Sister Rally for the DC Climate March, April 29, 2017
Peace Vigil held in Iowa City (video)
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - People holding a peace vigil at the Pentacrest in Iowa City hope the power of their song resonates. They were singing “We shall overcome.” Pat Minor says President Donald Trump's inauguration brought her out. More at KCRG
The US Green Party has four pillars of belief, which are Peace, Ecology, Social Justice and Democracy. Under the pillar of Social Justice, The Iowa Green Party of Johnson County has grave concerns regarding the use of seclusion rooms in Iowa Public Schools. In particular, the alleged abuse of seclusion with special education and minority children within the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) forces the Green Party to consider this a human rights issue.
No child who is in distress should be locked in a small, dark enclosure in public schools. We understand the Iowa Department of Education state statute Chapter 103 regulating seclusion rooms was born out of the abuse of an autistic child named Isabel in the Waukee School District in 2006. Isabel was a second grader locked in an unsafe storage closet for up to 5 hours at a time. As a result of her parents’ lawsuit against the Waukee school district and the Heartland Area Education Agency, the Iowa State legislature created Chapter 103 in 2008 to protect all children from the same harm.
Dear Senator Grassley,
We are writing you because we are extremely concerned about several of President Elect Trump’s cabinet picks. We hope you will oppose many of his cabinet choices. Below we will describe what we find most troubling about some of the individuals he has selected for various extremely important positions:
Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson This man has zero governmental experience. He is the CEO of ExxonMobil. He is a billionaire with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Mr. Tillerson still retains holdings valued over $150 million in Exxon stock. This is a blatant conflict of interest. We cannot trust that Mr. Tillerson will put the country’s best interests ahead of his own financial interests.
Secretary of Treasury: Steven Munchin Mr. Munchin is a former Goldman Sachs executive. Let’s not forget how the big banks’ greed led to the financial collapse of 2008. In fact, Goldman Sachs agreed to pay a $5.1 billion settlement related to its mishandling of mortgage-backed securities. Goldman Sachs essentially defrauded investors by falsely representing to its investors that the securities it sold were backed by robust mortgages when it knew that the mortgages were actually extremely risky and likely to fail. We have still not fully recovered from this financial collapse and working class Americans were hurt the most. Why on earth would we trust these people to not do the same thing again?
Attorney General: Jeff Sessions Mr. Sessions is a blatant racist. Back in the Reagan era he was denied a federal judgeship when we found out that he had used the N-word, called a black assistant US attorney “boy,” and said that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “OK until I found out they smoked pot.” An unapologetic racist like Mr. Sessions has NO place in government. There has to be a better option than this man.
Secretary of Energy: Rick Perry Mr. Perry is also a climate change skeptic and in a 2011 presidential debate he said that he wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy, but couldn’t even remember the name of the department. Come on! Is this a joke? There has to be someone more qualified for this position. Furthermor, Mr. Perry is heavily invested in Energy Transfer Partner, a company with a huge financial interest in the Dakota Access Pipeline that will threaten to contaminate the water supply of millions if it leaks and there was just another leak in a different, smaller pipeline in North Dakota.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Ben Carson Mr. Carson was caught lying about several different personal stories during the Republican primaries in 2016. Furthermore, prior to Mr. Trump selecting him for this position, he released a statement saying he wasn’t qualified to hold government office due to lack of experience. This man is a liar and contradicts himself at every turn. He is not fit for this office.
Head of the EPA: Scott Pruitt Mr. Pruitt is another climate change denier and long-time critic of the EPA. Furthermore, his background is in law and he has zero scientific or environmental experience or education. I know you are a climate change skeptic as well. However, WHAT IF the scientists are correct and human activity is putting our planet on an extremely dangerous path? Shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to make sure we pass on the healthiest possible planet to our children and grandchildren? Also, don’t you think it would be wonderful if the US were energy independent? Iowa leads the nation in renewable wind energy production and that is truly something to be proud of. Let’s lead the world in renewable energy production. If we didn’t have to rely on foreign oil, major oil producing countries (Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, and Venezuela) would have no power over us. Energy independence via investment in renewable energy resources is a laudable goal. Just think what we could accomplish if we took all the money we spend on war in the Middle East and invested in renewable energy technologies. The bottom line is that given Mr. Pruitt’s lack of scientific training, this man has no business leading the Environmental Protection Agency.
Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos Mrs. DeVos is a billionaire by birth and marriage. She has no experience whatsoever with public schools. She has lobbied against public education and advocated for a voucher system. We cannot risk our children’s education and future on a privatized educational system. Any privatized system’s primary goal is profit, not the wellbeing of the children. Our poorest schools would receive fewer funds and our most at-risk children would suffer even more.
There have been lots of problems with charter schools around the country. According to the Washington Post, only one in six of Pennsylvania’s charter schools achieve a “high-performing” rating based on test scores. That is unacceptable. Charter schools underperform public schools in Pennsylvania and the industry is full of fraud and corruption. Privatization of our educational system is not the answer. The countries with the best education in the world have strong public education systems and highly paid teachers. We need to follow their proven track record.
We call on you to uphold our national interests by opposing these appointments.
Sincerely, The Johnson County Green Party
May 9, 2017 1:51 AM