Today the House plans to vote on a bill keeping our government running; the Senate may follow. And this bill is a real stinker. Chief among any reasonable person's complaints against the bill is it allows banksters to gamble in derivatives with taxpayer money. You know what that means, right, good folks? More bailouts -- and maybe they'll get to steal our savings accounts this time. But it gets worse: rich folks could be allowed to contribute ten times as much money to political parties as they're currently allowed to do. And the bill also cuts OSHA funding, raises limits on trucker work hours, and lets big agricultural corporations dump more crap in our water -- because a vote for Republicans is, apparently, a vote for workplace accidents, getting killed on the highway, and poisoned water, in addition to a vote for banksters and corporate campaign ads. Hence Public Citizen helps you tell your Congressfolk to remove all the poison pills attached to this spending measure, or vote against it. And yes I would rather shut down our government than pass this bill. We deserve more from our government than the back of its hand.
Meanwhile, the Strengthening Social Security Act -- which would fund increased Social Security benefits by subjecting income over $117,000 to the payroll tax -- lost both its Senate champions in 2014, one (Tom Harkin of Iowa) to retirement and the other (Mark Begich of Alaska) to a Republican opponent. But Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio will reintroduce the bill when the Senate reconvenes in January; that Senate will have more knuckle-draggers than any Senate in recent memory, but to paraphrase a famous philosopher, you go to war with the Senate you have, not the Senate you wish you had. And if the new Republican majority refuses to listen to us, let them suffer the shame of doing so, because not only is Social Security very popular (keeping, as it does, so many seniors out of poverty), so is increasing Social Security benefits. And to hell with those who say we feel "entitled" to everything -- we worked for it, we paid into it, we fought for it, so it's ours. Social Security Works helps you tell your Senators to support the Strengthening Social Security Act in the new Congress.
In other news, Saudi Arabia has imprisoned Raif Badawi since 2012, for the following supposed crimes: "setting up a website that undermines general security," "ridiculing Islamic religious figures," and "going beyond the realm of obedience." What had he actually done? He had hosted a website from which some writers had criticized religious officials, and had alleged that one Islamic school had become a "den for terrorists." The Saudi government tried to get him for "apostasy," too, which carries a death sentence, but haven't succeeded, though not for lack of trying. Think of whether anyone in the United States, crazy as this country has become, has advocated putting people in jail for criticizing religious figures. No one has, at least not yet. And even Harry Reid's pet bills, SOPA and PIPA, which would have stifled internet free speech in the name of "copyright infringement" and "security," met with such forceful opposition that they couldn't pass. But clearly Saudi Arabian elites must learn, even more than our elites must learn, that free speech doesn't "undermine" our security but enhances it. Amnesty International helps you tell Saudi Arabia to free Mr. Badawi.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell the FDA to keep AquaBounty's genetically-modified salmon off our supermarket shelves, then CREDO still helps you do that. What's the problem with Aquabounty's genetically-modified salmon? After all, AquaBounty says it safe, and what motive could it possibly have for lying, besides, you know, making gobs and gobs of money? Aquabounty has modified this salmon so that it grows twice as fast as salmon normally grow and eats five times what normal salmon eat, which means it would wreak havoc on nearby aquatic environments if it ever escapes a fish farm -- which it will, sooner or later, especially given AquaBounty's well-documented inability to keep its own salmon within its Panama breeding facility. You have to wonder if that's the idea -- to turn all salmon into perpetual teenage salmon, consequences to the food chain be damned. It gets worse: our government doesn't require labeling of GMO food, so the only way you'll know you haven't eaten it is if you eat USDA-certified organic salmon -- and, well, when Aquabounty's salmon gets out, maybe not even then.