Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Green Party Condemns Gaza Offensive

Green Party condemns Israel's massive air attack on Gaza, calls on US to rein in Israel and seek a ceasefire

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party of the United States calls for an immediate end to Israel's bombing attacks on Gaza, which in the past four days has already caused at least 364 deaths, including Palestinian women and children, with hundreds more wounded.

"It's clear that President Bush gave a green light for Israel's massive and disproportionate display of force. The Green Party demands that the US seek a bilateral ceasefire, with immediate pressure on Israel to stop the bombardment and end the occupation," said Rosa Clemente, the Green Party's 2008 candidate for Vice President of the United States

Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party's 2008 presidential candidate, had joined the Free Gaza Groupon the SS Dignity, which sailed from Cyprus to deliver three tons of medicine and humanitarian aid to Gaza in defiance of an Israeli blockade. Ms. McKinney was safe after Israeli gunboats attempted to intercept the Dignity last night and one gunboat illegally rammed the vessel in international waters, 90 miles off the Gaza coast. Despite damage sustained in the encounter, the Dignity has docked safely in Lebanon and Ms. McKinney is on her way to Beirut.

In an interview on CNN, Cynthia McKinney said, "What we have gone through pales in comparison to what the people of the Gaza Strip are suffering." Ms. McKinney is challenging President-elect Barack Obama to condemn Israel's attacks on Gaza.

Greens noted that Hamas, the target of Israel's aerial bombardment, was democratically elected in 2006, and that Israel and the US have been trying to remove Hamas from power, especially by attempting to spark a civil war between Hamas and Fatah.

Since its election, Hamas has repeatedly offered to talk with Israel, but Israel has rejected all such overtures. Hamas had observed a five-month truce that was broken on November 4 when Israeli Defense Forces killed five Palestinians. In retaliation, Hamas responded with missiles which over the last month have injured one Israeli and caused property damage. The Green Party categorically condemns all violence visited on unarmed civilians.

"Palestinians are living under an occupation that has continued despite numerous UN directives ordering Israel to withdraw. Israel's latest lethal assault will only intensify the crisis and inflict further suffering on the Palestinian people. Two thirds of Gazans are refugees -- some doubly so, from 1948 and 1967 -- and all Gaza residents are living in conditions comparable to a medieval siege. Israel must comply with international law and ends its illegal military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, dismantle the illegal separation wall, make restitution to Palestinians whose lands have been seized, and recognize the Palestinian right of return. If President Obama wants to make history by resolving the Middle East conflict, he must press Israel to take these steps," said Hajja Romi Elnagar, Louisiana Green and member of the Green Party's International Committee.

"The current assumption in the US media that this is a symmetrical conflict between equals is as absurd as the claim that Israel's bombs are not threatening women and children. Israel is the world's fourth most powerful military nation, a nuclear power that enjoys support from the US, while Palestinians are impoverished, with many living without electricity, water, food, and medicine for weeks," said Ms. Elnagar.

As a result of the Israeli blockade, 80% of Gazans live on less than two dollars a day. Unemployment hovers at 50-60% in Gaza, with only 195 factories, reduced from 3,900 in 2005. Israel has barred the delivery of UN relief to Gazans.

The Green Party has called for an end to US military aid to Israel and supports the movement for international boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until Israel ends the occupation, obeys international law (including Geneva Conventions and the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights), and guarantees full human rights for Palestinians. The party supports efforts by Palestinian and Israeli peace groups towards a nonviolent negotiated resolution to the conflict.

The Green Party also endorses complete regional (and, ultimately, global) nuclear disarmament to remove the threat of a nuclear exchange in the Middle East and Asia. Greens have expressed concern that Barack Obama will bow to demands from AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobbies and maintain the Clinton and Bush administrations' uncritical support for Israel's military objectives and human rights violations.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Role of Religion in Presidential Campaigns

Role Of Religion In Presidential Campaign Heads 2008 'Top Ten' List Of Church-State Stories

From Radioactive Clergy To Media Inquisitions, Religion Was A Hot Topic In This Year’s Race For The White House, Say Editors Of Church & State Magazine. The role of religion in the presidential campaign tops the 2008 “Top Ten” list of top church-state stories, according to the editors of Church & State. The monthly magazine, published by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, is the nation’s only news periodical devoted exclusively to the intersection of religion and government.

Said Church & State publisher Barry W. Lynn, “It was a wild and crazy year. To tell you the truth, I’m glad it’s coming to a close. I’m hopeful 2009 will be a lot better.”

After studying the past 12 months of news, the editors selected the following 10 stories as the most important and most interesting church-state developments for the year.

The Role of Religion in the Presidential Campaign: Not since 1960 when John F. Kennedy the first Roman Catholic president was elected, has religion played such a large role in a presidential campaign. News media representatives grilled candidates on what sins they had committed and what their favorite Bible verses were. Barack Obama fought false rumors that he is secretly a Muslim, and Mitt Romney’s Mormonism became a controversial topic. Candidates were held accountable for the incendiary comments of their pastors and their clergy supporters, such as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and TV preacher John Hagee. Many observers thought the whole thing was an unholy mess, especially in a nation that separates religion and government.
The Resurgence of the Religious Right: While pundits and progressives have proclaimed the demise of the Religious Right, the fundamentalist political movement remained extraordinarily powerful. Republican John McCain found it necessary to name evangelical Sarah Palin as his running mate to mollify the GOP’s restive religious base, and Religious Right forces rammed through bans on same-sex marriage in California, Florida and Arizona. Moderate evangelical Richard Cizik was forced out as government affairs representative at the National Association of Evangelicals after coming under fire from Religious Right forces.
The Battle Over Gay Marriage: Bans on same-sex marriage were approved in California, Florida and Arizona with conservative religious forces leading the drive. California’s approval of Proposition 8, with massive funding from members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was particularly contentious. The Mormons, joined by the Roman Catholic hierarchy and evangelical Protestant congregations, were successful in passing a constitutional amendment that takes away the right of same-sex couples to marry and reflects church doctrine in civil law. The issue now moves back to the state Supreme Court.
The Ascendancy of Rick Warren: Once known primarily as a mega-church pastor and best-selling author (The Purpose Driven Life), the Rev. Rick Warren has rapidly moved into position as the nation’s most prominent preacher, despite right-wing views on reproductive freedom, gay rights and church-state separation. Warren, a Southern Baptist who heads Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., is viewed by progressives as Jerry Falwell in a Hawaiian shirt with an ace PR team. After hosting a presidential debate stacked toward John McCain and being asked to give the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration, many think Warren seems destined to be the new Billy Graham.
Religious Right Influence at Justice Department: Religious Right influence at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) was exposed this year. According to an internal DOJ investigation reported in the media in July, senior aides in the department used religious and political criteria to hire staff members for non-political positions. Monica Goodling, a top adviser to the attorney general, checked to see if job applicants were “pro-God in public life” and held right-wing views on abortion, homosexuality and other issues. (Goodling is a graduate of TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Regent University.) DOJ also posted a legally dubious memorandum this year insisting that the federal government may give grants to “faith-based” social service agencies that discriminate in hiring, even if Congress has explicitly banned such bias.
Battles Over Creationism in Public Schools: New battles have erupted over the teaching of evolution in public schools. Blocked by the courts from teaching fundamentalist religious concepts directly in biology classes, Religious Right forces are trying a backdoor strategy. They are demanding that schools teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution, a euphemism for creationist ideas. Over the heated objections of educators, scientists and civil liberties activists, the Louisiana legislature approved an “academic freedom” law encouraging such instruction in the state’s schools. Now the Texas State Board of Education is debating a similar proposal as part of its 10-year review of science standards.
Church Politicking Plot: The Religious Right’s dream of building a fundamentalist church-based political machine took a big step forward in 2008 when more than 30 pastors used their pulpits to endorse Republican political candidates. They acted at the behest of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a wealthy Religious Right legal outfit that wants to challenge the federal tax law ban on partisan politicking by tax-exempt groups. The ADF, which was founded by TV preachers and other religious broadcasters, hopes the Internal Revenue Service will revoke participating churches’ tax exemptions leading to a court showdown.
Defeat of Jeb Bush Referenda: Florida Gov. Jeb Bush saw his school voucher subsidies for religious and other private schools overturned by the state Supreme Court in 2006. Undeterred, the now former governor’s allies on an obscure tax commission engineered two measures onto the November 2008 ballot that would have repealed the state constitution’s ban on public funding of religion as well as diluted its provision for a strong system of public schools. To Bush’s dismay, the state Supreme Court on Sept. 3 struck the referenda from the ballot, derailing the scheme.
Blocking of ‘Christian’ License Plate: The South Carolina legislature unanimously approved a special “Christian” license plate featuring a bright yellow cross, a stained-glass church window and the words “I Believe.” Backed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, four local clergy and two minority faith groups challenged the government favoritism toward one faith. On Dec. 11, a federal district court blocked issuance of the plates. The judge’s action may forestall similar sectarian plates under consideration in other states.
The Christmas Wars: It has become an annual holiday tradition Religious Right groups and their allies in the right-wing media launch a yearly crusade to stop the alleged secularization of Christmas and to pressure government to include Christian symbols in the holiday mix. They rail against stores’ use of the term “Happy Holidays” and insist that advertisements say “Merry Christmas” instead. This year, much of the attention focused on a Washington State battle where an atheist Winter Solstice sign was positioned near a Christian Nativity scene in the state capital. Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly and an array of Religious Right scolds lambasted Gov. Christine Gregoire for allowing the anti-religious sentiment. Ironically, credit for the atheist display actually should go to the Alliance Defense Fund, a Religious Right legal group that sued Gregoire last year, insisting that the Capitol is an open forum where a Nativity scene (and all other forms of speech) must be allowed.
* * * *

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Understanding the Origin of Public Insecurity

* Article originally published in spanish language in El Libertario,
Venezuela, # 54, September-October 2008, that analyzes and goes over the
problem of criminal violence through its social impact on contemporary

All opinion polls conducted in the country agree on one topic: the
insecurity is the main problem for the citizens. The numbers of homicides
and personal injuries place us, at present, as one of the most dangerous
countries on the continent. This situation is particularly felt in the
popular sectors, where there are areas with "curfews" imposed by the
antisocial. Against this, the government response has been inefficient in
dealing with the situation, prioritizing the repressive policies that has
been amply demonstrated, are as inadequate as counterproductive.

Despite the magnitude and importance of citizen insecurity, a review of
the available literature, as well as speeches by the various political
actors, reveals another reality: the absolute incomprehension of the
phenomenon. A strange consensus says that efforts should be emphasized in
resizing the police. This orphan of vision and speech is particularly
visible in the groups of bolivarianos, who reduced the edges of insecurity
to the shirt of strength of the ideology. In contrast, the levels of
violence experienced by the country lay bare and show our crisis as a
society: the absence of a shared project and the absolute erosion of the
economic and cultural model based on the oil revenues. An understanding of
the different dimensions of the problem would then pave the different ways
to reverse it. At the end of the year 2007, the Venezuelan Observatory of
Violence, an initiative coordinated by the Laboratory of Social Sciences
(LACSO) of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), submitted a report
which provides the most rigorous effort to understand the genesis of the
issue and present figures about its reality. Following is a commented
summary on the results found by the team, led by sociologist Roberto

- Building a model for the understanding

On first place, and as the study makes it clear, urban violence is a
global problem; that's why it has become a subject of study by different
national and multilateral agencies. The model used by the LACSO to explain
violence in Latin America, valid to the Venezuelan case, has three levels.
The first is structural in nature, dealing with macro social processes of
long duration, being considered the one that houses the factors of the
origin of the violence. At this high level are six factors: the rise of
urban inequality of education and employment, as well as the increase of
the social aspirations; the changes in the family structure and the loss
of vigour of the Catholic religion as a factor of social control.

In Latin America the gap between rich and poor is the largest in the
world. Unlike other continents, there is more poverty and more wealth at
the same time, so there is greater inequality than if they were all rich
(as in Europe) or all poor (as in Africa). During the 80s, it was a
special increase of poverty in the urban areas of the continent. These
cities have first offered a greater access to education than in rural
areas, so despite the constraints, the numbers for the major Latin
American cities showed that 86% of young people had completed their
primary education. But this educational improvement has not been
translated into better opportunities for their employment or to improve
their living standards. The vague and inadequate integration into the
society of this mass of school teenagers has been a major source of
violence in the region. These young people who are outside the formal
labour market have the same expectations than the others who are inside.
Unlike previous generations, whose rural origin was transformed by the
migration to the cities, young people today-the main victims and
protagonists of violence- grew up in a world where the mass culture
imposed on them targets of consumption. Therefore, in different social
strata, there are similar expectations but there are different
possibilities to fulfil them. The family, meanwhile, has weakened in its
function of social control by the transformations it has suffered in
recent decades. Among the principals of these transformations are the
increase of families with a single father or mother and the fact that both
must meet a workday away from home. One consequence of this situation is
that young people should grow up in the street, available to professional
criminals. Finally, religion has ceased to be an inhibiting force to
violence, and the decline of its influence has not been replaced by a
secular human moral that discourages murderer behaviour.

The second level of the explanatory model of violence is one of medium
type in the body of society, with a less structural root than the previous
one and where special situations contribute to increased violence by
encouraging a kind of behaviour that exacerbates it. These situations are
segregation and urban density, the market of drug traffic and the
patriarchal culture of machismo.

The cities of Latin America grew up very slowly during the early years of
the twentieth century, changing drastically in the middle of the 50s. The
then rapid and unplanned urbanization generated a high density in the
cities, motivating conflict and attacks because of the lack of space for
proper development of life and creating territories of tortuous
architecture, setting the path to the growth of criminal gangs. At a
regional level, in Latin America, men suffer a rate five times higher for
homicides than women. The culture of masculinity prevalent in the
continent has favoured the violent actions and exposure to violence. This
macho culture takes a special dimension during adolescence, a period in
which it builds the identity of those who do not want to be the subject of
ridicule and disrespect because of show an "inappropriate" behaviour.
Thus, the culture of "respect", the recognition of manhood from his peers,
becomes relevant, so the characteristic of "being violent" is a way to
grow and to have recognition in that context. Ultimately, the market for
drugs-far more than their own consumption- has proven to be a great
catalyst for violence. The territorial control of the selling spaces, by
the sellers, is the source of hundreds of victims on the continent.
Moreover, this market brings another dark side: the chain of institutional
justice, which is corrupted and neutralized by drug traffickers and
promote impunity at all levels.

The third layer of violence is composed of the micro factors, found in the
individual, that facilitate violent behaviours, making them more damaging
and lethal, enable and empowering them. The first noted by the study is
the increase of the possession of firearms in the population; it is
estimated in Latin America the existence of between 45 and 89 million
weapons in the hands of the civilian population. Secondly excessive
consumption of alcohol, which acts as a liberator of inhibition, reducing
barriers and repressions that culture has internalized in the individual.
Finally a more subjective factor: the incapacity of verbal expression of
the feelings. Those who can not express their discomfort with words (a
weakness according to the macho culture of Latin America) express it with
physical acts. In this way they implement to themselves a mechanism that
substitutes their feelings and desires.

- The Venezuelan case

The violence was not a major public health problem in Venezuela until the
end of the twentieth century. For several decades the rate of homicides
ranged between six and ten deaths per hundred thousand inhabitants,
occupying a discrete place in the ranking of violence in the continent.
Most of the twentieth century was a period of Venezuelan social upward
mobility and improvement of the health conditions of the population, where
the dominant role in the economy was the growing oil revenues, that
situation reversed in the early eighties, when the so-called "black
Friday" opened a crisis extended until today. From this date the society
as a whole became more poor, unstable and violent. In two decades
homicides were multiplied by ten. In the early eighties the killings did
not reach the 1,300 deaths annually. Twenty years later the figure reach
up to 13,000 murders. For Briceño-Leon this is the period of the
incubation of violence.

The election campaign of 1988 was build with a symbolic debate that sought
to relive the years of plenty. Thus the contrast between the image of a
populist and distributive candidate and a subsequent president who apply
an economy of neo liberal type, led to the social revolt of February 27,
1989, known as the "Caracazo." Subsequently, another major rupture of the
social pact were the attempts of coup d'etat of 1992, which, among other
consequences, increased criminal violence to the figure of 16, 3 deaths
per hundred thousand inhabitants. Between the coups of 1992 and the start
of the government of Rafael Caldera, in 1994, the killings nearly double
the amount in the country, bringing its rate to 22 victims per hundred
thousand people. When, at this period, the barrier of the four thousand
murders a year in the country has reached and passed, Venezuela was
included in the studies of the Pan-American Health Organization on
violence. While the period of President Dr. Caldera brings back some
governance to the country, nothing would ever be like before.

In January 1998, during the next election campaign, 4550 murders were
committed across the whole country. Six years later the figure was six
times as much, 13,288 homicides. Of the 22 victims for every thousand
people it rose to 55, an increase that can not be classified as a "normal
tendency" or by chance. For researchers in LACSO, the political crisis of
recent years has led to violence and, in the other part, the government
has been ambiguous on attacking the problem. On the one hand, the
presidential speech has suggested justifications for certain crimes, such
as theft by necessity, but counterpart's policies have prioritized the
punitive aspect. To this picture we need to add the different steps, taken
at various levels, to minimize the problem and disguise the statistics.
Although they are not the only indicator to take in mind, they do
represent a figure to control the totality. During the years 2004 and 2005
authorities did not disclose the numbers of homicides occurred in the
country, which is a violation of the right to information present in the
Constitution, and hinders any work of social oversight of the public
policies on citizen security.

In a context of political violence -symbolic, verbal and real- and the
social polarization, gang violence and police violence will tend to
increase. However, the dismantling of it all, must pay attention to their
social origins and understand that their main breeding ground is poverty
and inequality of the population. To live in peace and end violence we
would require a real revolution.

[Translation: Julio Pacheco] (Spanish, English & other languages)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Transgender Woman Shot in Memphis

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition
For Immediate Release: Dated December 27, 2008
Another Transgender Woman Shot in Memphis

On Christmas Eve, a Memphis television station reported the shooting of Leeneshia Edwards in Memphis. She becomes the third transgender woman shot in Memphis in just six months. At last report, Leeneshia is in critical condition. We extend our hopes and prayers to Leenashia for a speedy recovery.

We also ask for anyone with any information about this latest crime to call Memphis Crimes Stoppers at (901)528-CASH.

The shooting of Leeneshia Edwards helps shed light on a disturbing trend in Memphis. Transgender women who work in the sex industry in order to survive are now being targeted by a pervasive culture of violence.

The indifferent attitude of law enforcement towards the February 16, 2006, murder of Tiffany Berry, and the February 12, 2008, beating of Duanna Johnson by Memphis Police Department officers, has sent a message that the lives of transgender people are not important. This has fed the culture of violence that has permeated the second half of 2008, and is exemplified by the July 1 murder of Ebony Whitaker, the July 28 murder of Dre-Ona Blake, a two year old girl who was killed by the man who had previously been charged with the murder of Tiffany Berry, but was allowed to walk free for two and a half years, the November 9 murder of Duanna Johnson, and now the shooting of Leeneshia Edwards.

This open season on transgender people in Memphis and elsewhere, regardless of whether or not they engage in sex work, must come to an end right now.

We call on business people who refuse to hire transgender people to open their doors immediately to transgender workers so there are alternatives to working on the streets.

We call on shelters that routinely turn away transgender people who are seeking help, to open their doors so that transgender people do not have to live on the streets.

We call on religious leaders who preach intolerance towards crossdressers and transsexuals from the pulpit to cease immediately and begin preaching messages of love and acceptance of diversity.

We call on political leaders of all parties to stop campaigning against transgender people and start supporting fully inclusive employment non-discrimination and hate crimes legislation to show that the lives of transgender people have value.

Marisa Richmond

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
(615)353-1834 fax

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Energy and Environmental Policy

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, December 23, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders today said that Obama has the chance, when he becomes President, to take the lead on curbing global warming. In May, 2008, the Green Party's Eco-Action Committee announced a set of recommendations for environmental actions for the first 100 days as a guide for Green presidential candidates.

Greens are now promoting the "First 100 Days: Energy and Environmental Policy"

"This is the Green Party's holiday gift to the new administration -- a set of policies and actions that would place the US in the lead among nations fighting the advance of catastrophic climate change," said Wes Rolley, co-chair of the EcoAction Committee. "After the inconclusive results of the Poznan talks, President Obama has the opportunity to put the US at the forefront by the time nations meet again in Copenhagen next year."

"Evidence presented by climate experts in Poznan that alternative energy may not be sufficient to solve the crisis. The emphasis must shift more towards conservation, lowered consumption, and drastic reduction in car traffic. The steps taken against global warming and to repair the current economic meltdown must include all three," siad Mr. Rolley.

On December 10, the Green Party published six recommendations for economic recovery that included environmentally based public works, expanded public transportation, and other conservation-based measures

First 100 Days: Energy and Environmental Policy: Summary of major recommendations

No new coal fired-power plants; no new nuclear power plants; reduce by 90% the mercury emissions of coal-fired power plants by 2012; protect human health and the the disposal of coal-fired power plant wastes

Ban mountaintop coal removal; ban the dumping of mountaintop removal wastes in stream beds and valleys

Reduce CO2 and SO2 emissions by 80% by 2020

Provide incentives for industry and citizens to reduce energy use through conservation and generate more renewable energy sources; enact a mandatory 25% renewable energy mix in the national grid by 2015; encourage all states to do the same (using oil and nuclear subsidy funds); encouraging local energy generation

Increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to 60 mpg for cars and 45 mpg for light trucks by 2012

Set a national phosphorus standard for all US waters that will protect steams from nutrient growth; strengthen bacteria standards to protect human health

Require labeling of imported foods, foods with growth hormones, and foods produced by Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)

Stop export of any technology abroad for projects that involve fossil fuel or deforestation

Require that all federal agencies continue their policy of direct negotiation with Indian tribes on a government to government basis

Protect the rights of Environmental Justice communities to be free from new proposals for permits that would potentially increase their burden of toxic contamination, and prioritize these communities for cleanup

Lost in Space: NASA at 50

Lost in Space
NASA at 50

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been celebrating its 50th anniversary by doing what it does best: public relations puffery.

In recent weeks, the agency issued a slick 215-page publication attributing success after success “benefiting society” to itself. Spinoff: 50 Years of NASA-Derived Technologies (1958-2008) blows the NASA horn for purportedly making enormous contributions to: highway safety, “improved” radial tires, land mine removal, memory foam, enriched baby food, portable cordless vacuums, artificial limbs, aircraft anti-icing systems, and on and on. About all NASA doesn’t take credit for is curing the common cold.

But in fact, despite the usual NASA spin, the agency 50 years after its formation is in a huge mess—as is the U.S. space program that it administers.

On the most recent NASA mission, last month’s shuttle trip to the International Space Station, a tool bag containing $100,000 in equipment floated away during a space walk. (How come a NASA tool bag cost $100,000? The grease guns and scrapers were “specialized hardware that had to be fabricated,” claimed a NASA PR person.)

“Lost in Space” was a common headline for the loss.

That sums up NASA now.

The shuttle is about to be “retired”—and for good reason. “In light of the knowledge gained since the loss of Columbia, we believe we have about one chance in 80 of losing a crew on any single shuttle launch,” NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin admitted in a column he wrote for Space News published October 20.

“If we were to conduct 10 additional launches prior to retiring the shuttle, we would incur a risk of about one chance in eight that another shuttle crew would be lost at some point in the sequence,” said Griffin. “These are sobering odds, one reason the Columbia Accident Investigation Board recommended replacing the shuttle as soon as possible.”

The Bush administration and NASA have planned an end to the shuttle program in 2010 and, in 2015, having manned space flights resume with what NASA calls its Constellation program. This consists of a rocket being called the “Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle” and a capsule to sit on top of it in which astronauts would ride being called the “Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.”

Between 2010 and 2015, at the earliest, the only way U.S. astronauts would be able to go up into space is as paying passengers on Russian rockets going to and from the International Space Station (a $10 billion project which has now ballooned in cost to $100 billion, most of that U.S. tax money).

And as for money, “Over $7 billion in contracts has already been awarded—and nearly $230 billion is estimated to be ultimately spent over the next two decades” on the Constellation program, the Government Accountability Office said in a report on it in April. But whether the Ares I rocket and Orion capsule will fly in 2015, or at all, as currently designed, remains to be seen. “Computer modeling is showing that thrust oscillation within the first stage of the Ares I could cause excessive vibration throughout the Ares I and Orion,” said the GAO report. This “could create a risk of hardware failure and loss of vehicle control.” In other words, there might be violent shaking at liftoff that could doom the spacecraft. Also, said the GAO, the Ares I rocket might not have enough power to reach orbit. In addition, the GAO said NASA acknowledges that “at this time, existing test facilities are insufficient to adequately test the Ares I and Orion systems.”

GAO said of the Ares I and Orion getting off the ground in 2015: “There are considerable unknowns as to whether NASA’s plans for these vehicles can be executed within schedule goals.”

Compounding this is news reported in October by the The Orlando Sentinel—based on it reviewing NASA “documents and internal studies” and interviews with “more than a dozen engineers, technicians and NASA officials involved in the project”—that NASA is concerned that Ares I could crash into the launch tower during liftoff because of “liftoff drift.” The Orlando Sentinel said the ignition of the rocket’s solid-fuel motor is seen as making it “jump” sideways on the launch pad.

“Bit by bit, the new rocket ship that is supposed to blast America into the second Space Age and return astronauts to the moon appears to be coming undone,” began the The Orlando Sentinel article. It quoted a NASA contractor as saying: “I get the impression that things are quickly going from bad to worse to unrecoverable.”

The article quoted Jeff Finckenor, a NASA engineer who quit the Ares I endeavor in September “in frustration over the way the program is being managed” as saying: “At the highest levels of the agency, there seems to be a belief that you can mandate reality, followed by a refusal to accept any information that runs counter to that mandate.”

That’s an old and consistent criticism of NASA. It was forcefully made by Nobel laureate Richard Feynman as a member of a presidential commission that investigated the disintegration after launch of NASA’s Challenger shuttle in 1986. The Challenger, Feynman stressed, should not have been launched on such a cold morning because the low temperature caused an O-ring to become inflexible—and he demonstrated this by publicly dropping a rubber ring into a glass of cold water.

“Let us make recommendations to ensure that NASA officials deal in a world of reality,” wrote Feynman in the commission’s final report. “NASA owes it to the citizens from whom it asks support to be frank, honest, and informative, so that these citizens can make the wisest decisions for the use of their limited resources. For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”

Seventeen years later, with the loss of another seven astronauts in the break-up of the shuttle Columbia as it tried to return to earth, there was the same kind of criticism of NASA by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.

“The NASA organizational culture has as much to do with this accident as the foam,” said the board, referring to the chunk of foam that broke off on liftoff causing damage to the thermal protection system on a wing of the shuttle. “For both accidents,” Challenger and Columbia, “there were moments when management definitions of risk might have been reversed were it not for the many missing signals—an absence of trend analysis, imagery data not obtained, concerns not voiced, information overlooked or dropped,” it said. Lessons learned in the aftermath of the Challenger disaster were forgotten or ignored, the board found.

“Based on NASA’s history of ignoring external recommendations,” the report declared, “or making improvements that atrophy with time, the board has no confidence that the space shuttle can be operated safely for more than a few years based solely on renewed post-accident vigilance.”

The plan to go to a rocket now named Ares I was the brainchild of Griffin. As head of the Space Department at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, he “had written a scholarly paper proposing a rocket design similar to the Ares I,” The Orlando Sentinel has noted. In 2005 he was appointed NASA administrator by President George W. Bush and “within months, he organized a study that passed over other proven rockets and chose the Ares I as safe, simple and relatively inexpensive because it used lots of parts from the shuttle.”

Meanwhile, Griffin doesn’t want to take the blame for the at least five-year gap in the U.S. being able to send astronauts into space itself. In an August e-mail to high NASA officials which was leaked, he said: “Exactly as I predicted, events have unfolded in a way that makes it clear how unwise it was for the U.S. to adopt a policy of deliberate dependence upon another power for access to ISS [International Space Station]. In a rational world, we would have been allowed to pick a shuttle retirement date to be consistent with Ares/Orion availability, we would have been asked to deploy Ares/Orion as soon as possible (rather than ‘not later than 2014’) and we would have been provided the necessary budget to make it so.”

“My guess,” he said, “is that there is going to be a lengthy period with no U.S. crew on ISS. No additional money of significance is going to be provided to accelerate Orion/Ares, and even if it were, at this point we can’t get there earlier than 2014.”

He declared: “My own view is about as pessimistic as it is possible to be.”

Also, Griffin has begun fighting with the incoming Obama administration. The Orlando Sentinel reported on December 10 that Griffin “is not cooperating with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, is obstructing its efforts to get information and has told its leader that she is ‘not qualified’ to judge his rocket program.”

What Obama will do about NASA also remains to be seen. In a campaign stop in March in Wyoming he commented that “NASA has lost focus and is no longer associated with inspiration.” He will most likely name a new NASA administrator.

But in any event there will be major impacts NASA-wide caused by the five-year hiatus and resulting lay-offs and loss of experienced employees.

“The Failure of NASA: And A Way Out” is the title of an essay by former NASA astronaut Philip K. Chapman which appeared in a 2005 Space Daily essay.He wrote: “In 1969, we landed on the Moon, but now we cannot leave low Earth Orbit. NASA claimed the shuttle would be fifteen times cheaper to fly (per pounds of payload) than the Saturn vehicles used in Apollo, but it is actually three times more expensive. The average cost of each flight is a staggering $760 million. After a mission, the time required to prepare a shuttle for the next flight was supposed to be less than two weeks, but in practice tens of thousand of technicians spend three to six months rebuilding each ‘reusable’ shuttle after every flight. Worst of all, the shuttle is a needlessly complex, fragile and dangerous vehicle, which has killed fourteen astronauts so far.”

“First of all,” stated Chapman, “we must recognize that NASA has bungled human space flight…The only viable solution is a new federal organization.”

I’ve had my own experiences with NASA. After learning in 1985 of plans to send a plutonium-fueled space probe up on a shuttle—indeed, that was to be Challenger’s next mission in 1986—I attempted to use the Freedom of Information Act to get information on the consequences of an accident in which the plutonium was dispersed. NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy stonewalled for nearly a year, finally providing me with reports claiming the likelihood of a catastrophic shuttle accident was 1-in-100,000—a figure promptly reduced to 1-in-76 after the Challenger exploded.

I wrote two books and did several television documentaries involving NASA and its use of nuclear power in space—encountering a defensive and closed bureaucracy.

Through the years, I have been interviewed numerous times on radio and television about my investigations into NASA and NASA has consistently refused to provide anyone to face me. I found NASA an agency with a culture that at all costs avoids questions and challenges—internal and external..

A leading critic of NASA, Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, sees as central to the NASA situation it being controlled by the military since its establishment in 1958. “The civilian side was always a cover,” he charges. “Today NASA readily admits that everything they do, every mission they fly, is 'dual use,’ meaning they are doing both military and civilian technology development at the same time.” For years NASA has been involved with the military in the development of space weapons “to give the U.S. 'control and domination' of the heavens with our tax dollars. The aerospace industry brags that Star Wars will be the largest industrial project in the history of the planet.”

This has all warped what was supposed to be a civilian agency. “The nation is in a crisis and we can't afford a new arms race in space,” says Gagnon. “When does the Congress stop funneling our hard earned tax dollars into the preparation for war in space?”

Meanwhile, NASA stumbles.

Karl Grossman is professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury and author of books involving NASA including The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program’s Nuclear Threat To Our Planet and writer and narrator of television programs among them Nukes In Space: The Nuclearization and Weaponization of the Heavens (

Monday, December 22, 2008

Jobs With Justice National Update

Workers Vote to Get Pay; Occupation Ends!

On Friday December 5th, the workers of Republic Windows and
Doors, members of UE Local 1110, occupied their factory, which
was due to close at 10:00 AM. The workers were fighting for pay
for their lost vacation days and for the 75 days notice that
they are guaranteed under Illinois law. This is the first time
in many years workers have taken the bold, militant strategy of
occupying their place of work to demand justice.

Only weeks after taking $25 Billion in bailout money, Bank of
America turned its back on hundreds of workers making energy
efficient doors and windows in Chicago by refusing to continue
credit to Republic Windows and Doors. To make matters even worse
than putting 300 people out of work, Bank of America has
instructed Republic to refuse to pay workers compensation they
are legally entitled to, either earned vacation pay or the
severance pay legally required under the WARN Act, in lieu of
proper notice of plant closing.

Like many other 'titans of Wall street,' Bank of America,
KeyBank and others are taking their bailout -- supposedly meant
to allow credit to get our economy moving again -- and using it
to take over other banks, pay bonuses to executives and
dividends to shareholders... just about everything except
helping businesses continue to employ workers.

After 6 days occupying the plant, workers at Republic Window and
Doors in Chicago voted to accept a settlement late on December

The settlement totals $1.75million. It will provide the workers

Eight weeks of pay they are owed under the federal WARN Act;
Two months of continued health coverage, and;
Pay for all accrued and unused vacation.

JPMorgan Chase will provide $400,000 of the settlement, with
the balance coming from Bank of America. Although the money will
be provided as a loan to Republic Windows and Doors, it will go
directly into a third-party fund whose sole purpose is to pay
the workers what is owed them. In addition, the UE has started
the "Window of Opportunity Fund" dedicated to re-opening the
plant. Find out how to donate.

As the Local 1110 leaders characterized the settlement, "We
fought to make them pay what they owe us, and we won." Read more
about the settlement here.

We want to extend a big THANK YOU to all of you who participated
in this campaign. The tremendous support and solidarity from the
thousands of people like you around the country - and the world
- who took the time to send messages to Bank of America and who
rallied at banks across the country was crucial in winning this

This is truly an historic victory for workers in the United

To donate to the workers' "Window of Opportunity Fund":

Local 1110, UE Hall
37 S. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60607


Victory at Smithfield!
Workers at the World's Largest Meatpacking Plant Vote Yes to
Union Representation

Tar Heel, N.C. - This week workers at Smithfield Packing in Tar
Heel, North Carolina, chose union representation with the United
Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). Workers
voted 2041 to 1879 for a voice on the job.

"When workers have a fair process, they choose a voice on the
job," said UFCW Director of Organizing Pat O'Neill. "This is a
great victory for the Tar Heel workers. I know they are looking
forward to sitting down at the bargaining table with Smithfield
to negotiate a contract. The UFCW has constructive union
contracts with Smithfield plants around the country. Those union
contracts benefit workers, the company and the community. We
believe the workers here in Tar Heel can achieve a similar

Ronnie Ann Simmons, a worker of 13 years at the plant said, "We
are thrilled. This moment has been a long time coming. We stuck
together, and now we have a say on the job."

Jobs with Justice would like to congratulate the workers and
their union for their courage and inspirational example.

We would also like to thank the many faith, community, student,
labor and political leaders who stood by the workers at
Smithfield through their long struggle.

Smithfield workers have shown the way for workers everywhere as
we fight together for an economic recovery that benefits

It shows the importance of passing the Employee Free Choice Act
so that all workers can have good jobs with decent wages,
respect on the job and a future for their families.

Sign on to Support the Employee Free Choice Act


People's Bailout Week of Action a Huge Success!

From December 7-13, Jobs with Justice coalitions organized 42
actions in support of a "People's Bailout" that would fix the
real economy, restore a voice for working people to challenge
corporate greed, provide emergency help to the victims of the
crisis and begin building a fair economy that works for all,
addressing crises in housing, health care, jobs, retirement
security and the environment. More than 100 actions total took
place during the week of action, which was organized in
conjunction with Institute for Policy Studies, US Action,
American Friends Service Committee, National Community
Reinvestment Coalition and ACORN. JwJ coalitions organized a
range of activities from teach-ins and rallies on the economic
crisis to celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights on December 10th.

Central Florida JwJ organized canvassers to spread the word
about the People's Bailout and to collect signatures in support
of the Employee Free Choice Act, a crucial piece of legislation
that will help restore the middle class. On December 10th, local
labor and community allies turned out to support Detention
Service Officers at the Orange County jail who have been
fighting to join a union for many years and are one of many
examples of workers who need the Employee Free Choice Act to
pass. As Detention Service workers were changing shifts and
leaving in their cars, activists showed support by chanting,
holding candles and signs with various messages like "Where'sthe
People's Bailout?" and "DSO- Don't Stop Organizing". As they
left the parking lot, DSO's were given flyers on EFCA and ways
they could reach County Commissioners and demand justice at
their workplace. More than 30 people took part in the event and
came together at the end to hear from a DSO worker and an
unemployed person who was fired due to organizing activity.

Many JwJ coalitions and allies organized actions at Bank of
America. SE Michigan JwJ targeted Bank of America to demand an
end to foreclosures and evicitons. Other actions were organized
in solidarity with the laid-off workers at Republic Windows and
Doors who were occupying their factory to demand the severence
and vacation pay they were owed. After sitting-in for 6 days,
dozens of solidarity actions across the country, and thousands
of messages to Bank of America, the workers demands were met!
Read more about their story here.

Portland Jobs with Justice visited Key Bank to protest their
ongoing financial support of Oak Harbor Freight Lines, a rogue
company that has broken US labor law and violated international
labor standards during a three month strike in the Northwest.
Click here to send KeyBank a message. Portland JwJ also paid a
visit to Bank of America to support Republic workers. The banks
must have heard JwJ was coming - they both closed early that

Jobs with Justice coalitions and allied organizations around the
country will take part in an emergency campaign over the next 2
1/2 months to get Congress and the new administration to enact a
People's Bailout.


Voters Align with Worker Justice and Progressive Agenda

On Nov. 4 voters rejected an anti-union big business campaign
against the Employee Free Choice Act and elected candidates who
support the Bill. Six newly elected senators expressed strong
support for the bill, despite the millions of dollars the US
Chamber of Commerce and corporate-backed outfits spent to try to
defeat them.

The new Senators elected in November - Mark Udall of Colorado,
Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Kay
Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Warner of Virginia and Jeff
Merkley of Oregon - could play a key role in building
bi-partisan support for and passing the legislation. In the
House, the solid majority that backed the Bill when it came to a
vote last year increased their numbers. President-elect Obama
was a co-sponsor of the Bill in the Senate and has said that he
will work to pass and sign the legislation when he takes office.

In Colorado, there was an all-out corporate and right wing
assault on workers' and civil rights. Colorado Jobs with Justice
teamed up with allies from labor and community to form the
progressive forces that defeated three anti-worker and equal
opportunity ballot initiatives championed by the same forces who
actively oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. These defeated and
regressive ballot initiatives included: Right to Work (for less)
- this was the first time in 30 years this type of ballot
initiative has been defeated in the US; Anti-Affirmative Action
ballot initiative - California millionaire Ward Connerly's
deceptively titled "Colorado Civil Rights Initiative" was aimed
at dismantling equal opportunity programs in the state; and
Payroll Deduction which sought to weaken unions and other
progressive organizations by barring the government from
deducting contributions or dues from employees? paychecks. These
victories have only strengthened the resolve and relationships
of progressives in CO to move ahead creating more
worker-friendly environment in their beautiful state.

In Oregon, Jobs with Justice mobilized community and faith
leaders to publicly support the Employee Free Choice Act. JwJ
organized events and positive press coverage in the form of
letters to the editor while corporate front-groups flooded
Oregon with anti-Free Choice ads to attempt to defeat the
pro-labor Senate candidate Jeff Merkley, who was ultimately
chosen by Oregonians as their next Senator.

A poll by Peter D. Hart Research Associates right after the
election showed that nearly two-thirds of voters believe it is
important to pass the Employee Free Choice Act and nearly
one-third believe it should be a top priority for Congress.
Overall, 55 percent of voters said they approve of labor unions,
compared with just 27 percent who say they disapprove.

Many have long viewed the Employee Free Choice Act as critical
to rebuilding the U.S. economy. "Workers support the Employee
Free Choice Act because it gives working people the freedom to
make their own decision about whether and how to form a union,"
says Jobs with Justice National Executive Director Sarita Gupta.
"Working people are struggling to make ends meet and the
Employee Free Choice Act will allow more people to bargain for
better wages and working conditions - which in turn helps
rebuild our middle class and create an economy that works for

There is growing recognition, even in some business circles,
that unions play a critical role in building and maintaining a
sustainable economy. Robert Rubin, Treasury secretary under
President Clinton and now director of CitiGroup, recently
co-authored an article in the New York Times with Jared
Bernstein, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
They wrote: "The problem is that the benefits of productivity
growth have largely eluded working families. Though productivity
grew by some 20 percent from 2000 to 2007, the real income of
middle class, working-age households has actually fallen
$2,000, down 3 percent... A true market economy should have
real labor markets in which labor and business negotiate as
peers. Many years ago, the economist John Kenneth Galbraith
argued that collective bargaining was necessary so workers had
the countervailing force to bargain for their fare share of the
growth they?re helping to produce. To establish that force,
workers should be allowed to choose to be unionized or not."

Moving forward, Jobs with Justice is focusing on building broad
support for the Employee Free Choice Act on the local and
national levels. JwJ is specifically engaging our allies from
community, faith-based, student, academic and independent worker
organizations to actively support this crucial step in reforming
labor law in the US. Local coalitions are leveraging their
relationships with individuals in communities across the country
by signing up tens of thousands of people on support pledge
cards and petitions, gathering signatures and personal
statements of support from community and faith leaders on a
letter directed to the 44th President of the US and the 111th
Congress. JwJ is also gathering organizational endorsements of
hundreds of grass-roots community, faith-based, student and
independent worker organizations, as well as key national
networks and organizations.

Allies of the labor movement are also being organized through
JwJ to be spokespeople on behalf of the Employee Free Choice Act
and workers rights by authoring op eds, letters to the editor
and speaking with reporters to set the record straight through
on-line and print media about what the legislation is really
about in the face of disingenuous and baseless attacks from
corporate special interests and anti-union ideologues.


DC JwJ Holds Hearing on Mayor Fenty's Assault on Public Workers
Based on a report by Andy Richards

On November 20th, more than a dozen DC public sector workers
came together to testify in front of the DC JwJ Workers' Rights
Board (WRB) and a crowd of 200 DC residents about the actions
taken by Mayor Fenty during his two years in office.

Metro Council President Jos Williams said that Mayor Fenty has
created an "environment based on intimidation" of workers
through the gutting of the Public Employee Relations Board,
abolishment of the Labor-Management Partnership Program, and the
appointment of School Chancellor Michelle Rhee who "has made it
her mission to make every employee at-will."

Candi Peterson, a 16-year veteran of DCPS and active member of
WTU Local 6, criticized Fenty and Rhee for the firings of
hundreds of DCPS workers which, she argued, created overcrowded
classrooms and forced teachers to work in areas outside their
certification. "Rhee regularly blames teachers and argues that
union contracts and teachers' seniority rights stand in the way
of the best education for our children." But the reality is that
her "anti-union tactics support more privatization and
outsourcing of public education, the creation of more unchecked
charter schools, unsound educational practices, gutting
hard-earned job protections and union busting."

Marketta McCoy - a recently fired investigator at the Child and
Family Services Agency (CFSA) and member of AFSCME Council 20 -
said workers are being scapegoated for recent high-profile
failures at the CFSA. McCoy added that the real issue is Mayor
Fenty and CFSA management?s refusal to help provide workers with
desperately needed resources and a reduction in caseloads.
"Management should treat workers with dignity and respect," said

Roy Rogers - an employee of the DC DMH Community Services Agency
(CSA) and 1199SEIU member - and Dr. Ray Brown - President of the
DC Doctors Council/AFSCME - also discussed the Fenty
Administration's plans to privatize mental health services
"Closing DC CSA will leave the most vulnerable, victimized,
voiceless, neediest and exploited citizens of the District
without a safety net," said Rogers. "Why eliminate these jobs
now with the current economic crisis which is bound to cause
more need for mental health services?" Brown said the
privatization plan could affect 4,000 patients and put
communities into crisis. "This is a catastrophe," said Brown
adding that the DC City Council must act to pass emergency
legislation to stop the contracting out.

DC City Councilmembers Phil Mendelson and Harry Thomas Jr.
briefly sat in with the Workers' Rights Board to listen to
panelists' testimony. Councilmembers Kwame Brown and Yvette
Alexander also made appearances. Mayor Fenty, Chancellor Rhee
and other Councilmembers were invited to attend but did not

"I see what is happening right now as a major catastrophe," said
Roger Newell, chair of DC Jobs with Justice. "We need to speak
loudly and strongly that working people made this city and stuck
with this city through times of crisis. Workers should be
respected not attacked and politicians who attack workers should
be held accountable." An action plan, based on the testimony and
recommendations of panelists, from Workers' Rights Board members
is expected in the coming months.


Missouri JwJ Helps Teamsters at Anheuser-Busch Win Global
A/B InBev workers win historic contract with community support

Thousands of Teamsters across the United States just ratified
their first contract with Anheuser-Busch after the proposed
merger with global brewing giant InBev.

"Our demonstration played a huge roll in achieving our goal of
getting an outstanding offer from A/B... This contract is
without question the best agreement we have negotiated with this
employer. I appreciate the support you gave us and offer my
thanks to you," Jack Cipriani, International Vice-President and
Director, Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference,
International Brotherhood of Teamsters in his letter to JwJ

Teamsters leaders credit community support organized by JwJ, as
well as the global solidarity organized with brewery unions
representing InBev workers in South America, Europe and Canada
as key factors in their victory.

St Louis Jobs with Justice also organized an invitation-only,
closed door briefing for members of its Workers' Rights Board,
including community leaders, elected officials, academics and
clergy. Read more about this briefing.

Special thanks from Teamsters leaders

"Our demonstration played a huge roll in achieving our goal of
getting an outstanding offer from A/B. Our members have ratified
a five year contract with job security, substantial wage
increases, pension improvements and, most important, continued
Health & Welfare benefits for our active members and retirees.
This contract is without question the best agreement we have
negotiated with this employer. I appreciate the support you gave
us and offer my thanks to you." - Jack Cipriani, International
Vice-President and Director, Brewery and Soft Drink Workers
Conference, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

"Seeing the community come to support us at the rally and the
briefing meant so much to the workers. We knew that we wouldn't
be out there alone with this major corporation." - Robert
Gartner, Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 6 in St Louis

"Workers can be powerful in this global economy when we stick
together. In this fight we organized global solidarity with
InBev workers throughout the world, and community solidarity
with working people through JwJ. That's how we win in the future
of the labor movement and why I'm a leader in Jobs with
Justice." - Steve Johnson, Organizer from Teamsters Local 688
and Mobilization Co-Chair, St Louis Jobs with Justice

This five-year contract impacting thousands of local families

a commitment to keep the St Louis brewery and all other US
breweries open, substantial wage increases, pension improvements

and, most important, continued Health & Welfare benefits for
active members and retirees.
St Louis Rally
As bargaining began in August, JwJ rallied hundreds of community
supporters to stand with A-B/InBev workers . The rally, held in
Kiener Plaza in Downtown St. Louis demonstrated strong community
support as Teamsters throughout the country were about to begin
negotiations, in the midst of the merger between Anheuser-Busch
with global brewing giant InBev.St Louis has cherished the
tradition of Anheuser-Busch as a quality employer and important
member of our economic community. InBev was quick to provide
assurances about its ongoing commitment to St Louis and at this
rally the community let InBev know we're watching.We didn't have
to wait long to see if InBev would really "walk the walk." On
Monday, August 18, 2008 A-B/InBev began talks with 8,000 workers
through their union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
A tentative agreement was reached by October which Teamster
International Vice-President Jack Cipriani described as "the
best agreement we have negotiated with this employer." Read more
from Brother Cipriani and other Teamsters leaders on this
agreement and the role of community support.

Workers' Rights Board Briefing
InBev union leaders from Brazil, Belgium and Canada visited St
Louis this month to meet with Teamsters from throughout the
country preparing to negotiate a new contract with the global
brewer.The Greater St Louis Workers' Rights Board (a project of
Jobs with Justice) collaborated with the Teamsters to be sure
the St Louis community benefitted from the experience and
solidarity of these international guests by organizing a private
briefing before Saturday's public rally in Kiener Plaza.The
closed-door, invitation only event allowed for a more open
dialog at this uneasy time. Local community leaders spoke
candidly about their concerns around InBev's purchase of
Anheuser Busch. International guests were blunt about their
experiences, and the challenges their communities faced when
InBev purchased their local breweries."I do fear that jobs will
be lost in my district and that it will have a ripple effect
through our community," said Representative Jeanette Mott Oxford
(59-MO), "I look to JwJ to mobilize community leaders to ensure
that we protect jobs, wages and retirees in addition to local
philanthropy."Representative Oxford was joined at the briefing
by newly elected officials Senator Robin Wright Jones and Rep
James Morris; and by representatives of Attorney General and
gubernatorial candidate Jay Nixon, Senator Claire McCaskill,
Congressman Lacy Clay, and Senator Joan Bray. Faith leaders also
filled the room, including Jobs with Justice Faith Co-Chairs The
Rev. Teresa Mithen of St. John's Episcopal Church and The Rev.
Tommie Pierson of Greater St Mark Family Church. The briefing
was chaired by The Rev. Dr. Martin Rafanan, ELCA and Director of
Gateway Homeless Services.

The Jobs with Justice Workers' Rights Board harnesses the power
of prominent individuals to provide the community's moral voice
for economic issues upon which justice for working men and women
rests. Learn more about the St. Louis Workers' Rights Board.


Workers and Lykins Reinforcing Reach Successful Agreement

After nearly two years, the Ironworkers' strike against Lykins
Reinforcing is over! The company has recognized the workers
demands and is in the process of addressing their issues.
Throughout this ordeal, Kentucky JwJ has stood in solidarity
with the workers in the struggle for fair treatment, honest
wages and respect in the workplace. KY JwJ demonstrated their
support publicly through leafleting, speaking to the community
on the workers' behalf and through showing moral support to the
striking workers by regular visits to the picket line of
community, faith and labor leaders.


The Mobile Home Council: Vecinos Unidos no Seran Vencidos

The Mobile Home Council won the extension of the redevelopment
moratorium they won in October of 2007 and organized a resident
caravan that visited five parks ending with a celebration at
Curtis Park in Miami.

Mobile home residents made sure elected officials extended the
redevelopment moratorium, currently the only protection for
residents, another four months. Due to this consistent resident
effort County Commissioners included the mobile home issue on
the prioirty list the Miami Dade county delegation will discuss
in Tallahassee.

As they have done over half a dozen times Mobile Home Council
leaders addressed the County Commission on October 21 to let
them know that Planning and Zoning recomendations are of no help
to mobile home park residents. And residents told them they are
developing their own solutions. In other words residents are no
longer asking for help but demanding and offering solutoins.

The Mobile Home Council defied developers by securing the
moratorium, organizing their home owner associations. Now they
have also started developing resident owned cooperatives that
will allow mobile home owners to buy the land where their homes
are located. One such project is already under way.

On the heels of all this work mobile home council leaders
organized on November 1 a caravan that led them through five
parks where they spoke to residents about the need to organize
home owners associations. The party at the end of the caravan
was to be held at River Park Mobile Home Park but the park owner
threatened participants with trespassing charges.

The event was finally held at Curtis Park where at least 50
resdients listened to home owner associations officers from
different parks as well as State Representative Julio Robaina,
who once again committed to introducing legislation in
Tallahassee that would defend the property rights of mobile home
owners and not only rich developers and park owners.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Equality for Everybody?

If President-elect Barack Obama calls himself a "fierce advocate for equality" for gay people, why has he invited Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration? The choice of Pastor Warren signals that Mr. Obama may repeat the Clinton Administration's approach to gay rights. President Clinton, taking gay support for granted, signed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act into law and authorized the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' military policy.

Mr. Obama said he opposed the passage of Proposition 8 in California, which outlawed same-sex marriage. But he also opposes full same-sex marriage rights, demonstrating that he does not believe in full and equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. While Mr. Obama has said that Americans must "come together" even when they disagree on social issues, his choice of Rev. Warren suggests that gay people don't have a place in his vision for America, or are, at best second-class citizens.

Pastor Warren, who supported Proposition 8 in California and promoted its passage, asserts that "in the hierarchy of evil... homosexuality is not the worst sin," an admission that he thinks gay people are evil because they are gay.

He has said that allowing same-sex marriage is like allowing "a brother and sister be together and call that marriage" and added that he is "opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage." Pastor Warren thus compares same-sex marriage and homosexuality to incestuous relationships and pedophilia, which are crimes. He has also said that homosexuality is "not the natural way.... Certain body parts are meant to fit together." Would he invalidate heterosexual marriages in which the husband and wife engaged in sex outside of vaginal sexual intercourse?

Mr. Obama's choice of Rev. Warren for the inaugural prayer coincides with a declaration introduced by 66 countries in the UN calling for universal decriminalization of homosexuality. The US is the only major western nation that has refused to sign on, even though a Supreme Court decision has invalidated US laws against sodomy. Will the new Obama Administration maintain the Bush policy and refuse to have the US sign the declaration after Mr. Obama's inauguration?

The Green Party remains the option for those who believe that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people deserve all the rights, including marriage and the ability to raise a family that all other Americans enjoy. Support for such rights is enshrined in the Green Party's national platform -- unlike the Democratic and Republican parties.

Obama has asked Robert Gates to stay on as Secretary of Defense, not only continuing the Bush Administration's disastrous policy of military aggression around the world, but also the targeting of gay members of the armed forces for investigation and discharge. The Obama Cabinet appointments have proven disappointing to those who looked forward to genuine change when they voted for Barack Obama. Mr. Obama's invitation to Pastor Warren is especially frustrating for gay people who voted for him and contributed to his campaign.

For those who have had enough bipartisan retreats from promises of human rights and justice, the Green Party remains the party of real change in America.

The Green Party needs you help. Please send this message to anyone you know who cares about equal rights for all; and please support the party which will stand up for equal rights.

Communities in Action Making a Difference

Thanks to all who helped make our 6th Annual Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee's Right's Coalition Membership Convention on November 15 in Nashville such a success! Over 150 participants from throughout Tennessee attended to learn, strategize, and share their experiences. Participants traveled from Knoxville, Chattanooga, Cookeville, Memphis and many other Tennessee cities and towns to take part in this important event. This year's participants represented over 40 member organizations and diverse countries of origin, including Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kurdistan, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Phillipines, as well as many others.

Skill-Building Workshops

The Convention provided a unique and valuable opportunity for immigrant and refugee leaders and their allies to develop their skills in workshops that included Community Organizing, Policy and Legislative Advocacy, and Youth-led Activism. These workshops gave participants the background and practical tools to strengthen their work in the community. Participants learned new ways to identify and prioritize issues, build relationships and committees, participate in the civic process, successfully influence policymakers, and realize solutions.

The youth-led workshop was particularly successful this year, attended by over 40 youth representing at least seven countries of origin. High school-aged students worked together identify common experiences and problems, as well as ways to act and seek change in their schools and communities.

Campaigns and Strategies

The Convention is a chance for members to strategize around the three campaigns identified by the membership as priorities for our 2009 agenda. Campaign planning groups included:

Immigration Working to pass just and humane immigration reform at the federal level with earned legalization, a reduction in family backlogs, and access to higher education for immigrant children
Civil Rights Preventing racial and ethnic profiling and other forms of discrimination, especially by local law enforcement
Integration Increasing access to government-issued or government-accepted IDs

These campaigns represent issues that affect all immigrant and refugee groups in our community one way or another, and as one volunteer said, "What TIRRC does in the community is pretty much unrivaled here in Nashville because they work with immigrants or all different ethnic groups and religions. There's no real one specialty group and in that sense they have a much better idea of what it takes to bring all different kinds of groups together." We look forward to working with these committees throughout 2009 and to continuing the the work started at the Convention. If you are interested in getting involved with any of the campaigns, we invite you to contact TIRRC's Policy Coordinator, Remziya Suleyman, to join a committee.

In addition to the above campaigns, TIRRC is currently mobilizing the immigrant and refugee community to defeat the upcoming English-Only Ballot Initiative on January 22. For more information, email Civic Engagement Coordinator Amelia Post or call 615-414-1030.

Board of Directors

Two new members were also elected to TIRRC's 2009 Board of Directors. This year we look forward to welcoming the following two individuals to our dedicated and hard-working Board.

Abdishakur Mohammed (Nashville)
Fran Ansley (Knoxville)

Cultural Celebration

The 2008 Cultural Celebration was bigger and better than ever! Over 14 performers shared their talents with an enthusiastic crowd of 250 guests. This year's performances included several traditional dances and music from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Cuba, Kurdistan, the United States and the African Diaspora. The festivities were catered by eight local restaurants with delicious food including Somali, Thai, Kurdish, Ethiopian, Mexican, Indian, and Vietnamese cuisines. After an intense day of training and strategizing, it was fun to share and celebrate our cultures through good music, dancing, and food. Special thanks to coordinator Danny Salazar for his tireless effort in making the Celebration a huge hit!

Income Tax Ban Doesn't Make Sense

Critics say Income Tax Ban like Locking Yourself in a Burning House

Nashville, TN - The idea of an amendment to the state constitution to ban an income tax in Tennessee is being circulated by some anti-tax state lawmakers - at a time when the state treasury is coming up one billion dollars short. The proposal doesn't make sense, according to Brian Paddock with Tennesseans for Fair Taxation.

"The situation is a lot like if you were to turn around in your kitchen and see a wall of flames, and instead of grabbing the fire extinguisher, you lock yourself into the house and start nailing the windows shut."

In Paddock's opinion, by prohibiting an income tax, the state would be chained to the old way of doing things, such as depending on the sales and food taxes. With it, he says the state has new options.

"Cut those taxes so that ordinary working folks pay much less taxes. You could give 60 to 80 percent of the people in this state a tax cut."

Paddock says that without modernizing of the tax system, Tennesseans will start to see problems in everything from managing the fire season, because of a lack of firefighting equipment, to children being mistreated because child protection lacked the means to intervene. The measure would have to pass two consecutive sessions of the legislature before it could be voted on by Tennesseans in 2014.

Meanwhile Governor Phil Bredesen has pledged not to enact an income tax and is looking at budget reductions instead. Tennessee's present personal income tax applies only to income from interest and dividends.

Click here to view this story on the Public News Service RSS site and access an audio version of this and other stories:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

ACLU Defends TN Peace Activist

ACLU-TN Defends Peace Activist’s Free Speech Rights

Greeneville, TN - The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) today announced that it is representing peace activist Dan Frazier who is being sued for $40 billion for selling anti-war t-shirts over the internet. Frazier, based in Flagstaff, AZ, designed a political t-shirt that criticizes President Bush with the phrase “Bush Lied…They Died” superimposed over the names of 4,058 troops killed in the Iraq War. Through his on-line store _www.CarryaBigSticker.com_( , Frazier sells the t-shirts and contributes a portion of each t-shirt sale to an organization that benefits families of fallen soliders.

The parents of a fallen soldier filed a lawsuit earlier this year seeking
over $40 billion in damages ($10 million in damages for the family of each
fallen soldier). The suit also seeks to force Mr. Frazier to remove the names of
the troops from his t-shirts, denying him his right to political speech.
Mr. Frazier’s free speech rights have been under attack since 2007 when the
Arizona State Legislature passed a law prohibiting the use of the name of any
solider, alive or deceased, on any item for sale without permission of the
soldier or a legal representative. ACLU of Arizona filed a lawsuit on behalf
of Mr. Frazier and successfully challenged the constitutionality of the
statute. Federal District Judge Neil V. Wake wrote in his opinion, ”The Nation’s
debt to its fallen soldiers may not be paid by giving their families a toll
on free speech.”

Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN Executive Director, said “ACLU is committed to
protecting the speech of all political activists regardless of the controversy of
their message. While our sympathy goes out to the families of fallen soldiers,
we cannot jeopardize the free speech rights of Mr. Frazier or others who
want to speak out against the war.”

According to Mr. Frazier he designed the t-shirt “to be able to talk about
the toll this war has taken on our men and women in uniform. Those who died
were real people with real families. When you list their actual names, you help
to remind people of that. I think that's important.”

Mr. Frazier is represented by Erica Green of the Greene Law Firm of
Morristown, TN and Tricia Herzfeld, ACLU-TN staff attorney.

Single Payer Health Care Now!

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders urged Americans to take up President-elect Barack Obama's call for discussion on health care and demand a single-payer national health care program, also called Medicare For All.

Greens said that the current financial crisis is an ideal time to introduce single-payer.

"Businesses have been burdened for decades with the high expense and administrative burden of employer-based health care benefits. Single-payer will alleviate the burden and stimulate the economy. It will also cost working people far less than they now pay for private coverage. Businesses large and small, unions, and all middle- and low-income working Americans will benefit from single-payer," said Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

Greens have taken the lead on single-payer in many states. Party leaders Gloria Mattera and Peter LaVenia are co-sponsors of Single Payer New York, Mark Dunlea is one of the organizers, and webmaster David Doonan manages the group's site (

"Mr. Obama asks Americans to send their ideas to him about how to fix health care. Now is the time for organizations and Americans who support single-payer to tell the President-elect that single-payer is the only acceptable solution," said Carl Romanelli, former Green candidate for the US Senate and Northeastern Pennsylvania coordinator for the PA single payer movement (

"The greatest danger is that the sense of exhilaration and relief that greeted Mr. Obama's election will turn into acquiescence to his mandate plan for health care reform," added John Battista, MD, Green Party member and Coordinator of the Connecticut Coalition for Universal Health Care. "That's what happened in 1993 after Bill Clinton was elected, setting back the chance for single-payer for more than a decade. Like Mr. Clinton and every Democratic presidential nominee for the past two decades, Mr. Obama would leave the private insurance industry in control of our health care."

"Will Barack Obama stand with the American people and make quality health care a right for all by saying no to for-profit health insurance?" asked Mr. Dunlea, who attended a recent Healthcare Now national gathering in Chicago and proposed placing 20,000 single payer signs at the inauguration. "Or will he allow health insurance companies to continue to make profits by denying consumers access to coverage? Doctors say yes to single-payer, nurses say yes to single-payer, and the American public says yes to single-payer in every poll despite the denials from politicians and the media. Will Mr. Obama say, Yes we can?"

Green Party leaders urged progressive and consumer groups and unions not to repeat mistakes made during the first Clinton term, when many of them dropped their demand for single-payer and endorsed the Clinton 'managed care' plan, which would have herded Americans into coverage under a handful of the largest private insurance companies. President Clinton rejected single-payer, and support for national health insurance was deleted from the Democratic Party platform during the Clinton Administration. As a result, health care reform languished while the number of uncovered Americans grew and even those with coverage have been increasingly denied treatment.

The Obama plan includes similar mandates and attempts to compensate insurance firms and HMOs for heavy regulation by giving them huge subsidies.

"The Obama plan is a scheme to sustain insurance companies and HMOs with our tax dollars. It reciprocates the hundreds of thousands of dollars that these corporations contribute to Democratic candidates every election cycle. Insurance companies and HMOs have a financial interest in excluding 'high risk' people -- the old, the poor, those with prior medical conditions -- and limiting treatment for those who have coverage in order to maximize profits. Why should we pay off insurance companies and HMOs to cover the excluded, when we can save hundreds of billions annually by covering everyone with a single-payer plan?" said Green Party co-chair Jill Bussiere.

Single-payer/Medicare For All would cover all Americans regardless of income, employment, residence, age, or prior medical condition, while allowing choice of health care provider. In 2003, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article estimating that Single-Payer could cut health care costs by $350 billion annually (


The Green Party takes no money from real estate companies, investment firms, or insurance companies; In fact, we don't take any corporate money because we think corporate money in politics is wrong. If you agree, please help us today. Your donation to the Green Party will help make sure we have a strong Green party today and into the future.

Stop the Seige of Gaza Now!

The humanitarian crisis facing the Palestinian people in Gaza has reached an especially grave level. The deprivation of food and water is the deliberate purpose of the U.S.-backed Israeli government's decision to close border crossings into Gaza.

All crossings for goods coming into the Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, are closed. The Palestinians are completed blockaded. A United Nations report issued today states that the blockade and siege of Gaza, which began 18 months ago after the democratic election of the Hamas government, has now resulted in a 49% unemployment rate for the citizens of Gaza. Gaza City residents are without electricity for up to 16 hours a day and half the city's residents receive water only once a week for a few hours. The UN report added that 80% of Palestinians living in Gaza are obliged to drink polluted water.

The United National Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has been forced to suspend food distribution for both emergency and regular programs. The Agency has run out of flour and has now suspended food deliveries to 750,000 Palestinians in Gaza.

The Israeli Occupation Forces have escalated their military attacks on the people in Gaza. Civilians have been killed and Palestinian houses and other civilian premises have been targeted for destruction. This is a deliberate policy to starve and strangle a whole people by depriving them of food, water, fuel and medical supplies.

The U.S. government is bankrolling the Israeli government and its criminal actions. Israel receives $15 million dollars a day and is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid in the world. The U.S. Military Industrial Complex and the leadership of both the Republican and Democratic parties support Israel because they view the Israeli government as a extension of U.S. power in the Middle East. The Palestinian people deserve the support and solidarity of people around the world. They deserve our support not only in the face of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but in their struggle for self-determination including the right to return to their homes from which they were evicted by the forces of colonial occupation.

Join with people around the country and around the world who are demanding an end to U.S. aid to Israel. This is an urgent situation and we must all act now. You can send a letter with our easy click and send system demanding an end to U.S. aid to Israel. Without U.S. aid, the Israeli siege and blockade of Gaza could not be continued. Click this link now to send a letter to the State Department and elected officials in Congress.


A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Chicago: 773-463-0311

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Where is the Anti-War Movement Now?

by Debra Sweet

I was at the United for Peace & Justice National Assembly this weekend. I met some of you there who read this list; and others who were not familiar with World Can't Wait.

I worked with others -- mostly peace coalitions from the middle of the country, not in the larger cities -- to get UFPJ to support a united anti-war march in Washington DC on the sixth anniversary of the war, Saturday March 21. By 111-49, that proposal was defeated, in favor of what UFPJ's program "Yes We Can...End the War" for a Saturday, April 4 march on Wall Street, focusing on the recession.

Not to directly challenge Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan is shameful. On the anniversary of "Shock & Awe," and under a new president, the anti-war movement needs to be in Washington. And many of us WILL be there (see sidebar).

World Can't Wait wrote a letter to the anti-war movement. We posed:

"We in this country, and those of us in this movement, have a choice. We can side with our government, with the "good war" fought in our names, and act like American lives are more important than anyone else's lives.

Or we can show the people living in the Middle East, and the world, that in the U.S. there is a difference between the people and their government, and that the people are taking responsibility to end an unjust war and the war crimes that have been carried out in our name. We can act like we care about the whole planet."

To the Anti-War movement in the United States:

"That which you do not resist and mobilize to stop you will learn - or be forced - to accept."
From the Call to Drive out the Bush Regime, 2005

Barack Obama is sending a surge of 20,000 troops to Afghanistan.

An antiwar movement that does not move immediately to oppose the Obama doctrine of shifting the central front of the war on terror to Afghanistan, no longer deserves to be called an anti-war movement.

Millions of people voted for Obama because they thought he would end the war. Yet Obama filled his cabinet with Hillary "Obliterate Iran" Clinton, Robert Gates, James Jones and Susan Rice ("a kettle of hawks," said Jeremy Scahill).

He is not only continuing an unjust war by leaving 80,000 troops and 17 permanent bases in Iraq, and all over the region, including nuclear carrier-led task forces with enough firepower to "annihilate" any country in the region, but Obama is enlisting many progressive sections of society to support and be complicit in waging a spreading war for U.S. hegemony and imperialist expansion known as the "war on terror."

March 21 National Coalition

The ANSWER Coalition is joining with other coalitions, organizations, and networks in a March 21 National Coalition to bring people from all walks of life and from all cities across the United States to take part in a March on the Pentagon on the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war: Saturday, March 21.

The Iraqi journalist Muntather Al-Zaidi spoke for millions of Iraqis and outraged people everywhere when he threw his shoes at George Bush during Bush's publicity stunt "victory lap” in Baghdad yesterday. As he threw his shoes, Muntather said, “This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog! This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!”

Tragically, the criminal occupation of Iraq will not be over even by the sixth anniversary of the start of the war in March 2009. People around the world will be marching together on the sixth anniversary in the strongest possible solidarity with the people of Iraq demanding an end to the occupation of their country.

Marking the sixth anniversary of the criminal invasion of Iraq, on March 21, 2009, thousands will March on the Pentagon to say, “Bring the Troops Home NOW!” We will also demand “End Colonial Occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Everywhere” and “Fund Peoples’ Needs Not Militarism and Bank Bailouts.” We will insist on an end to the war threats and economic sanctions against Iran. We will say no to the illegal U.S. program of detention and torture.

To endorse the March 21 March on the Pentagon, click here. To sign up to be a Transportation Organizing Center, click here.

While millions of families are losing their homes, jobs and healthcare, the real military budget next year will top one trillion dollars--that's $1,000,000,000,000. If used to meet people’s needs, that amount could create 10 million new jobs at $60,000 per year, provide healthcare for everyone who does not have it now, rebuild New Orleans, and repair much of the damage done in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cost for the occupation of Iraq alone is $400 million each day, or about $12 billion each month.

The war in Iraq has killed, wounded or displaced nearly one third of Iraq’s 26 million people. Thousands of U.S. soldiers have been killed, and hundreds of thousands more have suffered severe physical and psychological wounds. The U.S. leaders who have initiated and conducted this criminal war should be tried and jailed for war crimes.

The idea that the U.S. is in the process of ending the criminal occupation of Iraq is a myth. Washington and its dependent Iraqi government signed a “Status of Forces” agreement, supposedly calling for the U.S. military to leave Iraqi cities by July 1, 2009, and all of Iraq by 2012. But even this outrageous extension of an illegal occupation is just one more piece of deception, as was soon made clear by top U.S. and Iraqi officials.

The ink was hardly dry on the agreement when, on December 12, official Iraq government spokesman Ali al Dabbagh dismissed the idea that U.S. troops would leave by 2012: "We do understand that the Iraqi military is not going to get built out in the three years. We do need many more years. It might be 10 years."

The next day, General Raymond Odierno, commander of “coalition (U.S.) forces” in Iraq, stated that thousands of U.S. troops could remain inside Iraqi cities after July 1, 2009, as part of “training and mentoring teams.”

Government propaganda aside, the reality remains that only the people can end the war and occupation in Iraq. To endorse the March 21 March on the Pentagon, click here, and to sign up to be a Transportation Organizing Center, click here.

The war in Afghanistan is expanding. The incoming administration and Congressional leaders have promised to send in more troops.

Federal bailouts and loan guarantees for the biggest banks and investors, many of whom have also made billions in profits from militarism, are already up to an astounding $7.2 trillion this year. None of that money is earmarked for keeping millions of foreclosed and evicted families in their homes.

Coming just two months after the inauguration of the next president, the March 21, 2009, March on the Pentagon will be a critical opportunity to let the new administration in Washington hear the voice of the people demanding an immediate end to war and occupation, and demanding economic justice. Joint actions will take place on the West Coat in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Again, to endorse the March 21 March on the Pentagon, click here, and to sign up to be a Transportation Organizing Center, click here.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Chicago: 773-463-0311