- Campaign Finance Reform
- Civil Liberties / Surveillance
- Civil Rights
- Economic Justice
- Government Accountability / Whistleblowers
- Gun Violence Prevention
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Stop Trump Rally - WNY Organizations & IndividualsDear Friend, America is a nation that still struggles to live up to the promise of the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence "that all men are created equal." We are a nation made up of people from all over the globe who have migrated to America with the hope of finding a better life. Despite the ugly past of the dispossessing of native peoples and the brutal enslavement of African people, America is still a land where people of many races live, work, and worship shoulder to shoulder with each other. We have not yet met the lofty ideals of the founding fathers, but we are a nation that has made amazing progress over the years The recent emergence of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination for the Presidency of the United States threatens to stymy the progress of this generation. The wisdom of Solomon teaches us a poignant lesson: "Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs" (NIV, Proverbs 10:12). From day one of his regressive campaign, Mr. Trump has spewed hate-filled rhetoric that has brought nothing but conflict to our nation. Mr. Trump repeatedly insults his opponents and those who differ from his narrow-minded view of the future of America. His race-based insults if the Latino community as it relates to immigration denies the promise held in the words of the Statue of Liberty. His hate-filled rhetoric against Islam denies one of the founding principles of America, which is religious freedom. His links to white supremacy terrorist organizations threatens to reverse the great progress America has made from slavery, Jim Crow to the Civil Rights movement. Having Mr. Trump as the standard bearer for the GOP prevents it from upholding its heritage as the party of Lincoln; reducing it to the party of hatred, division and racism. After a generation of despair due to the decline in the auto, steel and other manufacturing industries, Western New York is currently experiencing an economic renaissance. Along with this resurgence, new visionary leadership has taken on the segregated past of our region in an attempt to bring our community together. Initiatives like the Opportunity Pledge, Racial Roundtable and One Buffalo has ushered in a new era of inclusion, diversity and unity, creating an atmosphere of hope in the region. The last thing we need in this region is a visit from a man who by his own words stands against unity while exploiting old stereotypes and race based bias to fuel his campaign of hate. So we are calling on people of good conscious across this region to say Mr. Trump your campaign, your words and your presence is not welcome in our region. Mr. Trump’s words and his surrogates who spew his rhetoric clearly show where his heart is along with his blurred vision for the future of our nation. We must send a peaceful but powerful message to Mr. Trump and those who support his campaign, that we have fought too hard to tear down the walls of division and we refuse to go back to our painful past. We must send a powerful and peaceful message to those like Chairman Langworthy, Congressman Collins and Mr. Paladino that this campaign of intolerance has no place in our community. So lets us stand together hand in hand reaching across the lines of race, religion, gender, class and sexual orientation to say yes to love. And let us embrace the prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision of the beloved community: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
Contaminated Water Causes Cancer in Texas Prisons; Officials Ignore Complaints and Avoid Clean-upMark Schwarzer spent five years at Wallace Pack Unit, where he was exposed to high levels of arsenic discovered in the prison water supply. While serving time at Wallace Pack Unit, Mark was diagnosed with skin cancer. He attributes the cancer to his consumption of the arsenic-tainted water in the prison. Soon after, Mr. Schwarzer requested that his blood be tested for arsenic but University of Texas Medical Branch personnel vehemently refused. As a result of their refusal, Mark filed a Step I (I-127) grievance. In September 2015, not long after these events, Mark was involuntarily transferred from Wallace Park Unit, in Navasota, TX to Boyd Unit in Teague, TX. Mr. Schwarzer discovered that his Step I (I-127) grievance had been denied, and he filed a Step II (I-128) grievance at the Boyd Unit. The Unit Grievance Investigator at Boyd, Mr. Mark Fryhoff, has refused to produce a copy of Mr. Schwarzer's Step II grievance, claiming it has mysteriously disappeared. Without this document, these is no evidence at the Boyd Unit that Mark Schwarzer has filed a grievance or requested blood tests. Mark Schwarzer is suffering from arsenic-caused skin cancer, and because of Officer Fryhoff’s either intentional or irresponsible misplacement of the Step II (I-128) grievance, Mark is unlikely to receive the immediate testing and treatment that he is asking for. Losing grievances or failing to produce copies damages the integrity of the entire process. There are numerous incidents of TDCJ prison officials attempting to cover up contaminated water problems at its facilities. Texas prisons promote a pattern of conduct where TDCJ employees, including wardens, corrections officers and classification personnel, use their positions to retaliate against prisoners who file grievances or shed light on injustices and abuse. We must begin to hold these individuals accountable for their abuse of power! Please sign this petition, demanding that Senator Ellis and Senator Whitmire contact the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and mandate an inquiry and investigation into the unethical conduct of Boyd Unit Grievance Officer Mark Fryhoff.
Demand a full investigation on the unjust trial and conviction of Michigan Rev. Edward PinkneyEdward Pinkney is a well-respected minister and community activist who has been imprisoned and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for allegedly altering five dates on recall petitions in Benton Harbor, Michigan. In response to what Pinkney assessed as a corrupt giveaway of much of Benton Harbor’s public land to the multi-million dollar Whirlpool Corporation, he organized a petition drive to recall the mayor of Benton Harbor. The state of Michigan responded with bogus charges, his arrest and imprisonment. Pinkney is an admired civil rights leader in his home state, having organized the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization in response to the June 16, 2003, murder of 28-year-old African-American Terrance Shurn, who was being pursued by Benton Police. He also co-founded a branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Benton Harbor, Michigan in 2009. Reverend Pinkney and his supporters believe that his conviction is linked to a strategic governmental plan to halt his community activism and impede his efforts against former Benton Harbor mayor James Hightower and Whirlpool Corp. Black activists and radical leaders who stand up for justice are too often treated as criminals rather than heroes, and are ultimately forced into the U.S. criminal justice system. Political prisoner Pinkney has been recently moved to the Marquette Prison in Michigan, far away from his friends, supporters, and Benton Harbor home. He has been placed in conditions dangerous to his health and his telephone privileges have been revoked. As long as Rev. Edward Pinkney remains in prison, his family is left fatherless, and the organizations that he has dedicated his life to stand vulnerable to government dismantlement. Sign this petition to demand justice for Rev. Edward Pinkney! * Call Legislative Corrections Ombudsman Keith Barber to demand an investigation into Rev. Pinkney’s treatment: 517-373-8573. * Call Governor Rick Snyder at 517-373-3400. Tell him you are concerned about Rev. Pinkney’s safety in an environment of harassment, threats, intimidation, and hostility.
Demand adequate treatment and protection for inmate, Keith "Malik" WashingtonKeith "Malik" Washington is an activist and current prisoner of the menacing U.S. criminal justice system. Throughout his sentence, Malik has witnessed and experienced severe environmental neglect and its detrimental effects in Texas state prisons. He has written dozens of letters to legislators and activists revealing the horrendous conditions in TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) facilities, including malnutrition, contaminated water and extreme overheating. Retaliation is real! Malik’s efforts, instead of being met with serious investigation and support, have been treated as a threat to Texas legislators and officials. In retaliation to Malik’s efforts to expose the environmental injustices in Texas prisons, he has been transferred to the Coffield Unit, the largest and most gang-present prison in the state of Texas. Malik has deliberately been placed in harm’s way by the TDCJ! According to Malik, there have been multiple threats made against his life from both guards and prisoners and it is very clear that he was transferred to Coffield because the TDCJ is retaliating against him for exposing environmental injustices in the TDCJ system. Malik needs to be protected from threats made from guards and gangs in the Coffield Unit, which the unit’s administration have encouraged. We demand that Malik immediately be placed either in a different unit or in some sort of protective custody. Malik has devoted his life to exposing injustices in prisons across the country through education and activism - even while confined to a prison cell. He has written numerous articles for online prison activist sites. One of his more recent articles is provided below: http://sfbayview.com/2015/07/tdcj-placed-me-in-harms-way-because-i-spoke-out-in-reference-to-the-extreme-heat/keith-malik-washington/ Sign this petition demand Malik’s immediate removal from the Coffield unit or immediate placement into protective custody within the prison!
Don't Let the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Get Away with MurderKeith Cole is a 61-year old black male prisoner whose life is in serious danger. In 2014 Keith Cole, along with 3 other prisoners, filed a federal civil complaint against extreme overheating in TDCJ facilities. The deadly heat lawsuit placed pressure on the Warden of the Wallace Pack Unit - where Keith was housed at the time - and thus made Keith a primary target for retaliation. The trial for the deadly heat lawsuit is set for February 2016. In this light, Keith was recently transferred to the McConnell Unit - one of the most neglected, dilapidated and understaffed prisons in Texas. Keith has a chronic heart condition that requires him to take multiple high-dosage medications daily and as a result, could suffer a heart attack at any time. The McConnell Unit is one of the few Texas prisons without emergency call buttons inside the cells. Keith Cole’s transfer to the neglected McConnell Unit is a deliberate attempt to place him in harm’s way before the upcoming trial in February. We worry that his medication is being withheld as retaliation for his extreme overheating lawsuit against the TDCJ. This lawsuit could change environmental standards affecting all TDCJ prisons, and Keith Cole's presence and testimony is needed to make that happen. Please sign this petition to demand that Keith Cole be immediately transferred to a unit with adequate, humane supervision and be placed in a cell with an emergency-call button!
Tell national security and surveillance not to further limit civil liberties.The western world is fighting terrorist forces and bringing civilization to people in need of it- so they claim. But the west is rapidly moving towards a minutely managed totalitarianism, of which dictators like Assad and Netanyahu can but dream. Break security organizations before they are too big to fail!
Ask United Nations members to fund 4th EstateOVERVIEW Please consider putting your name to this petition. It calls for United Nations members to recognise the Global Journalism Crisis and support rapid expansion of emergency funding. An initial target is 0.7% of global aid spending, amounting to US$1.4 billion. This is equivalent to 14,000 global news positions. BACKGROUND Global aid targets aim for 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product, worldwide. The Journalism Agenda 2025 narrows that target by calling for 0.7% of global aid to go towards globalising the 4th Estate. Why? News media have suffered increasingly severe cutbacks ever since the Pentagon Papers, and Watergate. GLOBALISATION Journalism has fallen far behind globalisation. Evidence for this comes in the form of a war on terror started on misleading information, and a global financial crisis missed completely by news media too busy cheerleading “free” markets. Averting global collapse of social cohesion requires strong, independent journalism not tied to corporate and/or political interests. INDUSTRY TARGET Longer term, the agenda targets the communications industry to share 0.7% of their own communication spending, to go towards independent, investigative journalism. Ethics-based, solutions-focused and forward thinking, JA2025 applies multiple layers of crowd-sourced media accountability systems. Ranging from Facebook likes, Twitter retweets, and LinkedIn thumbs up, JA2025 adds survey or wizard-based responses to each story for complaints, praise, corrections or fresh details. FINE-GRAIN GROUND-TRUTH As an additional layer of accountability, these surveys can then also be compared with existing reputation rankings via social networks, e.g. pwik, opendns, klout, and/or the web of trust. Such an approach enables a finer-grain response to each issue, enabling journalists to build ground-truths into the institutional memory of the 4th Estate. This is an example of JA2025 proposals using open newsroom standards. JA2025 is platform neutral – no proprietary software means we can network with anyone, anywhere, using their tools not ‘ours.’ POLICY EQUITY Creating policy equity with legislators, executives and the judiciary, @jagenda2025 drafts out a 10 year plan to rescue journalism, and rebuild the 4th Estate into a worldwide institution. Journalism aid could include investing a recommended ratio towards a permanent trust fund. To put that in context, the US alone has fired 20,000 journalists since the Global Financial Crisis. There are now just 39,000 journalists left in the United States. The US figures suggest an estimate of 50,000 or more also being sacked, worldwide. WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT Journalism was a public good. No longer functioning as the 4th Estate, journalism cannot hold power to account and protect human rights, anywhere. Newsroom pay rolls began shrinking in 1990, beginning a 25 year decline in journalism jobs. WHY JOURNALISM IS A PUBLIC GOOD A strong, independent press is the globe’s best chance of responding to looming challenges from climate change. Informing the public is the most sacred duty of our local, national, regional and international representatives. There can be no public unless there is public media. Publicly or privately owned, news media are a public service. WHAT IT IS We, the undersigned, petition world authorities to fund independent, investigative journalism. JA2025, the global journalism agenda, calls for at least 0.7% of aid to be quarantined for news media. That slice equals aid funding of US$1.4 billion, representing equivalent spending on 14,000 new journalist positions, about 10% of newsroom jobs lost worldwide since 1975. CHALLENGE A challenge will be issued to NGOs, governments and companies to match this funding. This challenge calls for another 0.7% sliver, of all communications, public relations and other corporate messaging, a further US$3.6 billion in funding for independent, investigative journalism. SOURCES Pew Institute, state of the media US Census figures European Journalism Centre Media Rights Agenda (Africa) Asia-Pacific Association of Press Clubs Media, Arts and Entertainment Alliance (Aus, NZ) Pacific Freedom Forum
Ultimate Control of All Satellites to the United NationsA 2014 Gallup International survey found that, by a wide margin, people believe that the United States is the biggest threat to wold peace. It's hard to believe that these people want the US controlling their skies. A 1967 international agreement signed by all the major powers banned weapons from earth orbit. Several major powers (including the USA) have violated that ban. When one space faring nation explodes a competitor's satellite, each of thousands of high velocity pieces can destroy other "innocent" satellites for decades. Our planet must avoid an arms race in space.
STOP the University of California from Banning Criticism of IsraelIf the University of California can censor political debate on Israel, what is to stop it from restricting all political debate? A threat to free speech at the University of California is a threat to free speech everywhere.  UC goes back to the drawing board on controversial revamp of free-speech policy, LA Times, 9/17/2015  The Regents Of The University Of California's Statement Of Principles Against Intolerance, University of California Regents, 9/17/2015  Editorial: UC's new 'Principles Against Intolerance' fail free-speech test, LA Times, 9/16/2015  California's Civil and Criminal Laws Pertaining to Hate Crimes, State of California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General
Tell Congress – End Secrecy on 9/11, Declassify the 28 PagesRemember the shocking revelation that the Bush White House let 140 Saudis fly out of the country in the days immediately after the 9/11 attacks, even though it claimed 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis? One of these flights had two dozen bin Laden family members on board and another had elite Saudi royals including Prince Ahmed bin Salman, a reported intermediary between Al Qaeda and the House of Saud. Then, causing great concern to high-ranking members of the Congressional Joint Intelligence Committee which in 2002 produced the first investigative report of the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration blacked out 28 full pages that document members of the Saudi royal family as the principle financiers of the Sept. 11 attacks. Despite promising 9/11 family members that he would release them, President Obama has so far maintained the suppression of these 28 pages. Former Senator Bob Graham, who co-chaired the Joint Intelligence Committees' investigation, has said that the 28 pages “primarily relate to who financed 9/11 and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier.” Graham has also said that the 28 Pages reveal the Saudi funding came primarily through the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. The Saudi Arabian Ambassador at the time was Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the very same Bandar nicknamed “Bandar Bush” by George W. because of his longstanding close affiliations with the Bush family. In addition to Graham, both co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission and even former CIA Directors have called for their release. All of the members of Congress who have read the 28 pages are saying that releasing them would not compromise national security. Quite the opposite. On June 2, Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) went so far as to say that the 28 pages contain the "best intelligence" we have for preventing another 9/11. Senator Graham has said the U.S. government’s shielding of Saudi Arabia’s role in funding extremism helped pave the way for the rise of ISIS. The content of the pages is so shocking that Massie has also stated: “I had to stop every couple of pages and … try to rearrange my understanding of history … It challenges you to rethink everything.” On June 2, 2015, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a Senate bill, the Transparency for Families of 9/11 Victims and Survivors Act of 2015 (S.B. 1471) – the companion bill to bi-partisan House Resolution 14 (H.RES.14). S.B. 1471 mandates the immediate declassification and release of the 28 Pages. We need your help to get a filibuster-proof majority of Senators to read the pages and become co-sponsors. Over 70 percent of the 400 questions compiled by the 9/11 Families Steering Committee for the 9/11 Commission -- many on the U.S.-Saudi relationship -- were never answered, and now the Supreme Court has allowed the 9/11 victims’ families to sue the Saudis in federal court. They need your help to get the 28 Pages finally released.
Hold the insurance industry accountable for its many abuses.For the last 3 decades, many Americans whether they are regular patients, injured workers or veterans are being denied access to real medical care and other benefits. This effects the poorer folks, the elderly, minorities, the disabled & the sick. Under the Affordable Care Act, this was to stop. It has not. The conditions to deny are worse.Why? Because the insurance industry has impunity against its many humane rights abuses which include denial and refusal of the proper medical care, paying for the wrong care & "care" that will make a patient medical condition worse which will create more injuries or illnesses. such as injecting patients with unknown drugs that not only make the condition worse but actually harms the patient immeasurable for life, preventing them from ever working again. Patients that try to fight back in getting the right care or speaking against the denial or refusal of medical care are retaliated against. One way is to have them under constant and illegal surveillance, in many cases, years of surveillance even by local or top law enforcement such as the FBI. Surveillance that involves stalking the patient while out in public and public or private business and while in vehicles with GPS monitoring and causing car accidents, phone tapping, computer hacking, breaking & entering a patient's home or other owned properties. The police break into patients homes under guise that there are illegal drugs in the home. Private investigators are hired to go into churches to spy on ill or injured patients. There is also the theft of U.S.mail evidence that could prove to win against the insurers. Patients are now claiming that they are afraid of their medications and their food being tampered with. Patients or family members who try and speak out for themselves or their families have been stopped by police, looking for "drugs" and or arrested with no charge. Then there are the insurance doctors reports that are falsely altering medical reports and these same doctors will then deem these patients as mental cases. Now it is happening to our veterans, those who are coming came back from the wars in the Mideast. After listening to patients and injured workers for many years, it has become quite clear that being injured or ill makes one a target of inhumane treatment which includes not getting their right medical care treatment or any other benefit. The SSA & Medicare (tax payer money) should not be the only insurance companies to pick up the tab for insurers who continue to ultimately deny any rightful and owed benefits. This has to stop! AND the only way is for our leadership in our Washington D.C. leadership should hold the insurance cartel/monopoly fully accountable with enforcement of the laws that guarantee us our civil, constitutional & human rights. No insurer should have impunity or immunity that results in the delays and denials for the right to receive medical treatment and benefits or in the targeting with inhumane AND illegal practices on those of whom are the most vulnerable, the sick and injured.