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.