Thursday, November 29, 2012

Federal Prison for Peacefully Protesting Killer Drones




It is hard to believe this is my country.

About 40 folks went to this air force base to peacefully protest killer drones which are terrorizing and killing civilians in Pakistan and other countries. A Stanford NYU Study found that 98% killed by US drones are civilians. I also wrote about drones and helped to organize a protest in New Paltz, NY about them. You can see the write-up and video here.

One man, Brian Terrell who merely went to the gate to ask directions about how they could deliver a petition (an indictment of the immorality and illegality of drone warfare) was promptly arrested and now has to serve six months in a federal prison. Here is what Brian said at his sentencing.

"Each of the government's witnesses, all of them Air Force police personnel, testified that participants in this protest were nonviolent, respectful and peaceable in assembling at Whiteman Air Force Base, a government installation, to petition that government for redress of a grievance, demanding that the remote control killing carried out daily from Whiteman cease. They testified that at no time, before or during our protest, did they perceive us as a threat.

"Our expert witnesses testified that our behavior was consistent with the activities that the drafters of the First Amendment intended to be protected, not persecuted, by the government. The order and security of the base would not have been compromised had the security police allowed us to proceed to the headquarters to deliver our petition. No testimony to the contrary was offered this court.

"Instead of planning to accommodate a constitutionally protected peaceable assembly, however, the Air Force chose intimidation and conspired to deprive us of the rights they are sworn to protect. We learned from government witnesses that the phalanx of goose-stepping riot police is a 'Confrontation Management Team,' deployed only in the case of preannounced events. Whiteman security did not call out the Team to defend the base but to intimidate citizens engaged in lawful activities."

Brian Terrell
 A local woman named Keara met Brian at Catholic Worker 35 years ago. She shared his address if anone would like to write to him. He especially asked to be kept up to date about acts of resistance and peacemaking in your community.

BRIAN TERRELL 06125-026
FPC YANKTON
FEDERAL PRISON CAMP
P.O. BOX 700
YANKTON, SD 57078



And please sign the petition to ban weaponized drones from the world!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Disaster Averted, Victories and Work to Do!


Disaster Averted!


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Important Victories

Obama had a bigger win than Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, or Bush! The American people have spoken! Boehner said the other day that there is no mandate to raise taxes on the top 2%. Yes, there is!

Going into the election, six states and DC had legalized gay marriage that was the result of court rulings or legislative measures. For the first time, same sex marriage won through ballot referendums in Maine, Maryland and Washington. In Minnesota voters rejected a ballot measure restricting marriage to a man and woman.

There will now be an openly gay member of the US Senate- Tammy Baldwin of WI.

In Iowa the right wing tried to oust a State Supreme Court justice because of the court's unanimous decision in 2009 to allow same-sex marriage on equal protection grounds- in the past they were successful in taking out three justices. This time the voters rejected that idea. Similarly, in FL, three State Supreme Court justices targeted by conservatives all retained their seats. A victory for judicial independence.

Misogynists with big mouths were defeated!


America's first Hindu Congresswoman will take the oath of office on the Bhagavad Gita.

Women were clear winners Tuesday! There will be a record 20 female US Senators in 2013 and white men will be a minority in the House Democratic Caucus!
The people are demanding an end to corporate person-hood and for Citizens United to be overturned.
In Montana,75% of the voters called for Citizens United to be overturned- stating that corporations are not people and money is not speech. Five months ago, the Supreme Court nullified Montana's 100 year old Corrupt Practices Act (which was passed to fight the mining industry's domination of state politics). The man that brought the lawsuit against that Act that brought it to the Supreme Court lost his state House seat 66 to 34%.


Tuesday was a also a big victory for a more sane drug policy. Colorado and Washington both passed ballot referendums calling for the legalization of recreational marijuana and Massachusetts and Montana voted for legalization of medical marijuana.

"Legalization could save U.S. taxpayers the $10 billion spent each year on enforcing marijuana prohibition, and eliminate the criminal cases against more than 750,000 people arrested per year for possession, which NORML says is 'far more than the total number of arrestees for all violent crimes combined, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.' "

Karl Rove spent hundreds of millions of dollars and had a 1% return. The eight candidates that Sheldon Adelson backed- all lost!

The youth vote was up over 2008! Obama won that vote 60 to 36%.

Time to Roll Up Our Sleeves

All this good news- BUT there is still so much to do and the window of opportunity for enacting real and meaningful change is open now and has to be taken advantage of. I'll leave you with Michael Moore's letter that sums up the work ahead of us well.

"And please Mr. President, make the banks and Wall Street pay. You're the boss, not them. Lead the fight to get money out of politics – the spending on this election is shameful and dangerous. Don't wait til 2014 to bring the troops home – bring 'em home now. Stop the drone strikes on civilians. End the senseless war on drugs. Act like a pit bull when it comes to climate change – ignore the nuts, and fix this now. Take the profit motive out of things that any civilized country would say, "this is for the common good." Make higher educational affordable for everyone and don't send 22-year-olds out into the world already in massive debt. Order a moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions. Enact economic policy that will create good-paying jobs and spend the money that's needed to do that. Make your second term one for the history books." read more

Lastly, a couple of losses in this sea of victory- In our new 19th District in NY, Julian Schreibman lost to Chris Gibson. Julian waged a great campaign and we are grateful to him for his hard work and dedication to improving the lives of average Americans. Chris Gibson- you now represent thousands of more liberally minded people who were honored to be represented for 20 years by Maurice Hinchey, one of the most progressive members of the House. You will be hearing from us!

Also, Prop 37- which would have required the labeling of foods with genetically modified organisms failed in CA. Monsanto and Big Ag spent over $45 million to mislead and scare voters. They won this time- but a movement has been born and we will eventually, like over 60 other countries in the world, have GM labeling so we know what we are eating and feeding our families. Join us on FB-  GMO? OMG! Hudson Valley for NO GMOS


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Stop Killer Drones Protest!




Thanks to all who joined us Saturday, Oct 13 to raise their voices against robotic killing and spying drones. Many Americans think they are a good thing as they are presented as an efficient way to get the "bad guys" while not putting our troops at risk. Unfortunately, the truth is much different from the narrative we have been given. Here is the flyer we passed out. Please share this info and video with anyone concerned about the killing of innocent civilians, harm to our national security and our own freedom! Press Ctrl + to increase size. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Drone Action Oct 13 in New Paltz


A new report by the law schools of Stanford and NYU, says that the US drone program is "counterproductive" and is "terrorizing" civilians in Pakistan.

“Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves. These fears have affected behavior.”

The report goes on to say that some children have stopped going to school for fear of being killed by a drone strike.

The NY Times reported recently that "Drones have replaced Guantánamo as the recruiting tool of choice for militants."

In addition to making us less safe on an international scale, 56 domestic government agencies, mostly law enforcement, have been authorized by the FAA to fly drones in US airspace. One of the drone manufacturers, Vanguard Defense Industries, touts their ability to weaponize drones for local police departments. They can be equipped not only with warrantless spying technology (Boeing calls their Inceptor drone "an eye in the sky") but they can also deploy tear gas, tasar technology, rubber bullets and more. 

Drones represent the murder of innocents,  war without time or geographical limits, illegal targeted assassinations, a permanent war economy and the end of freedom as we have known it.

Is this the world we want? Time to raise our voices to ban weaponized drones. Watch this video, then please sign the petition to Ground Drones and join us October 13 in New Paltz.





Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NP Women in Black Video, Romney Courts Anti-Muslim Group and Occupy at One Year

Slice of New Paltz : New Paltz Women In Black from don kerr on Vimeo.


Many thanks to Don Kerr of "Slice of New Paltz" for doing a segment on our New Paltz Women in Black which will be aired weekends at 8PM on Public Access Channel 23 for the next 4 or so weeks. We have standing on that street corner every week for nearly 11 years. So proud of all my sisters with their deep commitment to creating a culture of peace! Please join us any Saturday in front of the Elting Library from 12:30-1:30PM.


Romney (Rightfully) Also Apologizes and then Courts  Anti-Muslim Group

My mouth literally dropped open when I heard what Romney said while Americans were in danger in Egypt and had suffered a murderous attack in Libya. To accuse the Obama administration of sympathizing with the terrorists was beyond the pale.

Then in an interview with George Stefanopoulos four days ago, Romney said this about the anti-Muslim hate video sparking the outrage, "I think the whole film is a terrible idea. I think him making it, promoting it, showing it, is disrespectful to people of other faiths. I don’t think that should happen. I think people should have the common courtesy and judgment– the good judgment– not to be– not to offend other peoples’ faiths. It’s a very bad thing, I think, this guy’s doing."

This is very similar to the statement the Cairo embassy issued as a growing angry mob was gathering at their door step. On 9/11, Romney chose to attack these loyal Americans on the front line in a volatile country and said their statement was "disgraceful". A new poll shows that only 26% of Americans agree with Romney's reaction.

What is really disgraceful is that Romney (by tape) and Ryan (live) both addressed a designated hate group, the Family Research Council, on Friday.

The executive VP of the Family Research Council (FRC) is retired Lt General William "Jerry" Boykin who was notorious during the Bush administration for giving speeches in his Army uniform stating that the war on terror is a religious war and that "Islam is evil". Boykin has also said that Muslims are under "obligation to destroy our Constitution", that they did not deserve the protection of our First Amendment which guarantees religious liberty and that no mosques should be built in America.

The FRC's president, Tony Perkins is an extremist too. He thought he could further his campaign for Congress in the 1990s by paying over $80,000 for the mail list from KKK's David Duke. Perkins praised a proposed Ugandan law that would execute LGBT people, defended Todd Aiken's indefensible remarks on "legitimate" rape and routinely equates being gay with pedophilia. That the Republican candidates for president and vice president court such a hateful, bigoted group is an outrage and mainstream news should not be giving them a pass on it.

And let me end by saying making an apology is not a sign of weakness! It is a sign of integrity, humility and courage. Many of us have seen the pictures of Libyans holding up signs apologizing for the killing of our diplomat, Chris Stevens and three other of our countrymen. It was very touching to see the look in their eyes. They showed real remorse and it was healing.

I think we, as Americans, should do the same thing- take to the streets with signs of apology to the Arab world. We could say we are sorry for all the innocents lost in two wars and in ongoing drone attacks, for the arbitrary imprisonment and torture used in Iraq and Afghanistan, for the sickness arising from depleted uranium munitions, for supporting tyrants who brutally oppressed them for decades, for the anti-Muslim hate shown by some Americans, for having a political party that caters to their bigotry and so much more.



Occupy Wall Street One Year Anniversary and Beginning of Year Two!

                                                                      Marcus Santos NY Daily News
Retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard, a decorated Vietnam veteran and military chaplain during the Iraq War was one of almost 200 arrested yesterday on the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street in NYC. About a thousand people commemorated the special day by heading for the Wall Street area and once again drawing attention to our broken financial system that lavishes wealth on the 1% and hurts everyone else. There were solidarity rallies in dozens of other cities.

News is still breaking on the day- but what I found startling is that about 20% of the protestors were arrested. The Guardian said "A repeated theme of the detentions was police rushing forward to seize people identified as agitators." I wonder what one had to do to be targeted as an agitator? Hearing that Zuccotti Park was encircled by metal barricades and that there were walls of police in riot gear everywhere is disturbing and to me indicates that new forms of protest are needed to grow this movement.

                                                                                        John Minchillo AP
Please sign the pledge!
From RootsAction.org

One year was never going to be enough.  A unified movement for peace and justice must never end.  As Occupy enters year 2, without the corporate media's help, but with months of experience under our belts, we rededicate ourselves to building a society that is fair to everyone, including future generations, a society that doesn't just feed the insatiable greed of the 1%.
 
I commit to working locally and nationally, in the real world as well as online, to build and strengthen a multifaceted nonviolent Occupy movement regardless of the outcome of elections, a movement dedicated to empowering people and dis-empowering plutocracy, a movement advancing an agenda that includes:
--Taxing the rich and corporations
--Ending the wars and cutting spending on war preparation
--Strengthening Social Security and expanding Medicare to cover us all
--Ending corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests
--Transitioning to a clean energy economy, reversing environmental degradation
--Protecting worker rights including collective bargaining, creating jobs and raising wages
--Taking the money out of politics
--Making education a right, not a privilege
--Making housing a right, not a privilege
--Breaking up corporate media monopolies
--Restoring and expanding civil liberties 
Sign the Pledge here! http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6587

PS Romney insanity continues...

You knew it was only a matter of time before a video like this would surface. Here is Romney at a closed door, $50,000 a plate fundraiser saying what he really thinks! He basically said that almost half of all Americans are freeloaders, who consider themselves "victims" and think they are entitled to food and healthcare (the nerve).

He is referring to the 46.4% of Americans who don't pay federal income tax- almost half of whom are the elderly and about a third are children and the working poor. Romney concluded "my job, is not to worry about those people," which is reminiscent of his earlier statement "I'm  not concerned about the very poor". Hear that, one in five American children living in poverty? Mitt Romney is not worried about you- in fact you hardly register on his radar.

So in our new Gilded Age, we have the Republican candidate for President attacking the poorest and most vulnerable among us. In 2008, the average income for the bottom half of workers was $15,300 a year. Those folks still have to pay federal payroll taxes, local and state taxes, sales, gas, utility and other taxes. In fact, the tax burden on the poor for local and state taxes is about double the percent that the rich pay.

Romney of course did not chide the well off who pay nothing in income taxes, nor the dozens of mega-corporations reaping their highest profits ever, yet paying no corporate taxes at all.

"There are 78,000 tax filers with incomes of $211,000 to $533,000 who will pay no federal income taxes this year. Even more amazingly, there are 24,000 households with incomes of $533,000 to $2.2 million with zero income tax liability, and 3,000 tax filers with incomes above $2.2 million with the same federal income tax liability as most of those with incomes barely above the poverty level." 
http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/28/who-doesnt-pay-federal-income-taxes-legally/

Romney said those not paying federal income tax were all voting for Obama. Really? What a surprise that Obama will win the South.

BREAKING- here is the response from the White House

Friday, September 7, 2012

Great Women's Rights Rally and March in New Paltz




We had a fabulous Rally and March on Women's Equality Day on August 26 in New Paltz!
Nearly 300 came out to demand equal rights for over half the population- everything from full reproductive rights to equal pay for equal work to ending violence against women and ending budget cuts that will affect women and children the most. Thanks to Donna Goodman and the Hudson Valley Actvist Newsletter for sponsoring and to all who participated!

A few people asked me to print out my talk, so here it is.




Women, Militarism and War
by Barbara Upton

Welcome! How wonderful it is to see so many women and girls of all ages coming together to defend women's rights and it is great to see so many of our brothers here too standing with us in solidarity.

Let me begin by saying, men are not the problem, a patriarchal system that oppresses women is the problem! Patriarchy is the social power structure and ideology that provides justification for the institutionalized discrimination against women. It is supported by and thrives on war and violence. Patriarchy cannot exist without militarism which promoters a culture of fear, is based on power over others and that believes that the organized use of physical violence is the only way to resolve conflict. Patriarchy and militarism are inextricably linked. But let me tell you something else that is mutually interdependent- women's equality and our ability to create a culture of peace.

The first step is to recognize and educate ourselves and others about the true cost of war.





New Paltz Women in Black "Eyes Wide Open Exhibit" and Altar to Fallen Troops                                               B Upton

Do you know that war is currently being depicted as a game show on NBC? This is the way of militarism. Only 1% actually does the fighting and for the rest of us war is glorified and even made into entertainment. The military sanitizes the horrors of war through language. Civilian deaths are called "collateral damage" and missiles are "peacemakers". Rarely do we see the real ravages of war.

The fact is, war destroys people, the earth and the very fabric of life and no one suffers more in war than women and children.

Although our conception of war, of soldiers fighting on a battlefield has not changed, the reality of modern warfare has
. A UN Peacekeeping General recently said, "It is now more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in conflict."

In WW I, 5% of the casualties were civilians, in WWII the number of civilian casualties was 55% and today that number is 90%. Women and children are killed, maimed, raped, sickened, displaced,widowed and orphaned by war. Eighty percent of the millions displaced by war and conflict are women and children. Rape is used as a weapon of war. In Rwanda a half million women were raped . In Bosnia Herzegovina 50,000 women from all the ethnic groups were raped and a half million were victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is also important to remember that war does not end when the bombs stop falling. Agent Orange in Vietnam, resulted in hundreds of thousands of babies being born with severe birth defects. In addition, tens of thousands of US soldiers were sickened and disabled and the effects are still being seen in second and third generations. Depleted uranium munitions in Iraq and Afghanistan have left a radioactive legacy that has resulted in a spike in cancer rates and childhood leukemia. Landmines in over 80 countries kill and maim women and children daily as they are the ones tasked with gathering food, water and wood.

As if all this horrific violence were not enough, there is also the structural violence created by a permanent war economy. Sixty percent of our discretionary budget goes to death and destruction. This strips money from health care, education, job creation and vital social programs and because women and children are overrepresented among poor people, again women and children are hurt the most. 


Kingston  Rally for Peace and Justice                                                                                                                  B Upton
Lastly, when violence is seen as the acceptable way to resolve conflict in the international sphere, it affects all aspects of society. It even extends to women in the military. One VA study done after Desert Storm showed that one in three women serving were raped. It is said that women in the military fight on two fronts; on the battlefield and in the barracks. The effects of a militarized society is also seen in community violence with our 30,000 gun deaths every year and in domestic violence which increases during war. VA research shows that veterans with PTSD are two to three times more likely to batter partners and children than veterans without PTSD. Battery is now the number one cause of injury to women in the US.

Our path is clear. We have to end war before war ends us, as John F Kennedy said. We have to make war as unacceptable in the 21st century as slavery was in the 20th century. We have to build a culture of peace from the ground up and inside out. That means we do have to be the peace that we wish to see in the world. We can begin by replacing blame and dwelling on all that is wrong with a focus on creative solutions, stop fueling polarization by listening more deeply, and transform despair with inspired visions and empowered action. Together we can build a culture of peace founded on respect for the dignity and inherent worth of every woman, man and child. Peace is our only true security and I believe it is our collective destiny.

So yes, you will continue to see Women in Black standing for peace in front fo the Elting library every Saturday at 12:30. We have been there every week for almost eleven years and you know what- we are just beginning! We hope you will join us. Thank you.





Join us any Saturday- 12:30-1:30PM In front of Elting Library New Paltz
Contact Barbara, or New Paltz Women in Black at ClearStreamMedia@gmail.com.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rally and March for Women's Rights Sunday!

The Rally and March for Women's Rights

 Sunday, Aug 26 at 1PM 
Peace Park in New Paltz, NY
war-on-women19.jpg
Please join us for this historic event! We will have a rally with excellent speakers and performers, to be followed by a spirited march down Main St through Water St Market and up the other side of Main. Let's raise our voices for women's rights and equality for all!

You can sign up here to help us get the buzz going!
http://www.facebook.com/events/382011421865368/

We are proud to be a part of this national day of action. The original call came from a new feminist group called WORD- Women Organized to Resist and Defend- take a look at their website- I think you'll smile to see New Paltz listed on their home page with the biggies, like LA, San Fransisco, Chicago and NYC!
http://www.defendwomensrights.org/

See you Sunday! Make a sign! Be creative! Bring musical instruments! and please help spread the 
word. We must defend our rights- there is no going back!

More info below


Peace, Barbara

WHY WE ARE DEMONSTRATING AUG. 26

Recent years have seen a shocking number of right wing attacks on the
rights of women, through anti-abortion legislation, campaigns against
contraception, slashing of jobs and social services, and new heights of
misogyny in ultra-conservative rhetoric. Protests supporting women's
rights will take place in several U.S. cities on Aug. 26, Women’s
Equality Day in America — a day before the Republican Convention.
The main demands of the event are: • Full reproductive rights now: Access
to birth control, safe, legal abortion on demand, and an end to abstinence only
sex education in our schools. • Women's rights in the workplace: Pay
equity, family leave, and an end to sexual harassment at work. • Stop the
budget cuts: Cutting federal and state social services and eliminating
public sector jobs disproportionately punish poor women, working women
and women of color. • Full equality and respect now: Fight racism, sexism
and anti-LGBT bigotry. End violence against women.

SPEAKERS

• Ariana Basco — Graduate of SUNY NP, elected New Paltz Village Board
Trustee, co-chair of NP Environmental Task Force.
• Donna Goodman — An editor of the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter and
elected delegate, United University Professions (AFL-CIO).
• Elizabeth Gross — Recent SUNY NP graduate, founder of New Paltz Feminist
Collective.
• Monica Miranda — President/CEO of the Hispanic Coalition of N.Y.
•Joanne Myers —Marist professor, head of Women's Studies dept.; Vice
President H.V. LGBTQ Center; member Ulster Democratic Women.
• Beth Soto — Director of the AFL-CIO's Hudson Valley Area Labor
Federation.
• Barbara Upton — Member of New Paltz Women in Black, who have
conducted weekly Saturday peace vigils in front of the library for almost 11 years.
• Janice Williams-Meyers — Political Organizer, SEIU/1199.

MUSIC — The Mahina Movement.

WHO WE ARE

Organizer: Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter.

Endorsers: American Association of University Women
(Kingston), Arts for Peace, Dutchess Greens, Dutchess Peace, End New
Jim Crow Action Network, Hudson Valley LGBTQ
Community Center, Middle East Crisis Response,
NAACP (Ellenville), Occupy New Paltz, Orange
Democratic Alliance, Orange Peace & Justice, Peace &
Social Progress Now, Real Majority Project, Ulster
Democratic Women, Ulster MoveOn Council, Women
in Black (New Paltz).National endorsers include:
Roseanne Barr, actor; Heidi Boghosian, Executive
Director, National Lawyers Guild; Leah Bolger,
President, Veterans for Peace; Farheen Hakeem,
National Co-Chair, Green Party of the U. S., Sarah
Sloan and Peta Lindsay, ANSWER Coalition.

Monday, August 6, 2012

WAKING PLANET: Best of Facebook, Summer 2012


WAKING PLANET: Best of Facebook, Summer 2012:   Compassion: This incredible photo marks the end of Matador Torero Alvaro Munera's career. He collapsed in remorse mid-fight when ...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Good News- People Uniting- against Dirty Energy, Citizens United, and Unlabled GMOs

Photo and text from The Ramps Campaign
All of this happened on Saturday:

*A wave of folks shut down the largest mountaintop removal site in Appalachia. *20 are still in jail*    donate to get them out: http://bit.ly/mj-legal
*Texans trained for the biggest sustained blockade of the southern leg of the Keystone XL,
*and 1,000s marched through DC to embolden the movement to ban fracking!

Welcome to a newly escalated movement to keep all fossil fuels in the ground--launching into an amazing summer of solidarity!
                                                                ****************

BOMBSHELL! A new report funded by the Koch Brothers (huge funders of climate change denial) says climate change is real AND humans are responsible for it! Read more.

The anti-fracking fight in NY is heating up. Now a gas drilling company is threatening to sue to say local bans against fracking count for nothing. 


Seventh State Calls for Overturn of Citizens United!
 
In a bipartisan and near unanimous vote, Massachusetts called for a 28th amendment to overturn Citizens United, the anti-democratic Supreme Court ruling that basically allows the wealthiest to buy our elections. They are the seventh state to do so and more are in the process of fighting "to restore the power of the people to regulate political and election spending and to preserve the Bill of Rights for human beings rather than corporations." More here.

Food Fight of Our Lives!! 

Ninety percent of Californians want GM food labeled. They were able to get nearly a million signatures to get this on a ballot as the Prop 37 Right to Know initiative. It is heartening to see so many lining up behind this effort. "So far over 621 organizations and businesses - including retail grocery stores, consumer, farmer, organic, natural health, environmental, farm worker, and labor groups - have endorsed the California Initiative." See the list here.
God knows, we need this great support. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (Monsnato is a member) has called Prop 37 as the most serious threat to agricultural biotechnology in history. If you haven't donated please do- every dollar counts- Go to LabelGMOs.org

For a refresher of what is at stake- GMO? OMG! Ten Reasons to Never Eat GMOs
Label GMOs- We Have a Right to Know!


 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Police Unleash Brutal Force on Crowd Including Children



What country is this? 

The people in this video were protesting the killing of a young, unarmed Latino man. It has been reported that the man, Manuel Diaz, was running away when he was shot in the leg and then shot in the head. 

The police fired rubber bullets, bean bag shotguns and pepper spray bullets at the crowd that included women, children and babies. The police said the K-9 police dog "accidentally escaped" from a police car.

According to the children at the scene, a  rubber bullet hit a five year old in the eye, hit another in the face and a boy was bitten.

Twenty-four hours later, Anaheim police shot and killed another man in a stolen car.

There have been eight officer involved shootings in Anaheim this year.  Sign the petition calling for an investigation of this incident and of the escalation of police shootings.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Doable Solar Energy!

Germany is on its way to being a green energy nation! Their solar power plants produced a world record of 22 gigawatts of electricity during midday hours last Friday and Saturday - the equivalent of 20 nuclear power plants at full capacity!

After the Fukishima disaster Germany closed 8 nuclear power plants immediately and will close the other 9 by 2022. They will be replaced with wind, solar and bio-mass. It can be done! One of the ways they are way ahead of us is in subsidizing solar energy. Read more.


This is so critical. We all need to raise our voices for a more sane energy policy- especially in the light of the worst drought in 100 years in our nation's heartland, the recent Shell fiasco in the Arctic and the never ending nightmare that is fracking. 

From the Occupy movement- do it yourself solar projects can supplement government subsidized solar power.  Check it out. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Robotic Killers, Military Missionaries, Monsanto above the Law?

Robotic Killers Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?

I personally think this is one of the most frightening images of the 21st century. Unmanned drones that can kill from afar. In Pakistan alone it is estimated that from 2004-2012, 500 civilians were killed by US drones.

In Yemen, increased drone strikes are having the unintended consequence of increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda.

From the Washington Post-
“These attacks are making people say, ‘We believe now that al-Qaeda is on the right side,’ ” said businessman Salim al-Barakani, adding that his two brothers — one a teacher, the other a cellphone repairman — were killed in a U.S. strike in March.

The other day my husband thought he saw a drone fly over our house- it is entirely possible. There was a recent article in the NY Times magazine that revealed that drones in the US practice tracking enemies by putting civilian cars in their cross hairs and following them. Drones are being sold to local police departments at a rapid clip and they may soon be able to be equipped to fire rubber bullets and tear gas. Here is a  a map of domestic drone authorizations. Thanks to a bill Obama signed in February they can also be used for a range of commercial endeavors, from dusting crops to shooting movies.

Rep Peter King said drones “carry out the policies of righteousness and goodness.” He added he wasn't concerned about civilian casualties. I wonder what he'd say if China was using drones and killing hundreds of US citizens every year?

"Hunting people for Jesus" Scary Video


Tax payer paid military missionaries?  Say NO- support the Military Religious Freedom Foundation

This Is What Global Warming Looks Like
  Photograph: Jerilee Bennett/AP
 A headline from the Guardian UK recently read "US wildfires are what global warming really looks like, scientists warn The Colorado* fires are being driven by extreme temperatures, which are consistent with IPCC projections"

Meanwhile US media fails to connect the dots. Although there were 14 weather disasters in the US last year compared to the long term average of 3 a year and 82% of Americans say they have experienced a natural disaster or extreme weather event first-hand- mainstream media's coverage of climate change  dropped 72% from 2009 to 2011. Sunday morning shows "have all spent more time covering Donald Trump than they have climate change." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-henn/connecting-the-dots-betwe_2_b_1472754.html

 *And of course it is not just Colorado we are talking about- much of the western US is going up in smoke- "Fire season in the West is 78 days longer than it was 25 years ago. Since 1986, we have experienced a fourfold increase in the number of major wildfires and a sixfold increase in the area of forest burned. The average burn duration of large fires has increased from 7.5 to 37.1 days." read more

 Monsanto Above the Law?

TV ad in production by Nationofchange.org
"A so-called "Monsanto rider," quietly slipped into the multi-billion dollar FY 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill, would require – not just allow, but require - the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed. All the farmer or the biotech producer has to do is ask, and the questionable crops could be released into the environment where they could potentially contaminate conventional or organic crops and, ultimately, the nation's food supply." Truthout.org

The rider was added by Jack Kingston (R-Georgia) wa ho was named legislator of the year by the Biotech industry. 

Sign the petition against granting Monsanto immunity from federal law here.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Positive Signs of Our Times!


Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, speaks during a stop on the first day of a nine-state Nuns on the Bus tour June 18, 2012, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo)
 Go Nuns Go!

Heartened to see the "Nuns on a Bus" Tour is in high gear and has crowds greeting them like they are rock stars. They are drawing attention to the immorality of the Paul Ryan GOP budget that would:
     *Raise taxes on 18 million hardworking low-income families while cutting taxes for 
        millionaires and big corporations.         
     *Push the families of 2 million children into poverty.
     *Kick 8 million people off food stamps and 30 million off health care.

Sister Simone Campbell, in true nun fashion has this to say about those who would take from the poor to give more to the rich.

“We have to open our hearts, even to John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell,” she said, grinning, “all the people I want to think are God’s mistakes.”

The crowd laughed.

“The God in me resides in the God in them," she added.

The Vatican has criticized American nuns for spending too much time helping the poor and sick and for not being sufficiently anti-gay and anti-abortion. They have accused one group that claims 57,000 nuns as members as being "radical feminists". In the court of public opinion- the nuns are winning.

The Pentagon's LGBT Pride Month Event!

 Did you ever think you'd live to see the day?!
About time!


Our Green Future
EdmontonJournal.com
Read about how one "little northern city is going carbon neutral, right in the heart of oil and gas country."

Vagina Power!
Rod Sanford/Lansing State Journ
More than 2,500 went to the steps of the capitol in Michigan for a protest reading of the Vagina Monologues, after two women legislators were banned from talking after one of them said "vagina".

No kidding. These male legislators want to regulate women's vaginas- they are trying to close down abortion providers- but they cannot speak the word.

And last, but not least,
Supreme Court Rules Health Care Act Constitutional!
The US joins with all industrialized nations of the world to say you should not go bankrupt just because you get sick.

This is an immense relief to the millions who have been, or would have been denied coverage because of preexisting conditions, who got sick and got dropped by their insurance, or who are under 26 and can stay on their parent's plans. We are going in the right direction!

I almost felt bad about the photo I posted below showing the Supreme Court Five with "SHAME" written on them after Roberts joined the liberals of the court. But, no- he should stay there- because of his push for Citizens United- which could unravel everything.

This really should not have come as a big surprise- as the insurance companies wanted Obamacare and Roberts has never met a corporate argument he didn't like. By the way, can we call it Obamney Care from now on? Pawlenty described it that way during the primaries and Bobby Jindall just did too, but in his case it was a Freudian slip! I just think Romney should get the credit he deserves!

Jonathon Gruber, one of the architects of the Romney health care law said, "He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he's just lying."

We are going in the right direction- but the states will show us the truly only way to go forward. Vermont just signed Single Payer Health Care into law. Medicare for All!

Keep Faith!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Another Blow to Democracy by the Supreme Court Five


Portrait of Aggressive Judicial Activism                                                                                    B Upton
On Monday, the five right-wingers on the Supreme Court (l to r- Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas) ruled that states cannot pass laws to limit corruption and the buying of state and local elections by the wealthy. However; the Supreme Court Five did feel it was prudent to impose new limits on political contributions from unions- which shows the true colors of  the Citizens United ruling in Jan 2010. It is not about free speech, but rather is a slow motion coup d'etat to replace democracy with a plutocracy where the 1% rule and the voice of the people is silenced.

As John Nichols of The Nation put it, "If Exxon Mobil* wants to spend $10 million to support a favored candidate in a state legislative or city council race that might decide whether the corporation is regulated, or whether it gets new drilling rights, it can. But why stop at $10 million? If it costs $100 million to shout down the opposition, the court says that is fine. If if costs $1 billion, that's fine, too."

In another example, Nichols points out a company like Walmart may decide they do not want to pay local taxes. Now thanks to the far reaching tentacles of Citizens United, Walmart can buy local politicians who will agree with them- local schools and public services be damned.

In Montana, there has been a ban on corporate electioneering for over a century. This was based on the state's corrupt history in which copper barons (one was called one of the wealthiest men in the world) owned the newspapers and "ran the state government like their own subsidiary". In 2011, Montana upheld the ban which had worked so well for a century.

Some were holding out hope that in reviewing the Montana ban, that some aspects of Citizens United could be reheard, especially as the decision's claim that super PACS would be independent of the candidates is patently false. One only has to look at the 2012 presidential race to see billionaires like Sheldon "The Palestinians are an Invented People" Adelson and Foster "Put an Aspirin between Your Knees" Fiesss being highly involved in their candidates' races. Does anyone believe they do not expect anything from donating hundreds of millions of dollars?

"Two Supreme Court justices, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, issued a short statement when the Court took the Montana case, saying they hoped their colleagues would use the case to revisit these aspects of Citizens United. A variety of legal briefs were filed arguing the same thing. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said wealthy interests were using the threat of outsized donations to super PACs to threaten elected officials—giving another real-life example of Citizen United’s anti-democratic impact." (Steven Rosenfeld, Alternet)

But the Partisan Five were not swayed. They seem to be doubling down on what Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority (by one person) opinion in Citizens United regarding unlimited spending by mega-wealthy corporations - he said such expenditures “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”

We, the people wholeheartedly disagree. About 85% of Americans (democrat, republican and independentt) want Citizens United overturned. About 100 resolutions on local and state levels (3 states so far) have been passed to overturn the disastrous ruling. The US Conference of Mayors unanimously passed a resolution this month stating that corporations should not receive the same legal rights as natural citizens and that money is not speech. They called for the most urgent action to reverse Citizens United.

Get involved- Go to freespeechforpeople.org and movetoamend.org. There is also a weekly Move to Amend meeting in Saugerties, NY- http://www.facebook.com/groups/145647712228380/

The Shame photo also refers to the fact that the high court just gave the thumbs up to racial profiling by upholding  "your papers please" aspect of AZ's immigration law.

“In his famous speech at Gettysburg during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln talked about America as a country ‘of the people, by the people and for the people.’ Today, as a result of the Supreme Court’s refusal to reconsider its decision in Citizens United, we are rapidly moving toward a nation of the super-rich, by the super-rich and for the super-rich. That is not what America is supposed to be about. This Supreme Court decision must be overturned.” Senator Bernie Sanders

*If Exxon Mobil had spent just 2 percent of its 2008 profits in the last presidential election, it would have outspent McCain and Obama combined. The danger to democracy is very real.



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Walker Win Could Soon Turn into a Big Lose

Creative Commons NMBTCW
It was hard to come back from my two week vacation (in media free AZ) to find that Scott Walker did not lose his seat in the WI recall (thank goodness Dems won the majority in the State Senate!) Seventy percent of Walker's campaign contributions came from out of state from billionaires like Sheldon Adelson (Gingrich's sugar daddy). Over $31 million flowed into his campaign and he plastered WI airwaves with misleading ads for months, including a disgusting ad linking his opponent to a picture of a dead baby. But the story isn't quite over.

Three of Walker's aides from his time as Milwaukee County Executive have been indicted for stealing from veterans and widows and orphans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars for personal and campaign spending.  Many feel Walker may be next. Indeed he is the only governor in America to have a criminal defense fund and he has moved $160,000 in campaign donations to that fund.

Below is from Walker Watch- Could Walker as County Executive really not known that any of this was going on? And if he didn't have a clue, what does that say about him?
Walker Player Link to Walker Status/Charges
Tim Russell Scott Walker’s former Deputy Chief of Staff, former Housing Administrator, former Economic Development Director, and former Operator of ScottWalker.org. He was fired from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority after it was discovered in 1993 that he improperly billed hotel stays. He set up the secret email network that allowed government staffers to illegally campaign for Walker who was Milwaukee County executive. Mr. Russell also allegedly stole thousands of dollars from Operation Freedom and used the money to pay for Caribbean and Hawaiian vacations and a political trip to Atlanta to meet with Herman Cain’s presidential campaign. One felony count of theft (value exceeding $10,000), a Class G felony punishable by fines of up to $25,000 and/or 10 years in prison. One felony count of theft (value $2,500-5,000), a Class I felony punishable by fines of up to $10,000 and/or 3.5 years in prison. One misdemeanor count of theft (value not exceeding $2,500), a Class A misdemeanor punishable by fines not more than $10,000 and/or up to 9 months in prison.
Criminal Complaint UPDATE: A final pre-trial hearing was set for June 4, with a trial scheduled for June 18.
Brian Pierick Pierick and and partner Tim Russell operated Scott Walker’s campaign website, ScottWalker.org. A criminal complaint alleges Pierick tried to entice a 17-year-old boy into his van to have sex and exchanged illicit text messages with a 17-year-old Waukesha boy. He could face up to 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine on the most serious charge he faces. Pierick had worked as an office operations assistant at the state Department of Public Instruction dealing with education for homeless children and youth. Charged with one felony count of child enticement (exposing sex organ), a Class D felony punishable by fines of up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 25 years. One felony count of exposing genitals or pubic area, a Class I Felony, punishable by fines of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 3.5 years.
Criminal Complaint
Kevin Kavanaugh Walker’s political appointee to the Milwaukee County Veteran Service Commission was involved in “Operation Freedom” and is alleged to have stolen money allocated for children of Wisconsin military service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under investigation for several serious felony and misdemeanor for embezzling at least $42,232 from the Military Order of the Purple Heart between 2006 and 2009.
Criminal Complaint
Kelly Rindfleisch Walker’s former Deputy Chief of Staff to Scott Walker, personal 2012 campaign fundraiser and former policy analyst for Scott Walker. Her office, which was 25 feet from Walker’s County Executive office, used illegal secret email network set up by Tim Russell and illegally sent more than 1,000 campaign emails and also running fundraising operation for Brett Davis illegally. Four felony counts of misconduct in public office. Each charge is a Class I felony punishable by fines of not more than $10,000 and/or up to 3.5 years in jail for each count.
Criminal Complaint
Darlene Wink Wink, who also served as first vice chair of the Milwaukee County GOP and raised money for Milwaukee County executive Scott Walker while Walker’s constituent services manager, is alleged to have drafted and sent press releases for the Republican Party of Milwaukee County, done phone banking for Walker’s campaign and other matters relating to the county GOP at Walker’s County Executive office. All of these efforts were done using the illegal secret email network set up by Tim Russell. Wink faces two misdemeanor counts each carry penalties of up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. Wink’s work computer was confiscated by the FBI. She (as well as Kelly Rindfleisch) used laptop computers that they brought into the office and used the illegal wireless email network to transmit illegal activities.
UPDATE: Darlene Wink pleaded guilty February 7 to two misdemeanor charges of fundraising in the courthouse for then Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s campaign for governor. Wink agreed to provide information to prosecutors as part of a plea deal.
Criminal Complaint
Andrew Jensen, Jr. Jensen is a commercial real estate broker with Boerke Co. and a past president of the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin. Campaign finance records show Jensen made more than $800 in donations to the Walker campaign. Records show Jensen and other Boerke personnel have made more than $12,000 in campaign contributions to Walker. Jensen has big connections with Walker’s personal law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich, which employs the attorney for Walker’s campaign and Reince Priebus, a key Walker backer who is now on leave from the firm to serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee. He was was arrested for failing to cooperate with the John Doe investigation in December, 2011.
Reince Priebus Darlene Wink emailed Priebus to see if the Walker campaign could get former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to attend the fundraiser. Priebus is also part of the Koch Brothers operation “Americans for Prosperity”, which has been very involved in Walker’s extremist agenda that is leading to recall elections as well as “voter caging” during the 2010 election cycle. Priebus could be linked to the secret email network set up in Walker’s County Executive office. Investigations continue on that front. Priebus is the current chairman of the National Republican Party. This could change quickly.
William Gardner Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. and a major donor to Walker. Mr. Gardner was convicted of the largest campaign finance violation in Wisconsin history where he illegally allocated $43,000 to the Friends of Scott Walker by asking his employees to contribute tens of thousands of dollars. Charged with two felony counts of excessive/unlawful political contributions. Each count is a Class I felony and carries a find of up to $10,000 and/or up to 3.5 years in prison. Sentenced to two years’ probation in July after pleading guilty to two felonies for exceeding campaign contribution limits to Walker’s campaign and laundering additional campaign contributions through employees and associates.
Keith Gilkes Gilkes, Walker’s Chief of Staff, resigned on October 8, which paid him $112,000-per-year. He previously served as campaign manager during the Governor’s race in 2009-10. He worked for the Wisconsin State Legislature as a policy advisor in the State Senate. He had exchanged over 1,000 emails using the secret email system in Walker’s County Executve office. While Chief of Staff, Gilkes had recommended a job for Sen. Randy Hopper’s girlfriend, Valerie Cass, who was hired Feb. 7 as a communications specialist with the state Department of Regulation and Licensing. Additionally, he recommended Brian Deschane, a college dropout who was the son of a Walker political contributor.
Cullen Werwie Werwie worked for the campaign of former Republican State Rep. Brett Davis, who was defeated in the September 2010 Republican Lt. Governor primary. Werwie then worked deputy communications director for Walker’s gubernatorial campaign. Werwie is the governor’s current Communications Director.. Werwie has been granted prosecutorial immunity in the ongoing John Doe investigation on April 14. He was doing communications with the Walker for Governor campaign with staffers using the secret email network.
Joe Fadness Fadness is the operations manager for Friends of Scott Walker. He and Darlene Wink exchanged emails, Internet chat sessions and phone calls during county time, which is illegal at Walker’s Milwaukee County administrative offices. There are calls for Fadness to resign due to his knowledge of illegal campaign activity related to the John Doe investigation.
Brett Davis Kelly Rindfleisch did fundraising for Davis, who Walker supported for lieutenant governor until he lost in the September 2010 GOP primary, from her office while working for Scott Walker. Kelly Rindfleisch sent Davis over 300 emails using the secret email network.
Rose Ann Dieck Dieck is a retired teacher and Milwaukee County Republican party activist who has raised money for Walker’s campaigns since 2005. Dieck was granted immunity in the John Doe investigation.
Kenneth Lucht Lucht is a lobbyist and spokesperson for the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad. He works for William Gardner, who at the time was the president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, who charged with two felony counts of excessive/unlawful political contributions. Lucht was granted immunity in the John Doe investigation on January 14, 2011.
Fran McLaughlin McLaughlin was Director of Communications for Scott Walker when he was County Executive and had her office next door to where the secret email network was set up. McLaughlin’s office contained scant documents after Walker’s Milwaukee County office was vacated and many records were shredded or missing.
Steven Kreklow Kreklow was Fiscal & Budget Administrator working with Walker when he was Milwaukee County Executive. He also was the author of the 2010 and 2011 budget. When crunching the numbers for Walker for the Wisconsin budget, Kreklow admitted that the deficit was only one third the number of what Walker has been reporting.
Cynthia Archer Archer served as the head of the Milwaukee County Department of Administration when Walker was County Executive and served on Walker’s Waste Fraud and Abuse Commission and legislative liaison at the Department of Children and Families. Archer’s work computer was confiscated by the FBI. A FBI spokesman Leonard Peace declined to comment, referring calls to Milwaukee County Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern, who also declined to comment.
Tom Nardelli Nardelli was Walker’s chief of staff when Walker was Milwaukee County executive. Nardelli told prosecutors that about $11,000 seemed to be missing from the annual Operation Freedom event at the Milwaukee County Zoo designed to honor military families. Nardelli abruptly quit as his $90,000 a year job as administrator for the state Division of Environmental and Regulatory Services on July 21. He said all Walker’s Milwaukee County office records were saved or disposed of properly, although there were many records that had been shredded and office drawers were empty.
Jim Hiller Hiller, in real estate for 21 years, was Walker’s campaign treasurer for 18 years and on Walker’s transition team as he became governor. Hiller suddenly quit his position as Walker’s treasurer and was replaced by Kate Lind on May 13.
Bob Nenno Nenno was Deputy Director of Communications when Walker was Milwaukee County executive. Nenno also worked as a reporter for WTMJ-TV. When asked about how many other Walker aides were getting their computers confiscated by authorities, Nenno cryptically said “I have been told to refer you to the DA’s office.”
Jim Villa Villa was Walker’s Chief of Staff when he was in the state legislature. He returned to the Chief of Staff position when Walker was Milwaukee County Executive and was gearing up for his first attempt at running for governor. Kelly Rindfleisch, in order to be a public employee in Milwaukee County with the required residence within the county, used Villa’s address to satisfy the requirement.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Current Republican Attorney General and Walker ally who had participated in other John Doe investigations chose not to assist with the investigation of Walker’s former county staffers. Van Hollen continues to not want to get involved in the expanding John Doe investigation, probably due to being more interested in the Republican Party than doing his job.
Many of the sources are combined from the Wisconsin State Journal, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other news sources. It’s just a matter of time when the “smoking gun” leads to Scott Walker knwoing what was going on. It’s just a matter of justice.
This evidence, seen on several blogs looking at the FBI investigation, may indeed be the beginning of showing actual proof that Walker did know “about the laptops” that were being used for illegal campaign fundraising and other crimes at the Milwaukee County office.
(oops- tried to fix the list and cannot make this part go away!)

 
Many of the sources are combined from the Wisconsin State Journal, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other news sources. It’s just a matter of time when the “smoking gun” leads to Scott Walker knwoing what was going on. It’s just a matter of justice.

This evidence, seen on several blogs looking at the FBI investigation, may indeed be the beginning of showing actual proof that Walker did know “about the laptops” that were being used for illegal campaign fundraising and other crimes at the Milwaukee County office.

Thank you to the folks at Walker Watch! Stay tuned.