Re: [smygo] Code Pink Extends Olive Branch to Tea Party
- i just wrote Medea Bnejamin a question, which i await her answer, as
where she got the statistic that Israel was the 11th richest nation
in the world. In every list i looked at it says it is below 20.
On Apr 16, 2010, at 4:08 PM, Dan Clore wrote:
> News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
> Peace Activists Extend An Olive Branch To The Tea Party
> To Talk About War
> By Medea Benjamin
> 15 April, 2010
> On Tax Day, Tea Party members from around the country will descend on
> the nation’s capitol to “protest big government and support lower
> less government and more freedom.” CODEPINK, a women-led peace group
> advocating an end to war and militarism, will be sending some
> representatives to begin a dialogue. While we come from the
> opposite end
> of the political spectrum and don’t support the goals and tactics
> of the
> Tea Party, there is an area where we are seeking common ground, i.e.
> endless wars and militarism.
> As Tea Partiers express their anger at out-of-control government
> spending and soaring deficits, we will ask them to take a hard look at
> what is, by far, the biggest sinkhole of our tax dollars: Pentagon
> spending. With the Obama administration proposing the largest military
> budget ever, topping $700 billion not including war supplementals, the
> U.S. government is now spending almost as much on the military as the
> rest of the world combined.
> Perhaps the Tea Party and peace folks—unlikely allies—can agree
> that one
> way to shrink big government is to rein in military spending. Here are
> some questions to get the conversation going:
> · At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference on April 10, Cong.
> Ron Paul—who has a great following within the Tea Party--chided both
> conservatives and liberals for their profligate spending on foreign
> military bases, occupations and maintaining an empire. “We’re running
> out of money,” he warned. “All empires end for financial reasons, and
> that is what the markets are telling us today….We can do better with
> peace than with war.” Do you agree with Congressman Paul on this?
> · Every taxpayer has already spent, on average, a staggering $7,367
> the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama is now sending another 30,000
> troops to Afghanistan, with a price tag of one million dollars per
> soldier per year. Opposition to these wars ranges from liberal Cong.
> Dennis Kucinich and conservative Tea Party leader Sheriff Richard
> During a Congressional vote to end the war in Afghanistan that was
> defeated but got bipartisan support, Rep. Dennis Kucinich said,
> 1000 U.S. soldiers have died. And for what? Hundreds of billions
> And for what? To make Afghanistan safe for crooks, drug dealers and
> crony capitalism?" Do you think Congress should turn off the war
> and bring out troops home?
> · The Cold War has been over for 20 years, yet the U.S. government
> maintains 800-plus bases around the world with troops stationed in 148
> countries and 11 territories. Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan
> asks, “How we can justify borrowing hundreds of billions yearly from
> Europe, Japan and the Gulf states -- to defend Europe, Japan and the
> Arab Gulf states? Is it not absurd to borrow hundreds of billions
> annually from China -- to defend Asia from China?” Should we begin to
> dismantle this global web of bases?
> · Far and away the largest recipient of US foreign aid is Israel, a
> wealthy country (the 11th wealthiest in the world) that gets $3
> a year from Uncle Sam with no strings attached and no
> accountability. We
> also give the repressive Egyptian government over a billion dollars a
> year to buy their support for a Middle East peace plan that is going
> nowhere. Are you in favor of continuing this taxpayer largesse to
> and Egypt?
> · An area where Pentagon spending has mushroomed is the payment of
> private security contractors. While many soldiers who risk their lives
> for their country struggle to support their families, private security
> company employees can pocket as much as $1,000 a day. High pay for
> contract workers in war zones burdens taxpayers and saps military
> morale. Moreover, military officers in the field have said contractors
> often operate like "cowboys," using unnecessary and excessive force
> has undermined our reputation overseas. Cong. Jan Schakowsky
> the Stop Outsourcing Security Act that would phase out private
> contractors in war zones. Do you support that?
> · Experts on the left and the right say we could cut our military
> by 25%, including closing foreign bases, winding down the wars, and
> ending obsolete weapons systems, without jeopardizing our security. Do
> you agree? If we could make significant cuts to the military
> budget, how
> should those funds be reallocated? To pay down the debt? Increase
> security at home? Rebuild our infrastructure? Stimulate the economy
> through tax breaks?
> We are not naïve enough to think that it would be easy for the Tea
> and the peace movement to work together. Our core values are
> We have had our battles in the past. We would certainly part ways in
> terms of how to redirect Pentagon funds, with progressives wanting
> government investment in healthcare, jobs, clean energy and
> education—which is exactly what the Tea Party opposes.
> But building peace means reaching out to the other side and trying to
> find common ground even with those people whose beliefs contradict so
> many of our own. If the Tea Party is really against runaway government
> spending, then certainly we can work together to cut a slice out of
> military pork that is bankrupting our nation. In extending the olive
> branch to talk about war, the conversation can hopefully be
> on other issues as well, such as banks run amok and undue corporate
> control of our government.
> Who knows what kind of potent brew could emerge when folks on the left
> and the right—both alienated by a two-party system that doesn’t
> meet our
> needs—sit down for tea?
> Medea Benjamin (medea@... ) is cofounder of CODEPINK
> (http://www.codepink.org ) and Global Exchange (www.globalexchange.org
> ). Please contact her if you want to be part of a serious left-right
> dialogue on war.
> Code Pink crashes tea party, looking for converts
> At this afternoon's Tea Party Express rally, on the left of the
> stage, a
> small woman in a bright pink shirt milled around conducting friendly
> interviews. The interviewer was Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, a left-
> activist who excels at showing up at conservative events,
> hearings and military recruiting stations, and getting herself
> She listened to tea party activists, patiently marking down their
> answers to questions like, "Israel, a wealthy country, gets $3
> billion a
> year from Uncle Sam with no strings attached and no accountability.
> second largest recipient is the autocratic government of Egypt. Should
> Congress cut the foreign aid budget by cutting funds to Israel and
> "I find more hawks here than Ron Paul supporters," Benjamin told me,
> right after an interview with a tea party activist (who didn't want to
> give her name) who blamed "Walter Cronkite and Bob McNamara" for
> America's defeat in Vietnam. "I think it's fascinating! There's a
> lot of
> myths about 'the other,' on both sides. Like, somebody came up to
> me and
> said 'You're a Castro lover!' I said, you don't know, I was
> actually put
> in jail and deported from Cuba. Let's talk, let's inform each other."
> Benjamin didn't find any full converts -- some people I saw loudly
> peacefully) suggested that she should leave -- but she did find common
> ground on economics.
> "We found we were both against the bailout," she said, "against
> government subsidies to corporations -- the Chrysler/GM takeover. With
> cash for clunkers, one woman told me she had a lot of friends who
> buy new cars but some who didn't have the money. The common ground was
> on bailing out those who don't need a bailout."
> I pointed out to Benjamin that Republicans, in pushing back against
> stories of tea party extremism, have cited Code Pink as an example of
> real hate on the left. She shook her head. "We never curse. Never. We
> don't do that. We're totally non-violent. We never say anything
> Benjamin avoided the pushing and shouting matches that have marked
> of her videotaped confrontations with Republicans. Tea partyers, she
> said, were a different breed. "Sometimes when I talk to them I find
> that they're scarier than I ever thought. Sometimes I find that
> they are
> really nice people who think differently than me."
> April 15, 2010
> Tea Party + CODEPINK = Love?
> By Ellen Ratner
> The group CODEPINK holds out an olive branch to the Tea Party
> Could this be the start of something big?
> Today is Tax Day and it is also Tea Party Day in Washington. Citizens
> who had enough of the bailout and are concerned about runaway spending
> are gathered to let Washington know their concerns. They were even
> partying last night taking over a bar on Capitol Hill to celebrate the
> impact they are having on elections and with elected officials.
> They have chosen Income Tax day for their protests but income taxes
> a family of four are historically low. (During Eisenhower in 1955
> it was
> 6%, Nixon 10% and Carter almost 11 %) The average family of four pays
> about 4.6% in income taxes. Even 52% of self-identified Tea Partiers
> felt their income taxes were fair. So, maybe it isn’t taxes that are
> motivating them, maybe it is spending. They certainly don’t seem
> outraged that corporations like Exxon get away with a small tax bite
> because of off-shore corporations.
> Anyone with half a brain knows that the deficits we are racking up are
> unsustainable. By most estimates the rate we are spending will be
> 300 percent of the GDP by 2050. That kind of government spending
> finished off the Soviet Union and without a change in course it could
> finish off us.
> The Tea Party people have it right, we can’t be bailing out Wall
> and charging the taxpayers. It can’t happen again. The problem is that
> the Tea Party people are not looking at where government spending
> be cut. Fortunately the ladies of CODEPINK have given the Tea Party
> people an option. They are holding out an olive branch and
> suggesting a
> common ground with the Tea Party folks. Their idea is to stop endless
> wars and militarism.
> This isn’t just a bunch of old sixty-year-old post-menopausal women
> are making up figures, they’re on to something. The actual military
> spending is staggering. The Obama defense budget for 2011 is $663.7
> Bbllion dollars, which is almost 42% of all worldwide defense
> This does not include the war supplemental spending that will also
> up for a vote. The two next biggest spenders? China comes in at
> 5.8% of
> the worldwide budget and France at 4.5%.
> CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin quotes former Republican
> candidate Pat Buchanan, who says “Is it not absurd to borrow
> hundreds of
> billions annually from China -- to defend Asia from China?”
> Tea Partiers should remember that great Republican Dwight
> Eisenhower who
> said “Beware the military industrial complex.” President Eisenhower
> it right. Maybe CODEPINK and the Tea Party people can reach a
> on this overboard spending. Now that would be something to party for.
> Ellen Ratner is Washington bureau chief for Talk Radio News Service
> a Fox News contributor.
> Dan Clore
> New book: _Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon_:
> My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
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> News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
> Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
> in charge on this island?
> Professor: Why, no one.
> Skipper: No one?
> Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
> -- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"
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