In late 2009, when the government of Yemen claimed responsibility for raining cluster bombs down on the village of al Majala -- which may have killed up to 14 al-Qaeda operatives, but definitely killed 41 villagers, over half of them children -- Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye reported that Yemen didn't carry out the bombings, but our government did. And what's his reward for doing the right thing? A sham trial and five-year sentence in 2011 on vague terrorism-related charges. Local Yemeni pressure (see, it happens everywhere!) almost convinced the Yemeni President to release Mr. Shaye -- until our President "expressed concern" over his release. Well, he ain't the boss of us: Roots Action helps you tell both Mr. Obama and the Yemeni government to release Mr. Shaye. Not just because it's the right thing to do, but because that could be you or I one day, and it may not even take a Republican administration to bring it about.
Meanwhile, you may have heard that at least a hundred WalMart workers have gone on strike this morning, some of whom plan to remain on strike until WalMart's next shareholders' meeting on June 7. Workers have been striking all over WalMart's supply chain lately, but 500 WalMart workers struck on Black Friday (after being forced to attend a meeting advising against striking on Thanksgiving night), and a few Maryland workers struck again in early February. I've been told these striking workers are stupid because the economy is bad and they could be replaced rather easily in this economy. Replace the word "stupid" with the word "courageous" and I'd agree -- what is it about low wages, few benefits, and lousy hours do some folks find so excusable? One striking WalMart worker, Barbara Gertz of Colorado, has started a petition via CREDO that helps you tell WalMart's braintrust to make their workers' lives a bit more livable.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell Mr. Obama to ban fracking on federal lands, including our national parks and forests, Penn Environment still helps you do that. You know the story by now -- despite all the signs of hope we had seen from the Obama Administration that they'd propose tough rules that would protect our public lands from the destruction wrought by fracking, the Obama Administration wound up proposing weak rules that don't demand disclosure of fracking chemicals, don't force gas drilling corporations to secure their fracking waste, don't require frackers to keep a safe distance from homes, schools, and hospitals, and don't ban diesel fuel. And these are our lands! Contrary to what you may have heard from your Tea Party uncle, we don't oppose fracking on public lands because they're pretty and we're hippies. We oppose it because we use that land, and because we renew that land so that our children and our childrens' children may use it.