GOAL: 2,788 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.
Dewey Jackson signed Tell the FDA to Cut Animal Cruelty Out of Cosmetics 2017-02-05 19:09:46 -0800GOAL: 2,445 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, demanding they ban animal testing for cosmetics.
[Update 2/16/17: We have sent another letter to the FDA with 2,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]
While “cruelty-free testing” is mandatory in Europe, in the U.S., there are no regulations regarding the testing of cosmetics. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who oversees the industry, does not approve such products before they go on the market. And according to the FDA, cosmetic authority is solely the responsibility of cosmetic manufacturers.
Therefore, to see to it that their products and the products’ ingredients are safe for human use, a majority of cosmetics are tested on animals. But as a country, we must ban animal-tested cosmetics.
Not only does moving away from animal testing make good economic and trade sense since the EU recently banned the sale of animal-tested cosmetics, it is time we protect animal rights.
With many alternatives to the commonly required safety tests, animal testing is no longer necessary.
There are sophisticated non-animal research methods which are more accurate, less expensive and less time-consuming than certain animal-based research methods. Alternatives include computer simulators and imaging techniques, epidemiological studies (studies of human populations), clinical research, in vitro research (in a test tube) and replacing animals with human cells in safety tests.
While three states—California, New Jersey and New York—passed laws mandating that available alternatives to animal tests be used, the U.S. currently has no federal law prohibiting animal testing.
With many toxic and carcinogenic ingredients found in cosmetics, not only are animals' health at risk their rights are in question. It is time we protect animals and encourage modern science in response to the interests of consumers. Tell the FDA to ban animal testing for cosmetics.
Dewey Jackson signed Tell Cruise Lines to Clean Up Their Act and Reduce Carbon Footprint 2017-02-05 19:07:54 -0800GOAL: 1,162 signatures
While cruises are popular vacations for many Americans, the negative impact they have on the environment goes otherwise unnoticed. The carbon footprint cruise ships carrying up to 7,000 passengers have on the environment can be measured in air and water pollution along with sewage treatment.
Friends of the Earth, a federation of independent local groups striving for a more environmentally sustainable future, evaluated 10 cruise lines on three environmental factors—sewage treatment, air pollution reduction and water quality compliance—and determined that many of the cruise lines failed each category.
Among the cruise lines evaluated yearly by the Friends of the Earth are Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Cunard Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Silversea Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Disney Cruise Line. A grading scale of A through F, including plus and minuses, is used to determine the report card.
We need to hold cruise ships accountable and insist they adopt a sewage treatment system to protect the health of humans and marine life. One of those many methods could be marine sanitation devices, advance sewage treatment technology or, the most environmentally friendly way, hold the treated sewage onboard and not dump it into the ocean.
Also, cruise lines need to reduce their carbon footprint. Since the ships’ engines release harmful toxins that impact human health and climate change. There are ways to manage air pollution and cruise lines must start the reduction by adopting the method of cold ironing—plugging into shoreline power rather than sitting with the cruise ships’ engines idling—to keep the ships operating while in port.
As consumers, we should be aware of these environmental factors contributing to climate change and choose a greener option when planning a cruise vacation.
Tell cruise lines to clean up their act and stop polluting the air and water throughout the world.
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."
Dewey Jackson signed End Dark Money: Tell the FEC to Require the Disclosure of Secret Donors During Political Campaigns 2017-02-05 18:59:33 -0800GOAL: 1,462 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.
Susan ArmisteadGOAL: 314 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.
Dewey Jackson signed Tell Governor Pat McCrory to Officially Repeal North Carolina's Anti-LGBT Law 2017-02-05 13:35:40 -0800GOAL: 360 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.
Pledge to boycott Koch productsGOAL: 1,937 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.
Dewey Jackson posted about Tell Congress Not to Sell Our Wilderness to the Highest Bidder on Facebook 2016-11-07 12:32:26 -0800Sign the petition: Tell Congress Not to Sell Our Wilderness to the Highest BidderGOAL: 2,989 signatures
For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking them to block any legislation that would allow for America’s shared public lands to be eligible to be sold.
[Update: We have surpassed 2,000 signatures! NationofChange is sending a letter to Congress with your signatures attached, asking them not to sell our wilderness. We will continue to send letters for every 1000 signatures.]
New findings have shown catastrophic declines in Earth’s wilderness over the last 20 years.
Researchers reporting in the journal “Current Biology” have presented new findings that show an area twice the size of Alaska and half the pie of the Amazon has disappeared from Earth’s wilderness since the 1990s. This is equal to about 10% of global wilderness.
As Dr. James Watson of the University of Queensland in Australia states, “Without any policies to protect these areas, they are falling victim to widespread development. International policy mechanisms must recognize the actions needed to maintain wilderness areas before it is too late. We probably have one to two decades to turn this around.”
Although there has been efforts to preserve the loss of specific species, there are few policies that actually deal with large-scale lose of entire ecosystems and wilderness areas that haven’t been studied heavily.
Dr. Watson says that “If we don’t act soon, there will only be tiny remnants of wilderness around the planet, and this is a disaster for conservation, for climate change and for some of the most vulnerable human communities on the planet.”
In the United States wilderness areas have been given to states to do with what they want. Many times this means that our recreation lands are sold to mining, oil and gas and other development - in other words the “highest bidder.”
We must take action before this gets further out of hand. Tell Congress that you do not support legislation that will allow America’s shared public lands to be sold to the highest bidder.
GOAL: 855 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.
GOAL: 961 signatures
Update: VICTORY! Thanks to the pressure you and others put on Congress, we have defeated the TPP!
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an international treaty, often called a “trade agreement,” that was negotiated in secret for five years behind the backs of congress and the American people, but with the help of hundreds of corporate advisers.
Now that we can read the text, we see that it undermines democracy by entrenching corporate power in virtually every area of our lives: from food safety and the environment, to worker rights, internet freedom and access to health care.
The TPP is about much more than trade. It is a global corporate coup.
Congress members are in a key position to stop the TPP because both the Senate and House will be voting to pass the deal in November. To counter the influence of Obama, big money, and corporate media we must apply pressure to Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate to make sure they stand firm against these dirty deals when they come to Congress.
We must pressure congress to vote NO on TPP before the lame-duck session this November!
The following information is provided by Flush the TPP.
The TPP Threatens Food Safety
The TPP places the profits of multinational corporations over the food security needs of individual nations.
Negotiated by Big-Ag, including Monsanto, Dupont, Cargill, and Syngenta, the TPP allows corporations to sue governments (including local and state governments) who pass food safety regulations or laws protecting family farmers, claiming they are “barriers to trade” that hurt expected future profits.
The TPP Will Reduce Wages and Worker Safety
The TPP will offshore more U.S. jobs to low-wage countries by giving special privileges to corporations and eliminating the risks of sending jobs overseas. Corporations like Walmart will move labor to countries such as Vietnam, where wages are already half that of China. The TPP also lets corporations sue countries for lost profits caused by labor laws, which will hinder safety regulations that prevent the kind of disaster that took place in Bangladesh on April 24th, 2013, where more than 1,000 died in a building collapse.
The TPP Grants Corporations Legal Status Equal to Sovereign Nations
According to leaked documents, the TPP would establish international trade tribunals with more power than governments by allowing corporations to sue governments whose laws or policies adversely impact “expected future profits.” Similar provisions in NAFTA have resulted in the overturning of many environmental and consumer protection laws. Judges in this system would consist mostly of corporate lawyers on leave from their regular jobs with multinational corporations. In this rigged system, appeals would not be allowed.
The TPP Puts Profits Before the Planet
The TPP allows corporations to sue governments in special corporate trade tribunals if their environmental laws or policies are deemed to negatively affect profits. Laws restricting air and water pollution or favoring clean energy could all be challenged under the TPP’s “investor state” provisions, making it virtually impossible for countries to protect the environment and mitigate climate change. If a domestic court holds a corporation liable for environmental contamination, even that decision could be appealed to the corporate tribunals.
The TPP Undermines Internet Freedom
The TPP is about much more than trade. It is a backdoor for corporations to create laws they could never get passed out in the open. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the TPP would impose copyright measures that “strip Internet users of their rights to privacy, free speech, and access to knowledge and culture, and could even work to undermine their very purpose of enabling and promoting innovation and creativity.”
These measures are modeled after the unpopular U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and would become impossible for Congress to change if ratified by the TPP. Other countries with less restrictive laws would also be forced to change them to adhere to the TPP.
The TPP Will Restrict Access to Lifesaving Medical Treatment
Through a process called “evergreening,” pharmaceutical corporations are pushing for never-ending patents to prevent generics and keep drug prices high. Medical devices, laboratory tests and even surgical procedures will be patented, restricting their access to people around the world.
The TPP also allows Big Pharma and private insurance corporations to challenge prices set by public health systems, which may easily lead to increased privatization of health care.
The TPP Lets Wall Street Run Amok
The TPP will undo the already inadequate regulation of Wall Street and prevent member countries from banning or regulation speculation and the toxic derivatives that led to the 2008 financial collapse. The separation of commercial from investment banking would also be prohibited.
Government efforts to impose a financial transaction tax or “Robin Hood tax” would be banned and public banks and red unions would be prohibited from loaning money below “market” interest rates.
The TPP would also allow corporations to move money in and out of countries with greater ease to wherever wages are lowest, resources cheapest, and laws the most lax.
What You Can Do
Sign this petition to tell congress to block the TPP
Join us in Washington, DC this November to protest the TPP
More ways you can fight the TPP
Dewey Jackson posted about Tell Congress to Regulate Prescription Drug Prices on Facebook 2017-02-05 13:26:56 -0800Sign the petition: Tell Congress to Regulate Prescription Drug PricesGOAL: 2,567 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.
GOAL: 941 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the FDA demanding that they retract their approval on the GM Apple.
As early as 2017, the new FDA-approved genetically engineered Arctic apple could makes its way into the country’s food system. But not before growers and consumers battle the GM apple.
Arctic apples, which are breeding in many varieties at Okanagan Specialty Fruits, use a genetic modification technology called RNA interference that manipulates the proteins in cells to grow these new non-browning, high-tech apples. While the biotech industry claim the apples are designed to be the “perfect apple for your busy life,” scientists confirm that the GMO Arctic apples pose health risks to humans. Not only does the manipulated RNA get into the body’s bloodstream and digestive system, the pesticide residue also causes a harmful effect.
The truly non-browning, genetically engineered Arctic apple was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) in which the agency stated on March 20 that the crops are just as "nutritious and safe as conventional apples," according to Chemical and Engineering News
While genetically modified organisms have found their way into processed-food products, consumers are concerned about them tainting “fresh whole foods.”
It's time we pressure significant purchasers of apples not to use Arctic apples in their food products. sking Gerber to remain GMO-free.
While there are potential environmental, health and economic risks associated with the GM apples there are also concerns that the products won’t be labeled as containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
While health concerns are the main focus for consumers, there is also the worry that potential cross-contamination from pollen and other unknown impacts on the environment will effect farmers. We must stop the GM apple for marketplace concerns, which could have a serious impact on fresh apple sales in the U.S. and abroad.
While the Arctic apple isn't slated to make its debut until 2017, we must spread awareness to help stop the apple from entering our food system.
GOAL: 2,141 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Trump administration, demanding that the fossil fuel industry play no role in climate policymaking.
[Update 2/16/17: We have sent your letter to the Trump administration with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]
Corporate influence has pervaded climate negotiations over the years in an effort to protect corporate profits. And now, the climate crisis is closer to the brink.
Not only has the fossil fuel industry interfered with climate progress, these big polluters have pushed false solutions and committed numerous environmental and human rights violations.
Scientists have warned of the “irreversible damage to our plant due to climate change” and it's time world leaders take bold action to ensure we stop extracting fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions among other solutions.
But with the fossil fuel industry and other transnational corporations standing in the way, we must remove fossil fuel industry lobbyists from climate policy.
Take action today and sign the petition to create a “precedent-setting treaty mechanism” to get a behemoth industry out of the way. Help us save the planet!
GOAL: 1,317 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!
Dewey Jackson signed Create New Transition Programs for Veterans Returning Home 2016-10-10 05:47:18 -0700GOAL: 359 signatures
22 Veterans a day commit suicide. This equates to one veteran committing suicide every 65 minutes and a total of over 8,000 committing suicide a year. The suicide rate among veterans is nearly double the rate seen among the general population in America.
This needs to change. We need better programs to reintroduce veterans to civilian life when returning home from both combat and non-combat positions.
We are asking for a “Reverse Bootcamp” program to be put into effect that will help transition all service members to post-military life, which would include things such as:
- Mandatory, confidential behavioral health evaluation with a clinical behavioral health provider.
- Potential required participation in individual and group therapy sessions or programs based on the outcome to #1.
- Education program to prepare service members for their life beyond the military, including providing them with resources for jobs and training.
- Career counseling services and programs both before, during, and after the transition.
- Mentor or coach to be a part of the transition process and to provide support for at least one year after military departure.
- Have a post-separation plan and schedule that they work on with their mentor and that includes information to all relative local resources. This includes plans for family, education, health, and employment.
- Provide service member’s families with homecoming preparedness and training and give them access to resources to help welcome their service member home and help them complete the transition.
Help us tell the Department of Veteran Affairs that we care about our Veterans and that this suicide rate is unacceptable.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs | 810 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington DC 20420
Dewey Jackson signed Stop Tax Breaks for the Rich: Create a New Tax System that Doesn't Favor the Wealthy 2016-10-10 05:46:08 -0700GOAL: 1,310 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.
Since the end of World War 2, the United States has:
+ Attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected.
+ Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
+ Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
+ Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.
+ Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.
+ Though not as easy to quantify, has also led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance by American instructors.
by JEANNE LAROUX | MARCH 10, 2017:
Had the United States not made an unholy alliance with and cultivated violent, reactionary religious forces in its quest for empire in the Middle East and beyond, there would be no Islamist “threat” today.
The story includes contemporary actors such as al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, and goes back almost a century to a long line of religious fanatics considered useful to U.S policy goals.
Born out of Great Britain’s imperial Great Game struggle against czarist Russia over control of Central Asia, London was quick to support the revivalist, pan-Islamic alliance proposed in 1885 by Persian-born Jamal Eddine al-Afghani to secure and expand British rule over the millions of Muslims in its colonies along with those who might be culled from a faltering Ottoman Empire. The opportunistic al-Afghani’s scheme would lay the groundwork for the fundamentalist movement that would take hold from Egypt to Afghanistan, to purge the Muslim world of secularist “infidels” and return to the former glory of the 7th century caliphate, when in fact, these concepts run contrary to the majority of Muslims and are a perversion of the Islamic faith.
But it served the British well, as they propped up kings and fought off nationalist, independence movements throughout the Realm. At about the same time as the al-Afghani pact, Great Britain had begun another alliance: with the marauding desert conquerors, the Al Saud family, devoted to mercilessly slaughtering all who opposed their puritan Wahhabi beliefs, laying waste to cities and holy places across the Arabian peninsula.
By 1915, with the scent of petroleum in the air, London had proclaimed Ibn Saud “ruler” under their protection, who, in turn, pledged his loyalty to the Crown. Lavishly financed, Ibn Saud and his brutal Ikhwan warriors waged scorched-earth battles to conquer Arabia in the 1920s for their patrons.2 By 1927, the new Saudi state would become a base for right-wing Islamism, and the United States would soon take over England’s role as benefactor.
The two trends ─al Afghani’s and the Saudi Wahhabis─ would come together in the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna. A grant from the British Suez Canal Company along with Saudi funding launched the spread of political Islam across the globe. Before long, an intelligence service and paramilitary units were formed, placing thugs at the service of Egypt’s king. In 1942, a secret terrorist unit began carrying out assassinations of government officials and judges, and attacking labor unions and left-wing political groups. While the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership was aligned with the monarchy, its membership was largely anti-imperialist, a fact lost on US intelligence services. By the end of World War II, the Muslim Brotherhood’s staunch anti-communism fit right into the Cold War campaign.3 Enter the United States.
In exchange for Saudi oil and political support in the region, President Franklin D. Roosevelt cements an oil-for-security agreement with the Saudi King in a secret meeting aboard the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal in February 1945: the US vowed to defend the monarchy against all foes, internal or external. Noting the importance of petroleum to military superiority, FDR had declared two years earlier, “I hereby find that the defense of Saudi Arabia is vital to the defense of the United States.”
Was it vital to the defense of the United States? What it did was set up a situation where we committed to militarily defend a corrupt, feudal monarchy that practiced public beheadings for such “crimes” as blasphemy and disloyalty to the royal family, in exchange for the assurance of discounted oil to expand our sphere of influence.
Blinded by anti-communism and its own thinly-veiled desire for empire in the Middle East, the U.S. threw itself against independence and nationalist movements. Seeing the Islamists as tools for its political aims, it partnered with Saudi fundamentalism and the Muslim Brotherhood against Egypt’s legendary nationalist, Gamal Nasser,4 who sought an end to British rule and their Arab monarchies. Aiming at another “enemy,” U.S. and British intelligence agencies orchestrated the overthrow of Iran’s democratically-elected Prime Minister Mossadegh5 for wresting Iran’s oil back from the hands of the British. The United States would ally with Islamist “true believer” forces in Pakistan, Algeria and Sudan, and in its most costly historical error, take the fight to Afghanistan.
Obsessed with controlling the world’s oil supply and bringing down the Soviet Union, U.S. policymakers could not see the dangerous double-edged sword they were wielding. President Eisenhower and his State Department delighted in the prospect of using Islamic fundamentalists as a weapon against the USSR when they invited Said Ramadan, ideologue and chief international organizer of the Muslim Brotherhood, to the White House. The son-in-law of the organization’s founder, Hassan al-Banna, Ramadan had traveled throughout the Arab world establishing branches of the Brotherhood that already had numerous assassinations of Egyptian officials under its belt, including a prime minister, and had been banned by the time of the 1953 visit. Washington was content to overlook the group’s history of terrorist violence to achieve its geo-political goals.
Before the end of his term, Eisenhower solidified the Saudi Arabia alliance, even while the radical-right Islamists had become an official part of Saudi foreign policy and were sending out missionaries around the world. The Muslim World League and the Islamic Conference were established in the 1960s, followed by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in 1972, whose U.S. branch was directed by Abdullah bin Laden in Falls Church, Virginia, and would later come under investigation by the FBI.6
As military support increased through the successive presidencies of Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan, so did the dogged insistence that Islamists were the key to winning the Cold War. It reached a fever pitch when Pres. Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, proposed arming radical fundamentalists in Afghanistan to give the Soviet Union “its own Vietnam.”7 In July 1979, Carter signed a directive for secret aid to arm a small group of Muslims in order to lure the Soviet Union into “the Afghan trap,” an invasion in support of its ally. And the gamble worked. In the CIA’s largest covert operation ever, the secret plan was carried out through the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI), ultimately funding, arming and training some 35,000 Islamic extremists between 1979-1989. This army of mujahideen was led by Osama bin Laden, hailed by Ronald Reagan as a “freedom fighter.” When Brzezinski was asked as late as 1998 (with several al Qaeda attacks on U.S. installations already on record) about the menace represented by these fundamentalists, and the fact that the 10-year “holy war” had ushered in the Taliban, he was adamant that “some stirred-up Moslems” were of little consequence compared to the chance to mire the USSR in its own Vietnam. “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet Empire? 8
From Freedom Fighters to Public Enemy #1
In this successful, multi-billion dollar proxy war, fully funded by the subsequent Reagan and Bush administrations and their willing partner, Saudi Arabia, tens of thousands of Islamist extremists thronged to Afghanistan, filled with religious fervor for the holy war to expel the invading Soviet “infidels” from a Muslim land. Through training camps in Pakistan, the CIA provided the world’s most sophisticated weaponry and support: from satellite reconnaissance data to plastic explosives, anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, and secure communications gear. The Saudi monarchy appeased growing dissent at home through this “defense of Islam”. Osama bin Laden became a hero, and the world’s best-trained guerrilla fighter was assured of his ability to bring a superpower to its knees.
As the campaign waned in 1988, Osama developed plans to expand the jihad to Chechnya, Bosnia, Sudan and Eritrea. Al Qaeda (“the Base”) was formed and a “Golden Chain” of Saudi funding sources was drawn up and tapped for contributions.9 The civil war that ensued after the Soviet withdrawal was ultimately decided by the head of Saudi Intelligence: Prince Turki al-Faisal sent massive financial support to one faction: the fundamentalist religious students, the Taliban.10
But when Saudi Arabia allowed the U.S. to establish a permanent military presence in the country after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait (1990), Osama bin Laden declared a holy war against the Saudi monarchy and those who sustain it, i.e. the United States, perceiving this to be a foreign military occupation of Islam’s holiest sites. Grievances accumulated over the treatment of Palestinians as well as the attempt to impose a US pipeline through Afghanistan. It would only be a matter of time before a blow would be dealt on our shores.
Lessons to be Learned
As in the tale of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the brooms started spinning out of control. The forces we thought could be used and discarded, never to be seen again, took on a life of their own. The myopic, self-serving policies pursued by the likes of Zbigniew Brzezenski and George H. W. Bush have not been justified by history but rather proven to be colossal, fatal misdeeds that are the very cause of our current insecurity. Was it worth breaking the Soviet Union at the cost of a worldwide al Qaeda network? The September 11 attack has its roots in our cultivation of a virulent strain of religious fanatics about whom we only had a superficial knowledge, in the name of money and power. The US invasion of Iraq not only reduced the country to ashes but brought al Qaeda to a nation where it had never existed before. These forces then morphed into the seemingly invincible Islamic State, ISIS. Where is the enlightened vision expected of our leaders?
If you do unto others what you wouldn’t want done to you, you forfeit the right to cry foul.
And the worst sin – which we must correct post haste – is to vilify and blame an entire religion for the actions of a deviant offshoot, one that we helped create, no less. To paint all Muslims or Islam as the enemy is a most despicable act of cowardice and dangerous political opportunism. It is immoral on its face. And today’s Muslim Brotherhood is nothing like its 20th century version. If the president can now distinguish between “radical Islamic terrorism”11 and the other 1.6 billion adherents of Islam, the world’s second largest religion, then he should take the lead in recognizing our responsibility as a nation for the immense harm done. That would be a necessary first step towards dismantling the security threat. We urgently need to proclaim and acknowledge the truth before we are swept beyond the point of no return.
Robert Baer, “The Fall of the House of Saud,” The Atlantic, May 2003,
Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, Metropolitan Books, New York
Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud, Scribner, New York, 2004
1 Donald J. Trump Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration, https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press- releases/donald-j.-trump-statement-on-preventing-muslim- immigration and rally, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Dec. 7, 2015, “Trump calls for ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,’” by Jenna Johnson December 7, 2015, The Washington Post
2 Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, MetropolitanBooks, New York, 205, pp, 39-43.
3 Ibid, pp. 47-56
4 Nasser’s pro-US successor, Anwar Sadat, would be assassinated by members of the Al Jihad movement, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Among the suspects were the “Blind Sheik,” Omar Abdel Rahman, convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, who would later become Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant. See Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud, Scribner, New York, 2004, pp. 57, 147.
5 The CIA funded a group of fanatical ayatollahs including Khomeini, source of a major US headache as leader of
the 1979 US Embassy hostage crisis in Teheran. Dreyfuss, pp. 94-95. See also the Iran-Contra scandal, Unger, pp. 62-65, and the “October Surprise,” pp.292-93.
6 Nephew of Osama bin Laden, WAMY office was just a few blocks from where four of the 9/11 hijackers lived. Court documents alleged that WAMY espoused hatred of Jews and celebrated people who murdered Israelis as heroes. The FBI investigation was stymied- told to “see no evil.” Sources: Greg Palast, BBC Newsnight, “Has someone been sitting on the FBI?” 6/11/01, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/events/newsnight/1645527.stm;
Jerry Markon, “U.S. Raids N. Va. Office Of Saudi-Based Charity,” Washington Post, June 2, 2004, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7918-2004Jun1.html
7 Dreyfuss, p. 265.
8 “Zbigniew Brzezinski: How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen”, Le Nouvel Observateur, France, Jan.15-
21, 1998; also cited in Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud, Scribner, New York, 2004, p. 110
9 Internal documents found by Bosnian police in a March 2002 raid on Benevolence International Foundation in Sarajevo.
10 Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié, Forbidden Truth, Thunder’s Mouth Press/Nation Books, New York, 2002, p. 18.
11 Remarks by President Trump in Joint Address to Congress, February 28, 2017, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/02/28/remarks-president-trump-joint-address-congressGOAL: 1,626 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.
Dewey Jackson signed End New American Slavery: Tell the Department of Justice to Stop the System of Forced Prison Labor 2016-10-10 05:43:35 -0700GOAL: 940 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.
GOAL: 1,271 signatures
For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the EPA asking them to impose stronger air pollution standards.
[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!]
Over 90% of the world’s population resides in areas where air pollution levels are alarmingly high. Air pollution has become a public health emergency.
According to a new study by the World Health Organization (WHO), millions of people die annually because of exposure to pollution. “To date, air pollution — both ambient (outdoor) and household (indoor) — is the biggest environmental risk to health, carrying responsibility for about one in every nine deaths annually,” the report states. “Air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, and affects economies and people’s quality of life; it is a public health emergency.”
But a new report released by the American Thoracic Society and the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University shows that stricter air pollution standards could have health benefits.
The standards advocate 60 parts per billion (ppb) 8-hour standard for ozone (compared with the EPA’s standard of 70 ppb). They suggest a standard of 11 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) annually for PM2.5, rather than the EPA’s 12 µg/m3 annual standard.
The report calculates that adhering to these stronger pollution standards could save 9,320 lives in the United States per year, could reduce serious health events (morbidities), such as heart attacks, hospital admissions and emergency room visits, by 21,400; and decrease “adverse impact days,” during which people may not be able to work, go to school or otherwise be physically active because of severe breathing problems, by 19,300,000 days.
This new report shows that tighter standards for air pollution could save lives. Sign the petition to tell the EPA to adopt stronger air pollution standards to combat this public health emergency.