Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Oppose President Trump's Speech at the UN

At the United Nations General Assembly:
Trump Obliterated the U.N. Charter and Declared War on the World

The U.S. Peace Movement Should Not and Cannot Afford to Remain Silent

U.S. Peace Council — September 24, 2017
President Trump:
  • “The United States of America has been among the greatest forces for good for the history of the world... In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone.”
  • “We must uphold respect for the law, respect for borders, and respect for culture....”
  • “As President of the United States, I will always put America first.”
  • “[I]t has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense.... Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been.”
  • “[A] small group of rogue regimes ... violate every principle on which the United Nations is based.”
  • “Too often the focus of [the United Nations] has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process.... We cannot wait for ... far-off bureaucrats — we can't do it. We must solve our problems ... or we will be ... defeated.”
  • “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.
  • “We face decisions not only in North Korea. It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime....”
  • “The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of democracy.... We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building missiles.... The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into....”
  • “I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight [in Afghanistan] against the Taliban....”
  • “The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad ... shock the conscience of every decent person.... That is why the United States carried out a missile strike on the airbase that launched the [chemical] attack.”
  •  “[T]he United States has stood against the corrupt and destabilizing regime of Cuba.... [W]e will not lift sanctions on the Cuban government until it makes fundamental reforms.”
  • “We have also imposed tough, calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela.... The socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country.... We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path....
  • “The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that it has been faithfully implemented.... From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism, or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people.... America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action.”
We let President Trump’s own words at the United Nations speak for themselves. His speech at the UN General Assembly on September 19, 2017 was the height of dishonesty, hypocrisy, imperialist grand standing, and total contempt for the UN Charter and international law. It also signified the U.S. administration’s intention to revive the old Cold War.

Trump spoke of the “nuclear threat” of North Korea, calling that country’s leader the “Rocket Man,” without mentioning that U.S. and allied forces are at the same time carrying out military exercises on North Korean borders which are aimed at potential invasion of that country. Nor did he mention the fact that the U.S. has installed first-strike anti-missiles near North Korean borders and maintains over 23,000 troops in South Korea.

Trump spoke of the “nuclear threat” of Iran at the time when Iran, while surrounded on all sides by the nuclear-armed U.S. forces, has signed an agreement with the United States and five other states to refrain from developing nuclear weapons.

Trump spoke of the “criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad” at the time when tens of thousands of criminal terrorists, armed and funded by the United States and its allies, are wreaking havoc on the Syrian people while being protected by the illegal U.S. ground and air forces in Syria.

Trump spoke of the “destabilizing regime of Cuba” without mentioning the fact that the U.S. government and the CIA have been persistently trying to destabilize the Cuban revolution and its government, assassinate its leader, illegally occupy its territory in Guantanamo, and continue U.S. blockade of Cuba in violation of repeated resolutions of the same UN General Assembly he was speaking to.

Trump spoke of “taking action” against the “socialist dictatorship” of President Maduro if “Venezuela persists on its path.” (In the past, he had also stated that he was “not going to rule out a military option” against Venezuela.) But he hid the fact that it was the United States that acted illegally against democracy in Venezuela when it staged a coup against its then democratically elected president Hugo Chavez, and is still doing so by trying to bring down the current democratically elected president, Nicolas Maduro.

It is clear from Trump’s words that the “path” that worries him most, not only in Venezuela but in Cuba as well, is the path of free health care, free education, and free public services for all people; a path that Trump is trying to block and reverse within his own country.
Unfortunately, all of the corporate media’s attention, and most of the peace movement’s objections, about President Trump’s speech have so far been only focused on his threats against North Korea and the obvious need for de-escalation of tensions. But as important and urgent as this is, it involves missing the forest for the tree.

Looking at the whole speech, it becomes quite clear that the situation is far more dangerous than it appears. We are now dealing with a qualitative shift in the official U.S. foreign policy — ironically announced at the headquarters of the United Nations — away from the principles of the UN Charter and international law and toward a unilateral declaration of war and intervention by the United States on any country that stands in the way of its ambition for global domination.

Trump’s “America First” policy, as announced by him at the United Nations, is going to be the core of U.S. government’s foreign policy from now on. This means a total rearrangement of international relations in a manner that only serves the United States and its strategic and economic interests. Obviously, such an imperialist policy, as outlined by Trump in his speech at the United Nations, cannot be advanced without violating the principles of the UN Charter and international law.

The U.S. peace movement bears a special responsibility to prevent such a catastrophic outcome. But no proclamation or public statement can by itself prevent the catastrophe. What is urgently needed is a unified anti-war, anti-interventionist front composed of all segments of the peace movement that is capable of mobilizing an effective mass movement against imperialism and war.

U.S. Peace Council calls upon all peace organizations in the United States to lead local, regional and national demonstrations, and visits to members of Congress, including sit-ins, and demand from the U.S. government to:
  • Stop U.S. violations of the United Nations Charter and international law;
  • Stop U.S. attempts to sabotage other states’ economies and political systems; stop threatening and overthrowing sovereign governments; stop using economic sanctions as a means of undermining sovereign governments; 
  • Stop U.S. political and military interventions in the internal affairs of other countries; respect the sovereignty of all nations, including Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea;
  • Remove the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba; return Guantanamo to Cuba;
  • Stop U.S. joint military exercises with South Korea; stop all forms of threats against North Korea; sign a permanent peace treaty with North Korea through peaceful diplomatic negotiations;
  • Respect all U.S. treaties with other nations, including the Iran Nuclear Deal;
  • Close all U.S. foreign military bases around the world;
  • Initiate efforts to expand nuclear-weapons free zones throughout the world; support the recently negotiated UN Treaty banning nuclear weapons;
  • Dramatically reduce U.S. war and military spending; rescind the $700 billion military budget, and spend the funds on health care, education, creating jobs, and other social services.
The U.S. Peace Council is ready to join hands with all peace forces to organize the broadest possible mass protests against the extremely belligerent and imperialist U.S. foreign policy as announced by Donald Trump at the United Nations.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Senate sub-committee deals bipartisan blow to DeVos school privatization agenda

by Brian Washington


Tell Congress not to divert billions of dollars to vouchers or similar privatization schemes. CLICK HERE ›
If you’re a regular Education Votes reader, you know that President Trump and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are huge backers of voucher schemes, which take scarce funding away from public schools to give to unaccountable private schools.
Despite the fact that communities across the nation are pushing back against vouchers, because of how harmful they are to public schools and the vast majority of students who attend them, DeVos is relentless in her support for this flawed education policy.
For example, she has traveled the country promoting vouchers, met with ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council)leaders to brainstorm ways to get them into more communities, and is backing a budget proposal that includes a national voucher scheme. There’s even talk that she and President Trump may urge lawmakers on Capitol Hill to incorporate vouchers into tax reform.
However, yesterday, DeVos got some bipartisan push back from federal lawmakers. A Senate sub-committee rejected two proposals that, if approved by Congress, would have helped DeVos to move forward with school privatization plans.
The panel rejected her requested $1 billion boost to the Title I program, which is designed to educate disadvantaged students. DeVos wanted to use that money to help local districts create or expand her privatization agenda which, in addition to vouchers, also includes charter schools run by for-profit companies. It also rejected a proposal to use a program within the U.S. Department of Education to nurture private school vouchers.
DeVos is what you might call a one-trick pony. Her solution to every challenge facing public education is privatization—be it private school vouchers or for-profit charter schools.
However, educators know that if we’re going to get serious about every child’s future, we have to resource our neighborhood public schools to ensure they have the following:
  • Inviting classrooms;
  • A well-rounded curriculum;
  • Class-sizes that are small enough for one-on-one attention; and
  • Support services such as health care, nutrition, and after school programs for students who need them.
Speaking of after school programs, that same Senate subcommittee also rejected a Trump-DeVos request to eliminate federal funding to help cover the cost of such programs. Instead, the panel approved $1.2 billion for the 21st Century Community Learning Center. The House has approved similar funding.


2017: For the last two years, the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock stayed set at three minutes before the hour, the closest it had been to midnight since the early 1980s. In its two most recent annual announcements on the Clock, the Science and Security Board warned: “The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.” In 2017, we find the danger to be even greater, the need for action more urgent. It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms. Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way.  See the full statement from the Science and Security Board on the 2017 time of the Doomsday Clock.

Friday, September 1, 2017


Sparked by the events in Charlottesville a few weeks ago, a large coalition of clergy, individuals, and activists launched a 110+ mile march from Charlottesville to DC, to be followed by a sustained encampment and further actions in DC in the weeks ahead. The marchers are demanding the removal of officials who enable white supremacists, including President Trump, and the policies that embolden and protect them.
Jewish Voice for Peace is supporting the march and we're organizing a delegation of JVP members to join.
If you are planning to join the march or the DC action, please let us know by filling out this quick form here. You can join the march for just a day or two, or support the action in DC later in September. We'll connect you with other JVPers and support as best we can.
To get updates about the march, sign up to join, or to support with monetary or supply donations, head to their website at cville2dc.us.
You can also show your support in your community with a  “We Will Defend Each Other” T-shirt.  Sold at cost.