The White House … A Change to Help

The White House, Washington

Earlier this year, a Syrian father of eight received a text message.

It informed him that the stipend he had been receiving each month to buy food for his family was being cut from $19 to $13.50 per person. This was half of what he had been receiving the year before — when his family first reached Lebanon from the war-torn Syrian city of Raqqa — and would not be enough to feed his kids.

With that amount, he told a reporter, “You can’t even get bread.”

Across the region, refugees fleeing the brutality of the Assad regime and ISIL have received similar news of declining support. Just this month, 229,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan learned they would no longer receive any food assistance.

There are ways you can help. Find out how at

Nearly 12 million Syrians have been forced from their homes by Syria’s devastating conflict, four million of whom have fled their country. Syrians given refuge in neighboring countries are safe from the barrel bombings, chemical attacks, and deadly sieges they faced at home. But with few opportunities to work, most must rely on the international community to meet their most basic needs: a roof over their heads, food on their table, a classroom for their children.

This morning, President Obama spoke to the United Nations about American leadership. As the President said, America is the strongest nation in the world, and one of the ways we have always demonstrated that strength is through our compassion for people who are less fortunate.

Syria is no exception. Our government leads the world in contributions to the Syrian crisis, having given $4.5 billion to assist those in need. We have also significantly increased the number of refugees we will admit to the United States, including Syrians. And we continue to work tirelessly towards the political solution that will bring the bloodshed to an end and allow displaced Syrians to return home, as so many wish to do.

But the profound challenges faced by these families cannot be tackled by governments alone. Americans understand this, and many are asking what they can do.

We encourage you to visit and see how you can use your skills, resources, and energy to help Syrians and other refugees in need.

Thank you,

Samantha Power
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations


What “Green” Means…organic, natural and sustainable

1)the certified organic label is regulated by the USDA and indicates the absence of most conventional fertilizers and chemicals.  A processed product(one that contains more than two ingredients)must have at least 95% organic material

2)The Demeter-certified Bio-dynamic designation means that farmers use practices emphasizing a holistic connection with nature.  The nonprofit has been certifying produce and wine since 1982 and bans harmful chemicals and synthetic fertilizers.

3)Fair Trade products like coffee and chocolate are certified by the Fair Trade Federation, an international group working to relieve poverty.  They ensure that producers receive a fair wage and that production practices promote long-term environmental sustainability and community  development.

4)Green Seal is an independent nonprofit that promotes the manufacture, purchase, and use of environmentally responsible products.  The seal accredited everything from hand soap to hotels.

5)Local generally refers to products grown within a 100-to-150 mile radius. Transporting goods locally uses fewer fossil fuels than shipping them from around the word. buy local

6)Natural means that the product contains no artificial colours or flavors ..not certified or regulated

7)Post-consumer recycled is material that has been sold, used and then recycled.  It is the gold standard for recycled products

8)Sustainable forestry paper products are certified by the forest stewardship council and come from forests that are managed for long-term productivity and biological diversity.

Rachel Mount

Your Social Security: GARNISHED

Stop the garnishment of Social Security to pay student loans! Add your name: (enable images)

Declare a moratorium on garnishing Social Security benefits to pay student loans.

the Senate ~~ CONGRESS 9/29 ~~ the House


The Senate stands adjourned until 10:00am on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.

Following Leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R.719, with further amendment (SA #2689 – Dec. 11th CR), post-cloture. Senators will be notified when any roll call votes are scheduled.

The Senate will recess from 12:30 until 2:15pm to allow for the weekly caucus meetings. All time during adjournment and recess of the Senate will count post cloture.


No Roll Call Votes

Legislative Business

Passed H.R.3614, Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2015.

Adopted S.Res.217, designating October 8 as National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day.

Completed the Rule 14 process to place on the Legislative Calendar of Business S.2089, American Energy Innovation.

No Executive Business


House Floor Activities
Legislative Day of September 29, 2015

 Last Floor Action:
12:26:13 P.M. -H. Res. 444
DEBATE – The House proceeded with one hour of debate on H. Res. 444.
10:00:23 A.M. The House convened, starting a new legislative day.
10:00:29 A.M. The Speaker designated the Honorable Steven M. Palazzo to act as Speaker pro tempore for today.
10:00:51 A.M. MORNING-HOUR DEBATE – The House proceeded with Morning-Hour Debate. At the conclusion of Morning-Hour, the House will recess until 12:00 p.m. for the start of legislative business.
10:37:30 A.M. The Speaker announced that the House do now recess. The next meeting is scheduled for 12:00 P.M. today.
12:00:00 P.M. The House convened, returning from a recess continuing the legislative day of September 29.
12:01:04 P.M. Today’s prayer was offered by Pastor Kevin Myers, 12Stone Church, Lawrenceville, GA
12:02:21 P.M. The Speaker announced approval of the Journal. Pursuant to clause 1, rule I, the Journal stands approved.
12:02:24 P.M. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – The Chair designated Mr. Jolly to lead the Members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
12:04:08 P.M. ONE MINUTE SPEECHES – The House proceeded with one minute speeches which by direction of the Chair, would be limited to 15 per side of the aisle.
12:24:30 P.M. The House received a message from the Clerk. Pursuant to the permission granted in Clause 2(h) of Rule II of the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Clerk notified the House that she had received the following message from the Secretary of the Senate on September 29, 2015 at 9:27 a.m.: That the Senate passed S. 599.
12:25:04 P.M. H. Res. 444 Considered as privileged matter. H. Res. 444 — “Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 3495) to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to allow for greater State flexibility with respect to excluding providers who are involved in abortions, and waiving a requirement of clause 6(a) of rule XIII with respect to consideration of certain resolutions reported from the Committee on Rules.”
12:26:13 P.M. H. Res. 444 DEBATE – The House proceeded with one hour of debate on H. Res. 444.

1:50:48 P.M. H. Res. 444 On ordering the previous question Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 243 – 182 (Roll no. 521).
1:58:26 P.M. H. Res. 444 On agreeing to the resolution Agreed to by recorded vote: 242 – 183 (Roll no. 522).
1:58:27 P.M. H. Res. 444 Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
1:59:54 P.M. H.R. 3495 Considered under the provisions of rule H. Res. 444. H.R. 3495 — “To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to allow for greater State flexibility with respect to excluding providers who are involved in abortions.”
1:59:59 P.M. H.R. 3495 Rule provides for consideration of H.R. 3495 with 1 hour of general debate. Previous question shall be considered as ordered without intervening motions except motion to recommit with or without instructions. Measure will be considered read. Bill is closed to amendments.
2:00:56 P.M. H.R. 3495 DEBATE – The House proceeded with one hour of debate on H.R. 3495.
3:13:57 P.M. H.R. 3495 ORDER OF PROCEDURE – At the conclusion of debate, Mr. Pitts asked unanimous consent that the question of adopting a motion to recommit on H.R. 3495 may be subject to postponement as though under clause 8 rule XX. Agreed to without objection.
3:14:04 P.M. H.R. 3495 The previous question was ordered pursuant to the rule.
3:14:29 P.M. H.R. 3495 Ms. Sinema moved to recommit with instructions to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
3:15:09 P.M. H.R. 3495 DEBATE – The House proceeded with ten minutes of debate on the Sinema motion to recommit with instructions, pending reservation of a point of order. The instructions contained in the motion seek to require the bill to be reported back to the House with an amendent ensuring that nothing in the underlying bill shall be construed as prohibiting health care services from being provided to a woman by an institution, agency, entity, or person so long as such services are provided to protect the health of a woman. Subsequently, the reservation of the point of order was withdrawn.
3:20:10 P.M. H.R. 3495 The previous question on the motion to recommit with instructions was ordered without objection.
3:20:36 P.M. H.R. 3495 POSTPONED PROCEEDINGS – At the conclusion of debate on the motion to recommit with instructions, the Chair put the question on the motion to recommit and by voice vote announced that the noes had prevailed. Ms. Sinema demanded the yeas and nays which were ordered and pursuant to a previous order of the House, further proceedings on the question of adoption of the motion to recommit were postponed until a time to be announced.
3:21:04 P.M. The Speaker announced that the House do now recess. The next meeting is subject to the call of the Chair.
3:45:58 P.M. The House convened, returning from a recess continuing the legislative day of September 29.
3:46:09 P.M. The House received a message from the Senate. The Senate passed H.R. 3614.
3:46:19 P.M. UNFINISHED BUSINESS – The Chair announced that the unfinished business was the vote on adoption of the Sinema motion to recommit H.R. 3495 with instructions which had been debated earlier and on which further proceedings had been postponed.
3:47:26 P.M. H.R. 3495 Considered as unfinished business. H.R. 3495 — “To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to allow for greater State flexibility with respect to excluding providers who are involved in abortions.”
4:19:14 P.M. H.R. 3495 On motion to recommit with instructions Failed by the Yeas and Nays: 184 – 242 (Roll no. 523).
4:27:51 P.M. H.R. 3495 On passage Passed by recorded vote: 236 – 193 (Roll no. 524).
4:27:51 P.M. H.R. 3495 Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
4:30:12 P.M. H.R. 1735 Conference report H. Rept. 114-270 filed.
4:30:48 P.M. ONE MINUTE SPEECHES – The House proceeded with further one minute speeches.
4:35:21 P.M. SPECIAL ORDER SPEECHES – The House has concluded all anticipated legislative business and has proceeded to Special Order speeches.
5:09:25 P.M. Mr. Tonko moved that the House do now adjourn.
5:09:28 P.M. On motion to adjourn Agreed to by voice vote.
5:09:34 P.M. The House adjourned. The next meeting is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on September 30, 2015.

Stop the beheading and crucifixion

Saudi Arabia is about to behead a young man and then crucify him. France has just requested that Saudis stop this execution. Our best chance to help save his life is to urgently get the US, Germany, and the UK to persuade their Saudi allies to save Ali.

Sign now, his execution could happen any time:



Dear friends,

Saudi Arabia is about to behead a 21-year-old man and then crucify him to display his body in public. This same country was just chosen to head a U.N. Human Rights Council panel. If it weren’t so serious this would be funny!

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested when he was 17 for participating in demonstrations against the government, then he was convicted under torture. But his case is not an exception in the kingdom — Saudi Arabia has executed more than 100 people this year, that’s a rate of one every 2 days!

France has already requested that Saudis stop this execution, but the US, Germany, and the UK also have very cosy relationships with the regime. The best way to get urgent action is to channel our outrage to these leaders who can persuade their Saudi allies. Sign up now to save Ali, and then stop this human rights farce, his execution could happen any time:

Saudi is now Chair of the UN committee that oversees nominations to key special rapporteurs and experts.  Ali’s whole atrocious case shows how absurd that is! Human rights experts say this is an ‘arbitrary execution’ prohibited under the international Convention on the Rights of the Child, as Ali would be executed for crimes committed when he was a minor.  Ali is the nephew of a prominent Shia cleric, who has also been sentenced to death.

But they will go ahead unless there is a massive cost on the international stage.

The above governments have an ugly, but tight trade relationship with Saudi — they either sell the Kingdom weapons or buy oil, or both! We know their voices count. When we campaigned earlier this year for the German Vice Chancellor to tell Saudi officials to stop the flogging and possible execution of the blogger Raif Badawi, Sigmar Gabriel spoke out. Badawi hasn’t been flogged in months and he’s still alive, even though he is still rotting in prison.

Let’s urgently get these powerful leaders to tell Saudis that they must stop this execution and then demand they weigh in at the UN Human Rights Council to ensure this new role is challenged. Sign now – let’s help save this young man’s life:

When regimes worldwide violate basic human rights, our community has spoken out and helped stop atrocities. Let’s now raise our voices for Ali.

With hope and determination,
Alice, Melanie, Marie, Alex, Marigona, Maria Paz, Spyro and the whole Avaaz team


France urges Saudi Arabia to cancel death penalty for youth (Gulf Times)

U.N., rights groups call on Saudi Arabia to spare man from beheading, crucifixion (CNN)

Saudi Arabia executes ‘a person every two days’ as rate of beheadings soars under King Salman (The Independent)

Saudi Arabia and France ink $12bln deal (Al Arabiya)

Yemen and the scandal of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia (The Guardian)