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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.
Take Action: McCain/Lieberman/McKeon Bill Removes Right to Trial, Means Endless Incarceration Without Trial
TAKE ACTION against a Dangerous Bill
Newt Gingrich went apoplectic over the fact that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the so-called "underwear bomber") was read his Miranda rights after his arrest, and that he will be tried in a civilian court. They hit the talk show circuit to criticize Attorney General Eric Holder for his handling of the case. You may remember the case of Richard Reid (the so-called "shoe-bomber") who was arrested, read his rights and sent to trial in civilian court. He pled guilty and is now serving life in prison. I've heard Gingrich and others defend the Bush Administration's handling of Reid by asserting he is a U.S. citizen - he is not. The cases are quite similar and demonstrate how politically-motivated the "outrage" is. Although civilian courts have done a fine job of trying and convicting terrorist (403 terrorists convicted since 9/11 compared to 3 convictions via military commissions) a large group of politicians are working to prohibit the use of civilian courts in terrorism cases (focusing their arguments on the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed).
We are particularly worried by a bill introduced by McCain/Lieberman in the Senate, and by Rep. McKeon in the House. The Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010 (S. 3081; H.R. 4892) would allow the President to decide whether you are entitled to a fair trial, or if he should just toss you in jail and throw away the key. If the President accuses you of being a terrorist, or of providing material support to terrorists, you will not be read your Miranda rights, you will not be entitled to a trial, you may not even be charged, you will be interrogated by special teams… and you can be locked up without trial until the war on terror ends. Even if you are a U.S. citizen. The accusation can be based on 'secret evidence' that you will never see. It could be based on lies, or misunderstanding. You could be innocent of all charges, and never be allowed to prove it.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. While it probably will not get voted on in Committee, the bill, or provisions of the bill, could be added to another piece of legislation on the floor of the Senate - so we have to fight the provisions in this bill NOW!
Click here to send an email. Or, call your Senators (Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121) and tell them to oppose these dangerous ideas!
Note: the bill will not likely be voted on as a S. 3081, but rather as an amendment or a series of amendments - so while you can mention the bill number, it is most important to raise concerns about the substance of the bill.
I am concerned that Senators McCain, Lieberman or other Senators may introduce provisions from S. 3081 as amendments to another bill on the floor of the Senate. I urge Senator ______ to vote against any amendments that would:
- Prohibit the use of civilian courts to try terrorism suspects
- Prohibit the reading of Miranda rights to terrorism suspects
- Deny the right of Habeas Corpus to terrorism suspects
Tell Your State Legislatures and Governors the National Guard Is Not for Occupying Other People's Countries
By Leah Bolger
Tips and Talking Points for Lobby Visits
1. Bring laptop with “At This Moment” National Guard theater commercial
2. DoD spends $3 billion a year on recruiting. Point out that this slick video focuses primarily on combat/fighting missions, and not on a typical state-based mission.
3. Concern that the National Guard is being marketed as a front-line fighting force. By marketing the National Guard in this way, it appears that the federal government intends to continue using the Guard as a front-line component.
4. The National Guard is not meant to be a front-line fighting force for indefinite periods of time.
5. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have decimated the effectiveness and readiness of the Guard.
6. States need the resources and manpower of the National Guard for state-based emergencies.
7. Federal call-up and deployment of National Guard units has a huge negative economic impact on states.
8. Tie-in recent Executive Order which creates “Council of Governors” which appears to be wresting control of the National Guard away from the governors.
9. Ask your governor if he/she is aware of this Council and its possible ramifications.
10. Ask your governor if he/she knows who is on this Council and if he/she has been in communication with the Council.
The mortgage company has agreed to a month’s delay in foreclosing on the Peace House.
Your support is making a difference!
Johnny Wolf’s activism began at an early age, as his parents instilled in him an ethic of peaceful service to his fellow man, which he has practiced throughout his life. After attending a National Network to End the War Against Iraq conference, he sold enough buttons at a buck a pop to raise the down payment on the Peace House.
Among Johnny’s other contributions are co-founding the Committee on Solidarity with the People of Iraq, which, together with Veterans for Peace, is responsible for rebuilding six water treatment plants in Iraq.
The Crawford Peace House was dedicated on Easter Sunday, 2003.
Over the years of resistance to the Iraq war and the criminal activities of the Bush regime, the Crawford Peace House served thousands of activists as a gathering place of hope and resistance, feeding literally thousands of people and managing a large team of volunteers. Wolf states, “The Peace House is so much more than President Bush – it is a centralized location where we perform miracles, offering hope to humanity to counter the cult of war.”
Now, with your help, Johnny is working tirelessly to make the dream of a Peace Museum a reality. Easter, of course, is our seasonal reminder of the prospects of world peace. If you share in the dream of a Peace Museum and care to contribute, you can contact Johnny Wolf.
Cindy Sheehan wrote:
On August 3, 2004, fourteen Marines from a reserve unit in Ohio were killed in Iraq--then president, George Bush, said that they, and all of the war dead, died for a "Noble Cause." I was sitting in my home in Vacaville, California watching the press conference where George said this, and when none of the reporters present asked him exactly what that "Noble Cause" was, I decided to go to Crawford and ask him myself.
I sent out an email stating my intention to go to Crawford, and a few hours later I received an email from one of the founders of the Crawford Peace House, Hadi Jawad, telling me that the Peace House would be at my disposal for that action. Well, that action turned into a movement. And even though on August 3rd, I had never even heard of the Crawford Peace House, the owner, Johnny Wolf, and its staff became an integral and indispensable part of the Camp Casey protests.
During the protests, the Crawford Peace House welcomed and fed literally thousands of people and managed a large team of volunteers. It took tens of thousands of dollars to keep the protests going while Bush was president.
Even though the wars haven't ended and Bush is out of office, the "action" that turned into a movement is what changed the perceptions and attitudes of a nation.
Our vision for the Peace House would be for a Peace Museum and visitor center for people who want to come to Crawford and visit the historic sites of Camp Casey 1, 2, and 3, and store the vast amount of memorabilia, photos, and cherished mementos.
Now, my friends need help--I am copying a letter from the founder of the Crawford Peace House, Johnny Wolf.
Please contact Johnny directly if you can help!
Love and Peace,
Take Action: DC! Tomorrow, March 30th - International Day of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Against Israel
When: March 30, 5 PM
Where: Lord & Taylor, 5255 Western Ave., Northwest Washington DC 20015; next to Friendship Heights metro
Tuesday, March 30th, 5pm, join us in marking the international day of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. We will be protesting against the Israeli cosmetic company AHAVA at the Lord and Taylor’s store in Washington DC. AHAVA is made in a settlement using Palestinian resources taken from the Dead Sea. The address of Lord and Taylors is 5255 Western Ave Northwest Washington DC 20015. It is next to the Friendship Heights metro. Spa attire (bathrobes and towels) are recommended but not required. We will provide signs and fliers, but if you would like to make your own sign, messages could include: AHAVA: Made by Israeli Profiteers in Occupied Palestine; Have a Heart--Don't Sell AHAVA Cosmetics; Don't buy AHAVA Cosmetics; Settlement Products Kill Hope for Peace; There is no love in Occupation.
We’ll meet in the underground parking lot of the store. If you are planning to come, please call Medea Benjamin at 415 235 6517. Thank you and hope to see you there.
Help Us Address The Growing Tide Of Threats And Violence By Partisans
Join Our StopDomesticTerror.com Campaign!!
Last summer, in response to a rising tide of extremism coupled with threats and violence, we launched a new campaign called Stop Domestic Terror, www.stopdomesticterror.com. In short, we asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to aggressively target those who commit violence, and we urged both the media and religious leaders to speak out against such anti-democratic behavior. Our campaign has met with success in many ways, but as we all have seen over the past few weeks, there is still much more to be done.
First the good news. The DOJ has announced that hate crimes and threats of violence are now a “top priority,” after years of neglect. On Saturday, the DOJ arrested at nine members of an “end of times” militia group that was planning violence against Americans in order to kick off a widespread uprising against the government. Last week, 114 prominent religious leaders signed a “civility covenant” calling for an end to the heated rhetoric of political discourse. And finally, national media are beginning to report on this problem in a serious manner rather than as something silly.
Now the bad news. The tea bagger movement has endorsed threats, hate and anger as a political weapon, and the GOP has hitched its political fortunes to this hate machine, adopting Nixon’s Southern Strategy, which exploited opposition among the once segregationist South to the cultural upheaval of New Left, Vietnam protests, the Hippie culture, Gun control, Abortion, desegregation, and the Civil Rights Movement. Over the past month, we have seen white Americans spitting on Black Congress members, calling them foul names, and committing violent acts and making threats against other politicians. The GOP, in response to a call by the DNC for a new civility agreement, said no! Sarah Palin put Democrats in crosshairs on her website and told her followers to “reload.” Right-wing media are supporting this behavior as “patriotic.”
Help us by joining with thousands of others who have spoken out against the tyranny of violence. Add your name to our Stop Domestic Terror campaign. Send a letter to Congress demanding that the media act in the public interest rather than fanning the flames of violence.
You can also help us place ads online and in print to call for an end to violence in politics. DONATE HERE.
Also check out our other campaigns:
All The Best,
We can't do this without you!
Help us push this campaign into the media by writing letters to the editor, linking to it on your websites and Facebook pages, and Twittering. Donate to VR today to increase the volume on this campaign!
If you prefer to send check or money order, you can mail it to:
PO Box 9576
Washington DC, 20016
STOP WALL STREET GREED
Tell Congress About Credit Card Rip-Offs
The greed and recklessness of Wall Street has created the most severe economic recovery since the 1930s. Millions of people have lost their homes and savings, and 17 percent of our people are unemployed or underemployed. Wall Street is now spending billions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions to make sure that they can continue to act in the reckless and unregulated manner which led us to where we are today. We cannot allow that to happen.
Among other very important reforms, Congress must stop big banks from ripping off consumers by charging credit card interest rates of 35 percent or more. That is why I will offer an amendment to stop usury in America and place a reasonable cap on what lenders may charge credit card customers, similar to the limit already in place and working well for credit unions.
Here’s how you can help. Members of Congress definitely will hear from the big bankers and their well-paid lobbyists. I think they need to hear from you too. They need to hear about your real-world experiences with these loan sharks in three-piece suits. Let me know how credit card companies have treated you, and I will read some of your stories on the Senate floor.
As activism has been defunded since the 2008 election, there have been casualties, organizations and individuals driven from the field -- and deprived of a decent income, even of a roof under which to live.
Garda Ghista of World Prout Assembly has been a key ally in the struggle for peace and justice for years and is now in financial trouble. Can you help?
Go here and donate what you can:
Read this for inspiration:
The Deep Love for Suffering Humanity Embedded in the Principles of PROUT
By Garda Ghista
March 17, 2010
by Linda Milazzo
(This article is based on one that will appear in the upcoming May/June 2010 issue of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: http://www.wrmea.com)
Sunday, March 14, 2010, ushered in two welcome events to Southern California: the inauguration of the headquarters of the bustling Winograd For Congress primary campaign, and an extra hour of daylight to help Marcy Winograd’s swarm of supporters evict Jane Harman, the wealthiest Democrat in Congress, from her eight-term seat in the House.
Photo by Linda Milazzo
Health care reform -- here's where we are. The House of Representatives is about to vote on a Senate bill without a public option. It looks like the reconciliation amendment will not have a public option. The House bill had a public option, but once the House passes the Senate bill, that's history.
Which is why I introduced H.R. 4789, the Public Option Act. This simple four-page bill lets any American buy into Medicare at cost. You want it, you pay for it, you're in. It adds nothing to the deficit; you pay what it costs. Read more.
Please click below to hear democratic consultant Bob Fertik discuss how American democracy is at stake due to the Supreme Court decision to allow unfettered corporate spending, including foreign corporate dollars, on U.S. elections: Listen to Bob Fertik on the Bill Press Show
1. Binding pledges from corporations not to buy or sell election ads
2. Strict laws against election spending by corporations with foreign owners, and by recipients of Federal contracts, bailouts, and subsidies. For other U.S. corporations, shareholders must approve election ads
3. Clean elections through publicly-funded Federal and state campaigns
4. A Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Supreme Court ruling so Congress and states can outlaw all corporate election spending
Labor and advocacy groups organized "brown bag" lunch vigils against war funding in 22 congressional districts in January and 67 in February. Currently 82 are planned for March 17th, with more being added. Organizations participating include: Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), AfterDowningStreet, the Backbone Campaign, Democrats.com, the California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee, Healthcare Now, CodePINK, and United for Peace and Justice.
On March 10th, 65 members of Congress voted to end the occupation of Afghanistan. Yet only 14 have publicly committed to voting No on funding the same war. A $33 billion supplemental spending bill for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is expected to be voted on in April or May. Brownbaggers 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. As lesser steps in the same direction, the Brown Bag Vigils are encouraging congress members to cosponsor HR 2454, calling for an exit strategy from Afghanistan, and HR 3699, prohibiting any increase in the number of U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan. Congress members' commitments are tracked at http://defundwar.org.
Vigil participants, who support a shift in resources from warfare to healthcare, are also asking their representatives to join the growing movement calling for "Medicare for All" by demanding passage of the Kucinich amendment facilitating state-level single-payer healthcare and by offering their support to single-payer efforts moving forward in state legislatures, including in California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
War Resisters League Schedules 4 days of Creative Nonviolence Calling for US Nuclear Disarmament 4/30-5/3 in New York City
Kimber Heinz of the War Resisters League wrote:
Join us as we lead up to WRL actions at the NPT Review Conference this May!
Join the War Resisters League in NYC April 30-May 3 for four days of creative nonviolent protest and support a call for unilateral U.S. disarmament at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the UN Headquarters.
In 1982, the War Resisters League initiated "Blockade the Bombmakers," organizing mass actions at the Missions to the United Nations of each of the five nuclear powers on the first day of the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament. In total, nearly 1,700 people were arrested in the blockades, which followed a march involving an estimated one million people.
Today, there are nine nuclear powers and the dangers of nuclear proliferation are even more acute than 28 years ago. Despite the White House's pledge to seek a world without nuclear weapons, the 2011 federal budget for nuclear weapons research and development is likely to be more than $7 billion and could (if the Obama administration has its way) reach $8 billion per year by the end of this decade. This steady and growing investment stands in stark contrast to the promising U.S. rhetoric of disarmament.
The 2010 NPT Review Conference represents a key juncture in the work for nuclear disarmament and a vital opportunity to put pressure on the U.S. government and kick-start the anti-nuclear movement. The War Resisters League is organizing a Monday, May 3rd action to deliver a strong message to the United Nations delegates. We are also organizing a WRL contingent and panel discussion for the Disarm Now! international march and alternative conference happening that weekend as WRL joins with thousands of anti-nuclear activists from around the world in resistance to nuclear build-up and global militarism.
Join us to demand complete and unilateral nuclear disarmament and to insist that action for disarmament, not more talking, is needed. We will be meeting in-person and by phone to shape and finalize the action over the next month and will offer nonviolence training on Sunday, May 2nd. To find out more and to sign up or get involved, please email WRL Organizing Coordinator Kimber Heinz at email@example.com.
Ignoring calls from numerous critics, the New York Times refuses to own up to mistakes in the paper's coverage of the now-famous right-wing videotapes attacking the community organizing group ACORN. Instead, the paper's public editor, Clark Hoyt, is relying on an absurd semantic justification in order to claim the paper does not need to print any corrections.
As conventionally reported in the Times and elsewhere, right-wing activists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles dressed up as a pimp and a prostitute and visited several local ACORN offices, where office workers gave the duo advice on setting up a brothel, concealing a child prostitution ring and so forth. But many of the key "facts" surrounding the videos are either in dispute or are demonstrable fabrications.
Though O'Keefe appears in various scenes in the videos wearing a garish and absurd "pimp" costume, he in fact did not wear the outfit when he appeared in the ACORN offices (Washington Independent, 2/19/10); he was dressed in a button-down shirt and slacks. This fact undermines one of the key contentions of the ACORN smear--that the group is so hopelessly corrupt that they would dispense advice to an obvious criminal.
What's more, the "advice" that they received, according to the transcripts released by O'Keefe and Giles, does not appear to be as incriminating as it was portrayed in the videos--and echoed in outlets like the New York Times.
A review of the Times coverage:
We are very excited to bring you an exclusive online live video chat with Michael Moore as part of the DVD and Blue-ray release of ‘Capitalism: A Love Story'.
The 30 minute session will be on Tuesday, March 16th at 3:00 pm EST at Brave New Films site:
By David Swanson
The tea and coffee parties have cornered the market on vacuous meanness and niceness, respectively. But brownbagging is where the substance and sustenance are. Every third Wednesday of the month, those who want war defunded and everything useful funded are bringing brown bag lunches to vigil at their congress member's local office. This month that means March 17th, St. Patrick's Day. And that means more than food: Kicking off the Green Beer Party.