- Campaign Finance Reform
- Civil Liberties / Surveillance
- Civil Rights
- Economic Justice
- Government Accountability / Whistleblowers
- Gun Violence Prevention
- Law Enforcement
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- Retirement and Healthcare
"Hold the LYNE" on the New "Low-Yield" Trident Nuclear WarheadThe W76-2 nuclear warhead is a new “low-yield” warhead called for by the Trump administration's 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. It will be mounted on the Trident II D5 ballistic missile, which is deployed on OHIO Class “Trident” ballistic missile submarines. Trident's only mission is strategic nuclear deterrence; the W76-2 turns this stated mission on its head. There is no “deterrence gap” that the Trump administration claims as justification for the W76-2. The United States spends approximately four times the amount as Russia each year on its nuclear arsenal—amounting to $61.3 billion for the U.S. in 2011 compared to $14.8 billion for Russia. While this immense program is excessive, adds to a new arms race with Russia, and should be scaled back, Russia cannot doubt that the United States is serious about maintaining an unambiguously strong nuclear deterrent. The United States already deploys a variety of low-yield nuclear weapons. These include 150 B61 gravity bombs that can be set from 0.3 to 60 kilotons, and air-launched cruise missiles with yields of 5 to 150 kilotons. These weapons are being upgraded to extend their lifetimes, and are receiving improvements, including greater accuracy. For comparison, the W76-2 will be 6.5 kilotons. Nuclear war cannot be controlled. Perhaps the biggest fallacy in the whole argument for the W76-2 is the mistaken and dangerous belief that a “small” nuclear war would remain small. There is no basis for the dubious theory that, if Russia used a “low-yield” nuclear weapon and the United States responded in kind, the conflict could stay at that level. General James Mattis, former Secretary of Defense, has said, “I don’t think there’s any such thing as a tactical nuclear weapon. Any nuclear weapon used at any time is a strategic game changer.” Congress must prohibit the further production and deployment of this dangerously destabilizing nuclear weapon before it can be deployed. Otherwise, the already delicate diplomatic balance with Russia will be further eroded, and nuclear war will become more likely.4,976 of 5,000 SignaturesCreated by Leonard E.
Ask Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Co-Sponsor the Green New DealEvery year's newly registered voters enter into political life with greater zeal for dealing with the planet's burgeoning environmental crisis than the prior year's. With the Green New Deal (aka, the Green Dream) we finally have a comprehensive statement of a way forward that leaves no one behind, and puts the right to live in a clean world and the right to make a decent living on equal footing. H.Res. 109 - https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/10910,761 of 15,000 SignaturesCreated by Tom G.
Stop Retaliatory Prosecution of Catholic Charity WhistleblowerBrigitte Fuzellier is a well-known charity leader and community worker who has lived in Paraguay since 1987. Kolping International hired Ms. Fuzellier, a German citizen, to run its operations in Paraguay and clean up its financial situation. Kolping is a large Catholic charity based in Cologne, Germany, that receives millions of dollars in public funds each year. Fuzellier discovered widespread and well-documented misconduct and degeneracy within Kolping’s operations in Paraguay. Rather than being used as a school, a Kolping building funded by German taxpayer money was being used as a brothel. An entire soccer team is said to have availed itself of the services in the Casa de Citas (“House of Appointments”), according to the German magazine Der Spiegel. Customers enjoyed beer and liquor before going upstairs, which was stocked with beds – “a true orgy." After reviewing Kolping's finances, Fuzellier discovered that a large chunk of €1.4 million in German and EU public funds did not go toward its intended purposes. Only after a series of investigations did Kolping repay €241,000 to the German government, according to media reports. Fuzellier has piles of documents and other evidence about many other episodes and irregularities in Paraguay. She has signed bank checks and other evidence that she says proves vast misspending of EU funds. A probe by the EU's anti-fraud office, OLAF, ended without explanation, says Fuzellier. She said a bakery worker was killed when he fell headlong into a poorly-made, makeshift production machine. Kolping fired her in 2010 and began an unabated retaliation campaign that has included public humiliation, smearing her reputation throughout her community, filing a series of dubious criminal charges, and using questionable legal tactics to limit her ability to travel. Fuzellier was convicted and only spared from prison after an international campaign raised €30,000 so she could pay a fine. As another dubious case dragged on for more than four years, she was banned from leaving Paraguay. This virtually put an end to her Eco-Loofah business, which employed hundreds of local people including members of the indigenous Macá Tribe. Now, people associated with Kolping are at it again. In December 2018 Fuzellier was re-charged with allegations of which she already has been cleared – raising questions of double jeopardy. Once again, she has been banned from leaving the country. We are rallying international support for Brigitte Fuzellier, including seeking prompt intervention by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at the Organization of American States.23 of 100 SignaturesCreated by Mark W.
PG&E Buyout (not a bailout) and formation of a Public-owned utilityThe Constituents of California rely upon their Government and its Regulatory Agencies to provide legal and statutory protections against criminal wrongdoings of any kind, and to act with swift authority to prevent the recurrence of any exigency which threatens the safety of the public and the natural environment within the State of California. The Corporate Entity Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which has enjoyed a State sanctioned monopoly on energy production and distribution throughout Northern California, and which is expected by the Public in exchange to operate its business with the highest standards of safety and accountability, has repeatedly betrayed the public trust and demonstrated a chronic pattern of corporate negligence, fraud, regulatory obstruction, falsification of records, safety and code violations, and deliberate under-funding of safety programs to increase profit, as evidenced by: 1. $30 millions in fines and 739 counts of criminal negligence for deliberately under-funding required tree-trimming protocols and causing a power line blaze leading to the 1994 Trauner Fires, which destroyed 12 homes and burned over 500 acres of property; 2. $1.4 billion in fines and penalties and 6 felony convictions for obstruction and safety violations resulting in the 2010 San Bruno gas explosions which killed 8 people and destroyed 38 homes; 3. $8.3 million in fines for failing to maintain a power line that sparked the 2015 Butte Fires which killed 2 people, destroyed 549 homes and burned over 70,000 acres; 4. $14.5 billion in damages with multiple code violations for downed power lines causing 12 Northern California wildfires in October 2017 which killed 44 people, destroyed 8,900 homes and burned 245,000 acres; 5. Anticipated $30 billion in class action lawsuit for the 2018 Camp fire which killed 86 people, destroyed 13,900 homes and burned over 150,000 acres. The People of California have paid too much already to be expected to bail out — with their own tax dollars — a criminally negligent corporation which is now seeking bankruptcy protection in order to shield itself from its liabilities. To rescue PG&E from the failure it has brought upon itself would be an insult to those who have lost their homes, their loved ones, and their hopes for a better tomorrow because of pure corporate greed. No organization or corporation should ever be considered "too big to fail," as this will in effect place such an enterprise above the law. We the undersigned now petition our elected officials to take any and all actions pursuant to a legal buyout of the failing company using the following Eminent Domain justifications: A Public-Owned energy company will be more transparent and SAFER because, as a non-profit utility, it will no longer be incentivized to cut corners on safety in order to increase profits for investors and shareholders; A Public-Owned energy company will be MORE AFFORDABLE for California ratepayers as it will be legally bound to charge ratepayers based on actual costs, leading to the following savings annually, at a minimum: - $1 billion per year saved by not paying dividend payments to shareholders; - $25 million per year saved by not paying current level Executive salaries and bonuses; - $8 million per year saved by no longer lobbying State officials, which would constitute illegal activity for a public utility; - Additional $ millions saved by not funding ballot initiatives or propositions (such as Prop 16, on which PG&E spent $46 million,) which would constitute illegal activity for a public utility. And finally, a Public-Owned energy company will inherently be MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE, as it will no longer answer to profit-driven private investors and a Board of Directors, but to California taxpayers and elected officials who are ultimately interested in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, committing to more renewable energy production, and driving innovative solutions to the global crisis of climate deterioration.2,863 of 3,000 SignaturesCreated by Eric T.
Free Marzieh HashemiMarzieh Hashemi (she is a US citizen), when returning from Iran was arrested, without charges, at the St. Louis, Missouri Airport and then taken and put in detention in a prison in Washington D.C. as a 'material witness.' Actually she is an Anchor woman on Press TV. Since when does the US jail 'material witnesses?' This is another travesty against journalists, and the MSM isn't even covering it. Educate yourselves on this. As a material witness whom is she going to testify against---The US gov't, Britain, France and Israel for their ongoing mass murder around the world?677 of 800 SignaturesCreated by Charles A.
Demand that Indiana DOC Restore Kevin "Rashid" Johnson's Access to His PropertyKevin “Rashid” Johnson (IDOC# 264847) – a Virginia prisoner – was transferred to Indiana on November 4. His transfer was authorized under the Interstate Corrections Compact, commonly used to ship prisoners out of state. Virginia is one of several states that make use of this practice as a tool to repress and isolate prisoners who speak up for their rights. These transfers are extremely disruptive, and serve as an opportunity for prison officials to violate prisoners’ rights, especially regarding their property. This is exactly what has been done to Rashid. Rashid has 24 boxes of personal property. These are all of his possessions in the world. Much of these 24 boxes consist of legal documents and research materials, including materials directly related to pending or anticipated court cases, and his list of addresses and phone numbers of media contacts, human rights advocates, outside supporters, and friends. At Pendleton Correctional Facility, where Rashid is now being kept prisoner and in solitary confinement, only one guard is in charge of the property room. This is very unusual, as the property room is where all of the prisoners’ belongings that are not in their cells are kept. The guard in charge, Dale Davis, has a dubious reputation. Prisoners complain that property goes missing, and their requests to access their belongings – that by law are supposed to be met within 7 days, or if there are court deadlines within 24 hours – are often ignored, answered improperly, or what they receive does not correspond to what they have asked for. Despite having a need for legal and research documents for pending and anticipated court cases, his requests to receive his property have not been properly answered. The property officer, Dale Davis, is supposed to inventory the prisoners’ property with them (and a witness) present, according to IDOC regulation 02-01-101-VIII; this was never done. When Rashid did receive some property, it was a random selection of items unrelated to what he asked for, brought to the segregation unit in a box and a footlocker and left in an insecure area where things could be stolen or tampered with. On December 19th, Rashid received notice that Davis had confiscated various documents deemed to be “security threat group” or “gang” related from his property. Rashid has no idea what these might be, as (contrary to the prison regulations) he was not present when his property was gone through. Rashid does not know how much or how little was confiscated, or what the rationale was for its being described as “gang” related. None of Rashid’s property should be confiscated or thrown out under any circumstances, but it is worth noting that the way in which this has been done contravenes the prison’s own regulations and policies! Dale Davis has been an IDOC property officer for 8 years. He has boasted about how he does not need any oversight or anyone else working with him, even though it is very unusual for just one person to have this responsibility. Prisoners’ property goes “missing” or is tampered with, and prisoners’ rights – as laid out by the Indiana Department of Corrections – are not being respected. Rashid is not asking to have all of his property made available to him in his cell. He is willing to accept only having access to some of it at a time, for instance as he needs it to prepare court documents or for his research and writing. After two months in Indiana, he has still not been supplied with his documents containing the phone numbers and addresses of his loved ones and supporters, effectively sabotaging his relationships on the outside. Rashid is not asking for any kind of special treatment, he is only asking for the prison property room to follow the prison’s own rules. We ask that you look into this, and make sure that Mr. Johnson's right to access his property is being respected, and that something be done about the irregularities in the Pendleton property room. We ask that the rules of the Indiana Department of Corrections be respected. Call the Pendleton Correctional Facility and to ask to speak to the Warden or to someone in the Warden’s office. Also, call the Indiana Department of Corrections and ask that they intervene to make sure Rashid gets access to his property. In each case, please be prepared to give a name and phone number for them to call you back, if needed. Please make phone calls to: Indiana Department of Corrections Stephanie Lightfoot (317) 232-5711 - press 2, press 3, press 2 You may get a voicemail, in which case please leave a detailed message. Pendleton Correctional Facility (765) 778-2107; press 3 and then press 1 You will get a receptionist; explain that you would like to convey your concerns to the warden or to someone in charge, about problems Kevin Johnson is having accessing his property. For updates on Rashid and to access his writings, go to http://rashidmod.com/5,890 of 6,000 SignaturesCreated by Jamani M.
Help Free an Unfairly Prosecuted Man from PrisonTruthout reports: "Hamilton was imprisoned with a man named Darnell Thompson, who claims he was threatened by police into pinning the crime on Hamilton. In an affidavit reviewed by Truthout, Thompson said that homicide detectives and prisoner Olivera Rico Cowen conspired to pressure him into testifying against Hamilton. Thompson, who was 18 at the time, says he was coerced into signing a statement against Hamilton, but he later refused to testify against Hamilton in court. But Thompson’s statement, as well as Cowen’s testimony and testimony about Hamilton’s character by a neighbor, were enough for a jury to convict Hamilton to a maximum of 80 years in prison." Lacino Hamilton has said, "There was no physical evidence for the crime I was accused of -- only manufactured by detectives, detectives who wrote a script for them to perform at trial. And when the prosecutor’s office was approached by several attorneys with credible evidence that this was a common police practice, the prosecutor’s office simply forged ahead. I was convicted and sentenced to 52 to 80 years. They just threw me away, like I was garbage." Affidavits, courthouse transcripts, letters and internal memos obtained by Truthout suggest that Darnell Thompson – who is now long deceased – was in fact part of a ring of jailhouse informants – or “snitches” – that allegedly received lenient sentences as well as other monetary and special privileges from detectives in the Detroit Police Department’s homicide division in exchange for making false statements against dozens of prisoners eventually convicted of murder, Lacino just being one of them... “Informants lie primarily in exchange for lenience for their own crimes, although sometimes they lie for money,” according to an article in Golden Gate University Law Review. Testimony from a single jailhouse informant is enough to convict a person for a charge as serious as murder, according to Valerie Newman, assistant defender in Michigan’s State Appellate Defender Office. Hamilton says the reason his original defense attorney did not challenge the prosecutor’s use of an informant speaks to some of the reasons Black communities across the country suffer at the hands of the state: neglect and an assumption of disposability. After being sent to prison, Lacino spent four of his first six years in solitary confinement. It was there that he began to read, think critically and write about the many ways the U.S. criminal justice system perpetuates values of anti-black violence, coercion and oppression. “How some of us live is not a mistake; neither is it the product of a broken system,” he wrote from prison. “We live like that because it is profitable to a lot of people[‘s] businesses…. “I am locked in a windowless cell measuring 10×8 feet, 23 hours per day. For one hour every other day, I am handcuffed, chained around the waist and allowed exercise and a shower in a small cage. I am not allowed to interact with others, or to participate in any educational, vocational, or employment programs. All meals are delivered to the cell. I have no access to a phone.” After nearly two decades of wrongful imprisonment, Hamilton spends most of his time reading and writing about the experience of incarceration. He also spends his time working tirelessly to plead his case and affirm his innocence. After writing to thousands of journalists, lawyers and colleges to plead his case, Hamilton was able to get in touch with Claudia Whitman from the National Death Row Assistance Network, who supplied Truthout with most of the documents behind his story. Whitman also made contact with Christopher Brooks, the prisoner who says he knows who really killed Hamilton’s foster mother. With Whitman’s help, Hamilton was able to convince an attorney to work pro bono to overturn his conviction. The Conviction Integrity Unit of Wayne County, Michigan must do everything in its power to investigate and reverse this wrongful conviction. The Conviction Integrity Unit of Wayne County investigates claims of innocence, to determine whether there is clear and convincing new evidence that the convicted defendant was not the person who committed the conviction offense. As stated in the American Bar Association standards, Rule 3.8(h), "When a prosecutor knows of clear and convincing evidence establishing that a defendant in the prosecutor's jurisdiction was convicted of an offense that the defendant did not commit, the prosecutor shall seek to remedy the conviction." In the case of The People of the State of Michigan vs. Lacino Hamilton, there is clear and convincing new evidence that the convicted defendant was not the person who committed the conviction offense. In accordance with Rule 3.8(h), it is the duty of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate and reverse the conviction of Lacino Hamilton. Lacino Hamilton needs your help to affirm his innocence. After nearly two decades of wrongful imprisonment, he deserves immediate justice. Background: > Truthout: Ring of Snitches: How Detroit Police Slapped False Murder Convictions on Young Black Men https://truthout.org/articles/ring-of-snitches-how-detroit-police-slapped-false-murder-convictions-on-young-black-men Write a letter of support to Lacino: Lacino Hamilton, Inmate ID: 247310 Marquette Prison 1960 US Highway 41 South Marquette, MI, 498553,472 of 4,000 SignaturesCreated by Jamani M.
Don't Stand in the Way of Justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal! Don't Appeal Judge Tucker's Decision!Mumia Abu-Jamal has always maintained his innocence in the 1981 fatal shooting of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. His prosecution was politically-motivated because of his Black Panther Party membership, his support of the MOVE organization and as a radical journalist. His 1982 trial and subsequent 1995 PCRA appeals were racially biased: the prosecution excluded African Americans from the jury; and PCRA trial Judge Albert Sabo, the same judge in Abu-Jamal's initial trial, declared, “I’m gonna help them fry the n----r.” On Dec. 27, Mumia Abu-Jamal won a significant case before Judge Leon Tucker in a decision granting him new rights of appeal.3,378 of 4,000 SignaturesCreated by Mobilization F.
Academic Institutions Must Defend Free SpeechAcademic institutions are restricting free speech, due mainly to organized pressure campaigns. This is destructive to academic activity and to free pursuit of ideas in the institutions and the wider societies which they serve.3,429 of 4,000 SignaturesCreated by PAUL L.
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/cvilledivest550 of 600 SignaturesCreated by David S.
End outside money in electionsMost of Congress’s time is now spent chasing money for campaigns. We cannot have a government controlled by money and expect to preserve democracy.8 of 100 SignaturesCreated by Roberta P.
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.14,181 of 15,000 Signatures