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Sept 3, 07 vigil speech at Crosses by Sharon Adams

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  • Michael E. Kerr
    Sept 3, 07 vigil speech at Crosses by Sharon Adams Hi Welcome Thank you for taking time out of your holiday weekend to be here, to show your support for peace
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 5, 2007
      Sept 3, 07 vigil speech at Crosses by Sharon Adams
      Thank you for taking time out of your holiday weekend to be here, to show your support for peace
      I, like many of you, protested this war before it ever began. Bush didn’t care then, and he probably doesn’t care now.
      But, we are here! Each of us chose peace today.
      Power to the peaceful! Michael Franti http://www.spearheadvibrations.com/
      We grow stronger through each other, through knowing that others believe as we do and want what we want. Often wonder what more we can do. What can we do to stop this? Education.
      Education about the forces that are pushing us to war.
      We need to take gather support from each other, gather strength and knowledge to go back to our homes, workplace, places of worship and TALK about peace.
        Being a pacifist doesn’t mean being non-controversial, the Memorial is a testament to the strength of the peace movement in the face of controversy.
      So here are some fact that are probably know to you all:
            1. Bush has one of the lowest approval ratings of any president, ever,
            2. Support for the war is almost non-existent.
            3. The war is about money, power and oil. How do we know this? Greg Palast’s book “Armed Madhouse” (http://www.gregpalast.com/ )and a local connection to Walnut Creek. 
            Feb. 2001, Walnut Creek -- Bush and other meet in Walnut Creek to plan 3-day invasion of Iraq.
            This war was planned before 9/11 ever happened. It was planned because the people in power care money about corporate welfare than the welfare of the people. 
            4. Despite Bush’s approval rating, Pentagon has a well-developed plan for invading Iran. A 3-day blitz to take out Iran’s military and destabilize that country, and allow for another US occupation. ttp://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article2369001.ece
            How can this be? How can a President with low approval even begin to get away with planning to invade Iran. Because make no mistake. They fully intend to do that in the next year and half if there is ANY way that they can. But how will they do it with a military stretched thin?
            So this is where I hope some education can help us understand these facts in a greater picture. 
      The privatization of war.
            Yes, today is Labor Day, and I’m going to discuss one of the many ways that war and labor are connected -- a very immediate and direct way -- through the outsourcing of war. I’m sure most of you have heard of Blackwater. But did you know that Blackwater is just one of more than 630 corporate entities that we pay to fight for us? Currently, we have around 160,000 US troops in Iraq, and we have around 180,000 paid contractors, some of whom are paid between $650-$1000 per day, far more than any member of the military. From Jeremey Scahill http://www.counterpunch.org/scahill08132007.html
      Naomi Klein, in her new book “The Shock Doctrine” writes:
      “Donald Rumsfeld’s masterstroke, and his most enduring legacy, was to bring the corporate branding revolution of the 1990s into the heart of the most powerful military in the world. We have now seen the emergence of the hollow army. Much as with so-called hollow corporations like Nike, billions are spent on military technology and design in rich countries while the manual labor and sweat work of invasion and occupation is increasingly outsourced to contractors who compete with each other to fill the work order for the lowest price.” 
      So we have 180,000 contractors, 630 companies. 
      How is this being paid for?
       Some in congress estimate that 40 percent of every tax dollar spent on war goes to these private war corporations. Vanity Fair reports that the government pays contractors as much as the combined taxes paid by everyone in the US with incomes under $100,000. Meaning that more than 90 percent of all taxpayers might as well send their tax payments directly to these war contractors, rather than to the US. (J. Scahill’s article)
      This raises a point made by Kucinich’s economist - Dr. Hudson. 
      He points out that war is considered one of those items that the government just covers the cost of. The government just pays for war, there is no need to pay up front to cover the cost of war. War is assumed to be a duty and obligation of the government that will just be paid for, somehow. This is in contrast to programs that would benefit the people, for example social security. We all hear how social security is going bankrupt and we Baby Boomers and those younger than us will not have s.s. despite having paid into it for our entire working lives. Why is it that SS must be paid for in advance, while war is just covered? This is wrong.
      So, we have 180,000 contractors, and 160,000 troops. We have 1000 reported deaths among the contractors and almost 4000 troops. Now, I’m guessing that there are more than 1,000 deaths, but we have no way of knowing this. I’m guessing, however, that when you hear on the news that Iraqi security troops were killed, you might really be hearing that paid contractors were killed, but there is no way to determine if these deaths are being counted or reported by the contractors. 
      Mercenaries are unaccountable.
      Unlike American soldiers, mercenaries don’t have to comply with the Uniform Code of Military Justice. They also were granted immunity under Iraqi law, by the provisional government put in place by the US. These mercenaries just have to obey the terms of their contacts, contracts we are not allowed to see.
      Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) a leading member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, responsible for reviewing National Security issues says: “If I want to see a contract, I have to go to a secret room and look at it, can’t take any notes, can’t take any notes out with me, you know - essentially, I don’t have access to those contracts and even if I did, I couldn’t tell anybody about it.” 
      Thus, we have mercenaries, don’t know how many died, don’t know how many were injured, they are unaccountable to anyone.
      These mercenaries are paid for by US, “we the people!”
      and yet we don’t get to know anything about them, or what they are doing. This is a military that is beholden only to its corporate masters. And to the Executive branch, the Administration, of the government. It is not beholden to Congress and it is certainly not beholden to the people.
      I don’t think it takes much imagination to understand what would happen if there were ever a conflict between what the administration wants and what the people want. In fact, we have already seen what happens -- we saw it in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina when the administration sent in paid contracts to prevent looting, while walking past bodies rotting on the street, while ignoring women and children who were hungry, tired, stranded and just trying to survive.
      So let’s talk labor and jobs. Money = jobs. We have an economy that it pumping more and more money into the military. That’s where the jobs are. The Chronicle reported yesterday that manufacturing jobs are disappearing, while service jobs are increasing. Mostly in low paying, food etc.
      The only jobs that exist for many people are in the military. Most probably wouldn’t choose the military, but how else can they survive? 
      So, the conclusion is that money = jobs. Right now, a HUGE portion of all of our money is beings spent to kill innocent people across the world for obscure and immoral reasons. Where does this money go? To creating JOBS for AMERICANS. Yes, and that’s hard to take. But, people who works for security, computer code encryption, the aerospace industry, surveillance systems, weapons design, and all the various secretaries, computer tech support, clerks, and staff that make their work possible -- every single one of those American’s has a job because of WAR.
      I do believe that we the people can imagine a better world and can even implement it. Here’s a simple idea -- if people want to fund the war they can so indicate on their tax return. I can already hear the caterwauling of the neo-cons “that would be impossible!”
      Why are the simple ideas impossible? It’s easy. Just a check box on the tax form. The reason it’s “impossible” is that our corporate masters know we’d choose peaceful purposes for our money.
      What if we did choose to spend our tax dollars for peace? Well, money = jobs, as we know. So there would be jobs for levee design in New Orleans, architecture jobs for designing new housing, planning jobs for planning new city services and of course jobs providing those services. There would be money to surveil bridges, to make sure the bridges were structurally sound, and money to pay engineers to make them sound and money to pay workers to repair the bridges. Why is that so hard to accomplish when it seems so easy to bring all kinds of infrastructure and support to the task of killing Iraqis?
      Because each of us is tied to the system, we are intertwined through the stock market, every time we buy consumer goods, through our daily lives. And that’s why each of us should, each and every day, choose as wisely as we can with our money. 
      And we need to tell Congress to stop messing around with resolutions that do nothing. Like the one proposed by Ellen Tauscher, to declare that we have won the war as a way to get us out of the war. That’s just another “feel good” resolution. It’s just a game, a political game to position her as being against the war. That’s all nice and good, but she could really do something to end the war by voting NO on funding the war! And I encourage each of you to CALL HER and tell her that. Some of us met with her representatives, and they explained that her district covered Travis Air Force Base, the largest city in her district. Yeah? Well, I bet those people at Travis didn’t vote for her. We did. We put her in office, and we need to tell her that we don’t want to fund war and we really don’t want to fund private corporations who are unaccountable to Congress or the law. That’s it. It’s that easy. 
      Thank you for coming,
      Choose Peace!
      "sharon adams" sjadams@...

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