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Politicians And Enviro Groups Targeted

Advocates for poor say politicians and enviro groups are waging "War On The Poor"

More than 100 state and federal elected officials and 50 environmental groups targeted for "public outing," leaders say

Leaders from the civil rights, African American, evangelical, agriculture and consumer advocacy communities have launched a national campaign to publicly unmask more than 100 politicians and 50 environmental extremist groups that are waging an immoral "war on the poor" by pushing policies that limit America’s ability to produce more America energy and drive energy prices skyward.

The coalition also will press for immediate action by Congress on any of several pending bills, including the "Americans for American Energy Act," (H.R. 6834), the "Gas Price Reduction Act (S. 3202) and the soon-to-be-introduced "All Of The Above Act of 2008" in the U.S. House.

The coalition´s campaign is centered on the group´s new website, stopwaronpoor.org, where two decks of "Punishers of the Poor" playing cards are scheduled to be unveiled soon. The playing cards will each feature a politician who has been named a "Punisher of the Poor" by the coalition´s leaders.

The national campaign was officially launched at a protest rally last week on Capitol Hill where more than a dozen speakers spoke to a crowd of nearly 100 families and advocates for the poor protested with signs and chants of "Stop the War on the Poor" before a phalanx of news media cameras, Congressional staffers and others. Full-length video and photos from the protest rally are available here.

"Environmental extremists, and the politicians who do their bidding, are strangling consumers, minorities and the working poor by restricting our ability to produce enough American energy and forcing energy prices to go through the roof," said Niger Innis, National Spokesman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a key organizer of the Capitol Hill protest and co-chairman of the national "Stop The War On The Poor" campaign.

"The ever-increasing energy prices driven by anti-consumer politicians are nothing more than a highly regressive tax on America’s most vulnerable citizens," Innis added. "Our ‘Stop The War On The Poor’ campaign has targeted 100 specific politicians and 50 environmental extremist groups from across the nation that will be unmasked as the ‘generals, colonels, majors and captains’ who are waging this unprecedented war on the poor."

"I´m a Democrat who is committed to seeing elected officials from all political parties wake up to the realities of what our national energy policies are doing to the poor and to our nation´s fundamental national security," said Wyoming State Senator Bill Vasey (D), Chair of Americans for American Energy. "The cold hard fact is that we need more American energy from all American resources, and we need to encourage the private sector to develop and deploy new clean energy technologies as well."

"How can Congress justify imposing crushing, highly regressive taxes upon the most needy in our society,’ asked Bishop Harry Jackson, co-chairman of the "Stop the War on the Poor" campaign. "We are here to say enough is enough. The real poor are going without essentials. When you push up energy prices everyone suffers and the first to suffer are the poor".

"This is a moral and ethics issue and we need to remind politicians in Washington, DC just how grave the consequences are of failed energy policies," Jackson added. "These policies are destroying jobs, reducing people´s living standards and trampling basic civil rights. They can no longer be tolerated."

"It is a sad but undeniable fact that higher energy prices hurt the poor more than any other sector of our society. Median-income families devote about a nickel on every dollar of income to energy costs, while poor families must devote as much as 50 cents on their dollar. Studies show that high energy prices are one of the single biggest drivers of homelessness. And high energy prices are literally forcing millions of Americans to make horrible choices between food, fuel and medicine," Innis said.

"Environmental extremists actually want higher prices because it gives them power to force changes in people’s behavior," Innis said. "They call this ‘energy conservation.’ I call it ‘economic enslavement.’ It is immoral, it is wrong, and those who support these policies will be unmasked for what they are – strategists and leaders in the war on the poor."

Innis, who is active in Republican political circles, and Bishop Jackson, who is a registered Democrat, said that the national campaign will be active in all 50 states and will mount "an aggressive public education campaign that will shine the spotlight on all those who are waging this war, regardless of the political party affiliation or philosophy."

"I am a registered Democrat, but this has nothing to do with partisan politics," said Bishop Harry Jackson, head of the High Impact Leadership Coalition. "Unless the public understands that there are specific people and organizations that are fueling this war against the poor, nothing will change and the poor will continue to suffer. We will unmask those behind this war regardless of their political party or ideology."

"Party labels and partisan ideologies are meaningless when it comes to protecting the lives of America’s most vulnerable citizens," Bishop Jackson added. "Only by encouraging truly bipartisan action will our nation be able to adequately construct solutions to this problem."