from: Network of Spiritual Progressives
The intent of the framers of this Amendment is to:
Invite friends over to your home to watch the video with you and discuss the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment, ESRA, which you can find out more about by clicking here.
And if you really like it, ask your Congressperson to endorse House Res. 156 which endorses the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment, ESRA. get your City Council to endorse it, state legislators, local pollitical party, civic organizaitons, etc.
Let us know, please, if you'd like to be involved in building this campaign! You are probably as fed up as we are with the way corporations and the super-rich seem to have control over most elections and hence are getting a free pass to continue to exploit and hurt the planet, prevent meaningful reform, and undermine the needed care for the most vulnerable people in our society. The change we need will only come when we can reduce their power--and this is the way to do it.
Want to be involved in this campaign? (e.g. meet with elected representatives, write emails and letters to them or to community organizations seeking their endorsement, approach media people, organize house meetings, outreach on the web, other ideas...etc. Send to email@example.com
Over 50 major peace and justice groups are organizing a gathering in Washington DC to protest against the Israeli lobby in shaping U.S. foreign policy.
Women for Peace (Code Pink), Global Exchange and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation together with over 50 peace and justice groups, are organizing a gathering in Washington DC from May 21-24, 2011, called "Move Over AIPAC: Building a New U.S. Middle East Policy." moveoveraipac.org
Timed to coincide with the annual policy meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), they intend to bring activists and concerned citizens from around the country to learn about the extraordinary influence AIPAC has on U.S. policy and how to strengthen an alternative that respects the rights of all people in the region. Codepink.org
As the world observes historic people's uprisings across the Arab world, the Israeli government and The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), its lobbying arm in the United States, are increasingly worried. Early in March, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced Israel may ask for an additional $20 billion in military aid-over and above the $3 billion a year Israel already receives-in order to "prepare for possible threats." democracyinaction.org
AIPAC's unconditional support for Israel's illegal policies-separation walls, settlements, the siege of Gaza-has been devastating for Palestinians and the rest of the Middle East. moveoveraipac.org
A total of over 90 peace and justice groups, change makers and activists have endorsed the event to date.
FACTS & FIGURES
AIPAC Policy Conference is held annually in Washington DC. aipac.org
On Monday, March 22, 2010, Code Pink staged a demonstration in front of the Washington, DC Convention Center protesting AIPAC. thepeoplesvoice.org
Israel receives about $3 billion from the U.S. in direct foreign assistance each year, which is roughly one-fifth of America's foreign aid budget. ifamericansknew.org
Late May 2011 will be the one year anniversary since the Gaza Flotilla and the IDF assault on the Mavi Marmara. moveoveraipac.org
Mistreatment of Manning Criticized by Leading Law Professors & UN Torture Investigator - Hundreds of Thousands Write Obama Urging End to Manning Abuse - Retired Colonel: “Obama Could End Torture of Manning With One Phone Call”
Washington, DC: The eight months of solitary confinement of Bradley Manning at Quantico has drawn national and international criticism in the last week. Support is growing for him around the world with 500,000 writing President Obama in the last few days and with hundreds of top U.S. legal scholars criticizing his conditions of confinement.
Lawyers representing every leading law school in the United States have written an open letter to President Obama criticizing the conditions of Manning. Among the law professors is Lawrence Tribe who was President Obama’s law professor at Harvard and served in his administration until recently. The letter, Private Manning’s Humiliation, raises questions about President Obama saying: “President Obama was once a professor of constitutional law, and entered the national stage as an eloquent moral leader. The question now, however, is whether his conduct as commander in chief meets fundamental standards of decency.”
Col. Ann Wright (ret) who served 29 years in the military noted that “President Obama could end the treatment of Manning with one phone call. As Commander-In-Chief he is responsible for the actions of the Marines at Quantico. Certainly he understands the constitutional right to be convicted before punished and that the condition of Manning violates protection from cruel and unusual punishment.”
The UN Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez reprimanded the United States for blocking an official visit with Manning to investigate his treatment. The UN torture investigator has been reviewing Manning’s case since December but the United States will not allow a private meeting with no tape recording. The military has also refused a U.S. Congressman’s request for an official visit to Manning, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, as well as a visit from Amnesty International.
Daniel Ellsberg, a veteran who graduated from Quantico and is noted for leaking the Pentagon Papers commented: “It seems likely that the Pentagon's refusal to allow Amnesty International and the UN Rapporteur on Torture to hold unmonitored discussion with Bradley Manning (as the UN mandate demands) reflects well-founded fear that such experts on abusive conditions and torture could conclude that Manning's treatment is not only ‘ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid’ -- as State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley was forced to resign for saying-- but criminal.”
This comes at a time when the U.S. and China are challenging each other on human rights. China issued a lengthy report regarding human rights violations in the United States this week. As PJ Crowley, former Assistant Secretary of State said when he resigned the Manning case would be an embarrassment to the U.S. internationally, highlighting “the broader, even strategic impact of discreet actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership. The exercise of power in today’s challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values.”
Around the world there is growing anger at the treatment of Manning. Five hundred thousand people have sent letters to President Obama urging him to “immediately end the torture, isolation and public humiliation of Bradley Manning.” The petition was put out by Azaaz.org and is addressed to President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Defense Gates.
“A half million people have taken a stand in support of Bradley Manning. It's certainly a challenge to President Obama to get on the right side of history here and finally put an end to the extreme and illegal pre-trial punishment,” said Jeff Paterson, a veteran speaking on behalf of the Bradley Manning Support Network. “After he ends the mistreatment of Manning, he could then ensure that Bradley receives the fair and public trial that is guaranteed under the Constitution.”
Call the White House and tell President Obama end the torture of Bradley Manning: Comments: 202-456-1111. Switchboard: 202-456-1414
PETITIONING: Secretary of State, United States Department of State
"On January 19 2011 Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Debate on the Middle East stated “……We therefore consistently oppose attempts to take these issues to this Council and will continue to do so.....”
Clearly hinting towards a Veto or at best an abstention.
This is one Veto that must not be allowed. This is not just about the Middle East anymore. These self appointed “stewards” should not be allowed to control every human being’s destiny around the world? They have squandered hard earned American tax dollars on a charade called the peace process for almost the last four decades. Both Israelis and Palestinians have lost. The Palestinians are still homeless, still being attacked daily, and continue to lose more land every day with our blessings. Our ambassadors to the UN do not speak for us, they speak for a Zionist cause which is out of touch withreality. Please sign the petition against the veto and spread the word on social networking sites.
Stop Hillary Clinton’s Veto at: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/do_not_veto_un_resolution_on_illegal_israeli_settlement_expansion
Violence in Israel and occupied territories continues unabated on both sides of the conflict. The Israeli Defense Forces and border police persistently raid Palestinian lands, orchards and dwellings; demolishing buildings; violently evicting residents; and depriving helpless people of their meager means of survival and shelter. Many times occupation settlers themselves attack and beat up unarmed villagers to harass them into leaving their homes. Mean while, despite Hamas' commitment to the ceasefire, unknown and unaffiliated militants from Gaza continue to launch rockets and mortars giving Israel the prelude for almost daily air raids and ground incursions using overwhelming force against Palestinians. Both sides must be condemned roundly for this conduct.
For peace to be given a serious chance we need to convince Israel it cannot continue it’s illegal occupation and expansion into lands it acquired by force. We must approve and support the Security Council resolution that requires Israel to stop violating international laws.
At this time America stands alone and isolated against the rest of the world. Even the British appear to be backing the resolution. As has been pointed out in a letter to President Barack Obama dated January 18, 2011 and signed by 52 citizens, including academics, former administration officials and ex US ambassadors, the current resolution is in line with UNSC resolutions, including: UNSCRs 446 and 465, determining that the settlements have "no legal validity". The letter goes on to state “America's credibility in a crucial region of the world is on the line - a region in which hundreds of thousands of our troops are deployed and where we face the greatest threats and challenges to our security. “ Additionally a large number of Jewish peace activists and human rights organizations have spoken out in support of the resolution.
Unchallenged and uncontrolled, Israel will inflame an already volatile region and it’s continued aggression will result in greater violence and once again drag the US into any ensuing conflagration as an unwilling partner.
The world has seen us supporting Israel’s immoral positions for the better part of the 20th century. These are not American values. We want to be remembered as a fair and just people. We do not wish to be a part of recorded history where American people are shown as being accomplices to Israel’s crimes.
Stop Hillary Clinton’s Veto at: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/do_not_veto_un_resolution_on_illegal_israeli_settlement_expansion
Thanks & Regards.
Silent Voices of Conscience
Veterans For Peace Endorses the April 15th Rally and Protest in Union Square Park
from Kevin Zeese
Veterans For Peace has joined in endorsing “Sounds of Resistance,” a concert and protest against Wall Street banks that draws the connections between militarism, Wall Street, the wealth divide and the downward spiral of the wealth of most Americans. The event, on April 15 at 11:00 a.m. in New York City’s Union Square Park, is part of a democratic awakening that more and more Americans are joining.
Americans are recognizing the link between the military-industrial complex and the Wall Street oligarchs—a connection that goes back to the beginning of the modern U.S. empire. Banks have always profited from war because the debt created by banks results in ongoing war profit for big finance; and because wars have been used to open countries to U.S. corporate and banking interests. Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan wrote: “the large banking interests were deeply interested in the world war because of the wide opportunities for large profits.”
Many historians now recognize that a hidden history for U.S. entry into World War I was to protect U.S. investors. U.S. commercial interests had invested heavily in European allies before the war: “By 1915, American neutrality was being criticized as bankers and merchants began to loan money and offer credits to the warring parties, although the Central Powers received far less. Between 1915 and April 1917, the Allies received 85 times the amount loaned to Germany.” The total dollars loaned to all Allied borrowers during this period was $2,581,300,000. The bankers saw that if Germany won, their loans to European allies would not be repaid. The leading U.S. banker of the era, J.P. Morgan and his associates did everything they could to push the United States into the war on the side of England and France. Morgan said: "We agreed that we should do all that was lawfully in our power to help the Allies win the war as soon as possible." President Woodrow Wilson, who campaigned saying he would keep the United States out of war, seems to have entered the war to protect U.S. banks’ investments in Europe.
The most decorated Marine in history, Smedley Butler, described fighting for U.S. banks in many of the wars he fought in. He said: “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
In Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins describes how World Bank and IMF loans are used to generate profits for U.S. business and saddle countries with huge debts that allow the United States to control them. It is not surprising that former civilian military leaders like Robert McNamara and Paul Wolfowitz went on to head the World Bank. These nations’ debt to international banks ensures they are controlled by the United States, which pressures them into joining the “coalition of the willing” that helped invade Iraq or allowing U.S. military bases on their land. If countries refuse to "honor" their debts, the CIA or Department of Defense enforces U.S. political will through coups or military action.
Tarak Kauff, Veteran For Peace activist and organizer, stated, "There are trillions for wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Libya, billions yearly to support Israel's occupation and oppression of Palestine, again trillions in bailouts to make those at the top of the economic food chain even more powerful, but relative pennies for our children's education, adequate health care, infrastructure, housing and other necessities of Americans. Yet big corporate banks are thriving and, like Bank of America, pay no taxes. But you do, and I do, and working people all across this country pay taxes. I ask, what are we paying for and into whose pockets is it going? The wealth of this country is disappearing down the tubes into the stuffed pockets of the financial/military/industrial oligarchs. Americans are being bled dry while people of the world are literally bleeding and dying from U.S.-made weapons and warfare. Do we not see the connection?"
More and more people are indeed seeing the connection between corporate banksterism and militarism; they are seeing how uncontrolled spending on war is resulting in austerity at home. In a recent interview, Cornel West brought the issues of the wealth divide, Wall Street and militarism together. Prof. West also spoke about Obama, calling him “a cagey neoliberal at home and a liberal neoconservative abroad" who expanded the wars and military while re-enforcing the existing Wall Street-dominated power structure at home, a president who has abandoned the poor and working class and is becoming” a pawn of big finance and a puppet of big business." See the interview with Professor West here:
Join us April 15 in Union SquarePark at 11:00 a.m. for the Sounds of Resistance concert and protest.
Americans Across the Country are Joining the Culture of Resistance – You Are Needed!
Are you tired of big banks making record profits, paying giant executive salaries and bonuses and then cooking the books so they avoid paying taxes? We are. And, we are responding. Join us.
On April 15 in Union Square Park in New York City at 11:00 AM we are holding a “Sounds of Resistance Concert” and protest against the big corporate banks that have undermined the U.S. economy and displaced families from their homes. Big Finance has taken more than a trillion from the Department of Treasury and Federal Reserve to pay for their casino gambling on Wall Street but they are still forcing people out of their homes, not lending to small businesses and choking the economy.
The concert will feature political hip-hop/rock powerhouse Junkyard Empire with special guests Broadcast Live and Sketch the Cataclysm. Chris Hedges will speak about the growing culture of resistance. Other performers and speakers are invited.
The protest will include a picket of the Union Square Bank of America – a major culprit in the great rip off of the American taxpayer.
This concert and protest are part of the effort to build the urgently needed movement to shift power to the people and away from concentrated capital interests.
Stop Foreclosures: The last two years saw record foreclosures with one out of seven houses in the U.S. behind in their mortgage payments. A total of 3.8 million foreclosure filings and actual bank repossessions topped 2.8 million in 2010, a 2% increase over 2009 and a 23% increase over 2008. This record is likely to be broken in 2011. The housing market is so bad that now there are reports of banks walking away from houses in foreclosure, leaving problems in communities.
Pay Fair Share of Taxes: Big banks are not paying taxes, while reaping tax payer bailouts. Bank of America did not pay any federal income taxes in 2010. The largest bank in America didn't pay federal income taxes in 2009 either. If Bank of America paid their fair share of taxes, planned cuts of $1.7 billion in early childhood education (Head Start & Title 1) would not be needed. Bank of America avoids paying taxes by using subsidiaries in offshore tax havens. To eliminate their taxes, they reinvest proceeds overseas, instead of bringing the dollars home, thereby undermining the U.S. economy and avoiding federal taxes. Big Finance, like Bank of America, contributes to record deficits that are resulting in massive cuts to basic services in federal and state governments.
Break Up the Big Corporate Banks: If banks are “too big to fail” then they are too big. They dominate the economy and the political system. Ten huge banks now control 60% of the economy. They ensure concentration of capital and concentration of political power. Because of the federal government’s protection of the big banks, small and moderate sized banks cannot compete. Failure to break up big corporate banks ensures their dominance of the economy and the government. As Senator Dick Durbin said about the banks controlling the senate, in a moment of honest frustration, “they own the place.” It is time for the people to take back ownership of government and politics.
It is urgent that Americans organize, and stand up to the concentrated political/economic power and greed of the financial elite. Join us on April 15 to be part of a people-powered movement that reigns in the power of concentrated corporatism and builds the power of all Americans. Get involved now as we take the steps needed to build a movement that cannot be stopped.
Join us in New York City on April 15, 2011 at 11:00 in Union Square Park.
Kevin Zeese is executive director of Prosperity Agenda.
We need to raise $5,000 for this event to pay for the sound sytem, stage and signs. Please make a contribution now. You can contribute by clicking here.
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