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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Time Saver - do this

Too busy to write my own, but here's a to do list from Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (more details here: http://www.wnpj.org/

*Action Alert 1 - Wisconsin: *Restore Books to Department of Corrections Prisoners

*Action Alert 2 - Wisconsin:* Urge Governor Doyle to speak up for Palestinian water rights by canceling trade mission to Israel

*Action Alert 3 - Wisconsin: *GSA for Safe Schools 2009 Wisconsin School Climate Survey

*Action Alert 4 - Wisconsin:* Demand full public financing of Wisconsin Supreme Court elections

*Action Alert 5 - National: *Take action to protect the peace community of San Jose de Apartado in Colombia

*Action Alert 6 - National:* Oct. 27 March on the Bankers Convention in Chicago

*Action Alert 7 - National:* HR 2404, requiring Afghanistan "exit strategy", introduced

*Action Alert 8 - National:* H.R. 3699 to prohibit funding for Afghan "surge" still needs Wisconsin cosponsors

*Action Alert 9 - National: *Nov. 1-8, host a local event in support of equal marriage rights

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*Contact:* Wisconsin Representatives and Senators here: www.visi.com/juan/congress/cgi-bin/newseek.cgi?site=ctc&state=wi
Wisconsin State Legislator here: www.legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx

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*Action Alert 1 - Wisconsin: Restore Books to Department of Corrections Prisoners*
*Background:* The Wisconsin Department of Corrections is denying prisoners access to donations of used books; Dan Westfield, Security Chief of the Department of Corrections, imposed the used book ban in November 2008, interrupting a free book service that had been provided to prisoners by Rainbow Bookstore for years without incident. It is a well-documented fact that increasing literacy and educational opportunities for an inmate is directly correlated to the success they will experience when returning to their communities.
*Action Request:* Call Governor Doyle and express your concern at (608) 266-1212 or email him here: www.wisgov.state.wi.us/contact.asp and contact your State Representatives here: www.legis.state.wi.us/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx to ask them to investigate the Department of Corrections' actions.
*Contact for more info:* Elizabeth Severson at 608-233-3170 or email:
ebseverson@att.net

*...................................... *
*Action Alert 2 - Wisconsin: Urge Governor Doyle to speak up for Palestinian water rights by canceling trade mission to Israel*
*Background:* Governor Doyle plans to lead a trade mission to Israel (http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2009/07/20/daily10.html) this
November Nov. 17 to 19 on sciences, water technology and agriculture where he will speak at a water conference and is urging Wisconsin businesses to join him. He has directed the Wisconsin Department of Commerce to promote this trip. Israel practices systematic, widespread racial discrimination against Palestinians in the allocation of water resources, both for human consumption and for agricultural use.
*Action Request: *Sign the Petition Supporting Palestinian water rights (www.ipetitions.com/petition/PalestineWater?e),
and call the Governor's office (www.wisgov.state.wi.us/section.asp?linkid=59&locid=19) to demand that he cancel his planned trade mission to Israel*.*
*Contact for more info:* Barb Olson, Phone: 608-238-1227 email: rafahsistercity@yahoo.com

*......................................*
*Action Alert 3 - Wisconsin: GSA for Safe Schools 2009 Wisconsin School Climate Survey*
*Background:* GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) for Safe Schools (http://www.gsaforsafeschools.org/index.html) is launching a 2009 Wisconsin School Climate Survey to collect important information about the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning students and their straight allies in Wisconsin middle schools and high schools. It is anonymous and the information gathered will help GSA for Safe Schools and other organizations educate policy makers, educators, and the public on issues facing LGBTQA students and better advocate for their interests on state and local levels. *Action Request*: Please share this link with any middle school or high school-aged youth you are connected to who may be interested in sharing their experiences. LGBTQC School climate survey (http://tinyurl.com/wischoolclimatesurvey09)
*Contact for more info:* GSA for Safe School’s office at (608)661-4141 or email Brian Juchems at brianj@gsaforsafeschools.org or Tim Michael at timm@gsaforsafeschools.org.

*......................................*
*Action Alert 4 - Wisconsin: Demand full public financing of Wisconsin Supreme Court elections*
*Background:* The Impartial Justice Bill (Senate Bill 40 (http://www.legis.state.wi.us/2009/data/SB40hst.html)/ Assembly Bill 65 (http://www.legis.state.wi.us/2009/data/AB65hst.html) would provide for a system of public financing for all Wisconsin Supreme Court elections. In previous Supreme Court elections, business groups such as Wisconsin
Manufacturers and Commerce have pumped millions of dollars into campaign to elect corporate-friendly justices.
*Action Request*: 1) Call the toll-free Legislative Hotline, 800-362-9472 (266-9960 in Madison). Tell your state senator and representative to support the Impartial Justice bill. 2) Call Senate Leader Russ Decker (608-266-2502) and Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan (608-266-7503 or toll-free 888-947-0044) to urge them to promptly schedule a vote on SB 40 and AB 65.
*Contact for more info:* Beverly Speer, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, speer@wisdc.org

** *......................................*
*Action Alert 5 - National: Take action to protect the peace community of San Jose de Apartado in Colombia*
*Background:* In Colombia, the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado has received a note from paramilitaries located in the hamlet of Nueva Antioquia, in the municipality of Turbo. The note told them they must leave their lands, failing which “blood will run”. The Peace Community has previously received threats from these paramilitaries, who openly collaborate with the Colombian Army and Police, and have previously threatened to kill Eduar Lancheros, a companion of the Peace Community.
*Action Request*: Write or call your representatives in Congress, advising them of this continued illegal collaboration between paramilitary forces with the Colombian military. Tell them the U.S. must demand the dismantling of the paramilitary base in Nueva Antioquia, and prosecution of those who threaten the Peace Community and Eduar Lancheros. If they do not, U. S. military aid to Colombia should be suspended. Also please contact the government officials listed here (https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/csn-web/2009-10/msg00002.html)
*Contact for more info:* Cecilia Zarate-Laun of Colombia Support Network (http://www.colombiasupport.net/), email: csn@igc.org

*......................................*
*Action Alert 6 - National: March On the Bankers Convention in Chicago*
*Background:* the American Bankers Association has its annual meeting in Chicago, October 25-27, and large coalition of labor, community, and consumer organizations are organizing a counter-convention and protest (http://www.showdowninchicago.org/), starting with workshops and discussion on Sunday, Oct. 25 and ending with a march to the Bankers' convention on Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Tuesday schedule:
10:00am - Prayer vigil on Wacker, east of Michigan Avenue
10:30am - March: starting at Stetson and Wacker;
11:00am - Rally at the Sheraton Hotel (301 East North Water Street, Chicago)
*Action Request:* Register for Sunday workshops here (http://www.showdowninchicago.org/takeaction.html#attend) Participate in the march on Tuesday. More info on the march
here (http://www.stopbankgreed.org/)
*Contact for more info:* bolandc@seiu1.org

*......................................*
*Action Alert 7 - National: HR 2404, requiring Afghanistan "exit strategy", introduced*
*Background:* Representative Jim McGovern has introduced HR 2404 (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d111:1:./temp/%7EbdhrGg:@@@L&summ2=m&%7C/bss/111search.html%7C),
which requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress outlining the exit strategy from Afghanistan. The bill currently has 99 cosponsors (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d111:1:./temp/%7EbdhrGg:@@@L&summ2=m&%7C/bss/111search.html%7C#cosponsors), including Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin, Gwen Moore and Steve Kagen.
*Action Request:* Contact your representatives (http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/cgi-bin/newseek.cgi?site=ctc&state=wi) to ask them to support for HR 2404, or to thank them for their cosponsorship.
*Contact for more info:* United for Peace and Justice Legislative Working Group, email: rustiandgael@unitedforpeace.org

*......................................*
*Action Alert 8 - National: H.R. 3699 to prohibit funding for Afghan "surge" still needs Wisconsin cosponsors*
*Background:* Barbara Lee has introduced H.R. 3699 (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-3699) to prohibit funding for any increase in the number of troops in Afghanistan. The bill now has 23 cosponsors (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:HR03699:@@@P), but none from Wisconsin yet.
*Action Request:* Write or call your member of Congress (http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/cgi-bin/newseek.cgi?site=ctc&state=wi) to ask them to cosponsor H.R. 3699.
*Contact for more info:* US Labor Against the War (http://uslaboragainstwar.org/contactus.php)

*......................................*
*Action Alert 9 - National: Host a local event in support of equal marriage rights, week of Nov. 1-8*
*Background:* Following up on the October 10 National Equality March in Washington, D.C. calling for full and equal marriage rights for LGBT couples, Equality Across America (http://equalityacrossamerica.org/) is working to build a grassroots network in all 435 Congressional Districts to make this demand a reality.
*Action Request: *Host a local meeting during the week of November 1-8 to help build a grassroots network for full federal marriage equality. Check the map here (http://equalityacrossamerica.org/) to see if an event is already planned for your area. If not, you can download an organizer's toolkit (http://equalityacrossamerica.org/docs/eaatoolkit1.pdf) (.pdf) and register your own event. (http://equalityacrossamerica.org/organize#signup)
*Contact for more info:* info@nationalequalitymarch.com
*
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WNPJ is forwarding these weekly alerts from membership and national affiliates. WNPJ is not responsible for the content, or the contact links for websites & phone numbers. Questions about the Alerts? Please contact the person listed in the alert. If you are a WNPJ member and have an alert you would like posted in this weekly WNPJ Action Alert e-bulletin that comes out mid-week, please send it for review to Steve Burns, WNPJ Program Director at: outreach@wnpj.org. Thanks to UW-Madison work-study student Michaela Machicote for her assistance with these Action Alerts. michaela@wnpj.org

Monday, October 19, 2009

Democracy: Battery edition

Remember that great moment in The Matrix when Neo wakes up and realizes that he's merely a battery in an immense machine?

Welcome to the Health Care Reform Matrix.

Matt Taibbi walks you through the machine in a very depressing article about so-called health care reform in the September Rolling Stone. Read it.

"We might look back on this summer someday and think of it as the moment when our government lost us for good. It was that bad."

Then, listen to the interview from today's Kathleen Dunn program on Wisconsin Public Radio.

You'll learn that the fix has been in for many months. The Obama White House shook down health industry lobbyists for money to propagandize the American people (if the government had paid it would have been illegal.) You'll learn about deals made with pharmaceutical companies including one that extends drug patents (as if they hadn't gotten enough already) and, of course, no negotiations to pay true costs. You'll understand why Olympia Snowe has become our nation's 45th president and why Max Baucus' bill will be The One and why single payer was "off the table" from the very beginning.

Then, go ahead, and call Ron Kind and ask him to support what most people really want - single payer universal health coverage or even a "robust" pubic option that's not just the rug under which all the uninsurables are swept. Ha ha ha.

You are just a battery.

All that's left of health care reform is a collection of piece-of-shit, weakling proposals that are preposterously expensive and contain almost nothing meaningful — and that set of proposals, meanwhile, is being negotiated down even further by the endlessly negating Group of Six. It is a fight to the finish now between Really Bad and Even Worse. And it's virtually guaranteed to sour the public on reform efforts for years to come.

"They'll pass some weak, mediocre plan that breaks the bank and even in the best analysis leaves 37 million people uninsured," says Mokhiber, one of the single-payer activists arrested by Baucus. "It's going to give universal health care a bad name."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pennies for Peace

Central High's Amnesty International group is raising funds through Greg Mortenson's Pennies for Peace campaign to fund a school for girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their goal is to raise $45,000 by February 1, 2010. If you would like to help with this worthy project, please send a check (I think payable to Pennies for Peace) to Central High School, Attention Ms. Newgard-Larson, 1801 Losey Blvd. S., La Crosse, WI 54601.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

UN Day in La Crosse

Veteran activist, Ray Starrett, has good news! The Mayor of La Crosse will proclaim Saturday, October 24 La Crosse - UN Day! Ray is founder of the La Crosse United Nations Association.

Please show support for this proclamation by attending the ceremony on Saturday, October 24 at 10:00 a.m. on the south side of City Hall.