latest justice news
Urge the Senate to Protect Poverty-Focused International Assistance
As most of our country prepares to turn back the clock to signal an end to Daylight Savings Time, Congress is considering proposals that would drastically turn back the clock on fighting hunger, disease, and poverty. Life-saving poverty-focused international assistance makes up less than 1% of the U.S. federal budget. However, the Senate will consider appropriations bills this week regarding these funding levels, and amendments to drastically cut assistance to people in dire need are expected. Join advocates from around the country this week and urge your Senators to maintain the levels of life-saving poverty-focused international assistance for FY 2012 as passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee. More information is available at http://crs.org/globalpoverty.
Join the Faithful Budget Prayer Vigil
The reality of the U.S.'s fiscal situation calls people of faith from around the country to unite in prayer during a national "Super Vigil" to ask God to move the hearts of policy makers and encourage the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration to draft a fair federal budget that does not place an undue burden on those living in poverty "while shielding the wealthiest from any additional sacrifice." Join the "Super Vigil" November 20 as people of faith hold prayer vigils across the nation to express our concerns for justice and the common good. More information can be found online at http://faithfulbudget.domestichumanneeds.org.
In just three weeks, the United States and the world will have a major opportunity to invest in the future of millions of children. On November 7-8, world leaders will meet to pledge new funds to education and to the Global Partnership for Education (see our email from last week here for more information). In advance of this important education summit, join us in calling on President Obama to support this bold education initiative by taking these actions:
1. Participate in tweet and facebook the White House Day TODAY, Wednesday October 19. Here are some sample tweets and facebook posts:
• Sample tweets - just copy and past these into your twitter feed:
o @WhiteHouse Did you know that 67 million children aren't in school? The U.S. can support #educationforall by investing in the @GPforEducation! #EFA
o @WhiteHouse I value the education I've received in the U.S. Now it's time for the U.S. to help educate all children by supporting @GPforEducation #EFA
o @WhiteHouse U.S. #foreignaid needs to be more effective- best way to improve aid to #education is by supporting @GPforEducation #EFA
o Worldwide, 700,000 HIV cases could be prevented each year if all children receive a primary education. It's time for the U.S. to step up and support the Global Partnership for Education!
o Each additional year of schooling reduces a young man's risk of becoming involved in conflict by 20%. In order to create a more secure world the U.S. needs to support the Global Partnership for Education!
o Investing in education is the best way to end poverty worldwide! Education increases a person's wages by up to 15%. The US can lift millions out of poverty by supporting the Global Partnership for Education!
2. Sign the petition to President Obama asking him to support the Global Partnership for Education by clicking here, and ask your friends and family to sign it.
Congress has its "Super Committee" on deficit reduction. Now we need Super Citizens to help them do their job.
Twelve members of the House and Senate are now deciding how to handle our federal budget deficit. They need to hear from you, American voters, that we want
*No more cuts to social safety net programs, including Medicaid, SNAP and unemployment insurance
*Increased revenue to close the wealth gap and decrease the deficit
*Cuts in unnecessary military spending
Please go to www.networklobby.org/be-super-citizen to find out how to contact the Super Committee.
Here's why you should call your Senators now:
Congress is working on a deficit reduction plan. If they do not agree to include increased revenues or military savings in their plan, they will slash Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, housing, education...
There are very powerful forces arguing against increasing revenues from millionaires and profit-rich corporations. The only hope of defeating these forces is if people like us call.
Tell your Senators to save jobs and prevent people from falling into poverty by calling 1-888-907-1485 (toll-free)
When you call the toll-free number, follow the instructions and you'll be connected to your Senators. Here's a message you can use:
Hi, my name is ____ and I am from (city, state). No deficit reduction plan can work if it does not rebuild our economy by protecting Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance and other basic safety net programs. And it must create jobs. Such a plan must have increased revenues from upper-income households and profitable corporations, and savings from cutting unneeded military spending. I urge [Senator ___] to support such a plan, and to reject proposals that harm the poor and stall economic recovery.
Click here for more information.
The New Federal Mandate for Contraception/Sterilization Coverage
On August 1, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an "interim final rule" that will require virtually all private health plans to include coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraceptives, female sterilization procedures, and related "patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity." These are listed among"preventive services for women" that all health plans will have to include without co-pays or other cost-sharing -- regardless of whether the insurer, the employer or other plan sponsor, or even the woman herself objects to such coverage.Concerned Americans have until September 30 to comment to HHS: visit the Action Center at The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment.
Click here for site to send comments.
Urge the Deficit "Super Committee" to Protect the Poor and Vulnerable
U.S. poverty has hit a record high, and famine continues to rage in East Africa. The Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the USCCB is urging Catholics to Take Action Now! Please consider contacting members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (The Super Committee) and ask them to protect and prioritize programs that serve poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad. Please contact House Members and Senate Members today.
Tell Your Senators to Protect Victims of Trafficking!
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) established the United States' efforts and leadership to combat the multi-billion dollar industry. Since then, the U.S. government has worked to prevent trafficking in persons; prosecute those who profit from it; and protect victims. Contact your Senators and ask them to support S. 1301, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.
Cabrini College Seeking Executive Director of the Wolfington Center
The Executive Director will guide the Center's efforts to further develop students and faculty committed to Catholic Social Teaching and social justice and provide leadership for the College's efforts to support and guide ongoing educational and service learning activities as well as envision and encourage new initiatives to enhance the work of the Center. Contact Mary Harris, the head of the search committee for further information.
Congress works on Appropriations bills
The “Budget Control Act” (BCA), which was agreed to in order to avoid default on debts incurred by the United States, forms a backdrop to the always challenging work of appropriating money to continue the work of the federal government. The BCA set a discretionary spending cap of $1.043 for FY 2012 (commencing Oct. 1, 2011). This creates greater insecurity for those living in poverty, as it is $13 billion less than FY 2011. Legislators are challenged to determine how to apportion the limited funds available.
Please call and/or e-mail your Senators and Representative and tell them to protect persons who are already struggling, prioritizing programs that provide for basic human needs such as nutrition, healthcare and housing. You can call via the Capitol switchboard 202-224-3121 and e-mail via http://capwiz.com/networklobby/issues/alert/?alertid=53399331 , using our sample messages to the Senate and the House – please add your own words to the messages.
LCWR Assembly Statement—“Call for Civil Discourse”
In light of the serious issues facing the United States that were highlighted during the assembly and the increasing political polarization in Washington, LCWR members issued a public statement calling for “a return to civil discourse that promotes the common good, reaches out to others, engages in constructive dialogue, and seeks together the way forward.” The statement was shared with the public through a press release and will be faxed to the House and Senate Leadership of both parties and to President Obama. Please consider sharing the statement with your own U.S. Representative and Senators. You are welcome to use the content craft Letters-to the-Editor or Op-Ed pieces.
The statement is available in the “What’s New” Section of the LCWR website www.lcwr.org.
Add Your Voice to the Bishops’ Message to Put a “Circle of Protection” Around Poor Families and Vulnerable People
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops urges Congress and the Administration to protect programs for poor and vulnerable persons during the current deficit reduction negotiations and in decisions to come.
Several Christian leaders, including representatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), met with President Barack Obama on July 20 to urge the President and congressional leaders to protect programs for hungry and poor people in decisions surrounding the deficit and debt. Bishop Ricardo Ramirez told the President that the bishops are not advocating “a particular plan, but a fundamental moral principle: put the needs of the poor first in allocating scarce resources…The poor have no powerful lobbyists, but they have the most powerful moral claim on this process. Please do all you can to defend the poor and vulnerable in all you say and do at this moment of crisis and the hard days ahead.” These leaders have also met with Congressional leadership of both parties.
Click here to read more and find out what you can do to help!
USCCB Leads Unprecedented Ecumenical Commitment to
Protect Poor People in Budget
We want to share with you an important breakthrough in our common work to protect those who are poor and vulnerable at home and abroad in the ongoing budget process. The Conference has led an effort to build a common voice within the Christian community to promote the moral principle of a priority for the poor. Click here to read the full USCCB commitment and click here to Circle of Friends Statement.
SUPPORT FULL FUNDING FOR THE COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING -++COMMISSION IN 2012 Recently, LCWR signed onto a letter to Congress urging support for full funding of the CFTC. While the issue may seem rather complicated it is important. Now individuals are asked to contact their representatives in congress. The attachment sent by the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns describes the issue and invitation to action.
AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE ACT: For those of you who are not members of NETWORK you can go to their website, www.networklobby.org, to read the statement issued and find resources.
STOP COLUMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT: to sign a petition to urge the President to halt this agreement, go to http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-us-colombia-free-trade-agreement
INVITATION TO FAST FOR HUNGER: Ambassador Tony Hall will hold a press conference on Monday, March 28 to announce his Fast for Hunger until April 24. To read more about his invitation to join him in fast and prayer on behalf of people made vulnerable by budget cuts see www.hungerfast.org. The fast is supported by Bread for the World and other organizations.
A TIMELY NEW DOCUMENTARY ON THE BOMB: See www.FORGOTTENBOMB.COM for information: "Everything depends on remembering." While the current horrendous disaster in Japan is not about bomb-making there is a connection between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. NCR reviews the documentary as "excellent. . .a great resource."
WAND LETTER TO CONGRESS ON 2012 BUDGET: Women's Action For New Directions (WAND) is sponsoring a letter to members of Congress urging restraint in military spending and investment in clean energy, health care and education. LCWR has signed as a national organization. The letter was sent to chairs of LCWR regions with a request to send to member congregations with an invitation to sign. You may wish to alert your congregational leadership to the invitation also. Click here to read letter.
JOINT CONFERENCE STATEMENT ON TUCSON TRAGEDY: The presidents of LCWR and CMSM issued a statement which can be found on the LCWR website: www.lcwr.org/what'snew/tucson.htm
HEALTH REFORM HITS MAIN STREET: Confused about how the new health reform law really works? Click here for a short, animated movie from Kaiser -- featuring the "YouToons" -- explains the problems with the current health care system, the changes that are happening now, and the big changes coming in 2014.
ABOLITION 2000, the global umbrella group representing over 2000 peace and nuclear disarmament groups worldwide, has written to the heads of states that have nuclear weapons capabilities, urging them to move to as low an operational status for those nuclear weapon systems as possible as a first step to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and the implementation of a global nuclear weapons convention that would provide a legal framework permanently outlawing nuclear weapons. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis Province, sent a similar letter to President Obama.
"We can't, in effect, keep on relying on divine intervention to save us from the consequences of our own stupidity," said Abolition 2000 spokesperson Dominique Lalanne of France. "Nuclear weapons need to be taken off quick launch status and we need to redouble our efforts to abolish them."
JUBILEE USA ENCOURAGES CALLS FOR WORLD BANK AND IMF REFORM: A bi-partisan letter (Lugar R-IN and Casey D-PA) to the President about needed World Bank and IMF reforms needs more senate co-sponsors. (Click here to see attachment.) Calls are needed to senators in the following states: Tennessee, Georgia, Maine, Mississippi, Idaho, New Hampshire and Utah. We do not have many members in these states, but hope that some calls will be made.
INVITATION TO VOTE NO TO GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS: There are a number of arguments against unloading GMOs on developing countries. The argument that they will feed the hungry of the world does not paint the whole picture. Why do farmers in poor countries resist them? One argument is that they do not want to be kept dependent on large corporations, such as Monsanto, for purchase of their seeds. They want to grow their own crops using their own seeds. They need help, yes, but GMOs are not the answer. If you wish to vote, click here.
STUDY: The True Cost of the Iraq War: $3 Trillion and Beyond
By Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes
Writing in [The Washington Post] in early 2008, we put the total cost to the United States of the Iraq war at $3 trillion. This price tag dwarfed previous estimates, including the Bush administration's 2003 projections of a $50 billion to $60 billion war.
But today, as the United States ends combat in Iraq, it appears that our $3 trillion estimate (which accounted for both government expenses and the war's broader impact on the U.S. economy) was, if anything, too low. For example, the cost of diagnosing, treating and compensating disabled veterans has proved higher than we expected.
Moreover, two years on, it has become clear to us that our estimate did not capture what may have been the conflict's most sobering expenses: those in the category of "might have beens," or what economists call opportunity costs. For instance, many have wondered aloud whether, absent the Iraq invasion, we would still be stuck in Afghanistan. And this is not the only "what if" worth contemplating. We might also ask: If not for the war in Iraq, would oil prices have risen so rapidly? Would the federal debt be so high? Would the economic crisis have been so severe?
To read the entire article, click here.
GOOD NEWS, DOE RUN - After more than ten years of community activism and Missouri Coalition for the Environment's watchdogging, families in Missouri's lead contaminated communities can begin to prepare for a cleaner future.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Justice Department and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced that Doe Run Resources Corp. of St. Louis, North America's largest lead producer, has agreed to chart a cleaner course for its Missouri operations.
Under a consent agreement, Doe Run will spend approximately $65 million to correct violations of several environmental laws at many of its lead mining, milling and smelting facilities. The company will pay $7 million in civil penalties, $3.5 million of which will go to local school districts in four Missouri counties. Doe Run has also committed to improving its truck washing facilities and to testing soil along haul routes to determine the extent of lead contamination between its mine, mills, and smelter. Further, Doe Run agreed to close its smelter in Herculaneum, which is North America's largest smelter, by December 31, 2013. Doe Run will deploy a new technology that has much lower air emissions for its lead processing.