Suspend the Weapons Transfer Program that is Militarizing Police
Our police officers are not our military. Yet military weapons meant for battlefields like the ones I served on as an Army Officer in the Gulf War are being transferred to local police departments around the country. Put simply, these weapons are not intended for local policing and often result in escalating - not solving - situations. We’re seeing this right now in Ferguson, Missouri. Many of the weapons being sent to small police departments are coming directly from the Pentagon through the 1033 Weapons Transfer Program. Since its creation, at least $4 billion worth of equipment has been distributed to local police departments through this program. Thankfully, the Senate Armed Services Committee is reviewing the Weapons Transfer Program to evaluate how these weapons are being used. However, there’s no reason to continue sending weapons through the program while it's under review. So I’m calling on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to temporarily suspend the 1033 Weapons Transfer Program - something he has the power to do. When local police departments have access to armored personnel carriers, mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, M-4 rifles, camouflage uniforms and assault rifles - we’re clearly seeing the militarization of local law enforcement. But police officers are not at war with American citizens - they are here to serve and protect us. But it only makes sense that if we arm them like soldiers going into battle, they will act like soldiers. As a veteran and executive director of Veterans For Peace, I don't want to see our police militarized here at home. And I know many other troops and veterans agree. The program has been suspended before in 2012, when some states actually lost track of military equipment. You read that correctly, these battlefield weapons have actually gone missing before. Yet the program was quietly restarted in 2013. It’s clearly time for a moratorium on the 1033 program while it is under review.
The Return Boot Camp
The military has a specific process that turns a new recruit into a Warrior, but they lack a similar process to help transform that Warrior back to civilian life. This leaves so many men and women without purpose or a place to turn after the military. This, we believe, often has a part to play in suicidal thoughts and actions, and contributes significantly to the 20 Veterans who die by suicide every day. The community of non-profit organizations in conjunction with our partners are advocating for a Return Boot Camp program to help transitioning Service Members be better prepared for post-military life. Specifically, this program would: (1) Ensure every Service Member receives a safe, confidential behavioral health evaluation, including an interview with a licensed, clinical behavioral health provider at the beginning of the transition process. (2) Require (based on the outcome of #1 above) Service Members participate in individual and group treatment / therapy sessions and programs for physical wellness and mindfulness. (3) Require all Service Members attend an initiation program for the transition process to educate and prepare them for their new life beyond the military. (4) Provide professional career counseling services and programs of the same scope and quality as services offered at the best universities. (5) Ensure Service Members get "credit" for and receive the necessary civilian accreditation for technical and management skills learned through the military. Whatever skills they were trained for can transfer over and be "worth" something in civilian life. (6) Provide a mentor that connects with Service Members at the beginning of the transition process to provide transition support and life coaching for up to one year after they have departed the military. (7) Ensure continuity in programs, services, and documentation between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs – including electronic transfer of records and medical history. (8) Form a commission of non-profit, corporate, and government agencies to implement a pilot Return Boot Camp program as early as September 2018. The Return Boot Camp focuses on the process of transition with the intended objective of enabling Service Members discover the post-military quality of life they fought to protect. They should be able to come home as prepared for life as they were trained to be prepared for military service.
We Demand that the U. S. Senate not confirm Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor
Andrew Puzder is among Trump's more controversial Cabinet picks because he has publicly opposed the overtime rule and various other Department of Labor regulations, and because the fast-food industry, from which Puzder hails, is a top wage-theft enforcement target at the department. Puzder is CEO of CKE Restaurants, which includes Carl’s Jr. and Hardee's. It’s actually very hard to imagine a worse choice for Labor Secretary than Andy Puzder. The Labor Secretary’s job is to look out for American workers. Trump's Labor nominee has opposed increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour and efforts to expand eligibility for overtime pay. It would be kind of funny if it wasn’t so serious. During the election, Trump made a lot of promises to create good jobs. But he’s filling his cabinet with CEOs and right-wing billionaires who have spent their lives undermining working people’s rights to come together in unions, while fighting minimum wage increases, paid sick leave and family leave policies. The evidence clearly demonstrates that protecting the rights of the people who work at Puzder’s company or its franchisees doesn't seem to be his priority. Puzder has run a business model that has produced widespread labor abuses at the companies. According to data compiled by Bloomberg BNA, over the previous seven years, about 60 percent of all Labor Department investigations of Carl's Jr. Restaurants found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. While working people at his fast food chains sometimes were making below minimum wage, Puzder was taking big compensation packages. In 2012, he made 291 times as much as workers at his restaurants. Now, he could be in charge of enforcing our nation’s labor laws—from ensuring workplace safety to investigating wage theft. His companies had the fourth highest incidents of wage theft reported to the government. ‘Wage theft is a rampant, everyday problem in the fast-food industry: Nearly nine out of 10 fast-food workers across the country report having money stolen from their paychecks by their boss,’ Kendall Fells, the Fight for $15 national organizing director, told Bloomberg BNA via e-mail. Bloomberg reported. “Fells referred to a 2014 poll commissioned by the campaign of more than 1,000 fast-food workers nationwide. The survey documented such common worker complaints as being forced to perform tasks before clocking in or after clocking out, having the cost of uniforms deducted from their paychecks, and not receiving breaks during long shifts.” Puzder’s Carl’s Jr. restaurant chain also has a history of sexist television. He thinks it’s appropriate to peddle sex to kids if it sells the product. “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers,” said the CEO in a 2011 press release, according to Fortune. “We target hungry guys, and we get young kids that want to be young hungry guys.” Let’s target Puzder’s nomination instead. Just Say No Puzder at Labor. This petition will be delivered to the full Senate and to the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee of the U.S. Senate
Help free a hero who helped fight terrorism
Mohammad Idris has been an invaluable ally in the war on terror. He repeatedly risked his life to collect intelligence that was directly responsible for saving American lives. With his help, the US located Taliban commanders participating in attacks on US forces in Afghanistan, stopped suicide bombers in Pakistan and Afghanistan, located meeting places for leaders of terrorist networks, and assisted in infiltrating the highest levels of the Taliban shadow government in Afghanistan. My name is Danny Dalton, and I had the honor of working with Mohammad Idris. In 2009, the FBI asked Mohammad Idris, a Pakistani citizen, and myself to help infiltrate terrorist organizations in Southwest Asia. A year later, he was falsely accused by Pakistan of spying on their government. The US government and the organizations Idris assisted have refused to intercede and help free this hero. I’m calling on the United States to pressure the Pakistani government to release a man who has saved so many lives. I have worked for the United States Government for over 25 years, in the military, as a DEA Agent, advisor to the Department of Defense, and a contracted source for the FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency. I know from experience the risks Mohammad Idris took to help the US government stop terrorists. It’s time for them to return the favor. Mohammad Idris worked for the FBI, DEA, and the State Department. They trusted him to get the job done, and in return, he trusted that they had his back. What message does this send to those thinking about joining the fight against terrorism? We turned our back on him because he was targeted by a government known to work with some of the very same terrorist networks he fought. Mohammad Idris has been illegally incarcerated in Pakistan for nearly 5 years without legal representation, or the ability to even see his wife and children. We are asking the United States Government to do the right thing, and help free a hero that risked his life to protect this country. Please sign this petition and share with all your friends.
Change the U.S. national anthem to "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath
The current national anthem has served America proudly for many a year now. However...it's time that we retire that old standard and choose a song that better reflects America and it's policies and practices. I nominate "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath. I'm open to suggestions, but I'm hard pressed to think of a more honest assessment of where we are in 2016 America. Thanks!
No on HJ69/SJ18: killing wolf pups in dens, hibernating bears, stealjaw toe traps on bears
Tell your Senator and President Trump to vote NO on H.J. 69/S.J. Res. 18! 225 heartless House Members voted to overturn a federal rule – years in the works, and crafted by professional wildlife managers at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – to stop some of the most appalling practices ever imagined in the contemporary era of wildlife management. Denning of wolf pups, killing hibernating bears, spotting grizzly bears from aircraft and then shooting them after landing, and trapping grizzly bears and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and snares. The stuff of wildlife snuff films. And not just on any land. On our country’s national wildlife refuges. More specifically, on 16 national wildlife refuges covering 76 million acres, all in the state of Alaska. In this case, Alaska has a bloodthirsty Board of Game, whose members enthusiastically implement a draconian policy called “Intensive Management.” That policy dictates that state managers drive down wolf, bear, and coyote numbers to boost caribou and moose numbers for hunters — turning Alaska’s wildlife refuges into what retired Arctic National Wildlife biologist Fran Mauer calls “game farms” — the very thing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acted to stop through a rigorous, science-based, and legal federal rulemaking process that was overturned by today’s vote. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shouldn’t run refuges like game farms, as Alaskan officials want to do. Only the U.S. Senate and President Trump can now stop this unwinding of a decision by a professional wildlife management agency. Please contact your U.S. Senators and tell them to steer clear of a disgraceful resolution, and to honor limits in the conduct of wildlife policy in the United States of America. From the Humane Society (http://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/02/u-s-house-sanctions-killing-hibernating-bears-wolf-pups-dens-federal-refuges-alaska.html
Demand the Immediate Release of Oromo Peace Activist Bekele Gerba and other Political Prisoners from Ethiopian Prison
(Photo Credit: Mahafreen H. Mistry/NPR) On the evening of Dec 23, 2015, Bekele Gerba, was at home, reading at his desk in the company of his wife and son when armed Ethiopian federal security forces surrounded his home, entered and searched his house against his will, and forcibly arrested him. His family and witnesses were told that he would be taken to Makalawi, an infamous high security prison where they could visit him in 24 hours. But they were not allowed to see him. The day he was scheduled to appear in court, he disappeared. Later, he was taken to a hospital where word got out that he had been beaten to unconsciousness during an interrogation at a military camp. He continues to be denied visitation. Right now, he is being held incommunicado, and we have grave concerns that his health is deteriorating. Bekele Gerba is the Deputy Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress party and a widely respected peace advocate. He is a renowned voice for nonviolence, urging only peaceful forms of resistance to violent oppression in Ethiopia. He envisions peaceful struggle as the preferred means for attaining democracy, unity, and justice. He has become a significant voice of this generation. His arrest late December was not his first. In August 2011, following a meeting with Amnesty International about Ethiopia’s human rights violations, Bekele was imprisoned, charged under the 2009 Anti-Terrorism proclamation and sentenced to eight years. Similarly trumped up charges are frequently used to silence any voice of opposition to the government. He was released in late March 2015 upon appeal, and upon his release, he was invited to the U.S. to deliver keynote remarks at an academic conference. He spent a week in Washington, meeting with members of the diplomatic community. He met with Congress members, State Department officials, media outlets and human rights groups. He gave an interview to NPR’s Michele Kelemen about the lack of political space in Ethiopia and to Al Jazeera’s The Stream. Recently, he spoke to Al Jazeera about the Ethiopian government’s violent crackdown on widespread Oromo protests against proposed large-scale land takeovers that will displace millions of farmers. For most of his life, Bekele was a professor of foreign languages. A few years ago, he declared that he could not simply witness the widespread and systematic oppression, ethnic persecution and grievances of his people, the Oromo, and the Ethiopian government’s merciless targeting and killing of the Oromo. Amnesty International reported, “between 2011 and 2014, at least 5000 Oromos have been arrested based on their actual or suspected peaceful opposition to the government.” Dejene Tafa, the legal advisor to OFC, was also recently arrested, as was Addisu Bulala, Desta Dinka, Singer Hawi Tezera, Birra Gemedi, Hailu Adugna, poet Goshu Girma, journalist Getachew Shiferaw, young students Lomitu Waqbulcho and Hirut Tola, news anchor Fikadu Mirkana and many more. Right now, thousands upon thousands of civilians are being rounded up, arrested, tortured or killed by federal security for participating in peaceful Oromo protests. UPDATE (September 4th, 2016) It was reported that yesterday, a large fire broke out in Qilinto prison, where Bekele is being held. It was also reported that the fire was intentionally started by government agents and that security forces shot at prisoners trying to escape the fire. Twenty-two burned bodies were taken to Paulos Hospital, 13 more have died at Tor Hacloch Hospital, and 14 more have died at Police Hospital. It is unclear whether Bekele is one of the many who have died. It has now been over 8 months since the arrest of Bekele Gerba and hundreds of others prisoners of conscience. Despite his imprisonment, Bekele has continued to remain a leader and voice of reason amidst the escalating violence and terror that the Tigrayan-led Ethiopian government has continued to perpetuate against innocent citizens. More recently, he called for a mourning campaign across the world to mourn the martyred people of Oromia and Ethiopia and the immediate release of all political prisoners. Although it is unclear whether Bekele remains with us today, please continue to support and share this petition to others, to stand for Bekele's call for the immediate release of all political prisoners from the torturous conditions of Ethiopian prisons, and to not let his sacrifices as well as the sacrifices of all political prisoners be in vain. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”- MLK
On September 28, 2015, 5-year-old Jayden Hawkins was struck and killed by his school bus outside of his grandmothers home, as the bus was leaving. In the wake of this tragedy, I ask Congressman Guthrie, Governor Beshear, And Senator Paul to create "Jayden's Law", which would require a designated escort to accompany all Kentucky children who are Elementary-aged to their pick-up and drop-off locations while traveling on a school bus. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that from 2004-2013, there were 327 school-aged children who died in school transportation-related accidents. More were killed from the hours of 7-8 AM and from 3-4 PM than any other time, which are pick-up and drop-off times for these children. If these children had escorts to see them safely to their designated pick-ups and drop-offs, many of these deaths would be preventable. For the sake of children everywhere, we the undersigned beseech Congressman Guthrie, Governor Beshear, and Congressman Paul to institute Jayden's Law.
Legalize same-sex marriage in the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Michael and I met on March 21st, 2004. We had our 'Holy Union' at the MCC of Paducah on October 9th, 2005. We both come from very loving and supportive families. My husband, Michael, has been the plant manager of a local company, here in Murray, KY, for fourteen years, now. He is currently finishing his M.B.A., so that he can teach at the local university. I, Stephen, have a degree in nursing and a bachelor degree in business management. I currently own my own business, and I have plans to further my education in the nursing field. Michael and I are a very happy family. We have many friends that are both straight and gay, that are supportive of our relationship. We are blessed to have found one another and we truly believe that our legal marriage in Iowa should be recognized in the state we currently live in. Love is between two people, not based on gender. We are going to continue to fight for our rights, in an effort to further the rights of future generations. Legalizing gender-neutral marriage, in Kentucky, will allow same sex married couples to be recognized, to the full extent of the law. This action will bring the opportunity of the GLBTQ community to enjoy the same benefits that heterosexual couples have. By lifting the ban on same sex marriage, we are instilling values, and revealing morals, which create equality for all. It is imperative to secure the rights of each individual, including the right to marry whomever we choose, and giving legal voice to same sex spouses. Under current law, these spouses are not recognized, in a number of ways. Health care benefits, retirement, state tax filing, adoptions, health care decisions, and many more infringements, are imposed under the current law. It is time we take a stand on individual rights, regardless of individual circumstance, and overturn the ban on same sex marriage, in the state of Kentucky. Eighteen states have now taken the steps to ensure that the GLBTQ community has the same rights, which are well overdue. It is time that Kentucky recognizes what is legally and morally right, in this fight for equality. It is time for Church and State to be separated from all issues.
Save Net Radio! We Need Your Help To Petition Congress. 100,000+ Stations Will Perish!
SHARE, SHARE, SHARE! SAVENETRADIO 3.0 Just before the holiday break 2015 the CRB (Copyright Royalty Board) made a decision on new royalty rates for all U.S. based webcasters that helped the BIG webcaster and eliminates the small webcaster. Prior to this decision there was a special CONGRESSIONAL LAW titled the "Small Webcasters Agreement of 2009" or SWA which made these ridiculously expensive royalty fees affordable to the small webcaster and kept innovative programmers and new emerging artists on the air. (The SWA expired on Jan, 1 2016 at midnight ) They are now being SHUT DOWN by the tens of thousands.. Nearly 100,000 small webcasters will go off the air without YOUR help! Update: live365.com is already closed down. With this new ruling by the CRB there was NO provision for small webcasters and the prognosis is not good for about 100,000 United States small internet stations. The old rates under the Small Webcasters Agreement of 2009 (set by congress) were adequate, as long as you didn't make over $1.25 million a year and had less than 5 million listener hours monthly. These NEW rates, albeit lower ( for the BIG BOYS ), apply to everyone and there is NO provision for the small webcaster. These new rates are effective January 1 2016, but we can change this if we act NOW! Here's how this insane system works: The new royalty rates apply to EVERY COMMERCIAL BROADCASTER at .0017 per performance. If you had 1000 listeners on at all times, each song would cost you $1.70 to play. If you play 15 songs an hour, the royalties alone are $25.50 an HOUR! That's $612.00 per DAY and $223,380.00 per year. Here's the reality: In stream advertising rates are currently $1.69 per thousand impressions. That means if there are 1000 people on line and hear an ad (commercial), you make a whopping $1.69 (less 60%). That is the "going rate" nationwide. With 8 commercials an hour, (we will use 1000 listeners as a basis here). and 1000 listeners plus a 100% "fill rate" (meaning all 1000 listeners receive an ad), you would make $13.52 an hour, less 60% commission leaving $8.11 net revenue per hour. It doesn't add up and it's designed that way: Net Income is $8.11 minus SoundExchange royalties $25.50 = ($17.39) That is negative income of ($17.39) per hour.. That adds up to a net loss of ($152,366.40) annually in negative cash flow. No small business can survive this. This does not include royalty rates from ASCAP, BMI, SOCAN or SESAC, music purchases, overhead, employees (really?), computer hardware, software, web and stream hosting costs.. The kicker? AM & FM radio pays ZERO!! They are EXEMPT from these royalties. Could you imagine if an FM station had to pay over $2 Million in annual performance royalties for every 10,000 listeners in their market? The airwaves would be silent! The only difference between AM & FM and webcasting is how the audio is delivered. I don’t care how you monetize, a small webcaster can’t come close to breaking even under these rates and neither can AM & FM. (That's why they're EXEMPT) We’d be better off sending our listeners each a check for $200 and telling them to go out and buy some CD's Webcasting is the only businesses where a large audience is far more likely to be a liability than an asset. Who would possibly want that? This is crony capitalism at it's WORST. Internet radio was just regulated out of business in the dead of night just before the holiday break. We were told, " you're done." It shouldn't be like this. Everyone deserves to be heard. RAIN news stated that deliberations were going on for two years.. Really? NO small webcaster knew.. No small webcaster was notified. NPR was notified, Pandora, Spotify, Sirius/XM, college and high school radio was represented as well. ( they receive special rates for royalties the small webcaster is not privy to) The small webcaster was NOT represented. Small webcasters were not represented because they cannot afford to be represented. If they could they wouldn’t need Small Webcaster Agreement of 2009 to begin with. If one’s future were being decided in a court of law one would at least get a court appointed attorney. But there’s no such provision in copyright court. That should be a eye opening concern – an entire segment of the industry is effectively denied representation in government hearings that decide their future. In my mind that ought to be grounds for a lawsuit. But of course if one could afford a lawsuit one could afford to have been represented. What kind of insane, screwed up system is it where an organization does not have any way of knowing at all what their cost of doing business will be beyond two weeks into the future? How are any of these radio stations supposed to make any operational or business decisions when one doesn’t know what one’s expenses will be or even whether one will even be able to remain in business? Why isn’t there some law that requires advance notice? It isn’t like nobody knew that rates for 2016 would need to be set. What were these people doing? Why did they sit on their butts and wait until the very last minute with no announcement? Are they afraid that the small webcasters will go back to Congress before the decision takes effect as they did in years past? And of course this will kill niche formats and reduce opportunities for small and niche artists. The big corporate webcasters will just strike direct licensing deals with the major mass market labels. So new artists will not only have the usual struggle just to be noticed by programmers their music will be more expensive to play because they are too obscure to make it worth anybody’s while to cut a direct license deal. Most new and niche artists would gladly swap the pennies they get in SoundExchange royalties for wider exposure. It is the small and niche stations that provide such artists their best opportunity of getting airplay and exposure. And with small stations off the air those artists, even if they did prefer royalties over exposure, won’t likely get anything at all from SoundExchange. That will probably make SoundExchange’s bookkeeping easier not having to mess with tracking royalties for all those names that nobody ever heard of before except for freaks who listen to "pesky small" stations. The end result is that major label music has less competition from unsigned artists. Despite their posturing and professed concern about “artists” the only artists the major labels are concerned with are those they have under contract. All other artists are long tail competitors and thus a potential threat. If an emerging artist can build up an audience and following without signing with one of the major labels – then what are the labels good for in a digital world? The whole thing stinks from beginning to end from the lack of representation of small webcasters to waiting until the very last minute. Where is the oversight? Who holds these people accountable? It seems to me that maybe this needs to once again be brought of the attention of Congress. In conclusion: We are asking congress to step in quickly and put an INDEFINITE STAY on the Small Webcasters Agreement of 2009 OR DISCONTINUE RADIO ROYALTIES altogether and represent the tens of thousands of small webcasters facing execution. All radio stations PROMOTE the artist being played.. It's a trade off that has been in place for decades. This is reverse payola.. AM & FM pays nothing, why should anyone else? The THOUSANDS of companies and radio outlets affected:All shoutcast stations, All icecast stationsAll live365 stationstunein.com stationsiTunes internet radio.Windows Media GuideCar radios and players on the internet..The list goes on & On The execution has started already with live365 shutting down operations, firing their staff and vacating their offices, January 1 2016. There's still some time to save the rest of us, Please help! Sign the petition and save net radio.