Marty Stephenson posted about Tell Congress: Don’t Cut Important School Lunch Programs for Poor Children on Facebook 2017-05-26 14:44:35 -0700Sign the petition: Tell Congress: Don’t Cut Important School Lunch Programs for Poor ChildrenGOAL: 1,606 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.
Sign the petition: Stop Milk From RottingGOAL: 942 signatures
Gun Control: Second Amendment Needs to be Updated to Reflect the Growing Danger of Guns
The Second Amendment guarantees our right to bear arms. It gives way to personal defense. But the law is highly misunderstood.
When the Second Amendment was written, it referred to a number of weapons, such as knives, bow and arrows, etc., because few people owned guns since the cost of importing them was so expensive. But now days, guns are easily accessible and relatively affordable that the U.S. has the highest rate of legal gun ownership compared to the rest of the world.
So while the context of the Second Amendment remains the same, over time, it’s become flawed.
And today, guns are overwhelmingly being used to offend rather defend.
According to a study published in Business Week, it estimated defensive gun use at 300,000 times per year. Contrastingly, Slate.com reported around 500,000 instances of gun use by criminals, which puts the U.S. at more than double the death rate by guns than that of any other developed nation.
It’s time we rewrite the law to reflect this day and age and address the growing epidemic guns pose on society. Because of “their accuracy and relatively attainable price,” we need a stricter interpretation of the Second Amendment.
Take action today and sign the petition telling Congress to update the law.
Marty Stephenson posted about Tell the Trump Administration to stop Big Oil from Completing the Dakota Access Pipeline on Facebook 2017-05-17 16:27:47 -0700For every 1000 signatures we will send a letter to the Obama administration demanding the pipeline be abandoned.GOAL: 7,986 signatures
For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Trump administration, demanding they stop big oil from completing the Dakota Access Pipeline.
[Update 3/16/2017: We have sent the next letter to President Trump with 7,000+ of your signatures, demanding the Dakota Access Pipeline be abandoned. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]
UPDATE: The Army Corps of Engineers has denied the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline, but Energy Transfer Partners insists that they will go ahead with the project.
1,281 professionals from institutions like the Smithsonian and the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries claim that the construction work from the pipeline destroyed “ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts sacred to the Lakota and Dakota people.”
The letter reads further: “The destruction of these sacred sites adds yet another injury to the Lakota, Dakota and other Indigenous Peoples who bear the impacts of fossil fuel extraction and transportation. If constructed, this pipeline will continue to encourage oil consumption that causes climate change, all the while harming those populations who contributed little to this crisis.”
President Obama halted temporarily construction on the the $3.8bn, 1,170-mile pipeline after the Standing Rock Sioux tribe legally challenged the project. The pipeline is supposed to funnel oil from the Bakken oil Fields in the Great Plains to Illinois and run next to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.
We need to ensure the company abandons the pipeline on American Indian land. Sign the petition and stand with the thousands of professionals, and the Standing Rock Sioux, to tell the Trump administration to stop big oil from completing the Dakota Access pipeline for its destruction of Standing Rock Sioux lands, burial sites, and ancient artifacts that are crucial to our understanding of American heritage.
Marty Stephenson posted about Tell Congress: Give Regulatory Agencies Enough Funding to do Their Jobs on Facebook 2017-05-16 12:22:37 -0700Tell the Congress to properly fund the Justice Department and other regulatory agencies.GOAL: 1,606 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.
Marty Stephenson posted about Tell Trump Not to Abandon Climate Progress on Facebook 2017-05-11 03:57:39 -0700Sign the petition: Tell Trump Not to Abandon Climate ProgressGOAL: 1,040 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send letters to President Trump and Scott Pruitt demanding that they reinstate the Clean Power Plan and continue providing funding for climate science.
Since being sworn into office, President Trump has issued numerous Executive Orders that have rolled back progress on climate change.
Among these are orders directly to the EPA and other government agencies to abandon climate research and roll back policies put into place to combat climate change.
Agencies are being ordered to ignore the impacts of carbon pollution and begin leasing coal mining rights on federal land. The EPA is being ordered to dismantle its landmark climate protections, the Clean Power Plan.
Trump is also pulling funding from projects that would help us learn more about climate change and our effects on it, such as NASA’s climate science department.
We can’t let the Trump administration get away with this. It has been shown that an outpouring of public outrage can have a profound effect on policy. Public response and activism has helped combat the Muslim ban and prevented Republicans from passing a disastrous health care plan.
Now we need this same outrage to keep Trump from obliterating all climate action and protections.
Tell President Trump and EPA director Scott Pruitt to reinstate the Clean Power Plan and continue funding climate science.
Marty Stephenson posted about Stop Tax Breaks for the Rich: Create a New Tax System that Doesn't Favor the Wealthy on Facebook 2017-05-12 03:42:50 -0700NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, urging them to adopt a tax plan that will end tax breaks on the wealthy.GOAL: 1,493 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.
Marty Stephenson posted about Tell Congress: Close Tax Loopholes! on Facebook 2017-05-02 03:51:48 -0700Sign the petition: Tell Congress: Close Tax Loopholes!GOAL: 1,855 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, asking them to pass legislation that will close tax loopholes for the ultra-rich.
[Update: We have surpassed 500 signatures! NationofChange is sending the first letter to Congress with your signatures attached, asking them to close the tax loopholes for the ultra-rich. We will continue to send letters for every 1000 signatures.]
Senator Bernie Sanders will introduce a new bill in the 115th Congress, which begins next year.
The proposed bill, if passed, would close all of the tax loopholes that Trump exploited in his 1995 tax returns. These loops holes do nothing to boost the economy, but continue to allow real estate investors like Trump to get out of pay millions of dollars in taxes.
“Special tax breaks and loopholes in a corrupt tax code enable billionaires and powerful corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes while sticking the burden on the middle class,” Sanders said. “It’s time to create a tax system which is fair and which asks the wealthy and powerful to start paying their fair share of taxes.”
Sanders’ legislation would close the following loopholes:
Exemption for the real estate from passive loss rules (Section 469): This loophole allows for an exception for real estate so that real estate investors can use losses to offset any other income, regardless of if it has to do with their business.
Exemption for real estate from at-risk rules (Section 465): An exemption for real estate investors that allows them to claim losses exceeding what they actually invested.
Like-kind exchanges (Section 1031): Allows real estate owners to swap pieces of property of the same type in order to claim they have no gain to report to the IRS because technically there was no sale.
Debt and Depreciation: Allows for investors to combine tax breaks for for borrowing with tax breaks when an investment rapidly loses value, allowing them to borrow money to make an investment, take deductions for the interest they pay on the debt and then take deductions as the property depreciates.
Stand with Senator Sanders and NationofChange and tell Congress to close the tax loopholes that rich investors are using to dodge taxes.
Marty Stephenson posted about End the U.S. Policy of Perpetual War on Facebook 2017-04-26 03:10:58 -0700We will send a letter to President Obama, telling him to end the U.S. policy of perpetual war.GOAL: 1,831 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.
Marty Stephenson posted about Tell Congress: Let Borrowers Refinance Their Student Loans on Facebook 2017-04-29 10:02:27 -0700Sign the petition: Tell Congress: Let Borrowers Refinance Their Student LoansGOAL: 645 signatures
For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking for student loan refinancing legislation.
Americans are more than $1.2 trillion in student debt. Many of them are failing to pay even the minimum on their student loans, with no hope of refinancing.
Currently homeowners and corporations have the opportunity to take advantage of historically low interest rates. Student loan borrowers should be able to do the same, yet are stuck paying sky-high interest rates. The impacts their ability to purchase homes, save for retirement, and more.
We need new legislation that will not only allow for, but make it easy for student loan borrowers to refinance their student loans. We stand with groups such as Generation Progress and Take Part in moving forward to urge Congress to pass new legislation to allow for student loan refinancing.
Marty Stephenson posted about Tell Governor Pat McCrory to Officially Repeal North Carolina's Anti-LGBT Law on Facebook 2017-04-16 06:54:39 -0700Sign the petition: Tell Governor Pat McCrory to Officially Repeal North Carolina's Anti-LGBT LawGOAL: 427 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.
Marty Stephenson posted about End unregulated healthcare pricing on Facebook 2017-04-16 06:53:11 -0700Sign the petition: End unregulated healthcare pricingGOAL: 358 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.
Marty Stephenson posted about Tell Congress: Keep the pre-existing condition clause for health insurance on Facebook 2017-04-16 06:52:22 -0700Sign the petition: Tell Congress: Keep the pre-existing condition clause for health insuranceGOAL: 1,013 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.
Marty Stephenson posted about Tell Congress to Regulate Prescription Drug Prices on Facebook 2017-04-13 03:43:54 -0700Sign the petition: Tell Congress to Regulate Prescription Drug PricesGOAL: 2,644 signatures
For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, demanding that they pass legislation to regulate prescription drug prices and end price gouging.
[Update: We have surpassed 2000 signatures! NationofChange is sending a letter to Congress with your signatures attached, asking them to regulate prescription drug prices. We will continue to send letters for every 1000 signatures.]
Americans pay, by far, the highest prices for prescription drugs in the entire world.
Access to health care is a human right, and that should include affordable prescription drugs. Yet we have companies like Mylan, Turing Pharmaceuticals, and Ariad Pharmaceuticals that love to hike drug prices up. This means that many life saving drugs have become unaffordable for the average American family.
Last year, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of an AIDS drug from $13.50 per pill to $750.00 — overnight.
Prices for drugs overall have increased more than tenfold between the year 2000 and today. The average price of cancer drugs is increasing by over $8,000 a year.
It is time for Congress to pass legislation to regulate pharmaceutical drug prices and end price gouging. This should also include things such as allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, allowing the importation of cancer drugs across U.S. borders for personal use, legislation that prevents drug companies from delaying access to generic drugs and extending the life of drug patents, and creating an FDA approval group or mechanism that can estimate and propose a fair price for new treatments.
Marty Stephenson posted about End Dark Money: Tell the FEC to Require the Disclosure of Secret Donors During Political Campaigns on Facebook 2017-03-19 07:31:00 -0700Sign the petition: Stop Dark Money: Tell the FEC to Require the Disclosure of Secret Donors During Political CampaignsGOAL: 1,555 signatures
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.
GOAL: 342 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, Nationofchange will send a letter to Congress asking them to adopt legislation that will reward corporations who move jobs to United States and punish corporations for outsourcing jobs.
Right now too many corporations are shipping jobs overseas in order to save a buck. Current legislation allows for companies to get tax breaks when they ship jobs overseas.
Too many companies are closing their center of operations in the United States in favor of moving operations overseas. Corporations not only receive tax breaks when moving offshore, but they are able to exploit lower wage workers in countries where workers rights laws are lax or non existent.
It is time for this to stop. The American people could use these jobs that are being exported overseas and corporations do not need more tax breaks.
It is time to create legislation that will incentivize American companies for bringing their offshore jobs back to the U.S., or for keeping them here in the first place. Legislation should also include punishment for corporations that move jobs overseas. This way conditions would be optimal for American companies to keep their jobs in the country.
Pledge to boycott Koch productsGOAL: 2,034 signatures
The Koch Brothers are the poster boys for the one percent. They use their expansive wealth to further inequality in America by using various subsidiaries to lobby Washington for whatever suits them.
Their overwhelming reach makes it hard to keep tabs on just who is in their pockets. What is known is that they have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in order to influence politics and legislations with the one goal of increasing their profits through decreased regulations.
They help fund numerous organizations to prepare thousands of pages of legal briefs sent to the Supreme court advocating unlimited spending on political campaigns.
The Koch Brothers’ main company, Koch Industries, has made much of their money in the oil business. In 2000 Koch Industries was fined an incredible $30 million to resolve claims related to more than 300 oil spills, with an additional $5 million to be spent on environmental projects.
They have spent more than $34 million on groups and organizations that work against workers rights. The fund Americans for Prosperity, a tea-party group that led Governor Scott Walker’s efforts against unions and workers rights. Americans for Prosperity has also fought against health care reform.
The Koch Brothers are also behind the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) which has funded such things as anti-immigration legislation.
The Koch Brothers heavily supported the passage of Citizens United, which reduced transparency and made it so that the United States government cannot restrict independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. This has been extended to for-profit corporations and labor unions, thus making it so that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money pushing for their chosen candidate(s).
We must do what we can to limit the Koch Brother’s profits. One way we can do this is by not buying products that are manufactured and/or sold by subsidiary companies owned by Koch Industries.
The following is a rough list of some of the companies and products you should avoid:
-Angel Soft Ultra
-Brawny paper towels
-Mardis Gras napkins
-Perfect Touch cups, paper products
-Sparkle paper towels
-Vanity Fair napkins & paper towels
-Georgia-Pacific Office products
-Georgia-Pacific's enMotion paper towel dispenser
-Georgia-Pacific's engineered lumber INVISTA Brands
-INVISTA’s PET polymer is used in oxygen-sensitive packaging for food and beverages.
-ADI-PURE® Adipic Acid
-ANTRON® Carpet Fiber
-DYTEK® Idea Intermediates
-FLEXISOLV® Solvent Solutions
-LYCRA HyFit® Fiber
-OXYCLEAR® Barrier Resin
-TERATHANE® Polyether Glycol
-TORZEN® PA66 Resin
Koch Fertilizer Company's AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabilizer fertilizer products are used around the world to improve nitrogen efficiency and enhance crop productions.
Stand with NationofChange and sign the pledge to boycott all Koch Industries products.
Marty Stephenson posted about End the Dickey Amendment: Tell Congress to Allow Research on Gun Violence on Facebook 2016-07-10 18:11:31 -0700Sign the petition: End the Dickey Amendment: Tell Congress to Allow Research on Gun ViolenceGOAL: 1,383 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, demanding that they repeal the Dickey Amendment and allow for more research on gun violence.
[Update 2/16/17: We have sent your letter to Congress with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]
Gun violence kills nearly 100 Americans every day. But Congress refuses to move forward on gun control legislation claiming that there is not enough evidence and not enough research to move forward.
The number of mass shootings has increased dramatically over the last several years. This is the time for action.
We are concerned about the influence NRA has on Congress. In 1996 the NRA passed the Dickey Amendment, preventing the Center for Disease Control from studying the effect of gun violence on the American public. Now, 20 years later, even the author of the amendment, Congressman jay Dickey, believes it should be repealed.
Not only has Congress not allow any new gun control measures to pass, or in some cases even be voted upon, but they are also working hard to keep anyone from doing any serious research on gun violence.
Now the most powerful medical association in the United States has called gun violence a “public health crisis.” If the American Medical Association is calling for changes to gun control it is time we, and Congress, listen.
Sign the petition now and tell Congress to take the first step – repeal the Dickey Amendment and allow for more research on gun violence.