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Archive for December, 2009

Special update on Schiff for Senate

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Peter Schiff, Republican candidate for US Senate in Connecticut, with
a message from his campaign.



Keep Pushing to Stop the Health Care Bill, Now!

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Call To Action

While the Senate has all but passed the health care takeover bill, do not despair for we have additional opportunities to stop the progression.

Remember that the House and the Senate need to come to terms on a compromise bill, but the rhetoric coming from the Senate is rather aggressive toward the House, so this is one opportunity for you to contact both Senators and your Representative. Once a compromise bill is agreed upon, both the House and Senate need to pass it before going to the President for his signature. Another opportunity!

There is time, so pour the heat on to your elected officials and tell them to stop the reform. Less government is the cure, not the disease!

Thank you,

Your friends at The John Birch Society

Click the link below to log in and send your message:

2010 New Year’s Resolution: Dump Dodd!

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Dear Friends:

It’s that time of year again– time to make your New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t know about you, but my first Resolution for 2010 is to Dump Dodd! For too long Chris Dodd has orchestrated million dollar deals for himself and billion dollar bailout packages for his pals on Wall Street. Enough is enough. This year, our resolution must be to elect a Senator that will fight for the taxpayer’s best interest.

But, unlike most New Year’s Resolutions, we can’t wait until the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. Our resolution starts today because the final 2009 campaign fundraising deadline is December 31st. That means our campaign needs to make one last fundraising push in advance of this deadline in order to show Chris Dodd that we mean business.

Chris Dodd knows that he is in trouble. He’s working extra hard to hold on to power. Now is the time to build on our positive momentum and march into the New Year with a strong showing of unity and support.

Donate by December 31st: the End of the Year Fundraising Deadline!

Help us “get our message out” by donating to our campaign.
* $24.20 will send out 100 mailers to Hartford
* $52.20 will buy 1 radio ad in Danbury
* $109.00 will help get 1 cable TV commercial up in Bridgeport
* $500.00 will pay 1 week’s rent for our campaign headquarters in Milford.

Or, you can name your own contribution and decide how to Dump Dodd! You can also mail a check to:
PO Box 3647
Milford, CT 06460
Again, thank you for your support and contribution.


Peter Schiff
Republican US Senate Candidate

Campaign for Liberty needs your help

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Dear Friend of Liberty,

You and I have stood together in our battles for Liberty and the Constitution before. Now, even larger threats – and greater opportunities – are in front of us.

Our constitutional principles and freedom-centered values are being assaulted at every turn. More bailouts, nationalized health care, cap and tax, trillion dollar “stimulus” plans, expansion of our interventionist foreign meddling. I could go on and on.

But the good news is, with your help, Campaign for Liberty has been fighting back.

And we’re even on offense, putting the statists and the Fed on notice with our Audit the Fed bill.

You and I are making progress every day.

As you may know, Campaign for Liberty is carrying the Revolution forward and fighting our battles in Congress and all across the country.

And it needs your help.

Please read the enclosed letter from Campaign for Liberty’s President, John Tate.

John and Campaign for Liberty need your advice and your help as we head into 2010. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read this letter and to continue the fight alongside me and Campaign for Liberty.

In Liberty,

Congressman Ron Paul


Dear Member:

I’ve just finished a series of long and difficult planning meetings with my staff.

You see, right now, you and I are at a key stage in many of our current battles – and I’m faced with some decisions unlike any others I’ve ever had to make.

And I’m writing you today because it’s vital that as Campaign for Liberty goes forward, we receive your advice on C4L’s Confidential Member’s Directive.

The good news is, thanks to your help, we’ve really made an impact in Washington.

Today, AUDIT THE FED is up to 317 House cosponsors and 31 Senate cosponsors. Campaign for Liberty has grown like no other Liberty organization in history, both in number of supporters and in our impact across the country. All thanks to Patriots like you!

We’re helping keep back many of the big government power grabs many thought would already be law – like Cap and Tax and nationalized health care.

Though many of the battles still rage on, we’ve proven to the statists in Washington, D.C. we won’t just roll over and play dead for their radical freedom-robbing agenda. If they want to continue to try to take our liberty, well – now they’ve got a fight on their hands like never before.

But the truth is, there are so many battles to fight right now, we’re being stretched thin at the most crucial time.

So today, I regret to inform you — with all the critical battles we’re facing right now — without an IMMEDIATE influx of funds, I’m going to have to start cutting some of our most vital programs.

You see, unlike our overlords in the Federal Government, I can’t just print money when the bills come due!

Nor would I want to.

But the battles we are fighting don’t come cheap. The fact is, I hope you’ll help Campaign for Liberty fight ALL of our battles. But if we are faced with hard choices, I’d rather quit some fights (even though we could win!) than risk losing everything.

But before I cut anything, I want to be sure to receive your advice.

I’m sure you’ll agree: the idea that we may have to cut some of our vital programs is not welcome news. And it couldn’t have come at a worse time considering everything we’re facing right now.

And any of these battles could be won or lost depending on the resources Campaign for Liberty can spend fighting them, including:

*** Socialized, Government-run Medicine that would not only include astronomical tax hikes, but would give big government bureaucrats decision-making power over virtually EVERY medical decision;

*** The Cap and Tax scheme that would drive already sky-high energy costs through the roof, massively hike taxes on hardworking Americans and give the Federal Government unprecedented control over the economy;

*** Audit the Fed, so the American people can finally see the corruption and economic devastation caused by a handful of bankster bureaucrats;

*** PATRIOT Act renewal, and the new, even more DANGEROUS ID Bill that would not only allow the government to listen to phone calls and monitor internet accounts, but would mandate Americans get a federally-approved ID card complete with an RFID tracking device.
To me, all of these fights are so foundational to our freedoms it’s almost like asking which amendment in the Bill of Rights I would like to keep.

That’s why I need your advice.

You see, the Big Government crowd isn’t hurting for funds. The statists inside government just tax, borrow or print money when they need it.

Those outside are happy to ride the taxpayer gravy train with their bailouts, their welfare checks, and their bloated government contracts.

I’ll tell you up front: I don’t want to quit fighting anywhere.

Honestly, I’d rather meet the barrel of a loaded shotgun than to see Big Government politicians ham it up for the news cameras after they ram one of their statist schemes into law.

I’m sure you feel the same way.

I also know that without your financial support, there would be no Campaign for Liberty.

That’s why I need YOU to tell me WHICH FIGHT to focus on.

But, believe me, there’s no easy choice. Let me lay out the options.

Should I concentrate on efforts to stop government’s total takeover of medicine?

Even besides the massive costs that could literally bankrupt our country, this dangerous scheme strikes at the heart of everything you and I hold dear.

Under their Big Government Health Care power grab, American citizens will be nothing more than a dehumanized statistic — a number on a piece of paper.

So those federal bureaucrats won’t be making their decisions on what health care you and your family receive based on what you and your doctor decide is best — they will decide what is best for you.

I don’t know about you, but that sends shivers up my spine.

So if stopping Big Government’s takeover of medicine is your number one priority, please mark OPTION 1 on your Member’s Directive.

But before you do, please consider what’s at stake with the dangerous Cap and Tax Bill.

Of course, you and I both know this bill has nothing to do with the environment.

It’s really about raw government POWER.

Government POWER to tax.

Government POWER to enter your home to check for compliance.

And government POWER to control the economy, our lives and our freedom.

If passed, Cap and Tax would give the Federal Government UNPRECEDENTED control over the private sector — and our very lives.

And it will virtually guarantee our economy grinds to an IMMEDIATE halt.

I’m sure you can see why I’m torn.

If this is where you believe we should concentrate our resources, please mark OPTION #2 on your Member’s Directive.

And, of course, I haven’t even mentioned AUDIT THE FED yet.

Thanks to the help of folks like you, we’re at a truly historic crossroads in our fight.

Of course, from here on out, our battle will only get more difficult because the Fed banksters and their cronies in Congress are going to do everything they can to stop us.

But if you and I can somehow pass AUDIT THE FED, the American people will finally see it’s the Federal Reserve that’s the cause of inflation, our constant economic crises and the destruction of the middle class . . .

. . . and well be well on our way to finally ENDING the Fed once and for all.

If you believe we should concentrate solely on the AUDIT THE FED Bill, please mark OPTION #3 on your Member’s Directive.

But please remember, that’s not all.

You see, I know you weren’t fooled by Barack Obama’s campaign rhetoric . . . his empty promises to protect civil liberties.

The truth is, the assaults are continuing and only getting worse.

Today, the PATRIOT Act is up for reauthorization, and Obama Administration officials support its provisions.

You know, the provisions that allow government goons to wiretap American citizens and search everything from banking to library to medical records.

Just as bad, they’re pushing a new DANGEROUS ID bill.

If passed, DANGEROUS ID would allow Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to establish virtually any standards she wants.

Retinal scans. Fingerprints. DNA information.

RFID tracking chips so anti-gun government goons can watch your every movement.

And after reading all those Homeland Security memos and directives calling patriotic Americans like you and me terrorists, I can’t imagine sitting idly by while police state cheerleaders in Congress continue their assault on our civil liberties.

If you believe Campaign for Liberty should focus on this fight, please mark OPTION #4 on your Member’s Directive.

Of course, there is one more option.

I’ve hesitated until now to bring it up because it’s absolutely critical you understand the situation we’re in.

Without an IMMEDIATE and massive influx of funds, I will be FORCED to make cuts to our programs.

In fact, without an immediate contribution of at least $100 or $50, I may have to make cuts across the board.


Don’t back down. Don’t leave anything to chance. FIGHT.

If you choose this option, please make a contribution to Campaign for Liberty of $500 or at least $250.

I know that’s a tremendous amount to ask.

If our backs weren’t against the wall, I wouldn’t even consider it.

But if we don’t fight back, who will?

I know we can count on Ron Paul in Congress. Can he count on us?

Please click here to fill out your Member’s Directive and make your most generous contribution today. Your advice and your support will make all the difference.


John Tate

P.S. The tough economic times are affecting us all — and Campaign for Liberty isn’t immune.

Without an influx of funds, your Campaign for Liberty is going to be forced to make devastating cuts.

So I need your IMMEDIATE advice.

Healthcare Reform is a Lump of Coal

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Texas Straight Talk – A weekly column
Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14

Last week on Christmas Eve, after many backroom deals were made, the Senate passed the healthcare reform bill with a strictly partisan vote. I was pleased that my colleagues in the GOP are on the right side of this bill. Although this vote was a major step in healthcare reform becoming reality, they still have to reconcile the Senate bill with the House-passed version in conference committee. This could prove even more difficult and costly than the Senate vote.

There was a little bit of controversy surrounding one particular Senator who was initially against the bill, but then, coincidentally, a large amount of Medicare funding specifically for his state was tucked inside and he ended up voting for it. One wonders how much more of that will have to go on to achieve final passage.

But this is how politicians in Washington deal with problems: they throw your money at them. Healthcare reform is no different. The Senate version of the bill, at last count, will cost $871 billion. The House version tops $1 trillion. But they tell us this is for the health of Americans, and how dare we count the cost?

Such is the arrogance of politicians. There seems to be no end to the problems they feel capable and duty-bound to solve through legislative proclamation and plenty of your money. To hear them talk, one might think that a few words spoken on Capitol Hill would make problems just disappear. All it takes it good intentions.

But no good can come from 2400 pages of Washington’s good intentions.

I have observed quite the opposite throughout my political career in the House of Representatives, and fear that with this immense legislation, our healthcare problems are only just beginning. Over the last few decades, I have seen healthcare subjected to more and more creeping red tape that only creates bottlenecks and increases costs as new bureaucratic hurdles are put in place.

Politicians cannot solve the problems created by ever-increasing intervention by exponentially increasing their intervention. Similarly, they cannot improve the quality of healthcare and expand access to it for all Americans simply by legislative decree. If only it were that simple! The reality is the free market, when allowed to function, naturally increases access and drives prices down through competition. The free market keeps service providers accountable by allowing people to take their business elsewhere.

This government intervention will eventually create a near monopoly of providers in health insurance as smaller companies are squeezed out and innovation comes to a grinding halt due to formidable barriers to entry. The government will determine prices and levels of service that will apply to everyone, regardless of want or individual circumstances. The true insurance model of healthcare cost management, meaning major medical coverage only, will basically become illegal. Opting out of the system will incur heavy tax penalties.

Expanding government reach so deeply into this very sensitive area of our personal lives and such a major part of our economy means more opportunities for waste, fraud and abuse of the system. One need only remember the recent bailouts for an example of how government handles systemic waste, fraud and abuse.

So while the Senate patted itself on the back last week for delivering a Christmas gift to Americans, time will prove it was instead a great big lump of coal.

Ensign, DeMint to Force Vote on Health Care Bill Unconstitutionality

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

December 22, 2009 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) and John Ensign (R-Nevada), raised a Constitutional Point of Order on the Senate floor against the Democrat health care takeover bill on behalf of the Steering Committee, a caucus of conservative senators. The Senate will vote tomorrow on the bill’s constitutionality.

“I am incredibly concerned that the Democrats’ proposed individual mandate provision takes away too much freedom and choice from Americans across the country,” said Senator Ensign. “As an American, I felt the obligation to stand up for the individual freedom of every citizen to make their own decision on this issue. I don’t believe Congress has the legal authority to force this mandate on its citizens.”

“Forcing every American to purchase a product is absolutely inconsistent with our Constitution and the freedoms our Founding Fathers hoped to protect,” said Senator DeMint. “This is not at all like car insurance, you can choose not to drive but Americans will have no choice whether to buy government-approved insurance. This is nothing more than a bailout and takeover of insurance companies. We’re forcing Americans to buy insurance under penalty of law and then Washington bureaucrats will then dictate what these companies can sell to Americans. This is not liberty, it is tyranny of good intentions by elites in Washington who think they can plan our lives better than we can.”

Americans who fail to buy health insurance, according to the Democrats’ bill, would be subject to financial penalties. The senators believe the bill is unconstitutional because the insurance mandate is not authorized by any of the limited enumerated powers granted to the federal government. The individual mandate also likely violates the “takings” clause of the 5th Amendment.

The Democrats’ healthcare reform bill requires Americans to buy health insurance “whether or not they ever visit a doctor, get a prescription or have an operation.” If an American chooses not to buy health insurance coverage, they will face rapidly increasing taxes that will rise to $750 or 2% of their taxable income, whichever is greater.

The Congressional Budget Office once stated “A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States.”

A legal study by scholars at the nonpartisan Heritage Foundation concluded: “An individual mandate to enter into a contract with or buy a particular product from a private party, with tax penalties to enforce it, is unprecedented– not just in scope but in kind–and unconstitutional as a matter of first principles and under any reasonable reading of judicial precedents.”

Packed House for Grand Opening of Schiff Campaign HQ

Monday, December 21st, 2009

From SchiffForSenate.com

Packed House for Grand Opening of Schiff Campaign HQ
Fri, Dec 18, 2009

Peter Schiff & Packed House of Supporters Launch Schiff Campaign HQ

(Milford, CT) – Hundreds of Republican activists, voters, and volunteers braved the winter weather to join Peter Schiff, Connecticut’s principled Republican candidate for US Senate, at the grand opening of his campaign headquarters in Milford. Schiff rallied the packed house of supporters with a rousing speech about his campaign to end Washington’s reckless spending and get America’s fiscal house in order.

“The same irresponsible policies that got Wall Street into trouble are now repeating themselves in Washington— only this time on an even bigger scale,” Schiff explained to the energetic crowd. “Tonight’s incredible turnout proves that Republican voters are ready to mobilize a grassroots campaign to retire Chris Dodd.”

More than 200 people attended the event throughout the night, including notable Republican Town Committee Members, Republican State Central Committee Members and grassroots Republican activists. The grand opening of Schiff’s campaign headquarters is the latest development in a successful month of campaign activities. In December, Schiff has crisscrossed the state speaking to local Republican Town Committees and signed up hundreds of Connecticut campaign volunteers. The campaign has also earned momentum from the latest Rasmussen Poll, which has Peter Schiff beating Chris Dodd in a head-to-head matchup.

In 2006, businessman Peter Schiff warned of a coming financial crisis. Now, Peter sees the same problems repeating themselves in Washington. As Connecticut’s Senator, he will stop Washington’s spending binges that destroy jobs and lead to higher taxes. Born in New Haven, Peter lives in Fairfield County, where he raises his seven year old son.

The American Dream is being murdered

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

The representatives and senators who vote for this health control monstrosity need to be fired. We have allowed our employees (elected officials) to ignore the rules that we sent them to DC with (the Constitution). Have you read the rules that they are to follow lately?

Remember when we were told that if everyone had to buy car insurance the rates would go down? How much did your car insurance rates go down?

Our congress told the American people that if they controlled education then it would be better for all of us? How many local school districts are in major trouble now? Do children get a better education now? Why can’t seniors in high school pass the 8th grade exam that children were given 50 years ago?

Our congress told us that if they gave control of our currency to a private central bank (Federal Reserve) we would not have fluctuations in our monetary value. The American people were told that a private cental bank that controlled monetary policy would assure the people that their savings would not be diminished with inflation. We see how well that worked out and now we have foreclosures all over the place and the dollar is gone. Just take a dollar out and read it, it is a Federal Reserve Note, not a dollar issued by the United States. To top this off the Federal Reserve, along with Pelosi and Reid, don’t want to allow an audit of the Federal Reserve.

Our congress promised workers that they would take part of their paycheck (Social Security) and hold it for them to use in retirement and it would never be used for anything else. Now we all know that Social Security is going to be bankrupt soon.

We need senators and representatives who go to Washington to follow the Constitution and start removing some of the unconstitutional things our congress has done over the last several decades. Allowing our congress to run wild and spend money like they are rich with an unlimited credit card that never has to be repaid is killing our county. This is not a football game where each team works to regain control of the field.

They are taking away incentives by deciding what businesses should be allowed to fail, deciding what your children will be taught in school, deciding how much “money” you should be allowed to have in retirement, deciding that you are not allowed to replace a window in your house without a permit from the EPA (effective the first part of 2010), and so much more that I don’t have the space to print some of the things I have found. When a business fails then others have an opportunity to fill that void. The American Dream is being murdered.

How long are we going to allow this corruption to go on? Just because every other country is doing socialism and communism does not mean that we should. What happened to State’s Rights? What happened to things that are not expressly authorized to congress in the Constitution are reseved to the States and the people?

Robyn Hamlin

Ron Paul: Statement Opposing the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Congressman Ron Paul | December 15, 2009
United States House of Representatives

I rise in strongest opposition to this new round of sanctions on Iran, which is another significant step toward a US war on that country. I find it shocking that legislation this serious and consequential is brought up in such a cavalier manner. Suspending the normal rules of the House to pass legislation is a process generally reserved for “non-controversial” business such as the naming of post offices. Are we to believe that this House takes matters of war and peace as lightly as naming post offices?

This legislation seeks to bar from doing business in the United States any foreign entity that sells refined petroleum to Iran or otherwise enhances Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum such as financing, brokering, underwriting, or providing ships for such. Such sanctions also apply to any entity that provides goods or services that enhance Iran’s ability to maintain or expand its domestic production of refined petroleum. This casts the sanctions net worldwide, with enormous international economic implications.

Recently, the Financial Times reported that, “[i]n recent months, Chinese companies have greatly expanded their presence in Iran’s oil sector. In the coming months, Sinopec, the state-owned Chinese oil company, is scheduled to complete the expansion of the Tabriz and Shazand refineries — adding 3.3 million gallons of gasoline per day.”

Are we to conclude, with this in mind, that China or its major state-owned corporations will be forbidden by this legislation from doing business with the United States? What of our other trading partners who currently do business in Iran’s petroleum sector or insure those who do so? Has anyone seen an estimate of how this sanctions act will affect the US economy if it is actually enforced?

As we have learned with US sanctions on Iraq, and indeed with US sanctions on Cuba and elsewhere, it is citizens rather than governments who suffer most. The purpose of these sanctions is to change the regime in Iran, but past practice has demonstrated time and again that sanctions only strengthen regimes they target and marginalize any opposition. As would be the case were we in the US targeted for regime change by a foreign government, people in Iran will tend to put aside political and other differences to oppose that threatening external force. Thus this legislation will likely serve to strengthen the popularity of the current Iranian government. Any opposition continuing to function in Iran would be seen as operating in concert with the foreign entity seeking to overthrow the regime.

This legislation seeks to bring Iran in line with international demands regarding its nuclear materials enrichment programs, but what is ironic is that Section 2 of HR 2194 itself violates the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which both the United States and Iran are signatories. This section states that “[i]t shall be the policy of the United States…to prevent Iran from achieving the capability to make nuclear weapons, including by supporting international diplomatic efforts to halt Iran’s uranium enrichment program.” Article V of the NPT states clearly that, “[n]othing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.” As Iran has never been found in violation of the NPT — has never been found to have diverted nuclear materials for non-peaceful purposes — this legislation seeking to deny Iran the right to enrichment even for peaceful purposes itself violates the NPT.

Mr. Speaker, I am concerned that many of my colleagues opposing war on Iran will vote in favor of this legislation, seeing it as a step short of war to bring Iran into line with US demands. I would remind them that sanctions and the blockades that are required to enforce them are themselves acts of war according to international law. I urge my colleagues to reject this saber-rattling but ultimately counterproductive legislation.

Veterans Group Calls On Soldiers to Refuse Orders to Deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Veterans Group Calls On Soldiers to Refuse Orders to Deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq

Dahr Jamail
Tue, 15 Dec 2009 18:55 EST

In response to President Barack Obama’s announcement on December 1 to deploy 30,000 additional troops to the occupation of Afghanistan, the organization March Forward!, comprising both veterans and active-duty members of the US military, has called on all soldiers to refuse their orders to deploy.

“March Forward! calls on all service members to refuse orders to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq,” reads a press release from the group from December 3. “We offer our unconditional support and solidarity. Join us in the fight to ensure that no more soldiers or civilians lose their lives in these criminal wars.”

Michael Prysner, a former corporal in the Army who served from 2001-2005 and a veteran of the occupation of Iraq, co-founded the group with another Iraq war veteran, James Circello.

Truthout asked Prysner how he responds to those who believe a soldier should always follow orders, no matter what.

“In my experience the majority of people joining the military today join out of necessity, like money, jobs, help for their family, etc., so most don’t join for ideological or patriotic reasons. Most are driven into the military by economic conditions. We see this playing out now, as people are joining in droves because of the economy.”

Prysner added, “Yes, people do sign a contract to follow orders, but those orders are wrong and unlawful. We want to educate people to the fact that these are immoral orders, and they [soldiers] are being used as muscle for corporations, to colonize the developing world, and it’s not legitimate. People who join and take this oath seriously who think they are in [the military] to defend the US, this is not what we are being used for in the military today.”

Prysner has written about his experience in Iraq, “… there was no computer screen separating me from the suffering civilian population. I spent 12 months in Iraq, doing everything from prisoner interrogations, to ground surveillance missions, to home raids. It was my firsthand experiences in Iraq that radicalized me. I believed I was going to Iraq to help liberate and better the lives of an oppressed people, but I soon realized that my purpose in Iraq was to be the oppressor, and to clear the way for US corporations with no regard for human life.”

After he separated from the Army in 2005, Prysner “understood that the occupation I was a part of was a crime against humanity. I understood that illegal conquering of Iraq was for profit, carried out by a system that serves a tiny class of super-rich whose endless drive for wealth is at the expense of working people in the United States and abroad.”

According to Prysner, the lessons he learned from being part of the US occupation of Iraq taught him that, “I still had the same drive to fight for freedom, justice and equality as I did when I joined, and I understood that fighting for those things meant fighting against the US government, not on behalf of it.”

To those who call him and his organization “anti-American” and/or “unpatriotic,” Prysner has this to say:

“I would say that I have more in common with my sisters and brothers in Iraq and Afghanistan than I do with these people in DC who’ve sent us to war. If that’s unpatriotic, then yes, I am. But patriotism and racism are the only things the military has to fall back on to convince people to do the things we are being asked to do today.”

March Forward! was founded in 2008, and the aim of the organization is “to unite all those who have served and who currently serve in the US military, and who want to stand up for our rights and for that which is right.”

“We are new and growing,” Prysner explained. “We have seen somewhat consistent growth, and we’re expecting this to accelerate now.”

The group’s statement from December 3 adds, “On December 1, we got a clear order from President Obama. For many more years, we will be sent to kill, to die, to be maimed and wounded, in a war where ‘victory’ is impossible, against a people who are not our enemies. For over eight years, we have come home in coffins, in wheelchairs, with our skin burned and with our days and nights haunted by the trauma of war. We return home to a VA whose services are so inadequate that active duty soldiers who succumb to suicide outnumber those killed in combat.”

James Circello is a former Army sergeant and veteran of the US occupation of Iraq. Circello, who joined the military in 2001, describes his experience in Iraq as follows:

“During the occupation of Iraq, the truth about what the United States government has done to the country of Iraq became more apparent. Open wastewater flowed through neighborhood streets where children played soccer. Families were thrown out of their homes with simple accusations from others. Vehicles were taken on sight by the military if individuals couldn’t provide proper documents claiming they own the vehicle. These events and others helped in strengthening my opposition to the so-called ‘War on Terror.'”

In April 2007, Circello left his base in Vicenza, Italy, and went absent without leave (AWOL) in protest of US policy in the Middle East. In November 2007, he turned himself in to the military at Fort Knox and was discharged within three days.

Circello has remained very active with his work against US Foreign Policy, having worked with Iraq Veterans Against the War and the group Courage to Resist before joining March Forward!.

Circello’s decision to go AWOL was his way of refusing to deploy to Afghanistan.

I had been fighting myself internally after my time in Iraq, about whether to deploy again,” he explained to Truthout, “I ended up back in my old unit that was preparing to deploy, so at that moment I took it into my hands, and decided I wasn’t going to go kill Afghans that had done nothing to me, or the American people. It was a defining moment for me.”

According to Pentagon figures, since October 2001, more than 50,000 soldiers from all branches of the military have gone AWOL.

John Raughter is the communications director for the American Legion, an organization that describes itself as “a patriotic, war-time veterans organization, devoted to mutual helpfulness,” according to its web site.

Raughter is clear about his stance on the rights of soldiers. “We have an all-volunteer force,” he explained to Truthout, “These are not draftees. They swore an oath to obey the orders of the Commander in Chief.”

According to Raughter, the American Legion does not, in any way, support AWOL soldiers or those who refuse to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan. “Within reason, the military should be able to enforce obedience. Obedience and order are critical for the military to do its mission. People can’t pick and choose which orders to obey and which not to [obey]. If it’s a lawful order, they are obliged to obey.”

Yet the oath enlisted soldiers must take before being deployed, reads:

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild, is the co-author of “Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent” with Kathleen Gilberd. In the book, they write, “Rules of Engagement limit forms of combat, levels of force, and legitimate enemy targets, defining what is legal in warfare and what is not. (They’re also) defined by an established body of international (and US) law that leaves no ambiguity.”

Cohn and Gilberd argue that every US war since WWII has been illegal. Article 51 of the UN Charter only permits the “right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member … until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security.”

In addition, Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 (the war powers clause) of the US Constitution authorizes only both houses of Congress, not the president, to declare war. Nonetheless, that process has been followed only five times in our history and last used on December 8, 1941, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

Nevertheless, Raughter believes soldiers who are dissenting against the occupations should have never joined the ranks. “If they are ethically opposed to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I would say that most of these people have enlisted or reenlisted since the beginning of the war. These wars were occurring when they made this oath of enlistment. It should have come to their minds.”

Circello’s response to those who refer to their tactic of encouraging soldiers to refuse deployment orders as being “unpatriotic or un-American?

“This is a tactic of demonization and we reject it,” he explained, “The corporations profiting in these wars don’t care about America or the American people. Is providing mercenaries to kill innocent people overseas, and bombs to kill innocent people, is that American and patriotic? The people who use these terms are demagogues. We can’t forget that America was a land of institutionalized slavery, slavery was American, and folks like Dr. Martin Luther King, when they stood up to racism were called un-American … so the same thing happens today. When you protest war, or call on soldiers to desert based on their own interest, you are called un-American.”

Prysner and Circello’s organization has stated, “March Forward! supports the right of all service members to refuse illegal and immoral orders. Orders to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq are just that: illegal and immoral. We have no reason to fight in these wars, and we have every right to refuse to be a part of them.”