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Posts tagged ‘Congress’

All Women, Not Some

Dear Gabriel,

W1302EAWMN1_2Congress turned its back on women last year when it shamefully failed to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for the first time since 1994.

The reason? A group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives wanted to deny protections for three communities that face disproportionate levels of violence — Native American and Alaska Native women, immigrant women and LGBT individuals.

But there is hope. Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a strong, inclusive and bipartisan VAWA that will help support all women facing violence and exploitation.

Amnesty is mobilizing an urgent effort to get an identical bill passed in the House. Please donate now and support our work to defend human rights.

The stakes couldn’t be higher.

1 in 3 Native American and Alaska Native women will be raped in her lifetime. When the perpetrator is a non-Native man – as in 86% of cases – a complex maze of jurisdictional issues can delay the judicial process or potentially even allow the perpetrator to escape justice.

Immigrant women often face higher rates of sexual harassment and domestic abuse – but when it comes to seeking justice, they have few legal rights and little protection from abusers who could exploit their immigration status.

LGBT violence survivors often face discrimination when attempting to access potentially life-saving social services – discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
An inclusive VAWA would put an end to these injustices . Stand with us and help pressure Congress to put partisan politics aside and protect the rights of all women. Donate now.

Your donation will help mobilize grassroots activists to pressure Congress through phone calls and office visits, educate the public about the current gaps in services that survivors face, and pressure key Representatives to muster the political will to support an inclusive bill.

If you believe in justice for all people – not justice for somedonate now.

Thank you for all that you do to protect human rights.

Cristina Finch
Managing Director, Women’s Human Rights Program
Amnesty International USA

Call Today

Dear Gabriel,

DAP-one-million-sig-enoughMy son Blair was murdered with a gun on his way home from school. He was riding a Chicago city bus, and he was caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting just a few days before Mother’s Day.

Newtown, Connecticut doesn’t look a lot like the South Side of Chicago. But when I hear the stories of Newtown families, I am familiar with their pain.

One month has passed since the heartbreaking mass shooting that took the lives of twenty first-graders and six adults. No community should have to go through that kind of terror, and no parent should have to feel so much loss.

Please join me and the families of other gun violence victims in saying: ENOUGH.

We recorded a new TV ad to Demand A Plan from our leaders in Congress.

Take a minute to watch the ad and call your members of Congress RIGHT NOW.

Today, more than forty mayors across the country organized events with law enforcement officials, faith leaders and survivors of gun violence to commemorate the tragedy at Newtown and demand action from our elected leaders in Washington.

More than a million people have signed the Demand A Plan petition calling on President Obama and Congress to step forward with a real plan to end gun violence.

But our leaders need to hear our voices every day. Please watch our new TV ad and make a call TODAY:

http://DemandAPlan.org/ENOUGH

I’ve met parents and loved ones of gun violence victims from all across the country. We share a connection because of the pain we’ve all been through, and we can offer each other some comfort and understanding. But there’s nothing that would make us happier than never adding a new member to our group ever again.

Thirty-three people are murdered with guns every day in America — sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. We’ve had ENOUGH and it’s time for our leaders in Congress to act.

Thank you for calling your members of Congress to Demand A Plan,

Annette Nance-Holt
Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Health Care Not Health Profit

Dear Gabriel,

Increase the eligibility age for Medicare to 67? Is Congress completely crazy?

We should be reducing the Medicare eligibility age, not increasing it. Healthcare costs when you reach 65 are greater than at any other time of your life. The notion that it’s good fiscal policy to wait a couple of years until the cost of treatment for many people will become more expensive due to delayed diagnoses and treatment is wrongheaded and cynical.

In fact, a small incremental increase in the payroll tax (currently just 1.49%) could cover everyone, young and old. That’s the direction Congress should take, and it’s exactly what we are fighting for in California.

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At California OneCare, we’re educating and advocating for a single, public, not-for-profit health-insurance plan that will cover all Californians and be a model for the nation. Our programs educate and empower people on a personal, grassroots level because we believe that person-to-person contact is the only way to achieve lasting change with this complex issue. Check out our media page for more information.

Your support is appreciated by us and, yes, by economists:

Last week, more than 100 economists emphatically endorsed a national single-payer, Medicare-for-All system in the U.S. that covers all ages as the most humane and fiscally-responsible way to run a health care system: http://econ4.org/statement-on-healthcare

Your continued support and your donation at this time will enable California OneCare to expand outreach, organizing and advocacy in 2013.

Please mail a tax-deductible contribution today to California OneCare Education Fund, P.O. Box 5116, Novato, CA 94948. Or go to http://californiaonecare.org/donate/ today and make a contribution.

With your help, we will win!

Happy New Year to you and your family.

Yours in health care justice,

Andrew McGuire

Executive Director, California OneCare Campaign

Expand Yosemite

Dear Gabriel,

CAE_EY_Birthday_Action-Button_v1It’s almost Yosemite’s 150th birthday.

And we have a chance to give the park something great.

What do you get Yosemite, the park that has everything — from stunning Yosemite Falls and Half Dome, to black bears and Giant Sequoias?

Help us expand Yosemite National Park by hundreds of acres.

By taking action now, you can help pass a bill through Congress that would expand Yosemite by 1,600 acres. That’s 1,600 more acres of Giant Sequoias, meadows with snowmelt creeks, black bears, and memories of camping under the stars for our kids and their kids. It’s also the 1,600 acres that John Muir, the man who championed the idea of Yosemite National Park, intended to be part of the park in the first place.

But long ago this land was stripped from the park and given to loggers, miners and the railroad industry.

That’s why I need you to email Senator Feinstein right now.

Tell Sen. Feinstein it’s time to expand Yosemite National Park to its original vision.

The boundaries of Yosemite National Park haven’t been adjusted for the last 70 years. This is our shot.

Your action right now can help better protect Sierra red fox, Goshawks and wolverines from the threat of future development. Yosemite’s 150th birthday is around the corner. If enough Californians contact Congress, we can see to it that we give the park that has everything 1,600 more acres of beauty.

Thank you for being with me. Let’s leave Yosemite better — and bigger — than we found it.

Sincerely,

Dan Jacobson
Environment California Legislative Director

Uganda Bill to “Kill the Gays”

Gabriel –

The speaker of the Ugandan parliament has promised she will pass the so-called “Kill the Gays” bill in the next two weeks — she called it a “Christmas gift” for the Ugandan people. The bill would legalize the death penalty for LGBT people and people with HIV or AIDS.

Uganda experts say that one way to stop this bill is to get pressure from banks that have significant resources invested in the country, such as Citibank and Barclays.

Citibank and Barclays together have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in Uganda and wield significant influence in the country, just as banking lobbyists wield influence with Congress in the US. Citibank and Barclays speaking out against the “Kill the Gays” bill might be the best — and only — chance to stop it.

Collin Burton is a Citibank customer who is also gay. Collin started a petition on Change.org asking Citibank and Barclays to speak out against the “Kill the Gays” bill. Click here to sign Collin’s petition right now.

Citibank and Barclays are both big supporters of LGBT rights for their own employees, yet they invest money with a government that is threatening to execute LGBT people. “I expect Citibank and Barclays to live up to the values of equality and fairness, not just list them on their websites,” Collin says.

If Citibank and Barclays speak out against the “Kill the Gays” bill, Ugandan legislators will see that they are risking the business relationships that keep their government afloat.

Click here to sign Collin’s petition asking Citibank and Barclays to issue strong statements condemning Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. The bill could come up for a vote any day, so swift action is essential.

Thanks for being a change-maker,

– Mark Anthony and the Change.org team

Because I Was Raped

Gabriel –

The first time the U.S. military betrayed me was when I was raped — twice — by my commanding officer in the Navy.

The second betrayal was when the Veterans Administration (VA) denied me disability benefits for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — which I have because I was raped in the military.

When applying for benefits from the VA, I had to “prove” that my rapes happened, through testimony from eyewitnesses, my ex-husband and others. This is a higher burden of proof than for other veterans applying for the same benefits — and only veterans applying for benefits because of sexual assault have to meet it. Even more, even after I had given it what it wanted, the VA failed to believe that the rapes had occurred or approve my benefits.

Today, I’m fighting back. I recently testified in front of Congress to show elected officials how the VA is failing countless veterans like me. I also started a petition on Change.org to build a nationwide outcry against the VA’s double standard preventing veterans who have been raped and sexually assaulted within the military from getting the benefits they deserve.

Click here to sign my petition now.

As a result of my rapes, I have endured decades of debilitating PTSD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, migraines, a sexually transmitted disease, nine miscarriages, suicide attempts, homelessness and an end to my marriage. It took 23 years, in the end, for the VA to give me any benefits at all.

And I’m not alone. By DOD’s own estimates, over 19,000 service members are assaulted in the military each year. For countless veterans like me, a denied VA claim is the second betrayal, and can mean the difference between life and death. And yet only 1 in 3 applicants receives PTSD benefits for military sexual trauma. In comparison, more than half of veterans applying for PTSD benefits linked to other kinds of trauma are approved.

A few weeks ago, I watched another military rape survivor, Lance Corporal Nicole McCoy, start her own petition on Change.org. More than 300,000 people signed it, inspiring me to start my own petition to create change within the VA.

And I know public pressure to change the VA’s broken system can work: it has happened before, when the VA changed the requirements for combat veterans applying for benefits. The same can happen for veterans who are survivors of military sexual assault — but only if thousands of people join me by signing my petition.

My belief is that the VA wants me to fade away as quickly as possible, but I’m not going to let it off the hook. It’s really that simple. I will continue to serve my country and defend the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. My campaign today is a part of that.

Please click here to sign my petition now, and call on the VA to eliminate double standards and extra hurdles for veterans suffering from military sexual trauma and seeking the benefits they’re entitled to.

Thank you.

Ruth Moore

A Little Common Sense

From Nation of Change
26 July 2012

U.S. Gun Laws: Guilty by Reason of Insanity
by Amy Goodman

James Holmes, the alleged shooter in the massacre in Aurora, Colo., reportedly amassed his huge arsenal with relative ease. Some of these weapons were illegal as recently as eight years ago. Legislation now before Congress would once again make illegal, if not the guns themselves, at least the high-capacity magazines that allow bullets to be fired rapidly without stopping to reload. Holmes bought most of his weaponry within recent months, we are told. Perhaps, if sane laws on gun control, including the ban on high- capacity magazines, were in place, many in Aurora who are now dead or seriously injured would be alive and well today.

The facts of the assault are generally well-known. Holmes allegedly burst into the packed theater during the 12:30 am premier of the Batman sequel “The Dark Knight Rises,” threw one or two canisters of some gas or irritant, which exploded, then began to methodically shoot people, killing 12 and wounding 58.

“Everybody sort of started screaming, and that’s when the gunman opened fire on the crowd, and pandemonium just broke out,” Omar Esparza told me. He was in the third row, with five friends out for a birthday celebration: “He started opening fire on the audience pretty freely, just started shooting in every direction, that’s when everybody started screaming, started panicking. A lot of people had been hit at that point at those initial few rounds, and that’s when everybody sort of hit the floor and started to exit.”

Esparza continued: “It sounded like the bullets had stopped, and it sounded like he was either switching guns or reloading his rifle. At that very second when we sort of heard the silence, we realized that that was our only opportunity of getting out or of dying. So, at that split second, we had to react and had to exit as quickly as possible. And we barely made it, too, because approximately a second after we had exited, we heard him starting to shoot again.”

That moment of silence may have been when one of the weapons jammed. CNN reported that “the semiautomatic rifle used in the Colorado theater killings jammed during the rampage … a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the investigation said Sunday.”

Holmes allegedly had an AR-15, equipped with a 100-round drum magazine, as well as one or two Glock pistols with 40-round extended magazines and a Remington 870 shotgun that can fire up to seven shells without reloading. The AR-15 can fire from 50 to 60 rounds per minute. Holmes had a massive arsenal, easily acquired at retail stores and online.

Carolyn McCarthy is a member of Congress from Long Island, N.Y. Her husband was shot in the head and among the six killed in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road massacre. Her son also was shot in the head, but survived and remains partially paralyzed. She was a nurse back then, but when her congressman voted against the assault-weapons ban, she ran against him. She won and has been in Congress ever since.

McCarthy has introduced H.R. 308, the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act. It would ban the sale or transfer of these large-capacity clips that enabled the massive casualties in Aurora, and in Tucson, Ariz., in January 2011 when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot and six were killed. McCarthy told me: “The problem is, politicians, legislators across this country are intimidated by the NRA and the gun manufacturers who put so much money out there to say that ‘we will take you down in an election if you go against us.’ Common sense will say we can take prudent gun-safety legislation and try to save people’s lives. That is the bottom line.”

Read entire story at Nation of Change.

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

Amend The Constitution

Dear MoveOn member,

Corporations already have so much power. But what happens to our democracy when ExxonMobil, the oil baron Koch brothers, Bank of America, and all of Wall Street can spend unlimited amounts to influence a presidential election?

We’re about to find out in our first presidential election year since Citizens United. And because the limitless spending has been protected by the Supreme Court, the only way we can stop it is by amending the Constitution to reverse Citizens United and get big money out of politics for good.

Passing an amendment isn’t easy—we need to get overwhelming support at both the state and federal levels. But we have a powerful opportunity right now, in an election year, to flex our political muscle as MoveOn members. We can use the election to help convince politicians up and down the ballot to get on board if they want to earn our votes.

So we’re starting today by launching a new petition asking every state legislator, governor, and member of Congress who hasn’t yet declared their support for a constitutional amendment to undo Citizens United and permanently get big money out of politics.

Will you add your name?
Yes, I want my state and federal lawmakers to take a stand.

The plan is to deliver the petitions to state capitols and governors’ mansions in all 50 states and to the local offices of every member of Congress who hasn’t yet joined the call for an amendment.

And we aren’t, by any means, starting from scratch. MoveOn members and our allies have been working hard ever since Citizens United to build a movement for an amendment—and there’s already a lot of grassroots momentum.

President Obama is on board, along with more than 25 U.S. senators, at least 80 members of the U.S. House, and hundreds of state-level lawmakers.1

It’s an impressive start, and this year, we have the opportunity to help massively increase those numbers. Polling shows that Americans are fed up with the 1% flooding our political system with cash and getting get lax regulation, rollbacks of workers’ rights, huge bailouts, and tax giveaways in return.2

Nearly all of the economic impacts that the 99% movement has mobilized around are tied to the overwhelming influence of big money in our democracy. So once we know who’s with us, we’re going make the issue personal, confront politicians who won’t take a stand with stories of the real-world consequences of a system run by corporations and the 1%, and demand that every last one of them chooses a side.

When President Obama announced his support for marriage equality last week, we all saw how powerful it can be when our political leaders stand behind an idea that—just a short time ago—seemed “unrealistic” or “politically impossible.”

It’s time, again, to change what’s “politically possible” in America.

Will you sign the petition and ask every one of your state and federal lawmakers who isn’t on board yet to declare their support for a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United and get big money out of our democracy?

Click here to sign: http://pol.moveon.org/amend/?id=41692-1274818-dUtud5x&t=4

Thanks for all you do.

–Robin, Elena, Victoria, Emily, and the rest of the team

Vote Today On Indefinite Detention

Gabriel,

UPDATE: They’re debating the NDAA even as I type. Our contacts in Congress tell us the tides are turning: It’s still an uphill battle, but we have a chance of beating indefinite detention.

Please call Congress right away and ask your member to end indefinite detention.

ORIGINAL: The timing couldn’t be any better: As Congress gets ready to vote on indefinite detention today, a judge just ruled that these provisions of last year’s National Defense Authorization Act are unconstitutional!

Congratulations to Chris Hedges and Revolution Truth — who spearheaded the lawsuit — and to the 50,000 Demand Progress members who signed on as grassroots supporters of the effort.

It’s a huge victory, but we need to keep pushing Congress to do the right thing too: The government is likely to appeal the court’s ruling, so we have to make sure we beat back indefinite detention during today’s vote.

Please click here to call your member of Congress right away — it’ll just take a minute and we’ll give you a call script you can use.

The vote is expected this afternoon, so we need calls to start pouring in first thing this morning.

Thanks!

Demand Progress

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