GOP Rep. calls administration security briefing, “worst I’ve seen in nine year.” It gets worse. Trump is hellbent on war. Retake and allies have assembled a diverse slate of speakers for today’s rally… and then we march.
Retake Launches New Website
Huge thanks to leadership team member Saraswati Khalsa for researching and activating a new, higher functioning website. We will be making some tweaks over the next week or two, but I think you will find it much more user-friendly. One feature I particularly like is that we can select a featured topic for prior posts, which appear on the left side of the home page. And other resources are immediately accessible on a much more functional home page. Click here to check it out.
Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM, TODAY, Saturday, January 11 at 8:30am with Ken Mayers, a leader with Veterans for Peace and an activist who has been a mainstay in protesting war in all forms at the corner of Cerrillos and St. Francis every Friday at noon. He was arrested last year in Ireland, jailed and unable to leave Ireland for nine months, until he was allowed to return home last month. He is one of the organizers of the rally on Saturday. Tune in to find out what real tenacity and commitment look like. A true local hero.
Today We Protest
Why We Protest
Why are we marching today? To protest a still dangerous risk of war and to continue forming community among advocates and concerned residents, to help each other cope with mounting stress from the climate crisis, the threat of war, and an increasingly aberrant and dangerous president. This stress takes a toll and being together and forming community can be an antidote to that stress.
The threat of war has not been diminished one bit, not with the president who continues to make up provocative foreign policy on the fly and then justify his impulses with whatever made up “fact” he bumps into. The impulsiveness and the reasoning used to justify those impulses leaves allies and foes utterly unable to negotiate in good faith. His latest ratcheting up of sanctions are sure to generate a response from Iran, as current sanctions are already strangling the country.
Emerging evidence is unraveling Donald Trump’s rationale for the recent assassination of Qasem Soleimani. First, administration officials met with a select group of members of Congress to lay out why there was an imminent threat to American lives. According to New York Magazine, those Congressional leaders were not impressed:
When the administration shared its intelligence with select members of Congress, many of them came away unimpressed, if not outright disgusted. Rep. Gerry Connolly described the presentation as “sophomoric and utterly unconvincing.” Even Republican Senator Mike Lee, heretofore an unquestioning Trump supporter, called it the worst briefing, at least on a military issue, he’s seen in the “nine years [he’s] been here.”New York Magazine, “Trump’s Rationale For Killing Soleimani Is Falling Apart”
Republicans don’t criticize Trump for fear of reprisals on the campaign trail, but apparently there are limits, as evidenced by the comments from Rep. Connelly above and of rumors of a handful of GOP Senators meeting behind the scenes to force the Senate to call witnesses in the impeachment “trial” to come. But today, we focus on Trump’s unraveling rationale for assassinating Soleimani.
The Washington Post reported that on the same day of Soleimani’s assassination, the US attempted to assassinate another Iranian official in Yemen. The dual assassination efforts undermine Trump’s assertion that Soleimani’s assassination was to prevent imminent attacks by Iran. It is one thing to convince Congress and the public that Soleimani was involved in unhitching an imminent threat, but adding a second plot to the mix strongly suggests some longer term coordination of efforts with a different intent.
In another inconsistency, in a series of speeches and Fox interviews, Trump first commented that the embassy in Baghdad was under imminent threat, then later that “many embassies” were being threatened, and still later that four embassies were being threatened. The problem here is that none of these possible threats were mentioned in the briefing of Congressional representatives. If there was evidence of compelling threats, why were they shared with campaign trail audiences, but not Congress.
This is the same Donald Trump who three years ago dismissed multiple security reports indicating that Iran was living up to the international arms agreement and since then has been repeating how Iran has violated the agreement. Clearly, this is a president who will make up just about anything to justify his impulses or to try to convince Americans that he has just saved us from a horrid tragedy (so re-elect me).
So, after assassinating an Iranian leader, an action that violates international and US law, and after Iran clearly responds to this action with extraordinary restraint, Trump presses on and has now imposed the strictest sanctions yet, strangling Iran in an effort to force them to capitulate. As reported in this Thursday’s post, the sanctions already in place are strangling Iran economically and socially. It was those sanctions that caused Iran to first shoot down a US drone and to launch an attack killing a US contractor. Trump must know that by ratcheting up sanctions still more, he will provoke another response from Iran. Do you trust Trump’s reaction? Click here to read the full NY Magazine report.
We have pulled together a line-up of speakers designed to provide multiple vantage points to the crisis and the impact of US war policy in many countries. It is one thing to read about attacks in one country or another, but we have assembled speakers from Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and Egypt, and they will share the human side of US colonialism and war.
After we hear from these speakers we will march from the Roundhouse to the Plaza and back. We will not go onto the Plaza, as that would require a permit. But our purpose is not to stop and conduct a rally there, it is to make sure that people in and around downtown know there is a protest and that Santa Feans will not abide ongoing aggression and acts of war. The schedule is below.
- 12:00-12:10: Chants and songs.
- 12:10 Paul Gibson welcomes everyone & introduces each speaker
- 12:15 Aaron El Sabrout is a North African settler of trans experience, privileged to be living on Tewa territory. He is a lawyer, poet, activist, artist, and gardener.
- 12:20 Teresa Leger de Fernandez is a longtime social justice advocate and candidate for US Congress in NM District 3 who will speak about how Congress has failed to effectively perform its role of approving hostile actions, not just in the last weeks, but over the years.
- 12:25 Mona Haydar – For the last 4 years, Mona has been performing her poetry and music, leading writing and activism workshops, and speaking at universities and colleges about art, Islam, feminism, hip hop, theology, and inter-faith dialogue. She has performed internationally, spoken at churches, synagogues and conferences, and such institutions as Smith College, MIT, Princeton, UC Berkeley, and the Parliament of World Religions.
- 12:30 Jeff Haas, Civil rights, immigration rights, and Indigenous Rights attorney and activist for Palestinian rights.
- 12:40 Ruby Lopez, member of YUCCA youth steering committee who leads YUCCA’s social justice education in the public schools, is a board member of Chainbreaker, and a student at SF Community College.
- 12:45 Two college students from Iran and one from Lebanon.
- 1 p.m. March to plaza and return.
- Post march: Break bread at Tumbleroot, 2791 Agua Fria St.
Paul & Roxanne