VFP72 to Table at George Mann Benefit for Single Payer

Photo of George Mann with groovy hair

Photo by Gerry Collen

Come on out and support a good cause and hear some music played by George Mann.

Friday, April 25, 6:30pm
SEIU#503 Ballroom
6401 SE Foster Rd.
Portland Or 97206

Click here to learn more about Health Care for All Oregon.

Everybody In! Nobody Out! Health Care For All Oregon benefit featuring New York Folksinger George Mann who is on a West Coast Tour with local labor band General Strike and also appearing with George will be the Mad As Hell Doctors to brief us on the importance of a Publicly Funded Health Care For All Oregon.

Tickets at the door $10 – $15 Sliding Scale, No One Turned Away

George Mann is a former union organizer, and activist based in New York, George Mann
sings songs from the last century of labor and social activism, and his own songs are powerful and funny takes on the state of the nation. Funds raised from his performances will go to benefit HCAO and its chapters.

Sponsors: Oregon Health Care for All Oregon, SEIU, KBOO 90.7 FM Community Radio, National Lawyers Guild Portland, Veterans For Peace Chapter 72 and Education Without Borders.

Click to download flyer.

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Thom Hartmann in Portland May 2nd

Radio personality, author, and former Portland resident Thom Hartmann will speak on The Crash of 2016, and the transformational opportunities it will provide:

Friday, May 2, 2014, 7–9PM
First Unitarian Church of Portland
SW 12th Avenue & Main Street

VFP Chapter 72 is a cosponsor of the event and will be tabling beginning at 6:00 PM.

Click on the graphic below to download the PDF flyer. Click here for the Facebook event page.

may2ndhartmannflyer-final

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Angie’s Story

Click to watch interview on YouTube

Click to watch interview on YouTube

In May, 2011, the Portland public school district voted unanimously to allow equal access for counter military recruiters into high schools. I have participated in speaking with high school students in classrooms for 3 years, finding it to be one of the best uses of my time. The students are amazing spirits and I am greatly thankful for the time I’ve had with them.

I was honorably discharged from the United States Navy in 2005. Having joined in 2001, I was stationed on the guided missile USS Cowpens. I was deployed to the Arabian Gulf for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The USS Cowpens fired the first ordinance to initiate the Iraq War. We stayed for over 3 months, launching tomahawk cruise missiles during very early morning hours, usually about 0300. To this day, I still don’t know what we hit or who we killed.

My participation in this has led to unexpected and complicated disturbing emotions today. When I worked at Habitat for Humanity, I was faced with a new guilt-driven situation: working with Iraqi and Afghani refugee families. They were getting homes through Habitat for Humanity, and my role was to direct them in daily warehouse duties, for their sweat equity hours. I discovered that all of them were beautiful people, intelligent, compassionate, and undoubtedly strong for the perils they endured having to leave war-stricked countries. One lady’s sister was abducted – she still doesn’t know where she is.

I am not an emotionless drone that can ignore these sensitive situations. These are part of a large story about why I want students to think carefully before they make the moral, ethical, logical, and even spiritual decision to join the military.

Yesterday myself, and Jeff, a twice-deployed army medic, went to Cleveland High School to talk with students. We were in a room filled with uniformed military recruiters, many more than necessary to staff a table. The Army, Army National Guard, Navy, and Marines were there. They had a prosperous flat screen tv which they showed continuous recruiting videos for at least half the class period. The majority of the time, there were 2 male and 2 female students present.

When it was apparent that we were not going to be given our time slot for equal access, which the school district voted for, and why we were asked to be there, we introduced ourselves to the class when there was not much conversation going on. When Jeff and I began speaking, we were immediately interrupted, laughed at, heckled, and some recruiters even stomped their feet.

I want students to be aware of some of the staggering statistics that the military presents; they could very well experience some of these facts first-hand if they enlist. One of these statistics involves the obscenely high rates of sexual assault and harassment, often leading to present or post-traumatic stress. When I revealed this fact, a woman in civilian clothes seated nearest the Army recruiters rudely interrupted, asking, “what about all the girls who get raped in fraternities?” First, women don’t go to fraternities. They may go to college fraternity parties, but in no way did I mention, condone, endorse, or insinuate that women should go to fraternity parties and get raped or otherwise assaulted. Sexual violence is unacceptable everywhere and okay nowhere, for everyone. Sexual crime in the military does not cancel out sexual crime in colleges. Sexual violence and abuse, along with all violence, corruption, immorality, and other wrongdoings is not justified because crime is happening somewhere else, too. That was a merciless question, indicating a grave shortfall in human compassion.

One of the recruiters started filming us with his phone (which I would love to get a copy of). One of the Army recruiters approached Jeff with his arm up in a blocking position, blasting “you’re time is done, and you need to go.” Within 3 to 4 minutes, we were essentially forced out of the room.

Our equal access visit, which I took time out of my work day to do, was not very equal at all. There were no school staff or faculty present. There were no moderators. It was telling about military recruiters’ attitudes and was terrible for the students to witness. The oath to protect the Constitution of the United States was lost with their actions. The military recruiters would not allow us to speak with the students, because they don’t want us to tell them what we know. Also, it is questionable whether the recruiters signed in or out of the visitor’s log. It appeared there were not enough names on the sheet to equate all the recruiters present.

As two recently returned veterans, I believe we should have had the opportunity for true equal access. The attitudes and actions of the military recruiters were horrifying mutations of the rights and freedom that they supposedly protect. I want people to know this is not acceptable. It is not okay to refuse our presence when the school district made it law, and we were asked to be there by the school. In my 3 years of equal access visits, I’ve always been treated with complete respect and thanks.

What do I do now? I will keep going to schools, of course. In the future, if military recruiters and counter-recruiters are in the same location, there has to be a staff or faculty member present as a moderator. I’m not sure if it was legal for the recruiter to be filming or not. Their behavior was sickening, pathetic, and not to be tolerated. That’s why everyone needs to know about it.

— Angie Hines

Angie’s story touched off a storm of support. Here’s a post written by our retired chapter prez, Grant.

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11 Years Too Long

Visibility Action Photo

Jenika was there in full color flying our flag.
Thank you to everyone who turned out!

Here’s the report back from today’s “Visibility Action” at the Burnside Bridge, from Dan Handelman, Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group:

So… today’s visibility action was attended by over 20 hearty souls who dealt on and off with with rain (including brief non-Portland, like, real heavy rain) and wind (which threatened to knock the Tower of Peace over several times) — but it was very rewarding. Being at the east end of the Burnside Bridge meant we got rush hour traffic going out of downtown, as well as folks heading down MLK Blvd., folks on the streetcar and buses, and folks heading toward downtown from Couch. City of Portland traffic counts indicate that during our 2.5 hour event, we probably were seen by 2500-3000 cars at least, plus pedestrians and cyclists. We had dozens of people honking horns and waving at us in support, and handed out 150 copies of our fact sheet. [Download PDF version here.]

Thanks to our 13 cosponsoring organizations, most of whom had someone attending the event, and everyone who came out and helped make this a successful if somewhat soggy action.The entire time I was thinking about the OPB show I heard yesterday on Think Out Loud, where an Iraq war veteran (who worked for Gov. Kulongoski and met with us during the Guard Home campaign) stated that he is deeply supportive of the troops, but is actually pleased to see protestors because unlike the majority of Americans, at least they acknowledge that there is something going on involving the US military in foreign lands.

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Celebrate Spring and the Creativity of our Veterans

VFP Chapter 72 members and friends are invited to a house party featuring two of our finest “old creatives” — veterans of the American war in Viet Nam whose autobiographical creative works are intertwined with, and attempt to make meaning of, their individual experiences in/with Viet Nam.

IntotheHeartBandon writer Don Blackburn, a member of VFP Hoa Binh, Vietnam Chapter 160, will read from his most recent book, Into the Heart. This is also a send-off for Don, who is set to fly back to Nha Trang, Vietnam, where he resides for most of the year now, on Friday.

larryclipPortland filmmaker and VFP72 member Larry Johnson, who has just launched an Indiegogo campaign for his film project, Ghost Money, will share a clip at the gathering. Larry will be donating some of the proceeds from his campaign to Vietnam Volunteer Network.

Refreshments will be provided… Please come! Bring a friend!

THURSDAY * MARCH 20, 2014
SOCIALIZING STARTS AT 6 PM

Contributions welcome! Don will be selling copies of his book (proceeds benefiting Vietnam Friendship Village Project) and Larry hopes to collect a few donations to add to his Indiegogo campaign.

Becky Luening and her husband Brian (also a Vietnam veteran) are hosting this springtime soiree at their place in SE Portland. Please call Becky for address and driving or transit directions: at 503-774-9197.

 

 

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Iraq 11 Years Later

Please join VFP 72 members and other Portlanders for peace for this “Visibility Action”: helping make visible an anniversary we’d all rather not be marking.

An Occupation by Any Other Name: Iraq 11 Years Later
Visibility Action
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
3:30-6:00 PM
NE Couch and Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
(East end of Burnside Bridge)

Clicking on the flyer below will take you to the detailed announcement on the Peace and Justice Works website. There is also a Facebook event.

iraq_11yl_flyer

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Rachel Hibbard’s On the Home Front

captureBelow are six links to video footage captured by VFP72 member Dan Shea at the February 22nd opening of On the Home Front, an art exhibit featuring photographic images created by Portland-based multidisciplinary artist Rachel Hibbard.

From the Blue Sky Gallery announcement:

How do citizens living in the United States experience wars that are fought on foreign soil? For those who do not have loved ones serving in the armed forces, these conflicts and the resulting violence may seem far removed from our everyday experiences. In her photographic series On the Home Front, Rachel Hibbard brings images of far-away wars into the American home as a means of exploring this geographic and psychological distance between the frontline and daily life in the U.S. To create each image, Hibbard carefully arranges cutouts taken from newspapers and magazines within the surroundings of her living space. She then photographs the resulting tableaux, giving these previously two-dimensional figures new life amid the patterns, light, and shadows of her home.

“This work stands between the spheres of war reenactment, photojournalism, and surrealist collage. Each image reconstitutes an individual’s face, the direction of a gun, or a gaze, a new place. I am searching for a way to carry events into the present and dump them at the viewer’s feet.” —Rachel Hibbard

  1. MVI 3276 Rachel Hibbard, On the Home Front 2.22.14
  2. MVI 3279 Rachel Hibbard, On the Home Front 2.22.14
  3. MVI 3281 Rachel Hibbard, On the Home Front 2.22.14
  4. MVI 3288 Rachel Hibbard, On the Home Front 2.22.14: Mike Hastie Part I
  5. MVI 3289 Rachel Hibbard, On the Home Front 2.22.14: Mike Hastie Part II
  6. MVI 3291 Rachel Hibbard, On the Home Front 2.22.14: S. Brian Willson

 

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GI Coffeehouse Tour

gi-coffeehouse

Click on graphic to visit GI Coffeehouse Tour website

Friday, February 28, 2014: 6pm potluck, 7pm program
Multnomah Friends Meetinghouse, 4312 SE Stark St., Portland

The Portland stop of the GI Coffeehouse West Coast Tour is hosted by Veterans for Peace Chapter 72, Multnomah Friends Peace and Social Concerns Committee and Recruiter Watch. Begun February 13 in San Diego, the tour is a joint effort of three GI Coffeehouses near major US military bases: Coffee Strong (Lakewood, Washington) the Clearing Barrel (Kaiserslautern, Germany) and Under the Hood (Killeen, Texas).

GI Coffeehouses played a critical role in the GI resistance movement during the American war in Viet Nam. Coffeehouses like Shelter Half in Tacoma, Washington and Oleo Strut in Killeen, Texas provided a place for active duty military personnel to gather, talk, and organize. They were hubs for creating and exchanging underground newspapers and places where soldiers could simply get some relief from the stress of the military.

Today’s coffeehouses honor the legacy of those that came before them by continuing their work. The coffeehouses that have emerged during this era of war have been critical in building a new GI resistance movement and their stories are a powerful part of our history. Come hear for yourself and meet the individuals that are keeping these important venues alive!


VFP Chapter 72 member Dan Shea provided an few video clips from this event, click on the links below to view on YouTube.

Vietnam Vet Grant Remington and former Veterans For Peace 72 President warms up the crowd with several songs:

Gerry Condon is a Vietnam-era veteran who refused to deploy to Vietnam, was court-martialed and sentenced to 10 years in prison and a Dishonorable Discharge. He escaped to Canada and Sweden, where he organized against the Vietnam War and for amnesty for all war resisters and veterans with less-than-honorable discharges. He serves on the Board of Under the Hood Cafe and Outreach Center and was recently elected Vice President of Veterans For Peace. He provided some context for the program:

Welcome to Portland from Multnomah Friends Meeting community member:

Malachi Muncy became the manager at Under the Hood Cafe in December 2012. Malachi grew up in the Fort Hood area and served in the Texas Army National Guard from June 2003 until June 2009. He served two deployments to Iraq, in 2004-2005 and 2006-2007. Motivated largely by his military experience he earned a BA in journalism from Texas State University and makes handmade paper from military uniforms and military recruiting materials that he prints his original art work on.

 

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On Veterans’ Day

by Jamie Skinner (US Naval Flight Officer 1980-86)

I was told November 11th, was to remember Flanders Field
in hopes that knowing of its horrors, war might be repealed,
But now I’m thanked on Veteran’s Day for the service I have given
Yet heart and soul are plagued with thoughts of foreign children suffering
I want to think the bombs and drones have made a safer place,
But what I see is homelessness, shock and fear upon each face.
I want to tell my captain that this strike had been in error.
His curt reply “you think too much, We’re fighting the war on terror”
So I wonder if my service could have helped the cause of peace,
The money spent on drones and bombs been spent to bring relief,
If fear was motivation for overwhelming armament,
Or profits for big companies in defense establishment.
So I reply on Veteran’s Day: Thank your country doc,
Or Doctor’s Without Borders, Mercy Corps; or the Red Cross,
Peace Corps or missionaries who sacrifice for peace.
As for me, I used to be a tool for those who brought much grief,
But now I’m thinking clearer, hoping in a better way:
Heal the sick and work for peace, to honor Veterans Day.

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Nick Turse podcast

A VFP member from Berkeley shared a link to this Nick Turse interview on KQED. Turse is the author of Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. He was interviewed by Michael Krasny on KQED’s January 28 Forum show.  The podcast runs about 45 minutes.

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