Victories for peace
There have been a couple of victories in the seemingly endless quest for peace.
Locally, on Oct. 9, the Albany County Legislature (ACL) approved a proclamation calling upon Congress to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, cut the U.S. military budget, and use the savings to fund vital public programs at home -- like safe roads and bridges, housing and health care.
While a symbolic action, it still sends a message to our elected officials in Washington who don't seem to be tuning into the fact that national polls indicate that the American public is fed up with these wars and want their hard-earned tax dollars to improve their lives here at home.
This effort of local citizens, faith, labor and professional groups, led by the very capable Lawrence Wittner, was a challenge even in a Democratic stronghold like Albany. Only Democrats endorsed it and not all Democrats did. Some Democrats thought it would undermine Obama's re-election efforts. To be fair, they did have a point: there was a slim chance it might have exposed his dismal record on how our county's resources are being wasted on these worthless wars.
Some Republicans dismissed the proclamation as the Democratic presidential campaign platform. Obviously they have not watched the debates either. Other Albany County Republicans said that they would be willing to sign the proclamation if the savings on military programs were not reinvested into domestic social programs. This coming from the party that claims Christ -- you know the guy who asked us to minister to the poor and the vulnerable. God forbid we have decent housing, enough to eat, affordable heath care or bridges that don't collapse underneath us.
It had to be a proclamation because in 2008 resolutions were banned by the ACL after Doug Bullock, a member of that august body, tried to get one passed that opposed the Iraq War. The legislators not only rejected it, but banned all future resolutions -- a move which has come back to bite them in their collective butts.
I am pondering waging a similar effort here in Saratoga County, but given the Republican stronghold in that county, I am not holding my breath. Or anything else.
John Amidon, my brother in working for peace, and one of the “Vandenburg 15,” had all the charges dropped from his arrest back on Feb. 25 of this year at Vandenbrug Air Force Base in Calif. John, along with Fr. Louie Vitale and Daniel Ellsburg, was arrested for nonviolent protest of the launch of a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (nuclear warhead) from Vandenberg to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. To my knowledge, the residents of that area were not consulted on this latest onslaught of their home. To see a clip of the protest click here.
John and his colleagues had really good legal representation and the Air Force arm of the empire did not want to risk drawing attention to thermonuclear warheads that serve no purpose and cost a boatload of money. And it would not surprise me if the Air Force was as concerned about reinvesting money from these missiles back into social programs as the Republicans in Albany.
Debateless in Saratoga
I'll fess up to not watching any of the political “debates” this election. Like I've said before, life is too short, and besides, I'm reading a really, really good book of historical fiction: “Geronimo” by Joseph Bruchac -- a local author who is also a Native American. I figure my time is better spent with the book.
I have debates in quotes because it is so scripted, with contracts between the two ruling parties about what will not be discussed (for more information, click here) and no third party candidates represented, even though they are on 85 percent of the ballots across the nation, and issues like the NDAA or the prosecution of the criminals who crashed the economy and ran off with the treasury not even alluded to, let alone addressed, they are among the greatest shams perpetrated on the citizenry. P.T. Barnum would take umbrage.
I check the reports by the Daily Gazette and news sources online. In less time I get as much information as I would have had I watched the debates.
And I still get time to enjoy my book.