- Campaign Finance Reform
- Civil Liberties / Surveillance
- Civil Rights
- Economic Justice
- Government Accountability / Whistleblowers
- Gun Violence Prevention
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Tell the new Virginia legislature: Let localities ban guns from public events and move monumentsGuns are the second-leading cause of death among children in the United States. Guns kill about 34,000 people per year in the United States. Countries with reasonable gun laws don't have this level of gun violence. Until the state can act (here are ideas for when it can: https://diy.rootsaction.org/p/gunideas ), it should cease preventing localities from acting. Localities like Charlottesville should not be burdened with any war monuments they do not want, including those that attract violent and hateful riots. The state has no business blocking localities' cultural advancement.234 of 300 SignaturesCreated by David S.
Unarmed Civilian Protection over MilitaryThe U.S. cannot play a positive role on Earth while it uses destructive conflict resolution. Constructive methods like Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP) must replace destructive ones, like U.S. military action. Practiced by some 50 groups over the last 30 years, UCP has proven more effective, affordable, humane, and Earth-conscious (unlike Earth's largest single user of fossil fuels, the U.S. military) in deadly conflicts than armed protection. UCP is now recognized as effective by the U.N. It is nonviolent, nonpartisan, empowers locals rather than making them dependent, and brings reconciliation rather than resentment. UCP addresses root causes of conflict rather than surfaces, building sustainable peace. It protects life without taking life, and brings emancipation from "us-them" views. It shows the world we can solve deadly conflicts without carrying, much less using, weapons. Evidence shows we can't shoot, bomb, or regime-change violence out of existence. UCP changes hearts and minds on the ground, something the most surgical drone strike cannot do. It engages those at all power levels in conflicts, rather than just those at the top. How does UCP work? It uses four main methods: proactive engagement, monitoring, relationship building, and capacity enhancement. For more details, see: https://worldbeyondwar.org/unarmed-civilian-protection-ucp-a-concise-overview/ In short, U.S. conflict resolution worldwide can use Martin Luther King Jr.'s school of thought, not Harry S Truman's. The Green and Democratic Parties (and someday the Libertarian and Republican Parties) can embrace this "idea whose time has arrived."1,177 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by Charles J.
Remove Monument to Genocide that Welcomes People to UVA“George Rogers Clark, Conqueror of the Northwest” is a massive sculpture (approximately 24 feet in height, 20 feet in length, and 8 feet in width) that was put up in 1921 by the University of Virginia, at the edge of its campus in Albemarle County, just across the line from the City of Charlottesville. The location is prominent, although not as prominent as it was in the 1920s, due to the growth of trees around three sides of the monument, which nonetheless proudly and openly faces University Avenue with some 10 yards of grass between the memorial and the sidewalk along the street. This monument was paid for by Paul Goodloe McIntire, the same wealthy individual who paid for three other statues in Charlottesville in the 1920s, all of which still dominate central spaces in the city: those of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, which have been in the news in recent years, and that of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacajawea. Like these other statues, that of George Rogers Clark was created without any vote by the general public. Like the statues of Lee and Jackson in downtown Charlottesville, the statue of George Rogers Clark at UVA depicts a white man on a horse dressed for war. But, unlike Lee and Jackson, Clark is not alone. He has other men behind him with a gun and a barrel of gun powder, and he appears to be reaching back for a gun with his right hand. There are four Native Americans in front of him, including one infant. One of them appears defiant. One appears to be a woman carrying the infant. An article from the 1921 dedication of the statue in the University of Virginia Alumni News approvingly describes the woman in the memorial as being forced to beg for mercy for her baby. A successful 1997 application to add the statue to the National Register of Historic Places reads, in part: “She kneels in front of Clark holding a covered cradle board aloft as if to plead for a papoose within.” At the dedication, then-UVA President Edwin Alderman credited George Rogers Clark with stealing large amounts of territory for an empire — the empire of Virginia, of which the land he claimed had been deemed a part. The Alumni News newspaper celebrated the statue when it was first created as “explaining the futility of resistance.” The base of the sculpture calls Clark the “Conqueror of the Northwest.” The Northwest means the general area of today’s state of Illinois. At least that was the focus of Clark’s victories which either importantly seized or easily and temporarily occupied, depending on the account. But the entire Old Northwest Territory, which the United States took from Britain at the end of the Revolutionary War, included all or large parts of six eventual U.S. States (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the northeastern part of Minnesota). Conquering means . . . well, let’s allow George Rogers Clark to tell us in his own words. George Rogers Clark said that he would have liked to “see the whole race of Indians extirpated” and that he would “never spare Man woman or child of them on whom he could lay his hands.” Clark wrote a statement to the various Indian nations in which he threatened “Your Women & Children given to the Dogs to eat.” Thomas Jefferson, the founder of the University of Virginia, depicted in a smaller statue nearby in front of the Rotunda building, when he was Governor of Virginia, sent George Rogers Clark west to attack Native Americans, writing that the goal “should be their extermination, or their removal beyond the lakes or Illinois river.” Clark killed the captured and destroyed the crops of those he was sent by Jefferson to exterminate or remove. Clark later unsuccessfully proposed further military expeditions to Virginia Governor Benjamin Harrison in order to demonstrate “that we are always able to crush them at pleasure.” The quotations above are found in Surviving Genocide by Jeffrey Ostler, who shows that U.S. officials developed the policy that “wars of extermination” were “not only necessary, but ethical and legal.” Causes of decline among Native peoples included direct killing, other traumatizing violence prominently including rape, the burning of towns and crops, forcible deportation, and the intentional and non-intentional spreading of diseases and of alcoholism to weakened populations. Ostler writes that the most recent scholarship finds the devastation caused by European diseases resulted less from Native Americans’ lack of immunity, and more from the weakness and starvation created by the violent destruction of their homes. In George Rogers Clark’s day, John Heckewelder (a missionary and author of books on the customs of Native Americans) noted that frontiersmen had adopted “the doctrine . . . that the Indians were the Canaanites, who by God’s commandment were to be destroyed.” That is not the view of the general public of Charlottesville or Albemarle County or Virginia today. It is not the view of the University of Virginia today. But it is the view blatantly and explicitly celebrated by the George Rogers Clark memorial that greets those arriving from downtown to the campus of the University of Virginia. The University is constructing a memorial nearby to those enslaved people who built the university. This will arguably be the first and only major memorial in Charlottesville and the immediate surrounding area that is not clearly or arguably a celebration of war or genocide. (One could include in that statement the monument to the war on Vietnam, while some would claim it does not apply to the monument to Lewis-Clark-Sacajawea. Minor statues at UVA include war poet Homer and a World War I memorial, as well as Jefferson who of course engaged in many activities including but far from limited to war and genocide). But the new memorial at UVA will be dedicated just down the street from the monument celebrating the horrors inflicted by George Rogers Clark. READ MORE: http://davidswanson.org/grc592 of 600 SignaturesCreated by David S.
Pass the Bank of Virginia Act• There is an increasing need for municipal governments and state agencies to transition to sustainable alternatives requires accessible and affordable financing • There is an increasing need for small farmers to have access to affordable credit in the state, that is inaccessible through current day financial market conditions • There is a need to decrease overall costs for financially burdened municipalities and state agencies to better allocate resources to important aspects of each entity • There is a need to decrease financial risk municipalities and state agencies are exposed to by risky corporate lending behaviors8 of 100 SignaturesCreated by Austin S.
Cut defense budgetSpend money on helping Americans not involved in a war economy7 of 100 SignaturesCreated by Greg D.
Ask the City of Charlottesville to Divest from Weapons and Fossil FuelsAND WHEREAS, hundreds of people have petitioned the City to take the following action; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council formally declares its opposition to investing City funds in any entities that are involved in the production of fossil fuels or the production or upgrading of weapons and weapons systems, whether conventional or nuclear, and including the manufacture of civilian arms, and decides that it shall be City policy to divest from such entities; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council directs any and all persons acting on behalf of City investment activity to enforce the provisions of this Resolution; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Resolution shall be binding City policy and shall be in full force and effect after adoption by the City Council. 1. Rich Whitney, Truthout, Sept. 23, 2017, "US Provides Military Assistance to 73 Percent of World’s Dictatorships" https://truthout.org/articles/us-provides-military-assistance-to-73-percent-of-world-s-dictatorships/ 2. World BEYOND War, "War Threatens Our Environment," https://worldbeyondwar.org/environment 3. World BEYOND War, "City of Charlottesville Passes Resolution Asking Congress to Fund Human and Environmental Needs, Not Military Expansion," March 20, 2017, https://worldbeyondwar.org/city-charlottesville-passes-resolution-asking-congress-fund-human-environmental-needs-not-military-expansion 4. “Pursuing the 1.5°C Limit: Benefits and Opportunities,” by the United Nations Development Programme, Nov 16, 2016. http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/climate-and-disaster-resilience-/pursuing-the-1-5c-limit---benefits-and-opportunities.html 5. Stephen Nash, Virginia Climate Fever: How Global Warming Will Transform Our Cities, Shorelines, and Forests, University of Virginia Press, 2017. https://www.upress.virginia.edu/title/4501 6. Political Economy Research Institute, “The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update,” https://www.peri.umass.edu/publication/item/449-the-u-s-employment-effects-of-military-and-domestic-spending-priorities-2011-update 7. “Climate change may increase risk of water shortages in hundreds of US counties by 2050,” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120215143003.htm 8. Examples include U.S. wars in Syria (https://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-cia-pentagon-isis-20160327-story.html ), Iraq (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/isis-weapons-arsenal-included-some-purchased-u-s-government-n829201 ), Libya (https://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/world/africa/weapons-sent-to-libyan-rebels-with-us-approval-fell-into-islamist-hands.html ), the Iran-Iraq war (http://articles.latimes.com/1987-06-18/news/mn-8000_1_gulf-war ), the Mexican drug war (https://fas.org/asmp/library/publications/us-mexico.htm ), World War II (https://www.amazon.com/Trading-Enemy-Charles-Higham/dp/0760700095/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1463760561&sr=1-1&keywords=Trading+with+the+enemy ) and many others. 9. “Our cities are getting hotter—and its killing people,” by Alissa Walker, https://www.curbed.com/2018/7/6/17539904/heat-wave-extreme-heat-cities-deadly 10. Nash, op. cit. 11. “Climate-change–driven accelerated sea-level rise detected in the altimeter era,” by R. S. Nerem, B. D. Beckley, J. T. Fasullo, B. D. Hamlington, D. Masters, and G. T. Mitchum. PNAS February 27, 2018, 115 (9) 2022-2025; published ahead of print February 12, 2018 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1717312115. https://www.pnas.org/content/115/9/2022 12. “Global Warming of 1.5°C, An IPCC Special Report; Summary for Policymakers.” October 2018. https://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_spm_final.pdf 13. “Global Climate Change and Children’s Health,” by Samantha Ahdoot, Susan E. Pacheco, and The Council on Environmental Health. Pediatrics, Nov 2015, Vol 136 / Issue 5, a Technical Report from the American Academy of Pediatrics. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/136/5/e1468 14. https://diy.rootsaction.org/p/cvilledivest542 of 600 SignaturesCreated by David S.
Rep. Eliot Engel should not chair Foreign Affairs CommitteeRep. Engel's foreign policies views are well to the right of the vast majority of Democrats. He was among the right-wing minority of Congressional Democrats who voted to authorize the illegal, unnecessary, and predictably tragic U.S. invasion of Iraq. He has opposed efforts to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing of Yemen, which has killed many thousands of civilians outright and threatened millions more with starvation and disease. He was one of only a handful of Democrats to oppose the Iran anti-nuclear agreement. He has opposed the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, called for expanding NATO to include Ukraine and Georgia, and supports Morocco’s illegal annexation of occupied Western Sahara. He has defended the Israeli occupation and illegal settlements, Israeli bombing of civilian targets, and praised Trump for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and attacked the United Nations, the World Court, the European Union, and human rights groups for criticizing Israel's right-wing government. Despite Rep. Engel's seniority, the Democratic Party must not give the chair of this important committee to someone whose views are closer to Trump and the Republicans than the majority of Democrats.14,180 of 15,000 Signatures
Petition Supporting the UN's International Inquiry re Kashmir Human Rights ViolationsNonviolent intervention and inquiry on behalf of the Kashmir people is needed because of the daily escalation of violence by occupation forces. The loop of violence will continue and escalate without representation of the people of Kashmir.2,273 of 3,000 SignaturesCreated by Angela P.
No way to treat a childRep. Betty McCollum introduced this bill earlier in 2018 after learning about the appalling treatment of Palestinian children in the West Bank who are arrested and treated in blatant violation of international law by the Israeli military. They are often taken from their beds in the middle of the night, interrogated without parents or attorneys present, subjected to harsh and degrading treatment and coerced into signing confessions in Hebrew, which they don't know. The 26 co-sponsors, including four California Democratic members of Congress, want to bar U.S. funding of such practices. The bill would require the State Department to report regularly and assure that to be the case. For more information about the bill, see https://mccollum.house.gov/palestinianchildrensrights. Jewish Voice for Peace and others have asked Reps. Matsui and Bera to sign on, but they have not responded. Perhaps they will if they hear from hundreds of constituents.59 of 100 SignaturesCreated by David M.
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.1,733 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by World Can't Wait H.
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.432 of 500 SignaturesCreated by James H.
Democracy Now is Wrong on SyriaThe truth about what is going on in Syria today is not being told by the MSM and Democracy Now has it wrong as well. By talking to the above mentioned knowledgeable people (Eva, Vanessa or Patrick) I'm confident they will change their reporting.5 of 100 SignaturesCreated by patrick c.