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Peter Rothberg | The Nation

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Peter Rothberg

Peter Rothberg

Opposing war, racism, sexism, climate change, economic injustice and high-stakes testing.

Support WomanCare

Have you heard about the recent arson at the WomanCare clinic in Lake Fort Worth, FL? A vicious fire attack destroyed the facility on July 2nd. This is the kind of home-grown American terrorism that doesn't get a whole lot of attention. The Concord Feminist Health Center in New Hampshire--which suffered an arson attack itself in 2000--is organizing a campaign asking people to send donations to help the clinic get back on its feet. It's critical to let those on the frontlines of care know that they have support and that the pro-choice movement won't let the anti-choicers win a war of attrition through violence.

To contribute, please make out a check of whatever amount is affordable to "WCWP Women's Relief Fund" and mail it to: WomanCare of West Palm, 1622 North Federal Highway, West Palm Beach FL 33460. And click here and here to keep up with the latest developments in the fight for reproductive freedom in the US.

Unequal Treatment

Thanks to the Bush Administration, tens of thousands of women serving abroad in the US military are being denied their freedoms, even as they are asked to fight to defend ours.

As NARAL points out on its very useful website, American servicewomen and female military dependents are currently banned from accessing abortion services--even when using their own money--at US military medical facilities overseas. They don't even have the same right Medicaid recipients do to public support in cases of rape or incest.

Senators Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe have proposed a provision in the Defense Authorization Act that seeks to rectify at least part of these deplorable, and probably unconstitutional, conditions by allowing servicewomen who are victims of rape to receive abortion care. Given recent reports that sexual-assault cases are on the rise in the military, this is a particularly important time to demand that all women in the military be granted the same reproductive rights as their civilian counterparts.

Click here to support the Boxer-Snow provision, click here to receive news from NARAL's Choice Action Network and click here to support NARAL's work toward full reproductive freedom for all women.

Unbrand America

This July Fourth, the pioneering Adbusters magazine is launching a blast of symbolic disobedience by highlighting the dramatic degree to which American democracy has been undermined and taken over by and for the interests of US corporations. Click here for five ways you can get involved.

On Vacation

ActNow is on vacation until June 25. Please take the time to read the archives.

Protest the Occupation of Iraq

With the legitimacy of the US occupation of Iraq falling further in doubt, the Bush Administration has turned to the UN for help. However, Tuesday's Security Council resolution approving a new interim government does nothing to alter the fact that Iraq is still an occupied country. Indeed, the US government announced today that it is increasing the number of US soldiers stationed in Iraq from 140, 000 to 145, 000, despite earlier projections of a troop reduction.

As long as Iraq remains under occupation the violence will not end. With neither of this year's major-party presidential candidates offering a clear plan for the prompt return of US troops from Iraq, United for Peace and Justice has issued an urgent appeal to get our troops home. It aims to get tens of thousands of signatures on two letters, one to President Bush, the other to John Kerry, calling for an end to the occupation of Iraq. The campaign will culminate in a weekend of nationwide protests on June 26 and 27, jointly organized with Win Without War.

Click here to add your name to the letters--and be sure to pass this alert on to others.

Clean Elections Work

Arizona's pioneering system of full public financing of political candidates, called the Clean Elections Act, is under fierce attack by wealthy special interests with deep pockets and national conservative ties that run all the way from Tom DeLay to Bush's fundraising machine. They've raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to put a constitutional referendum on the November ballot that could crush America's best hope for people-powered democracy.

As the lead editorial in the new issue of The Nation argues, progressives now need to rally like-minded citizens to defend Arizona's exemplary model of civic empowerment.

Thousands of small contributions can help beat back this big-donor funded attack on democracy. The Public Campaign Action Fund is asking people to contribute the manageable sum of five dollars (or more) to help keep Arizona "clean" and, if you have the time, to ask your friends to pitch in too.

Why five dollars? Under the Clean Elections Act, five dollars is the most a voter can give a candidate. Small donors mean as much to candidates as big donors because candidates take no big money from special interests whatsoever. Talk about the great equalizer. The bank president can't give more than the teller in his bank. Now you can understand why well-heeled developers, insurance companies, Bush "Pioneers" and corporate lobbyists are so hellbent on overturning the Act.

Please help thwart their efforts to undo a terrific democratic reform in Arizona. And check out The Action Fund's homepage for a range of ways you can help decrease Big Money's choke-hold on politics in the US today.

Gore Blasts Bush on Iraq

Last night, in another of a series of speeches sponsored by MoveOn.org, Al Gore spoke to 900 people at New York University in a talk that was interrupted by applause more than a dozen times. Gore accused President Bush of "utter incompetence" on Iraq, adding that the president had "made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorism against the United States."

As Maureen Dowd noted in her New York Times column today, Gore's remarks represented "one of the most virulent attacks on a sitting president ever made by such a high-ranking former official."

Click here to read and circulate the text of this speech, click here to watch a webcast of the talk and click here for more info on Move.On, which is providing widespread support to the efforts to unseat Bush in November.

Fight for Your Right to Protest

Last week the antiwar coalition United for Peace and Justice's application for a permit to rally on the Great Lawn in Central Park in Manhattan on August 29th was denied. The rally is planned to be a key part of what organizers (and police) expect to be a massive demonstration on the day before the 2004 Republican National Convention begins. UFPJ's attorneys appealed that denial. Earlier this week the appeal was also denied.

Far from a radical cause, the city's refusal to grant the permit has sparked editorial condemnation from three of New York's daily newspapers as well as criticism from municipal labor unions and numerous members of New York's City Council, including Council president Gifford Miller, all of whom are calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reverse the decision and allow the march to lawfully proceed.

As Rupert Murdoch's strongly pro-war New York Post put it: "A gaggle of lefty agitators wants to convene in Central Park this summer to give President Bush a little grief. But the Parks Department says no, because they might bend the grass. Well, too bad. 'Keep Off The Grass' appears nowhere in the First Amendment."

UFPJ is asking people to call Bloomberg to politely protest the city's denial of our right to rally in Central Park on August 29. You can email the Mayor by clicking here or call his office at 212-788-3000. It's also useful to let the Parks Commissioner, Adrian Benepe, know how you feel. Her office can be reached at 212-360-1305.

And, be sure to check out the UFPJ website for updates on this struggle to secure the right to protest, as well as information about the full range of planned protest, cultural and educational activities while the Republican Party meets in New York City.

Occupation Watch

One of the hallmarks of the Iraqi occupation is the way that new technologies are changing the face of war. The digital cameras that were employed by the Abu Ghraib photographers and the speed with which their photos circulated around the world via the internet were only the latest examples.

An international coalition of peace and justice groups, together with their Iraqi counterparts, have launched a new project, hoping to take advantage of new forms of communication to keep track of what's really going on in Iraq.Founding organizations of the International Occupation Watch Center include Bridges to Baghdad, CodePink, Global Exchange, Focus on the Global South, United for Peace and Justice and ZENKO.

The idea is to create a safe and effective space for "monitoring the economic and reconstruction policies under occupation, including the activities of international corporations, and advocate for the Iraqis' right to control their own resources, especially oil." (Click here for a full mission statement.)

Iraq Occupation Watch offers calls to action, press links, reports from Iraq and info on delegations. Click here to learn more about this important new resource, click here to tell your local media to check the reports out, and click here to contribute to Iraq Occupation Watch.

Patrick Leahy on US Abuses

As Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking member of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee, said in a stirring speech this past Tuesday on the Senate floor:

"The mistreatment of prisoners by the US military in Iraq was not limited to the crimes that have come to light at the Abu Ghraib prison. Rather, there was, in the words of the US Army's own inquiry, a 'systemic and illegal abuse of detainees.' It is revealing, and particularly disturbing, that the US personnel involved conducted themselves so openly, even posing with the victims of their sadistic acts. They obviously felt they had no reason to believe that their superiors would be upset with their conduct. The brazenness of these acts, the reported role of US intelligence officers in encouraging such treatment to 'soften up' detainees for interrogations, combined with earlier reports of similar abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan, suggests a much larger failure."

We couldn't have said it any better ourselves. Hopefully a statement this strong from such a senior member of the Senate will have some reverberations. Click here to read and circulate Leahy's full speech, click here to read follow-up remarks Leahy made on Wednesday, and click here to read Katha Pollitt's new Nation column, Show & Tell at Abu Ghraib.

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