Diane Nowak

  • End unregulated healthcare pricing

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    GOAL: 196 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking them to enact legislation that will end unregulated healthcare pricing.

    Did you know that billing rates are not set nor regulated in the healthcare industry?

    Billing is determine on a case by case basis. A simple blood test can range from $10 to $400 at the same lab. Hospitalization can result in a bill that varies by thousands of dollars for the same services. 

    We are asking Congress to force providers to show transparency and publish legitimate pricing. This allows for healthcare providers to still set their own rates but prohibits them from charging different rates for different patients.

    Hospitals especially are known for overcharging patients - especially those with no insurance. In a recent study it was found that fifty hospitals in the United States were charging uninsured consumers more than 10 times the actual cost of patient care. 

    We need a system in which the public can search for a medical procedure online and see pricing for all providers in their area. This will save patients thousands of dollars as well as get rid of the “in network” and “out of network” system that causes confusion and costs an enormous amount of money and administrative burden every year.

    Tell Congress to stop unregulated healthcare pricing, thus allowing for lower healthcare costs and an end to restrictions on patient choice.

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  • End Dark Money: Tell the FEC to Require the Disclosure of Secret Donors During Political Campaigns

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    GOAL: 1,337 signatures

    WATCH THE VIDEO

    It's no secret that dark money is taking over our elections. And the result: "America's government is bought."

    With corruption seeded in Watergate, it grew to take over the next generation with McCain-Feingold and eventually led to the Supreme Court's decision—limiting campaign spending violated the First Amendment—in 2010, according to National Journal.

    "You shouldn't have to buy access to your own government." —Represent.Us

    Five years after the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizen's United case changed the landscape for money in politics, we are faced with the worst—our leaders are answering to lobbyists and special-interest groups rather than we, the people. From buying access to and influence over Democratic and Republican candidates' campaigns with little transparency to reaping the benefits when it's all said and done, dark money has "perverted" the election process and changed our political system. 

    Now more than ever, American's have little confidence in their government. And 2016 is set to be the next big wave of dark money as the Koch brothers "pledged" to spend nearly $889 million in the upcoming presidential election.

    It's time, as Americans citizens, to fight back and "put the power back in the hands of the people." 

    We must demand greater transparency and accountability. Many leaders claim to back an "open and honest government," now it's time we hold them to it. Let's get money out of politics and force people to vote their conscience.

    Tell the FEC to write a new set of rules that better fit with the time and require the disclosure of secret donors during political campaigns—it's time we get money out of politics.

     

     

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  • Tell Congress: Keep the pre-existing condition clause for health insurance

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    GOAL: 803 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress demanding that they keep the pre-existing condition clause in their new health care plan.

    Before Obamacare it was nearly impossible for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions to find health insurance coverage.

    Now that President Trump and the Republican Party are in power and want to repeal Obamacare and replace it with their own health care system, millions of people are once again in danger of not qualifying for health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

    Even those that do qualify may face extremely expensive and/or limited insurance coverage.

    Please join us in demanding that Congress retain the pre-existing condition clause for whatever health care system they plan to replace Obamacare with so that millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions can maintain their level of health care without their price skyrocketing.

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  • Let Third Parties Debate: Lower the Polling Limit Requirement

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    GOAL: 765 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, demanding that they lower their polling limit requirement so that we can hear from alternative political parties.

    Our election system is broken. More than ever this election cycle voters are calling for more attention to third party candidates.

    Currently, the Commission on Presidential Debates caters to the simple two party system, not allowing any candidates that poll under 15% to be a part of the debates. This does nothing but further the Democrat-Republican two party system and cut off Americans from hearing from alternate political views that don’t fall neatly into this political dichotomy.

    Help us tell the Commission to lower its polling requirement so that other presidential candidates like Jill Stein can participate in nationally televised debates in the 2016 election and in the future.

    Although multiple lawsuits have been filed the 15% policy, none of succeeded. How are millions of Americans going to hear from alternative candidates and raise them above a 15% rate if they don’t receive coverage and aren’t allowed to participate in national debates?

    Please sign the petition and tell the Commission on Presidential Debates to lower their polling limit requirement so that we can hear from alternative political parties.

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  • Tell the FDA to Ban Artificial Sweeteners

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    GOAL: 1,204 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the FDA asking them to ban the artificial sweetener aspartame until conclusive studies can be done on its effects on human health.

    [Update 2/2/17: We have sent first letter to the FDA with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

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    Introduced into the European food supply 25 years ago, aspartame is in just about “every component of most diet beverages, sugar-free desserts and chewing gums in many countries around the world.” But no matter its name – AminoSweet, Equal, Splenda, Sweet-N-Low – the artificial sweetener’s health risks have long been debated.

    Aspartame has a particularly sketchy history as an artificial substance.

    Said to cause neurological brain damage, cancerous tumors and endocrine disruption, among many other health risks, aspartame was banned by the FDA before a Reagan appointee rigged a committee to approve it as a food additive in 1981. Aspartame, which was an accidental discovery by James Schlatter, a chemist who was trying to invent an anti-ulcer pharmaceutical drug back in 1965, is comprised of two amino acids—methanol and phenylalanine.

    But according to some studies, ingesting these chemically produced amino acids can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine causing emotional disorders, such as depression, while methanol is broken down into formaldehyde in the body, which is a toxin. Researchers studied the “adverse effects of aspartame” and found it to “trigger” or “worsen” brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia and diabetes.

    Furthermore, the hyper-sweet additive has had adverse effects in the fight against obesity. Research proved that by creating foods with aspartame, it tricks our brains into over consuming and training the brain to crave sweets. Therefore, aspartame is contributing to the obesity problem that many countries face.

    As consumers, we need to be aware of the potential dangers of artificial sweeteners and know the heath risks associated with such products. It's time to stop aspartame from entering our foods. Join the fight against artificial sweeteners and tell the FDA to ban aspartame and protect the health of human beings!

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  • Protect the Bats from Lethal Wind Turbines

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    GOAL: 1,057 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the American Wind Energy Association, asking them to adopt new voluntary guidelines to help prevent bat deaths from wind turbines.

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to the American Wind Energy Association with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    In the last ten years there has been a major epidemic of bats disappearing due to fatal white-nose syndrome and wind turbine fatalities. 

    Scientists believe that bats are having a hard time confusing wind turbines with trees. Last year the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced “voluntary guidelines to halt turbines at low wind speeds, when bats are most active, which would save lives.” These new changes were expected to help reduce fatalities by 30 percent.

    However, there could be more done. If the industry can hold the blades in check just a little longer bat fatalities could be reduced by 90 percent. To do this there only need to be two minor changes: feathering, or "turning the blades parallel to the wind so the turbines do not rotate," and implementing higher cut-in speeds, ideally between 5 and to 6.5 meters per second.

    Please sign the petition to tell the AWEA to make these changes so that we can save 90 percent of the bats rather than just 30 percent.

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  • Tell Congress: Give Regulatory Agencies Enough Funding to do Their Jobs

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    GOAL: 1,250 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, demanding that the Justice Department and other regulatory agencies receive enough funding to do their jobs.

    [Update: We have surpassed 500 signatures! NationofChange is sending the first letter to Congress with your signatures attached. We will continue to send letters for every 500 signatures.]

    As Robert Reich says, “It’s easy to holler at CEOs. It’s time for Congress to stop hollering and take action.”

    Congress can grill CEOs about bank fraud, such as their latest questioning of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, or condemn CEOs of pharmaceutical companies for price gouging, like Mylan’s Heather Bresch, all they want but it isn’t going to change a thing.

    Republicans can rage at CEOs all they want, but that doesn’t stop them from getting paid millions of dollars for hitting certain profit targets, often in shady ways.

    The Justice Department needs to be given enough funding to pursue criminal charges against corporations and executives who violate the law. Other regulatory agencies, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, needs more funding in order to police the market.

    Help us tell Congress that these agencies need more funding to stop things like price gouging, fraud, and shady business practices from happening.

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  • Tell Congress: Save the giraffe from extinction

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    GOAL: 1,625 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking them to draft legislation that will provide funding and political help to prevent the extinction of giraffes.

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to Congress with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    Over the past 30 years, the giraffe population has dropped nearly 40%. With illegal hunting, habitat loss and environmental changes these mammals are being slowly pushed to extinction. 

    This decrease in giraffe population will continue until we do something to stop it. With funding and political help, these animals could be preserved. There is currently no legislation to help prevent this extinction. 

    “Whilst giraffes are commonly seen on safari, in the media and in zoos, people – including conservationists – are unaware that these majestic animals are undergoing a silent extinction,” said Julian Fennessy, co-chair of the IUCN’s giraffe and okapi specialist group. “It is timely that we stick our neck out for the giraffe before it is too late,” he said.

    Sign this petition and help us tell Congress that the people want the protection of giraffes put into place.

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  • Help Protect Rhinos from Becoming Extinct

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    GOAL: 2,776 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the South African government asking them to crack down on Rhino poaching.

    [Update 3/16/17: We are sending the first letter to the South African government with 2,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    Rhino poaching is on the rise and if the trend continues, the species could face extinction. Poaching has hit a new annual record, according to South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

    With a 5,000 percent increase in rhino poaching in the recent year, rhino’s horns are a big commodity on the black market. Rhino horns sell for up to $100,000 a kilo, which surpasses the price of gold. And selling at this hefty price, rhino poachers are attracting more impoverished people to join in the crime syndicate.

    Rhino poaching greatly increased after a story that a Vietnamese politician’s relative was cured of cancer from the horn even though science doesn’t support the claim. Cultural traditions in Vietnam, Thailand and China also make rhinos’ horns popular and therefore, increase their demand. And many of the poachers are cross the Mozambique border into Kruger National Park in South Africa where rhino killings are putting the animal in jeopardy of extinction.

    If no “effective measures are taken” to stop the criminal poaching, the South African government confirms the world’s rhino population will be close to extinct come 2026.

    Help StopRhinoPoaching.com in their global campaign to raise awareness about illegal poaching and help support provincial and private reserves in South Africa as their efforts toward protection before extinction.

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  • Tell the USFWS: Don’t Abandon the Red Wolf

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    GOAL: 854 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demanding that they continue the red wolf recovery program instead of opting for captive breeding programs.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is taking heat from scientists for their September 12th decision to abandon the wild red wolf population in North Carolina in favor of captive breeding programs.

    USFWS based their decision to remove 32 of the 45 remaining red wolves left in the wild on a population viability analysis (PVA) conducted by a team of scientists — the same scientists now rebuking the USFWS for that decision.

    It is clear that the USFWS values the concerns of private land owners over the future of the red wolf. According the the USFWS’ decision memo:

    “Acknowledging growing concerns from private landowners regarding management of Service’s Red Wolf NEP project in eastern North Carolina, the Service and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission met to discuss and develop a canid management strategy.”

    These landowners’ concerns do not match those of the majority of North Carolinians, who actually support efforts to enhance the wild red wolf population, according to a poll.

    Unless the USFWS can revise it’s protection plan and make good on its mission to “conserve, protect, and enhance” these animals and their habitats, the future for the red wolf looks bleak.

    Please join NationofChange in telling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to not abandon the Red Wolf population and to continue their Red Wolf recovery program, rather than opting for captive breeding.

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  • Raise the Federal Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers

    Raise the Federal Minimum Wage

    GOAL: 1,228 signatures

    For everyone 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Department of Labor demanding a raise for the federal minimum wage for tipped employees.

    [Update 1/25/17: We are sending the first letter to the Department of Labor with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    Tell the Department of Labor to Raise the Federal Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees

    While other federal minimum wages have increased throughout the years, the minimum wage for tipped employees remains the same.

    Since 1991, the federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour, according to the Department of Labor.  While servers struggle to make ends meet earning poverty-level wages, discrimination and inequality continue to plague the restaurant industry. 

    The Department of Labor justifies the minimum hourly wage with tips claiming that servers will make up the difference in their wage to that of the current federal minimum wage. And the National Restaurant Association is doing nothing to support the tipped employees; instead the association is reaping the benefits.

    With more than 13 million restaurant workers in the U.S., most tipped employees are living below the poverty line while the National Restaurant Association is pocketing around $660 billion in revenue.

    Employment in food services has been growing at a much faster rate than employment in general and the restaurant industry has continued hiring despite the recession.

    Let’s get with the times and make a change – tell the DOL to raise wages for tipped employees!

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  • End New American Slavery: Tell the Department of Justice to Stop the System of Forced Prison Labor

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    GOAL: 889 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Department of Justice, asking them to enforce a high minimum wage and humane working conditions for prison workers.

    The largest ever prison strike is going on this month - and likely you haven’t heard of it. The mainstream media doesn’t seem to want to cover it.

    Prisoners across 24 states and 40 prisons are joining together and refusing to work until their worker rights are met.

    This is a call to end slavery in America…To every prisoner in every state and federal institution across this land, we call on you to stop being a slave, to let the crops rot in the plantation fields, to go on strike and cease reproducing the institutions of your confinement.

    Speaking out against low wages, forced work, and working conditions, inmates are referring to work in prisons as the new modern slavery.

    Inmates who are able to work are forced to, and receive very little compensation. In most federal prisons pay ranges from $0.12 to $0.40 an hour and in some states, like Texas, they receive no compensation at all.

    They are not protected by labor laws. In addition to working at jobs for prison maintenance and upkeep, many prisoners work for large corporations, such as Victoria’s Secret, Whole Foods, and Walmart.

    It is time to change this system. Prisoners at the very least should be able to work in conditions that are held to the same standards as any other American worker, and their minimum wage should be raised.

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  • Tell Congress: Don’t Cut Important School Lunch Programs for Poor Children

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    GOAL: 1,390 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking them not to pass The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act.

    U.S. lawmakers are quietly debating an important piece of legislation that greatly affects meals for schools.

    As it is now, funding allows for providing free lunches and after-school meals to every student enrolled in a public school where at least 40 percent of its student body live in low-income households. The program has had “lasting positive outcomes” and “critical benefits.”

    Yet now Republican lawmakers in Congress, led by Representative Todd Rokita, want to introduce The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act that will severely cut the availability of federally subsidized lunches to hungry children in public schools.

    Even with the funding provided now, lunch programs are underfunded. The $13 billion allocated to them equals out to just over a dollar per meal for cafeteria administrators to spend on ingredients.

    Changing the law now would provide less funding, would remove eligibility for over 7,000 schools and 3.4 million students, and would create additional burdens of paperwork and administration work.

    Please sign the petition now to tell Congress we must not cut school funding but instead increase it, to continue to provide at least some proper nutrition to the over 15 million children that lack access to consistent nutrition at home.

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  • Raise the Minimum Wage: Join the Fight for 15

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    GOAL: 454 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter Congress demanding that they pass legislation to raise the minimum wage for all low-wage workers in the U.S. to $15 an hour.

    With income inequality at an all-time high and worker's rights at an all-time low, it's time Congress does something to mandate corporations raise the minimum wage and stop poverty wages from crippling workers and communities across the nation. Not only have corporations been maximizing profits at the expense of workers, Congress has only passed legislation to increase the minimum wage just three times in the past 30 year.

    It's time state and national lawmakers commit to raising the minimum wage for all low-wage workers in the U.S. to $15 an hour.

    While the state minimum wages range from $7.50 in Arkansas, Maine and New Mexico to $9.47 in Washington state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are about 20.6 million people that are considered “near-minimum-wage” workers. And the restaurant and food service industry is the single biggest employer of near-minimum-wage workers, according to Pew Research Center.

    As Robert Reich puts it, the "first step toward making work pay is to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, pegging it to inflation" because no full-time American worker should be living in poverty. The cycle is unacceptable and must come to an end.

    We must stand in solidarity with low-wage workers and wedge the income inequality gap by supporting the Fight for 15. Let's start by building a movement for shared prosperity and eventually "give all Americans a share in future economic gains."

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  • Pledge to Buy Non-GMO

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    Take Back Our Food System from Big Food—Sign the Pledge to Buy Non-GMO

    Have you ever asked yourself why our food is being produced and modified by the biotech industry?

    While the government isn't doing anything about it, it's up to consumers to take back our food system from "powerful industries with bottomless pockets." We have been made into science projects and it's time we take matters into our own hands. With no national mandatory labeling laws for GMO foods, both lobbyists as well as food companies are paying millions of dollars to make sure that it stays that way.

    GOAL: 1,718 signatures

    With H.R. 1599 or Denying Americans the Right to Know Act (DARK) close to Senate approval, consumers' Right to Know what's in our food under a GMO-labeling initiative is at stake. Our health is being compromised as our government sells out to "multi-million dollar public relations and lobbying campaigns built on lies and deception."

    Genetically-modified organisms have caused years of damage—recent studies show GMOs cause a multitude of health risks including tumors and organ damage, and contribute to climate change.

    As GMOs continue to invade our food system, you can do your part by buying certified organic products with the USDA Organic seal as well as looking for products that bear the “Non-GMO Project” stamp of approval (these products have been through a non-GMO certification process).

    So don’t be kept in the dark about what you're eating and misled by bogus marketing claims from Big Foods and the Grocery Manufacturing Association. It's our right to know what's in our food. 

    Starting now, we ask you to take the pledge to avoid Big Food companies and products that contain GMOs. It's time we vote with our wallets to take back our food system and our health.

    Please, click here to sign the pledge to Buy Non-GMO and use the list below for non-GMO product and brand verification:

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  • Tell Governor Pat McCrory to Officially Repeal North Carolina's Anti-LGBT Law

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    GOAL: 345 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Governor Pat McCrory demanding that North Carolina officially repeal its anti-LGBT law.

    North Carolina recently passed HB2, causing them to become the most anti-LGBTQ state in the country. The measure revoke local gay and trans nondiscrimination ordinances throughout the state, effectively legalizing anti-LGBTQ discrimination. It also forbids trans people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

    North Carolina Republicans claimed that the measure was created in response to the city of Charlotte passing a LGBT nondiscrimination law. Although the Charlotte measure was just a generic nondiscrimination measure, Republicans declared that HB2 would remain on the books until Charlotte repealed its law.

    Charlotte's response was repealing every provision to which Republicans had objected on the condition that the legislature repeal HB2 by the end of the year.

    But then Republicans claimed Charlotte had “lied directly to the people” and broken its promise by retaining provisions of its code that prohibited the city from hiring contractors who have discriminated against subcontractors on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. This provision was never mentioned previously and Republicans never showed any objection to it.

    Charlotte again complied, even holding an emergency meeting in order to formally repeal the entire ordinance. This still wasn't enough for Republican legislators. Instead of repealing HB2 entirely, as promised under the circumstances, the new bill includes moratorium on local nondiscrimination ordinances for six months. Because Republicans hold a supermajority in the legislature, this “cooling off period” could easily be extended in six months’ time. The original compromise agreed to did not include such a moratorium.

    This means that “No local government in this State may enact or amend an ordinance regulating employment practices or regulating public accommodations or access to restrooms, showers, or changing facilities.”

    We must not support this as an adequate substitute for HB2. By doing this, North Carolina Republicans are allowing for discrimination against LBGT people. Please join us in telling Governor Pat McCrory to remove the moratorium and allow local governments in the state to enact measures to protect members of the LGBT community.

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  • End the U.S. Policy of Perpetual War

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    GOAL: 1,317 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to President Trump, telling him to end the U.S. policy of perpetual war.

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to President Trump with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    As Michael Payne puts it, “The War on Terror is not a war unto itself; it is just one facet of the larger agenda of perpetual war that this government, filled with bloodthirsty war hawks, has conducted for far too long.”

    For the last 15 years America, has been engaged in perpetual war.

    Our government tells us to be afraid, and that terrorist groups pose a great threat to our country. But America has played the largest role in the origin, spread, and cultivation of these terrorist groups with our constant aggressive military policies.

    It is time for the United States to end this state of perpetual war, to bring our troops home, and to cease our aggressive military policies.

    Please join us in telling President Trump to stop the war on terror. We need to promote peace and communication between countries, not aggressive foreign policy and military practices.

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  • Stop Tax Breaks for the Rich: Create a New Tax System that Doesn't Favor the Wealthy

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    GOAL: 1,250 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, urging them to adopt a tax plan that will end tax breaks on the wealthy.

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to Congress with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    Tax breaks for the rich are completely out of hand. 

    When Bill Clinton was elected president the 400 highest-earning taxpayers in America paid nearly 27 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to I.R.S. data. By 2012 that figure had fallen to less than 17 percent. This number is even lower now, and doesn’t include the loopholes and other ways the rich have used to their advantage to decrease their taxes paid.

    Now House Speaker Paul Ryan has rolled out a new “consensus” republican tax plan full of rate cuts for the 1% and corporates, including repealing the estate tax and making it easier for companies to hide profits overseas.

    Donald Trump’s proposed tax plan would be no better, also providing additional tax cuts for the wealthy.

    A Citizens for Tax Justice analysis found that 60 percent of the tax breaks in the Ryan plan would go to the top 1% of Americans, compared to 37 percent under Trump’s plan.

    It is time for us to speak out and do something about the tax breaks for the wealthy. Help us write to Congress to tell them to pass a new tax plan that stops major tax breaks for the rich and helps close the wealth gap.

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  • Tell the EPA: Stop Dumping Fracking Waste into the Gulf of Mexico

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    GOAL: 1,390 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the EPA, demanding that they reject the proposal that would allow for unlimited fracking wastewater to be dumped into the Gulf of Mexico.

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to the EPA with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]


    NationofChange is standing with the Center for Biological Diversity in their efforts to convince the EPA to reject a proposal that would allow for unlimited dumping of fracking wastewater into the Gulf of Mexico.

    The proposed permit “violates the Clean Water Act because it causes an undue degradation of the marine environment.”

    We, along with the Center for Biological Diversity, believe that EPA’s consideration of the permit does not take into account how dumping wastewater containing chemicals from fracking and acidizing operations would impact water quality and marine wildlife.

    Here is the full release from the Center for Biological Diversity:

    Proposed Permit Threatens Sea Turtles, Fish, Other Gulf Wildlife

    ATLANTA— An Obama administration proposal to continue allowing oil companies to dump unlimited amounts of offshore fracking chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico violates federal law and threatens endangered marine wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity warned over the weekend.

    In a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency on a proposed wastewater discharge permit for offshore oil and gas drilling activities in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Center explained that the proposed permit violates the Clean Water Act because it causes an undue degradation of the marine environment. “The permit allows the unlimited discharge of produced wastewater, including the unlimited discharge of chemicals used in offshore fracking and other well-stimulation treatments,” the letter noted.

    “The EPA is endangering an entire ecosystem by allowing the oil industry to dump unlimited amounts of fracking chemicals and drilling waste fluid into the Gulf of Mexico,” said Center attorney Kristen Monsell. “This appalling plan from the agency that's supposed to protect our water violates federal law and shows a disturbing disregard for offshore fracking’s toxic threats to sea turtles and other Gulf wildlife.”

    Today's letter also points out that the EPA is relying on a 33-year-old study of waste fluid produced by offshore platforms, despite the drilling of more than 450 wells in the area since 2010 alone. The letter urges EPA to adopt a zero-discharge requirement for produced water and fracking chemicals, as is required under other offshore drilling permits.

    At least 10 fracking chemicals routinely used in offshore fracking could kill or harm a broad variety of marine species, including marine mammals and fish, Center scientists have found. The California Council on Science and Technology has identified some common fracking chemicals to be among the most toxic in the world to marine animals.

    Fracking chemicals raise grave ecological concerns because, among other factors, the Gulf of Mexico is important habitat for whales, sea turtles and fish, and contains critical habitat for imperiled loggerhead sea turtles. Dolphins and other species in the Gulf are still suffering lingering effects from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

     As explained in the letter, the EPA is proposing to allow oil companies to discharge fracking chemicals without even knowing how much fracking has, or would, occur in the Gulf by relying on data from 1988. Information recently obtained by the Center indicates that oil companies were permitted to frack more than 1,200 times from more than 600 wells from 2010 to 2014 alone. And the agency is relying on more than 30-year-old data to estimate the volume of produced water to be discharged.

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  • Tell the FDA to Routinely Screen Food for Glyphosate

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    GOAL: 1,379 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the FDA, demanding routine testing of U.S. food for glyphosate residue.

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to the FDA with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has confirmed the presence of glyphosate in a variety of  oat products, including oat cereals for babies.

    Recently the USDA started testing U.S. foods for glyphosate, the active ingredient used in Monsanto’s Roundup and which has been linked to cancer. Last year the World Health Organization released a report by a group of international cancer experts that stated glyphosate is a probably human carcinogen.

    Despite these recent findings, Roundup continues to be the most heavily used weed killer in the world. The EPA still maintains that glyphosate is “not likely” to cause cancer.

    The current safe levels for glyphosate in oats, as suggested by the EPA, is 30 ppm. The levels detected in the findings fall within this range. In 2013 Monsanto requested and receive higher tolerances for many foods. In the European Union the tolerance levels are much lower, for example the tolerance for glyphosate in oats is 20 ppm.

    Monsanto and U.S. regulators maintain that all of these findings show that glyphosate levels in our food are too low to cause any health concerns, but many believe that food will need to continue to be routinely tested to maintain safe levels. Besides that, some foods in the United States do not have a legal tolerance level. For example, honey does not have a legal tolerance level, yet when tested earlier this year every sample came back with traces of glyphosate, some with residue levels double the limit allowed in the European Union.

    Help us tell the FDA that they need to routinely screen foods for glyphosate and maintain low levels of contamination regardless of their stance on glyphosate being linked to cancer.

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