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NEW SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH CABINET POSITION FOR PRESIDENTPoliticians are rarely scientists, engineers or mathematicians. These areas progress, change and discover new things pretty much daily and are advancing in complexity. The President of the United States can impact the world today and for decades to come with decisions that they may not fully understand how these impacts will be felt. They need a STEM cabinet position to help them understand, no matter what their political party affiliation.
Hire Robert Parry as the New Editor of the New York TimesThe New York Times has descended into poorly documented reporting, usually politically biased and often hysterical. It's readership has declined as a result. Restoring credibility will not be easy. In contrast, Robert Parry of Consortium News, has established over many years the concern with careful documentation that lends credibility and usefulness to news reporting. His editorship has provided readers with close examinations of evidence, very readable in-depth summaries of many areas of news, and a variety of articles of great interest. The simplest way for the New York Times to restore credibility would be to hire Mr. Parry as its senior editor. This would stop the flood of criticism of the NYT. Mr. Parry would endeavor to provide the same level of experienced and impartial editorship that his readers now enjoy. Readers of the NYT would enjoy a greatly improved standard of reporting, and the NYT would rapidly regain credibility and circulation. *Note: This petition is based on one originally started at Change.org by John Barth.
Tell Trump “No” to the release of fighter jets to Bahrain without human rights conditionsThe United States has historically been a strong ally of the Government of Bahrain. Yet, as citizens of one of the most powerful nations in the world advocating for democratic values, we must call on our representatives to make fully-informed ethical foreign policy decisions. In January 2017, we heard the news of a surprise announcement on the release of a previously-blocked multi-million dollar fighter jet package to the Government of Bahrain with no human rights conditions. The U.S. government had previously blocked the sale in 2016 due to concerns that the Bahraini government systematically violated the human rights of civilians. At the start of a new U.S. Administration under President Trump, the announcement of the sale is extremely worrying. Since the Arab Spring protests of 2011, the Government of Bahrain has continued violently suppressing peaceful dissent in the kingdom and blatantly ignoring international calls for human rights reform. Just this year in January 2017, the Bahraini authorities launched a campaign of unprecedented force against the civilian population. Unidentified masked Bahraini security forces recently used live ammunition against protesters, rendering an individual brain-dead for exercising his right to peaceful assembly. And Bahraini authorities carried out the extrajudicial executions of three torture victims that same month, sparking an increase in protests in the street. These incidents are just the latest in a list of a number of civilians severely injured or killed by the Bahraini government over the past six years. The Government of Bahrain in January 2017 issued a new Royal Decree granting arrest powers to the National Security Agency (NSA), an internal intelligence body accused of the arrest and torture of more than 150 detainees in 2011. Additionally, the Bahraini government has passed an amendment to the Constitution that would allow military courts to try civilians, which would effectively send Bahrain into a permanent state of undeclared martial law. In addition to increased excessive use of force, the recent Royal Decree and Constitutional amendment are clear indications that the Government of Bahrain refuses to implement human rights reforms. Thus, we call on you to write to your Congressional representatives TODAY to urge the Trump Administration to immediately halt the sale of fighter jets and weapons to the Government of Bahrain until the country fully implements human rights reforms and seriously commits to a path towards democracy.
Pass California SB 54 NowSB 54, the California Values Act, authored by President pro Tem of the State Senate, Kevin de León, prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies, and school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes. California needs to lead the way and "be the wall of justice" (de Leon) that protects, and advances, social equity and justice. The California legislature must immediately pass SB 54.
Demand Congressmembers pass H.R.676 Expanded & Improved Medicare for All ActH.R. 676 would be funded from existing sources of government revenue for health care, by increasing personal income taxes on the top 5% of income earners, instituting a progressive excise tax on payroll and self employment income, and by instituting a tax on stock & bond transactions. Amounts that would have been appropriated for federal public health care programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), are transferred and appropriated to carry out this bill.
Stop European Parliament from using disinformation and attacking Minsk II agreementA vast majority of MEPs in the European parliament elected to be responsible for relations to the Ukrainian parliament have used their position to spread disinformation and attack the Minsk II agreement. It is of utmost importance for building peace that different actors do not deny facts on the ground trying to falsely blame the opponent for acts committed by the side in the conflict EU supports. It is also of great importance that diplomatic efforts to end the conflict and human suffering be honored. The Minsk II agreement is endorsed by the UN Security Council, i.e. at highest possible international level. Attacks against the Minsk II agreement by the vast majority of MEPs given the responsibility for addressing the Ukrainian conflict is unacceptable. We demand that the constituencies in the European parliament immediately address the concern this creates for EU as a democratic community basing its decision on facts and not disinformation, a community willing to say yes to peace and support diplomatic efforts endorsed by the UN. Europe needs peace now. The greatest humanitarian catastrophe in Europe which is threatening the health and life of millions of people in Eastern Ukraine must be solved. The way the West says that Russia is the only actor who must follow the Minsk II agreement is creating passivity and prolonged human suffering. On the ground, the Ukrainian forces and the volunteer battalions have advanced in what is labelled as a ”creeping offensive”. This means that the Ukrainian forces are advancing into the grey zone and this is in breach of the Minsk II agreement. On the ground Ukrainian ultra nationalist also have since January illegally blocked the railway transport between Ukraine and Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in order to totally break the economies of Donbass and Ukraine apart. This economic blockade is in breach of the Minsk II agreement and a threat to the economy of both the Ukraine and DPR and LPR who are tied together by treade iun cola and ore for power stations and steel mills. President Poroshenko strongly oppose the illegal blockade but cannot force the ultranationalist to follow the law. During a session in the European Parliament on the 14th of February 2017, the situation was presented in an erroneous way by Anna Maria Corozza Bildt, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Rebecca Harms, Dariusz Rosati, Sandra Kalniete, and several others in the European Parliament’s Ukraine delegation. They explicitly tried to undermine the Minsk II agreement by using false statements about the ongoing escalation of the conflict to avoid criticism against the aggressor that currently is Ukraine. A country responsible for a creeping offensive unable or not willing any longer to maintain law and order and thus letting ultra nationalists enforce an economic blockader against the Minsk II agreement. Find more back ground material at the campaign web site.
Keep the pressure on! Demand Mumia & all affected prisoners get the hep C cureThe Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has shown a blatant disregard for both judicial authority and the thousands of PA prisoners affected by hepatitis C. In January 2017, Pennsylvania Judge Robert Mariani ordered the Department of Corrections to provide Mumia Abu-Jamal with hepatitis C treatment. Mumia has an active, chronic hepatitis C infection, and is at serious risk of experiencing medical complications. The debilitating symptoms of an active hepatitis C infection include extreme skin irritation, limb numbness, vision problems, and swollen feet. Mumia’s organs are extremely vulnerable due to the infection. Despite Judge Mariani’s order, the Pennsylvania DOC has not provided Mumia Abu-Jamal with the hepatitis C treatment. Mumia's lawyers have filed a motion for contempt against the Department of Corrections. The PA-DOC and their private health care provider, Correct Care Solutions, have retaliated by filing an opposition motion to the contempt motion with the 3rd Circuit. Throughout this petty battle over court orders, Mumia's life and the lives of over 6,000 hep C+ prisoners have been disregarded. It is imperative that Mumia, and all other prisoners who need it, get the hepatitis C treatment they need.
Ban Solitary Confinement for Youth Prisoners in State CustodyThousands of adolescent youth, ages 11 to 18, are being held in solitary confinement in jails and state prisons across the U.S. These youth spend 22 or more hours each day alone, often in a small 8-by-8-feet cell, completely isolated both physically and socially, often for weeks, months, or even years at a time. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, as many as 10,000 youth prisoners are held in isolation in juvenile jails nationwide. For youth being held in isolation in adult facilities, there is no official count. The ACLU reports that solitary confinement can "cause serious psychological, physical, and developmental harm, resulting in persistent mental health problems, or suicide." Since youth are still developing, the physical and neurological effects are even more detrimental. These risks are magnified for children with disabilities or histories of trauma and abuse. On Jan 26, 2016, President Obama announced a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the federal prison system. He said that the practice is often overused and has the potential for devastating psychological consequences on young people. Although Obama’s ban affected close to 8,000 youth in federal prisons, it had absolutely no impact on those in solitary confinement in state and county facilities. It is up to us to pressure Congress and state prison systems to follow suit!
Pass the Video Visitation Act - H.R.6441This petition is in support of Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s Video Visitation in Prisons Act, which would require the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that correctional facilities that have video visitation services do not ban in-person visits. U.S. jails and prisons are increasingly using video visitation to replace in-person visits. Some carceral facilities have even taken measures to end in-person visits entirely. Securus, for example, a company that provides phone services and video visitation for jails, requires jails and prisons to immediately suspend in-person visits after adopting their contract. Although video visitation is an important option for people with physical illnesses, disabilities, and limited time and finances, in-person prison visits help incarcerated people to maintain vital relationships with their family members and loved ones on the outside. Face-to-face jail and prison visits are one of the few available opportunities for connection granted to people locked behind bars. We must protect this basic human right.