Olympic Progressives must take action now on progressive causes. Here are some opportunities!
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Corporations Are Profit-Making Machines
Cenk Uygur, of The Young Turks, has formed a new political action committee to push all states to form a constitutional convention to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United case. Cenk says (see the video on Current TV):
Sic 'em, Cenk!
Did you notice that we're using the Internet to fight for our political causes? Where would we be without it? But, the Internet is under attack by corporations that want to change the rules of the game so that they can decide which parts you get access to. Don't like that? Save the Internet. It's Al Gore's revenge! And now a new threat has arisen: COICA. This is a bill in Congress now to create a blacklist of websites and censor the Internet. You can sign the anti-COICA petition and stop the Internet blacklist at Demand Progress.
Change the Senate
According to Republicans, the U.S. Senate is in play. Progressives need to focus on Congress because our opponents have proved that controlling the House (to introduce spending legislation) and having at least 41 committed Senators are all you need to control the government.
You can help by focusing your attention on the Senate, where we have the opportunity to pick up a seat (with Elizabeth Warren) and should create a 41-Senator voting block that will determine who can be confirmed for executive positions and can block bad legislation coming out of the House. Please look at the list of progressives running for the Senate from ActBlue. The people elected to the Senate make laws that affect us in Washington, and you have a right to speak out in those elections. (BTW, Warren doesn't appear until page 2, so be sure to click down to the Senate race that means the most to you.)
Candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are at the forefront of bringing economic justice back to the U.S. Supporting them is a way of directly supporting the Wall Street protesters. In one year these people will either be on the verge of going to the Senate to represent progressives, or looking for other work.
MoveOn sponsored a successful meeting on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the American Awakening event in September 2011. This meeting saw over 600 attendees!
Letters to the Editor
You can make a difference by getting your progressive voice heard in the newspaper. Sound like a contradiction? Yes, the paper is traditionally silent, but plenty of people hear you when you get your letter published. Write the most coherent expression of your opinion about a topic dear to your heart and send it to:
Letters to the PDN should be 250 well-chosen words or less. Oddly, they do not publish letters on their website, even with a time delay. The Gazette, however, does publish letters on their website. We don't know what the word limit is for the Gazette, but they do.
Since the people of the United States are overwhelmingly progressive,* the letters to our papers should also be overwhelmingly progressive. Make it so!
If it wasn't clear before, the recent events in Japan remind us that there are plenty of opportunities to give. You might wonder how to pick the right charity. For that, there's Charity Navigator. They investigate over 5,000 of the nation's largest charities, to provide you with a reasonable way to evaluate them. Rather than plugging a specific charity, let me offer them and let you pick your own.
Collective Bargaining Is a Right
While we are constantly hearing about moves by Republicans to take away collective bargaining rights from public service unions, such attempts may simply be illegal. The International Commission for Labor Rights (ICLR) has issued a statement that says, in part:
Courts and agencies around the world have uniformly held the right of collective bargaining in the public sector is an essential element of the right of Freedom of Association, which is a fundamental right under both International law and the United States Constitution.
You can find out more from this article on Truthout and by visiting the Labor & Employment Committee of the National Lawyers Guild.
Pushback on Republican Budget Cuts
Republicans, of course, want to cut the programs that protect the majority of people in this country from economic harm. MoveOn members will be gathering on Thursday 24 February 2011 at 1:00 pm outside Rep. Norm Dicks's office in Port Angeles to show our determination to set the federal budget right. You can sign up for the event here.
Republicans are also trying to keep you in the dark. That's why they want to cut funding for PBS and NPR. While these are trivial parts of the budget, they are always the first targets for the people that want to hide what's really at stake. Join the MoveOn action to push back on these cuts here.
And Republicans have launched a nationwide "war on women". Here are 10 shocking things that Republicans have done recently to try to push women back into the kitchen. (Courtesy of Kat Barr of MoveOn Political Action.)
Meeting With Norm Dicks Congressional Staff
Delegates from local MoveOn councils met with staff for Rep. Norm Dicks on 3 February 2011. Details of the meeting on on the Local Action page.
Maria Cantwell Sponsors Internet Freedom Bill
Sen. Maria Cantwell is sponsoring a bill to strengthen net neutrality. The bill is the Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011 (pdf). You can find out more about the bill at Reclaim the Media. Sen. Al Franken is a cosponsor of the bill. Please call Sen. Cantwell's office at 202-224-3441 to show your support for the bill.
When you do, you might want to ask about "deep packet inspection" (DPI). This is the technology used to look inside Internet packets, purportedly to help route them. However, this same technology is now being used to spy on dissidents in countries, such as Egypt, by totalitarian governments there. Our technology companies (Boeing-owned Narus is one) are providing this technology to help identify opposition leaders. By the way, you can protest the Egyptian crackdown at Free Press's Save the Internet.
DPI is not necessary for routing packets. I know because Larry Roberts, at Anagran, developed a technology called flow routing that provides arguably a higher level of service but does not use DPI. Larry is a personal friend (I have to make that disclaimer), but I think that any objective evaluation of the technology will back up what I'm saying about it. I think you can safely say that DPI is unnecessary and very dangerous technology. We should ask Cantwell to include a ban on it in this bill, or at least demand penalties for using it for anything other than pure routing.
Save the Internet
While we're on the topic, Save the Internet is running a campaign to stop the government from adding a "kill switch", allowing the U.S. government to do here what the Egyptian government did when they didn't like protests. You might guess who's behind this. We should "kill" it before it gets Joementum.
ANH Fights for Safe Food
The FDA has now deregulated alfalfa genetically engineered to tolerate pesticides. You can find out more about this development and take action through this article from the Alliance for Natural Health.
Also, Food Democracy has a petition on GMO foods. Thanks to Paul Hansen for pointing this one out.
Last Word KIND Desks for Malawi
Lawrence O'Donnell, in connection with UNICEF, is working to help Malawi, one of the poorest nations on earth, by providing desks for grade schools. You may have seen O'Donnell talk about the K.I.N.D. program on his show, The Last Word (with Lawrence O'Donnell, surprise!) and the critical need for desks. Imagine sitting on a concrete floor to learn math.
What impressed me about this effort is that he has arranged for the desks to be produced in Malawi, helping the local economy. That's the hallmark of a well-run program. Please consider clicking through to the KIND page on MSNBC and contributing to this worthy cause.
In order to help our members find worthy progressive causes, we are listing the ones we know about in the sidebar to the left. If you know of a progressive group that you think we should list, please contact me with that information.
If you have your own cause that you think deserves our support, please let me know and I can list them for action.
* On most important topics, polls show that Americans support liberal positions by a clear majority, usually by over 70%.