Saturday, April 30, 2011

Stay Informed

It's not easy keeping up with all the information that washes through your computer every hour, but we try to bring you articles and videos that match your interests.  If you want to subscribe, to be tipped off whenever something new and interesting and a little bit different comes along, scroll down the right hand column to the fourth category, "Follower," just before the Blog Archives.  Click there and get yourself a subscription.  It's on the house.

Friday, April 29, 2011

We Have Our Own Royals

How does Paris Hilton get on TV?  She's our royalty!  And the gang at the Hamptons polo matches?  We like Jim Hightower's idea of having congressmen and supreme court justices wear the logos of their sponsoring corporations so we know who they're working for.  But who gets it?  We told our State Farm agent we were changing insurance companies because his CEO makes too much money.  He answered by saying the boss only makes $9.2 million a year plus bonuses.  Is he worth it?  He's royalty!

Almost Everyone Loves Medicare

If you haven't told your congressman you want Medicare preserved, call the switchboard, 202-224-3121.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Here's a Letter to the Editor we sent to Main Line Suburban Life that they published in the April 27 issue. You could do it.  See local media addresses in the right-hand column.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Pro Publica tells us that last week's House vote to cut spending included a $768 million cut in FEMA funds for first responders.  That's a 19% drop from last year's level.  Congressman Meehan is proud of his support of the Boeing Corporation and its pricey contract for the Pentagon's Osprey vertical take-off airplane.  How does he justify cutting funds for the firemen and police and EMT's who will constitute our real security in a disaster?  There are some mistaken priorities here.

Walter Ebmeyer.

Main Line Peace Action Wednesday!

Join us for our regular monthly meeting Wednesday, May 4 at 6:30pm at the Dugdales', 284 S. Roberts Road, Bryn Mawr.  Pizza and light refreshments!  Tentative agenda: (1) Introduction of the new video projector, (2) discussion of groups to whom we can take our "Smart Security" video, (3) discussion of possible features at future meetings (films, speakers, roundtables, etc.).  (4) We join the New Priorities Network conference call at 8.  You are most welcome to stay and contribute to that nationwide conversation.  The whole meeting wraps up at 9pm.  Parking in the driveway or on Roberts Road or take the High Speed #100 and we'll meet you.  For details (and to tell us how much pizza to order) call Jane (610-527-4170) or Walter (484-380-2222). 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another Good Reason To Close The CIA

There's a lot wrong with President Obama's uninspired appointment of Leo Panetta to DOD and General Petraeus to the CIA.  Rob Kall spells it out.

Gary Johnson For President?

Here he is on the unconstitutionality of child labor laws.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chesapeake Energy Saves Money

Instead of hiring local responders to handle the recent Bradford County spill, Chesapeake Energy chose to fly in their own boys from Texas - a thirteen hour delay.

The People's Budget

Tell your congressperson you want the People's Budget.  Call 202-224-3121.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mark Thompson, now with Time magazine, has been writing about national security (smart and not) for thirty years.  In this article he states that our gigantic outlays for "defense" are just about a total waste of money.  Nobody wants to talk about it because the military-industrial complex is making money off it, and every military cost center is embedded in somebody's congressional district.  Now our domestic economy is in tatters, our infrastructure is third-world, our debt is beyond comprehension. and we keep on building aircraft carriers and supersonic jets and $2 billion submarines for use against an enemy that lives in caves.  Eisenhower warned us.  Well worth reading.,8599,2065108-3,00.html

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wasting Money On Bombers

Anyone following the progress of military operations in Libya will have already noted the inability of airpower alone to accomplish much that's of value.  Sooner rather than later there will be a call for "boots on the ground."  Martin van Creveld's new book "The Age of Airpower" brilliantly traces the history of our wishful thinking that airpower will win our wars for us.  This NY Times review is by Michael Beschloss.

Friday, April 22, 2011

What's Really Exceptional About The United States?

We’re #1
Charting American Exceptionalism

1. Multiplier of CEO Pay to Average Worker Pay. Adam Choate , Dana Rowzee, Jerrod Tinsley, CEO Pay Rates: U.S. vs. Foreign Nations. November 17, 2005.
2.  % of Total Income Received by Richest 0.1%. A B Atkinson, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, Top incomes in the long run of history. 2009.
3. Military Expenditures-2010.  Global Military Spending. Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. February 20, 2008.
4, Prisoners Per 100,000 Population. Christopher Hartney, US Rates of Incarceration: A Global Perspective. Nat’l Council on Crime and Delinquency.
5. Murders Per 100,000 Population. Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, covering the period 1998 – 2000 (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Centre for International Crime Prevention).
6. Health Costs as a % of GDP. Health Care Spending as Percentage of GDP: Talking About Quality Part 1: Health Care Today. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. June 30, 2009.
7. Infant Mortality-Deaths Per 1000 Live Births. World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision. Department of Economic & Social Affairs. ESA/P/WP.202. United Nations.
8. Social Spending for Families-% of GDP. Chris de Neubourg, et. al. Social Safety Nets and Targeted Social Assistance. Maastricht Graduate School of Governance.
9.  % of Children Living in Poverty. Child Poverty in Perspective, Innocenti Report Card.  Report Card 7. UNICEF.
10. % of Population Experiencing Homelessness-1990-2006. International Perspectives on Homelessness in Developed Nations.  Editor Paul Toro. Journal of Social Issues.  Vol. 63, No. 3. 2007.


Coming Attractions

Coming Attractions

Monday, May 2, 6:30pm - Monthly Peace Vigil, Lancaster & Bryn Mawr Avenues, Bryn Mawr.  7pm planning meeting, Community Center behind Ludington Library.
Tuesday, May 3, 1-2pm.  Rally for a Responsible Budget.  State Capitol Building, Harrisburg.  For busses and information, go to
Wednesday, May 4, 6:30pm.  Regular meeting of Main Line Peace Action and DelMont PDA at Dugdales', 284 S. Roberts Road, Bryn Mawr.  610-527-4170.
Friday, May 6.  7pm.  Academy Award-winning documentary "Inside Job" at Peace Center of Delaware County, 1001 Old Sproul Road, Springfield.  Doors open (light refreshments) at 6:30.

"Inside Job" At Peace Center Of Delaware County

Coming soon to a screen near you!  Friday, May 6.  Peace Center of Delaware County.  Springfield Friends Meetinghouse (off the corner of Old Marple and Rt.320/W. Sproul behind Mr. Car Wash.  Doors open 6:30 for light refreshments.  Film (large screen) at 7.  Free.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Learn About The Virginia Class Submarine

Virginia class submarines cost $1.8 billion each.  30 are planned.  3 are being built.  7 are completed and in service.  We're told that one completely loaded sub could attack 70% of the world's land mass.  Now do you feel more secure?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pennsylvania Gas Well Blow-out

This happened about 2am today in Bradford County, north of Pittsburgh.  It is, as you might imagine, quite a mess.

Support The First Responders!

Among the cuts in spending proposed by the House bill last week is a $786 million cut in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants to first providers.  That means 19% less money for the emergency agencies (fire departments, rescue squads, etc.) that are the "boots on the ground" when disaster strikes.  The House Appropriations Committee refused to cut military spending, asserting that that giant sum is necessary for "security."  But what is smart security?  It certainly must include supporting the people helping on the disaster scene.  The House bill is not a carefully wrought plan to control the deficit.  It is a hatchet job with little concern for smart security. If you haven't already, watch our video:  It is about this very thing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why Is This Road In Such Rotten Shape?

Rally For A Responsible Budget

We are being told that spending in the state budget for children's healthcare, libraries, fire departments, police, and aid to the poor will be slashed.  This while our Marcellus shale drilling goes untaxed and corporate profits taxes are rock bottom.   CLEAR COALITION will sponsor a Rally For A Responsible Budget on Tuesday, May 3, 1-2pm at the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg to which all are invited.  Busses will be available from Delaware County and from Plymouth Meeting, but you are urged to register very soon.  For information go to  Come and let your voice be heard.

Farmers Markets In Our Area

The Bryn Mawr Farmers Market at Bryn Mawr and Lancaster Avenues (Municipal Parking Field) will be open from 10am to Noon this Saturday, April 23.

The King of Prussia Farmers Market plans no more winter openings, but will be back in business behind the Municipal Building (Route 23 just west of Henderson) 9am to 1pm on Saturday, May 21.

Will We Have Permanent Bases in Afghanistan?

No matter what Hillary Clinton says, all signs point toward a number of permanent US bases in Afghanistan after any major troop withdrawl.  Why?

A Thousand Overseas Bases

From the Institute for Policy Studies comes this David Vine article on our empire of near a thousand overseas bases.  268 bases in Germany!  What could they be for?  Worldwide our bases embrace 234 golf courses.  Doesn't sound very military.  Cutting military spending has to involve closing these bases.  Who could argue with that?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Smart Security Party April 15

State Rep. Greg Vitali, Main Line Peace Action leader Jane Dugdale, and Radnor Dem. Comm. member Tsiwen Law.
Master calendar keeper Tom Ulrich, Citizen Access leader Roger Balson, PDA State Coordinator Walter Ebmeyer.

Leader Jane Dugdale, honored guest Jo Comerford, Exec. Director of the National Priorities Project,  George Badey, Radnor Dem Comm. Chairman and gracious host.

Our thanks go out to all who attended this fine party and learning experience.

Is Environmentalist Obama On Our Side?

This is what strip mining looks like when it's done.  In this case it's digging out oil sands.  Our favorite environmentalist, Bill McKibben, wishes Obama would stand up for Mother Earth.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

All About Military Spending

To view an 11-minute video on military spending,                                                                                        go to

The Republicans' Idea Of A Budget

Our colleague, Main Line Peace Action leader Jane Dugdale, had this letter published in Ardmore's Main Line Times.  The massive cuts she talks about were indeed passed by the House.  There's a word for picking on the weak and defenseless while letting the rich and powerful run free.  It's called bullying.

To the Editor:

As I write this, Congress is debating massive cuts in spending that will virtually eliminate early-childhood and teacher-training programs, as well as housing, job training, health and energy assistance for the poor and homeless, in the name of deficit reduction. At the same time, the wealthiest Americans are paying less and less in taxes, including the largest corporations. GE, the largest corporation in the nation, paid no tax last year and even received tax rebates. In addition, government spending for war-making continues to balloon, now twice what it was 10 years ago, much of it spent on an empire of close to a thousand foreign bases. Economists at the nonpartisan National Priorities Project estimate our military now spends $1.2 trillion/year of our tax dollars. This is well over half of the federal discretionary spending budget.

A budget is a moral document. It reflects our values. Does this budget reflect American values? To overflow the coffers of war-makers like GE by throwing money at wasteful weapons systems and on military personnel around the world while communities here at home go bankrupt? To allow the most powerful to trample on the least among us and cast them aside?

I know this budget does not reflect my values, and I challenge our congresspeople and their constituents to discern if it truly reflects their own values.



Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stamp Out Signing Statements!

This is ostensibly an article about Obama appointing and keeping "czars."  But its major importance is in the area of signing statements.  A beloved tactic of George W. Bush, they are a way a President can execute part of a law sent down by Congress and ignore the rest.  It is patently unconstitutional.  When he was a candidate, Obama said that he had taught constitutional law for ten years and knew it was wrong and he wouldn't do it.  But here he is doing it.  It should stop.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Obama Gets It Right

Our favorite economist writes today about the serious differences between the spending proposals of Congressman Ryan and those of President Obama.  Like us he is cheered by what seems to be a return by the President to the sort of thinking that got him elected.  There's still not a big enough cut in Pentagon spending, but it's a start.  Welcome back, Barack!

Save The Delaware!

You still have until midnight tonight (Friday, April 15) to tell the Delaware River Basin Commission to impose a moratorium on gas drilling.  A lot more than the quality of our drinking water may depend on it.  Click the link and sign on.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What Does Andy Borowitz Say?

If you haven't been following Andy Borowitz, you've been missing something.  This report is about exporting democracy and what happens when we export so much we start running out!

Nicholas Kristof Is Right On Target

Nicholas Kristof, a product of Harvard and Oxford, has been writing for the New York Times for years.  He has won two Pulitzer Prizes.  His column today seems right on target.  He mentions the crying need for drastic cuts in military spending, but most of the column is debunking three fallacies common in today's budget discussions.  It's good.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coming Attractions

Fri., April 22,  Noon - Good Friday Stations of Justice & Peace – Earth Day Celebration for Peace and the EnvironmentNonviolent Action @Lockheed Martin, Mall & Goddard Boulevards, Valley Forge, PA, (behind King of Prussia Mall).  Rain or Shine. Easily accessible by public transit.  Call the Brandywine Peace Community, 610-544-1818, if you wish to participate in the day's civil disobedience, facing arrest to challenge the lethal authority of Lockheed Martin, the world's #1 war profiteer.
More at 
Tuesday, May 3, 1-2pm.  Rally for a Responsible Budget.  State Capitol Building, Harrisburg.  For busses and information, go to
Wednesday, May 4, 7pm.  Regular meeting of Main Line Peace Action and DelMont PDA at Dugdales', 284 S. Roberts Road, Bryn Mawr.  610-527-4170.
Friday, May 6.  7pm.  Academy Award-winning documentary "Inside Job" at Peace Center of Delaware County, 1001 Old Sproul Road, Springfield.  Doors open (light refreshments) at 6:30.

An Amazing Article That's Hard to Leave

It's hard to say what this Mark Morford column (San Francisco Chronicle) is about.  It is full of wonderful links about tar sands, strip mining, Netherland's rush hour traffic, and same-sex marriage that you could spend the better part of a day on it.  But give it a try.

Stop Nuclear Business As Usual

The nuclear disaster unfolding in Japan now is not just about local radioactivity.  The effects of the nuclear industry affect climate change, economics, and the efforts of many activist organizations.  It is time for all our groups to adopt an anti-nuclear plank in our platforms.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What John Winthrop Said About Citizenship

John Winthrop was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and he gave a speech to his fellow puritans about how to apply Christianity to governance and citizenship as they were about to land in what is now Boston.

In today's excerpt - in 1630, John Winthrop, leader of the religious colonists who would establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony, delivered to them a sermon that is now considered one of the most important documents in setting forth a vision of America, "A Model of Christian Charity".  Anticipating the hardships they will encounter during the coming months and years, it centers on the impossible idea that we should love our neighbors as ourselves:
"It makes sense that Winthrop, a man accustomed to setting lofty goals for himself, would then set lofty goals for the colony he is about to lead. 'A Model of Christian Charity' is the blueprint of his communal aspirations. Standing before his shipmates, Winthrop stares down the Sermon on the Mount, as every Christian must.
"[It presages] Martin Luther King, Jr., doing just that on November 17, 1957, in Montgomery's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. He concluded the learned discourse that came to be known as the 'loving your enemies' sermon this way: 'So this morning, as I look into your eyes and into the eyes of all my brothers in Alabama and all over America , and over the world, I say to you, 'I love you. I would rather die than hate you.' "
"Go ahead and reread that. That is hands down the most beautiful, strange, impossible, but most of all radical thing a human being can say. And it comes from reading the most beautiful, strange, impossible, but most of all radical civics lesson ever taught, when Jesus of Nazareth went to a hill in Galilee and told his disciples, 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you.'
"The Bible is a big long book and lord knows within its many mansions of eccentricity finding justification for literal and figurative witch hunts is as simple as pretending 'enhanced investigation techniques' is not a synonym for torture. I happen to be with King in proclaiming the Sermon on the Mount's call for love to be at the heart of Christian behavior, and one of us got a Ph.D. in systematic theology.
" 'Man,' Winthrop reminds his shipmates in 'Christian Charity,' is 'commanded to love his neighbor as himself.' In the Sermon on the Mount,  Jesus puts the new in New Testament, informing his followers that they must do something way more difficult than being fond of the girl next door. Winthrop quotes him yet again. Matthew 5:44: 'Love your enemies ... do good to them that hate you.'
"He also cites Romans I 2:20: 'If thine enemy hunger, feed him.'
"The colonists of Massachusetts Bay are not going to be any better at living up to this than any other government in Christendom. (Just ask the Pequot, or at least the ones the New Englanders didn't burn to death.) In fact, nobody can live up to this, but it's the mark of a Christ-like Christian to know that he's supposed to.
"Winthrop's future neighbors? Not so much. In fact, one of his ongoing difficulties as governor of the colony is going to be that his charges find him far too lenient. For instance, when one of his fellow Massachusetts Bay magistrates accuses Winthrop of dillydallying on punishment by letting some men who had been banished continue to hang around Boston, Winthrop points out that the men had been banished, not sentenced to be executed. And since they had been banished in the dead of winter, Winthrop let them stay until a thaw so that their eviction from Massachusetts wouldn't cause them to freeze to death on their way out of town. I can hear the threatening voice-over in his opponent's attack ad come the next election. John Winthrop: soft on crime.
"This leads us to something undeniably remarkable: 'A Model of Christian Charity' was not written by a writer or a minister but rather by a governor. It isn't just a sermon, it is an act of leadership. And even if no one heard it, or no one was listening, it is, at the very least, a glimpse at what the chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Bay Colony believed he and this grumpy few before him were supposed to shoot for come dry land. Two words, he says: 'justice and mercy.'
"For 'a community of perils,' writes Winthrop, 'calls for extraordinary liberality.' One cannot help but feel for this man. Here he is, pleading with Puritans to be flexible. In promoting what he calls 'enlargement toward others,' Winthrop has clearly thought through the possible pitfalls awaiting them on shore. He is worried about basic survival. He should be. He knows that half the Plymouth colonists perished in the first year. Thus he is reminding them of Christ's excruciating mandate to share. If thine enemy hunger, feed him."
Author: Sarah Vowell
Title: The Wordy Shipmates Publisher: Penguin
Date: Copyright 2008 by Sarah Vowell
Pages: 45-47

Where's Obama?

Our favorite economist fears that our President is missing, or invisible, or out to lunch.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Casey Can't Have It Both Ways

Our US Senator Bob Casey voted with 16 other dirty air Democrats for an amendment to the Clean Air bill that would gut most of its protective features.  When we called his office to ask about that, we got a lot of double talk about being for the bill but not really.  We asked for a letter from the senator clearly explaining what he's up to.  Please call his office and ask for some explanations:  202-224-3121. 

The Unicorn School Of Economics

Republican and especially Tea Party ideas about economics and the federal budget get curiouser and curiouser.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Save The Delaware!

April 15, LAST DAY TO COMMENT TO DRBC about lifting a moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River Basin.

The DRBC released draft regulations with the intent to lift the gas drilling moratorium without waiting for the EPA study of the risks of  fracking to drinking water and air.  They have given the public 90 days to comment on this, but that study will take two years.  The regulations are being released without any study whatsoever of cumulative impacts to groundwater, surface water, soil, air, climate, public health, fish and wildlife, aquatic life, or long-term risks related to underground injection.  As of Feb 4th, only 167 people out of 15 MILLION people who depend on the Delaware River system for clean water have commented.  It's easy to do, check here for information:
You can go to: if you would like to write your own letter, or and send it as is or make any changes you like.  It's important each of you take the time to do this.  If we don't ask, it won't happen.  
You may comment as many times as you'd like. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Is Curt Weldon Back In The Italian Business

On the OpEd page of today's NY Times, we have, of all people, Curt Weldon writing about his heroic trip today to Libya to talk Qadaffi into quitting.  Curt Weldon, who used to be our congressman in Pennsylvania's 7th district?  He lost his job in the 2006 election partly because of his messy arrangements with Italian arms makers.  Here's a 2006 article from the Times about those connections.  Keep in mind the long historic ties between Libya and Italy.  There is almost certainly more to this than meets the eye.

More Than One Way to Cut Military Spending

Groups like Smart Security PA and New Priorities call for drastic cuts in military spending and point to the Frank/Paul studies to state their case.  But Cato Institute and others have come up with at least four ways to do it, including massive cuts in numbers of personnel.  Robert Dreyfuss, in the April 11 issue of The Nation, spells out the various approaches and is guardedly optimistic about the chances of cutting a trillion dollars out of the military in the next ten years.  Think what that could do for our needs here at home.  Click on the link.,0

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Elephant In The Room

In all the talk about our federal budget problems, almost nobody talks about drastically cutting military spending.  So we put together a Power Point presentation on the subject, and that soon became an eleven-minute YouTube video.  Most of the work on this was done by Jane and Tom Dugdale.  Have a look:

Monday, April 4, 2011

A New Blog

Technical problems caused us to stop using  Almost everything we ever posted there over the past couple of years is still there for you to see.  But from today forward we'll be using

Main Line Peace Action and DelMont PDA (Progressive Democrats of America) have always met and worked together on the assumption that what's good for the American people is good for peace and vice versa.  We will continue to post interesting articles on peace, the environment, economics, the American Empire, military spending, Social Security, Smart Security, and New Priorities, and we will continue to comment on them from time to time.

Your comments, suggestions, and questions are most earnestly invited.