Cynthia McKinney, Presidential Candidate

3 October 08 | Posted in Government, Social Justice, U.S. Catholic

Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party’s 2008 presidential nominee. She was not invited to participate in any debates, and outside NCR, has received little press coverage about her platform and campaign. cynthia-mckinney.jpg

A former Congresswoman, she served as a Democrat in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2003, representing Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District. She left the Democratic Party in 2007 and became a Green.

McKinney identifies herself as Catholic and attended Catholic grade schools and high school.

“The environment is just one part of the Green Party’s focus,” McKinney said. “The party’s Ten Key Values include both ecology and social justice. We recognize that communities of color suffer the most from environmental degration. For example, waste treatment facilities or toxic chemical dumps sited near poorer neighborhoods cause both high asthma rates and and lead poisoning incidents to rise there.”

“The environmental and the social issues interrelate,” she said. “We can’t save people and not save the planet, or the reverse.”

McKinney defended herself from the accusation of being an election “spoiler,” and that a vote for McKinney will be a vote for McCain. “The only wasted vote is one that doesn’t reflect your values or conscience,” she said. 

“To say I should not run because I can’t prove I will win denies voters any real choice outside the parties funded and controlled by the corporations and the media that promote them.”

A Chinese Bishop’s Comment at the Beijing Olympics

25 August 08 | Posted in Events, Global Catholic, Government

“Air pollution is an issue for the Olympics. The government has shut down all heavy industry within an enormous area for three months. Factories within 200 kilometers of downtown Beijing have been requested to close. Only a little production can relocate to more distant places on short notice. Severe restrictions on cars and trucks in Beijing are another drastic measure to ensure clean air. These inconvenient and costly steps tell the whole world that clean air for the Games is essential. I wish they would also realize the importance of great religious and social freedom.”

– Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong bishoptong.jpg

Salvadoran Bishops: The Dangers of Mining

21 August 08 | Posted in Events, Global Catholic, Government, Health, Stewardship

The Catholic bishops in El Salvador put forth their stance on mining in the country a little more than a year ago in the declaration: Let’s Take Care of Everyone’s Home. It is a strong, clear statement about the dangers of precious metals mining.  The burgeoning gold and silver mines are primarily operated by Canadian companies and subject only to light regulation.

“Our small country is the place where God the Creator called us to life. This is the portion of the world that he has trusted us to take care of and use according to his will: ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.’ (Gen 1:28). But this blessed Earth that we love so dearly, suffers an increasing and insensitive deterioration. We all have a responsibility to conserve and defend it because the environment is ‘the house of all’: it is ours and that of future generations.”

“From this perspective of faith we wish to share with you our pastoral vision on a problem that deeply worries us: the possibility that mining of precious metals is authorized, to pen cast mining or subterranean mining, mainly in the northern part of our country.”

“The experience in brother and neighboring countries, that have permitted gold and silver mining, is truly sad and lamentable. The bishops of those nations have raised their voice. We also wish to pronounce ourselves against (mining) before it is too late.”

SHARE Foundation recently sponsored a trip to the U.S.  for Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez, auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador. Addressing a group in Kansas City, he said the mines have the potential to destroy El Salvador’s ecological system. bishop-rosa.jpg

“You know our country is very small,” he said. “Twenty-thousand kilometers (12,400 miles) square. Very crowded, 6 million people, or 300 people on each kilometer square. The mines are situated in the north of the country and the drinking water comes from the north. If the water is poisoned, everyone would be.”

The argument that such mining operations help the Salvadoran economy and provide jobs is fallacious, he said. “How much money remains in the country?” Bishop Chavez asked. “Two percent. There is no proportion between the profits and the damages.”

White House Blocks Scientific Testimony on Global Warming

Jason Burnett, 31, a Stamford-trained economist, was until June 9 a senior official with the Environmental Protection Agency. He resigned, and is spending some time working for the election of Barack Obama to the presidency.

Apparently, he wasn’t regarded highly by environmentalists on his appointment to the EPA, but he should be one of their biggest heros, now.

Burnett charges that Vice President Cheney’s office urged him to delete or water down testimony to Congress by top administration officials on the impacts of global warming.

Burnett also said the White House blocked an effort by EPA to issue an endangerment finding, a conclusion that climate change is a threat to the public. Under a Supreme Court ruling last year, the finding would have forced the administration to cut emissions.

In October 2007, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Julie Gerberding was scheduled to testify before the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee. Burnett said he was asked by Cheney’s office and the White House Council on Environmental Quality to “work with CDC to remove from the testimony any discussion of human health consequences of climate change.”

Burnett refused, saying the testimony was “fundamentally accurate.” It included examples of how climate change is likely to have “a significant impact” on public health.

But the Office of Management and Budget later deleted six of twelve pages of testimony, including sections suggesting climate change could lead to a rise in infectious diseases, air pollution, food and water scarcity and extreme weather events.

The issue of whether greenhouse gases endanger public health or welfare is significant because a finding by the EPA that they do would require the agency to regulate them under the terms of the federal Clean Air Act, spurring new rules across a range of industries.

Environmentalists, Congressional Democrats, and officials in more than a dozen states have sought to prod the EPA to reach a decision on the matter, following a Supreme Court ruling last year that greenhouse gases are pollutants and can be regulated under EPA’s existing authority. greenhouse-gas.jpg

But the Bush administration has resisted, arguing that the economy-wide regulations of such emissions could cripple the U.S. economy.

Burnett said he was told to retract the document because a bill to raise fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, which was moving through Congress at the time, would make the endangerment finding moot. But he said the logic was flawed.

“The energy bill did not change the science, it did not change the law,” Burnett said, adding, “EPA still has a responsibility to respond to the Supreme Court.”