December 15, 2012

December 15, what can be said.

In memory of Paul Mann, PandJ activist, how long can this go on?  Canada has gun control and healthcare for all.  Is this not a responsibility of government?  Nancy

Dear MoveOn member,
Today we are all witness to an unspeakable tragedy.
Five years ago, my daughter Emily was in French class at Virginia Tech when a gunman opened fire, killing her teacher and 11 of her friends and classmates. Emily was shot twice in the back of the head, but survived. We can't let this continue. 
Now is the time for neighbors to comfort one another, keep the victims of the Connecticut tragedy in our hearts, and call for a plan to end gun violence. I personally will be demanding a plan to end gun violence—condolences are not enough. By coming together and lifting our voices, we can help prevent this from ever happening again. 
Tomorrow at 5 p.m., I'm hosting a candlelight vigil in my neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia. I hope others around the country will join me and make this a national moment of mourning, reflection, and resolve to act.  
Can you host a vigil in your community tomorrow evening, Saturday, December 15, around 5 p.m., to remember the victims and call for a plan?
A local school or a neighborhood park—places that should be safe for our children—are good locations for your vigil. You can bring family and friends, and MoveOn staff will help recruit other members who are seeking a quiet place to gather in community—parents, grandparents, teachers, children, neighbors. 
Today, President Obama's press secretary said that "Now is not [the] time" to act to prevent gun violence. Mr. President, today IS the day to talk about the deadly toll of gun violence on American families, communities, and especially, our kids. I personally am demanding a plan from the President so no more children will experience this kind of tragedy. 
Please—join me and host a candlelight vigil in your neighborhood tomorrow.
Thank you,
Lori Haas, mother of a Virginia Tech survivor 

December 13, 2012

Peace Exchange Bulletin

Issue 89  
The Peace Exchange Bulletin
Published by Tom Hayden, The Peace Exchange Bulletin is a reader-supported journal, critically following the Pentagon's Long War in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as the failed U.S. wars on drugs and gangs, and U.S. military responses to nationalism and poverty around the world.

Obama Reviewing Afghanistan Options 

Military commanders are pushing President Obama to keep a maximum number of American troops through the coming Afghanistan "fighting season," maximizing their combat role before the December 2014 date for ending offensive operations.

There currently are 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan at an unfunded cost of at least $65-70 billion. To retain those numbers from spring through autumn 2013 - the span of the fighting season -  would continue present cost levels, not to mention the toll on troops becoming the last to die or suffer wounds as the American war winds down.

The Long War Reaches Mali 

Despite its withdrawals of our combat troops, the US has ensnared itself in a self-perpetuating Long War now spreading to Mali. North Africa currently is the "central focus" in the War on Terror, according to Bloomberg. (July 31) Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is "strengthening its hold in Northern Mali," and from there increasing its recruiting in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Europe, and is perhaps the best armed and financed Qaeda "franchise" in the world, according to Gen. Carter Ham. (New York Times, December 3, 2012)

The State Department says that northern Mali is a "safe haven for AQIM and other extremist groups who may prove increasingly effective at targeting Western interests or aligning themselves with those who do so," according to official government testimony before a House subcommittee last June 29. No evidence was presented, however, that the insurgents have the capacity or interest in targeting the West from sanctuaries in Mali any time soon.    

Republicans on the Political Cliff

President Obama and the Democrats have the political advantage as the crisis of the fiscal cliff approaches. It is the Republicans who are edging towards a political cliff if they appear to be impossibly recalcitrant in the public mind. 

Obama does not have a voter mandate to drive the government over the cliff, as some like Paul Krugman and Robert Borosage suggest (they say it will not be so bad, just deepen a slight recession). But the president can achieve certain key goals.

December 9, 2012

Dec 10, Human Rights Day.

Encouraging the spread of Peace and Justice, I now also serve on the UNA Iowa Board.  I will be one of the speakers on Monday.  Nancy

International Human Rights Day      
WHEN:  December 10, 12:30pm-1:10pm     
WHERE:  At the steps of the Old Capitol in the Pentacrest, Iowa City

Please join students, community members, and representatives from area non-profit organizations for a public reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  As we read certain articles, examples of accompanying local human rights outreach will be briefly shared.   Free wallet sized copies of the UDHR will be available.     


Iowa Shares Benefit Concert     
When:  December 14. 8:00pm
Where:  Englert Theatre, 221 East Washington Street,  Iowa City

On the evening of Friday, December 14, please join Local Foods Connection at the Englert Theatre for the woodsy country blues and soulful sounds of Tallgrass. Concert proceeds will go to Iowa Shares, benefiting many local non-profits including Local Foods Connection and the Englert.  Seating will be on the Englert's stage in a special intimate setting, but tickets are limited.  Follow the link below to purchase:
Iowa Shares is a statewide coalition of social change, environmental, and cultural nonprofit organizations raising funds through workplace giving. Iowa Shares members give direct services and create progressive, long-lasting resources for our children and communities.  Iowa UNA is a non-profit member of Iowa Shares.  

November 30, 2012

Help needed for tax bill!

As Congress continues to debate complex issues around the looming “fiscal cliff,” they can, and should, act immediately on one quick, easy step to help working families – extending tax cuts for the middle class.  Middle class tax cuts are set to expire in a few weeks.   If Congress fails to act before the end of the year, a typical middle-class family of four will see its tax would protect 98 percent of American families making less than $250,000 a year and 97 percent of small businesses from paying higher taxes next year. 

President Obama has called on Congress to act immediately to extend the middle class tax cuts.   And, the Senate already passed a bill to do so earlier this year.  But, the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Boehner (R-OH), has refused to act on this important legislation, choosing to hold middle class families hostage while fighting to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent in the nation. 

n addition to extending tax cuts for the middle class, Congress must also act quickly to stop the impending across-the-board cuts scheduled to go into effect on January 2.  If these cuts go into effect, more than nine million students will lose critical education services, and nearly 80,000 education jobs could be lost.   This week, NEA members joined other union members in a joint lobbying day, meeting directly with Members of Congress.  Their message:  education has already taken a hit and children have already done more than their share toward deficit reduction.  Any deficit reduction deal must be balanced, and that means finally asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share.  Read more

Take Action Today:
  • E-mail Congress and tell them to act immediately to extend tax cuts for the middle class.
  • Take the “Kids Not Cuts” pledge today-- to speak up for America’s kids and working families, and to make sure Congress makes the right choices. Already took the pledge?  Share it with at least five friends and ask them to join the fight to stand up for America’s kids and working families.
  • Join union members across the country in our December 5 National Call-in Day:  Call our new Educator Connector Line –1-866-293-7278.  You will hear brief talking points and will then be asked to enter your zip code to be connected to your elected officials. 
  • Share your story.  Tell us how “fiscal cliff” budget cuts would affect your students, you, your schools and your school colleagues. Make sure Congress hears your voice and knows you will hold them accountable.  Read some of the stories already submitted by educators.
  • Find the latest news on the current debates on our “Kids Not Cuts” pageon the Education Votes website. 

Cheers to:thumbsup Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), who this week urged his Republican colleagues to move forward on extending tax cuts for the middle class before the end of the year.

thumbsupRepresentative Pat Meehan (R-PA), who indicated that he would not be held to a pledge not to raise taxes even on the wealthy, saying “The most important pledge is the one I make to my constituents when I'm sworn in…I'm going to do the very best I can to avoid the fiscal cliff and keep our economy strong.

thumbsupthumbsupRepresentative Bob Dold (R-OH), who stated his support for acting quickly to extend tax cuts for the middle class, saying, “Let’s make sure we aren’t raising the taxes on the vast majority first.”

President Obama, who in another speech this week reiterated his calls for a middle class tax cut, saying “if both parties agree we should not raise taxes on middle-class families, let’s begin our work with where we agree. The Senate has already passed a bill that keeps income taxes from going up on middle-class families.  Democrats in the House are ready to vote for that same bill today.  And if we can get a few House Republicans to agree as well, I’ll sign this bill as soon as Congress sends it my way.  I've got to repeat, I've got a pen. I'm ready to sign it.”

Jeers to:
thumbsdownthumbsdownHouse Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who this week continued his call for extending tax cuts for the wealthy and for more spending cuts, while refusing to move an extension of middle class tax cuts. 
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who made comments this week indicating she might support a deficit reduction deal that includes more spending cuts, saying “The details of the package are less important than the fact that we can reach a compromise and would be $4 trillion in long-term debt reduction. That means everybody's going to hurt a little and everyone is not going to get their way."

thumbsdownFormer Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who at his Excellence in Action Summit this week took aim at teachers’ unions, saying, “We have a system to reward teachers that’s based on an industrialized, unionized model that is completely inappropriate for the 21st century.”  Bush also reiterated his support for private school vouchers and for “parent trigger” laws. 

November 20, 2012

This Friday, 23 November, is known in the USA as "Black Friday," the day following Thanksgiving  and the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
It will also go down in history as a turning point in the effort to win rights at work for employees of Wal-Mart, the world's largest employer, as strikes take place at Wal-Mart locations across the United States.
You can be part of this in the following ways:
Follow the news on LabourStart -- bookmark this page:
Sign the online petition to Wal-Mart telling them to stop retaliation against workers who speak out: 
On Friday, watch the live stream showing what is happening across the country in real time:
If you're on Twitter, tweet your support using this hashtag: #WalmartStrikers
If you're on Facebook, this is an interesting app -- it will identify all your friends who say they've worked at Wal-Mart, and you can then send them messages telling them you support this historic fight:
Finally, get your union to show the latest news from the fight to unionize Wal-Mart on its website, free of charge, updated throughout the day, every day -- more details here:
Thank you!

Eric Lee

November 7, 2012

Thanks to everyone who worked in an election.

Nancy -- 

I'm about to go speak to the crowd here in Chicago, but I wanted to thank you first.

I want you to know that this wasn't fate, and it wasn't an accident. You made this happen.

You organized yourselves block by block. You took ownership of this campaign five and ten dollars at a time. And when it wasn't easy, you pressed forward.

I will spend the rest of my presidency honoring your support, and doing what I can to finish what we started.

But I want you to take real pride, as I do, in how we got the chance in the first place.

Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests.

There's a lot more work to do.

But for right now: Thank you.


October 24, 2012

Rethinking Schools

Dear friend of Rethinking Schools:
We are seeking narratives for a new book by Rethinking Schools. The working title is Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality.
We invite you to submit a story that relates to teaching and learning about sexism, gender, and sexuality in K-12 schools. We are particularly interested in articles about classroom teaching, curriculum, and youth activism—in and out of school. Students' voices are important; make sure we can hear them!
In order to include diverse voices, we particularly encourage students and educators of color and folks who work in places that are not often associated with LGBTQ activism such as rural schools and schools in the "heartland," although other submissions will be cheerfully considered.
We hope to address gender and sexuality across the curriculum so teachers and students of all disciplines are encouraged to contribute. Other topics may include education organizing/activism, policy matters, and stories that offer historical perspectives with a connection to the present.
Please remember that Rethinking Schools is not an academic journal. We want the writing to be lively, conversational, and to avoid the kind of needless jargon that infects so much education writing. Please approach it as a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end, filled with anecdotes and the voices of teachers, parents, and/or students. Traditional academic/scholarly articles will not be considered for this book.
The best way to understand what works for Rethinking Schools is to read through several issues of the magazine with an eye to how the authors show specifically what they do in the classroom and how they integrate information about the topic into the article. Specific examples you might want to look at include "It's OK to Be Neither" by Melissa Bollow Tempel and "When the Gender Boxes Don't Fit," by Ericka Sokolower-Shain. As a model of writing for the magazine, see anything by Linda Christensen.
Before you begin writing, check out the writers guidelines.
Please send submissions electronically (Word.doc) to We are unable to read submissions of more than 4,000 words, and are generally interested in articles that are substantially shorter.
Many of the articles in the book will also appear in Rethinking Schools magazine. The initial submission deadline is January 31, 2013.
If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact Jody Sokolower, managing editor of Rethinking Schools.

October 12, 2012

The enemies of truth in politics:  Both sides have real problems.  What is the truth?  No one honestly addresses the Afghan war in needing the gas line completed which is just another way to starve off China and rape the land from natural resources.  We have owed China so much money since BEFORE Cllnton was elected.  No one talks about the billions spent to keep the billionaire oil companies in tact with the "need" for that oil.  Who is what? Please listen to the "fact finder" if you think the economic program submitted by Romney is the answer for our country.  How gullible can people be?

How The Right's Latest Conspiracy Theory Might Unleash a Wave of Domestic Terrorism if Obama Wins

Some types of spin are more dangerous than others.
September 25, 2012  |  

Two of the Fort Stewart soldiers charged with murder and conspiracy to assassinate Obama.
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In a somewhat desperate attempt to maintain morale among a Republican base that disdains its standard-bearer, a number of conservative media outlets are pushing an alternate reality in which Mitt Romney is leading in the polls by wide margins and American voters have a decidedly negative view not of the challenger, but of Barack Obama.

It's an exceptionally dangerous game that the right-wing media are playing. If Obama wins – and according to polling guru Nate Silver, he'd have a 95 percent chance of doing so if the vote were held today – there's a very real danger that this spin -- combined with other campaign narratives that are popular among the far-right -- could create a post-election environment so toxic that it yields an outburst of politically motivated violence.

A strategy that began with a series of rather silly columns comparing 2012 with 1980, and assuring jittery conservatives that a huge mass of independents was sure to break for Romney late and deliver Obama the crushing defeat he so richly deserves, entered new territory with the bizarre belief that all the polls are wrong. And not only wrong, but intentionally rigged by “biased pollsters” – including those at Fox News – in the tank for Obama. (See Alex Pareene's piece for more on the right's new theory that the polls are being systematically “skewed.”)

Consider how a loosely-hinged member of the right-wing fringe – an unstable individual among the third of conservative Republicans who believe Obama's a Muslim or the almost two-thirds who think he was born in another country – expecting a landslide victory for the Republican might process an Obama victory. This is a group that has also been told, again and again, that Democrats engage in widespread voter fraud – that there are legions of undocumented immigrants, dead people and  ineligible felons voting in this election ( with the help of zombie ACORN ). They've been told that Democrats are buying the election with promises of “free stuff” offered to the slothful and unproductive half of the population that pays no federal income taxes and refuses to “take responsibility for their lives” – Romney's 47 percent.

They've also been told – by everyone from NRA president Wayne LaPierre to Mitt Romney himself – that Obama plans to ban gun ownership in his second term. (Two elaborate conspiracy theories have blossomed around this point. One holds that Fast and Furious – which, in reality, is much ado about very little – was designed to elevate gun violence to a point where seizing Americans' firearms would become politically popular. The second holds that a United Nations treaty on small arms transfers (from which the United States has withdrawn) is in fact a stealthy workaround for the Second Amendment.)

And they've been warned in grim, often apocalyptic terms of what's to come in a second term. The film, “2016: Obama's America,” offers a dystopian vision of a third-world America gutted by Obama's supposed obsession with global wealth redistribution. His re-election would bring something far worse than mere socialism – it would be marked by Kenyan anti-colonialism, in which America's wealth is bled off as a form of reparations for centuries of inequities between the global North and South.

These kinds of fringe views aren't relegated to the fever swamps of the right-wing blogosphere – they're often reinforced by elected Republicans. Reps Steve King, R-Iowa, Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, Louie Gohmert, R-Texas and others warn that the Obama administration has been infiltrated by Islamic Extremists . An elected judge in Texas advocated a tax increase – yes, a tax increase! – in order to better arm local sheriff's deputies whom he claimed would serve on the front-lines of the civil war likely to come should Obama be re-elected. “I’m talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms, get rid of the dictator,” he said.
Of course I got this article because of (see link below) but after I read about Leder closing a 70 year old ice cream business so the pension plan could be put on the Federal Government and then gaining tax savings by putting management funds in the tax deduct line therefore keeping his rate , like Romney's at 15% my blood boils.  I pay taxes for a reason and it is NOT to make the rich richer!  OOOO  nancy

Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2012 06:59:10 -0700
Subject: [EFFORT SOS] 5 Biggest Lies About America's Public Schools -- Debunked

Elise Robillard posted in EFFORT SOS
Elise Robillard 8:59am Sep 30 
[] 5 Biggest Lies About America's Public Schools -- Debunked

October 1, 2012

11 Years in Afghanistan/ Oct 7, 2012

11 Years is Too Long

Afghan War Observance

Sunday, Oct 7th, 1PM
Sidewalk on W. side of Clinton St.,@Clinton St. & Iowa Ave, Near Historic Old Capitol

The continuation of the war in Afghanistan is harmful to the people of Afghanistan, and to U.S. citizens. Peace is hard work, but we’d better try it. Please join with us.

Sponsored byVeterans for Peace Chapter #161, PEACE Iowa, Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Iowa NEA Peace & Justice Caucus,

(People wishing also to participate in the Hike for Refugees @ 2PM at Old Brick will be able to attend both events

For further information, contact Ed Flaherty @ 319 621-6766,

September 21, 2012

Union wins in WI struggle/ etc

Chicago Teachers Raise the Bar    

The Chicago Teachers Union has done the seemingly impossible. At a time when teachers are pilloried in the press and attacked by Democrats and Republicans alike, Chicago teachers walked out for seven days in a strike that challenged every tenet of the corporate agenda for overhauling education.    

Verizon Workers Queasy at Deal    

Leaders of the Communications Workers and Electrical Workers (IBEW)announced a tentative agreement with Verizon, but some workers say it's far from what they deserve. They're planning to vote no.  

South African Miners Win through Wildcats     

South African miners won a dramatic pay increase, following a wave of strikes that spread to many gold and platinum mines. The strikes grew after a massacre by police took 34 lives. The struggle exposures fractures in South African society that won't heal soon.

Wisconsin Anti-Union Bill Overturned in Court    

Just an hour before teachers in Madison, Wisconsin, rallied in solidarity with Chicago teachers, they learned that their suit to overturn Governor Scott Walker's anti-union bill had won. The mood at the rally was "giddy," said Jim Cavanaugh, who was local central labor council president during last year's uprising.

Casino Organizing Puts Union's 'Las Vegas Standard' to the Test  

Mario Medina wore a union button for 2.5 hours before his Las Vegas employer, Station Casinos, fired him. He's one of a dozen fired in what the Culinary Union says is the biggest organizing drive underway. 

Video: Michigan Unions Battle for Amendments to Defend Democracy, Collective Bargaining   

Unions have fought to place two measures on the ballot. One would block emergency managers, the second would enshrine collective bargaining rights. Former Labor Notes writer Paul Abowd explains the union-backed initiatives facing Michigan voters this fall.  

New Book from Labor Notes: 
The Steward's Toolbox

Labor Notes LogoThe Steward's Toolbox: Skills and Strategies for Winning at Work is for activists eager for practical advice. Full of concrete examples of grievance tactics, contract campaigns, and coalition-building, its 55 chapters were written by shop floor leaders experienced in building active, democratic unions. 

Their lessons will help you inspire members, make new allies, and kick-start your union. Order it here for $15.

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