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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Monday, February 05, 2007

Everything you need (and nothing you really wanted to learn) for talking with Congresspeople

Suggestions for talking with Congressperson:

1) Speak from the heart

2) Stay on the singular message

3) Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from your message no matter what!

4) Identify one goal for the meeting and be determined to reach it

5) Ask to speak w/the Congressperson her/himself; if they are not available, ask to speak with Chief of Staff; then go down the list until you find someone to speak with –or you wait until someone is available

6) Be friendly but firm; know you are right, you are determined, you have a whole grassroots movement of awesome women behind you!

7) Do not leave until you either get what you want or make an appointment to come back and pick up what you want in an hour, 24 hours, a fortnite, whenever as soon as you are able.

Further expansion on above
1) speaking from the heart – you cannot go wrong, you can only get better at expressing yourself, your determination to end war, your resolve to remove our troops from harm’s way – both from being killed and killing another human being. Don't worry about saying the wrong thing, not knowing what to say, or what you'll look like. Learn, grow, get better - if you don't do it, it won't get done so just do your very best, know your voice needs to be heard and speak for all of us.

2) there are a multitude of important, vital issues and causes – do not muddy the waters or give your congressperson the opportunity to change the subject, no matter how important these other things are to you. Keep the message simple and clear: we’re here to end war, defund the war, bring the troops & contractors home immediately. Period.

3) Remember raising children: you ask them to clean their room – they might ignore you, point out how good they’ve been, throw a fit, call you names, etc.etc.etc. – all tactics to try to make you forget your goal, to get them to clean their room. Same with congresspeople – they might call you liberals, hippies; might want you to go harass some republican; bring up their pet project – whatever. Doesn’t matter – acknowledge their feelings and get back on message: “I see you’re busy/stressed/ upset/leaving/working/etc, there’s never a good/right/easy time to end war so we’re doing it now & need your help”.

4) we’re not leaving until you have signed on to HR508; or until you have promised to vote to de-fund war

Talking points:

1) We the people of this nation have given Congress a Mandate for Peace and we expect you (this Congressperson) to implement our Mandate for Peace. Will we be able to count on you (her/him) to represent the people?

2) We want you be a leader, to lead with/follow the women of California and sign on to HR508 – will you be a signer? HR508 1)brings our troops & contractors home safely within 6 months; 2) rescinds the blanket permission for Bush to lead us into war; 3) provides for reparations for Iraq; 4) provides quality healthcare for returning veterans

3) We want you to give us your word that you will not vote another penny for war: you must not allow Republican war mongers to define “supporting our troops” as funding war; “supporting our troops” is bringing them home promptly and safely.

4) Your funding choices are very clear: either you 1) vote money to continue war and occupation; or 2) vote money for the prompt, safe return of our troops. Period.

5) You can no longer just SAY you are against war; and then ACT to support war by voting for war. We will NOT accept just your words: you MUST sign on to HR508

Counter-arguments (not covered in talking points):

We are spreading democracy:
1) NOT. We have bombed over 25 countries since the end of WWII – not one of them has resulted in a democracy
2) The people of Iraq have to decide what kind of government they want – how dare we try to violently force them to choose democracy
3) We cannot ignore the fact that Iraq sits on the 2nd largest oil reserve in the Middle East – Bush is proposing to “give” Iraqis a share in that oil

Chaos, civil war will ensue
1) there is already chaos, civil war – we are the lighting rod for this chaos and civilwar
2) the first suicide bomb incident happened AFTER we attacked both Afghanistan and Iraq
3) no one is sure what will happen after our soldiers and contractors are withdrawn – nothing can be worse than what is happening now
4) we are totally sure of ONE thing: not one more American life will be taken when we are no longer occupying that country
5) for the first 3 ½ years we occupied Iraq, we were told we HAD to do so to prevent civil war; now that there is civil war, we are told we HAVE to stay because there is civil war. Excuses, excuses, excuses

We cannot be seen as losing this war
1) We’ve already lost this war
2) What does winning this war look like to you? 30,000 U.S. soldiers dead, ½ of the Iraq population dead, all the oil fields controlled by U.S. corporations? What?
3) Why are you attempting to allow Bush to ‘save face’ when you could be saving lives?

1) it is too late (not to mention obnoxious) to establish hoops for Iraqis to jump through
2) there’s been enough ‘benchmarks’ – it is really a delaying tactic – Hussein has been captured, tried, and killed; Iraqis have had an election; Iraqis have adopted a constitution
3) ‘benchmarks’ is another diversionary tactic – we’re not buying it & neither should you.

Listen to the people
1) we already have an administration and military industrial complex that is not listening to the people of this country; don’t join them as one of our leaders who is not listening & implementing the will of the people
2) if you cannot listen to the will of the people, listen to the soldiers – over 70% of them polled last year said we should be out of Iraq by December 2006!
3) If you cannot listen to the will of our soldiers, listen to the Iraq people: many times, many polls close to 95% of the people want the US troops OUT of Iraq
4) If you cannot listen to the will of the Iraq people, listen to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Generals, the Iraq Study Group, the many officials in the State Department that are supporting prompt withdrawal

It’s not going to pass anyway
1) We will not get into that argument - whether it passes or not, it is YOUR position on this resolution that we are concerned with, not a defeatist attitude
2) if you really believe it is not going to pass, we suggest you identify the barriers, make a plan, and go about doing the work it will take to make it pass – as we’re sure the republicans, business people, anyone does when there are barriers to what they want
3) it is not important whether Bush will veto or Republicans won’t vote for it – it IS important what YOU stand for. Everyone else will get their due, not to worry


  • At 6/2/07 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    thank you thank you thank you
    love your blog, love the info
    love that you are doing it.

    Rev. Krystn Madrine

  • At 6/2/07 12:48 PM, Anonymous Lydia Vickers said…

    This is Amazing! You are Amazing! The points are powerful, heartfelt.
    I often print talks from Medea and Jodie (to name a few) and find it so comforting to have them to fall back on for the "hard core facts of the matter". Will start my Sam Joi file this minute. Think Pink, Think Peace, Always Lydia in FLA

  • At 6/2/07 4:27 PM, Blogger RoseCovered Glasses said…

    Your post has some excellent points. Here's some additional data:

    The U.S. Department of Defense, headquartered in the Pentagon, is one of the most massive organizations on the planet, with net annual operating costs of $635 billion, assets worth $1.3 trillion, liabilities of $1.9 trillion and more that 2.9 million military and civilian personnel as of fiscal year 2005.

    I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

    It is difficult to convey the complexity of the way DOD works to someone who has not experienced it. This is a massive machine with so many departments and so much beaurocracy that no president, including Bush totally understands it.

    Presidents, Congressmen, Cabinet Members and Appointees project a knowledgeable demeanor but they are spouting what they are told by career people who never go away and who train their replacements carefully. These are military and civil servants with enormous collective power, armed with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, Defense Industrial Security Manuals, compartmentalized classification structures and "Rice Bowls" which are never mixed.

    Our society has slowly given this power structure its momentum which is constant and extraordinarily tough to bend. The cost to the average American is exhorbitant in terms of real dollars and bad decisions. Every major power structure member in the Pentagon's many Washington Offices and Field locations in the US and Overseas has a counterpart in Defense Industry Corporate America. That collective body has undergone major consolidation in the last 10 years.

    What used to be a broad base of competitive firms is now a few huge monoliths, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Boeing.

    Government oversight committees are carefully stroked. Sam Nunn and others who were around for years in military and policy oversight roles have been cajoled, given into on occasion but kept in the dark about the real status of things until it is too late to do anything but what the establishment wants. This still continues - with increasing high technology and potential for abuse.

    Please examine the following link to testimony given by Franklin C. Spinney before Congress in 2002. It provides very specific information from a whistle blower who is still blowing his whistle (Look him up in your browser and you get lots of feedback) Frank spent the same amount of time as I did in the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) but in government quarters. His job in government was a similar role to mine in defense companies. Frank's emphasis in this testimony is on the money the machine costs us. It is compelling and it is noteworthy that he was still a staff analyst at the Pentagon when he gave this speech. I still can't figure out how he got his superior's permission to say such blunt things. He was extremely highly respected and is now retired.

    The brick wall I often refer to is the Pentagon's own arrogance. It will implode by it's own volition, go broke, or so drastically let down the American people that it will fall in shambles. Rest assured the day of the implosion is coming. The machine is out of control.

    If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting on this blog entitled, "Odyssey of Armaments"

    On the same subject, you may also be interested in the following sites from the "Project On Government Oversight", observing it's 25th Anniversary and from "Defense In the National Interest", inspired by Franklin Spinney and contributed to by active/reserve, former, or retired military personnel. More facts on the Military Industrial Complex can be gleaned from "The Dissident" link, also posted below:


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