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Access To Justice In U.S. At Third-World Levels, Says Survey

  • "The truth is that as a nation, we face nothing short of a justice crisis. It is a crisis both acute and chronic, affecting not only the poor but the middle class. The situation we face is unconscionable." -- Harvard Law Professor Larry Tribe
  • Need a Lawyer? Good Luck
  • Corporate America's Favorite Jurists Return

Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post

Why haven't more Americans successfully sued the banks that lured them into fraudulent mortgages, then foreclosed on them without the required paperwork?

It could be because the civil justice system in this country is essentially inaccessible to many Americans -- and when it does get accessed, is tilted toward the wealthy and moneyed interests.

That's certainly consistent with the finding of a world-wide survey unveiled Thursday morning that ranks the United States lowest among 11 developed nations when it comes to providing access to justice to its citizens -- and lower than some third-world nations in some categories.

More...

Related:

Need a Lawyer? Good Luck, New York Times | NY

  • Congress must approve the extra financing to provide legal services for struggling homeowners authorized in the financial reform law. It must also approve a substantial budget increase for the federal Legal Services Corporation, which helps finance these critical programs, and ditch senseless restrictions hampering its mission.
  • Access To Justice In U.S. At Third-World Levels

Corporate America's Favorite Jurists Return, The Progress Report, Think Progress

  • The squeeze on workers
  • Signing away your rights


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Special Report | Making Schools Safer for Gay Students

At this moment when we have the nation's attention, we must make three points crystal clear:
•    The status quo is unacceptable, and we must improve school climate with respect to LGBT youth NOW;
•    There are things each of us can do — proven solutions that make a concrete difference in the lives of young people; and
•    Everyone can and must take part in affecting this vital change.

David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest


John Sherffius

The Status Quo Is Unacceptable, Eliza Byard, Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
At this moment when we have the nation's attention, we must make three points crystal clear:
•    The status quo is unacceptable, and we must improve school climate with respect to LGBT youth NOW;
•    There are things each of us can do — proven solutions that make a concrete difference in the lives of young people; and
•    Everyone can and must take part in affecting this vital change.

New projects aim to give hope to gay teens who've been bullied, Lornet Turnbull, Seattle Times | WA

  • In recent weeks, several high-profile suicides among gay teens nationwide have brought increased attention to anti-gay bullying in all its forms. Those deaths have prompted the launch of at least two online video projects — including one by local sex columnist Dan Savage, who is editorial director of The Stranger weekly newspaper — intended to give hope to gay teens facing harassment.
  • Making Schools Safer for Gay Students

Making Schools Safer for Gay Students, Cathy Renna, Renna Communications

  • New report with recommendations and model legislation
  • LGBT Students Harassed At Colleges Nationwide, New Report Says
  • Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides

Stop the suicides: put an end to bullying in schools! Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign

  • Ask US Education Secretary Arne Duncan: improve our nation's anti-bullying programs so we can end this tragedy.
  • Making Schools Safer for Gay Students
  • Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides

LGBT Students Harassed At Colleges Nationwide, New Report Says, Huffington Post

  • Unequivocally, the 2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People demonstrates that LGBTQ students, faculty and staff experience a 'chilly' campus climate of harassment and far less than welcoming campus communities.
  • Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides

Stop making gay adoption political, Ken Manford and Jennifer Chrisler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution | GA
The Child Welfare League of America, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Medical Association all endorse gay parenting.

Do something about the churches distribution of same-sex marriage DVDs,  Bob and Lori Radecki, ReturntheDVD.org

  • If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?  So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, it is dead.  --James 2:15-17
  • I'm Through Debating Gays In the Church


I'm Through Debating Gays In the Church, John Shelby Spong, Unity Magazine/Brad Garbus' Blog

  • I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality “deviant.”
  • The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance.
  • Do something about the Church's distribution of same-sex marriage DVDs

Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) In Legal Shambles, The Progress Report, Think Progress
Last week (Sep 19-25), in a 56-43 vote, Senate Democrats failed to invoke cloture on the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, falling several votes shy of the 60 need to break a Republican filibuster.

Secrets and lies: National Organization for Marriage (NOM) Exposed!
Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign

  • Along with our friends at the Courage Campaign, we've launched a website that pulls back the curtain on NOM for everyone to see.
  • We'll post up-to-the-minute news on NOM over the coming months and years, so bookmark the site and come back often.

Mormon leader gives anti-gay sermon after suicides -- Sign the open letter! Human Rights Campaign

  • Organizations to hold press conference and deliver petitions to Elder Packer calling on him to fully correct the factual record
  • Mormon Church Attempts to Re-Write History; On-Line Change Proof Sermon was Harmful and Dangerous
  • Stop the suicides: put an end to bullying in schools!

Carl Paladino: Don't Be 'Brainwashed' Into Thinking Homosexuality Is 'Equally Valid' Amanda Terkel, Huffington Post

  • Watch GOP Governor Nominee Carl Paladino Attack Gay Lifestyle: Not 'Equally Valid'
  • According to Newsday's Reid Epstein, the line, "There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual. that is not how G-d created us" was in Paladino's prepared text but left out of his actual speech.
  • Gay pride parade 'bumping and grinding' offend Tea Party hero & NY governor hopeful
  • Mormon leader gives anti-gay sermon after suicides -- Sign the open letter!


Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides, Andy Birkey, Minnesota Independent
“Well, news flash: There are homosexual people all over the world. Having your kid meet a homosexual in school and possibly even having a nice conversation with one isn’t going to turn your kid into one.” --Tammy Aaberg

MI Assistant AG's blog targeting gay student leader raises free speech issues, Kathy Barks Hoffman, Associated Press/Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

  • "It sounded like it was getting a little strange," (Denis) Dison (spokesman for Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund) said. "I think everyone thinks it has crossed the line." If I'm a gay person living in Michigan, this does not instill confidence that the attorney general's office has my best interests at heart," he added.
  • LGBT Students Harassed At Colleges Nationwide, New Report Says
  • Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides

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Our Message of Hope and Urgency in the Middle East

  • The State of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are fast approaching a fork in the road.
  • Netanyahu’s Moves Spark Debate on Intentions


Jstreet.org

As Israeli-Palestinian peace talks enter crunch time, we're making clear that broad supports exists for bold peace moves. Our ads in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other papers urge Netanayahu, Abbas, and Obama to make history now by freezing settlement growth, staying at the table, and giving talks a chance to succeed.

Click here to urge Netanyahu, Abbas,and Obama to seize this moment.

As part of our all-out push to keep these talks alive and achieve a two-state solution, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami penned an op-ed for Jewish newspapers all over the country.

J Street rejects the cynicism on the right and the left surrounding these talks because it doesn't help achieve a secure and democratic future for Israel. The stakes could not be higher for those of us who care about Israel achieving real peace and security in our lifetime -- and for those of us who want to see all peoples of the region realize the dream of self-determination.

[Sign our petition]
[View our New York Times Ad]

Related:

Netanyahu’s choice, Jeremy Ben-Ami, JTA
The State of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are fast approaching a fork in the road.


Netanyahu’s Moves Spark Debate on Intentions, Ethan Bronner, New York Times | NY
An offer on Monday (Oct 11) by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to freeze West Bank Jewish settlements in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state — instantly rejected by the Palestinians — was the latest complex maneuver engendering debate about his intentions.

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Lessons of the Obama Debacle

  • The failure of progressives (is) to translate their vision and values into a program that is convincing and connects with the people trapped in the terrible existential conditions created by the global financial crisis.
  • Our side has been derailed (but) ... we can fight back to political relevance.

Walden Bello, Foreign Policy in Focus

The problem with us progressives at this time of crisis is not that we lack an alternative paradigm to pit against the discredited neoliberal paradigm.

No, the elements of the alternative based on the values of democracy, justice, equality, and environmental sustainability are there and have been there for sometime, the product of collective intellectual and activist work over the last few decades.

The key problem is the failure of progressives to translate their vision and values into a program that is convincing and connects with the people trapped in the terrible existential conditions created by the global financial crisis. This fluid process is preeminently political. It requires translating a strategic perspective into a tactical program that takes advantage of the opportunities, ambiguities, and contradictions of the present moment to construct a critical mass for progressive change from diverse class and social forces.

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'This' is the 'Real' Picture of Our War: Isn't it Time?

Today (October 7) is the 1st day of the tenth year of our occupation of Afganhistan.

Coleen Rowley, Evergreene Digest


 

 

 

Please take a moment and look at these pictures. Really look at them. Not just a cursory glance or a rushed and distracted glance.

Isn’t it heartbreaking looking at them? Isn’t it revolting and outrageous?

Next, please read, process, and think about the following few lines. I mean, really take them in and truly process their meaning and implications.

The severely injured and crippled children in these pictures are innocent victims of ‘our’ bombings in Afghanistan.

We, you and I, paid for every miniscule molecule of the bombs that brought this horror upon these innocent children. We financed the entire assault with our tax money, so are rightfully considered the financiers of what fell upon these innocent children.

Our representatives, the ones we elected and gave power to, decided upon and sanctioned these atrocities on our behalf, and in our name. We, you and I, likewise sanctioned them, and consented to become the financiers of their implementation.

We, you and I, are directly responsible for what you see in these pictures, and much worse and more, and implicating many more.

We, you and I, did ‘this’, and we are still doing it.

Now please tell me, should it matter whether you are pro-choice or pro-life when it comes to ‘this’ and your reaction to ‘this’?

Because if you are prochoice I doubt you’d make ‘this’ a choice of yours; as a decent human being. Or, if you are prolife I seriously doubt you’d sanction and finance ‘this,’ – do ‘this’ to other fellow human beings. After all, isn’t ‘a life a life…’?

Please tell me, should it matter whether you are a conservative or a liberal when it comes to ‘this’ and your reaction to ‘this’?

Because if you are a true conservative I believe you would be pro-defense not pro-offense, and offenses such as ‘this’ would offend you a great deal. And if you consider yourself a liberal, then I assume you hold high a human’s right to live and exist with dignity, no matter who or where they are.

Please tell me, should it matter whether you are a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or Buddhist when it comes to ‘this’ and your reaction to ‘this’?

Because if you truly have faith in the teachings of either Jesus, Moses, Mohammad, or Buddha, you go by their universal teaching and common proclamation that ‘Thou Shall Not Kill,’ not ‘thou shall sanction and condone violence like ‘this’ on ‘innocent lives’ in the name of false security and under the excuse of terror.’

Should it matter whether the children above are Afghans, Mexicans, or Americans? Are these lives worth less than others; less than ours? Wouldn’t have we been livid, fuming with rage and determination to seek justice, even if only one of these innocent children was on our soil attacked by foreign mighty powers, intentionally or not?

So please tell me, why do we stand divided when it comes to ‘this’?

Why is it that we go on sanctioning and financing ‘this,’ these outrageous and revolting offenses that are being brought upon real lives; innocent human lives?

Why can’t we unite on ‘this,’ a truly significant issue that deals with life and death?

Why don’t we put aside other differences, and jointly take a stand, as pro-choice, pro-life, conservative, liberal, Christian, Jew, Muslim, and Buddhist, who should all consider ‘this’ a significant violation of what we believe in?

Isn’t it time? Looking at these pictures, I say it is way past time. Don’t you?

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That’s Where the Money Is

  • Just this past July, Mr. [Jon] Boehner (House MInority Leader] called for a moratorium on new federal regulations, saying it would be “a wonderful signal to the private sector that they’re going to have some breathing room.” Talk about an invitation to a nightmare. Try imagining how the public would be treated by banks, energy companies, food processors and myriad other powerful entities if the federal government were forced by law to ignore even more of their predations.
  • Corporate America's Race to the Bottom 'Now Official'

    Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

    Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

    It’s beyond astonishing to me that John Boehner has a real chance to be speaker of the House of Representatives.

    I’ve always thought of Mr. Boehner as one of the especially sleazy figures in a capital seething with sleaze. I remember writing about that day back in the mid-’90s when this slick, chain-smoking, quintessential influence-peddler decided to play Santa Claus by handing out checks from tobacco lobbyists to fellow Congressional sleazes right on the floor of the House.

    It was incredible, even to some Republicans. The House was in session, and here was a congressman actually distributing money on the floor. Other, more serious, representatives were engaged in debates that day on such matters as financing for foreign operations and a proposed amendment to the Constitution to outlaw desecration of the flag. Mr. Boehner was busy desecrating the House itself by doing the bidding of big tobacco.

    More...

    Corporate America's Race to the Bottom 'Now Official', Robert Reich, RobertReich.org/Common Dreams

    • Wonder what’s happening with bank reform? Watch your wallets.
    • That's Where the Money Is

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    The Secret Big-Money Takeover of America

    • Not only is income and wealth in America more concentrated in fewer hands than it’s been in 80 years, but those hands are buying our democracy as never before – and they’re doing it behind closed doors.
    • A Serious Danger to Effective Self-Government

    Robert Reich, Common Dreams

    Not only is income and wealth in America more concentrated in fewer hands than it’s been in 80 years, but those hands are buying our democracy as never before – and they’re doing it behind closed doors.

    Hundreds of millions of secret dollars are pouring into congressional and state races in this election cycle. The Koch brothers (whose personal fortunes grew by $5 billion last year) appear to be behind some of it, Karl Rove has rounded up other multi-millionaires to fund right-wing candidates, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funneling corporate dollars from around the world into congressional races, and Rupert Murdoch is evidently spending heavily.

    More...

    Related:

    A Serious Danger to Effective Self-Government, Steve Cobble, Huffington Post

    • "We write today because we believe that the Supreme Court's creation of corporate 'speech' rights on which the Citizens United decision rests is contrary to the First Amendment as we understand it."
    • Corporate America's Favorite Jurists Return


    Section(s): 

    Advancing the Progressive Agenda in November: Don’t Vote Dem!

     


    Walk away from the Democratic Party and back progressive, third party candidates until the Democrats feel enough heat to adopt our agenda. We must be willing to say no. If not, we become slaves.

    David W. Culver, Evergreene Digest

    If most of the apocalyptic prognostications are realized, the GOP/Tea Party coalition is going to win big next month. And, typically, those of a progressive, liberal, anti-war, Democratic persuasion are saying, “We can avoid the tsunami of Tea Party crazies by sticking with the Democrats. The Dems may be bad, but the Tea Partiers are even worse!”

    And I ask you, how does voting fearfully, ignorantly, and irresponsibly (sticking with the Democrats, voting for the lesser of two evils, voting against someone) advance the Progressive agenda? And that is what we are concerned about isn’t it? Advancing the Progressive agenda?

    Like you, I’ve already heard the arguments, variations on a theme of fear, ignorance, and irresponsibility:

    · We would be throwing away our vote and probably enabling the opposing party to win.

    · (If we don’t stay with the Dems) there is a huge chance that the right wing will win.

    · There is no way I would knowingly put the future of my grandchildren in the hands of those irrational bigots.

    My point is: We’ve already been doing it this way for years and look at the mess we’re in. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. If we continue to vote this way, how will things end up different this November?

    My suggestion? Walk away from the Democratic Party and back progressive, third party candidates until the Democrats feel enough heat to adopt our agenda. We must be willing to say no. If not, we become slaves.

    The means for meaningful change is to put pressure on the Democratic Party to make them stand up for our Progressive positions. But how are we going to do that by always giving our elected officials our money and our votes because we fear something worse on the right? How does that give them any incentive to take our peace, justice, love, generosity and environmental sanity messages seriously? As Rabbi Michael Lerner says, “We need to let them know that these positions of ours are not just ‘preferences,’ but rather they are our bottom line and that we won't support those who support war, militarism, injustice, and a worldview of domination and power over others, even if they tell us that deep in their hearts they believe something quite different.”

    People worry about “throwing away our vote and probably enabling the opposing party to win.”  What opposing party? There’s no fundamental difference between the two parties anyway! There’s no qualitative difference in a GOP or Democratic win! Both parties:

    · sold out health care, the economy, and political campaigns to the corporations;

    · support torture and keeping Guantanamo open; warrantless wire-tapping and internet snooping; two wars; screwing veterans, women, workers, consumers; jeopardizing public safety (the totally inadequate responses to hurricanes and oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico), etc!

    · have helped gut all of the New Deal except for social security and they’re both working on that. (After all, it was Alan Simpson, Obama’s   appointee to the Deficit Commission, that said Social Security was a cow with 310 million teats!)

    As far as I’m concerned, we’re just going through the longest presidential administration in US history: the 8-term Reagan-BushI-Clinton-BushII-Obama one. As Jim Hightower wrote:

    “The sad truth is that none of George W’s agenda would be hanging around our necks without the complicity and often the direct support of national Democratic leaders. They’ve ditched the Red Wing boot bunch and thrown in with the wing-tip crowd, going all wobbly on the whole concept of why America needs a Democratic party.”


    Or, as Chris Hedges puts it:


    The failure of the American left is a failure of nerve. It has been neutralized and rendered ineffectual as a political force because of its refusal to hold fast on core issues, from universal, single-payer, not-for-profit health care for all Americans, to the steadfast protection of workers' rights, to an immediate withdrawal from the failed occupation of Iraq to a fight against a militarized economy that is hollowing the country out from the inside.

    “Let the politicians compromise. This is their job. It is not ours. If the left wants to regain influence in the nation's political life, it must be willing to walk away from the Democratic Party and back progressive, third-party candidates until the Democrats feel enough heat to adopt our agenda. We must be willing to say no. If not, we become slaves.

    “Political and social change, as the radical Christian right and the array of corporate-funded neocon think tanks have demonstrated, are created by the building of movements. This is a lesson American progressives have forgotten. The object of a movement is not to achieve political power at any price. It is to create pressure and mobilize citizens around core issues of justice. It is to force politicians and parties to respond to our demands. It is about rewarding, through support and votes, those who champion progressive ideals and punishing those who refuse. And the current Democratic Party…has betrayed us.”


    This year, I’m putting my actions where my mouth is. I left the Democratic Party (rather, they left me) after an adult-life-long affiliation and joined the Socialist Party USA this year. For the first time since I’ve been eligible to vote I will not vote a straight Democratic ticket. I will only vote for my US Congressional rep, Keith Ellison. The rest of the candidates aren’t looking for a solution, they are part of the problem, and undeserving of my vote, a right I fought to preserve in Vietnam! And I help publish a Progressive e-zine that reaches 33,200+ readers worldwide.

    Am I uncomfortable with what I’ve done and planning to do? Damn right! Am I scared of what we’re going to be looking at the morning of November 3? Damn right! Can it be anything fundamentally worse than what we have right now? Hell no! As far as I’m concerned, we’ve got nothing further to lose and everything to gain: a possible reversal of this country’s self-inflicted path to destruction and a way out.


     

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