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See the “Berlin Walls” still standing around the world

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Originally posted on Quartz:

The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall was on Sunday. The partition between West and East Germany lasted from 1961 to 1989. Much has changed since then. But there still quite a few walls that separate people across the world standing. Many of the locals marked the end of the wall that divided Europe by going to the barriers that affect their own lives.

Here are some of the Berlin Walls of today.

Israel’s security barrier

The golden Dome of the Rock (C) in Jerusalem's old city is seen in the distance beyond a section of the controversial Israeli barrier in the West Bank city of Abu Dis, October 29 , 2014. The Dome of the Rock is situated within the Al-Aqsa compound, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount. On the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, there are still barriers separating communities around the world, from the barbed wire fence dividing the two Koreas, the fence around the Spanish enclave of Melilla, to the sectarian Peace Wall in Belfast, the Israel-Gaza barrier and the border separating Mexico from the United States. Picture taken October 29, 2014.  REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly (WEST BANK  - Tags: ANNIVERSARY CIVIL UNREST POLITICS SOCIETY)  ATTENTION EDITORS: PICTURE 15 OF 28 FOR WIDER IMAGE PACKAGE 'THE WALLS THAT DIVIDE' TO FIND ALL IMAGES SEARCH 'WALLS DIVIDE' - RTR4D2VJ

In 2002, Israel started work on a 670-km (420-mile) wall separating itself from the West Bank. It is mostly 5 meters of wire and mesh, but there are sections that are 8 meters tall and made of solid concrete, with watchtowers for snipers. The route of the wall does not follow the 1967 borders; it includes 6% to 8% of occupied Palestinian territory.

To mark the fall of the Berlin Wall and…

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Bacik Lecture: A Church for the Post Modern World

James Bacik | “A Church for the Post Modern World” | October 15, 2013 | Corpus Christi Parish

Run Time: 1:01

Father James Bacik, Ph.D. spoke at Corpus Christi Parish on
“A Church for the Post-Modern World”.

Click here to go to Knowledge Stream to view a video of this lecture.

Corporate Profits: Highest Level on Record

PPJ recently receive this “Economic Justice Note” from Edie Rasell, Minister for Economic Justice for the UCC

Corporate Profits:  Highest Level on Record

Economic Justice Note – April 7, 2014

Corporate profits have hit a new, horrifying milestone. U.S. Department of Commerce data show after-tax corporate profits in 2013 totaled 10% of the entire economy, the highest level since the government began tracking this figure 85 years ago. Of every dollar generated in the economy (and taken home as income), fully $1 in $10 went to after-tax corporate profits. Not even in the late 1920s did after-tax corporate profits devour such a large share of the national economy.

The data also show a horrifying milestone for workers. In 2013 employee compensation (wages, salaries, and the costs of fringe benefits) as a share the economy hit its lowest level in 65 years (since 1948). Of every $10 generated in the economy and taken home as income, just $5.27 went to pay the wages, salaries and fringe benefits of workers.

Read more and see stunning graphs in the New York Times article.

Why are after-tax corporate profits so high and workers’ compensation so low?  Because corporate money and power are re-writing our economic policies and laws.

·         Corporate taxes are very low.  “Corporate lobbyists incessantly claim that our corporate tax rate is too high, and that it’s not ‘competitive’ with the rest of the world … [but] both of these claims are false. … [F]ar too many aren’t paying U.S. taxes at all. Most multinationals are paying lower tax rates here in the United States than they pay on their foreign operations.” See the great work on corporate taxes from Citizens for Tax Justice.

·         The Supreme Court favors corporate interests – not just in campaign finance but in many other ways also. “With decision after decision coming down on the side of big business, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has proven itself to be willing and eager to twist the law to favor powerful corporate interests over everyday  Americans.”  See The Corporate Court  by the Alliance for Justice.

·         Money in politics influences policy and regulatory decisions. The Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org) has extensively investigated the impact of money in politics, the revolving door between lobbying and public service, and the influence purchased with campaign dollars.

·         Many state legislators are actively working to support a corporate agenda. The American Legislative Exchange Council brings together state legislators and corporate representatives with money and policy proposals. At ALEC, corporations “have a voice and a vote,” right alongside many of our state legislators. ALEC Exposed names names and alerts the rest of us to what is underway. Also read about the corrosive impact of ALEC’s work, The Legislative Attack on American Wages and Labor Standards, 2011–2012, from the Economic Policy Institute.  These measures, and others, have brought employee compensation down to a record low.

·         Trade agreements provide a huge opportunity for corporate representatives to write and re-write national and international policies. Trade negotiations happen outside the view of the public, the media, and even Congress. But corporate interests are well represented at the table. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is currently being negotiated between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific-Rim nations. Among the 566 official advisors who are participating in the talks, 480 represent corporations or trade associations.   More on the TPP

 

All the organizations referenced above provide extensive educational resources and suggestions for what to do. Priorities for 2014 include:

1.       Raise the minimum wage and support workers in their struggles for unions, higher pay, and better benefits.  More

2.       Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the “Fast Track” authority that lets this bill go through Congress with scant debate and oversight.   More

3.       Oppose reductions in taxes paid by corporations.  Any reduction in the corporate tax rate must be more than offset by closing loopholes, ending the use of tax havens, and eliminating the deferral of taxation on foreign earnings. Taxes paid by corporations must rise. More 

In Rabbi Michae…

Originally posted on Project Peace:

In Rabbi Michael Lerner’s article in the Tikkun magazine of winter 2014, in the article “What Terms for Middle East Peace Would Actually Work?” he gives 9 suggestions for creating 2 sovereign states. I was particularly struck by the fresh thought that a lasting peace will depend not only on these 9 suggestions in his proposal, but “also on a systemic transformation of consciousness that enables the majority of people on each side of this struggle to recognize the humanity of people on the other side, to energetically and persistently convey respect for those on the other side, and to communicate deep regret for past hurts imposed on them….It is this opening of the heart that is the indispensable condition for any agreement to last.”

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Skip Schiel to bring his Palestine-Israel photo shows to NW Ohio March 22-25

Originally posted on Project Peace:

Skip Schiel FB photo Project Peace is pleased to host Boston-area photographer Skip Schiel as he visits Northwest Ohio March 22-25.  As a photographer, writer, and political activist, Skip’s main emphasis since 2003 has been on the troubles in Palestine and Israel.

Skip Schiel’s Northwest Ohio appearances

Bethlehem the Holy, the Struggle for an Ancient City
Fostoria: Sat., March 22, 7:00 pm,
Hope Lutheran Church, 151 W. Center St., Fostoria

Eyewitness Gaza
Toledo: Sun. March 23, 1:00 pm
University of Toledo Student Union, Rm. 2591
Sponsored by UT’s Center for Nonviolence and Democratic Education, Judith Herb College of Education, and Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition

Eyewitness Gaza
Fremont: Mon., March 24, 6:30 pm
Birchard Public Library, 423 Croghan St., Fremont
Sponsored by People for Peace & Justice Sandusky County

Eyewitness Gaza
Tiffin: Tues., March 25, 11:00 am
Heidelberg University, Gundlach Theater

Skip will also be presenting for two classes at Tiffin University on March 24.

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The power of a united community | Toledo Faith & Values

Originally posted on Project Peace:

Sr. Paulette and Project Peace advisory council member Josie Setzler recently spent a week in Washington, DC with Witness Against Torture, a community of activists working to close Guantanamo and end torture.  Sr. Paulette reports on her experience in the article at the following link:

The power of a united community | Toledo Faith & Values.

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The 47% and dependency: Telling a different story

My 2012 article at ToledoFAVS is still relevant, judging from recent public discourse about raising the minimum wage.Read it at: http://toledofavs.com/2012/12/25/the-47-percent-and-dependency-telling-a-different-story/#sthash.oZJaMdhU.dpuf

Pope John XXIII’s 1961 encyclical XXIII in Mater et Magistra spoke of workers’ rights to earn a living.

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