The Nuns on the Bus (Catholic Sisters on a national tour, traveling the country to raise awareness of the devastating effects austerity legislation has on the working poor) came out to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to visit the Overpass Light Brigade, who celebrated the occasion with a new message in honor of nuns' efforts.
Mitt Romney is going to have some unwanted company on his upcoming bus tour across several swing states.
The Democratic National Committee announced on Thursday that it will stage its own four-day bus tour alongside the Romney campaign’s trip through Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio. The tour, called “Romney Economics: The Middle Class Under the Bus Tour,” will begin on Friday with a news conference in Alexandria, Virginia.
Organizers said they will highlight Mitt Romney’s record of failure as Governor of Massachusetts, the lack of support small businesses received from Governor Romney’s Administration and Romney’s proposed tax hike on middle-class families to pay for massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. The DNC’s latest tour represents a reprise of the successful tour by the same name that the DNC conducted in June to respond to Mitt Romney’s tour at the time, which included stops in NH, PA, OH, IA, WI and MI.
“Throughout Mitt Romney’s career, middle-class families have frequently found themselves thrown under the bus as a result of his failed record and top-down economic policies,” the committee said in a news release. "When Romney was Governor of Massachusetts, the number of business start-ups fell by 10 percent and hit its lowest point during his last year in office. Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 in job creation, and Romney hiked taxes and fees by $750 million a year in addition to saddling the Commonwealth with the highest debt per person in the country."
The committee further stated that "Policies Mitt Romney has embraced as a candidate would only further erode middle-class security. Mitt Romney would hike taxes on the middle class to pay for massive tax cuts for wealthy Americans like Romney. Independent economists found that Romney’s plan would raise taxes on the average middle-class family with children by $2,000 in order to give hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires."
They also hammered Romney for favoring a tax plan that benefits millionaires and billionaires like himself while raising taxes on the middle class, as he continues to refuse to release more of his own tax returns. The DNC tour organizers insist that "Americans have a right to learn more about why Romney had a Swiss Bank Account, how low a tax rate he has paid and if he even paid taxes at all some years, and what his finances looked like while he was outsourcing jobs, offshoring his own money and laying off workers in the private sector."
Speakers on the tour include Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the committee, Ed Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor and Chet Culver, a former governor of Iowa. Two state representatives from Massachusetts will speak at the opening news conference: Kathi-Anne Reinstein and David Linsky, both long-serving Democrats.
The Romney campaign announced its bus tour earlier this week, leading to speculation on what the itinerary might say about his pick for vice president. The final stop is in Ohio, the home state of the rumored front-runner, Senator Rob Portman.
The side of the committee’s bus features tire tracks over the words “Middle Class” and the slogan: “Romney Economics: Outsourcing, Offshoring, Out of Touch.”
At 4pm on July 8th, 2012 a diverse coalition of activists and occupiers from across New York will descend upon a fundraiser for presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Southhampton home of billionaire David Koch. Citing the ever-growing and pervasive influence of Koch Industries’ money on our electoral system, organizers from Occupy Wall Street, The Long Island Progressive Coalition, Greenpeace, Move to Amend [Brookhaven], ALIGN NY, Art Not War, Strong For All, MoveOn.org, United New York, Occupy Storefront and Occupy Huntington, Long Island, have announced that they will take action to non-violently disrupt the fundraiser at David Koch’s shorefront estate located at 880 Meadow Lane in Southhampton.
While Romney plans on attending 3 fundraisers that day in the Hamptons the demonstrators have made it clear that the Koch Estate will remain their only target. The coalition of activists initially assembled by the End Corporatism Affinity Group of Occupy Wall Street will be taking a non-partisan stance, uniting around a unified message that corporate money is exponentially diluting and subverting our democratic process (a phenomenon not limited to one single party.) To the demonstrators, David and Charles Koch embody everything that is wrong with money in politics.
“The Long Island Progressive Coalition is busy coordinating a network of Long Island groups who won’t stand by while their backyard is used for Koch and Romney to fund a regressive political agenda,” says Lisa Tyson, director to the Long Island Progressive Coalition.
In 2011 Charles and David Koch announced their intentions to raise and spend $200,000,000 on whomever would run against President Obama. Also, in 2011 while on a retreat for supporters of Koch Industries and their political arm, American’s for Prosperity, Charles Koch was secretly recorded while addressing the group. “This is the mother of all wars we’ve got over the next 18 months. For the life or death of this country …if you want to kick in a billion, believe me,” says Koch “we’ll have especial seminar just for you.”
Network Executive Director Sister Simone Campbell kicked off the nine-state “Nuns on the Bus” tour at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Des Moines, Iowa. She spoke on the pressing need for solidarity in our society and the harm the House Republican budget would bring the vulnerable families.
In a spirited retort to the Vatican, a group of Roman Catholic nuns is planning a bus trip across nine states this month, stopping at homeless shelters, food pantries, schools and health care facilities run by nuns to highlight their work with the nation’s poor and disenfranchised.
The bus tour is a response to a blistering critique of American nuns released in April by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, which included the accusation that the nuns are outspoken on issues of social justice, but silent on other issues the church considers crucial: abortion and gay marriage.
The sisters plan to use the tour also to protest cuts in programs for the poor and working families in the federal budget that was passed by the House of Representatives and proposed by Representative Paul D. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who cited his Catholic faith to justify the cuts.
“We’re doing this because these are life issues,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a liberal social justice lobby in Washington. “And by lifting up the work of Catholic sisters, we will demonstrate the very programs and services that will be decimated by the House budget.”
The bus tour is to begin on June 18 in Iowa and end on July 2 in Virginia. The dates overlap with the “Fortnight for Freedom,” events announced by Catholic bishops to rally opposition to what they see as the Obama administration’s violations of religious freedom. The bishops object in particular to a mandate in the health care overhaul to require religiously affiliated hospitals and universities to offer their employees coverage for birth control in their insurance plans.
Sister Simone, a lawyer who ran a legal clinic for the poor in Oakland, Calif., for 18 years, is not completely on board with the bishops’ religious liberty campaign. She said that financing for Catholic social services had increased significantly in the three years since President Obama took office: “We’re celebrating the religious freedom we have.”
She recently spent time with the Iraqi Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine, and said: “If you want to talk about religious liberty, look at them. Their mother house was in Mosul until it got bombed.”
But the nuns do find common cause with the bishops on the budget cuts, and their bus tour will publicize letters the bishops recently sent protesting the budget. The nuns are inviting bishops whose dioceses they will pass through to join them. The tour will stop at local Congressional offices and lobby along the way.
Network, where Sister Simone and two other nuns serve on a staff of nine, was singled out in the Vatican’s recent critique of the nuns. The critique focused on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella group for leaders of about 80 percent of women’s orders.
Network is not formally affiliated with the Leadership Conference. But Sister Simone and other nuns angered some bishops by lobbying to help pass the Obama administration’s health care overhaul. The Vatican document criticized nuns for challenging bishops, “who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.”
The tour, “Nuns on the Bus: Nuns Drive for Faith, Family and Fairness,” includes stops in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The bus, with a sound system, signs and a podium, will seat only 12, and Sister Simone said she had had to turn away many would-be riders.
A rotating group will be on board, including Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Daughters of Charity and the Sisters of Social Service, Sister Simone’s order. They plan to sleep at mother houses of the religious orders
"Occupy San Diego" protesters who were arrested in an early morning raid in late October were detained for hours and forced to urinate and defecate in buses.
The San Diego Sheriff's Department confirmed yesterday complaints from protesters who said that after the arrests, while being held for hours in county vans and buses that they were told to relieve themselves in the bus.
"On October 28th between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. the Sheriff’s department provided a bus and two vans for prisoners arrested at the Civic Center by the San Diego Police Department. During that time 51 individuals were taken into custody, 36 men and 14 women. The men were placed in a Sheriff’s bus and the women were put in Sheriff’s vans to be transported to the Vista Jail and Los Colinas Detention Facility for booking."
"During that time there were no restroom facilities available for arrestees, forcing some of them to relieve themselves as they sat on the bus or van. For the Sheriff’s Department to provide mutual aid in this kind of mass arrest circumstance is not unusual; this unfortunate result is very unusual and it is currently being reviewed. The Sheriff has directed that a Critical Incident Review be conducted internally. Also, the Sheriff’s Department and the Police Department will conduct a mutual debrief to examine in detail how the operation was handled. From those reviews we will determine how to improve our practices to assure that this does not happen again."
Those arrested described being detained for between four and eight hours on a bus (men) and van (women) without access to restrooms. Male and female detainees stated that deputies told them to relieve themselves in the bus, which they did, with one woman defecating.
Another interesting item to note from the October arrests: Of 877 emails and phone calls to the San Diego mayor's office, 90 percent said that they support the Occupy San Diego movement.
One of those emails was from the owner of a coffee shop who complained of "rampant drug use, sex out in the open, pit bulls, an abundance of knives, rats and bug infestations and “people lying in their own filth.”