Tuesday, February 26, 2013

We Can Cut Military Spending

  • From our friends at New Priorities Network.
  • Congress is deadlocked and automatic cuts are going to hit March 1 -- half military, half domestic.
  • Many Republicans and some Democrats will try to shift cuts off of the Pentagon and put them onto already decimated social programs.
  • That'll keep happening for the next three months. There will be opportunities to make deeper cuts on March 27 (re-funding the government for the next six months), April (FY2014 budget), and mid-May (debt ceiling).
  • It could even continue for ten years because each year, Congress decides what gets cut.
  • So if you are looking at Capitol Hill, it looks pretty dismal.
  • But if you are looking at the landscape we have for organizing, it's good and getting better.
  • The battle over sequestration has put Pentagon spending in the spotlight and the more the public sees, the worse it looks. Scandals like the F-35, F-22, Osprey, LCS (Littoral Combat Ship -- Pentagon nickname: "Little Crappy Ship"), and nuclear modernization are showing people how the Pentagon really spends our tax dollars.
  • The Pentagon's scare tactics are backfiring. By not sending a carrier battle group to the Persian Gulf and threatening to cut troop readiness training, they're making it obvious that they are not about “defending our nation” -- they are about protecting their precious weapons purchases. They are driving a wedge in between the troops' welfare and themselves, a wedge we need to widen. More and more Beltway types are blasting them -- across the political spectrum (Gringrich).
  • More economic, racial, and environmental groups are coming over to "cut the Pentagon." SEIU and ATU endorsements were a historic crack in Cold War labor militarism. Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, NAACP... We still have an enormous task to turn those endorsements into working alliances, but the landscape ahead makes that task doable, even promising.


Larry Lessig on Corruption

Larry Lessig is a Harvard professor, author of Republic Lost, and supporter of the American Anti-Corruption Act.  Listen to what he has to say.
Want to fix the debt Lowell McAdam? Pay your damn taxes!

Learn more about Fix the Debt CEO's at

And visit Verizon's sourcewatch page:

Saturday, February 23, 2013

We saw the charming Ed Rendell on MSNBC the other day talking up the wonders of Simpson-Bowles.  He's not on our side any more.

Ed Rendell

Ed Rendell is a co-chairman of Fix the Debt.[13] In media appearances, he is only introduced as the former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania (2003-2011), yet he has extensive corporate and financial ties.UNDISCLOSED CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Rendell lobbied for KCI USA, a wound care technology company, on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements in 2012.[22] Rendell is special counsel to the law firm Ballard Spahr[23] -- which has been criticized as a union-busting law firm--[24] -- where he focuses on privatization and housing, with an emphasis on infrastructure.[25] Rendell is also a senior adviser at Greenhill & Co., a multinational investment bank. Ninety percent of Greenhill's revenue comes from advisory assignments,[26] including to public officials. Rendell is a strong proponent of "public private partnerships" (PPPs) in infrastructure, which have been criticized as a dubious form of privatization of public assets.[27] Rendell is also on the advisory board of Verdeva, a firm developing technology to track motorists at the gas pump so they can be taxed for infrastructure revenue, an industry-favored measure for developing the income streams they need to finance infrastructure deals.[28] He has also joined the venture capital firm Element Partners as an operating partner.[29] Element Partners recently invested in oil and gas extraction (fracking) from the Marcellus formation.[3
This week Bill Moyers & Co visits with economist Richard Wolff to talk about "capitalism gone wild," and Sara Jayaraman to discuss how to support minimum wage restaurant and fast food workers.  In the Philadelphia area the program is Noon to one o'clock Sunday on WHYY-TV, Channel 12.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ground The F-35

Years ago, when the F-35 was just a gleam in some "defense" contractor's eye, we were still arming for twentieth-century warfare.  Today these hugely expensive planes are becoming a reality and they are worthless against foes who operate out of caves and conduct cyber-warfare that can be carried on from your old mother's bedroom.  But Lockheed-Martin wants to go on selling them and the Pentagon wants to go on buying them.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Where'd All That Money Come From?

A good article on how the wealthy got wealthier, and about the minimum wage which the President suggested increasing minimally.  At any rate, it's good to be rich.

Peace Film Series In Wayne

Free Peace Film Series
Do you spend a Saturday afternoon at the movies occasionally? Then, choose to spend one or two of those afternoons at Central Baptist Church in Wayne experiencing some of the best films of recent years exploring the dynamics of what "peacemaking" is all about. Enjoy some refreshments (popcorn, etc.) and some reflections about life in this world of violence and war.
1. Saturday, February 23rd - 2:00-4:00p.m.- Jitsuo Morikawa Room (the far end of the New Hall)
"In a Better World": The Oscar-winning Danish film explores the dynamics of what we all face in this world when peacemaking is a personal decision. Bullying, faithfulness, revenge, refugees all play into this extraordinary story of a family trying to teach their children what is right and how our decisions shape the world we live in.
2. Saturday, March 9th - 2:00-4:00p.m.- Jitsuo Morikawa Room (the far end of the New Hall)
"Constantine's Sword": In this docudrama we learn how the Christian world came to be so violent and warring. Startling testimonies of our history and our present attitudes mark this tour through the centuries creating our present.
Central Baptist Church is located across from the Wayne Cinema. Parking lot accessible from West Wayne Avenue.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Who Spends The Most On Lobbying?

Guess again.  Far and away, Big Pharma outspends every other industry on lobbying.  Now why do you think they do that?  What's in it for them?

Monday, February 11, 2013


Why We Need AACA

This is just the sort of nonsense the American Anti-Corruption Act is meant to stop.  Go to

The Party Of Calhoun

Readers curious about the strange ideological drift of the Republican party since its birth (and especially since Goldwater) are urged to read the New Republic's cover story in the newest issue.  It is a lengthy read, but it is especially interesting on Calhoun, Buckley, George Wallace, and all the other characters who have transformed the party of Lincoln into the White Man's Party. [Who knew that Buckley's family for years wintered on their plantation in Camden, South Carolina?]  Click and enjoy.

Friday, February 8, 2013

"Clear The Hearing Room!"

This video is from Amy Goodman's War and Peace Report/Democracy Now and is about the Senate Intelligence Committee's hearings on John Brennan's nomination to be Director of Central Intelligence.  It is also about Code Pink's disruption of the hearing, Medea Benjamin's experiences trying to get the truth out of John Brennan, and it is hard to believe.  We urge you to click on the link and be amazed.
Really puts things in perspective. More Americans have died as a result of gun violence in this country since 1968 than in all U.S. wars combined.

Please SHARE far and wide.

Introducing "The Balancing Act"

Progressive Caucus Leaders Introduce Measure to Replace Sequester and Create Jobs

February 5, 2013
WASHINGTON — Ten members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, led by Co-Chairs Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), introduced The Balancing Act this afternoon, which cancels the across the board “sequester” budget cuts, achieves a fair and balanced approach to long-term deficit reduction and creates 1 million jobs all over the country. Since 2011, budget deals in Washington have let wealthy corporations and the Pentagon off the hook while cutting more than $1.7 trillion from programs America’s working families need to survive. The Balancing Act brings relief to working Americans by making sure the Pentagon and the nation’s biggest corporations pitch in and do their part to get our economy working again.
“Almost $2 trillion has been cut over the past two years from teachers, firefighters, police officers, loans for college students, and infrastructure investments,” Rep. Ellison said. “The American people shouldn’t continue to pay the price for massive tax breaks for millionaires and billions of dollars in subsidies to oil companies.”
“If one-to-one is really our goal, why don’t we make the entire budget and investment process one-to-one instead of restricting it to this current round?” Rep. Grijalva said. “We’ve cut non-defense budgets to the bone.
There are simply no major savings hiding in school lunch or nurse training programs. We need investments. The Beltway refusal to make job creation our number one priority is a scandal, and the Balancing Act is the right way to fix it.”
The Balancing Act has two major components. It eliminates the impending “sequester” cuts and replaces them with an equal amount of revenue by closing corporate and individual tax loopholes. This creates the equal overall cuts-to-revenue balance when looking at the budget beginning in 2011, when the Budget Control Act was passed. The bill also cuts approximately $300 billion from wasteful Pentagon spending and reinvests the money in job creation. The bill is expected to create more than 1 million jobs by investing in infrastructure, teachers, and putting money in consumers’ pockets
Congress cannot continue to write blank checks to underwrite wasteful Pentagon spending, especially at the expense of putting people back to work and investing in our crumbling infrastructure and struggling schools,”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said. “We must bring an end to waste, fraud, and abuse at the Pentagon, and The Balancing Act is an important step in keeping the wasteful spending in check.”
“Sequestration was never intended to be good fiscal policy. It was never intended to be policy, period,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) said. “The Balancing Act provides a reasonable alternative to the draconian sequester cuts hanging over the American people. By reducing our deficit responsibly while creating jobs and investing in our future, it asks everyone to give a little, while ensuring no one has to give a lot. This measured proposal ensures that programs benefiting countless Americans do not suffer disproportionately to protect our bloated defense budget.”
“The Balancing Act is designed to prevent the catastrophic results of sequestration while instituting a healthy long-term balance between cuts and revenues,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY). “The simple truth is that – from seniors and kids, to small businesses and the military, to our still recovering economy – sequestration hurts a lot more than it helps. Its effect would be devastating to our economy and would eliminate thousands of critical jobs in the midst of a recession. And what makes it worse is that it is all unnecessary. That’s why it is imperative that we stop the misguided and self-made disaster that sequestration, or equivalent spending cuts, will bring.”
“It is time to eliminate the damaging sequester cuts and ensure that we can reduce our long-term deficit in a fair and balanced way.” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said. “Balance means that in addition to smart spending cuts and raising revenue, we need to put people back to work. The Balancing Act would close tax loopholes for wealthiest individuals and corporations and would create 1 million jobs by investing in infrastructure and keeping teachers in the classroom.”
“Every American family knows you don’t use your children’s lunch money to pay down credit cards,” Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) said. “This bill is different from the Republican approach—it asks everyone to do their fair share, grows jobs and keeps our promise to children, the elderly, and the poor.”
“With a combination of budget cuts and revenue increases, the Balancing Act will protect American families from the worst effects of sequestration, reduce the long-term budget deficit, and create more than one million jobs,” Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) said. “We need to protect the programs – from Medicaid to veterans’ benefits to federal aid for education – on which every member of our civil society depends, and continue our investments in education and infrastructure.”
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How To Steal An Election

Republicans in the Pennsylvania stated legislature, seemingly impervious to shame, are moving to divide up the state's electoral college votes and thus steal the next Presidential election.  If your state legislator is a Republican, get in touch with him.

Brandywine Peace February 10

Sunday, February 10, 4:30p.m. - ROSALIE G. RIEGLE, author of DOING TIME FOR PEACE: Resistance, Family, and Community at Brandywine Peace Community Monthly Potluck Supper & Program, University Lutheran Church, 3637 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

ROSALIE G. RIEGLE is a college English teacher, oral historian, and author of two books on the Catholic Worker movement, Voices from the Catholic Worker and Dorothy Day: Portraits by Those Who Knew Her, she raised four daughters and co-founded two Catholic Worker houses in Saginaw, Michigan.

In her new book, DOING TIME FOR PEACE: Resistance, Family, and Community (Vanderbilt University Press, January 7, 2013), Riegle focuses on the homemakers, carpenters, social workers, and teachers who resist war, militarism, and the deadly costs of empire in the strongest nonviolent way possible—by engaging in acts of civil resistance/disobedience and willingly accept their "punishment for peace" by going to prison. In this compelling collection of oral histories, more than seventy peacemakers describe how they have said NO to war, the price they've paid - and what that has meant for their families and communities.

See review here of DOING TIME FOR PEACE: Resistance, Family, and Community by Frida Berrigan,

The stories of conscience and resistance presented on Sunday will be accompanied by PowerPoint presentation. Join the dialogue, bring your questions and your struggles.

Brandywine Peace Community Monthly Potluck Supper & Program (2nd Sunday of the month), University Lutheran Church, 3637 Chestnut Street, Phila., PA. The potluck supper begins at 4:30p.m.; the program follows at 5:30p.m. Bring main dish, salad, or dessert to share.
On-street metered parking in front of church and limited parking in the lot at the rear of the church. Easily accessible by Public transportation, e.g. SEPTA route #21 ( For more information: call (610) 544-1818.

Brandywine Peace CommunityP.O. Box 81, Swarthmore, PA 19081
(610) 544-1818


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

US Will Finally Sue Standard & Poor's

The Justice Department has finally announced that it will bring a billion dollar suit against Standard & Poor's, the omnipotent ratings agency that led investors into the great crash.  But did it have to take six years to get action out of the Justice Department?  It is too bad that of all the cabinet members who've left Washington in the last few months, Eric Holder is the exception.  What would Bobby Kennedy think of his successor?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Austerity Anyone?

The economic geniuses of Europe (and America) are trying desparately to find a nation that is thriving due to austerity policies.  What have they come up with?  Latvia!  With unemployment above 14%?  Our  favorite economist tells us where they should be looking.

Anybody Got A Budget?

Our friends at National Priorities have sent out this alert about the dire state of the federal budget process.  This video will also tell you what you can do.  If it's a question about the Federal budget, go to National Priorities for answers.