March 15, 2013

International Women's Day in Iowa City

Iowa City celebrated International Women's Day at the Night of the 1,000 Dinners on Thursday.  Dr. "Gigi" Durham, author of The Lolita Effect, was the keynote speaker.  Her message was that we all have a long way to go for women and rights.  As a mother of two daughters, Dr. Durham understands the situation.

Iowa PandJ was a proud sponsor of the event.

March 5, 2013

USLAW LEADERSHIP: New Priorities Resolution Adopted by the Alameda Labor Council

USLAW LEADERSHIP: New Priorities Resolution Adopted by the Alameda Labor Council


US Labor Against the War (USLAW) developed a model resolution calling for a change of national priorities and is urging its affiliates to adopt it to lay the groundwork for presentation of the resolution at the Quadrennial AFL-CIO Convention, to be held in LA in September. This is the first labor council to adopt the resolution.

New Priorities Resolution Adopted by the Alameda Labor Council Oakland, CA Resolution adopted unanimously at the Delegates meeting of March 4, 2013 for referral to the AFL-CIO Quadrennial Convention in September, 2013

Our Nation Needs New Priorities

Cut Military Spending to Invest in Our People and Communities

Whereas, Congress is embroiled in a continuing battle over spending priorities that threatens to eviscerate essential government programs in the non-defense discretionary budget, such as air traffic controllers, workplace safety and health, Head Start and other education aid, the diplomatic service, housing, environmental protection, medical research, public safety and innumerable other essential programs, services and government functions; and

Whereas, since 2002 military spending has grown by 35% since 2002 (48% if you include war costs) - a rate that is more than four times the growth in domestic discretionary spending, which increased by only 8% over the same period; and

Whereas, the military budget now accounts for 57% of all discretionary spending, and U.S. military spending now accounts for 42% of all global military spending, is five times that of China, the next highest, and exceeds the combined military spending of the next fourteen countries; and

Whereas, the war in Afghanistan continues to cost over $100 billion a year, a significant portion of which is lost to corruption, fraud, waste and abuse; and

Whereas, our economic policies must create millions more jobs but money spent on the military creates many fewer jobs than the same money spent on education, health care, and clean energy; and

Whereas, the problem of terrorism is more effectively handled by police and intelligence activity, choking off financing, diplomacy, development aid and other non-military means; and

Whereas, true national security must include security in people's health, education, employment, retirement, food and environment, as well as a functioning modern infrastructure to support sustainable economic activity;    

therefore be it:

Resolved, that the Alameda Labor Council calls upon the Congress and President to end the Afghanistan war with a rapid and full draw down of military forces to be completed by the end of this year; and be it further

Resolved, that the Alameda Labor Council calls for a change in the nation's course and priorities by endorsing a national budgetary strategy that increases tax revenues from the wealthy and large corporations, cuts military spending by the maximum amount consistent with true security, creates stable jobs at living wages, safeguards and strengthens the myriad useful functions the federal government undertakes, and preserves the integrity of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social safety net programs on which millions of the elderly, children, disabled and others depend; and be it further

Resolved that the Alameda Labor Council calls for cuts in the military budget to be accompanied by federal policies to use money now devoted to weapons production to support conversion of military jobs to civilian purposes and to enhance manufacturing, construction and other economic activity that can absorb the labor force now employed in the defense sector of the economy, and be it further

Resolved, that the Alameda Labor Council will undertake an educational campaign on these issues among its affiliates and seek to involve its affiliates in the political tasks necessary to implement this resolution in public policy; and be it finally

Resolved, that the Alameda Labor Council will communicate this resolution to President Obama and our senators and Congressional representatives, forward this resolution to the California AFL-CIO with a request for concurrence and will submit it for adoption by the September 2013 AFL-CIO National Convention.

March 3, 2013

Eastern Congo Initiative

Congo is a region where generations have struggled under a cycle of violence and poverty, but also where people hold an unrelenting desire to realize the extraordinary potential of their country. Three years ago, Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) was founded to work with and for the people of eastern Congo. ECI supports heroic local organizations who are creating lasting change...

Watch the Video:

Night at the Museum

   What a fantastic experience at the Iowa Children's Museum last night when the walls came alive with echos of 7th and 8th grade students who were willing to give up their Saturday night to learn about peace.  Most of the students already knew each other because of the hard work of Alisa Meggitt inviting them.  Most of the students' background in peaceful resolution was also apparent as they worked together, brainstormed ideas and freely shared their knowledge.  They were polite, kind and highly motivated intelligent young people.  They are the hope for the world.
    As they looked at societies' ills with violence as a strategy in schools, homes, around the world, war, environment, media they brainstormed so many ways they see evidence of violence.  As a culminating activity, they came up with their solutions for peaceful approaches.  One student said if we would just communicate with each other and learn each others' languages and cultures we could prevent war and talk about needs.  One student said we would all be better off "minding our own business"!
     Special thanks to Dan Tallon, a Veterans For Peace member and young war veteran for sharing information about all the war zones of the world, drones, and the fact that soldiers do more than fight.  They help build bridges and pass out blankets and food to those civilians in need. Diana Henry deserves notice for having her brainchild come alive.
     Peace Iowa, NEA Peace and Justice Caucus of Iowa and the Coralville Hy Vee sponsored a meaningful evening of peaceful strategies.  The students will share their knowledge with attendees at the ICM on April 7, Sunday, after more preparation Saturday, March 9.  ICM will hold a Peace Literacy Party for all.  You'd be impressed with the teaching of peaceful strategies by the youth to the young.
     A fun fact is that one of the students is the offspring of a first cousin of Tom Wolfe.