Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tell Sen. Kerry to Help Save Darfur!

Sudan's Bashir doesn't think there are consequences for not committing to peace—and so he's growing bolder by the day, even scuttling a peace conference for Darfuri civilian leaders earlier this month.

But the people of Darfur can't wait for peace. We have to make sure the President takes the lead in creating an opportunity for peace.

Two weeks ago, I met with Senator John Kerry to discuss his recent trip to Sudan. Today, we need his help.

Ask Senator Kerry to hold a hearing on Sudan and make sure the administration sets forth a bold agenda for bringing peace to Darfur and all of Sudan.

The path to progress for peace is clear. It lies in offering Khartoum a choice: behind Door One, restoring aid groups and committing to the peace process which would lead to improved relations. Behind Door Two: continued obstruction which would lead to real and meaningful consequences.

Months after Sudan expelled 13 vital aid groups from the country, the government of Sudan has still not been confronted with this choice.

That's where the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee comes in. The committee should call on the Obama administration to adopt a policy that combines incentives for peace with consequences for continued obstruction and violence.

We've set a goal of sending at least 50,000 messages to Senator Kerry and Ranking Member Richard Lugar by June 13—one month since my May 13 meeting with Senator Kerry, and with plenty of time for him to schedule hearings in June. Please act today.

Tell Sens. Kerry and Lugar to demand the Obama administration outline its blueprint for peace in Sudan.

Don't wait to send a message to Sens. Kerry and Lugar—they need to hear from you today. Thanks for your hard work.

My best,
Jerry FowlerSave Darfur Coalition

Donate to Help Save DarfurHelp build the political pressure needed to end the crisis in Darfur by supporting the Save Darfur Coalition's crucial awareness and advocacy programs. Click here now to make a secure, tax-deductible online donation.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stop the Go on GITMO!!!

This past week has been disastrous for our efforts to close Guantanamo and restore our nation's credibility and moral authority.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 90 - 6 against closing Guantanamo. The bill would have transferred 240 detainees to U.S. soil. Opponents of the bill argued that to do so would jeopardize our national security.But the thing is, we're already detaining countless convicted terrorists there; terrorists like Zacarias Moussaoui, the alleged 20th hijacker of the 9/11 attacks, and Ramzi Yusef, one of those responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.Fear is winning.

President Obama's major speech today on national security made it clear that he knows it too.Fierce political winds are pushing even our champions in Congress to wonder whether or not we really can close Guantanamo. And once these doubts start taking root, we may lose not only the recent ground we've gained, but perhaps even see the mistakes of the past further entrenched.

Can you send a letter today to show Congress and the President that we resoundingly reject any proposals that would sacrifice our values, the rule of law, and even our security to the forces of fear?

The President echoed in his speech today what you and I have known all along: That torture doesn't work. That Guantanamo has been a massive liability. That justice and security come by respecting the rule of law.And yet, Obama's administration keeps defending illegal, immoral and ineffective policies. Policies like the Justice Department's continued use of the "state secrets" argument to withhold even basic information from defendants. Or re-vamping the widely discredited military commissions to try suspects.This week's events provide the clearest reason yet why we need an independent, 9/11 style, commission of inquiry.

We cannot risk letting politics get in the way of the truth. And as these events play out, politics will dominate until a fully-funded, independent and credible body is authorized to carefully review the horrors of the past eight years.

Send a letter now and show them that our values — the soul of our nation — cannot be sacrificed to petty politics.

This is about much more than just today and the people involved now, but about the future of our nation and even the world.

Thanks for standing with us,
Njambi, Zeke, Tom, Geneve and Steve
on the Counter Terror with Justice Campaign team

Monday, May 18, 2009

Support a New Way Forward to Fight Abortion!

Many think what we're doing is impossible. But we have faith.

Yesterday, during a highly anticipated speech at Notre Dame, President Obama outlined a strategy for people on all sides of the issue to work together to reduce the number abortions in America through decreasing unintended pregnancies and increasing support for women and families.[1]

Many, like the hard-line protesters at Notre Dame's commencement, believe such "common ground" can't exist, but President Obama believes it can, and we do, too.

Sign the petition: support Obama's new way forward on abortion.

We know we have both people who identify as pro-choice and who identify as pro-life in our Faithful America community, but we think we can all come together, as President Obama asked us to, with "open hearts, open minds and fair-minded words" to address this complicated issue that has been dividing our nation for decades.

We would never ask you to put aside or minimize your deeply-held beliefs on this issue, but we are asking you to join us in supporting the new approach President Obama outlined in his speech.

Our petition states:

President Obama, we support your call for civility and "fair-minded words" in the abortion debate and join you in seeking the common ground you outlined in your speech at Notre Dame: working together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, making adoption more available and providing care and support for women who do carry their pregnancies to term.

Sign the petition: common ground is possible.

Does this approach magically erase all the divisions on this issue? Of course not. But, it is a crucial step forward. It is a model for common ground without compromise and, if enacted into law, would mean real improvements in for the lives and health of women and families.
This is not the end of debate on this issue. But we are hopeful about this new direction. Back in January, we surveyed Faithful America members about your values and priorities and 83 percent of you said you would be excited about this new approach on abortion. [2]
We're excited too. Join us in supporting President Obama's new way forward on abortion.

Click here to sign the petition.

Thank you for all you do,
Beth, Katie, Dan, Kristin and Jennifer
The Faithful America team

[1] Video and transcript of President Obama's speech:
[2] In Faithful America's 2009 member survey, we asked the multiple-choice question: "Some people are taking a new approach to the issue of abortion. Legislation has been proposed to reduce the number of abortions in America by both preventing unintended pregnancies and supporting pregnant women and new parents through sex education, access to contraception, improved health care options, and expanding adoption. This bill enables pro-life and pro-choice advocates to find common ground to reduce the number of abortions without criminalizing the procedure. If Faithful America were to make supporting this approach to the issue of abortion a priority, how would you feel?"
Forty-five percent (553) responded "very excited," 37.6% (457) responded "somewhat excited," 13.1% (159) responded "neutral," 2.6% (32) responded "disappointed" and 1.2% (15) responded "very disappointed"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ask your Rep. to Sign Letter in Support of Strong American Peacemaking Leadership

President Barack Obama is preparing for a flurry of Middle East diplomacy in the coming weeks, including a series of White House meetings with Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian leaders followed by a major speech to the Muslim world in Egypt on June 4. At this critical time, three House Members have begun circulating a sign-on letter in support of "strong American leadership to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian and broader Arab-Israeli conflicts."

View the full text of the letter here.

Urge your Representative to sign the Cohen-Boustany-Carnahan letter to President Obama in support of strong American leadership on Middle East peace. As the President lays out his Administration's Middle East peace policy in more detail in the coming weeks, it is vital that Congress support serious U.S. diplomatic engagement. A new bi-partisan House letter, lead by Reps. Stephen Cohen (D-TN), Charles Boustany (R-LA) and Russ Carnahan (D-MO), states clearly that "American leadership is essential to achieving meaningful progress."

The letter stresses the importance of implementing a two-state solution for American interests in the Middle East and cites "demographic trends, continued violence, settlements, escalating tensions in Jerusalem, and other changes on the ground" as all threatening "the window of opportunity" for a two-state peace.

Send an email to your Representative today in support of robust diplomacy to establish a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel as an urgent imperative for the United States.

Supporters of the status quo continue to advocate an incremental peace process with a limited U.S. role. In contrast, this Congressional letter rightly points out that an "American helping hand" is needed now and emphasizes that while building Palestinian capacity is an important goal it "should not be a precondition for negotiating a final status agreement..."

The letter also recognizes the importance of a regional, comprehensive approach, citing the Arab Peace Initiative as guaranteeing "normal relations between Israel and the Arab and Muslim countries - from Indonesia to Morocco..."

Tell your Representative that the status quo is unsustainable. A just and lasting two-state peace is needed now for the sake of the U.S., Israel, the Palestinians and the broader region!


View the full text of House letter here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Petition for Clean Energy

Bank of America received almost $200 billion in bailout money — and now that money is leveraging the construction of new coal plants. Coal is the single biggest cause of global warming and Bank of America is one of the leading funders in the industry.

Coal is the absolute wrong answer to our energy challenges. Burning coal is about the dirtiest way to make electricity. Coal-fired power plants currently account for 40% of our nation's carbon dioxide emissions, the leading cause of global warming. Coal-fired power plants release millions of tons of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, as well as close to 100,000 pounds of mercury (a very dangerous neurotoxin), every year.

Now that taxpayers own a stake in Bank of America, we must stop the investment in dirty energy that is destroying our climate. We have joined with our friends at Rainforest Action Network to tell Bank of America no more investment in coal power.

Tell Bank of America to stop financing coal-fired power and invest in clean energy instead.

Thank you for working to build a better world.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An FYI: Iran Releases Roxana Saberi

U.S.-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi, whose imprisonment in Iran on charges of spying set off an international outcry, was released after Iranian judicial authorities essentially reversed her sentence. Though she was given an eight-year sentence for alleged espionage, that sentence was reduced to a two-year suspended sentence and a prohibition from practicing journalism in Iran for five years. The original charge carried the harshest penalty that Iran has ever dealt to a dual national. BBC (5/11) , The Washington Post (5/11)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

PDEC's David Rosenberg Recalls April 19 Day of Witness

You can't do enough, but you've got to do something!

Can we stop genocide in Darfur from Pittsburgh? Certainly not singlehandedly. But if enough of us combine forces and keep at it, as the participants in the DC-Metro Event and in the more than 300 other events around the country are doing during "Genocide Prevention Month," we may be able to accomplish something! Leaders of the Darfuri diaspora, like Niemat Ahmadi and Mohamed Yahya, and national advocacy leaders like Jerry Fowler, the Rev. Gloria White Hammond, and John Prendergast assure with passion that we have already helped save lives in Darfur. We know we must continue. But, we know there is a lot more work to do before Darfur will be brought into the framework of a political settlement and a Sudan-wide peace and before 2.7 million IDP's and refugees can return home and rebuild.

Can we stop genocide merely by boarding a bus from Pittsburgh, even if we include a courageous 89 year old Holocaust survivor, a half dozen members of the Pittsburgh South Sudanese community and a half dozen Rwandan students, as well as college and high school groups and post-graduate "retirees?" No, surely not. This small army cannot achieve miracles by ourselves. But can we afford to do nothing?

Our three busloads of travelers visited the US Holocaust Museum on Sunday before the Testimony and Advocacy Event in Lafayette Park. Our visit to the Holocaust Museum won't immediately stop President Bashir in his tracks or drive recalcitrant rebel groups to the table. But the power of what we learned there and felt there will drive us, and the transmission belt of determination will reach President Obama and his administration and will by and by reach the Sudanese government. We placed objects on the remarkable memorial created for the Testimony and Advocacy event. And we held up signs of Darfur's destroyed villages against the backdrop of the White House and invited others to join with us. "Hey, folks, these are some of the more than 2,751 villages that have been identified as destroyed or damaged in Darfur since 2004, on "our watch." Add these to the funeral pyres of the genocides that are part of "history!"

When we took five buses to Washington D.C. from Pittsburgh in April 2006, we had an opportunity to draw strength from the huge throng on the Capitol Mall; when we traveled to NYC in September 2006, we had a chance to visit the British representative on the UN Security Council and draw inspiration from the crowd of blue bereted activists in Central Park demanding deployment of a robust peacekeeping force. When we bused the five hours to DC for the Torch Relay finale,we had a chance to hear Olympic athletes and send a message to the Chinese embassy. When we traveled to D.C. to see the hundreds or magnificently painted tents on the mall (12 of them from our city), we drew further inspiration. And when we sent three more buses to Washington for the Inauguration and gathered more than 4,700 signatures as part of the postcard campaign asking President Obama to prioritize peace, protection and accountability in Darfur, we were moved by our attendance at a historic moment and inspired to do still more.

Sunday's gathering in Lafayette Park was not a throng, but the words continue to burn in our hearts. In the face of crying evil, can one possibly do enougn? Can one possibly do nothing?

David Rosenberg

Thursday, May 7, 2009

No More Funding for the Iraq/Afghan Wars! Sign Now!

Remember when we said last month that this year could be our chance to finally cut Pentagon waste and focus the budget on things we want — like healthcare, education and jobs? Well the real fight over that vision starts today. It's time to get busy.

The full Pentagon budget hasn't even been drafted yet. But some members of Congress are already trying to slip billions of dollars of pork-barrel weapons projects into the supplemental budget request for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tell Congress not to slip pork-barrel contracts into the Iraq/Afghan funding bill.

We're not happy about the continuing costs of the wars, but what's worse is this attempt to slip in even more money for C-17 transport planes we don't need. The Air Force doesn't want these planes, and the Secretary of Defense explicitly asked to *cut* them from the budget. The only people who still want the planes are the contractors who make money even if the finished planes sit idle, and the members of Congress who get campaign money from the contractors.

This type of thing has been going on for so long, we've forgotten how to be shocked by it, but we need to remember.

This budget is supposed to be about what troops in the field need to keep fighting — and Congress wants to stuff it full of billion-dollar planes we don't need. If we can't stop them now, imagine what it will be like when we actually get to the budget for planes and bombs.

But if we can hold the line, and keep this supplemental vote clear of pork-barrel spending, we've got a chance to change America's priorities for good.

Tell Congress to keep Pentagon pork OUT of the President's supplemental and focus on True Security.

— Matt

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Save Darfur: Send this E-Letter to Obama!

Click the link and send!!!!

Urge U.S. Action on Palestinian Christian Issues on Eve of Pope's Visit

Urge U.S. Action on Palestinian Christian Issues on Eve of Pope's Visit

Churches for Middle East Peace sent a letter to Secretary of State Clinton yesterday, on the occasion this week of the Papal visit to the Holy Land, highlighting the rapid decline of the Palestinian Christian community there. The letter was also sent to President Obama, Special Envoy Mitchell and other key contacts in the Administration and Congress.

Click here to view the full text of the letter.

Help amplify CMEP's message!

Tell the White House the decline of Palestinian Christians makes the Administration's efforts to achieve a just and lasting two-state solution even more urgent.While recognizing that ultimately only a negotiated peace agreement can stem Palestinian Christian emigration, the letter cites several specific issues that can be acted on immediately, including: restrictive Israeli residency and family unification regulations in East Jerusalem; visa and permit restrictions that inhibit the movement of several hundred Arab clergy; and the need for further efforts to strengthen the rule of law in the West Bank and Gaza.

Send an email to President Obama urging the Administration to address the situation of Palestinian Christians as part of their comprehensive Israeli-Arab peace effort. The CMEP letter stresses that the prospect of a Holy Land devoid of its living Christian community is not just a tragedy for world Christianity but would have serious ramifications for a future Palestinian state, the interreligious nature of Jerusalem, and regional peace and security. It concludes with the hope that persistent U.S. diplomacy can provide a positive future for all the people of the Holy Land.