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Stop The Funding for the Afghan War--Call your Congressperson today!

26 July, 2010

U.S. intervention in Afghanistan is facing increasing challenge, and this week's dramatic Wikileaks revelations -- the biggest U.S. war expose since Dan Ellsberg's Pentagon papers -- make it all the more difficult for Congress to keep funding this horrific war. It is an important moment for all of us who want immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to raise our voices.

        It looks like there will be an up-and-down House vote this week on the Afghan war supplemental funding. The Senate has stripped the bill of all unrelated issues such as funding for teachers, so the meaning of the vote will be clear: there will be no excuses for voting "Yes" or abstaining (not that such excuses were ever legitimate.)

        This is a crucial time to insist that your member of Congress vote NO on war funding! You can reach your representative through the Congressional switchboard 1-888-493-5443 toll-free. If you use this number, it will add to the Friends Committee on National Legislation's count of how many people called Congress against the war supplemental, so your call will be tallied in two places. (If by chance you don't know who your member of Congress is, you can find out at the FCNL website:http://capwiz.com/fconl/directory/congdir.tt)

        The Network of Spiritual Progressives is joining with the Campaign for Peace and Democracy,  United for Peace and Justice, Peace Action, CODEPINK, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Peace and Justice Resource Center, Historians Against the War, Just Foreign Policy and Progressive Democrats of America in this effort to rally support for a "NO" vote. If you can, please send us a brief email at info@spiritualprogressives.org to let us know that you've made your call.

        Our message is simple: Vote no on funding this escalation of war, regardless of whether it's a procedural vote, and regardless of any good measures attached to it. Our phone calls this week won't turn the situation around overnight. It will take massive and sustained street demonstrations, civil disobedience, teach-ins around the country, and other mobilizations to accomplish that. But a strong "NO" vote now will strengthen anti-war sentiment in and out of Congress, and will help build the mass anti-war demonstrations that are planned for October.

       If our elected officials always believe that no matter how far to the right they move we will always be giving them our money and our votes becasue we fear something worse on the right, they have zero incentive to take our peace, justice, love, generosity and environmental sanity messages seriously. We need to let them know that these positions of ours are not just "preferences," but rather they are our bottom line and that we won't support those who support war, militarism, injustice, and a worldview of domination and power over others, even if they tell us that deep in their hearts they believe something quite different. It's not their hearts but their votes that we are looking at--we don't assess whether they are good people or not, leave that to God. What we care about is whether they use their power of office (and this goes for Obama as well) to support the values we hold, and if not, they should not count on our support. Please help us get this message to your elected representatives and to your local and national media--Rabbi Michael Lerner  Chair, The Network of Spiritual Progressives  www.spiritualprogressives.org   Editor, Tikkun Magazine www.tikkun.org

RabbiLerner@Tikkun.org   510 644 1200

P.S. you have my permission to send this out to everyone you know and to post it on your website or wherever else you can. Also see the article from Truthout.org below:

Will House Democrats Oppose a Jobless War Supplemental?

Sunday 25 July 2010

by: Robert Naiman, t r u t h o u t | Report

The war supplemental for Afghanistan is expected to come back from the Senate to the House this week - without any kind of timetable for military withdrawal from Afghanistan, and without money to save teachers' jobs attached.

AP reports :

In a take-it-or-leave-it gesture, the Senate voted Thursday night to reject more than $20 billion in domestic spending the House had tacked on to its $60 billion bill to fund President Barack Obama's troop surge in Afghanistan.


The moves repel a long-shot bid by House Democrats earlier this month to resurrect their faltering jobs agenda with $10 billion in grants to school districts to avoid teacher layoffs, $5 billion for Pell Grants to low-income college students, $1 billion for a summer jobs program and $700 million to improve security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Labor unions had strongly backed the House Democratic effort to attach money to the supplemental, to boost employment and avoid teacher layoffs. Will these unions now urge House Democrats to vote no on any jobless war supplemental?

Few expect that the House, in a freestanding vote this week, will reject the $33 billion request for the Afghanistan war, since until now there has been a solid block of more than 90 percent of House Republicans committed to voting yes on what they would consider a "relatively clean" war supplemental.

But what is in serious dispute is how many House Democrats will vote no on a jobless war supplemental. A large Democratic no vote would send a strong signal to the White House of House Democratic impatience with a blank checkbook for endless and fruitless war, while the administration insists that there is no money to save jobs at home, at a time of nearly 10 percent measured unemployment. A large Democratic no vote would also send a powerful signal of Democratic "no confidence" in the Pentagon's war plans, increasing pressure on the administration to vigorously pursue a political resolution to the conflict and to establish a timetable for military withdrawal - as desired by the majority of Americans and three-quarters of Democrats, according to a recent CBS poll .

Do you like this? Click here to get Truthout stories sent to your inbox every day - free.

Labor advocates and the majority of House Democrats now have two solid reasons to support a no vote. First, their efforts to add money to save jobs at home have been rejected by the Senate - with White House approval. Second, there is no timetable for military withdrawal embedded in the legislation - not even the July 2011 beginning of a drawdown that President Obama promised last year but which General Petraeus is now doing his best to undermine .

Sixty percent of House Democrats voted on July 1 to require President Obama to establish a timetable for withdrawal.

And increasingly, labor unions are turning explicitly against the war.

On July 11, the American Federation of Teachers, meeting at their national convention in Seattle, adopted a resolution calling for:

"an end to our current open-ended military involvement in Afghanistan, with a specific timetable for the rapid, orderly withdrawal of all armed forces and military contractors from Afghanistan, to begin immediately."

United Auto Workers President Bob King and Rainbow PUSH leader Jesse Jackson have announced that a march in Detroit on Aug. 28, the 47th anniversary of King's 1963 march on Washington, will kick off a campaign to to rebuild the nation's cities, provide jobs and education, enact a moratorium on foreclosures and end the wars in the Middle East [my emphasis].

The Pennsylvania , Wisconsin and Vermont state AFL-CIO labor federations have called for ending the war in Afghanistan, as have the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE).

If you oppose the spending of your tax dollars for more war, make your voice heard. The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has established a toll-free number that connects you to the Capitol switchboard: 1-888-493-5443 , which will transfer you to your Representative's office. If you use this number, it will add to FCNL's count of how many people called Congress against the war supplemental, so your call will be tallied in two places.

web: www.spiritualprogressives.org
email: info@spiritualprogressives.org