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It's common practice in America. A government-Wall Street cabal caused the financial crisis and subsequent fallout. Now debated financial reform is a stealth scheme to let bankers self-regulate. Rogue Democrats rammed through health reform to ration care and enrich corporate providers. Defense, technology, and related firms profit hugely from permanent wars, and a regulatory-free Washington - energy industry alliance lies at the root of the Gulf disaster, by far America's greatest ever environmental calamity, worsening daily with no fail-safe, or perhaps any, way to stop it.
Alarming reports show "Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The discovery" shows that BP and the Obama administration lied about the incident's severity, and they're still lying.
According to University of Georgia researcher Samantha Joye, "There's a shocking amount of oil in the deep water, relative to" what's visible on the surface, the tip of a big and growing iceberg, this one containing oil. "There's a tremendous amount of oil in multiple layers, three or four or five layers deep in the water column."
Worse still, it's depleting Gulf oxygen, prompting fears about killing sea life in the effected areas and permanently destroying the livelihood of area fisherman who supply 20% of the nation's supply.
Already since April 20, oxygen levels are down 30%, a pace that if maintained "could draw (it) down to very low levels that are dangerous to animals in a couple of months. This is alarming."
Even The Times admits the daily flow may be as high as 80,000 barrels (3.4 million gallons or the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez spill around every three days). Yet the Obama administration and BP still claim only 5,000 barrels a day, and company officials won't let scientists use sophisticated instruments to measure the output more accurately on the ocean floor. Clearly they have something to hide, but there's no way to suppress the growing ecological devastation once clear evidence substantiates it.
A National Conference to Bring the Troops Home Now! | July 23-25, 2010 | Crowne Plaza Hotel, Albany, New York
In these troubled times, Washingtons wars and occupations rage, resulting in an ever increasing number of dead and wounded and the destruction of countries posing no threat to the U.S. Trillions are spent on seemingly endless conflicts in pursuit of profits and global domination, while trillions more are lost by working people in loss of jobs, homes, pensions, health care, and cuts to social programs and public services. The U.S. goes to war to plunder the worlds fossil fuel resources, the unrestrained use of which threatens the future of our planet.
We must demand the immediate and total withdrawal of U.S. military forces, mercenaries and contractors from Afghanistan and Iraq, and the end to drone attacks on Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other countries and call for self-determination for the people of all countries. Moreover, we recognize that the Middle East cauldron today also encompasses Iran, Yemen, Palestine, and Israel, while countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa are targeted for intervention by a militarized U.S. foreign policy.
The urgency of the current world situation DEMANDS UNITY OF ACTION and purpose to generate the broad social movement we must create to not only end wars and occupations, but to fundamentally change the aggressive policies that inevitably lead our country to militarism, racism, and war. Our cry must be "Money for Human Needs; Not for Wars, Occupations, and Bail-Outs."
Come to a conference where peace, social justice and environmental activists will come together to discuss the major concerns we face and to hammer out an ambitious program of action. The time is long overdue for such a gathering.
Friday evening, July 23: Panel discussion on "Strategies & Tactics in the Struggle to End the Empires Wars and Occupations"; Presentation of Action Proposal
Saturday, July 24: Keynote Speakers; Workshops; Lunch panel on Government Repression, Defense of Political Prisoners, and Guantanamo Detainees; Plenary Discussion of Action Proposal, Amendments & Resolutions
Saturday evening, July 24: Public Forum with speakers & cultural performances
Sunday, July 25: Plenary Discussion and Vote on Action Proposal; Workshops
NOAM CHOMSKY, Internationally renowned political activist, author, and critic of U.S. foreign and domestic policies, MIT Professor Emeritus of Linguistics
DONNA DEWITT, President, South Carolina AFL-CIO; Co-Chair, South Carolina Progressive Network; Steering Committee, U.S. Labor Against the War; Administrative Body, National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations
Additional Speakers: Joel Kovel, Dahlia Wasfi, Leila Zand, Cheri Honkala, Medea Benjamin, Pardiss Kebriaei, Kathy Kelly, Michael Ferner, Kevin Martin, Michael McPhearson, Nada Khader, Larry Holmes, David Swanson, Glen Ford, Blanca Missé, Pam Africa, Cindy Sheehan, Fahima Vorgetts, Kathy Black, Debra Sweet (partial list)
RSVP for Transforming Catastrophe into Opportunity
A Conversation on Gulf Eco-Crime, Big Oil, & Carbon Tax as a Tool to Transition Off Fossil Fuels
- Antonia Juhasz - author of The Tyranny of Oil
- James Handley - CarbonTax.org, and
- Kathy Callan - Legislative Coordinator, PDA's Global Warming Issues Organizing Team
RSVP for Instructions to Join Conversation on Monday, May 10 at 5:30pm (Pacific) / 8:30pm (Eastern)
As we recoil in horror that not 1,000 - not 5,000 - BUT 25,000 barrels of oil per day are gushing into ocean waters poisoning the Gulf of Mexico, let us prepare for action. This is another "shock doctrine" moment - and it is up to us to seize it. On May 16, actions will be held in around the country. Don't you think it's time to shift the national dialogue away from Wall Street dependent solutions and time to assess fossil fuels for their true cost?
Backbone Campaign is organizing Monday's (5-10) Conversation with the Cabinet conference call/interview/webcast to help you channel your rage into action with the strongest possible demands. We have a moral obligation and a strategic opportunity to seize the debate and insist on real tools for the transition off fossil fuels and one of those tools is the Carbon Tax.
By Tiffiny Cheng, A New Way Forward, David DeGraw, Amped Status and Kevin Zeese, Prosperity Agenda
The next few weeks will culminate into a defining moment in American history and lay the course for our economic future. After two years of being asleep at the switch, Congress is finally stepping up and taking action on financial reform. The resulting bill will be a clear indication and definitive proof as to who is actually running our country. Will it reinforce the dominance of the Wall Street elite, or will it mark a rebirth of the rule of law and economic prosperity for millions of Americans who have seen their standard of living decline?
We cannot just sit back and let politicians, who are overly influenced by campaign funding and lobbying activities on the part of the big banks who have plunged us into this crisis, decide our future without us. Our passive unwillingness to stand up for our own rights is part of the reason we are in this crisis to begin with. Right now is the most pivotal time for us to make our voice heard.
The early indications are ominous, two of the most crucial aspects of true reform have already been dealt a severe blow. The amendment to break up the "too big to fail" banks has been voted down, and the bill to audit the Federal Reserve has been gutted of important provisions.
This bill is where we draw the line and STAND UP.
Last year, Alice Walker, Stephen King and others, took our 10 Against Torture action. Now, in 2010, we're asking you to be one of 10,000 Americans committed to urging the Obama administration to following through on its commitment to close Guantanamo and restore justice to a flawed detention and interrogation system.
Please join us over the next several weeks to help get America back on track to a country that respects the rule of law and rejects torture.
I realize it's not quite Friday yet, but I went ahead and gave my $5 Fridays five dollars to Woodstock International. Why? For producing the best newspaper I've seen in . . . well, ever.
Congressman David Obey
2314 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-4907
Dear Congressman Obey,
In recent years you've expressed your opposition to war spending. I'd like to encourage you to cap off your congressional career by actually refusing to provide the funding for the current escalation in Afghanistan, and by simultaneously introducing a bill to spend $33 billion on green energy jobs, including for former soldiers.
You know better than I do that the power to begin, end, oversee, and control the escalation of wars lies in Congress. That the president has gone ahead with the escalation unfunded cannot legitimate it, and those troops can certainly be turned around and be brought immediately home.
Ted Glick wrote:
I go on trial, a jury trial, on May 11th in Washington, D.C. This is for hanging a banner last Sept. 8th, 2009, the day Congress returned from their summer recess, which said: "Green Jobs Now, Get to Work." This was part of a demonstration of about 40 people inside the Hart Senate Office Building.
It's ironic, and sad, that this call for action is as relevant now as it was eight months ago.
I was originally scheduled for trial in late February but it was postponed until May 11th. The government has made it clear they want to make an example of me because of prior convictions for similar actions. Their plea deal offer to me, which I rejected, was that if I pleaded guilty I'd have to serve 30 days in jail. They have filed a motion that, because of my past convictions, they may be asking for additional jail time if I'm convicted beyond the maximum 6 months that I'm liable for right now. I will be defending myself, with the assistance of lawyer Ann Wilcox.
I'm asking people who can to show up in court the morning (or the afternoon) of the 11th. The courtroom is the Superior Court building, 500 Indiana Ave. NW, Washington DC, Judge Frederick Weisberg presiding.
Please sign up at this link if you will be able to attend. Thanks much, Ted Glick
Vigils in 100 Districts Urge Votes Against War Escalation Funds
WASHINGTON, DC--April was the second month in a row in which "brown bag" lunch vigils against war funding were held at congressional district offices in over 100 districts around the country. Organizations participating included: Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), CODEPINK, AfterDowningStreet, the Backbone Campaign, Democrats.com, the California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee, Healthcare Now, American Friends Service Committee and United for Peace and Justice.
Brown Bag Vigils have been held on the third Wednesday of each month since January. The next scheduled date is May 19th.
Brown-baggers are asking members of the House to publicly commit to voting No on any bills that fund wars, and to publicly urge their colleagues and the House leadership to make the same commitment. This position necessarily includes opposition to the proposed $33 billion supplemental expected in the coming weeks to fund an escalation of the war in Afghanistan. Congress members' commitments are tracked at http://defundwar.org.
PDA national director Tim Carpenter said "If congress members want to claim they oppose wars or support job creation, they have to vote against this $33 billion to escalate a war. And they know that we know that any smaller measures, such as aid to Haiti, can be passed separately if the war funding fails, and therefore there can be no excuses for voting yes to fund the escalation."
Complete information on past and upcoming Brown Bag Vigils is available online: http://tinyurl.com/brownbagvigil, including videos: http://youtube.com/pdamerica, and photos: http://flickr.com/photos/pdamerica.
Progressive Democrats of America was founded in 2004 to transform the Democratic Party and our country. We seek to build a party and government controlled by citizens, not corporate elites--with policies that serve the broad public interest, not just private interests. PDA is a grassroots PAC operating inside the Democratic Party, and outside in movements for peace and justice. Our inside/outside strategy is guided by the belief that a lasting majority will require a revitalized Democratic Party built on firm progressive principles.
For over two decades, the party declined as its leadership listened more to the voices of corporations than those of Americans. PDA strives to rebuild the Democratic Party from the bottom up--from every congressional district to statewide party structures to the corridors of power in Washington, where we work arm in arm with the Congressional Progressive Caucus. In just five years, PDA and its allies have shaken up the political status quo--on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Medicare for all, voter rights, accountability, and economic and environmental justice.
Josh Stieber served in the company shown in the video from Iraq recently released by Wikileaks. He and Ethan McCord have published an apology to the Iraqi people:
And the widow of an Iraqi killed in the video has accepted the apology:
Steiber will participate in Thursday's Teach-In on Capitol Hill, where he will speak briefly and be available to answer questions.
Teach In on Capitol Hill on War
What Congress Must Do to End U.S. Wars and Help Secure a Peaceful Middle East
This Thurday's public teach-in on the war on Capitol Hill with Dennis Kucinich, Chris Hedges, Jeremy Scahill, David Swanson, and Ann Wright (which everyone should ask their representative to attend by calling them at 202-224-3121) is being sponsored by these organizations that are all working for peace and all need your support and participation:
EndUSWars.org, AfterDowningStreet.org, Code Pink: Women for Peace, Democrats.com, Progressive Democrats of America, the Nation, Gray Panthers of Metro Washington, Washington Peace Center, United for Peace and Justice, Office & Professional Employees International Union Local 2, U.S. Labor Against the War, Civilian Soldier Alliance, Seacoast Peace Response, Veterans for Peace, The Humanist, Voters for Peace, Rethink Afghanistan, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Peace of the Action, Jobs for Afghans, WeThePeopleNow.org, ProsecuteOfficials.org
Calling all artists......
It's high time to redefine Uncle Sam .....the Global Network wants to challenge our artist friends to send us new images of what Uncle Sam should look like today as the empire collapses due to massive military spending and endless war.
Send us your drawings/paintings by May 24 and we will post them on our blog and pick a winner who will be awarded one of my books called Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire.
Our country has and will change even more in the next few years. It's high time that the symbol of the U.S., Uncle Sam, had a new look that really represents this change.
Send your art work via email to email@example.com
Looking forward to your submissions. (Please forward this challenge to other artist friends as well.)
Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
TELL CONGRESS: "NO MONEY FOR THE AFGHANISTAN TROOP ESCALATION"
Soon Congress will be voting on a war supplemental of $33 billion to fund President Obama's troop escalation in Afghanistan, as well as a proposed defense budget of over $700 billion which includes $159 billion for "Overseas Contingency Operations" in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a 3.4 percent increase over the 2010 budget, yet programs for education, housing, transportation and the environment are being frozen. The money for Iraq and Afghanistan could be better spent at home to create jobs. We know this budget reflects the priorities of the Pentagon and not the American people.
No matter what the Dodd bill says, if one of the big 4 banks fails, they're going to have to get bailed out -- their assets equal 50% of GDP! Incremental steps are nice, but that's not what we will fight for. They're going to have to be broken up!
Loud support for Breaking up the Banks is growing! The power of too-big-to-fail banks to skirt regulations and get a bailout is too big.
Yesterday, Baseline Scenario blogged the petition. Democrats.com is now running it too. Lawrence Lessig, key advocate against political corruption, signed onto our petition, among some of your favorite thinkers: McJoan of Daily Kos, Nomi Prins, Economist Dean Baker, Chris Hayes of the Nation, Zephyr Teachout, Law Professor, Heather Booth of AFR, Adam Quinn of Credo, David Arkush of Public Citizen, Jan Frel of Alternet, Cryn Johannsen of AllEducationMatters, David Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate, Rob Johnson of Roosevelt Institute, and Dana Balicki of Code Pink, Doug Rushkoff of Life Inc.
For those of us against the bailouts and too-big-to-fail, this is our bill. For those of us for fair and safe competition, this is our bill. For those of us railing against political corruption, this is our bill.
Breaking up the banks is supported by Alan Greenspan, Thomas Hoenig of the St. Louis Fed, Robert Reich, Joe Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Michael Moore, Paul Volcker, Simon Johnson, Arnold Kling, George Soros, and ... Citigroup (seriously).
On April 28, 2010, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation is sponsoring a “Fiscal Summit” in Washington, DC. The purpose of the Conference, which is scheduled for the day after the first meeting of the President's recently constituted National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (By the way, where the Conference is happening is a mystery not cleared up on the PGPF web site), and which includes many notables, is:
I mean other than the war, murder, torture, lawless imprisonment, warrantless spying, lack of a free press or freedom of speech and assembly, absence of rights in the workplace, abusive justice system, death penalty, and discrimination. You know, on the big stuff, How are we doing?
Teach In on War on Capitol Hill
Don't Use Any More of Our Money
Brown Bag Vigil on April 21st
Marcy Winograd in DC on April 27th
Harvey Wasserman on Climate Bill
Teach In on Capitol Hill on War
What Congress Must Do to End U.S. Wars and Help Secure a Peaceful Middle East
DESCRIPTION: Educational briefing on the U. S. agenda in the Middle East, its consequences and development of a strategy/plan to withdraw. Emphasis will be on constructive, interactive dialogue among panelists and attendees.
MODERATOR: Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (D - Ohio)
A critical moment in banking reform
By Kevin Zeese | Prosperity Agenda US
Last month saw record bankruptcies since the federal personal bankruptcy law was tightened in October 2005, the underemployment rate increased to 20%, and the percentage of borrowers three months behind in mortgage payments is at 6.67% up from 2% in 2005.
People are hurting and the banks are taking advantage of them. Major banks are now part of the pay day loan scam charging up to 120% or higher interest rates. The rich are getting richer - the number of billionaires is increasing, the wealth divide is expanding with 70% of wealth now owned by the top 1%, CEO pay is $500 to every $1 made by the average worker. Wall Street is paying themselves record bonuses and salaries only because the taxpayers have provided them with trillions of dollars of our money.
The financial interests who dominate the Congress are doing a very effective job of preventing real financial reform. Rather than breaking up the big banks whose existence assures another financial collapse, the "reform" actually includes a back door bailout that gives the Fed emergency lending authority. And the Fed, which many criticized as a cause of the collapse, is gaining power under the proposed "reforms" including controlling the consumer protection agency.
StopTheChamber.com Campaign Calls For Criminal Charges Against U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Director Don Blankenship For Homicide
No More Business As Usual
Our StopTheChamber.com Campaign Today Called For Criminal Charges Against U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Director Don Blankenship For Homicide Of 29 West Virginia Miners
We Also Called For Congress Members To Order Halt Contact With Chamber Lobbyists
YOU CAN HELP BY JOINING AND SUPPORTING OUR CAMPAIGN TO STOP THE CHAMBER!
Our StopTheChamber.com campaign has been warning for months about the devastating effect of U.S. Chamber of Commerce policies on the well being of Americans. Specifically, we have condemned the Chamber for spending hundreds of millions to fight regulation of its dues paying members and regulation of pollution caused by those members. These actions have been led by Chamber CEO Tom Donohue and Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, the latter who runs vast coal mining operations in West Virginia, including the serial offending Upper Big Branch mine where 29 miners were killed last week.
In a recent press release, attorney and campaign spokesman Kevin Zeese said: “The convergence of the Chamber’s policies against regulation of workplace safety and the disaster of mining coal without regard for the environmental impact resulted in the death of 29 hard working West Virginian miners. This was not an accident, but rather the result of deliberate and intentional decisions and actions of Don Blankenship, a director of the United States Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Blankenship and Chamber CEO Tom Donohue must be held accountable for these deaths. What is it going to take for Congress and the President to stop coddling criminals, masquerading as legitimate businessmen, who cause the death of our loved ones? Blankenship, with the lobbying army of the Chamber to back him up, has thumbed his nose at the Mine Safety and Health Administration, ignoring or appealing every violation, including the scores that resulted in coal mine evacuations and the hundreds of other serious violations. As the Washington Post pointed out in a Saturday editorial, these 29 deaths would not have occurred absent this intentional conduct of Blankenship. He is just as criminally culpable as any mass murderer.”
Today we called on federal law enforcement officials to charge Don Blankenship with homicide, and for a complete criminal investigation of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its CEO Tom Donohue to determine what policies and practices led to the death of these miners, and whether Chamber lobbyists and lawyers were used to cover-up or avoid compliance with safety regulations. Criminal prosecution of the perpetrators of this terrible crime will ensure accountability, expose the Chamber’s criminal conduct and pave the way for real worker safety across the nation.
We also called on all Congress Members to immediately issue a standing order to their staff to cease all communication and contact with U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbyists. Now that the Chamber and its directors have been directly implicated in the homicide of 29 workers, there can be no more business as usual. Congress Members must stand up for working people by refusing to meet with and do the bidding of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an organization whose directors, policies and practices have killed and will kill again if they are not stopped.
Add your name here to growing list of signers of this statement:
I'm going to do this. Will you? If so, blog and Email, Fbook and Tweet. --DS
From Jon Schwarz
Starting today, every Friday I'm going to give five dollars to someone who's produced something funny/interesting/worthwhile and is giving it away on the internet(s).
Obviously the internet is the greatest distribution technology ever created for music and writing and video and journalism. But it's also obvious it generally makes it more difficult for people producing such things to earn a living.
So I have three goals with this:
1. Finally start paying some of the people who've created wonderful things I've enjoyed.
2. If possible, get lots of other people online to start doing this as well. It would be a beautiful thing if it grew and grew, and three years from now 10,000 people were giving away $50,000 to artists every week. To help get things rolling, I've created the twitter hashtag #5DF. Every week I'll link to the recipient of my five dollars on twitter with that tag, and if you start doing it I encourage you to do the same. (I'll also archive all my recipients here.)
3. In my most grandiose dreams, this idea would—in the process of becoming popular—make people realize that we need a new way to fund all kinds of art. In theory the internet should be a dream come true for artists and people generally, but it will never fulfill its potential if everyone is trying to eke out a living from advertising or just what other people are willing to cough up on the spur of the moment.