A note from the President on net neutrality:


Find out more about net neutrality.

The FCC just voted in favor of a strong net neutrality rule to keep the Internet open and free.

That happened, in part, because millions of Americans across the country didn’t just care about this issue: You stood up and made your voices heard, whether by adding your names to petitions, submitting public comments, or talking with the people you know about why this matters.

Read a special thank-you message from the President, then learn more about how we got to where we are today:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/net-neutrality

Introducing The Coalition For Public Safety


By

Foremost Progressive And Conservative Organizations Join Forces To Support Criminal Justice Reform

The United States is home to five percent of the world’s population, but holds 25 percent of the world’s prison population. Putting more offenders in jail doesn’t make people any safer — and may even be counterproductive. We spend $80 billion per year on a system that we increasingly know to be devastating communities and ineffective in fighting crime.

Clearly, there is an urgent need to reform our nation’s criminal justice system. And there are some unlikely bedfellows coming together to do it.

Today launches The Coalition for Public Safety, a non-profit that will work to reform our criminal justice system to make it more just, more fair, and more effective. The Center for American Progress is proud to be part of the Coalition, which consists of leading organizations from both sides of the aisle including the ACLU, Americans for Tax Reform, Faith & Freedom Coalition, FreedomWorks, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Right on Crime.

Through educational events, national and state-based outreach, and media, the Coalition for Public Safety will work across the political spectrum to pursue a comprehensive set of federal, state, and local criminal justice reforms that will:

  • Reduce our jail and prison populations and associated costs;
  • End the systemic problem of over-criminalization and over-incarceration – particularly of low-income communities and communities of color;
  • Ensure swift and fair outcomes for both the accused and the victims; and
  • Make communities safer by reducing recidivism and breaking down barriers faced by those returning home after detention or incarceration.

You may have noticed that, yes, this means CAP is partnering with the Koch brothers on something. But to be clear, this project won’t impact how CAP and CAP Action deal with the Koch brothers in any way. While we look forward to working together on shared goals around criminal justice reform, we strongly disagree with the Koch brothers on a wide array of issues from the economy to energy. We’ll continue to do what we’ve always done, which is hold the Koch brothers accountable for economic advocacy that benefits the wealthy few instead of the middle class, for energy advocacy that favors polluters instead of investing in clean energy, and for efforts to change the rules of our democracy to make it harder for Americans to cast a vote.

“We have in the past and will in the future have criticism of the policy agenda of the Koch brother companies, but where we can find common ground on issues, we will go forward,” said Neera Tanden, CAP’s president, in an interview with the New York Times. “I think it speaks to the importance of the issue.”

While we certainly don’t agree with these partners on everything, the issue of criminal justice is too important to wait. And in a environment of intense political polarization, the Coalition sends a message to lawmakers: we are asking you to work together, and we are willing to lead the way.

So check out the Coalition for Public Safety, and join our effort to reform our broken criminal justice system.

Trapped and dying in Qatar


Thousands in Qatar are trapped working in horrific conditions, and barred from escaping home by abusive bosses. An American company could help free them and we can make their CEO act by bringing the slave horror right to her hometown. Join the call:

SIGN THE PETITION

Forced to work under the desert’s scorching sun, denied food, drinking water, and barred from escaping home, thousands of men in Qatar are modern day slaves. And we can help free them.

Last year, one person died every other day building a billion dollar mega-project for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup. A major part of the project is managed by an American company with a CEO who lives in a quiet part of Colorado. If more than 1 million of us stand together for freedom, we can confront her with our voices every time she leaves her house to go to work, or to ski, until she takes action.

This same tactic pushed Hilton Hotels to protect women against sex trafficking in days — join the urgent call to help free Qatar’s modern slaves:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/bloodiest_world_cup_loc/?biEWLbb&v=54097

Qatar’s “guest worker” program is at the root of the problem. It lures people from Nepal and Sri Lanka with promises of good jobs, but when they arrive their employers confiscate their passports and force them to work long hours in 50 degree heat with no chance of escape.

The US company, CH2M Hill, say the local contractors and government laws are to blame, but CH2M Hill is the public face of World Cup construction. Their CEO can and must take a lead role in ensuring we don’t see seven more years of worker deaths. She could even threaten to take their business elsewhere unless this system is changed.

CH2M Hill has a responsibility to help stop this modern day slavery. Our call now could persuade CH2M Hill to speak out and then lead other companies to weigh in until every single worker has the freedom to return home. Join the call — when we reach 1 million, our voices will be delivered directly to CH2M Hill CEO Jacqueline Hinman again, and again and again:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/bloodiest_world_cup_loc/?biEWLbb&v=54097

One big global outcry at the right time can save thousands of lives. When Hilton Hotels wasn’t doing enough to protect women and girls from sex trafficking at their hotels, Avaaz staff brought our call to the CEO’s front door and the policy was changed in days. Let’s do it again

With hope,

Emma, Nell, Mais, Ricken, Alice and the whole Avaaz team

Sources:

Death toll among Qatar’s 2022 World Cup workers revealed (The Guardian)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/23/qatar-nepal-workers-world-cup-2022-death-toll-doha

Building a Better World Cup (Human Rights Watch)
http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/qatar0612webwcover_0.pdf

At a Qatar Project Overseen by Americans, Workers Die Almost Daily (Bloomberg)
http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013-09-26/at-a-qatar-project-overseen-by-americans-workers-die-almost-daily

Qatar accused of dragging its feet over treatment of migrant workers
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/12/qatar-accused-dragging-feet-migrant-workers-world-cup-amnesty

Qatar risks losing World Cup without job reform (Reuters)
http://sports.yahoo.com/news/qatar-risks-losing-world-cup-without-job-reform-124324042–sow.html

John Tye – Avaaz.org


Stop settlement subsidies

Americans have sent $200 million to far right Israeli settlers — tax free. Millions that could pay for U.S. health care and education instead pay for sniper rifle scopes and surveillance cameras to push Palestinians off their land. Tell the IRS to enforce its own rules and stop subsidizing settlements:

SIGN THE PETITION

Over $200 million has been funneled, tax free, from US donors to radical Israeli settler groups. Millions that should go to health care and education here at home instead pay for sniper rifle scopes and surveillance cameras to help extremist settlers push Palestinians off their land.

It’s shocking, and it’s illegal. Everyone knows these tax breaks violate IRS rules — but there hasn’t been an outcry to force the IRS to audit these pseudo-charities and cancel their tax benefits. Now is the moment to change this.

Israel’s pro-settlement Prime Minister will address Congress in Washington next week, and the media is looking for a controversy. We can give them one, with a major media outcry — and legal action to push the IRS to stop settlement subsidies. Sign now:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_settlement_subsidies_a/?biEWLbb&v=54264

Tax deductible donations are supposed to be a privilege reserved for actual charities that help people — not systematic campaigns to disenfranchise Palestinians through force. The law is clear that these “charities” don’t qualify. The IRS looks the other way because it’s taboo to criticize illegal Israeli settlements.

Stopping these tax breaks wouldn’t affect donations to support Israel or Judaism — only donations headed to extreme right-wing militias, working to occupy land that the U.S. government agrees they don’t own.

During Netanyahu’s visit, the press will be reporting on these issues in detail — and if we ensure our call is a major part of that coverage, and combine it with legal action, we can make it impossible for the IRS to keep ignoring this. Sign now:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_settlement_subsidies_a/?biEWLbb&v=54264

President Obama has made clear that there is no room for settlement expansion in the path to Israeli-Palestinian peace. With the world’s eyes on Netanyahu’s visit, we have the chance to bring the hopes of the world to bear on this key moment, and help win a key victory for a more just future, with rights for all.

With hope and determination,

John, Nick, David, Terra, Rewan and the whole Avaaz team

SOURCES

Can I Take a Tax-Deduction on My Donation to Israeli Settlements in Palestine? (Foreign Policy)
http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/01/29/illegal-tax-deduction-charity-israel-settlements-palestine-irs/

Tax-Exempt Funds Aid Settlements in West Bank (New York Times)
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/06/world/middleeast/06settle.html

West Bank settlement expansion surged under Netanyahu (Haaretz)
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.631924

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest, 10/1/2014 (White House)
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/01/press-briefing-press-secretary-josh-earnest-1012014

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