Sunday, February 28, 2010

Left-Right Antiwar Meeting, Part 2

In a followup to my first post on this matter, I now publish this email from Kevin Zeese, dated Feb 24, 2010:

Last weekend Voters for Peace sponsored a unique event in antiwar movement history. We brought together people from across the political spectrum who oppose war, militarism, and American Empire.

The purpose of the meeting of about 40 people was to determine whether it was possible for people who disagree on a wide range of issues but oppose militarism can work together to end war. The signs are very positive that such a working relationship is possible and desirable. We are now exploring next steps which we will announce to you.

But let me give you some sense of the event through excerpts from the biographies of some of the people present:

* a Robert A. Taft Fellow at the American Conservative Defense Alliance;

* a Special Assistant to Ronald Reagan;

* the founder of the New Left Journal;

* the author of the Encyclopedia of the American Left;

* the President of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society;

* a writer who covers national security for Rolling Stone;

* the President of Veterans for Peace;

* an editor of Black Agenda Report;

* a national affairs correspondent for The Nation;

* an associate professor at the Naval Postgraduate School;

* an executive editor of The American Conservative;

* a communications coordinator for the Ron Paul campaign;

* press secretary for Nader for President;

* a legislative aide for the armed services for Senator Robert Taft, Jr.;

* a military adviser to Senator Gary Hart;

* a former chairman of the Rockford Institute;

* an editor of Progressive Review;

* an editor of The Nation; the managing editor of Reason;

* a member of Students for Democratic Society at University of Maryland at College Park;

* a member of Young Americans for Liberty;

* and the chairperson of Boston Area Physicians for Social Responsibility.

It was a politically diverse group. We had one thing in common -- opposition to the bloated U.S. military and American Empire.

Those who represent red or blue congressional districts need to know that they have constituents from across the political spectrum who vote and who oppose U.S. militarism. Conservatives who question the current wars and the overly generous military budget need to know they are not alone and there is a long history of antiwar conservatism.

This week the U.S. had its 1,000th service member die in Afghanistan. Earlier in the week, two dozen more civilians were killed when the U.S. ordered aerial bombardment of three buses.

The devastation caused by American militarism is shown in these stark realities. The issues of weapons and war are so serious that we need to put aside other differences and create a broad-based coalition that pulls in Americans from across the political spectrum.

We seek to create antiwar advocacy that reflects America -- its wide range of political views and its widespread opposition to war. Currently, those views are excluded from the political discussion. We aim to change that.

See an article about our coalition here.

More articles will be coming out and we will republish them at Voters for Peace, so keep watching.

I'm interested to know your thoughts on this new direction. Please let me know. And I hope you will support our efforts by making a donation now.

Thank you for your support.


Kevin Zeese, Executive Director, Voters for Peace

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Left-Right Antiwar Coalition

Kevin Zeese of Voters for Peace has been meeting with antiwar activists from across the political spectrum, discussing how everyone can work together on that one issue. A source within the libertarian tells me that they were also involved in those talks.

Here is Zeese's press release on the matter:

"There has to be a better way to stop wars and reduce military spending. Polls show U.S. voters at worst divided on current wars and more often show majority opposition to them. Yet, when Congress 'debates' war the widespread view of Americans is muffled, not usually heard.

"For the last decade, with President Bush in office the peace movement has been politically left and Democratic leaning. The right wing has been kept off the stage as a result the antiwar movement does not reflect the breadth of American opposition to war. For too long the peace movement has been like a bird with only a left wing. It can barely fly and when it does it seems to go in circles. Perhaps a bird with two wings will fly better?

"This past weekend Voters for Peace sponsored a meeting of 40 people from across the political spectrum who oppose war and Empire. The people attending see the U.S. military as too big and too expensive and recognize spending $1 million to keep a soldier in Afghanistan for one year is a symptom of mistaken militarism that weakens U.S. economic and national security.

"The purpose of the meeting was to see if we could work together. Could we put aside our differences on other issues and focus on reducing American militarism and in the long run ending reliance on war?

"The conversation began with discussions of the history of antiwar advocacy in the United States and what we can learn from it. One point repeatedly made by people on the left and right was that historically there have been conservatives who opposed war and empire. Today those voices are heard in a whisper, if at all.

"Before the Spanish American War, World War I and World War II, strong opposition to foreign intervention not only came from progressives but also from traditional conservatives rooted in the recommendation of George Washington's farewell address -- 'avoid foreign entanglements. How can we re-awaken that common sense conservatism and forge a broad based antiwar movement?

"What would a broad based antiwar movement look like? Some of the conservatives in the room warned against this 21st Century movement looking like the anti-Vietnam war protests of the 60s. Many on the left and right acknowledged that the mass weekend protests against Iraq were large in size but ineffective in result.

"While there is a role for such protests, they are not sufficient for the task at hand. Some conservatives warned against describing the United States as imperialist -- that would get up the hackles of many Americans. But, they were comfortable describing the United States as an Empire.

"Personally, I found that of interest. Americans never hear discussed in the media whether or not our country is an Empire. And, if we were to have such a discussion the critical questions would be is Empire good for us, for our national security, for our economy, for our democracy? Having those questions debated would be a breakthrough in political dialogue.

"It is hard to deny the American Empire. The U.S. has more than 2,500,000 DoD personnel deployed across the planet and 761 military bases on foreign soil not counting more than 100 in Iraq and more than 400 American and NATO bases in Afghanistan. U.S. troops are now stationed in 148 countries and 11 territories according to DoD's 'Active Duty Military Personnel Strengths by Regional Area and Country.'

"America has spawned a military network larger than the Roman Empire, which at its height had 37 major military bases, and the British Empire which had 36. More bases are planned; billions spent building bases in far off lands while large swaths of American cities degrade into impoverished zones and the infrastructure of the nation crumbles.

"When the Cold War ended, rather than reducing troops in Germany, Japan, Korea, Italy, the Philippines, and so many other nations; ending the NATO alliance which was designed to combat the now non-existent Soviet Union; and shrinking the weapons and war budget, the U.S. decided to seek to become the sole superpower on Earth.

"U.S. military spending is now as much as the whole world combined. The U.S. Navy exceeds in firepower the next 13 navies combined. When all the budgets are accounted for -- the Pentagon, the wars, the 16 intelligence agencies, the super-sized embassies -- total Empire spending is more than $1 trillion annually.

"And, the Empire has deep roots. General Smedley Butler, the most decorated Marine in history joined the Marines in 1898 and served 34 years in China, Nicaragua, Haiti, Cuba, Mexico and other nations as part of the early American Empire. When Butler retired and thought about his career he described himself as a 'racketeer' for U.S. business interests around the world and said 'war is a racket'.

"But, this massive Empire is not discussed. It is the elephant in the living room of American foreign policy. And, the entrenched military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about in 1961 is now so powerful that cutting the military budget is off the table in Washington, DC -- despite cost over-runs of hundreds of billions in weapons contracts, the GAO consistently describing the Pentagon as un-auditable and budgets filled with waste, fraud and abuse. The war budget grows and grows despite a fragile if not collapsing economy at home.

"After a long day of discussion it became evident that people from across the political spectrum, despite differences on other issues, could in fact work together to challenge American militarism.

"Some in the room who had been working on these issues for forty years thought such a coalition was decades past due. Some of the students in attendance had their eyes opened to the history of traditional conservative antiwar efforts as in their lifetimes it had not been heard from.

"In discussing this publicly, so far I have only heard from one person on 'the left' who opposes it. He was a co-founder of Progressives for Obama and he lumps everyone on the conservative side into what he calls 'racist populism.'

"Such broad stroke descriptions of people are prima facie evidence of prejudice and certainly not consistent with people I have met from across the spectrum. But, his opposition shows the challenge on 'the left' – too many are unwilling to stop their support for the Democrats and Obama.

"The challenge on the right is also difficult. The Neocons have taken over almost all significant conservative organizations. How can we attract traditional conservatives to antiwar advocacy? The day after the conference, the surprise land slide victory of the antiwar conservative, Ron Paul, at the CPAC convention gave hope that there were more right-wing peaceniks than we may have imagined.

"While our task is urgent -- something which the 1000th death of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan and the weekend's killing of two dozen more civilians in an aerial attack brings home -- our job is immense. Undoing a century old Empire that is larger than any that ever existed, is no easy task, but for citizen patriots it is an essential one for the survival of the nation and the benefit of the world.

"To join our efforts sign the Voters Pledge at Voters for Peace and get involved."

Kevin Zeese is executive director of Voters for Peace.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why Wayne Allyn Root Never Met Obama at Columbia

Libertarian Party embarrassment Wayne Allyn Root has long intimated that Obama never went to Columbia University, because Root never saw Obama at Columbia and does not know anyone who did.

The Reverend Manning now knows why. It seems that Obama was a CIA agent, his cover being that of a Columbia student.

Well, no wonder Root never saw Obama at Columbia!

Obama kept leaving Columbia to carry on his James Bond missions in other parts of the world. Kinda like Clark Kent always flying off as Superman. That's why Lois Lane often didn't see Clark at the Daily Planet, and why Root didn't see Obama at Columbia.

It seems Root owes Obama an apology. The pro-war "King of Las Vegas" has blown the President/super spy's cover.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Raise Money for Peace -- and It Costs Nothing

Jon Rainwater sends this email, suggesting an easy way to donate money to the peace movement -- and it costs you nothing:

Your smarts can be put to good use AND help Peace Action West raise some money, quickly and easily.

Our friends at CREDO, the progressive mobile phone company, have figured out a way to put all those crazy things the right wing nuts say to work for good causes like us. They put together a quiz to test you on the latest conservative claptrap – it's called OMG GOP WTF?!

Every time you answer a question correctly, we get 10 cents. There are five questions, so that means that if we get 1000 people to take the quiz and you score okay…we get $500 dollars. Check out the quiz:

But, you’ll want to act fast. The quiz only benefits Peace Action West from February 15 to February 21. Next week, it will be a new quiz and a new organization, so don’t wait!


Jon Rainwater
Executive Director, Peace Action West

Libertarian Party of California; Dirty Tricks at the State Convention

One reason I'm sick of going to Libertarian Party conventions (state or national) is all the Parliamentarian tricks that opposing delegates play to subvert one another. The sort of petty, dirty tricks that's typical of Demorcrats and Republicans ... and, unfortunately, also of Libertarians.

LPC delegate Carolyn Marbry reports this from last weekend's state convention in Long Beach:

"A common trick I saw put in play this last weekend in CA was the handing out of flyers while your opponent was making his nomination speech. Rustle, rustle, and the delegates are distracted. [Mark] Hinkle did it to [Michael] Seebeck when he was running for rep and [Aaron] Starr did it to me during the excomm meeting to try to derail my resolution re: floor fees, er, I mean poll taxes, er, I meant registration fees.

"I'd love to see that crap stopped because it's simply bad manners. I'd love for the delegates to see it and appreciate it as bad manners and a clear indicator of a weak case, for someone to resort to that or to waving a sign at excomm members saying 'orders of the day — adjourn?' to try to keep a resolution from being presented."

Marby's comment may be found at Independent Political Report.

In their defense, Democrats and Republicans compete for real power, and real outcomes. Libertarians don't have that excuse. They compete for crumbs, yet with a hysteria that implies they think it all matters.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Libertarian Party of California Attracting Fewer Delegates

Here are the peak numbers of delegates at the last six Libertarian Party of California state conventions. (I haven't yet found any numbers before 2005.)

California's population is growing, yet the LPC is attracting ever fewer delegates. (And presumably, ever fewer activists.)

2005 ..... 134

2006 ..... 91

2007 ..... 101

2008 ..... 73

2009 ..... 77

2010 ..... 68

The 2005 and 2010 conventions both met in Los Angeles County (the largest California county LP in terms of membership), so their attendance should be similar. Even so, the 2010 convention attracted nearly 50% fewer delegates than the 2005 convention. Pretty pathetic.

For what it's worth, I attended the 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009 conventions. I did not attend in 2006 (the infamous "cruise convention") or in 2010 (the most recent, this weekend).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cindy Sheehan Invites Peaceniks to "Camp Out Now"

I've been asked to forward this, and instruct readers to do likewise:

I have been on the national board of Voters for Peace since its inception and believe strongly in the Pledge for Peace. I have not voted for a pro-war candidate since.

Unfortunately, many people are still mired in fear-based voting. Elected in 2008, our new president has continued and expanded the path of war begun by Bush and Cheney. He is also increasing military and nuclear budgets as he escalates our troop and contractor commitments in the Middle East.

Peace of the Action is a new peace group that I am putting together with the help and encouragement of Voters for Peace. Our first large event will be Camp OUT NOW, an antiwar camp that we will be setting up on the lawn of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., on March 13th. We are focusing our attention on the wars in which our nation is incredibly mired and will be doing civil resistance on a daily basis until our demands are met. This is a sustained action.

I am writing to invite you to come for all or part of Camp OUT NOW. Please visit our website so you can get more information or donate to this very worthy cause.

In love, peace, and solidarity!

Cindy Sheehan
National Director of Peace of the Action

Voters for Peace Starts Peace Movement Listserv

I first met a representative from Voters for Peace at the 2006 Libertarian Party national convention, in Portland. They're a non-partisan peace activist group.

They've now created a Peace Movement listsev on Google Groups. Peace activists of any and all political backgrounds may consider joining it.

Here's the Voters for Peace email to me

We received many excellent comments from our last mailing about what an effective antiwar movement would look like. We have decided to set up a group to allow further discussion.

You can join the group by visiting Google Groups Peace Movement.

There was a lot of support for the ideas put forward in our last mailing; see America Needs a Patriotic, Broad-Based, and Politically Independent Opposition to War. In particular, people emphasized:

-- Organize on a congressional district level. Organize locally, talk to neighbors, and focus on elected officials at home. Reach out to groups with a range of interests including education, transit, housing, business, and jobs. Get across how funding militarism undermines their agendas. Change comes from the bottom up.

-- Be credible and broad-based so that we represent the majority of Americans who question or oppose U.S. war and militarism. We should seek to include people from across the political spectrum who share these views. The antiwar movement needs former military officials from private to general who can speak out against war.

-- Relate antiwar spending to the domestic economy and jobs at home. What does it cost the citizens of the United States for America to be an empire? Here is an exercise that could be duplicated throughout the country at churches, synagogues, mosques, civic associations, business groups, and community meetings: [Stanford Oreos].

-- Political independence from the two parties is very important. Both major parties have been captured by the corporate-military-media complex. The peace movement must not hesitate to support candidates from third parties, even if they are considered 'unelectable.' We have to build for the future and get out of the habit of voting for the lesser of two evils.

-- Build infrastructure so antiwar advocacy is ongoing. Recognize that opposition to one war is not the only issue; building broader opposition to militarism is needed. Put in place infrastructure that can consistently educate, organize, and outreach as well as one that can escalate its activities whenever the drums of war beat anew.

These are just some of the ideas. In addition to forming a group to allow our members to discuss creating a more effective peace movement we are already pursuing some of the ideas you have suggested and will be announcing them as projects come to fruition.

Thank you for your help so far. I hope you will join the discussion group so we can get into more detail and deeper thinking on these issues. And, I hope you will support us with funding. Please make a donation today so we can continue to build effective antiwar advocacy.


Kevin Zeese
Executive Director
Voters for Peace

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tea Party Challenges Ron Paul

An interesting article on, about how three Tea Party affiliated candidates are challenging Ron Paul in the 2010 Republican primary.

Some informative excerpts:

"One group was inspired by Paul's Boston Tea Party metaphor and started organizing Tea Party protests throughout the country, opposing -- as Paul does -- big government and a 'runaway' federal budget.

"Yet today's Tea Party movement bears only a handful of similarities to the so-called Ron Paul Revolution. Both are anti-tax and anti-spending and they have issues with the Federal Reserve. But Ron Paul libertarians, on the whole, are also focused on ending the post-9/11 wars, are proponents of government accountability and transparency, and often are closer to progressives on civil liberties -- especially regarding the war on drugs -- than they are to the average right-winger....

"In fact, many Tea Party adherents -- like neoconversatives -- are pro-war and pro-Homeland Security, whereas Paul has built a reputation on opposing the second Bush administration on everything from the PATRIOT Act to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan....

"it seems as though the Tea Party has recognized the growing appeal of libertarian ideals among right-wing voters, and has co-opted that rhetoric to diffuse its own far more right-wing message. While it may tout libertarian-style beliefs as its rousing cause, the actual unifying theme seems to be anti-Obama, with some anti-immigrant sprinkled in along with the parodoxical meld of anti-unionism and anti-big business.

"Due to this convoluted platform, the Tea Party continues to be a much more fringe group than the Ron Paul Revolution."

It's true. "Ron Paul libertarians" are opposed to war and support civil liberties. These positions stem from a broad and consistent philosophical base.

These positions also go beyond the crude, one-note "Obama bashing" of such libertarian pretenders as Wayne Allyn Root and his talk radio cheerleaders.

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Ron Paul Slams Tea Party Neocons

Ron Paul recently attacked the infiltration of pro-war Neocons into the Tea Party movement.

Why isn't Wayne Allyn Root, who in 2008 called himself "Ron Paul on steroids," criticizing Tea Party warmongers?

Is it because Root is afraid of offending his pro-war fans? Or because Root is himself pro-war? Or both?

This is yet another instance that contrasts a true libertarian, like Ron Paul, with a pretender, like Wayne Allyn Root.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Wayne Allyn Root's "Obama Columbia Conspiracy Theory" Hits Daily Kos

Libertarian Party embarrassment Wayne Allyn Root has long implied that Obama never attended classes at Columbia, simply because Root (who attended Columbia at the same time) never met Obama, and didn't know anyone who had met Obama.

Well, I attended New York University, and I never met most of the students there, and most never met me. We all travel in our own small circle of friends.

However, although Columbia does remember Obama, Root's conspiracy theory insinuation is now traveling the internet via email. Much like those Birther or Truther conspiracy emails.

The Daily Kos posted one last November (over a year after the election), and there are some funny replies. Although the Daily Kos is progressive, and I'm not, I can't help agreeing with most of the snarky anti-Root comments (some of them quite amusing).

Check out the Daily Kos/Root thread over here.