SF Memorial Day Car Protest Targets Senator, ‘Serious Failures of U.S. Foreign Policy’

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Credit Leon Kunstenaar

By Crescenzo Vellucci
Vanguard Sacramento Bureau Chief

SAN FRANCISCO – Protests are few and far between since mid-March when California and most states issued stay-at-home orders to try to blunt the killing machine known as COVID-19 – the new protest “strategy” has now become the “caravan protest.”

So, on Memorial Day Monday, several dozen anti-war activists spent hours here driving through the streets of Marin and San Francisco, passing by the Presidio, the National Cemetery in the City to remind people of the “serious failures of U.S. foreign policy and the consequences of perpetual warfare and global militarization,” according to  SF Bay Area CODEPINK.

The cars in the peace caravan made it clear that that the goal of this Memorial Day protest was to “Honor the Dead: End War,” as displayed on the lead car in the “parade,” which included a giant Gandhi puppet, and a decked-out bride in full wedding regalia driving a car with the message: “USA Wedded to War.”

Credit Leon Kunstenaar

Other banner messages included: Climate Justice?  END WAR, Fight COVID-19 NOT WAR, SANCTIONS KILL: NO SANCTIONS, JOBS, not BILLIONS FOR WAR.

““Perpetual war is a major contributor to the climate disaster we all face. In the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, with severe shortages of essential health equipment, the American public and government officials should re-evaluate our national priorities.  It’s time to recognize that genuine national security requires a shift away from our current war economy toward a peace economy, where basic human needs come before profits,” said Toby Blomé, CODEPINK organizer.

The destination of the car protest was the San Francisco home of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, where a Memorial Day Altar honored, said CodePink, the “victims of U.S. warfare after nearly 19 years of bombing in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria, and Somalia, with still no end in sight, and more countries actively being threatened (Iran, Venezuela).”

The altar with flowers was set up to memorialize the victims of U.S. wars, and had photos of victims of U.S. drone attacks, including the 16 year old American boy, Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, killed in Yemen, and several very young children killed in Pakistan under President Obama’s Administration.

Protestors left their peace caravan when they arrived at the residence of Feinstein, who has been a favorite target of anti-war protestors because the longtime senator supports all U.S. war efforts.

In fact, a giant “pink slip” was hung next to the steps up to Feinstein’s mansion and public courtyard that read:   “Pink Slip Feinstein:  STOP FUNDING WAR!”

Credit Leon Kunstenaar

The letter was just as pointed, reading:

Dear Senator Feinstein,

On Memorial Day 2020, we implore you to:

REMEMBER not just the dead but those whose lives, both civilian and soldier, we can save by ending war.  Let’s Honor the Dead by ENDING WAR! 

REMEMBER the words of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that “war is a non-essential activity” and his call for a GLOBAL CEASEFIRE. 

REMEMBER that with the additional $10.4 billion provided to the Pentagon as part of stimulus funding to address the coronavirus pandemic, the Pentagon’s Fiscal Year 2020 appropriated funding now totals over $756 billion, while the budget for the Centers for Disease Control is $11 Billion, or a mere 1.5% of the Pentagon budget.  Omitting additional Pentagon funding from the most recent Stimulus Bill, is a small, but positive first step. Let’s STOP FUNDING WAR!  

REMEMBER that the coronavirus pandemic has made it crystal clear that federal spending is dangerously misaligned with the need for global human security.  End sanctions on other countries that they may obtain essential supplies to survive and all the world will be safer.  SANCTIONS KILL. LET’S END SANCTIONS NOW!

REMEMBER that the United States has chronically underfunded human and environmental needs while, particularly in recent years, passing historically high Pentagon budgets that foster militarism, enable endless war, engender waste, and sow corruption. CLOSE ALL 800+ U.S. FOREIGN MILITARY BASES.

REMEMBER that the U.S. Military pollutes our planet more than the next 10 countries combined. War is Not Green.  FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE:  END WAR NOW.

REMEMBER that global citizens are demanding that war games be stopped amid the pandemic, as we are poised to spend $340 Million on Defender Europe 2020 and $364 Million on Defender 2021 in the Indo-Pacific region. Keep our military safe. Let’s HALT ALL WAR GAMES.

REMEMBER, Enough is Enough!  FUND HUMAN NEEDS, Not Inhuman greed, and war profiteering.   FUND: Jobs for the Unemployed, Universal Healthcare, Housing for the Homeless, and Food for the Hungry.

We need your leadership to enact a swift change in priorities to save the people and the planet.

Respectfully,

SF Bay Area CODEPINK, and the Memorial Day Peace Caravan

Credit Leon Kunstenaar

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22 thoughts on “SF Memorial Day Car Protest Targets Senator, ‘Serious Failures of U.S. Foreign Policy’”

  1. Alan Miller

    Honestly, the Vanguard pictures of late are a cartoon page of a Human Perfect Word:  “Free them All”, “End War”.

    I wonder if these people think they are improving the world by wishing for things that cannot and will not ever be, due to the realities of the darkness of the human animal?  Even if the human animal could be changed, is holding a sign the path?

    1. Keith Olsen

      The “Free Them All” protest had maybe a dozen protesters and this “End War” car protest had dozens I tell ya.

      Get a couple of friends together, make some signs, go protest something and you can make the “V” news.

       

      1. Alan Miller

        I have oft been a protest of one, and made changes, and carried a sign — and on occasion been successful.

        It’s not the numbers, it’s the goals.  I can understand wanting to free nonviolent criminals in a pandemic.  I am mixed on the consequences of such an action, and am, I believe, dealing with the UN-intended consequences quite directly right now.

        However, “Free Them All” is just stupid.  And if anyway was looking for gaining supporters for a reasonable release program, they just shot themselves in the foot with that sign.

        1. David Greenwald

          Yeah, the sign was the sign. Getting people’s attention though is important. The message from that article was very very important – the Sheriff is lying about what’s happening in the jail and people who work with those on the inside fear there is going to be a huge COVID-explosion. That article has reached 5000 people and counting.

        2. Alan Miller

          Well, I believe the release is causing a small percentage who don’t have a family or home to go to — which could still be large number of people — to go to homeless encampments.  This is causing an untenable situation that has seen a massive spike in horrible behavior and an entrenchment of unenforced illegal activities – right in the center of town.

          These people are not social distancing, and only a few are wearing masks, mostly to go into town to the liquor store or 7-11.  There are multiple drug deals with people coming and going several times per hour.  I doubt the ‘drug store’ is following established protocols.  So for these people, at least, I fail to see how the get-out-of-jail-free thanks to Covid-19 is protecting them from Covid-19.  One spark and the whole bunch of ’em goes up like wildfire.

        3. Greg Brucker

          @Alan

          The “Free Them All” line originated with the movement to free asylum seekers, long term undocumented residents, DACA recipients, and migrants from the gestapo ICE jails they have wrongly been put it in; people who should never have been incarcerated to begin with.

          That line then became a call for anti-detention groups who are pushing to end the mass incarceration of POC just for being POC, which is why you see it at more rallies to free people.

          So, that was the origination of it. To stop deportations of children, to stop family separations, to end children in cages, to end the cruel treatment called torture by doctors, to let them seek asylum and safety away from a violent home they left.

    2. Jeff Boone

      Agree here.  Holding a sign provides some virtue signaling rush for the sign holder.  I just went outside and held up one that said “Make All People Millionaires”.  Boy do I feel better now.

  2. Keith Olsen

    Since Trump is winding down the war in Afghanistan and we aren’t involved in any other wars I guess CodePink needs a new front so now “Sanctions are War”.

    1. Ron Oertel

      You know – say what you want about the guy, but he has kept us out of wars.  Just like he implied that he would try to do (though that situation with Iran was rather concerning for a few days).

      Some folks don’t want to acknowledge that.

      I always suspected that he’s a lot more careful than what one might believe, based upon some of his comments. (Though even his comments indicated he was no warmonger.)

      1. Alan Miller

        How dare you say something ‘good’ about Trump.  Don’t you know the narrative?  He is ‘all bad’.  He has not good traits.  For shame!  😉

  3. Toby Blome

    “Winding down the war in Afghanistan.”?? I guess Keith Olsen didn’t hear about the 30+ Afghan pine nut harvesters who were murdered remotely last fall with a U.S. drone attack, many of them kids!  Another 40 farm laborers were injured that day. Of course most of the people that the U.S. kills remotely, or otherwise, we never hear about.  Maybe that’s why Ron Ortel said “he (Trump) has kept us out of wars.” Really??  Well the mainstream media rarely reports on the often hundreds of bombs the U.S. drops on the world on a daily basis….yes, under Trump too.   In Obama’s last year in office:  over 60,000 U.S. bombs dropped.  OUCH!  Maybe you should communicate to some Pentagon officials just how many, but then they don’t usually like to discuss that. They “don’t do body counts.”

     

    1. Keith Olsen

      Toby, do some Google.  Type in “Trump to end Afghanistan War”.

      You’ll find all kinds of articles, in fact the NY Times has an article from this morning about it.

      Do some research and learn up.

  4. Alan Miller

    he’s disputing that the war is in fact ending based on the factors he just cited.

    • The war in Afghanistan is over and the enemy has been eradicated.

    Just like . . .

    • It’s time to open up America as Covid-19 has been eradicated.

    Stupid people, both on the right and the left, just get tired of having a fatal enemy, so they just ‘end the war’.  Problem is, war is defined by the enemy.

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