Now that they control both houses of Congress, Republicans want to repeal the Estate Tax, again -- because the various Estate Tax cuts negotiated and signed by President Obama somehow aren't enough! And Republicans are trotting out one of the oldest zombie lies in the annals of zombie lies: that the Estate Tax "destroys family farms." Seriously, it's like they think no one in America has any memory of anything at all -- particularly, any memory of Republicans being completely unable to produce evidence of even one family farm sold off to pay the Estate Tax back in Tha Bush Mobb years. And yet they're at this mess again -- maybe they're a little subtler, but that's all. So now would be a good time to call your Reps and Senators, using the tools in the upper left hand corner of this page, and command them to oppose Estate Tax repeal. Nothing prevents you from adding that you think they're lying if they spread around horror stories about the Estate Tax hurting family farms. They want us to act all civilized to them? Then they need to stop lying on behalf of their wealthy donors, the real beneficiaries of Estate Tax repeal. It ain't that damn tough.
Meanwhile, a Peruvian appeals court ruled in late 2014 against Newmont Mining's efforts to build an open-pit gold mine on lands belonging to indigenous activist Máxima Acuña de Chaupe. How did Newmont Mining respond? By saying it'd respect the court's decision, then tucking its tail between its legs and going home? Well, no -- Newmont has prodded security officers to raid her home and destroy a part of it. This, after Newmont sued her to get her off the land she owns, after trying several times to evict her from said land themselves -- a nefarious effort helped along by the government of Peru, culminating in a hefty fine and a nearly three-year jail sentence for her and three others, all of which, happily, the appeals court eventually threw out. So Sum of Us helps you tell Newmont to stop harassing indigenous activists -- who could, after all, be any one of us one day, once our politicians interpret eminent domain laws as a tool to steal our homes and give them to their big donors, or some "free" trade agreement makes us bail out every corporation that wants to break our labor and environmental laws.
Finally, McDonald's has pledged to phase out antibiotic-raised chicken, joining Chick-Fil-A, Panera Bread, and Chipotle in that effort, but other fast-food chains haven't taken that step, and that's a big deal, since, generally, the poorer we get, the more fast food we eat. So CREDO helps you tell Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Subway, and Wendy's to stop using chicken raised with antibiotics. The reason we ask them is twofold: one, four out of every five antibiotics in America get used on healthy farm animals in order to make them meatier -- not, as you might imagine, on sick people and animals. That means bacteria will have many, many more opportunities to evolve into antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA, and we might one day have a "post-antibiotic world" (in the World Health Organization's words) in which a single cut you wouldn't think twice about today could kill you. The other reason we ask them? Because petitioning our government hasn't done very much, even though courts have mandated that the FDA fix this problem for, ahem, decades now. We'll keep after our government, of course, because it's our duty, but why fight on only one front?
UPDATE. I did not know, at the time of this post's writing, that the Senate had already voted on Friday to repeal the Estate Tax 54-46. You'll want to concentrate your efforts on your House Reps; chances are that will look suspiciously like a party-line vote, but speaking out is always better than silence.