Friday, August 5, 2011

30 day Care-a-Van to Bring War $$ Home

From CIA head to the Dept. of "Defense"          (image source: blog Who Is IOZ?)
A person could spend all day reading bad news: about the debt ceiling "crisis" "resolution" and how unlikely it is to result in military spending cuts of any significance at all. Despite the deal (whose so-called Super Committee remains unappointed, whose provisions remain unspecified) providing the pretext for hawks like Leon Panetta to sound the alarm that reducing military is a danger of the red alert level.

Israel's best friend U.S. senator Joe Lieberman even announced that the U.S. can't afford Social Security as we have known it because funds are needed for the fight against "Islamist extremists." Who besides AIPAC would believe this kind of nonsense?

I say the writing is on the wall. Regular working people all over the world are waking up to the fact that privatization of common resources doesn't create jobs or housing or educate anybody. It creates massive profits for a tiny percentage of the people, falling expectations for the middle classes, and dire poverty amounting to virtual enslavement for the poor. Israeli young people busted out with tent cities all over the land, and ten of thousands demonstrated in front of the prime minister's residence in Tel Aviv this week. Chilean students took to the streets and braved police water cannons to demand an end to voucher and co-pay based education that leaves them with debt three times the size of their annual salary once they earn a degree.

In Maine plans are underway to embark on a 30 day Care-a-Van to Bring Our War $$ Home, and the line up of events shows an excitingly broad reach. Three college campuses, big cities and small towns, and a chance to organize with Maine's indigenous people await your participation. Here's the lineup to date:

  • Sept 10 WERU Maine Grassroots Media Conference at the Unity Center for Performing Arts, Bring Our War $$ Home T-shirt silkscreening workshop
  • Sept 11 Portland Linking hands around Back Cove; Orono Peace Group and Peace & Justice Center of E. Maine are planning to do an all day penny poll at the Orono Fair
  • Sept 17 Bangor Teach-In collaborative event with the First Congregational Church of Brewer.  Keynote speaker will be Terry Rockefeller from Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. 3-6 p.m. 
  • Sept 20 UMFarmington event featuring singer/songwriter David Rovics, focus on tuition hikes and student debt
  • Sept 21 Waldo film showing; Belfast film showing
  • Sept 23-25 Common Ground Fair Bring Our War $$ Home tabling (with Veterans for Peace) + Program in speakers tent
  • September 25 P&J Center of E. Maine, Bangor film "Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives" 7pm
  • Sept 30 Afghanistan war Teach-In "10 Years of war in Afghanistan: What have we learned, what can we do?" Bowdoin College, Brunswick
  • Oct 1 BIW vigil in Bath emphasizing drone warfare during Keep Space for Peace Week
  • Oct exact date tbd event with tribal community of Penobscot people, focus on environmental and economic justice
And this week our campaign published results of a survey of what people everywhere, including every county in Maine, want public funds spent on:
Mainers Want Tax Revenues Spent on Education, Health Care

Education, health care, and veterans’ benefits were the top choices for federal spending among 1,552 Mainers, according to a “penny poll” conducted in each of Maine's sixteen counties.

In the midst of debates in Washington DC about debt, budget cuts, and tax increases, a series of surveys were held throughout the state of Maine to get local responses to the issue. A “penny poll” was held in every Maine county asking participants, “How would you like your federal tax dollars spent?”

The results from over 1,500 participants in Maine diverge considerably from the actual spending by Congress, but were relatively consistent in different parts of the state.

Participants at shopping centers and post offices were given ten pennies, each representing ten percent of the money in income taxes that goes each year to the federal government. They were asked to put pennies in jars representing the ten largest parts of the federal government’s discretionary budget, the monies that Congress allocates each year. How many pennies participants put in each jar indicated where THEY wanted to see their tax dollars spent, not where the federal government currently spends tax money.

Results showed that education (21%), health care (19%) and veterans’ benefits (12%) were the top choices among the 1,552 people who participated. Those were followed by environment/science at (11%), food/agriculture (9%), both transportation and interest on the national debt (7%), housing (6%), defense (5%), and general government (2%).

“What the public wants its tax money to go toward is very different from where Congress is actually spending it. Education, health care, veterans’ benefits, and the environment/science all received a lot more money than Congress actually spends for them,” stated Larry Dansinger, who compiled the figures. “Defense, including our current wars, nuclear and conventional weapons, pay for our armed forces, and homeland security, gets about 50% of the discretionary budget now, but in the survey that category got just under five percent.”

The penny polls, sponsored by the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign, were conducted by volunteers in a number of Maine towns during the months of May, June, and July. The polls were held at post offices, supermarkets, downtown areas, and other venues frequented by a broad cross section of the public.

“Congress is out of touch with the priorities of most people in this country,” said Lisa Savage, CODEPINK Maine Local Coordinator. “It's time to stop pouring tax revenues into making weapons manufacturers even richer than they already are. The people know this, and they also know that their needs are not being represented in Washington DC.”

For more information on these polls, including individual poll by poll results and locations, contact Larry Dansinger, 525-7776 or Lisa Savage, 399-7623.

General Government                    
Health Care                             
Housing/Urban Dev.                        
Interest on Debt                             
Veterans' Benefits                     
Total Pennies: 15,377        
1,552 people took the poll
Tent city in Tel Aviv, one of many protesting declining housing conditions as the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer after years of privatization of public resources. Tent 1948 has a facebook page, and this to say about its intentions: We want this struggle to deal with housing shortage among Arabs and Mizrachi Jews in Israel, both in large cities and in the villages

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