Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Call President Obama TODAY! 202-456-1111
Join or plan a demonstration Tuesday or Wednesday!
President Obama will unveil his new Afghanistan policy tomorrow. But we must not let up! Last week, we flooded the White House with so many calls that the White House Comment Line was continually busy! Now is the time to keep the pressure on and keep the calls coming.
Call the White House today at 202-456-1111.
Tell President Obama to send NO additional troops to Afghanistan, WITHDRAW the troops already there, begin serious DIPLOMACY with all parties to the conflict, and REDIRECT the money wasted on the Afghanistan war to people's urgent needs at home.
UFPJ member groups are already planning protests either Tuesday evening or Wednesday at Federal buildings or other public places.
or organize one if none has been planned and post it here.
Be sure to notify the press using this sample press release.
We oppose the war because:
• 298 U.S. soldiers lost their lives so far in 2009.
Tens of thousands of returning troops are damaged by physical injury, PTSD, psychological damage, suicides, and domestic violence. There is a backlog of up to 1 year for veterans waiting for VA care.
• The war is unaffordable. The White House says we are paying $1 million a year for each soldier sent to Afghanistan. At that price, the war will soon cost $100 billion a year. Yet Congress is not willing to pay that kind of money for health care, jobs, housing, or environmental protection.
• The war is making conditions worse for the Afghan people. UNICEF reported last week that eight years after the start of U.S. military occupation of that country, Afghanistan is the world's worst place to be born. Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world -- 257 deaths per 1,000 live births - and 70 percent of the population lacks access to clean water. Afghanistan ranked 181st out of 182 countries in the UN's human development index for 2009. The presence of U.S. troops breeds resistance, conflict, and instability.
• The war is not helping Afghan women, whose conditions are as bad as ever. The government turns a blind eye to rape and violence against women. Civilian casualties, who are primarily women and children, are rising each year as the violence increases.
• In addition to being wrong, the war is also unwinnable. As U.S. troop levels have grown from 15,000 in 2004 to 68,000 now, more and more Afghans have joined the Taliban and resistance groups to defend against foreign invaders. Yet The Nation reported this week that the U.S. military cannot even protect the trucks which bring gasoline and other supplies to outlying U.S. bases, and that contractors are paying protection of $800 to $1500 per truck to the Taliban.
• War funding is feeding corruption, private armies, and the drug trade. The more money the U.S. and NATO pour into Afghanistan, the greater the rake-offs and corruption among U.S. contractors and the U.S.-supported Afghan government. President Karzai's re-election was confirmed even though his supporters had stuffed boxes with more than one million fake ballots. Five ministers in Karzai's cabinet have been given immunity from prosecution for corruption.
Call the White House today at 202-456-1111.
Be out in the streets if the President does order an escalation of troop levels.
Let Americans know that we will not be silent and we will keep opposing this needless, senseless war for as long as it takes.
PO Box 607;
Times Square Station;
New York, NY 10108

Pax Christi

Monday, November 30, 2009
Dear friends,

Unfortunately, we are expecting an announcement on Tuesday from President Obama that more troops will be sent to Afghanistan. The phone calls we began last week are still important, but more actions are needed. Pax Christi USA is joining with many of our partner groups in calling for the next several days to be "days of action" on Afghanistan. There are a number of actions we encourage you to take over the course of the next several days as you are able.1) Continue to make phone calls to the White House at 202-456-1111 and tell President Obama:
No additional troops to be sent to Afghanistan.
Start the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Begin serious diplomacy and dialogue with all parties to the conflict, internal and external, as well as independent Afghan women leaders, without preconditions.
Redirect the tens of billions of dollars spent yearly on Afghanistan war funding to human needs in Afghanistan and at home.
2) Flood your local media with letters to the editor and so forth against the escalation. Post comments on local and national media websites, blogs, and elsewhere. Use the bullet points above.
3) Organize or participate in local actions. Several different sites are hosting information on actions and events or allowing you to post your own action or event. Check out these two sites:
To find an event near you, go to the sites of

To add your own event at these sites, go to The World Can't Wait or United for Peace and Justice.
4) Change your Facebook status to "President Obama, please: No escalation in Afghanistan."
5) Tomorrow, Veterans for Rethinking Afghanistan will be traveling to the White House, delivering a petition to President Obama before he announces his decision. Please sign the petition online here. You can also post the petition to your Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http://rethinkafghanistan.com/#petition) or tweet the petition to your friends: "Vets to Obama: Do Not Escalate in Afghanistan: "http://rethinkafghanistan.com/. To listen to the voices of the Veterans, check out the video on YouTube by clicking here. Pax Christi USA has signed several letters and petitions to the President asking him to chart a new direction in Afghanistan, one that does not include an escalation of troops and lays out an exit strategy. You can add your name to the petition mentioned above in #5 and this letter initiated by Sojourners too. To see the letter we signed from the Afghanistan Policy Working Group, click here. Thank you for your steadfast commitment to bringing peace to Afghanistan. Take action in any way possible this week. More efforts are still in the work and I'll keep you updated in the days ahead.

In peace,
Johnny Zokovitch
Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hiroshima / Nagasaki Remembrance

Speak Out Against New Forms of Nuclear Weapons
Thursday, August 6th 2009 5:30 PM
Hartford's Riverside Park
East Service Road /Jennings Road, Hartford, CT
Picnic with conversations about nuclear weapons and
Remembrance Ceremony with "candle boats" adrift on the Connecticut River
Sponsored by: Connecticut Coalition For Peace and Justice (CCPJ)
Bring your picnic basket and we will provide lemonade and chips...
For Press Release and Press Briefing Paper click => here
For a flyer (pdf), click => here

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The General Speaks

From my friend's blog that I check in on almost daily, I found he had added this link: Ruminations from the Distant Hills - because of it's "It is impressive in its love of the woods."
This for example includes a favorite quote of mine: Purple
"If you pass by the color purple in a field and
don't notice it, God gets real pissed off." - Alice Walker
Some other ideas I found posted there impressed me in other ways, such as:
"Gun-loving pastor to his flock: Piece be with you"
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A Kentucky pastor is inviting his flock to bring guns to church to celebrate the Fourth of July and the Second Amendment.New Bethel Church is welcoming "responsible handgun owners" to wear their firearms inside the church June 27, a Saturday. An ad says there will be a handgun raffle, patriotic music and information on gun safety."We're just going to celebrate the upcoming theme of the birth of our nation," said pastor Ken Pagano. "And we're not ashamed to say that there was a strong belief in God and firearms — without that this country wouldn't be here..."
(To which I can't help but add, in response to the last sentence above, "That's what all my Indian friends tell me.)
And I found this quote there too:
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Outside the Glass Bell Jar

I’ve lived all my life on the right hand side of that bell graph of normalcy, that graph in the Psychology 101 books, where Intelligence is the lower line with 100 or Average in the middle, the other line going up on the left side representing population. It feels, to me (living with the results of that stupid IQ test that was “off the charts” in the early 1960’s), like a glass bell jar that looks much like the graph and I’m on the outside looking in, sometimes banging on the glass, trying to talk with the people inside, and they just can’t hear what I’m saying.
Perhaps that’s why I have so much empathy for the people, trapped outside also, on the other side of the IQ line. Maybe it is why I can connect with them, and they with me. They are on the outside too, banging the glass, trying to get in, trying to be heard. I think both they and I know that we are all people, human beings, and what we want at the most basic level is to be recognized as humans – and to be with all the other humans.
And to be treated as unique individual humans, which we all are, which makes us all very much the same.
Go way back in the History of Our Human Family. We Humans have no claws, no big teeth or other natural weapons, and no shell or feathers or fur for protection. We Humans survived only because We Humans helped each other do so, up against Lions, Tigers and Bears (Oh my!). Our big brains helped us figure out that the only way we could survive in this world and, with the help of our opposable thumbs to carry out the actions we figured out with our imaginations, we somehow got to where we are in the world.
The world that needs us to remember this ancient basic premise of helping one another is still very much needed if we are to survive as a species or face our own extinction by our very own hands.
Yet we keep hearing about “Safe Nuclear Power,” “Clean Coal Technology,” and the need to continue to wage war.
More people have died from radiation poisoning working in places that handle nuclear materials, many more from the ways we store –or dump- the waste products than by any weapon produced.
Mercury released from all the coal that has ever been burned, falls from the sky in the rain, and enters our world’s food chain (much like radiation).
And War is as far away from helping each other survive as you can get.

Greed for money, lust for power, even at the expense of the rest of our Human Family, fuels this fire that needs to be put out.
Lip service just doesn’t cut it - we’ve got to live it.
In “Coram Deo,” in the face of God, as the man we know as Jesus said on the Mountain where he made all those fish sandwiches, speaking about hypocrites.
Those words are just as true today, in so many ways, here in this Christian Nation whose motto is “In God We Trust,” whose biggest export is high-tech weapons…

Tim MacSweeney
Sunday, June 07, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

And the Band Played the Star Spangled Banner

This song is based on "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda," the lyrics changed to reflect not the "War to End All Wars," but the Second World War that followed the First, and the USA rather than Australia...

And the Band Played the Star Spangled Banner (Lyrics)

From Prarie Home Companion Saturday, May 29, 2004

Now when I was a young man and loose and free
And I followed a young man's drummer
I hitch-hiked from New York to Yosemite
And led me a beautiful summer

Then in December, nineteen forty-one
I heard the call, there was work to be done.
I joined the Army and they gave me a gun
And they shipped me away to the war...

And the band played the Star Spangled Banner
As the ship pulled away from the shore
And amidst all the cheers, the music, and the tears
We sailed off to fight in the war.

And how well I remember how at Anzio
We strolled to the beach through the water
And the counterattack was a powerful blow
And we fell like lambs at the slaughter.
Who misread the enemy? Too late to tell.
We were pounded by bullets and bombs and by shell
And in two days they blew us to hell
Nearly blew us right back to New Jersey.

And the band played the Star Spangled Banner
As the flag was raised on the hill
We bowed our heads as we buried our dead
Then we went back to maim and to kill.

We marched north through Italy, tried to survive
In that mad world of death, blood and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
As the death toll got higher and higher
In a field north of Rome I raised up my head
And when I awoke in my hospital bed
And saw what had happened, I wished I was dead
And I lay there a month without talking.

They collected the wounded, the crippled, the maimed
And shipped us back home to New Jersey.
The legless, the armless, the blind, the insane
The proud, wounded heroes of Italy.
And when I was carried back to Fort Lee
I looked at the place where my legs used to be
And thanked Christ there was no one there waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity

And the band played the Star Spangled Banner
As we came to the U.S.A.
But nobody cheered, they just stood there and stared
Then they turned their faces away

So now on Memorial Day on my porch
I watch the parade pass before me
I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving old dreams and past glories
And the old men march slowly, their bones stiff and sore
Tired old men from a long ago war
And the young people ask "What are they marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question

But the band plays the Star Spangled Banner
And the old men answer the call
But year after year, those old men disappear
Soon no one will march there at all...

Dedicated to all who fell, and to my Great-Uncle Fred who survived this event and all that followed, and to the end of the outdated notion of War...