How is the war economy working for you?

“How Is The War Economy Working For You?” is a national campaign organized by Veterans For Peace. We are asking Americans to ask themselves how the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and the expanding war in Pakistan has affected the economy at home.

Our primary goals are to connect the cost of the ongoing US wars with the collapsing US economy, to present VFP membership and other peace organizations with a powerful and vital campaign to end the Middle East Wars by providing both the inspiration and the needed resources to run an effective grassroots campaign, and to recruit new membership and revitalize VFP as part of this campaign.

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War is the obscenity

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Video: 2010 VFP National Convention – Portland, Maine

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38th Annual Thomas Merton Award Dinner and Banner Drop

Veterans For Peace will play a significant role at the Thomas Merton Award Dinner for Noam Chomsky on November 1, 2010 in Pittsburgh. VFP will conduct the press conference with Chomsky during which the War Economy Committee will engage in a banner drop.

The 2010 Thomas Merton Award Dinner will be held on Monday, November 1,at Station Square Sheraton Inn. There will be a social hour from 6:00-7:00 pm followed by dinner and a program.

We will be honoring Noam Chomsky, world renowned visionary, linguistic scholar, writer and long-time activist.
Tickets are $45 and $25 for low income and student purchasers.

If you want tickets, please email, whether sending a check or paying online. Please specify with number of tickets and Merton Award, Award Dinner, Chomsky Dinner or other wording (ex. 2 for Chomsky dinner, or 1 ticket Merton Award). If you can pay now, go here. Because of technical difficulties, what you enter in as the purpose on the online form may not be seen by the registrar.

Or you can send a check with a similar notation to:
Thomas Merton Center, 5129 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Reserve a table for your group of 10 for $425. Contact us to learn more about advertising in our Program Book and for any other questions.

Introducing Noam Chomsky:

“…jingoism, racism, fear, religious fundamentalism: these are the ways of appealing to people if you’re trying to organize a mass base of support for policies that are really intended to crush them.” ~ Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia to immigrant Russian parents, both of whom were Hebrew scholars and teachers. A child of the Great Depression, Chomsky’s political consciousness developed early. He saw women strikers being beaten outside a textile factory and rag sellers peddling their pitiful wares door-to-door in his neighborhood. To the 10 year-old Chomsky the 1930’s were “a time of political activism, debate, and great fear of Hitler conquering Europe. I saw the world as a complicated, frightening place.”

He studied linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard and in 1957, while a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he published Syntactic Structures a theory of “generative grammar” that transformed linguistics from an obscure discipline into a major social science. Outside of academia Chomsky is better known as a political activist—a role that he vigorously assumed as an early and outspoken critic and protester of the Vietnam War.

In the 1966 essay, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals,” Chomsky challenged intellectuals “to speak the truth and expose lies,” and he carried his protests beyond the printed page: he became a tax resister and he was arrested in 1967 at the Pentagon while protesting military involvement in Southeast Asia.

Chomsky’s criticism of U.S. governmental policies has continued unabated since that time. In Deterring Democracy (1992) and in other books he has focused on trade and economic issues and accuses the Government of being a “rogue superpower.”

“I’m a citizen of the United States,” says Chomsky, “and I have a share of responsibility for what it does. I’d like to see it act in ways that meet decent moral standards. It’s back to moral truisms: it’s of little value to criticize the crimes of someone else—though you should do it, and tell the truth. I have no influence over the policies of [other countries] but a certain degree over the policies of the U.S. It’s not a matter of expectation but of aspiration.”

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Photo essay on closed schools

A photo essay called “CLOSED”:

From the photographer:

Mark and I went around documenting elementary schools that had been closed at the end of last school year due to budget cuts. We also photographed some closed businesses that failed recently.

Check out the original blog post.

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BRING OUR WAR $$ HOME: How’s the war economy working for you?

From OpEdNews:

Is the U.S. really leaving Iraq? And will we be at war with Iran soon? While still mired in Afghanistan?

While the number of U.S. troops in Iraq will be reduced from a high of 165,000, many of those will be redeployed to Afghanistan. And after Aug 31 there will still be 50,000 troops left in Iraq, at five huge “enduring bases” and an Embassy the size of Vatican City. Plus approximately 75,000 contractors.

Aside from whether you consider this a withdrawal or not, what do you suppose the price tag is? Can the U.S. afford this level of military operations around the globe indefinitely? Congress just voted to borrow another $37 billion for next year’s cost of wars while the war in Afghanistan alone costs about $48,000 a minute.

Economists think around one in five people are unemployed in the U.S. today. The official figure is just hitting double digits, but that doesn’t count people who have given up looking for work because there aren’t any jobs for them. Except in the military, where there are endless jobs.

Many in the U.S. are now reaching the end of the 99 weeks of unemployment payments laid-off workers receive. Foreclosures continue to pile up. New jobs are not being created, and retirement savings are going to meet living expenses while deficit hawks threaten Social Security. Thirty thousand people mobbed a distribution of applications for public housing in Georgia this week.

It is time to bring our war dollars home to fix the domestic budget crisis! At present 54% of the discretionary federal budget is spent for wars. The current level of borrowing for war spending is not sustainable.

Some claim it is necessary to spend money on defense in order to keep the U.S. safe. “Fight them over there etc.”

We are making enemies with civilian bombings that continue to rain down on many countries, while we rush toward bankruptcy. It would make us safer to keep fire fighters, police, road crews and health care providers on the job with that money. What would it make more sense for us to do rebuild America, or bomb Afghanistan?

The U.S. also uses our taxes to give aid in the form of credit for weapon systems. Even countries like Israel, the 5th wealthiest country in the world, which receives $3 billion a year in aid from U.S. taxes. We cannot and will not continue to afford this.

History has seen our kind before. Elite rulers of empires become smug and feel invincible while wrapping themselves in the cocoons of power. They stay in “the bubble” of air conditioned limos and resort hotels while outside the world’s ocean fills with oil and chemicals. They fiddle while Rome burns.

Conversion of U.S. manufacturing plants to green energy, public transit, and other products that build infrastructure rather than destroying it will be needed to pull us out of our slump. Research shows these investments will generate far more jobs than building WMDs too. Federal job programs that aren’t tied to WMDs are what Rep. Mike Michaud and Rep. Chellie Pingree, Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Olympia Snowe should be bringing to Maine — not more defense contracting.

Veterans for Peace will soon hold their 25th anniversary convention in my home state where the organization was founded. Lately VFP groups have been displaying a large banner on the side of abandoned buildings and closed factories in U.S. cities. It reads: How’s the war economy working for you?

Lisa Savage is a Local Coordinator for CODEPINK in Maine, and an active organizer for the Bring Our War $ Home campaign.

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Letter to the Editor on Labor Day

A letter to the editor written by Alan L. Maki in Warroad, Minnesota:

With Labor Day just around the corner, I would like to share a working class perspective with readers in the interest of dialog, discussion and debate.

The United States is the wealthiest country in the world.

This wealth created by working people is being squandered on fighting two wars, financing the Israeli killing machine and funding over 800 U.S. military bases on foreign soil protecting Wall Street’s greedy interests —instead, what we need is a public health care system of 800 primary care facilities serving as bases of support for over 30,000 neighborhood public health care centers spread out across the United States providing free health care for all Americans which would create around ten-million new, good-paying jobs with affirmative action enforced.

We wouldn’t trust a private-for-profit free enterprise system to teach our children to read and write so why would we continue to rely on this failed private-for-profit health care system? Public education provides quality education for our children and a public health care system will provide us with a world-class health care system.

As for anyone concerned about the high cost of health care; Veterans Affairs, the Indian Health Service and the National Public Health Service have all proven we get the best health care at the best price through public health care.

Elected public officials should be able to comprehend the benefits from peace and a public health care system. Look at unemployment; our country and our state need jobs, not war.

How is the war economy working for you? Does it make you sick?

Let’s talk about the politics and economics of livelihood for real change on this Labor Day.

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Video: Abandoned bldgs. in Detroit

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Video: Cutting Detroit Emergency Technicians and Paramedics

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Video: Banner Drop

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Video: Why Drop The Banner Drop

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