Sunday, May 1, 2016

Obama Wants To Give Israel $40 Billion In Military Aid But Does Your Senator Agree?

Photo source: Electronic Intifada "
Qalandiya checkpoint after two Palestinian siblings were slain by Israeli forces on 27 April. (
Shadi Hatem, APA images)"
Seventeen brave U.S. Senators did not sign the Graham/Coons letter supporting the gift of up to $40 Billion of military aid to Israel over the next ten years. Maine's Sen. Angus King did not sign while Sen. Susan Collins did. Collins has been in AIPAC's pocket for decades so no surprise that she singed. However, Independent King has taken some local heat for his support of Israel's war crimes in Gaza. Could this have influenced his decision? We can only hope.
Israel's apartheid wall has displaced thousands and limits the free movement of Palestinians.
Photo source: Luigi Farrauto, http://www.khtt.net/page/13391/en
Also, good for Sen. Bernie Sanders for not signing on to the Obama administration's latest craven pandering to an apartheid state that is among the wealthiest in the world and not in need of aid from U.S. taxpayers. Lately Sanders has been backing away from his former support for Israel right or wrong. This takes courage because the backlash from AIPAC and other angry Zionists will be fierce. 
Some of the senators on this list may have refused to sign out of simple fiscal conservatism.
Military aid to any country is corporate welfare for U.S. weapons manufacturers as it allows other countries to buy weapon systems at the U.S. taxpayers' expense. Countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia, with their stellar human rights records (sarcasm warning), are often the recipients of this largesse.
Perhaps you would consider sending a note of thanks to senators who did not sign on to this bad proposal. Because they will definitely be attacked by AIPAC for their stand. Here are the refuseniks to thank:
Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)
Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
Tom Carper (D-Del.)
Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
Al Franken (D-Minn.)
Tim Kaine (D-Va.)
Angus King (I-Maine)
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)
Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
John Tester (D-Mont.)
Tom Udall (D-N.M.)

Each name has been linked to their contact page to send feedback. You may need to use a zip code to establish that you're a constituent. 

If you're a Mainer, or even if you're not, you can join me in letting Sen. Susan Collins know how you feel about her support of Israel's war crimes.

You can let your elected officials know how you feel about supporting the Israeli military with its regular extrajudicial killing of civilians, including a pregnant mother of two trying to cross into Jerusalem for medical care. If you're Christian, you can ask yourself: what would Jesus do?

Maureen Clare Murphy reporting April 27 in Electronic Intifada "Brother and sister slain at checkpoint were executed, Palestinians say":
Video from the scene shows Israeli forces turning away a Palestine Red Crescent medic and preventing a cameraman from filming. 
A brother of Maram and Ibrahim told Haaretz that he doesn’t believe his sister intended to carry out an attack, saying that she was on her way to a doctor’s appointment when she was shot dead.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Send A Memorial Day Letter To The Vietnam Veterans Wall In Wash DC


Photo credit: Meutia Chaerani - Indradi Soemardjan - Own work Indrani, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=779984
My life has been touched by the suffering of Vietnam veterans since I was a teenager. My first lover was a Vietnam veteran who eventually killed himself. 

I began to fall in love with my husband when I heard him tell a military age young man why he had risked his own health to avoid the draft during the Vietnam war: he knew that his government was lying to him.

My friends in the current antiwar movement often are veterans of Vietnam who have sustained the moral injuries of combat and who struggle with depression and despair. Many family members of students I've taught have suffered from PTSD, substance abuse, cancer and other health effects of being Vietnam vets. This continues to put stress on families down through the generations.
"Heavily bandaged woman with a tag attached to her arm
which reads 'VNC Female' meaning Vietnamese civilian"

Photo credit: By Philip Jones Griffiths - National Library of WalesThe National Library of Wales, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38576244
The above is my response to this invitation from Veterans for Peace co-founder Doug Rawlings:

AMERICA NEEDS TO HEAR FROM YOU

If you have suffered through the Vietnam war, either as a military veteran or as a resister or as a partner of a veteran or a child or a sibling of a veteran or just as a caring citizen of this country, you need to know that your voice is needed. 

On Memorial Day, May 30th, we will be delivering letters to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) with heartfelt messages to those young men and women whose names are on The Wall. Please join us. 

Your note can be one paragraph long or many paragraphs. It can be written to a specific name on The Wall or just as a general cry out against war. Last year we laid 151 letters and 32 postcards at the foot of The Wall in a ceremony that not only profoundly affected us but also those who read the letters as they passed by. Rest assured that your letter will be treated with the respect and caring it deserves -- this ceremony is not a political action. It is an act of remembrance and grief. 

But it also is more than a reaching out to the past. It is a message to the future.  You who have firsthand knowledge of that war need to have your voices heard. For the next ten years we will be witnessing a series of fifty year commemorations that will mark the Viet Nam War in the minds of many young people. They need to know more than the "official" story of that war. They need to know the many truths that only you can tell. Please join us.

You have until MAY 14TH to write your letter and send it either as an email message to rawlings@maine.edu or as a handwritten letter to Doug Rawlings, 13 Soper Road, Chesterville, Maine 04938. 

I will guarantee that your letter will be placed in a business envelope, opened at the top, with the words "PLEASE READ ME" emblazoned on the front flap, and then placed at the foot of The Wall at 10:30am, Memorial Day, May 30th.   

Last year, the National Park Service collected all of our letters and then asked if they could place the letters in a special display. We agreed. Our voices continue to be heard. Please put your voice alongside ours.

Doug Rawlings
Veterans For Peace