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Come join us to celebrate how the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights activists lives on here in Charlottesville.
This is a gathering for all those who have a dream of social justice and a desire to see it come true.
PLACE: Random Row Books, 315 West Main St. Charlottesville, 22902 (at Ridge St)
TIME: 5:30 - 8:30 PM, Monday, January 16th » read more »
At the first meeting of the new Charlottesville, Va., City Council Tuesday evening, four of the five city council members publicly expressed their intention to support a resolution asking Congress to reduce military spending, a resolution likely to be discussed and voted on at the council's next meeting on the evening of January 16th, Martin Luther King Day. The fifth member expressed no view, so the possibility exists for unanimous support. One of the four members who expressed support for the draft resolution that we had proposed added that he would like to see it amended to also oppose the launching of a war against Iran. Another member also expressed an interest in revising the draft in some unspecified way prior to the next meeting.
The City of Charlottesville posts videos of its meetings online, but the video that can be downloaded and edited includes no audio, so I'm unable to show you just the relevant bits of the meeting. However, you can find them with the handy-dandy guide below this video:
First come 3-minute public comments from some of us in support of the resolution. Scroll ahead to . . . 17:07 for Brandon Collins, immediately followed at 20:43 by David Swanson. Jump ahead to 34:36 for Kirk Bowers, and to 38:30 for Nancy Carpenter. Then at 47:20 Stratton speaks on another issue but connects it very well to this one.
Following public comments, each of the five city council members replied briefly. First new member Kathy Galvin spoke on other topics and did not mention the resolution at all. Next, at 53:28 new member Dede Smith spoke in support of the resolution, and at 54:22 Kristin Szakos did so as well but suggested that it should be voted on at the next meeting on MLK Day, while at 55:10 Dave Norris spoke in support of the resolution and of adding to it opposition to attacking Iran. Norris's term as mayor ended at this meeting, but as mayor in 2011 he had been an early supporter of the resolution passed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors asking Congress to reduce military spending. Brand new mayor Satyendra Huja spoke last and did not touch the topic at that point.
Now, enjoy lots of unrelated discussion or jump way ahead to 2:35:30 for Pat Lloyd, another member of the public who speaks up for the resolution. Then skip ahead to 2:49:48 at which point Mayor Huja says that he too supports the resolution, and Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones asks the five members to submit any proposed edits to the resolution to him (or to "staff") by the end of this week.
The book that I present to the Mayor in the video can be found at http://MIC50.org
Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice is supporting this resolution.
PLEASE BE AT THE JANUARY 17th MEETING AT CITY HALL BY 6:15 PM AND BRING 10 FRIENDS! Note the date! The meeting will actually be on the 17th, not the 16th! » read more »
The 1% have their Congress and the Virginia General Assembly.
The rest of us have the VIRGINIA PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY.
Join progressive activists from around the state for the 4th annual VPA!
for Jobs, Peace, Justice!
SATURDAY - JAN. 14
'Jobs, Peace, Justice!'
2012 VIRGINIA PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY
9:30 am - 9 pm – Sat., Jan. 14, 2012
St. Stephen's Koinonia Church, 505 N. 33rd St., Richmond, VA 23223
9:30 am – REGISTRATION – There is no charge, but donations are welcome.
10 - 10:30 am – 1st PLENARY SESSION
Welcoming Remarks: Rev. Benjamin Harris – Pastor, St. Stephen's Koinonia Church
Overview of the VPA: origins, history, purpose; explanation of the day's agenda
10:30 am - noon – FOCUS GROUPS –These are opportunities for people with the same interests to meet and discuss common issues. The goal is to network, make friends and allies and hopefully find ways to work together in 2012.
10:30 - 11:15 am
Anti-War– Those active or interested in the peace and anti-war movement
Labor – Organized and unorganized workers, activists and supporters
LGBTQ– Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community
11:15 am - noon
Occupy Wall Street– For those active in or supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement
Prison Issues– Ex-prisoners, family members, advocates and supporters
Noon - 1 pm – Black Community Caucus– Open to all Black folks at the conference. Networking and discussion on issues of particular importance to the Black community.
Noon - 1 pm - Immigrant and supporter networking – Mexicanos Sin Fronteras, Southwood Alliance and all others supporting justice for immigrants.
Noon - 1 pm – LUNCH– Potluck, with meat and vegetarian dishes. Free, but donations appreciated.
1 - 3 pm – WORKSHOPS – More formal than focus groups. Workshops are educational presentations and discussions sponsored by a group or individual.
“Virginia's Budget: People Need to Know!”
Sponsor: Virginia Organizing
Presenter: Cathy Woodson, Virginia Organizing Central Virginia Organizer
“Prison issues in Virginia”
Sponsors: Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (RIHD) / Prisoners & Families for Equal Rights & Justice
Presenters: Lillie “Ms. K” Branch-Kennedy, Executive Director, RIHD; Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor, Trustee, PFERJ
“The Right of Oppressed Peoples to Self-determination: What it means, what it doesn't”
Sponsor: Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality
Presenter: Ana Edwards, Chair, Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project
“The War on Drugs as the New Jim Crow”
Sponsor: November Coalition
Presenter: Kwame Binta, Virginia Representative, November Coalition
“What's Behind the Drive for War Against Iran?”
Sponsors: Campaign Against Sanctions & Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII); Women for Peace & Justice in Iran
Facilitators: Simin Royanian, Co-Founder, Women for Peace & Justice in Iran; Member, Solidarity Iran;
Phil Wilayto, Editor, The Virginia Defender; Board Member, CASMII
“People's Movement Assemblies”
Sponsor: Southerners On New Ground (SONG)
Presenters: SONG organizers
“Virginia Politics from a Socialist Perspective”
Sponsor: Socialist Party of Central Virginia
Presenters: Members of the Socialist Party of Central Virginia
3 - 4:30 pm – 2nd PLENARY SESSION – Report-backs from focus groups and workshops; action proposals.
4:30 - 5 pm – Transportation to Monroe Park– Drivers should drop their passengers at the park, then park their vehicles closer to Kanawha Plaza, then walk back to join the marchers. This will save a lot of time in getting back to the church.
5 - 6 pm – MARCH– 1.5 miles, East Broad Street to the State Capitol, then to Kanawha Plaza.
6:30 - 7 pm – Transportationback to the conference.
7 - 7:30 pm – DINNER– Brunswick Stew, meat and vegetarian. Free, but donations welcome.
7:30 - 9 pm – RALLY & SPEAK-OUT– Some prepared talks, followed by an open mic.
9 pm – ANTI-WAR PROTEST– If possible, participants are encouraged to join a protest against former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who will be speaking at the Landmark Theater, next to Monroe Park. We need Jobs and Justice, not War!
Child care and meals provided. Donations welcome.
For more information, visit the Facebook page for:
“2012 Virginia People's Assembly conference, march & rally”(http://www.facebook.com/events/284484054920881/)
or contact the Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality at:
(804) 644-5834or DefendersFJE@hotmail.com
Breanne Armbrust – Community Activist (Richmond) - Kwame Binta – President, Prosser-Truth Division #456, UNIA-ACL; Regional Representative, November Coalition - Lillie “Ms. K” Branch-Kennedy – Executive Director, Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (R.I.H.D.) - Rain Burroughs – Industrial Workers of the World, World Can’t Wait (Richmond) - Coalition for Justice (Blacksburg) - Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality - Ana Edwards – Chair, Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project (Richmond) - Flying Brick Library (Richmond) - House of Consciousness (Norfolk) - Rev. Benjamin Harris – Pastor, St. Stephen's Koinonia Church (Richmond) - Rev. Rodney M. Hunter – Pastor, Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church (Richmond) - Ricardo Juarez – General Coordinator, Mexicanos Sin Fronteras / Mexicans Without Borders (Prince William County) - King Salim Khalfani – Executive Director, Virginia State Conference NAACP - Occupy Blacksburg - Occupy Virginia Beach - Occupy Richmond - Occupy Virginia Tech - Tom Palumbo – Activist, Hampton Roads - Plowshare Peace Center (Roanoke) - Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project – Simin Royanian – Co-Founder, Women for Peace & Justice in Iran (Fairfax) - Adria Scharf – Director, Richmond Peace Education Center - Queen Zakia Shabazz – Director, United Parents Against Lead National, Inc. - Socialist Party of Central Virginia - Southerners On New Ground (SONG) - The Southwood Alliance (Charlottesville) - David Swanson – Author, “When the World Outlawed War” (Charlottesville) - Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor – Trustee, Prisoners and Families for Equal Rights and Justice (PAFERJ) - Wayside Center for Popular Education (Faber) - Phil Wilayto – Editor, The Virginia Defender - Ann Williams – Activist, Hampton Roads - Kenneth Yates – Industrial Workers of the World (Richmond)(As of Dec. 29, 2011)
If a criminal record, sales to enemies, illegal weapons, weapons used against U.S. and Egyptian political activists, and wasting tons of our money wasn't enough, here's another reason to LOVE those full-page BAE ads in the Charlottesville Daily Progress:
Republican Security Advisers Tied to $40 Billion in Contracts
By Roxana Tiron , Bloomberg
National security advisers to the Republican presidential candidates have ties to defense, homeland security and energy companies that have received at least $40 billion in federal contracts since 2008.
Five of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s 41 national security and foreign policy advisers have links to companies that last year alone received at least $7.9 billion in federal contracts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Government analyst Christopher Flavelle. Of that, $7.3 billion came from the Department of Defense.
Romney and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, who are leading in the polls, have advisers who sit on the board of directors of BAE Systems Inc., which has received at least $37 billion in U.S. government contracts since 2008, the most of any of the companies with ties to Republican national security advisers.
William Schneider, an adviser to Gingrich, and Michael Chertoff, who counsels Romney, serve on the board of the U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems Plc, Europe’s largest defense contractor. The American company makes the Army’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle and provides information technology systems to American intelligence agencies and repair services to the U.S. Navy. » read more »
This time of year is ideal for reflecting on the miracle of Christmas 1914, that famous temporary truce and friendship between opposing sides in the midst of a war. Here was a new type of slaughter confronted with a new type of humanism, the leading edges of two opposing trends.
An op-ed in the New York Times last week by Steven Pinker and Joshua Goldstein argues that peace, rather than war, was the dominant development, and that over the millennia, centuries, decades, and right up to this moment, "War Really Is Going Out of Style."
Of course, war can potentially be eliminated, and that is already a very valuable point to be making. War isn't in our genes. We aren't doomed to always have it with us. Even more valuable would be a successful argument that all types of violence have been decreasing, including war. That is the argument Pinker attempts, with — I think — great but less complete success than he imagines, in his new book "The Better Angels of Our Nature." » read more »
When a group of us citizens visited Rep. Hurt's Charlottesville office on Thursday, his staff said there was a press release on his website already explaining his vote against the National Defense Authorization Act. There wasn't.
I thanked Hurt on his FaceBook page, and he deleted the thank you.
It is likely no press release was sent to the press because there has been no story printed or reported anywhere, to my knowledge, outside of my commentary on Coy Barefoot's radio show.
Sure, for the first time in modern memory, a Fifth District Congress Member has voted against a "Defense" bill, and he's done so because it savages the Bill of Rights. But those facts do not override the supreme Commandment of Journalism, namely: Thou Shalt Not Report on Government Until Goverment Tells You What to Report in a Handy Press Release.
On the other hand, Hurt's DC office told me on the phone, and his staff in Charlottesville told me in person, that he voted No because of his opposition to the measure allowing eternal imprisonment without trial. And now he has said the same in a letter I just received:
"After studying the controversial provisions and after hearing from many in the Fifth District, I concluded that the detainee provisions in the bill did not provide clear and unambiguous protection of the constitutional rights of American citizens. For this reason, I opposed the bill on final passage."
The bill easily passed. It is unlikely Hurt received much flak from the Republican Party for this vote. But he would if he were to publicly demand a veto. He would if he were to introduce legislation similar to Senator Feinstein's excluding US legal residents from the newly codified abuses. And he certainly would if he were to expand that remedy to protect the rights of the other 95% of humanity.
But why would Hurt take any further steps when nobody even knows he took this one?
In September 2011, participants in a conference on the Military Industrial Complex at 50 included Mayor Dave Norris, City Council Member Kristin Szakos, and then-candidate but now City Council Member-Elect Dede Smith. As the mayor pointed out at the time, that's a majority of a five-member council. We plan to attend the new council's first meeting on January 3, 2012, to request consideration and passage of a resolution. We have begun collecting signatures beneath this statement:
"I believe the City of Charlottesville should follow the example of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and pass a resolution supporting efforts to speed up the ending of current U.S. wars, and calling on Congress and the President to bring the war dollars home to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy."
Please print out and make copies of these forms for gathering signatures offline: PDF.
Please read and comment on this draft resolution to be proposed to City Council.
CALLING ON CONGRESS TO REDIRECT MILITARY SPENDING TO DOMESTIC PRIORITIES
WHEREAS, the severity of the ongoing economic crisis has created budget shortfalls at all levels of government and requires us to re-examine our national spending priorities; and
WHEREAS, every dollar spent on the military produces fewer jobs than spending the same dollar on education, healthcare, clean energy, or even tax cuts for household consumption[*]; and
WHEREAS, U.S. military spending has approximately doubled in the past decade, in real dollars and as a percentage of federal discretionary spending;
WHEREAS, well over half of federal discretionary spending is now spent on the military [**];
WHEREAS, we are spending more money on the military now than during the Cold War, the Vietnam War, or the Korean War;
WHEREAS, the U.S. military budget could be cut by 80% and remain the largest in the world;
WHEREAS, President Dwight David Eisenhower warned us 50 years ago that "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist";
WHEREAS, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform proposed in both its Co-Chairs' proposal in November 2010 and its final report in December 2010 major reductions in military spending[***];
WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, with the support of Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris passed in June 2011 a resolution calling on Congress to redirect spending to domestic priorities;
WHEREAS, the people of the United States favor redirecting spending to domestic priorities[****];
WHEREAS, the people of the United States in numerous opinion polls favor withdrawing the U.S. military from Afghanistan;
WHEREAS, the United States has armed forces stationed at approximately 1,000 foreign bases in approximately 150 foreign countries;
WHEREAS, the United States is the wealthiest nation on earth but trails many other nations in life expectancy, infant mortality, education level, housing, and environmental sustainability, as well as in non-military aid to foreign nations;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia, calls on the U.S. Congress to end foreign ground and drone wars and reduce base military spending, in order to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, re-train and re-employ those losing jobs in the process of conversion to non-military industries, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy.
* See "The U.S. Employment Effects Of Military And Domestic Spending Priorities: An Updated Analysis," by Robert Pollin & Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, October 2009.
** See "People's Guide to the Federal Budget," by the National Priorities Project.
*** See http://www.fiscalcommission.gov
**** See "American Public Shows How It Would Cut the Budget Deficit," by World Public Opinion, February 3, 2011.
Thank Rep. Hurt for Having Voted No: Thursday, December 15, Noon, Robert Hurt's Charlottesville OfficeSubmitted by davidswanson on Tue, 2011-12-13 13:57. Civil Rights
UPDATE 2: Rep. Hurt's staff on the phone in Washington says he voted no precisely for the reason we raised, concern over the provision of the power to lock people away without a trial. Let's thank him. Let's ask him to urge a veto, and to introduce legislation to undo this if a veto is not forthcoming. » read more »