I’m hoping you can help us spread the word about the upcoming Lobby Day to Repeal the Death Penalty that will take place Wednesday March 4th, 2015. This is an important time to show the growing support for repeal in Nebraska – we want to pack the Capitol with repeal supporters! Below is a short overview of the details for the day. It would be a tremendous help if you could share this with your supporters/network.
Lobby Day March 4th, 2015 to Repeal the Death Penalty
We are joining Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty for a Lobby Day to Repeal the Death Penalty that will take place Wednesday March 4th, 2015. We will gather for a rally in the basement of St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 10am (across the street from the Capitol - 14th and K Street in Lincoln). You will be given an update about the repeal campaign, go over lobbying basics, and prep you to connect with your Senator at the Capitol. Then we will all walk to the Capitol to connect citizens with the Senators. There is a free luncheon at 11:45 for Senators and citizens, and following lunch at 1:30 we’ll view the Judiciary Committee’s hearing. It’s possible that the death penalty repeal bill (LB 268) will be discussed at this hearing. It’s really important to our repeal effort that we have a strong showing this day, we hope you’ll join us! For more information, or to RSVP, visit their website at www.nadp.net/lobby. Read more
Posted in: Turn Off the Violence
by David James
Guest Columnist. Foreign Press.com
The United States of America is in a state of perpetual war, which requires perpetual war spending. The reason for this is simple: money and power.
To be more specific, tax-payer money allocated by politicians to defense contractors who produce wildly expensive and unnecessary equipment, and power of controlling certain resources and markets for profit-driven corporations and industries. This is allowed to happen because the citizens, the tax-payers, do not know and do not care about money spent on “defense.” The American military is the sole remaining institution of public funding and common interest that has a near unanimous bipartisan approval rating and simultaneous near lack of oversight, and lack of interest by voters. One relevant example is the disturbing case of the F-35 “Lightning” stealth fighter jet. It is being produced by a team of industrial arms producers including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, and active cooperation between the USA and at least ten other allied nations. The total estimated long-term cost of the project has been estimated to reach as high as $1.5 Trillion. That’s trillion with a “T”, or as much as the entire Iraq War combined, or more than the annual GNP of all but the 12 biggest economies in the world. Many times public projects of dubious merit and gross mismanagement will be deemed “boondoggles” by the press. In this case, there is little press coverage at all of a military project so enormously wasteful as to defy imagination. The word boondoggle is too benign for the cancer of corrupt and bungled arms contracts that is the F-35. Here is a recent article in The Daily Beast describing, for example, how faulty software will prevent the jet from firing its own gun and will delay the project for at least another five years. Read more
Posted in: Anti-War & International Law
Article I Section 22 of the Nebraska Constitution reads, "All elections shall be free; and there shall be no hindrance or impediment to the right of a qualified voter to exercise the elective franchise".
Two bills before the Nebraska Legislature would require all Nebraska registered voters to show a government-issued photographic identification before being able to vote at the ballot box. These bills are being offered up based on the fallacy that Nebraska is fraught with voter fraud. We know that isn't true. As we have seen in other states, these voter suppression bills are used to keep certain people - the young, low-income, disabled and minorities - from voting.
These bills will be heard before the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee this Friday, January 23rd beginning at 1:30 PM. Read more
Posted in: Announcements
by Hendrik Van den Berg
UNL Professor of Economics
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a project that has involved nearly 10,000 scientists from around the world, a few weeks ago once again reconfirmed earlier conclusions that climate change is underway and that human activity on Earth is the main cause. Scientists have also concluded that if we are to keep temperature increases below two degree celsius (3.6 degrees fahrenheit), we can only burn a small portion, perhaps just 20 percent, of the known reserves of carbon fuels. And yet, Congress just came within one vote of approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, which is intended to carry the dirtiest possible crude oil from the isolated Alberta tar sands to the world energy market to be burned into the atmosphere. Our political leaders do not seem to be paying attention to what is happening to our environment.
One of the common themes of those who either voted for the pipeline or those who went along with the decision is that the pipeline will bring economic growth and employment. This argument holds little water since resource-destroying economic expansion is not really growth and the pipeline creates almost no new permanent employment. But, the idea that economic growth comes first resonates with Americans, accustomed to a high-energy lifestyle. Of course, many of those legislators who voted for letting more tar sands crude oil flow into the international energy market claim that they just do not believe the climate science. A popular reaction is that global warming is some kind of socialist plot against the American way of life. Read more
Posted in: Environment
by Paul Olson, President Emeritus
My church, First Lutheran Church in Lincoln, has become something of an integrated church for an unusual reason. Several Sudanese people joined this past fall: tall beautiful people with perfect posture and wonderful African clothes—people who fled as refugees from the war in South Sudan. Their war in Sudan began in Darfur over ten years ago and extended to the rest of the country as Islamic North Sudanese were forced south by drought in northern Sudan—until civil war developed. Then the warring Islamic North and the Christian South were separated into different countries. The drought continued and tribal groups from the mostly Christian South Sudan began fighting one another over scarce resources. Resource shortages contributing to each of these sets of tribal conflicts brought my fellow co-parishioners here.
In the Sudan case, the wars were apparently largely occasioned by water shortages precipitated by global climate change. Indeed, climate scientists have generally ascribed the recent droughts in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to changes in the earth’s climate—causing the reduction of rainfall in the Nile Valley, the desertification of its grazing lands, and the fleeing of desperate people to non-traditional lands. The positive integration of my church came about, paradoxically, because people fled the negative violence in their native country. Read more
Posted in: Speaking Our Peace