here

 

*    *    *    *

“Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb IRAN”?

Trita Parsi (who knows what he is talking about!) on the recent talks with Iran:

As talks between Iran the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) conclude, all parties should be commended for returning to the negotiating table. Obama should be commended for having turned diplomacy into a process rather than the one-off meetings that existed in the past. There is no other way to find a peaceful solution to this crisis.  These talks were always going to be challenging, because making progress means tackling the thorniest issues that have divided the two sides for years.  To that end, both sides entered negotiations with their maximalist positions, and neither budged.  Looking ahead, now the hard work begins.

With that in mind, it is important to be clear about what has happened thus far.  The U.S. made it clear that regardless of tangible concessions offered by Iran on 20% enrichment, it would still not offer any sanctions relief at this stage of the negotiations.  As a result, the paradigm has shifted: It’s less about the U.S. knowing what Iran is capable of offering and more about one of two scenarios:  The U.S. is either driving a hard bargain, or Congress has limited Obama's maneuverability to the extent he does not have the necessary political space to offer sanctions relief to match Iranian concessions. 

If this position is more than a hard bargaining tactic, and it holds in the next round of talks in Moscow in June, then likelihood of a confrontation will increase. This begs an important question: Is Congress willing to risk war for the sake of not lifting any sanctions – even if Iran offers real and tangible concessions?  …All too often in the past, negotiations have collapsed not because a deal couldn't be found, but because domestic political factors prevented either or both sides from taking yes for an answer. Both sides must pursue a strategy centered on breaking the deadlock, rather than on appeasing domestic elements who fear peace more than they fear war.  

Important Al-Jazeera interview here

 

Meanwhile, Israel and its Neocon/Israel Lobby supporters in the US are in a panic over the possibility of a deal with Iran and doing everything they can to maintain the momentum toward a military confrontation:

 

Iran nuclear deal doesn't rule out Israeli strike, Barak says

Hours before a second round of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers was set to begin on Wednesday in Baghdad, Defense Minister Ehud Barak reiterated that Israel has not ruled out any option as a means of stopping Tehran from developing nuclear weapons… "Israel is demanding a complete halt to Iranian uranium enrichment," Barak declared, adding in an Israel Radio interview that the West, in stark contrast, was setting the bar too low and demanding too little.  More

 

Neocons Assail Possible Compromise on Iran Talks

As at least two days of talks on the future of Iran’s nuclear program got underway in Baghdad Wednesday, neoconservatives and other hawks escalated their campaign against any compromise agreement, particularly one that would permit Tehran to continue enriching uranium on its territory…“They have to stop all enrichment,” Netanyahu told CNN on the eve of the Baghdad talks, adding that Iran should also be compelled to “dismantle the underground bunker” at Fordow. Neoconservatives and other hawks have faithfully echoed that position with growing urgency as the Baghdad meeting approached, arguing that any enrichment by Iran at this point would result in a nuclear-arms “capability” that should be considered unacceptable. More

 

House Bill Shifting Red Line for War on Iran Passes Overwhelmingly

A bill in the House of Representatives has just been passed which inches the United States dangerously close to war with Iran just days ahead of a second round of diplomatic talks with Iran about its nuclear program. The vote, passed 401-11, effectively calls for a military attack on Iran when it obtains a “nuclear weapons capability” – an undefined term that, by some interpretations, could already apply to Iran, not to mention Brazil, Japan, the Netherlands, and any other country with a civilian nuclear program.  More

 

Iran Should Call the Pro-War Lobby's Bluff

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/iran-nuclear-negotations_b_1539295.html

This president is likely to only go as far as AIPAC (or the Israel lobby at large) will permit him to go…   Given that the Iranian government is aware of that fact and given that it knows that the lobby has been agitating for war for a decade, it can hardly be a surprise that Iran is not particularly responsive to our demands. It understands that the U.S. demands are AIPAC's (ultimately Prime Minister Netanyahu's) demands and it knows that there will be no satisfying them. There are so many ironies here, the first being that AIPAC (and the Congress that is under its sway) is far more hawkish than the Israeli military and intelligence communities, not to mention the Israeli public.

 

MIDDLE EAST NUCLEAR WEAPONS FREE ZONE -  Background/Status:

You can view reports and documents on the background and progress toward the next Conference on NWFZ in the Middle East here:

http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/resources/publications/5456-npt-action-plan-monitoring-reports

 

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TAKE ACTION!

Sign the iran “Pledge of Resistance” If the United States applies increased sanctions, invades, bombs, sends combat troops or drones, or otherwise significantly escalates its intervention in Iran or the region directly or through support of its allies, I pledge to join with others to engage in acts of legal protest and/or nonviolent civil disobedience to prevent or halt the death and destruction.

 

Let Diplomacy Work!  Last weekend, the U.S. and Iran came 10 hours closer to avoiding war. That's how long the talks between the U.S., Iran, and five other world powers lasted. The talks ended with everyone committed to further negotiations.
But will Congress support this diplomatic approach, or sabotage it?  You can make a difference this week by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper that highlights how Congress could influence the success of further diplomacy.

 

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WARS – Old and New – GRIND ON. . .   Are you feeling safer now?

 

America's 23-Year War

If President Obama has his way, the last U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan could be Americans born five years after 9/11. The administration has signed a pact to maintain a military presence there until 2024. After initially claiming the rumors of such a deal were false, the administration has since described this pledge as a means of providing "training" assistance to Afghan forces… As for sticking around for another 12 years, the very idea should be maddening to anyone…  In a tempered society, kids do not grow up with an understanding that their older brothers and sisters are deployed abroad because of terrorist attacks that occurred nearly a quarter century ago.   More

 

Charting Obama’s Journey to a Shift on Afghanistan

The lessons Mr. Obama has learned in Afghanistan have been crucial to shaping his presidency. Fatigue and frustration with the war have defined the strategies his administration has adopted to guide how America intervenes in the world’s messiest conflicts. Out of the experience emerged Mr. Obama’s “light footprint” strategy, in which the United States strikes from a distance but does not engage in years-long, enervating occupations. That doctrine shaped the president’s thinking about how to deal with the challenges that followed — Libya, Syria and a nuclear Iran.   More

 

AFGHANISTAN WEEKLY READER: Paying for Endless War

It was a big week for Afghanistan news. At the Chicago summit, NATO leaders agreed give Afghan forces the lead in combat operations by mid-2013 and withdraw ISAF combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 – a plan that Defense Secretary Panetta announced back in February. Meanwhile, two big leadership changes were announced: U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker is stepping down for health reasons, and Gen. John Allen, the commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, is expected to leave at the end of the year to become the chief allied commander in Europe. The connecting thread here is that the U.S. plan for Afghanistan shows neither stability nor clarity of purpose. The result, of course, is that American taxpayers will have to keep on paying for a war that they do not want. And it won’t be cheap. This year the U.S. will spend $2 billion per week on the war in Afghanistan. Next year, if Congress approves the president’s budget request, costs will go down slightly, to only $1.7 billion per week. Articles and commentary here.

 

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99%  --  1%

 

KRUGMAN: Egos and Immorality

In the wake of a devastating financial crisis, President Obama has enacted some modest and obviously needed regulation; he has proposed closing a few outrageous tax loopholes; and he has suggested that Mitt Romney’s history of buying and selling companies, often firing workers and gutting their pensions along the way, doesn’t make him the right man to run America’s economy… Think about where we are right now, in the fifth year of a slump brought on by irresponsible bankers. The bankers themselves have been bailed out, but the rest of the nation continues to suffer terribly, with long-term unemployment still at levels not seen since the Great Depression, with a whole cohort of young Americans graduating into an abysmal job market. And in the midst of this national nightmare, all too many members of the economic elite seem mainly concerned with the way the president apparently hurt their feelings.   More

OCCUPY BOSTON

Updates and Calendar at http://www.occupyboston.org/

More National “OCCUPY” News:

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/greg-mitchell

http://firedoglake.com/state-of-the-occupation/

 

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ISRAEL/PALESTINE and the MIDDLE EAST

 

AVNERI: The Israeli Negation of the Palestinian State

The Main Effort of the Zionist/Israeli movement is to achieve a Jewish State in all of Eretz Israel – the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. In other words: the prevention of an Arab Palestinian state. When one grasps this, all the events of the last 115 years make sense. All the twists and turns, all the seeming contradictions and deviations, all the curious-looking decisions make perfect sense… This policy allows us to compromise about

everything, except one: an Arab Palestinian state that would confirm the existence of an Arab Palestinian people. All Israeli governments have fought this idea with all available means.   More

 

"Every day I dream of returning home": a Nakba survivor speaks

Maryam al-Hout (known as Um Hasan) is in her late eighties but she still welcomes customers to a furniture store run by her grandson Mohammad. Selling mattresses, cushions and carpets, the store is located in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah…  The Israeli forces entered the nearby Beit Daras village, then we moved to Asqalan, where we stayed about six months,” Abu Hasan recalled. “Afterwards, we heard horrible things about a town near Jerusalem known as Deir Yassin. We heard that men, women and children were slaughtered… We travelled by a rented camel until we reached Rafah. In Rafah, we stopped at the Tal Zorob hill, until UNRWA [the UN agency for Palestine refugees], came to distribute some blankets and food. We were hundreds of people. A few days later, UNRWA helped erect tents for us. That would have been towards the end of the summer of 1948.”  More

 

Demonstrators attack African migrants in South Tel Aviv

Hundreds of demonstrators assembled in Tel Aviv's Hatikva neighborhood calling for the ousting of African migrant workers. Some people attacked people attacked Africans that passed by. Others smashed the windows of a grocery store serving the migrant worker community and looted it. Another group of demonstrators stopped a shuttle taxi and searched for migrant workers among the passengers, while banging on the windows. The crowd cried "The people want the Sudanese deported" and "infiltrators get out of our home." Miri Regev, a Likud Knesset Member said that "the Sudanese were a cancer in our body." 17 protesters were arrested.   More

More on this:  here, here and here

 

Israelis sling racial epithets to mark 45 years of a Jerusalem 'unification'

…en route to the Western Wall, by way of the Damascus Gate, extremist Israelis shouted, "the Temple will be rebuilt, the mosque will be burned," "Mohammed is dead," "sons of whores," and "death to the leftists". When the right-wing marchers entered Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter, protests were sparked amongst the Palestinian residents of the city and left-wing Israelis. Police on horseback then suppressed the demonstrators, arresting five. Ten Israelis were also arrested.  More

 

South Africa Universities Boycott Israel

Universities should be at the forefront of the BDS movement – and thanks to the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel this has been the case since 2004 – because by making Israeli officials unwelcome, these opportunities actually open wide the door for learning political ethics…  The UKZN academic activists who raised the stakes by further educating South Africa about solidarity ethics will hopefully continue to ‘terrorise’ the Israeli apartheid regime, just as did BDS ‘terrorise’ those on the side of South African apartheid decades ago.   More

More here

 

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Save the Date!

Monday, April 9, DPP Monthly Meeting, 7-9pm,  Vietnamese American Community Center, 42 Charles St., Fields Corner (just behind the Red Line station).  Agenda TBA: If you have suggestions, please contact Denise (denisezwahlen@yahoo.com), Rosemary (rosemarykean@yahoo.com) or Jeff, (jjk123@comcast.net)

*    *    *    *

Monday, April 2: Next DPP Anti-War Committee, 6:30 pot luck; 7-9pm meeting, at Jeff’s, 123 Cushing Ave. Dorchester (617-288-4578)

 

 

*    *    *    *

Campaign to STOP T CUTS and FARE INCREASES

DON’T STARVE THE MBTA. . .   

PUT THE PENTAGON ON A DIET!

Denise writes this campaign update:

This Thursday March 22 ACE will deliver[ed] their signed petitions to Deval Patrick staff. We collected a lot of signatures between DPP and the 25% Coalition

- Tuesday March 27: Action planned at the meeting of the MBTA Finance and Audit Steering Committee. Gather at 10am in the courtyard of the Transportation Building. Meeting starts at 11am. We want to pack the room to let the message out loud and clear that we want a response to our demands. If you are interested to participate in the action, contact Becky for the details

- Tuesday March 27: 6 - 7:30pm Local meeting organized by the Four Corner Action Coalition. Erie-Ellington Community Rm 31 Erie St  (Mela, the lead organizer says: at this meeting we will present the issue. we will write letters train folk in civic engagement and mobilize community for next steps. We need you to make this happen please get back to me asap so that we can discuss your level of participation. Our target is the communities in Four Corners and Codman Square from around the new Fairmount/Indigo line stations. However anyone else is welcome.) Flyer here.

- Thursday March 29: Action of the Youth Affordability Coalition. Details to follow

- April 4: National Day of Action for Public Transportation. Events to take place in several cities across the country (Chicago, Pittsburgh, Oakland, etc) April 4 is also the anniversary of MLK Speech Beyond Vietnam. Occupy Boston is planning to make it part of the Action.

Locally, major Action at the State House when a recommendation is expected to be made about what proposal is being approved. 1pm Meeting at the Transportation building, rally at 3pm then Teach-In at the State House at 4pm. The Carmen's Union has endorsed the Day of Action. Details to follow.

We have postcards demanding a stop to the cuts and fare increases, while making the connection with military spending.

You can download a copy of the postcard here.

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“Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb IRAN” – Brinkmanship Leading to War?

   

As you may have noticed (!), there has been a lot of material about the Iran War issue in recent DPP Updates.  We’re going to be posting the info on our web site here. Please consult the material there, especially the talking points.

 

 Oil price spike would have 'serious consequences,'

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund warned Tuesday that a sudden spike in oil prices would have "serious consequences" for the global recovery.  As Christine Lagarde made her comments, the trade group for the global aviation industry warned airlines could run up losses of over $5 billion US this year if oil prices jump to $150 US a barrel because of Western tensions with Iran.   More

 

The Real Cause of Rising Gas Prices
Wall Street is betting on higher oil prices in the future — and that betting is causing prices to rise. The Street is laying odds that unrest in Syria will spill over into other countries or that tensions with Iran will affect the Persian Gulf, and that global demand will pick up as American consumers bounce back to life.  These bets are pushing up oil prices because Wall Street firms and other big financial players now dominate oil trading.   More

 

And see this letter to The GLOBE. . .

Thanks to your support, the Iran ads are up on the MBTA this week, and they look great!  They are on Red and Orange line subways cars and the buses that run from the Cabot and Albany garages -- which cover most of the City of Boston and some surrounding areas. A picture of the final ad is at http://www.masspeaceaction.org/1710.   The ad directs people to no-war-with-iran.com, which has a petition and a link to more information at http://masspeaceaction.org/iran.

 

SAVE THE DATE!

Saturday, April 28: Iran Teach-In, 1pm, at Suffolk University.  Details to be announced, but hold the date!

 

Useful Summary. . .

Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance [hint. . . not Iran!]

Three states—India, Israel, and Pakistan—never joined the NPT and are known to possess nuclear weapons. Claiming its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes, India first tested a nuclear explosive device in 1974. That test spurred Pakistan to ramp up work on its secret nuclear weapons program. India and Pakistan both publicly demonstrated their nuclear weapon capabilities with a round of tit-for-tat nuclear tests in May 1998. Israel has not publicly conducted a nuclear test, does not admit to or deny having nuclear weapons…  More

 

U.S. War Game Sees Perils of Israeli Strike Against Iran

A classified war simulation held this month to assess the repercussions of an Israeli attack on Iran forecasts that the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead, according to American officials… But the game has raised fears among top American planners that it may be impossible to preclude American involvement in any escalating confrontation with Iran, the officials said. In the debate among policy makers over the consequences of any Israeli attack, that reaction may give stronger voice to those in the White House, Pentagon and intelligence community who have warned that a strike could prove perilous for the United States.   More

 

Israeli Analyst:  LEAVE IRAN ALONE

The Israeli government has vastly exaggerated the threat that a nuclear Iran poses to its security, as well as its own capacity to halt it. Disabling the Iranian nuclear program by aerial bombardment is probably impossible due to its size, dispersion, lack of actionable intelligence, and, above all, the fact that the element of surprise has long since been lost. Iran's potential acquisition of the bomb, on the other hand, could bring increased stability to the region, as the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction demonstrated in the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.  Understood in this light, the real threat is not Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon, but Israel's attempts to halt it, which would surely incur Iranian retaliation via the Strait of Hormuz. This would cause the price of oil to skyrocket to more than $200 a barrel and send the world's major economies into sustained free fall. More

 

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THERE'S STILL TIME TO STOP WAR WITH IRAN!

 

TAKE ACTION!

 

--SIGN THE IRAN “PLEDGE OF RESISTANCE” If the United States applies increased sanctions, invades, bombs, sends combat troops or drones, or otherwise significantly escalates its intervention in Iran or the region directly or through support of its allies, I pledge to join with others to engage in acts of legal protest and/or nonviolent civil disobedience to prevent or halt the death and destruction. . .

--SIGN THE PEACEACTION PETITION:  Please take a moment to sign a petition calling on the President to use all means at his disposal to prevent a military strike on Iran - by either the US or Israel.

--TELL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO SIGN the “Dear Colleague” letter authored by Reps. Ralph Ellison (D-Minn) and Walter Jones (R-NC) – text here

“Without a corresponding diplomatic undertaking, pressure alone could lead to unintended and potentially devastating consequences, including war. Top U.S. national security officials have said that a military strike against Iran could lead to a regional war in the Middle East and attacks against U.S. interests.”

 

--MAKE A DONATION to support the local initiative to place an ad on the MBTA (DPP is an endorser and contributed $100):

 

We also have on hand a quantity of postcards from the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) demanding

“Diplomacy –NOT WAR – With Iran” (you can see what they look like online here)

 

Watch an old favorite here:  VIDEO: “Peace Train” by Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) with image of Iran.

 

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OPPOSING THE “3-STRIKES LAW”

State legislators debate implementing ‘3 strikes’ rule

Describing a war on Beacon Hill over mandatory minimum sentence policies, a freshman lawmaker contended Thursday that most of his colleagues voted to crack down on habitual felons last year without understanding the consequences. “We’re going to war in here; we’re going to battle about this bill,’’ said state Representative Carlos Henriquez, Democrat of Dorchester, adding, “We have found out that most of our colleagues who voted for this bill originally did not do so with the full knowledge of what this bill will do to our communities.’’   More

 

PETITION: "Say NO to "3 Strikes" Habitual Offender Law"  here

(More on the bill:  3 Strikes Primer: All The Info You Need)

Boston Workers Alliance also reports:

Friday, March 30: New CORI Regulations Public Hearing 12pm, McCormack State Office Building, One Ashburton Place (next to the State House) Conference Room, 21st Floor.

Aaron Tanaka writes:

Please come to the hearing and raise up some key demands:

1) Do Not Remove the Right of Job Applicants to Discuss the Relevance of their CORI.  The old CORI Regulations included a chance for a job applicant to discuss the "Relevancy and Accuracy" of their CORI with an employer who had concerns.  Tell the Governor to reinstate the opportunity to discuss the Relevancy of a CORI to the job at hand.  

 

2) Stop Private Background Check Companies from Giving Out Old CORI.  The new regulations are allowing private background companies to access the official CORI system, and are not preventing them from giving out old records or non-convictions.  The regulations should require any company that uses the official CORI system to limit its information to 10 years for a felony, 5 years for a misdemeanor, and no dismissed cases (the same as the official CORI system).  

Access the regulations here: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/chsb/dcjis-proposed-regulations.pdf

Help spread the word - stand up for CORI reform on Friday March 30th.  

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SAVING THE POSTAL SERVICE (and Union Jobs)

More news and info on the National Post Office Campaign: http://www.saveamericaspostalservice.org/  

 

How the Right is Planning to Kill the U.S. Post Office

…the post office’s immediate crisis is largely of Congress’s own making.  Conservatives aren’t wrong to say that the shift toward electronic mail – what USPS calls “e-diversion” – poses a challenge for the Postal Service’s business model.  (The recent drop-off in mail is also a consequence of the recession-induced drop in advertising.)  But even so, in the first quarter of this fiscal year, the post office would have made an operational profit, if not for a 75-year healthcare “pre-funding” mandate that applies to no other public or private institution in the United States.  More

 

Dorchester’s Rep. Stephen Lynch has introduced legislation in Congress to save the post office:  HR1351

All Mass Congressional Reps have signed on to the bill among the 228 co-sponsors.  The financial trouble at the Post Office is a manufactured crisis resulting from previous efforts to cripple the agency with billions in annual prepaid pension set-asides not required by other public agencies or private corporations.  Lynch’s bill would fix this and return the Post Office to fiscal solvency situation without appropriating more federal dollars.

It would be appropriate to thank Rep. Lynch for his initiative, especially as we have often disagreed over other issues (DC: (202) 225-8273; Local: 617-428-2000)  A similar bill, S.1853, was introduced in the Senate by Bernie Sanders, but has not been co-sponsored by either Sen. Kerry or Brown.  Let them know how you feel:  Kerry (202) 224-2742; Brown (202) 224-4543

 

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BUDGET BATTLE and the PENTAGON

Progressive Caucus Announces the Budget for All

“Our budgets mean schools, firehouses and hospitals stay open and people get the education and job training they need to find good jobs when they’re ready,” Rep. Grijalva said. “Cutting billions from public education, low income health care, school nutrition and public services and giving the money to big corporations isn’t making a tough choice. It’s a choice that’s going to make it tougher for a lot of working Americans, but that’s not the same thing. Republicans say we’re headed off a cliff because of spending. Well, our budget increases funding for job training, for education, for infrastructure, for low-income and veterans housing, and we chart a much more fiscally responsible path than the Republican scheme. It’s about more than numbers on a page to us – it’s about people.”  Much more, with VIDEO, here

 

Statewide Referendum Coming?

Mike writes:

Here's the latest on the statewide referendum planned for this fall about our four-point program: create jobs, save services, tax the rich/corporations, end the wars/cut military spending. Paul Shannon from AFSC sent it around. The main news is
-many of our strongest community allies want to work on it
-the organizers are taking it to the state AFL-CIO to see what support they can get
-there's been some back and forth about the wording and the proposed wording is at the end of this update.
We don't have to take any action now, but we should discuss this at our April 9 meeting (which I'll have to miss). Signature gathering starts in late April and runs till July. We'll probably want to work with New England United for Justice, Boston Workers' Alliance, and the others.

 

Shall the Representative (or Senator) from this district support a resolution calling upon the Congress and the President of the United States to:

 

1.  Prevent cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or Veterans benefits, housing, food or unemployment assistance, and other vital programs;

2. Create and protect jobs by investing in manufacturing, schools, housing, renewable energy, transportation and other public services;

3.  Provide new revenues to save programs, create jobs, and reduce the long-term deficit by closing corporate tax loopholes and offshore tax havens, and raising taxes on incomes over $250,000;  and

4. Redirect military spending to these domestic needs by reducing the military budget, ending the wars and bringing our troops home safely now

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TAX DAY Coming up and DPP with others is planning for some actions.

 

WHERE YOUR 2011 INCOME TAXES WENT

When you pay federal income taxes, the U.S. Treasury designates that money as “federal funds.” That means Congress and the president can spend that money on any government activity—and the chart above shows how they chose to spend federal funds in 2011.

This chart does not include your payroll taxes, also called Social Security and Medicare taxes, which are designated as “trust funds” and can only be used by the Treasury to fund those two programs. But as you can see from the chart above, some federal funds are also used to pay for Social Security and Medicare.  See the chart here

 

Meanwhile, here is a VIDEO from last year showing where your tax dollars actually go:

“Tax Dollars at War” -  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFeduoDWKj4

 

Throwing Money at the Pentagon

If you’ve been fretting about faltering math education and falling test scores here in the United States, you should be worried based on this campaign season of Republican math.  When it comes to the American military, the leading Republican presidential candidates evidently only learned to add and multiply, never subtract or divide.  …despite their stated commitment to reducing the deficit (while cutting taxes on the rich yet more), the Republican contenders are intent on raising Pentagon spending dramatically.  Mitt Romney has staked out the “high ground” in the latest round of Republican math with a proposal to set Pentagon spending at 4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  That would, in fact add up to an astonishing $8.3 trillion dollars over the next decade, one-third more than current, already bloated Pentagon plans.   More

 

Very useful resources from the National Priorities Project: http://nationalpriorities.org/  

 

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Updates and Calendar at http://www.occupyboston.org/

More National “OCCUPY” News:

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/greg-mitchell

http://firedoglake.com/state-of-the-occupation/

 

'Big Government' Isn't the Problem, Big Money Is

Conservatives love to rail against "big government." But the surge of cynicism engulfing the nation isn't about government's size. It flows from a growing perception that government doesn't work for average people but for big business, Wall Street and the very rich - who, in effect, have bought it. In a recent Pew poll, 77 percent of respondents said too much power is in the hands of a few rich people and corporations.   More

 

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WARS – Old and New – GRIND ON. . .   Are you feeling safer now?

 

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 U.S. general backs plan to pause Afghan drawdown The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Thursday indicated that he believes there should be no American troop drawdowns in 2013, leaving the total at the 68,000 who will remain following scheduled withdrawals this year.  Pressed in a congressional hearing by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has been critical of reports that the administration plans to continue withdrawals next year, Marine Gen. John R. Allen said: “My opinion is that we will need significant combat power through the end of 2013. . . . Sixty-eight thousand is a good going-in number,” he said…  More

 

WALT: Top 10 Lessons of the Iraq War

This month marks the ninth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Regardless of your views on the wisdom of that decision, it's fair to say that the results were not what most Americans expected.  Now that the war is officially over and most U.S. forces have withdrawn, what lessons should Americans (and others) draw from the experience?  More

 

 

This Land Is Spy Land. . . ? 

CLASS OF 2012 MEET THE CLASS OF 1984

Campus spies. Pepper spray. SWAT teams. Twitter trackers. Biometrics. Student security consultants. Professors of homeland security studies. Welcome to Repress U, class of 2012… Today, from the City University of New York to the University of California, students increasingly find themselves on the frontlines, not of a war on terror, but of a war on “radicalism” and “extremism.”  Just about everyone from college administrators and educators to law enforcement personnel and corporate executives seems to have enlisted in this war effort.  Increasingly, American students are in their sights.  More

 

AFGHANISTAN WEEKLY READER: $33 Billion for Afghanistan Aid

Recent events in Afghanistan have made the American public, and many members of Congress as well, wonder if it isn’t time for a new strategy. The administration however, is sticking with the plan, and negotiations with Afghanistan over the U.S. presence after 2014 are ongoing.

Whatever the strategic agreement between the two countries ends up looking like, the U.S. will certainly continue to have a relationship with Afghanistan. And that means an ongoing financial commitment. Since 2002, the U.S. has spent $33 billion on governance improvement, economic development, and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Whether that money has been spent effectively is debatable. What’s not debatable is that we need a better strategy going forward—and better oversight and accountability for how U.S. taxpayer dollars are spent. Articles and commentary here.

 

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ISRAEL/PALESTINE and the MIDDLE EAST

 

Attacking Gaza, Preparing Israel for War with Iran

In response to the recent assassination of Zuhair al-Qaisi, the Secretary General of the Popular Resistance Committees in the Gaza Strip, along with another fighter, Palestinians fired rockets at southern Israel and the Israeli military launched air strikes at targets throughout the Strip…

Initially, the government and security establishment claimed that “al-Qaisi was assassinated in order to prevent an attack that was in the final stages of preparation”. Two days after Israel carried out the extra-judicial execution, however, the claim that al-Qaisi presented an imminent danger dissipated.

On March 11, Ofer Shelah reported that “even from the statements made yesterday by the Minister of Defense one got the sense that the assassination was not about direct prevention: Barak clearly stated that it is not totally clear what was being planned, from where, and whether the attack had been foiled. From this, it can be assumed that the attack was more about deterrence”.   More

 

ISRAEL: This Duck Is an Apartheid Duck

The 1998 Rome Statute to the International Criminal Court defines Apartheid as actions or policies “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime” (Emphasis mine).  Richard Goldstone and others who argue against the Apartheid designation try to separate Israel from the West Bank. But anyone who has traveled through Israel and the West Bank knows that the green line exists on paper only. In every other sense, between the river and the sea, there is one state, there is one regime, and that is the Israeli regime. The policies of perpetual occupation, soon entering its 45th year, effectively result in the Israeli regime’s total domination of the territory, its borders, its resources, the use of force within them and the continued colonization of that territory.  More

 

Poll Shows Little US Support for Syria Intervention

Despite strenuous efforts by prominent neoconservatives and other hawks, a war-weary U.S. public is clearly very leery of any armed intervention in what many experts believe is rapidly becoming a civil war in Syria, according to recent polls.  In a survey released last week, the Pew Research Center found that only 25% of respondents said they believed the U.S. has a “responsibility to do something” about the year-old violence in Syria, in which more than 7,500 people have died, while nearly two thirds (64%) answered the question negatively.   More

 

US Labor Against the War Urges Action:

No Military Action in Syria

Reports are circulating that the U.S. and Turkey (and perhaps others) may be planning to establish a "no-fly" zone in Syria to provide Syrian rebels with a safe haven from which to overthrow their government.  Whatever one thinks of the al-Assad regime in Syria, on what basis in either U.S. or international law could such an action be justified without consent of Congress and the United Nations?  Syria has not attacked the U.S. or U.S. interests.  Syria represents no threat to U.S. national securityTake Action here

 

A year later, Libya is still a mess

Libya is now effectively ruled by the militias that ousted Gadhafi, and some militias run parts of the country as their own fiefdoms independent of any national authority. The most powerful militias in the western cities of Zintan and Misrata have refused the government's calls to disarm. These militias believe that remaining armed allows them to retain political influence in the new order that they fought to create. "Success" in Libya is creating a political and humanitarian disaster in Mali and Niger.   More

 

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OTHER EVENTS

 

(See various Boston actions in the body of the email, above!)

 

Saturday, March 24: “Ayiti Chérie - from Boston to Haiti: The work continues...” 4:30pm, Mildred Avenue Middle School
5 Mildred Ave. Mattapan. Please join Mayor Thomas M. Menino for a special event on March 24, 2012, “Ayiti Chérie - from Boston to Haiti: The work continues...”.  This event will provide an opportunity to recognize the great work that was done to support Haiti and our Haitian residents following the tragic earthquake of 2010, as well as the work that continues in the City of Boston.  For more information please call: 617-635-3846

 

Wednesday, March 27: NEU4J:  Paid Sick Time Kick Off and Lobby Day, 12- 2pm, State House Steps.  With close to a million working people lacking Sick Time, this issue continues to be a priority and we need YOU to WIN!  Workers, Small Businesses, Allies, Family and Friends we want to make a SPLASH at the State House to continue the BUZZ on this issue.  This event will be a chance to stand with us on Paid Sick Time and an opportunity to visit YOUR Elected Officials to express your support for this effort.

 

Friday, March 30: Palestine “Land Day” March, Speakout at 6pm followed by a march to Park St.  Join us in Boston to stand in solidarity with a global effort to bring justice to Palestine and to end US and Israeli aggression against Iran. Global BDS action day - Boycott Israel.   Since 1948, Israel has steadily eaten away at Palestinian communities and replaced them with Israeli colonial entities.     To this very day, Israel expels Palestinians from their homes, demolishes homes, and colonizes whole neighborhoods. East Jerusalem is under attack from right wing settlers supported and protected by the government. It is slow but steady ethnic cleansing. Sponsored by Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Boston United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), the International Action Center (IAC), the Palestine Task Force of United for Justice with Peace, and Veterans For Peace, Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Brigade

 

Saturday, March 31:  La Peña Rebelde Celebra/Celebrates: Día Internacional de la Mujer/International Women’s Day, Honrando/Honoring Afro-Latinas en/in Boston,  7PM TO MIDNIGHT, 33 Harrison Ave. (corner Beach St.) Red Line: Downtown Crossing. Green Line: Boylston St / Orange Line: New England Medical/Essex (Chinatown). POETRY, DANCE, PERFORMANCES, MUSIC, SPOKEN WORD, OPEN MIC and more… Cultural/ethnic food & beverages available. SUGGESTED DONATION: $5.00.  Contact: Dorotea 617-922-5744/Antonieta 917-981-1625

 

Friday, April 6: "To Stand Against War: Costs and Consequences of War With Iran" 6-8pm, Boston University College of Arts & Sciences CAS 522.  Prof. Hamid Dabashi of Columbia University to discuss the costs and consequences of the U.S.-led sanctions program and U.S.-Israel military strikes. Professor Dabashi will also discuss the implications of U.S. hostility towards Iran on Iran’s human rights workers, as well as on Iran’s Green Movement.

 

Wednesday, April 11: FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE IMMIGRANTS… A forum on Human Rights, Constitutional Rights, Your Rights, 6:30-8:30pm, Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway. With:  Melissa Gonzalez-Brenes, Chair, Cambridge Human Rights Commission ; Nancy Murray, Director of Education, ACLU of Massachusetts; Cathy Hoffman, Cambridge UJP.  In the aftermath of Sept 11, there have been dramatic and chilling changes in government practices toward immigrant communities. These changes have extended to surveillance of those expressing dissent or protesting US policies, and beyond.  This forum will include testimonies from people whose rights have been jeopardized by the Homeland Security Surveillance State. It will also provide an overview of policy changes that are eroding basic constitutional rights, and the implications for us all.

 

Wednesday, April 18: EYES IN GAZA:  What Did I See And What Can You Do?  6pm, Harvard University Law School, Austin West
A presentation by Dr. MADS GILBERT  One of two foreign doctors allowed into Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. Dr. Mads Gilbert is one of Norway’s leading physicians and the co-author, with his colleague Erik Fosse, of Eyes in Gaza, a harrowing account of their experiences in the Gaza Strip during Israel’s deadly assault in 2008-2009.  Dr. Gilbert recently went back to Gaza and will give an update on the current situation.  FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

 

This Monday, March 12, DPP Monthly Meeting, 7-9pm,  Vietnamese American Community Center, 42 Charles St., Fields Corner (just behind the Red Line station).  We'll think about Opt Out, the MBTA Campaign, Iran, the Elizabeth Warren Campaign, the St. Patrick's Peace Parade, and several other issues.

If you have suggestions, please contact Denise (denisezwahlen@yahoo.com), Rosemary (rosemarykean@yahoo.com) or Jeff, (jjk123@comcast.net)

 

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Postponed to March 18: DPP Pot Luck Get Together, We decided to postpone this social time until March 18, when we’ll have an “afterparty” following the St. Patrick’s Day Alternative Peace and Human Rights Parade (see below)

 

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Monday, April 2: Next DPP Anti-War Committee, 6:30 pot luck; 7-9pm meeting, at Jeff’s, 123 Cushing Ave. Dorchester (617-288-4578)

 

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SAVE THE DATE. . .  Don’t Miss This!

St Patrick's Peace Parade, March 2011Sunday, March 18:

SAINT PATRICK'S PEACE PARADE: Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice,   2-5pm, Meeting details: Broadway, MBTA Redline (Look for Vets For Peace flags).  Please join Veterans For Peace and other peace and social justice organizations for this historic alternative “people’s parade” following the official Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.  Background: Again this year we were denied permission to walk in the “Official Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.”  This year, as last year, we will march immediately following the “official parade.” Our parade is a “people’s parade for peace and justice.” We invite all progressive groups (peace, environmental, women’s rights, civil rights, Occupy Boston, labor, LGBTQ, communities of faith/congregations, etc.) in the greater Boston area to please join us as we follow behind the official parade. Video from last year.   For more info: VFP: Pat Scanlon, 978-475-1776, info@massvfp.org  

 Following the Parade: DPP AFTERPARTY and Social Get Together!, 5-8pm at the home of Sharon and Gerry

Bilodeau, 26 Midland St, Dorchester/Savin Hill (near the Savin T-Stop) Phone # 617-265-5677.  DPPers have been asking for some downtime events to relax and socialize, meet new members. So here’s another chance – no agenda, no “business.”  Please bring a dish if you can or contact Sharon and Gerry to leave something before the parade.  The parade ends at Andrew t-Station, just a few stops from Savin Hill.

 

DPP will have a banner opposing a new Middle East War in Iran. Take a look here.

 

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“Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb IRAN” – Brinkmanship Leading to War?

 

As you may have noticed (!), there has been a lot of material about the Iran War issue in recent DPP Updates.  We’re going to be posting the info on our web site here. Please consult the material there, especially the talking points.

 

   

Read this article. . .  Read it again. . .  Tell your friends to read it. . .

U.S. DOES NOT BELIEVE IRAN IS TRYING TO BUILD NUCLEAR BOMB

As U.S. and Israeli officials talk publicly about the prospect of a military strike against Iran's nuclear program, one fact is often overlooked: U.S. intelligence agencies don't believe Iran is actively trying to build an atomic bomb.  A highly classified U.S. intelligence assessment circulated to policymakers early last year largely affirms that view, originally made in 2007. Both reports, known as national intelligence estimates, conclude that Tehran halted efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003. The most recent report, which represents the consensus of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, indicates that Iran is pursuing research that could put it in a position to build a weapon, but that it has not sought to do so. Although Iran continues to enrich uranium at low levels, U.S. officials say they have not seen evidence that has caused them to significantly revise that judgment. Senior U.S. officials say Israel does not dispute the basic intelligence or analysis.  More

 

Wow, that's comforting. . .

Memo to Republicans: Obama Is Tougher on Iran Than George W. Bush

It is not only Israeli leaders who have doubted Obama's commitment to stop Iran's nuclear program; Iran's leaders themselves didn't take Obama seriously. After all, George W. Bush labeled Iran's government a member of the axis of evil, but then did nothing much at all to thwart its ambitions. But Obama, while avoiding rhetorical drama, has actually done more to stop Iran than the Bush Administration ever did.   More  The full interview here

 

Netanyahu will urge Obama to publicly back attack on Iran, sources say

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to publicly harden his line against Iran during a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on March 5, according to a senior Israeli official. Israel wants Obama to make further-reaching declarations than the vague assertion that "all options are on the table," the official said. In particular, Netanyahu wants Obama to state unequivocally that the United States is preparing for a military operation in the event that Iran crosses certain "red lines," said the official; Israel feels this will increase pressure on Iran by making clear that there exists a real U.S. threat.   More

 

Ten reasons why AIPAC is so dangerous here

 

 

WE'RE PAYING A 'WAR TAX' AT THE GAS PUMP

It’s hard to miss the higher cost of gas every time we fill up our cars these days, but the media doesn’t do a very good job of explaining why.  Financial press and oil industry sources claim we’re paying extra for gas because of rising tensions in the Middle East and the scare over a possible U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran.  In effect, we’re paying a “war tax” at the gas pump, and the cost will only get higher unless we put aside the talk of war and get down to serious diplomacy to settle the differences in the region.   

 

Here’s what the Wall Street Journal had to say recently, under the headline “Oil Rise Imperils Budding Recovery:”

 

“Rising oil prices are emerging once again as a threat to the U.S. economic recovery just as it appears to be gaining momentum. Oil prices have climbed sharply in recent weeks as mounting tension with Iran has raised the threat of a disruption in global supplies.  More

 

We’re thinking about making this point at a local gas station soon, together with Occupy Boston. Stay tuned!

 

cid:image005.jpg@01CCF885.2126EE00

 

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BUT THERE'S STILL TIME TO STOP WAR WITH IRAN!

 

TAKE ACTION!

 --SIGN THE PEACEACTION PETITION:  Please take a moment to sign a petition calling on the President to use all means at his disposal to prevent a military strike on Iran - by either the US or Israel.

--TELL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO SIGN the “Dear Colleague” letter authored by Reps. Ralph Ellison (D-Minn) and Walter Jones (R-NC) – text here

“Without a corresponding diplomatic undertaking, pressure alone could lead to unintended and potentially devastating consequences, including war. Top U.S. national security officials have said that a military strike against Iran could lead to a regional war in the Middle East and attacks against U.S. interests.”

 

--MAKE A DONATION to support the local initiative to place an ad on the MBTA (DPP is an endorser and contributed $100):

 

We also have on hand a quantity of postcards from the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) demanding

“Diplomacy –NOT WAR – With Iran” (you can see what they look like online here)

 

Watch an old favorite here:  VIDEO: “Peace Train” by Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) with image of Iran.

 

 

FOOL ME TWICE?   71% of Americans think Iran already has the Bomb
A CNN/ Gallup poll shows that nearly three quarters of Americans believe that Iran already has a nuclear weapon. (About 80% believe that it either has one or will get one in short order). This belief is completely irrational. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has repeatedly said that the US believes that Iran has not decided yet whether to initiate a nuclear weapons program. If it doesn’t have a weapons program, Iran can hardly actually have a weapon. (that 63% of Americans are committed to using diplomacy to dissuade Iran from getting a bomb and oppose military action at this time.). More  (Other Polls show a majority for diplomacy, rather than war, if that is given as an option. See here)

 

EVER WONDER WHY?

GREENWALD: The incomplete media debate on Iran

For months, Americans have been subjected to this continuous, coordinated, repetitive messaging from Israeli officials, amplified through the U.S. media. This is generally how the establishment American media conducts the debate over whether to attack Iran: here are Israeli officials explaining why an attack is urgent and why the U.S. must conduct it. Now here are American officials explaining why an attack can wait a little while longer but that it will happen if necessary to stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon. Occasionally, here are American foreign policy experts arguing why an attack would be too difficult and costly. What is missing from the debate are the views held not only by Iranian leaders but also large populations in numerous capitals and nations around the world: that Iran has the right to pursue its nuclear program; that it is Israel and the U.S. — not Iran — that poses the greatest threat to world peace; that American and Israeli aggression against non-nuclear states (along with their massive stockpile of nuclear weapons) is what makes it rational for a nation to want to proliferate, etc. One does not have to agree with any of those views to recognize how widely they are held in the world and how much of a place they (therefore) merit in the discussion.   More

 

Another Bogus Argument for War with Iran
You know a case for war is weak when its advocates have to marshal blatant untruths in order to convince people that their advice should be followed. Exhibit A is today's alarmist op-ed in the New York Times, in which former IDF general Amos Yadlin argues for a preventive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities… It's hardly surprising that some Israelis would like the United States to shoulder the burden of bombing Iran. It's also not surprising that they would make up specious arguments or distort history to do this; the Bush administration got us into the Iraq war in the same way. But the Times' editors ought to insist that op-eds, whatever their positions, meet at least minimum standards for historical accuracy. And they don't even need to scour the academic literature; all they had to do was keep track of what they had already published.   More

 

Upping the Ante in Iran Propaganda: A nuclear threat—and terrorism too!
Claims that Iran has a nuclear weapons program are allegations, not facts (Extra!, 1/12)—but are treated as established background material in the corporate media: “The president, as you know, has been trying to force Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program,” explains CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley (2/6/12). The Washington Post editorializes (1/11/12) that Iran’s “drive for nuclear weapons continues.”  More

 

Consequences of an Attack on Iran are no Joke

No one is talking about the harm that “surgical air strikes” against “suspected Iranian nuclear facilities” with GBU-28 “bunker-buster” bombs, which derive their ability to penetrate concrete and earth from depleted uranium, would inflict on 74 million Iranians, nearly a quarter of whom are under the age of 14 and under and half of whom are under the age of 30. (Where are those self-designated “pro-life” voices that should be expressing outrage? Or does “the right to life” evaporate as soon as a fetus exits the womb?) No worries are being expressed about the release of radioactive materials into the biosphere of Central Asia (and by eventual extension, the entire earth)… No one seems to care about the irreparable and uncontainable environmental damage that could be done to miles of Iranian coastline: the adjacent Caspian Sea to the north, the Arabian Sea to the south, and the Persian Gulf to the west.   More

 

SOME BASIC FACTS:  (More background here, here and here; and for the Iranian government view hereDaily Iran news roundup here)

 

--The considered assessment of US intelligence agencies, unchanged since 2007:  Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons development program. (This is also the view Israeli intelligence, when they are not trying to inflate the Iranian “threat”)

--Iran, along with every other country in the Middle East and North Africa – except Israel – is a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

--Iran is allowed under the NPT to process low-enriched uranium for power generation and medical research.  ALL of Iran’s uranium is under continuous inspection and monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

--The only nuclear weapons in the Middle East belong to Israel (an estimated 200-300 warheads) -- and the US at its many bases in the region and on the ships of The Fifth Fleet headquartered in Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. 

[Incidentally, during the 1970s-1980s Israel was selling nuclear weapons technology to South Africa, among its major arms deals with the Apartheid State.  See here.]

--A Nuclear Weapons Free Middle East has the overwhelming support of the United Nations and has been endorsed by every nation in the region – again except for Israel.  Israel and the US say they would support a NWFME sometime in the distant future when the region is “at peace” – meaning essentially never.

 

A DIFFERENT MESSAGE -- from HOLLYWOOD. . .

At a moment when millions of people -- including many Iranians -- were watching to see what Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi would say in his Oscar acceptance speech, Farhadi chose to talk about the concerns of the Iranian people and "the dust of politics" that has overshadowed the hopes and dreams of a nation.  More

"At this time many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy. They are happy not just because of an important award or a film or a filmmaker, but because at the time when talk of war, intimidation and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their country, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture; a rich and ancient culture that has been under heavy dust of politics. I proudly offer this honor to the people of my country, a people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment."

-  Asghar Farhadi, Director of "A Serperation", Academy Award for Best Foreign Film

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Campaign to STOP T CUTS and FARE INCREASES

DON’T STARVE THE MBTA. . .   

PUT THE PENTAGON ON A DIET!

 

Wednesday, March 14: Bailout the Riders, Build Massachusetts!!  12:30pm, Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza. Rally @MBTA Board of Directors meeting. Join Mass Senior Action in telling the MBTA.  Together, we are DEMANDING:  • No Disproportionate Fare Increases!  • No Service Cuts! • No “Premium Service” for the Ride!  • Yes to Real Revenue Solutions!  Free transportation available! For more information please call:

Mass Senior Action at 6172841234.

Denise writes:

Join us and participate in the next big action in the Campaign to challenge MBTA fare hikes and cut in services on March 14 at 12:30 pm before the next T Board meeting to take place at the Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza. Mass Senior Action is planning a mass mobilization, OccupyMBTA a lunch hour Flash Mob.

To publicize the event and reach out to the general public, creative Outreach action are planned at different T locations (evening rush hour on 3/8 and Saturday morning 3/10 at Ashmont Station). Contact Denise at denisezwahlen@yahoo.com if you are interested to participate.

I am attaching to this e-mail the Mass Senior Action flyer for the Rally (it would be nice to have our own.)

The T Riders Union has come up with: Five Immediate Ways to Fill the MBTA 161 million budget deficit. See here.

 

More on MBTA activism here: http://savethet.org/  and here: http://www.ace-ej.org/tru

 

We have postcards demanding a stop to the cuts and fare increases, while making the connection with military spending.

You can download a copy of the postcard here.  Also, see the flyer DPP used at Dorchester T-Stations here.

 

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SAVING THE POSTAL SERVICE (and Union Jobs)

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe’s plan to reduce mail service to five days a week and shut 3,830 post offices is meeting opposition in Congress, from sectors of the public, and the several major postal unions. Some closings of mail processing plants could begin in late May, while layoffs at post offices are set to begin in the fall.

The unions claim that the closings are mainly a conservative move to privatize mail and package delivery. Evidently right wing political opposition to “big government” is a factor in the downsizing. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader thinks privatization advocates have exaggerated the money and other problems to create a “manufactured crisis.”  More

 

Going Anti-Postal What kind of nation won't fund a Post Office?

The Postal Service is not a mere delivery service, an outdated, inefficient alternative to FedEx or UPS. It's a public service that every nation on earth, except for Somalia, maintains. In fact the United States joins Somalia as one of the only nations that doesn't fund a postal system. We used to fund it, from the birth of our nation until Ronald Reagan's presidency. It's one of the only public services specifically addressed in the U.S. Constitution--right in Article One. Its genesis dates back to the Second Continental Congress, which appointed Benjamin Franklin as our first postmaster general… Essentially, the war against the U.S. Postal Service is part of the same corporate-funded war against democracy that brands itself as a supposed libertarian battle against "big government." The obvious contradiction in this rhetoric, however, is that you can't have libertarianism while corporations are left standing. Remove the "we the people" checks on a plutocracy that government is supposed to provide, and we're left at the mercy of unfettered corporatism, no matter how seductive the brand marketing is.  More

More news and info on the National Post Office Campaign: http://www.saveamericaspostalservice.org/  

 

Dorchester’s Rep. Stephen Lynch has introduced legislation in Congress to save the post office:  HR1351

All Mass Congressional Reps have signed on to the bill among the 228 co-sponsors.  The financial trouble at the Post Office is a manufactured crisis resulting from previous efforts to cripple the agency with billions in annual prepaid pension set-asides not required by other public agencies or private corporations.  Lynch’s bill would fix this and return the Post Office to fiscal solvency situation without appropriating more federal dollars.

It would be appropriate to thank Rep. Lynch for his initiative, especially as we have often disagreed over other issues (DC: (202) 225-8273; Local: 617-428-2000)  A similar bill, S.1853, was introduced in the Senate by Bernie Sanders, but has not been co-sponsored by either Sen. Kerry or Brown.  Let them know how you feel:  Kerry (202) 224-2742; Brown (202) 224-4543

 

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Thursday, March 15: STATE HOUSE RALLY AND LOBBY DAY TO STOP 3-STRIKES LAW, 11am -1pm, State House Steps (Beacon St.). A statewide network of community organizations and supporters will be holding a major demonstration and lobby day in opposition to the 3-strikes bill being considered at the State House.  The rally will
highlight a diverse group of speakers who will warn of the economic and social consequences of these regressive criminal justice policies.

The Rally and speaking portion will run between 11-12pm.  Between12-1pm, participants will visit the offices of legislators and deliver signed advocacy cards.  The goal for the action is to show the breadth of opposition to the misguided policies and add power and media attention to the resistance effort. For logistics: atanaka@bostonworkersalliance.org / (617) 606-3580 For research & info on 3-strikes: www.Blackstonian.com

PETITION: "Say NO to "3 Strikes" Habitual Offender Law"  here

(More on the bill:  3 Strikes Primer: All The Info You Need)

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BUDGET BATTLE and the PENTAGON

 

And of course they are against any cuts to the Pentagon . . .

KRUGMAN: Four Fiscal Phonies

Mitt Romney is very concerned about budget deficits. Or at least that’s what he says; he likes to warn that President Obama’s deficits are leading us toward a “Greece-style collapse.”

So why is Mr. Romney offering a budget proposal that would lead to much larger debt and deficits than the corresponding proposal from the Obama administration?

Of course, Mr. Romney isn’t alone in his hypocrisy. In fact, all four significant Republican presidential candidates still standing are fiscal phonies. They issue apocalyptic warnings about the dangers of government debt and, in the name of deficit reduction, demand savage cuts in programs that protect the middle class and the poor. But then they propose squandering all the money thereby saved — and much, much more — on tax cuts for the rich.   More

 

Meanwhile, federal aid to the states is being cut, leading to layoffs and reduced services. . .  like the MBTA, schools, universities.

For example:

Where the Jobs Are, the Training May Not Be

As state funding has dwindled, public colleges have raised tuition and are now resorting to even more desperate measures — cutting training for jobs the economy needs most.

Technical, engineering and health care expertise are among the few skills in huge demand even in today’s lackluster job market. They are also, unfortunately, some of the most expensive subjects to teach. As a result, state colleges in Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Colorado, Michigan, Florida and Texas have eliminated entire engineering and computer science departments. At one community college in North Carolina — a state with a severe nursing shortage — nursing program applicants so outnumber available slots that there is a waiting list just to get on the waiting list. This squeeze is one result of the states’ 25-year withdrawal from higher education. During and immediately after the last few recessions, states slashed financing for colleges. Then when the economy recovered, most states never fully restored the money that had been cut. The recent recession has amplified the problem.   More

 

MAJORITY SAYS CUT THE MILITARY

A CBS News/New York Times poll conducted 2/8-13 asked: “As You May Know, The Largest Items In The Federal Budget Are Medicare, The Gov’t Health Insurance Program For Seniors, Social Security And The Military. If You Had To Choose One, Which Would You Be Willing To Change In Order To Cut Spending?”
   All       Dem     GOP     Ind      12/18

Medicare            15%     12%      21%     14%     23%

Social Security   13          9          18        13         22

Military                 52       61           38         53        27

All                           2         2             3           3           3

None                   10         9            12        10        16

Combination        2         2             1           2          4

The poll surveyed 1,197 adults; margin of error +/- 2.8% (release, 2/14). Party ID breakdown: 34%D, 27%R, 39%I.    

More at NEW PRIORITIES NETWORK

 

ALERT! - Hawks taking military spending off the table
On Feb. 2 Sen. John McCain unveiled a bill that will stop next year’s automatic cuts in military and domestic spending – and make federal workers pay for the deficit instead. There’s a similar bill in the House. It’s part of a huge right-wing push to stop any further Pentagon cuts.

TAKE URGENT ACTION NOW!

 

The Pentagon’s Sequester Gamble

In proposing a military budget about six billion dollars lower than last year’s, the Obama Administration has for the first time proposed a real cut in the non-war military budget, but much of that cut likely shifted to the war budget. The administration has also said that the Pentagon should spend less over the decade than previously planned, which would cause an eight percent cut to non-war spending—in the unlikely event that the plan holds. If we include war costs, the military budget has been falling since 2010 when war costs peaked. But keep in mind that the defense budget grew by over seventy percent in real terms since 1999, with the non-war portion roughly doubling… As the year goes on, Pentagon leaders will increasingly complain about what the Secretary of Defense calls the “goofy meat axe approach” of sequestration, which supposedly prevents them from making intelligent choices. Those hearing the complaints should be aware that while the BCA makes the size of the cuts inevitable, their manner is not fixed. The Pentagon could have smart cuts, but it prefers to push for none by pretending dumb cuts are the only alternative.  More

 

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cid:image003.jpg@01CCA5E8.D6920030Updates and Calendar at http://www.occupyboston.org/

More National “OCCUPY” News:

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/greg-mitchell

http://firedoglake.com/state-of-the-occupation/

 

“Occupy Dorchester” Wednesdays, 7-9pm at Dorchester House.

 

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WARS – Old and New – GRIND ON. . .   Are you feeling safer now?

 

BLOWN AWAY: The End in Afghanistan?

Historically unprecedented in the modern era is the way, in the years leading up to this moment, Afghans in police and army uniforms have repeatedly turned their weapons on American or NATO troops training, working with, or patrolling with them.  Barely more than a week ago, for instance, an Afghan policeman killed the first Albanian soldier to die in the war.  Earlier in the year, there were those seven dead French troops.  At least 36 U.S. and NATO troops have died in this fashion in the past year.  Since 2007, there have been at least 47 such attacks.  These have been regularly dismissed as “isolated incidents” of minimal significance by U.S. and NATO officials and, unbelievably enough, are still being publicly treated that way… In other words, twist and turn as they might, issue what statements they will, the Americans are now remarkably powerless in the Afghan context to stop the unraveling.  Quite the opposite: their actions are guaranteed to ensure further anger among their Afghan “allies.”   More

 

Hypnotized into an endless dirty war

If in the year 2000 the U.S. president had told the American people that the government would soon begin using robot planes to track people, including U.S. citizens, all over the world, and would reserve to itself the right to kill them without trial, it is safe to say there would have been an enormous uproar. But that is exactly what is happening today, and nobody cares. The majority of Americans, including those who were opposed to the war in Iraq, have no problems with their government killing at will, so long as the killing is done in the name of “national security.”  More

 

AFGHANISTAN WEEKLY READER:  Pentagon Spends $2 Billion in Afghanistan Per Week While Anti-American Riots Rage

Will the violent protests in Afghanistan speed up the U.S. withdrawal? It’s the multi-billion dollar question. The administration insists that the answer is no. “Nothing that has happened over the past week is going to deter us…We’re making progress.” Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters on Monday. “The fundamentals of our strategy remain sound,” he added.  Despite increasing calls for an end to the war, the timeline remains the same. There are still 90,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Some will be withdrawn over the summer, leaving 68,000 by the end of September. When those 68,000 will be withdrawn is anyone’s guess – as is the plan for the U.S. presence in Afghanistan after 2014.

The costs are the same too. While anti-American riots continue, the Pentagon is still spending over $2 billion a week in Afghanistan, and still planning to spend $86 billion over he next year. Articles and commentary here.

 

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ISRAEL/PALESTINE and the MIDDLE EAST

 

One-State Solution?

Israel draws plan for 475-kilometer rail network in West Bank

Israel Railways has prepared a major plan for providing train service throughout the West Bank to serve both Israelis and Palestinians.  The plan, prepared at the request of Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, calls for establishing 11 new rail lines, according to a map that Haaretz has obtained. Katz has on several occasions expressed his intention to build a railway network in the West Bank.  More

 

What About Israel's Atomic Weapons?

…technically, Israel has chosen a policy of “opacity” (amimut in Hebrew), neither affirming nor denying its nuclear capability. This policy dates back to a 1969 secret agreement between Prime Minister Golda Meir and President Richard Nixon, according to which, in order not to disrupt the United States drive to gain nonproliferation commitments from other countries, Israel committed to remain silent about its nuclear program, to avoid tests, and not to threaten other countries with attack. And so it has been ever since, as Israel has gone on to develop an estimated 400 warheads, including surface-to-surface missiles, submarine- launched ballistic missiles and bombs — and, according to some sources, thermonuclear devices and battlefield weapons such as neutron bombs and nuclear artillery shells.   More

 

WALT: Slippery Slope in Syria?

Once we commit ourselves to creating safe havens ("no-kill zones"), we will be obliged to defend them for as long as there is any possibility that Assad's forces might attack. As our experience with the no-fly zones in Iraq teaches, this could involve defending them for years. And if Assad's forces start shelling the rebel areas, then we will have to defend them or risk humiliation. But let's be clear: "defending them" means attacking Assad's own forces. In other words: war. And once that happens, the United States and the other outside powers will face enormous pressures to complete the job…  In short, there is no way to conduct the sort of minimalist, purely defensive, and strictly humanitarian operation that Slaughter describes in her op-ed, without it eventually leading to forcible regime change.   More

 

US Labor Against the War Urges Action:

No Military Action in Syria

Reports are circulating that the U.S. and Turkey (and perhaps others) may be planning to establish a "no-fly" zone in Syria to provide Syrian rebels with a safe haven from which to overthrow their government.  Whatever one thinks of the al-Assad regime in Syria, on what basis in either U.S. or international law could such an action be justified without consent of Congress and the United Nations?  Syria has not attacked the U.S. or U.S. interests.  Syria represents no threat to U.S. national securityTake Action here

 

Beyond the Fall of the Syrian Regime

All told, on a domestic level Syria has entered a struggle to bring its post-colonial era to a close. It is not simply about toppling a “regime” but about uprooting a “system” -- the Arabic word nizam conveniently evoking both notions. The current system is based on keeping Syrians hostage to communal divisions and regional power plays. Indeed, the regime’s residual legitimacy derives entirely from playing indigenous communities and foreign powers off each other, at the expense of genuine state building and accountable leadership…

This awakening, in a sense, is precisely what the regime has been fighting. Although foreign interference is a fact, there is less a conspiracy in Syria than a society on the move, headed along a path that the regime simply will not follow. The road ahead is a dangerous one, and the chances are real that it will lead Syria, and the region, into the maze of civil war. But for all too many Syrians there is no going back. The regime was given a year to stake out a safer way forward, but has clung ever more fiercely to its old narrative, ultimately recasting itself as a historical cul-de-sac.  More

 

*    *    *    *

OTHER EVENTS

 

(See various Boston actions in the body of the email, above!)

 

Saturday’Sunday, March 3-4: “OneStateConference”: Israel/Palestine and the One-State Solution, Harvard University will be hosting a conference on the one state solution.  Registration Feb 2.  The conference takes place on March 3rd and 4th at the Harvard Kennedy School.  Speakers include:  Ilan Pappe, Stephen Walt, Timothy McCarthy, Susan Akram, Duncan Kennedy and Ali Abunimah.  For more information, please visit:

http://onestateconference.org/program.html  for more information or to register for the conference.

 

Wednesday, March 7: Community Screening of Film "BEYOND THE BRICKS"  A New Era of Education, 5:30-8pm, Freedom House, inc,

14 Crawford St, Grove Hall,. BLACK AND BROWN  MALES ARE IN CRISIS!!!!!!!  Is the Community safe with the Three Strikes Bill or is it going to hurt OUR youth?  Should your tax dollars improve education for OUR youth?  Is the Community responsible for the failures of OUR youth?  Should women have to teach OUR boys how to be men?  COME OUT AND JOIN US AS WE DISCUSS THESE QUESTIONS IN AN HONEST AND REAL WAY!!!

 

Wednesday, March 7: The “Self-Made Myth” - the Truth about How Government Helps Individuals and Businesses Succeed, 6pm, Boston Public Library, Rabb Lecture Hall, 700 Boylston St. By now, you may have heard about the upcoming March release of our new book, The Self-Made Myth: And the Truth about How Government Helps Individuals and Businesses Succeed.  Written by co-authors Brian Miller (Executive Director, United for a Fair Economy) and Mike Lapham (Project Director, Responsible Wealth), with forewards by Chuck Collins and Bill Gates, Sr., the book exposes the societal damage wrought by the myth of "self-made" success—a myth that rationalizes extreme inequality while undercutting progressive taxation and investments in the common good. We’re kicking off a national book tour in—you guessed it—our hometown of Boston!  

 

Saturday, March 10: Come and Commemorate International Women’s Day!  9am-12 Noon, Boston Public Library/Mattapan Branch, 1350 Blue Hill Ave. Mattapan. Met Kò Veye Kò:  Defann Tèt Ou/Protecting Your Body:  Self Defense.  Guest Speaker:  Natacha Clerger, US Army/USAR

 

Tuesday, March 13: “CHALLENGING THE PIVOT,” US, China & Alternatives to Asia-Pacific Militarization, 7:30-9pm, Episcopal Divinity School, 99 Brattle St. (Harvard Sq.), Cambridge.  The US, China, & Alternatives to Asia-Pacific Militarization." This forum will explore Washington's new global strategy: encircling China. Unchallenged, this policy will justify decades more of power projection, runaway spending, and avoidable wars. Join experts Jason Tower (American Friends Service Committee's representative in Beijing) and Joseph Gerson of AFSC, who has worked close with Asian and Pacific peace movements for many years.

 

Wednesday, March 14: Obama and Iran: A Single Roll of the Dice, 7-9pm, First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church • 3 Church St • Harvard Sq T • Cambridge   Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, assesses the high-stakes diplomatic sparring between Washington and Teheran.  Sponsored by Cambridge Forum 

 

Thursday, March 15: STATE HOUSE RALLY AND LOBBY DAY TO STOP 3-STRIKES LAW, 11am -1pm, State House Steps (Beacon St.). A statewide network of community organizations and supporters will be holding a major demonstration and lobby day in opposition to the 3-strikes bill being considered at the State House.  The rally will
highlight a diverse group of speakers who will warn of the economic and social consequences of these regressive criminal justice policies.
The Rally and speaking portion will run between 11-12pm.  Between12-1pm, participants will visit the offices of legislators and deliver signed advocacy cards.  The goal for the action is to show the breadth of opposition to the misguided policies and add power and media attention to the resistance effort. For logistics: atanaka@bostonworkersalliance.org / (617) 606-3580 For research & info on 3-strikes: www.Blackstonian.com

Sunday, March 18: SAINT PATRICK'S PEACE PARADE: Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice,   2-5pm, Meeting details: Broadway, MBTA Redline (Look for Vets For Peace flags).  Please join Veterans For Peace and other peace and social justice organizations for this historic alternative “people’s parade” following the official Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.  Background: Again this year we were denied permission to walk in the “Official Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.”  This year, as last year, we will march immediately following the “official parade.” Our parade is a “people’s parade for peace and justice.” We invite all progressive groups (peace, environmental, women’s rights, civil rights, Occupy Boston, labor, LGBTQ, communities of faith/congregations, etc.) in the greater Boston area to please join us as we follow behind the official parade. Video from last year.   For more info: VFP: Pat Scanlon, 978-475-1776, info@massvfp.org  

 

Saturday, March 31:  La Peña Rebelde Celebra/Celebrates: Día Internacional de la Mujer/International Women’s Day, Honrando/Honoring Afro-Latinas en/in Boston,  7PM TO MIDNIGHT, 33 Harrison Ave. (corner Beach St.) Red Line: Downtown Crossing. Green Line: Boylston St / Orange Line: New England Medical/Essex (Chinatown). POETRY, DANCE, PERFORMANCES, MUSIC, SPOKEN WORD, OPEN MIC and more… Cultural/ethnic food & beverages available. SUGGESTED DONATION: $5.00.  Contact: Dorotea 617-922-5744/Antonieta 917-981-1625

 

This Monday, February 13, DPP Monthly Meeting, 7-9pm,  Vietnamese American Community Center, 42 Charles St., Fields Corner (just behind the Red Line station).  We’ll be following up on our previous discussions in laying out plans for upcoming campaigns.  Linking the fight against MBTA cutbacks and fare increases to the war budget; stopping a war with Irandiscussion about increasing DPP membership.  We’ll also evaluate our long-standing school “Opt-Out” of military recruiting campaign and make decisions about the future.  And there will also be report-backs from recent actions, including MBTA campaign and “Occupy Dorchester.”

 

*    *    *    *

Campaign to STOP T CUTS and FARE INCREASES

DON’T STARVE THE MBTA. . .   

PUT THE PENTAGON ON A DIET!

 

For the price of

one of these    

 

 

F-35 “Joint Strike Fighter”

We could cover the entire MBTA deficit

without raising fares or cutting service.      

 

Next week is critical. We need volunteers to build and attend the campaign’s two climactic protests:

-Monday February 13: leaflet Ashmont and JFK in the morning (7-8:30)  --  Here’s the 2-sided flyer
-
Monday February 13: join the DPP contingent at a big rally at the Boston Public Library’s main facility in Copley Square, 4:30 to 6. Then we’ll take the T to the monthly DPP meeting in Fields Corner.
-
Tuesday February 14: help the campaign deliver Valentine’s Day candies and messages to the Governor, Senate President, Speaker of the House, and other legislators at 1 pm at the State House, and return at 4:30 pm for a “die-in” at State House entrances

DPPers made a good showing at the neighborhood hearings in Mattapan and Dorchester. 

LET’S KEEP UP THE MOMENTUM!

 

Leafleting at the T this morning!

Denise writes:

Margaret and I were at Ashmont Station this morning bright and early.

Great response to the flyer. T employees were also asking for the flyer and putting some in their buses.

We gave out almost all the flyers that Mike gave me.

And Betty adds:

Mike, Christine and I ran out of flyers at JFK.  Didn't think to ask T drivers to put in buses - the employee who showed me where I could stand was also very warm and receptive. 

 

We have postcards demanding a stop to the cuts and fare increases, while making the connection with military spending.

You can download a copy of the postcard here.

 

Occupy Boston takes on MBTA fare hikes, service cuts

Ariadne Ross, a member of Occupy MBTA, said the group began taking shape online within an hour of the proposals being announced. A Lynn resident who takes public transportation into Boston each day for her job as a database administrator, Ross said the proposed cuts would affect her personally, as well as other members of the Occupy Movement.  But those most affected would be those at “the lowest income levels of the 99 percent,” she said. Rather than taking away service or charging higher fares to those citizens, Ross would like to see massive changes at the MBTA and the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad… “There’s trillions of dollars for war,” he said. “Why can’t we have a few millions for something people actually need?”    More

 

*    *    *    *

Tuesday, February 14:  11:45am-1pm, Downstairs from Sen. John Kerry's office, One Bowdoin Square (Gov’t Center or Bowton (T)

Senators Kerry & Brown: Don't Break Our Hearts!

On Valentine’s Day—Tell Senators Kerry & Brown

No More Cuts! Tax the 1%!
End the Wars!  Invest in Jobs!

On November 15th, 2011 we delivered over 4,500 letters from tenants, peace groups, labor unions, commu- nity organizations, and Boston voters to Senators Kerry and Brown.  TOGETHER we called for both Senators to make positive decisions about the Budget Cuts in Washington DC. Our demands:

•   Make the wealthy 1% and corporate tax cheats pay their fair share

•   No cuts to Social Security, Medicare, housing & other vital programs

•   End the wars, bring the troops home and cut military spending

•   Create jobs and get people back to work

SENATORS KERRY AND BROWN, STOP BREAKING OUR HEARTS!

BOTH Senators PROMISED to answer EVERY letter!

We have yet to hear from Sen. Kerry, and Sen. Brown’s response was not good enough!

Meanwhile, Congress has ALREADY VOTED to cut 9% from EVERY federal discretionary program—from Section 8, education, unemployment, veterans, Public Housing and more!

SO WE ARE BACK! OUR Senators need to hear from us!

Sponsors: Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants, Massachusetts Peace Action, ARISE for So- cial Justice (Springfield), Mary Ellen McCormick Tenant Task Force, American Friends Service Committee, Chinatown Residents Association, Union of Minority Neighborhoods, Progressive Democrats of America, Dominican Development Center, Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, AFGE Local 3258, UJP Afghanistan/Pakistan Task Force

Contact: MAHT at  maht@saveourhomes.org, 617.267-2949/617-233-1885
              Mass Peace Action at info@masspeaceaction.org, 617-354-2169

 

*    *    *    *

and SAVE the POST OFFICE Too!

More news and info on the National Post Office Campaign: http://www.saveamericaspostalservice.org/  

 

Dorchester’s Rep. Stephen Lynch has introduced legislation in Congress to save the post office:  HR1351

All Mass Congressional Reps have signed on to the bill among the 228 co-sponsors.  The financial trouble at the Post Office is a manufactured crisis resulting from previous efforts to cripple the agency with billions in annual prepaid pension set-asides not required by other public agencies or private corporations.  Lynch’s bill would fix this and return the Post Office to fiscal solvency situation without appropriating more federal dollars.

It would be appropriate to thank Rep. Lynch for his initiative, especially as we have often disagreed over other issues (DC: (202) 225-8273; Local: 617-428-2000)

 

A similar bill, S.1853, was introduced in the Senate by Bernie Sanders, but has not been co-sponsored by either Sen. Kerry or Brown.  Let them know how you feel:  Kerry (202) 224-2742; Brown (202) 224-4543

 

*    *    *    *

AFAB Asks for Our Help

Carline Desire writes:

Our large Haitian American community, based primarily but not exclusively in Boston and surrounding areas, has long been a vibrant part of our local, state, and national scene.  Haitian professionals came to Massachusetts fleeing the Duvalier dictatorship in the late 1950s and subsequent decades… Ms. Linda Dorcena-Forry, a Haitian-American Massachusetts State Representative, has launched a petition campaign to President Obama urging a creation of a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program.  This program would extend humanitarian parole to Haitians with pending family-based visa petitions.

TODAY, WE NEED YOUR HELP.  We ask that you support the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program which is easily implementable by the Obama Administration without any need for congressional action.

Several members of the Massachusetts Delegation have already expressed support for this initiative including United States Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown, U. S. Representatives Michael Capuano, Barney Frank, James McGovern, Edward Markey, John Olver, and Stephen Lynch. Governor Deval Patrick also recently submitted a letter urging Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, to implement a HFRPP. Additionally, members of the Massachusetts State Legislature including the entire Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus have sent letters requesting such a program.

"It takes just a minute to read and sign; here it is http://lindadorcenaforry.org/haiti-action-updates/

Thank you very much for your support.

 

*    *    *    *

PETITION: "Say NO to "3 Strikes" Habitual Offender Law"  here

(More on the bill:  3 Strikes Primer: All The Info You Need)

*    *    *    *

“Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb IRAN?” – Brinkmanship Leading to War?

With a second third aircraft carrier group steaming toward the Persian Gulf, tens of thousands of US troops stationed throughout the region, and the sale of tens of billions of dollars in US weapons to Iran's neighbors in the Gulf region, it seems that war with Iran could be imminent.

 

Please take a moment to sign a petition calling on the President to use all means at his disposal to prevent a military strike on Iran - by either the US or Israel.

 

We also have on hand a quantity of postcards from the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) demanding

“Diplomacy –NOT WAR – With Iran” (you can see what it looks like online here)

 

US Foreign Policy “Realist”: WE NEED TO TALK TO IRAN

It was easy enough to miss amid all the chest-thumping, threats, and talk of imminent strikes filling the airways, but last week, Iran signaled its willingness to restart talks with the P5+1 (the five U.N. Security Council members plus Germany) about its nuclear program. "We hope the P5+1 meeting will be held in near future," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said, as a group of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) toured the country… The United States should be wary of overplaying its hand -- something it often accuses the Iranians of doing. It should be realistic about the effectiveness of so-called "punishing" and "biting" sanctions. Just who gets punished and bitten by these measures? Such actions may have their effects, though perhaps not on those in Tehran whom America is seeking to influence…  More

 

“The growing Iranian military behemoth”

That Ahmadinejad claims that Iran will increase its military budget for next year by 127% was widely reported this week…  According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Military Expenditure Database, Iran’s total annual military spending is $7 billion; an increase of 127% would take it to $15.8 billion — also known as: less than 2% of total U.S. military spending (which was $698 billion for fiscal year 2010).  More

 

Some basic facts:  (More background here; and for the Iranian government view hereDaily Iran news roundup here)

 

--The considered assessment of US intelligence agencies, unchanged since 2007:  Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons development program. (This is also the view Israeli intelligence, when they are not trying to inflate the Iranian “threat”)

--Iran, along with every other country in the Middle East and North Africa – except Israel – is a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

--Iran is allowed under the NPT to process low-enriched uranium for power generation and medical research.  ALL of Iran’s uranium is under continuous inspection and monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

--The only nuclear weapons in the Middle East belong to Israel (an estimated 200-300 warheads) -- and the US at its many bases in the region and on the ships of The Fifth Fleet headquartered in Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. 

[Incidentally, during the 1970s-1980s Israel was selling nuclear weapons technology to South Africa, among its major arms deals with the Apartheid State.  See here.]

--A Nuclear Weapons Free Middle East has the overwhelming support of the United Nations and has been endorsed by every nation in the region – again except for Israel.  Israel and the US say they would support a NWFME sometime in the distant future when the region is “at peace” – meaning essentially never.

 

OBAMA'S SUPER-BOWL FUMBLE ON IRAN: “US, Israel in 'Lockstep'”

Before President Barack Obama’s interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, aired before the Super Bowl on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu probably hoped that, if Obama discussed Iran, he would give him the strong backing that Israeli leaders crave, freeing them to lash out at Iran — militarily, if they so choose… Obama is reportedly hopeful that a peaceful settlement can still be reached over Iran’s nuclear program, but he understands that he has little margin for error in this high-wire act of political diplomacy – especially with so many crosswinds in an election year.  So, President Obama decided to forgo his best chance to inject a loud, unmistakable note of caution into recent warmongering over Iran, not only in Israel but also among influential neocons in the United States who have been jumping up and down, demanding another preemptive war over hypothetical WMDs, much as they did with Iraq. When the interview was over, Netanyahu could breathe a sigh of relief. With Obama’s words and body language, there was nothing that would constitute a red light and some things that Netanyahu might interpret hopefully as nearly a green light. More

 

TIMELINE of Israeli/US attacks and assassinations against Iran here

 

Imminent Iran Nuclear Threat? A Timeline Of Warnings Since 1979

Breathless predictions that the Islamic Republic will soon be at the brink of nuclear capability, or – worse – acquire an actual nuclear bomb, are not new. For more than quarter of a century Western officials have claimed repeatedly that Iran is close to joining the nuclear club. Such a result is always declared "unacceptable" and a possible reason for military action, with "all options on the table" to prevent upsetting the Mideast strategic balance dominated by the US and Israel.  And yet, those predictions have time and again come and gone. This chronicle of past predictions lends historical perspective to today’s rhetoric about Iran.   More

 

*    *    *    *

DPPers were there. . .

Last Saturday’s NO WAR on IRAN protest.  (Here’s a VIDEO of the march and rally)

Jeff said, in part:

We need to do a better job of explaining to our neighbors and our co-workers that these wars don’t just happen. . . They are the result of a system of militarism and corporate greed that has continued to produce one war after another in the past and will do so again in Iran and certainly elsewhere. . .  We need to go back to our communities and explain again and again that we have a choice.  We can build up our neighborhoods – or we can build more nuclear aircraft carriers.  But we can’t do both. . .  If you care about education, know that we can create more smart students -- or more smart weapons.  But we can’t do both. . .  If you care about access to medical care, know that we can have more healthcare -- or more Hellfire missiles.  But not both. . .  If you care about affordable public transportation, we need to explain that we can have more buses -- or more bombers.  But not both. . .  If we fail to convince our neighbors of this, and if we fail to create the kind of movement that can achieve real change, then we are condemning our children and grandchildren to live in a world of permanent warfare, with diminished opportunity for them, and on a planet that may be dying. . .

 *    *    *    *

DPPers were also at the first meeting of OCCUPY DORCHESTER this past Wednesday.

Mike writes:

Four DPPers attended Occupy Dorchester's first meeting this week, and two are quoted in this Boston Globe online article. http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/dorchester/2012/02/occupy_movement_spreads_to_dor.html . Most of the 20 people in the room belonged to existing organizations. In many ways they were where DPP was when it started, and they asked a lot of the questions you hear at a DPP meeting: how can we involve more Dorchester people, what issues should we focus on, who's going to coordinate what. They will continue to meet Wednesdays from 7 to 9 pm in the Physical Therapy wing of Dorchester House (go up the driveway and walkway to the right of the health center).

Rosemary adds:

Probably it was pretty good for a first meeting. Mike cautioned people not to think that Dorchester is not already organized and mentioned New England United for Justice and Boston Workers' Alliance. One young member of the OB people of color working group invited people to a meeting concerning prisons this Sunday afternoon. People noted the problem of an awful lot of meetings.  It ended with an attempt to plan support for the T rally and hearing on Monday. Of course DPP already had that covered!

 

*    *    *    *

BUDGET BATTLE and the PENTAGON

 

MIKE PROKOSCH: 'Starve the Beast' -- The Pentagon

Some Americans want to starve our cities, close our schools, and knock away the ladder that our children are supposed to climb to economic security. Your lawmakers may be among them…  Our cities and towns need a helping hand from Washington. Instead, Congress is cutting funding they depend on. Under last year’s deficit-reduction deal, domestic spending is dropping about one-quarter from 2010 levels. Meanwhile, military spending, which is supposed to be cut equally, is barely being nicked.

Now a crack team led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) is trying to exempt the Pentagon from further cuts.  What are they thinking?  More

 

ALERT! - Hawks taking military spending off the table
On Feb. 2 Sen. John McCain unveiled a bill that will stop next year’s automatic cuts in military and domestic spending – and make federal workers pay for the deficit instead. There’s a similar bill in the House. It’s part of a huge right-wing push to stop any further Pentagon cuts.

 

Bait And Switch: GOP Leaders Renege On Debt Limit Deal Defense Cuts

Republican leaders in Congress have all but reneged on a key agreement they reached with the White House last summer rather than reconsider their unwavering stance against new tax revenue… “I’ve got concerns about the sequester,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Thursday. “I’ve made that pretty clear. And replacing the sequester certainly has value. The defense portion of the sequester, in my view, would clearly hollow our military. The Secretary of Defense has said that, members of Congress have said it. But the question I would pose is, where’s the White House? Where’s the leadership that should be there to ensure that this sequester does not go into effect.”   More

TAKE URGENT ACTION NOW!
Under last year’s deficit deal, military and domestic programs are supposed to be cut equally over the next ten years. The Pentagon has barely been nicked. Its budget will shrink for one year, then start growing again. But domestic programs have suffered massive cuts.
Now McCain wants to stop the clock, suspend next year’s cuts, and establish the principle that military spending cannot be touched.
It’s up to us to say: NO!

  McCain is just one loud voice in a huge pro-war choir. The whole military-industrial-Congressional complex is rejecting limits on military spending. They’ve churned out a distortion-packed video, filed “stop the cuts” legislation in the House, and released a study on the economic impact of Pentagon cuts.
  If they succeed, we’re cooked. The Pentagon will keep growing and eating up more of the federal budget. There is no way we can recover from the recession if we don’t cut military spending and shift hundreds of billions of dollars to the jobs and services we need in our communities.
  The hawks are drawing a clear line. It’s the Pentagon or us. Let’s help Congress make the right choice.
 
1. Write your Senators and Representative. Click here for a sample email to your Senators and Representative. Tell them to speak out for real Pentagon cuts and real domestic spending increases.
 
2. Write a letter to the editor. Click here for a sample letter, talking points, a fact sheet, and tips for writing letters to the editor. Click here for a link to your local newspaper and a template letter.
 
And please forward this to everyone you can. Together we can win this one. Almost half of Americans say we can cut military spending safely. Let’s get that message to Congress and into the media.

 *    *    *    *

cid:image003.jpg@01CCA5E8.D6920030

Updates and Calendar at http://www.occupyboston.org/

More National “OCCUPY” News:

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/greg-mitchell

http://firedoglake.com/state-of-the-occupation/

 

“Occupy Dorchester” Wednesdays, 7-9pm at Dorchester House.

 Krugman: Money and Morals

Lately inequality has re-entered the national conversation. Occupy Wall Street gave the issue visibility, while the Congressional Budget Office supplied hard data on the widening income gap. And the myth of a classless society has been exposed: Among rich countries, America stands out as the place where economic and social status is most likely to be inherited.   So you knew what was going to happen next. Suddenly, conservatives are telling us that it’s not really about money; it’s about morals. Never mind wage stagnation and all that, the real problem is the collapse of working-class family values, which is somehow the fault of liberals.   More

 

Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor

Education was historically considered a great equalizer in American society, capable of lifting less advantaged children and improving their chances for success as adults. But a body of recently published scholarship suggests that the achievement gap between rich and poor children is widening, a development that threatens to dilute education’s leveling effects… “We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race,” said Sean F. Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist. Professor Reardon is the author of a study that found that the gap in standardized test scores between affluent and low-income students had grown by about 40 percent since the 1960s, and is now double the testing gap between blacks and whites.   More

 

What Occupy Taught the Unions

Across the country unions threw resources into community organizing, aiming to build a broad-based constituency outside of the workplace for progressive politics. In cities like Chicago, Philadelphia and Portland, Ore., newly formed community groups found ready support for organizing around issues of economic justice, but they were stymied by a national debate dominated by voices blaming government spending for an economic crisis caused by Wall Street. Occupy Wall Street changed that. It flipped the debate from austerity to inequality, uncorked a wellspring of creative energy and started taking creative risks that unions typically shun…   More

 

 

*    *    *    *
WARS – Old and New – GRIND ON. . .   Are you feeling safer now?

 OFFSHORE EVERYWHERE: Drones, Special Operations Forces, and an End “National Sovereignty” As We Know It

…we’re entering a new world of military planning…  the cuts that matter are already in the works, the ones that will change the American way of war.  They may mean little in monetary terms -- the Pentagon budget is actually slated to increase through 2017 -- but in imperial terms they will make a difference.  A new way of preserving the embattled idea of an American planet is coming into focus and one thing is clear: in the name of Washington's needs, it will offer a direct challenge to national sovereignty… even if the U.S. military is dragging its old habits, weaponry, and global-basing ideas behind it, it’s still heading offshore.  There will be no more land wars on the Eurasian continent.  Instead, greater emphasis will be placed on the Navy, the Air Force, and a policy “pivot” to face China in southern Asia where the American military position can be strengthened without more giant bases or monster embassies.  More

 

U.S. likely to scale down plans for bases in Japan and Guam

The U.S. military will probably scale back plans to build key bases in Japan and Guam because of political obstacles and budget pressures, according to U.S. and Japanese officials, complicating the Obama administration’s efforts to strengthen its troop presence in Asia. Under a deal announced Wednesday with Japanese officials, the U.S. government said it will accelerate plans to withdraw 8,000 Marines from the island of Okinawa. The decision came after several years of stalled talks to find a site for a new Marine base nearby.  Washington’s inability to resolve its basing arrangements on Okinawa, as well as the rising price tag of a related plan for a $23 billion military buildup on Guam, underscore the challenges facing the Obama administration as it seeks to make a strategic “pivot” toward the Pacific after a decade of fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  More

 

In Afghan War, Officer Becomes a Whistle-Blower

“How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?“ Colonel Davis asks in an article summarizing his views titled “Truth, Lies and Afghanistan: How Military Leaders Have Let Us Down.” It was published online Sunday in The Armed Forces Journal, the nation’s oldest independent periodical on military affairs. “No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan,” he says in the article. “But we do expect — and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve — to have our leaders tell us the truth about what’s going on.”  Colonel Davis says his experience has caused him to doubt reports of progress in the war from numerous military leaders, including David H. Petraeus, who commanded the troops in Afghanistan before becoming the director of the Central Intelligence Agency in June.   More

 

Tiny fraction of Afghan forces self-sufficient, US says

Just 29 Afghan army units and seven Afghan police units - together about 1 percent of total security forces - are now deemed "independent," U.S. Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti told reporters at the Pentagon. He said even the independent units require limited combat and logistical support from NATO-led forces.  Almost half of Afghan forces, 42 percent, are rated "effective with advisers," the second-highest rating that Western forces give to local troops, said Scaparrotti, who commands day-to-day U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan.    More

 

AFGHANISTAN WEEKLY READER: Another $88 Billion, For What?

Military leaders like to tell us that we’re making progress in Afghanistan. Some politicians and pundits say that if we just stay the course, leave the troops there, then we might “succeed.”  But it seems that the outlook in Afghanistan isn’t as rosy as we have been lead to believe. A new intelligence estimate calls the war a stalemate. A NATO report details pervasive corruption in Afghanistan. And now a US Army officer is speaking out about how what he saw in Afghanistan in no way matches what officials have been telling the American public.  As these facts pile up, it becomes harder and harder to justify the bloated war budget. $120 billion in 2011, $110 billion in 2012, and now the Defense Department wants $88 billion for war costs in 2013. We keep spending, but by all accounts we’re not getting much out of it. How much evidence do we need before coming up with a smarter strategy?  More opinion and news here

 

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ISRAEL/PALESTINE and the MIDDLE EAST

 

Why Israel's rattling sabers
In about nine months, the US will hold a general election to decide who shall be its President and all the noise about striking Iran could have more to do with American domestic politics than any real or perceived threat to the Israelis.  It is no secret that the right-wing government in Israel led by Netanyahu would prefer a new US president in January 2013. This is not simply because Netanyahu had some tense moments with President Obama, but also because in a second term Obama would not face the type of electoral constraints he faces in his first term… No one benefits from Israel actually striking Iran, except for the military industrial complex, but the Netanyahu government has a great deal to gain from hanging the possibility of a unilateral strike ominously over the head of President Obama before an election. They are hedging their bets for November in the hopes that they will either get a first-term Republican facing domestic constraints that prevent him from pressuring Israel, or a docile Obama, who has already given away the house on Jerusalem and settlements.   More

 

Palestinian Factions Reach Unity Deal

The leaders of the rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas announced on Monday that they have broken a long political deadlock to form an interim unity government led, at least at first, by Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank.  The announcement at a news conference in Doha, Qatar, which was broadcast live across the region, signaled a significant step toward reconciling the two movements as they prepare for elections, adding one more element to the region’s shifting political landscape.   More

 

TAKE ACTION: Egyptian Workers Call to Stop U.S. weapons to Egypt

Stop the Import of US "Tear Gas" and all other weapons to Egypt -- We are all the 99%  On November 28, 2011, five workers at the Port of Suez took a stand for justice by officially refusing to allow a U.S. shipment of lethal tear gas into Egypt. According to documents seen by the workers and leaked to the media, the port of origin was Wilmington, Delaware.  Although the Egyptian government later ordered the shipment released, the workers' courageous action reflects widespread anger over growing repression by the ruling Supreme Council Armed Forces (SCAF) against "25 January Revolution" protesters.  Click here to sign on now!    More

 

Patrick Seale: "The Syrian Crisis and the New Cold War"

At the heart of the international struggle is a concerted attempt by the United States and its allies to bring down the ruling regimes in both Iran and Syria. Iran’s ‘crime’ has been to refuse to submit to American hegemony in the oil-rich Gulf region and to appear to pose a challenge, with its nuclear programme, to Israel’s regional nuclear monopoly. At the same time, Iran, Syria and Hizballah -- partners for the past three decades -- have managed to make a dent in Israel’s military supremacy. They have in recent years been the main obstacle to U.S-Israeli regional dominance.   More

 

US Labor Against the War Urges Action:

No Military Action in Syria

Reports are circulating that the U.S. and Turkey (and perhaps others) may be planning to establish a "no-fly" zone in Syria to provide Syrian rebels with a safe haven from which to overthrow their government.  Whatever one thinks of the al-Assad regime in Syria, on what basis in either U.S. or international law could such an action be justified without consent of Congress and the United Nations?  Syria has not attacked the U.S. or U.S. interests.  Syria represents no threat to U.S. national securityTake Action here

 

Libya Begets Syria?

A little over a year ago, as members of the Obama administration were pondering military intervention in Libya, skeptics (including [3] The [4] Skeptics [5]) pressed them to explain how that situation differed from other comparable cases elsewhere in the world. If Libya, why not Yemen? Why not Bahrain? Why not Syria? We may soon learn the answer to that last question. And their too-permissive—or merely haphazard—approach a year ago might pave the way for an intervention in Syria that would be ill-advised, if not disastrous.    More

 

Libya Struggles to Curb Militias as Chaos Grows

The country that witnessed the Arab world’s most sweeping revolution is foundering. So is its capital, where a semblance of normality has returned after the chaotic days of the fall of Tripoli last August. But no one would consider a city ordinary where militiamen tortured to death an urbane former diplomat two weeks ago, where hundreds of refugees deemed loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi waited hopelessly in a camp and where a government official acknowledged that “freedom is a problem.” …“People are turning up dead in detention at an alarming rate,” said Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, who was compiling evidence in Libya last month. “If this was happening under any Arab dictatorship, there would be an outcry.”   More

 

 

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OTHER EVENTS

 

(See various Boston actions in the body of the email, above!)

 

Thursday, February 16: YOUTH MOVEMENT ASSEMBLY - A New Generation is Finding Its Power! 4-7:30pm, Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley Street in Roxbury (followed by a half hour of dancing!)   DPPer Angela Kelly (ne of the organizaers)  writes: Adult allies always welcome and opp to link cut the military $ to local funding needs… A mass gathering of youth and adult allies across the city to discuss what issues are important to our communities!

Youth are joining the long movement for racial, gender, and economic justice. Join us to look at ALL the issues & create a MULTI-ISSUE YOUTH AGENDA. Inspiration, food, and dancing provided!  Contact us for childcare or interpretation. @youthmoveboston #bostonyouthmovement #youthmoveboston

 

Sunday, February 19: Chocolates and History with the Dorchester Historical Society,  2 pm. 195 Boston Street, Dorchester.  Production and Tastings by Rebecca Scheier, Chef at Tie Your Apron Cooking School.  After the winners are announced, we get to eat the contest submissions.  There will be a Sampling of colonial chocolate and a Children’s Corner for reading a book about  cocoa called “Cocoa and Ice”.

 

Wednesday, February 29:     Drones: the New Frontier of Warfare and Spying,  7pm, Friends Meeting, 5 Longfellow Park, Cambridge, U.S. use of drones for warfare and spying has become routine. The use of drones increased dramatically under the Obama administration. Pentagon funding for drones is scheduled to increase by up to 60 percent while other programs are being cut. Drones have been used for targeted killings in Pakistan,. Afghanistan and Yemen. One in three U.S. warplanes are now drone piloted. Drones have also been used for surveillance in the U.S. Bruce Gagnon - Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; Nancy Murray - American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts; Matthew Hoey - Military Space Transparency Project.

SAVE THE DATES!

 

Saturday’Sunday, March 3-4: “OneStateConference”: Israel/Palestine and the One-State Solution, Harvard University will be hosting a conference on the one state solution.  Registration Feb 2.  The conference takes place on March 3rd and 4th at the Harvard Kennedy School.  Speakers include:  Ilan Pappe, Stephen Walt, Timothy McCarthy, Susan Akram, Duncan Kennedy and Ali Abunimah.  For more information, please visit:

http://onestateconference.org/program.html  for more information or to register for the conference.

 

Wednesday, March 7: The “Self-Made Myth” - the Truth about How Government Helps Individuals and Businesses Succeed, 6pm, Boston Public Library, Rabb Lecture Hall, 700 Boylston St. By now, you may have heard about the upcoming March release of our new book, The Self-Made Myth: And the Truth about How Government Helps Individuals and Businesses Succeed.  Written by co-authors Brian Miller (Executive Director, United for a Fair Economy) and Mike Lapham (Project Director, Responsible Wealth), with forewards by Chuck Collins and Bill Gates, Sr., the book exposes the societal damage wrought by the myth of "self-made" success—a myth that rationalizes extreme inequality while undercutting progressive taxation and investments in the common good. We’re kicking off a national book tour in—you guessed it—our hometown of Boston!  

 

Saturday, March 10: Come and Commemorate International Women’s Day!  9am-12 Noon, Boston Public Library/Mattapan Branch, 1350 Blue Hill Ave. Mattapan. Met Kò Veye Kò:  Defann Tèt Ou/Protecting Your Body:  Self Defense.  Guest Speaker:  Natacha Clerger, US Army/USAR

 

Tuesday, March 13: “Challenging the Pivot,” US, China & Alternatives to Asia-Pacific Militarization, 7:30-9pm, Episcopal Divinity School, 99 Brattle St. (Harvard Sq.), Cambridge.  With Jason Tower (AFSC International Affairs rep. in Beijing; Joe Gerson, NE AFSC Peace and Economic Security Program.

 

Wednesday, March 14: Obama and Iran: A Single Roll of the Dice, 7-9pm, First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church • 3 Church St • Harvard Sq T • Cambridge   Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, assesses the high-stakes diplomatic sparring between Washington and Teheran.  Sponsored by Cambridge Forum 

 

Sunday, March 18: SAINT PATRICK'S PEACE PARADE: Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice,   2-5pm, Meeting details: Broadway, MBTA Redline (Look for Vets For Peace flags).  Please join Veterans For Peace and other peace and social justice organizations for this historic alternative “people’s parade” following the official Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.  Background: Again this year we were denied permission to walk in the “Official Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.”  This year, as last year, we will march immediately following the “official parade.” Our parade is a “people’s parade for peace and justice.” We invite all progressive groups (peace, environmental, women’s rights, civil rights, Occupy Boston, labor, LGBTQ, communities of faith/congregations, etc.) in the greater Boston area to please join us as we follow behind the official parade. Video from last year.   For more info: VFP: Pat Scanlon, 978-475-1776, info@massvfp.org  

 

 

 



 

Monday, January 9, DPP Monthly Meeting, 7-9pm,  Vietnamese American Community Center, 42 Charles St., Fields Corner (just behind the Red Line station).  PRELIMINARY AGENDA:  Assessment of the Fall’s work, the Kerry/Supercommittee campaign, Occupy Boston. . .  and where we go from here.  Please send additional suggestions, agenda items to Rosemary (rosemarykean@yahoo.com), Denise (denisezwahlen@yahoo.com) or Jeff (jjk123@comcast.net).

 

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Saturday, January 7:  1-4:30pm, Dudley Library 65 Warren St. Roxbury, MA (Dudley Sq.)

Community responds to proposed Habitual Offender Legislation;
plans action steps to oppose “3 Strikes Law” in Massachusetts

Community activists, clergy, elected officials, representatives from local civil rights organizations and concerned citizens will gather to address proposed Habitual Offender legislation in Massachusetts, commonly referred to as the 3 Strikes Law.  The proposed law will have a devastating impact on communities of color throughout the commonwealth as well as present a new and unparalleled financial strain on an already struggling MA economy.  Opponents of the proposed legislation plan to express their concerns, draft alternatives and implore Gov. Deval Patrick to veto this bill.

 

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Saturday, January 14:  10am, 647 Warren St, Dorchester (in Grove Hall)

DEMONSTRATE AT GROVE HALL POST OFFICE

In his final days, Dr. King planned a mass OCCUPATION FOR JOBS Make MLK Day. Demand jobs, housing, education and people's rights!

SAVE JOBS AND SERVICES IN OUR COMMUNITIES!         Stop the Post Office shutdowns!

Stop the fraudulent, disastrous & totally unnecessary attack on our postal services!

•              Rightwingers want to kill Postal Service: slash 200,000+ jobs or close 3,700 stations

•              Most shutdowns are in poor communities, where service is needed most.

•              The postal service is NOT in financial crisis. It is subject to ridiculous and unfair requirements imposed by a rightwing Congress in 2006.

Let your voice be heard:

ü  No reduction in postal service – keep 6-day delivery!

ü  No Post Office Closings – expand the postal service, don’t destroy it!

ü  Stop the PRIVATIZATION – the postal services belong to the people!

ü  Jobs for Youth – NOT JAILS!

Boston Metro Local 100 APWU 137 South St 4th fl Boston MA 02111 617-423-2798

Occupy 4 Jobs Network c/o USW 8751 25 Colgate Rd, Roslindale, MA 02131 occupy4jobsboston@gmail.com

           

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Saturday, January 14: 1-4pm, First Parish Church • 3 Church St - Helverson Parlor • Harvard Sq T • Cambridge

GETTING THINGS STRAIGHT ON IRAQ: A Peace Movement Briefing with Raed Jarrar and Terry Rockefeller

UJP's quarterly strategy session will feature a briefing on just what is happening in Iraq and its implications for peace activists. The briefing will be provided by Raed Jarrar and Terry Rockefeller.  Raed Jarrar is an Iraqi-Palestinian architect, blogger and political analyst who was in Iraq during the U.S. invasion in 2003 and has recently returned from another trip.  Read Raed's blog posts.  All those interested in Iraq, whether members of UJP groups or not, are welcome to participate.

 

The Forgotten Wages of War

THE end of the Iraq war occasioned few reflections on the scale of destruction we have wrought there. As is our habit, the discussion focused on the costs to America in blood and treasure, the false premises of the war and the continuing challenges of instability in the region. What happened to Iraqis was largely ignored. And in Libya, the recent investigation of civilian casualties during NATO’s bombing campaign was the first such accounting of what many believed was a largely victimless war.   We rarely question that wars cause extensive damage, but our view of America’s wars has been blind to one specific aspect of destruction: the human toll of those who live in war zones… Ignoring the extent of civilian casualties and the damage they cause is a moral failing as well as a strategic blunder. We need to adopt reliable ways to measure the destruction our wars cause — an “epistemology of war,” as another general, William Tecumseh Sherman, called it — to break through the collective amnesia that has gripped us.   More

 

The Price of War That is Still Being Borne by the Iraqi People

Even when the war's critics slam the blood and treasure squandered, they usually refer only to American lives and American money. This is also the way pollsters frame it. A recent CBS poll asked: "Do you think removing Saddam Hussein from power was worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq, or not?" (50% no, 41% yes), and "Do you think the result of the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American lives and other costs of attacking Iraq, or not?" (67% no, 24% yes). The cost to Iraqis simply does not feature. "It is the end for the Americans only," wrote Emad Risn, argued an Iraqi columnist in a government-funded newspaper. "Nobody knows if the war will end for Iraqis too." And few Americans seem to care. It's been some time since Iraq featured at all on the nation's priorities, let alone high. Rightly Americans fret about the fate of veterans returning to a depressed economy with a range of both physical and mental disabilities. But Iraqi civilians barely get a look-in.   More

 

ROSS CAPUTI: “I am sorry for the role I played in Fallujah”

What we did to Fallujah cannot be undone, and I see no point in attacking the people in my former unit. What I want to attack are the lies and false beliefs. I want to destroy the prejudices that prevented us from putting ourselves in the other's shoes and asking ourselves what we would have done if a foreign army invaded our country and laid siege to our city.   More

 

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Sunday, January 15:  12-3pm, Great Hall, Codman Sq.

DPPers to Staff Winter Farmers Market with Message for Peace and Justice,

“Honoring Dr. King's Vision of Peace in the World and Peace in our Neighborhoods” ---make origami paper cranes and “Peace Affirmations” to string up in our market (call Rosemary 617-282-7449 to volunteer) More info on the farmers market and Dorchester Food COOP (founded in part by DPP activists): http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dotcommcoop/dorchester-winter-farmers-market

 

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BUDGET BATTLE and the PENTAGON

 

Click for full-sized graphic

Obama Unveils “Austere” Pentagon Strategy

…the Pentagon will invest more heavily in Special Operations forces, which have a smaller footprint and require less money than conventional units, as well as drone aircraft and cybersecurity, defense officials said. The military will also shift its focus to Asia to counter China’s rising influence and North Korea’s unpredictability. Despite the end of the Iraq war, administration officials said they would keep a large presence in the Middle East, where tensions with Iran are worsening.  More

 

Full Text: “SUSTAINING US GLOBAL LEADERSHIP - Priorities for 21st Century Defense”  here

 

CHINA WARNS US ON ASIA MILITARY STRATEGY

China's state media have warned the US against "flexing its muscles" after Washington unveiled a defence review switching focus to the Asia-Pacific… "While boosting its military presence in the Asia-Pacific, the United States should abstain from flexing its muscles, as this won't help solve regional disputes.  "If the United States indiscreetly applies militarism in the region, it will be like a bull in a china shop, and endanger peace instead of enhancing regional stability."  More

 

How Could the Pentagon Possibly Defend Us With the Budget It Had Four Years Ago?

Because those savings represent reductions in projected spending, as opposed to actual cuts, the defense budget would continue rising, but not as fast as it would under current law. Assuming all the "cuts" are enacted, total military spending will be about 8 percent less than currently projected. If you add the $500 billion in "automatic" defense cuts imposed by the legislation that resolved last summer's debt-limit dispute, the total reduction from projected spending is about 17 percent, bringing the Pentagon's base budget all the way down to a level last seen in 2007, when the country was not exactly helpless against its adversaries. Yet Panetta says that result would be "catastrophic," and every Republican presidential candidate, with the notable exception of Ron Paul, agrees, promising to prevent or reverse the cuts.  More

 

Military Spending Cuts Go “Mainstream”

BOSTON GLOBE: Pentagon should do more cutting, less complaining about budget

AS CONGRESS wrangles over how to rein in the federal debt, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has been ringing the alarm bells about what will happen if the Pentagon is asked to cut more than the $450 billion that it has already agreed to shave off its planned budget over the next ten years. Deeper cuts, he has warned Congress, will turn the world’s greatest military into a “paper tiger.’’ He has used the word “catastrophic’’ to describe just how bad it will be.  …US taxpayers should be wary of such hyperbole.   More

KRUGMAN: Nobody Understands Debt

In 2011, as in 2010, America was in a technical recovery but continued to suffer from disastrously high unemployment. And through most of 2011, as in 2010, almost all the conversation in Washington was about something else: the allegedly urgent issue of reducing the budget deficit.   This misplaced focus said a lot about our political culture, in particular about how disconnected Congress is from the suffering of ordinary Americans. But it also revealed something else: when people in D.C. talk about deficits and debt, by and large they have no idea what they’re talking about — and the people who talk the most understand the least…  So yes, debt matters. But right now, other things matter more. We need more, not less, government spending to get us out of our unemployment trap. And the wrongheaded, ill-informed obsession with debt is standing in the way.  More

 

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The “MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX” Then and Now. . .

President Obama referred to President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address in announcing the new military strategy for the US.  But he chose to quote one of the blandest statements in Eisenhower’s speech warning of the rise of a new and potentially anti-democratic “Military-Industrial Complex.” 

“I’d encourage all of us to remember what President Eisenhower once said -- that ‘each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration:  the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.’  After a decade of war, and as we rebuild the source of our strength -- at home and abroad -- it’s time to restore that balance.”  But earlier in his speech, Obama also had this to say: “We have to remember the lessons of history.  We can’t afford to repeat the mistakes that have been made in the past -- after World War II, after Vietnam -- when our military was left ill prepared for the future.  As Commander in Chief, I will not let that happen again.  Not on my watch…   As I made clear in Australia, we will be strengthening our presence in the Asia Pacific, and budget reductions will not come at the expense of that critical region.  We’re going to continue investing in our critical partnerships and alliances, including NATO, which has demonstrated time and again -- most recently in Libya -- that it’s a force multiplier.  We will stay vigilant, especially in the Middle East.  [Full Text of Obama’s speech Here]

 

It’s well worth the time to read Eisenhower’s Farewell Address in full – or even better listen to the audio on line – to compare Obama’s remarks and see how far we have regressed from the time a Republican president warned about a permanent war economy and the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex almost exactly 50 years ago.    

 

Eisenhower’s Farewell Speech (and audio) is available HERE

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual--is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

BU professor and former military officer ANDREW BACEVICH, recalls Eisenhower’s prophetic words on war and democracy:

The Tyranny of Defense Inc.

If anything, Eisenhower’s characterization of the cozy relations between the military and corporate worlds understates the contemporary reality. C. Wright Mills came closer to the mark when he wrote of “a coalition of generals in the roles of corporation executives, of politicians masquerading as admirals, of corporation executives acting like politicians.” Add to that list the retired senior officers passing as pundits (often while simultaneously cashing the checks of weapons manufacturers), policy wonks pretending to be field marshals, and journalists eagerly competing to carry water for heroic field commanders. Throw in the former members of Congress who lobby their successors on behalf of defense contractors, and the serving members who vote in favor of any defense appropriations that send money to their districts, and one begins to get a sense of the true topog­raphy.   More

 

 

 

 

 

Next week, we’ll highlight MARTIN LUTHER KING on war, military spending and morality -- so very different in substance and spirit from Obama’s

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OCCUPY BOSTON

Updates and Calendar at http://www.occupyboston.org/

 

Have the Super-Rich Seceded from the United States?

…millions of Americans who do not pay federal income taxes pay federal payroll taxes. These taxes are regressive, and the dirty little secret is that over the last several decades they have made up a greater and greater share of federal revenues. In 1950, payroll and other federal retirement contributions constituted 10.9 percent of all federal revenues; by 2007, the last “normal” economic year before federal revenues began falling, they made up 33.9 percent. By contrast, corporate income taxes were 26.4 percent of federal revenues in 1950; by 2007 they had fallen to 14.4 percent.   More

 

Harder for Americans to Rise From Lower Rungs

Americans enjoy less economic mobility than their peers in Canada and much of Western Europe. The mobility gap has been widely discussed in academic circles, but a sour season of mass unemployment and street protests has moved the discussion toward center stage… “It’s becoming conventional wisdom that the U.S. does not have as much mobility as most other advanced countries,” said Isabel V. Sawhill, an economist at the Brookings Institution. “I don’t think you’ll find too many people who will argue with that.”   More

 

BUYING CONGRESS IN 2012

The Chamber of Commerce spent more money on the 2010 elections than the Republican and Democratic National Committees combinedPublic financing of campaigns would cost a little money, but endlessly less than paying for the presents these guys give their masters. And it would let you watch what was happening in Washington without feeling as disgusted.  Even legislators, once they got the hang of it, might enjoy neither raising money nor having to pretend it doesn’t affect them.  To make this happen, however, we may have to change the Constitution, as we’ve done 27 times before. This time, we’d need to specify that corporations aren’t people, that money isn’t speech, and that it doesn’t abridge the First Amendment to tell people they can’t spend whatever they want getting elected. Winning a change like that would require hard political organizing, since big banks and big oil companies and big drug-makers will surely rally to protect their privilege.    More

 

Growing wealth widens distance between lawmakers and constituents

Between 1984 and 2009, the median net worth of a member of the House more than doubled, according to the analysis of financial disclosures, from $280,000 to $725,000 in inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars, excluding home ­equity.  Over the same period, the wealth of an American family has declined slightly, with the comparable median figure sliding from $20,600 to $20,500, according to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from the University of Michigan…The growing disparity between the representatives and the represented means that there is a greater distance between the economic experience of Americans and those of lawmakers.   More

 

GREENWALD: Democratic Priorities and the Two-Party Status Quo

… supporting one of the two major-party candidates in the 2012 presidential campaign as the principal form of activism offers no solution. That’s not an endorsement for resignation, apathy, non-voting, voting for a third party, or anything else. It’s just a simple statement of fact: on many issues that progressives themselves have long claimed are of critical, overarching importance (not all, but many), there will be virtually no debate in the election because there are virtually no differences between the two candidates and the two parties on those questions. In the face of that fact, there are two choices: (1) simply accept it (and thus bolster it) on the basis that the only political priority that matters is keeping the Democratic Party and Barack Obama empowered; or (2) searching for ways to change the terms of the debate so that critical views that are now excluded by bipartisan consensus instead end up being heard.   More

 

Iowa: The Electoral Sideshow Begins

The auctioned election process is designed to reduce the field to two candidates who will each receive hundreds of millions of dollars apiece from the same pool of [Wall Street] donors… Obama’s list included all the major banks and bailout recipients, plus a smattering of high-dollar defense lawyers from firms like WilmerHale and Skadden Arps who make their money representing those same banks. McCain’s list included exactly the same banks and a similar list of law firms, the minor difference being that it was Gibson Dunn instead of WilmerHale, etc… Those numbers tell us that both parties rely upon the same core of major donors among the top law firms, the Wall Street companies, and business leaders – basically, the 1%... There are obvious, even significant differences between Obama and someone like Mitt Romney, particularly on social issues, but no matter how Obama markets himself this time around, a choice between these two will not in any way represent a choice between “change” and the status quo. This is a choice between two different versions of the status quo, and everyone knows it.   More

 

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“WAR ON TERROR” . . .  War on Civil Liberties

 

ACLU: He signed it. We’ll fight it.

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. It contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision.

The dangerous new law can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. He signed it. Now, we have to fight it wherever we can and for as long as it takes.

Sign the ACLU's pledge to fight worldwide indefinite detention for as long as it takes HERE

 

IN ERODING CIVIL LIBERTIES, BARACK OBAMA FINISHES WHAT GEORGE BUSH BEGAN

We have now arrived at the state where an American citizen may be arrested on American soil and held without trial indefinitely. Obama blithely tags an American citizen as a terrorist sympathizer and has him taken out by drone in a foreign country. The police-state refinements of the Bush years -- the warrantless wiretaps and e-mail searches, for instance -- remain in place. Guantanamo Bay, which was supposed to be an early casualty of the Obama administration, continues its grisly work.   More

 

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WARS – Old and New – GRIND ON. . .   Are you feeling safer now?

 

BOMB IRAN BANDWAGON ROLLS ON. . .

Slip-Sliding to War with Iran

There is now a cascading of allegations regarding Iran, as there was with Iraq, with the momentum rushing toward war.  Just as with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the U.S. news media treats Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a designated villain whose every word is cast as dangerous or crazy…  Also, as happened with Iraq – when harsher economic sanctions merged with a U.S. troop build-up, making an escalation toward war almost inevitable – tougher and tougher Western sanctions against Iran have pushed the various sides closer to war.  … whether Obama can head off a violent conflict with Iran remains to be seen. As the presidential election grows nearer – and the likely GOP’s nominee hammers at Obama as soft on Iran – a preemptive Israeli attack or a miscalculation by Iran could make war unavoidable. For its part, the major U.S. news media has done its best, again, to line up the American people behind another war.   More

 

Obama Resists Israeli Pressure on Iran

In a sign that the Obama administration is worried that Netanyahu is contemplating an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tried and failed in early October to get a commitment from Netanyahu and Barak that Israel would not launch an attack on Iran without consulting Washington first… The Obama administration considers the newest phase of sanctions against Iran, aimed at reducing global imports of Iranian crude oil, as an alternative to an unprovoked attack by Israel. But what Netanyahu had in mind in proposing such an initiative was much more radical than the Obama administration or the European Union could accept… But Netanyahu used the power of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) over congressional action related to Israel to override Obama’s opposition. The Senate unanimously passed an amendment representing Netanyahu’s position on sanctions focused on Iran’s oil sector and the Central Bank, despite a letter from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner opposing it.  More

 

UNACCOUNTABLE KILLING MACHINES: The True Cost of U.S. Drones

The enormous expansion of drone operations has been a success in the narrowest sense of killing some bad guys. But it has come at an enormous cost: to our reputation, to our morals, to our relationship and status with countries we need to work with to contain and defuse terrorism, and in the lives of the many innocent people we've killed through either sloppiness or ignorance. Rather than asking the difficult questions of whether the success of the drone program has been worth it, though, President Obama has chosen instead to amplify its operations and thus claim victory in killing bad guys, even while he distances himself from the knowledge and personal responsibility for who these dead people are and what crimes they may have committed.   More

 

NEVER FORGET THE IRAQ WAR

The war was the project of a small, mostly neoconservative cabal that wanted to use Iraq as an experiment to inject democracy and free enterprise into the Middle East through the barrel of a gun. The cabal got much of the rest of the country to go along with their scheme by exploiting national anger and anguish over the 9/11 terrorist attack and by conjuring up scary tales of dictators giving weapons of mass destruction to terrorists… Many of those cheerleaders are still prominent members of the policy-influencing Washington elite and still writing and talking about the very sorts of things on which they showed such terrible judgment in the case of Iraq. Some of them are even cheering for yet another war, against another Middle Eastern country with a four-letter name starting with I, and with their cheering featuring familiar old themes about weapons of mass destruction, links with terrorism and the like. Those people ought to be reminded at every turn about the Iraq War and their role in promoting it, and asked repeatedly why anyone should believe a word of what they are saying now.  More

 

Paying the Costs of War

Recognition of lingering problems of veterans, including especially PTSD, fortunately has been earlier and more complete with our most recent wars than it was with the Vietnam War. But the problems are no less serious, and no less chronic and lingering, for being recognized.

Problems both invisible, including the psychological demons, and visible, including lost limbs, are long lasting or permanent and will be part of the legacy of the wars for decades to come.  The medical care and other economic costs entailed by that legacy are large and important in their own right, of course. They also can serve as a metaphor for the broader political and other consequences of our most recent wars. Those consequences include the short-term and the long-term, the visible and the invisible, the expected and the unexpected.   More

 

AFGHANISTAN WEEKLY READER: Perspectives on the Peace Process

The announcement that the Taliban will open a political office in Qatar in exchange for the release of Taliban officials from Guantanamo Bay has been alternately hailed as a dramatic breakthough and criticized as a surrender. Whatever the spin, this development indicates that the process for a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan is moving forward. Unfortunately, U.S. military involvement in the region is far from over and strong support still remains for maintaining troop levels through 2014 and after.  Although U.S. troops are expected to shift to an advisory role over the next year, peace negotiations are progressing slowly as the cost of war continues to increase.  More opinion and news here

 

*    *    *    *

ISRAEL/PALESTINE and the MIDDLE EAST

 

ISRAEL, US TO STAGE MAJOR DEFENSE DRILL

Thousands of Israeli, US troops to take part in largest-ever joint drill… The IDF is gearing up together with US forces for a major missile defense exercise, the army announced Thursday, as tension between Iran and the international community escalates. The drill is called "Austere Challenge 12" and is designed to improve defense systems and cooperation between the US and Israeli forces.   More

 

AVNERY: How Israel Empowers Islamist Movements

If Islamist movements come to power all over the region, they should express their debt of gratitude to their bete noire, Israel. Without the active or passive help of successive Israeli governments, they may not have been able to realize their dreams. That is true in Gaza, in Beirut, in Cairo and even in Tehran… Perhaps some day a fundamentalist Israel will make peace with a fundamentalist Muslim world, under the auspices of a fundamentalist American president. Unless we do something to stop the process before it is too late.   More

 

Obama's Ominous Arming Of Despots in the Gulf

A White House spokesman boasted last week that the Saudi arms sales would give the US economy a $3.5 billion annual boost and help bolster exports and jobs. Needless to say, that's not the kind of cynical message many people expected from the Administration they helped elect three years ago. However, it sweet music in the ears of the U.S. armaments s industry.

As if the pot had not been sweetened enough, last week the U.S. sold the United Arab Emirates an advanced antimissile interception system for $3.5 billion as part of what Reuters described as "an accelerating military buildup of its friends and allies near Iran." The deal includes a contract with Lockheed Martin to produce the highly sophisticated Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, weapon system. The White House has also formally proposed to sell  600 "bunker buster" bombs and other munitions to UAE for $304…  Evidently, the Obama Administration's commitment to the notion of "Arab Spring" and promoting "democracy" in the Middle East is quite selective. While acting boldly to shore up the autocracies in the Gulf region, "senior U.S.  officials are reported to be quietly preparing options to help dissident groups seeking to topple the reactionary government of Syrian President Bashar Assad," according to UPI. There are also reports of "a 2,500-person Arab intervention force" - mainly Libyan and Iraqis-on tap in Qatar, ready to invade Syria.  More

 

END OF THE PRO-DEMOCRACY PRETENSE

…one of the prime aims of America’s support for Arab dictators has been to ensure that the actual views and beliefs of those nations’ populations remain suppressed, because those views are often so antithetical to the perceived national interests of the U.S. government. The last thing the U.S. government has wanted (or wants now) is actual democracy in the Arab world, in large part because democracy will enable the populations’ beliefs — driven by high levels of anti-American sentiment and opposition to Israeli actions – to be empowered rather than ignored.  So acute is this contradiction — between professed support for Arab democracy and the fear of what it will produce — that America’s Foreign Policy Community is now dropping the pro-freedom charade and talking openly (albeit euphemistically) about the need to oppose Arab democracy… The Obama administration paid pretty lip service to the Egyptian revolution but then worked to install Mubarak’s chief torturer Omar Suleiman in power, who, for obvious reasons, is viewed with great disfavor among Egyptians. That propaganda ruse fooled one of its chief targets (the American electorate) but failed miserably among Egyptians…  More

 ****************************************************************

Next DPP MEETING

Monday, November 14

(Note: The meeting will be in a new space, on the second floor)

AGENDA: TBA

7-9 pm, Vietnamese American Community Center, 42 Charles St., Fields Corner. 

 

*    *    *    *

DPP Tabling, Kerry postcard gathering:

Friday, October 7, Ashmont/Peabody Square Farmer’s Market, 4-6pm at the Ashmont T-station. Call Denise: 617-721-9606

Saturday, October 8, Fields Corner Farmers Market, 9-11am parking at Dot Ave. & Park St.  Call Jeff – 617-288-4578

 

Thursday, October 13: DPP Anti-War/Campaign Planning Committee, 6:30 pot luck; 7-9pm meeting, 123 Cushing Ave. Dorchester (call 617-288-4578 if you need directions) Organize and map out the rest of the Fall budget campaign, targeting Sen. John Kerry and taking our message to the streets of Dorchester.

 

Two Other Kerry Postcard Opportunities:

Boston Workers Alliance are doing door-to-door voter registration every day from 4 to 6:30. Great opportunity to bring the Target Kerry Postcard Campaign to our neighborhood. Contact Denise at 617-721-9606

New England United for Justice (NEU4J) will be doing the same soon in Dorchester. Call Phyllis 617-825-7843

 

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Sunday, October 16:  Cookout / Pot Luck for DPP & Friends

3pm-? “Rain or Shine.”  At Jeff’s House, 123 Cushing Ave., Jones Hill (up behind the Strand Theater), Dorchester.

“No Agenda” – just good food and good company to relax and share, take a breather from the very busy fall schedule of activism.

We’ll have hamburgers and hotdogs – you can bring something to eat or drink.  Weather permitting, in the back yard -- but there is plenty of room inside and on the porches if necessary.  Please come and invite a friend.  Call 617-288-4578 for directions or to RSVP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

*    *    *    *

People Take To The Streets:

RIGHT TO THE CITY. . .  OCCUPY EVERYWHERE!

 

     

Are the peoples’ resistance movements reaching a critical point?  We hope so!  Coming from diverse perspectives and communities, Anti-war protesters, neighborhood activists, the jobless, poor people facing the loss of their homes, students and unions are beginning to coalesce.  The process is halting and uneven – not astro-turfed like the heavily right-wing bankrolled “Tea Party.  Divisions remain, but increasingly people are recognizing a common enemy in The Banks and Wall Street.  And, ironically, many are drawing inspiration from the popular movements of The Arab Spring.

Last Friday, thousands of people, led by community organizations like City Life/Vida Urbana and the Boston Workers Alliance and supported by the SEIU-backed MassUniting, marched downtown to demand “The Right to the City.”  The protest ended at the looming, Darth Vader-ish Bank of America headquarters, where people chanted “Bank of America – Bad for America” as activists blocking the entrance were arrested (including DPP’s Becky Pierce).  Earlier, at the Boston Common rally, DPPer (and Boston 25% Coalition leader) Daryl Wright spoke for the campaign to pressure the Congressional budget SuperCommittee, as peace activists distributed forms to send postcards to Senator Kerry, some with the printed message “Don’t Balance the Budget on Our Backs.”  On the way to the Bank of America, the marchers passed by Verizon offices and a Hyatt Hotel, where they chanted solidarity with union workers waging labor struggles.  See VIDEOs here and here.

That evening – inspired by OCCUPY WALL STREET – mostly young people set up their OCCUPY BOSTON encampment near South Station.  Spirited and spontaneous actions took place all week, as news came that “Occupy” movements were springing up all over the country – in LA and Seattle, Philadelphia and DC.  Several of us from DPP and some veterans of the Labor Movement attended on Wednesday as the crowd – along with hundreds Mass Nurses Association members -- surged through the Financial District shouting, among other chants:

How do we Fix the Deficit?     

Stop the Wars!

Tax the Rich! 

In New York that same day thousands of other union members marched with the Occupy Wall Street protesters as labor organizations increasingly began to endorse the movement.  Next Wednesday, OCCUPY BOSTON has agreed to highlight the contract struggle of Verizon workers, as the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) march to South Station and then lead the protesters back to the corporate headquarter.  Heady stuff.

OCCUPY BOSTON news and updates: here

 

Tonight (Friday), October 7:  Marking the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan

5pm, peace movement activists will highlight the issue of the on-going wars at the Occupy Boston encampment.

OccupyBoston site, Dewey Square • Atlantic & Summer Streets, Boston • South Station T

Participate in an anti-war demo at 5 p.m. Friday--marking the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The gathering point is in Dewey Square by the statue of Gandhi.    (Dewey Square is the portion of the Greenway directly across from South Station - see map.)

 

Something Big Is Happening: Occupy Together

While the establishment is befuddled by the plethora of issues and slogans within the protest, confused by the absence of hierarchical order and put off by its festive spirit, that's their problem. The 20- and 30-somethings who are driving this movement know what they're doing and are far more organized (but much differently organized) than their snarky critics seem able to comprehend… Far from "dwindling" in numbers, the New York protest continues to grow. Moreover, the movement has now spread to more than 50 cities, from major hubs like Chicago to such smaller places as McAllen, Texas. All across the U.S.A., "something is happening here" - something that might be big. Link into it at www.OccupyTogether.com.  More

 

KRUGMAN: Confronting the Malefactors

There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear, but we may, at long last, be seeing the rise of a popular movement that, unlike the Tea Party, is angry at the right people… First things first: The protesters’ indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right.  More

 

Actions Now in 841 Communities Across U.S. and Canada

http://www.meetup.com/occupytogether/

 

List and map of over 250 U.S. solidarity events and Facebook pages

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/04/1022722/-Occupy-Wall-Street:-List-and-map-of-over-200-US-solidarity-events-and-Facebook%C2%A0pages

 

Keith Olbermann Reads The Statement Released By The Wall Street Protesters - 2011-10-05

http://youtu.be/N8o3peQq79Q

 

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Can the #Occupy Movement Be a Turning Point?

As the Wall Street occupation continues, Boston residents are sitting in to save their homes—and providing a lesson in how to sustain the powerful spark of the #Occupy movement… We have an opportunity to offer a narrative explaining what has happened, how we got here, and how we can move forward together. We are faced with the potential of rooting this insurrectional energy into a strong social movement that can rival the Tea Party and change the story about our economic system—a movement that could unite behind real solutions to the economic and democratic crises we face. The actions by Right to the City this past weekend in Boston offer us an instructive model on the kind of analysis and organizing strategy that is necessary now. More

 

 

BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Wall Street as Public Enemy Number One

They are very young, very white, and largely inexperienced in organizing. But the Occupy Wall Street crew has picked the right target…  the core is clearly comprised of serious people determined to end the rule of the “One Percent.” The 99% versus 1% formula is quite powerful, directing the people’s anger towards the class that conducts its oppressive business on Wall Street: finance capitalists.  More

 

 

‘Ready for a Tahrir moment?’

Although it has become a bit of a mainstream media cliche to say that the Occupy Wall Street protest is an American "Arab Spring," it is undeniable that the Egyptian revolution, and other protests across the Middle East have inspired the protesters… The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.  More

 

*    *    *    *

THE BUDGET BATTLE, THE ECONOMY and the WARS

AMERICA'S LOST DECADE

Consider this statistic: between 1999 and 2009, the net jobs gain in the American workforce was zero. In the six previous decades, the number of jobs added rose by at least 20% per decade. Then there's income. In 2010, the average middle-class family took home $49,445, a drop of $3,719 or 7%, in yearly earnings from 10 years earlier. In other words, that family now earns the same amount as in 1996… The swelling ranks of the American poor tell an even more dismal story. In September, the Census Bureau rolled out its latest snapshot of poverty in the United States, counting more than 46 million men, women, and children among this country's poor. In other words, 15.1% of all Americans are now living in officially defined poverty, the most since 1993… As for this decade, less than two years in, we already know that the news isn't likely to be much better. The problems that plagued Americans in the previous decade show little sign of improvement.  More

 

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THE BUDGET DEAL EXPLAINED

The COALITION ON HUMAN NEEDS (http://www.chn.org/), an alliance of national organizations working together to promote public policies that address the needs of low-income and other vulnerable people,  produced a background briefing.

-Deficit Deal Explained Webinar (download)
-Deficit Deal Explained Slides only (shorter, view online)

 

“SUPERCOMMITTEE” -- Short Version

The Congressional SuperCommittee includes six Republicans, six Democrats, six Senators and six Representatives (including Mass Senator John Kerry). They must start meeting by September 16, and they may begin with public hearings on the national debt. By November 23 they are supposed to create a plan to reduce the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over ten years, on top of the $1 trillion in cuts already set. The Senate and House must vote that plan up or down (no amendments) by December 23.

 

If the Supercommittee or Congress fail to agree on a plan, automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion are supposed to go into effect in January 2013, half defense-related and half domestic. With five of the six Republicans having pledged not to raise taxes, deadlock and defense cuts may be the best outcome we can work for.

Senator Kerry, Represent US!  

“Don’t Balance the Budget on Our Backs!” 

 

Senator Kerry is on the SuperCommittee. Will he cut the most wasteful agency in Washington – the Defense Department?   Or will he propose a deal to cut Social Security and Medicare?  It depends on YOU!

Send an online postcard to Sen. Kerry! It's important that he hear from as many people in Massachusetts as possible this week -- so he knows we are paying attention.

The media reaches millions.  Writing letters to the editor is super-easy with our online letters tool! We'll keep the tool up to date with current talking points, so return to it frequently.

Can you contact your town officials, gather signatures or organize events? Sign up to volunteer and tell us what you can do!

 

JOHN KERRY is asking for input from constituents: Let Him Know What You Think!

“Now, with the committee's negotiations about to get into full swing, I really need to hear from you - I need your input about the choices we face and the consensus we need to build to create jobs, fix the deficit, and get America growing again. Every decision I make is guided by Massachusetts, and whether you're a small business owner or out in the job market, I want to bring your firsthand viewpoint with me to the discussions and negotiations in Washington. So if you have ideas or suggestions about how to reduce the deficit, create jobs, and get our country back on track, I'm setting up a special form at Kerry.senate.gov where you can send me your ideas.”

These proposals are a good starting point:

         1. More (not less!) money for jobs
         2. No cuts to Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid or other programs people need.
         3. End the wars, close foreign bases and reduce military spending at least 25%
         4. Tax Wall Street, the rich and corporations

The Center for American Progress has produced some useful background for each of the of the Supercommittee members showing how their constituents would be affected by proposed budget cuts: Senator Kerry’s fact sheet is here.

 

*    *    *    *

The Elites and the Pentagon Budget

The stench of elitism is permeating Washington, just as it did a decade ago when everyone of consequence bought the proposition that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction-and even if there was room for doubt, he was a threat and “had to go.”  Today, the subject matter is different, but the methods are the same:  say things that are demonstrably false but use enough extreme rhetoric from four star admirals, cabinet secretaries and congressional chairmen to establish a middle ground that eliminates opposition.  Those who fear being labeled out of the mainstream, especially the major media, are buying it just as mindlessly as they did before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. This time the subject matter is the defense budget.  Cutting it is the target of rhetorical gibberish, just as President George Bush warned of a “mushroom cloud” over America if we didn’t invade Iraq.  Nonetheless, it is politically potent and intimidating to opponents who might otherwise speak up.  More

 

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NEW PRIORITIES PROJECT Guide to the Budget Process and Advocacy

As Congress returns from its August recess, Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations work will begin in earnest -- even as the "Super Committee" attempts to chart the next decade of federal spending. National Priorities Project's Guide to the Budget Process and Advocacy will shed some light on the budget process with the goal of helping our constituents advocate effectively for their federal budget priorities.   

 

RESOURCES: FUND OUR COMMUNITIES, REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING 25%
New Boston Coalition website! --- http://linkupboston.net/campaigns/25percent 
UJP 25 Percent Task Force: http://www.25percentsolution.com/
New Priorities Network website: www.newprioritiesnetwork.org

 

 

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DO WE LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY?

Recent polls confirm what has been true for the past few years:  Large and consistent pluralities say that “jobs/unemployment” is the number-one problem we face; only around 12% choose “Federal Budget Deficit/Federal Debt” as the most important issue;  “Taxes” are chosen by just 2%. (see for example here).  Yet – at least until recently -- Taxes and The Deficit were almost all we heard about in public.

As for solving that deficit, again polls are consistent when people are asked to choose.  Here are some recent results:

 

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The most popular measure is to raise taxes on those with an income over $250,000 – the people whose tax reductions were recently protected in a deal between the President and the Congress.  The most supported bipartisan change is to “reduce military commitments overseas.”  Of course big majorities have long opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Recall that polling also indicated the most popular measure to reform our health care system was to institute a single-payer system akin to Medicare – a reform that never even came up for a vote in Congress. 

Would you know any of this if you got all your news from the mainstream media?  Not likely.

 

 

http://images.alternet.org/images/managed/storyimages_1316805094_classwar1.jpg_640x640_310x220

 

CLASS WARFARE INDEED

Over the last two decades or more, Republicans have been denouncing as “class warfare” any attempt at criticizing and restraining their mean one-sided system of capitalist financial expropriation.  The moneyed class in this country has been doing class warfare on our heads and on those who came before us for more than two centuries. But when we point that out, when we use terms like class warfare, class conflict, and class struggle to describe the system of exploitation we live under—our indictments are dismissed out of hand and denounced as Marxist ideological ranting, foul and divisive…   More

 

 

Obama: A New Beginning?

Many citizens are so disheartened that they do not believe government has the capacity to be responsive to their needs. Although our transportation systems, schools, and other infrastructure are in a sad state, these citizens have no faith that their tax dollars will be used to repair them. In short, while America is rapidly deteriorating, there is a widespread fear that Washington, D.C., is indifferent to its plight. Many Americans see government as an insurance agency for rich and powerful people and corporations, who deploy lobbying dollars and campaign contributions to take care of their interests but not those of others. Faced with the choice of having their tax dollars spent for the benefit of elites or demanding that taxes be radically reduced, they see cutting taxes as the only rational course of action… President Obama, like all elected officials, has to deal with the two currencies of electoral politics: money and votes. He plans to raise $1 billion, and much of it will have to come from the small part of the electorate in which prosperous members of the corporate world are prominent. There is an obvious difficulty for Obama in getting the well-to-do to support spending on health and education systems to strengthen an American workforce on which many of them do not depend for their livelihood.  More

 

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YARD SIGNS ARE BACK!

Yes, we have a new order of yard signs, and some cardboard window signs as well. 


SAVE Our Libraries, Schools, & Youth Jobs---CUT MILITARY SPENDING 25%
Yard signs are $5-10, and window signs are $2-5, a sliding scale that helps reimburse DPP faster (we need it) and fund a few signs for cheaper or free for people who can’t afford the full price.  (Break-even price is slightly above the bottom of the range, for each kind.)
To get your sign(s): call Becky, 617-282-3783 or email info@dotpeace.org

 

*    *    *    *
WARS – Old and New – GRIND ON. . .   Are you feeling safer now?

TEN YEARS OF WAR AND UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

This month marked ten years since the World Trade Center was decimated in a terrorist attack. The Bush administration responded with its so-called "War on Terror" - a war of aggression designed to turn the oil-rich Middle East into a U.S. neo-colony and entrench U.S. dominance across the globe. Accompanied and justified by a culture of fear, xenophobia and anti-Arab/anti-Muslim racism, this war undermined human rights at home and solidified right-wing rule for a generation. Ten years later, the world doesn't look at all like the fantasy that the architects of the War on Terror dreamed up. More

 

Poll: Nearly 2 in 3 want troops in Afghanistan decreased

After 10 years of war in Afghanistan, nearly two-thirds of Americans want troop levels in the country to be reduced, a new CBS News poll shows.  Sixty-two percent said troop levels should be decreased immediately, according to the poll, conducted Sept. 28 - Oct. 2. Twenty-four percent want troop levels kept the same for now, while 7 percent want them increased. In 2009, as discussions to deploy additional troops to Afghanistan were underway, about a third supported increasing the number of U.S. troops there.  More

 

The Secret Memo That Explains Why Obama Can Kill Americans

Months ago, the Obama Administration revealed that it would target al-Awlaki. It even managed to wriggle out of a lawsuit filed by his father to prevent the assassination. But the actual legal reasoning the Department of Justice used to authorize the strike? It's secret. Classified. Information that the public isn't permitted to read, mull over, or challenge. Why? What justification can there be for President Obama and his lawyers to keep secret what they're asserting is a matter of sound law? More

 

A Nation of "Suspects"
During a decade of relentless fearmongering about the terrorist threat, most Americans appear to have accommodated themselves to the visible signs of change without questioning their broad implications.  If searches on the subway, body scans at the airport and a Special Operations military drill [10]targeting a Boston neighborhood are presented as necessary to keep the nation safe, they are for them. But what would they make of the largely invisible architecture of surveillance that treats everyone as a potential suspect? Anyone who has a bank account and makes a financial transaction, or uses a phone or a computer to send emails or browse web sites, or visits a library, books a rental car, or purchases a airline ticket is within the surveillance net.  More

 

*    *    *    *
PALESTINE, ISRAEL and the MIDDLE EAST

 

   

Five lessons learned from Palestinian UN bid

The shift away from the cost-free occupation dynamic has to happen immediately and Palestinians can begin to do this in the way their counterparts across the Arab world made revolutionary change happen. Through mass mobilisation, ending no-strings-attached security collaboration and encouraging sanctions on the state and popular level against Israel until it meets it obligations, the Palestinians can begin to do to the Israelis what the so-called broker Washington failed to do: make them realise the occupation has to end.  The UN statehood bid didn’t change the world -- it didn’t even change things on the ground in occupied Palestine -- but what it did do is make a number of international players show their cards. The Palestinians would be remiss if they did not use this information to build strategies for the future.   More

 

RASHID KHALIDI: The Palestinians' Next Move

As the dust settles after last week’s “showdown” at the United Nations over the Palestinian application for membership, several initial conclusions can be drawn.

First, the United States now is thoroughly out of touch with most of the international community when it comes to Palestine and Israel. It has positioned itself to the right of the most right-wing, pro-settler government in Israeli history. This was reflected in the joyful reception of President Obama’s speech by Israeli prime minister Netanyahu and his right-wing foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, as well as in the Israel lobby’s satisfied response to Obama’s caving in to Israeli demands all along the line.  http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-palestinians-next-move-5959More

 

Don't Punish Palestinians for Seeking Freedom; Punish Israel for Denying It.

The United States claims to support Palestinian statehood but Congress is now threatening sanctions against Palestinians for seeking UN membership. Last weekend, The Independent reported that even before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas submitted Palestine's UN membership application, Members of Congress had quietly placed "holds" on spending already allocated U.S. assistance to Palestinians. Tell Congress: Sanction Israel, Not Palestinians.

 

Foreign Aid Set to Take a Hit in U.S. Budget Crisis – Except for Israel

As lawmakers scramble to trim the swelling national debt, both the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate have proposed slashing financing for the State Department and its related aid agencies at a time of desperate humanitarian crises and uncertain political developments. The proposals have raised the specter of deep cuts in food and medicine for Africa, in relief for disaster-affected places like Pakistan and Japan, in political and economic assistance for the new democracies of the Middle East, and even for the Peace Corps… The Republicans also attach conditions on aid to Pakistan, Egypt and the Palestinians, suspending the latter entirely if the Palestinians succeed in winning recognition of statehood at the United Nations. However, one of the largest portions of foreign aid — more than $3 billion for Israel — is left untouched in both the House and Senate versions, showing that, even in times of austerity, some spending is inviolable.   More

 

 

*    *    *    *
EVENTS

Wednesday, October 12: The Pentagon’s R&D Enterprise – an $80 billion boondoggle

Cambridge, , 1pm. First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, 11 Garden St.

Subrata Ghoshroy, MIT Science, Technology and  Security Working Group

The Pentagon spends over $80 billion per year in the name of R&D. While a small amount of this money supports the majority of university research in physical sciences like electrical engineering, most of the money is given to military contractors for weapons development and is greatly wasted. Subrata Ghoshroy breaks down how this massive budget is spent and addresses its impact on the political support for military spending, the research priorities of U.S. academic scientists, and the quality of science.

A Peace Action Lunchtime seminar.   A light lunch will be served, and a $5 donation is requested to cover the food.

 

Thursday, October 13: Scarred Lands, Wounded Lives: The Environmental Footprint of War

Brookline: 6:30pm.  Coolidge Corner Library, 31 Pleasant St.

When we make war, we destroy not only the enemy, we destroy our earth as well. In all its stages - from the production of weapons through combat to clean up - war entails actions that pollute land, air and water, destroy biodiversity and drain natural resources. Yet the environmental damage caused by war (and preparations for war) is underreported, even ignored. The environment is war's silent casualty.

Using specialist and eyewitness accounts from Vietnam and Afghanistan to Australia and the Pacific Islands and supported by on-site and archival footage, the film shows how war and preparations for war further compromise the environmental health of a planet already under stress from massive population increases, unsustainable demands on natural resources, and ruinous environmental practices. In the context of today's growing awareness and alarm about global climate change, the film shows that natural security is an essential component of national security.

 

Wednesday-Saturday, October 12-15: THE SPEAKER’S PROGRESS: Jenin Freedom Theatre Troupe visiting Boston next weekend! THE SPEAKER'S PROGRESS uses Twelfth Night as a starting point to explore events in the Middle East, transforming Shakespeare’s comedy into a satire on the decades of political inertia that have fed recent revolts across the Arab region and a daring theatrical metaphor for the mechanisms of dissent. The piece will evolve as circumstances in the region change, emphasizing the rapid pace of revolution among courageous citizens seeking freedom. This is a rare chance to see a major Middle Eastern theatre company’s provocative and inspiring work. Get $10 off by using promo code CGTSP10 when purchasing tickets online, over the phone or at the box office.  Buy tickets at artsemerson.org/617.824.8400. For more info visit http://artsemerson.org

SAT, OCT 15: Post-Matinee Forum with SABAB and Freedom Theatre Members of Palestine’s Jenin Freedom Theatre will join actors from SABAB in a moderated discussion about freedom of artistic expression in the Arab world, hosted by Tufts Professor Amahl Bishara.

Extras

Stick around for the following audience enrichment events following these performances!

•        WED, OCT 12: WBUR Sponsored Opening Night Post-Performance Discussion

Tom Ashbrook of WBUR’s On Point will discuss the relation of current events to the production with writer/director Sulayman Al-Bassam. Join the conversation on how the play has evolved with the ongoing changes in the Arab world.

•       THURS, OCT 13: Post-Performance Discussion

Join playwright/director Sulayman Al-Bassam, Arabic drama scholar Margaret Litvin, and writer, critic and leading international Shakespeare scholar Graham Holderness for a frank post-show conversation about intercultural Shakespeare, theatre-making amid the "Arab Spring," and the ways in which Al Bassam's Shakespeare Trilogy has played to—and with—his western and Middle Eastern audiences.

 

Saturday, October 15: Association of Haitian Women (AFAB): Annual Fundraising Dinner, 6pm, Cedars Hall, 61 Rockwood St., JP.  $65 per person/$`20 per couple.  For more info contact AFAB 617-287-0096; cdesire@afab-kafanm.org

Tuesday, October 18: Afghanistan: Why Obama Must Change Course

Jamaica Plain:, 7pm. 6 Eliot St..   Cosponsored with Jamaica Plain Forum and UJP Afghanistan/Pakistan Task Force.

Jonathan Steele has covered Afghanistan for the Guardian (London) for more than thirty years, and was part of the Guardian  team which published the Wikileaks Afghanistan cables.  He will sign copies of his latest book, Ghosts of Afghanistan: The Haunted Battleground, which will be published by Counterpoint this month.

October 2011 marks ten years of U.S. war and occupation in Afghanistan.   Steele was one of the few Western analysts who predicted that a US invasion of Afghanistan would be a disaster.  Although President Obama has announced withdrawal of some troops, the Administration’s plan really envisions a long-term military occupation. So Afghanistan should remain high on everyone's agenda as the 2012 election campaign approaches.

Steele will explain the strategic partnership agreement that the Obama administration wants to sign with Karzai's government and argue that it is a disaster for Afghanistan and the US.  Instead he calls for peace talks and an agreement that will end the country's thirty-five years of civil war. The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh strongly endorses Ghosts of Afghanistan as an “original look at the West's obsession with Afghanistan,” in which “Steele...puts to rest the notion that America had no choice but to go to war after Osama bin Laden's orchestration of the 9/11 attacks."

 

Sunday, October 23: Walk 'n Talk on Beacon Hill, noon - 3:30pm. We will begin with lunch at noon in the Community Change Library: 14 Beacon St. Room 605, Boston; We will conclude with a visit to the Museum of Afro-American History's fine exhibition at the 170-year-old Smith School on Joy Street. Explore the 19th Century Free Black Community of Boston with Horace Seldon. Tickets: $35 (more if you can, less if you can't)  Space is limited! RSVP required. RSVP  pmarcus@communitychangeinc.org

 

 

SAVE THE DATE!

Sunday, September 11

Next DPP MEETING (“Fall Retreat”)

--There will be an extended discussion of where we go from here, and how we can meet the challenges ahead.

--Rather than detailed planning for concrete actions, we hope for a more relaxed conversation about the health and future of DPP, choosing priorities and how we can build our organization’s effectiveness in view of the current “political moment”

--At the start we will ask people to comment on “What sustains you in DPP and how does it relate to the other work you do?”

 

1:30-5:30pm, First Church Parish House, Meeting House Hill.

Midway break with snacks – please contact Denise (617-983-5383) if you can bring food or drink.

 

*    *    *    *

Dues for DPP!

Hayat Imam writes from Bangladesh:

Dear Peace-makers,
I have spent most of my time since March in Bangladesh caring for my mother as she slowly recovers from an illness. I have been following all your good work even though I have not been able to join you in your endeavors. I feel deeply appreciative for all your efforts. 
I wanted to let you know that Gerry Bilodeau gbilodeau@boston.k12.ma.us has kindly agreed to take over as DPP Treasurer for the time being. Thank you Gerry!
I'd like to ask all of you to please send in your Annual DPP member contribution (suggested amount of $20) to Gerry Bilodeau, at his address: 26 Midland St., Dorchester, MA 02125 (or give it to him at the next DPP meeting). Even though we get some grants from time to time, relying on our own steam feels really great! If 30 of us sent in $20, it would go a long way towards our annual expenses. 
Thanks all and goodbye for now,
Hayat

 

Hope to see you. Meanwhile, happy summer!  

 

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: A TALE OF FOUR PROTESTS

As we prepare for DPP’s annual retreat, some recent events illustrate a thing or two about the political moment.   

This past week was a busy one of political and budget-related actions which highlighted the breadth and diversity of opposition to the current status quo – but also the weaknesses of a fragmented and parochial people’s movement.

 

On Tuesday, members of DPP and the UJP coalition joined to support a local MoveOn standout in front of Senator John Kerry’s office to push him to advocate for jobs, not cuts in his role as a member of the Congressional budget “super-committee”.  The crowd was sparse – numbering maybe 40– with people we recognized from the peace movement probably making up the largest single contingent.  The message of the organizers was good, as far as it went, though despite the high visibility of “25% Coalition” signs demanding that we “Bring the War Dollars Home,” perspective was not reflected by any of the speakers MoveOn had chosen.  Several of our activist friends from Veterans for Peace also attended, holding signs for Republican libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul – who is by far the most outspoken anti-war and anti-empire candidate in either party, but is also a full-fledged reactionary crank on every other issue.

 

There were two demonstrations downtown on Thursday which I assumed – naively – had been coordinated.

At 11:30am, the Mass Nurses Association organized a sizeable turnout in front of the JFK Federal Building targeting Senator Scott Brown as part of the National Nurses United Main Street Contract for the American People (see more here).  The theme was “Heal America: Tax Wall Street” and it was attended by a maybe a hundred or more nurses, nurse union organizers and a sprinkling of activists from other unions and other progressive organizations (Rosemary and I were there from DPP.  The spirit was lively and the demand was a good one – though, again, nobody mentioned the wars and military spending.  Not only that, but although the demonstrators were demanding that Scott Brown pledge to support a Wall Street stock trading tax (see more on this below), the organizers declined to lead the crowd one block over to make the same point in front of Senator John Kerry’s office.  Kerry, of course, is in a much more powerful position to do something about this than Scott Brown, and he has not endorsed taxing Wall Street either.

 

At 12:30, just a few blocks away in the Financial District, City Life led another of its spirited rallies of activists and homeowners threatened with eviction in front of the offices of Fannie Mae at 265 Franklin St.  True to form, the City Life action was diverse and loud, demanding loan modification or negotiations to let people pay rent to stay in their homes.  (Many of the locals out for lunch in their business suits were perplexed by the noisy crowd, but there was a lot of support from the less nattily dressed).  Bicycling over from Government Center, it was a joy as usual to march with the City Life folks – but I also found myself the sole person who attended both actions that day.

 

Finally, Thursday evening, there was a Community Meeting at the Kroc Center on Dudley St. in Uphams Corner organized by MassUniting (mainly initiated the Service Employees International Union).  The theme was “Are You Tired of Big Business Walking All Over You?”  About 50 people turned out, predominantly African-Americans, including several activists from City Life and possibly other organizations (three of us from DPP were also there, wearing “Bring the War Dollars Home” buttons).  A positive aspect of the program was that the organizers offered an interactive presentation tying the economic distress of working people to the attacks on the labor movement and its consequent weakening as a source of people power;  there was also a focus on corporations – and especially the big banks – as a cause of the economic crisis and a target for organizing.  However, in the time allotted for discussion and action there was little time for the promotion of specific measures – especially as a few attendees spoke at length and took up most of the time; one speaker alluded to the bad effects of the Iraq War, to general nods and murmurs of assent  The written material distributed at the meeting proposed a “Week of Action to hold Banks Accountable” around September 27.  There was very little emphasis on electoral/political strategies or changing government policy.

 

Clearly there is a lot of work to do in building a broad and united  movement that can successfully challenge the attack on our communities and press for solutions that focus on creating jobs, making the wealthy and the corporations pay, defending Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, ending the wars and reducing military spending.  But many of the building blocks are already in place.

 

*    *    *    *

Hear FDR for Yourself

Last week the DPP Update highlighted Franklin Roosevelt’s stirring 1936 Madison Square Garden speech, which you can read in full hereA live recording is also available via a link at the same site. When FDR pronounced the famous lines

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. . .

“Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.”

you can hear the crowd cheering wildly. 

 

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US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation:

10TH ANNUAL NATIONAL ORGANIZERS' CONFERENCE, 2011

http://www.endtheoccupation.org/img/original/Conference%20Logo%202011%20no%20host.jpg

Once a year, activists and member groups of our coalitions come together to discuss the current work of the movement and to help shape the work of the US Campaign.

Join us for our 10th Annual National Organizers' Conference in Washington, DC, September 16-19, 2011 at the historic Thurgood Marshall Center!

I’m going!  More Info here

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THE BUDGET BATTLE, THE ECONOMY and the WARS

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THE BUDGET DEAL EXPLAINED

The COALITION ON HUMAN NEEDS (http://www.chn.org/), an alliance of national organizations working together to promote public policies that address the needs of low-income and other vulnerable people,  produced a background briefing.

-Deficit Deal Explained Webinar (download)
-Deficit Deal Explained Slides only (shorter, view online)

“SUPERCOMMITTEE” -- Short Version

The Congressional Supercommittee includes six Republicans, six Democrats, six Senators and six Representatives (including Mass Senator John Kerry). They must start meeting by September 16, and they may begin with public hearings on the national debt. By November 23 they are supposed to create a plan to reduce the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over ten years, on top of the $1 trillion in cuts already set. The Senate and House must vote that plan up or down (no amendments) by December 23.

 

If the Supercommittee or Congress fail to agree on a plan, automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion are supposed to go into effect in January 2013, half defense-related and half domestic. With five of the six Republicans having pledged not to raise taxes, deadlock and defense cuts may be the best outcome we can work for.

Mass SENATOR JOHN KERRY, who has been appointed to the Congressional “Super Committee,”  is asking for input from constituents:

“Now, with the committee's negotiations about to get into full swing, I really need to hear from you - I need your input about the choices we face and the consensus we need to build to create jobs, fix the deficit, and get America growing again. Every decision I make is guided by Massachusetts, and whether you're a small business owner or out in the job market, I want to bring your firsthand viewpoint with me to the discussions and negotiations in Washington. So if you have ideas or suggestions about how to reduce the deficit, create jobs, and get our country back on track, I'm setting up a special form at Kerry.senate.gov where you can send me your ideas.”

Check out the form at the link above and let him know what you think!  The proposals circulated by the Boston 25% Coalition are a good starting point:

         1. More (not less!) money for jobs
         2. No cuts to social programs
         3. Cut military spending at least 25%
         4. Tax the rich and corporations (see more on this below!)

The DPP Anti-War Committee is working on a petition we can use to make those points and pressure Kerry before the deadline for the Supercommittee’s recommendations.

The Center for American Progress has produced some useful background for each of the of the Supercommittee members showing how their constituents would be affected by proposed budget cuts: Senator Kerry’s fact sheet is here.

 

Whose Interests Will the Super Committee Members Represent?

The deal to raise the debt ceiling set up a bipartisan “super committee” comprised of six members of the House and six members of the Senate tasked with finding $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion in additional budget savings over the next 10 years. Everything from raising taxes to cutting Social Security and Medicaid will be on the table. A “cuts only” approach to deficit reduction, pursued thus far by conservatives, would force painful cuts in effective programs that strengthen the middle class and protect the most vulnerable, while leaving tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations off the table. Super committee members have a choice: to represent the interests of their constituents or protect the wealthy and special interests. With so many of their constituents living in poverty, struggling to access good quality jobs, and relying on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other effective services, the choice is clear.  More

 

The Impact of Cuts to the Military Budget

The Post reported on a speech that General David Petraeus gave at the ceremony marking his retirement from the military. It noted that he warned against excessive cuts in the military. The piece notes that cuts in the range of $400 billion to $1 trillion over the next decade have been suggested by President Obama and members of Congress.

It would have been helpful to put these numbers in context for readers. The current projections show a baseline where the government will spend just under $8 trillion on the military over the next decade. This is approximately 4 percent of GDP and 17.0 percent of the total budget. (this does not count many military related expenditures like veterans benefits.)

If the larger $1 trillion sum was deducted from projected spending, the country would still be spending roughly 3.5 percent of GDP on the military. By contrast, it was spending just 3.0 percent in 2000. At the time, spending was projected to fall relative to the size of the economy. This means that even with the larger cuts mentioned in the article the country would still be spending far more on the military than was envisioned before the September 11th attacks.  Link

 

Let's Have a Budget War on War Budgets

As the congressional debt-reduction "supercommittee" begins work next week, it had better take into account trillions of dollars in anticipated war costs that no one in Washington seems willing to acknowledge.  For decades now (and probably much longer) government estimates of war costs have strived not to count numerous secondary expenses that result from combat, like veterans' health care -- or the $20 billion wasted in Pakistan. Officials find the real numbers embarrassing. A recent Congressional Budget Office report, for example, placed the total costs of the Iraq and Afghan wars at $1.415 trillion, based solely on congressional appropriations specifically dedicated to those wars. More

 

"Super Committee" Should Cut the War Budget

Urge your representatives and the President to support an end to spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the debt deal.

Take Action

 

Executive Pay and the Great Tax Dodge

Before the deficit reduction “super-committee” embarks on a $1–2 trillion course of human slashonomics, it should take a hard look at the Institute for Policy Studies’ (IPS) eighteenth annual executive compensation report, which details how corporations are rewarding CEOs for aggressive tax avoidance—to the tune of at least $100 billion in lost tax revenues every year. Executive Excess 2011: The Massive CEO Rewards for Tax Dodging reveals that last year twenty-five of the 100 most highly paid CEOs took home salaries greater than the amount their companies paid in 2010 federal income taxes. And it wasn’t because the corporations weren’t making dough—they averaged global profits of $1.9 billion, and only seven reported losses in US pre-tax income. But these twenty-five companies shielded their profits in 556 tax haven subsidiaries in places like the Cayman Islands, Isle of Man, and Singapore, which proved to be a lucrative tax dodging strategy for the CEOs themselves: the twenty-five CEOs averaged $16.7 million in compensation, compared to $10.8 million for their peers in the S&P 500.  More

 

Meanwhile, back where the rest of us live. . .

Job Growth at Halt in U.S.; Worst Showing in 11 Months

The economy failed to add new jobs in August, the first time there has been no increase in net jobs in the United States in 11 months. The flat performance was down sharply from a revised 85,000 gain of jobs in July, the Labor Department said Friday, and was far below a consensus forecast by economists of 60,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate stayed constant at 9.1 percent in August…  The number of long-term unemployed — people out of work for 27 weeks or more — remained about the same as in July, at 6 million, as did the median duration of unemployment, at 19.6 weeks compared with 19.7 weeks in July.   More

 

How Will We Pay for Obama's New Jobs Push? Answer: Tax Wall Street

The most frustrating reality of the current moment is that the federal government places too much of the tax burden on working families, small farmers and small business owners—all of whom contribute mightily to society while struggling to make ends meet—and too little on the Wall Street speculators whose greed and irresponsibility has done so much to destabilize the economy.

Obama’s increased focus on jobs is important. But it is not enough at a moment when Republicans in Congress—and their echo chamber in the media—refuse to allocate the resources that are necessary to fund jobs initiatives. The demand for a jobs programs must be coupled with demands for better budgeting priorities and for new sources of revenueMore

 

A Sales Tax on Wall Street Transactions

Most of us pay state and local sales taxes on most things we buy, and most casino gambling is subject to state taxes ranging from up to 6.75 percent in Nevada to 55 percent on slot machines in Pennsylvania.  But speculative purchases of stocks, bonds and other financial instruments in the United States go untaxed but for a tiny fee (less than a half-cent) on stock trades that helps finance the Securities and Exchange Commission. In Britain, by contrast, a 0.5 percent tax on stock transactions raises about $40 billion a year. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany recently announced plans to introduce a similar tax in the 27 nations of the European Community.  More

 

Congress isn't broken - it's fixed by special interests

Barely 1 percent of our citizens fund campaigns today. In fact, less than a quarter of 1 percent (0.24 percent) provided 90 percent of campaign money in 2010, with lobbyists and special interests in Washington, D.C., alone accounting for more than 32 states combined. In such a system, it is little surprise that members of Congress spend more time raising money from a wealthy few than working with bipartisan colleagues to solve the nation’s fiscal crisis and start creating jobs for the good of all Americans. Indeed, Washington isn’t broken – it’s fixed… Our problem today is not a broken government but a beholden one: government is more beholden to special-interest shareholders who fund campaigns than it is to ordinary voters. Like any sound investor, the funders seek nothing more and nothing less than a handsome return – deficits be darned – in the form of tax breaks, subsidies and government contracts.  More

 

 

Taxes Comparison. . .  Low Level in US

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 The Truth about the “Debt Crisis”    There is one simple truth about the discussion of the looming U.S. debt crisis: it is largely a compendium of half-truths, distortions, myths and outright lies… If you really believe shrinking the debt is an imperative, then there are easier ways to do it then stealing grandma’s meds. The Bush wars and tax cuts – which are still going – cost $3.3 trillion from 2002 to 2009. Cutting the trillion-dollar war budget in half, ending the Bush tax cuts (which Obama could have done with no sweat when he was bursting with political capital in early 2009 or by calling the GOP bluff before or after the 2010 midterm elections) and raising tax rates on corporations would pretty much wipe out the deficit over the next decade. In the case of corporate taxes, during the last decade it averaged only 10.7 percent of federal revenues – and since 2008 it’s shrunk to barely 5 percent – versus 29.8 percent in the 1950s.   More

 Deficit Myths   The well-funded demagogues who have dominated current debates over budget deficits and the national debt …  have helped usher in what Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman calls a “Dark Age of macroeconomics” where many of the most basic facts of economics have been drowned out by ridiculous but useful myths. The country’s news media have lent credibility to these myths. For instance, at the most liberal end of the media spectrum, New York Times coverage implies that tax cuts for the rich are just as likely, or maybe more likely, to create jobs as the alternative route of increasing social spending—a claim recognized as false by most independent economists.  More

RESOURCES: FUND OUR COMMUNITIES, REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING 25%
New Boston Coalition website! --- http://linkupboston.net/campaigns/25percent 
UJP 25 Percent Task Force: http://www.25percentsolution.com/
New Priorities Network website: www.newprioritiesnetwork.org
[A] grassroots movement of ordinary people across U.S. towns and cities has launched the New Priorities campaign, uniting under the demand to “bring the troops and war dollars home” by cutting defense spending instead of benefits, jobs, and basic government services. Worldwide actions are also being planned for the Global Day of Action on Military Spending on April 12th to shine a light on egregious amounts of military spending by the world’s governments. Central to these efforts must include demands to shut the 1,000-plus U.S. military bases in over 46 countries. More…

 

 

*    *    *    *

YARD SIGNS ARE BACK!

Yes, we have a new order of yard signs, and some cardboard window signs as well. 

 

SAVE Our Libraries, Schools, & Youth Jobs---CUT MILITARY SPENDING 25%
Yard signs are $5-10, and window signs are $2-5, a sliding scale that helps reimburse DPP faster (we need it) and fund a few signs for cheaper or free for people who can’t afford the full price.  (Break-even price is slightly above the bottom of the range, for each kind.)
To get your sign(s): call Becky, 617-282-3783 or email info@dotpeace.org

 

*    *    *    *
WARS – Old and New – GRIND ON. . .   Are you feeling safer now?

 

"HOMELAND SECURITY" - The decade's biggest scam

Exaggerating, manipulating and exploiting the Terrorist threat for profit and power has been the biggest scam of the decade; only Wall Street's ability to make the Government prop it up and profit from the crisis it created at the expense of everyone else can compete for that title.  Nothing has altered the mindset of the American citizenry more than a decade's worth of fear-mongering  So compelling is fear-based propaganda, so beholden are our government institutions to these private Security State factions, and so unaccountable is the power bestowed by these programs, that even a full decade after the only Terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, its growth continues more or less unabated.    More

 

Poll: Americans Say Wars In Iraq, Afghanistan Haven’t Made U.S. Safer

On the eve of the ten year anniversary of 9/11, the Pew Research Center has released new data on Americans' reaction to the attacks, and the foreign and national security policies pursued in the post 9/11 era. They show a country with views that have evolved on the relationship between civil liberties and the tools given to government to fight terrorism, and a disbelief that the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan helped to lessen the chance there will be another terrorist attack on the United States.  The Pew survey showed a large shift in the number of Americans who are willing to see some of their civil liberties go out the window in the name of fighting terrorism. Directly after 9/11, Americans were willing to make the deal, as 55 percent thought it was necessary, against 35 percent who felt the opposite. Now, only 40 percent felt that giving up some civil liberties is necessary to curb terrorism, with 54 percent against.   More

 

How Safe Are You?

WHAT ALMOST $8 TRILLION IN NATIONAL SECURITY SPENDING BOUGHT YOU

in the vast majority of cases, the plots we know about were broken up by "law enforcement" or civilians, in no way aided by the $7.2 trillion that was invested in the military -- or in many cases even the $636 billion that went into homeland security. And while most of those cases involved federal authorities, at least three were stopped by local law enforcement action… It’s possible that all that funding, especially the moneys that have gone into our various wars and conflicts, our secret drone campaigns and “black sites,” our various forays into Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and other places may actually have made us less safe. Certainly, they have exacerbated existing tensions and created new ones, eroded our standing in some of the most volatile regions of the world, resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands and the misery of many more, and made Iraq and Afghanistan, among other places, potential recruiting and training grounds for future generations of insurgents and terrorists.   More

 

Libyan bombing illegal says concerned group of African Leaders

A group of concerned African leaders have issued a statement warning about Africa being re-colonised as Nato continues its support of the Libyan rebels. Speaking to media in Johannesburg today, leaders released a letter lamenting "misuse of the United Nations Security Council to engage in militarised diplomacy to effect regime change in Libya" and the "marginalisation of the African Union"… The letter was signed by more than 200 prominent Africans, including former African National Congress president Thabo Mbeki , Prof Shadrack Gutto of the University of SA, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, Prof Chris Landsberg the head of the Department of Politics at the University of Johannesburg, Prof Mahmood Mamdani from the University of Columbia, former deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad , author and poet Dr Wally Serote and many other influential Africans.  More

 

The New Libya: Better Not Be Black

Black African immigrants in the past benefited from Gaddafi’s aspiration to be a pan-African leader. The position of illegal immigrants was always uncertain, but they were essential to the economy. With the fall of Gaddafi, those who have not already fled face persecution or even murder. Last weekend 30 bodies of mostly black men, several of them handcuffed and others already wounded, were found after an apparent mass execution at a roundabout near Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya headquarters.  More

 

Female Trafficking Soars in Iraq

Before the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq enjoyed the highest female literacy rate across the Middle East, and more Iraqi women were employed in skilled professions, like medicine and education, than in any other country in the region.   Twenty years later Iraqi women experience a very different reality…  "The US-led war and the chaos it has generated; the growing insecurity and lawlessness; corruption of authorities; the upsurge in religious extremism; economic hardship; marriage pressures; gender based violence and recurrent discrimination suffered by women; kidnappings of girls and women; the impunity of perpetrators of crimes, especially those against women; and the development of new technologies associated with the globalisation of the sex industry."   More

 

Who Funds Muslim-baiting In The US?

The report, "Fear Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America," demonstrates that a small group of self-proclaimed experts (Frank Gaffney, David Yerushalmi, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, and Steve Emerson) backed by a host of foundations and donors (many of which also fund the [Israel] lobby) have put Islamophobia on the map. To put it simply, without these "experts," their donors, and Fox News (their media mouthpiece) you would never have heard that a Muslim community center (the "Ground Zero Mosque") was being constructed in New York City. And the center certainly would not have become a major news story. Nor would Republican (and even a few Democratic) candidates for president, Congress, and even village councils be called upon to condemn Islam and "Sharia Law" or face being labeled a supporter of terrorism. Nor would Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum have made hatred of American Muslims such an integral part of their campaigns.   More

 

*    *    *    *
ISRAEL/PALESTINE

 

CODEPINK Files Ethics Complaint Over Congressional Israel Junkets

81 Representatives are touring Israel this month, compliments of an affiliate of the Israel lobby AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) but still clocked in on the taxpayer’s dime. This is shameful at a time when lawmakers are needed at home to deal with the economic crisis.  In response, CODEPINK has filed a complaint to the House Ethics Committee. Congress is prohibited from participating in any multiple-day trip that is planned, organized, requested, or arranged by a lobbyist. AIPAC has gotten around this by funding trips like this one through the 501(c)(3) organization the American Israel Education Foundation.  More

 

An invitation Rep. Jackson should have declined

Jackson also approvingly quoted Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has called for the forcible transfer of Israel's Palestinian citizens and whose stances have regularly been criticized internationally for their thinly veiled bigotry. The day that a prominent African-American and the son of a civil rights icon embraces a man like Lieberman for the sole purpose of greasing wheels in Washington is a sad one for anyone who cares about equality and justice.  Jackson's submission to the lobby of a foreign state is a tragic illustration of the abdication of progressives and others in the United States over the rights of Palestinians. Such behavior is one of the reasons Israel has been able to dominate Palestinians for decades with little protest from the United States.  More

 

Ankara: UN report exposes Israel’s crimes

Despite expressing regret that a long-awaited UN report on bloodshed aboard a Gaza-bound protest flotilla last year deemed Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip legal, Turkish officials nonetheless maintained on Friday that the report clearly exposes Israel's crimes. “The report clearly determines the crimes committed by Israeli soldiers and other officials, and voices these crimes,” Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said at a press conference on Friday“The loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force by Israeli forces during the takeover of the Mavi Marmara was unacceptable. Nine passengers were killed and many others seriously wounded by Israeli forces. No satisfactory explanation has been provided to the panel by Israel for any of the nine deaths. Forensic evidence showing that most of the deceased were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range has not been adequately accounted for in the material presented by Israel,” says the report.  More

 

Turkey downgrades diplomatic ties with Israel after UN report leak

Ankara has slammed Israel with sanctions of reduced diplomatic ties and a hold on all military agreements in the immediate aftermath of the leaked details of a UN report…  Ankara announced the sanctions to be imposed on Israel due to the country's refusal to comply with Turkish demands for compensation, an apology and the lifting of the Gaza blockade. Turkey considers the demands critical for the normalization of relations between the two countries, which experienced their all-time low following the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound charity ship the Mavi Marmara in international waters. The flotilla raid killed eight Turkish and one Turkish-American peace activists onboard the ship, which was carrying humanitarian aid to the Gazans.   More

 

Why Palestinians can't recognize a 'Jewish state'

For the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is to declare their surrender, meaning, to waive their group dignity by negating their historical narrative and national identity. This recognition would affirm that since the rebirth of Israel is a "natural" and exclusive right, the first revolt in "our" history as Palestinians - against the British Mandate in the 1930s for encouraging Jewish immigration, as well as our resistance to Israel's establishment in 1948 - were mistakes. Thus, the Nakba is "our" fault only.

By this recognition, we would accept the rationale of the Law of Return, and as a result, we would waive our right to return, even in principle. Further, since the historical masters of the land possess rights a priori, the confiscation of Palestinian land and its designation as "absentee property" makes sense, even when members of this group are "present absentees" in Israel…  With this recognition, the Palestinian citizens of the state in Nazareth and Haifa, who remained in their homes in 1948, cannot demand a "state for all of its citizens" and full equality because they do not enjoy the same original rights as Jews.  More

 

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EVENTS

Monday, September 5:  Cambridge, LABOR DAY MARCH & RALLY! 10 a.m. (March kicks off at 10:30 a.m.), Cambridge City Hall, 795 Mass Ave. September 5th is more than just another holiday, it is a day dedicated to the achievements of all workers in America.  We march to honor the history of working people and to continue the fight for a just economy for all!   

Join us in support of good jobs!  We will be marching through Harvard University to highlight the struggles of workers and our communities.  For more information, call (617) 523-6150

 
Saturday, September 10: KIP TIERNAN MEMORIAL SERVICE,  11 am at Old South Church in Copley Square. Kip Tiernan, advocate for fairness, person of enormous hope, faith and love died on July 2nd after a long struggle with cancer.  Kip was a founding member of Community Works, founder Poor People's United Fund, Rosie's Place, Greater Boston Food Bank as well as many other Boston non-profits working for Social Justice.  Her voice and vision will be deeply missed. We are determined to keep her legacy alive by mirroring Kip's courage, focus, compassion and ability to cut to the chase and get things done for the people who need it most.  Please join us in a celebration of Kip's life at Memorial Service on Saturday, September 10th  at.

                   

Thursday, September 15: Demonstrate at the UN for Palestine, 4:30 pm gather at Times Sq.; 5:30 pm march to Grand Central & the U.N.. Palestinians Tell the World:  Sovereignty Means Securing ALL Our Rights!  Palestinians everywhere are mobilizing to remind the world of their right to self-determination. In New York we are marching to the United Nations because the world’s attention is focused on the vote on Palestine scheduled to take place there.  For over six decades, the U.N. has approved numerous resolutions promising Palestinians their basic rights, none of which have been implemented. We come to the U.N. to demand:  Sovereignty, Equality, and the Right of Return for Palestinians NOW!

 

SAVE THE DATE!

Saturday, October 1: Ending the Endless Wars and Occupations,  9am- 5pm • Suffolk University, Boston.  Keynote speaker Noam Chomsky; The Conference marks ten years since 9/11, the War on Terror, the Afghanistan War, and the founding of UJP. The US/NATO bombing of Libya is the latest in the series of wars. Domestically, greed is rampant and serious problems are getting worse. Few peace and justice activists can remember a more troubling time.  How did we get here and how can we change things? What can we learn from the historic events in Egypt, where the people triumphed against huge odds, and the workers of Wisconsin?  How can the peace movement continue its work to end the wars and cut the military budget while also building cooperation with the economic and racial justice movements?  We want a peaceful foreign policy based on democracy to focus on the pressing economic and human problems that must be solved.  Featuring Presentations by: Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence: Report from Afghanistan and Iraq; Ann Wright, former U.S. Army Colonel: Report on the Gaza Flotilla and Palestine; Michael McPhearson, National Coordinator, United for Peace and Justice: Connecting to the War and Home; Will Hopkins, Iraq Veterans Against the War and New Hampshire Peace Action: The crisis and youth today

 

 

 

SAVE THE DATE!

The Next DPP MEETING (“Fall Retreat”)

will be an extended discussion of where we go from here, with an assessment of our work so far this year.
Weekend of September 10-11, Look for details of time and place (either Saturday or Sunday) in upcoming DPP emails.

 

Monday, August 29: DPP 25% Committee, 7-8:30 PM 41A Brent St., , on ---this will serve as our Aug. and Sept. meeting.We will review what's going on with the 25% Coalition and with DPP and Coalition efforts re Kerry, Lynch, Capuano and outreach via workshops and tabling, and anything else we need to think about re the big questions to be discussed at DPP's early fall retreat.  (We decided we need one at last night's DPP meeting; probably happening Sat. or Sun.

Sept. 10 or 11.)

 

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Dues for DPP!

Hayat Imam writes from Bangladesh:

Dear Peace-makers,
I have spent most of my time since March in Bangladesh caring for my mother as she slowly recovers from an illness. I have been following all your good work even though I have not been able to join you in your endeavors. I feel deeply appreciative for all your efforts. 
I wanted to let you know that Gerry Bilodeau gbilodeau@boston.k12.ma.us has kindly agreed to take over as DPP Treasurer for the time being. Thank you Gerry!
I'd like to ask all of you to please send in your Annual DPP member contribution (suggested amount of $20) to Gerry Bilodeau, at his address: 26 Midland St., Dorchester, MA 02125 (or give it to him at the next DPP meeting). Even though we get some grants from time to time, relying on our own steam feels really great! If 30 of us sent in $20, it would go a long way towards our annual expenses. 
Thanks all and goodbye for now,
Hayat

 

Hope to see you. Meanwhile, happy summer!  

 

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SUPPORT THE VERIZON STRIKERS!

On Saturday August 6th, workers at Verizon were forced to make a difficult choice: accept a contract with over 100 concessions, or go on strike. As members of CWA and IBEW, these workers knew that accepting the contract wouldn't merely affect their own pay, benefits and security- it would lower standards for working people across the country. To stand up for themselves, and for all of us, 45,000 workers walked out in protest at midnight.

*Verizon, a highly profitable company that paid no taxes last year, is looking to bust the union. Their final contract proposal includes the elimination of pensions, work outsourcing, and unaffordable health care.

*Verizon negotiators have even gone so far as to attack Martin Luther King Day and Veterans’ Day as being “unimportant holidays”.

*Verizon workers have spent decades fighting to win the kind of jobs we all need: jobs with good pay, decent benefits and job security. Today, these jobs are disappearing.

Workers need people to join them on their picket lines. Can you adopt one of these locations and join the workers on a regular basis? Can you pledge to bring lunch one day a week or hold a fund raiser for their strike fund? Every bit of solidarity helps and we everything to win.  Visit Mass JWJ or the Mass AFL-CIO for picket line locations

 

Pickets at Verizon Wireless stores are putting a serious dent in the company's income. This weekend is a state tax holiday, which means lots of shoppers going out to spend money. We need to ramp up our efforts Saturday and Sunday to cover all Verizon Wireless stores across Massachusetts from 10am until 10pm, and make sure Verizon really feels the heat. Click here for store locations and more info.

 

ON THE PICKET LINES: Issues in strike affect more than Verizon workers

A victory by Verizon would send a powerful message of encouragement to every other unionized employer seeking “contract relief,’’ based on balance sheets far less impressive than Verizon’s. In the majority of workplaces, where pay, benefits, and personnel policies can be changed unilaterally by management - without any prior discussion with affected employees - non-union employers would be similarly emboldened to lower their employment standards. On the other hand, if widespread labor and community support helps Verizon strikers maintain a model contract, all Massachusetts workers would have something to celebrate on Labor Day, for the first time in a long while.  More

 

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“MALEFACTORS OF GREAT WEALTH”

I remembered this phrase recently, sure that it had been coined by Franklin D. Roosevelt to castigate the Big Business opponents of the New Deal.  In fact, when I looked it up I was surprised to learn that the memorable words were used by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt in a speech at Provincetown, Mass, to describe the “Trusts” which caused the financial “panic” of 1907.  He went on to say:

 

“. . . [these men] combine to bring about as much financial stress as possible, in order to discredit the policy of the government and thereby secure a reversal of that policy, so that they may enjoy unmolested the fruits of their own evil-doing. . . I regard this contest as one to determine who shall rule this free country—the people through their governmental agents, or a few ruthless and domineering men whose wealth makes them peculiarly formidable because they hide behind the breastworks of corporate organization.”

 

Not a bad description of the political/class war being waged by Wall Street and the Republican Party against the people a century later.

It’s an old idea – confirmed by modern social science – that people are much more willing to take action when they can identify who is to blame for their troubles. Otherwise, without a clear target, they may tend to accept their bad situation as a kind of natural disaster with no fault and no solution. Our friends at City Life understand this, which is why they rightly point the finger at the Banks, rather than just focus on the hard luck of the families facing foreclosure. .

 

Why can’t a Democratic President speak about the “Malefactors of Great Wealth” who are responsible for the economic catastrophe we face today?  Could it have something to do with the fact that wealthy individuals and corporations fund the expensive electoral campaigns of both political parties, and so ensure that the solutions supported by the majority of people are simply off the agenda?  Fake Republican populism is allowed in our system, since it is easily deflected (by racism, among other means) away from the real perpetrators; a Democratic populism is unacceptable, because people might take it seriously. 

(Versions of the commentary here and below were published on-line and have been submitted as an op-ed to the Dorchester Reporter)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 What Happened to Obama?

What makes the “deficit debate” we just experienced seem so surreal is how divorced the conversation in Washington has been from conversations around the kitchen table everywhere else in America… The average voter is far more worried about jobs than about the deficit, which few were talking about while Bush and the Republican Congress were running it up. The conventional wisdom is that Americans hate government, and if you ask the question in the abstract, people will certainly give you an earful about what government does wrong. But if you give them the choice between cutting the deficit and putting Americans back to work, it isn’t even close. But it’s not just jobs. Americans don’t share the priorities of either party on taxes, budgets or any of the things Congress and the president have just agreed to slash — or failed to slash, like subsidies to oil companies. … The president tells us he prefers a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction, one that weds “revenue enhancements” (a weak way of describing popular taxes on the rich and big corporations that are evading them) with “entitlement cuts” (an equally poor choice of words that implies that people who’ve worked their whole lives are looking for handouts). But the law he just signed includes only the cuts.   More

 

ROBERT REICH: Why the President Doesn’t Present a Bold Plan to Create Jobs

So rather than fight for a bold jobs plan, the White House has apparently decided it’s politically wiser to continue fighting about the deficit. The idea is to keep the public focused on the deficit drama – to convince them their current economic woes have something to do with it, decry Washington’s paralysis over fixing it, and then claim victory over whatever outcome emerges from the process recently negotiated to fix it. They hope all this will distract the public’s attention from the President’s failure to do anything about continuing high unemployment and economic anemia. At a time when the nation’s eyes were on him, seeking an answer to what was happening, he chose not to talk about the need for a bold jobs plan but to talk instead about the budget deficit – as if it were responsible for the terrible economy, including Wall Street’s plunge. He spoke of Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the nation’s debt as proof that Washington’s political paralysis over deficit reduction “could do enormous damage to our economy and the world’s,” and said the nation could reduce its deficit and jump-start the economy if there was “political will in Washington.”   More

 

Obama's Bad Bargain

Obama helped conservatives concoct the debt crisis on false premises, promoting a claim that Social Security and other entitlement programs were somehow to blame while gliding over the real causes and culprits. Social Security has never contributed a dime to the federal deficits (actually, the government borrows the trust fund’s huge surpluses to offset its red ink)… Whatever supposed solutions Congress eventually enacts, the misleading quality of the debt crisis should become widely understood once the action is completed. The debt and deficits will probably keep expanding, because the economy will remain stagnant or worse, with near 10 percent unemployment and falling incomes, and that is fundamentally what drives deficits higher. It should become obvious that deficit reduction did nothing to revive economic growth or to create jobs.  More

 

We need a jobs bill, Mr. President

We don’t need the president to start talking about jobs again. We need him to start doing something about jobs — something that will capture the attention of the American people and the media, something that will change the debate in a city that has lost its way… Let’s be clear: There is a limit to what the president can do. To succeed, he must be a joined by a movement. But there is a movement afoot, one that is prepared to take on this fight. The American Dream Movement is mobilizing tens of thousands of people in all 435 congressional districts with a simple message: jobs, not cuts. That is a message the American people support by more than a 2 to 1 margin. On Monday, the organizers released a job-creation plan written by 127,000 Americans.  More

 

FREE MONEY for Job Creation!

So how do we pay for a jobs program with big investments in infrastructure and education that will put people back to work?  After all, we have a “debt crisis” with the credit rating of the US government downgraded and the stock market tanking because of excessive deficit spending, right?  Actually not.  Those right-wing fundamentalists who claim to believe in the magic of the market are willing to ignore its message when it challenges their cherished fantasies.  The stock market is falling because of the pessimistic outlook for the US economy.  Meanwhile, mountains of cash are streaming into the safe haven of “downgraded” US treasury notes – so much so that the government can now borrow whatever it needs at virtually no (or even negative!) interest rates when adjusted for inflation.  That is, cash-flush individuals, banks and corporations are paying the US government to hold their money safely.  There are just no mattresses big enough!  See here

There has never been an easier time for the government to borrow what it needs to invest in our economy  --  and the resulting growth is calculated to more than pay for the money we spend today as the jobs picture and the economy improve.  Moreover, those infrastructure projects in mass transportation, clean energy, rebuilt roads and bridges (you name it) will continue to pay off well into the future.  Think of it as a home improvement loan.

 

*    *    *    *   
Haymarket offers anti-racism training – sign up now
Haymarket People’s Fund, which recently gave a grant to support DPP’s work, is hosting an Undoing Racism Workshop on September 22-24 at Simmons College. Many of us have taken this workshop with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, and it is excellent.
The deadline to register is Wednesday September 7. Partial scholarships are available to DPP members, but resources are limited. Please contact mikeprokosch@verizon.net ASAP if you want to attend.
Undoing Racism™ Workshops last for two and one half days and include a historical and institutional analysis of racism, understanding the structure of oppression, defining and sharing culture, leadership development and principles of accountability and networking.  Trainers are experienced community organizers. 

 

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US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation:

10TH ANNUAL NATIONAL ORGANIZERS' CONFERENCE, 2011

http://www.endtheoccupation.org/img/original/Conference%20Logo%202011%20no%20host.jpg

Once a year, activists and member groups of our coalitions come together to discuss the current work of the movement and to help shape the work of the US Campaign.

Join us for our 10th Annual National Organizers' Conference in Washington, DC, September 16-19, 2011 at the historic Thurgood Marshall Center!

More Info here

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THE BUDGET BATTLE, THE ECONOMY and the WARS

A Note on “ENTITLEMENTS”. . .

Words matter.  When politician talk about cutting programs overwhelmingly supported by the public they say “entitlement reform” to mask what they are about.  It’s not surprising that the Right and its media supporters would use that slippery euphemism, but the expression has also become the standard term in political discourse and the mainstream press. It is even regularly used by those on the Left who should know better.  “Entitlement reform” allows some, especially white and middle class voters, to imagine that politicians are talking about ending giveaways to some “other” undeserving people. 

We always need to be specific.  What the so-called “reformers” want is to cut Social Security and MedicareSocial Security, by the way, is paid for out of its own payroll taxes and has so far contributed not one dime to the deficit;  Medicare costs are rising rapidly because of the inefficiencies and waste in our privately-run healthcare system, which costs on average double what any other country pays per capita and yields worse results in all the health indices that can be measured.

Should anyone be surprised that the core of the Tea Party caucus in Congress is from the “Solid South” states of the old Confederacy?

 

The Tea Party, the debt ceiling, and white Southern extremism

The Tea Party movement takes its name from the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when American patriots dumped British tea into Boston Harbor to protest British imperial power. But while New England was the center of resistance to the British empire, there are few New Englanders to be found in today's Tea Party movement. It should be called the Fort Sumter movement, after the Southern attack on the federal garrison in Fort Sumter in South Carolina on April 12-13, 1861, that began the Civil War. Today's Tea Party movement is merely the latest of a series of attacks on American democracy by the white Southern minority…   More

 

As high-stakes budget blackmail continues, and neoliberals sharpen their knives for the social programs most of us want, now is the moment to call talk shows, write letters to the editor, call Congress, talk to your neighbors to demand:  Jobs Now!  Don’t Cut Social Security – Cut the Pentagon! 

Poll: Spreading gloom about government

In the aftermath of the tumultuous debate over raising the debt ceiling, Americans give Washington a strong vote of no confidence, with barely a quarter saying the federal government can fix the nation’s economic problems and a large majority agreeing that the policymaking process is unstable and ineffective… More than seven in 10 say Washington is focused on the “wrong things.”  More

Democracy is the Hidden Casualty of the Debt Deal

The debt deal’s final resolution to what essentially amounted to a hostage crisis by that minority represents a complete unmooring of official decision-making from the will of the American people. The last few weeks could be the final straw that leads to a collapse of confidence not just in this government but in the American project of self-governance. When citizens don’t participate, democracy is in peril. At a time of so much great need in our country, sending the message that citizen involvement is futile is dangerous not just to the substance of one debate but to the core principles that allow us to call ourselves a democracy.  More

 

   

Budget Deal Vote in the House: Passes 268-161: Democrats evenly divided for and against

MASS:  Lynch, Keating, Tsongas YES; Capuano, Frank, Markey, McGovern, Neal, Olver, Tierney  NO. . .   Link

(Kerry and Brown both voted in favor in the Senate)

 

A Double Looting of the State and the Working Class

Despite this double looting of working people and the state, many victims direct their anger at the government instead of those who control the government. Unemployed millions fired by private capitalist employers (or suffering wage and benefits cuts imposed by them) blame the government, not their employers. Millions foreclosed out of their homes by private capitalist banks blame the government. They want the government punished, made smaller and weaker, and they are desperate to avoid further taxes. Republicans promise to do all that. Those who fear that a smaller, tax-starved government will do even less for them hear Democrats promising to cut less than Republicans. This is politics disconnected from economic realities (for example, high unemployment) and twisted into a contest between more and less government spending cuts imposed on a working class already reeling from economic crisis.  More

 

The 'Super Congress' Is Designed to Force Cuts To Popular Programs
In the months ahead, we're going to be treated to an endless parade of process stories about the Gang of 12 “super congress” that emerged from the debt ceiling deal. Each time a staffer leaks some bit of trivia about the internal machinations of this opaque committee, the Beltway media will write a flurry of stories about it, lawmakers will signal whether they might support this provision or that one and the pundits will sift through the tea leaves trying to predict whether this time the kind of “grand bargain” the Washington Post editorial board lusts after will finally come to pass.

It will all be a piece of Kabuki theater. The way this deal ends is fairly easy to predict – it's a set-up that will result in fairly deep cuts to domestic spending, won't raise taxes on the wealthy and will leave “defense” spending largely untouched – a process that will force cuts to important public services.  More

 

Sen. Kerry “Open” to Cuts in Social Security, Medicare

Kerry spoke favorably of a grand bargain that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had tried to reach, noting it would have included “a mix of reductions and, and reforms in Social Security." Kerry alarmed liberals by repeating the standard argument of Washington’s deficit hawks. “The real problem for our country is not the short-term debt. We can deal with that. It's the long-term debt. It's the structural debt of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid measured against the demographics of our nation,” Kerry said… “Like President Obama, Kerry is fatally attracted to the notion of a grand bargain, sacrificing cuts in Medicare and Social Security in exchange for increased revenues to reduce long term deficits. And he is simply wrong-headed about what the nation must do in order to get the economy on track,” said Robert Borosage, co-director of Campaign for America’s Future, a progressive advocacy group.   More

 

Defense Budget Hysteria

…the "doomsday mechanism" would reduce the Pentagon's "base" (non-war) budget to about $472 billion, the approximate level of the base DOD budget in 2007. I do not recall anyone declaring our national security being "imperiled" at that spending level in 2007…  If returned to the $472 billion 2007 level, the base DOD budget would be $73 billion higher than it was in 2000, the year before our various interventions started to occur. If spending were to be continued at the $472 billion level for the next 10 years, base Defense Department spending would be three quarters of a trillion dollars above the levels extant in 2000. And, not a penny of the additional monies to be spent on the wars would be eliminated.  More

 

AFL-CIO:  Fake Political Crises and Real Economic Crises - A Call for Leadership and for Action

In an economy beset by mass unemployment, inadequate demand, tight credit and asset deflation, massive cuts in government spending will be disastrous - particularly cuts that cause layoffs or reduce Americans' incomes, such as cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These deep cuts could easily catapult our economy straight into a double-dip recession, if not a Great Depression. And we run the risk of dragging the rest of the global economy down with us… There is no way to fund what we must do as a nation without bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The militarization of our foreign policy has proven to be a costly mistake. It is time to invest at home.Working people do not want a kinder, gentler or more reasonable version of the policies that caused the economic crisis, that dismantled the American Dream and that have undermined our democracy for a generation. We demand a completely different approach - we want jobs, prosperity, fairness and, most of all, a future for all of us.  More

 

Rep. Frank says US credit downgraded because of excessive military engagement in world

The liberal Massachusetts Democrat says $200 billion could be saved “without in any way endangering our security” by dialing back U.S. military involvement in the world, including operations in Western Europe. Frank says the military establishment has always had this “great momentum” in politics, but says the credit reversal “could change our thinking.” Frank calls the military a logical target “if we’re looking for something that breaks the mold” on spending.  More

 

WHAT ARE YOUR BUDGET PRIORITIES? 

Let your voice be heard in the federal budget debate!  VOTE HERE

 

Taxes Comparison. . .  Low Level in US

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The Truth about the “Debt Crisis”

There is one simple truth about the discussion of the looming U.S. debt crisis: it is largely a compendium of half-truths, distortions, myths and outright lies… If you really believe shrinking the debt is an imperative, then there are easier ways to do it then stealing grandma’s meds. The Bush wars and tax cuts – which are still going – cost $3.3 trillion from 2002 to 2009. Cutting the trillion-dollar war budget in half, ending the Bush tax cuts (which Obama could have done with no sweat when he was bursting with political capital in early 2009 or by calling the GOP bluff before or after the 2010 midterm elections) and raising tax rates on corporations would pretty much wipe out the deficit over the next decade. In the case of corporate taxes, during the last decade it averaged only 10.7 percent of federal revenues – and since 2008 it’s shrunk to barely 5 percent – versus 29.8 percent in the 1950s.   More

 

Deficit Myths

The well-funded demagogues who have dominated current debates over budget deficits and the national debt …  have helped usher in what Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman calls a “Dark Age of macroeconomics” where many of the most basic facts of economics have been drowned out by ridiculous but useful myths. The country’s news media have lent credibility to these myths. For instance, at the most liberal end of the media spectrum, New York Times coverage implies that tax cuts for the rich are just as likely, or maybe more likely, to create jobs as the alternative route of increasing social spending—a claim recognized as false by most independent economists.  More

TELL CAPUANO AND LYNCH: TAKE A NEW LOOK AT MILITARY SPENDING   
Barney Frank and five other Congresspeople are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter to the president and leaders of the House and Senate that calls for a "comprehensive reevaluation of U.S. worldwide military commitments."  It is clear to most people that we will not have the resources we need to create jobs, fund healthcare and education, protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - and address all the other urgent social needs we have - without ending the wars and redirecting funds from the bloated and wasteful Pentagon budget to meet our domestic priorities. 

Please take a moment to ask your own member of Congress to sign onto this letter.  We've made it very easy.  You can send this letter drafted by US Labor Against the War or modify it to reflect your own views.

RESOURCES: FUND OUR COMMUNITIES, REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING 25%
New Boston Coalition website! --- http://linkupboston.net/campaigns/25percent 
UJP 25 Percent Task Force: http://www.25percentsolution.com/
New Priorities Network website: www.newprioritiesnetwork.org
[A] grassroots movement of ordinary people across U.S. towns and cities has launched the New Priorities campaign, uniting under the demand to “bring the troops and war dollars home” by cutting defense spending instead of benefits, jobs, and basic government services. Worldwide actions are also being planned for the Global Day of Action on Military Spending on April 12th to shine a light on egregious amounts of military spending by the world’s governments. Central to these efforts must include demands to shut the 1,000-plus U.S. military bases in over 46 countries. More…

 

 

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WARS – Old and New – GRIND ON. . .   Are you feeling safer now?

 

The war without end is a war with hardly any news coverage

The United States is bogged down in a 10-year-old war in Afghanistan in which 100,000 American troops and 40,000 other NATO personnel are fighting at a cost to U.S. taxpayers of $2 billion a week in a country beset by grinding poverty and ever-increasing civilian and military casualties…  Perhaps no story other than the nation’s continuing economic, jobs and housing crisis is as worthy of extensive reportage as this major and unpopular war in Afghanistan/Pakistan – but to say that the press overall is barely covering it is unfortunately all too true. The Pew Charitable Trust reported in January that for all of 2010 only 4 percent of the news hole in the nation’s newspapers was devoted to war news originating either in Afghanistan or the United States. (The ongoing war in Iraq fared even worse, with 1 percent coverage in 2010.)    More

 

How many secret wars are we fighting?

Somewhere on this planet an American commando is carrying out a mission.  Now, say that 70 times and you’re done... for the day.  Without the knowledge of the American public, a secret force within the U.S. military is undertaking operations in a majority of the world’s countries.  This new Pentagon power elite is waging a global war whose size and scope has never been revealed, until now… While it’s well known that U.S. Special Operations forces are deployed in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and it’s increasingly apparent that such units operate in murkier conflict zones like Yemen and Somalia, the full extent of their worldwide war has remained deeply in the shadows.   More

 

Stop Dithering in Iraq

The Americans have been bullying the Iraqis to let them stay, and now the Iraqis have agreed to negotiate a continued U.S. troop presence. But it is time to get out.  After almost 10 years, the new Iraq is what it is, and we Americans should take Iraqi ambivalence for what it represents. Some Iraqis may want U.S. troops to stay on out of understandable fear for the future, but other Iraqis, notably Moktada al-Sadr, violently oppose any hint of a continued occupation. A continued U.S. presence will be resisted. American soldiers will die, and most importantly, the goal of an Iraq able to make its own decisions and stand on its own feet will be yet again postponed.  More

 

Waging a Savage War on Libyan People
More bombs drop on Tripoli and across Libya tonight. Theses bombs dropped by the British government whose own youth are setting that country on fire in protest at their abandonment…  And on the day that NATO massacred 85 Libyan civilians, the images of Britain on fire can garner little sympathy amongst outraged Libyans.   More

 

Return of the Bomb Iran Crowd?

Iran Strategy On Sanctions Mirrors Run-Up To Iraq War Tactics

The decision of more than 90 U.S. senators to press President Obama for Iraq-style sanctions on Iran flew in the face of what some observers warned could be the beginning of a stress test of the international support for pressuring Iran and another step closer to a potential war with the Islamic Republic. But a Tuesday press release [PDF] from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) brings to mind eery parallels between the escalation of sanctions against Iran and the slow lead up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. More

 

U.S. politicians' favorite terrorist group

Given the supreme importance of the fight against terrorism and the terrible ramifications which ostensibly exist for providing material support to terrorists, it is puzzling to see prominent individuals within the U.S. political establishment openly lobbying for, and taking money from, an Iranian organization which is designated by the State Department as a terrorist group… That these politicians are engaged in providing support for an FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization), an activity for which countless individuals have been interned, tortured and killed, further illustrates that "supporting terrorism" in today’s parlance simply refers to providing support to an organization which commits violence of which the U.S. does not approve.  More

 

Americans Have the Clock, But the Taliban Have the Time

Obama can truthfully say he inherited this mess from a strategically inept predecessor, but he is not blameless, because his actions of the last eighteen months have made the Afghan predicament much worse. Recent events have placed the dilemma created by . Obama's the surge and de-surge strategy into sharp relief and illustrate how the dangerous reinforcing dynamic introduced above is now locking itself into place.   There were 32,000 troops in Afghanistan when Barack Obama became President in January 2009.  However, another 11,000 troops had been approved by the Bush Administration in its final months and were in the pipeline to deploy to Afghanistan.  Obama ordered his first escalation of 21,700 more troops in March 2009, and he added another 33,000 with his much ballyhooed surge decisions finalized in December 2009.  So, by the end of this first year in office, Obama had more than doubled down on the American commitment to what was  clearly a failing war in Afghanistan. While he bought off the hawks with these escalations, he sweetened the deal for the doves by promising he would begin reducing our deployed troop levels within eighteen months, beginning in July 2010, together with a vague albeit quickly forgotten promise to withdraw the rest by 2014.    More

 

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ISRAEL/PALESTINE

 

A fifth of all US congressmen visiting Israel this summer

A fifth of members of the House of Representatives will be taking their summer holidays in Israel this year with almost all the trips being paid for by one of America's most powerful lobby groups.

The [tax exempt] American Israel Education Foundation is shelling out to take around eighty congressmen to Israel during the summer recess period.  The group is supporting organisation to the American Israel Public Affair Committee (AIPAC) which describes itself as 'America's leading pro-Israel lobby'. According to the Jerusalem Post, 55 of the holidaymakers will be Republicans while 26 will be Democrats. Many will be visiting Israel for the first time.   More

 

Does your Congressperson represent you – or Israel?

In this time of economic austerity, when jobs are being slashed and Americans are fearful about their future, the Congressional recess is the time for our elected representatives to be home in their districts, reaching out to their constituents and servicing the people they are paid to represent. Instead, this August one out of every five representatives will be taking a junket to Israel, compliments of an affiliate of the Israel lobby AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) but still clocked in on the taxpayer’s dime… Not surprisingly, trip expenses are being paid by an affiliate of the all-powerful AIPAC lobby, the American Israel Educational Foundation. AIPAC lobbies hard to ensure that Israel is kept on the U.S. dole, with $3 billion of US taxpayers’ dollars a year going to the Israeli military. Without AIPAC and the financial contributions to Congressional campaigns made by its affiliate organizations, our representatives would be freer to speak out against funneling precious taxdollars to this already wealthy nation. This junket goes to show that those who claim AIPAC has a stranglehold over our Congress are not far off the mark.  More

 

In Tumult, New Hope for Palestinian Cause

In all the tumult of the Arab revolts, one of the most striking manifestations of change is a rejuvenated embrace of the Palestinian cause. The burst in activism in Egypt, Lebanon and even Tunisia has offered a rebuttal to an old bromide of Arab politics, that authoritarian leaders cynically inflamed sentiments over Israel and Palestine to divert attention from their own shortcomings… All across the region, popular uprisings have most insistently looked inward, at issues of democracy, social justice and dignity. But for many, dignity is a notion defined both individually and collectively. And even in the most idealistic moments of the Arab revolts, the weakness of their own governments was often a focus of protesters’ ire. In Tahrir Square in Cairo, anger at America and Israel was less pronounced than resentment of the subservience of Egyptian leaders to their policies, namely the blockade of Gaza.    More

 

'Israel trying to fix social ills at Palestinians' expense'

Fatah on Thursday responded to the Interior Ministry's approval of housing units in east Jerusalem, accusing Israel of attempting "to solve its social and economic problems at the expense of the Palestinian peoples’ rights and their occupied territory,” Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.  In a nod to the hundreds of tents across the country,  Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) approved 1,600 apartment units in the east Jerusalem haredi neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo late on Wednesday night. The Hebrew media reported that the Interior Ministry was working to prepare two additional projects in east Jerusalem, including 2,000 projects in Givat Hamatos and 625 units in Pisgat Zeev.   More

 

Palestinians will soon come full circle

The Palestinian national liberation movement has reached its end. As the Palestinian leadership – if there is such a legitimate body today – prepares to bring the issue of statehood to the UN this September, the weeks and months ahead will witness the last desperate attempt to get the international community to assume their responsibilities and ensure that a Palestinian state becomes a reality in the occupied territories… After struggling to revive the peace process for two decades, the Palestinians have lost faith in the process as well as in those tasked with overseeing it, namely the Quartet – United States, Russia, the EU and the UN. For the entire period of the peace process, Israel ploughed forward with more land confiscations, more settlement building, more death and more destruction.  More

 

 

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EVENTS

Monday, August 15: National Call-in Day: Oppose “Secure Communities!” Line is open 9am-5pm Eastern | 8am-4pm Central | 6am-2pm Pacific

Join us in raising our voices to urge President Obama and the Administration to heed the call from community members, advocates, faith leaders and elected officials around the country to put an end to the misnamed "Secure Communities" (S-comm) program.  National Call-in Day to the White House: Suspend "Secure Communities." Stop the Detentions & Deportations. Restore our Rights. Investigate the Abuses. White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111 Enough is enough! Our communities will not be silenced or appeased. DHS announced last Friday that they would continue to rollout S-comm nationally and rescinded all MOU's with states, effectively closing all doors for opting out of the deportation program. Most troubling is the announcement was made in the face of widespread opposition by a broad echo of voices including elected officials and members of Congress who called for an investigation into the program.

 

Wednesday, August 17: Sen. Scott Brown: Listen to the People! Noon, @ Scott Brown’s Boston Office, JFK Federal Building,  15 New Sudbury Street, Boston.    Please join us for a demonstration on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 to tell Scott Brown: “We can’t afford the Bush tax handouts to the wealthy and

super-rich anymore. Stand up for health care and education. Don’t sell out seniors and kids.” As the next round of federal budget negotiations. approaches, Scott Brown is telling Massachusetts families

that he’ll consider Social Security and Medicare cuts, but he’s rejecting any call for shared sacrifice from millionaires and billionaires.  To RSVP or for more info, call FayeRuth: 617-284-1152

 

August 18 – September 11:  (Play Rehearsals-Free!) HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH: OUR VALUES IN QUESTION,  Paramount Center. 559 Washington St. A play exploring our relationship to money from The Foundry Theater and ArtsEmerson.  Written by Kirk Lynn with artistic direction from Melanie Joseph. How Much Is Enough cannot be rehearsed without a live audience!  Community groups and organizations all over Boston are needed to start the conversation.  Be a part of the Foundry’s first ever audience performance company and help deepen our inquiry and find the structure of this unusual interactive theatrical event. How Much is Enough: The Rehearsals (Free!)  (start times vary, runtime approx. 2 hrs)  Sign up here:  http://bit.ly/VALUESrehearsals FMI:  Contact Susie Husted at susie_husted@yahoo.com or Heidi Nelson at heidi_nelson@emerson.edu If you would like to attend a performance, please visit artsemerson.org for details or call the Box Office at 617.824.8400.

 
Saturday, September 10: KIP TIERNAN MEMORIAL SERVICE,  11 am at Old South Church in Copley Square. Kip Tiernan, advocate for fairness, person of enormous hope, faith and love died on July 2nd after a long struggle with cancer.  Kip was a founding member of Community Works, founder Poor People's United Fund, Rosie's Place, Greater Boston Food Bank as well as many other Boston non-profits working for Social Justice.  Her voice and vision will be deeply missed. We are determined to keep her legacy alive by mirroring Kip's courage, focus, compassion and ability to cut to the chase and get things done for the people who need it most.  Please join us in a celebration of Kip's life at Memorial Service on Saturday, September 10th  at.

                   

Thursday, September 15: Demonstrate at the UN for Palestine, 4:30 pm gather at Times Sq.; 5:30 pm march to Grand Central & the U.N.. Palestinians Tell the World:

Sovereignty Means Securing ALL Our Rights!  Palestinians everywhere are mobilizing to remind the world of their right to self-determination. In New York we are marching to the United Nations because the world’s attention is focused on the vote on Palestine scheduled to take place there.  For over six decades, the U.N. has approved numerous resolutions promising Palestinians their basic rights, none of which have been implemented. We come to the U.N. to demand:  Sovereignty, Equality, and the Right of Return for Palestinians NOW!

 

SAVE THE DATE!

Saturday, October 1: Ending the Endless Wars and Occupations,  9am- 5pm • Suffolk University, Boston.  Keynote speaker Noam Chomsky; The Conference marks ten years since 9/11, the War on Terror, the Afghanistan War, and the founding of UJP. The US/NATO bombing of Libya is the latest in the series of wars. Domestically, greed is rampant and serious problems are getting worse. Few peace and justice activists can remember a more troubling time.  How did we get here and how can we change things? What can we learn from the historic events in Egypt, where the people triumphed against huge odds, and the workers of Wisconsin?  How can the peace movement continue its work to end the wars and cut the military budget while also building cooperation with the economic and racial justice movements?  We want a peaceful foreign policy based on democracy to focus on the pressing economic and human problems that must be solved.  Featuring Presentations by: Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence: Report from Afghanistan and Iraq; Ann Wright, former U.S. Army Colonel: Report on the Gaza Flotilla and Palestine; Michael McPhearson, National Coordinator, United for Peace and Justice: Connecting to the War and Home; Will Hopkins, Iraq Veterans Against the War and New Hampshire Peace Action: The crisis and youth today

DPP Update - August 5, 2011


Next DPP MEMBERSHIP MEETING
Monday, August 5, 7-9 pm, Vietnamese American Community Center, 42 Charles St., Fields Corner. 

Agenda: 

*Film: The Price of an Orange in Palestine; made originally for French TV, on how Palestinians were stripped of their land, reducing them to migrant labor or second-class citizenship inside Israel.  The narrative centers around a family who have hosted DPP’s Jeff Klein;

*Report and discussion of the July 20 SpeakOut in Dorchester and the budget fight – Where do we go from here? (Brief report and video from meeting here)

*Committee updates

Wheelchair accessible.  Please call us a week in advance if you need translation, childcare, a ride, or have other needs: 617-282-3783.

Dues for DPP!

Hayat Imam writes from Bangladesh:

Dear Peace-makers,
I have spent most of my time since March in Bangladesh caring for my mother as she slowly recovers from an illness. I have been following all your good work even though I have not been able to join you in your endeavors. I feel deeply appreciative for all your efforts. 
I wanted to let you know that Gerry Bilodeau gbilodeau@boston.k12.ma.us has kindly agreed to take over as DPP Treasurer for the time being. Thank you Gerry!
I'd like to ask all of you to please send in your Annual DPP member contribution (suggested amount of $20) to Gerry Bilodeau, at his address: 26 Midland St., Dorchester, MA 02125 (or give it to him at the next DPP meeting). Even though we get some grants from time to time, relying on our own steam feels really great! If 30 of us sent in $20, it would go a long way towards our annual expenses. 
Thanks all and goodbye for now,
Hayat

 

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“KEEPING US SAFE FROM TERRORISTS”  --  How Much Do We Have to Spend?

For years we’ve been told that Al Qaeda terrorists led by Osama bin Laden are the greatest threat we face. The latest issue of The New Yorker magazine has a detailed account of the mission to kill bin Laden.  It wasn’t accomplished by billion-dollar bombers, nuclear submarines, main battle tanks, the occupying forces in Afghanistan and Iraq – or the bloated ranks of “military contractors.  It was 23 Navy Seals, one interpreter and a dog named Cairo on two Blackhawk helicopters.   A multi-billion-dollar aircraft carrier group in the Arabian served mainly as a platform to dump the body.  Whatever the morality or utility of an organized assassination (the report makes it clear that bin Laden was never meant to be captured alive) do we need to spend $1 Trillion a year for this outcome?  It is estimated that there are no more than dozens of Al Qaeda members left in Afghanistan.

 

GETTING BIN LADEN: What happened that night in Abbottabad

Shortly after eleven o’clock on the night of May 1st, two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters lifted off from Jalalabad Air Field, in eastern Afghanistan, and embarked on a covert mission into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden. Inside the aircraft were twenty-three Navy SEALs from Team Six, which is officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU. A Pakistani-American translator, whom I will call Ahmed, and a dog named Cairo—a Belgian Malinois—were also aboard. It was a moonless evening, and the helicopters’ pilots, wearing night-vision goggles, flew without lights over mountains that straddle the border with Pakistan.  More

 

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US BANK CAVES AFTER SUCCESSFUL EVICTION BLOCKADE

City Life/Vida Urbana writes:

“Dear friends

     Monday: 100+ people turned out in the heat to keep the heat on US Bank.  We demanded that US Bank accept Drusilla Francis's rent and respond to the cash offer from BCC to buy.  Many people began making calls to US Bank and the eviction attorney (that's many people).

     Tuesday morning: 25 people turned out to hold a vigil to make sure the movers didn't return.   Calls from all of you continued, along with calls from the Mayor's office and Rep. Liz Malia. 

     Wednesday morning: US Bank responded to BCC's offer by finally making a counter offer that isn't that far apart!  The counter offer is good until Aug. 11 so we are presuming there will be no further attempt to evict for at least a week!

     The struggle is not over.  There is not agreement yet.  We may have to do another blockade.  Nevertheless, we can say that all of you have won a big victory.

     Thanks and love from the City Life staff”

DPP members were present on Monday, as at nearly every CL/VU eviction defense.

 

*    *    *    *   
Haymarket offers anti-racism training – sign up now
Haymarket People’s Fund, which recently gave a grant to support DPP’s work, is hosting an Undoing Racism Workshop on September 22-24 at Simmons College. Many of us have taken this workshop with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, and it is excellent.
The deadline to register is Wednesday September 7. Partial scholarships are available to DPP members, but resources are limited. Please contact mikeprokosch@verizon.net ASAP if you want to attend.
Undoing Racism™ Workshops last for two and one half days and include a historical and institutional analysis of racism, understanding the structure of oppression, defining and sharing culture, leadership development and principles of accountability and networking.  Trainers are experienced community organizers. 

 

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US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation:

10TH ANNUAL NATIONAL ORGANIZERS' CONFERENCE, 2011


Once a year, activists and member groups of our coalitions come together to discuss the current work of the movement and to help shape the work of the US Campaign.

Join us for our 10th Annual National Organizers' Conference in Washington, DC, September 16-19, 2011 at the historic Thurgood Marshall Center!

More Info here

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THE BUDGET BATTLE, THE ECONOMY and the WARS

A Note on “ENTITLEMENTS”. . .

Words matter.  When politician talk about cutting programs overwhelmingly supported by the public they say “entitlement reform” to mask what they are about.  It’s not surprising that the Right and its media supporters would use that slippery euphemism, but the expression has also become standard term in political discourse and the mainstream press. It is even regularly used by those on the Left who should know better.  “Entitlement reform” allows some, especially white and middle class voters, to imagine that politicians are talking about ending giveaways to some “other” undeserving people.  We always need to be specific.  What the so-called “reformers” want is to cut Social Security and Medicare -- which, by the way, are paid for out of their own payroll taxes and have so far contributed not one dime to the deficit.

Should anyone be surprised that the core of the Tea Party caucus in Congress is from the “Solid South” states of the old Confederacy?

 

The Tea Party, the debt ceiling, and white Southern extremism

The Tea Party movement takes its name from the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when American patriots dumped British tea into Boston Harbor to protest British imperial power. But while New England was the center of resistance to the British empire, there are few New Englanders to be found in today's Tea Party movement. It should be called the Fort Sumter movement, after the Southern attack on the federal garrison in Fort Sumter in South Carolina on April 12-13, 1861, that began the Civil War. Today's Tea Party movement is merely the latest of a series of attacks on American democracy by the white Southern minority…   More

 

As high-stakes budget blackmail continues, and neoliberals sharpen their knives for the social programs most of us want, now is the moment to call talk shows, write letters to the editor, call Congress, talk to your neighbors and say: Don’t Cut Social Security – Cut the Pentagon!

 

MEDIA MALPRACTICE ON DEBT CEILING

If this debate was really about dealing with the nation's long-term debt/deficit issues, then the press would seriously examine a range of ideas for addressing these problems. But the most serious progressive alternative, the People's Budget, was never given significant attention in the corporate media--in contrast to Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan, which, contrary to the rhetoric, failed to meaningfully reduce the deficit at all (Extra!, 6/11). The corporate media's abject failure to seriously examine a budget proposal that is more in line with majority public opinion suggests that serious dysfunction is not limited to Beltway political leaders.  More

 

Budget Deal Vote in the House: Passes 268-161: Democrats evenly divided for and against

MASS:  Lynch, Keating, Tsongas YES; Capuano, Frank, Markey, McGovern, Neal, Olver, Tierney  NO. . .   Link

(Kerry and Brown both voted in favor in the Senate)

 

THE ADMINISTRATION'S STATED BUDGET PRIORITIES

Yesterday, President Obama's Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, donned his Dr. Strangelove hat and decried these prospective cuts as a "doomsday mechanism" -- doomsday! -- warning that these would be "very dangerous cuts" that "would do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our military's ability to protect the nation." …We have a Democratic administration installed in power after millions of liberals donated large amounts of their time and money to help elect them.  Yet here we have a top official in the President's cabinet demanding cuts to Medicare and Social Security in order to protect the military budget from further reductions.   More

 

Democracy is the Hidden Casualty of the Debt Deal

The debt deal’s final resolution to what essentially amounted to a hostage crisis by that minority represents a complete unmooring of official decision-making from the will of the American people. The last few weeks could be the final straw that leads to a collapse of confidence not just in this government but in the American project of self-governance. When citizens don’t participate, democracy is in peril. At a time of so much great need in our country, sending the message that citizen involvement is futile is dangerous not just to the substance of one debate but to the core principles that allow us to call ourselves a democracy.  More

 

Public Prefers Revenue Solutions to Cuts, But All of Them Have Been Abandoned

…if you ask people what they want to see in the deficit reduction positions in any solution, you get to the heart of the matter. In fact, none of the ideas that the public would like to see come to pass are even available options anymore… Raising taxes on the wealthy – no longer available. Raising taxes on oil and gas companies – no longer available. Increasing the payroll tax cap – no longer available. Raising taxes on hedge fund managers – no longer available. Only means testing, which gets a majority in the WaPo poll, was a part of the grand bargain talks. But if people knew that in order to wring any real savings out of that you would need to dip all the way down into the middle class, they’d be against that too… On the main, voters want compromise. But they don’t seem to know that compromise has been taken off the table.

 

AFL-CIO:  Fake Political Crises and Real Economic Crises - A Call for Leadership and for Action

In an economy beset by mass unemployment, inadequate demand, tight credit and asset deflation, massive cuts in government spending will be disastrous - particularly cuts that cause layoffs or reduce Americans' incomes, such as cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These deep cuts could easily catapult our economy straight into a double-dip recession, if not a Great Depression. And we run the risk of dragging the rest of the global economy down with us… There is no way to fund what we must do as a nation without bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The militarization of our foreign policy has proven to be a costly mistake. It is time to invest at home.Working people do not want a kinder, gentler or more reasonable version of the policies that caused the economic crisis, that dismantled the American Dream and that have undermined our democracy for a generation. We demand a completely different approach - we want jobs, prosperity, fairness and, most of all, a future for all of us.  More

 

Deficit-cutting deal may not dent defense spending much

The new deficit-cutting law appears to reduce defense spending by $350 billion up front and perhaps by as much as $850 billion over 10 years, but in fact that's highly unlikely to happen.

The initial $350 billion cut calls for slicing that much money over 10 years not from the Pentagon alone but from a broader group of funds labeled "defense and security." That includes programs such as homeland security, border enforcement, foreign aid and even veterans' benefits as potential targets. And the new law's threat of an additional $500 billion in 10-year cuts from Pentagon budgets is thought to be so unacceptable to most lawmakers that they're likely to come up with alternatives that spread the pain far more broadly over the full range of federal programs.  More

 

Lowering America's War Ceiling?

Meanwhile back in Washington -- not, mind you, the Washington of the debt-ceiling crisis, but the war capital on the banks of the Potomac -- national security spending still seems to be on an upward trajectory.  At $526 billion (without the costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars added in), the 2011 Pentagon budget is, as Lawrence Korb, former assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan, has written, “in real or inflation adjusted dollars… higher than at any time since World War II, including the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the height of the Reagan buildup.”  The 2012 Pentagon budget is presently slated to go even higher… In little of the reporting on this was it apparent that Obama’s $400 billion in Pentagon “cuts” are not cuts at all -- not unless you consider an obese person, who continues eating at the same level but reduces his dreams of ever grander future repasts, to be on a diet.  The “cuts” in the White House proposal, that is, will only be from projected future Pentagon growth rates  More

 

FAREED ZAKARIA: Why defense spending should be cut

Defense budget cuts would also force a healthy rebalancing of American foreign policy. Since the Cold War, Congress has tended to fatten the Pentagon while starving foreign policy agencies. As former defense secretary Robert Gates pointed out, there are more members of military marching bands than make up the entire U.S. foreign service… The result is a warped American foreign policy, ready to conceive of problems in military terms and present a ready military solution. Describing precisely this phenomenon, Eisenhower remarked that to a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. In his often-quoted farewell address, Eisenhower urged a balance between military and non-military spending. Unfortunately, it has become far more unbalanced in the decades since his speech.  More

 

WHAT ARE YOUR BUDGET PRIORITIES? 

Let your voice be heard in the federal budget debate!  VOTE HERE

 

Taxes Comparison. . .  Low Level in US

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 The Truth about the “Debt Crisis”

There is one simple truth about the discussion of the looming U.S. debt crisis: it is largely a compendium of half-truths, distortions, myths and outright lies… If you really believe shrinking the debt is an imperative, then there are easier ways to do it then stealing grandma’s meds. The Bush wars and tax cuts – which are still going – cost $3.3 trillion from 2002 to 2009. Cutting the trillion-dollar war budget in half, ending

 the Bush tax cuts (which Obama could have done with no sweat when he was bursting with political capital in early 2009 or by calling the GOP bluff before or after the 2010 midterm elections) and raising tax rates on corporations would pretty much wipe out the deficit over the next decade. In the case of corporate taxes, during the last decade it averaged only 10.7 percent of federal revenues – and since 2008 it’s shrunk to barely 5 percent – versus 29.8 percent in the 1950s.   More


 Deficit Myths

The well-funded demagogues who have dominated current debates over budget deficits and the national debt …  have helped usher in what Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman calls a “Dark Age of macroeconomics” where many of the most basic facts of economics have been drowned out by ridiculous but useful myths. The country’s news media have lent credibility to these myths. For instance, at the most liberal end of the media spectrum, New York Times coverage implies that tax cuts for the rich are just as likely, or maybe more likely, to create jobs as the alternative route of increasing social spending—a claim recognized as false by most independent economists.  More

TELL CAPUANO AND LYNCH: TAKE A NEW LOOK AT MILITARY SPENDING   
Barney Frank and five other Congresspeople are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter to the president and leaders of the House and Senate that calls for a "comprehensive reevaluation of U.S. worldwide military commitments."  It is clear to most people that we will not have the resources we need to create jobs, fund healthcare and education, protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - and address all the other urgent social needs we have - without ending the wars and redirecting funds from the bloated and wasteful Pentagon budget to meet our domestic priorities. 

Please take a moment to ask your own member of Congress to sign onto this letter.  We've made it very easy.  You can send this letter drafted by US Labor Against the War or modify it to reflect your own views.

RESOURCES: FUND OUR COMMUNITIES, REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING 25%
New Boston Coalition website! --- http://linkupboston.net/campaigns/25percent 
UJP 25 Percent Task Force: http://www.25percentsolution.com/
New Priorities Network website: www.newprioritiesnetwork.org
[A] grassroots movement of ordinary people across U.S. towns and cities has launched the New Priorities campaign, uniting under the demand to “bring the troops and war dollars home” by cutting defense spending instead of benefits, jobs, and basic government services. Worldwide actions are also being planned for the Global Day of Action on Military Spending on April 12th to shine a light on egregious amounts of military spending by the world’s governments. Central to these efforts must include demands to shut the 1,000-plus U.S. military bases in over 46 countries. More…

 

 

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YARD SIGNS ARE BACK!

Yes, we have a new order of yard signs, and some cardboard window signs as well. 

SAVE Our Libraries, Schools, & Youth Jobs---CUT MILITARY SPENDING 25%
Yard signs are $5-10, and window signs are $2-5, a sliding scale that helps reimburse DPP faster (we need it) and fund a few signs for cheaper or free for people who can’t afford the full price.  (Break-even price is slightly above the bottom of the range, for each kind.)
To get your sign(s): call Becky, 617-282-3783 or email info@dotpeace.org

 

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WARS – Old and New – GRIND ON. . .   Are you feeling safer now?

 

Gates: Troops possible beyond 2011 “if Iraq wants”

The Obama administration would keep U.S. troops in Iraq beyond the agreed final withdrawal date of Dec. 31, 2011, if the Iraqi government wanted them, but the Iraqis need to decide "pretty quickly" in order for the Pentagon to accommodate the extension, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday during what he said probably is his final visit to this war-torn country. Whether to negotiate an extended U.S. military presence is up to the Iraqis, he said, adding that he thought an extension might make sense.   More

 

How many secret wars are we fighting?

Somewhere on this planet an American commando is carrying out a mission.  Now, say that 70 times and you’re done... for the day.  Without the knowledge of the American public, a secret force within the U.S. military is undertaking operations in a majority of the world’s countries.  This new Pentagon power elite is waging a global war whose size and scope has never been revealed, until now… While it’s well known that U.S. Special Operations forces are deployed in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and it’s increasingly apparent that such units operate in murkier conflict zones like Yemen and Somalia, the full extent of their worldwide war has remained deeply in the shadows.   More

 

Organized effort paints Islamic law as threat to US freedoms

A confluence of factors has fueled the anti-Sharia movement, most notably the controversy over the proposed Islamic center near ground zero in New York, concerns about home-grown terrorism, and the rise of the Tea Party. But the campaign’s air of grass-roots spontaneity, which has been carefully promoted by advocates, shrouds its more deliberate origins… Working with a cadre of conservative public-policy institutes and former military and intelligence officials, Yerushalmi has written privately financed reports, filed lawsuits against the government, and drafted the model legislation that recently swept through the country - all with the effect of casting Sharia as one of the greatest threats to American freedom since the Cold War. More

 

US Muslims More Tolerant, Opposed to Violence Than Other Faiths

Muslims in the United States express greater tolerance for members of other faiths than any other major religious group, according to a major new survey and report released Thursday by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center. They are also more likely than any other religious group to oppose violent or military attacks against civilians, according to the survey, “Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future.”  Nearly four out of five (78 percent) U.S. Muslims say that military attacks against civilians can never be justified. That compares with less than two of five Protestants (38 percent) and Catholics (39 percent) and just over four out of Jews (43 percent) who take that position, the poll found.  More

 

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Meet the Right-Wing Hatemongers Who Inspired the Norway Killer

Breivik may have developed his destructive sensibility in the stark political environment of a

European continent riveted by mass immigration from the Muslim world, but his conceptualization of the changes he was witnessing reflect the influence of a cadre of far-right bloggers and activists from across the Atlantic Ocean… When the smoke cleared from Breivik's terrorist rampage across Norway, American Islamophobes went into  intellectual contortions, condemning his acts while carefully avoiding any criticism of his views.   More

Der Spiegel probes link between Israel, Norway killer

Der Spiegel has published an article probing the connection between Norway's ruthless murderer, Anders Breivik, and Israel. The German magazine says the killer's 1,500 page manifesto describes a link between right-wing extremists and members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition.The manifesto details at length Breivik's support for a battle against Islam in Europe. The Der Spiegel article focuses on the connection "Islamophobic parties" in the continent may have with Israel, especially due to the Likud MK Ayoob Kara's recent meetings with extreme rightists in Europe, which attracted criticism in Israel.  More

FOLLOW THE OIL AND THE MONEY: Why the West is Committed to the Murderous Rebels in Libya

The nature of the civil war in Libya has been persistently underplayed by foreign governments and media alike. The enthusiasm in some 30 foreign capitals to recognize the mysterious self-appointed group in Benghazi as the leaders of Libya is at this stage probably motivated primarily by expectations of commercial concessions and a carve-up of oilfields. These were the understandable motives which led Tony Blair, Nicolas Sarkozy and so many others to kow-tow humiliatingly to Gaddafi prior to the uprising, and to treat his bizarre personality cult with respect. A foreign no-fly zone and limited no-drive zone to defend Benghazi against Gaddafi's tanks could be justified in the early stage of the war, but this rapidly changed into a dubious decision to overthrow Gaddafi, relying on NATO air power and a few thousand rebel militiamen. The supposition was that Gaddafi would go down quickly, and when this did not happen it became a question of throwing good money after bad in the hope that his forces would cave in.  More

 

Return of the Bomb Iran Crowd?

IRAN AND AL-QA'IDA: CAN THE CHARGES BE SUBSTANTIATED?

For nearly ten years, a cadre of hawkish analysts, politicians, and some Iranian expatriates have pushed their insistent but unsubstantiated claims of extensive collaboration between the Islamic Republic and al-Qa’idaSome even charged that Osama bin Ladin was “living in luxury” in Iran There is no reason for anyone to have any confidence that official Washington “knows”, in any empirically serious way, that Tehran is cooperating with al-Qa’ida in the ways that are alleged… This is all strongly reminiscent of the way in which the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations prepared the way for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.  And much of the mainstream media seems content to reprise the dishonorable role they played in making that war possibleMore

 

Washington Post: THE MARCH TOWARD A NUCLEAR IRAN

For years it was assumed that economic sanctions and diplomacy would produce a pliable negotiating partner in Iran. But Iran’s truculence has effectively undermined the once-popular notion, while a degree of confusion and consternation has gripped the international community… Exact estimates vary, but in the next few years Iran will be in position to detonate a nuclear device. An aggressive theocracy armed with the bomb will cast a dangerous shadow over the region’s political transition, but the consequences will not be limited to the Middle East. An Iranian bomb is likely to unleash the most divisive partisan discord in this country since the 1949 debate about who lost China. In the end, neither the turbulent order of the Middle East nor the partisan politics of Washington can afford an Islamic Republic armed with nuclear weapons.  More

 

“Israel Comes to Boston”: FLIERS FACE NEW QUERIES AT LOGAN

The new Logan procedures are similar to behavioral analysis techniques that have long been used at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, where every passenger is interviewed before being allowed to board an airplane.    More

 

In case you missed this. . .

Specially Trained Logan Troopers To Watch Passengers

Logan International Airport is the first airport in nation to enhance security with an innovative behavior pattern recognition program based on 30 years of Israeli airport experience… The program was developed for Massport by security consultant, Rafi Ron. For more than 30 years, Ron played a key role in Israel's counter-terrorism efforts as a special operations paratrooper, one of the original El Al sky marshals, and as an intelligence and embassy security officer. Ron retired in 2001 from government service after five years as the director of security for Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport and the Israeli Airport Authority.  More

 

Regularly confronting discrimination at Ben Gurion Airport

While other passengers entering Israel claim their baggage and meet their loved ones after passport control, many Arabs undergo a different procedure. After getting my travel document stamped after a long wait, I am normally asked to accompany a security official to a special screening room. There I have to undergo another body search and my luggage is searched piece by piece, despite the fact that my luggage has already been searched prior to boarding the flight in the U.S.  More

 

US Checkmate In The Great Game of Afghanistan

In the 20th century, the United States deftly picked up pieces of Britain’s dying empire to stealthily build one of its own. People in ports all over the world have grown used to the sight of American flags and uniforms just as their grandparents got used to seeing British ones. The unanswered question of our time is what flags and uniforms their grandchildren will see.  More

 

In Afghanistan: A ‘sign of weakness’ in the propaganda of war

WHEN THE mayor of Kandahar, Ghulam Haider Hamidi, was assassinated last week, it was disappointing to hear US Ambassador Ryan Crocker describe the killing as a “sign of weakness’’ on the part of the Taliban. Surely, such an experienced and respected diplomat knows better… How many times have we heard this before? Didn’t then Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismiss the Iraqi insurgency as a last-gasp effort just when it was going into high gear? …Of course, as ambassador, Crocker’s job is to keep up morale. The entire American house of cards in Afghanistan is built on an illusion of progress. Progress is slow, and reversible, but “we are winning’’ is the line emanating from headquarters. More

 

Afghanistan War Weekly - August 1, 2011

This week there was an even higher level of violence in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. US officials had varying theories as to the implications of these high levels of violence, including the idea that tactics used by the Taliban recently were a sign of US and NATO successes in the region. However, civilian casualties and suffering in Afghanistan and Pakistan have been significant problemsReports and Commentary here 

 

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ISRAEL/PALESTINE

 

Jewish Tahrir? Israel witnessing mass protests

Arab Spring or European style discontent? Israel is the latest scene of nationwide mass protests. Thousands are taking part in rallies to demand the government provide cheaper housing, and lower the cost of living. The biggest protest yet, centred in Tel-Aviv, is planned for Saturday night. RT talks to Aziz Abu Sarah, a Palestinian-Israeli journalist.  More

 

URI AVNERY: “How Goodly Are Thy Tents”

WHO ARE these people? What exactly do they  want? It started with a demand for “Affordable Housing”. Rents in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and elsewhere are extremely high, after years of Government neglect. But the protest soon engulfed other subjects: the high price of foodstuffs and gasoline, the low wages . The ridiculously low salaries of physicians and teachers, the deterioration of the education and health services. There is a general feeling that 18 tycoons control everything, including the politicians. (Politicians who dared to show up in the tent cities were chased away.) They could have quoted an American saying: “Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”  More

 

Israeli Blogger: In a political crisis, Israel’s answer is always colonize and attack Palestine

Facing the biggest domestic political crisis since he took office (in the form of of the #j14 protests), Netanyahu responds in the following, all-too-predictable ways:

·         Trying to assassinate Nasrallah or other high-ranking Hezbollah officials and spark a new conflagration.

·         Announcing the construction of another 930 Jewish-only houses on the Palestinian side of the Green Line.

·         Escalating attacks on Hamas and other Gaza targets despite Hamas being formally committed to a ceasefire.

Colonize Palestine and spark violence, the essential political survival strategy of Israeli governments. Link

 

Knesset bill would formalize second-class status for Arab citizens

…a new bill, signed by members of opposition and coalition alike, aims to strip Israel even of the appearance of democracy. If passed (it has a fair chance), this law will determine that in any case of contradiction between democratic values and the Jewish nature of the state, the Jewish element will prevail. More specifically, the bill aims to cancel the status of Arabic as  one of Israel’s two official languages; it orders the state to develop communities for Jews only; and in a passage that seems to be taken from the Iranian constitution, declares that when there is no law referring to a certain case, courts should rule in the spirit of halakha, or Jewish religious jurisprudence.  More

 

JOEL BEININ: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Arab Awakening

The Arab awakening has made no difference whatsoever in the unrestrained support the US gives Israel, even when Israel’s positions do not agree with publicly declared US positions. President Barack Obama demonstrated a perplexing incapacity to induce Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to abide by the unambiguously declared US policy that Israel should freeze settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a means of restarting negotiations. In February 2011 the US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories written precisely to reflect US policy… By vetoing a resolution whose substance it claimed to agree with, the Obama administration revealed that, like its predecessors, it is far more interested in asserting its hegemony over the Israeli-Palestinian arena than achieving peace, a strategy invented by ex-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger following the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.  More

 

 

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EVENTS
 
Friday, August 5:  "Hibakusha, Our Life to Live" - Screening with Talk by Director.  · 6:30-9:30pm, All Saints Parish, 1737 Beacon St. (corner of Corey Rd), Brookline, MA

Boston premiere of the film about the survivors of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  On August 6, 1945, a great terror was thrust upon the world. David Rothauser’s 80 minute documentary, Hibakusha, Our Life to Live, probes the life stories of Japanese, Korean and American survivors of the terror; the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 

Saturday, August 6: Report from Libya:  U.S. war in Africa, 4pm, ST. KATHERINE DREXEL CHURCH, 175 Ruggles St., Roxbury.  Hear former U.S. Congressperson Cynthia McKinney, recently returned from leading a delegation to Libya during the U.S. bombing

 

Sunday, August 7:  Renaming Of The JP Post Office In Honor Of Fallen Marine L/Cpl Alexander Scott Arredondo, 2pm, on the grounds of the Jamaica Plain Baptist Church, 633 Centre St. “The us postal service is proud to honor the Foley and Arredondo families with the renaming of the Jamaica Plain post office recognizing Alex’s supreme sacrifice for the nation.” ALL ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND

 

 

 

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CONTACTING DPP and Joining Our Work:

To make it easier to get involved with DPP, we've decided to publish contact info for our coordinators in every issue of this update. We will also regularly publish upcoming meetings of work committees, create a brochure or flyer about DPP, and greet new people at monthly meetings with an explanation of how we work. Here's how to reach them.

Facilitation Committee
:
Christine Maguire (Cmaguire60@aol.com); Denise Zwahlen (denisezwahlen@yahoo.com), Jeff Klein (jjk123@comcast.net)

The Anti-War Committee pressures Congress, does community outreach and education to end the wars in the Middle East. Contact Denise Zwahlen at denisezwahlen@yahoo.com.

 
The 25% Campaign Committee is centering the Coalition to Fund Our Communities---Cut Military Spending 25%, which is made up of community groups from Dorchester, Roxbury, and surrounding neighborhoods.  The 25% committee also promotes other aspects of the campaign, including coordinating with UJP's 25% Solution Task Force, and with DPP's Anti-War Committee. Contact Daryl Wright, dwright@youthbuild.org or Becky Pierce, 617-282-3783 or beckyp44@verizon.net.

The Multi-Cultural Competence Committee promotes internal and public education on racism and the diverse cultures of Dorchester. Contact Jane Taylor, janetaylor11@gmail.com.

The Counter-Recruitment Committee educates youth and their parents about alternatives to military service and how to keep military recruiters from getting their contact information. Contact Alison Gottlieb at alison.gottlieb@umb.edu.

The Biolab Committee opposes the bioterror laboratory that BU is building at Boston Medical Center. Contact Mike Coté at mike_j_cote@yahoo.com.

OurTreasurer is Hayat Imam, imamhayat@hotmail.com.  Daryl Wright and Mike Prokosch prepare budgets and write funding proposals: dwright@youthbuild.org, mikeprokosch@verizon.net .