USA PATRIOT Act reauthorization is due this year! Whoopee! And the Electronic Frontier Foundation helps you tell your Congressfolk to vote against reauthorization of the notorious Section 215, which the National Security Agency (or NSA) has used to justify collecting phone call records of innocent Americans, and which it may yet use to justify bulk financial records collection. Of course the NSA also uses fear of terrorism to justify what it does, but when the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board -- an independent agency within the Executive branch, created by Congress back in 2004 -- can't find one instance in which bulk collection of innocent Americans' phone data has helped a counterterrorism investigation, then you know fearmongering is all they have, for surely our own government would have told us otherwise (would have trumpeted it from the mountaintops, in fact!) if they could have. The EFF action tool will help you advocate for other sound policy prescriptions relating to government spying.
Meanwhile, the Iranian government has detained Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post journalist, for over six months now. For what? Who knows? The Iranian government won't say what they're charging him with, though they have finally set a date for his trial, before a judge known in Iranian legal circles as "the hanging judge." Mr. Rezaian holds dual American and Iranian citizenship, and was originally excited to become the Post's Iran bureau chief -- before his home country's government arrested him, detained him, put in solitary, and prevented from seeing a lawyer. And again, on what charges? Iran says it'll tell us after the trial's over, but after "the hanging judge" is done with him, that's very likely going to be too late. Hence Change.org helps you tell the Iranian government to release Mr. Rezaian immediately. Whether he's a pawn in some larger game or not, we can -- and must -- wield the big stick of bad PR against Iran. It may be the only thing they'll hear.
Finally, if you're as depressed as I am that the only thing President Obama and Republicans can seem to agree on is a "free" trade deal that will destroy American jobs and subjugate American laws to the whims of corporations, then both the Center for Effective Government and National Peoples Action will help you share that disgust with your government, particularly about "fast-track" authority for such deals, when no one on the other side has even tried to argue why "free" trade agreements need less deliberation than other legislation. The notion that corporations can nullify our labor and environmental laws if it costs them money really deserves some illumination. First corporatists said government should stay out of the "free" market and let the market pick winners and losers -- but now they're saying that when a corporation becomes a loser, it's some kinds of injustice that should be remedied through extralegal courts. Let's review: you have the right to speak out against your government without your government putting you in jail; you do not have a "right" to all the monetary profits you think you deserve. Our Glorious Elites really want to create Hell on Earth.