On Wednesday, June 9th, 7 PM EST, John Rachel, author of “The Peace Dividend: The Most Controversial Proposal in the History of the World”, will be giving a presentation via Zoom on the Peace Dividend, to Lancaster’s resident war tax resistance group, 1040 For Peace. He will be discussing key concepts both from his book and the website https://peacedividend.us Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like the Zoom link to attend.
Earlier this month I sent the link to “Peace Dividend - the True Economic Stimulus” to several members of Congress, including our own Representative Lloyd Smucker and Senator Pat Toomey, as well as liberty-minded Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), and Representative Ken Calvert (R-California), who had earlier this year introduced a bill that would have made significant cost cuts within the Department of Defense. Out of the four of them, the only response I got was a canned email from Senator Toomey’s office, discussing jobs, tax cuts, and Covid, and having nothing to do with the Peace Dividend proposal I had sent him. This, along with prior lack of response, has forced us to look at an approach from a more local legislative level. More on this below…
In other news, an activist guide has been circulating in the peace community to stop militarizing our communities via the 1033 Program. This includes several calls to action at the bottom, including this petition and this one, and a link to see what your local police and sheriff’s department received from the Department of Defense through the 1033 Program. This is but one area where military spending is out of hand, but one that has a direct negative impact on our neighborhoods and streets. We need 1044 (as in the Peace Dividend), not 1033!
Lastly, and due in large part to our lack of progress on the front of getting national legislators to look at the 1044 Peace Dividend proposal, we are looking into the strategy of contacting our local state-level legislators and getting them to actively pursue peace. One such project is the Defend the Guard Act, which has gained national momentum and has been introduced in 31 states. Please check out https://www.defendtheguard.us, as well as this phenomenal video of Libertarian Dave Smith interviewing Dan McKnight of Defend the Guard: https://youtu.be/Rdxn5PcfrUE
I contacted my State Rep. Steve Mentzer (R, District 97), and urged him to consider introducing a similar bill here in PA. I suggested that it could be modeled after bills such as House Bill 2732 that was introduced in West Virginia by State Representative Pat McGeehan (R-Hancock): http://www.wvlegislature.gov/Bill_Text_HTML/2020_SESSIONS/RS/bills/hb2732%20intr.pdf I received a reply a week later from Rep. Mentzer himself, thanking me and saying he would share it with the chair of the House Veteran Affairs Committee.
I also contacted State Senator Scott Martin with the same info, except this time using another State Senator’s bill as a model, that of S.B. 173 that was introduced in Kentucky by Senator Adrienne Southworth (R-District 7): https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/record/21RS/sb173.html. Senator Martin’s office replied and offered to set up a Zoom meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, June 8th, at 10 AM EST. Per Senator Martin’s office, this is subject to change if a “committee meeting comes up last minute”, in which case he would need to take the meeting. But again, if anyone is interested, please contact me at email@example.com if you would like the Zoom link to attend.
We are excited to have made some progress on the local front, in terms of responsiveness from legislators, and are examining the strategy of using the Defend the Guard state-level proposal as a sort of gateway issue to introduce the Peace Dividend, which is more of a national level strategy. Again, we highly recommend the Smith/McKnight interview linked above!