A Call Against Continuous War and for Election Reform

Bill Nerin has led an interesting and full life. A Catholic priest who spoke for the poor to the point where he was asked to leave, he then happily married until his wife passed, and recently was responsible for helping the NPA become allied with the Washington State Green Party.  Here he talks from his heart.

On Continuous Wars:

To friends and relatives - 

Below is an article with references that prove both the Republican and Democrat Parties led by their Presidents and others are committing sins in killing innocent people.  And if I do nothing about it I too am partly guilty.  If I were still a priest this is what I would tell the members of my parish - and they can take it or leave it.  But this is the voice of my conscience, and I have a choice to do something about it or not.

We have to face reality and admit that we are an Empire, and from our very beginning we used force and threats of death to get what we wanted, from killing the Indians and stealing their lands to our present day atrocities.  Read "A People's' History of the United States" by Howard Zinn.

One thing I can do is not to vote for the politicians who are responsible for these actions, in House, Senate and White House.  Instead I will vote for Dr. Jill Stein and candidates from the Green Party, or true Socialists such as Kshama Sawant, Socialist Seattle City Councilmember.  

I am amazed that it has taken me so long to see that continuous voting for the Empires two parties, Republican and Democrat, has only led to more wars, and the killing of innocent men, women and children.  And now understanding this, I am partially guilty of these murders by voting for these candidates.  Oh, I know what my President, Senators  and House member will tell me; that they are only protecting us from being bombed by others, you know, kill them before they kill us.  But what if we had taken that 54% of our Federal funds spent on war making and used it to help people all over the world have healthy homes to live in, sufficient food and medical care, decent education and preserving a wholesome environment to live in?  Would these people love us or hate us?

I know that many of my friends say it is better to vote for the lesser of two evils, but it is hard for me to think that Jesus would say this.   I wonder what Pope Francis has to say on this.  I may be wrong, but this is how I see and understand it.  It is how I interpret Jesus.  If I see it differently before I die, I'll let you know.

In March 2016 Bill Nerin added the following on Continuous Wars.

To my friends who might agree with me, or gently disagree with me --

I have just read the Mar 27 article by Chris Hedges.  I have followed his thoughts ever since I read his first book - which I could not put down till I finished it spending the entire day and night reading it till the following morning - the only book that I have read this way.  The book "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" was published in 2002 - and was his first book.

The 3/27/16 article in Truthdig "We All Are Islamic State" may not be the best title of the article.  When I saw the title I was not attracted to read it right away, but when I finally did read it I was amazed of how powerful it was.

In the mid 1960s I became a pacifist, as it came to me that Christ was a pacifist.  The reason that I was so stupid is that in the Seminary all I can remenber is the "Just War Theory."  And later I read "Christian Attitudes Toward WAR and PEACE" by Roland Bainton, a professor of ecclesiastical history at Yale University Divinity School for 40 years.  In his book he clearly sets forth that Jesus and his followers till the year 312 were all pacifists.  After Constantine made Christianity the "God" of the Roman Empire the Just War Theory came into existence.

I urge you to read Hedges We All Are Islamic State.

On Election Reform:

 The main thrust of my effort is to push for having an amendment to the Constitution to have Mandatory Public Funding of all Federal Elections.  Dennis Kucinich proposed this while in Congress.  He got no support from his cohorts and I suspect the reason was that they would rather try to get more money than their opponent as the standard process. 

Here are the letters.
To Elizabeth Warren begging for money -
Dear Senator,
As soon as I end my letter here to you I will donate for the sake of these 3 running for office.
I notice that in the Feingold and Hassan section you correctly deal with the money issue that every candidate running for Congress and White House faces.  And 90% of the time the one with the most money wins.  And as a result Big Money, with few exceptions like you, has gained control of Congress and the White House.  Thus, as my house keeper told me two years ago - "I don't vote any more; they don't listen to me."
I agree with Dennis Kucinich who introduced an amendment to the Constitution to have Mandatory Public Financing of all Federal Elections.  Of course he found few, if any, member of Congress to back him up on this - because they gained their seat by out-spending their opponent.  And as you so well know this is the reason that Big Money has created a plutocracy rather than a true democracy.
I see this reality as crucial for the welfare of all our citizens and for the future of our children and grandchildren.  The proof that Kucinich's idea is necessary is that while our Presidential election does have federal money for candidates to use in their campaigns, none uses it these days because they want more money from big donors than their opponent so they can win.  But "mandatory public" election finances would put each candidate on equal terms in their campaigns thus making each voter on equal terms.  And my house keeper would start voting again.
I don't know whether of not you will even get this note to read.  And I can't understand why all those working so hard to tighten our money issue in elections do not see the great advantage of Kucinich's effort when he was in Congress.
Today I was surprised when I got a rapid return on my letter such as this from Bernie Sanders today.
Keep up your good work for justice.
Bill Nerin
This letter explains more of why I am doing this kind of thing as above (Warren)
Greeting all,
In the last few days due to reading articles, I have come to a conclusion.
First I read a most powerful article by Chris Hedges in truthdig, 11/6 - "The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History" re. TPP. 
And I, for one, think the title is accurate in American History.  I urge you to  read it; it is only 3 1/2 pages long.  Here is the website to read it ---
After I read it, knowing several things about TPP, one being that Cantwell and Murray both were for TPP - I began to see more clearly than ever before that indeed our Government is truly controlled by the wealthy elite.  As such we do not have a democracy in the U.S.  And I also know that doing away with Citizens United will only bring us back to where we were before CU - and that is a government controlled by Big Money.  Why else did Washington Public Campaigns exist if it weren't due to the control of Big Money over our National government?
Then I thought of the effort of Congressman Dennis Kucinich when he introduced an amendment to the Constitution to have "Mandatory Public Funding of Federal Campaigns"  We have public funding for the Presidential race, but it was not mandatory and since 2004 candidates for that office refused to take it knowing that he or she who has the most money 90% of the time wins.  And so they got their big money from the elites and Corporations and the results are where we are now - servants of the wealthy, as so well stated in the Hedges article.
I say that if Kucinich's amendment had been put into our Constitution we would not be having the TPP problem, the gross power of big money that controls our two major parties.
Then I thought that voting for the lesser of two evils (for me that would be Democrats rather than Republicans) will not change our government so heavily owned by Big Money.  So I decided to do what Eugene Debs said "I'd rather vote for what I want, and not get it - rather than to vote for what I don't want, and get it."
But, for me, there is even a deeper reason, and it might not be for others.   And that is my conscience has come to the conclusion that this is how I must act to be a true follower of my hero, Jesus, who threw the money changers out of the Temple that cost him his life.
So today, as I get all these emails to vote for this one and that one, or to donate $5 for their campaign etc. I will just email them back and ask them if the first thing they will do is to work to have mandatory funding of campaigns and if they reply "yes" they will get more than $50 from me.   And that will be my response also to Socialists, Green Party etc as I don't see this on their list of goals - but the candidate may say they will work to get mandatory public funding for all Federal elections; (and will not  take any money from the 1% and corporations as Sanders is doing).
And Jill Stein might agree to work for mandatory financing and will get my vote even if she most likely will not win, but I and others will have at least voted our conscience rather than "the lesser of the two evils."
Oh, but what if a couple of million voters read Hedges article and decided no more lesser of two evils anymore, might this not be the beginning of real change for justice down the line?  
Hedges's article is dealing with a most fundamental change that we need in our electoral system - we the people must have control of our elected officials - and having mandatory public financing will be crucial for that to come about.

1-Continuous Wars

2-Election Reform Is Needed

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