H.R. 621 would sell off over three million acres of public land in ten states; the bill's title (Congress.gov has neither text nor summary yet, wonder why) identifies this land as "previously identified as suitable for disposal," but what prevents our government from using this land to, say, build out a public, renewable energy grid? Welfare handouts for certain Congressfolk's big corporate donors (particularly those in the oil and gas industry), that's what. For his part, the bill's author, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, says these three million acres were "identified as suitable for disposal" by the Clinton Administration, but why should we care? The American people are not as thirsty for "bipartisanship" as Our Glorious Elites would have us believe -- we only want good government, and just because that center-right President we had two decades ago also thought we should sell them off shouldn't mean a thing to us now. Congress has been moving very, very quickly lately to try to sell of as much federal land as possible, but you can only sell land once; land the people own, the people can use, and repurpose, for generations. Use the tools in the upper left-hand corner of this page to call your Reps and tell them to reject this bill.
Meanwhile, you may have heard that the indigenous activist Isidro Baldenegro López, who long fought with farmers against loggers in the Sierra Madre mountains, was assassinated on January 15, mere months after assassins linked to a certain dam project took out indigenous activist Berta Cáceres in Honduras. Hence Sum of Us helps you tell Mexican law enforcement authorities to prosecute Mr. Baldenegro's murderer, or murderers. You may possess some skepticism that doing this will do any good, but the commitment we've made as Americans -- to fight for a nation, and a world, where justice wins out, and where good folks can live free from fear -- makes this, also, our duty. And we know he wasn't murdered because he had a spat with a neighbor -- we know he was murdered because he was doing good for his community, his nation, and his world. And anyway, how do we know it won't do any good? Plenty of countries bow before the Big Stick of Bad PR. And we want a world where governments fear informed public opinion.
In other news, PennPIRG helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject any attempt to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The news hook this time is the student loan corporation Navient, which manages some $300 billion in student loans (covering over 12 million borrowers, because college is pretty damn expensive nowadays). The CFPB found that Navient failed its customers "at every stage of repayment," which news presumably did not drive Navient's executives to exclaim WE GOT 100 PERCENT! Among Navient's crimes: incorrectly processing payments (which often leads to more late fees and I'm sure that's a complete coincidence!), failing to offer lower payment options to customers who had earned them (which, again, leads to more money for Navient), and slow-walking customer complaints (because what are they gonna do? Not go to college?). Don't take any guff from your Reps and Senators about "nanny states" and "burdensome regulations." A lot of financial corporations don't care about anything but money, and thus do a lot of people a lot of harm. Our government has a moral responsibility to stop that.
Finally, I know this seems a bit beside the point now that we're, what, almost two weeks in, but CREDO still helps you tell your Congressfolk to support S. 65, the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act. Mr. Trump has brought an unprecedented number of conflicts of interest to the office -- which is to say, he is invested in so many businesses that he might have to make decisions about as President that we can have no faith that, given the choice, he'll serve the American people rather than serving himself. S. 65 would help him fix that, by requiring that the President and Vice President divest any and all interests that would create a conflict of interest in the course of doing their jobs as the people's servants, and placing all the proceeds from that divestment in a blind trust -- since any money they'd make from divestment is itself an asset, one that could be manipulated by the unscrupulous. Power is a temptation to anyone who takes high office, and bills like these restrain the powerful, so that they do not run roughshod over the rights of other people -- particularly when their job is to serve the people.
UPDATE. A reader points out to me that Mr. Chaffetz has withdrawn H.R. 621, to which the first paragraph above refers. Other assaults on public lands will come, but this is good news.