Gray Panthers of San Francisco
February, 2006 Newsletter

Priorities of the People:
Nancy Pelosi Visits SF Talking About National Security


The January 14 Town Hall meeting with Rep. Nancy Pelosi was all about the war in Iraq. Perhaps with her opening words she hoped to dampen the fervor of our anti-war energy. “This war is a grotesque mistake; costing already 1/3 of one trillion dollars.” People shouted back, “Then why did you vote for the war budget?” To temper that, Pelosi replied that she led 60% of the House to vote against the war, and now supports Rep. Murtha’s resolution calling for a “strategic redeployment of our troops over the horizon with Marines stationed off shore.” Not long into the meeting, Code Pink stood chanting, “Stop the War” then marched up front to ring the stage with their printed demands, standing there for the entire meeting.

People were also not pleased with Pelosi’s refusal to support Rep Conyer’s HR 635, HR 636, and HR 637 calling for censure of President Bush, VP Cheney, and a select committee to investigate impeachment. Shouts of “Impeach” came from the audience. Pelosi responded “put your energy into the 2006 election.” This was met with chants of “the world can’t wait!”

But her most incredible statement came in response to the question: What about the 14 military bases in Iraq? Pelosi replied, “I don’t know of any permanent bases in Iraq.” This certainly upset Gray Panthers who know about permanent bases from our reading of Chalmers Johnson.

Near the end of the meeting, Pelosi gave Democrats credit for “stopping Bush’s privatization of Social Security.” Yet we all know that it was, as always, a nationwide effort by activist groups such as the Hands Off Social Security Coalition that blocked the theft of our Social Security. Rep Pelosi addressed other issues, promising a hearing on surveillance and role of FISA, an investigation of Homeland Security failures, to stop a budget with breaks for the wealthy and cuts to the poor, to address Katrina and the cronyism of Halliburton.

She did not, however, agree with the demand of a distressed woman calling out for Pelosi to stop the bulldozing in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Honoring his memory, Pelosi quoted Martin Luther King. We wish she had given us this quote from Dr King, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Outside in the rain, Gray Panthers passed out our statements on the continuing medical crisis, summarized below:

Roll over and Die? No Way!

Money for Health, Not War!

The Medicare Modernization Act is trying to kill Medicare, and kill us in the process.

  • NO to this confusing, dangerous, and unaffordable Medicare Drug Plan!
  • NO to privatizing doctor’s care making the poor and sick pay more, or do without!
  • NO to Health Savings Accounts, which are nothing but a tax dodge for the rich!
  • NO billions for drug makers and HMOs while threatening Medicare with bankruptcy!

We need a real plan for health. We need comprehensive, universal, government-financed care with the same benefits and costs for all: Single Payer

SCRAP Medicare Modernization Act!

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