» A&E: Keep anti-gay bigotry and homophobia off TV!

Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family featured on the hit TV show Duck Dynasty, just went on a racist and anti-gay tirade comparing homosexuality to bestiality and saying that African Americans were “godly” and “happy” during segregation.

A&E Network, which produces Duck Dynasty, responded by putting Phil Robertson on indefinite hiatus, but now they’re coming under attack from the religious right.

Already, Sarah Palin, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and the National Organization for Marriage are claiming that he’s being unfairly persecuted for his religious beliefs.

Sadly, this is becoming a huge media story dominated by anti-gay conservatives, and A&E is being accused of being anti-Christian—when the reality is that most Christians and most viewers are appalled by Robertson’s hateful rhetoric.

That’s why I started a petition to A&E Network, which says:

Racism and anti-gay bigotry are unacceptable. The religious right doesn’t speak for most Christians or most viewers. A&E must stand strong and keep Phil Robertson off Duck Dynasty.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.

Thanks!

–Michael Sherrard, Faithful America

P.S. Everyone is entitled to freedom of speech—but not everyone is entitled to a TV show as a platform. It’s up to viewers like us to raise our voices and express our outrage when TV stations—like A&E—provide a venue for people with hateful speech. Click here to sign the petition urging A&E to keep Phil Robertson off Duck Dynasty, and then pass it along to your friends.

This petition was created by Michael Sherrard from the organization Faithful America on MoveOn.org, where anyone can start their own online petition. Faithful America didn’t pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the MoveOn.org list.

FYI, for the people who will complain about “freedom of speech” here’s the cost of “simple opinions” like his. Saying people deserve less rights than others, even over “simple” things like marriage, leads to abuse, torture, and death of those people, because they are seen as lesser, less deserving, less important, and, less human. And that’s just the queer part of this - racism and denial of it is a totally other issue.

» Got an idea for a petition?
A little over a year ago, MoveOn launched a website called SignOn.org that allows anyone to start their own online petition. And it’s been a big success. MoveOn members across the country have started petitions taking on big banks, local city councils, tea party governors—and won.
But there are so many other important fights to take on, and we’re counting on regular folks like you take the lead on the issues you care about most. 
So to give you an extra nudge to get started, we’re offering a special deal: If you start a petition and get at least 20 people to sign it in the next 5 days, we’ll email your petition to at least 1,000 other MoveOn members in your area.
To qualify, your petition has to be consistent with MoveOn’s progressive values, and you can’t use profanity or anything else MoveOn members would find offensive. Give it a shot, and don’t wait—this is a one-time opportunity!
Click here to start your own petition on SignOn.org right now.

Thanks for all you do.

–Steven, Elena, Stefanie, Bobby, and the rest of the team

» 68-year-old veteran killed in his home

From MoveOn:

"On November 19, 2011, my father, 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., was shot and killed in his home in White Plains, New York.

My father was a 20-year veteran of the Westchester County Department of Corrections and proudly served the United States of America as a Marine. He stood about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and he suffered from a heart condition.

The events that led to his killing began around 5 a.m., when his medical alert device was accidentally set off, sending a call to the City of White Plains Department of Public Safety. Everything that happened after that was recorded by an audio device installed in my father’s home as part of his medical alert system.

When the police arrived at my father’s home, he and the staff for his medical alert service told them that there was no medical emergency and asked them to leave. And yet they insisted that my father let them into his home, banging loudly on my father’s door for over an hour. On the recording, the police can be heard calling my father a “nigger.”

Ultimately they broke through his apartment door and first shot him with a Taser. He was wearing nothing but boxer shorts when the police began their assault against him. Shortly after that, he was shot with two 40-caliber rounds and killed.

My family is asking the Westchester County District Attorney to bring a criminal indictment, and we call on the United States Department of Justice or the New York State Attorney General to prosecute this as a hate crime.

Will you sign our petition? Click here to sign and please share with your friends: 

http://signon.org/s/H3ZKg3

The petition says:

This petition is regarding the upcoming grand jury hearing in the case of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., an unarmed elderly black citizen who was shot to death by the White Plains Police Department. 

This case not only brings into question the policies and practices of this department; but it is an open question whether it was inevitable, particularly in light of the audio tapes and video tapes witnessed by Mr. Chamberlain’s family members and attorneys where racial slurs and expletives were used before ultimately shooting him twice in the chest and killing him. 

It is imperative that those tapes be made available to the grand jury, and that all other evidence be presented as well. I am concerned that secrecy so far—for example, the names of officers involved have not been released—bodes badly for transparency in this case as it moves forward. Nor am I aware of any public statements about the case from elected officials calling for openness. 

Members of Mr. Chamberlain’s family and community—and a much wider circle of people who need to know there is fairness in the criminal justice system—seek reassurance that, no matter what the verdict, the process has been open, honest, and just. 

We, the undersigned, implore Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore to no longer allow police misconduct, brutality, or criminality to happen in this community and ask that these officers be indicted and charged with murder and civil rights violations.

Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:

http://signon.org/s/H3ZKg3

Thanks!

–Kenneth Chamberlain Jr.”

» Student Loan Forgiveness Act introduced

From MoveOn:

"Since 1999, average student loan debt has increased by a shameful 511%. In 2010, total outstanding student loan debt exceeded total outstanding credit card debt in America for the first time ever. In 2012, total outstanding student loan debt is expected to exceed $1 trillion.

In response to this crisis, U.S. Representative Hansen Clarke of Michigan has just introduced H.R. 4170, the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, which would extend a helping hand to those struggling under massive amounts of student loan debt.

That’s why I created a petition to Rep. John Kline, Chairman of the House Education and the Workplace Committee; the United States House of Representatives and Senate; and President Barack Obama on SignOn.org, which says:

Total outstanding student loan debt in America is expected to exceed $1 TRILLION this year. Millions of hardworking, taxpaying, educated Americans are being crushed under the weight of their educational debts, while the economy continues to sputter. Support a REAL economic stimulus and jobs plan. Support the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 (H.R. 4170).

Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:

http://signon.org/s/L9QW0_

Thanks!

–Robert Applebaum”

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» Tell President Obama yourself

Obama did not in fact stop the Bush tax crap.

From MoveOn:

"Great news—more than 216,000 people signed our petition calling on President Obama to commit to vetoing the Bush tax cuts for the 1%.

Now there’s a new way for us to get a direct response from the White House. President Obama has created “We the People,” an online system for people to petition the administration directly.1 They’ve committed to respond to any petition with 25,000 signatures or more, and have done so several times. 

That’s why we’re going directly online to the White House to get an answer from the President. We created a “We the People” petition, with the same text as the MoveOn petition you signed, insisting that President Obama commit to vetoing the Bush tax cuts for the 1%.

We need 25,000 people to sign the new “We the People” version of the petition this week in order to guarantee a response to the petition from the White House. Will you sign?

Click here to directly tell President Obama to veto the Bush tax cuts for the 1%.

The President has responded to popular “We the People” petitions that have mirrored MoveOn campaigns in the past, including the student loan reform campaign. In that case, a MoveOn member created a petition that generated hundreds of thousands of signatures, and then those people signed the same petition again on “We the People.”2

If enough of us who care deeply about restoring fairness to our tax code by making the 1% pay their fair share of taxes quickly sign and share this petition, we’ll get a real, substantive response from the president. This is one of the best ways we can push the president to make a firm commitment to vetoing the Bush tax cuts for the 1%.

Sign and share the “We the People” petition to veto the Bush tax cuts for the 1%.

Thanks for all you do.

–Garlin, Elena, Ryan, Amy, and the rest of the team

Sources:

1. “We the People,” The White House, accessed on February 14, 2012 
https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions

2. “How Online Activists Worked for Years to Change the Face of Student Debt,” techPresident, October 27, 2011 
http://techpresident.com/blog-entry/how-online-activists-worked-years-change-face-student-debt

» Something’s fishy

From MoveOn:

"The FDA is on the brink of approving genetically engineered salmon for human consumption. This would be the first genetically engineered animal on supermarket shelves in the United States.

The salmon is engineered to produce growth hormones year-round that cause the fish to grow at twice the normal rate. The government already requires labels to tell us if fish is wild-caught or farm-raised—don’t we also have a right to know if our salmon is genetically engineered? Without labels, we’ll never know.

More than forty countries, including Russia and China, already require labels on genetically engineered foods. As Americans, we firmly believe that we deserve the same right to know what we are eating.

That’s why I created a petition to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on SignOn.org, which says:

Commissioner Hamburg, we urge the FDA to require the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. We have a right to know about the food we eat and what we feed our families, but under current FDA regulations, we don’t have that ability when it comes to genetically engineered foods.

Polls show that more than 90% of Americans support mandatory labeling. Such near-unanimity in public opinion is rare. Please listen to the American public and mandate labeling of genetically engineered foods.

Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:

http://signon.org/s/csgmDJ

Thanks!

–Eric Schlosser and Gary Hirshberg”

» The Senate in your bedroom?

From MoveOn:

"Republicans in Congress want to put your boss right in your bedroom, deciding whether you have access to contraception and even what kind you can use—and the Senate’s voting on it tomorrow. It’s Senator Roy Blunt’s radical response to President Obama’s balanced approach to ensuring that women have access to birth control coverage.1

Senator Blunt wants to let any employer deny coverage for any health care treatment to which they claim a religious or moral objection. That means your employer could claim an objection to almost any kind of medical treatment: contraception, HIV treatment, vaccination, substance-abuse counseling, blood transfusions, prenatal care for unmarried women, or mental health care, just to name a few.2

We can stop the Blunt amendment and future attacks on health care access if we insist that our Senators leave medical decisions where they belong: in the hands of doctors and patients. But we have to act before tomorrow’s crucial vote.

Click here to sign and tell the Senate that you don’t want your boss to decide if you get the health care you need.

The Blunt amendment was proposed to get around the new health care rule that ensures all women have access to contraception coverage, no matter who they work for.3 Under the guise of “religious freedom” the Republicans are attacking the very idea of comprehensive health insurance.4

Having someone else’s beliefs dictate your ability to get care isn’t religious freedom—and it isn’t good for workers, families, or public health and safety.

And this is just the latest in a long-running series of attacks on health care reform, women’s health care, and reproductive choice.5 We have to stop these attacks once and for all by bringing attention to the real issue. It comes down to one simple thing: Your employer’s religion shouldn’t decide what medical treatment you’re able to get.

Click here to sign and tell the Senate that you don’t want your boss to decide if you get the health care you need.

Thanks for all you do.

–Elena, Joan, Carrie, Marika, and the rest of the team

Sources:

1. “GOP Tries to Add Contraception Repeal Language to Transportation Bill,” ABC News, February 9, 2012 
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/02/gop-tries-to-add-contraception-repeal-language-to-transportation-bill/

2. “GOP Ups The Ante, Introduces Legislation To Allow Any Employer To Deny Any Preventive Health Service,” ThinkProgress, February 10, 2012 
http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/02/10/423346/gop-ups-the-ante-introduces-legislation-to-allow-any-employer-to-deny-any-preventive-health-service/?mobile=nc

3. “Obama to Announce Contraception Rule ‘Accommodation’ for Religious Organizations,” ABC News, February 10, 2012 
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/02/white-house-to-announce-accommodation-for-religious-organizations-on-contraception-rule/

4. “The Blunt Amendment Takes Away Access to Critical Health Insurance Coverage for Millions of Americans,” National Women’s Law Center, February 10, 2012 
http://www.nwlc.org/resource/blunt-amendment-takes-away-access-critical-health-insurance-coverage-millions-americans

"GOP Backs ‘Moral Conviction’ Waiver for All Insurance Coverage," The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2012 
http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/13/gop-backs-moral-conviction-waiver-for-all-insurance-coverage/

5. “House Republicans Launch New Attacks On Health Law Regulations,” Kaiser Health News, September 16, 2011 
http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Daily-Reports/2011/September/16/health-law-repeal-and-regulations.aspx

"The GOP’s 10 Most Extreme Attacks On A Woman’s Right To Choose An Abortion," ThinkProgress, December 27, 2011 
http://thinkprogress.org/health/2011/12/27/395239/the-gops-10-most-extreme-attacks-on-a-womans-right-to-choose-an-abortion/?mobile=nc

Oh hello, I didn’t realize we were back in the 1800s.

You know, when we banned porno mags, erotica fiction, romance novels, nude art, sex education, contraception, abortion, various sex acts, STD education and medical discussion, sexological (sex-science) articles, and other “obscene” and “immoral” acts/material, because sex was a bad thing and you could only do it if you were married and wanted children or else.

» Accountability for Wall Street

From MoveOn:

"State attorneys general just announced a major settlement on foreclosure fraud, or "robosigning."1 For over a year, banks have been fighting tooth and nail for a deal that would have given them a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for their actions that caused the economic crisis.2 Today they didn’t get it, thanks to the efforts of MoveOn members and other progressives, who helped a brave group of state attorneys general stand up to the banks.

The final settlement still has major flaws, but it’s very limited in scope—it won’t let banks off the hook for the majority of their role in taking down the economy. It also provides a small first step towards compensating homeowners who were directly affected, though it’s not nearly enough.

In short, we stopped the banks from getting all of what they wanted. But we haven’t nearly started to hold them fully accountable to the American people. 

For every family helped by this deal, there are many, many more who still face foreclosure or who owe the bank far more than their home is worth. We all have to keep fighting hard to make sure they get the help they need and that we hold banks fully accountable. 

President Obama’s federal investigation task force, co-chaired by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, is just getting started, and is going to face major obstacles from banks fighting hard to conceal their actions—-and from their allies in the administration.4 That’s why we need to tell the White House we’ll be watching the investigation to make sure it truly holds banks accountable, and that we’re committed to fighting to make sure banks deal fairly with homeowners who are trying to reset their mortgages to fair market value. Your commitment got us this far—now let’s keep it going.

Sign here to tell the White House we’ll be watching the federal investigation to make sure it truly holds big banks accountable, and we’ll keep fighting for homeowners.

Thanks for all you do.

–Elena, Mark, Amy, Eli, and the rest of the team

Sources:

1. “States Negotiate $26 Billion Agreement for Homeowners,” The New York Times, February 8, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/09/business/states-negotiate-25-billion-deal-for-homeowners.html?_r=1

2. “A Deal That Wouldn’t Sting,” The New York Times, October 29, 2011 
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/30/business/a-foreclosure-settlement-that-wouldnt-sting.html

3. “States Negotiate $26 Billion Agreement for Homeowners,” The New York Times, February 8, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/09/business/states-negotiate-25-billion-deal-for-homeowners.html

4. “Eric Schneiderman promises aggressive financial fraud probe,” Los Angeles Times, January 25, 2012 
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-mortgage-probe-20120125,0,12638.story