Amnesty International helps you tell the Philippines' government to stop torturing people. The Philippines has come part of the way in this area since the Marcos years, but that's not a high bar to clear, and despite enacting the Anti-Torture Act in 2009, the Philippines Commission on Human Rights lately found that Laguna detention center officers actually used a "Wheel of Torture," which could select a particular mode of torture with a spin of an actual giant wheel -- the "20 seconds Manny Pacman," referencing the country's popular boxer Manny Pacquiáo, got you 20 seconds of punches to the gut. Real life should not read like a dystopian science-fiction novel. A big part of the problem in the Philippines is that they actually don't have enough police, and when you have to meet various quotas and mandates without the personnel to do so, you will cut corners. It's not an excuse, but it is an explanation. Perhaps the big stick of bad PR will make the Philippine government a bit more of a job-creating government.
Meanwhile, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for America's Veterans Act (now H.R. 203/S. 167) is an actual bipartisan bill (19 of its 48 current Senate sponsors are Republicans, including the lead sponsor, Arizona's John McCain) that would expand veterans' access to mental health care, and would have passed the last Congress -- except that one Senator, the incorrigible Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, put one of his infamous holds on it, supposedly because it duplicated "almost everything" in other already-passed bills and, get your surprised face ready, wasn't paid for with other budget offsets. If more than 20 of our soldiers were killing themselves every day because we sent them off to foolish wars that people like Tom Coburn supported, I wouldn't be stopping all progress because of slight uncertainty about exactly where the money was coming from. Of course, I'd be taxing millionaire income at 91% anyway, so I'd know where the money would be coming from. Anyway, the Senate may be voting on this bill today, so change.org helps you tell your Senators to support the Clay Hunt SAV Act.
In other news, we finally have a bill at the federal level that would, at least, tamp down the incentives our government gives to police departments to take your money and property in the name of the "War on Drugs": H.R. 540/S. 255, the FAIR Act. It even has Rand Paul's name on it! The FAIR Act would eliminate the federal Equitable Sharing Program -- which induces state and local police departments to seize more assets than they otherwise might, since they know they're going to receive a big chunk of the proceeds -- and also raises the burden of proof our government must meet when it moves to seize assets. If the whole "asset forfeiture" game seems unconstitutional to you, you're not alone -- police departments do it out of financial desperation, with politicians unwilling to raise taxes to properly fund the police departments that serve taxpayers. Again: it's not an excuse, but it is an explanation. So the Drug Policy Alliance helps you tell your Congressfolk to support the FAIR Act, and mitigate police power to take your possessions without due process.
Finally, the Senate passed its bill forcing the Executive branch to approve construction on the Keystone XL pipeline; it did not meet a veto-proof majority in the Senate, either, but after the expected veto from President Obama, House and Senate leaders will no doubt go to work on some of their recalcitrant members when they go to override the veto. And, as I've said, Mr. Obama hasn't played this as smartly as he could have. Hence the People's Email Network helps you remind President Obama to veto the Keystone XL legislation, while Public Citizen -- thinking ahead a bit to the point where Mr. Obama might actually approve the pipeline, which he'll still have the power to do even if he vetoes the bill -- helps you tell the Executive branch to reject the Keystone XL pipeline for good. You need not even refer to the deleterious effects on heartland drinking water or climate change that excessive development and exportation of tar sands oil will have -- you need only remember that this is a pipeline we're allowing a Canadian corporation to build so it can sell its oil to other countries, and that has nothing to do with American energy independence.