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Conakry, Guinea Sept. 28, 2009

A photo given to The New York Times shows some of the dead after an opposition rally in Conakry, Guinea, on Sept. 28, 2009.

On Monday, 28th of September, the military gunned down civilians attending a peaceful pro-democracy rally in the West African country of Guinea. Over one hundred and fifty people were killed and women were stripped and raped in the streets.

The Guinean people are crying out for democracy and firm pressure is needed from the international community to ensure military rule is brought to an end, more innocent people do not get killed, and violence does not spread to other fragile democracies in the region.

If we can push the African and European Unions to apply targeted sanctions on the ruling elite, this could be the quickest way to get the military to step down, with out hurting the Guinean people. Sign the petition below and spread the word – and it will be delivered to the EU and AU leadership this week:

Sign Here

To learn more, read the email below:

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Here’s the original Avaaz email:

Dear friends,

Last week, over 150 civilians were killed when the military opened fire on a peaceful pro-democracy rally in the West African country of Guinea. Women were raped and people were bayoneted on the streets as they tried to escape — a terrifying message to a nation crying out to elect a democratic, civilian government for the first time.

In spite of the international community’s condemnation of the violence and calls for the regime to allow elections, the junta is clinging to power, warning ominously that the army is acting beyond the chain of command. The tense situation threatens to spiral into inter-factional fighting or a counter-coup, which would likely see violence spill over and destabilize the whole region.

We need to act fast. The international community must send a clear message that unless the regime agrees to step down and allow a peaceful democratic transition, they will face immediate, tightly-targeted sanctions. The African and European Unions have discussed invoking travel sanctions on the ruling elite, who love to fly and shop: this could be the best chance to have quick impact, without hurting Guinea’s people — who desperately need our help. We’ll deliver this campaign to European and African leaders before they meet later this month — click the link below to sign the petition and forward this email:

Sign Here

The military ruler of Guinea, Capitan Moussa Dadis Camara, seized power in a military coup last year. He had agreed to step aside and allow for democratic elections next year — but after months of tension, recently reneged on that promise. The people of Guinea have suffered over 50 years of brutal and corrupt dictatorships. Tens of thousands of civilians who attended last week’s rally were clamouring for an end to military rule and opposing his candidacy in elections.

The violence against civilians was brutal. A human rights watch witness stated: “I saw the Red Berets [an elite unit within the military] catch some of the women who were trying to flee, rip off their clothes, and stick their hands in their private parts. Others beat the women, including on their genitals… the women were crying out.”

Firm action is needed not just to make clear that we reject the violent repression of people anywhere who stand up to demand democratic and accountable government, but because what happens in Guinea will affect dozens of other fledgling democracies across Africa, where would-be dictators are closely watching the response from the international community. Years have been spent establishing a fragile peace in neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia. If Guinea blows, they too could be at risk.

An international inquiry is needed into the violence and the army must return to barracks. But a week after the massacre, opposition leaders remain in military detention, and Capitan Camara is shirking responsibility for the violence, blaming the opposition and banning all public ‘subversive’ meetings — sending a clear signal that he isn’t going step aside easily or bend to initial international declarations.

The regional body, Economic Community of West African States, has nominated a negotiator for Guinea. But any talks must be backed up by clear international pressure — otherwise the mineral-rich regime could hold on, ruling through the biggest army in the region. A policy of targeted AU and EU travel bans, affecting the leadership personally, could be pivotal — not only could it help halt more bloodshed, it could start to lay the foundation for a democratic transition.

Sign Here

Guinea’s people desperately need international help and solidarity today. Let’s stand with them, send a clear message to the Guinean military and forces across Africa who seek to rule by the gun that the time for repressive military rule is over. Sign the petition and send it on to family and friends:

Sign Here

With hope,

Alice, Luis, Benjamin, Ricken, Graziela, Paula, Pascal, Iain and the whole Avaaz team.

More information:

Guinea massacre tolls put at 157, BBC, 30 September
http://www.avaaz.org/en/guinea_stop_the_crackdown

Human Rights Watch witnesses from the rally:
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/09/29/guinea-stop-violent-attacks-demonstrators

Capitan Moussa Dadis Camara says army is out of control:
http://www.rfi.fr/actuen/articles/118/article_5312.asp

ECOWAS negotiator nominated:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a36d9e74-af56-11de-ba1c-00144feabdc0.html

Violence in Guinea threaten the whole region:
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/richard-moncrieff-repression-and-violence-are-a-danger-to-the-whole-region-1795166.html

Guinea’s Capital Fades Into a Ghost Town After Soldiers’ Rampage, New York Times, 30 September
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/30/world/africa/30guinea.html

Guinea’s military leader banned all gatherings and demonstrations until further notice, AP, 30 September
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/30/world/africa/30guinea.html

Guinea asks Russia to block UNSC sanctions
http://www.moneybiz.co.za/africa/africa.asp?story=445a8159-3639-4b5a-adb1-c1face112425

African Union statement on Guinean massacre
http://allafrica.com/stories/200909290925.html
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screaming_banshee

BOO!

Happy Halloween.

-Cara

FairTradeCertifiedCoffee

I forget sometimes how important buying fair trade is. I don’t want small children working, picking my cocoa beans to survive, and possibly being abused at the same time. I want kids to be kids, to play, laugh and just be. I want a responsible world where people who have the power to make a huge difference do just that. We have the power to, in astronomical numbers, change how companies operate in this world. We can support fair trade products and if they don’t carry them in your local store, ask them to. We live in a world where distributors can get you anything you’d like. It is not much more money to buy fair trade.  I would rather pay more and buy fair trade chocolate than to pay a cheaper price to support a company that allows families to not receive a fair wage (i.e. – contributing to the poverty of cocoa farmers) and where children have to work for a living instead of just living.

You can take a minute to take action by sending a letter through Green America to Todd Stitzer, CEO of Cadbury, http://www.greenamericatoday.org/takeaction/cadbury/.  Here is a bit from Green America about what is going on with Todd and Cadbury.

England’s leading chocolate bar, Cadbury Dairy Milk, has announced plans to begin using Fair Trade cocoa in summer 2009. The significance of this fantastic news is that Cadbury is the first major chocolate brand to go Fair Trade with one of its main product lines, one of the goals Green America has been striving towards. Cadbury’s announcement proves what Green America has been saying for years: it is viable for a major chocolate bar to go Fair Trade without passing a significant cost increase to consumers. Congratulations on this important victory to all of you who have taken action by buying a Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate bar or writing a letter to bring us to this moment!

The deal, which will bring the Fair Trade label to 15% of the chocolate sold in England, is welcomed by Green America and our allies on both sides of the Atlantic. Increasing the amount of chocolate sold on the Fair Trade market is an important step to improve the lives of farmers around the world.

That doesn’t mean that Cadbury is now a model of sustainability. Here in the US, Cadbury’s chocolates are not Fair Trade Certified™.

Learn more about Cadbury from Green America’s Responsible Shopper.

By contrast, Green Business Network™ members in the confectionery industry like Sweet Earth Chocolates, Equal Exchange, Alter Eco, and Divine have been pioneering Fair Trade and sustainable practices for decades, and are 100% Fair Trade.

As we all know, it is critical to write companies to pressure them to improve their performance on human rights and the environment. But it is just as important to thank companies when they make a change for the better, so that company executives can bring an outpouring of positive feedback to their boards, shareholders, and employees to sustain their new, responsible practices and promote more change.

Please join Green America and Fair Trade advocacy organizations around the world in generating as many letters as possible to:

* congratulate Cadbury on the Fair Trade certification of their Dairy Milk bar in the UK

* ask Cadbury, Hershey (Cadbury’s US manufacturer) and Green and Black’s Organic (owned by Cadbury) to expand their commitment to Fair Trade in the United States by introducing more Fair Trade Certified products.

Then, commit to seeking out Fair Trade chocolate for special occasions, such as Easter eggs from Green Business leaders like Sweet Earth Organic and Divine Chocolate, instead of buying Cadbury’s Crème Egg.

Here is the form letter below. You may alter it to say what you want as well. This is the link where you are able to send and alter said letter.

Subject: Thank you for your fair trade commitment!

Dear Todd Stitzer, CEO, Cadbury:

As a conscious consumer and as a member of Green America, I would like to congratulate Cadbury on your plans to earn Fair Trade certification for the Dairy Milk bar in the United Kingdom. Thanks to your company for taking the leadership role among major chocolate brands in earning Fair Trade certification for an iconic chocolate bar with wide distribution and broad public recognition.

Through your leadership, Cadbury will transform the lives of cocoa farmers and their families, while contributing to a higher standard for ethical sourcing among major chocolate brands. Grassroots activists have been pressing major chocolate brands for years to become Fair Trade Certified. I regularly purchase chocolate from companies that offer Fair Trade Certified products in the United States because with each pound of Fair Trade cocoa purchased a fair deal is made with small-scale farmers in Ghana and other cocoa-producing countries. I am appalled at the existence of abusive child labor on cocoa farms in West Africa and do not want to buy chocolate picked by one of the hundreds of thousands of children working under “the worst forms of child labor,” as the US State Department reported. I choose to support companies that source Fair Trade because I believe that farmers should earn a price for their cocoa that allows them to meet their basic needs and have the right to participate in democratic organizations to decide the use of community development funds. Cadbury’s Fair Trade certification is a significant leap forward in resolving these issues and is a landmark for corporate social responsibility.

I look forward to the day that I will be able to buy Fair Trade Certified products from Cadbury in the United States. I am pleased that Cadbury Green and Black’s Organic has one Fair Trade bar and I encourage Cadbury to work with Hershey as your US licensee to extend Fair Trade certification to your entire range of Cadbury and Green & Black’s products.

Families in my community seek out Fair Trade Certified chocolate for special occasions like Easter. Expanding Cadbury’s commitment to Fair Trade in the United States by introducing more Fair Trade Certified products, such as Cadbury Creme Easter Eggs, Mini Eggs, Dairy Milk, and multiple types of Green and Black’s bars would give families in my community a reason to purchase more of Cadbury’s products.

I hope that Cadbury will join with communities like mine across the US to denounce forced and child labor, support small farmers and expand the selection of Fair Trade Certified products available in the United States.

Sincerely,
Your Name
Your City and State

I make the commitment to only buy fair trade, organic chocolate.

I said it!

-Cara

pumpkin_header

My friend Amelia is doing a walk for a camp that helps children with terminal illnesses and their parents have a place to have some fun. I think that is super important.

Today is the last day to pledge!

If you would like to as well here is the information below…

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I need YOUR support. I am participating in a walk for Camp Sunshine. Here’s a little information on it:

1984 – 2009: Celebrating 25 Years!
Nestled alongside the shores of beautiful Sebago Lake, Camp Sunshine provides respite, support, joy and hope to children with life-threatening illnesses and their immediate families through various stages of a child’s illness. The year-round program is free of charge to all families, and includes 24-hour on-site medical and psychosocial support. Bereavement groups are also offered for families who have lost a child to an illness.

Please, please, please show your support by contributing or signing up as a walker. The whole family can participate (their goal is to have people in costume). Our goal is to raise what it would cost for one family to attend a one week session. Thanks

Here’s my link:
http://www.greatpumpkinwalk.org/members/member.php?mem_id=482

and here’s the link for the camp:
http://www.campsunshine.org/

-Amelia Adams

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Happy Friday!

-Cara

the market nyc

I know all my stalkers like to know when they can catch a glance of me from a safe distance of 20 to 30 feet, well tomorrow is your lucky day!  Marine and I will be selling our cute, handmade, organic, soft shirts at The Market NYC for the first time. This all courtesy of our green little company, “be nice“. If you would like to learn more about it, you can on the “be niceblog!

Hope to see some non-crazy peeps there as well.

:]

-Cara

I would also need someone to boil the water. :]

-Cara

mountaintop-removal-fly-over-19

Green Americans and allies have been calling on the federal government for years to stop destructive mountaintop removal mining practices. Thanks to the thousands of people who have spoken up, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now taking a stronger stance on permits for this destructive form of mining. The EPA recently reviewed 79 permits for mountain top removal operations submitted by the Army Corps of Engineers and found that all of them would likely violate the Clean Water Act.

The permits are now being revised by the Army Corps of Engineers for re-submission. Coal companies are going to be using all their influence to get these permits approved. We need you to join us today and ask the EPA to stand firm on mountaintop removal mining. Together, we can make sure that the EPA has the support it needs to stand strong against the coal industry.

And, together we can encourage the EPA to go even further, and move to end all mountaintop removal mining, preserving communities from this threat for years to come.

Take Action Now!

-Cara

OK kids, this is the last day of Rachel Maddow’s coverage of, “The Truth About The Lies About ACORN” on MSNBC.

Sept. 29: “Who’s Next?”

Listen people the revolution is happening, it is time. This is a very important time in our history, we need to find a balance, we need to get along and take care of each other…all of us. It is not OK for some to have and for others to have not. When there are large media publicized tragedies that happen like a hurricane, a tornado, a tsunami, people all around the world come together to help each other. These tragic stories are fine for the media to cover as their is not the fear of a monetary or power loss to anyone. They are tragedies happening all around us that are trying to be seen through this mass media haze…you need to look and see.

The one thing I know is when I do the right thing, my life is better. I want that better life for everyone. I don’t want people to have to continually fight for what’s right, I just want people to do right so they to can have a better life like the rest of us.

-Cara

ACORN

I am out of town right now, so I am a little behind in ACORN the third day post! I also hove quite a few comments to review, post, and respond too in regards to these ACORN posts, so all those who may think I am ignoring or not publishing their comments hold tight. ;]

Alright enough talk, here is segment 3 of Rachel Maddow’s coverage of, “The Truth About The Lies About ACORN” on MSNBC.

Sept. 28: “GOP seeks wedge issue in ACORN”

I want to make it clear that I get that there are people that work for or have worked for ACORN that are not good, just like there are people who work for Fox are not evil (like the janitors, security guards…A JOKE!!!!)

I say lets make a plan to help fix ACORN and Rupert Murdoch and that FOX News gang. Who’s in?

-Cara

acorn

The ACORN saga continues on MSNBC with Rachel Maddow

Sept. 25: “How did ACORN become a target?”

To follow up on yesterday’s post, Rachel pulls out the big guns on the US government which have contracts with organizations who have been or are in the midst of being prosecuted for various crimes.  One corporation is even under investigation for murder (well 4 of their employees). These and some other great points are expressed in this next video.

Right in front of our very eyes.

-Cara

I speak for myself.

I have thought about writing about ACORN before, but thought this can’t go on for long and maybe I should keep what I think to myself. Today I feel different. What is going on right in front of everyone is crazy, but no one is looking, not really letting what is happening register. This world is going to implode on itself if people don’t wake up out of this fog we seem to have gotten lost in.

People I care about are being let go, losing their jobs, where they have worked really hard for very little monetary gain. I honestly have never worked at a place where I truly believe people are working more than they are wasting away on their super social networking sites, tweeting, pinging, blogging, and just passing time till they can leave.

People are registered to vote, whose voices are now being heard, their presence being felt. Families getting homes and keeping homes. People less worried about where they are going to live, having time to breath, to think, to be more aware of what is going on around them. Having time to make a difference. In any organization there are problems, especially when you are busy fighting the good fight, so why not help ACORN fix these problems and make ACORN better. What is the point of destroying them? It is important to think about why is this really happening, and who this is happening too. It is much bigger than ACORN.

I just discovered these videos today on the ACORN web site (or should I say I finally decided to watch them…) and am super impressed. It is crazy, a woman reporter, on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow sees the big picture and saying something…on mass media. Listen, if you know me, you know I am no fan of mass media, this is an important moment. I will stop going on about this and give you the link…

Day One – September 24th, 2009: “The Media Fails ACORN” [There is an ad in the beginning of the video, sorry about that, just mute it. ]

Rachel Maddow

This is the time to see what is going on and do something about it. Go volunteer at ACORN. Go read a book. Go do something selfless for someone else. Start doing something different and see the change.

That’s right I said it.

-Cara

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