Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Smith's office, coffee and court

Today is the 23rd of January, 2007, and I began the morning by printing off some quarter-page flyers that describe our campaign to insist that Gordon Smith agree to vote no on any funding bill for Iraq until all our armed troops are out of that country and we are no longer threatening them.

Then I taught Peace and Conflict Studies for two hours, showing a short film on Gandhi's Salt March and campaign and giving a little quiz.

Then off to US Senator Smith's office in Portland, Oregon, where Rhoda Moore and Kerry Bassett were lobbying. Rhoda delivered a letter and we kibbitzed with Denise, the office receptionist.

Kerry took off for Whitefeather, where she and Darrel the Iraq Vet Against the War and Chris the Canadian Christian anarchist were hanging out. Rhoda and I went out for coffee and she left to return to work and I left to go get sentenced for my role in the Dec 12 Read-In at Smith's office. I will be doing 16 hours of community service, mostly raking leaves or picking up trash (in addition to the community service performed by offering resistance at Smith's office).

Now I'm heading out to teach Nonviolence for four hours. Another typical day in the life...

I sure hope folks sign up for lobbying Smith. Visit http://www.defundthewar.com/ or call 503 327 8250 or email
"Troy Horton" , thorton@walnutstreet.com, and sign up, please.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Parachuting in behind the lines

Yesterday was the 19th of January, 2007. I visited the Portland offices of US Senator Gordon Smith and had a chat for a little while with Deputy State Director Andrew J. Over: andrew_over@gsmith.senate.gov

Andrew is a nice young man. He told me that, even though the senator is against the war, even though he is opposed to the escalation, he will vote for the supplemental spending bill on the occupation of Iraq because, "the senator won't take bullets from the soldiers who are already there."

Sigh. I offered the notion that this how the president plans to keep troops there, or anywhere he wishes to keep them, even against the expressed wishes of Congress, if Congress cannot learn to act like a co-equal branch of government, the one with the power of the purse.

I went on to assure Andrew that folks from the Smith Campaign hope to have at least one person, preferably two, in the office daily until the vote, which is probably going to happen in late Feb or early March. I said that we are determined to help him decide to prod his boss, the senator, toward promising to vote against the supplemental. We want him to see us as his allies in this struggle to help him help Smith do what we regard as the right thing. We ended on a cordial note just as Troy Horton entered for his meeting with Kerry T.

If you'd like to join the in-person lobbying effort, contact Whitefeather Peace House at 503 327 8250. Kerry Bassett, Rhoda Moore or I will happily mark you down for your chosen date or dates and let you know if anyone else is also intending to be there as a peace lobbyist for any of those dates.

Blessed be,

Tom Hastings

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Links to Oregonian items of interest

When we were arrested last Dec 12 at Gordon Smith's office, we had just finished reading Steve Duin's'column and were getting started on reading the Nuremberg Principles. I got a call from Duin and talked with him for a bit. Here is his blog on that event:


And do check out Dave Reinhard's column calling for real action on this war (he is known as the most rightwing of the Oregonian columnists, though I like him personally, even though he threw me out of the building once) ;)

Reinhard actually says in this column:

"Bush has put his presidency and our troops on the line. It's time for lawmakers to act as if our soldiers' lives depend on it, because they do. Capitol Hill worthies who think there's another way to win should say so, and be specific and realistic. Give us a plan. Those who believe we've lost or there's no way to win, should say so, too, and do something tangible to stop the way. Cut funding for the operation.
It's the only honorable course."


peaceout, and to help with the campaign, contact pcwtom@gmail.com

Surge in peacemaking

President George W. Bush has apparently decided to completely take leave of all decency and compassion in his recent speech announcing an escalation of the war against Iraq and has used provocative tactics and language against Iran as well. Why does he persist?

War profits are easy profits. His entire elite band of Republican corporate friends are making record profits in every war contracting arena. The loyalty of the warmakers in the Pentagon is assured as they garner lucrative contracts as soon as they take early retirement from DoD. It is shameful war profiteering at its worst. Dick Cheney's corporation (from whom he earns more each year than he does as Vice-President), is making out like bandits.

The US will be thrown out of Iraq and will be thrown out of Afghanistan. Our beachheads for predatory global corporate capitalism are being lost. The question is not whether we will leave in defeat, but when. How many losses can we tolerate before the people in those nations evict us and begin the process of sorting out their futures for themselves?

These are the simple facts. We can sit back and say, well, these people are nuts and I don't support them, or we can stop them. It's entirely our call. Right now, we are living in the vision of someone else and it's a nightmare. Our visions go uncreated and unlived and unfulfilled, if our visions include us as a just people. With enough of us in action, things change. With only a handful, they stay the same and the dying continues.

It is time. Politicians like Gordon Smith can be led to understand that George W. Bush will not be running for reelection in 2008 and can go down all alone--or Smith can join him.

It is not enough to say that one might be against the escalation of the war in Iraq. To credibly oppose this war, a member of the Senate or House must credibly promise to vote against any and all funding for the war or occupation, period. The surge is a red herring used by politicians worried that they have zero credibility with the majority of the people who vote and who want peace now. Talk is cheap, but this war is not. Either Smith and his ilk agree to vote against all funding or they deserve all the nonviolent resistance we can muster.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Gordon Smith campaign Winter 2007

Here in Portland, Oregon, a number of people are initiating a campaign to convince our Republican senator, Gordon Smith, to vote against any supplemental spending for the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq. If you wish to be a part of this campaign (open to anyone, anywhere), contact me:

We are hoping that people will join us in one or more of the following ways:
1. take the pledge of nonviolence and risk arrest at Gordon Smith's office in Portland
2. take the pledge of nonviolence and risk arrest at any other of Gordon Smith's offices
3. take the pledge of nonviolence and visit any of Gordon Smith's offices to lobby for his promise to vote against any more Iraq war funding
4. call or fax Senator Smith's office (any of them) to support our nonviolent resistance and insist that he make the promise
write letters to editors of Oregon media supporting our campaign

We'd love to hear from you.

may 2007 increase the peace,
Tom H. Hastings

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Whitefeather House

Whitefeather Catholic Worker Community House is a peace, environmental and justice community in Portland, Oregon. I co-founded the house in October, 2005 and we have enjoyed the company here of several members and guests since then.

Whitefeather is a community that subscribes to the basic Dorothy Day philosophy of nonviolent resistance to the war system, hospitality, and creation of community. Our weakest mission is hospitality, our strongest mission is nonviolent resistance, and we try hard to make community.

From time-to-time we have an opening for another core community member, that is, someone who lives in one of our rooms and agrees to our house code of conduct:
  • we are a vegetarian house
  • we are an alcohol, cigaret, and drug-free home
  • we don't curse or yell in the house
  • we are nonviolent; no weapons, no violent behavior
  • we engage in nonviolent resistance (either as resisters or in support roles)
Core members help somewhat with the budget every month. If you are interested, kindly send an email to:

Our core members do nonviolent activism of some sort every day. Stay tuned to this blog for news of our campaigns and events, and for other thoughts on nonviolence.

May 2007 increase the peace.