Tag Archives: Vermont Law School

The War on Poverty at … never forget


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What People Really Think About Poverty

On January 8, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” “It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it,” said Johnson.

50 years later, many of the programs that were passed in that era still exist and have helped keep millions out of poverty. In fact, the poverty rate would be nearly double today without them. But without a doubt, poverty still exists in this country.

The perception continues to be that there is a wide ideological gap across the county of what government’s role is in extending the ladders needed to increase economic mobility and lift people out of poverty. On this anniversary, the Center for American Progress and Half in Ten commissioned a poll to ask Americans what they really think about poverty in the United States. The findings might surprise you:

1. Between one-quarter and one-third of Americans experience direct economic hardship. Sixty-one percent of Americans say their family’s income is falling behind the cost of living, compared to just 8 percent who feel they are getting ahead and 29 percent who feel they are staying even. Anywhere from 25 to 34 percent of Americans-and even higher percentages of Millennials and people of color-report serious problems in the past year falling behind on rent, mortgage or utilities payments; affording necessary medical care; keeping up with credit card payments; or having enough to money for food.  Fifty-four percent of Americans say that someone in the immediate or extended families is poor — a 2-point increase since 2008 and an 18-point increase since 2001.

2. Americans blame economic conditions, not personal responsibility, as the reason people live in poverty in this country.  Almost two-thirds (64 percent) believe that most people who live in poverty do so because of bad economic conditions like low-paying jobs, compared to only one-quarter who think it is because the poor make bad decisions. Even white conservatives believe by a 2:1 margin (63 percent to 29 percent) that poverty is driven by socioeconomic factors and conditions rather than poor personal decision-making.

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3. There is almost unanimous agreement that government has a responsibility to fight poverty. An overwhelming 86 percent of Americans agree with the belief put forward by President Johnson 50 years ago.

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4. There is widespread support for a national goal to cut poverty in half within 10 years. Seven in 10 Americans–including a majority of those identifying as white conservatives–support this goal.

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5. Americans also express very strong support for a number of policies to help reduce poverty rates, particularly with jobs, wages, and education but also on more traditional safety net items. Among the proposals garnering strong support are emergency unemployment benefits, increasing the minimum wage, universal pre-kindergarten, and expanded nutrition assistance. Congress should take note.

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You can check out the complete results of the poll HERE. Our colleagues have also put together a variety of other resources on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. Be sure and check those out HERE.

What year is it?


a repost … a rant

The conservative stance or comments about women, Planned Parenthood, contraceptives, and abortion has been offensive yet enlightening for voters who believe it’s time to give women choice like men have had without interference.  Hopefully,  fact-checking the claims about what Planned Parenthood does for both men and women while considering vasectomies viagra and other enhancements including equipment used by men while they’re at it.

The fact is, some women do not want children, very young women are not ready, working women need time, sadly there are victims of violence who are capable of making their own (personal decisions) plan their families around their personal situations.  We all deserve (free will) to choose whatever reproductive procedure is appropriate for our lives no matter if conservatives believe.  It is the 21st Century, why can’t these conservatives understand that birth control, contraceptives and or possible abortions are a part of a woman’s overall health care is beyond my understanding.   Yet, pro-lifers don’t seem to let facts get in the way because they feel women who have sex and get pregnant should either have the baby or give it up for adoption.  First, the conservative movement that pushes a family values platform on women is political, big government in full effect and should stay out unless a family member or doctor. Second, women should not be the only ones responsible for the prevention of unwanted pregnancies; men need to step up.  Third, conservatives use a broad brush on the topic of women and their health care, specifically when the topic includes reproductive services STOP. Last, the new law or change implemented by President Obama‘s Administration is to offer an option for safe and affordable access to health care services. The idea that folks are against women who pay for all or part of their #ACA should not have reproductive coverage is beyond absurd. I also feel that those in religious organizations that get federal funding need to fall in line or lose the funding and likewise for pharmacists who say their religion keeps them from POS=point of sales, of contraception products seem to contradict the business … excuse me…some are also getting federal funds to do business

I don’t know about you but the reasoning and or rationalization conservative Politicians, constituents or members of Congress use to bash and attack organizations like Planned Parenthood by reciting so-called facts from the internet with a list of falsehoods is embarrassing. The list of questionable information includes silly things like PPH misuses money, funnels money or that PPH only does abortions is just the beginning. I can only say the conservative conspiracy theorists are in full effect. The facts are there; find out by calling Planned Parenthood! They do so much more than just abortions, but that pro-life stance on abortion seems to be the conservative focus filled with misleading information assuming hoping their constituents won’t research their comments.

Thankfully, women who are uninsured, underinsured or who just cannot afford a mainstream doctor can go to Planned Parenthood, which is the first step, then if needed referred to get mammograms at an affiliated clinic with a Planned Parenthood doctor, but Republicans … don’t let the truth get in the way of nasty rhetoric about PPH and women who choose.

Unfortunately, that thing about the Democratic Party wanting to abort black babies is ludicrous.  The Democratic Party has stated that it wants to protect a woman’s right to choose and apply all the Federal laws that exist …period. I was surprised at all the misinformation thrown at viewers by TV hosts and Pundits. I get it, you don’t like abortion, but I suggest that  Republican Leaders would be better off calling out the source or thorn in the side of your Pro-life stance advocates.  It must be tough not to want to use a footnote or source as an absolute from the internet but come up short. If you listen to conservative TV and talk radio you realize most just throw out the facts when it comes to birth control, contraceptives, abortion, and what they all mean to a woman’s health care in general.

Women’s health care has always been a politically charged topic and football.  Women of childbearing years or if indeed pregnant were considered or labeled as being a pre-existing condition; an offensive rationalization used by so many in the insurance industry to deny or limit safe and affordable health care.  Because of President Obama, that practice by the insurance industry is no longer acceptable, however, we still need to regulate how insurance industries treat women, our ability to reproduce makes conservatives rise up to engage in hypocrisy on so many levels. I get the disagreement about abortion but Planned Parenthood clinics give men and women other quality accessible safe and affordable health care no matter what form it comes in. Yet, an ideology, a family values platform pushed, debated and voted into law by red-state Republicans has managed to be implemented in some states are trying to dismantle our rights quietly while others have been blocked by the courts

Today, in this 21st Century life, women still have to demand the right to make personal health care choices without political intervention.

Unfortunately, some states have succeeded in shoving the reproductive services issue in a political box with laws that are so archaic you have to wonder what year it is.  The cliché of, “do as we say NOT as we do” keeps coming to my mind every time I hear conservatives or any extremist on the right speak on issues of women’s reproductive rights.  Men’s health care issues unlike women have been treated differently and provided with procedures and enhancement drugs among other things without questions.  Yet, women and in most instances women of colour are being singled out as abortion scarlet’s, abortion abusers, portrayed as something mysterious possibly evil and definitely disrespected by some extreme folks from the right who do not seem to understand that birth control, contraceptives and abortion are all a part of a women’s health care no matter what race or economic background.

 Freedom Fighters ….believe in

#TheRightToChooseMatters

a Letter From Virginia ~In Memory~ (Free Before Emancipation) ~~ July/August edition


Letter From Virginia
Excavations are providing a new look at some of the Civil War’s earliest fugitive slaves—considered war goods or contraband—and their first taste of liberty

 click on the graphic below to get the complete story, it’s six pages of American History

(Library of Congress)

Following an 1861 decision by a Union general, escaped slaves were declared contraband, or illegal war goods, and freed. Thousands of fugitive slaves, including this group in Pamunkey Run, Virginia, provided the Union army with labor and established independent communities.


Annie Leonard, Greenpeace and bits of plastic in our oceans


Bits of plastic called microbeads are polluting our oceans.

Take Action

Take action today to ban the use of microbeads in the US.

Take Action

greenpeaceEvery time you brush your teeth, you might be unknowingly adding tiny bits of plastic to our oceans.

These bits of plastic are called microbeads and you can find them in everything from face soaps to body washes to toothpastes. And while they’re almost invisible to the naked eye, they’re causing serious problems for our waterways and oceans (and us!).

Most wastewater treatment can’t filter out the tiny microbeads — meaning they journey from your bathroom drains into waterways. Once there, they end up in the bellies of fish or other marine life and are passed along the food chain.

National legislation has been introduced in Congress to ban the sale of personal care products that contain plastic microbeads. It’s part of an ever-growing movement that needs your voice.

Tell your federal Representative and Senators today to support the Microbead Free Waters Act and to solve the problem of these polluting plastics.

This doesn’t end in the water. Today’s plastic face wash is in tomorrow’s sushi.

Many fish species that humans eat are known to consume these microbeads at an alarming rate, and the toxins absorbed in those plastics transfer to the fish tissue.

The toxins absorbed by plastic microbeads include pesticides, flame retardants, motor oil and more. And all that ends up in the oceans — and on our plates. We have to act.

A single microbead can be up to a million times more toxic than the water around it! Take action today to ban plastic microbeads from everyday personal care products.

The Story of Stuff Project, an organization I founded, is leading a coalition of over 100 groups to get these tiny plastic beads out of everyday products. Greenpeace is proud to be a part of this coalition.

This is a perfect example of the underlying problem with our current economic system and the culture it helps create. Natural alternatives to microbeads exist. But plastic microbeads are smoother than natural alternatives like apricot shells, jojoba beans and pumice.

Smoother is better for the companies making these products because smoother means these cleansers will be less effective at exfoliating… which means you can use them everyday… which means you buy more of the product! 

Sadly, it also means poisoned oceans and a poisoned food supply. Plastic pollution in our waterways has become one of the great perils facing our environment. We can do something about it.

Take a minute right now and tell your elected federal representatives to support the Microbead Free Waters Act.

Thanks for all you do.

Annie Leonard
Executive Director, Greenpeace USA
P.S. Tiny pieces of plastic called microbeads are polluting our waterways and oceans. Tell your elected federal representatives to ban microbeads by supporting the Microbead Free Waters Act today!

The Supreme Court’s decision on voting access … a repost


First posted 8/6/2015

The Supreme Court announced a major decision about voting access in the United States. You can start a petition now to address these issues and make your voice heard.

The Supreme Court announced a landmark voting access decision in the case of Evenwel v. Abbott, upholding the current standard for creating congressional districts – the geographical lines that determine where you vote and who represents you in Congress – around the country.

This is the first Supreme Court decision regarding voting access and congressional districts in 50 years, and it has reignited debates about these issues around the country.

Over the past few years, hundreds of thousands of Change.org users like you have taken action to protect voting rights, expand voting access, and ensure that the United States maintains a free and open democracy. From the Voting Rights Act to expanding early voting around the country, users have started petitions to voice their opinions. Now you can add your voice to the conversation.

You can start your own petition about voting rights, voting access, or issues concerning America’s voting process by clicking here. It only takes about five minutes.

Change.org users are using these tools to ask their states to create nonpartisan committees to draw up the new congressional districts, to ask Congress to address issues of voter access, to call on governors to create early voting in in their home states, and much more.

Want to do the same? All you have to do is go to the dedicated start a petition page for voting rights and access and follow a few easy steps:
https://www.change.org/start-a-petition/protecting-democracy.

In just a few moments, you can make your voice a part of the conversation.

Thanks for being a change-maker,

The Staff at Change.org