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Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 12:21 PM PDT

DC Stands Up to Walmart

by WashingtonPeaceCenter

Tonight the Peace Center invites you to attend "From War to Peace in East Asia," a workshop and candle light vigil on peace building in the region. We will discuss military bases and spending in Korea, China and Japan, and find out how we can support local peace movements in those countries. Then, we will proceed to the White House to honor those who died for peace in the Korean War, and to take a step toward lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.  

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By Sam Pizzigati | July 24, 2011
Reposted with permission from Institute for Policy Studies

By feeding the rich and their corporations one massive tax break after another, lawmakers have thrown a monstrous monkey wrench into our national finances.

Once upon a time in America, back a century ago, our nation's rich paid virtually nothing in taxes to the federal government. And that same federal government did virtually nothing to better the lives of average Americans.

But those average Americans would do battle, over the next half century, to rein in the rich and the corporations that made them ever richer. And that struggle would prove remarkably successful. By the 1950s, America's rich and the corporations they ran were paying significant chunks of their annual incomes in taxes — and the federal projects and programs these taxes helped finance were actually improving average American lives.

America's wealthy, predictably, counterattacked — and, by the 1980s, they were scoring successes of their own.

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By Robert Reich | July 18, 2011
Reader Supported News
Reposted with permission from Reader Supported News

I've spent enough of my life in Washington to take its theatrics with as much seriousness as a Seinfeld episode. A large portion of what passes for policy debate isn't at all - it's play-acting for various constituencies. The actors know they're acting, as do their protagonists on the other side who are busily putting on their own plays for their own audiences.

Typically, though, back stage is different. When the costumes and grease paint come off, compromises are made, deals put together, legislation hammered out. Then at show time the players announce the results - spinning them to make it seem they've kept to their parts.

At least that's the standard playbook.

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Wed Jul 13, 2011 at 12:07 PM PDT

Resisting the War Machine

by WashingtonPeaceCenter

Last night The Washington Peace Center hosted the first-ever Activist Awardees Reunion party! Thanks to all who attended. It was an outstanding occasion to celebrate the work and energy of local DC activists and community members. Testimonials about the Peace Center, music from board members Lacy MacAuley and David Thurston, and a performance by "the mayor of DC hip hop," Head-Roc. View video from the event here, pictures are coming next week. Want to come to the next big party? Join us for the Activist Awards Gala in December!

We know local activists are thriving and promoting change, but our national decision makers continue to prioritize special interests over those of the people. Referring to deficit negotiations, Rep. Barney Frank (D.- MA) was quoted in this week's featured article: "The military budget is not on the table. The military is at the table, and it is eating everybody else's lunch." With the "debt crisis" at the forefront of national discourse, it is easy to forget the economic and militaristic policies that wreak havoc on nations around the world.

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This week, Congress considers passing Trade Agreements with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama. For Colombia the deal would be a devastating blow to farmers, union organizers and human rights activists. Jess Hunter-Bowman writes in this week's featured article, "Free trade deals lead to minor macro-economic gains and pad corporate profits but bring depressed wages and job losses to workers on either side of the border." There will be an emergency action on Monday, July 11 to stop the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. Please come out and show your support!

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Thanks to a multimillion dollar lobbying campaign by the Chamber of Commerce and the Colombian Government, many in Congress erroneously believe that the human rights and labor rights situations in Colombia are improving.

The truth is that just in the past decade, 30,000 innocent civilians have died in the country’s bloody civil war. Another 3.3 million have been violently driven out of their homes and off of their land. The U.S.-backed Colombian state security forces themselves have been implicated in thousands of murders in recent years.

And again in 2010, more trade unionists were killed in Colombia for their union activities than in the rest of the world combined.

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"I have served my country for almost thirty years ... I want to continue to serve America. However, I do not believe in the policies of this Administration and cannot – morally and professionally – defend or implement them. It is with a heavy heart that I must end my service to America and therefore resign."

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This week, DC activists set sail for Gaza as part of Freedom Flotilla II to bring a message of peace and support to the Palestinian people. This audacious non-violent action challenges the U.S.-backed Israeli blockade on Gaza, which has resulted in extreme poverty in the territory.  Deliberate economic oppression is a rudimentary form of injustice. Medea Benjamin writes in this week's featured article "Inflicting collective punishment on civilians is morally wrong and is a gross violation of international humanitarian law..." Passengers suspect that the U.S. government continues to use its sway to threaten Greece with economic retribution if it allows the U.S. ship to join the flotilla.

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Wed Jun 29, 2011 at 10:47 AM PDT

Destination Gaza

by WashingtonPeaceCenter

"I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him,” said Dr. Martin Luther King as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. These words will guide me and other passengers aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, a fleet of nine boats scheduled to set sail for Gaza on June 25 from various Mediterranean ports. While the Israelis try to label us provocateurs, terrorists and Hamas supporters, we are simply nonviolent advocates following the teachings of Dr. King. We refuse to sit at the docks of history and watch the people of Gaza suffer.

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Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 09:44 AM PDT

U.S. Mayors Check Obama

by WashingtonPeaceCenter

NATO admits civilian casualties in Libya; Congress challenges President Obama on the War Powers Act; and Obama will announce his plan for a gradual withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday evening. With the U.S. arguably engaged in 6 wars, this week's featured article notes, "Our president and elected representatives must serve as a check on the military establishment, rather than issuing blank checks to them." Meanwhile, non-violent protest and revolution continue to rock the balance of power from Yemen and Syria to Spain and Wisconsin.

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By Lisa Fithian
Washington Peace Letter

The recent murder of Osama Bin Laden has renewed a call for the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan. This feels especially poignant as I am in New York City working two blocks from the World Trade Center site. I am working on a significant mobilization on Wall Street against the Big Banks and Millionaires who are stealing our wealth and wreaking havoc in communities across the country. Looking back over twenty years and numerous wars, this moment feels the most hopeful. War is finally emerging as an economic justice issue.

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The declassification of the Pentagon Papers on Monday reminds us of the importance of government accountability in the struggle for peace. Daniel Ellsberg released these documents 40 years ago to help bring an end to the Vietnam War. This week's featured article draws attention to the role of the DC-based Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in releasing the Pentagon Papers. "Had the true facts been made known earlier, the war would long ago have ended, and the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans and Vietnamese would have been averted. This is the true lesson of the Pentagon Papers."

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