In this Issue:
A CNN poll shows that a super majority want New START ratified. The Republicans are treating the New START treaty like a hostage. They keep questioning the wisdom of the treaty despite overwhelming support in military circles and in public opinion.
More than 20 Senate hearings have been held. The administration answered more than 900 questions from senators in the last 8 months.
Sen. Kyle (R-AZ) keeps upping the ransom that he and other hawks (inside and outside of the Senate) want to modernize the nuclear weapons complex. And then he says no way? He demanded $10 billion on top of the billions already in the budget. And this week, a bit more was proposed.
And then they say no way?
Lame duck or bust! This is it. Unless we get it onto the Senate floor, it may be our last, best chance to win ratification of this modest treaty.
Truth is, in the next session of Congress we are going to have to maximize pressure on the White House to take steps on disarmament that don’t require Senate approval and lead the opposition to the promised monies for modernization!
If any headway will be made towards abolition, we have got to get New START passed.
Call your Senator: We need a Senate vote on ratification! Call 202-224-3121. Email your Senator.
Organize phone banking to swing Republican Senators: If your group is able to coordinate one or two nights of phone banking in November or December, please contact Katie Heald at Peace Action West. Call 510-830-3600 x122 or email email@example.com
Coalition for Peace Action, Mass Peace Action, Peace Action Maine, NH Peace Action, have already done a fantastic job!! They can tell you how easy it is.
Let’s see…eliminate mortgage deductions, raise the gasoline tax, reduce overseas military bases, raise the retirement age for Social Security, end congressional earmarks, maintain tax cuts for the richest 2%.....are you scratching your head now?
The co chairs of the Deficit Commission tested the waters with those ideas and more last week. Paul Krugman called it, “The Hijacked Commission”. Putting the weight of the economic crisis on the backs of our communities seems to be their solution. The BEST idea they came up with, is the big one that could solve the deficit crisis: cut the military budget. Secretary Gates has been proposing “cuts” that just move money from one part of the Pentagon to another.
The co-chairs want to cut $20 billion in weapons buys by the year 2015. This would be the largest cut in this budget since the end of the cold war. The co-chairs also propose cutting 1/3 of our overseas bases, bringing home 150,000 of our troops in Europe and Asia, which we have also been advocating for years. Although, they didn’t go far enough. Just think of how much could be saved for jobs and education if cuts were made to the nuclear weapons complex.
In June, Peace Action helped the Sustainable Defense Task Forcecome up with $960 billion in Pentagon budget savings. The list proposed by the Deficit Commission co chairs includes items that the Sustainable Defense Task Force recommended.
What can we do now?
In the “lame duck” session of Congress, a huge battle is about to begin. Over 2 million people will lose their unemployment insurance on November 30 unless the Congress acts to extend unemployment insurance. We need to rally the peace movement to join in and demand that they extend long-term unemployment insurance and “move the money” to fund our communities.
Call Congress 202-224-3121 in support of extending long-term unemployment insurance. And when we do, we let them know, loud and clear, take the money from the bloated Pentagon budget and end the wars!
Download talking points on the Deficit Commission for congressional calls, letters to the editor, opeds, etc. Get prepared to respond to the Deficit Commission’s final report on Dec. 1.
Thank you for voting and supporting Peace Action’s unique Peace Voter work. This November, we helped thousands of voters get to the polls and educated them about how candidates stood on peace issues. 16 out of 25 candidates that Peace Action endorsed or supported won their elections. Peace champions like Rep. Barney Frank, Rep. Jim McGovern and Sen. Barbara Boxer stood strong against the wave election. See the whole list of Peace Action candidates that won.
Representative Raul M. Grijalva’s (D-AZ 7th), campaign came to us for help earlier this year. Because we recognized the threat before the political handicappers did, Peace Action PAC gave the maximum $5,000 to his campaign and supporters like you chipped in raising another $5,200. Peace Action supporters volunteered for the campaign. Thanks to your generosity, we sent our National Field Organizer, Judith LeBlanc, with over thirty years of experience to work the final crucial week coordinating the "predictive calling center” where she helped volunteers make over 70,000 calls to voters. Senator John McCain — who responded to a birdogging question by a trained New Hampshire Peace Action staffer that the U.S. should stay in Iraq for 100 years — and the Tea Party threw money and staff to defeat Grijalva. He, and we, know that he was re-elected thanks to our help. As the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Raul and his staff praised Peace Action for financial help and also for putting "sweat equity" into the campaign.
Even in races where we lost, we are laying the groundwork for peace champions to win in the future. For example, our own Jonathan Williams joined with volunteers from New Hampshire Peace Action to help get out the vote for Ann McLane Kuster’s first run for Congress. They contacted thousands of voters face-to-face and on the phone. Kuster lost by only one percent and is poised to win next time. Don’t forget to look at the full list of the peace candidates that Peace Action helped send to Congress and help them build a peace chest for the next election. Then, forward this email to your friends, family and colleagues and share this link on Facebook:http://www.actblue.com/page/peace-action.
Next month the White House will release a comprehensive review of the war in Afghanistan. Unlike the last review, this one will not include policy recommendations or examine ways to change conditions on the ground moving forward. Simply put, it will be made up of facts and figures.
Peace Action knows that after nine years of fighting in Afghanistan, over 4000 soldier and civilian deaths, a failing economy, countless protests and letters to Congress that a drawn out military operation is not the solution. What Afghanistan needs is help implementing and sustaining an Afghan-led government and stable infrastructure, not a US military presence until 2014.
Even Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who many believe has done more harm than good in Afghanistan, is urging the United States to reduce its troop presence.
Within the next few weeks, the Afghanistan Policy Working Group (a group started by Peace Action made up of colleague organizations and members of Congress working to change US policy toward Afghanistan) will be releasing its own review or report card on how the US is handling the war in Afghanistan. The report card will assess several areas where the US has failed to make progress including; quelling the violence in Afghanistan and insuring that US dollars are being used to improve the country not squandered by contractors and sub-contractors as we have seen repeatedly. The report will also make recommendations as outlined below.
Some of the recommendations to the Obama Administration will include:
At a time when many Americans are fed up with war and aren’t able to meet their basic needs, it is critical that our government take a real hard look at our priorities and define what is necessary, just and sensible. It is clear that the US strategy in Afghanistan is failing and Peace Action is urging that the Obama Administration listen to what the public and many elected officials are saying about this war – We can’t win with just a military solution. We have to sit down with regional stakeholders, the international community and Afghan citizens to see some real progress.
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