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General News    H3'ed 4/13/12

Exclusive: Leah Bolger's Statement to the Judge of her Hearing for Disruption of Super Committee Charge

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I think your Honor understands that I committed this act out of a sense of responsibility and obligation.  I am aware that the potential penalties that you may impose as a result of my guilty plea include 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.  One of the main reasons I committed this act is my objection to the reality that one must pay money in order to have the ear of Congress.

I would also object to the awarding of community service as a punishment.   I consider the work that I do every day as a full-time volunteer antiwar activist to be a service to the community.  

Lastly, I would like to thank the court for listening to my statement and considering all of the testimony that has been submitted on my behalf.

Statement before Judge Nash, 12 April 2012

Hearing for disruption of Super Committee charge


          I joined the U.S. Navy in 1980 and served on active duty AS A xxx for the next 20 years. I WAS relatively ignorant of the vastness of the U.S. military machine and its deep-seated entrenchment with in our government and economy.  I had little understanding of the "military-industrial complex' that President Eisenhower warned us about 50 years ago, and I certainly didn't know what Major General Smedley Butler meant when he said that "War is a racket."

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  

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Leah Bolger spent 20 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy and retired in 2000 at the rank of Commander. She is currently a full-time peace activist and serves as the President of Veterans For Peace.
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