Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘American’

UnAmerican Detention At Guantanamo

President Obama: Close Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay
by Morris D. at Change.org
Gainesville, Virginia

I served 25 years in the US Air Force, I was the Chief Prosecutor for the Terrorism Trials at Guantanamo Bay for more than two years, and now I need your help.

I personally charged Osama Bin Laden’s driver Salim Hamdan, Australian anathema David Hicks, and Canadian teen Omar Khadr. All three were convicted … and then they were released from Guantanamo. More than 160 men who have never been charged with any offense, much less convicted of a war crime, remain at Guantanamo with no end in sight. There is something fundamentally wrong with a system where not being charged with a war crime keeps you locked away indefinitely and a war crime conviction is your ticket home.

As of April 29, 2013 – 100 of the 166 men who remain in Guantanamo are engaged in a hunger strike in protest of their indefinite detention. Twenty-one of them are being force-fed and five are hospitalized. Some of the men have been in prison for more than eleven years without charge or trial. The United States has cleared a majority of the detainees for transfer out of Guantanamo, yet they remain in custody year after year because of their citizenship and ongoing political gamesmanship in the U.S.

ILOuCIvFWUZiiyq-556x313-cropped

That is why I am calling on Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel to use his authority to effect cleared transfers from Guantanamo and on President Obama to appoint an individual within the Administration to lead the effort to close Guantanamo. Obama announced on April 30 that he plans to do his part to close Guantanamo, but he has made this promise before. Now is the time to hold him to his promise and urge him to take the steps necessary to dismantle Guantanamo Bay Prison.

If any other country were treating prisoners the way we are treating those in Guantanamo we would roundly and rightly criticize that country. We can never retake the legal and moral high ground when we claim the right to do unto others that which we would vehemently condemn if done to one of us.

It is probably no surprise that human rights and activist groups like the Center For Constitutional Rights, Witness Against Torture and Amnesty International have been outspoken critics of Guantanamo. It may surprise you that a former military prosecutor and many other retired senior military officers and members of the intelligence community agree with them.

The Patriotic thing, the American thing, the Human thing to do here is to Close Guantanamo. Please join us in the fight by signing this petition.

What “Minimum Wage”?

Dear Gabriel,

Anyone who has ever worked for minimum wage knows you can’t survive – let alone raise a family – on a minimum wage salary, even if you work full time.

The minimum wage is a misnomer – it doesn’t even cover the bare minimum costs needed to survive.

President Obama charged Congress with lifting American families out of poverty by raising the minimum wage, and California Rep. George Miller and Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin answered the call. They have introduced the “Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013,” which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and link it to inflation going forward.

227819-1363032080-main

Tell Congress to pass the Fair and Minimum Wage Act now.

This legislation should be a no brainer – families everywhere are struggling, and the federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised since 2009. While banks continue to destroy our economy without consequences, working families are drowning in debt.

Support working families. Tell Congress to raise the minimum wage.

Thank you for taking action,

Colleen H.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

The Lion Lady

Gabriel –

I think I’m starting to be known as “that Lion Lady”. First, I started a petition to get a restaurant in Kansas to stop serving lion meat (we won!), and then I started another to get the FDA to ban lion meat throughout the country. But I can’t help it — I do this all because lions’ very existence is at risk.

QzPFjtPgxZnAqZN-180x118-cropped

Now, I’m ecstatic: we have an unprecedented chance to save African lions by getting them on the Endangered Species List. Listing them would not only keep lion meat off American plates but would save thousands of lions by addressing one of the biggest threats to the African lion population — trophy hunting.

But just like restaurateurs opposed my petition to get lion meat out of a Kansas restaurant, wealthy American hunters are fighting to keep African lions off the Endangered Species List so they can continue to bring their bodies home as trophies. Our time is short — the government body in charge of the list is factoring public opinion into its decision and the public comment period ends on Monday.

That’s why I started a new petition on Change.org calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to bow to pressure from hunters and to place the African lion on the Endangered Species List. Click here to sign my petition now.

In the past fifty years, the African lion population declined by as much as 90%. Many of the lion prides that do exist today are so genetically weak from being small and isolated by international borders that they can’t promise a future for African lions.

Legal trophy hunting is a major cause of African lions’ decline — and two thirds of the African lions killed by trophy hunters end up in the U.S. That’s thousands of lions!

Americans hold the key to saving the African lion. An Endangered Species listing would ban any lion parts or bodies from being imported into the U.S. — a huge deterrent to hunters who want to go on safari and bring back a trophy — as well as stop the sale of lion meat nationwide.

Click here to sign my petition, calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate the African lion as an endangered species now before its public comment period ends on Monday.

Thank you.

Cheryl Semcer (aka “The Lion Lady”!)
Hoboken, New Jersey
Change.org

Drought Compounded by Law

Dear Gabriel,

We’re in the middle of the worst drought in more than 50 years. American farmers are ringing warning bells: their crops are dying by the acre.

The US is the world’s largest exporter of corn, wheat and soybeans – so when our crops suffer, the world pays higher food prices and families go hungry.

What’s making matters even worse? The EPA’s mandate for corn ethanol – a rule that requires a large portion of US corn crops to be used to make ethanol. Instead of being eaten by hungry families, those crops are burning up in our gas tanks.

Higher food prices could cause severe food crises, like the current one in the Sahel, to spread to other regions of the world. We can’t wait any longer to take action! Join us in calling on the Obama Administration to waive this mandate.

We need your voice: Tell the Obama Administration to waive the mandate for corn ethanol NOW.

With a shrunken harvest this year in the United States, global food prices could skyrocket. As food prices continue to rise, people in poverty around the world – many of whom already spend a majority of their income on food – won’t be able to buy enough food to eat. Climate shocks are destroying crops simultaneously in multiple parts of the world, creating a perfect storm for hunger.

Last year, 40 percent of the corn produced in the US was made into ethanol because of this mandate. We’re burning up millions of bushels of corn for fuel – and what’s left over to meet demand is so expensive that millions of poor families can no longer afford to feed themselves. That’s just plain wrong.

By waiving the mandate for corn ethanol to allow more of this year’s harvest to be used as food, we can take some of the pressure off the global food market and stop food prices from rising out of control. Will you ask the Obama Administration to stop a global food crisis?

Send a message to The White House: Tell President Obama to waive the mandate for corn ethanol now so the world can afford to eat.

Thank you for standing with Oxfam’s GROW campaign. Together, we’re helping to fix our broken food system to ensure that everyone on the planet has enough to eat, always.

Sincerely,

Vicky Rateau, GROW Campaign
Oxfam America

Let Us Vote

Dear Gabriel,

Stop Voter Suppression

Protect the right to vote for all Americans. Tell Congress to pass the Voter Empowerment Act now.

Since the 2010 election, Republicans have approved laws to restrict the right to vote in more than a dozen states despite the fact that only 13 cases of credible voter fraud occurred in a ten-year period. Compare that to the 441 Americans who were killed by lightning or the 47,000 UFO sighting during the same period and you see just how much the GOP is pulling at straws to legitimize suppressing millions from the right to vote.

They say it’s about fraud, which you and I know is a lie, but recent comments by a Pennsylvania lawmaker prove otherwise.

While listing off a string of right-wing legislative accomplishments at a political event in Pennsylvania, state House majority leader Mike Turzai (R) stated, “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

So there you have it. The Republican party was never concerned about counteracting fraud, only about ensuring their victory — even if they have to prevent tens of millions of Americans from voting to do it.

On the eve of Independence Day, it’s more important than ever that we protect the right to vote for each and every one of us. Will you tell Congress to stop suppressing Americans from voting and pass the Voter Empowerment Act today?

A key component of the GOP’s campaign has been orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which receives substantial funding from the Koch brothers. Already, the Koch brothers have poured up to $245,550 in campaign contributions to politicians supporting new voter ID laws, such as Scott Walker and Rick Perry.2

And boy has their investment paid off! According to the Brennan Center for Justice, this year, over five million eligible voters could be negatively impacted by the new laws — and it’s no surprise that the majority of which tend to vote Democratic.3

These voter suppression laws are designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to prevent minorities, seniors and young people from voting. That’s not just wrong, it’s downright un-American.

On this Independence Day, let’s remember why we’re here and how far we’ve come. The right to vote is a basic, fundamental right in our country. And since the Declaration of Independence was signed, we’ve strived as a nation to increase access to voting to more and more people. That is, until now.

Stand up for voting rights. Tell Congress to stop suppressing Americans from voting and pass the Voter Empowerment Act today.

Sincerely,
David Elliot
USAction / TrueMajority

Giving While On Business

From BBC – The Passport Blog
by Nick Easen
11 April 2012

Business Travel Gives Back

For many, the only time charity plays a role in business is when executives think about the deductions they can make from their taxable income.

But giving has never been easier for road warriors, thanks to several travel companies that are keen to counteract their environmental impact and donate to charitable causes.

Qantas, American Airlines and seven other international carriers place UNICEF envelopes in their seat back pockets. Travelers can help the United Nations children’s organization by donating their small change – including unused overseas currency. In 25 years, UNICEF has raised more than $70 million just by collecting unwanted coins and notes from air passengers. There are similar onboard initiatives with Virgin Atlantic’s Change for Children and British Airways’ Flying Start program.

Many credit cards and frequent flier programs allow you to earn points for good causes or convert your miles into charitable donations. American Express, for example, gives you access to more than one million worthy organizations. Many hotel loyalty cards, such as InterContinental and Starwood, also allow you to donate points to charity.

Hotels are involved in other schemes as well. For instance Best Western, Carlson, Mandarin Oriental and others have teamed up with Clean the World, an initiative that recycles your partially used soap from the hotel room. The soap is cleaned and reformed into new blocks, then sent to people in Haiti and other third-world countries.

Clean the World also created a program specifically for corporate meeting planners. When conferences and their respective organizers sign up to participate, soap from the entire hotel gets recycled. Since its launch three years ago, the charity has distributed more than 10 million bars of soap to people in 45 countries, from Zimbabwe to El Salvador.

In North America, several convention centres, including those in San Francisco and Denver, donate leftover food to a program called Network for the Needy. It was founded by the US Professional Convention Management Association to donate excess food from meetings and special events.

Read entire story and other news at BBC.

Progressive Budget for All

From Nation of Change
by Dave Johnson
29 March 2012

Every Progressive Should Know About the “Budget for All”

Every progressive should know about the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s “Budget for All.” In fact, every American should know about this budget. But the corporate news media sure isn’t going to tell people. So you should help get the word out. Read and Share the One-Page Handout. Email this post to friends, relatives, and especially to your right-wing brother-in-law.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has put together a “Budget for All” that “puts Americans back to work, charts a path to responsible deficit reduction, enhances our economic competitiveness, rebuilds the middle class and invests in our future.” This budget “makes no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits, and asks those who have benefited most from our economy to pay a sensible share.”

Our Budget Puts Americans Back to Work.

Our budget attacks America’s persistently high unemployment levels with more than $2.9 trillion in additional job-creating investments. This plan utilizes every tool at the government’s disposal to get our economy moving again, including:• Direct hire programs that create a School Improvement Corps, a Park Improvement Corps, and a Student Jobs Corps, among others.• Targeted tax incentives that spur clean energy, manufacturing, and cutting-edge technological investments in the private sector.• Widespread domestic investments including an infrastructure bank, a $556 billion surface transportation bill, and approximately $2.1 trillion in widespread domestic investment.

Our Budget Exhibits Fiscal Discipline• The Budget for All achieves $6.8 trillion in deficit reduction, hits the same debt to GDP ratio as the Republican budget, and has lower deficits in the last five years, but does so in a responsible way that does not devastate what Americans want preserved.• We achieve these notable benchmarks by focusing on the true drivers of our deficit – unsustainable tax policies, the wars overseas, and policies that helped cause the recent recession – rather than putting the middle class’s social safety net on the chopping block.

Our Budget Creates a Fairer America• Ends tax cuts for the top 2% of Americans on schedule at year’s end• Extends tax relief for middle class households and the vast majority of Americans• Creates new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires• Eliminates the tax code’s preferential treatment of capital gains and dividends• Abolishes corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies• Eliminates loopholes that allow businesses to dodge their true tax liability• Calls for the adoption of the “Buffett Rule”• Creates a publicly funded federal election system that gets corporate money out of politics for good.

Protects American Families• Provides a Making Work Pay tax credit for families struggling with high gas and food cost 2013-2015• Extends Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Credit• Invests in programs to stave off further foreclosures to keep families in their homes• Invests in our children’s education by increasing Education, Training, and Social Services.

Let people know that there is a budget alternative that respects We, the People.

Read entire article and watch video at Nation of Change.

Better Fuel Efficiency

Dear Gabriel,

What will it take to cure our dangerous and unhealthy addiction to oil and reduce the threat of runaway global warming?

Stronger fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for American cars and trucks are essential – and your email right now to the Obama administration will help support their landmark new standards for cleaner cars and trucks.

Please take action today – you can stand up for better gas mileage, less oil, and a safer climate future – but you don’t have much time to act.

We have set a goal of generating 50,000 supportive comments before the public comment period for these standards closes on February 13th — just 10 days from now.

Please act now and send a strong message to anyone who would block this landmark step towards cleaner air.

The EPA and Department of Transportation have proposed tough new standards to require America’s fleet of passenger cars and trucks to average 54.5 miles per gallon by model year 2025.

Together with the “Phase One” model year 2012-2016 rule finalized in 2010, these tough new standards will more than double America’s average fuel economy and are expected to:

Save families an estimated $8,200 in fuel savings over the lifetime of a new vehicle by 2025, for a total of $1.7 trillion in national fuel savings over the life of the program.
Reduce oil consumption by an estimated 2.2 million barrels a day by 2025 – more than our daily 2010 oil imports from the entire Persian Gulf.
Reduce carbon dioxide pollution by over 6 billion metric tons over the life of the program – equivalent to the emissions from the United States in 2010.
Generating less pollution, putting more money in your wallet, reducing our addiction to oil, modernizing America’s fleet of cars and trucks – what’s not to like?

Please take action today to support stronger fuel economy standards.

This is a dramatic and bold proposal and the Obama administration has earned the support of automakers, autoworkers, consumers, environmental groups, and many other key stakeholders.

But, anti-environment ideologues in Washington oppose it and are searching for ways to block its implementation. That’s why we need your help today to ensure a cleaner future.

Please send an email today to help break our addiction to oil and to slash America’s dangerous climate pollution.

Cleaner cars, less oil, and healthier air are just a click away.

Thank you for your support,

Steve Cochran
Vice President, Climate and Air

End Indefinite Detention

Dear Gabriel,

Osama bid Laden may be dead, but the War on Terror is still being used as an excuse to sacrifice our values and our rights.

On New Year’s Eve, President Obama signed a bill into law that gives him and future presidents the power to use the U.S. military to pick up and indefinitely detain civilians accused of supporting terrorism — including American citizens — anywhere in the world without charges and without a trial.

This represents a further entrenchment of the Guantanamo mindset that jettisons our most cherished values and our constitutional rights all in the name of national security.

Tell President Obama and Congress: Close Guantanamo and end indefinite detention. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

The president and all members of Congress need to see that Americans are outraged by the support in all three branches of government for this outrageous attack on our constitutional rights.

Even if your representative or your senators voted against the bill that allows indefinite detention, they need to hear from you.1

What’s more, they need to see a groundswell of support behind a renewed effort to shut down the shameful American gulag at Guantanamo.

Guantanamo is a black mark on our national conscience that started under George W. Bush in the wake of 9-11. But it has only continued, despite promises to the contrary, under President Obama.

Tomorrow marks the tenth anniversary of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It’s long past time we shut it down.

Tell President Obama and Congress: Close Guantanamo and end indefinite detention. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Indefinite detention without charges or trial is fundamentally contrary to the democratic values that our system of government rests upon.

For that reason alone, President Obama could have and should have vetoed legislation that prevented the closure of Guantanamo and allowed for the indefinite military detention of American citizens.

But Congress also must shoulder much of the blame.

There is a disturbing degree of elite consensus that the War on Terror justifies rolling back our civil liberties and our obligations under the Geneva Conventions.

While there are many elected officials who to their credit have spoken out against this, the recent defense bill that allows for the indefinite military detention of Americans passed with large, bi-partisan majorities in both chambers of Congress.

The worst thing we can do in the face of this is remain silent.

We need to speak up and make sure that our elected officials know we are watching, and we must demand that they live up to the best of our nation’s values.

Tell President Obama and Congress: Close Guantanamo and end indefinite detention. Click below to automatically sign the petition:

http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=366370&id=33280-266627-ENbk89x&t=10

Thank you for speaking out.

Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Turkey’s Turn-around

From Nation of Change
by Mohammed Ayoob
9 January 2012

Turkey’s Balancing Act

Turkey has over the past few weeks become the spearhead of a joint Western-Arab-Turkish policy aimed at forcing President Bashar al-Assad to cede power in Syria. This is quite a turnaround in Turkish policy, because over the past two years the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had gone out of its way to cultivate good relations with neighboring Syria, with whom it shares a long land border.

This change of course on Syria has also cost Turkey a great deal in terms of its relations with Iran, the principal supporter of Assad’s regime, which Turkey had also cultivated as part of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s “zero problems with neighbors” policy.

Given these new strains, it is worth recalling that a only few months ago many American leaders were livid at what they perceived to be Turkey’s betrayal. In their view, Turkey had re-oriented its foreign policy toward the Muslim Middle East and away from the West – a shift supposedly reflected in the country’s deteriorating relations with Israel and improving ties with Iran and Syria.

Many American policymakers and publicists, unable or unwilling to distinguish Turkish-Israeli relations from Turkish-American relations, interpreted Erdoğan’s condemnation of Israel’s blockade of Gaza as a bid to cozy up to his Arab neighbors at the expense of Turkey’s relations with not only Israel but with the West in general. Turkey’s attempt to mediate between the major Western powers and Iran concerning the Islamic Republic’s uranium stockpile went unappreciated in the West; indeed, the United States scuttled the effort just as it seemed to be bearing fruit. And Turkey’s subsequent vote in the United Nations Security Council against imposing additional sanctions on Iran seemed to offer further proof that Turkey had adopted an “Islamic” foreign policy.

America’s anxiety assumed that it is a contradiction for Turkey to seek good relations with both the West and the Muslim Middle East, and that Ankara’s decision to improve its relations with its Muslim neighbors was motivated primarily by religious and ideological concerns considered important by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Turkey’s recent tense relations with Iran demonstrate this assumption’s basic fallacy, and point to a non-ideological foreign policy that caters to Turkish national interests as defined by the country’s political elite – including the post-Islamists in power today.

Disagreement between Turkey and Iran initially centered on their conflicting approaches to the internal rebellion against Assad’s dictatorship. Iran has been heavily invested in the Assad regime, its lone Arab ally and the main conduit for delivering material support to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Turkey, on the other hand, after some initial hesitation, has thrown its weight fully behind Assad’s opponents, including by providing refuge to them, as well as to defectors from Syria’s army. Indeed, Turkey has gone further by helping the divided Syrian opposition to come together on its territory to establish a joint front against the Assad regime and provide a credible alternative to it.

Read entire column at Nation of Change.

Tag Cloud