Now I am beginning to understand the enormity of the power that the U.S. military machine holds. Capitalism is supposed to be an economic system"not a foreign policy--but war making has become very profitable for some and deadly for others . Profit means money and it is money that controls the power in our government. It doesn't appear to matter to the government that wars are immoral, illegal or ineffective. Government policies are shaped by the will of the corporate interests who have direct, immediate and in some cases, almost exclusive access to policy makers .
And so it was in the case of the Super Committee--a hand-selected committee of 12 senators and representatives who were given extra-ordinary (some say extra-Constitutional) powers, met in secret, and solicited testimony from not one citizen . My own Congressman Peter Defazio, did not have access to this committee, but over 250 lobbyists did. I have come to understand what millions of Americans already know--that the actual majority will of the people is of little concern to those in power. We can demonstrate and petition and write letters until we are blue in the face, but those actions are totally worthless as we can't compete. O ur voice is drowned out by the power of the money coming from the lobbyists and corporate interests. Money equals speech.
It takes an enormous amount of money to be elected to Congress, and once elected Congress is forced to perpetually raise money in order to be reelected. it is a daily dial for dollars show-- a never-ending vicious circle, and Congress quickly becomes beholden to the interests who financed their elections--not the people they are supposed to be representing.
So it doesn't matter to Congress that the American people rank military spending as a low priority, actually their #18 priority, according to the National Opinion Research Center. The same poll has repeatedly shown the health care and education are the top two priorities of the American people by far, yet the allocation of our federal tax dollars is completely opposite that of the people's desires. BOTH SIDES AGREE THAT THE SYSTEM IS OUT OF WHACK AND NOT RESPONSIVE TO THE CITIZENRY
Our elected government repeatedly and consistently ignores the will of the people.
So, when I saw an opportunity at the Super Committee to literally stand up and petition-- make a plea really on behalf of the American people--I seized it.
I suspected I would be silenced, or I would be ushered out of the room or possibly arrested, but i also knew that it was a unique and rare opportunity to make sure that the voice of the people -- real honest to goodness citizens was heard-- not just the voice of government bureaucrats or of high paid lobbyists .
I know that most people are not able to act as I did - TO SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER-IT REALLY IS SIMPLE, STOP THE WARS AND TAX THE RICH . YES IT TOOK COURAGE to be able to walk to the well of a senate hearing room and directly address Congress. I acted on behalf OF THE 99% WHO AGREE WITH ME BUT YET DID NOT PETITION CONGRESS . It seems the only way for the average citizen to be heard THROUGH THE CORPORATE CLUTTER AND LOBBYIST NOISE is through an act of DIRECT PETITIONING , and indeed , I am the sole citizen who was EVER heard by the Super Committee.
I have been charged with "Unlawful Conduct--Disruption of Congress." I only wish that my 52-second interruption could have truly "disrupted" the status quo, because if anything needs to be drastically altered, it's Congress, NOT CITIZENS WHO NONVIOLENTLY PETITION THE GOVERNMENT .
I think your Honor understands that I committed this act out of a sense of COMMUNITY responsibility and CITIZEN obligation. I am aware that the potential penalties that you may impose as a result of my guilty plea include JAIL TIME, community service and fines.
I would like your Honor to know that at this point I do not intend to pay a fine beyond the victims of violent crime fund assessment. To do so would violate my personal values AND CONSCIENCE . One of the main reasons I ACTED AS I DID IS is my objection to the reality that one must pay money - A LOT OF MONEY, in order to have the ear of Congress.
I would also object TO community service as a punishment. I consider the work that I do every day as a full-time volunteer antiwar activist, AND PRESIDENT OF V FOR PEACE to be a IMPORTANT service to the community.I THEREFORE ASK FOR A SENTENCE OF TIME ALEADY SERVED WHICH IS xxx HOURSAND $50 TO THE VICTIMS FUND,
Lastly, I would like to thank YOU JUDGE NASH for listening to my statement and considering all of the testimony that has been submitted on my behalf.
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