Saturday, December 03, 2005

Passing the Peace - Dec 3

This week another of our Peace Center Interns - Johanna Michael - will be writing the article for Passing the Peace. Keep reading below to see what she has to say.Thanks for all your faithfulness as we work together for God's Kin-dom!Shalom, Salaam, Peace, Paz,Susan StoufferPeace with Justice Organizer

------------------------------------------------- There are many healthcare concerns that involve members of the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex) community. One of the most well-known and infamous is HIV/AIDS. AIDS became known as a “gay disease” in the 1980’s. Yes, it is true that HIV was easily spread through the gay community at the time. However, now the disease is a pandemic that affects people of all sexual orientations. It is a very serious problem and it must be dealt with. World AIDS Day was this past Thursday, Dec. 1. Getting tested for HIV is the easiest and most important thing everyone can do to prevent the spread of AIDS, and often there are mobile testing vans around in major cities on World AIDS day. There are always places to get tested for free. Oportunidad, an organization connected with our church, is one of these locations, and they always appreciate donations of all kinds--food, clothing, etc. This Sunday during the Peace Center Moment, I would like to explore some of the lesser-known healthcare issues that affect LGBTQI people. One of these issues is lack of insurance coverage for gay men. Another is the very little-known fact that same-sex partners of people in the hospital are official nonentities; they do not have any rights. They are not family according to the law, and thus can be denied the right to visit their partner when he/she is in critical condition. In the case of an accident, if someone with a same-sex partner dies, and the partner was not mentioned in their will, they could be completely excluded from the funeral and execution of their partner’s wishes. The way to fight these injustices is through legislation. It must be made legal for same-sex partners to visit in hospitals. The stigma against gay men must be legally ended. Calling and writing to congress people is the best thing to do. Our senator and representatives need to be reminded that these problems need their attention. Some website of particular interest are: www.lambdalegal.org and www.hrc.org.Peace,Johanna Michael************************************************************************ *********************Quote of the Week: Statement From the Christian Peacemaker Teams:In a "Statement of Conviction," the long-term Team members stated that they"are aware of the many risks both Iraqis and internationals currently face,"and affirmed that the risks did not outweigh their purpose in remaining.They express the hope that "in loving both friends and enemies and byintervening non-violently to aid those who are systematically oppressed, wecan contribute in some small way to transforming this volatile situation."************************************************************************ **********************Words, Thoughts, Deeds, Prayers that Sustain Us:From: The MennonitesAdvent Peace PrayerLord, you revealed yourself to Mary and Josephand walked with them to Bethlehem.This advent, we listen for your voice;we ask you to walk with us in our HIV/AIDS filled world.We pray expecting your presence among us!Be with all who live with the effects of this disease.Be with those who wait to die because they have no access to medication.Be with children who received HIV as a legacy from their parents.Be with orphans and families who have lost loved ones.Be with countries who have millions of afflicted citizens.Be with all who are stigmatized and ignored because they are infected.Be with politicians and executives who control access to affordable medications.Be with researchers and scientists who work to find a cure.Be with healthcare workers and caregivers who comfort and encourage.Lord, we hear the angel's song of peace!Fill the hearts of people around the world with good willas we walk the road towards justice and healingfor all who suffer from HIV/AIDS. Amen.************************************************************************ **********************ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:1) Ask America to do More related to HIV to Save the Lives Around the World2) Sign the Petition for the Release of CPT Members Held in Iraq3) Commit Yourself to Work for Equality and Justice in the Next Congressional Election4) Urge your Representative to Pass the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act5) Urge Congress to Support Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Iraq6) Urge Senator Feinstein to Co-sponsor the DREAM Act************************************************************************ ************************1) Ask America to do More related to HIV to Save the Lives Around the WorldFrom: The ONE CampaignToday is World AIDS Day, and right now, over 350,000 people are alive because Americans like you asked our nation to do more to fight AIDS.Thank you.Together, we can and must do more. This is what an emergency looks like: every day in Africa, HIV/AIDS kills 6,600 people, 8,800 people are infected with the HIV virus and at least 1,400 newborn babies are infected during childbirth.This World AIDS Day, we are fighting back-and we know what works. We can prevent, educate and treat. Right now, the U.S. is providing life-saving medicines to kids, mothers, fathers, farmers and teachers who hold the key to their nations' futures. Together, we have much farther to go. At the G8, leaders listened to your call and pledged near universal access to AIDS medicines by 2010. Let's keep up the positive pressure and make sure we keep the promise.You can continue the fight against AIDS and poverty right now by adding your name to the ONE Big Noise letter and ask America to do more to save lives around the world: http://www.one.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=12762) Sign the Petition for the Release of CPT Members Held in IraqFrom: Presbyterian Peacemaking UpdateCPT MEMBERS HELD IN IRAQAdd the following people and their families to your prayers: Tom Fox, Norman Kember, James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden. These four Christians, serving in Iraq with Christian Peacemaker Teams, were kidnapped on November 26 as part of a new wave of kidnappings that police fear is aimed at disrupting next month's elections. Reports say the four were seized by the Swords of Righteousness Brigade, which claimed they were spies working under the cover of being Christian peace activists. Learn more at http://www.cpt.org/. The World Council of Churches is among groups calling for their release.http://www2.wcc-coe.org/pressreleasesen.nsf/index/pr-05-73.htmlThe Nation Magazine has launched a petition campaign to free the CPT members. Sign the petition now. Time is of the essence. http://www.freethecpt.org3) Commit Yourself to Work for Equality and Justice in the Next Congressional ElectionFrom: Human Rights Campaign (HRC)We’re only one year away from the 2006 Senate midterm elections and every fair-minded American will have the chance to turn the tide in American politics. HRC is launching a massive campaign to oust radical ideologues and bring back Senators who will fight for equality and justice for all of us. This month, we need 100,000 people to say they will stand with us to help take back Congress from the right-wing in 2006. Will you join us?Yes! I want to take back Congress in 2006: http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/campaign/1yrout4) Urge your Representative to Pass the Darfur Peace and Accountability ActFrom: Church World ServiceDARFUR PEACE AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACTUrge your Representative to pass the Darfur Peace and Accountability with the strongest language possible. Rep. Hyde (IL) and Rep. Lantos (CA) are particularly important. Constituents in their districts should call or write their representative asking him to ensure that the Housepasses the act with already agreed upon binding language that is stronger than what was passed in the Senate.http://capwiz.com/churchworld/issues/alert/?alertid=8250726&type=CO5) Urge Congress to Support Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from IraqFrom: Peace ActionTwo weeks ago, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), a conservative military hawk, shook up Congress when he announced his support for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Soon after his announcement, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives pulled an underhanded move. They held a vote on a resolution they called "Murtha's Plan" even though it looked nothing like his proposal. Therefore, although nearly two-thirds of Americans want U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible, instead of debating solutions to the crisis in Iraq, Congress wasted time engaged in another partisan scuffle.Enough is enough. Congress returns to Washington next week to finish its business for the year. Part of that business must include addressing Iraq. California Peace Action has joined with organizations across the country to organize a National Call-In Day on Iraq December 6, 2005. We must flood Congressional offices with a simple message:The U.S. military presence in Iraq hurts more than it helps--Members of Congress must support a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.Please join us by calling your Representative next Tuesday,Dec. 6. You can reach your Member of Congress through the Congressional Switchboard at 1-800-614-2803.6) Urge Senator Feinstein to Co-sponsor the DREAM ActFrom: Los Angeles Dream Team1. Thank Senators Richard Durbin, Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar and the ten cosponsors for introducing the DREAM Act. You can send them an email by visiting http://www.cccaction.org/campaign/DREAMthanks.2. Urge Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to cosponsor the DREAM Act. Call theCaliforniaoffice at (310) 914-7300.Suggested Message:Hello. My name is (NAME) calling from (ZIP CODE). The DREAM Act (S.2075) has been re-introduced in the Senate and Congress is now presented with an opportunity to provide equal and fair educational and employment opportunities for all young people in this nation. I urge Senator Feinstein to stand with hard-working immigrant students by cosponsoring the bill and playing an active role in ensuring its passage. ************************************************************************ ******UPCOMING ACTIONS TO TAKE:1) Attend Major Prophetic Event on Iraq - April 2-4, 2006From: The Shalom CenterA REVOLUTION OF VALUES: Organizing for the future of the faiths. On those dates in April, Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq will hold a national conference that includes spiritually rooted prophetic action in the tradition of King and Heschel.Late afternoon or evening on April 2, there will be an interfaith tent revival on the National Mall to reclaim the spirit of democracy in this dark hour. April 3 will serve as an all-day organizing conference, which will provide the interfaith religious community the skill, tools, and theology to build a strong witness for peace in their local community. April 4 will continue with organizing workshops and then with a pre-Passover Freedom Seder and a march, with palms waving, to the White House.There some will choose to assert their First Amendment rights even if the police decide to arrest them. Others will act as support groups, not risking arrest. Equally as a part of the CALC-I event will be a gathering of 40 religious leaders under forty, who are working on peace and justice issues around the country. This Future of the Faiths gathering of young religious leader will be interfaith and serve to strength a new generation of prophetic witnesses.We have chosen these days because of their deep significance in traditions of peace, justice, and spirituality.April 4 is the yohrzeit (death-anniversary) of Martin Luther King, and the anniversary of his great Riverside Church speech in 1967 against the three great dangers to America: militarism, racism, and materialism. ("A Revolution in Values" is a phrase from Dr. King's Riverside speech.)April 9 is Palm Sunday, recalling the moment when a nonviolent Jewish demonstration, led by a charismatic young rabbi, confronted the Roman Empire in its local sub-capitol, Jerusalem.April 12 is the first night of Passover, remembering when a band of runaway slaves, with God's help, faced and overcame the might of Pharaoh. The CALC-I National Organizing Conference welcomes all religiously committed opponents of the present US governmental policy of making endless war, torturing prisoners, starving the poor, impoverishing the middle class, and poisoning the earth while enriching the super-wealthy; And since being "OPponents" is not enough, CALC-I welcomes those "PROponents" who draw on the prophetic traditions and visions of the Biblical, Quranic, Buddhist, Hindu, earth-centered, and other spiritual teachings: harmony between the human race and the earth, the nonviolent resolution and transformation of conflict, compassion for the afflicted, empowerment of the poor and the weak.2) Attend Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference 2006 - July 22-27From: Presbyterian Peacemaking Program Update2006 Peacemaking Conference * Unmasking Power: Seeking the Faces of Peace - July 22-27, 2006, YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park, C0http://pcusa.org/peacemaking/conferences/2006.htm************************************************************************ *****************For more information, to ask questions, make comments, or to send suggestions about Passing the Peace or peace opportunities at UUC and in LA, or to be removed from this list, contact Susan Stouffer - stouffer@usc.edu

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Passing the Peace - November 26

Have we learned anything?  Hopefully so.  What have we learned as we
have looked together at the issue of healthcare in our country over the
past few weeks?

**We know that about the 45 million of us in this country who are
without health insurance.
**We know that this has a significant impact on our health and the
healthcare we receive, causing us to live sicker and die quicker!
**We know that those of us who are without health insurance are often
people who are working or seeking work.
**We also know that those of us covered by employment-based health
insurance has decreased by 5 million people over the past 4 years while
the numbers of people under 65 needing such insurance rose by 10
million.
**We know that healthcare access can provide particular challenges for
the homeless and marginalized among us, as they are often unaware of
services offered or have difficulty accessing them consistently due to
being homeless.
**We know that countries who offer national healthcare actually pay
less for healthcare, even while more people receive it!
**We know that the government continues to cut health services for the
poor and marginalized, even while the wealthy receive record tax cuts!
**We know that prescription drug coverage which is desperately needed,
ends up being more of a benefit for prescription drug companies and a
P.R. campaign for politicians than the substantive help so needed!

So, where do we go from here? Firstly, though we are in a struggle for
healthcare justice in this country, there are signs of hope! There are
people doing great work on this issue all around. One of our partners
in the Figueroa Corridor Coalition for Economic Justice is the
Coalition for Community Health. They are a group that is involved in
addressing healthcare issues in our community. Here is their mission
statement:
tact us
Coalition for Community Health offers a wide-range of services to
community members, including case management services, education on
health insurance for low-income people, and assistance with applying
for programs and navigating the confusing world of public and private
health care programs. CCH also provides referrals to other health and
social service agencies. On average, CCH serves over 2,000 people a
year through our direct service programs.

TAKING ACTION at UUC:
Though we aren't a health organization as such, there are also things
we can do at UUC to address healthcare justice.

1) The Peace Center is currently collecting signatures on a petition
that is a commitment and call to action on the issue of healthcare and
accessibility. We will send the collected signatures to our
governmental representatives and to our denominational leadership. If
you haven't yet signed, please do at church on Sunday or drop by the
office and sign the petition in my box.

2) We are also currently collecting information about health promotion
and wellness things classes and programs that we might do at the
church. The survey is attached below. If you haven't filled one out,
please take a few minutes to complete the brief survey and email it
back to me - stouffer@usc.edu.

3) Finally, we are looking for ideas about what other kinds of things we as a church might do to address this important life-or-death issue. If you have ideas for actions or innovative programs, or if you have skills you could contribute to this work, just send an email and let me know. Thanks for all your faithfulness as we work together for God's Kin-dom!

Shalom, Salaam, Peace, Paz,
Susan Stouffer
Peace with Justice Organizer ************************************************************************
Quote of the Week:

"I know you are asking today, 'How long will it take?' Someone is asking today, 'How long will prejudice blind the eyes of men?'....How long? Not long! Because the arch of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Words, Thoughts, Deeds, Prayers that Sustain Us:

From: People for the American Way (PFAW)

This has been a busy congressional session, bringing progressives both victories and defeats. The biggest victory, though, is the turning tide. Katrina The tide is turning in Congress when it comes to accountability. Both House and Senate leaders have released outlines of proposed legislation to address the disastrous response by the federal government to aide the devastated communities struck by Hurricane Katrina.

USA PATRIOT Act
The tide is turning on Capitol Hill when it comes to our rights and freedoms. By November 18, votes still had not been cast on a USA PATRIOT Act extension/reform compromise package. On that day, a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House and Senate held a press conference opposing the conference report, which watered down protections enacted in the Houses - and a bipartisan group of 6 Senators discussed the potential for a filibuster! Action on the conference report has been delayed until at least December 12.

Torture
The tide is also turning when it comes to how Congress expects the United States to comport with global human rights standards and international treaties signed by the U.S. On Friday, November 4, Senator John McCain's detainee language was attached to the FY 2006 authorization bill for Department of Defense (DoD) appropriations. The bill passed the Senate on November 15 by a vote of 98-0. Unfortunately, this victory was tempered by an amendment pushed by Senator Lindsey Graham, which would strip detainees at Guantanamo of habeas corpus rights. While PFAW strongly supports the McCain detainee language, we are opposed to the habeas- stripping language in this amendment.

Budget and Taxes
For some time, right-wing congressional leaders have been unable to get the votes they needed to pass the House budget reconciliation package. Unfortunately, with arm twisting at a fever pitch and only minor tweaks to Food Stamp and Medicaid funding, they succeeded in passing this draconian proposal just after 1:30 am on Friday, November 18 by a vote of 217-215. But the tide is turning here too. The budget was passed only after immense pressure was brought to bear on a few moderate Republican members. Moreover, rebellion against the GOP leadership in the House killed a cruel Health and Human Services appropriations plan and similar rebellion in the Senate is wreaking havoc with Republican hopes to further slash taxes for the wealthy.

The Supreme Court
Finally, the tide is turning on the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Despite President Bush's claims that Alito is a mainstream nominee, the public and the press are beginning to understand that's not true. To keep this momentum going, PFAW has released a new ad recounting some of Alito's troubling rulings and legal positions, including his voting to uphold the strip search of a 10-year-old girl without a valid warrant, his unsuccessful effort as an appeals court judge to declare a law regulating machine guns unconstitutional, and his declaration while in the Justice Department that the Constitution does not protect a woman's right to choose an abortion.

There is plenty to be thankful for this holiday season. While rancor still exercises influence over peace and justice, there are signs that America is moving in the right direction again. Take any opportunity you can to push it along that way!

************************************************************************

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:
1) Urge Your Senators to Not to Develop new Landmines (or any such weapons by other names)
2) Help Close the School of the Americas
3) Urge Your Congresspeople to Prohibit Torture
4) Support Higher Gas Mileage Standards
5) Urge Congress to Support Increase in Minimum Wage

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1) Urge Your Senators to Not to Develop new Landmines (or any such weapons by other names)

From: Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Bush administration is making plans to begin production of a new generation of antipersonnel mines. This initiative would erase many of the positive steps the United States has taken in the past toward banning antipersonnel mines. The United States government will decide by December 2005 whether to begin production of a new generation of antipersonnel mine system called "Spider." The Pentagon has also requested a total of $1.3 billion for development and production of yet another new antipersonnel mine called the "Intelligent Munitions System," with a full production decision expected in 2008. Tell your senators you are disappointed that the U.S. is contemplating new production of landmines. Tell them that the vision of a world free of the scourge of landmines will remain out of reach as long as the U.S. continues to reserve the right to produce these indiscriminate weapons. The U.S. should halt production of all victim-activated weapons, whether the government calls it a landmine or not.

2) Help Close the School of the Americas

From: Sojourners

The School of the Americas (SOA) - renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001 - is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers located at Fort Benning, Georgia. During its 56 years of existence, the SOA has used U.S. tax dollars to train more than 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage war against their own countries' civilians. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, "disappeared," massacred, and forced into exile by those trained at this "School of Assassins." This violence isn't ancient history, either. As recently as 2002, an SOA graduate was arrested for the murder of Colombian archbishop, Isaias Duarte. In 2003, several soldiers received training at the SOA even though they were known to have past records of human rights abuses. Please use the letter below to contact your congressperson and urge them to support HR 1217, a bill to close, investigate, and prevent another cosmetic remake of the SOA. Take Action: http://go.sojo.net/campaign/05_close_the_SOA/8ug3ix245bnjk3?


3) Urge Your Congresspeople to Prohibit Torture

From: Amnesty USA

The Senate recently voted on two important bills: the Defense Appropriations bill and the Defense Authorization bill. Both bills have amendments attached to them that need your urgent attention. Call your Members of Congress and urge them to stand in favor of the absolute prohibition on torture and ill-treatment by supporting the Anti-torture amendment attached to both bills, and in defense of core principles of justice and due process by opposing the Graham amendment attached to the Defense Authorization bill. Take Action Now: http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/action/index.asp?step=2&item=12392


4) Support Higher Gas Mileage Standards

From: Environment California

Earlier this month we had a momentous victory when the U.S. House of Representatives decided to protect California's coastline from offshore oil drilling by removing a dangerous drilling provision from the federal Budget Reconciliation bill. Now it's time for Congress to take another step to break our dependence on oil by making cars go farther on a gallon of gas. If we simply raise gas mileage standards to 40 miles per gallon, we could save more than five million barrels of oil per day. The National Academy of Sciences has said that automakers already have the technology they need to be able to do this and that cars would maintain current safety standards. It's up to Congress to act. Please take a moment to ask your U.S. Representative to support legislation that would raise gas mileage standards to 40 mpg. Then ask your family and friends to help by forwarding this email to them. To take action, click on this link or paste it into your web browser: http://environmentcalifornia.org/envirocalifenergy.asp?id=127&id4=ES


5) Urge Congress to Support Increase in Minimum Wage

From: AFL-CIO Working Families

Let’s talk about priorities. Congress has not increased the minimum wage since 1997, meaning the real earnings of workers at the bottom of the pay scale have dropped dramatically. So what is Congress doing to address this crisis? Giving themselves a pay raise. Again. Since the last minimum wage increase, members of Congress have increased their own pay several times, for a total increase of $31,600 per year. That’s an increase of $31,600. Meanwhile, workers in minimum wage jobs earn a total of just $10,700 a year. Does that sound like a Congress that has its priorities straight? It’s time to take action. Congress has headed home for the Thanksgiving holiday, but you can still tell your representative and senators what you think. Call your members of Congress today. Ask them if they support an increase in the minimum wage, and if so, what they’re doing about it. The congressional pay raise is just the beginning. The House recently pushed through a budget that cuts $50 billion from programs that help working families, including Medicaid, student loans and food stamps. At the same time, congressional leaders are trying to pass $70 billion in new breaks mostly for the very wealthiest Americans. Big pay raises for themselves, but no increase in the minimum wage. Big spending cuts aimed directly at working families and even bigger tax breaks for the wealthy. These are not the priorities of America’s working families, and they shouldn’t be the priorities in Congress. Call your members of Congress today at their local offices so they get the message. Call CALL THE CAPITOL SWITCHBOARD toll free 1-800-426-8073 or 202-224-3121.


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UPCOMING ACTIONS TO TAKE:


1) Attend Discussion about the Future of King/Drew Medical Center

From: Progressive Jewish Alliance

For RSVP - email office@pjalliance.org

HTML Attachment [ Download File | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]


Event Speakers:

Sylvia Drew Ivie, Project Director of the Steering Committee on the Future of King/Drew Medical Center

Rabbi Haim Beliak, PJA Board Member


Please join us for a conversation about how to save and transform one of the most important healthcare institutions in Los Angeles.

DATE: Monday, November 28
TIME: 7:30PM
LOCATION: Workmen's Circle, 1525 S. Robertson Ave. Los Angeles 90035
COST: Non-members $5, members free (Non-members can join PJA at the door and receive free admission)
RSVP now by clicking here


2) Attend Major Prophetic Event on Iraq - April 2-4, 2006

From: The Shalom Center

A REVOLUTION OF VALUES: Organizing for the future of the faiths. On those dates in April, Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq will hold a national conference that includes spiritually rooted prophetic action in the tradition of King and Heschel. Late afternoon or evening on April 2, there will be an interfaith tent revival on the National Mall to reclaim the spirit of democracy in this dark hour. April 3 will serve as an all-day organizing conference, which will provide the interfaith religious community the skill, tools, and theology to build a strong witness for peace in their local community. April 4 will continue with organizing workshops and then with a pre-Passover Freedom Seder and a march, with palms waving, to the White House. There some will choose to assert their First Amendment rights even if the police decide to arrest them. Others will act as support groups, not risking arrest. Equally as a part of the CALC-I event will be a gathering of 40 religious leaders under forty, who are working on peace and justice issues around the country. This Future of the Faiths gathering of young religious leader will be interfaith and serve to strength a new generation of prophetic witnesses. We have chosen these days because of their deep significance in traditions of peace, justice, and spirituality. April 4 is the yohrzeit (death-anniversary) of Martin Luther King, and the anniversary of his great Riverside Church speech in 1967 against the three great dangers to America: militarism, racism, and materialism. ("A Revolution in Values" is a phrase from Dr. King's Riverside speech.) April 9 is Palm Sunday, recalling the moment when a nonviolent Jewish demonstration, led by a charismatic young rabbi, confronted the Roman Empire in its local sub-capitol, Jerusalem. April 12 is the first night of Passover, remembering when a band of runaway slaves, with God's help, faced and overcame the might of Pharaoh. The CALC-I National Organizing Conference welcomes all religiously committed opponents of the present US governmental policy of making endless war, torturing prisoners, starving the poor, impoverishing the middle class, and poisoning the earth while enriching the super-wealthy; And since being "OPponents" is not enough, CALC-I welcomes those "PROponents" who draw on the prophetic traditions and visions of the Biblical, Quranic, Buddhist, Hindu, earth-centered, and other spiritual teachings: harmony between the human race and the earth, the nonviolent resolution and transformation of conflict, compassion for the afflicted, empowerment of the poor and the weak. 3) Attend Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference 2006 - July 22-27 From: Presbyterian Peacemaking Program Update 2006 Peacemaking Conference * Unmasking Power: Seeking the Faces of Peace - July 22-27, 2006, YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park, C0 http://pcusa.org/peacemaking/conferences/2006.htm

************************************************************************

For more information, to ask questions, make comments, or to send suggestions about Passing the Peace or peace opportunities at UUC and in LA, or to be removed from this list, contact Susan Stouffer - stouffer@usc.edu

Monday, November 21, 2005

Passing the Peace - November 20

This week we have a special treat. Maisha Johnson, one of our Peace Center Interns, will be writing for Passing the Peace. She just attended a conference on Hunger and Homelessness and came back really hopeful and inspired. Her words follow this brief introduction.

Shalom, Salaam, Peace, Paz,
Susan Stouffer
Peace with Justice Organizer

------------------------

What does it take for a woman who has struggled her entire life with mental illness, poverty, and discrimination to maintain hope that someday, nobody will have to live without food or shelter? It takes an incredible amount of strength, courage, and faith. And what would it take for her dream to come true? Affordable housing, healthcare, and equality for all persons. It’s not impossible.
Last weekend, I went to Seattle to attend the 18th annual National Student Conference on Hunger and Homelessness. I was inspired by the message of hope. While learning about the problems of poverty that plague overwhelming numbers of people in the United States and around the world, it is easy to be overcome with despair, as the battle against hunger and homelessness may seem like a battle we’re bound to lose. But the stories I heard and activities in which I participated taught me that all we really need is for somebody to care. As people of faith, we should follow in the footsteps of such leaders as Dorothy Day and take the initiative as people who care enough to know that we can end hunger and homelessness.
The 300 or so conference attendees and I heard from a Faces of Homelessness panel, including a formerly homeless woman who was truly touched to see all of us there. To see so many people who are eager to take action against the injustice that left her hungry for so many years, gave her hope that that injustice would not always prevail. We visited Tent City, an encampment of homeless men and women who lived in a tents, providing one another with resources such as food, showers, social services, and a sense of community. Our tour guide insisted that Tent City served as only a temporary home, because they were confident that once a homeless individual reached them, he or she would find the resources needed to rise out of the situation. We participated in a hunger banquet, where the majority of us were forced to share a limited amount of rice, while a few were served nutritious three-course meals, our fate determined by the drawing of cards. There, we discovered that with equal distribution, everyone could have enough to eat, and discussed ways that fair trade practices and positive legislation could help diminish hunger worldwide.
One panel I attended was called “Putting Faith Into Action.” One of the panelists described how we should be “holy troublemakers” for peace and justice. After all, Jesus was a holy troublemaker, wasn’t he? He was constantly in trouble for confronting injustice. By reaching out to the poor, he taught us that God loves all of us equally, regardless of our status. What we do to the least of our brothers and sisters, we do to God – and if we disregard those of us who are suffering, then we are not following Jesus’ example of love and compassion. The first step is simply to recognize that everybody deserves to live without suffering. Once we take this step, we feel compelled to take action, and we know that our actions can truly make a difference in this world.

Peace,
Maisha Johnson
Peace Center Intern


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Quote of the Week:


Matthew 25:35-39
I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,ÜI was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' ÜThen the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? ÜAnd when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? ÜAnd when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40ÜAnd the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'



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Words, Thoughts, Deeds, Prayers that Sustain Us:

Ellen Belcher: Combating war, woman to woman

'Peacemaker' risked her life to deliver hope

By Ellen Belcher

Dayton Daily News

It's hard to imagine Farida Musanovic being afraid.

This is a woman who braved "sniper alley" countless times during the war in Bosnia to deliver money and letters to women who were made refugees and widows by a campaign of ethnic cleansing. This is a woman who insisted that the music school she directed stay open despite the shelling, the freezing cold and the death that was all around.

But Musanovic, 66, confesses she'll be nervous tonight. She's receiving the first "Peacemaker Prize," an award honoring an individual who's fostered peace at the grass-roots level. The recognition is from Dayton: A Peace Process, the local organization promoting ties between Dayton and Bosnia. That connection began here 10 years ago when the Clinton administration chose Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as the site of negotiations to end a war that had killed 200,000 and lasted for more than three years.

Musanovic is being thanked for her work with Women for Women International, an organization that got its start in many respects because Musanovic agreed to be a courier for an Iraqi woman who wanted to help the women of Bosnia.

In August 1994, during a lull in the war, Zainab Salbi came to Sarajevo using money she and her new husband had planned to spend on their honeymoon. She was fixated on helping some of the 150,000-plus women who had fled the terror campaign being waged by Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic in eastern Bosnia against Muslims and Bosnian-Croats.

Salbi, who was living in Washington, D.C., was especially moved by the stories coming out of the country about rape camps. Musanovic's daughter, who also was living in Washington, knew Salbi and asked her mother to meet with this 23-year-old woman on a mission.

Salbi's goal was to link individual American women with individual Bosnian women; the American woman would sponsor a "sister," sending $20 a month and writing supportive letters that would help the women overcome their grief from losing their sons, husbands, fathers and homes.

Musanovic signed on, not really knowing what to expect. She and her country had been disappointed before by promises of assistance that never came.

A month after she returned to the United States, Salbi sent money and letters for 14 women. For her part, Musanovic then delivered the aid and collected names of more women who wanted to participate in the exchange.

"The next month, she sent money for 34 women," Musanovic said of Salbi. And on and on it grew. The assistance was hand-carried into the country by journalists, politicians or whomever Salbi could enlist.

This work made Musanovic Women for Women's first field representative. Today the organization is an $11 million-plus nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women victims of war. It operates in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Rwanda, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Salbi's story is as remarkable as Musanovic's. She is the daughter of Saddam Hussein's personal pilot, and she recently wrote Between Two Worlds. Called a "chilling memoir" by The Washington Post, the book describes the terror and guilt Salbi and her family endured because of being in Saddam's threatening and protective clutches.

Musanovic is matter of fact when she talks about the war. She was dedicated to keeping the school open because life had to go on. "You have to do something," she said. "We never stopped working during the war, except during the heavy shelling." A pianist, she taught her students wearing gloves with the tips cut off.

She still marvels at the things Sarajevans did to evade the mortars that could come at any time from the Serbs positioned on the mountains. On streets, including the one near her school, people stacked burned cars, making a visual barricade so the Serbs could not spot them walking.

The Peacemaker Prize comes with $10,000, and Musanovic has a plan for the money. Women for Women in Sarajevo has a building where participants can come to learn skills and take business classes. She wants to do the same in Srebrenica, where 10 years ago, 7,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred while lightly armed U.N. peacekeepers stood by.

Musanovic is more eager to talk about Women for Women than her own contributions to it. She is, for instance, proud of its micro-credit loans that women use to buy sewing machines and farm animals. And she believes strongly in the power of the personal relationships that have developed.

Doris Ponitz, who met Muscanovic in 1996, was among the judges advocating that Musanovic receive the "Peacemaker Prize." Ponitz has traveled to Bosnia five times and has seen the work Women for Women is doing.

Recognizing how many women have been helped by Musanovic, Ponitz laughs when she remembers what her friend said when she learned about the award.

"Why me?" she exclaimed. "I'm just a piano teacher."

Ellen Belcher is editor of the Dayton Daily News editorial pages. Her telephone number is 225-2286; her e-mail address is ebelcher@Dayton

DailyNews.com.


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ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

1) Give Feedback to Your Representative about Budget Cuts for those in Need
2) Support Murtha's Call for Change of Direction in Iraq
3) Urge Your Congresspeople - Don't Support Patriot Act without Civil Rights Protections
4) Oppose Fuel Economy Loopholes
5) Urge President Bush to Make Trade Fair for Developing Countries


************************************************************************************************

1) Give Feedback to Your Representative about Budget Cuts for those in Need

From: Sojourners

Early Friday morning, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a budget proposal (217-215) that, if enacted, would make severe cuts toÜour nation's most vital anti-poverty programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and child care.ÜÜThe margin was small because of yourÜprayers,Üphone calls,Üe-mails, andÜletters to the editor. Thank you.Ü In the coming weeks, the budget will face a House-Senate negotiation, followed by separate votes in each chamber. We will continue to raise our voices to demand justice for the poorest among us.

"Budgets are moral documents that reflect what we care about. Budget and tax bills that increase the deficit put our children's futures in jeopardy - and they hurt the vulnerable right now. The choice to cut supports that help people make it day to day in order to pay for tax cuts for those with plenty goes against everything our religious and moral principles teach us. It says that leaders don't care about people in need. It is a blatant reversal of biblical values - and symbolizes the death of compassionate conservatism.

The faith community is outraged and is drawing a line in the sand against immoral national priorities. It is time to draw that line more forcefully and more visibly.

I applaud those House members who have stood up for better budget priorities and fought hard all year to keep issues of basic fairness at the forefront of this debate. And I thank those on both sides of the aisle who stood up and did the right thing in voting against this bill, despite pressure from the House leadership. These strong voices provide some hope for getting beyond an ideology that disregards the role of government for the common good."

Ask your Representative how he/she voted on these budget cuts - if he/she voted against them, say "thanks" if she/he voted for them, express your dismay and encourage changes in the budget negotiations. Call CALL THE CAPITOL SWITCHBOARD toll free 1-800-426-8073 or 202-224-3121.



2) Support Murtha's Call for Change of Direction in Iraq

From: American Friends Service Committee

Representative John Murtha made a highly publicized call for a change in direction in Iraq policy. Representative Murtha is a Vietnam combat veteran, the ranking Democrat on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and someone whose opinion is valued by the Defense community and military families.

The White House said it was “baffled” by Rep. Murtha’s call for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq within six months.ÜLet Congress know that there is nothing baffling about Rep. Murtha’s stand.

Follow the link below to let Congress know that you are heartened by Representative Murtha’s call for a change in direction in Iraq.

http://support.afsc.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=124


3) Urge Your Congresspeople - Don't Support Patriot Act without Civil Rights Protections

From: Bill of Rights Defense Committee

More news from the frontlines!ÜA bi-partisan group of Congressional representatives is supporting the stand against the Patriot Act reauthorization bill taken by Senators Murkowski, Craig, Sununu, Feingold, Durbin and Salazar.ÜWe must keep the pressure on!ÜSee articles below for more details.

1. Please contact your own Congressional representatives to let them know the current Patriot Act reauthorization is not acceptable.
http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

2. You can also contact the Senators and Representatives who are challenging the reauthorization.ÜTalking points available below.

It is up to us to make sure these Congressional representatives are backed up by the American people, to protect our fast eroding liberties.ÜThe grassroots cannot be stopped!

PATRIOT REAUTHORIZATION TALKING POINTS:

+ Fails to ensure a connection between records sought and a suspected terrorist.ÜThe bill maintains the current, inadequate “relevancy standard” for records sought under section 215, which requires only that the government claim that the information it seeks is relevant to an investigation, without having to connect the target of the investigation to terrorism.
+ Places seven-year sunsets on sections 206, 215, and “lone wolf.”ÜSeven-year sunsets would mean that, cumulatively, we would have to wait 11 years from the passage of the PATRIOT Act until these powers are substantively reviewed.ÜThis extension ignores previous, unanimous House and Senate votes for four-year sunsets.
+ Expands National Security Letter (NSL) powers.ÜAny business that does not comply with an NSL could face criminal penalties.ÜFurthermore, the report does not provide a meaningful mechanism for challenging NSLs in court, and does not ensure that the information gathered by these letters is destroyed if it is unrelated to the investigation for which it was sought.
+ Creates only illusory rights to challenge orders for records and gag orders.ÜBusinesses receiving requests for records would be allowed to contact an attorney, but would have only limited rights to challenge orders for records in court.ÜLikewise, a recipient would technically have the right to challenge a gag order, but the court would treat the government’s assertion of national security, diplomatic relations, or an ongoing criminal investigation, as conclusive.
+ Includes many additional harmful provisions.ÜMany harmful provisions that were not included in either the House or the Senate bill have been added to the conference report that would, among other things, create new death penalties and seriously alter habeas corpus.ÜMany of the provisions are completely unrelated to the PATRIOT Act and serve to make it a “Christmas tree” bill, violating House rules to pass a clean bill.Ü



4) Oppose Fuel Economy Loopholes

From: New American Dream

While thousands of New Dreamers are pushing automakers to deliver efficient vehicles as a first step toward reducing U.S. oil dependence and stabilizing the climate, our federal government is poised to adopt multi-tiered fuel economy standards that perversely could encourage automakers to make larger, less efficient vehicles. American ingenuity and innovation are needed to meet the challenges of oil dependence and climate change, yet these proposed standards fall far short of even our current technological capability. Worst of all, the largest SUVs, such as Hummers and Ford Excursions, would be completely exempt of all fuel economy standards!

Monday is the last day of the public comment period. Please take action today to tell National Highway Transportation Safety Administrator Jeffrey Runge to reject this loophole-riddled proposal and require all passenger cars and light trucks to significantly improve their fuel economy, thereby saving consumers money at the pump, reducing American oil dependence, and taking a needed step toward stabilizing the climate.

Two clicks to take action: http://www.newdream.org/make/nhtsa.html


5) Urge President Bush to Make Trade Fair for Developing Countries

From: Church World Service Speak Out

Make fair trade an issue at the December WTO meeting

The concerns of most developing countries are being pushed aside in trade negotiations leading to the 6th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), scheduled for December 14-18 in Hong Kong. Developing countries make up 80 percent of the world’s population, but are seriously disadvantaged in global trade negotiations.

ACTION: Contact President Bush (202-456-1414), urging him to embrace genuinely pro-development trade policies that will help, and not further harm, developing countries. Visit the CWS Speak Out website to send an email and for more information.

Tell him that:

• Developing countries must be allowed to retain the power to protect and support their own small-holder farmers and infant industries;
• The U.S. should stop demanding that they open their markets to subsidized products from the rich countries and;
• The U.S. should end agricultural subsidies that create unfair competition for farmers in the global South.

The Hong Kong meeting is viewed as key to the success of the so-called “Doha Round” of WTO negotiations. Initiated in Doha, Qatar in 2001, this series of global negotiations seeks to further reduce national barriers to trade in goods and services throughout the world. The industrialized nations promised that this “round” would especially benefit developing countries. But they are not living up to that public commitment.



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UPCOMING ACTIONS TO TAKE:

1) Attend Major Prophetic Event on Iraq - April 2-4, 2006

From: The Shalom Center

A REVOLUTION OF VALUES:Ü Organizing for the future of the faiths.
Ü
On those dates in April, Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq will hold a national conference that includes spiritually rooted prophetic action in the tradition of King and Heschel.

Late afternoon or evening on April 2, there will be an interfaith tent revival on the National Mall to reclaim the spirit of democracy in this dark hour.Ü

April 3 will serve as an all-day organizing conference,Ü which will provide the interfaith religious community the skill, tools,Ü and theology to build a strong witness for peace in their local community.Ü

April 4 will continue with organizing workshops and then with a pre-Passover Freedom Seder and a march, with palms waving, to the White House.

There some will choose to assert their First Amendment rights even if the police decide to arrest them. Others will act as support groups, not risking arrest.
Ü
Equally as a part of the CALC-I event will be a gathering of 40 religious leaders under forty, who are working on peace and justice issues around the country.Ü This Future of the Faiths gathering of young religious leader will be interfaith and serve to strength a new generation of prophetic witnesses.

We have chosen these days because of their deep significance in traditions of peace, justice, and spirituality.

April 4 is the yohrzeit (death-anniversary) of Martin Luther King, and the anniversary of his great Riverside Church speech in 1967 against the three great dangers to America: militarism, racism, and materialism. ("A Revolution in Values" is a phrase from Dr. King's Riverside speech.)

April 9 is Palm Sunday, recalling the moment when a nonviolent Jewish demonstration, led by a charismatic young rabbi, confronted the Roman Empire in its local sub-capitol, Jerusalem.

April 12 is the first night of Passover, remembering when a band of runaway slaves, with God's help, faced and overcame the might of Pharaoh.
Ü
The CALC-I National OrganizingÜ Conference welcomes all religiously committed opponents of the present US governmental policy of making endless war, torturing prisoners, starving the poor, impoverishing the middle class, and poisoning the earth while enriching the super-wealthy;
Ü
And since being "OPponents" is not enough, CALC-I welcomes those "PROponents" who draw on the prophetic traditions and visions of the Biblical, Quranic, Buddhist, Hindu, earth-centered, and other spiritual teachings: harmony between the human race and the earth, the nonviolent resolution and transformation of conflict, compassion for the afflicted, empowerment of the poor and the weak.


2) Attend Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference 2006 - July 22-27

From: Presbyterian Peacemaking Program Update

2006 Peacemaking Conference * Unmasking Power: Seeking the Faces of Peace - July 22-27, 2006, YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park, C0
http://pcusa.org/peacemaking/conferences/2006.htm




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For more information, to ask questions, make comments, or to send suggestions about Passing the Peace or peace opportunities at UUC and in LA, or to be removed from this list, contact Susan Stouffer - stouffer@usc.edu

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Passing the Peace

"The Deadly Donut" and "Pride, Prejudice and Insurance" - some weird
movie titles or perhaps the latest upcoming music groups? No, these
are actually titles of two recent articles written by Paul Krugman in
the New York Times - Nov. 7th and Nov. 11th. And what do these two
articles have in common? You guessed it, they are related to our
current Peace Center Focus on Health and Healthcare.

"Pride, Prejudice and Insurance" is about how businesses are
increasingly cutting healthcare insurance as a benefit to employees.
Employer-based health insurance has been one of the most common ways
for adults under the age of 65 to receive health coverage. According
to Krugman's article, between 2000 and 2004, the number of Americans
under 65 increased by 10 million while the number of Americans under 65
who receive employer-based healthcare decreased by almost 5 million!

In his article, Krugman goes on to cite statistics showing how health
spending per person in this country is about double that of Canada,
Britain, and Germany, yet the healthcare is worse. People in this
country are far more likely to avoid treatment because they can't
afford it. Part of the problem is the huge costs of administering our
current healthcare system with all it's many programs both private and
public, for-profit and not-for-profit. In the 90's Taiwan had the kind
of private insurance system that we have in this country with less than
60% of the population receiving coverage. They switched to the
Canadian style single-payer system about 10 years ago. They have been
able to cover about 97% of the population with little or no increase in
cost!

Krugman's point is that we continue to believe the myth that we have
the best healthcare system in the world because of our own prejudices,
even when all the facts show that other national healthcare systems
work better. He even says that the current system is not just
inefficient, it is cruel!

In "The Deadly Donut", Krugman explains how we came to have the current
prescription drug benefit known as the donut. The donut is a system
whereby you get the best assistance with prescription drugs for the
first couple of thousand dollars you spend on drugs. After that you
hit the "hole" of the donut - a period whereby you spend money on drugs
after the initial couple of thousand and up to 5 thousand WITHOUT ANY
ASSISTANCE from the coverage. After the $5,000, you again start to
receive coverage, but at a lesser rate than the first couple of
thousand. How's that for a prescription drug benefit? Krugman says
that what might make sense is to get supplemental coverage to help with
the "donut hole" period of spending, yet this program prohibits such
supplemental coverage! Some are even saying it is better not to sign
up for this if you already have a policy for drug coverage.

The bottom line seems clear, the foxes are in charge of the henhouse.
Our current system has less to do with providing adequate and
affordable healthcare to people and more to do with protecting the
pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. Despite what the
foxes would have us think, we ultimately have the power to come
together and demand something better. Our governmental representatives
might depend on the money from these big pharmaceutical and insurance
industries to run a campaign, but they can't get elected without our
votes. WE CAN DEMAND HEALTHCARE FOR ALL or NO VOTE! This is an
important issue. Let's follow the prophetic tradition of our faith and
SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER. We as the kin-dom followers must heed the call
to make sure all are provided for!

Shalom, Salaam, Peace, Paz

Susan Stouffer
Peace with Justice Organizer

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*********************
Quote of the Week:


Luke 10:30-34

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the
hands of robbers, who stripped him,
beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest
was going down that road; and
when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while
traveling came near him; and
when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged
his wounds, having poured oil
and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an
inn, and took care of him.”




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Words, Thoughts, Deeds, Prayers that Sustain Us:

From: SaveOurEnvironment.org

No Vote on Arctic Drilling!

At long last, we have some good news about the Arctic to report!
Earlier this week, after months of intense grassroots pressure from
activists like you, the House Rule Committee dropped provisions to
drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from their version
of the budget bill. This surprise move came after 22 brave moderate
Republicans stood their ground and announced that they would not vote
for a budget bill that included provisions for Arctic drilling.

This is a HUGE victory for all of us who care about preserving the
Arctic Refuge and protecting out natural heritage for future
generations. In the end the House leadership had to pull their version
of the budget off the floor because they didn't have the votes to pass
it. However, they are likely try to bring it back for a vote in the
near future.

-----------------------------------------

From: California Council of Churches

Bad Budget Fails to Find Votes

Your calls and communications to Congress have had a significant impact
on the budget reconciliation vote scheduled originally for tonight.
Contact with moderates of both parties has forced reconsiderations and
probable delays in voting for this terrible measure that makes such
huge cuts in support for the poor.

The following account is derived from the "Congress Daily PM".

House GOP leaders were making last-minute changes to proposed
Medicaid savings in what is now a roughly $50.5 billion five-year
deficit reduction package in hopes of corralling enough moderate votes
to pass the bill today and avoid an embarrassing defeat. The leadership
team was trying to walk a tightrope between conservative demands for
budget cutting while appeasing moderates. Republicans are in danger of
leaving for the Veterans Day holiday bruised by budget and tax fights.
Earlier today, Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee
canceled a markup of the $60 billion tax cut reconciliation package
because it lacked sufficient support. House leaders were in danger of
alienating conservatives if the savings package dipped below $50
billion.

Clearly your voices matter. Please keep up the good work by constantly
addressing the utter immorality of creating phatom 'budget savings'
through cuts to the most needy in our society. You can make a huge
difference. You already did.



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**********************

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

1) Prepare Hospitals and Caregivers for a Pandemic Flu
2) Sign an Inclusive Ministry Petition in the UMC
3) Thank Senator Feinstein and Rep. Tauscher for Leadership on Defeat
of Bunker Busters
4) Tell Congress to Investigate Torture
5) As Your Representative to Co-Sponsor "Social Worker Safety"


************************************************************************
************************

1) Prepare Hospitals and Caregivers for a Pandemic Flu

From: PurpleOcean.org - a membership organization of SEIU

This week, George Bush announced his plan for dealing with the bird flu
threat facing this country. Experts predict that over half a million
could die, and over 2.3 million could be hospitalized. Shockingly, he
proposed no funding to prepare the hospitals and train the caregivers
who will distribute vaccines and care for the ill.
We all saw what happened during Hurricane Katrina. Because of poor
planning, hospitals were pushed to the limits. Doctors and nurses
worked around the clock, and patients suffered as a result. In the
event of a pandemic this could happen across the nation -- unless we
work together starting now.
Our country's hospitals will be on the front lines of this fight -- we
must give them the equipment they need to protect themselves and save
lives.
Sign our petition and tell Health and Human Services Secretary Mike
Leavitt to stop playing politics and put money where it matters -- in
the local hospitals and clinics that will treat the vast majority of
victims.

Take Action:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/
830384749?z00m=60865&z00m=60865<l=1131826060



2) Sign an Inclusive Ministry Petition in the UMC

From: Reconciling Ministries Network

A petition has been written in response to Judicial Council Decision
1032 which allows a pastor to discriminate against anyone wanting to
become a church member. The text of the petition can be found at
http://www.InclusiveMinistry.org/. The goal is to have at least 3000
lay and clergy signatures by December 15th; at that time, the petition
will be sent to the Judicial Council and the council of Bishops.
Please distribute this petition widely!

Sign the Petition: http://www.InclusiveMinistry.org/


3) Thank Senator Feinstein and Rep. Tauscher for Leadership on Defeat
of Bunker Busters

From: Peace Action

Thanks to you, we have once again defeated the centerpiece of the Bush
administration’s reckless nuclear agenda—the Robust Nuclear Earth
Penetrator (RNEP), otherwise known as the "bunker buster." At the end
of October, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) announced that he would cut all
funds for the Bunker Buster in the Senate version of the Energy and
Water Appropriations bill. This action kills the program for now, as
the funding had already been cut from the House version of the bill.

Sen. Domenici's announcement comes on the heels of California Peace
Action's intensive grassroots activity in New Mexico. In August we sent
an organizer to Albuquerque and Santa Fe for two weeks, where he
gathered hundreds of hand-written, personal messages from Sen.
Domenici's constituents, urging cuts in new nuclear weapons programs.
At the same time, our staff and volunteers were contacting voters
across New Mexico, asking them to make a quick call to Sen. Domenici
about the issue. Clearly, Sen. Domenici responded to his constituent's
demands. Your support made this work possible, and we can't thank you
enough.

Two California elected officials also deserve our thanks for their work
on this issue. Since President Bush first announced his nuclear plans,
Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Walnut Creek) have
fought these dangerous programs. Both have been outstanding leaders
against the bunker buster -- relentless in their opposition.

Your grassroots action helped turn Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Tauscher
into leaders on this issue, and now they need your thanks. Earlier this
week, CA Peace Action cosponsored a reception on Capitol Hill that
honored them for their work. Please continue our thanks by sending them
a quick note today.

Click here to thank Senator Feinstein and Representative Tauscher:
http://ww2.californiapeaceaction.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=1511


4) Tell Congress to Investigate Torture

From: The Fellowship of Reconciliation

This week, after news of the secret CIA jails appeared in The
Washington Post,America is finally paying attention. Sadly, however,
the focus quickly shifted from the existence of these abhorrent torture
centers to determining the identity of the person or persons who leaked
information about them to the Post.

This latest confirmation that the United States is engaging in shameful
and illegal practices makes it imperative that Congressdemand a
thorough investigation at the highest level, and with the highest level
of transparency.

Theinvestigation mustbe public. The country and the international
community need to be kept fully informed of what is being done to
captives and where, or the United States will lose what little
credibility it still has in the international community.

Few human actions are more morally repugnant than torturing those over
whom you hold power. Torture is also a serious crime. The CIA was
warned when it approved new interrogation procedures after September 11
that it would be in violation of the International Convention against
Torture. It went ahead anyway. The agency is also in violation of U.S.
law -- the War Crimes Act of 1996 and the Torture Act of 2000....

The right not to be tortured is one of the oldest American values and
principles. It is also a fundamental human right. Violating that right
not only violates the most basic ethical, moral and religious
principles, but it undermines the very values the "War on Terror" is
supposedly defending. If, to fight terror, we sanction torture, then we
have become no better than the terrorists whom we seek to bring to
justice.

Sign the FOR Petition against Torture:
http://petitions.forusa.org/petition.php?petition_id=5


5) As Your Representative to Co-Sponsor "Social Worker Safety"

From: Kelle Rose and National Association of Social Workers

Ask your U.S. Representative to co-sponsor H. Con. Res. 278,
"expressing the sense of Congress that Congress should raise awareness
about the importance of social worker and caseworker safety."

The resolution was introduced with 17 original cosponsors (16 Democrats
and one Republican). Co-sponsors from California include: Reps. Baca,
Berman, Costa, Davis (a social worker), Filner, Honda, Lantos, Lee (a
social worker), Matsui, Napolitano, Radanovich,and Schiff

Rep. Dennis Moore (D-KS) introduced H. Con. Res. 278on October 26,
2005 in response to the tragic death of Teri Zenner who was stabbed and
killed during a routine, in-home visit with a client of the Johnson
County Mental Health Center.

The resolution states that it is thesense of Congress thatCongress
shouldraise awareness about the importance of workplace safety for
social workers and caseworkers by supporting the goals and ideals of
preventing job-related violence against social workers and caseworkers
and, in addition,that Congress encourages states and local agencies to
adopt measures that would improve the safety of social service workers.

Background:
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -Congressman Dennis Moore (Third District-KS)
announced the introduction of a bipartisan resolution today to raise
awareness about potential job-related violence against social workers
and case workers. The resolution, which has been endorsed by the
National Association of Social Workers, would encourage state and local
agencies to improve the safety of social service employees.

"A strong program of community service workers is vital to the best
interests of our nation's vulnerable populations," Moore said. "We have
a responsibility to make sure that those who have dedicated their lives
to helping others have the resources and support they need to do their
job well and return home safely."

The National Association of Social Workers found that among members of
the Child Welfare Specialty Practice Section, 19 percent had been
victims of violence and 63 percent had been threatened at some point in
their careers. Elizabeth Clark, executive director of the association,
underscored the importance of preventing this type of violence in a
letter of endorsement to Congressman Moore.

National studies have also quantified the risks faced by social
workers. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh surveyed 1,200
social workers, most of whom said they had been in a work-related
violent situation at least once. A 1999 study by the University of
Michigan found that of 1,600 social workers, 3 percent had been
assaulted by a client and 23 percent had been threatened with assault.
One in four said they had a colleague who had been assaulted by a
client.

Go to this site and click on "Social Worker Safety - Write your
Legislator": http://63.66.87.48/cweb4/index.cfm?orgcode=NASW



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******
UPCOMING ACTIONS TO TAKE:

1) Attend FOR Events at School of Americas Protest - Nov. 18-20

The Fellowship of Reconciliation
Mobilizes for Justice in Latin America!

Fort Benning, GA, November 18 - 20, 2005

As part of the Fellowship of Reconciliation's commitment to oppose
human rights abuses and militarization in Latin America, FOR's Colombia
Project and Nonviolent Youth Collective will once again be active at
the School of the Americas Protest at Fort Benning, Georgia in November.

Join us to learn about peace initiatives in Colombia, nonviolent social
change, and anti-racist practices that support people of color as
leaders in the movement.

FOR sponsored events:

• Nonviolence Trainings,Friday, Nov. 18:9a.m. – 5 p.m.
• Colombia Teach-In with speaker from the Peace Community of San José
de Apartadó, Colombia,Friday, Nov. 18: 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
• Human Rights Accompaniment Workshop,Friday, Nov. 18: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
• People of Color Caucus, Saturday, Nov.19: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The FOR will be tabling at the protest site. Come by for information on
FOR programs and membership, merchandise and snacks!

For a full schedule of events, go to http://www.soaw.org. For more
information about FOR's participation at the SOA protest call Nico
Amador at 415-495-6334 or e-mail at nico@forusa.org. We look forward to
seeing you there!


2) Attend Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference 2006 - July 22-27

From: Presbyterian Peacemaking Program Update

2006 Peacemaking Conference * Unmasking Power: Seeking the Faces of
Peace - July 22-27, 2006, YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park, C0
http://pcusa.org/peacemaking/conferences/2006.htm




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For more information, to ask questions, make comments, or to send
suggestions about Passing the Peace or peace opportunities at UUC and
in LA, or to be removed from this list, contact Susan Stouffer -
stouffer@usc.edu