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Current Actions

  • No to Silencing Prisoners' Speech

    Pennsylvania is setting a dangerous precedent that we all need to speak out against and put a quick stop to.

    For more information:
    Bring Mumia Home
    Free Mumia
    Text of the bill

    Sign below:

    We stand against the passage, in Pennsylvania, of the so-called "Revictimization Relief Act," which affords virtually unlimited discretion to District Attorneys and the state Attorney General to silence prisoner speech, by claiming that such speech causes victims' families "mental anguish." Politicians are claiming a power that if granted to them will be difficult if not impossible for citizens to check.

    In seeking to silence the legally protected speech of prisoners, the state also damages citizens' right and freedom to know -- in this case, to better understand an area of U.S. life physically removed from public scrutiny.

    This legislation emerged following the failure of the Fraternal Order of Police and its allies to stop prisoner and radio journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal from delivering an October 5, 2014, commencement address. This bill sacrifices the rights of all prisoners in Pennsylvania in order to silence Abu-Jamal -- an unethical deployment of collective punishment by those in power.

    Victim relief is not served by denying fundamental rights to those convicted, especially because prisoner freedom of speech is crucial for redressing wrongful convictions and the current crisis of harsh sentencing that is often disproportionate to alleged crimes. Our society is currently engaged in a full-scale debate on the problems of mass incarceration that could not have developed without prisoners' voices.

  • Tell U.S. to stop opposing UN resolutions on depleted uranium

    Please sign this petition:

  • Shareholders United: Ask Your State Legislature to Rein in Corporate Election Dollars

    Every corporation based in your state could be seriously restricted or even stopped in its spending on elections, including federal elections.
    Background:
    Jamie Raskin: A Shareholder Solution to Citizens United
    Public Citizen: Americans Condemn High Levels of Corporate Political Spending

    Urge your state legislators and governor to enact a Shareholders United act:

  • Congress sends weapons to Syria, shucks responsibility on wider war

    This website knows which way your Representative and Senators voted, so that you can easily send the appropriate emails just by clicking below.


    Passed by House and Senate on September 17 and 18:

    "The Secretary of Defense is authorized, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, and sustainment, to appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition."
    Background:
    House Vote Roll Call
    Senate Vote Roll Call
    Text of H.J.Res.124 (See Sec. 149)
    Marjorie Cohn: Obama Declares Perpetual War
    David Swanson: Warning to War Supporters
    Josh Rogin: Syrian Rebels: We'll Use U.S. Weapons to Fight Assad
    Ryan Grim and Sam Stein: CIA Privately Skeptical
    Weapons Transfer Agreements to the Near East


    Said Congressman Jim McDermott, who voted No:

    "This amendment, which is valid only through early December, serves as nothing more than a faux authorization designed to get Congress through the election season.  Moreover, it addresses only one aspect of the strategy the President outlined last week.  That is not a responsible way to conduct public policy."

  • Cut the Military, Save the Climate


    A petition to the world's governments gathering at the United Nations to discuss climate on the International Day of Peace.

    Please sign below and add comments.

    Background:
    People's Climate March: Peace
    NYC Climate Convergence
    World Beyond War: War Threatens Our Environment

    The United Nations was established "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war" and is now addressing the scourge of climate change. We urge the adoption of an approach that addresses both together.

    Since the Kyoto accords of 1998, the U.S. military has been exempted from calculations of greenhouse gas emissions, despite the fact that it burns more oil than do most nations. Wars that consume huge amounts of fossil fuels are often motivated in large part by a desire to control and profit from much greater amounts. In the process, large areas of the earth are rendered uninhabitable by mines, toxins, and other war waste.

    There is $2 trillion a year, globally, that could be invested in a major effort to protect the climate, were it not being invested in war and preparations for war. The United Nations must make disarmament an environmental cause. A world that turned away from war would have the vision and the ability to address the danger of climate change on the scale required.

  • Sex, Guns, Cocaine on Governor's Desk

    The passage of good legislation is such a rarity, we cannot miss this opportunity. Good bills are sitting on Governor Jerry Brown's desk waiting for his signature.

    Background:
    The Sacramento Bee: Gov. Brown’s Decisions

    Please click here to join with RootsAction and Courage Campaign in urging the Governor to sign these four bills:

  • Local Police with War Weapons: End This Now!

    According to the U.S. General Services Administration, one of the programs that allows the Pentagon to give billions of dollars worth of free weapons of war to local U.S. police "offers Americans peace of mind.”

    Have images of a war zone in Ferguson, Missouri, boosted your peace of mind?
    Resources:
    U.S. General Services Administration: 1122 Program
    Missouri Department of Public Safety: DOD 1033
    War Resisters League: Facing Tear Gas
    Defending Dissent: The Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act
    John Oliver: Ferguson, MO and Police Militarization
    > Text of Rep. Johnson's Bill
    > Rep. Johnson's Dear Colleague Letter

    Tell the Pentagon, Congress, and the President: No More Weapons of War for Local Police:

    It’s time to halt the flow of war weaponry into our neighborhoods as well as into volatile areas abroad. As a first step we urge support for Congressman Hank Johnson's Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, which would prohibit the transfer to police of high caliber automatic weapons, armored vehicles, armed drones, aircraft, stun grenades, and silencers.

  • Arming the World as Never Before

    The U.S. military and weapons makers are "targeting the world market as never before."

    Background:
    DefenseNews.com: U.S. Doubles Down on Foreign Military Sales

    This comes on the heels of news that ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq & Syria) has seized piles of U.S.-made weaponry in Iraq.

    The United States already accounts for 79 percent of weapons sales to the Middle East according to the Congressional Research Service, and the majority of all foreign weapons sales around the world.

    Tell Congress and the President to end foreign weapons sales:

  • Tell Congress: Shame on You

    The U.S. Congress has condemned the inexcusable Hamas rocket attacks but refused to voice the slightest criticism of the Israeli government for dropping thousands of tons of bombs on people in Gaza.

    On July 11, the House passed -- by voice vote with no objections -- H Res 657, expressing "United States support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks."

    On July 17, also by voice vote without objection, the Senate passed the nearly identical S Res 498.

    Tell your representative and senators that they should be ashamed of themselves:

  • Let's give Wisconsin a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in Wisconsin for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the Wisconsin legislature:

  • Let's give Washington a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in Washington for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the Washington legislature:

  • Let's give Vermont a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in Vermont for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the Vermont legislature:

  • Let's give Oregon a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in Oregon for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the Oregon legislature:

  • Let's give New York a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in New York for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the New York legislature:

  • Let's give New Mexico a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in New Mexico for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the New Mexico legislature:

  • Let's give New Jersey a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in New Jersey for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the New Jersey legislature:

  • Let's give Nevada a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in Nevada for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the Nevada legislature:

  • Let's give Minnesota a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in Minnesota for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the Minnesota legislature:

  • Let's give Massachusetts a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in Massachusetts for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the Massachusetts legislature:

  • Let's give Maryland a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in Maryland for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the Maryland legislature:

  • Let's give Illinois a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in Illinois for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the Illinois legislature:

  • Let's give Connecticut a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in Connecticut for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the Connecticut legislature:

  • Let's give Colorado a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in Colorado for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the Colorado legislature:

  • Let's give California a $15 minimum wage

    Paying people a wage they can live on for their work is a matter of fairness. It also boosts the economy, strengthens communities and radically improves people's lives.

    Why should Seattle be the only place with a $15 minimum wage?

    Let's set an inspiring example in California for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

    Email the California legislature:

  • A half billion more for WHAT?
    President Obama has requested another half a billion dollars to arm and train "appropriately vetted" fighters in Syria to help them kill better. Background:
    New York Times:
    Obama Requests Money to Train "Appropriately Vetted" Syrian Rebels

    The violent rebellion in Syria, supported by the U.S. government and others, has spilled over into Iraq -- itself still reeling from U.S. destruction and the illegitimacy of a government imposed by foreign occupation.

    Click below to say No:

  • Overturn Citizens United. Save Democracy.

    The massive influx of money into our political system, made possible by rulings like the one in Citizens United v. FEC, has created an unprecedented crisis. We have seen an explosion of outside spending, as well as a glut of spending by tax-exempt "dark money" organizations that don't have to disclose their donors.
    Background:
    Open Secrets: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
    Demos: Election Spending 2012
    Reuters Poll: Most Americans Think Too Much Money in Politics
    Senator Udall’s resolution, S.J.Res. 19 with cosponsors list.

    The conflation of money with free speech has created a political environment wherein money routinely drowns out other voices. In the 2012 election cycle, just 132 donors giving at least $1 million each were responsible for 60.4% of all the money Super PACs raised.

    Today, three-quarters of Americans agree that money has become a corrupting influence over our political process. A Constitutional Amendment to fix the problem is gaining support in the U.S. Senate.  Please sign this petition:

    Money is not speech, corporations are not people, and our political system will not work if we don’t overturn Citizens United. We demand that the U.S. Senate pass this Constitutional Amendment (S.J.Res. 19) on behalf of democracy.

  • Big Step Toward Solving the Housing Crisis

    Former Congressman Mel Watt is the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which underwrite mortgages for houses and apartment buildings.
    Background:
    Bloomberg Business Week: New Boss Could Reshape Mortgage Finance
    Andrew Jakabovics and John Griffith: Mel Watt's First Day
    Politico: Mel Watt Faces Tough Affordable Housing Question


    Bankers and their flunkies in Congress are still trying to blame affordable housing for Wall Street's self-induced collapse of six years ago. We need to let Mel Watt know how many of us support expanding affordable housing.

    Click below to send him this email:

  • War, War, War, Peace, and War --Obama

    President Obama included some nice rhetoric in his speech at West Point, along with some very frightening ideas. He wants two more years of war in Afghanistan plus $5 billion for warmaking in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Mali, and especially Syria.


    Background:
    New York Times:
    U.S. Troops to Leave Afghanistan by End of 2016

    Text of Obama's Speech Today at West Point
    Tim Shorrock: New Document Details Secret Mass of Contractors in Afghanistan
    Huffington Post: Womp! This Country Was Named Greatest Threat To World Peace

    Click below to send this email to the President and Congress. Feel free to add your own comments.

  • Close Police-Spy "Fusion" Centers that Violate Our Rights

    In at least 78 locations around the United States, the military, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, local police departments, private contractors, and commercial business interests have set up joint operations centers that routinely violate our rights by spying on nonviolent activists.

    Background:
    New York Times: Officials Cast Wide Net in Monitoring Occupy Protests
    Partnership for Civil Justice Fund: Out from the Shadows
    Defending Dissent: U.S. Army Illegally Infiltrated Anti-War Movement
    Democracy Now: Why Did FBI Monitor Occupy Houston, Then Hide Sniper Plot?
    DHS: Fusion Center Locations

    RootsAction and Defending Dissent Foundation believe it's time to close the fusion centers.

    Click below to send this email to Congress and the President. Add your own comments if you like:

  • Stop revolving door between Human Rights Watch and U.S. Gov't

    Why did Human Rights Watch select a former CIA official (Miguel D
    íaz) to sit on its advisory committee for eight years?

    Human Rights Watch characterizes itself as an "independent, international organization" -- and yet its staff, board of directors and advisory committees boast deep ties to the highest levels of the U.S. government.

    Background:
    Nobel Peace Laureates to HRW: Close Your Revolving Door to U.S. Government
    Keane Bhatt: The Hypocrisy of Human Rights Watch
    Chase Madar: Hawks for Humanity
    More Than 100 Latin America Experts Question HRW's Venezuela Report


    Before becoming HRW's Washington advocacy director, for example, Tom Malinowski served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton. Now he's President Obama's Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

    In 2009 he argued that "under limited circumstances" there was "a legitimate place" for CIA renditions -- the illegal practice of kidnapping and transferring terrorism suspects around the planet. In 2011 he wrote approvingly about Obama's unconstitutional NATO bombing campaign on Libya.

    Sign this petition that we will deliver to HRW:

    The credibility of a global human-rights organization depends on its independence. Human Rights Watch has done important, critical work, but it can do better. It should implement at least a five-year "cooling-off" period before and after its associates move between HRW and the U.S. government's foreign-policy divisions. Human Rights Watch associates should concentrate on protecting human rights. They should not have conflicts of interest with past or future careers in branches of the U.S. government that may themselves be involved in human-rights violations.

  • We Support James Risen Because We Support a Free Press


    The Justice Department is now considering whether to attempt to force New York Times reporter James Risen to testify against one of his alleged sources. If Risen refuses, as he has vowed to, he would likely face harsh fines or imprisonment.

    Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg says: "The pursuit of Risen is a warning to potential sources that journalists cannot promise them confidentiality for disclosing Executive Branch criminality, recklessness, deception, unconstitutional policies or lying us into war."



    Background:
    Freedom of the Press Foundation: Court Guts Reporter’s Privilege
    Truthout: Conversation With James Risen
    Politico: Justice Department Urges SCOTUS to Pass Up Reporter’s Privilege Case
    Norman Solomon: An Escalating War on Journalism
    Letter to Holder from 46 News Organizations Re: Subpoena to James Risen
    Committee to Protect Journalists: U.S. Government Should Withdraw Subpoena

    Please join Ellsberg and sign below:

    To: President Obama and Attorney General Holder

    Your effort to compel
    New York Times reporter James Risen to reveal his sources is an assault on freedom of the press. Without confidentiality, journalism would be reduced to official stories -- a situation antithetical to the First Amendment.
    We urge you in the strongest terms to halt all legal action against Mr. Risen and to safeguard the freedom of journalists to maintain the confidentiality of their sources.
  • Undo Institutional Racism

    Rarely do news media acknowledge that institutional racism is vast and terribly destructive in the United States.


    Add your name to this public statement:
    Background:
    LA Times: NBA Players, City Leaders Cheer Sanctions Against Donald Sterling
    Jesse Jackson: Sterling Embarrassing, But Real Threat Supreme Court, Congress
    IASP: The Roots of the Widening Racial Wealth Gap
    Woodstock Institute: Racial Disparities in FHA/VA Lending
    Harvard Political Review: Drug Sentencing -- Inefficient, Unfair, and Racially Discriminatory

    While we denounce bigoted words and individual racism, we must also challenge the powerful institutions that re-enforce racism on a huge scale.

    Institutional racism is inherent in realities like these:

    *  Blacks and Latinos, on average, have one-sixth the wealth of whites in the United States, with all the accompanying disadvantages that are increasingly concentrated in increasingly segregated neighborhoods.

    *  Racial minorities don't use illegal drugs at higher rates than whites, but face much higher rates of arrest, conviction, and incarceration.

    *  People of color gain admission to college at lower rates, have less access to affordable loans, are under greater assault by predatory lenders, have less access to healthcare, and face higher barriers to voting.

    We must be committed to rooting out institutional racism.

  • Outrage: FCC Set to Kill Net Neutrality
    The FCC is now moving to end net neutrality.  Three months ago, Demand Progress and RootsAction joined with allied groups to deliver a petition with a million signatures to the FCC in support of net neutrality -- to keep the whole Internet available to everyone. The news just broke that the FCC intends to blow us off and betray the principle of equal access to the Internet. Background:
    New York Times: In Policy Shift, FCC Will Allow a Web Fast Lane
    CommonDreams: Brazil's 'Internet Bill of Rights' Victory for Web Freedom
    Washington Post: Net Neutrality Puts FCC at Center of Storm


    Tell Chairman Tom Wheeler and the rest of the FCC that we will not stand for this.

  • Urge Laborers' Union to End Support for Tar Sands Pipeline


    Please sign the following petition to the Laborers' International Union of North America:
    Background:
    The Hill: Union Threatens Retribution for House Dems Opposing Keystone
    Michael Mann: Approving Keystone XL Could Be the Biggest Mistake
    The Nation: Could Working on Keystone XL Give You Cancer, Asthma?
    Bill Shortell: Labor Unions Must Take on Conversion from War to Peace Economy

    We, the undersigned, call upon the Laborers' International Union of North America to pull back from supporting the Keystone Pipeline. We support the right to organize and hope to bring back the now-forsaken Employee Free Choice Act. We applaud your stand for immigrants' rights. We support your promotion of infrastructure spending, and we supported the efforts of unions in Connecticut who successfully created a state commission last year to advance conversion from military to peaceful industries.

    While we are in strong agreement with your union in the need to challenge the Democratic Party, we must take issue with your support of a project that will contribute dramatically to global warming. Your willingness to oppose elected officials who fail you demonstrates the independence that all organizations need.

    But there's a problem. You're demanding that Congress members support a tar sands pipeline that will exacerbate the climate crisis. While workers need the economic justice for which your union organizes, they also need a healthy environment for themselves and their children and grandchildren. We run the risk of pushing the climate of planet Earth over the edge and we need the support of your union in moving us away from the precipice.

    We are in unity with you on the need for jobs. In fact, we wish to join hands with LIUNA and other unions in a movement for green jobs. There is much that has to be done in this country that can contribute to a better and safer environment. The infrastructure needs to be rebuilt and new industries need to be introduced. We wish to be there with you in that struggle. But we need you to join with the millions who see the danger, if not potential catastrophe, inherent in tar sands pipelines.

  • Say No to Plastics Poisoning Us

    A new report in Mother Jones finds that even if plastic bottles and food containers were rid of a notoriously dangerous additive called BPA, they would in many cases remain unsafe -- putting people at risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and numerous other serious ailments.

    Estrogenic chemicals -- as dangerous as BPA and worse -- are used in plastics found in water bottles, baby bottles, and all kinds of food containers. The Environmental Protection Agency does not test or regulate these chemicals. Consumers have no way of knowing what's in a product by looking at it or by checking what type of plastic it is.

    This petition will be submitted to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Sign the petition:



    Background:
    Mother Jones: The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics
    Democracy Now: Are Any Plastics Safe?
    Living on Earth: BPA-Free Does Not Always Mean Safe

    We demand that the federal government serve its primary function of keeping us safe by ending the use of untested chemicals in our food and drink containers.
  • Hold the Hypocrisy!

    We'd like to be able to applaud the U.S. State Department for condemning the Egyptian government's decision to murder over 500 people, without having to choke on the fact that the U.S. government has been killing thousands of people with drones, many of them civilians -- not to mention giving massive supplies of weapons to the abusive Egyptian government that it is condemning.

    We'd love it if we could cheer for the U.S. government's denunciations of Russian belligerence in Ukraine, without the oppressive weight of the string of illegal U.S. wars stretching from Afghanistan through Iraq to Libya and the drone wars in Yemen and Pakistan, not to mention the NATO expansion and State Department interference in Ukraine that has escalated tensions.

    Join the anti-hypocrisy movement now.

    And if you know of examples of extreme hypocrisy, enter them below.

  • Police Power Out of Control

    The Senate rejected President Obama's nomination of Debo Adegbile to lead the civil rights division of the Justice Department.

    By linking Adegbile with the killing of a police officer, for which Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted three decades earlier, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) steamrolled over the constitutional right to counsel.

    The FOP demonized Abu-Jamal with inflammatory and racially-coded language like "thug" and "notorious cop-killer." In the end, seven Democratic senators from predominantly white states voted against Adegbile to avoid being associated with Abu-Jamal's case in the upcoming elections.

    The profuse evidence of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct and the worldwide activism on behalf of Abu-Jamal have all made his case a global symbol of U.S. justice gone wrong.

    In 2000, Amnesty International found that the case "was irredeemably tainted by politics and race and failed to meet international fair trial standards."

    Send this letter to the district attorney of Philadelphia, the governor of Pennsylvania, the U.S. attorney general and the U.S. president:

  • Covering up torture must end. Now.

    The new uproar about CIA spying on the Senate intelligence committee could open a political door to challenging the surveillance state and perpetual war.

    The CIA spying on Senate staffers is indeed unacceptable. But so is spying on peace activists. So is mass surveillance. So is torture. So is holding prisoners without trial. So is killing people with drones. So is waging horrific and illegal wars.

    Background:
    Marcy Wheeler: White House Covering Up the Presidency’s Role in Torture
    McClatchy: White House Withholds Thousands of Documents
    Elizabeth Goitein:
    Obama Is Protecting Senior CIA Officials and Himself
    Norman Solomon: The Feinstein Syndrome
    Charles P. Pierce: Obama, the CIA, and the Limits of Conciliation
    WarIsACrime.org: Ongoing Torture

  • Move the Money Out of the Military


    Set aside for a moment whether the U.S. government has too much or too little money. It's spending the money it has destructively.

    Fifty-seven percent of discretionary spending going into the military is too much. Tell Congress and the president to move the money:

    Background:
    Mattea Kramer: Is the Pentagon Doomed -- To Be Flush Forever

    Partners:
      The Nation  Know Drones  WESPAC Foundation PJC-Sonoma


    U.S. military spending -- across several government departments -- is wildly out of control, amounting to roughly half of federal discretionary spending and half of global military spending. The sequester agreement makes a small reduction in military spending.

    We urge you to keep military spending to the sequester level or lower without allowing extra funds to be hidden in war budgets or anywhere else, to plan for further reductions, to create a commission to oversee the retraining and retooling required for a smooth transition from war industries to peaceful industries, and to invest the additional savings in human and environmental needs at home and abroad.
  • We're Overlooking a Top Cause of Death

    Alzheimer's is a leading cause of death but we don't adequately fund research of its causes or cures.

    Terrorism is not a leading cause of death but we massively fund militarism that increases it.
    Background:
    CNN: Alzheimer's toll may rank with cancer, heart disease
    USAgainstAlzheimer's
    IPA: Obama’s Nuclear Budget Unprecedented

    It's time for a different national defense:

  • Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Wall of Hypocrisy on International Law

    President Obama has denounced Russia for a “breach of international law” with its military intervention in the Crimea.

    The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear.
    The message from the White House is: Do as we say, not as we do.
    Background:
    Tribune:  European Parliament Condemns Drone Strikes
    Reprieve:  Investigation of Drones
    Robert Parry:  America’s Staggering Hypocrisy
    Katrina vanden Heuvel:  Ukraine Crisis Calls for Less Bluster
    Norman Solomon:  Heard the One About Obama Denouncing a Breach?

    The U.S. government routinely violates international law with drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries. Human-rights groups like Reprieve have documented many of those violations in recent reports, and the European Parliament has just condemned the practice as illegal -- but the USA’s missile attacks continue.

    To urge a single standard of adherence to international law, please sign this petition:

    President Obama, your condemnation of Russia for a “breach of international law” rings hollow while your administration continues to violate international law with drone strikes and other missile attacks across borders. I urge you to end those U.S. violations of international law and move toward a new era of genuine adherence to international law.

  • Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Wall of Hypocrisy on International Law

    President Obama has denounced Russia for a “breach of international law” with its military intervention in the Crimea.

    The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear.
    The message from the White House is: Do as we say, not as we do.
    Background:
    Tribune:  European Parliament Condemns Drone Strikes
    Reprieve:  Investigation of Drones
    Robert Parry:  America’s Staggering Hypocrisy
    Katrina vanden Heuvel:  Ukraine Crisis Calls for Less Bluster
    Norman Solomon:  Heard the One About Obama Denouncing a Breach?

    The U.S. government routinely violates international law with drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries. Human-rights groups like Reprieve have documented many of those violations in recent reports, and the European Parliament has just condemned the practice as illegal -- but the USA’s missile attacks continue.

    To urge a single standard of adherence to international law, please sign this petition:

    President Obama, your condemnation of Russia for a “breach of international law” rings hollow while your administration continues to violate international law with drone strikes and other missile attacks across borders. I urge you to end those U.S. violations of international law and move toward a new era of genuine adherence to international law.

  • Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Wall of Hypocrisy on International Law

    President Obama has denounced Russia for a “breach of international law” with its military intervention in the Crimea.
    The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The message from the White House is: Do as we say, not as we do.
    The U.S. government routinely violates international law with drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries. Human Rights groups like Reprieve and Alkarama have documented many of those violations in recent reports -- but the USA’s missile attacks continue.
    To urge a single standard of adherence to international law, please sign this petition:
    President Obama, your condemnation of Russia for a “breach of international law” rings hollow while your administration continues to violate international law with drone strikes and other missile attacks across borders. I urge you to end those U.S. violations of international law and move toward a new era of genuine adherence to international law.

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  • Cut NSA and CIA, raise Social Security

    As the president prepares a budget proposal and Congress prepares to reprise familiar debates, we have a proposal of our own.
    Background:
    The Hill: Lawmakers Want to See the "Black Budget"
    Los Angeles Times: The Price of Hunger
    New York Times: Price of Safe Water for All

    Urge the president and Congress to increase Social Security and cut the Shadow Budget:

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  • Bring affordable college idea to Maryland


    Long-term declines in state higher education funding and more recent severe budget cuts are pushing college out of reach for middle class and low-income students. Students and their families are forced to choose to either take on massive debt or shelve plans to attend college. 

    Background:
    Economic Opportunity Institute
    One-Page PDF on How it Works
    Katrina vanden Heuvel: An Oregon Trail to End Student Debt
    Maryland bills: House, and Senate.

    A new plan called "Pay It Forward" recently passed in Oregon, and has now been introduced in Maryland. Under Pay It Forward, students would attend college with no upfront tuition. Instead, students would contribute a small, fixed-percentage of their income -- about 3 or 4 percent -- for a set number of years after college -- between 10 and 25 depending on where they attend school. Contributions would be placed back into the state's education fund and enable the next class of students to receive the same education free from massive, life-crippling student loans.

    Leaders from across the country are considering action on Pay It Forward – and Maryland can set an example that will really help this trend catch fire.
    Email your state  legislators and let them know you support Pay It Forward and expanded funding for public higher education:

  • Amazon: Don't give customer info to the CIA

    Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world. And the company has signed a $600 million contract to provide “cloud computing” services to the Central Intelligence Agency.

    “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA,” Amazon says.
    Background:
    Bloomberg News: Amazon Wins Ruling for $600 Million CIA Cloud Contract
    Washington Post: What Jeff Bezos Has to Say About Amazon’s CIA Contract
    InformationWeek: Amazon Again Beats IBM for CIA Cloud Contract
    Norman Solomon: If Obama Orders CIA to Kill, Amazon Will Be Partner

    Amazon now averages 162 million unique visitors to its sites every month. The firm’s business model depends on accumulating and analyzing huge quantities of personal data. Meanwhile, the CIA depends on gathering and analyzing data to serve U.S. military interventions overseas.

    During the last dozen years, the CIA has conducted ongoing drone strikes and covert lethal missions in many countries. Meanwhile, U.S. agencies like the CIA and NSA have flattened many previous obstacles to Big Brother behavior.

    The circumstances are ominous. Amazon is now providing a huge computing cloud for the CIA’s secrets -- a digital place where data for mass surveillance and perpetual war are converging.

    Please sign the petition below to challenge the Amazon-CIA partnership.

  • Is the President Allowed to Kill Anyone He Wants?

    Take a moment to tell the current president that he and any presidents who come after him are not allowed to kill anyone they want.

    Background:
    Associated Press: U.S. Suspect Possibly Targeted for Drone Attack
    LA Times: Obama Administration Mulls Lethal Strike on American in Pakistan
    Independent: Pakistani Court Declares U.S. Drone Strikes Illegal

  • Mr. President, Mr. Attorney General: Hands Off Edward Snowden!

    The U.S. government should make an ironclad commitment to fully respect Edward Snowden's legal rights to seek political asylum, and to not engage in abduction or other foul play.
    Background:
    Reuters: U.S. Revokes Snowden's Passport
    Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    Washington Post: NSA Collects Millions of Address Books
    Ray McGovern: Snowden Accepts Whistleblower Award

    Your name can go on this petition right now:

  • New Push for Single Payer Healthcare for All

    The cause of universal healthcare is alive and well. Not only is the state of Vermont moving toward a single-payer system, but Vermont's U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has introduced a bill and is holding a hearing this week on the benefits other countries enjoy from a single-payer system that would benefit everyone except the profiteering middlemen who've rigged the current system.

    Ask your senators to cosponsor and support:

  • The Day We Fight Back

    This Tuesday, February 11th is The Day We Fight Back (against mass surveillance), and we need your help.

    We understand the United States to be a democracy, founded upon a Constitution that affords us critical rights, and governed by the rule of law.

    Yet for years, the NSA has exploited secret legal interpretations to undermine our privacy rights -- thus chilling speech and activism, and thereby threatening to subvert the very underpinnings of our democracy itself.

    This Tuesday, February 11th, dozens of major websites and organizations are joining together to demand an end to mass surveillance.  We're calling it, simply, The Day We Fight Back, and we need your help to make it as powerful as possible.

    On Tuesday, February 11th, we are mobilizing thousands to call on Congress to:

        Pass the USA FREEDOM Act which would end the bulk collection of Americans' phone records, and institute other key reforms.
        Defeat the so-called FISA Improvements Act, which would entrench -- and potentially expand -- the spying.
        Create additional privacy protections for non-Americans.
        End to the NSA's subversion of encryption and other data security measures.

    Click here to visit TheDayWeFightBack.org and learn more.  While you're there, please use the social media tools there to spread word, and if you have a website, please install the banner code to make it appear on your site on Feb. 11th.

  • Earth's Future in the Friday News Dump

    It's classic. Wait till late on a Friday to announce a reprehensible decision in hopes of minimizing the uproar in response. But the extreme climate crisis doesn't take weekends off. And neither do we.
    Background:
    U.S. State Department: Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement
    Michael Mann: Approving Keystone XL Could Be the Biggest Mistake
    New York Times: Report Opens Way to Approval for Keystone Pipeline

    A State Department report has just declared that the environmental impact of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would be acceptable. This clears a path for Secretary of State John Kerry to give his approval to the pipeline.

    Tell Kerry and President Obama we will not stand for this project moving forward:

  • Honor Pete Seeger, Stop Fracking
    "It was very ironic that the day we were honoring Pete Seeger — a hero of peace and the environment — President Obama would double down on fracking claims. Seeger has been one of our champions in the fight against fracking in New York State, coming to many of our recent Albany rallies."
    — Maura Stephens, Coalition to Protect New York

    Background:
    Emily Schwartz Greco: Fracking Is a Bridge to Nowhere.
    Barack Obama: The State of the Union
    FrackBusters NY

    Send this message to President Obama and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:

  • Tell Your Representative in the Washington Legislature: Support the Fourth Amendment Protection Act

    A bill with bipartisan support in the Washington State legislature would block all state support for NSA activities that violate the Fourth Amendment. This could include cutting off electricity and water to the NSA's surveillance center at Yakima from which the NSA spies on our phones and emails without any warrant or probable cause.

    Background:
    RootsAction: Cut Off the NSA's Juice
    OffNow
    AP: NSA Listening Post in Yakima Is Secret No More

    Phone and email your representatives:

  • Tell Your Representative in the Washington Legislature: Support the Fourth Amendment Protection Act

    A bill with bipartisan support in the Washington State legislature would block all state support for NSA activities that violate the Fourth Amendment. This could include cutting off electricity and water to the NSA's surveillance center at Yakima from which the NSA spies on our phones and emails without any warrant or probable cause.

    Background:
    RootsAction: Cut Off the NSA's Juice
    OffNow
    AP: NSA Listening Post in Yakima Is Secret No More

    Phone and email your representatives:

  • [BILL TEST] No corporate welfare for weapons maker in Maine

    Bath Iron Works (BIW), which is owned by the $31 billion aerospace and military conglomerate General Dynamics Corporation, is requesting a $250,000 a year tax break for the next 25 years from the City of Bath, Maine.

    Everyone in Maine should email the Bath City Council to reject this request:
    Background:
    Organizing Notes: Door-to-Door in Bath
    Portland Press Herald: Group Fights Tax Break for BIW
    Times Record: So Far BIW Doing Better Than City
    Bangor Daily News: Rally Against Tax Break for BIW


  • [BILL TEST] Tell Karzai to Keep Saying No to 10 More Years

    Like the Iraqi government before him, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is refusing to agree to an ongoing occupation with U.S. forces immune from prosecution for crimes.  Before signing off on an ongoing military presence, Karzai says he would like the U.S. to stop killing civilians and stop kicking in people's doors at night.  He'd like the U.S. to engage in peace negotiations.  He'd like Afghan prisoners freed from Guantanamo.  (Of the 17 still there, 4 have long since been cleared for release but not released; none has been convicted of any crime.) And he says he'd like the U.S. not to sabotage the April 2014 Afghan elections. 

    While these seem like reasonable demands, under no condition should Karzai agree to an ongoing occupation. Let him know that we support that stand:

  • [BILL TEST] Open CIA Files on Mandela
    For decades, serious journalistic accounts have reported that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency played a key role in Nelson Mandela's capture in 1962, leading to his 27 years behind bars. Background:
    FAIR (12/10/2013): CIA and Mandela: Can the Story Be Told Now?
    Newsweek (12/5/2013): The Day Mandela Was Arrested, With Help From the CIA
    Cox News Service (6/10/1990): Ex-official: CIA Helped Jail Mandela

    If the United States played a role in jailing one of the most famous political prisoners in world history, shouldn't the public be told the truth?

  • [BILL TEST] Help shut off NSA's electricity

    A bill with bipartisan support in the Washington State legislature would block all state support for NSA activities that violate the Fourth Amendment. This could include cutting off electricity and water to the NSA's surveillance center at Yakima from which the NSA spies on our phones and emails without any warrant or probable cause.
    Background:
    Tenth Amendment Center:
    Bill Proposes Criminalizing Help to NSA


    Associated Press:
    NSA Listening Post in Yakima Is Secret No More

    Let the bill's sponsors know they have supporters all over the country and beyond:

  • Help shut off NSA's electricity

    A bill with bipartisan support in the Washington State legislature would block all state support for NSA activities that violate the Fourth Amendment. This could include cutting off electricity and water to the NSA's surveillance center at Yakima from which the NSA spies on our phones and emails without any warrant or probable cause.

    Background:
    RootsAction: Cut Off the NSA's Juice
    OffNow
    AP: NSA Listening Post in Yakima Is Secret No More

    Let the bill's sponsors know they have supporters all over the country and beyond:

  • People Who Brought Us Iraq War Want a New War
    If you liked the Iraq war you're going to love the Iran war! Claiming that yet more damaging sanctions are needed to bring Iran to the negotiating table, familiar faces from wars past are sabotaging an agreement already negotiated with Iran. Background:
    Stephen Kinzer: Invading Iraq Was Dumb Enough
    National Iranian American Council on S. 1881
    Berim -- Helping Iranians Change Iran

    Let's stop this madness right now:

  • Court Backs Internet Censorship: Open The Internet Now!
    A federal appeals court has sided with Verizon and against you, against us, against the Internet.

    If this ruling stands, the Internet as we know it will die.

    Background:
    Wall Street Journal:
    Appeals Court Strikes Down FCC's Net Neutrality Rules

    TechCrunch: Circuit Court Of Appeals Strikes Down FCC’s Open Internet Order

    Forget free and open access. Picture a system like cable TV with corporations charging for different levels of access, and blocking access to information they don't favor!

    The Internet is our tool for circumventing the corporate media, for reaching each other with a bit of truth and accuracy, for organizing each other into collective action. We cannot let this one go.

    Sign this petition to the FCC, Congress, and the White House now!

  • Stop arming the Iraqi government’s assault on Fallujah!

    Over 100 civilians have been killed in recent fighting in Fallujah, as the Iraqi government shells the city with American-bought weapons. The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior claims that al Qaeda has taken over the city and that a heavy-handed military response is needed to take the city back from terrorists.
    But many residents of Fallujah insist that tribal militias control Fallujah and that al Qaeda forces play only a marginal role in the fighting.
    Background
    Le Monde Diplomatique: Violence and Power Struggles
    OrientXXI: Is al Qaeda in Control of Fallujah? (French)
    The Guardian: Victims of Fallujah's Health Crisis Stifled by Silence
    Democracy Now: As U.S. Rushes Weapons to Iraq, New Assault
    The Justice for Fallujah Project

    The violence began when the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al Maliki, forced a year-old, nonviolent protest camp in Fallujah to disperse. The Iraqi government has since bombed Fallujah with American-bought Hellfire Missiles, a weapon system that is believed to contain uranium and could cause indiscriminate public health effects.

    Tell President Obama and Congress to stop selling weapons to the Iraqi government:

  • [Bill Test] Media Target Test

    Testing a Media Targeted Action

  • Please write to Judge Thapar to encourage leniency for the Oak Ridge 3, nonviolent protesters of nuclear weapons


    On February 18, 2014, three nonviolent protesters against nuclear weapons, Sr. Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Gregory Boertje-Obed, are scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, Tennessee, for the supposed crime of sabotage.

    Background:
    Washington Post: The Prophets of Oak Ridge
    Daily News: Elderly Nun, 2 Other Protestors Found Guilty of Sabotage
    Transform Now Plowshares
    National Catholic Reporter: Trial Ends With Unusual Sentence

    In a separate case in Kansas City, nuclear protesters were recently sentenced to write explanations of their concerns to be included in the court records. That seems far more appropriate than prison for people upholding the law and morality.

    Please sign this petition that we'll be delivering to the judge:

  • New Year's Resolution for Obama: Stop Coddling Big Tobacco

    President Obama’s negotiator in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks has done Big Tobacco a very big and very deadly favor. The U.S. had previously advocated for barring tobacco corporations from challenging tough national laws on cigarettes.

    Background:
    U.S. Trade Representative: New Proposal on Tobacco Regulation in the TPP
    Julia Gillard: Tobacco's Ugly Truth Must Be Uncovered
    Wall Street Journal: Obama Administration Retreats on Tobacco Proposal
    Sacramento Bee: Obama Missed a Chance to Stem Tobacco's Spread

    Now the U.S. position is that Big Tobacco should be allowed to bring such challenges, appealing to a tribunal of corporate lawyers to overturn the laws of national legislatures.

    Tell President Obama and Congress to reverse course in the new year:

  • Google buys military robots
    The robot hounds in Farenheit 451 were fiction. Google's are real. The search-engine company has just picked up major U.S. military contracts by purchasing Boston Dynamics, a Pentagon-funded company that creates robots for war. Background:
    Guardian: What is Boston Dynamics and Why Does Google Want Robots?
    Motley Fool: Google Buys Boston Dynamics; Further Reveals Plans Beyond Search


    Let Google know you'll be doing your web searching somewhere else until it gets out of the business of profiteering from war:

  • Washington Post: Readers Deserve Full Disclosure in Coverage of CIA
    The Washington Post should be honest with readers about a big conflict of interest: The newspaper's new owner Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon -- which recently landed a $600 million contract with the CIA.

    The Post often does reporting on CIA activities. The coverage should include full disclosure that the owner of the Washington Post is also the main owner of Amazon -- and Amazon is now gaining huge profits directly from the CIA.
    Background:
     Bloomberg News: Amazon Wins Ruling for $600 Million CIA Cloud Contract
    Information Week: Amazon Wins Best Cloud in CIA Bake-Off
    Washington Post: What Jeff Bezos Has to Say About Amazon’s CIA Contracts
    InformationWeek: Amazon Again Beats IBM for CIA Cloud Contract
    FAIR: Amazon, WikiLeaks, the Washington Post and the CIA


    RootsAction co-founder Norman Solomon delivering the first batch of petitions -- signed by 30,000 people -- at the Washington Post headquarters in January 2014:

    Tell the Washington Post that readers of its articles on the CIA have a right to know that the Post’s owner is in business with the CIA.

    Please sign this petition to the Washington Post:

  • Open CIA Files on Mandela
    For decades, serious journalistic accounts have reported that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency played a key role in Nelson Mandela's capture in 1962, leading to his 27 years behind bars. Background:
    FAIR (12/10/2013): CIA and Mandela: Can the Story Be Told Now?
    Newsweek (12/5/2013): The Day Mandela Was Arrested, With Help From the CIA
    Cox News Service (6/10/1990): Ex-official: CIA Helped Jail Mandela

    If the United States played a role in jailing one of the most famous political prisoners in world history, shouldn't the public be told the truth?

  • Tell Karzai to Keep Saying No to 10 More Years

    Like the Iraqi government before him, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is refusing to agree to an ongoing occupation with U.S. forces immune from prosecution for crimes.  Before signing off on an ongoing military presence, Karzai says he would like the U.S. to stop killing civilians and stop kicking in people's doors at night.  He'd like the U.S. to engage in peace negotiations.  He'd like Afghan prisoners freed from Guantanamo.  (Of the 17 still there, 4 have long since been cleared for release but not released; none has been convicted of any crime.) And he says he'd like the U.S. not to sabotage the April 2014 Afghan elections. 

    While these seem like reasonable demands, under no condition should Karzai agree to an ongoing occupation. Let him know that we support that stand:

  • More to go hungry if Stabenow deal not stopped
    Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) is reportedly working out a deal to slash food stamps (SNAP) by another $8 billion.

    Contrary to popular myth, charity giving will not fill the void. Less than 5 percent of food assistance in the U.S. comes from charity. Federal nutrition programs provide 23 times more food assistance.
    Background:
    The Nation: Stabenow Agrees to $8 Billion More in SNAP Cuts
    St Louis Post-Dispatch: Hunger Cannot Be Solved by Charity Alone

    If the Stabenow deal is not stopped, many men, women, and children will go hungry.

    Tell Senator Stabenow to adjust her priorities:

  • Switzerland Shows U.S. How to Handle CEOs

    The Swiss are voting on limiting executive pay to no more than 12 times the lowest salary in the company, and on creating  a guaranteed basic income of $2,800 per month for every adult.  That's about $16 per hour for a full-time worker, but it's guaranteed even for those who can't find work.

    Background:
    New York Times: Swiss Voters Severely Limit Executive Compensation
    Reuters: Swiss to Vote on 2,500 Franc Basic Income for Every Adult
    Huffington Post: Minimum Wage Would Be $21.72 If It Kept Pace
    CounterPunch: Basic Income Guarantee Versus the Corporate Media

    You know what country can afford such a measure even more easily, given its vast supplies of wealth? The United States of America. Tell Congress and the President now!

  • Iran war promoters want your silence

    Some powerful forces are eager for talks with Iran to collapse -- so the U.S. military will attack Iran. If peace is not pursued, momentum will build toward war.

    The United States has been at similar crossroads before. With horrific results, U.S. leaders bypassed alternatives and pursued war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

    There’s got to be a better way.
    Background:
    Robert Parry:
    The Saudi-Israeli Tag Team
    Tom H. Hastings and Erin E. Niemela: Peace Options on Iran
     Associated Press: Bush Rejects Taliban Bin Laden Offer
    Washington Post: Report Says Hussein Was Open To Exile Before 2003 Invasion
    BBC: Gaddafi Government Accepts Truce Plan, Says Zuma
    Washington Post: Senior Senators Signal Concern With Current Iran Talks

    Click below to tell the State Department, Congress and the President: we've had enough wars, and we want peace with Iran.

  • Stop Feinstein's phony bill and NSA abuses
    Congress now faces a stark choice on the NSA and civil liberties.

    A bill sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein -- the FISA Improvements Act -- would make matters worse. As ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson puts it, the Feinstein bill "would entrench the current spying programs" of the NSA. "For the first time in history, Congress would explicitly and intentionally authorize dragnet domestic spying programs targeting every day Americans."
    Background:
    Los Angeles Times editorial:  NSA's metadata program: End it, don't mend it
    Michelle Richardson, ACLU: Feinstein's NSA bill shows she doesn't have a clue about intelligence reform
    Trevor Timm, Electronic Frontier Foundation: Sen. Dianne Feinstein's New NSA Bill Will Codify and Extend Mass Surveillance of Americans
    Marcy Wheeler, EmptyWheel.net: Leahy-Sensenbrenner Would Shut the Section 702 Cybersecurity Loophole

    In sharp contrast, a bill sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner -- the USA FREEDOM Act – would take major strides toward ending NSA abuses.

    Please take action now to let your senators and representative in Congress know that you want them to oppose the Feinstein bill -- and support the Leahy-Sensenbrenner bill while pushing to make it stronger.

  • Climate Justice Now
    The Philippines emits 0.9 metric tons of carbon per capita. The United States emits 17.6. But the people of the Philippines are now enduring the terrible results of the strongest storm ever measured. Evidence shows that climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of tropical storms.

    The Philippines' climate chief Naderev "Yeb" Saño is engaged in a hunger strike at the climate talks now underway in Warsaw, Poland. He's protesting the refusal of the United States and other polluting nations to take serious action.
    Background:
    Scientific American: Did Climate Change Cause Typhoon Haiyan?
    Guardian: Is Climate Change to Blame for Typhoon Haiyan?
    Nation: Yes, Typhoon Haiyan Was Caused by Climate Change
    Democracy Now: Stop This Madness
    TheRealNews: Filipino Delegate Goes on Hunger Strike
    CommonDreams: This Polluter Won't Pay

    Tell the U.S. government to listen:

  • [Bill TEST] Blind Action restricted to state

    Blind Action restricted to the state of Maine

  • [Bill TEST] No corporate welfare for weapons maker in Maine

    Bath Iron Works (BIW), which is owned by the $31 billion aerospace and military conglomerate General Dynamics Corporation, is requesting a $250,000 a year tax break for the next 25 years from the City of Bath, Maine.

    Everyone in Maine should email the Bath City Council to reject this request:
    Background:
    Organizing Notes: Door-to-Door in Bath
    Portland Press Herald: Group Fights Tax Break for BIW
    Times Record: So Far BIW Doing Better Than City
    Bangor Daily News: Rally Against Tax Break for BIW


  • [Bill Test] Blind Target Test

    Testing a Blind Targeted Action

  • No corporate welfare for weapons maker in Maine

    Bath Iron Works (BIW), which is owned by the $31 billion aerospace and military conglomerate General Dynamics Corporation, is requesting a $250,000 a year tax break for the next 25 years from the City of Bath, Maine.

    Everyone in Maine should email the Bath City Council to reject this request:
    Background:
    Organizing Notes: Door-to-Door in Bath
    Portland Press Herald: Group Fights Tax Break for BIW
    Times Record: So Far BIW Doing Better Than City
    Bangor Daily News: Rally Against Tax Break for BIW


  • Texas Fracker Invades Canada

    A Texas fracking company called Southwestern Energy is searching for gas to extract from the land of indigenous communities in eastern Canada.

    The people are nonviolently resisting. In fact Native, Acadian, and Anglo communities are uniting in the common defense of their land and water.
    Background:
    CommonDreams: Protests Sweep Canada Following Paramilitary Assault
    Mi'Kmaq Blockade


    But Canada's militarized police are using teargas and dogs to defend the rights of a Texas corporation.

    Let's flood Southwestern Energy and the Canadian government with emails:

  • Student Privacy: Protect Our Children and Their Families

    Did you know that the No Child Left Behind Act requires every child's high school to divulge his or her personal information to military recruiters, without parents' consent?

    The Student Privacy and Protection Act will change this military recruitment from an “opt-out” to an “opt-in” program.

    Recruiting efforts should honor the privacy rights of our children and their families.

    Email your Representative, Senators, and President now:

  • Let's Prevent Poisoning of Kids in Baltimore

    Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley wants to stick a giant incinerator into a poor neighborhood in Baltimore.  This monstrosity, called the Energy Answers Incinerator, would be the largest trash-burning incinerator in the nation, consuming 4,000 tons of trash a day including plastic, rubber, vinyl, metal, and household waste. 

    In violation of state law this worse-than-a-major-coal-plant pollution machine would be situated less than a mile from Benjamin Franklin High School and Curtis Bay Elementary School. The incinerator would flood the air with mercury, nitric oxide, lead, dioxins, and particulate matter, producing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and respiratory problems.

    The neighborhood to be victimized, Curtis Bay, already has the highest toxic air pollution in Maryland and among the worst in the nation.

    Please contact Governor O’Malley and your state legislators now:

  • CNN's Pro-Nuke Propaganda

    The Nation: Pandora's Myths vs. Facts
    FAIR: CNN Doubles Down on Pro-Nuclear Bias

           

    CNN is airing the pro-nuclear power documentary Pandora's Promise.

    The film tells one side of the nuclear debate, profiling a few people who were once critical of the nuclear industry and are now boosters.

    Tell CNN to do better:

  • What Do They Do to Whistleblowers Who Are Already in Prison?

    Kevin "Rashid" Johnson has been blowing the whistle on abuse and torture in U.S. prisons. These actions would take courage even if Rashid were a guard, but Rashid is a prisoner. Background:
    Truthout: Odyssey of a Prisoner-Advocate, From Virginia to Texas
    CommonDreams: On Soul-Killing Solitary
    Kevin "Rashid" Johnson: Audio essay "We Are All Doing Time"

    Rashid has been documenting widespread and routine food deprivation, sleep deprivation, physical torture, denial of medical care, extended solitary confinement, death threats, the instigation of racial divisions, unsanitary conditions, destruction of property, interference with letters, denial of legal rights, and retribution against those who expose, protest, or organize.

    It's up to us to hear the cries of one prisoner speaking for many others, and to raise our voices with theirs for basic human rights.

    Email the Virginia and Texas prison authorities:

  • Take action for Syria: humanitarian aid

    We stopped the missiles, but we haven't stopped the guns flowing into Syria from the U.S. government under the label of "military aid."

    And we haven't sent humanitarian aid at nearly the levels required. More people are at risk of death and suffering because of this aid failure than were likely to be killed by the missiles.
    Background:
    Doctors Without Borders: Where's the Urgency Over Humanitarian Aid to Syria?
    Truthout: Syria: From Refugees to Asylum Seekers
    Polling Results on Syria

    Email Congress, the President, and the United Nations now:

  • McPay Your McWorkers McNow

    McDonald's can afford to pay its employees a living wage. Instead it's gobbling up oversized profits -- $5.46 billion last year.

    Let's supersize McDonald's executives email in-boxes:

  • Texas Fracker Invades Canada

    A Texas fracking company called Southwestern Energy is searching for gas to extract from the land of indigenous communities in eastern Canada.

    The people are nonviolently resisting. In fact Native, Acadian, and Anglo communities are uniting in the common defense of their land and water.
    Background:
    CommonDreams: Protests Sweep Canada Following Paramilitary Assault
    Mi'Kmaq Blockade


    But Canada's militarized police are using teargas and dogs to defend the rights of a Texas corporation.

    Let's flood Southwestern Energy and the Canadian government with emails:

  • Arming the World for Peace?

    The Obama administration has just taken action to seriously loosen restrictions on the sale of weapons abroad.

    Already, the United States dominates world weapons sales, accounting for 78% of such sales in 2011. Russia is in second place with 5.6%.

    Tell the White House and Congress to end foreign weapons sales, not expand them:
    Background:
    Congressional Research Service: Conventional Arms Transfers, 2004-2011
    Stars and Stripes: In Big Win for War Industry, Obama Rolls Back Limits on Arms
    William Hartung: The Economic Illogic of the Obama Administration's Reforms
    Democracy Now: U.S. Eases Rules on Exporting Military Technology
    Democracy Now: U.S. Weapons and Arms Parts Continued to Flow to Egypt


  • Switzerland Shows U.S. How to Handle CEOs

    The Swiss are voting on limiting executive pay to no more than 12 times the lowest salary in the company, and on creating  a guaranteed basic income of $2,800 per month for every adult.  That's about $16 per hour for a full-time worker, but it's guaranteed even for those who can't find work.

    Background:
    New York Times: Swiss Voters Severely Limit Executive Compensation
    Reuters: Swiss to Vote on 2,500 Franc Basic Income for Every Adult
    Huffington Post: Minimum Wage Would Be $21.72 If It Kept Pace
    CounterPunch: Basic Income Guarantee Versus the Corporate Media

    You know what country can afford such a measure even more easily, given its vast supplies of wealth? The United States of America. Tell Congress and the President now!

  • Secretary of State Kerry: Reinstate Edward Snowden’s passport!

    The U.S. State Department revoked the passport of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, whose “crime” was to educate Americans and the world about the dangerous growth of the U.S. surveillance state.

    Freedom to travel requires a passport. It’s a basic principle.

    Ed Snowden didn’t get the due process he deserves.

    Background:
      Reuters: U.S. Revokes Snowden's Passport
      Universal Declaration of Human Rights
      Guardian: Brazilian President: U.S. “Breach of International Law”
      Washington Post: NSA Collects Millions of Address Books
      Ray McGovern: Snowden Accepts Whistleblower Award

    Sign a petition we'll deliver to Secretary of State John Kerry:

  • You Cut Social Security, You Should Leave Congress

    A Grand Bargain is in the air again, and it smells familiar after all these years of fighting it off. Here's our new message to House members and senators:

    If you agree to any cuts in Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits, we will begin looking for your replacement.
    This page is best reached at
    StopGrandBargain.org

    Background:

    NBC: Money for Nothing
    Richard Eskow: 8 Reasons to Refuse a Shutdown "Grand Bargain"


    The Grand Bargain, like the grand shutdown, is grand larceny. The "essential" military and NSA and CIA are up and running, while "inessential" programs of social uplift are closed, likely costing us $12 million per hour in pure waste.

  • Not Another Year in Afghanistan

    There are almost twice as many U.S. troops in Afghanistan now as when Barack Obama became president. We're still spending over $10 million every hour (even during a government shutdown) for a war in Afghanistan that has now completed its 12th year and entered its 13th. This spending drains rather than fuels the U.S. economy.

    Inflicting more war on Afghanistan has involved the killing of thousands of civilians. Experts in the U.S., British, and Afghan governments agree that this is making us less safe, not protecting us.
    Background:
    1. AFP: Hagel Hopes Deal By End October On U.S. Forces
    2. CostOfWar.com
    3. PERI: Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending
    4. The Nation: The Deaths of Afghans
    5. Fred Branfman: Even Warriors Say Wars Make Us Less Safe
    6. Washington Post: Security Agreement with the U.S. Still on Hold
    7. CBS: Afghanistan: U.S. Blocking Deal on Future Security Pact
    8. Ann Jones: The Forgotten War: 12 Years in Afghanistan
    9. Polling Report: Afghanistan

    President Obama is trying to negotiate an agreement with corrupt lame-duck President Hamid Karzai to keep some U.S. troops in Afghanistan indefinitely, with immunity from prosecution for crimes and the right to continue attacking Afghans including with raids on their homes at night. This could mean nine major U.S. military bases remaining in Afghanistan at a huge cost in dollars, lives, safety, and environmental destruction for decades to come.

    If you are in the U.S. please click here.

  • Not Another Year in Afghanistan

    There are almost twice as many U.S. troops in Afghanistan now as when Barack Obama became president. We're still spending over $10 million every hour (even during a government shutdown) for a war in Afghanistan that has now completed its 12th year and entered its 13th. This spending drains rather than fuels the U.S. economy.

    Inflicting more war on Afghanistan has involved the killing of thousands of civilians. Experts in the U.S., British, and Afghan governments agree that this is making us less safe, not protecting us.
    Background:
    1. AFP: Hagel Hopes Deal By End October On U.S. Forces
    2. CostOfWar.com
    3. PERI: Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending
    4. The Nation: The Deaths of Afghans
    5. Fred Branfman: Even Warriors Say Wars Make Us Less Safe
    6. Washington Post: Security Agreement with the U.S. Still on Hold
    7. CBS: Afghanistan: U.S. Blocking Deal on Future Security Pact
    8. Ann Jones: The Forgotten War: 12 Years in Afghanistan
    9. Polling Report: Afghanistan

    President Obama is trying to negotiate an agreement with corrupt lame-duck President Hamid Karzai to keep some U.S. troops in Afghanistan indefinitely, with immunity from prosecution for crimes and the right to continue attacking Afghans including with raids on their homes at night. This could mean nine major U.S. military bases remaining in Afghanistan at a huge cost in dollars, lives, safety, and environmental destruction for decades to come.

    If you are not in the U.S. please click here.

  • Tell Google: Don't Be Evil With ALEC

    Dozens of corporations have dropped their funding of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). But now Google, Facebook and Yelp are helping to pick up the tab. Background:
    AlecExposed.org
    SourceWatch: Google, Facebook, Yelp Members ALEC Task Force
    FreePress: Tech Titans Jump the Shark

    ALEC targets state legislatures around the country to roll back labor rights, environmental protection, civil rights, public health measures and more. Using big money, corporate clout and smooth lobbyists, ALEC teams up with like-minded state lawmakers to draft and enact regressive legislation.

    Tell Google and other huge firms to which we'll deliver this petition not to participate in ALEC's corruption of our government:

  • Don't Destroy Pagan Island

    The U.S. Marine Corps has found a rich and beautiful island, falsely called it "desolate and uninhabitable" (despite the fact that many species live there, including homo sapiens), and proposed to make it a live-fire bombing range. Background:
    SavePaganIsland.org
    Helen Jaccard and David Swanson: Vieques 10 Years After


    The island of Vieques was nearly destroyed this way. Let's not let that happen to Pagan Island.

    Stop the bombing range before it starts! Save Pagan Island! Click to email Congress and the President now.

    If you are in the United States, please click here.

  • Don't Destroy Pagan Island

    The U.S. Marine Corps has found a rich and beautiful island, falsely called it "desolate and uninhabitable" (despite the fact that many species live there, including homo sapiens), and proposed to make it a live-fire bombing range. Background:
    SavePaganIsland.org
    Helen Jaccard and David Swanson: Vieques 10 Years After


    The island of Vieques was nearly destroyed this way. Let's not let that happen to Pagan Island.

    Stop the bombing range before it starts! Save Pagan Island! Click to email Congress and the President now.

    If you are not in the United States, please click here.

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  • Fukushima Crisis Demands Global Take-Over

    "We are now within two months of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis."
    —Harvey Wasserman, author and activist

    Fukushima’s owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), does not have the resources to handle 1,300 spent fuel rods now sitting in a badly damaged pool perched 100 feet in the air, with the potential to spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima.

    Background:

    Harvey Wasserman:

    Crisis at Fukushima 4 Demands a Global Take-Over

    AFP:
    Fukushima Dumps 1,000 Tons of Polluted Water into Sea


    This crisis comes just as the Obama Administration is trying to provide a $8.3 billion loan to build the first new nuclear plants in the U.S. in almost 30 years. Tell President Obama to loan that $8.3 billion to a Fukushima emergency clean-up instead. Tell the United Nations to lead that effort immediately.

    Click to Email President Obama and Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon:

  • Encourage Obama and Rouhani to Talk

    President Hassan Rouhani’s election was a hopeful moment for many Iranians, and the recent release of Nasrin Sotoudeh and at least a dozen other political prisoners is cause for celebration.

    So are indications of openness to dialogue by the Obama administration.

    Background:
    Guardian: Iranian Political Prisoners' Plea to Barack Obama
    Havaar: Iranian Initiative Against War, Sanctions, Repression

    Don'tAttackIran.org

    RootsAction supports the proposals of our friends at Havaar for grassroots pressure pushing for an end to threats of war, an end to the ongoing sanctions that continue to harm average Iranians, and an end to Iranian state repression.

    Please click to email this message to Presidents Obama and Rouhani (feel free to add your own comments):

  • Now let’s stop “lethal aid” to Syria

    We helped prevent U.S. missile strikes on Syria. Public pressure made Congress turn against an attack, opening the door to diplomacy. Now let’s stop the flow of “lethal aid” to Syria.
    Background:
    Washington Post: U.S. Weapons Reaching Syrian Rebels
    NY Times: Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands with CIA Aid
    NY Times: U.N. Cites Evidence of Crimes By Both Sides

    “The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria,” the Washington Post reported. Those shipments have combined with “separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.”

    Tell Congress and President Obama that you want this “lethal aid” to stop:

    If you are in the United States click here.

  • Now let’s stop “lethal aid” to Syria — StopWeaponsToSyria.org

    We helped prevent U.S. missile strikes on Syria. Public pressure made Congress turn against an attack, opening the door to diplomacy. Now let’s stop the flow of “lethal aid” to Syria.

    “The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria,” the Washington Post reported. Those shipments have combined with “separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.”
    Background:
    Washington Post: U.S. Weapons Reaching Syrian Rebels
    NY Times: Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands with CIA Aid
    NY Times: U.N. Cites Evidence of Crimes By Both Sides

    Partners:
    RootsAction.org
    Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
    OpEdNews.com
    Carlisle Peace College
    Earth Rights Institute

    Coalition for Grassroots Progress


    Tell your senators, representative and President Obama that you want this “lethal aid” to stop:

    If you are not in the United States, click here.

  • Tammy Baldwin & Bombing Syria

    Senator Tammy Baldwin is undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Wisconsin.

    In fact, some constituents in Wisconsin confronted Senator Baldwin this weekend with a song. Watch the video. Learn the lyrics.

    Click below to tell Sen. Baldwin not to attack Syria:

  • Keith Ellison & Bombing Syria

    Congressman Keith Ellison says it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria (although that would mean fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda), for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Minnesota.

    Ellison co-chairs the Progressive Caucus, which has failed to take concerted action against this looming war -- a failure that has enabled war advocates to move the debate toward broader military engagement.

    Ellison has thrown his support behind bombing Syria.

    Click below to tell Rep. Ellison not to attack Syria:

  • Reed, Whitehouse, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from Rhode Island are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Rhode Island.

    Click below to tell Senators Reed and Whitehouse, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Shelby, Sessions, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from Alabama are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Alabama.

    Click below to tell Senators Shelby and Sessions, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Collins, King, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from Maine are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Maine.

    Click below to tell Senators Collins and King, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Cochran, Wicker, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from Mississippi are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Mississippi.

    Click below to tell Senators Cochran and Wicker, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Donnelly, Coats, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from Indiana are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Indiana.

    Click below to tell Senators Donnelly and Coats, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Wyden, Merkley, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from Oregon are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Oregon.

    Click below to tell Senators Wyden and Merkley, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Cantwell, Murray, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from Washington are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Washington.

    Click below to tell Senators Cantwell and Murray, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Udall, Bennet, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from Colorado are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Colorado.

    Click below to tell Senators Udall and Bennet, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Murkowski, Begich, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from Alaska are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Alaska.

    Click below to tell Senators Murkowski and Begich, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Portman, Brown, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from Ohio are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Ohio.

    Click below to tell Senators Portman and Brown, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • McCaskill, Blunt, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from Missouri are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Missouri.

    Click below to tell Senators McCaskill and Blunt, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Sanders, Leahy & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from Vermont are leaning toward voting against an attack on Syria, but have not committed.  Can they be in doubt on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms"?

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of Vermont.

    Click below to tell Senators Sanders and Leahy, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Thune, Johnson, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from South Dakota are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of South Dakota.

    Click below to tell Senators Thune and Johnson, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Heitkamp, Hoeven, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from North Dakota are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about elected officials representing the good will of the people of North Dakota.

    Click below to tell Senators Heitkamp and Hoeven, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Markey, Warren, & Bombing Syria

    Both senators from Massachusetts are undecided on whether it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to attack Syria, fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda, and for the stated purpose of upholding "international norms."

    When did bombing other countries become an international norm?  Violating the U.N. Charter to seek vigilante justice by escalating an uncontrollable war, causing unknown death and suffering, is not what people have in mind when they think about good, enlightened, liberal Massachusetts and its Democratic senators.

    Click below to tell Senators Warren and Markey, and your representative, and President Obama, not to attack Syria:

  • Prevent an Attack on Syria Now


    You can sign this petition no matter where you live. If you live in the U.S. and want to email your Congress members and president, click here.

    The terrible and widespread killing in Syria will become even more terrible and more widespread if the U.S. military (or a coalition of allies) launches an attack.

    The choice is not between doing nothing and bombing the Syrian people.
    Background:
    Bob Dreyfuss, The Nation: No War With Syria
    IPA: An Illegal War Forced on Syria That Benefits Al-Qaeda?
    Mairead Maguire: Syria: No Armaments to Rebels

    Click below to let those who could bomb people in our names know that they have alternatives:

  • Prevent an Attack on Syria Now

    The terrible and widespread killing in Syria will become even more terrible and more widespread if the U.S. military (or a coalition of allies) launches an attack.

    The choice is not between doing nothing and bombing the Syrian people.
    Background:
    Bob Dreyfuss, The Nation: No War With Syria
    IPA: An Illegal War Forced on Syria That Benefits Al-Qaeda?
    Mairead Maguire: Syria: No Armaments to Rebels

    Click below to let those who could bomb people in our names know that they have alternatives:

    If you don't live in the United States, please click here.

  • Update from Oslo: Bradley Manning Nobel Peace Prize

    RootsAction's Norman Solomon delivered our petition with over 100,000 signers to the Nobel Committee in Oslo. Thousands of newspapers published stories from Reuters, AFP, the Associated Press, and other outlets. TV and radio coverage also reached many millions of people across the globe.

    Now is a great time to inform people in your community about why you signed our historic petition.

    Click below to contact local media outlets -- and to urge them to get the story right while reporting on a “local angle” including your own involvement in the petition:

  • One State Moves from War to Peace Economy -- So Can Yours

    RootsAction members in Connecticut asked their governor to sign a bill creating a commission to plan for conversion from military industries to civilian and environmentally sustainable manufacturing.

    The governor signed it.

    Click below to ask your own state legislature to follow this example.

    Background:
    PERI: U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending
    David Swanson: Connecticut Advances Conversion
    New Haven Peace Council
    No Nukes No War
    City of New Haven Peace Commission
    Connecticut AFL-CIO
    International Association of Machinists - Connecticut


  • We Stopped SOPA -- Let's Stop the TPP

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a hush-hush trade pact that threatens millions of Internet users’ rights to connect and communicate.

    The text of the agreement has been shrouded in secrecy. But we know from leaked documents that the TPP would let corporations monitor our online activities, cut off our Internet access, delete content and impose fines.

    The TPP is that bad. And it’s on a fast track to getting U.S. approval — without any public review or input.

    This is why the Free Press Action Fund has joined with RootsAction to stop the TPP.



    Background:

    David Swanson: TPP: Terrible Plutocratic Plan
    ExposeTheTPP.org
    FlushTheTPP.org
    CitizensTrade.org
    TPPxborder.org

    Sign our joint letter to Congress and the White House and tell them to reject the TPP.

  • Don't Let NSA's 4th Amendment Violation Center Open in Utah

    The NSA data center in Bluffdale, Utah will -- if it opens -- serve only one purpose: to violate the Fourth Amendment. 

    This center sucks up data on our use of the internet, telephones, skype, emails, texts, credit cards, and financial, legal, travel, and health records.
    Background:
    Defense One: 7 Times Bigger Than the Pentagon
    James Bamford: NSA Building Country's Biggest Spy Center

    Tell Congress and the President not to open the NSA Utah Data Center's doors.

  • You can help "affordable college" idea catch fire


    Long-term declines in state higher education funding and more recent severe budget cuts are pushing college out of reach for middle class and low-income students. Students and their families are forced to choose to either take on massive debt or shelve plans to attend college. 

    Background:
    Economic Opportunity Institute
    One-Page PDF on How it Works
    Katrina vanden Heuvel: An Oregon Trail to End Student Debt

    A new plan called "Pay It Forward" recently passed in Oregon. Under Pay It Forward students would attend college with no upfront tuition. Instead, students would contribute a small, fixed-percentage of their income -- about 3 or 4 percent -- for a set number of years after college -- between 10 and 25 depending on where they attend school. Contributions would be placed back into the state's education fund and enable the next class of students to receive the same education free from massive, life-crippling student loans.

    Leaders from across the country are considering action on Pay It Forward – but they need to know there's a movement of support behind it.
    Email your state  legislators and let them know you support Pay It Forward and expanded funding for public higher education:

  • Vote Could Curtail NSA Spying This Week

    A vote in the full House is expected later this week (probably Wednesday!) on Rep. Justin Amash's amendment to substantially curtail the NSA's domestic spying regime. The Amash amendment will be offered during the debate on the "defense" appropriations bill, the whole of which should be rejected if possible and this amendment enacted separately.

    According to the House Rules Committee, the Amash amendment "Ends authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. Bars the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215."

    Please join with RootsAction and our partner on this action Daily Kos in sending your Representative this note:

  • Prisoners' massive hunger strike needs your help now

    "We are certain that we will prevail . . . the only questions being: How many will die starvation-related deaths before state officials sign the agreement? The world is watching!"


    Those words are from prisoners in California's prison system, 12,000 of whom have chosen to stop eating.  These prisoners are routinely abused for their alleged participation in racially divided and violent gangs. Yet they have organized across racial lines and across prisons to nonviolently demand basic human rights, rights that the Geneva Conventions require for prisoners of war, rights that treaties to which the United States is party require for all human beings.


    Click below to tell California Governor Jerry Brown and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that we are paying attention to this hunger strike and that we oppose prolonged solitary confinement.
    Background:
    Truthout: Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers
    Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity
    Physicians for Human Rights: U.N. Advisor Says Solitary is Torture


  • Snooping and Snitching

    This summer, no news about surveillance has been more disturbing than revelations about the U.S. government’s Insider Threat Program,
    which McClatchy news service described as "a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions."
    Background:
    McClatchy: Obama’s Crackdown Views Leaks as Aiding Enemies
    The Nation: Obama’s “Insider Threat Program”
    Democracy Now: Government Employees Urged to Tattle
    Digby: This Really Is Big Brother . . .

    McClatchy documented that the Insider Threat Program "emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of 'insider threat' give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct."

    Let your senators and representative in Congress know that you oppose any such program:

  • Stop Student-Loan Sharks
    We're failing to provide the quality education that we could easily afford to make free for everyone.  The $1.1 trillion in current student debt is less than the $1.2 trillion the U.S. government spends on war and war preparation in a single year.

    Congress' inaction is doubling the interest rate on student debt.  Send them this message now:

    Background:
    Zoe Carpenter, The Nation: It's Not Just the Interest Rate
    Chris Hellman, Tomgram: $1.2 Trillion for War Preparation

  • Create a Peace Pact Holiday on August 27th




    Our holidays include Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Flag Day, Patriots Day, Yellow Ribbon Day, Independence Day, Military Spouses Appreciation Day, Iraq-Afghanistan Wars Day (yes, Congress created this)

    Are you beginning to see a pattern? 

    If you think another holiday should be included, please add your name:

    Background:
    When the World Outlawed War, by David Swanson
    A New Holiday Is Being Created for Peace
    The Peace Pact is listed as in force on the
    U.S. State Department website

    (open the document, scroll to page 454)

    Partner:

  • Mr. President, Hands Off Edward Snowden!

    Now that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is seeking political asylum, there is a real danger the U.S. government will try to grab him under the guise of law enforcement.

    Tell President Obama: Hands off Edward Snowden!


    (If you are not a U.S. resident, please click here to sign.)


    Background:
    The Guardian: NSA Collecting Phone Records of Millions
    The Guardian: NSA Prism Program Taps in to User Data
    The Guardian: Edward Snowden: the Whistleblower
    The New York Times: The Criminal NSA

         

    Edward Snowden photo

  • President Obama, Hands Off Edward Snowden!

    Now that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is seeking political asylum, there is a real danger the U.S. government will try to grab him under the guise of law enforcement.

    Tell President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder (to whom we will deliver this petition): Hands off Edward Snowden!

    Background:
    The Guardian: NSA Collecting Phone Records of Millions
    The Guardian: NSA Prism Program Taps in to User Data
    The Guardian: Edward Snowden: the Whistleblower

    Edward Snowden photo

  • Media want war in Syria. We don't.

    Only 15% of the U.S. public wants the U.S. military involved in Syria, and only 11% wants the U.S. providing weapons to the Syrian opposition.

    The corporate media outlets are working to change this admirable outlook. Interviewers, including Candy Crowley on CNN, have hosted panels of all pro-war guests.  David Muir on ABC News and David Gregory on NBC's Meet the Press reported unsubstantiated White House claims about chemical weapons as "confirmed," when the only confirmation was the White House claims.

    Background:                  
    NBC/WSJ poll:                  
    Americans Oppose Intervention in Syria

    Peter Hart, FAIR:                 
    Syria and Chemical Weapons: What Do We Know?

      Syria and Sarin: Skepticism Still Warranted
    Rachel Maddow's Iran Misinformation

         

    A broader war in Syria risks dragging in a number of nations, with consequences unforeseeable and terrible. The best likely outcome of such a war would be an unpopular anti-democratic Syrian government, installed against the will of the U.S. public, in the name of democracy.

    Now is the time to raise our voices.

  • Thank NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden

    Our country is in the midst of a struggle between the growing surveillance state and our precious civil liberties. Now a whistleblower has boldly stepped forward to expose the National Security Agency’s vast spying on our phone records and online communications.

    Explaining his actions, the 29-year-old computer expert said: “I can't in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."


    Background:

    The Guardian: NSA Collecting Phone Records of Millions
    The Guardian: NSA Prism Program Taps in to User Data
    The Guardian: Edward Snowden: the Whistleblower

  • Austerity's Butcher Shop
    As Fermanagh, Ireland, prepares to host officials from the wealthy G8 nations, run-down and abandoned stores have been painted over with images of "free-market" prosperity.  The happy, thriving butcher's shop pictured here consists of stickers plastered to windows.  It wouldn't do for the architects of austerity to see its actual effects.

    Fraud and a butcher's shop, in fact, are perfect images for austerity "science," which turns out to be on a par with climate-change denial and creationism.  An influential study claiming to prove that government deficits halt economic growth has recently been debunked.  Claims in the United States that our Social Security system is in trouble have just been disproven for the umpteenth time.
    Background:
    Irish Times: Recession Out of the Picture
    BBC: Anti-G8 Protesters Fear 'Heavy-Handed' Police
    The Real News: PhD Student Debunks Austerity Study
    PERI: Does High Public Debt Stifle Economic Growth?
    Sanders Statement on Social Security Trust Fund Report


    The United States is rolling in wealth, but the wealth is piled up in the hands of a tiny oligarchy.  That is the real project of austerity.  Public funds are flowing like water, but they're flowing into the Pentagon and prisons and tax breaks for the wealthy, while we cut education, environmental protection, and infrastructure.

    Let your public officials know right now that you don't want more of the same to come out of the G8 summit in Ireland.

  • TPP: Terrible Plutocratic Plan

    The TPP is actually the Trans-Pacific Partnership, more commonly known as NAFTA on steroids. The U.S. government is secretly negotiating this treaty with Pacific nations.  Here are a few highlights of what whistleblowers have revealed is in this fundamentally anti-democratic treaty:
    • Corporate nationhood, empowering corporations to sue real nations and overturn their laws.
    • Job offshoring.
    • Damage to food safety and environmental protections.
    • Enrichment of drug companies at the expense of health, and banning some generic drugs.
    • Further deregulating banks, and forbidding the breaking up of too-big-to-fail financial firms.
    • Censoring the internet.

    Background:
    Talk Nation Radio: Here Comes Corporate Nationhood
    Public Citizen: How the TPP Impacts You
    Public Citizen: How the TPP Would Impact Financial Regulations

    Partner:

    Sign below to oppose the TPP:

  • TPP: Terrible Plutocratic Plan

    The TPP is actually the Trans-Pacific Partnership, more commonly known as NAFTA on steroids. The U.S. government is secretly negotiating this treaty with Pacific nations.  Here are a few highlights of what whistleblowers have revealed is in this fundamentally anti-democratic treaty:
    • Corporate nationhood, empowering corporations to sue real nations and overturn their laws.
    • Job offshoring.
    • Damage to food safety and environmental protections.
    • Enrichment of drug companies at the expense of health, and banning some generic drugs.
    • Further deregulating banks, and forbidding the breaking up of too-big-to-fail financial firms.
    • Censoring the internet.

    Background:
    Talk Nation Radio: Here Comes Corporate Nationhood
    Public Citizen: How the TPP Impacts You
    Public Citizen: How the TPP Would Impact Financial Regulations

    Partner:

    Tell your representative, senators and the president to oppose the TPP:

    If you are not from the U.S. go here.

  • Repeal the "War on Terror"


    After more than 11 years the Authorization for Use of Military Force -- the congressional resolution that launched the "war on terror" -- has not been repealed.

    Congresswoman Barbara Lee has introduced a bill to repeal it.

    Please sign the petition below.


    Background:
    H.R.198: Repeal of the AUMF

    Dirty Wars, the book

    Dirty Wars, the flim


    The next screen you get to will include video of Rep. Lee's prescient and powerful remarks in 2001.

  • Unacceptable: Obama Keeping Reporter in Prison in Yemen



    UPDATE
    July 23, 2013: Shaye has been freed!  Thank you to everyone who helped!

    On December 17, 2009, U.S. Tomahawk missiles and incendiary cluster bombs rained down on the tiny Yemeni village of al Majala, killing 21 children, 14 women, and 6 men, and burning all the homes and their contents. The government of Yemen falsely claimed responsibility.  Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye disproved that claim.

    While the U.S. government was searching for U.S. citizen Anwar Awlaki to kill him, Shaye repeatedly tracked him down and interviewed him.  These were tough and serious interviews, with Shaye asking Awlaki how he could possibly support acts of violence.  Awlaki's image was not helped.

    On February 2, 2011, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, under public pressure, had drawn up, printed out, and was prepared to sign a pardon of Shaye, imprisoned on trumped-up charges.  But Saleh received a phone call from President Barack Obama, who opposed release of the journalist.  Saleh ripped up the pardon.

    Americans will learn Shaye's story in the film version of Dirty Wars, which opens in U.S. theaters on June 7. 
    Let's seize this moment to tell President Obama and the Yemeni government that a journalist should not be locked up for doing his job.


    Flyer to hand out at Dirty Wars or anywhere: PDF.

    Background:

    Dirty Wars, the Book
    Dirty Wars, the Film (opens June 7!)
    Jeremy Scahill: Why Is Obama Keeping a Journalist in Prison?
    Iona Craig: Will Obama keep Yemeni Journalist in Jail?
    Letter from Abdulelah Haider Shaye
    White House: President's Call With President Saleh

    Online Partner:

    Delivering Petition to White House and Yemen:



    By signing you agree that you may receive emails from DemandProgress.org.

  • Justice for Furkan Dogan

    Three years ago this week,
    in international waters, the Israeli navy intercepted a flotilla of ships attempting to deliver humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip and to break Israel's illegal blockade.

    Israeli commandos stormed the ships and killed eight Turkish citizens and 18-year-old U.S. citizen Furkan Dogan aboard the Mavi Marmara.

    But instead of investigating Furkan's killing and holding Israel accountable, the Obama administration deferred to Israel’s investigation, which predictably exonerated all of the Israeli soldiers involved and failed to provide any explanation for Furkan's killing. Disturbingly, the Obama administration even engaged in diplomatic efforts to obstruct attempts to obtain international accountability for the attack, according to documents obtained by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

    Please take a minute to add your name to this petition calling on President Obama to investigate Furkan Dogan’s killing and hold Israel accountable.
    Background:
    U.N. Human Rights Council Report
    Center for Constitutional Rights: Gaza Freedom Flotilla
    Anatolia News Agency: Father of Victim Joins Delegation to U.S.

    Partners:



  • Justice for Furkan Dogan

    Three years ago this week, the Israeli navy intercepted in international waters a flotilla of ships attempting to deliver humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip and to break Israel's illegal blockade.

    Israeli commandoes stormed the ships and killed eight Turkish citizens and 18-year-old U.S. citizen Furkan Dogan aboard the Mavi Marmara.

    But instead of investigating Furkan's killing and holding Israel accountable, the Obama administration engaged in diplomatic efforts to prevent fully independent, credible investigations into the attack and deferred to Israel’s investigation, which predictably exonerated all of the Israeli soldiers involved and failed to provide any details regarding Furkan's killing, according to documents obtained by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

    Please take a minute to add your name to this petition calling on President Obama to investigate Furkan Dogan’s killing and hold Israel accountable.
    Background:
    U.N. Human Right Council Report
    Center for Constitutional Rights: Gaza Freedom Flotilla
    Anatolia News Agency: Father of Victim Joins Delegation to U.S.

    Partners:



  • Ask Governor to Sign Economic Conversion Bill


    The Connecticut legislature has sent to Governor Dannel Malloy a bill that would create a commission to develop a plan for conversion from military industries to civilian and environmentally sustainable manufacturing.

    The bill, which passed on a bipartisan 121-15 vote, includes a provision for representatives from labor, environmental, and peace organizations to hold seats on the commission.

    Background:
    David Swanson: Connecticut Advances Conversion
    New Haven Peace Council
    No Nukes No War
    City of New Haven Peace Commission
    Connecticut AFL-CIO
    International Association of Machinists - Connecticut


    Thank the legislature and encourage the Governor to sign!

  • If Press Loses Freedom, Democracy Is Sunk

    Freedom of the press is essential to democracy. But the Obama administration has been virtually unrepentant ever since news broke that the Justice Department seized the phone records of Associated Press journalists for two months. Attorney General Eric Holder defended this chilling move against the press. A White House spokesperson tried to finesse the issue. And the president himself has not stepped forward to acknowledge that a serious intrusion on press freedom has occurred.


    Background:
    Alternet: Six Brave Whistleblowers Charged by Obama
    Alfredo Lopez:
    AP Seizures and the Frightening Web

    Tell President Obama -- as well as your representative and senators -- that such actions are unacceptable.

  • If Press Loses Freedom, Democracy Is Sunk

    Freedom of the press is essential to democracy. But the Obama administration has been virtually unrepentant ever since news broke that the Justice Department seized the phone records of Associated Press journalists for two months. Attorney General Eric Holder defended this chilling move against the press. A White House spokesperson tried to finesse the issue. And the president himself has not stepped forward to acknowledge that a serious intrusion on press freedom has occurred.
    Background:
    Alfredo Lopez: AP Seizures and the Frightening Web

    Tell President Obama -- as well as your representative and senators -- that such actions are unacceptable.

  • Nominees for Worst Government Official

    Here come three new Obama nominees, and they could all be nominees in a contest for Least Likely to Serve the Public Interest.1

    Please sign below to let your Senators know you want these picks rejected.  Enter your zipcode for more information about these nominees.  See background links at the bottom for even more information.

  • Tell Obama to Enforce the Civil Rights Act

    Join us in asking President Obama to enforce Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which gives
    him the power to cut off federal funds from any agency using them in a racially discriminatory manner.

    He has not done this in virtually any cases and is not sufficiently investigating government agencies to
    determine their compliance.

    Background:
    Eric Mann, The Nation: The Battle Over Buses in Los Angeles
    Also available without a subscription here.

    Partner:
    Fight for the Soul of the Cities

    The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority has violated the civil rights of a half-million bus riders, 75% of them black or Latino, by cutting 1 million hours of bus service and raising monthly bus passes to $72 while giving away public funds to rail developers and contractors.

    The Bus Riders Union and Public Advocates brought a civil rights suit under Title VI to the Federal Transit Administration, which whitewashed the MTA's violations.

  • De-Fund the CIA

    A message to RootsAction members from Douglas Valentine, author of
    The Phoenix Program:
    Lies about Iraq. Cash to corrupt Afghanistan.  Drone wars
    waged in secret.  Blowback endangering us all. The CIA does not exist to defend our
    freedoms. Wrapped in government secrecy, it exists to assure the political security of
    rich political elites. CIA operations -- engaging in secret, legally protected wars, sabotage,
    subversion, murders and tortures -- create enemies that Americans fear. And the agency
    is an instrument of psychological warfare aimed at you and me. It's time we stop
    funding this out-of-control agency.
    Please sign this petition:

    Background:
    Douglas Valentine: The Phoenix Program
    CNN: Karzai: CIA Promises to Continue Cash Payments
    The Atlantic: Drone War Has More Victims Than Bush-Era CIA Scandals
    Washington Post: An Alternative Explanation for Benghazi

  • Don't Koch the L.A. Times!

    After years of mismanagement, the Tribune Company newspapers -- including the Chicago Tribune and L.A. Times -- are up for sale.


    And one of the potential buyers? The Koch brothers.
    Background:
    New York Times: Koch Brothers Turning Focus to Newspapers
    Chicago Tribune: Protesters Urge Tribune Co. Not to Sell
    Free Press: Tribune Joins Rush to Consolidate with TV Deal

    Yes, those Koch brothers: the billionaire businessmen who run Koch Industries, a sprawling multinational corporation involved in everything from oil to fertilizer to paper towels to bankrolling right-wing political causes.

    Join RootsAction in sending this message to the Tribune Company:

  • Investigate Monsanto's Takeover of USDA

    Monsanto, the world's largest biotech corporation, has monopolized our food system largely by taking over regulatory agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture.1

    Please sign this petition:

  • De-Fund the CIA

    A message to RootsAction members from Douglas Valentine, author of
    The Phoenix Program:
    Lies about Iraq. Cash to corrupt Afghanistan.  Drone wars
    waged in secret.  Blowback endangering us all. The CIA does not exist to defend our
    freedoms. Wrapped in government secrecy, it exists to assure the political security of
    rich political elites. CIA operations -- engaging in secret, legally protected wars, sabotage,
    subversion, murders and tortures -- create enemies that Americans fear. And the agency
    is an instrument of psychological warfare aimed at you and me. 

    Background:
    Douglas Valentine: The Phoenix Program
    CNN: Karzai: CIA Promises to Continue Cash Payments
    The Atlantic: Drone War Has More Victims Than Bush-Era CIA Scandals
    Washington Post: An Alternative Explanation for Benghazi


    It's time we stop funding this out-of-control agency.

    --Douglas Valentine for RootsAction.org

    If you're not from the United States, click here.

     

  • Nominees for Worst Government Official

    Here come three new Obama nominees, and they could all be nominees in a contest for Least Likely to Serve the Public Interest.1

    Please sign below to let your Senators know you want these picks rejected.  Enter your zipcode for more information about these nominees.  See background links at the bottom for even more information.

  • Tell Amnesty Int'l: Have a Single Standard on War


    Amnesty International poster supporting NATO's war:

    Some human rights groups, especially Amnesty International, seem to have forgotten to oppose all violations of human rights -- by all sides -- in war.1

    Please sign this petition to Amnesty:

  • There's tar sands all over your Facebook

    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's new advocacy group FWD.us is running TV ads in
    support of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 
    And Facebook is censoring graphics that protest.

    Please sign below, and then click the link to share on Facebook!
    Background:
    LA Times: Two Tech Execs Quit Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us
    LA Times: Mark Zuckerberg's Fwd.us in Heated Controversy
    CommonDreams: Facebook's Zuckerberg Under Fire

  • Investigate Monsanto's Takeover of USDA

    Monsanto, the world's largest biotech corporation, has monopolized our food system largely by taking over regulatory agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture.1

    Join us in demanding a Congressional investigation:

    (If you are not from the United States, click here.)

  • The Bush Lie Bury

    A half-billion dollar George W. Bush Library is being dedicated in Dallas with help from four other current or former U.S. presidents.

    Protesters of this Bush Lie Bury -- this burying of a lying leader's record with a lying version of history -- believe Bush should be facing criminal prosecution instead.

    Join us in urging the U.S. Department of Justice to act:

  • Henry Kissinger, defender of "freedom and democracy"?

    The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City is planning to give Henry Kissinger an award on May 23rd for "defending freedom and democracy."  

    No living American has done more to subvert both freedom and democracy than Mr. Kissinger.1

    Register your complaint with the Intrepid below:

  • Pressure-Cooker and Cluster Bombs

    "Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim," a New York Times headline shouted.

    U.S. cluster bombs have done the same in places like Afghanistan and Yemen.  Shouldn't we end that hypocrisy?

    Tell the President and Congress to sign and ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions:

  • Provide adequate resources to address the health crisis in Vieques and fully clean up the island

    This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the closing of the U.S. Navy bombing range in Vieques, Puerto Rico.  For six decades prior to 2003, approximately one trillion pounds of explosives were dropped by the U.S. military, NATO and other military allies in practice exercises.

    After decades of protest and a campaign of non-violent civil resistance that began in 1999 and included the arrests of over 1,500 people, the Navy was forced to close the bombing range on May 1, 2003.  Peace-loving people had defeated the most powerful military force in history without firing a single shot.

    Presidential candidate Obama wrote to the Governor of Puerto Rico in 2008: "We will closely monitor the health of the people of Vieques and promote appropriate remedies to health conditions caused by military activities conducted by the U.S. Navy on Vieques."

    But that promise remains unfulfilled.  The Navy's presence and the environmental disaster it created continue to afflict Vieques.  Please join us in submitting these demands to the Pentagon, Congress, and the White House by signing below:

  • Tell Congress: Defend Social Security or Else

    President Obama wants to cut Social Security benefits.1 And Medicare benefits.2

    Signing a petition is not enough.

    Send an unambiguous message to your representative and senators:

    If you vote to cut Social Security or Medicare benefits, I will oppose your re-election.

  • Revoke Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

    After receiving the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama has made perpetual war look more perpetual than ever.

    Today, there are more U.S. troops in Afghanistan than when Obama took office. His increasing intervention in Syria promises the loss of even more than the nearly 100,000 lives already needlessly sacrificed.  His intervention in Libya cost thousands of lives while destabilizing the entire region.  His presidency has widened the use of drones and other instruments of remote killing without limit to almost any place on the globe.

    Please sign this petition to the Norwegian Nobel Committee:

  • Can solitary confinement be torture? Even George Will says yes.

    Conservative columnist George Will recently wrote: “Tens of thousands of American prison inmates are kept in prolonged solitary confinement that arguably constitutes torture.”

    In “liberal” Oregon, where Democrats control the governor’s mansion and the state legislature, abuses of solitary confinement are being reported – including the case of politically active prisoner Kevin “Rashid” Johnson.

    It’s time for officials -- including Oregon’s governor -- to stop prolonged solitary confinement, and investigate whether prisoners are being punished for objecting to this abusive treatment.

  • Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor Congress . . .

    The U.S. Postal Service stops for nothing, and Congress won't halt Saturday mail beginning August 1st unless we allow it.

    The problem is that in 2006, Congress gave the Postal Service a mandate to pre-fund 75 years of future retiree health benefits over a 10-year period, a mandate endured by no other government agency or private company.

    Ask your members of Congress to cosponsor bills that end the mandate now.

  • Bradley Manning's Nobel Peace Prize

    Whistleblower Bradley Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and he should receive it.


    No individual has done more to push back against what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the madness of militarism" than Bradley Manning.

    And right now, remaining in prison and facing relentless prosecution by the U.S. government, no one is more in need of the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Alfred Nobel's will left funding for a prize to be awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

    The intent of the prize was to fund this work. As a result of enormous legal expenses, Bradley Manning is in need of that funding.

    Please sign this petition to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.


    This page is most easily shared as ManningNobel.org

    Petition delivery covered by: Reuters, AFP.



    Background:

    Manning Wins Sean MacBride Peace Award
    Mairead Maguire: Manning Should Win the Nobel Peace Prize

    Statement by Bradley Manning at Pre-Trial Hearing
    I Am Bradley Manning
    Manning Guilty of "Aiding the Enemy" -- If Enemy Is Democracy

  • Congress Wants to End Online Privacy

    CISPA is the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act and it would destroy online privacy in the United States, by allowing private companies to share virtually any information about you with the government, and vice versa.

    Ask President Obama to commit to vetoing CISPA, as he committed last year, and CC your Congress members.

    While you still have a choice over what to send the government, send this!

  • We Want Full Protection for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare Benefits


    Twenty-eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed a letter, initiated by Reps. Alan Grayson and Mark Takano, pledging to “vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits -- including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need.”

    Here are the names of those 28 members of Congress:  Brown, Cartwright, Castor, Clay, Conyers, D. Davis, DeFazio, Ellison, Faleomavaega, Grayson, G. Green, Grijalva, Gutierrez, A. Hastings, Honda, Kaptur, Lee, Lynch, C. Maloney, Markey, McGovern, Nadler, Napolitano, Nolan, Serrano, Takano, Velazquez and Waters.

    If your representative’s name is included in the above paragraph, use the email function below to send a note of thanks.

    If your representative’s name isn’t listed above, use the email function below to urge her or him to sign the Grayson-Takano letter, taking a stand to fully protect Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefits.

    As a constituent, you can have added impact by personalizing your email message.

  • Let Another Nation Declare War for U.S. -- Seriously?

    Three days after 9/11, Congress gave presidents the power to launch wars. Now a resolution in the Senate would effectively allow a foreign nation to launch the United States into a war.

    Following a long list of falsehoods and half-truths about Iran, S.R.65 "urges that, if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide diplomatic, military, and economic support."

    This is "self-defense" in the sense that the U.S. attack on Iraq was "self-defense."

    Tell the Senate to obey the U.S. Constitution.

  • Tell Bayer to stop killing bees

    Bayer, the global chemical company, is manufacturing a chemical that new evidence shows is killing off bees.

    30% of our crops -- and 90% of wild plants -- rely on bees to thrive.

    Bayer has paid for biased research that “proves” its chemical isn’t a problem. But now independent scientists in Europe have discovered that Bayer’s chemical is a high risk to bees.

    Bayer makes everything from Alka-Seltzer to Berocca to flea treatments for pets. Bayer knows that it needs to keep its customers happy. If it realizes that its customers are outraged, it will have to pull its bee-poisoning pesticide off the market.

    Join RootsAction and SumOfUs in signing this petition to Bayer!

    By signing this petition, you will receive updates on this and other campaigns from SumOfUs.org.

  • Thank Bradley Manning

    Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to actions that fulfilled his moral obligations, and for which he has our gratitude.

    We're going to thank him, and you can add your name to the card below.

  • Tell Your Member of Congress That Being in the Progressive Caucus Isn't Enough!

    Most members of the Progressive Caucus haven't signed an urgent new letter that pledges:

    "We will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits -- including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need."


    Please use the form below to send an email to your member of Congress about how important it is to make this pledge -- and follow through on it -- to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

  • I never tortured anyone


    A Note to RootsAction members from whistleblower John Kiriakou, who was the first CIA employee to publicly acknowledge an official U.S. policy of torture under George W. Bush's administration:

    I refused torture training.

    I never tortured anyone, ordered torture, or destroyed the videotapes of it, and I'm certainly not on a book tour glorifying it.

    Those are the people who should be going to jail, not me.

    Please click below to ask Congress to investigate both the real crimes and the treatment of whistleblowers by the Obama administration.

    Thank you!

    -- John Kiriakou

  • Repeal the "War on Terror"


    After more than 11 years the Authorization for Use of Military Force -- the congressional resolution that launched the "war on terror" -- has not been repealed.

    Congresswoman Barbara Lee has introduced a bill to repeal it.

    Please ask your Representative to co-sponsor and your Senators to do the same below. 

    If you're not from the United States, click here to sign our petition.


    Background:
    H.R.198: Repeal of the AUMF

    Dirty Wars, the book

    Dirty Wars, the flim


    The next screen you get to will include video of Rep. Lee's prescient and powerful remarks in 2001.

  • The Feb. 15 Call for Global Protests for Democracy, Solidarity and Justice


    Add your signature below.

    Ten years ago, millions of people around the world said "no" to war on February 15, 2003. Now, we say "yes" to peace; "yes" to demilitarizing, to having decent lives, including economic lives, determined by democratic principles.

    The invasion of Iraq still began after the 2003 protests, but the violence wreaked by Bush was more limited than the U.S. government inflicted on Vietnam a generation earlier. Our vigilance was part of the reason for that. Had we acted sooner, we might have been able to avert the disastrous invasion. The lesson is we need more global protest and solidarity, not less. Indeed, had we continued vigorously protesting, we might not have seen the years since 2003 show a lack of accountability for the war makers, even as conscientious whilstleblowers are prosecuted.

    This isn't a reunion party. The same impulses that drove us to the streets in 2003 are still with us; the same war mindset prevails in world affairs. Politicians who backed the Iraq war dominate the U.S., UK and other foreign policy establishments. The dominant media's demonization of Iran now is similar to what it did to Iraq. The U.S. escalated its war in Afghanistan and launched a series of smaller "dirty wars" in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere with illegal drone killings and now, with AFRICOM and other mechanisms, threatens perpetual war in Africa as well as the Mideast. The Obama administration's "pivot East" threatens a Cold War or worse with China.

    The Arab uprisings displaced some dictators -- most successfully when done peacefully by the people in spite of violence by the regimes, as in Tunisia and Egypt. But the oppressive regimes of the Gulf have not only escaped real scrutiny, they are actually molding much of the rest of the region in conjunction with the U.S. and other outside powers -- even as the U.S. proclaims its support for "democracy." Much of the wealth from the Gulf states flows to Western banks, as well as the dictators and their cliques, rather than to benefit the people of that region. The Palestinian people continue to suffer not only neo-liberal dominance, as much of the world does, but also the settler colonialism of Israeli forces.

    These issues are not unique to the Mideast -- the U.S. has over 1000 bases around the world, some with explicitly colonial frameworks, as with "territories" like Puerto Rico. The U.S. and Russia have tens of thousands of nuclear warheads threatening life on earth. A fundamental transformation is needed. The United Nations has failed in its paramount duty to shield future generations from the scourge of war.

  • Unacceptable! Senator Profits from War and Post Office

    Shortly after San Francisco's then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein married private equity financier Richard C. Blum in 1980, those who knew them called theirs "a marriage of the public and private sectors." 

    Although Feinstein lost a gubernatorial bid to Republican Pete Wilson, she soon took his seat in the U.S. Senate. Working across the aisle, her power rapidly grew along with her husband's diversified investments and their mutual wealth.1

    As Chair and ranking member of the Military Construction and Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Feinstein appears to have steered contracts to companies controlled by her husband.2  Blum has profited handsomely from military contracts.3

    In 2009, Senator Feinstein introduced legislation to provide $25 billion in taxpayer money to the FDIC after it gave Blum's CBRE real estate company a contract to sell foreclosed properties at unusually high rates.4

    As a Regent of the University of California, Blum appears to have profited from contracts with the UC-run nuclear weapons laboratory at Los Alamos.5

    In the summer of 2012, the U.S. Postal Service awarded Blum's CBRE company the exclusive contract to sell its portfolio of public properties. Feinstein's office denies any influence in the awarding of the contract.6  

    Ask your Senators to request an Ethics Committee investigation of Senator Dianne Feinstein now.

  • Budget Debate Needs an Intervention

    One side of the current debate over public spending priorities favors cuts to all the wrong things.

    The other side opposes any cuts at all.

    This is a debate that leads nowhere useful.  The video at right is an attempted intervention.

    We can and should cut spending on
    war preparations, wars, foreign bases, spies and assassins, prisons, the drug war, highways, etc.  We should move the money into expanded useful programs funding human needs and green energy.

    Please share your thoughts with Congress and the President below and then share this video everywhere.

  • How to Tell if John Brennan Is Lying

    A message to RootsAction members from Medea Benjamin:

    John Brennan is being considered by the Senate to become head of the CIA.  There is suddenly a flurry of attention around a white paper that lays out the administration's legal justification for killing Americans with drones overseas, and some of the Senators are vowing to ask Brennan "tough questions" since Brennan has been the mastermind of the lethal drone attacks.

    Whether or not your Senators are on the Intelligence Committee, they can publicly raise concerns with Brennan.  Below are a few suggestions.  Feel free to add more before hitting SEND.

  • Yes to changing Medicare age

    Members of Congress who propose changing the eligibility age for Medicare are correct -- but they're headed in the wrong direction.

    We believe they should change it to zero!

    Our country ranks first in money spent on healthcare, but 45th in life expectancy.  One reason is the incredible waste of the private insurance industry, and the additional waste of subsidizing it.  

    Medicare could use many improvements, but it is an order of magnitude more efficient than the for-profit corporations.

    Raising the age for Medicare could leave hundreds of thousands of seniors uninsured, as states with budget deficits fail to expand Medicaid, and as the Department of Health and Human Services continues to issue waivers to businesses and insurance companies.

    Senator Jeff Merkley has called raising the age "a virtual death sentence."

    But lowering the age would increase Medicare's efficiency, improve our health, lengthen our lives, and reduce what we spend on healthcare.

    Tell Congress and the President to make the eligibility age for Medicare zero!

  • People’s Petition Against Austerity

    In solidarity with the Coalition of Resistance in Europe, we in the United States stand shoulder-to-shoulder prepared to nonviolently resist an agenda already more advanced on our own shores.

     

    The failed policies of the politicians and the bankers caused the financial crisis. Spending cuts on peaceful programs, in combination with outrageous military spending, are driving us into poverty. An economic alternative is essential to protect ordinary people, and to save and expand healthcare, retirement, and other human-needs programs.

     

    We call on the forces and individuals who share these ideas to merge as soon as possible into a broad coalition, to create a transitional program, and to coordinate our international actions in order to mobilize the forces of a powerful public movement.

  • Free John Kiriakou

    On June 18, 2009, President Obama declared that no one in the CIA would be prosecuted for torture.  But now a CIA officer is finally going to prison in connection with torture.  However, this CIA officer didn't torture anyone -- he blew the whistle on torture.

    In 2007, John Kiriakou was the first former CIA officer to publicly acknowledge that the CIA was waterboarding people.  The retribution for that act of whistleblowing began immediately.

    The CIA began filing crime reports with the Department of Justice against Kiriakou.  The IRS audited him in 2007 and has done so every year since.  His wife was forced out of her job at the CIA.  In 2010 an FBI agent pretending to be a foreign spy tried to entrap Kiriakou, who reported the incidents to the FBI.  The same FBI follows him everywhere, including into his children's school.

    The DOJ tried unsuccessfully to prosecute Kiriakou under the Espionage Act as a supposed enemy of the state.  He became unemployable and racked up a million dollars in lawyers' bills.

    Now Kiriakou is finally going to prison for 30 months for the act of telling an author the name of someone to interview, even though the name was already known and Kiriakou's prosecution has made it better known. 

    Ask President Obama to pardon or commute Kiriakou's sentence now!

  • No to Kerry

    President Obama's nomination of John Kerry for secretary of state sends the wrong signal to U.S. allies and adversaries alike.

    Kerry's record includes spurious attacks on the International Court of Justice, unqualified defense of Israeli occupation policies and human rights violations, and support for the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    In 2002, Kerry voted against an unsuccessful resolution authorizing the president to use force against Iraq only if the United Nations Security Council permitted such force under the UN Charter.  Kerry instead voted to authorize President Bush to invade unilaterally in violation of the UN Charter, and cosponsored a resolution praising him when he did.

    Most Congressional Democrats voted No, including Senator Robert Byrd, who introduced a resolution in the fall of 2002 upholding Congress' Constitutional war powers.  Kerry voted against it, saying “Every nation has the right to act preemptively if it faces an imminent and grave threat.”

    Please contact your senators below.

    -- Stephen Zunes

  • It doesn't take balls

    While veterans huddle over steam vents to keep warm on the streets of Washington, President Obama will attend the Commander in Chief Ball, a tradition begun by George W. Bush.  He'll also attend a ball being held in the five rooms that held five different balls last time around.  This allows the president to reduce the number of balls he's attending and integrates the dishonest math that dominates budgetary discussions into the inaugural festivities.

    Big shots will pay $250,000 for tickets, while corporate persons will pay $1 million each.  Numerous institutions will hold dozens of balls, cruises, and parties, wasting enough cash to have saved a great many lives.

    Please sign below:

  • If Exxon really wanted to help

    ExxonMobil, the most profitable corporation in the country, is spending some of its money on a series of television ads telling us to invest in education.

    Most of us don't have a lot of money to invest in education.  Exxon does.  In fact, if Exxon were to merely pay what it owes in taxes, the Department of Education could increase its budget 14 percent.

    Corporations are supposed to pay 35% income taxes.  Exxon pays about half that.  A report by Citizens for Tax Justice found that Exxon should have paid $4.1 billion more than it did between 2008 and 2010.  Using the same calculation, we find that Exxon underpaid in 2011 by another $2.1 billion.

    As the Exxon ads keep saying: "Let's solve this!"

  • The Nominee from CitiGroup

    Jack Lew, the President's nominee for Secretary of the Treasury, supported the creation of NAFTA and the deregulation of banks, and has supported similar strategies ever since, without apology or admission of error.

    In October 2008, candidate Barack Obama said: "We know that it's because of deregulation that Wall Street was able to engage in the kind of irresponsible actions that have caused this financial crisis."

    In September 2010, Lew said: "The problems in the financial industry preceded deregulation."

    Who is right, the nominee or the nominator?  They can't both be.

    Tell your senators to reject Jack Lew now.

  • Tell Obama to Tell Karzai It's Over

    Afghanistan's president should hear a clear message from the president of the United States:
    We don't want to do any more killing in your country.
     
    President Obama should also tell President Karzai:
    We won't do anything else to help continue the killing in your country.

    The president is reportedly considering leaving no troops in Afghanistan after the "withdrawal" planned for the end of 2014.  A real withdrawal, of course, would leave no troops or mercenaries behind; this scenario is significant progress. It is not enough.
     
    It's not enough to say, "We're bringing our troops and contractors home in two years." The U.S. president should tell the Afghan president:
    We're bringing them all home now.
    We won't drop any more bombs on your country.
    We won't send any more drones over your country.
    We won't send you any more weapons to kill people in your country.

     
    After more than a decade of the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan, and after more than three decades of continuous war in that nation, the last thing Afghans need is more war machinery. But the U.S. shouldn't just walk away.

    An 18-month-old girl just froze to death in a refugee camp in Kabul and was buried beside her brother, who froze to death two weeks earlier.

    Obama should tell Karzai:
    We will send huge quantities of food and blankets to your country.
    We will supply vast amounts of needed medicines.
    We will stay out of Afghanistan while supporting genuine diplomatic efforts for peace by the countries in the region.

  • Jobs Not Wars

    The "fiscal cliff" deal was not all bad. Social Security and Medicare weren't cut. Unemployment benefits were extended. Taxes went up a tiny bit on some of the wealthiest.

    But Pentagon spending remained outrageously high, giveaways to corporations were enormous, the President went back on his commitment to end tax cuts for more of the wealthiest, the deal raised taxes on people making $20-200K per year more than on those making $200-500K, and the debt ceiling limit remained -- setting up a big push to cut Social Security and Medicare in the coming months.

    No deal at all would have been better than this one.
    Had the "Bush" tax cuts expired, the good parts of this deal could have been passed.

    We must now work to take the focus off the deficit and put it on jobs and smart public investment. That means moving the money away from war preparations. Please sign this petition. The greater the number of signers, the greater use we will be able to make of it in influencing the coming showdown.

  • Filibuster: End it, don't mend it


    The U.S. Senate has 100 senators, but 41 make almost every decision. 

    The filibuster, now employed routinely, allows this minority-rule.

    Want to see the super-wealthy taxed? Wars ended? Assault weapons banned? Fossil fuel subsidies eliminated?

    Any step for peace or justice will be an even steeper uphill climb with the filibuster in place.

    This Senate rule is not in the Constitution or any law.  It can be changed or eliminated on Day 1 of the new session by a simple majority of 51 senators.

    "Fixing" minority rule so that the 41 deciders of our public policies are "required" to talk about what they're doing at length on television will not solve the problem any more than throwing Brer Rabbit in the briar patch.

    Please write to your two senators right now below, with a CC to the President, urging them to end the filibuster.

  • Release Qatari Poet Mohammed Ibn Al Ajami

    We, the undersigned, including poets, men and women writing, performing and reciting poetry in all corners of the world, urge the Secretary of State or Foreign Minister of our respective countries to appeal to the Qatari Court for the immediate release of our colleague, Qatari poet Mohammed Ibn Al Ajami, who after spending a year in solitary confinement, on November 29, 2012 was sentenced to life in prison by the Qatari courts.

    Mohammed Ibn Al Ajami’s crime consisted of reciting on November 16, 2011 a poem extolling the courage and values of the popular uprisings in Tunisia, /Oh revolutionary, sing the praises of the struggle with the blood of the people/ in the soul of the free carve the values of revolt/ and to those holding the shroud of the dead tell/ that every victory also bears its ordeals/.

    According to the poet's lawyer, Najib al-Nuaimi, the judge made the whole trial secret [..]"Muhammad was not allowed to defend himself, and I was not allowed to plead or defend in court. I told the judge that I need to defend my client in front of an open court, and he stopped me."

    Rather than making itself an instrument for cracking down on dissent, we believe that the Court should uphold Mohammed Ibn Al Ajami’s right to free speech.  In the tradition of speaking truth to power, following the footsteps of such great poets as Pablo Neruda, Majakovski, Nazim Hikmet, Mahmoud Darwish, Faraj Bayraqdar and innumerable others throughout the world today, such as Colombia’s poet Angye Gaona, Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami placed his poetic talent to the service of a movement for change. The poem he recited called for an end to intolerable conditions, a demand that for the past two years has been aired by millions throughout North Africa and the Arab world.

    In this spirit, we poets and non-poets who perceive the need for worldwide change at the social, political and ecological level, call on the Court to review the appeal, stop siding with repression and lend its ear to the movements that have sprung up all over the world for dignity, social justice and freedom, virtues that poets all over the world are endeavoring to voice and deliver using the beauty and power of poetry.

    Update: The sentence has been reduced to 15 years, and that ruling has been upheld on appeal. We continue to demand immediate release.

  • Enough vagueness. We want gun control.

    All of us share in President Obama's statement about the tragedy in Connecticut: "Our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children. We have been through this too many times."
     
    But eloquent words are not enough.
     
    "Mr. Obama has not pushed for expanded gun control during his time in office," the New York Times reported. "And he did not elaborate on any specific legislation he might seek in the wake of the shootings."
     
    In his solemn statement from the White House, the president stayed away from any mention of gun control. He just said, "We’re going to have to come together to take meaningful action to prevent tragedies like this.”
     
    Vague statements about "meaningful action" aren't good enough.

    Let's urge the president and members of Congress to enact serious national gun control now.

  • Ban Billionaires

    "We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." — Louis Brandeis

    It's time we outlaw billionaires by placing a 100% tax on wealth over $999,999,999.

    Since 1980, the top 1% has taken 80% of all new wealth created.

    The richest 400 Americans -- all of whom are billionaires -- own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

    We work harder. Productivity is up. But the profits are taken by the billionaires, who buy politicians and legislate rules to the ever greater advantage of billionaires -- and to the disadvantage of clean air, food, water, security, healthcare, education, retirement, and energy.

    A 94% top marginal income tax rate when this nation was prospering has been reduced to 35% today.  It's time we learned our lesson, reversed these trends, and banned billionaires.

    Please join RootsAction and OpEdNews in sending this message to Congress and the President:

  • Out of Afghanistan: Congress Hears Us

    The majority of us in the United States have favored withdrawing the U.S. military from Afghanistan for years now.  The media credit President Obama with "ending" the war over a period longer than the full duration of most wars, a period to be followed by the ongoing presence of possibly 10,000 troops after the war has "ended."

    That's not good enough.  The Senate has now said so, passing a resolution urging faster withdrawal.

    In the House, Congresswoman Barbara Lee is collecting her colleagues' signatures on a letter to the President urging withdrawal and reminding him that any long-term commitment of troops requires Congressional authorization.

    Please ask your Representative and Senators to sign the letter.

  • Peace on earth should include Afghanistan

    Let there be peace on earth, and let it include Afghanistan.

    We cannot be for peace without being against war.

    We cannot be satisfied with inner peace while wars are being waged with our money and in our names.

    The largest of those wars remains Afghanistan.  It is larger now than when Barack Obama first became president.

    There is no strategic, legal, or -- above all -- moral justification for continuing this war for another year, or for another day.

    Please take a moment to tell our government that we want peace on earth.

  • Six Months Trapped in Embassy

    RootsAction Board Member Jeff Cohen at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

    Six months ago RootsAction members flooded Ecuador's government with requests to grant asylum to the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.

    Ecuador did so.

    But Assange has been unable to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, facing the threat of arrest and extradition to the United States, where he could face life in prison or even death.

    Sweden, in an apparently unprecedented move, is seeking to extradite and imprison someone without charging him with a crime -- after having refused opportunities to fully question him in England.

    We don't know the facts behind the sexual assault accusations against Assange in Sweden and can take no position on them.  We take sexual assault seriously.  But the WikiLeaks leader is seeking protection from the United States, not Sweden.

    Sweden has a record of bowing to U.S. pressure, including the handing over of two men to the CIA in 2006 -- leading the U.N. to find Sweden complicit in torture. 

    The United States reportedly has a sealed indictment prepared for Assange, charging him with crimes against "national security."

    The United States has a record of, and an open formal policy of, incarceration without proper trial, solitary confinement and other abusive treatment, and the death penalty.  Assange has the international human right to be protected from such a nation and to request asylum elsewhere.

    Assange, neither charged with nor convicted of any crime, is acting out of fear of our nation's abuses of the rule of law.

    Ask President Obama to publicly end his practice of prosecuting whistleblowers and journalists, and commit to permitting Assange to travel free of U.S. interference.

  • Half of a Grand Bargain

    Speaker of the House John Boehner is refusing to allow a vote to maintain tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000.  But if 218 Congress members sign a discharge petition, they will force the vote.  Then the "Bush tax cuts" can be allowed to expire with only the super-wealthy impacted.

    But this will only be half a solution. 

    Unless the outrageously bloated budget for war preparations is cut, a "grand bargain" between the two political parties will still cut needed spending, including on Medicare.

    Tell your Representative to sign the discharge petition, and to insist on major cuts to military spending.

  • Out of Afghanistan: Congress Hears Us

    UPDATE: Over 90 Congress Members have signed!

    The majority of us in the United States have favored withdrawing the U.S. military from Afghanistan for years now.  The media credit President Obama with "ending" the war over a period longer than the full duration of most wars, a period to be followed by the ongoing presence of possibly 10,000 troops after the war has "ended."

    That's not good enough.  The Senate has now said so, passing a resolution urging faster withdrawal.

    In the House, Congresswoman Barbara Lee is collecting her colleagues' signatures on a letter to the President urging withdrawal and reminding him that any long-term commitment of troops requires Congressional authorization.

    Please ask your Representative and Senators to sign the letter.

  • Outrageous: Keystone XL conflict of interest

    "Susan Rice, the candidate believed to be favored by President Obama to become the next Secretary of State, holds significant investments in more than a dozen Canadian oil companies and banks that would stand to benefit from expansion of the North American tar sands industry and construction of the proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline," OnEarth Magazine reports. "If confirmed by the Senate, one of Rice’s first duties likely would be consideration, and potentially approval, of the controversial mega-project."

    Did they think we wouldn't find out?

    It's indefensible that Rice has millions of dollars invested in oil companies and banks that will make huge profits if the State Department gives approval to the XL pipeline.

    To demand that Rice immediately sell every dollar of stock in every one of those companies, email President Obama below.

  • Truth or Military Consequences

    Many laws require full disclosure of real risks -- before we take out a loan, or transfer a credit-card balance, or swallow a pharmaceutical drug.

    But every year, millions of young people get no such protection -- when they’re deciding whether to join the U.S. military.

    Let’s insist that potential recruits be told the whole story before they sign on the dotted line and put their lives at risk.

    Proper disclosure would let potential recruits know that military service often brings moral regret, trauma, post traumatic stress, sexual assault, injuries to the brain and body, ruined personal relationships, a heightened risk of suicide, or death in combat.

    Potential recruits would also be informed that a small section of the enlistment contract they sign gives the government the power to change their "status, pay, allowances, benefits, and responsibilities as a member of the Armed Forces regardless of the provisions of this enlistment/reenlistment document."  It's not a contract so much as a surrendering of rights.

    Take a minute to be one of thousands of RootsAction.org supporters now raising this issue with their senators and representative in Congress.

  • No tax dollars for bombing civilians

    Bombing civilians is morally unacceptable. When Israel does it. When Hamas does it. Unfortunately, a double standard of human rights is routine in the United States -- where skewed media coverage has reinforced the craven stances of top American officials.

    It is necessary -- but insufficient -- to call for a ceasefire. At the same time, let’s be clear about the U.S. government’s ongoing role.

    The current Israeli assault on Gaza, as Rabbi Alissa Wise noted, “is being paid for thanks to the blank check the Israeli military receives from the U.S. government.”

    In Rabbi Wise’s words, we should ask President Obama “to make sure aid to Israel doesn't continue to violate U.S. laws which specifically prohibit assistance to any country which engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations.”

    Please tell the President -- and your Senators and Representative in the House -- that our tax dollars should not go to aid Israel or any other country if it consistently violates human rights.

  • What about the climate cliff?

    The "fiscal cliff" is a fictional abstraction. The looming climate catastrophe is anything but.

    Asked at his first post-election press conference what steps he would take about climate change, President Obama was vague if not dismissive.

    "I don’t know what either Democrats or Republicans are prepared to do at this point," he said.  "I think the American people right now have been so focused and will continue to be focused on our economy and jobs and growth that, you know, if the message is somehow we’re going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don’t think anybody’s going to go for that."

    We have a proposal: investment in green energy jobs that both provide income and protect our natural environment.

    And we know where to find the money. The same dollars invested in green energy produce 67% more jobs than when invested in the military.

    Our choice is between jobs and wars, not jobs and the earth.

    Tell the President and Congress to focus on the climate cliff before it's too late.

  • Stop an Obama "Grand Bargain"

    At President Obama's first post-election press conference he stressed his eagerness to work with Republicans.

    Without being asked about Medicare or Social Security, he urged "deficit reduction that includes entitlement changes."

    Reporters didn't ask about the option of cutting military spending, and the President never brought it up.

    Does this sound like ingredients of a Grand Bargain you'd like to see?

    Tell the President and Congress to expand Medicare and Social Security, to invest in green energy, to raise taxes on the rich and corporations, and to cut military spending back to the level of 12 years ago.

  • Apple Censors Drone War

    Apple Inc., which has received over $9 million in Pentagon contracts in recent years, has rejected from its App Store, and therefore from all iPhones, a simple informative application.

    Drones+ is an application that shows no depictions of the carnage of war and reveals no secret information.  It simply adds a location to a map every time a drone strike is reported in the media and added to a database maintained by the U.K.'s Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

    Apple has rejected the app as "objectionable and crude."  

    Drone wars continue because the U.S. public is unaware what is being done in our name with our money. We are interested in knowing where our government is using drones and has killed people, not in celebrating that killing.

    The people in Pakistan and Afghanistan and elsewhere living under the drones can't ignore what's being done to them.  Neither should we, as it's done with our money and in our names.

    A recent study by Stanford and NYU found that drones traumatize innocent populations, who have no way of knowing how to protect themselves from drone strikes. Further, only 2% of victims of these strikes are high-level targets. The drones kill civilian men, women, and children, are being used to target rescuers, schools and funerals, and create significant anti-U.S. hostility -- exactly as the Pakistani and Afghan governments have said they do.

    Ask Apple to stop hiding the simplest of facts.

  • Even the New York Times

    Even the New York Times has reversed its position of over 11 years and editorialized for withdrawal from Afghanistan now.

    The crowd at the Republican National Convention cheered for immediate withdrawal when Clint Eastwood and Senator Rand Paul proposed it.

    The U.K. and other allies are speeding up their withdrawal plans.

    A strong majority of Americans has favored withdrawal in polls for years now.

    And who's left favoring two more years of war, followed by 10 more years of lower-level war?

    These guys: Obama, Romney, Biden, and Ryan.

    Tell them to give up on endless war in Afghanistan.

  • Take Useless Missiles Off High Alert

    We have 450 land-based Minuteman III nuclear missiles on high alert.  Despite hundreds of near-disasters due to human and mechanical mistakes over the years, these nuclear-armed missiles could be sent by a U.S. president in 13 minutes or less.  Thirteen minutes, with the very real possibility that false information, an electronic glitch or bad signal, or an error in human judgment, would bring the world as we know it to an end.

    Minuteman III missiles would not, and nothing can, prevent retaliation.  Even without retaliation, their unilateral use would ruin the earth's atmosphere -- all over the earth.  The missiles' only function is to kill others in a process that kills us too.

    An easy immediate step toward sanity would be to de-alert the missiles so that 24 to 72 hours would be needed to launch.  This would increase our security by reducing the likelihood of an accidental or unauthorized launch.  Those intent on achieving nuclear doomsday could rest assured that U.S. submarines and bombers would remain able to complete that job many times over.

    A second obvious step that would also work wonders for our federal budget would be to decommission these missiles.

    De-Alert and decommission now!

  • Make Your Progressive Vote Count for President

    President Romney ?                                

    Initiating signers of the following proposal include Daniel Ellsberg, Cornel West, Frances Fox Piven, Barbara Ehrenreich, Marjorie Cohn, Jim Hightower, Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon.

    Defeat Romney, without illusions about Obama            

    Please tell friends -- no matter what state they live in -- about this proposal for strategic voting, so that progressives can have the most impact with their presidential vote.

    While RootsAction activists have consistently challenged Obama policies (on civil liberties, war and bloated military spending, environment, potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare, to name a few), we know that the policies of a Romney/Ryan administration would be worse on many issues and better on none. Consider Romney’s recent vow to “change course” toward even more war-mongering in the Middle East. Or their profound differences on abortion rights and Supreme Court picks.

    We also know that whether Obama or Romney wins on November 6th will be decided in a dozen states known as “swing” or “battleground” states because they’re so close they could go either way. Those states now include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

    But due to our 18th century system of presidential elections, your vote in nearly 40 non-swing states (e.g. West Coast, most of Northeast, deep South) will not be decisive because one side or the other will easily win those states. Progressives can take strategic advantage of this archaic voting system that’s winner-take-all in each state.

    So please sign this pledge to promote strategic voting: in swing states, we’ll urge progressives to vote against Romney/Ryan by voting for Obama/Biden (despite our vital policy critiques) -- and we’ll urge progressives in non-swing states to seriously consider voting for unabashed peace and justice candidates.

    Noam Chomsky and other respected progressive leaders have supported this voting strategy for years. Chomsky commented this fall: “Between the two choices that are presented, there is I think some significant differences. If I were a person in a swing state, I’d vote against Romney/Ryan, which means voting for Obama because there is no other choice. I happen to be in a non-swing state, so I can either not vote or -- as I probably will -- vote for [Green Party candidate] Jill Stein.”

    RootsAction founding endorser and peace activist Daniel Ellsberg emphatically supports strategic voting. He lives in an overwhelmingly Democratic state and plans to vote for a peace and justice candidate. Of such candidates, Ellsberg says: “I agree with everything they say -- except when they say ‘vote for me’ in a swing state.”

  • Not Another Geithner

    We demand that the President's nominee for Secretary of the Treasury not be another Timothy Geithner.  Appointing someone who had helped create a catastrophe to lead the clean-up has predictably failed.  Geithner has served banks rather than supervising them, while doing nothing to help families facing foreclosure.  Geithner's severe mishandling of the housing crisis has left our economy staggering.

    No more catering to the 1%, no more austerity politics; we need a Treasury Secretary who believes in people, believes in investment and will fight for the high-road, high-wage economy we need to dig us out of this hole.

    Tell President Obama to name a public servant rather than a Wall Street servant, and to do so now.

  • Worst Corporation in the World

    There's tough competition for the title of worst corporation, but at least lately the honor has to go to Shell and its "parent" Royal Dutch Petroleum.

    First, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up the case of Nigerian activists murdered and tortured with Shell's complicity. 
    The Court is expected to rule that, although corporations have been given constitutional rights through Citizens United and related decisions, they do not bear responsibility for their crimes, or at least not for their crimes abroad.

    Second, half a dozen Democratic senators are pleading with the Obama administration not to give Shell new leases to drill for oil in the Arctic.  You read that right.  John McCain and Sarah Palin were not elected four years ago, but "Drill, Baby, Drill" survives.  An oil spill in the icy Arctic, with no deepwater port or roads nearby, could make BP's gusher in the Gulf look like child's play.

    Tell Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and President Barack Obama not to reward Shell with Arctic oil.

  • Senators Don't Have To Be Gutless

    After eleven years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan, the twisted ethos of perpetual war goes virtually unchallenged among the 100 members of the U.S. Senate.

    With undue presidential power for making war, the deference is deafening -- and deadly. But it doesn't have to be that way.

    No one in today's Senate comes close to the record of Senator Wayne Morse, who was willing to directly challenge the president of his own party as the war in Vietnam gathered momentum.

    Senator Morse, speaking in 1964, puts the Senators of 2012 to shame. Take a look below.

    Let your Senators know that you're fed up with perpetual war -- and you intend to hold them to a high standard.

  • Tell TSA to Keep Its Hands to Itself

    Our friends over at TSA News have been documenting numerous cases of these abuses by the Transportation Security Administration:

    ** Detaining people simply because they can. The TSA detains people at whim.  This is unlawful detention.
    ** Searching for or questioning passengers about anything other than WEI -- weapons, explosives, and incendiaries -- is expressly forbidden by law. The TSA is not allowed to search for or question you about money, drugs, immigration papers, or anything else. These are illegal searches.
    ** Groping people's genitals, including directly on the skin.

    All of these TSA actions and others are heightening fear, promoting acceptance of racial profiling, and functioning in sync with a foreign policy that generates hatred, under the mistaken belief that giving up our rights will make us safe. Tell the TSA you reject these actions!

  • Italy 1, CIA Torturers 0

    After years of appeals, Italy's high court has upheld the conviction of 23 Americans (22 CIA officers and one military official) for the offense of kidnapping a man off the street in Milan on February 17, 2003, and shipping him to Egypt to be brutally tortured.  

    This final ruling could result in the Italian government demanding the extradition of the 23 convicts. They were tried in absentia and are living freely in the United States.  

    We do not support the use of kidnapping by Italy to apprehend these convicts, although the U.S. government claims that the practice of "rendition" is legal.  Instead, as Americans who support the rule of law and regret that our own government does not enforce it, we strongly encourage the Italian government to request extradition.

    Click below to quickly email the Italian embassy in support of giving real consequences to what has been a long and laborious legal effort -- an effort for which we are profoundly grateful.

  • Explain Nukes to Congress

    Congressman Dennis Kucinich is hosting a Congressional briefing, Thursday, September 20, 2012, on the medical effects of radiation exposure, and the health threats presented by our nation's nuclear power plants, nuclear fleet, and the on-going tragedy in Fukushima, Japan. There will be expert testimony from Physicians for Social Responsibility and others.

    The briefing will give legislators information that they need about the ongoing situation in Japan and the problems with the continued use of nuclear power in the U.S. Radiation is a deadly legacy, and nuclear power is dirty, dangerous and expensive - and unnecessary when we can turn to clean, safe, cheap solar and wind power.

    There is an ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Prior to this disaster, the regulators in Japan said they had all safety measures possible in place. Our Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has said the same thing about our 104 aging nuclear power plants, 23 of which have the same flawed design as in Fukushima.

    Nuclear disasters are not unique to Japan. Chernobyl killed and sickened many, as did Three Mile Island on a smaller scale. A nuclear plant in Virginia was damaged by an earthquake last year.

    Please invite your representative and senators to attend the briefing.

  • Open the Presidential Debates

    In 1987 the Republican and Democratic Parties took over the presidential debates from the League of Women Voters, excluding all other candidates and many topics of discussion.  The two parties' debate commission is corporate-sponsored and the moderators' questions corporate-friendly.

    For each election, the two candidates make agreements to manage the so-called debates.  In 2004, the deal between Bush and Kerry barred them from asking each other questions, and barred members of the audience from asking anything that had not been pre-approved.  "The audience member's microphone shall be turned off after he or she completes asking the question," the agreement promised.  Obama and Romney's agreement will not be public, but there is no doubt that it excludes all other candidates from the debates.

    Here are a few popular, super-majority positions that won't be taken up by either Obama or Romney:

    --shifting hundreds of billions of dollars from war preparation to education, infrastructure, green energy
    --drastically raising taxes on the super wealthy and corporations
    --prosecuting U.S. war crimes
    --ending warrantless spying
    --ending drone wars and assassinations
    --breaking up media monopolies
    --undoing corporate trade agreements
    --expanding Medicare to everyone

    Jill Stein (Green Party) and Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) would greatly broaden the bounds of discussion.

    Tell the two big parties you're fed up with their narrow debates, and tell the television networks that you want your airwaves opened up to all candidates who are on enough state ballots to total a majority of the country's electoral votes.

  • Join Shirin Ebadi opposing attack on Iran


    Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her work on behalf of human rights, women's rights, and children's rights in Iran.  She is a critic of the current Iranian government, and lives in exile.  In a message written for RootsAction, Ebadi opposes any attack on Iran:

    "Not only military attack but even threat of military attack would slow down the progress of democracy in Iran because the government, under the pretext of safeguarding national security, would further intensify its crackdown on pro-democracy activists and critics. Moreover, such an eventuality would incite people's nationalist sentiment, which would cause them to forget their criticisms of the government.

    "I also oppose economic sanctions against Iran because they would increase poverty and deteriorate the economic situation of the people. I favor sanctions that do not harm the people. For instance, the E.U. and U.S. have imposed sanctions on a number of human rights violators in Iran. It has been declared that they cannot enter Europe and the U.S., and their assets would be frozen should they have any on the aforementioned territories.

    "That list should be expanded. Moreover, companies that have sold equipment and software intended for use by the Iranian authorities in the monitoring or interception of internet and telephone communications should be penalized.  These kinds of sanctions will weaken the Iranian government without being harmful to the people. We should try to adopt more targeted sanctions to punish the government for its violation of human rights."
    --Shirin Ebadi

    A decade ago, government lies and media spin brought the disaster of the Iraq war. Don't let the same thing happen again.

    RootsAction will deliver this petition to leaders of the U.S. and Israeli governments, insisting that all diplomatic avenues be pursued and opposing any military attack on Iran.

  • Bigger and better . . .

    OccupyNowForFuture.org

    One year was never going to be enough.  A unified movement for peace and justice must never end.  As Occupy enters year 2, without the corporate media's help, but with months of experience under our belts, we rededicate ourselves to building a society that is fair to everyone, including future generations, a society that doesn't just feed the insatiable greed of the 1%.

  • Join Daniel Ellsberg opposing attack on Iran


    "The danger of a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran -- either before the election or later -- is real and horrifying. It is crucial that we voice our opposition before it is too late.
    "I urge you to add your name to my own and to ask your friends to do the same.
    "We've been helping to prevent this attack for years, and we must not give up now."
    -- Daniel Ellsberg

    A decade ago, government lies and media spin brought the disaster of the Iraq war. Don't let the same thing happen again.

    RootsAction will deliver this petition to leaders of the U.S. and Israeli governments, insisting that all diplomatic avenues be pursued and opposing any military attack on Iran.

  • Summary Execution Is Not Due Process

    President Obama told CNN this fall that he can kill Americans or non-Americans, the difference being that with Americans their killing amounts to their Constitutionally guaranteed due process.

    CNN asked Obama how he chooses names for his kill list, but he declined to say.  Obama claimed that there are checks on his power, pointing only to checks by his own subordinates, not by courts, not by Congress, and not by the public -- which he reassures with vague statements that amount to "trust me."

    Obama claimed that his preference is to capture people rather than to kill them.  This does not fit with cases like that of Tariq Khan, a 16-year-old killed by drone strike following his participation in a conference at which he could have easily been captured.  It does not fit with the lack of criminal charges against virtually any of the people killed.

    Obama claimed that he avoids killing civilians, yet careful research has documented large numbers of civilians killed.

    Tell President Obama to live up to his own rhetorical support for the rule of law and due process.

  • DNC, Say No to War

    Score another victory for RootsAction.org and our allies.  49,763 of us signed the petition at StarsEarnStripes.org protesting NBC's war-is-fun "reality" show co-hosted by former general Wesley Clark.  Activists in New York have held a weekly protest and delivered the petitions.  The bad press has been voluminous, while the viewership has plummeted.  It's safe to say there's no immediate future for this show.

    TV viewers may be spared Wesley Clark for a while as he's been dropped by both NBC and DNC.  Turned down in his offer to speak at the Democratic National Convention, Clark will speak at another event in Charlotte.

    But even with the former NATO commander out of sight, the warfare state drags on.

    Take this moment to ask the DNC to drop its support for war and war preparation.

  • Rising oceans, retreating president

    The earth's climate just took a one-two punch. First a jab from the right:

    Mitt Romney said, "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. My promise...is to help you and your family." Romney got big laughs from convention delegates apparently planning to live on some other planet.

    Then the crushing hook from the "left":

    President Obama gave Shell Oil approval to drill beneath the Arctic Ocean off Alaska.

    President Obama seems to be moving ahead with the Tar Sands pipeline, blocked global action in Copenhagen and Durban, and created fairly weak auto fuel standards.  Romney's promise is to out-do Obama.

    Our job is to push back against both agendas, regardless of how we plan to vote. Self-censorship on climate is not an option.

    Join us in demanding a serious response to climate change.

  • You can help free Pussy Riot

    Pussy Riot photoFor the “crime” of performing a song against Russia’s president Vladimir Putin in a Moscow church, three women in the Pussy Riot band -- Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova -- have each been sentenced to two years in prison.

    But a court hearing in early September could reduce their sentences. There’s no time to lose.

    “We emphasize that we advocate for non-violence and hold a grudge against no one,” the three women wrote in a recent letter. They added that “our laughter is, in a sense, laughter through the tears, and our sarcasm is a reaction to the lawlessness.”

    After a trial that sometimes was no more logical than the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, these women should be free, not locked up in prison!

    RootsAction.org phoned Moscow and talked with Nadya Tolokonnikova’s husband, the artist and Pussy Riot activist Pyotr Verzilov. We were proud to tell him that RootsAction is launching this major online petition campaign in the United States.

    Please take action now -- so history will show that when Russian autocrats cracked down on these brave feminist activists because of their demonstrated commitment to human rights, free expression and democracy, huge numbers of Americans responded with love and solidarity!

  • Tell 12 Governors Not to Block Medicaid

    Texas Governor Rick Perry is one of 12 governors opting out or considering opting out of an expansion of Medicaid.

    Matthew Solis, 22, is a single father in San Juan, Texas, with joint custody of his 4-year-old daughter. He works 25 hours a week for minimum wage while attending college full-time. He can’t afford private insurance, and he makes about $8,700 a year – too much to qualify for Medicaid in his state.

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was supposed to expand Medicaid to cover everyone within 133% of the federal poverty level (like Matthew) by 2014; however, the Supreme Court took away the federal government’s ability to enforce this expansion, allowing states to opt-out. So far, 12 governors have opted-out or are considering doing so, leaving millions of working poor Americans without any access to healthcare.

    RootsAction and Healthcare-NOW!
    are teaming up to tell Rick Perry and all the governors refusing to participate in the Medicaid expansion: "Expand Medicaid to 133% of the federal poverty rate."

    Once we collect 25,000 signatures, single-payer activists in Texas will hand deliver them to Gov. Perry's office. Then we'll work to get the petition to the governors of Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and any other state threatening to opt out.

    Roots Action and Healthcare-NOW! share a commitment to securing healthcare as a human right under an improved and expanded Medicare-for-all model.  Protecting the current expansion of Medicaid is a small but necessary and life-saving step in that direction, as people like Matthew rise up to lead this campaign in every community in the United States.  Please add your name now!

  • Take Action

    Just a test action page.

  • Thank Ecuador. Shame UK.

    Over 14,000 of you asked Ecuador to grant asylum to the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.  That nation's embassy in Washington publicly and favorably acknowleged your support, and Ecuador's government has granted asylum.

    The UK has threatened to raid the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Assange is now.  This would violate an inviolable international standard. The BBC reported that Britain's foreign secretary, William Hague, "said the UK would not allow Mr. Assange safe passage out of the country."

    We don't know the facts behind the sexual assault accusations against Assange and can take no position on them.  We take sexual assault seriously.  But the WikiLeaks leader is seeking protection from the United States, not Sweden.

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange offered to go to Sweden -- if Sweden would not extradite him to the United States on "espionage" charges -- and Sweden refused.  Assange has not been charged with any crime in any country. Persecution for acts of journalism must be prevented, and you are doing your part.  Ecuador deserves the world's thanks, and the UK our outrage.

  • Tell Obama and Congress: No Compromise on Social Security and Medicare

    The Romney-Ryan platform includes big cuts to Social Security and Medicare. But here's something the New York Times reported about President Obama:

    "He particularly believes that Democrats do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security."

    It's time we asked the President and every member of Congress to commit to not cutting a dime from Medicare or Social Security.

  • State Dept. Must Review Decision on Visas for Afghan Peace Volunteers

    Together with our allies, we flooded the State Department with emails asking them to grant a visa to Hakim, a leading peace activist in Afghanistan.  When Hakim re-applied, the U.S. Consulate reconsidered his case and granted the visa.

    But Hakim is a mentor to the Afghan Peace Volunteers.  When he visits the United States, at least two of those youths should come with him.  Abdulhai and Ali (in photo at right) care deeply about their country.  They are not a risk to stay in the United States (as the State Department fears).  The only risk is that they will tell us what our occupation of their country is doing, and what they are doing to promote nonviolent alternatives.

    We submitted a petition to the State Department with thousands of signatures, to no apparent effect.  Visas for Abdulhai and Ali have been denied. Now it's time to flood our government with emails again.  Let them know how much this means!

    If you are a U.S. citizen, please use this slightly different letter.

  • State Dept. Must Review Decision on Visas for Afghan Peace Volunteers

    Together with our allies, we flooded the State Department with emails asking them to grant a visa to Hakim, a leading peace activist in Afghanistan.  When Hakim re-applied, the U.S. Consulate reconsidered his case and granted the visa.

    But Hakim is a mentor to the Afghan Peace Volunteers.  When he visits the United States, at least two of those youths should come with him.  Abdulhai and Ali (in photo at right) care deeply about their country.  They are not a risk to stay in the United States (as the State Department fears).  The only risk is that they will tell us what our occupation of their country is doing, and what they are doing to promote nonviolent alternatives.

    We submitted a petition to the State Department with thousands of signatures, to no apparent effect.  Visas for Abdulhai and Ali have been denied. Now it's time to flood our government with emails again.  Let them know how much this means!

    If you're not a U.S. citizen please use this
    slightly different letter.

  • Resist Fracking and Mountaintop Removal

    We can't drink money.  We can't breathe money.  We can't grow healthy crops in money.  Yet we're behaving (or our government is) as if we believed such absurdities are possible.

    • The Appalachian Communities Health Emergency (ACHE) Act (H.R. 5959) would put a moratorium on mountaintop-removal coal mining and its destruction of ecosystems and human health.  This act would help people in some of our poorest regions who are suffering from birth defects, cancer, and chronic heart, lung, and kidney disease.

    • The Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act (H.R. 1084, and S. 587) would repeal the Halliburton Loophole of 2005 that exempts gas drillers from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and other safeguard laws.  Until we close this loophole, we aren't allowed to even know what chemicals the corporate drillers are injecting into our water supplies, poisoning people and croplands in many states.

    Tell Congress to stop the attack on the Earth now by passing these two common-sense, first-step measures.

  • From StarsEarnStripes.org:

    NBC Invents War-o-tainment


    Demand a more accurate picture of war by signing the petition to NBC below.

    NBC has created an entertainment show that breaks new ground. "Stars Earn Stripes" is co-hosted by retired U.S. general Wesley Clark.  NBC promoted the show during its Summer Olympics telecast as the next big sporting event.  But the sport it's exhibiting is war.

    On "Stars Earn Stripes," celebrities pair-up with members of the U.S. military to compete at war-like tasks, including "long-range weapons fire." Only there isn't any of the killing or dying.

    Our wars kill huge numbers of people, primarily civilians, and often children and the elderly.  NBC is not showing this reality on its war-o-tainment show any more than on its news programs.  Other nations' media show the face of war, giving people a very different view of war-making.

    In the United States, our tax dollars are spent by the billions each year marketing the idea that war is a sport and associating the military with sporting events.  Media companies like NBC are complicit in the propaganda.

    While 57% of federal discretionary spending goes to the military, weapons makers can't seem to get enough of our tax dollars.  In the spirit of transferring veterans' care to the realm of private charity, "Stars Earn Stripes" will give prize money each week to "military-based charities" in order to "send a message."  We have our own message that we will be delivering to NBC: Don't lie to us.

    One of NBC’s corporate parents, General Electric, takes war very seriously, but not as human tragedy -- rather, as financial profit.  (GE is a big weapons manufacturer.) A retired general hosting a war-o-tainment show is another step in the normalization of permanent war.

    Please sign this short petition to NBC:

  • Abolish Tuition, Forgive Student Debt

    Student loan debt is now deeper and broader than credit card debt. 

    It's over a trillion dollars.

    We must restore inexpensive or free higher education.

    We could make public colleges free for roughly what we continue to waste each year on the "Bush tax cuts" for the wealthy or for about 7% of what we spend each year on the military.

    We can provide immediate relief for students burdened with outrageous education debt, by passing the Student Loan Forgiveness Act (H.R. 4170). 

    This bill would give relief to borrowers with both federal and private student loans.

    Tell your representative to sign on.
     
    This is the first of many steps we need to take to ensure that education is a right, not a privilege.



    March of the Student Debt Slaves
    Credit: The Backbone Campaign

    Support Backbone Campaign Student Debt Jubilee Fellows
    Natalia Abrams and Kyle McCarthy
    .

  • Let's Save Jeju Island

    A coordinated international campaign is trying to save South Korea's beautiful Jeju Island from destruction.

    The World Conservation Congress 2012 is being held on Jeju Island -- while just four miles away, in the island's Gangjeong Village, construction is beginning on a massive new naval base to be used by the U.S.

    The extraordinary biological diversity, unique volcanic topography, and the culture of Jeju Island attract many tourists. The Sea of Gangjeong is a national cultural treasure adjacent to a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Only 114 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins remain in Korea, and they live here -- one of many species threatened by base construction. The damage will be devastating.

    But Samsung, the primary contractor for base construction, is sponsoring the World Conservation Congress (WCC), which is pretending all is well.

    94% of the residents of Gangjeong Village have voted against construction of the base.

    If the base is constructed, it will host nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers, as well as Aegis missile-carrying warships. U.S. taxpayers will pay the cost of the Obama administration "pivot" into the Asia-Pacific, while Jeju Islanders pay with a damaged home.  Ultimately, the cost to the earth and the risk of war will belong to all of us.

    Demand that Samsung halt construction and the WCC oppose the base.

  • We Got Hakim a Visa. Ali and Abdulhai Need Them Too.

    Together with our allies (Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Global Exchange), we flooded the State Department with emails asking them to grant a visa to Hakim, a leading peace activist in Afghanistan.  When Hakim re-applied, the U.S. Consulate reconsidered his case and they granted the visa.

    But Hakim is a mentor to the Afghan Peace Volunteers.  When he visits the United States, at least two of those youth should come with him.  Abdulhai and Ali (in photo at right) care deeply about their country.  They are not a risk to stay in the United States (as the State Department fears).  The only risk is that they will tell us what our occupation of their country is doing, and what they are doing to promote nonviolent alternatives.

    Hakim expresses his gratitude and tells Abdulhai and Ali's moving stories here.

    Please sign this petition, which will be delivered to the U.S. State Department.  Please ask everyone you know to do the same.

  • Congress Set to Waste 57 Percent of Our Taxes

    Congress will debate and vote on a bill -- the so-called "Defense Appropriations Act" -- that will make us less safe by dumping over $600 billion into preparations for war.  Combined with military spending in other departments, this is 57% of all federal discretionary spending.

    Included in the bill is $88 billion for continued war right now in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Pretending those wars are over doesn't stop the flow of funds -- which are needed for such domestic human needs as education, healthcare, and clean energy.

    Moving our representatives toward decent spending priorities is a long-term project.  But should they pass this bill, we can at least force them to begin some military cuts.  We can insist that they keep the bipartisan ban on military sponsorships of NASCAR and other sporting events -- and vote for budget-cutting amendments being proposed by Rep. Barbara Lee.

    You’ll remember that Barbara Lee was the only member of Congress who voted against the Sept 14, 2001, blank check to George Bush for endless military adventure known as the “2001 Authorization to Use Military Force.”

    Please forward to everyone you know this recent comment from Rep. John Lewis, the legendary civil rights activist:

    "War is obsolete. It cannot be used as a tool of our foreign policy. It's barbaric. ... If I had to do it all over again, I would have voted with Barbara Lee. It was raw courage on her part. So, because of that, I don’t vote for funding for war. I vote against preparation for the military. I will never again go down that road."

    Tell your Representative to support good amendments but reject the full bill.

  • Why He Didn't Shake Hillary's Hand

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met a young man in Laos whose hand she couldn't shake. Three years ago, Phongsavath Souliyalat lost both his hands and his eyesight while walking home from school on his 16th birthday when a 40-year-old cluster bomb finally exploded.

    There are 80 million unexploded U.S. bombs in Laos stemming from the Vietnam War era. These bombs keep on killing and maiming; they've killed 20,000 Laotian farmers and their children since the bombing ended in 1973.

    Clinton's efforts in Laos are focused on encircling China with U.S. allies.  She's investing in a massive new embassy in Laos, but not in a massive cleanup of our bombs. Clinton is lobbying other nations against the treaty banning cluster bombs -- a treaty signed by 111 nations but not ours.

    Ask Secretary Clinton to support the Convention on Cluster Munitions and to clean up the U.S. bombs in Laos.

  • Military NASCAR Ads May Be Ending

    A bipartisan measure in Congress has passed through committee that would stop spending $80 million for military sports sponsorships, primarily auto racing.  House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) is fighting to restore that funding.

    While $80 million is small compared to billions the military spends annually on recruitment and advertising or the trillion each year in total military spending, this $80 million is important:  The Army claims that one-third of its recruits come from motorsports marketing, including through its recruiting stations at the racetracks.

    Congress members funded by weapons corporations are intent on avoiding the minor cuts imposed by last year's Budget Control Act, much less the serious cuts needed to benefit our economy, the environment, or the nations at risk of facing our bombs.

    Tell your Representative to vote against military-sponsored NASCAR drivers.

    Note: The Army has just announced it won't sponsor NASCAR next year -- but we need Congress to ban all military sports sponsorships by law.  The National Guard is a far bigger funder than the Army.

  • No to Humanitarian Imperialism in Iran & Syria

    Proponents of war lied about Iraq.  They claimed a humanitarian purpose long after the WMD claim fell apart.  In the end, they devastated Iraq and caused untold suffering.
     
    Proponents of war lied about Afghanistan and continue to kill and destabilize there to this day in the name of humanitarianism and women's rights.  They ignore the right not to be bombed.
     
    They lied about Libya, a nation now facing catastrophe following "humanitarian" bombing.
     
    They're lying about Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, fueling hatred with drone wars, endangering us all.
     
    The lies about Syria and Iran are flowing freely.  But neither the motivation nor the likely result of the warmongering is humanitarian. 
     
    Please add your name to this petition, which we will deliver to Congress and the President:

  • Let Afghan Peace Activist Visit U.S.

    -

    UPDATE: We won! Hakim has been granted a visa! Thank you to everyone who helped!

    -

    -

    Dr. Wee Teck Young is a Singaporean physician and activist who has lived and worked in Afghanistan for years, organizing a group of young people called the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers.  They have worked to promote nonviolent alternatives, ethnic reconciliation, and an end to war.

    Dr. Wee shuns his official title, preferring "Hakim," the name bestowed on him by Afghans after he had served as a public health doctor among refugees on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.  In the Dari language, "Hakim" means "learned one and local healer."

    This week, the Fellowship of Reconciliation awarded Hakim its International Peace Prize.  Also this week, the U.S. State Department refused to grant Hakim a visa to visit the United States, where he would speak about nonviolence.

    Urge Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to grant Hakim a visa.

  • Let Vermont Show the Way on Healthcare

    The Supreme Court's ruling upholding the healthcare mandate will help some people in the short term -- including those with pre-existing conditions and people under 26.  But it also means continuing with a malfunctioning profit-driven system in which we pay twice what other nations do for healthcare, receive inferior care, and enrich private health insurance corporations.

    Forcing people to buy insurance from these increasingly powerful for-profit firms is not a long-term solution to healthcare.  And the ruling allows states to opt out of Medicaid expansion, meaning that coverage will be uneven across the country.

    There's good news: Some states are working hard to develop cost-effective, inclusive healthcare systems for their states. Vermont's government has legislated a single-payer system of healthcare for all. But Congress has imposed obstacles on states that want real reform.

    Tell Congress and the President to take away the barriers, allowing Vermont to succeed. 

  • Obama Trade Deal Worse Than NAFTA

    As a candidate, Obama promised to renegotiate NAFTA, the trade deal that has undermined workers and the environment.  Now leaks of negotiations with eight Pacific countries reveal Obama's intention to out-NAFTA NAFTA.  

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal has been negotiated in secret (except for 600 corporate advisors). The TPP would:

    --reward outsourcing of jobs to lower-wage countries;
    --give foreign corporations immunity from U.S. laws;
    --allow foreign corporations to challenge U.S. laws in foreign (secret) tribunals; and
    --wipe out national protections for workers or the environment.

    Take a minute to tell President Obama (and Congress) that we won't stand for it.

  • Asylum for WikiLeaks Founder

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is asking Ecuador for asylum, while Sweden seeks to extradite him from England. 

    Sweden, in an apparently unprecedented move, is seeking to extradite and imprison someone without charging him with a crime -- after having refused opportunities to fully question him in England.

    We don't know the facts behind the sexual assault accusations against Assange and can take no position on them.  We take sexual assault seriously.  But the WikiLeaks leader is seeking protection from the United States, not Sweden.

    Sweden has a record of bowing to U.S. pressure, including the handing over of two men to the CIA in 2006 -- leading the U.N. to find Sweden complicit in torture. 

    The United States reportedly has a sealed indictment prepared for Assange
    , charging him with crimes against 'national security.'

    The United States has a record of, and an open formal policy of, incarceration without proper trial, solitary confinement and other abusive treatment, and the death penalty.  Assange has the international human right to be protected from such a nation and to request asylum elsewhere.

    Assange, neither charged with nor convicted of any crime, is acting out of fear of our nation's abuses of the rule of law.  It is the same fear that has led some of his WikiLeaks colleagues to quit doing the work that has so benefitted the people of our country and the world.

    Ask Ecuador to grant asylum to the WikiLeaks founder.

  • Let's Get Bradley Manning the Nobel Peace Prize

    Brad M Demo

    We have so flooded the Nobel Committee with emails that they've stopped accepting them.  So we've started this petition, which we will have delivered to them. 

    Please sign!

  • Send Jamie Dimon a Message From Robin Hood

    robin hood photoJamie Dimon received a pay package of $23 million last year as C.E.O. of J.P. Morgan Chase.  Dimon is about to receive a flood of emails from Robin Hood, announcing the launch of a new campaign with a huge coalition behind it.  Send him one more right now!

  • Ban Weaponized Drones from the World


    Meticulous researchers have documented that U.S. drones are killing many innocent civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere.  Drones are making the world less stable and creating new enemies. Their remoteness provides those responsible with a sense of immunity.

    Weaponized drones are no more acceptable than land mines, cluster bombs, or chemical weapons.  The world must renounce and forbid their manufacture, possession, or use. Violators must be held accountable.

    We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, urge

    • the United Nations Secretary General to investigate the concerns of Navi Pillay, the U.N.'s top human rights official, that drone attacks violate international law -- and to ultimately pursue sanctions against nations using, possessing, or manufacturing weaponized drones;
    • the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate grounds for the criminal prosecution of those responsible for drone attacks;
    • the U.S. Secretary of State, and the ambassadors to the United States from the nations of the world, to support a treaty forbidding the possession or use of weaponized drones;
    • President Barack Obama, to abandon the use of weaponized drones, and to abandon his "kill list" program regardless of the technology employed;
    • the Majority and Minority Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, to ban the use or sale of weaponized drones.
    • the governments of each of our nations around the world, to ban the use or sale of weaponized drones.

  • Nancy Pelosi: Which Side Are You On?

    House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has openly expressed her support for a plan similar to that produced by the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission, a plan that would ultimately cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits while protecting the wealthy from taxes.

    It's gotten worse.

    Pelosi now says she also favors keeping the Bush-Obama tax cuts in place for those with incomes up to $1 million. (President Obama has said he supports keeping the tax cuts only for those below $250,000.)  The Pelosi proposal would lose billions in revenue and would likely mean additional massive cuts to human needs.

    Tell Congresswoman Pelosi that we will never allow the stripping of our safety net to protect the wealthy from taxes.

                        *  *  *

  • Let States Create Single-Payer Healthcare

    Canadians got universal, nonprofit health insurance one province at a time.  Several U.S. states are trying.  But the 2010 healthcare bill protected insurance company profits by making it harder for states to act.

    Rep. Jim McDermott is drafting legislation that would allow states to provide their people with universal health coverage and save money -- by cutting private insurance companies and their profits and bureaucracy out of the picture.

    Ask your Representative to back the "State-Based Universal Healthcare Act."

  • Don't Legalize Propaganda, Prosecute It

    For as long as the United States government has sought to deceive foreign nations for its own ends, it has been legally forbidden from aiming propaganda at the U.S. public.

    A bipartisan group of Congress members slipped a repeal of that ban into the military authorization bill that passed the House last week.

    In 2006 we learned that the U.S. government was secretly producing "independent" video news stories talking up alleged successes in the Iraq war.

    In 2008 we learned that the Pentagon was secretly directing "independent" pundits, retired military officers, to propagandize the public on behalf of war.

    Every new war or "intervention" or "targeted killing" is packaged in lies.

    The answer is not to throw up our hands and legalize these abuses.  The answer is to prosecute them.

  • NATO not welcome here

    NATO plans to meet in Chicago on May 20th to discuss an ongoing war in Afghanistan and a number of possible new wars.

    NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was set up 63 years ago to "contain communism" in Europe.  It's a cold war relic whose time has long past.

    NATO was always an undemocratic institution, but it once claimed a defensive purpose.  NATO has militarized the nations of Europe against the will of their people.  NATO maintains hundreds of nuclear weapons in non-nuclear European nations, in blatant violation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.  NATO threatens Russia - no longer our communist "enemy" - with missile base construction on its borders.

    NATO has lost its reason to exist if it ever had one.  Say No to NATO now.

  • New Bill Ends All Fossil Fuel Subsidies

    Our government isn't failing to address global warming.  It's aggressively making it worse by giving at least $11 billion per year to some of the most profitable corporations on earth.

    Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Keith Ellison have just introduced legislation that would eliminate all oil, coal and gas production subsidies.

    If this bill passes, there will be no more tax breaks, financial assistance, royalty relief, or any of the numerous other giveaways currently going to the fossil fuel industry.

    Tell Congress to put that $11 billion to better use.

  • Demand Probe of Rupert Murdoch

    For decades, Rupert Murdoch has been the most powerful media mogul on earth – anointing, manipulating and intimidating political leaders across the globe, including U.S. presidents.  Headquartered in the U.S., Murdoch’s News Corp. owns dozens of American outlets including Fox News, Fox Broadcasting, Wall Street Journal and New York Post.

    A British Parliamentary committee has declared Rupert Murdoch “not a fit person” to run a major company. The committee found that Murdoch had “turned a blind eye and exhibited willful blindness” while his London newspapers massively hacked into private citizens’ phones and computers – and bribed police officials.

    When a U.S. company bribes foreign officials, it violates the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. And the British attorney whose lawsuits broke open the scandal alleges that Murdoch’s journalists committed the crime of phone-hacking against victims in the U.S.

  • Leaving Afghanistan by Staying

    President Obama has signed an agreement with President Karzai to keep a major U.S. military presence in Afghanistan through the end of 2014, and to allow a significant unspecified military presence beyond that date, with no end date stipulated. 

    But Obama forgot to provide any reason not to withdraw from Afghanistan now.  Rep. Barbara Lee has a bill for withdrawal now. Tell Congress to back HR 780.

    The agreement says it becomes effective when "the Parties notify one another, through diplomatic channels, of the completion of their respective internal legal requirements."  The U.S. Constitution requires ratification by the Senate of all treaties.

  • Punish Bush and Cheney First

    The United States Congress is outraged because Russia appears to have imprisoned, tortured, and murdered a whistleblower.  In a chorus of bipartisan unity, members of the U.S. House and Senate have introduced legislation aimed at punishing those members of the Russian government presumed responsible: imposing travel bans and freezing their assets.

    Meanwhile George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney are selling books in which they openly confess to the crime of war and all that comes with it, including lawless imprisonment and torture.  They have openly confessed in their books and on television, repeatedly, to a form of torture that the current Attorney General of the United States admits is torture. And, although it is little mentioned in U.S. media, the policies of Bush and Cheney led directly to the torture of over 100 people to death.

    Freeze their assets.  Ban their travel.  Impeach them, convict them, and remove their pensions while banning them from ever again holding federal office.  Censure them.  Expose the evidence. Refer criminal prosecutions to the Department of Justice.

  • Kids Sue to Force Government Action on Global Warming

    Following decades without useful action by our government to address global warming, a group of young people in the iMatter Movement are suing on behalf of their entire generation. And there's hope -- thanks to a judge in Texas.

    Their lawsuit in federal court (dismissed but back in the judge's hands with a motion to reconsider) argues that our atmosphere is a public trust held for both present and future generations.  James Hansen and other leading climate scientists are supporting the suit, which seeks to compel the government to address climate change. The National Association of Manufacturers and other top polluters joined the suit as voluntary co-defendants and argued for dismissal in May.

    But now, in the words of Alec Loorz, founder of Kids vs. Global Warming: "In the midst of the hottest summer on record, with 3,282 heat records broken during June alone, drought conditions to rival the dust bowl era, and ravaging wildfires, a glimmer of hope to reverse the trend of the climate crisis emerged from the most unlikely of places: Texas."

    Youths from the iMatter Movement, working with Our Children's Trust, have filed suits in states around the country, and Texas judge Gisela Triana has now ruled that the atmosphere is indeed a public trust which the state has a duty to protect. This is how hope and change begin.

    But President Obama has still not met with the youths and scientists who are seeking nothing less than to save the world. Ask him to.

  • States vs. Citizens United

    montanaMontana has taken a stand against the legalization of bribery more commonly known as unlimited corporate election spending. If Montana succeeds in defying the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, the other 49 states will be able to do the same.

    The U.S. Supreme Court may soon hear a case between the State of Montana and two corporations suing for their "human right" to the "free speech" of unlimited election spending. The Supreme Court could take this opportunity to undo its disastrous Citizens United decision.  Or it could decline to take up the case by agreeing with the Montana Supreme Court that Montana's law does not violate the First Amendment. Or the U.S. Supreme Court could strip Montana of its right not to see its elections sold to the highest bidder.

    As goes Montana, so go the other 49 states. All of our Governors and Attorneys General can take a public position now in support of Montana's right to limit corporate election spending.

  • Iran War Hawks Upset as Peace Threat Looms

    The United States and other major nations have finally spoken with Iran. In 10 hours of talks, Iran agreed to a framework for ensuring that its nuclear program is only used for civilian purposes.
     
    This prospect for peace was immediately denounced by right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman and other members of Congress – who may try to block further talks.
     
    A Senate effort to prevent the talks from even beginning had been blocked by Sen. Rand Paul. Now Congress is coming back with more deadly sanctions, ultimatums, and resolutions requiring war.
     
    But Congresswoman Barbara Lee has a bill with 21 cosponsors that would allow and require talks. Tell your Representative to sign onto Barbara Lee's HR 4173, and your Senators to enact the same.

  • Our Taxes Pay for What?

    There's a reason the United States has a hard time funding green energy, healthcare, education, infrastructure, or transportation.

    We have 5% of the world's people and over 50% of the world's military spending -- and through that spending we enrich the richest 1%.

    In Obama's proposed 2013 budget, military spending will become 57% of discretionary spending. This drains our economy, endangers our country, strips our civil liberties, demolishes our natural environment, and kills many people, including innocent civilians.

    Tell the war makers to move the money to more legal and moral activities.

  • Your Taxes Enrich the Rich, So Does Obama


    One hundred years ago, the unsinkable Titanic was sailing confidently toward the iceberg. Today our government is rearranging deck chairs, while billionaires build underground luxury condos in which to survive any disaster.

    Income inequality has grown more rapidly under Obama than under Bush, according to the latest IRS data. Raising taxes on billionaires to the same rate paid by working people ("the Buffett rule") would be a start, but keeping our country afloat is going to require taxing billionaires far more heavily than working people.

    We have hugely profitable corporations (including General Electric, Wells Fargo, and Verizon) paying no or negative taxes, and investors paying lower taxes on their "earnings" than people who actually earn their income. It's time we closed the loopholes and joined the nations that are instituting a financial transactions tax on the speculators.

    Tell the people who tax us to tax the overclass.

  • Mr President: Watch This Video



    It’s been decades since the Cold War ended, yet our country still has 450 U.S. inter-continental ballistic missiles deployed and ready to fire at Russia on a moment's notice.
     
    The Russian people are not our enemy.  Their dancing – and this video – inspires us.
     
    Let’s get rid of these missiles. Let’s take a giant dance step toward peace .
     

     
     

  • New Nuke Plants Can Be Stopped


    Nuclear plants don't have public support and they can't make it in the "free market" because nobody other than the government (meaning, we the taxpayers) will guarantee loans or subsidize their insurance.

    Georgia's double-reactor Vogtle project has been sold thanks to federal loan guarantees. Even though President Obama wants to lavish $8.33 billion in financing on Southern Company, the company is balking at the terms imposed by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

    So are Georgia ratepayers, already facing higher payments that Southern Company gets to keep whether or not it ever builds anything.

    This is corporate welfare at its worst.


    Tell the Office of Management and Budget not to lower its standards, and in fact to raise them. Let's make this the last time new, taxpayer-subsidized nuclear construction is considered in this country!

  • Every Empire Leaves Afghanistan


    The U.S. occupation of Afghanistan will not last forever. All empires end up leaving.

    The Obama Administration and NATO are seeking a treaty that would keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan indefinitely as "support."  But a recent CBS/N.Y. Times poll found that 80% of the U.S. public wants all troops home by the end of 2014 or sooner (47% want all troops home sooner).

    There's a bill in the House of Representatives that would speed it up to RIGHT NOW. The bill has 70 cosponsors.  Let's add 30 more.

    Afghanistan is the longest U.S. war ever.  Even President George W. Bush created a treaty that required all troops to leave Iraq, and the Iraqis compelled Obama to abide by it.  The question now, crazy as it may seem, is whether we can end a war without Bush.

    Let's show Obama that we're still for peace.

    Tell our government the time to end this war is now!

  • Tax Super PACs at 99%


    Across the political spectrum, Americans agree that the Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited corporate spending on elections, has been a disaster – and that the Super PACs doing most of that spending should be banned. The Super PAC-funded attack ads dominating the Republican primaries have become national jokes.

    The Supreme Court maintains that corporations have the "human" right to "speak" by buying our elections.  Until the Supreme Court changes its mind or we amend the Constitution, we would seem to be at an impasse.

    But there is an immediate fix that RootsAction learned of from our friends at BradBlog. Congress or our states could tax Super PAC donations heavily. When this country was in deep depression in the 1930s, President Roosevelt proposed taxing income above a high level at 100%, and achieved 94%. We propose taxing donations to Super PACs by as much as 99% – in the name of the 99% of us lacking voices in pay-to-play politics.

    It can't violate corporations' “human rights” to tax them. We humans are taxed all the time.

    Tax Super PAC donations at 99% starting now.

  • Universal Healthcare Without Individual Mandate

    sign
    If the U.S. Supreme Court rejects the individual mandate for healthcare this summer (and even if it doesn't), we should be aware that this was never a real solution and that something better is available.  We should make Congress and our state legislatures aware now.

    Most rich countries spend much less on healthcare and provide it for everyone without mandating the purchase of health insurance from private corporations.  They use non-profit systems like single-payer that cut out the middleman, the bureaucracy, the advertising, and the profit motive.

    Congress has the Constitutional right to pass laws "necessary and proper for carrying into execution" its powers, including providing for the "general welfare."  Medicare and veterans' healthcare are single-payer systems that could easily be expanded to include everyone.  It is arguably not "necessary and proper" to require people to buy an expensive, inadequate product from a private corporation.

    If the individual mandate ends, let's not lose heart.  Let's seize the opportunity. States are moving ahead with single-payer, but Obama's healthcare law included measures aimed at making it harder for states to act.  Vermont has passed single-payer and is struggling with these hurdles now. 

    An amendment to fix this was passed in House committee during the 2009 healthcare debate but then unceremoniously stripped out by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

    Tell Congress to allow states to create single-payer now.

  • Send RootsAction Cofounder to Congress


    A cofounder of RootsAction – lifelong activist and author NORMAN SOLOMON -- is running one of the most exciting campaigns for Congress anywhere in the country.

    Please help Norman get to Washington
    .

    When he’s in Congress, he’ll fight for the full RootsAction agenda: cut military spending; end corporate personhood; tax Wall Street; launch green jobs programs; restore civil liberties; out of Afghanistan; no attack on Iran; etc. etc.

    Norman has built a powerful grassroots campaign in California’s North Coast district -- with over 850 volunteers and nearly 4,200 individual donors. But he is up against big-money: two corporate-connected Democrats will outspend him roughly 2 to 1.  Norman accepts no corporate money.

    Please donate to help level the field for Norman.

    Remember: when the great Paul Wellstone -- another lifelong progressive activist -- got into the U.S. Senate, he won despite being outspent 7 to 1.

    Norman can win in this progressive district. He’s hugely respected for his three trips to Iraq to try to stop the U.S. invasion, for his 12 books, for the "War Made Easy" documentary, for leaving Glenn Beck speechless in a TV debate, for cofounding the media watch group FAIR, for co-chairing the national “Healthcare Not Warfare” campaign, for leading movements for peace, justice and sustainability.

    Besides donating to the Norman Solomon campaign, please urge any friends or relatives you know who live near California’s North Coast (from Marin County to the Oregon border) to vote and volunteer for him.

    The primary is June 5 (voting-by-mail begins early May).

    Check out Norman’s campaign website or his amazing bio.

  • Restore Habeas Corpus


    The presidential power to imprison anyone forever without a trial is now U.S. law, having been signed by the President on New Year's Eve.

    A bill sponsored by Senator Diane Feinstein would undo it, but only for U.S. citizens.

    Human rights must belong to all human beings.

    The presidential power to kill anyone without a trial was claimed by Attorney General Eric Holder in a speech at Northwestern University Law School this month.

    "The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process," said Holder, ignoring the specific process required by Article III, Section 3 in cases of treason. 

    Stephen Colbert explains that the new due process is "do process," amounting to whatever the president chooses to do.

    You have to laugh.  You also have to act.

    Tell Congress and the President we want habeas corpus and the right not to be killed restored.

  • Obama Offers to Cut Social Security, Medicare

    pie chartThe Washington Post revealed this weekend that the White House has a current offer "still on the table" to make billions of dollars of cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Democratic Leaders in Congress, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, grudgingly agreed to the deal, according to the Post.

    Obama should veto any budget that does not increase taxes on the wealthy. But missing from the entire budget discussion is the existence of absurdly bloated military spending.

    Military spending takes over half of discretionary spending and is protected by the silence of both parties and the media.  Military spending hurts the economy, rather than boosting it. Military spending makes us less safe, destroys the environment, erodes civil liberties, concentrates presidential power, blocks progressive initiatives, and kills large numbers of people.

    And polls show the majority of Americans want military spending cut.

    Tell Obama, Reid, and Pelosi to cut the military instead of human needs.

  • Afghanistan: Even Newt Gets It

    Newt Image

    Sixteen civilian men, women, and children were murdered in the latest atrocity that forms part of the larger atrocity that is the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. Enough. End it.

    Even a lifelong war hawk and interventionist like Newt Gingrich sees there's no victory in Afghanistan.  He recently commented that the Afghan people "have spent several thousand years hating foreigners -- and what we have done by staying is become the new foreigners."

    Although U.S. troops put him in power, Afghan President Karzai can no longer defend night raids, drones, helicopters shooting children, or U.S. troops waving Nazi flags, urinating on corpses, or burning Korans.

    Tell President Obama to get the U.S. military out of Afghanistan now.

  • Don't Iraq Iran

    A full page ad in Monday's Washington Post quotes former top U.S. military officials opposing an attack on Iran.
     
    But Israel’s conservative government wants an attack, ...and President Obama's speech at the AIPAC conference on Sunday was highly praised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
     
    AIPAC is the powerful "Israel-right-or-wrong" lobby and it is backing Senate legislation (authored by Lindsay Graham and Joe Leiberman) that seeks to require an attack.
     
    Meanwhile, President Obama wants to increase to $3.1 billion the weapons that you and I buy for Israel next year, while continuing to protect Israel from accountability at the United Nations or elsewhere.
     
    Tell Congress and the President to avoid another war, and to do so right now.
     
    A military attack on Iran would be disatrous for Iranians, Israelis, the region and the world -- perhaps even worse than the Iraq invasion. 
     
    This time, unlike a decade ago, let's heed informed voices of restraint (like the signers of the Post ad) and not the frenzied voices of war.

  • Corporations are not People

    Republicans like Mitt Romney seem to have a problem telling the difference between corporations and people. So we at RootsAction thought we could help them out.

    Fill in the blank: "You know a corporation is not a person if..."

    Pick your favorite reason. Remember, they may all be good reasons but you can choose only one! The person with the winning idea will receive FILL IN THE BLANK PRIZE INFO. Share with your friends to help your favorite "win."

    Corporations are not people

    Photo credit: AddictingInfo.org

  • Students Not Eating Till Workers Get Paid

    For a quarter of one percent of its annual budget, the University of Virginia could bring all of its employees up to $13 per hour and allow many of them to quit second jobs, see their families, take care of their health, and stop relying on public handouts to get by.

    In a sociology book she coauthored, the new President of UVA Teresa Sullivan has written: "Being paid a living wage for one's work is a necessary condition for self-actualization." But her actions suggest she opposes self-actualization.

    For a week and a half, students have refused to eat.  They started with 12 students, and their numbers have grown (now including a varsity football player).  They say they are hunger striking until UVA's president and "Board of Visitors" agree to a living wage policy.  The students, workers, faculty, and community allies have carefully laid out the economic, legal, and moral case, and found that something more is needed to change the policy.

    UVA is sitting on a $5 billion endowment and refusing to budge.  The students are refusing to eat.

    Ask President Sullivan to do the right thing by emailing her below and by phoning her at 434-924-3337.

  • Three Candidates with Spine


    Lets face it: U.S. elections often pit heartless Republicans against spineless Democrats.

    But there are rare candidates of exceptional courage and compassion who can be counted on to fight – alongside RootsAction activists – for a fair economy, environmental sanity, civil liberties. . . and against a military machine that is draining our society while creating ever more enemies overseas.

    Today we want to tell you about three outstanding candidates for Congress.    

    NORMAN SOLOMON:  Running in a new district (no incumbent) on California’s progressive North Coast, Norman doesn’t just support the RootsAction agenda, he cofounded RootsAction. A lifelong activist and author for peace and justice, he will hit the ground running on these issues in D.C. 

    Norman has built one of the strongest grassroots campaigns ever. He can win this seat and become “America’s Congress member.”  He’s endorsed by labor unions, peace groups and advocates like Dan Ellsberg, Dolores Huerta, Jim Hightower, Phil Donahue and Rep. Raul Grijalva.

    You can help Norman by donating to his campaign; his opponents include a couple of corporate-connected Democrats while Norman refuses corporate money.

    And you can VOTE for him in the "Grassroots All-Stars" online straw poll  (it takes 5 seconds) – which will give Norman access to additional grassroots $$ and volunteers. 

    As Barbara Ehrenreich commented in her endorsement: “We need independent progressive Democrats like Norman Solomon in Congress, not business-as-usual Democrats.”  Check out Norman’s website.

    DENNIS KUCINICH: On issue after issue, Dennis has stood up bravely and often alone in the U.S. Congress – from working to impeach Bush & Cheney to cutting funds for endless war.

    Incumbents often don’t need much grassroots support, but GOP redistricting has thrown two Democratic incumbents into one district. The other Democrat gets donations from war contractors like General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin.

    That’s why an antiwar stalwart like Dennis Kucinich needs donations and activist support now.

    In endorsing Dennis recently, Rep. Barney Frank touted the work he and Dennis have done together on behalf of “substantially reducing America’s military activity across the world.”

    Former Congress member Alan Grayson said it best: “Congress is full of replaceable parts. But Dennis Kucinich is not one of them. Dennis is unique.”  Check out the Kucinich website.

    BARBARA LEE: Although she faces no risk of defeat in her Oakland-Berkeley, CA district, we wanted to give a shout out to this unbending voice for peace and justice on Capitol Hill. Barbara stood alone in Congress in 2001 against giving President Bush carte blanche to wage war – anywhere – in the wake of 9/11; she is a hero in the powerful War Made Easy documentary based on Norman Solomon’s book.


    Follow Barbara Lee's leadership efforts in Congress here.

    So even if you’re disappointed in the candidates and choices on your ballot, here are opportunities for us to band together to help three candidates we can be proud of . . . candidates with spine.

  • Stop New Nuke Construction

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has just approved construction and operating licenses for two new nuclear reactors in Georgia, the first U.S. approval of new nuclear power construction in 34 years. 

    The nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan, is ongoing -- and radioactive trash and water continue to spew into the environment. That's why the NRC chair, originally put on the commission by President Bush, opposed the new licenses. But he was outvoted, including by Democrats appointed by Obama.

    Nukes are too expensive . . . and too risky. According to the NRC's own staff, the design approved for Georgia could produce a catastrophic core meltdown if hit by an airliner or earthquake. The marketplace so beloved in political rhetoric will neither fund nor insure nuclear plants. The Georgia nukes are subsized by $8.3 billion in loan guarantees from federal taxpayers, who also subsidize insurance coverage for the private corporations that own and operate all U.S. nuclear plants. 

    Tell Congress and the President to ban new nuclear construction:

  • Let's Get Bradley Manning the Nobel Peace Prize


    Brad M DemoUPDATE!!!

    We've so flooded the Nobel Committee with emails that they've stopped accepting them.

    So sign this petition and we'll have it delivered to them.

    CLICK HERE.

    ***

    ***

    ***

    The Nobel Peace Prize is supposed to go to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

    Three members of Parliament in Iceland have nominated Bradley Manning and laid out the case:

    "Manning is a soldier in the United States army who stands accused of releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The leaked documents pointed to a long history of corruption, war crimes, and imperialism by the United States government in international dealings. These revelations have fueled democratic uprising around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on our foreign policies, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S.troops from the occupation in Iraq."

    Few have done more.  A number of previous peace laureates have done far less.

    Let's urge the Nobel Committee to award the prize to someone who has earned it:

  • Don't End Afghan War Sooner, End It Now


    The Obama administration is now talking about possibly ending U.S. combat in Afghanistan in 2013. That's progress.

    Tell them we'd prefer 2012.

    President Obama has roughly tripled the number of U.S. troops and mercenaries in Afghanistan. In 2009 he promised a big withdrawal would come in mid-2011. It didn't. Then the big date became 2014.

    Now the plan is to get down to twice as many troops as Obama started with, by mid-2013, and to switch from combat to "training." That's movement in the right direction.

    But U.S. and NATO troops have been training Afghan troops (without apparent success, and with increasingly frequent incidents of trainees killing their trainers) for over a decade, and U.S. governments have been breaking promises for much longer than that.

    The point is that pressure is being felt. A majority in the U.S. tells pollsters we want all troops out as soon as possible. This is an election year. France and other NATO countries are feeling their own people's pressure. NATO's meeting in Chicago in May will face massive protest. The Nobel Committee that awarded Obama a peace prize is under investigation for having strayed from its mission.

    Now is the moment to demand an end to this war.

  • We Want Real Cuts to the Military


    Special Forces operate outside of any declaration of war, authorization to use force, or standard of international or domestic law. They don't ask permission from us or our Congress.

    Funding for Special Forces is not cut in the White House budget proposal. Instead President Obama wants big new bases built for them in Afghanistan and in the United States.

    Enough is enough. It’s time to scrutinize and cut funding for Death Squads.

    Tell Congress and the President what our priorities are:

  • No Immunity for Mortgage Bankers


    Update:
    A sweetheart "settlement" between the White House and big banks guilty of mortgage fraud has at least been delayed. If you've already sent messages to the state attorneys general leading the fight, please tell your friends about the campaign. We can’t let the big banks off the hook.



    The Obama Administration has been working on a mortgage fraud settlement that itself amounts to fraud, but attorneys general in several states are pushing back.

    Obama's speeches stress fairness and equality, but a settlement granting immunity to big banks is not fair.

    Robosigning and other fraudulent practices are ongoing.  The White House is offering the banks a plea bargain in the middle of a crime spree.  Attorneys general in Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, California, and other states are pushing in the right direction. Tell leading state attorneys general not to settle for less than an adequate settlement.

  • Corporations are not People

    Republicans like Mitt Romney seem to have a problem telling the difference between corporations and people. So we at RootsAction thought we could help them out.

    Fill in the blank: "You know a corporation is not a person if..."

    Pick your favorite reason. Remember, they may all be good reasons but you can choose only one! The person with the winning idea will receive FILL IN THE BLANK PRIZE INFO. Share with your friends to help your favorite "win."

    Corporations are not people

    Photo credit: AddictingInfo.org

  • Romney: Release your tax forms now


    A man who would be president, Mitt Romney, is proposing a tax plan that would radically transfer wealth to the wealthy, even more than current tax policy. 

    We might get some insight into Romney's devotion to the public good, as opposed to the exclusive good of multimillionaires, by examining his own tax history. But he refuses to make his tax forms public.

    Tell Mitt Romney to make his tax forms public now! Not in April.

    Romney, who made a fortune through investments that often ruined the lives of workers and their families, said this week he pays about 15% of his income in taxes –  that's right, a lower rate than most of us who work for a living.

  • Lockheed Has More Rights Than You

    The "puppet masters" pulling the strings in Washington are not all on Wall Street. Some of the biggest are to be found in the neighborhood of the Pentagon. 

    Tell Secretary of "Defense" Leon Panetta to stop doing the bidding of corporations.

    Secretary Panetta is protecting powerful military contractors by obstructing the public demand for serious cuts in military spending, which has doubled in the last decade.

  • France Shows the Way - Tax Wall Street

    News from France: Conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy announced this weekend that he would take the lead in introducing a Financial Transaction Tax in his country.

    Referring to the tax as a “moral issue” and blaming deregulation and speculation for the global economic crisis, Sarkozy has said financial traders must “repay for the damage they have caused.”

    Sign below to call on President Obama to show the same leadership in the U.S. by pushing for a tax on Wall Street transactions.

    Nicknamed “the Robin Hood tax,” a Financial Transaction Tax is endorsed by everyone from conservative European presidents to the Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury to Bill Gates and Ralph Nader.  (The tax is tiny per transaction and hardly felt by middle-class investors or their pensions -- while raising big bucks from high-volume investors and reducing speculation.) 

    A new book reveals that Obama once embraced the tax at a White House meeting and said: “We are going to do this!”

    Financial Transaction Tax bills were introduced last year in both the U.S. Senate and House, with Rep. John Conyers’ bill taxing Wall Street to fund new jobs programs.

    Conservative President Sarkozy is facing an uphill reelection battle this year and knows this is a popular tax.

    Facing reelection, shouldn’t allegedly liberal President Obama know this, too?
     

  • Keep Up the Fight to End Corporate Personhood



    Corporate and individual election spending is coming to a crisis. Rallies around the country, city councils, and state legislatures are demanding a Constitutional remedy. The Kochs are dumping in $60 million on the Republican side, while President Obama has opened the floodgates for his billionaire backers on his side.

    But Obama has now said that he supports a Constitutional Amendment "if necessary — to place reasonable limits on all such spending." 

    It IS necessary, and the only reasonable limit is a complete ban. The airwaves are public: TV and radio time should be provided free to candidates. Campaigns can be publicly funded, as H.J.Res. 100 provides for. If Obama is serious, he and Congress must advance this agenda in legislation, not just talk.

    Let's work hard to make 2012 the year in which corporations are stripped of the legal personhood that makes it legal for them to buy elections and politicians.

    Tell your national and state representatives exactly where you stand on corporate personhood and corporate buying of elections.

  • First they came for Bradley Manning

    First they came for Bradley Manning and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a courageous whistleblower who had risked my life for others.

    Then they came for . . .

    Wait! Let's change this script. Let's speak up now!

    Having been severely mistreated as a military prisoner, Bradley Manning is finally, after 18 months, being judged through an extremely biased military process that denies his basic rights.  He is accused of making public information that . . .

    • Helped wind down the Iraq War by motivating the Iraqi government to deny further immunity to U.S. troops;
    • Helped inspire the Arab Spring by exposing new details to Tunisians and Egyptians about their governments' abuses;
    • Exposed that the U.S. State Department had pressured European democracies to stop prosecuting U.S. officials who'd engaged in kidnapping, torture, and other crimes;
    • Revealed to us in the United States more of what our government had been doing than a decade of corporate reporting had;
    • Caused the death or injury of not a single U.S. citizen — in stark contrast to our government's actions.

    The accused Wikileaks leaker is further charged with having acted with the intention of aiding a foreign government against the United States, but every scrap of evidence shows that, on the contrary, Manning's intention was to accomplish exactly what he has accomplished – informing the public about official crimes.

    Tell the U.S. military and the media we want the charges against Manning dismissed!

    As Pentagon Papers whistleblower (and RootsAction endorser) Dan Ellsberg has said: "If Bradley Manning did what he's accused of, then he's a hero of mine."

  • Prosecute Wall Street, Not Patients


    Federal prosecutors are wasting precious resources on medical marijuana while ignoring real crimes.

     
    While the number of Wall Street banksters prosecuted for the massive fraud that crashed the global economy remains at exactly zero, the U.S. Department of Justice has just raided scores of marijuana growers and dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal. Some of the raids even targeted those regarded by local officials as "law-abiding models."

    California's attorney general and the governors of Washington and Rhode Island are pushing back, and so can we.
     
    Breaking a campaign promise, President Obama has allowed his Department of Justice to target these regulated, tax-paying businesses that are in compliance with state law and whose work helps to ease the pain of patients with cancer, AIDS, and a range of other ailments.

    By contrast, Obama’s Justice Department is protecting or ignoring:
    •    The Wall Street thieves who brought down the real economy.
    •    The war criminals, torturers, and warrantless spies who advertise their crimes on book tours.
    •    The mayors and police forces violating our First Amendment rights and brutalizing us.

    Tell the Justice Department and the White House to get their priorities straight.

    In an era of federal budget-cutting, we can win this – and stop the feds from persecuting and prosecuting the medical marijuana community. 

  • Veto New Police State Law

    UPDATED DEC. 14th:  Just in time for Bill of Rights Day, Congress has included in a massive war and weapons funding bill an authorization of presidents and the military to imprison you or anyone else without a trial or charge. . . forever.

    Tell President Obama to veto the bill as soon as it reaches his desk.

    The conference committee made changes to the bill to answer President Obama's concerns, not ours.  The bill now leaves the president free to imprison or kill individuals without handing them over even to a military tribunal.

    The White House calls this "flexibility." The authors of the Bill of Rights called it tyranny.

    Demand that the President veto this outrageous bill, even though, unfortunately, Congress may have appeased the White House by making this provision even worse than it was.

  • Stop Senate War Agenda Today

    Today and tomorrow, the U.S. Senate is likely to consider a Defense Authorization Act that wastes $682.5 billion on war preparations and on wars including Afghanistan, where we killed six more children on Thanksgiving.

    The same bill adds dangerous new provisions that authorize presidents to launch numerous wars without Congressional declaration and to indefinitely imprison U.S. citizens without charge.

    Senator Mark Udall of Colorado will introduce an amendment stripping out the expanded war and imprisonment powers.

    Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon has introduced an amendment that would ask President Obama to stop waging war in Afghanistan more quickly than December 2014.

    Tell your senators to support these two amendments.

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    Tell DOJ to Prosecute Pepper Spraying



    University of California Davis police broke the law when they pepper sprayed nonviolent students. This kind of act amounts to torture.

    Tell the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute this pepper spraying.


     

  • Cut College Costs, Forgive Student Loans



    In this wealthiest of countries, the soaring cost of tuition even at public universities is a national disgrace.  In many European countries, college education is basically free.

    If our country’s wealthiest individuals and corporations were appropriately taxed (some of the most profitable U.S. corporations pay no taxes at all), and if military spending were reduced to merely three times the next biggest spender on earth, our “deficit crisis” would disappear and we could invest billions in education.

    Please tell President Obama that you want college costs cut and outstanding student loans forgiven.

  • Veterans Day's Hidden History



    Originally called “Armistice Day,” the holiday began in 1918, celebrating the end of World War I and the idea of ending all war.  A 10-year campaign launched that year resulted in the ratification of the the Kellogg-Briand Pact which legally banned all war making.

    We've Forgotten That War Is Illegal

    The Kellogg-Briand Pact reads:
    "The High Contracting Parties solemly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.

    "The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means."

    Ask your elected officials to read the Kellogg-Briand Pact.

    The story of how this treaty became the law of the land and how it has influenced history – including the prosecution of Nazis for the crime of making war – is told in the new book "When the World Outlawed War."

  • Catch the Corporate Tax Cheats


    Many wealthy corporations, like many wealthy individuals, pay lower tax rates than the rest of us.

    A new report finds that during the past three years, GENERAL ELECTRIC paid a tax rate of negative 45%.  Among 30 major corporations paying negative taxes (they are richer after taxes than before, often receiving rebate checks) were WELLS FARGO and VERIZON.

    Email the executives at these three corporations to tell them that they cannot have our money, not as taxpayers and not as their customers.  

    (After they receive hundreds of emails, they may begin blocking them -- but we will still have your message and will make sure it gets through.)

  • Super Committee vs. Medicare

    Reducing the House and Senate to a 12-member deficit committee was a very bad idea, and it's working out very badly.
     
    Tell your representative to cosponsor HR 3201 to eliminate the Super Committee, and to vote down any proposal from the Super Committee that does not raise taxes on the superrich and cut the military -- or that does cut our social safety net.
     
    The results of our Build a Better Budget tool align with public opinion polls and the chants of the Occupy movement from coast to coast: "How do we fix the deficit? End the wars, tax the rich!"
     
    The Super Committee met last Wednesday and is meeting again today. At last week's meeting, these two most popular deficit-cutting measures were carefully avoided, except by our friend from Veterans for Peace, Leah Bolger, who pointed them out to the committee before the police arrested her: video.
     
    After last week's meeting, the Democratic and Republican halves of the Super Committee leaked partial descriptions of their latest proposals. The Republicans – as expected – want to lower taxes on corporations and make big cuts in non-military spending, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security cost of living adjustments.
     
    Even more troubling, the Democrats agreed on Social Security and wanted to cut only a bit less from Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs. Democrats also offered vague talk about some military cuts and some tax increases.
     
    The middle ground between these two sketched-out proposals is catastrophic. Typically, Democrats seem ready to compromise far beyond the middle ground if not all the way to the other side.
     
    Tell your representative to cosponsor HR 3201 to eliminate the Super Committee, and to vote down any proposal from the Super Committee that does not significantly tax the rich and cut the military, or that does cut our safety net.

  • Verizon Now Spies On Us For Profit

    Big Brother is here, and his name is Verizon. This company is now selling information about you to other companies -- information including your recent online activity, web browsing history, purchases made, gender, age, interests, and physical location via GPS.
     
    Verizon spends millions on corporate propaganda, but they "forgot" to advertise this policy change. Now it’s up to us to spread the word.
     
    Verizon says that you can opt out of having this data shared, but opting out is not an acceptable practice when it comes to privacy.  The standard until now has been to require that people opt in before their information is shared.  If Verizon succeeds, it seems inevitable that other wireless and Internet companies will follow their path to make a buck off you.
     
    Verizon claims that its policy of selling information about you to other companies will not disclose your identity, but anonymity protections are often breached.
     
    Sign on now to demand this policy be reversed.

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    Yes, We Have a Permit to Occupy

    U.S. Hypocrisy about Occupations


    RootsAction's Aimee Allison is at Occupy Oakland and reports:

    "At about 6 a.m. on Tuesday, hundreds of police descended on our encampment at City Hall.  They used tear gas, beanbag rounds, and a long range acoustic device (LRAD).  They arrested about 90 people and took down dozens of tents.  They also broke up a smaller encampment into which Occupy Oakland had overflowed.  After the mass eviction, I personally witnessed a police officer threatening unarmed people with a rifle.  This is not the society envisioned by our Bill of Rights."


    The authorities say we don’t have the proper permits to occupy public spaces.

    Our permit to occupy is the First Amendment.

    Sign the following statement. If you’ve signed already, send this message and video far and wide.


     

  • No Cuts. Tax Wall Street.



    When reckless trading on Wall Street crashed the global economy, American taxpayers bailed out the big banks to the tune of $4.7 trillion. That is trillion with a “T”. (See resource below.)

    Today, Wall Street is booming. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo executives are earning as much as they did before the financial crisis. In 2010, the CEOs of these three banks made $52 million dollars combined.
     
    Yet on Main Street, family incomes are tanking, job creation has stalled, and 42 million people are living in poverty -- more than at any time in the last 50 years.
     
    We have done our part, now it’s time for Wall Street to do more – through a tiny sales tax on each Wall Street trade. It's called a financial transaction tax (FTT).
     
    Right now Congress is considering huge cuts to Medicare and Social Security, as well as other important programs in health, education and housing.
     
    Enough is enough! We know where the money is. It’s time for Wall Street to start Paying US Back!  A tax on financial services can generate billions of dollars.

  • I Support Occupy Wall Street

    Protests and occupations have spread to Washington D.C. from Wall Street and other towns. This is the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Afghanistan War, the longest in U.S. history. Protesters are extending the occupation from Wall Street to the government that Wall Street corrupts -- to the government that launches war without end.

    We are going to deliver a statement of solidarity to the D.C. protesters -- and a demand for fair and accurate coverage to major news outlets.  Please add your name and share this link with friends:

  • Save the Post Office from GOP Sabotage


    The U.S. Postal Service is our most trusted government agency. It provides universal service to all Americans – rich or poor, urban or rural. It receives not a penny in taxpayer subsidy. And it faces destruction – thanks to Republicans in Congress, acting for huge corporations through a manufactured “Shock Doctrine” crisis.
     
    This is an attack on unionized public workers like the attacks on teachers and state workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere.
     
    Help save the post office by forcing a vote on HR 1351, a bill cosponsored by 211 Congress members -- almost half the House of Representatives.
     
    The postal service would be operating in surplus if not for a bill rammed through the Republican Congress in a voice vote in December 2006, and signed by President Bush. The bill required $5 billion annual PRE-payments toward retiree health benefits for 75 years into the future – “something no other government or private corporation is required to do,” asserts Ralph Nader. HR 1351, drafted by Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch, would end this sabotage and save the post office -- without a single penny of taxpayer funding.
     
    Tell your Representative to sign a discharge petition to force HR 1351 to the floor of the full House despite the obstruction of GOP Committee Chair Darrell Issa.
     
    A decent society requires a postal system that serves everyone, everywhere, at a low price. If corporate forces take over, imagine no more mail delivery or pick up one day. Imagine all hardcopy communications, including with your elected representatives, subject to the tender mercies of corporate delivery.  (Emails to Congress are already handled by Lockheed Martin.)

  • 70 Reps Say: END WAR$ NOW


    Seventy members of Congress have signed a short letter to the 12-member "Super Committee" (on debt/budget) calling for ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, thereby "saving more than $1.8 trillion from current law spending levels over ten years."

    That’s $1.8 trillion in savings beyond already-planned troop "drawdowns."  And it’s $700 billion more in savings than President Obama proposed this week to find through a plan that cuts our social safety net.

    The bipartisan letter concludes: "Before we ask American families to pitch in more, let's bring our troops home -- and, in the process, our tax dollars home." 

    If you agree with these 70 Congress members, sign below to tell the Super Committee.  

    Let's show the Super Committee that tens of thousands of citizens endorse this Congressional letter. 

    Bring Our War Dollars Home!

  • Challenging Wall Street

    Beginning this past weekend, thousands have dug in for a long-term protest on Wall Street. They come with a simple demand -- pay your fair share. The President has proposed higher taxes on the wealthy, but only grassroots activism can make that happen.

    Add your voice to the chorus of those camped out on Wall Street. Tell Congress and the President that we want to end corporate subsidies and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, build a stronger social safety net, and make public investments in jobs and infrastructure. The majority of Americans want it, and what’s more there are lots of bills gathering dust that could make this happen.

    The President’s proposed “Buffett Rule” would have those making over a million dollars a year pay the same tax rate as those in the middle class, reducing the deficit by some $4.4 billion. But the proposal doesn’t go far enough to rein in corporate greed.

    We are at the dawn of a movement that could pull our economy back from the brink. But Congress members ignore polls and actions that are not on the television or are not brought directly to their doors.

    So let’s magnify the demonstrations on Wall Street. Sign this letter to Congress and the President.

  • Build a Better Budget

    Now that you've built your better budget, send it to Congress to show the politicans how Americans want to prioritize taxes and spending. If we let Congress set the priorities without our input, the federal budget will serve the needs to lobbyists and politically powerful corporations, and not you and me.

    Send your better budget to Congress now.

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  • How to Create 29 Million Jobs


    The chief weakness in President Obama's jobs proposal is that it does not attempt to produce very many jobs. There's an obvious solution that goes many times further and doesn't cost a dime.

    Every billion dollars that our government spends on the military produces (directly and indirectly) fewer jobs, and lower paying jobs than would the same billion dollars invested in a number of other industries or even in tax cuts for working people. (The University of Massachusetts' Political Economy Research Institute has done the math.)

    Redirecting a fraction of our military spending to education, green energy, healthcare, and tax cuts would create a job for every unemployed or underemployed person in this country (29 million of them) as well as for those losing war industry jobs during this conversion.  Such a shift would leave the military with more funding than it had 10 years ago.

    Do we have a debt problem?  An unemployment problem?  Or just a war problem?

    Ask Congress to move the money.

  • Cut the Deficit, Tax Obama's CEO Friends


    Thanks to the Institute for Policy Studies and Huffington Post, we have identified 10 obvious sources of revenue that have not been tapped.

    Ten FOOs (Friends of Obama) ran corporations with nearly $27 billion in profits last year.  The 10 FOOs took home roughly $160 million in pay -- an average of $16 million per person last year.  And their companies paid negative $5.4 billion in taxes.  That's right: we paid them.

    Budget problems?  Tax these guys and their companies!

    • General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt (Head of Obama's Council on Jobs, but most of his jobs are overseas)
    • Honeywell CEO David Cote (Obama appointee to the Simpson-Bowles commission)
    • Ford CEO Allan Mulally (Member of Obama's Export Council)
    • Boeing CEO James McNerny Jr. (Member of Obama's Export Council)
    • Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg (Member of Obama's Export Council)
    • eBay CEO John Donahoe (Member of White House Council for Community Solutions)
    • Qwest CEO Edward Mueller (Chair of President's National Security Telecom. Committee)
    • Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris (Co-Chair of Obama's Advanced Manufacturing Partnership)
    • Motorola CEO Greg Brown (Member of President's Management Advisory Board)
    • International Paper CEO John Faraci (traveled with Obama to Brazil)

    Of course, not all overpaid, undertaxed CEOs are FOOs.  Many are FOBs (Friends of Boehner) or FOBOs (Friends of Boehner and Obama).  Let's tax all these multi-millionaires -- whether they're allied with one or both major parties. 
     
    Raise their income taxes. Collect their corporate taxes.
     
    No cuts to education, the environment, Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.

  • Stopping the Tar Sands Pipeline

    An exciting movement is happening in DC and you can be part of it. Right now, scientists and activists, movie stars and mothers are the only thing standing in the way of a 2,000-mile-long pipeline to transport highly corrosive, toxic crude oil from Canada straight through America's heartland. They are there to stand up for safe drinking water and sensible policies to deal with global warming.

    President Obama alone can single-handedly approve or prevent this environmental danger.  Tell him that America doesn't want the Tar Sands Pipeline project.

    You can support the movement by raising your voice to reverse course on global warming. Show your support for those standing up for all of us in DC by sending a clear message to the president today.

  • Let big oil/coal pay for hurricane damage

    Our government is dumping tens of billions of dollars into subsidies for hugely profitable fossil fuel corporations and unsafe nuclear power, not to mention on cleaning up these companies' spills, and wars in oil-rich countries.

    Tell Congress to fund hurricane and earthquake relief by ending these subsidies.

    Government welfare for oil, gas, coal, and nuclear should be eliminated entirely. If cuts are to be made to reduce the national debt, they should begin with these kinds of subsidies, rather than in useful programs that serve people.

    Evidence is growing that fossil fuel industries exacerbate many so-called natural disasters. Until we can tax those industries to pay for their damage, the least we can do is end their dependence on welfare.

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  • Create Jobs - It's the Law


    This year's State of the Union address was only the second since 1948 by a Democratic president that did not mention poverty or the poor. And the President and Congress haven't promoted a bold jobs program.
     
    "When the banks had a national emergency, they bailed them out and they found $700 billion," said Cornel West, during a 9-state Poverty Tour with Tavis Smiley. “When we go to war, we find $1.3 trillion. When the poor and working classes are living in a state of emergency, it's a matter of national security, especially the children. We have 21 percent of our precious children of all colors living in poverty. That's morally obscene in the richest country in the history of the world."
     
    It's also illegal, say experts. They point out that the federal government is required by law to create jobs.  The Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, the Federal Reserve Act, and international law require it.  A bill now in the House, H.R. 870, would fund job creation as required by Humphrey-Hawkins.  If this is not passed, the President legally must instruct the Fed to fund job creation.
     
    Tell the President and Congress to create jobs now.

  • Stop the Super Congress Before It Starts

    RootsAction and The Other 98% have teamed up to call for a champion to stop the "Super Congress" before it starts.

    The so-called 'Super Congress' created by last week's disastrous debt deal is neither Super nor a Congress. It sets up a separate Kangaroo Congress, affecting everyone and elected by no one. It requires a majority of seven out of twelve members to set our national priorities for years to come, empowered to slash Medicare and other necessities without repercussion, and to override the choices of our 535 Representatives and Senators without recourse.

    We're looking for a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus brave enough to repeal the Super Congress law now. With anyone who voted against the debt deal unlikely to be appointed, we need to stop this Super Congress before it can start.

    We need legislation to be introduced right away to undo the Super Congress, before appointments can be made next week. Sign our letter to the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus today.

  • Time to turn our anger into political action


    Congress just passed a disastrous budget deal that fails to tax the rich, end any wars, or protect Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.  One hundred and seventy-five Republicans and 95 Democrats, including professed progressives and members who had publicly opposed this kind of deal, voted for it.  95 Democrats had the decency to vote "No."  We need to thank them and encourage them, as even darker days may lie ahead.

    They all need to know that you are watching.  We've prepared a custom email based on how your Representative performed.

  • Vote Down The Debt Deal

    The debt ceiling deal struck last night does not tax the rich or even allow temporary tax cuts on the rich to expire. Nor does it defund any wars. Yet it requires cuts of $1.2 trillion now and $2.5 trillion over a decade.

    Details of much of the cutting will be worked out by a new 12-member Super Congress empowered to cut any spending, and to force a rushed vote with no amendments on whatever it proposes to the actual Congress. And if that antidemocratic procedure fails, cuts will happen automatically. Half of those cuts might be to the military, but that should be seen before believed, and the devil will be in the details -- details being rammed through under the gun of a manufactured crisis.

    Tell Congress to reject this deal.

  • Protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in Debt Deal

    We've created an easy to read scorecard showing which members of Congress have publicly committed to protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid from cuts. 

    We’ve made it easy for you to send a customized letter to members of Congress who have made this commitment thanking them and encouraging them to keep their word and organize their colleagues.

    We’ve also crafted a letter to members who have not publicly committed to protecting our basic safety net. Now is the time to demand that they make that basic commitment.

    Once your Congressional district is determined (based on the zipcode you enter below) we will provide the letter appropriate for your Representative. We encourage you to include a personal note as well. Thanks for joining the effort to protect our social safety net.

  • Pick Your Bad Billionaire

    Welcome to RootsAction's list of the Filthy Rich.

    Billionaires get tax breaks big enough to fly a private jet through, and it's contributing to our federal deficit. But it gets worse. The most vile of the bunch are using their money and influence to pollute the environment, wreck democracy and profit from war. The fancy word is plutocrat. Another way of saying it - they are the enemy of all we hold dear. Many of the billionaires in this collection have attended the infamous Koch Brothers’ annual retreats to plan their takeover strategies. These folks don’t deserve a tax break. At. All.

    So check out a bit of their background, and consider - which billionaire is doing the most damage? We know, it’s a tough call. But you can do it. We just aren’t buying the line that these folks are worthy of special treatment and that Social Security must go before they do.

    So vote away, and tell your friends.

  • Balance the Budget on the Backs of Billionaires

    The wealthiest nation on earth does not have a budget crisis.

    It has a billionaires crisis.

    As Michael Moore said, “Right now, this afternoon, just 400 Americans — 400 — have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.”

    Cutting human needs must be off the table, and taxing billionaires on it.

    The Progressive Caucus is sending a letter to Rep. Pelosi that states: "We stand united with you in insisting that benefit cuts for working families, our seniors, children, and people with disabilities must be off the table."

    Tell every Progressive Caucus member that we expect them to stand by that commitment when it comes time to vote. We want billionaires to pay their fair share, so that programs we need, and have paid for, can be left undamaged.

  • Never Mind the Ceiling! Raise the Floor!


    From the media coverage, you might think the financial crisis in the United States was a matter primarily concerning bankers. In fact, unemployment, bankruptcies, and foreclosures are on the rise, and localities around the country are reporting increased homelessness. The share of wealth held by the poorest 40% (or, for that matter, the poorest 90%) of Americans is shrinking rapidly.

    Last month a man in North Carolina robbed a bank of $1 in order to obtain healthcare in prison. He had applied for help from the government without luck. Imagine how many people are just that desperate but haven't resorted to solutions that made the news. Here’s just one indicator: the suicide rate is also increasing.

    Obsessing with the debt ceiling at a time like this is a lethal fraud. The United States and other countries have done okay in deeper debt before, and the debt ceiling has been raised without difficulty before. But taxing the rich (even just by refusing to extend the Bush-Obama tax cuts for the wealthy) and cutting military spending, both steps favored by strong majorities, would be leaps forward in paying off the debt.
     
    The phony debt ceiling crisis is an excuse to cut human services. But there can be no excuse for cutting Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. Those of us not in the Forbes 400 need a stronger civil society, not a weaker one. We need the floor raised, and our representatives keep staring at the ceiling.

    Please send our message to your elected officials. You'll have the option to add your own story or the story of people you know. Have you seen any trouble more serious than having to sell your third yacht or pay taxes on your private jet? We're looking for the stories the corporate media miss. We might feature yours on the website.

    Send our message to Congress and the President, and please feel free to edit the letter to add your own story.

  • NY passes Gay Marriage – Time for Congress to End DOMA

    New York just became the sixth state to pass it, a senior federal judge says you can't ban it, and a bankruptcy court says laws prohibiting it are unconstitutional. Clearly it is time for legalized marriage for gay and lesbian couples across the nation.  

    Please join us in calling on Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which restricts the rights of gay and lesbian couples, even those who are legally married.
     
    In New York, the bill to legalize gay marriage garnered bipartisan support with Republican State Senator Roy McDonald saying “I'm tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it... I'm trying to do the right thing..."

    Chief U.S. District Court Judge for Northern California, James Ware (appointed by the first President Bush), upheld the findings of his predecessor who found California's Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that banned gay marriage, unconstitutional.

    And, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Donovan recently wrote an opinion stating that DOMA violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Nineteen of his 23 colleagues signed on to his opinion demonstrating that an overwhelming majority of the Los Angeles bankruptcy court agrees that DOMA is unconstitutional.

    Clearly it is time for DOMA to be repealed. Legislation that would repeal this discriminatory legislation has already been introduced. Please call on your Senators to be vocal supporters of this bill.

  • Impeach Clarence Thomas

    Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been very busy accepting gifts from organizations that file briefs before the court, attending political fundraisers, ruling on suits in which he or his wife have a conflict of interest, and hiding income. No wonder he hasn't had time to ask a question from the bench in five years.
     
    Ask your U.S. Representative to move to impeach him.

    There are three names Clarence Thomas should have in the top of his mind, if there's room:
    1.     Thomas Porteous. This federal judge was impeached in 2010 for charges of corruption and was removed from office.
    2.     Samuel Kent. This federal judge was impeached in 2009 for charges of sexual assault and abuse of power. He resigned.
    3.     Alberto Gonzales. This U.S. Attorney General resigned after Congressman Jay Inslee introduced -- and dozens of his colleagues agreed to cosponsor --  the following bill:

    "Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary shall investigate fully whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to impeach Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors."

    It took Gonzales a couple of years to find a job, as lawyers notable primarily for their obedience are not all that hard to find. Inslee, by contrast, is a candidate for Governor of Washington.
     
    What we need to find now is a Congress member who will introduce a similar bill with Thomas' name replacing Gonzales'.

  • Freedom Riding to Gaza

    Fifty years ago, freedom riders traveled by bus into the U.S. South.  Now American freedom riders are joining their allies from around the world on a flotilla bound for Gaza.  The U.S. ship is called The Audacity of Hope.
     
    The heroes on this ship have pledged to sail unarmed and to refuse to use violence. The Israeli military, which continues to illegally blockade Gaza, causing endless suffering to the Gazan people, has pledged to use violent force to prevent the ships getting through.
     
    Last May, the Israeli military, in international waters, illegally boarded another ship on a similar mission, the Mavi Marmara, killing nine people, including one American, and wounding dozens. Israel claimed, in its defense, that the Mavi Marmara carried no humanitarian aid, that all such supplies were on other ships in the flotilla.
     
    The 36 American passengers (plus 4 crew and 10 members of the press) on board The Audacity of Hope have publicly stated that they will carry only letters: "thousands of letters of support and friendship from people throughout the U.S. to the women, children and men of Gaza."
     
    This selfless courage will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with these freedom riders. Some of the ones I know best and am deeply concerned for the safety of are Ann Wright, Ray McGovern, Kathy Kelly, Medea Benjamin, Paki Wieland. These are people who habitually take risks for others. One comes to expect it of them, but also to expect them to always be there doing it. Robert Naiman will be on this ship, and Alice Walker, and Hedy Epstein. Below are videos of 17 of these heroes explaining why they are going.
     
    The Freedom Riders of 1961 asked the U.S. government to protect them. Its efforts to do so were too little too late. The Freedom Riders of 2011 have also asked the U.S. government to protect them, and thus far received no such commitment. We can ask the U.S. State Department to ask Israel (recipient of billions of dollars in U.S. weaponry every year) not to assault this flotilla, and to allow those transporting aid and letters of good will to reach the suffering people of Gaza unharmed.
     
    CONTACT THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT

  • Obama Can Be Made to Withdraw More Troops

    The majority of Americans want the war in Afghanistan ended.  President Obama promised a "significant" withdrawal this July.  But what he announced on Wednesday amounted to withdrawing about 1 percent of U.S. personnel in July (10,000 withdrawn over six months from a total of 200,000 troops and contractors).  A White House spokesperson told a conference call of reporters on Wednesday that public opinion plays no role in such decisions.

    Can public opinion play any role in Congressional decisions?  Obama cannot keep so many troops in Afghanistan so long if Congress refuses to pay for it.  In recent weeks, the House has twice passed measures barring the use of funds for U.S. warmaking in Libya.  Now before both houses is the 2012 "Defense Appropriations" bill which would dump over $100 billion into wars including Afghanistan.

    Enough is enough, and Obama's "drawdown" is not enough!

    Ask Congress to deny war funding.

  • US Mayors Say: Bring War Money Home!

    The U.S. Conference of Mayors has just done something it hasn't done since Vietnam, passing a resolution that supports efforts to speed up the ending of our current wars and calls on the President and Congress to "bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs."

    Ask Congress and the President to listen.

    Events are snowballing.  The President is about to announce whether he will violate his commitment to a significant withdrawal from Afghanistan in July.  The House of Representatives is passing amendments blocking funding for the Libya War, and 10 Congress members have sued the President in court to end it.  Iraq, we are told, may soon "request" a continued occupation into next year.  A CIA war in Yemen is ramping up, along with that in Pakistan.

    Enough is enough.  Robert Gates just told the New York Times these are wars of choice.  Let's make a different choice.

    Ask Congress and the President to listen to the public and our cities' mayors now.

  • Mr. President, Wall Street's Dollars Can't Vote

    Wall Street Bull with Kiss

    President Barack Obama, holding the previous record (in 2008) for campaign funding from Wall Street, is out to set a new mark in 2012.  With unemployment, foreclosures, and health expenses shattering the lives of millions, Obama is pursuing cuts to human services and massive spending on wars.  How will that win an election?  Perhaps by raising enough Wall Street funding to purchase every advertisement on every television network.  

    Sign an open letter to the President right now that tells him we'll be thinking for ourselves, and reminds him that our government was formed in the name of We the People, not We the Wall Street.

  • We Will Never Accept Unconstitutional War

    Libya war

    The U.S. Constitution placed the power to make war in the hands of our elected representatives in Congress. Their decision leaves us, the people, to compel our Senators and Representatives to accept their responsibility.

    On May 26, the U.S. House amended the Defense Authorization Act of 2012 to state that its passage in no way authorizes the current war in Libya, and to prohibit the introduction of U.S. ground troops in Libya.

    At the same time, the House rejected amendments that would have limited or ended U.S. warfare in Afghanistan, and rejected an amendment that would have stripped Section 1034 from the bill. That section is perhaps the most fundamental change to the structure of our federal government that has ever appeared likely to pass through Congress, as it would effectively give the power to make war to all future presidents.

    TELL THE SENATE TO REMOVE SECTION 1034 AND UPHOLD GOOD AMENDMENTS.

    This week the House delayed a vote on a resolution to end the Libya War, possibly out of concern that it might pass. No similar vote is yet planned in the Senate. Neither chamber has proposed any steps to hold anyone accountable for unconstitutional warmaking. We must push the House to vote on and pass House Concurrent Resolution 51 to end U.S. warfare in Libya.

    TELL THE HOUSE TO END US WAR IN LIBYA.

    The Libya War was sold to the public as a humanitarian intervention, but very quickly evolved into an effort to overthrow a government, using drones that bomb civilians, and ignoring pleas for peace. This war was never sold to Congress, and has never been declared or authorized. No legislation can make the launching of this war constitutional.

    JOIN US IN COMMITTING TO OPPOSE UNCONSTITUTIONAL WAR.

  • Bring Our Libya War $$ Home

    Sign below to send emails to your U.S. representative and senators asking them to curtail spending on war in Libya.

  • Say No to Eternal Worldwide War

    CONTACT YOUR TWO SENATORS NOW
    via this petition to oppose Section 1034.



    US Capitol

    The "Defense Authorization" bill now before Congress pours $118 billion into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dumps another $553 billion into the military, impedes nuclear disarmament, expands nuclear energy use, funds "missile defense" in California, revives a jet engine program the Pentagon doesn't even want, discriminates against gays and lesbians, and prevents transfers out of Guantanamo.

    But wait, there's more. You might say HR 1540 is the worst bill that ever stood a chance of passing Congress because of Section 1034. This section gives presidents from here on out virtually limitless power to make wars and to lock people in prison -- maybe the worst change ever made to our federal government -- undoing the War Powers Act, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. And President Obama says he doesn't want these powers.

    On Thursday, in a very close vote, the House defeated an amendment that would have removed Section 1034. Next week the Senate must get rid of it.

  • Afghanistan War Forever?  No, We Can't!

    Now is the moment to put an end to the "global war on terror," not to ease our way into its permanent establishment.

    President Obama has "surged" about 70,000 troops and a similar number of contractors into Afghanistan, bringing the total U.S. personnel there to approximately 200,000. 

    For the past year and a half, the President has promised to begin withdrawal this July.

    "I'm confident that the withdrawal will be significant. People will say this is a real process of transition; this is not just a token gesture," President Obama said on April 15th.

    Now the military is leaking word that 5,000 troops and contractors might be withdrawn in July, or 2.5% of the total. 

    Tell the President that's not enough.

    By 73% to 21% Americans have told ABC / The Washington Post that they want to "withdraw a substantial number of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan this summer."

    "In July of 2011, you're going to see a whole lot of people moving out, bet on it," said Vice President Joe Biden.

    Does 2.5% strike you as a whole lot of people?

    The plan leaked this week as an apparent trial balloon would take until 2014 to withdraw the full 70,000 troops added by Obama, and leave the other 30,000 troops plus contractors in Afghanistan indefinitely.

    Tell the President to bring every soldier and contractor home now.

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    We don't need words any more, we need action. Join us to take action now.



  • Bin Laden’s Death: Time to Rein in Empire

     Please sign the open letter to President Obama below and forward widely to your friends and family.

  • Prosecute BP for Manslaughter?

    BP's Deepwater Horizon AccidentThe U.S. Department of Justice is considering whether to prosecute BP for manslaughter in the explosion that killed 11 workers on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico last year.  BP could also be charged with deliberately understating the magnitude of the resulting oil gusher in an effort to limit the impact on its stock price.

    Click below to email the Justice Department to request equal justice for all.
     
    The following email will be sent (with any note you care to add):

  • A War Two-Thirds of Us Oppose, Waged for "Democracy"

    "US and Afghan Troops Promoting Democracy" is the headline of a column by Congressman Joe "You lie!" Wilson. "Harvesting Democracy in Afghanistan" is the headline of a Time Magazine article by Joe Klein.
     
    General David Petraeus, on the other hand, has said an Afghan democracy is not the goal. He's also said a significant withdrawal in July is unlikely. Such a withdrawal has been promised repeatedly by President Obama and is favored by 73% of Americans.
     
    According to the Pentagon, we have 96,900 soldiers and 87,483 contractors in Afghanistan, as of last December. That's more than triple what we had when Obama became president, and the result of the 2009 "surge" and the 2010 "surge," both of which only made matters worse.
     
    And what kind of democracy are they "harvesting" at home?  Look at the recent poll numbers:

    • By 73% to 21% Americans say: withdraw a substantial number of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan this summer -- ABC/Washington Post
    • By 63% to 30% Americans want complete withdrawal -- Bloomberg
    • By 72% to 25% Americans want to speed up the withdrawal -- USA Today / Gallup
    • By 53% to 39% Americans say U.S. troops should not be involved in Afghanistan -- CBS
    • By 50% to 44% Americans say: remove all troops ASAP -- Pew
    • By 64% to 31% Americans say the war has not been worth fighting -- ABC / Washington Post
    • By 58% to 40% Americans oppose the war -- CNN / Opinion Research Corporation

    In contrast, last month only 22.5% of House Members voted for withdrawal by the end of 2011.
     
    Please join us in asking Congress: Where's the democracy?

  • Please sign this demand for solutions to our economy

    The Wall Street ratings firm Standard and Poor's threatened to downgrade the U.S. government's credit rating due to its deficit and debt in April.  At a time when extreme budget cuts to Medicare and other vital programs are on the table in Congress, S&P is trying to escalate a deficit-reduction panic along Pennsylvania Avenue. 

    S&P is the same outfit that rated hundreds of billions of dollars in subprime-backed securities as investment grade. And "gave Lehman, Bear Stearns and Enron top ratings right up until their collapse," the Center for Economic and Policy Research explains. 

    Tell Congress not to be blackmailed by Wall Street.

  • Fix the budget with a Wall Street tax

    GRAPHIC: Robin Hood Tax T-Shirt

    As President Obama gave his speech on balancing the budget this week, G20 finance ministers were gathering right down the street to discuss a global transaction tax on the financial elite. It should be a top priority for President Obama and Congress.

    A Robin Hood tax on Wall Street is a logical solution to generate much-needed revenue for jobs, healthcare, infrastructure and schools.

    This week, dozens of American economists, led by Dean Baker, signed a letter to the G20 finance ministers that read in part:

    "This tax is an idea that has come of age. The financial crisis has shown us the dangers of unregulated finance, and the link between the financial sector and society has been broken. It is time to fix this link and for the financial sector to give something back to society. Even at very low rates of 0.05% or less, this tax could raise hundreds of billions of dollars annually and calm excessive speculation."

    We agree with their assessment: “Given the automation of payments, this tax is technically feasible. It is morally right.”

    Please join our call for a financial speculation tax to raise much-needed revenue and pay for our economic recovery.

  • Why a No-Fly Zone is Vital for Afghanistan

    Civilians look up with fear in Afghanistan.  Establishment of a No-Fly Zone would deny access to Afghan skies for U.S. and NATO military aircraft now firing missiles and dropping bombs that kill innocent people.
     
    These crimes have been numerous enough to establish a pattern.1  The United States has made clear its intention to continue and escalate this behavior.2  On the first day of March, two U.S. helicopters tracked and killed, one by one, a total of nine young boys gathering firewood.3  The attacks by drones and piloted aircraft are part of a lethal pattern.  Just this Tuesday, a raid killed six people.4  On Wednesday, a convoy ran over three civilians, killing one.5  Elsewhere, British soldiers reportedly ran two over and killed two women, shot a man and wounded a child on Wednesday.6
     
    The simple step of implementing a No-Fly Zone could prevent much of the killing.
     
    Please sign this petition, which RootsAction will deliver, along with documentation, to the United Nations.

  • Bring Our Libya War $$ Home

    Sign below to send emails to your U.S. representative and senators asking them to curtail spending on war in Libya.

  • Mr. President: Stop Pushing Nuclear Power

    Japan’s nuclear power plants are melting down, making it even clearer that nuclear has no place in a clean, green, safe energy future. Sign our letter to the president today.

  • Tax Wall Street -- for Jobs!


    What better way to finance good green jobs for millions of unemployed Americans than to tax the Wall Street juggernaut that created this economic disaster in the first place?

    That’s not just a good idea -- it could be the law. The “21st Century Full Employment & Training Act” (H.R. 870), just introduced by Congressman John Conyers, is a brilliant legislative remedy for two ills that afflict our society -- massive unemployment and speculative profiteering that keeps widening the gap between the rich and the rest of us.

    The law would make the Wall Street speculators behind the economic disaster pony up to create jobs: whether teaching children, making homes energy efficient, caring for the sick or rebuilding neighborhoods.

    The 21st Century Full Employment & Training Act is an idea that will work for all of us. Please sign this letter to your representative.  And pass this message along to your friends.

    thermo here

  • Flip the script on Wisconsin: Tax Wall Street

    The fight in Wisconsin is just downstream from the Wall Street swindle. It isn’t really about deficits. And it certainly isn’t about teachers or civil servants being too well paid! It’s about power. The corporate right is trying to exploit the economic crisis to make the rich still richer. It’s time to say “No” -- time to make Wall Street pay its fair share.
     
    With taxes on corporations and the wealthy falling, they expect the rest of us to make up the difference. . . from Wisconsin to Ohio to the nation as a whole. It’s time to flip the script.

    Please sign our petition demanding that Congress pass a Robin Hood tax on Wall Street traders.  We'll deliver it to the 75 members of the Progressive Caucus.

  • Tell Egypt We'll Do our Part

    Recent uprisings for democracy in Egypt and elsewhere in the region have transfixed millions of Americans. Join us in solidarity with pro-democracy activists. We’ll share this message with those who used social media to organize the revolution.

    Sign it, email your friends and post on Facebook.

  • Dear Spain: Please do what the U.S. won’t. Prosecute Torture.

    GRAPHIC: Ad in Spanish A Spanish judge has just decided to proceed with a case against Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. The Spanish legislature can be expected to try to block the case, unless perhaps they hear our voices loudly and clearly enough.

    We began this effort in 2011, visiting Spanish embassies, generating media and placing advertisements in Spain, and communicating our appreciation for Spanish efforts to prosecute U.S. torturers. Now we need another big push.

    Please sign this letter now, and we will deliver it to Spain:

    (Leer en Español abajo.)

  • Mr. President: Apologize to Egypt's people

    Since day one of the democratic uprising of the Egyptian people against Hosni Mubarak, elite Washington debated how to react to the fast-changing events in Egypt.  
     
    One idea we never heard: AN APOLOGY.

  • We Oppose the War in Afghanistan

    While communities across our country are in desperate need of basics like jobs, education and healthcare, the president has recommitted the United States to a disastrous, escalating war in Afghanistan.

    Instead of turning away from perpetual war, the president embraced it -- and recently told the 100,000 American troops in Afghanistan, “You will succeed in your mission.”

    The U.S. military cannot prevail in Afghanistan -- and should not try. The president’s current course will bring more suffering and death to Afghanistan while squandering billions of dollars every week.

    SIGN THE FOLLOWING PETITION -- we’ll deliver it to the White House.

  • Clueless at the White House

    The night he won the presidency, Barack Obama declared: “Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.”

    But at the White House summit yesterday, the president made nice with Republican leaders who are avid servants of Wall Street and fierce enemies of Main Street.

    What a contrast with President Franklin Roosevelt, who denounced “the economic royalists.” He said: “They are unanimous in their hate for me -- and I welcome their hatred.”

    FDR did not say, “They hate me -- and I want them to like me.”

    In our time, we can’t beat heartless Republicans with spineless Democrats.

    Fed up with Washington’s coddling of the wealthy and huge corporations?

    SIGN THIS PETITION -- we'll send it to the Whitehouse and Democrats in Congress.

 
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