Thursday, May 16, 2013

Issues and News 5 16 2013

Issues and News 5 16 2013

Elizabeth Warren for Massachusetts
On July 1st, the interest rate on new, federally subsidized student loans is set to double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent.
The government plans to charge students 6.8%, but they lend money out every day for a whole lot less. They just don't do it for everyone.
Right now, a big bank can get a loan through the Federal Reserve discount window at a rate of about 0.75%. Those are the same big banks that destroyed millions of jobs and nearly broke our economy.
That isn't right. And that's why I introduced legislation to give students the same deal we give to the big banks. This was my very first bill in the U.S. Senate, and I'm going to fight for its passage.
And we're already starting to move: Rep. John Tierney just introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House. We're ready to go!
Become a citizen co-sponsor of the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act now.
The Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act would allow students who are eligible for federally subsidized Stafford loans to borrow at 0.75% -- the same rate that big banks get.
For one year, the Federal Reserve would make funds available to the Department of Education to cover the loans and give students relief from high interest rates while giving Congress time to find a long-term solution.
If the government can float huge sums of money to large financial institutions at low interest rates to grow the economy, surely it can float the money necessary to fund our students, keep us competitive, and grow our middle class.
I need your help building the public support to get my first bill through the House and Senate. Become a citizen co-sponsor of the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act now.
I met a young man at a campaign event last year. He held his hand out, looked me straight in the eye, and he said to me:
I did everything you all told me to do. I worked hard, I got good grades, and I got into college. I borrowed money, I worked hard, and I graduated. Now I have $54,000 in student loans. The best I can find is a part-time job. I've moved back in with my mom and dad… And I'm getting scared about whether there's a future out there for me.
The worst part of that young man's story is that he's not alone -- He's part of a whole generation drowning in student loans. Today's students carry more than $1 trillion in debt -- more than all the outstanding credit card debt in the whole country.
That young man said to me, "I'm here because I'm looking for a fighter."
I'm ready to fight.
Thank you for being a part of this,
P.S. Students don't have an army of lobbyists, but they do have us. Don't forget to show your support for the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act now.



Remove Racism from the Education System Toward Cowichan Peoples,

Posted by Sharon Lewis (campaign founder)
Add your voice
Reformation of the educational policies in British Columbia to Remove Racism Completely from the Education System; hire more native teachers, and promote strong cultural supports for students. I am Cowichan and its time to show respect for Native Peoples from Cowichan who fought for 10,000 years to hold onto our language, culture and traditions after many years of Cultural Genocide within the Educational System. Time to Reform, Restore and find Reconciliation within Policy and Legislation. Let us make this petition count!! 
Want to get involved? See this petition on Causes

New message about Release Guatemalan Political Prisoner Rubén Herrera

Posted by Kathryn Johnson (campaign founder)
Add your voice
Good news: land rights activist Ruben Herrera's case has been transfered from the local court in Santa Eulalia to a court in Guatemala's capital city. Ruben's partner, Cecilia Merida, explains that she's happy about the change because the hidroelectric company, Hidro Santa Cruz, has strong ties to the court in Santa Eulalia, and Ruben is much more likely to see due process in another court. She also hopes his upcoming hearing will be a chance to clear Ruben's name, along with all the other activists accused in this case. Please watch the interview with Cecilia and sign the petition asking for Ruben's release before his hearing on the 30th.
Want to get involved? See this petition on Causes

Dear David,
FACT: A woman in the military is more likely to be raped by a fellow service member than killed in enemy combat.1
A new report from the Pentagon itself shows that sexual assaults in the military increased by more than 30% last year.2 Worse? Less than 5% of military sexual assaults are ever prosecuted.3
These women put their lives on the line for our country. The least we can do is make sure they get the justice that they deserve. 
And now we have a big opportunity to make that happen: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand just introduced legislation today that would help make sure military rapes are prosecuted and justice is served.4 
Can you sign the petition asking Congress to get to work on legislation that would ensure accountability and justice to end the epidemic of rape in the US Military? From Sen. Gillibrand to Representative Jackie Speier, there is no shortage of good proposals on how to fix the problem--just a lack of political will to make it happen. We can change that if we speak out. 
According to the Pentagon report, an estimated 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted in 2012 and only 3,374 of the assaults were reported.And it’s no wonder this problem persists: Last week, the man in charge of stopping sexual assault in the Air Force was arrested for sexual battery.6 This week, a Fort Hood sexual assault prevention officer has been accused of assaulting three women and forcing one into prostitution.One retired army officer attributed the problem to “female service members making sex-related allegations which proved unfounded,” and the Air Force Chief of Staff blamed “hookup mentality” for the prevalence of rape.8
The truth is that the military has proven that they can't deal with this problem on their own--so Congress needs to act.
Champions in Congress have been working on this problem for years, and right now there are multiple bills aimed at preventing and responding to military sexual assault. In April, Rep. Speier introduced the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention (STOP) Act and just today Sen. Gillibrand introduced the Military Justice Improvement (MJI) Act.9 Other legislation addressing military sexual assault has been introduced by Senators and Representatives from both sides of the aisle.10
These bills would fundamentally change the way the military handles rape cases and would be an enormous improvement over the current system. They would increase accountability and transparency by giving prosecutors and judges, not commanders, power over sexual assault cases.11
If members of Congress are serious about protecting the service women who risk their lives to defend us, they need to take action right away. But if they don’t hear from all of us that we are outraged and we want them to stop this problem, the media attention could pass, and this important issue could get bogged down in Washington politics again. Can you sign this petition right away?
Thanks for speaking out.
--Nita, Shaunna, Kat, Malinda and Karin, the UltraViolet team

1. The military's sexual assault epidemic, The Week, March 31, 2013
8. False reports outpace sex assaults in the military, Washington Times, May 12, 2013
9. Rape And Sexual Assault In The Military, Rep. Jackie Speier, April 17, 2013
SenGillibrand on TwitterMay 16, 2013
10. Legislation, Protect Our Defenders
Service women risk their lives to protect us, and it's shameful that nothing has been done to stop the epidemic of rape in the military. It's time for Congress to do something about it. Can you sign the petition?
click here
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View this email online.  Please share widely!
 Sandy Sisti photo
Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field, in the courts
and in the policy arena to protect America's last wild buffalo.
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
May 16, 2013
Find BFC on FaceBook!                      

* Update from the Field:  Bison Abuse in the Hebgen Basin
NEW BFC Video:  Buffalo Nightmare - Three Days of Helicopter Hazing
TAKE ACTION! Contact Congress: Wild Buffalo on Capitol Hill
* Announcing BFC's Free Buffalo Museum!
* Honoring the Guacamole Fund - 40 Years Young and Rocking & Rolling On
* Volunteers Wanted!
* Opportunity:  Legal and Field Internship for Fall and Summer 2013
* By the Numbers
* Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration

"Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man."  ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

* Update from the Field

Wild bison are under attack. Some hazing continues to the north in the Gardiner Basin, while increasingly heavy assaults have been carried out on the western edge of Yellowstone National Park, in the Hebgen Basin. May 15 is the arbitrary date by which the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) aims to evict all wild bison from Montana. It is also the height of wild buffalo calving season. This week, the DOL's helicopter returned to terrorize the ecosystem, important habitat for ecologically extinct wild buffalo, and also threatened grizzly bears. The intense activity that we witnessed this week is difficult to describe in a few words, so below is a photo essay and a new BFC video to show you what the buffalo have suffered at the hands of the government. Even in the midst of such trials there have been moments to celebrate. Click on the photos for larger images.

  Photo by Fred Baker, bison advocate and BFC volunteer.
In Gardiner, small groups of buffalo have been hazed, including a mama buffalo and her new calf who were punished for continuing to visit their imprisoned relatives at the USDA-APHIS-run research facility, where the federal livestock overseers are undergoing a controversial chemical population control experiment with the pesticide GonaCon. We are grateful to our buffalo brothers Fred and Scott who have been documenting these activities, helping to prevent the DOL from carrying out its threat to shoot the pair.

On Thursday, DOL livestock inspectors Bridger Cunningham and Mark Anderson hazed a small group of buffalo, including an injured calf, out of the Denny Creek area. They pushed this group for five miles, until the injured calf collapsed, unable to follow the herd any longer. The agents left the group for another day, and frustrated, bullied another group of buffalo, chasing them around for the fun of it before calling it quits. 

Over the weekend, the buffalo got a much-needed break from hazing. While the DOL was away, we celebrated Mother's Day and wild buffalo calving season with our annual "Free Coffee, Free Cookies, Free the Buffalo!" event. Friends came from far and near, there was kite making for the kids (big and little), and for the adults, a respite from running after buffalo hazers. BFC buffalo warrior and board member Justine Sanchez organizes this celebration each year to help raise awareness and remind us that even during the darkest of times, there is light to be found: the gift of the next generation of wild buffalo!

After a long weekend, the DOL and other state and federal agencies returned to the Hebgen Basin to haze wild buffalo out of Montana. Two hazing operations happened simultaneously; one from the Denny Creek area, the other from the south side of Horse Butte. Both groups were pushed together and hazed into Yellowstone National Park. The DOL's helicopter, attended by bison abuser Rob Tierny, joined the riders in the chase. More than 150 buffalo, including at least 30 calves, were forced from their chosen ground and run for over ten miles into Yellowstone. We documented injured buffalo, exhausted calves, and at least one instance in which a calf was separated from its mother. The mama buffalo was finally able to escape the hazers to seek out her baby.

On Tuesday, the DOL and other agencies returned, with horses and helicopter, to haze wild buffalo from lands north of Horse Butte, along the Grayling Arm of the Madison River and US Highway 287, into Yellowstone National Park. During this haze, five riders broke off and headed to Denny Creek to haze yet again.  Additionally, buffalo hazed the day before were again hazed from within Yellowstone, deeper into the park, and patrols even witnessed a buffalo giving birth while being forced to flee.

Wednesday brought more government insanity, as the agents attacked nearly 400 wild buffalo on Horse Butte, where no cattle will ever graze. Hazing began on buffalo-friendly land in Yellowstone Village and the Galanis property. Riders posted up on public land and in the Village, while the helicopter zeroed in on buffalo on the Galanis property, pushing them towards the waiting horsemen. The helicopter initiated solo attacks against buffalo along the south side of the Madison Arm, pushing them over to the Horse Butte haze, where they were forced to join the other operation before being hazed along the bluffs and then across US Highway 191, east into Yellowstone National Park. Already, some buffalo are returning to the places they were so brutally chased away from. Local reporters and an additional professional film crew bore witness to the day's chaos.  Today the madness continues as government hazers push these exhausted and injured buffalo deeper into Yellowstone National Park.


Our hearts break for the buffalo, and the pain we feel is nothing compared to what the buffalo are being put through.  After yesterday's brutal haze, the sky finally gave us much-needed rain, as if weeping along with us.  During each of these operations, BFC patrols witness terrible things. Buffalo limping with injuries, run into high tension and barbed-wire fences, moms and calves separated from each other, mama buffalo trying to escape hazers to search for their lost calves, calves collapsing from exhaustion, mothers bluff charging agents in defense of their babies, baby buffalo swept down rivers, miscarriages, and worse. Hazing can and has killed buffalo. The dishonorable actions by the DOL, Park Service, and all of the involved agencies are indefensible and certainly not worth a handful of cattle, nor a million. These crimes against America's last wild buffalo come at tremendous taxpayer expense and, more importantly, immeasurable cost to the buffalo in their immediate lives, their long-term viability, and their evolutionary potential. And still the buffalo survive.  While they withstand this continued centuries-old war against their kind, more people are learning about it and taking action on their behalf.  The livestock industry knows this, knows that their actions are unjustifiable and that the time of the holy cow will draw to a close, and the once and future wild buffalo will roam free!

Wild is the Way!
~ Stephany

*NEW BFC Video: Buffalo Nightmare -- Three Days of Helicopter Hazing

  Click image to watch the video.  PLEASE SHARE WIDELY!  You can take action below.  Many thanks to all the BFC volunteers who have worked so incredibly hard, spending countless and very difficult hours in the field, witnessing and documenting these atrocoties.  You are all strong warriors for wild buffalo and we give thanks! Special thanks to Mike Mease for reviewing and pulling all the heart-wrenching footage together so that the world can know what is happening to the sacred and gentle buffalo.

*TAKE ACTION!  Contact Congress:  Wild Buffalo on Capitol Hill!
Buffalo Field Campaign's Public Policy Coordinator, Josh Osher, will be traveling to Washington, DC next week for meetings with numerous congressional representatives and wild buffalo advocates. This important part of our efforts to gain protections for wild buffalo goes hand in hand with our work in the field, legal challenges, educational outreach and media production. Another crucial element is your continued participation and answer to our calls for action.  This week, we ask that you take a few moments to send a message to your Congressional Representative and Senators to ask them to support wild, free-roaming buffalo.

* Buffalo in the News

Ted Turner Bison:  Why Does Billionaire Have Yellowstone National Park Bison?
International Science Times, May 13, 2013

Helicopter Hazing Lawsuit Renewed
Bozeman Daily Chronicle, May 15, 2013

Art Installation Salutes Wild Buffalo
Public News Service, May 15, 2013

Bison Hazing Begins Near West Yellowstone
Bozeman Daily Chronicle, May 16, 2013

* Limited Edition BFC Tee Shirt Available Next Week Only!

We are proud to announce that we've been chosen by For Love of all Things (FLOAT) as their featured nonprofit next week. Purchase from their web site from Monday 5/20 through Sunday 5/25 and $8 will go directly to BFC and our work to protect America's last wild buffalo. For more information and to see the design when it is available, stay tuned to the BFC Facebook page or check the FLOAT website on Monday.

*Announcing BFC's Free Buffalo Museum!

Buffalo Field Campaign is pleased to announce that we are making a transition this summer from tabling inside Yellowstone National Park to opening a Free Buffalo Museum just outside the west entrance, in the town of West Yellowstone. The museum will take you on an incredible buffalo journey, through their storied history and amazing natural lives to their current plight and the efforts of the people standing in their defense. The museum will showcase photos, artwork, images, and video, as well as buffalo items you can touch, plus BFC merchandise. Standing guard and welcoming all will be our ever-popular Buffaloon, a gigantic inflatable buffalo, who will lead the way to BFC's Free Buffalo Museum!

You can help make this museum the best it can be! We are looking for a few items to showcase, items of cultural and practical significance such as (but not limited to):
>> War shields made of buffalo hump
>> Buffalo hide paintings
>> Buffalo horn spoon
>> Buffalo jawbone warclub

If you have any related items that you'd be willing to allow us to showcase in our Free Buffalo Museum, please contact Mike Mease at or 406-646-0070.  Thanks and see you there!

* Honoring The Guacamole Fund - 40 Years Young and Rockin' & Rollin' On 

THE GUACAMOLE FUND is a tax exempt, public charity that has been helping to coordinate events for organizations that work in the public interest since 1973.

They have also been active supporters and promoters of BFC since shortly after our founding in 1997 connecting the cause of protecting America's wild buffalo with performances by America's great musicians and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and Crosby, Stills, & Nash, among other notable artists.

THE GUACAMOLE FUND is an exemplary group of beautiful people that BFC has gotten to know both personally and professionally. Now 40 years young and still rock 'n' rolling on, we give thanks that THE GUACAMOLE FUND continues on ~ touching the lives of so many people by connecting musicians with grass roots causes to change the world for the better.  

To our friends and family at THE GUACAMOLE FUND ~ Buffalo Field Campaign salutes you for your invaluable contributions, and your lasting, passionate commitment to having fun while doing great works for the people, our planet, and our buffalo.   Long May You Run.

The Guacamole Fund Tom Campbell, Margaret Holmes, Diane Leigh Koletzke, Paula Ash, Phil Lusk, Jeff Smith, Thomas P. Keefe, Jr., and Rick Leach.

* Volunteers Wanted!
We have immediate openings for field volunteers to help with our front-lines patrols now through June. We are also seeking summer volunteers who can help us conduct outreach and education, representing BFC and the buffalo to Yellowstone visitors at our new Free Buffalo Museum in West Yellowstone. If you are interested, passionate, and hard-working, please email our Volunteer Coordinator.

For more information about volunteering with BFC visit this page

* Job Opportunity:  Legal and Field Internship for Fall and Summer 2013

BFC and ally Western Watersheds Project is seeking a legal and field intern who can help with reviewing project files and documenting conditions in the field for several Forest Service grazing allotments in the West Yellowstone and Gardiner Basin areas, and creating legal documents.  Learn more... 

*By the Numbers

The last wild buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,200 individual animals, living in and around Yellowstone National Park. Wild bison are ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.

Total Buffalo Killed: 256
Government Capture:
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Government Slaughter:
Held for Government Experiment:
Died In Government Trap:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 25
Treaty Hunts: 218
Unknown Hunts: 5
Shot by Agents: 1
Highway Mortality: 7

Total Killed in Previous Years
2011-2012: 33
2010-2011: 227
2009-2010: 7
2008-2009: 22
2007-2008: 1,631
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,250

*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway deaths

*Last Words of Buffalo Inspiration

"'Buffalo have power,' said an American Indian living in the High Plains during the late nineteenth century, "the spotted cattle of the White Man have no power." This distinction remains the great value of bison today.  You don't meditate on a feedlot full of cows any more than you contemplate a herd of Angus. But you can bison. The difference is the direction in which they transport our thinking: outward, away from the self and apart from culture as opposed to a tame walk down a domesticated hallway of mirrors."
~ Doug Peacock, author of Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness

Please send us your submissions to Last Words. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you've contributed! Keep them coming!

Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758

BFC is the only group working in the field every day
in defense of the last wild buffalo population in the U.S.

  Keep BFC on the front lines!
Join Buffalo Field Campaign -- It's Free!


Dear Sharon,
Yesterday, hundreds of people gathered in Rapid City, SD for the first day of the Great Plains Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)  Summit. The summit, which was originally promised by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) more than 18 months ago, marks a historic week for Lakota children and families and our struggle to enforce the Indian Child Welfare Act.
The summit's first day was a huge success. Tribal leaders spoke powerfully, and with one voice, about the devastating effects of South Dakota’s ICWA policies and the need to repair them. Indian aunts, uncles, and grandmothers testified for several hours about their horrible experiences with DSS, eliciting tears and anger from nearly ever audience member. Federal government officials were present from the Department of the Interior, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health and Human Services, as were representatives from several congressional offices. Nearly all of them declared loudly their support of South Dakota’s tribes in repairing the injustice at hand.
From the original NPR report of 2011 to the ICWA Directors' Congressional Report, our petition to the BIA, and letter to members of Congress, we got here thanks to the hard of work and support of so many, including you. Thank you!
Oglala Lakota College is livestreaming the summit, which will continue today (Thursday) until 5:00 p.m. MST and tomorrow(Friday) from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MSThere:
In addition to participating actively in the Summit, yesterday the Lakota People's Law Project released our most recent Special Report, "Abandoned and Forgotten." The report exposes the Mette foster care scandal, in which a white foster father of seven Lakota children brutally raped his daughters over a ten-year period. While this was happening, the state of South Dakota's Department of Social Services not only stood by and did nothing, but they also retaliated against two child advocates who exposed the state's inaction in their efforts to protect the children.
You can download both full and summary versions of the report.

And please sign our petition to the Department of Justice demanding legal action immediately.


The Lakota People’s Law Project Organizing Team
Kevin Washburn (left), Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, listens as family members deliver testimony on the first day of the ICWA Summit.

Madonna Thunderhawk (left) consoles a grandmother as she testifies that she was prevented from adopting her own grandchildren after they were taken by South Dakota DSS. 
"When crazy people call you crazy, you know you're sane. 
When evil people call you evil, you know that you are a good person. 
When lairs call you a liar, you know that you are truthful. 
Know who you are and don't let others tell you who you are." - Dave Kitchen

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