- Campaign Finance Reform
- Civil Liberties / Surveillance
- Civil Rights
- Economic Justice
- Government Accountability / Whistleblowers
- Gun Violence Prevention
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For People, Land, Air & Sea: STOP RIMPAC Military Exercises.What is RIMPAC? RIMPAC is the largest maritime military exercise in the world. 27 nations, more than 25,000 personnel, more than 45 ships, 5 submarines, and 250 planes are expected to participate in the month-long 2018 exercises. What does RIMPAC do? RIMPAC simulates a hypothetical sea-battle between countries. Cruise missiles with a range of 300 nautical miles are fired from ships and submarines. Land-based missiles fire on ships. Planes drop bombs on ocean targets. The latest in weaponry is tested and operations include amphibious operations, gunnery, counter-piracy, mine clearance, explosive ordnance disposal, mass casualty exercises, and diving and salvage operations. RIMPAC 2018 will host the first “Innovation Fair” at Pearl Harbor which will showcase the latest U.S. weaponry for the international arms market. How does RIMPAC harm Hawai`i? Following are just a few examples: • Retired military ships are towed out to sea and then targeted with missiles and torpedoes until they sink to a watery graveyard on the ocean floor. There they leach toxic chemicals, including PCBs, which accumulate in the bodies of fish, dolphins and whales – and ultimately into our food. • Amphibious landing exercises, which include heavy tracked vehicles, damage reefs, erode shoreline, and endanger wildlife. • Military sonar and underwater bomb detonations have been proven to wreak havoc on whales and dolphins by driving them from feeding areas, causing them to beach in panic, interfering with communication and mating, causing hemorrhages and embolisms in their bodies. • An increase in toxic waste, noise pollution, harmful air emissions, and fuel spillage diminishes the quality of life throughout the State of Hawai`i. • Dependence on a militarized economy reliant on weapons, assault vehicles, artilleries and technologies to be used for domestic or international violence undermine Hawaii's efforts to become self-sustaining and life-affirming. • The U.S. Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island hosts live-fire training for ground troops of other countries who leave their ships to “practice with the entire gamut of weapons systems, everything from the pistol all the way up to 84mm rockets and missiles.” Pohakuloa, almost 5 times the size of the island of Kaho`olawe, is the U.S. military’s largest live-fire training range and is located on the slopes of Mauna Kea, a mountain held sacred by many. RIMPAC exercises further endanger the environment and subject surrounding communities to aerosolized Depleted Uranium and other toxins. • The influx of more than 25,000 military personnel to Hawai`i increases the sex industry, supported by sex trafficking. The enormous military presence in Hawai`i has done, and continues to do, irreparable damage to Hawai`i’s people, land, air and sea. Areas that have been used for bombing practice are uninhabitable and bombing and live fire practice is not only continuing but escalating in the age of the “Pacific Pivot”. Indigenous Hawaiian cultural sites have been destroyed. U.S. Military fuel storage tanks are leaking poisons into the drinking water in Hawai`i's most populous region. Vast areas of water, land and sea are so toxic as to be unusable. In a state where land is limited, the U.S. military occupies a larger percentage of land than in any other state. RIMPAC exercises further contribute to this destruction.
Demand Rep. Huffman Support Human Rights for Palestinian ChildrenYour Congressional district has a strong tradition of being supportive of human rights and the dignity of all. Introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum in November of last year, this important bill is needed to ensure that US taxpayer money is not used by Israel to commit human rights abuses against Palestinian children under military occupation. According to Defense for Children International-Palestine, Israel is the only country in the world to systematically detain and imprison children through a separate-and-unequal military court system. These courts convict Palestinians in 99.74 percent of cases, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Palestinian children are also systematically ill-treated by Israeli forces during and after their arrest. They suffer “beatings, long-term handcuffing, threats, intimidation, and solitary confinement,” which in some cases amount to “torture,” according to the Department of State. This bill would prohibit any US assistance appropriated to Israel being used to support the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in violation of international law. The United States gives Israel more than $3 billion in military aid each year. The least we can do is to ensure that this money is not going to support Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinian children. Your action on this bill has become very urgent. Israel is using massive military force against unarmed protesters in Gaza, killing dozens, terribly wounding hundreds. Clearly identified members of the press have been murdered or wounded by the Israeli military. Children have been killed or wounded. The Israeli military admits “we know where every bullet landed”. Now is not the time for empty platitudes of concern. We demand accountability for US aid to Israel. I strongly urge you to join Bay Area representatives Barbara Lee, Jackie Speier, Ro Khanna, and Anna Eshoo and cosponsor this bill. I look forward to hearing back from you on this matter.
Remove tax-exempt status from the NRAThe NRA uses this money to buy congress members' votes through lobbying activities that are corrupt, and not what the overwhelming majority of the citizens of the United States want. What we want is REASONABLE gun laws. Automatic, semi-automatic, bumpstocks, high capacity clips should only be in the hands of the military. More people die of gun deaths here by astronomical levels than in any other country. We are not taking away anyone's 2nd amendment, we simply want to make it sane. Less people dying of gun deaths is sane! Giving the NRA tax-exemptions is insane. Do you really think law enforcement entities want to be outgunned? No, less law enforcement people will lose their lives as a result of sane gun laws. Go to csgv.org/nra-tax-exempt-loaded-private-interest/ for more great information to support this petition.
Pass the Equality Act to Protect LGBTQ Americans from DiscriminationWhile the groundbreaking Marriage Equality Act expanded marital protections for LGBTQ people in 2015, there is still much to be done to ensure non-discrimination protections and equal treatment under the law. Federal law and the majority of states lack explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people at work, at school, and elsewhere, leaving them vulnerable to discrimination. In other words, a person can be fired from their job, evicted from their home, denied access to housing, credit, loans, hotel services, and even jury duty on the strict basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other key federal non-discrimination laws to provide clear, explicit federal protection against discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, credit, federally funded programs (including education), and federal jury service. The bill would provide clear, explicit federal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the following six areas: ● Employment: The Equality Act would explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and in the workplace. ● Federally funded programs and activities: Any program that receives federal funds would be prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This provision would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination by institutions that receive federal funds – including schools, hospitals, domestic violence shelters, and police departments. ● Housing: The Equality Act provides explicit protections for LGBTQ people against housing discrimination. ● Public Spaces and Services: LGBTQ people would be protected from discrimination in “public accommodations,” including stores, restaurants, hotels, transportation, and healthcare services. ● Banks and Credit: The Equality Act would explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in credit, financing, and lending. ● Federal Jury Service: The Equality Act would explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in selecting federal juries. All LGBTQ Americans deserve a fair chance to live, love and provide for their families without the burden of legalized discrimination. This bill will help ensure that no one is fired, evicted from their home, or denied basic services because of who they are or whom they love. Urge your members of Congress to support this critical piece of legislation. H.R. 2282, The Equality Act https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2282?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22Equality+Act%22%5D%7D&r=1 Human Rights Campaign: Why the Equality Act? https://www.hrc.org/resources/why-the-equality-act
My Last Gas CarThere is a consensus among climatologists that change in our climate is unprecedented. Major climate forcings causing the change are from human activity. The main activity being the burning of fossil fuels of which use of personal automobiles is a major factor. We ordinary people can make an impact on climate change in a drastic and effective way. Progressive change for complex social problems comes about in one way. Mass popular movements. Collectively, let’s tell automakers what we are willing to give up. Some sacrifice is needed by many people to make change happen. Send a message clearly stating you are giving up on gasoline powered vehicles. Some automakers are moving in this direction but too slowly. And it is not enough! Let’s send a real message of change. Refuse to buy another car or truck that runs on gasoline. It is consumer demand that dictates what is produced and what is sold not automakers. Let’s tell them simply what we want. An electric vehicle that can be powered by renewable energy sources. Sign this petition and commit to the decision along with many, many others to not buy gasoline powered cars. Let’s be dedicated to contributing to a more stable climate and a better future for our families, friends and communities.
Undo Unconstitutional Life-Without-Parole Sentence for Bobby BosticBobby Bostic was only 16 years old when he was sentenced to 241 years in prison for non-fatal crimes. He is now 38, and will not be eligible for parole until he is 112 years old. Despite two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings that determined life without parole sentencing for juveniles who have not been convicted of murder to be unconstitutional, the state of Missouri has repeatedly refused to offer Bobby an appeal. We must stand with Bobby in his effort to take his appeal, if necessary, to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1995, Bobby Bostic and an older accomplice were convicted of 18 crimes stemming from an armed robbery and carjacking. While the older accomplice pleaded guilty and took a plea bargain for a 30-year sentence, Bostic took the case to trial. He was found guilty on all counts and was given the maximum possible sentence: 241 years. "Your mandatory date to go in front of a parole board will be the year 2201," the judge said. "Nobody in this room is going to be alive in the year 2201." At the time, Bobby was just 16 years old. "Two of the Supreme Court's rulings in recent years have barred judges from imposing sentences of life without parole for juveniles who haven't killed anyone," reports Riverfront Times. "But Missouri is one of a small number of states arguing that doesn't apply to defendants who aren't technically sentenced to life without parole — even if their sentences add up to just that." In addition, the Missouri Supreme Court has defended its ruling by claiming that the U.S. Supreme Court rulings pertain only to defendants convicted of a single charge, not multiple charges added together. "In practice, that means Bostic would have been better off committing a single act of murder than being convicted of multiple, non-fatal crimes," noted Doyle Murphy, a journalist at the Riverfront Times. Bostic's sentence also violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty to which every single nation on earth other than the United States is party, and which is therefore international law. The treaty states: "Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offenses committed by persons below eighteen years of age." While Bobby Bostic awaits his parole date in over 100 years from now, his accomplice will be eligible for parole next year. The case of Bobby Bostic illuminates the punitive nature of the U.S. criminal justice system. Instead of managing prisons as spaces of rehabilitation, the U.S. Department of so-called Corrections has made it a point to punish offenders in the most retributive ways possible, depriving juveniles like Bostic of any meaningful opportunity to obtain release. According to the ACLU's state legal director, Tony Rothert, "Bobby Bostic should get a chance to show that crimes he committed as a teen do not define him. The Constitution demands nothing less." Background: Riverfront Times: Bobby Bostic, Sentenced as a Teen to 241 Years, Appeals to U.S. Supreme Court https://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsblog/2017/12/21/bobby-bostic-sentenced-as-a-teen-to-241-years-appeals-to-us-supreme-court
Keep and Maintain Digital DNA (Save the Egg!)Unveiled in 2005, Digital DNA is very arguably the most popular and culturally significant work of public art the City has ever commissioned. (As one measure of the work's popularity and impact, searching Instagram public posts by #[artwork title] shows that through 2017 Digital DNA had by an extraordinarily wide margin more posts than all of the City's other permanent sculptures combined, comparable to the number of posts of Rodin's Burghers of Calais at Stanford University.) Digital DNA is so popular in part because it recognizes Palo Alto (indeed, the HP garage) as the birthplace of the Silicon Valley and the computer revolution in such a visually engaging, almost whimsical way. At the same time, the sculpture poses challenging questions about what it means to live and work in the Silicon Valley where every day companies determine and produce new technologies and make decisions that profoundly change the DNA of both it and every other society on the globe. Based on social media metrics, it appears that Digital DNA has resonated with Palo Alto citizens and visitors alike to a much greater extent than any other permanent public artwork commissioned by the City. Visitors from all over the world make a point to visit Digital DNA as part of their exploration of Silicon Valley. Can the same be said of any other public artwork in Palo Alto? When the City does succeed in commissioning artwork that has significant popular and cultural impact as it has with Digital DNA, it seems self-evident that its Public Arts staff should concentrate its efforts and resources on properly maintaining such work. Otherwise, the City will find itself expending significant financial resources to acquire and maintain a collection of public artwork that has much lower public impact. It is clear that the City can properly maintain Digital DNA. In 2015, the City hired ARG, a leading San Francisco arts conservator, to provide guidance on maintaining its outdoor public art. ARG advised the City that if a "water based coating is applied annually and the artwork inspected regularly, it will be acceptable to keep [Digital DNA] in its current location." After it had spent taxpayer funds to obtain it, the City omitted ARG’s assessment from it Deaccession Request for Digital DNA even though its Deaccession Policy requires it to include the opinion of a "qualified visual arts conservator." Experienced arts caretakers such as the Getty Museum have routinely maintained outdoor plastic sculptures in excellent condition for many decades through regular maintenance and periodic restoration. There is no excuse for the City not to maintain Digital DNA using these same standard procedures. The cost of maintaining Digital DNA through annual maintenance and periodic restoration as needed is several thousand dollars per year, a small price to maintain very arguably the City's most successful public artwork and a tiny fraction of its total Public Arts budget.
Release Imprisoned Bahraini Human Rights Defender Dr. Abduljalil al-SingaceFrom Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain: Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace is a Bahraini academic, blogger, and human rights defender sentenced to life in prison after he called for democracy during Bahrain’s 2011 Arab Spring protest movement. Along with twelve other leading human rights and political activists that would come to be known as the “Bahrain 13,” Dr. al-Singace was tortured before a military court convicted him on baseless charges stemming from his right to free expression. Despite international criticism and formal calls for reform, civilian courts upheld the “Bahrain 13” rulings and confirmed his life sentence. Now, Dr. al-Singace is spending his 56th birthday in prison – his sixth behind bars since the start of his unjust life sentence. Dr. al-Singace suffers from a number of serious, ongoing health concerns – including post-polio syndrome and sickle-cell anemia – that the Bahraini government has refused to adequately address during his detention. Authorities have consistently denied Dr. al-Singace regular medical treatment and have failed to provide him with surgery required as a result of the torture he suffered in 2011. Prison officials have even denied Dr. al-Singace necessary medical supplies, including rubber stops for the bottom of his crutches. As a consequence, it is difficult for him to walk, and he is prone to slipping and falling on his unstable crutches – avoidable accidents which draw ridicule from prison guards. In recent weeks, Dr. al-Singace and other prominent prisoners of conscience held in Bahrain’s Jau Prison have faced increased harassment, including repeated raids at odd hours which have resulted in the confiscation of nearly all personal effects. Dr. al-Singace has had all books, papers, pens, and materials seized, including the only manuscript of a book he had been authoring during his detention. Though advocates for Dr. al-Singace have issued repeated complaints to Bahraini oversight institutions, the government has taken no action to rectify these issues. Dr. al-Singace has been subjected to torture, arbitrary detention, inhumane and degrading treatment, and life imprisonment – merely for peacefully exercising his right to free opinion and expression. But you can help. Take this opportunity on Dr. al-Singace’s 56th birthday to sign this petition calling for his immediate release, and demanding the Bahraini authorities provide him unrestricted access to adequate medical care. After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends. Please tweet at the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs (@bahdiplomatic) and the Foreign Minister (@khalidalkhalifa) to call for Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace’s release and for him to be provided proper medical care. Feel free to use the following sample message: #Bahrain human rights defender Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace shouldn’t spend another birthday in prison. @bahdiplomatic @khalidalkhalifa must ensure he is immediately released & given proper medical care! Background from ADHRB: • The Health of Nabeel Rajab and Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace https://www.adhrb.org/2017/06/hrc35-item-3-oral-intervention-health-nabeel-rajab-dr-abduljalil-al-singace/ • High-Profile Political Leaders and Human Rights Defenders Face Ongoing Degradation, Punishment, and Restrictions on Access to Medical Care http://www.adhrb.org/2017/10/high-profile-political-leaders-and-human-rights-defenders-face-ongoing-degradation-punishment-and-restrictions-on-access-to-medical-care/ • No contact for a week: Family fears for Dr. al-Singace’s health http://www.adhrb.org/2016/07/no-contact-week-family-fears-dr-al-singaces-health/ • Urgent Appeal: Release Prisoner of Conscience Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace as Hunger Strike Reaches 160th Day https://www.adhrb.org/2017/10/high-profile-political-leaders-and-human-rights-defenders-face-ongoing-degradation-punishment-and-restrictions-on-access-to-medical-care/ • Champion of Justice: Dr. Abuljalil al-Singace http://www.adhrb.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Champion-of-Justice-Abduljalil-al-Singace.pdf
Support OperationPUSHJanuary 15 marked the beginning of a month-long work stoppage organized by prisoners throughout the Florida Department of Corrections demanding an immediate end to unpaid labor and inhumane working conditions at their facilities. The strike, announced in late December, aims to force corrections officials to pay prison laborers monetary compensation for their work as opposed to “the current slave arrangement,” in which they are paid in time deducted from their sentences. In written statements to news media, the strikers have also demanded increased access to parole, cheaper and more reasonable prices for basic food and hygiene items, voting rights for former felons, and an end to prison-guard brutality. The organized strike began on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — and is named #OperationPUSH, after civil rights leader Jesse Jackson’s 1970s-1990s campaign to improve economic conditions for African Americans. Almost a third of Florida inmates are black, compared with fewer than 17% in the general population. Florida has the nation’s third-largest prison system in the United States, with 97,000 inmates. Prison work inside Florida correctional facilities consists of doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, maintaining the facilities, and even growing food for the inmate population. Before the strike began, one organizer wrote that “[the strike’s] goal is to make the Governor realize that it will cost the state of Florida millions of dollars daily to contract outside companies to come and cook, clean, and handle the maintenance, [which] will cause a total breakdown." Outside of the prison, incarcerated laborers work in “community work squads,” providing free labor to state offices such as the Department of Transportation, the Division of Forestry, and the Department of Environmental Protection. According report by the FDOC, “community work squads” worked over 3.15 million hours in 2017 alone and saved the state more than $38 million in payroll expenses, including flooding and debris cleanup work after Hurricane Irma. Ironically, these same incarcerated workers are barred from employment at the state-level upon release, due to their criminal records. Another incarcerated organizer wrote that Florida prisoners “want to create an environment where someone can do their time, be rehabilitated, and enter into society with some type of hope…that would be helpful for society instead of creating a revolving door where you lock people up and just set them up for failure so that they keep coming back.” In fear of retaliation, these organizers have asked to remain anonymous. One week into the month-long work stoppage, internal sources have reported the participation of strikers in at least eight different Florida facilities in the FDOC. Internal sources have reported that many of these strikers have been placed into solitary confinement by correctional officials. In solidarity with prisoners, marches and protests have been organized throughout the state, and more than 135 civil rights and activist groups, including local chapters of the NAACP and the Florida Women's March, have voiced their support for #OperationPUSH. At a speech at Florida State University, civil rights leader Angela Davis said there is "no better way to keep the legacy of Dr. King alive than by supporting the prisoners' strike." Will you sign the petition to support #OperationPUSH and to demand an immediate end to unpaid labor and inhumane work conditions in Florida prisons? Sources: Movement Against Prison Slavery Ramps Up With OperationPUSH in Florida https://shadowproof.com/2018/01/11/operation-push-movement-against-prison-slavery-florida/ Florida Prisoners Set to Strike January 15th Against Prison Slavery https://itsgoingdown.org/florida-prisoners-set-strike-january-15th-prison-slavery/ Striking Florida Prisoners Thrown in Solitary Confinement, Activists Say http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/striking-operationpush-florida-prisioners-placed-in-solitary-activists-say-10006900
STOP HAWAII’S MONTHLY NUCLEAR ATTACK WARNING SIREN AND CELL PHONE ALERTSHow did you like the "mistaken" nuclear attack warning siren and cellphone alert on Friday?? People in Honolulu crawling into manholes, cowering in the bathrooms and closets!! Time to stop these sirens!! The State of Hawaii is war mongering and scaring its citizens with its monthly nuclear attack warning siren which began in December 2017. Hawaii citizens are demanding the State Emergency Management Agency stop the fear-mongering with the nuclear attack warning siren and call on State officials including Hawaii’s Congressional delegation to make a firm stand for diplomacy, not military action, to resolve the crisis on the Korean peninsula. The sirens heighten the anxiety and stress of impending conflict and devastation, make citizens afraid and in their fear, accept whatever the government feeds them on how great threats to our nation are. We know that successive administrations have lied our country into wars –from Vietnam to Iraq. We do not agree for the need for war with North Korea and refuse to accept the attempted US intimidation of North Korea which could lead to war. The sirens normalize the potential for war. Certainly, If the U.S. initiates military action against North Korea, militarized Hawaii with its four major military bases on Oahu—the headquarters of the U.S. military Pacific Command that covers half the world, the Army’s 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Marine Expeditionary Force at Kaneohe, Hickam Air Force Base and Pearl Harbor Navy Base, the huge NSA underground listening station near Wahaiwa, the massive practice bombing area called Pohakuloa, on the Big Island and the Pacific Missile Range on Kauai would be a retaliatory target for North Korea and any other nation threatened by the United States. Therefore, it is in Hawaii’s survival interest that we demand that the U.S. government resolve issues with North Korea in a nonviolent manner. The national government in Washington, DC does not feel the need to have nuclear warning sirens, so why should Hawaii? One would think the politicians who make the decisions for war and the Pentagon would be bigger targets than Hawaii. Please sign this petition to the Hawaii Governor, the Hawaii State Emergency Management Agency and Hawaii’s Congressional delegation demanding that the monthly nuclear attack warning sirens STOP.