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Ron Paul to speak in Hayward and San Francisco

So soon after U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s Bay Area fundraising blitz and speech at Cal, the region will get a visit from the Paul who started it all.

Ron PaulFormer 12-term congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul will speak on “Liberty Defined: The Future of Freedom,” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, in the university theater at the California State University, East Bay campus in Hayward. Admission is free and it’s open to the public, but tickets will be required and are available on a first-come, first-served basis either online or by calling the Independent Institute at (510) 632-1366, ext. 105.

Paul will do a separate, private reception and book-signing at the campus after his speech; the $75 price includes a copy of one of his books.

Paul also is scheduled to address the Commonwealth Club of California at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 10, at the club’s offices on the second floor of 595 Market St. in San Francisco; tickets are available online or by calling the club at 415-597-6705. This event also will be followed by a book-signing.

“The father of U.S Presidential hopeful Rand Paul and former U.S Presidential candidate himself, Ron Paul, a former U.S. Congressman from Texas, will tell us why he believes that to believe in liberty is not to believe in any particular social and economic outcome,” the club’s news release says.

“He says it is to trust in the spontaneous order that emerges when the state does not intervene in human volition and human cooperation. It permits people to work out their problems for themselves, build lives for themselves, take risks and accept responsibility for the results, and make their own decisions. In fact, Paul calls liberty the seed of America,” the release continues. “He maintains the term “liberty” is so commonly used in our country that it has almost become a mere cliché. But do we know what it means? What it promises? How it factors into our daily lives? And most important, can we recognize tyranny when it is sold to us disguised as a form of liberty?”

Paul’s CSU-EB appearance is sponsored by the Smith Center for Private Enterprise Studies – a free-market think tank at the university – and by the Independent Institute, a nonprofit nonpartisan libertarian group based in Oakland. No state funds will be used to host or pay Paul (nor will Peter be robbed).

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Gone, but not forgotten

Though Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney clinched his party’s nomination last week with his win in the Texas primary, Californian Republicans went to the polls today to cast their ballots – and early returns showed eight out of 10 of them were accepting the inevitable.

As of 11 p.m., Romney had about 80.7 percent of the vote, while Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., followed with 9.4 percent. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum had 5 percent of the vote, even though he dropped out well before former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was at 3.8 percent.

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Ron Paul to speak at Cal, raise $$$ in SF Thursday

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul will speak at UC-Berkeley this Thursday evening, addressing “the state of American politics today and … how limited government can solve our country’s woes.”

Ron PaulThat’s according to Students for Liberty, a Cal student organization, and Youth for Ron Paul, which are co-sponsoring the 7 p.m. event in the campus’ Zellerbach Auditorium.

The event is free and open to the public, but because of the auditorium’s limited size, those wishing to attend are encouraged to get an early seating voucher online. The voucher will only be good until 6:30 PM, at which point seating will switch to first-come, first-served.

“College students today are beginning to break the left-right paradigm of American politics and turn to independent ideologies like Congressman Paul’s libertarianism for answers,” said the student groups’ news release. “This event should prove to be a true testament to the shifting nature of the youth vote.”

Paul earlier Thursday will attend an 11:30 a.m. fundraising luncheon at San Francisco’s Marriott Union Square hotel; tickets cost $350 per person, or $250 for those with student or military ID.

Thursday’s events will cap the Texas Congressman’s three-day campaign and fundraising swing through California; he has similar campus events scheduled Tuesday evening at Cal State Chico and Wednesday at UCLA. His fundraisers won’t be open to the media.

Paul, 76, during a radio appearance Monday in Washington, D.C., said he has not yet decided whether he’ll support the eventual GOP nominee.

A Republican candidate needs 1,144 delegates to clinch the nomination; Mitt Romney now has 464, Rick Santorum has 205, Newt Gingrich has 135 and Paul has 34, according to the Associated Press. Paul has not won any state primary or caucus so far.

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Lawmakers mark decade of war in Afghanistan

Members of the Bay Area’s congressional delegation are speaking out this week on the 10th anniversary of our war in Afghanistan.

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, spoke about it on the House floor yesterday:

This morning, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, hosted a Congressional Progressive Caucus Peace and Security Task Force hearing entitled “Ten Years On: Why the War in Afghanistan Must End Now.”

“After ten years and $460 billion invested in an unstable country with untrustworthy leadership, it is past time to end the war in Afghanistan,” she said. “Ten years is ten years too long for this wasteful war; it is time to bring our troops and our tax dollars home. That’s why I introduced HR 780 to safely and swiftly redeploy all combat troops and military contractors from Afghanistan.”

Academics, other experts and antiwar advocates discussed the cost of ten years of endless warfare since the overly broad Authorization of Use of Military Force was approved in 2001.

“The costs in blood and treasure in Afghanistan for the U.S., its allies, and for Afghans have been underestimated and undercounted. A comprehensive accounting shows that the intensity of the war is increasing, not decreasing,” said Nita Crawford, a Boston University political science professor and foreign policy expert.

“Afghan civil society leaders want a shift in military strategy,” said Lisa Schirch, Director of 3P Human Security: Partners for Peacebuilding Policy. “Excluding key stakeholders, especially diverse sectors of civil society, will create a recipe for failure.”

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, spoke at the hearing as well as at a separate, bipartisan event discussing the war’s anniversary; among other House members there were Ron Paul, R-Texas, Walter Jones, R-N.C., John Duncan, R-Tenn., and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa. There, Woolsey called the anniversary cause for “sober and solemn reflection:”

“On this occasion let’s remember the 1,800 brave servicemembers who’ve given their lives in Afghanistan over the last decade. Their service and sacrifice couldn’t be more honorable; the mission they were sent on, however, was a moral disgrace.

“Let’s also acknowledge the thousands of Afghan civilians caught in the line of fire and killed for the cause of their so-called liberation. They are casualties of this war and must not be forgotten either.

“We have paid too high a price in blood and treasure over the last 10 years….too high a price for a policy that has not advanced our national security interests.

“This war would be a ripoff at any cost, but when I think about the fact that it’s costing us $10 billion every month, it takes my breath away.

“$10 billion a month! Think of what we could do with $10 billion a month. We could use it to help create the jobs the American people need. $10 billion a month could pay for a lot of Pell Grants, a lot of Head Start slots, a lot of Medicare reimbursements, a lot of school lunches.

“For pennies on the dollar, we can and we must invest in an entirely new approach to protecting America, one that emphasizes diplomacy, multilateral cooperation and peaceful conflict resolution.

“I call this platform Smart Security, and I’ve been promoting it just about every day for the last several years. Instead of invasions and occupations, Smart Security offers other nations partnership and humanitarian aid.

“Instead of a military surge, it promises a much bolder civilian surge that shows American compassion…that embodies the very best American values…that fights poverty, promotes education, rebuilds infrastructure and restores hope.

“The American people have had enough of this war. A new poll even shows that only half of post 9/11 veterans think the Afghanistan war was worth fighting. Isn’t it time we listened to them? Isn’t it time public policy caught up with public sentiment on this life-and-death issue?

“Moral decency, fiscal sanity and public opinion all tell us to do the same thing – after 10 long years, it’s time to bring the troops home.”

Woolsey has contributed to Oakland-based Peace Action West’s effort to mark the anniversary by gathering photos and stories from Californians and others around the nation showing how the war has changed people’s lives.

“Since the war started a decade ago, kids barely old enough to remember the start of the war have packed up to go and fight it,” said Rebecca Griffin, Peace Action West’s political director. “We’re asking people to tell their stories to show what spending a full decade at war really means for our country.”

Woolsey wrote, “Ten years ago, my grandchildren weren’t even born. Since then I have worked in Congress to bring our troops home so they, along with all Americans, can see a time when their country is not at war.”

Kelly Campbell, formerly of Oakland and now of Portland, Ore., wrote, “On the day the US started bombing Afghanistan, we held a memorial for my brother-in-law who was killed on 9/11. Later, I traveled to Afghanistan and joined with others to create 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.”

Sean Alexander of Pittsburg, who was just 11 years old when the war started, joined the Marine Corps at 19 and is now working to end the war. He wrote, “Only 11 years old ten years ago, I was MVP of my Little League baseball team. Now ten years after the war began, I’m fighting for my moral dignity that is to lay down my arms and stand for peace.”

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Barbara Lee, Ron Paul aim to end Afghanistan war

Rep. Barbara Lee joined with two House Republicans this morning to introduce a bill that they say would end the war in Afghanistan.

The bill that Lee, D-Oakland, co-authored with Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and Rep. Walter Jones, R-NC, would require that any money appropriated for the war in Afghanistan “shall be obligated and expended only for purposes of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel.”

“It sends, really, a strong message that we’ve come together today to speak with one voice on this issue,” Lee said on a teleconference with reporters.

Barbara Lee (Dec-2010)Lee noted her lone vote against authorizing the use of force after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and said her concern that it was a blank check for war hasn’t abated since. Had Americans known we’d still be in Afghanistan almost a decade later, she said, perhaps there would’ve been a more robust debate. “It’s costing us $100 billion a year and countless American lives.”

Lee said the bill already has about 46 co-sponsors, on both sides of the aisle.

Jones, whose district is home to military installations including the Marine Corps’ Camp LeJeune, has seen service members deployed repeatedly to Afghanistan, to little avail. He said he has been in touch with a retired general – whom he declined to name, although he said reporters would recognize the name if he did – who has advised him that the situation in Afghanistan is untenable, and won’t lead to a stable, democratic government there.

“It’s time to bring them home, the American people are fed up and tired of seeking the broken bodies,” he said.

Paul thanked Lee for “leading the charge” and said the war is a consequence of policy dating back at least to the Persian Gulf War, an American interventionist attitude intent on remaking the Middle East and South Asia. We should persuade and lead by example, not by gunpoint, he said.

Asked whether yesterday’s vote on defunding the development of an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter indicated House members are becoming more willing to cross party lines, Paul replied he found it “a bit encouraging” but said it wasn’t a great test vote because there were “a lot of parochial interests involved.” Although the new crop of GOP freshmen seem more inclined to vote independently, he said, “we still have a way to go.”

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Afghanistan withdrawal resolution defeated

H.Con.Res. 248, legislation by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, that would order the President to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan, failed today on a 65-356 vote after more than three and a half hours of debate.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont; and Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma were among the legislation’s 19 co-sponsors. They were joined by Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, in voting for it today.

From Stark:

Pete Stark“Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.Con.Res. 248 to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.

“Despite the wishes of the people who voted him into office, President Obama is escalating the War in Afghanistan. It’s now up to Congress to end the war. This resolution would invoke the War Powers Resolution of 1973, and remove troops from Afghanistan no later than the end of the year.

“This war has no clear objective. We have spent $258 billion on the War in Afghanistan, with billions more to come this year. American soldiers and their families are paying a greater price. Over 1,000 soldiers have died, and over 5,000 have been wounded in action. According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch, and other humanitarian organizations, tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed.

“It is time for Congress to assert its constitutional authority over matters of war and bring our troops home. I urge my colleagues to join us in support of this resolution. War will never stabilize Afghanistan. We must turn to diplomacy and infrastructure development to achieve stability in Afghanistan.”

From Miller:

“We need to move in a new direction in Afghanistan. Today, I again registered my opposition to the current US policy in Afghanistan by voting for Mr. Kucinich’s war powers resolution. While we know it isn’t feasible for American troops to leave Afghanistan in the time allotted in the resolution, by voting for it I am sending a clear message to President Obama and my colleagues that we need to move in a new direction in Afghanistan.”

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, was one of five Republicans (the others included Rep. John Campbell, R-Irvine) to vote for the legislation. From Paul:

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, issued a statement saying she had voted against the resolution “with a heavy heart.” See her full explanation after the jump…
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