February 28, 2007

What would Martin Luther King Say Today?

This impressive speech was originally directed against the Vietnam war. But it is more relevant than ever. Eric Blumrich created this video featuring Dr. King's famous speech explaining why he was opposed to Vietnam and why he would, no doubt, stand opposed to our action in Iraq.

February 26, 2007

ACLU Television Series: The Patriot Act

...Beyond the Patriot Act...the ACLU Explains What it Means to Each of Us in a Democracy

Through personal stories of ordinary Americans, "Beyond the Patriot Act" tells how a misguided law and other government overreactions to Sept. 11 are restricting our most basic constitutional freedoms and threatening America's system of checks and balances.
Facts and Actions from the Episode

See how the Patriot Act targets libraries and you as a reader
Learn about other Patriot Act abuses
Trackthe history and read about the secretive FISA court
Watch the ACLU’s Stop the Abuse of Power video.
Tell us how the Patriot Act has affected you or a loved one.

Then, write a Letter to the Editor.
Download the Viewer's Guide (PDF)

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

"Beyond the Patriot Act" features people like Patricia David, who was left nearly destitute with a young daughter to raise after her husband became one of the thousands of immigrants to be deported after Sept. 11. Also profiled is Abdulameer Habeeb, an Iraqi artist tortured under Saddam's regime who was arrested while traveling across the U.S. to start a new job in Washington, D.C. After being interrogated by the FBI and imprisoned, he lost his job and his family members withdrew from him.

No Respect for Privacy

You’ll hear a university librarian talking about the need to dump library records to protect the privacy of her patrons, and the owner of an Internet company who was asked to turn over customer records and ordered to keep silent about it.

Grassroots Movement

The episode also tells the story of Allison Smith and City Councilman Bill Peduto, who led a drive in Pittsburgh to pass a resolution against the Patriot Act. They are part of a grassroots campaign that has led to the passage of more than 400 such community resolutions across the country.
Spread the Word

Become part of the movement to protect civil liberties! Join millions of viewers who are watching The ACLU Freedom Files. To help get the message out and receive a free DVD, join the Freedom Files Producers Club: All you have to do is organize a screening or spread the word about the programs via email or the Web.

Click here to find out what's been happening at “Beyond the Patriot Act” screenings around the country. You can also listen to a recorded conference call with ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero and the series executive producer, Robert Greenwald.

Paul's Shirt & Support for the Chiapas in Paul's Name


...from the desk of your Midwest P&J Director: JOIN US IN HONORING OUR FRIEND WHILE RAISING MONEY FOR CHIAPAS IN HIS HONOR

Dear Midwest Peace & Justice Caucus members,

Nancy Porter and I recently stumbled on a germ of an idea to honor Paul, and we've expanded it to maybe reaise money for Chiapas at the same time. The back of our shirts would have the following words in a half circle:

CLICK HERE to read the obituary of our friend, Paul W. Mann.

Unless we can print a large number of them, they will all have to be navy blue or black, but we won't print any if we don't have a market for them.

The top of the back of the shirt would read:

PEACE & JUSTICE CAUCUS

and at the bottom it would say:

PAUL
NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSN.

In the middle would be the graphic of Paul Mann (see picture above) designed by Joel Franken.

On the front would be the words

"A War Budget Leaves EVERY Child Behind."

Please let me know if you're interested. CLICK HERE if you are interested in ordering one of the shirts honoring Paul. Let me know what you think.

Thanks,
Tom Wolfe
NEA Midwest P&J Coordinator

US: 10 Steps to Restore Moral Authority

10 Steps to Restore Moral Authority in the U.S.
Scroll Down for a Complete List of the 10 Steps & A Sample Letter to Our Nation's Lead Policy Makers

(Washington, February 22, 2007) – Congress should adopt a 10-step plan to reverse the Bush administration’s detention and interrogation policies, a coalition of human rights, civil liberties and religious groups said in a letter sent today to the Congressional leadership.

First on the agenda is the restoration of access to courts for detainees to bring habeas corpus challenges – the age-old protection against the arbitrary exercise of executive power. Among other things, the coalition also calls on Congress to enact legislation that would stop renditions to torture; permanently ban the use of secret prisons; and prohibit the use in any adjudicative proceedings of evidence obtained through coercion and abusive interrogation practices, including in the newly authorized military commissions.

“For the last five years, the Bush administration has ignored the rule of law,” said Jennifer Daskal, US advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.



“It has authorized abusive interrogations, indefinite secret detention without charge, and rendition to torture – all practices Washington condemned when carried out by others.”

Congress should follow the 10 steps laid out in the letter, Human Rights Watch said. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is good policy – one that would restore the United States’ reputation as a nation that respects human rights and the rule of law.

“The new Congress now has the chance – and the mandate – to right the wrongs of the past five years and restore Washington’s moral authority at home and abroad,” said Daskal.

Ten Steps to Restore the United States' Moral Authority
A Common Sense Agenda for the 110th Congress


(1) Restore Habeas Corpus Perhaps the most important protection against the arbitrary exercise of executive power, the writ of habeas corpus ensures that all persons can challenge the legality of their detention before an independent court. The Military Commissions Act of 2006, as interpreted by the current administration, would deprive any non-citizen labeled “enemy combatant” of this centuries-old right. A vote to protect the habeas rights of detainees in US military custody lost in the Senate by just three votes in September. Restoring habeas corpus to ensure judicial review of detentions and provide an important independent check on executive power should be a first order of business for the new Congress.

(2) Stop Renditions to Torture The United States made great strides when, in 2005, it enacted the McCain Amendment prohibiting the use of torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment by any US official acting anywhere in the world. Now the United States needs to get out of the business of outsourcing torture and ill- treatment to other countries. Congress should pass legislation to protect detainees in US custody from being transferred to abuse.

(3) Abolish Secret Prisons Although the US has long criticized other nations for engaging in forced disappearances – imprisoning people in secret – the Bush administration continues to assert the right to do so. While the administration claims to have emptied its secret CIA prisons for the time being, it has not ruled out their future use nor accounted for all the prisoners who are believed to have been secretly detained. Congress should pass legislation to ensure that the secret detention centers are shut down permanently and that no one in US custody is forcibly disappeared or otherwise held incommunicado. Congress should also demand an accounting of the whereabouts of all those formerly held in secret locations.

(4) Hold Abusers Accountable Although more than six hundred US military and civilian personnel have been implicated in hundreds of known instances of detainee abuse, including 25 cases where the detainee ultimately died, very few have been prosecuted. Only eleven service members have been sentenced for more than a year – all low-ranking; no one has been convicted on the basis of command responsibility; and only one civilian – a contractor to the CIA – has been prosecuted. Congress should demand that the Pentagon and Department of Justice vigorously prosecute those responsible for engaging in, authorizing or condoning detainee mistreatment, including those up the chain of command. This would deter future abuse and demonstrate to the world the US’s condemnation of such ill-treatment.

(5) Hold Fair Trials In October, the Congress authorized the use of military commissions to try non-citizen detainees in US military custody. The rules for these commissions raise serious concerns about the integrity and fairness of such trials. Of particular concern, the rules allow the use of coerced evidence and evidence obtained through cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment if obtained before January 2006 and found “reliable” by a military judge, and also allow the government to withhold from defense lawyers information about how the evidence was obtained. As a result of these provisions, defendants could be convicted based on the wide array of so-called “enhanced” interrogation techniques allegedly employed by the CIA – techniques including extended exposure to extreme cold, prolonged sleep deprivation, and “waterboarding” (mock drowning). Congress should amend these rules to ensure that detainees are not convicted – and possibly executed – based on evidence obtained through torture or other abusive treatment, are provided a fair opportunity to confront their accusers and are given a meaningful chance to gather and present evidence and witnesses.

(6) Prohibit Abusive Interrogations In the Military Commissions Act, Congress amended the War Crimes Act of 1996, specifying a list of eight “grave breaches” of the humane treatment requirements of the Geneva Conventions that constitute war crimes. Two of the primary authors of the Military Commissions Act, Senators John Warner and John McCain, have publicly stated that they intended to criminalize the abusive interrogation techniques allegedly used by the CIA in the past. But the administration continues to imply that it could continue the CIA secret detention program – and presumably the abusive interrogations that go with it. Congress should clarify that the full range of abusive interrogation techniques that have been prohibited for use by the military’s new field manual on interrogations are similar prohibited – and criminalized – if used by the CIA.

(7) Close Guantánamo Bay The US continues to hold close to 400 detainees in Guantanámo Bay, many of whom have been held for five years without charge and without access to court to challenge the legality of their detention. Those detainees who have engaged in terrorism-related crimes should be charged and held accountable; those who are not charged with criminal acts should be released. The administration should work with its allies to develop appropriate procedures in accordance with U.S. and international human rights and humanitarian obligations to ensure that detainees are not returned to countries where they face torture or abuse. Congress should hold oversight hearings about the future of Guantanamo, and push the administration to put forth a plan for its closure.

(8) Respect the Laws of War The US’s unilateral reinterpretation of the Geneva Conventions to support its questionable detention policies undermines respect for the rule of law around the world and puts US service members and civilians at risk if US’s policies and practices are adopted by others. Of particular concern, the US Congress in October enacted (in the Military Commissions Act) an overbroad definition of “unlawful enemy combatant” that turns a civilian munitions worker, a mother who provides food to her combatant son, and a US resident accused of giving money to a banned group into “combatants” who can be detained without charge in military custody or tried by a military court. The new Congress should strike this definition of “unlawful enemy combatant” and reaffirm the US’s longstanding commitment to the civilian – rather than military – courts to prosecute civilians who violate the law.

(9) Protect Victims of Persecution From Being Defined As Terrorists The United States will never be able to effectively fight terrorism if it cannot distinguish between terrorists and victims. Yet, overbroad terrorism-related bars in US immigration law are now being used to define innocent victims as terrorists – and denying them entry to the United States. Hmong and Montagnards are being labeled as terrorists solely because they took up arms alongside the United States during the Vietnam War. Rape victims who were forced into sexual slavery by West African rebel groups are being labeled “material supporters” of terrorism because they performed household chores while enslaved. Congress should adopt a reasonable definition of terrorism that does not equate victims with terrorists and define any armed group as terrorist, even if it does not target civilians.

(10) End Indefinite Detention Without Charge Ever since 9/11, the Bush administration has relied on a variety of means to detain individuals indefinitely and without charge. The material witness warrant law – a law that allows the government to temporarily detain key witnesses who pose credible flight risks – has been misused to detain dozens of terrorism-related suspects, some of whom were held for months without charge. Now, the administration is improperly invoking the “enemy combatant” label to justify the indefinite detention without charge of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a lawful US resident who since the eve of his trial for credit card fraud in 2003 has been held in a military brig in South Carolina. Congress should use its oversight authority and pass legislation that will prevent the administration from evading basic due process protections, and, in so doing, undermine respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law.

A Sample Letter to Policy Makers


Letter on the Ten Steps to Restore the United States' Moral Authority
A Common Sense Agenda for the 110th Congress


The Honorable Harry Reid
United States Senate
528 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
361A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
United States House of Representatives
235 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable John Boehner
United States House of Representatives
1011 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
February 22, 2006

Dear Senator Reid, Senator McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and Congressman Boehner:

Over the last several years, the moral authority of the United States has been undermined by the federal government’s unprecedented and illegal assertion of authority to subject detainees to abusive interrogations, indefinite detention without charge – often in secret locations – and rendition to torture.

The last Congress and the Supreme Court took some important steps to right these wrongs (with the passage of the McCain amendment and the Supreme Court’s rulings in the cases of Rasul and Hamdan).

But much remains to be done to restore America’s reputation as a champion of human rights and the rule of law. We have joined together to propose to Congress a
ten-step plan as a way forward.

Not only does this plan lay out the right thing to do, but it also sets forth an effective counterterrorism policy – one that ensures that the United States is holding the right people, promotes respect for the rule of law, and puts an end to policies and practices that undermine American interests at home and abroad.

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to working with you to begin implementing these proposals.

Sincerely,

Alliance for Justice
American Civil Liberties Union
Amnesty International
Center for American Progress
Action Fund Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights Concerned Foreign Service Officers Friends Committee on National Legislation
Holy Name Province Franciscan, Office for Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation Human Rights
First Human Rights Watch
Japanese American Citizens League
Liberty Coalition
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
Open Society Policy Center
Physicians for Human Rights Presbyterian Church, (USA), Washington Office Rutherford Institute Unitarian Universalist Service Committee United Church of Christ,
Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society

Are Department of Justice US Attorneys Being Fired to Prevent Oversight and Justice?

Why Have So Many U.S. Attorneys Been Fired?
It Looks a Lot Like Politics
by ADAM COHEN
Published: February 26, 2007
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL

Carol Lam, the former United States attorney for San Diego, is smart and tireless and was very good at her job. Her investigation of Representative Randy Cunningham resulted in a guilty plea for taking more than $2 million in bribes from defense contractors and a sentence of more than eight years. Two weeks ago, she indicted Kyle Dustin Foggo, the former No. 3 official in the C.I.A. The defense-contracting scandal she pursued so vigorously could yet drag in other politicians.

In many Justice Departments, her record would have won her awards, and perhaps a promotion to a top post in Washington. In the Bush Justice Department, it got her fired.

Ms. Lam is one of at least seven United States attorneys fired recently under questionable circumstances. The Justice Department is claiming that Ms. Lam and other well-regarded prosecutors like John McKay of Seattle, David Iglesias of New Mexico, Daniel Bogden of Nevada and Paul Charlton of Arizona - who all received strong job evaluations - performed inadequately.

It is hard to call what's happening anything other than a political purge. And it's another shameful example of how in the Bush administration, everything - from rebuilding a hurricane-ravaged city to allocating homeland security dollars to invading Iraq - is sacrificed to partisan politics and winning elections.

U.S. attorneys have enormous power. Their decision to investigate or indict can bankrupt a business or destroy a life. They must be, and long have been, insulated from political pressures. Although appointed by the president, once in office they are almost never asked to leave until a new president is elected. The Congressional Research Service has confirmed how unprecedented these firings are. It found that of 486 U.S. attorneys confirmed since 1981, perhaps no more than three were forced out in similar ways - three in 25 years, compared with seven in recent months.

It is not just the large numbers. The firing of H. E. Cummins III is raising as many questions as Ms. Lam's. Mr. Cummins, one of the most distinguished lawyers in Arkansas, is respected by Republicans and Democrats alike. But he was forced out to make room for J. Timothy Griffin, a former Karl Rove deputy with thin legal experience who did opposition research for the Republican National Committee. (Mr. Griffin recently bowed to the inevitable and said he will not try for a permanent appointment. But he remains in office indefinitely.)

The Bush administration cleared the way for these personnel changes by slipping a little-noticed provision into the Patriot Act last year that allows the president to appoint interim U.S. attorneys for an indefinite period without Senate confirmation.

Three theories are emerging for why these well-qualified U.S. attorney were fired - all political, and all disturbing.

1. Helping friends. Ms. Lam had already put one powerful Republican congressman in jail and was investigating other powerful politicians. The Justice Department, unpersuasively, claims that it was unhappy about Ms. Lam's failure to bring more immigration cases. Meanwhile, Ms. Lam has been replaced with an interim prosecutor whose résumé shows almost no criminal law experience, but includes her membership in the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

2. Candidate recruitment. U.S. attorney is a position that can make headlines and launch political careers. Congressional Democrats suspect that the Bush administration has been pushing out long-serving U.S. attorneys to replace them with promising Republican lawyers who can then be run for Congress and top state offices.

3. Presidential politics. The Justice Department concedes that Mr. Cummins was doing a good job in Little Rock. An obvious question is whether the administration was more interested in his successor's skills in opposition political research - let's not forget that Arkansas has been lucrative fodder for Republicans in the past - in time for the 2008 elections.

The charge of politics certainly feels right. This administration has made partisanship its lodestar. The Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran revealed in his book, "Imperial Life in the Emerald City," that even applicants to help administer post-invasion Iraq were asked whom they voted for in 2000 and what they thought of Roe v. Wade.

Congress has been admirably aggressive about investigating. Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, held a tough hearing. And he is now talking about calling on the fired U.S. attorneys to testify and subpoenaing their performance evaluations - both good ideas.

The politicization of government over the last six years has had tragic consequences - in New Orleans, Iraq and elsewhere. But allowing politics to infect U.S. attorney offices takes it to a whole new level. Congress should continue to pursue the case of the fired U.S. attorneys vigorously, both to find out what really happened and to make sure that it does not happen again.

February 25, 2007

ACLU Television Series: The Patriot Act

Beyond the Patriot Act

Through personal stories of ordinary Americans, "Beyond the Patriot Act" tells how a misguided law and other government overreactions to Sept. 11 are restricting our most basic constitutional freedoms and threatening America's system of checks and balances.

Facts and Actions from the Episode

See how the Patriot Act targets libraries and you as a reader
Learn about other Patriot Act abuses
Trackthe history and read about the secretive FISA court
Watch the ACLU’s Stop the Abuse of Power video.
Tell us how the Patriot Act has affected you or a loved one.

Then, write a Letter to the Editor.
Download the Viewer's Guide (PDF)

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

"Beyond the Patriot Act" features people like Patricia David, who was left nearly destitute with a young daughter to raise after her husband became one of the thousands of immigrants to be deported after Sept. 11. Also profiled is Abdulameer Habeeb, an Iraqi artist tortured under Saddam's regime who was arrested while traveling across the U.S. to start a new job in Washington, D.C. After being interrogated by the FBI and imprisoned, he lost his job and his family members withdrew from him.

No Respect for Privacy

You’ll hear a university librarian talking about the need to dump library records to protect the privacy of her patrons, and the owner of an Internet company who was asked to turn over customer records and ordered to keep silent about it.

Grassroots Movement

The episode also tells the story of Allison Smith and City Councilman Bill Peduto, who led a drive in Pittsburgh to pass a resolution against the Patriot Act. They are part of a grassroots campaign that has led to the passage of more than 400 such community resolutions across the country.
Spread the Word

Become part of the movement to protect civil liberties! Join millions of viewers who are watching The ACLU Freedom Files. To help get the message out and receive a free DVD, join the Freedom Files Producers Club: All you have to do is organize a screening or spread the word about the programs via email or the Web.

Click here to find out what's been happening at “Beyond the Patriot Act” screenings around the country. You can also listen to a recorded conference call with ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero and the series executive producer, Robert Greenwald.

Are America's Schools Becoming Re-Segregated?


With the U.S. Supreme Court considering what school districts can and can't do to increase the diversity of their schools, NPR's Word for Word: American Speech Series of American Public Media has a speech from longtime education reformer Jonathan Kozol at Carlton College in Minnesota. His latest book — "The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America" — explores the financial and curriculum disparities between predominantly white schools and predominately non-white schools. Kozol spoke at Carleton College May 5, 2006. If you can't give an entire hour to his speech, listen to just a few minutes each day. It is a speech well worth hearing and considering.

CLICK HERE to listen to the :53.00 WORD FOR WORD: AMERICAN SPEECH SERIES program featuring a Jonothan Kozol speech at Carlton College in Minnesota. You'll be glad that you listened.

Sign the Petition to Help Stop the Killing in Darfur!

Sign the Petition to Help Stop the Killing in Darfur!

Amnesty International has again raised the urgency of its work on Darfur in an effort to stop the atrocities taking place there, but we need your help to make peace and security a reality. Help us make a difference. Sign our petition today!

The Background

The African Union Mission in Sudan has struggled to offer security for women, their families and their communities in Darfur. To prevent further violence and human rights violations, AMIS must receive full support until its transition to a U.N. peacekeeping operation mandated by Security Council Resolution 1706. Amnesty calls on the Bush administration to reaffirm its commitment to support AMIS operations ? through December 2006 ? with political, logistical and funding support. Given the growing complexity of the conflict, a well-supported AMIS with additional personnel is absolutely necessary, and urgently needed.

AMIS has admirably intervened to stop the violence, but it is ill-equipped to deal with the complex longer-term security situation. Support for AMIS in the interim is absolutely necessary, but the proposed U.N. peacekeeping mission is essential to peace and stability in Darfur and Chad. Amnesty International is calling on the Bush administration to take all steps necessary to ensure a speedy U.N. takeover of operations in Darfur and apply all necessary and appropriate pressure to actors impeding it.

CLICK HERE to sign the petition demanding that the atrocities in Dafur and Chad stop.

The Letter Accompanying the Petition

Dear Mr. President,

We, the undersigned, commend the Bush Administration for actions it has taken to prevent further tragedy in Darfur. As you know, the conflict has spread to eastern Chad, where significant insecurity is creating another humanitarian disaster. Tens of thousands have been forced to leave their homes, and aid organizations are facing increasing risks to operate in such an insecure environment. In some areas refugees and internally displaced people have no access to humanitarian assistance at all. Any attempt to address the unfolding disaster in eastern Chad must begin in Darfur.

The proposed U.N. peacekeeping mission is essential to peace and stability in Darfur and Chad. Amnesty International is calling on you to take all steps necessary to ensure a speedy U.N. takeover of operations in Darfur and apply all necessary and appropriate pressure to actors impeding it.

Egypt: Blogger’s Imprisonment Sets Chilling Precedent

Egypt: Blogger’s Imprisonment Sets Chilling Precedent

(Cairo, February 22, 2007) – The Egyptian government today for the first time sentenced a blogger to prison for his writings, threatening a window of free speech that has emerged on the Internet, Human Rights Watch said today.

"This sentence sets a chilling precedent in a country where blogs have opened a window for free speech." --Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director

A court in Alexandria this morning convicted and sentenced `Abd al-Karim Nabil Sulaiman, to four years in prison on charges of insulting Islam, defaming the president, and “spreading information disruptive of the public order.”

According to reporters who attended the hearing, Judge Ayman al-Akazi issued the verdict in a brief five minute session. Sulaiman, a 22-year-old former student of Islamic jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, is better known by his pen name, Karim Amer.

Following a complaint filed by the university, Sulaiman appeared before a public prosecutor on November 7 to answer charges related to items he wrote on his blog criticizing Islam, the authorities at Al-Azhar and President Hosni Mubarak.

Prosecutors ordered him detained pending investigation and renewed his detention four times before his trial opened at Muharram Bek Court in Alexandria on January 25.

Plainclothes officers had previously arrested Sulaiman at his home on October 26, 2005, four days after he criticized Muslim rioters and Islam in a blog post about sectarian clashes in his neighborhood.

Authorities held him for 12 days after this first arrest and released him without charge. “This sentence sets a chilling precedent in a country where blogs have opened a window for free speech,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

“The Egyptian government should abide by its commitments to uphold free expression and release Sulaiman without delay.”

The charges against Sulaiman stem from laws that contradict guarantees of free expression under international law. Article 102(bis) of the Penal Code allows for the detention of “whoever deliberately diffuses news, information/data, or false or tendentious rumors, or propagates exciting publicity, if this is liable to disturb public security, spread horror among the people, or cause harm or damage to the public interest.”

Article 176 of the Penal Code, the apparent basis of the “insulting Islam” charge against Sulaiman, allows for the imprisonment of “whoever instigates…discrimination against one of the people’s sects because of race, origin, language, or belief, if such instigation is liable to disturb public order.”

Article 179 allows for the detention of “whoever affronts the President of the Republic.”

Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Egypt ratified without reservations in 1982, guarantees the right to freedom of expression, including the “freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media.”

Article 19(3) of the ICCPR allows restriction of expression only in limited circumstances, namely in the interest of “respect of the rights or reputations of others” or “the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.” Such restrictions must be “necessary.”

These exceptions are narrowly framed, and the burden of demonstrating their validity rests with the state, which must justify any content ban by showing that restrictions are necessary to achieve a specific and legitimate purpose within one of the enumerated exceptions.

February 20, 2007

USLAW Congressional Action Alert: Stop the "Supplemental Appropriation" War Funding


ACTION ALERT!

Join the national Meet Up with Your Member Week – February 19th-23rd

Members of Congress will return to their home districts during the week of February 19th for their first in-district work period. Congress needs to hear from us! Join the national Meet Up with Your Member Week by scheduling a meeting now to urge them to take binding congressional action to end the war in Iraq!

DOUBLE CLICK HERE to Find out if a meeting is already scheduled in your district

If no meeting is scheduled, DOUBLE CLICK HERE to set up a meeting with your Member


For up-to-date news, strategy, and action on defunding the war DOUBLE CLICK here.

FOR A READY-MADE POSTER FOR YOUR SCHOOL, CHURCH, CIVIC ORGANIZATION OR ELSEWHERE DOUBLE CLICK BELOW:

http://uslaboragainstwar.org/downloads/Congressional%20Campaign%20Action%20Alert1.pdf

USLAW CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ALERT Stop the "Supplemental Appropriation" War Funding !

February 19, 2007

Who Will Protect and Defend Our Military From the Bush Administration?

Published on Saturday, February 17, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
Who Will Protect and Defend Our Military
From the Bush Administration?
by Barbara Miller

Last night, I attended a MoveOn event, one of more than a thousand nationwide. Our principal agenda was to view the film, "The Ground Truth." The movie focused briefly on the recruiting, training and deploying of U.S. military troops to Iraq. It did not shy away from deaths-ours, theirs, calculated, accidental. However, the film's main focus was on women and men who physically survive the Iraq War, with or without all of their limbs, facial features and internal organs intact.

The "lucky ones" look much as they did when they left for war. But they're not. To some extent, they're soul-scarred humans who are sent home after their literal involvement in the killing stops. They are forever changed. They're also trained killers who have seen and participated in the worst the world has to offer. They must attempt to distance themselves from all of that when they come "home," however that is defined.

Just so you know, I'm not going to do a synopsis here. "The Ground Truth's" message is a visual thing, which is why it's a film and not an IPod broadcast. Click here and here for more information and to view a trailer.

It's not the best movie ever made, Oscar nod notwithstanding. But its message is profoundly important. Shortcut: "What the hell are we doing?"

"The Ground Truth" combines live footage of carnage and chaos in Iraq, interspersed with commentary from multiple military vets and a few mental health experts. The troop commentary was very moving. As was the additional commentary from some of their spouses and parents. Lives upside down and hind-side to. This is sacrifice that is rarely if ever mentioned, and certainly not by the Bush administration or the DOD.

Frankly, I wasn't sure I'd be able to handle this film. I don't do very well with graphic violence. It was hard to watch brutality, murder of children, a soldier whose face was completely disfigured by fire. Bodies and blood. Plenty of both. The things of war.

So why watch it? I can only answer retrospectively. I now believe it is incumbent upon every American man, woman, and child whose parents believe they can handle it to watch "The Ground Truth." That includes our elected officials. All of them. It is not enough to hear platitudes ("On behalf of a grateful nation and the President of the United States . . .") nor to see video of the occasional vet who has rehabbed from a lost limb. Oh, no. Not even close to enough.
George Bush's war has killed something approaching 100,000 Iraqis and roughly 3,100 Americans. But that's just for starters. How many inner lives and relationships have been utterly destroyed in the wake of George's war?

According to "The Ground Truth," to some extent, virtually every American assigned to an ultra-dangerous 24/7 war zone like Iraq returns a different person from the one who was deployed. Some of them are able to eventually manage their fear, rage and self-loathing. Many are not. And they may struggle with the aftermath of war for the rest of their lives. Or they may choose to end their lives. Some do. Sound familiar? Can you say "Vietnam"?
Do not tell me I'm an angry liberal. I already know that. The greater issue here is this: Why isn't everyone furious about this war and the one being ginned up as its successor? Why isn't everyone doing everything in their power to protect and defend our military from George Bush? If not us, then who? This is a humanity issue. And so I echo the refrain, "What the hell are we doing?"

Here's the real deal. George Bush sends American troops into the bowels of Iraq from his "beautiful White House." And each time he does, he is sentencing them to death. If not death of the body, then degrees of death of the spirit. If they do manage to survive, in whole or partial bodies, there is no bridge long enough to close the emotional chasm between the Iraqi war zone and home. Upon discharge, troops are required to answer (then and there) such questions as:
Do you have PTSD? Do you have thoughts of suicide? Do you have thoughts of murder? etc., etc., etc.

Give me a break. Who can possibly answer questions like that with any degree of accuracy until there is some distance from war? And even if they can, admission that they may be experiencing some stress/distress means they will be held by the military for some indeterminate period of time and won't get to go home. What would you choose after six months, a year, two years in Iraq?

And so it is that our military heroes--and all of them are heroes--find themselves back home with little or no support from the government that sent them to hell.

I wept as I watched. What we have done to Iraq is tragic. What we are doing to our own troops is appalling. An image from "The Ground Truth." Boot camp. Soldiers in formation, row upon row. A four-beat cadence. (1) face forward; (2) chin drops to chest; (3) hold for one count; (4) chin snaps up, face forward. Repeat, shouting the following: (1) Let's (2) pray (3) A (4) men.
Barbara Miller lives and writes in Eagan, Minnesota. She blogs at www.clotheslineblog.com

February 17, 2007

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS! DEFUND THE WAR!



A NOTE FROM YOUR NATIONAL
PEACE & JUSTICE CAUCUS CHAIR

"Talking Points" by Military Families Speak Out.
Please listen to the Families of Our Dedicated Military Service Personnel.


Dear Peace & Justice Caucus Friends:

Below are talking points from Military Families Speak Out--Why defunding the war supports our troops. Contact your Congressman. Important debates are going on now and the issue of funding is coming up soon.

Submitted Respectfully,

Rhonda Hanson

Rhonda Hanson,
NEA Peace & Justice Caucus Chair

TALKING POINTS FOR YOU


• In the November elections, the American people made clear their overwhelming opposition to the war in Iraq.
• Congress can hold hearings, debate and even pass legislation on the war, but none of these will bring the war to an end. Congress’ real power lies in their control over funding for the war and their ability to cut off funds except for those that are needed to bring our troops home quickly and safely.
• Unless Congress acts, the war will continue. The Bush administration has made it clear that they have no intention of ending the war and bringing our troops home.
• Every day that the war continues, on average, three U.S. troops and countless Iraqi children, women and men die.
• December 31, 2006 marked the death of the 3,000th U.S. troop in Iraq. If the U.S. military occupation continues through 2007, we expect 800-1,000 more U.S. troops and 180,000 more Iraqis will die.
• In February or March, 2007, an appropriations bill will come before Congress seeking approximately $130 billion dollars to continue the war in Iraq.
• Senators and Members of Congress cannot simultaneously oppose and fund this war.
• Congress must vote against any further appropriation that will continue the war in Iraq.

DE-FUNDING THE WAR DOES NOT MEAN DE-FUNDING THE TROOPS

• In September, 2006 Congress approved $70 billion for the war in Iraq, money that is currently available to the military. This is more than enough to ensure the troops have what they need (armor, protective equipment, weapons, ammunition, food, water, supplies, vehicles, etc) to come home quickly and safely. If more funds are needed, monies in the Department of Defense budget could be re-programmed for that purpose. In short, the resources are available; what is needed now is your political will to end the war.
• It is the Bush administration that has not supported our troops. They were sent off to fight a war based on lies without proper armor, equipment and supplies. The Bush administration has not allocated sufficient monies to provide the medical and psychological support for our troops when they return home or help them transition back to civilian life - including funding for education and job programs.
• The most supportive thing that Congress can do for our troops is to end the funding for this disastrous, unjust and unjustifiable war.

DE-FUNDING THE WAR AND PULLING U.S. TROOPS OUT IS
ESSENTIAL TO BRINGING PEACE TO IRAQ


• There is chaos and civil war in Iraq now. The U.S. military occupation of Iraq is not the solution, it is the problem. It is a major source of the violence in Iraq.
• The Iraqi people in overwhelming numbers have expressed a desire for the U.S. military occupation to end.
• Ending the U.S. military occupation is a pre-requisite to any real attempts for peace in Iraq.
• The U.S. has a responsibility to contribute financially to the re-building of Iraq. But that responsibility can not be carried out by a U.S. military occupying force or by contractors such as Halliburton.

HONOR THE FALLEN, END THE WAR NOW!

• The continued war in Iraq will mean more deaths, more wounded, and more troops suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
• The only thing worse than having so many die in a war that should never have happened is to have this war claim even more lives.
• Those who have already fallen in this war will best be honored by a nation and a Congress with the courage to end the war.

Satire: Bush Cuts Off Diplomatic Relations with Congress (Click on Headline Below for Full Article)

Bush Cuts Off Diplomatic Relations With Congress

The Onion

Bush Cuts Off Diplomatic Relations With Congress

WASHINGTON, DC—Calling Congress an "enemy of the state," the Bush Administration made it clear that it is not only severing ties to the lawmakers, but also to anyone who offers them aid, comfort, or votes.

Senate Won't Vote on Dissent of Troop Buildup

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Democrats failed to garner the 60 votes they needed to consider a nonbinding resolution opposing President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq.

The vote was 56-34, with seven Republicans crossing the aisle to vote with senators who oppose the troop buildup.

The measure was identical to a nonbinding resolution the House passed Friday denouncing the plan to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq.

"We are policing a civil war in Iraq," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said before the vote. "American troops should not be in the middle of that war."

He added, "The president's escalation is misguided, to put it kindly." (Watch Schumer say Democrats are calling the GOP's "bluff" )

The Saturday vote was a procedural decision on whether the Senate should move on to a final vote on a resolution that expresses opposition to Bush's plan.

Republicans pushed for amendments that would address funding of the war, which they said would make the vote meaningful.

"Democrats are afraid to cut off funding," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said.

"If you believe this is a lost cause, and victory can't be achieved, that our people are in the middle of a mess, a civil war and not one person should get injured or killed because we've made huge mistakes ... then cut off funding, have a vote on something that matters," he added.
Graham called the resolution "political theater."

Senate Republicans succeeded earlier this month in blocking a vote on a similar resolution.

Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada urged Senate Republicans to drop their procedural moves.

In the House, 17 Republicans joined Democrats on Friday in passing the two-sentence resolution. It expresses support for U.S. troops in Iraq but states that Congress "disapproves" of Bush's troop increase. (Full story)

On February 5, all but two GOP senators voted to block debate on the similar resolution. Saturday's vote saw five more GOP senators join the Democrats. (Full story)

They were Sens. John Warner of Virginia, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Susan Collins of Maine, Chuck Hagel of Minnesota, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

"We support the president on the diplomatic aspects of his plan. We support the president on the economic aspects of his plan," Warner said.

"We only disagree with one portion of it: Mr. President, do you need 21,500 additional men and women of the armed forces in this conflict?" Warner said.

Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, backed the chance to vote on the resolution.

"If we believe plunging into Baghdad neighborhoods with more American troops will not increase chances of success, we are duty-bound to say so," Levin said.

GOP INSISTED ON "MEASURE OF FAIRNESS"

Republican leaders insisted that members get a chance to vote on two GOP alternatives, and that the process be conducted under rules that called for 60 votes to pass.
Republican critics have claimed that passing the resolution could lead to a cutoff in funding for the troops.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said before the vote that Republicans would insist on "a measure of fairness," allowing them to offer alternative resolutions -- including one stating the Senate won't cut off money for troops in the field.

"If we have only one alternative, it will involve a vote on funding the troops," McConnell said. (View Iraq proposals introduced in the Senate)

Published polls indicate a solid majority of the U.S. public opposes the Bush plan, and Democrats said the November election victories that put them in control of Congress show Americans want to wind down the nearly four-year-old war.

BUSH CHALLENGES CONGRESS NOT TO CUT FUNDING

Bush noted Thursday that the Senate recently confirmed the promotion of Gen. David Petraeus, the new commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, even as members criticized the strategy he was installed to pursue.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an unannounced visit to Iraq on Saturday on her way to meet with Middle East leaders. She told troops there that despite the political debate, their efforts are appreciated back home. (Full story)

Though the president said lawmakers "have every right to express their opinion," he demanded they support an upcoming spending bill that would commit nearly $100 billion more to the war effort. (Watch Bush challenge Congress not to cut war funding )

"Our men and women in uniform are counting on their elected leaders to provide them with the support they need to accomplish their mission," Bush said.

US Senate to Hold Unusual Weekend Vote on Iraq Troop 'SURGE'

US congressional debate on Iraq took a rare turn as the Senate's leadership opted to cut into lawmakers' time off to hold a vote Saturday on President George W. Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq.

"Democrats are determined to give our troops and the American people the debate they deserve, so the Senate will have another Iraq vote this Saturday," said Senate Harry Reid, leader of the Democratic majority, with legislators due to take a one-week break from Saturday.
The vote will resume debate cut off February 5 on a non-binding resolution on Bush's plan, announced in January, to send 21,500 additional combat troops.

"We will move for a clear up or down vote on the House resolution which simply calls on Congress to support the troops and opposes the escalation," Reid said.

Maine Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, who supports a text disapproving of Bush's new plan for Iraq, voiced concern Wednesday at the idea of heading home for a break.

"We are expecting to adjourn next week for a recess. I thought to myself: Why? Why, so we will get back to Iraq before we know it? ... The troop surge isn't going to wait. The Iraqi war doesn't take a recess. Our men and women aren't taking a recess," Snowe said.

"Why can't we debate now and vote on these issues? Are we saying we are simply not capable of talking?," she asked.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, referring to Republicans who have said they are eager to debate on Iraq, said: "We're calling their bluff."

House of Representatives lawmakers engaged in heated this week over a 97-word resolution that calls for supporting US soldiers already in Iraq but opposes Bush's plan to dispatch thousands of additional troops to Baghdad and the restive Al-Anbar province. It was expected to be adopted Friday.

February 16, 2007

House Resolution 63--Opposing Additional Troop Deployment in Iraq

Opposing Additional Troop Deployment In Iraq
Text of non-binding House Resolution on Iraq War Build Up,
introduced 12 February 2007.


Chief sponsor: Rep Ike Skelton (D-MO-4). Co-sponsors: Rep Sheila Jackson-Lee, [TX-18] ; Rep Eddie Bernice Johnson, [TX-30] ; Rep Walter B. Jones, Jr. [NC-3] ; Rep Tom Lantos, Tom [CA-12] ; Rep Bobby L. Rush, [IL-1]

110th CONGRESS
1st Session H. CON.
RES. 63


Disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 12, 2007 Mr. SKELTON (for himself, Mr. LANTOS, and Mr. JONES of North Carolina) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services, and in addition to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION Disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq. Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That--

(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and

(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

U.S. House passes symbolic vote against troop surge in Iraq

The U.S. House of Representatives delivered a symbolic rebuke to President George W. Bush's new strategy for Iraq, voting against his decision to send more troops to the conflict.

The non-binding resolution, which states that the House "will continue to support and protect" the troops but "disapproves" of the troop buildup, passed by a vote of 246 to 182. Some Republicans joined the majority of Democrats to pass the measure.

"The stakes in Iraq are too high to recycle proposals that have little prospect for success," said Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who gained power last fall in elections framed by public opposition to the war.

"The passage of this legislation will signal a change in direction in Iraq that will end the fighting and bring our troops home," she said.

Democrats have said they would attempt to use the vote as the opening move in a campaign to pressure Bush to change course and end U.S. military involvement in the Iraq war, during which more than 3,100 U.S. troops have died in nearly four years of fighting.

Bush's decision last month to deploy an additional 21,500 troops to help stop sectarian violence has quickly become a flashpoint for critics of the war in Congress. There are currently about 141,000 American troops in Iraq.

The debate on the resolution began Tuesday, with each of the House's 435 members and five delegates allotted five minutes to speak on the issue.

The debate was in sharp contrast to the one in 2002, which authorized Bush to use force if Saddam Hussein did not comply with UN weapons inspectors. That debate resulted in solid margins of support from Republicans and Democrats.

February 14, 2007

In the Wake of the Surge

Keith Olberman's Special Comments on the
WAKE OF THE SURGE OF TROOPS IN IRAQ

(If no image is present, please click on blank spot below and wait patiently)



February 13, 2007

Fair Share Legislation a Reality in Iowa?

A NOTE FROM YOUR REGIONAL DIRECTOR...

Dear Midwest Peace & Justic Caucus Friends:

In an effort to realize item four within our caucus agenda, I am supplying you with the following information for study. As you may know, Iowa is working to move forward to earn a "hard-fought" victory realized by our colleagues in Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota. As we were successful in electing a pro-education House, Senate and Governor, the time seems right for us to move from studying the issue to making it a reality.

Below is the Senate version of the Fair Share bill presently being tossed around the legislature. I don't know what the House version is yet, but I'll work on it. As you will see below, negotiations for Fair Share will be mandotary. Please read and ponder your future actions.


Read below to see what exactly is being discussed.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS ON THIS ISSUE BY CLICKING HERE.

Submitted respectfully,

Tom Wolfe


Tom Wolfe,

Midwest Peace & Justice Director


FAIR SHARE LEGISLATION
Senate Study Bill 1120
Bill Text


Far left number is page number, followed by line number:

1 1 Section 1. Section 20.8, subsection 4, Code 2007, is
1 2 amended to read as follows:
1 3 4. Refuse to join or participate in the activities of
1 4 employee organizations, including the payment of any dues,
1 5 fees or assessments or service fees of any type, except as
1 6 provided in section 20.9.
1 7 Sec. 2. Section 20.9, Code 2007, is amended to read as
1 8 follows:
1 9 20.9 SCOPE OF NEGOTIATIONS.
1 10 1. The public employer and the employee organization shall
1 11 meet at reasonable times, including meetings reasonably in
1 12 advance of the public employer's budget=making process, to
1 13 negotiate in good faith with respect to wages, hours,
1 14 vacations, insurance, holidays, leaves of absence, shift
1 15 differentials, overtime compensation, supplemental pay,
1 16 seniority, transfer procedures, job classifications, health
1 17 and safety matters, evaluation procedures, procedures for
1 18 staff reduction, in=service training, fair share agreements,
1 19 and other matters mutually agreed upon. Negotiations shall
1 20 also include terms authorizing dues checkoff for members of
1 21 the employee organization, terms for payroll deduction of fair
1 22 share fees of nonmembers of the employee organization, and
1 23 grievance procedures for resolving any questions arising under
1 24 the agreement, which shall be embodied in a written agreement
1 25 and signed by the parties. If an agreement provides for dues
1 26 checkoff, a member's dues may be checked off only upon the
1 27 member's written request and the member may terminate the dues
1 28 checkoff at any time by giving thirty days' written notice.
1 29 Such obligation to negotiate in good faith does not compel
1 30 either party to agree to a proposal or make a concession.
1 31 2. a. Notwithstanding any provision of state law to the
1 32 contrary, a negotiated agreement for fair share fees shall not
1 33 provide for the termination of the employment of a public
1 34 employee for failure to pay membership dues and charges or
1 35 fair share fees of an employee organization, but shall provide
2 1 that, commencing on the effective date of a collective
2 2 bargaining agreement which provides for a fair share fee, the
2 3 public employer shall deduct once each month from the wages or
2 4 salaries of nonmembers of the certified employee organization
2 5 the amount of the fair share fee and transmit the amount
2 6 deducted to the certified employee organization within
2 7 fourteen days of the deduction.
2 8 b. Every negotiated agreement for fair share fees shall
2 9 conform with the requirements of the Constitution of the
2 10 United States and the Constitution of the State of Iowa, and
2 11 shall provide, if required, for the following:
2 12 (1) The certified employee organization may charge
2 13 nonmembers of the employee organization a fair share fee,
2 14 which shall not exceed the amount of dues and charges required
2 15 to be paid by a member in good standing of the employee
2 16 organization.
2 17 (2) The certified employee organization shall furnish
2 18 advance written notice of the amount of the fair share fee to
2 19 the nonmember employees who will be assessed the fee. The
2 20 notice shall inform the nonmember of a procedure by which the
2 21 nonmember may object to and receive a reduction of the pro
2 22 rata share of the fee attributed to purposes unrelated to
2 23 collective bargaining, contract administration, or the pursuit
2 24 of other matters affecting wages, hours, and other conditions
2 25 of employment. The notice also shall inform the nonmember of
2 26 a procedure by which the nonmember is afforded an opportunity
2 27 to challenge the amount of the fee before an impartial
2 28 decision maker. All fees reasonably in dispute during the
2 29 challenge period shall be held by the certified employee
2 30 organization in an interest=bearing escrow account until final
2 31 resolution is made by the impartial decision maker, at which
2 32 time such funds shall be disbursed in accordance with the
2 33 decision maker's award.
2 34 (3) The public employer shall provide the certified
2 35 employee organization with a list of the names and addresses
3 1 of all nonmember employees in the bargaining unit that is
3 2 represented by the employee organization.
3 3 3. Nothing in this section, section 20.8, or in the terms
3 4 of a fair share agreement shall be deemed to require a public
3 5 employee to become a member of an employee organization.
3 6 4. Nothing in this section shall diminish the authority
3 7 and power of the department of administrative services, board
3 8 of regents' merit system, Iowa public broadcasting board's
3 9 merit system, or any civil service commission established by
3 10 constitutional provision, statute, charter or special act to
3 11 recruit employees, prepare, conduct and grade examinations,
3 12 rate candidates in order of their relative scores for
3 13 certification for appointment or promotion or for other
3 14 matters of classification, reclassification or appeal rights
3 15 in the classified service of the public employer served.
3 16 5. All retirement systems shall be excluded from the scope
3 17 of negotiations.
3 18 Sec. 3. Section 731.3, Code 2007, is amended to read as
3 19 follows:
3 20 731.3 CONTRACTS TO EXCLUDE UNLAWFUL.
3 21 It Except as provided in sections 20.8, 20.9, and 731.4A,
3 22 it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, association,
3 23 corporation or labor organization to enter into any
3 24 understanding, contract, or agreement, whether written or
3 25 oral, to exclude from employment members of a labor union,
3 26 organization or association, or persons who do not belong to,
3 27 or who refuse to join, a labor union, organization or
3 28 association, or because of resignation or withdrawal
3 29 therefrom.
3 30 Sec. 4. Section 731.4, Code 2007, is amended to read as
3 31 follows:
3 32 731.4 UNION DUES AS PREREQUISITE TO EMPLOYMENT ==
3 33 PROHIBITED.
3 34 It Except as provided in sections 20.8, 20.9, and 731.4A,
3 35 it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, association, labor
4 1 organization or corporation, or political subdivision, either
4 2 directly or indirectly, or in any manner or by any means as a
4 3 prerequisite to or a condition of employment to require any
4 4 person to pay dues, charges, fees, contributions, fines or
4 5 assessments to any labor union, labor association or labor
4 6 organization.
4 7 Sec. 5. NEW SECTION. 731.4A FAIR SHARE FEE AGREEMENTS.
4 8 A labor union, labor association, labor organization, or
4 9 employee organization, which is the certified or recognized
4 10 exclusive representative for collective bargaining under
4 11 applicable federal or state law, may enter into an agreement
4 12 with the employer of the employees it is certified or
4 13 recognized to represent in collective bargaining that, as a
4 14 condition of continued employment, requires employees, after
4 15 thirty days of employment, either to become a member of the
4 16 certified or recognized labor union, labor association, labor
4 17 organization, or employee organization, or to pay a fair share
4 18 fee to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United
4 19 States, the Constitution of the State of Iowa, and federal
4 20 law. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to require an
4 21 employee to become a member of a labor union, labor
4 22 association, labor organization, or employee organization.
4 23 Sec. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Act, being deemed of
4 24 immediate importance, takes effect upon enactment.
4 25 EXPLANATION
4 26 This bill authorizes the negotiating of fair share
4 27 agreements in collective bargaining agreements.
4 28 Code chapter 20, concerning collective bargaining for
4 29 public employment, is amended to authorize fair share
4 30 agreements. Code section 20.9 is amended to provide that the
4 31 scope of negotiations for purposes of a collective bargaining
4 32 agreement includes negotiating fair share agreements and the
4 33 terms for payroll deductions of fair share fees for nonmembers
4 34 of an employee organization. The bill provides that a
4 35 negotiated fair share agreement shall provide that the public
5 1 employer deduct once each month from the wages of nonmembers
5 2 of an applicable employee organization the amount of the fair
5 3 share fee and transmit it to the certified employee
5 4 organization within 14 days of the deduction. The bill
5 5 further requires that the agreement for fair share fees
5 6 provide that the fair share fee shall not exceed the amount of
5 7 dues and charges required of a member of the employee
5 8 organization, that the certified employee organization provide
5 9 advance written notice of the fee and a procedure for
5 10 nonmembers to object to and receive a reduction of the share
5 11 of the fee unrelated to collective bargaining, contract
5 12 administration, and other related matters, that an impartial
5 13 procedure be provided for resolving fair share fee disputes,
5 14 and that the public employer furnish the employee organization
5 15 with a list of the names and addresses of all nonmembers. The
5 16 bill also provides that nothing in a fair share agreement
5 17 shall provide for the termination of employment for failure to
5 18 pay a fair share fee or shall require a public employee to
5 19 become a member of an employee organization.
5 20 Code chapter 731, concerning labor union membership, is
5 21 also amended to authorize fair share agreements. New Code
5 22 section 731.4A provides that a labor union may enter into an
5 23 agreement with an employer that, as a condition of continued
5 24 employment, requires employees whom the union is certified to
5 25 represent to become a member of the labor union or to pay a
5 26 fair share fee to the extent permitted by the United States
5 27 Constitution, the Iowa Constitution, and applicable federal
5 28 law. The new Code section provides that nothing in this Code
5 29 section shall be deemed to require an employee to become a
5 30 member of a labor union.
5 31 The bill takes effect upon enactment.
5 32 LSB 1856XC 82
5 33 ec:rj/je/5.1

February 11, 2007

Eric Mann Interviews Amiri Baraka Live on his book TALES OF THE OUT AND THE GONE

Monday, February 12th, 2007
4:00 PM PST/7:00 PM CST
Pacifica Stations KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles,
98.7 FM in Santa Barbara
Streaming live on the web at
www.kpfk.org

Amiri Baraka, on his latest book, Tales of the Out and the Gone, a series of short stories that are 33 years in the making.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amiri Baraka, known as Leroi Jones in the 1960's, is the last poet laureate of the state of New Jersey. He is the author of numerous books of essays, poems, drama, and music history and criticism and has founded and co-founded a number of organizations, including Yugen magazine, Totem Press, the Black Arts Reportory Theatre, and the Congress of African People.

ABOUT THE HOST: Eric Mann is a veteran of CORE, SDS, and the UAW. He is currently the Director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles. Eric's latest book, Katrina's Legacy: White Racism and Black Reconstruction in the Gulf Coast is available for purchase Eric's latest book, Katrina's Legacy: White Racism and Black Reconstruction in the Gulf Coast is available for purchase by clicking on this link.

Click here to listen to the NPR Interview with Amiri Baraka

An Historic March for Peace on the Pentagon

A MARCH ON THE PENTAGON
MARCH 17, 2007

Many states have started organizing this effort. Check to see what your state has done so far at the bottom of this post.


Whatever happened to the nation that never tortured? The nation that wasn’t supposed to start wars of choice? The nation that respected human rights and lives? A nation that from the beginning was against tyranny?

Where have we gone? How did we let these people take us there? How did we let them fool us?

We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, ‘Stop it, now!’”

-- Molly Ivins

In 2007 we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the historic 1967 march on the Pentagon4th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war

On March 17, 2007, the 4th anniversary of the start of the criminal invasion of Iraq, tens of thousands of people from around the country will descend on the Pentagon in a mass demonstration to demand: U.S. Out of Iraq Now!

The message of the 1967 march--40 years ago--was "From Protest to Resistance," and marked a turning point in the development of a countrywide mass movement.

In the coming days and weeks, thousands of organizations and individuals will begin mobilizing for the upcoming March on the Pentagon. Organizing committees and transportation centers are being established to bring people to the March on the Pentagon.

The March 17 demonstration will assemble at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Constitution Gardens) at 12 noon in Washington, D.C.and march to the Pentagon.

Illinois

Chicago, IL A.N.S.W.E.R Chicago CONTACT: ANSWER@ChicagoANSWER.net, 773-463-0311TRANSPORTATION DETAILS: Buses leave Friday evening and return after the demonstration. Contact for more information and to get involved.TRANSPORTATION ORGANIZED TO: Washington DC

Indiana

Ft. Wayne, IN CONTACT: Bruce Hall at ftwynebus@answercoalition.org or 260-745-7354TRANSPORTATION DETAILS: Contact for more information.TRANSPORTATION ORGANIZED TO: Washington DC

Iowa (see more details at the bottom of this post)

Des Moines, IA Methodist Federation for Social Action - Iowa Chapter CONTACT: Chet Guinn at desmoinesbus@answercoalition.org, 515-282-8054 or 515-556-8054 TRANSPORTATION DETAILS: Contact for more information.TRANSPORTATION ORGANIZED TO: Washington DC

Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN CONTACT: Anh Tham at minneapolisbus@answercoalition.org or 612-379-3899TRANSPORTATION DETAILS: Contact for more information.TRANSPORTATION ORGANIZED TO: Washington DC

Missouri
No information available.

North Dakota
No information available.

South Dakota
No information availabe.

Wisconsin
No information available.

Iowa Activists have already started organizing. Help your state be part of this historic march.

For questions about the March 17 March on the Pentagon, contact the National Office of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition by email at info@internationalanswer.org

or by phone at 202-544-3389 x14. Please contact Transportation Centers only about transportation from the city nearest you.

More Details for Iowans

If you're an Iowan, see below for info about a DM bus to the Pentagon next month. They will arrange to pick up passengers along I-80 from DM to Davenport-- so of course that includes Iowa City, Grinnell, etc.

Get on the bus!* Seats reserved on a first come, first serve basis

Friday, 3/16, 11 am, leave Des Moines (free parking)

Saturday, 3/17, noon, walk from the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial to demonstration at the Pentagon

Sunday, noon, arrive in Des Moines

Cost: $135. Payment due by February 21.
Make checks to MFSA** with “Bus Trip” in the memo line.
Mail to: Eloise Cranke, 2222 E. 41st, Des Moines, 50317

For more information or to register for the trip: contact Chet Guinn
515/282-8054, cell 515-556-8054, clguinn@mchsi.com

*A 57 passenger deluxe motor coach from Windstar Lines equipped with DVD player, PA system, restroom, reclining seats, armrests, footrests, individual light and air controls and air conditioning.

**Methodist Federation for Social Action. Persons of all faiths and persuasions welcome.

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The Death of Habeas Corpus. What it Means to Us.

HABEAS CORPUS. Why Should I Care?

THE DEATH OF HABEAS CORPUS.
Keith Olberman Commentary.

A look at other times in American history that should have taught us about the dangers of "chopping away" at Habeas Corpus. As George Santyana once said: "Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it."