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Brownbaggers Not Teabaggers - Leftward Ho! By Peter Gamble, BlackCommentator.com Publisher

 
 

When I began writing this column the intent was to focus on action. There’s been enough complaining.  Action speaks loud and clear to the Pigs of the Power Structure (POPs).

Here’s how you can support or join a vigil for healthcare and oppose war funding.

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has begun organizing "brownbag" lunch vigils against war funding at the district offices of a number of  members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

On February 17th, PDA will be joined by CODEPINK, AfterDowningStreet, Democrats.com, the California Nurses Assn./National Nurses United, and United for Peace and Justice in holding brownbag vigils outside (or inside) at least 36 congress members' offices.

Brownbaggers are demanding commitments to vote against more money for war. Slogans on their posters include: "Healthcare not Warfare," "Corporations out of Politics," "Bailout Main Street not Wall Street," and "Brownbaggers not Teabaggers".

Vigils have been planned in the following districts: AZ-5, CA-6, CA-9, CA-10, CA-18, CA-22, CA-23, CA-40, CA-42, CA-45, CA-46, CA-48, CA-50, CA-53, FL-9, FL-10, FL-17, ID-01, IN-9, MA-1, MA-2, MA-3, MA-10, MI-9, NY-18, NY-28, OH-13, OH-17, PA-02, PA-7, PA-15, WA-2, WA-3, WA-6, WI-3, WI-7.

These are almost all at noon on Wednesday the 17th, but a few are at odd times, so check the details: http://tr.im/NsUa

Get involved here and start a vigil in a new district: http://tinyurl.com/brownbagvigil

The Demands:

Brownbaggers are asking members of the House to publicly commit to voting No on any bills that fund wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Yemen, and to publicly urge their colleagues and the House leadership to make the same commitment. As lesser steps in the same direction, PDA is encouraging congress members to cosponsor HR 2454, calling for an exit strategy from Afghanistan, and HR 3699, prohibiting any increase in the number of U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan. Congress members' commitments are tracked at http://defundwar.org

"We have to choose between jobs and wars," said PDA's national director Tim Carpenter. "The American people are on one side, but our so-called representatives in Congress are on the other. The Supreme Court is busy increasing corporate control of our elected officials. We need to be busy enforcing the people's control before it is too late."

"Without wasteful war and military spending," said PDA's deputy director Laura Bonham, "we could have healthcare, jobs, housing, education, retirement security, environmental sustainability, diplomacy and foreign aid. No longer will we take seriously anyone's claim to support these things while voting to fund more war."

Learn more about Brown Bag Lunch Vigils here: http://tinyurl.com/brownbagvigil

Print useful information:

http://defundwar.org

Print these posters:

Poster #1 - Brownbaggers not Teabaggers

Poster #2 - Corporations out of Politics

Poster #3 - Bailout Main Street not Wall Street

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observed over 40 years ago, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death,” and “of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.” 

And yet here we are, over four decades later, spending what seems to be limitless money for endless wars. We can pay for warfare but not healthcare, for bombs but not books, for weapons but not windmills, for hellfire but not homes. As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq labor on, with no end in sight, it's become alarmingly clear that they have exacted a staggering human and financial toll on the Iraqi, Afghan, and American people. Something is terribly wrong. 

In light of this sad state, Progressive Democrats of America is extending and expanding the Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign to raise awareness among the public and our elected officials that the electorate is not being served by current U.S. policies.

PDA and our allies call on the Obama administration and the United States Congress to begin redirecting the money spent on war and death into human needs here at home and abroad. We demand humanitarian and reconstructive aid for the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, not money for troop escalation and permanent bases. We demand that wasteful and unnecessary military spending be directed toward healthcare, jobs, and housing in America. We demand an end to the unjust and illegitimate wars against, and occupations of, Afghanistan and Iraq. 

PDA’s Brown Bag Lunch Vigil Campaign is calling on our members, and like-minded individuals and organizations, to gather on the third Wednesday of every month in front of—and in—congressional offices in districts across the country. We’re asking you to spend your lunch hour exercising your First Amendment Rights by holding vigils, rallies, meetings with aides and representatives, pickets, and demonstrations that will serve to educate our elected officials, the public, and the press about the human and financial costs of war and militarism. 

Specifically, PDA and our allies call on President Obama and Congress to support HR 2404, calling for an exit strategy from Afghanistan; HR 3699, prohibiting any increase in the number of U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan, and to establish improved and expanded Medicare for All to residents of the United States. We cannot let them forget that we are watching and waiting for the next election. 

Here's how to get involved:

1. Find a vigil here.  If you don't see a vigil near you, look below to see how to create one.

2. Download the Healthcare NOT Warfare flyer and the Why do we need Brown Bag Lunch Vigils? flyer. Customize the BBLV flyer for your group, and make copies of both flyers. Get your promotional Healthcare NOT Warfare materials here.

3. Go to the National Priorities Project to find data on the actual cost of the wars and on the social programs your community could have funded with those tax dollars. Use these figures to make signs for your vigils.

4. Spread the word!  Write about your Brown Bag Lunch Vigil on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

5. Don't forget your brown bag lunch and Healthcare NOT Warfare stickers. Take your lunch in PDA's Healthcare NOT Warfare canvas tote!

To create a BBLV event:

1. Schedule your vigil here. Your vigil will be promoted to our calendar so others can find you. For more information, contact the team at [email protected].

2. Send a personalized copy of this letter to your representative and this letter to your senatorsFind your representative and senators here. Or schedule an in-person meeting with your member of Congress or the legislative aide on miltary issues to determine your representative or senator's support.

3. Report on activities and developments pertaining to your lobbying effort using the Brown Bag Lunch Vigil Google document. Check coalition partner AfterDowningStreet.org's DefundWar.org to see how your legislators have voted on war funding.

4. Submit articles for publication on the PDA web site detailing your experiences to [email protected]a.org.  It is especially important to share what works and what doesn't with other activists.

Visit the PDA End War and Occupations, Redirect Funding IOT page:

1. For flyers and handouts, click on Fliers and Outreach Materials.

2. For information on HR 2404, HR 3699, and other legislation, click on Legislation and Analysis.

3. For links to Websites with up-to-the-minute information and statistics on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, click on Resources.

Remember, your representative in Congress must hear from you between elections. If you can’t join a Brownbagger demonstration plan to contact your lawmakers as an individual. A personal call, letter or email is best. Here are links for you to use to find your representatives in the House and Senate and White House.

For the U.S. House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/ (enter your zip code in the upper left corner of the page)

For the U.S. Senate: http://senate.gov/ (choose your state using the drop down menu in the upper right corner)

White House Comment Line - 202.456.1111 

White House Switchboard - 202.456.1414

White House Website contact form: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

BlackCommentator.com Publisher and Chief Technical Officer Peter Gamble, is the recipient of a national Sigma Delta Chi award for public service in journalism and numerous other honors for excellence in reporting and investigative reporting. The “beats” he covered as a broadcast journalist ranged from activism in the streets to the State Department and White House. The lure of a personal computer on his desk inspired a career change in 1985 and an immersion into what he sees as the future of communications. The acquisition of computer programming skills made it possible for Peter to achieve an important level of self-reliance in the technology of the 21st century and to develop BlackCommentator.com. Click here to contact Peter.

 
 

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Issue 362
February 11, 2010

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Executive Editor:
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Managing Editor:
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Publisher:
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