Commentary Tue, 07 Jul 2015 14:45:21 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-us Racist Attacks on Southern Black Churches - Outlaw the Racist Terrorist Groups

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—July 6, 2015. In the last fourteen days, eight Black churches have been burned down. The first burning occurred within a week of the June 17th Charleston Massacre where nine Black people were murdered by a self-proclaimed white, racist terrorist. Some of the burned down churches had "KKK" scrawled on their outside walls and investigators have concluded that three churches (Hills Seven-day Adventist in Knoxville, Tenn., God's Power Church of Christ in Macon, Ga. and Brian Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C.) were torched by arsonists.

The fact that these church burnings came quickly in the wake of the Charleston Massacre raises serious concerns about them being acts of racist violence and terrorism. K. Marshall Williams, President of National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), and pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pa. has called for "...a nationwide outcry and action on all levels of government and society to insure that these acts of terror and hatred toward African Americans...cease....".

Also these fires have been characterized as "heinous acts of violence" by Frank Page, President of the SBC; and he has called for the "apprehension and prosecution" of those responsible.

The latest fire destroyed Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopalian Church in Greenleyville, S.C. This church had been rebuilt after the Ku Klux Klan burned it down two decades ago.

Frank Chapman, Field Organizer of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression said, "We stand in unqualified and unconditional solidarity with the Black churches whose places of worship are being desecrated by racist terrorists. We are familiar with the terror tactics of the KKK and other racists hate groups, for they have been visited upon us ever since the overthrow of Radical Reconstruction. These fascists, cowards have always targeted Black churches in the South.  That is why we don't believe these are just random acts of violence. These are deliberate acts of terrorism designed to cripple and destroy our movement. Our response must be one of united action in support of the demands for justice put forth by the Black community and their allies. This is not a time for attacking the religious beliefs of the victims and survivors of racist terror. We must insist and demand that these racist terrorists groups be outlawed."


Related Article:

Statement by Justice Department Spokesperson on Recent Church Fires Across Five States


]]> (Press Release) Commentary Mon, 06 Jul 2015 15:27:36 -0500
America Ferrera: Thank You, Donald Trump!
America Ferrera - Source:

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--July 3, 2015.

This commentary was originally printed in the Huffington Post at:

Dear Donald,

You've said some pretty offensive things about Latino immigrants recently, and I think they're worth addressing. Because, you know, this is the United States of America, where I have a right to speak up even if I'm not a billionaire. Isn't that awesome?

Anyway, I heard what you said about the kind of people you think Latino immigrants are -- people with problems, who bring drugs, crime and rape to America. While your comments are incredibly ignorant and racist, I don't want to spend my time chastising you. I'll leave that to your business partners like Univision and NBC, who have the power to scold you where it hurts. Instead, I'm writing to say thank you!

You see, what you just did with your straight talk was send more Latino voters to the polls than several registration rallies combined! Thank you for that. Here we are pounding the pavement to get American Latinos to the polls, while your tactic proves most effective. Remarks like yours will serve brilliantly to energize Latino voters and increase turnout on election day against you and any other candidate who runs on a platform of hateful rhetoric.

Do you know why that's such a big deal, Donald? Because Latinos are the largest, youngest and fastest-growing constituency in the United States of America. That's right! You are running for President in a country where the Latino population grew by over 49 percent from 2000-2012, while the rest of the country grew by 5.8 percent. What's more, we are the future. The median age of the average Latino is 27 years old, compared to 42 years old for white Americans. In case you need a translation, that means there are a whole lot of Americans who are Latino and have the right to vote. And, we're not going anywhere.

This is the America we are actually living in. I hope by now you understand that without the Latino vote, there is no chance of you ever winning this election. If you don't believe me, you could ask President Bush or you could even ask President Obama.

You, Mr. Trump, are living in an outdated fantasy of a bigoted America. Last week, America celebrated some amazing milestones -- marriage equality, universal healthcare, removing of the confederate flag -- making it clear in which direction the country is moving. That is why racist remarks that play to extremists won't change the tide, no matter how hard you try. They will only serve to rally more Latino voters to the polls. Your negativity and your poorly thought out speech ignited a fire in our community. Thank you, Mr. Trump!

Thank you for reminding us that there remains an antiquated and endangered species of bigots in this country that we must continue to combat. Thank you for reminding us to not sit complacently at home on election day, but to run to the polls and proclaim that there is no place for your brand of racial politicking in our government. Thank you for sending out the rallying cry.

You have made your thoughts on the Latino community clear and you continue to stand by them. And in return, we will do more than tweet about our indignation and beat piñatas of your likeness. We will silence you at the polls. We will vote and use our growing position in U.S. politics. Our fellow Americans who understand and value our contributions will join us. We know there is nothing that scares you more.

The truth is, Mr. Trump, that your comments mean that you fail to see that immigrants are what have made this nation. They are at the core of our ideals, and they are the foundation that keeps us afloat. No, Mr. Trump, you may not reduce us to drug dealers and rapists. We are moms and dads, sons and daughters. We are valedictorians and honor students. We are college graduates, bankers, police officers, entertainers, teachers, journalists, politicians and we are the future of America.

Thank you for helping us in our work to energize the Latino vote and to usher in our shared future! Keep it up!



Of Honduran decent, America was born and raised in Los Angeles and received a degree in International Relations from USC. An award winning actress, she is best known for her starring role in the ABC hit Ugly Betty. America is saluted by Congress for raising the profile of Latinos in popular culture, serving as a role model for young Latinas, and working to empower the Latino community.



]]> (Press Release) Commentary Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:57:27 -0500
During #SharkWeek 2015, National People’s Action Demands an End to Predatory Payday Loan Shark Lending Practices

National grassroots network launches actions in 11 states and online and calls on the CFPB to issue a broad and strong small dollar lending rule this fall

WASHINGTON --(ENEWSPF)--July 3, 2015.  Activists from California to Maine are focusing attention on a different kind of shark during the celebrated summer tradition of Shark Week this July. While marine sharks only injury a handful of Americans each year, payday loan sharks trap 12 million Americans in a devastating cycle of debt annually.  These predatory lenders lurk online and in neighborhoods across the country leaving struggling families drowning in debt because of deceptive terms, automatic “rollovers”, staggering fees and interest rates averaging over 300 percent annual percentage rate (APR). The Shark Week campaign calls on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to issue a strong, broad and effective rule on small-dollar loans that will put a stop to the worst of these abuses. Consumer advocates expect the CFPB to release its proposed rule sometime this fall.

WHO:     National People’s Action members and allies including consumer lending justice
advocates, faith groups and grassroots community advocate

WHAT:     Shark Week Campaign to Stop Predatory Lending Attacks featuring an online petition, memes, shark attack survivor stories and on-the-ground events in Alabama, California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, and New Hampshire

WHERE:     Online actions can be found throughout the week at; Events will take place in 11 states throughout the week. Contact Jacob Swenson-Lengyel for more information on local events at or .

WHEN:     Monday, July 6 – Friday, July 10, 2015

SOCIAL MEDIA:     #Sharkweek #StopTheDebtTrap


National People’s Action Campaign is building a movement to put people and the planet before profits. By working together to create a new pole in American politics, we believe we can forge a more just and sustainable future.




]]> (Press Release) Commentary Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:44:30 -0500
Audubon Society: $18.7 Billion Settlement Reached in BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Case

Largest Marine Oil Spill Resulted in Deaths of Estimated One Million Birds

Gannett. Photo: Kim Hubbard/Audubon

NEW YORK--(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015 -- Responding to news this morning of a settlement in the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster case, the National Audubon Society released the following statement:

"You break it, you pay for it – that's how this is supposed to work. Now Gulf Coast restoration can begin in earnest. It's time to heal the wounds that BP tore in Gulf Coast ecosystems and communities," said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold (@david_yarnold). "And healing is possible. The great early restoration work led by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is evidence of that, and we look forward to the day that the people, waters, lands, and birds of the Gulf Coast are whole once more."

The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at and @audubonsociety.


Related Article:

Statement by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch on the Agreement in Principle with BP to Settle Civil Claims for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill



]]> (Press Release) Commentary Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:07:27 -0500
Environmental Working Group: White House Calls for Update to Biotech Regulation

WASHINGTON --(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015.  The White House's call to update the system evaluating the safety of crops and food produced by genetic engineering is a foundation for building a more transparent food system that includes mandatory GMO labeling, according to the Environmental Working Group.

The White House has directed three federal agencies- the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture- to update the Coordinated Framework, a regulatory policy that governs safety evaluations of plants, animals, and microbes that have been developed through genetic engineering. The Coordinated Framework was originally issued in 1986 and hasn’t been updated since 1992.

"Reform of the badly outdated system for reviewing GMO crops and other products is long overdue," said Scott Faber, senior Vice President of the Environmental Working Group. “Today's announcement confirms the need for more transparency in our food system and only further illustrates why mandatory GMO labeling is so necessary. The President should not wait to make good on his 2007 campaign pledge to require mandatory labeling, and he should make clear that he will reject legislation, notably the DARK Act, that would make it harder to label GMOs."

More than 125 business leaders sent a letter to the President last week thanking him for his leadership on food issues and asking for his continued support in implementing a mandatory federal GMO labeling standard. They also asked that President Obama veto Rep. Mike Pompeo’s (R-Kan.) anti-GMO labeling bill, also known as the DARK act, should it pass Congress.



]]> (Press Release) Commentary Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:03:20 -0500
AFL-CIO: Jobs Numbers Deceiving As Workers’ Wages Continue to Suffer

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015. In response to the June Jobs report that showed no wage growth, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made the following statement:

Although the job growth in June is promising, the fact that there was zero wage growth is appalling. Workers are tired of waking up every day and hearing about the so-called economic recovery. Working families are hurting because they have been left out of this “recovery.” We’ve heard enough double talk around wages. We will not stand by while corporations continue to annihilate any chance at real economic growth. Working families have earned the right to be paid fairly for hard work. And we will continue our tireless fight to raise wages because working families deserve an economy that works for all.


Related Article:

Payroll Employment Rises by 223,000 in June, 2015; Unemployment Rate Declines to 5.3%


]]> (Press Release) Commentary Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:04:14 -0500
AFL-CIO's Trumka Denounces Administration’s Decision to Resume Military Aid to Bahrain

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015. Statement by AFl-CIO President Richard Trumka on the Obama Administration’s decision to resume military aid to Bahrain despite its government’s failure to improve labor and human rights record:

We strongly disagree with the Obama's Administration's decision to resume military aid to Bahrain. We join a large number of human rights groups which are deeply concerned about the continuing decline of the human rights situation in the country.  The Bahraini government has failed to keep its promises to the American government to improve the administration of labor rights including eliminating widespread workplace discrimination based on religion and political belief.  This is why the AFL-CIO filed a case under labor rights provisions of the U.S. Bahrain Free Trade Agreement regarding Bahrain’s failure to live up to its commitments with respect to workers’ rights. By bolstering Bahrain’s government the Obama Administration is undermining the struggle of Bahraini families in their efforts to attain same basic human rights that we cherish here in the United States including the right to associate in unions.



]]> (Press Release) Commentary Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:01:48 -0500
NRDC: Replacing Damaging HFCs a Key Move on Climate Change

WASHINGTON—(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015 – The Environmental Protection Agency today finalized standards setting deadlines to end certain uses of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, powerful heat-trapping gases that significantly contribute to climate change, because safer, climate-friendlier alternatives now exist.

The EPA’s move affects HFCs used in motor vehicle air conditioning, retail food refrigeration and vending machines, aerosols, and foam blowing. The agency proposed the standards a year ago and finalized them today.

The following is a statement from David Doniger, director of the Climate and Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“The EPA’s welcome move is another critical step to cut the heat-trapping pollution that drives dangerous climate change. With safer coolants, foam-blowing agents, and aerosol propellants already on the market, it’s time to stop using the most damaging HFCs. The benefits are clear: we can help curb dangerous climate warming, drive innovation in energy efficiency, and leave a better world for our children.

“Today’s action is well-timed to help push for faster phase-down of HFCs in Montreal Protocol negotiations later this month.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.



]]> (Press Release) Commentary Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:55:34 -0500
A Christian Nation? Since When?

Princeton, New Jersey—(ENEWSPF)—June 30, 2015. 

By: Kevin Kruse

AMERICA may be a nation of believers, but when it comes to this country’s identity as a “Christian nation,” our beliefs are all over the map.

Just a few weeks ago, Public Policy Polling reported that 57 percent of Republicans favored officially making the United States a Christian nation. But in 2007, a survey by the First Amendment Center showed that 55 percent of Americans believed it already was one.

The confusion is understandable. For all our talk about separation of church and state, religious language has been written into our political culture in countless ways. It is inscribed in our pledge of patriotism, marked on our money, carved into the walls of our courts and our Capitol. Perhaps because it is everywhere, we assume it has been from the beginning.

But the founding fathers didn’t create the ceremonies and slogans that come to mind when we consider whether this is a Christian nation. Our grandfathers did.

Back in the 1930s, business leaders found themselves on the defensive. Their public prestige had plummeted with the Great Crash; their private businesses were under attack by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal from above and labor from below. To regain the upper hand, corporate leaders fought back on all fronts. They waged a figurative war in statehouses and, occasionally, a literal one in the streets; their campaigns extended from courts of law to the court of public opinion. But nothing worked particularly well until they began an inspired public relations offensive that cast capitalism as the handmaiden of Christianity.

The two had been described as soul mates before, but in this campaign they were wedded in pointed opposition to the “creeping socialism” of the New Deal. The federal government had never really factored into Americans’ thinking about the relationship between faith and free enterprise, mostly because it had never loomed that large over business interests. But now it cast a long and ominous shadow.

Accordingly, throughout the 1930s and ’40s, corporate leaders marketed a new ideology that combined elements of Christianity with an anti-federal libertarianism. Powerful business lobbies like the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers led the way, promoting this ideology’s appeal in conferences and P.R. campaigns. Generous funding came from prominent businessmen, from household names like Harvey Firestone, Conrad Hilton, E. F. Hutton, Fred Maytag and Henry R. Luce to lesser-known leaders at U.S. Steel, General Motors and DuPont.

In a shrewd decision, these executives made clergymen their spokesmen. As Sun Oil’s J. Howard Pew noted, polls proved that ministers could mold public opinion more than any other profession. And so these businessmen worked to recruit clergy through private meetings and public appeals. Many answered the call, but three deserve special attention.

‘Pagan Statism’

The Rev. James W. Fifield — known as “the 13th Apostle of Big Business” and “Saint Paul of the Prosperous” — emerged as an early evangelist for the cause. Preaching to pews of millionaires at the elite First Congregational Church in Los Angeles, Mr. Fifield said reading the Bible was “like eating fish — we take the bones out to enjoy the meat. All parts are not of equal value.” He dismissed New Testament warnings about the corrupting nature of wealth. Instead, he paired Christianity and capitalism against the New Deal’s “pagan statism.”

Through his national organization, Spiritual Mobilization, founded in 1935, Mr. Fifield promoted “freedom under God.” By the late 1940s, his group was spreading the gospel of faith and free enterprise in a mass-circulated monthly magazine and a weekly radio program that eventually aired on more than 800 stations nationwide. It even encouraged ministers to preach sermons on its themes in competitions for cash prizes. Liberals howled at the group’s conflation of God and greed; in 1948, the radical journalist Carey McWilliams denounced it in a withering exposé. But Mr. Fifield exploited such criticism to raise more funds and redouble his efforts.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Abraham Vereide advanced the Christian libertarian cause with a national network of prayer groups. After ministering to industrialists facing huge labor strikes in Seattle and San Francisco in the mid-1930s, Mr. Vereide began building prayer breakfast groups in cities across America to bring business and political elites together in common cause. “The big men and the real leaders in New York and Chicago,” he wrote his wife, “look up to me in an embarrassing way.” In Manhattan alone, James Cash Penney, I.B.M.’s Thomas Watson, Norman Vincent Peale and Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia all sought audiences with him.

In 1942, Mr. Vereide’s influence spread to Washington. He persuaded the House and Senate to start weekly prayer meetings “in order that we might be a God-directed and God-controlled nation.” Mr. Vereide opened headquarters in Washington — “God’s Embassy,” he called it — and became a powerful force in its previously secular institutions. Among other activities, he held “dedication ceremonies” for several justices of the Supreme Court. “No country or civilization can last,” Justice Tom C. Clark announced at his 1949 consecration, “unless it is founded on Christian values.”

Enter Billy Graham

The most important clergyman for Christian libertarianism, though, was the Rev. Billy Graham. In his initial ministry, in the early 1950s, Mr. Graham supported corporate interests so zealously that a London paper called him “the Big Business evangelist.” The Garden of Eden, he informed revival attendees, was a paradise with “no union dues, no labor leaders, no snakes, no disease.” In the same spirit, he denounced all “government restrictions” in economic affairs, which he invariably attacked as “socialism.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower fulfilled that prediction. With Mr. Graham offering Scripture for Ike’s speeches, the Republican nominee campaigned in what he called a “great crusade for freedom.” His military record made the general a formidable candidate, but on the trail he emphasized spiritual issues over worldly concerns. As the journalist John Temple Graves observed: “America isn’t just a land of the free in Eisenhower’s conception. It is a land of freedom under God.” Elected in a landslide, Eisenhower told Mr. Graham that he had a mandate for a “spiritual renewal.”

Although Eisenhower relied on Christian libertarian groups in the campaign, he parted ways with their agenda once elected. The movement’s corporate sponsors had seen religious rhetoric as a way to dismantle the New Deal state. But the newly elected president thought that a fool’s errand. “Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs,” he noted privately, “you would not hear of that party again in our political history.” Unlike those who held public spirituality as a means to an end, Eisenhower embraced it as an end unto itself.

‘One Nation Under God’

Uncoupling the language of “freedom under God” from its Christian libertarian roots, Eisenhower erected a bigger revival tent, welcoming Jews and Catholics alongside Protestants, and Democrats as well as Republicans. Rallying the country, he advanced a revolutionary array of new religious ceremonies and slogans.

The first week of February 1953 set the dizzying pace: On Sunday morning, he was baptized; that night, he broadcast an Oval Office address for the American Legion’s “Back to God” campaign; on Thursday, he appeared with Mr. Vereide at the inaugural National Prayer Breakfast; on Friday, he instituted the first opening prayers at a cabinet meeting.

The rest of Washington consecrated itself, too. The Pentagon, State Department and other executive agencies quickly instituted prayer services of their own. In 1954, Congress added “under God” to the previously secular Pledge of Allegiance. It placed a similar slogan, “In God We Trust,” on postage that year and voted the following year to add it to paper money; in 1956, it became the nation’s official motto.

During these years, Americans were told, time and time again, not just that the country should be a Christian nation, but that it always had been one. They soon came to think of the United States as “one nation under God.” They’ve believed it ever since.

NOTE:This article was originally published in The New York Times Sunday Review on March 14, 2015 and is reprinted with permission of the author.

About the Author:

Kevin M. Kruse is a professor of history at Princeton and the author, most recently, of “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America.”




]]> (Press Release) Commentary Tue, 30 Jun 2015 23:52:34 -0500
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Applauds Overtime Expansion Proposal

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--June 30, 2015. Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the Department of Labor proposal to expand overtime protections:

Millions of America’s workers are one step closer to earning the overtime pay they rightfully deserve but have been systematically denied. Working people called on President Obama to go bold, and his response will provide a much needed boost to our entire economy. This is a critically important step forward for the Raising Wages Agenda, but it is just that -- a first step.

The labor movement is committed to ensuring workers’ voices are heard, ensuring that this proposal is strengthened and fully implemented. We recognize that while the proposal will help millions of workers across the country, millions more will still be denied overtime pay by their employer. We will continue fighting until every worker who deserves overtime protections is paid for all their time worked.


Related Article:

White House Fact Sheet: Middle Class Economics Rewarding Hard Work by Restoring Overtime Pay


]]> (Press Release) Commentary Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:03:58 -0500