From Congresswoman Robin Kelly:
We are happy to offer our support.
And our vote.
From Congresswoman Robin Kelly:
We are happy to offer our support.
And our vote.
So it turns out that Pope Francis did NOT invite Kim Davis to a personal audience. NOR did a personal audience with Pope Francis between the pontiff and Ms. Davis occur.
Her lawyer is lying.
I’m shocked that lawyers would lie.
I know that you are too.
Ever since it became public that Pope Francis met in Washington with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples, the questions have been swirling: Why did he meet with her, and was it meant as a political statement?
As it turns out, the Vatican said on Friday, the pope did not mean to endorse Ms. Davis’s views. It also said he gave her no more than a typical brief greeting, despite what her lawyer described.
Instead, the Vatican said that Francis gave only one “real audience”: to someone later identified as one of his former students, Yayo Grassi, a gay man in Washington who says he brought his partner of 19 years to the Vatican’s embassy in Washington for a reunion. They even shot video.
The disclosure, after the Vatican’s unusual attempt to correct the impressions left by Francis’ meeting with Ms. Davis, added to days of speculation about whether Francis intended to send a message on the place of gays in the church, or conscientious objection, and whether his advisers had fully briefed him on Ms. Davis, or had their own agenda.
The Vatican spokesman emphasized that the meeting with Ms. Davis was arranged by the office of the Vatican’s ambassador in Washington, not by anyone in Rome — including the pope.
A letter from Annabel Park, founder of the Coffee Party, a wonderful organization that is now run by a group full of self-interest.
The original motto of the Coffee Party? Incite Civility! She wrote the following commentary on CNN in 2010. She and Eric Byler gave their hearts and souls to the Coffee Party, a group counter to the Tea Party and their shouting, embodied with the notion that civil discussion could advance great ideas.
The Coffee Party deserves better than the current board, refusing to hold open elections for a few years now, contrary to the organization’s bylaws, contrary to any notion of good faith, contrary to common sense.
Please read the following, read the lawsuit, and sign on.
Dear Members of the Coffee Party Community,
I’m writing on behalf of concerned Members of the organization who have taken an extraordinary step of filing a lawsuit against the Board of Directors for financial self-dealing, misuse of Membership’s personal data, and other abuses of power. Here is a link to the lawsuit filed last December in Washington DC. And, here is a more colloquial explanation of what has taken place behind closed doors.
When I left Coffee Party leadership in 2011, we hired consultants to oversee the creation of a governing board of directors accountable to, and elected by you, the Members. Sadly that is not what happened.
In the fallout from multi-level marketing scheme scandal, this Board of Directors has disqualified all candidates nominated to challenge them, and run themselves unopposed in elections to avoid oversight, transparency, and debate about their conduct.
They prefer to appoint new Directors rather than allowing you to elect them, thus, the Coffee Party’s resources and energy seem to go toward fighting the Membership’s lawsuit and suppressing dissent through censorship, and the purging of dozens of founding and long-time Members, rather than toward campaigns and actions that might impact the real world.
In the interest of moving forward as a community, I would like to invite you to an informal Coffee Party community meeting that you can participate in online and in person.
WHEN: August 22, 2015, 3pm-5pm ET
WHERE In-Person: 1101 Hamilton Street, Suite 158A, Allentown, PA 18102
WHERE Online: Original Coffee Party Facebook Group
WHERE By Phone: Register for the Maestro call here.
This meeting is at the end of a day-long conference, Awaken We the People, organized by some original Coffee Party founders, including me, about creating a national network of local organizers. Leaders of other networks and organizations including Occupy Wall Street will be participating. The conference is free and open to the public, from 9am to 3pm. I urge you to attend this as well. Please RSVP.
Along with the future of the lawsuit, the agenda for the Coffee Party community meeting (3pm-5pm) will include a number of action ideas about how we can advance the principles of the original vision.
The Members’ lawsuit asks the court to force the Board of Directors to hold legitimate and fair elections, as prescribed by the bylaws, where no candidate can be disqualified arbitrarily. The Defendants’ and their lawyers say they intend to fight this, and currently the Members are seeking more people to sign on in order to refile the complaint with the requisite number of plaintiffs (about 20 more plaintiffs are needed).
The plaintiffs have recently secured a lawyer in DC who has agreed to take on our case pro bono. This is a big opportunity in terms of seeking a legal remedy.
Unless the plaintiffs see the lawsuit through, it’s very likely that this democracy movement we started in order to fight corruption will continue to thwart democracy and embody corruption. But restoring the integrity and renewing the mission of the Coffee Party will require us all to work for it. At this meeting we’ll decide whether it’s worth it. We would like to make the discussion an open and civil one in the original Coffee Party tradition.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the lawsuit, we will conduct several informational calls prior to the August 22nd meeting with plenty of time for you to ask questions. Or, you can join and participate in the The Original Coffee Party Facebook group where many of us have gathered for the time being.
On a personal note, starting in October, I will be embarking on a year-long road trip across the country, Coffee with Friends Across America. Although inspired by John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley: In Search of America, my dream has a contemporary twist to it. I hope to meet many of my 5000 facebook friends and 3000 followers including all of you.
During the trip, I hope we can share authentic stories from Main St and search for real solutions together. I hope that videos and content that we make together can impact the national conversation leading up to the 2016 election. To get updates on this, please follow me on my facebook page.
Thanks again for your interest in the aims of the original Coffee Party. Don’t hesitate to contact me on Facebook or by replying to this email to discuss any of this.
PS – Please sign this “Step Down Now” petition already signed by 590 people.
The Alabama House passed a bill this week that would allow the state to once again put people to death by electric chair if the currently low supply of lethal injection drugs runs out or if the Supreme Court places limits on which drugs can be used to execute inmates in a case currently pending before the justices.
After the European Union banned exports of drugs used to kill human beings in 2011, states have been scrambling to find a reliable supply, often turning to secret, poorly regulated sources.
These bills to revive older methods of execution were proposed following a series ofbotched executions in which inmates suffered long and seemingly painful deaths — calling into question whether the drugs are as effective and “humane” as their supporters claimed.
Yet medical experts say the electric chair — which was used for hundreds of years — is an even more torturous and gruesome method of execution. Because the equipment is old and few people know how to operate it, it has often malfunctioned.
How sad. How so terribly sad.
Are you surprised to learn that four out of five supplements tested at Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC do not contain the supplements their manufacturers claim?
The New York State attorney general’s office accused four national retailers on Monday of selling dietary supplements that were fraudulent and in many cases contaminated with unlisted ingredients.
The authorities said they had run tests on popular store brands of herbal supplements at the retailers — Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC — which showed that roughly four out of five of the products contained none of the herbs listed on their labels. In many cases, the authorities said, the supplements contained little more than cheap fillers like rice and house plants, or substances that could be hazardous to people with food allergies.
Juniper Towers is a public housing complex in Park Forest, Illinois. As such, there is a regular staff, and those wishing to enter without a specific destination must adhere to certain standards, letting staff members know they are present.
Because this is public housing, candidates for public office are not permitted to enter and wander aimlessly, moving from floor to floor, door to door.
Turning Left has learned from several reliable sources that one mayoral candidate in Park Forest, Illinois — and a current public official in that town — has been doing precisely that. Mr. JeRome Brown, a second-run mayoral candidate in Park Forest, IL, has been described by sources as entering Juniper Towers, walking floor to floor, going door to door, but only after staff for Juniper Towers have left for the day. Only after hours.
Obviously, Mr. Brown has someone on the inside who is opening the front door for him, or he waits surreptitiously for someone to exit so he can enter.
We have to ask: why not enter when staff is present? Why wait until staff have gone home for the day to begin his surreptitious campaigning?
We have learned, to our amusement, that Mr. Brown raffled off a turkey before Christmas. The winner was the first person who could prove he or she had a voter registration card.
Why give a turkey only to someone already registered to vote? Why raffle a turkey at all, unless he is engaging in an all-out campaign to buy votes.
A few years ago, a mayoral candidate in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, also attempted to buy votes, this time from seniors. This candidate promised, and delivered, a box of chocolates and seven dollars cash — yes, cash — to any senior who promised to vote for him, and he promised to provide them a ride to the polls.
The seniors took the chocolate, pocketed the $7.00 cash, and voted in droves for his opponent.
His opponent won. Handily.
Mr. Brown appears to believe that seniors and other members of public housing in Park Forest, Illinois, are simple, gullible folks, ready to cave and give their votes to someone obviously pandering for their attention, for their votes.
Turning Left must ask, is turkey the only thing of substance Mr. Brown has to offer?
This is archaic, punitive, and barbaric.
This…, is Florida.
Hundreds of Floridians are being fined and imprisoned for the crime of living with a romantic partner without government permission, thanks to an old-time cohabitation law that is still in effect.
As stated in Chapter 798 of the Florida Statutes:
798.02?Lewd and lascivious behavior.—If any man and woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together, or if any man or woman, married or unmarried, engages in open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, they shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Second-degree misdemeanors in Florida are punished by fines of $500 or up to 60 days in jail.
The law dates back over a century, crafted by authoritarians bent on using the state as a mechanism for social engineering and population control. The state’s primary means to this end was in forcing citizens to get permission to marry, in the form of marriage licenses. To prevent certain “undesirable” pairings of citizens, the state was empowered to deny couples the right to marry each other.
Florida resident Sierra Hooper tells Turning Left, “It’s just crazy to me that there is a law for that here … not only can an employer fire you at any time, you can be arrested as well for who you live with.”
Welcome to Rick Scott’s “Right to Work” Florida.
Social engineering, indeed, socialism, at its worst.
Employees of the fast-food industry demand $15 minimum wage and better workplace protections as actions expected in 150 cities across the country
Fast-food workers are out in force nationwide on Thursday as they participate in a day of action designed to highlight the scourge of low-wages and push a series of demands to combat the persistent poverty endured by those who form the backbone of the profitable multi-billion dollar industry.
Led by organizers at FightFor15—and supported in their call by the Service Employees Union International (SEIU), grassroots organizers, and other workers’ rights groups—the fast-food employees say that singular actions that first started in New York City in 2012 and then spread to other cities have now become a national movement. Pushing for a $15 per hour “living wage” for all workers is the central but not sole demand of the workers and those who back them.
Organizers are expecting worker strikes and solidarity protests in 150 U.S. cities as employees of Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and other chains demand a dramatic increase to the minimum wage, better workplace protections, and the right to organize and join a union.
According to NBC News:
In Kansas City, Missouri, workers are expected to walk out of 60 restaurants. Latoya Caldwell, a Wendy’s worker, is one of dozens of fast food employees in Kansas City who plan to sit down in a city intersection, lock arms and get arrested.
“We’re a movement now,” Caldwell said on Wednesday before starting a shift at Wendy’s. She and several co-workers said that 25 of the more than 30 non-management employees in their restaurant have pledged to strike. “We know this is going to be a long fight, but we’re going to fight it till we win,” said Caldwell, 31, who is raising four children alone on $7.50 an hour and was living in a homeless shelter until earlier this year.
The strikers cite frustration about their continued struggle to survive at the bottom of the labor market even as the broader economic news seems positive. “They say the economy is getting better, but we’re still making $7.50,” said Caldwell. “Nobody should work 40 hours a week and find themselves homeless, without enough money to buy them and their kids food, needing public assistance.”
Early reporting in the day documented actions in Detroit, Chicago, New York, Charlotte, New Orleans and elsewhere.
In Detroit, protesters protesting outside a McDonald’s early on Thursday were arrested after they locked arms and sat down in the street, blocking local traffic.
The local CBS news affiliate reports:
Kaya Moody, a 20-year-old single mother who works at a different McDonald’s location in Detroit, has taken part in several protests and she admits it hasn’t been an easy sell.
“We always get the ‘Do you really think you deserve $15 an hour as a fast food worker?’ We get that a lot and I just feel like, who doesn’t deserve $15 an hour, you know? It’s a living wage. No one can survive off of $8.15 an hour, it’s almost impossible,” Moody told WWJ’s Ron Dewey.
The protests have been going on for about two years, but organizers have kept the campaign in the spotlight by switching their tactics every few months. In the past, supporters have showed up at a McDonald’s shareholder meeting and held strikes. The idea of civil disobedience arose in July when 1,300 workers held a convention in Chicago.
Kendall Fells, an organizing director for Fast Food Forward, said workers in a couple of dozen cities were trained to peacefully engage in civil disobedience ahead of the planned protests.
Dispatches and photos from other actions are being shared on Twitter under the#StrikeFastFood hashtag:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
As Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip rages on, ceasefires come and go. Most last just long enough for Palestinians to dig out the dead from beneath their collapsed houses, get the injured to overcrowded and under-resourced hospitals, and seek enough food and water to last through the next round of airstrikes.
“There is nothing left but stones,” Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer quoted an old woman saying as she searched desperately through the rubble of what had been her home.
Casualties are soaring. By late July, Israel had killed more than 1,200 Palestinians, at least 73 percent of them civilians including hundreds of children. Fifty-six Israelis, almost all of them soldiers, have died too.
A July 28 poll shows 86.5 percent of Israelis oppose a ceasefire. Yet we continue to hear that Israelis want peace.
It’s true that at least some of them do. An Israeli protest in Tel Aviv brought 5,000 people into the street. That’s good — though a far cry from the 400,000 who poured into the streets to protest Israel’s invasion of Lebanon back in 1982.
And when a young Palestinian teenager was kidnapped and tortured to death — burned alive — in Jerusalem after the bodies of the three kidnapped young Israeli settlers were found, many Israelis tried to distance themselves from the horrific crime. “In our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed.
But in fact, there is a place for those who call for murder — at the highest political and military levels of Israeli society.
Meet Ayelet Shaked, a member of the Knesset — Israel’s parliament. She belongs to Israel Home, a far-right party in Netanyahu’s governing coalition. She issued on Facebook what amounts to a call to commit genocide, by deliberately killing Palestinians, including women, children, and old people.
“The entire Palestinian people is the enemy,” Shaked posted. “In wars, the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.”
The Knesset member went on to say that the mothers of Palestinians killed should follow their dead sons to Hell: “They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”
Her language reminds me of a chapter in our own history — the genocidal Indian Wars. U.S. military leaders had called on their troops to wipe out all the Native Americans andCol. John Chivington was asked on the eve of the Sand Creek Massacre about killing Cheyenne children. “Kill and scalp all, big and little, nits make lice,” he replied.
Shaked’s comments also echo the words of an Israeli colonel who testified under oath at the wrongful death trial of Rachel Corrie, a young U.S. peace activist killed by an Israeli soldier driving an armored bulldozer in Gaza. “In a war zone there are no civilians,” said the military officer — who was responsible for training Israeli soldiers to serve in the occupied territories.
There’s no question that Hamas’ primitive rockets violate international law. They can’t be accurately aimed at military targets. But that doesn’t justify Israel’s violation of its own obligations under international law as the occupying power in Gaza.
Israel has the region’s strongest military, the only nuclear weapons arsenal in the Middle East, and the unconditional backing of the United States. Its assault on Gaza violates the Geneva Conventions. Israel is imposing collective punishment against all Gazans, attacking hospitals, and using disproportionate force.
Israeli officials know full well that the best way to protect their citizens is to implement a real ceasefire — a breakthrough that would require opening Gaza’s borders. Some of them also know the best way to keep their citizens safe long term is by ending the occupation altogether. Problem is, not enough of them will admit it.
For real peace, both of those things must change.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Her books include Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer, Understanding the U.S.-Iran Crisis: A Primer, Ending the Iraq War: A Primer, and most recently Ending the Us War in Afghanistan: A Primer. If you want to receive her talking points and articles on a regular basis, click here and choose "New Internationalism." You can find her on Facebook here: http:
Another week, another communications controversy for Pope Francis?
That’s how it was looking after a three-word tweet from Pope Francis — in Latin — about inequality left some conservatives dazed and confused over Catholic teachings on economics. They were still digesting last week’s news about the pontiff’s call to an Argentine woman that left them wondering whether Rome was going wobbly on the sanctity of marriage.
The latest dust-up began routinely enough, with a Monday morning post to Francis’ Twitter feed that said: "Iniquitas radix malorum."?
"Inequality is the root of social evil" is how the English translation ran, and that tracked closely with other language versions.
Honestly, have these people read the prophet Amos? How about the teachings of Jesus Christ?
Try Matthew 19:21 –
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect,* go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Adding that because many of these "conservatives" call themselves Christians.