Saudi Arabian blogger and activist Raif Badawi -- sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for the shocking crime of discussing religion and politics on his blog -- has reportedly not received his 50 lashes, scheduled on Fridays, for nearly two months now. Perhaps that means the Saudi government knows the whole world is watching -- or perhaps it means Mr. Badawi is not a well man (he suffers from hypertension to begin with, and being tortured in prison doesn't exactly make you healthier). Either way, Amnesty International helps you tell the Saudi Arabian government to release Raif Badawi, while Avaaz helps you urge the German Vice Chancellor, visiting Saudi Arabia as we speak, to advocate for Mr. Badawi's release. Do they not realize that, in torturing Mr. Badawi, they reinforce our opinion that they're intolerant, hateful, and insecure? Do they not realize that religion doesn't need a state's help propping it up? Do they not realize that dissent makes faith stronger, not weaker?
Meanwhile, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) has reintroduced H.R. 1232, the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, and if it's the same bill he introduced last Congress (again, congress.gov has been very slow in getting these details to us lately), it would stop the free flow of military weapons to local and state police departments. It might have a harder time passing this Congress than the last one, this Congress being even more packed with people who think you hate America if you criticize the actions of some police officers, but right is right and duty is duty. And I suspect rank-and-file police officers think the same way we do about this matter -- that big guns and big tanks and big armor actually aren't that effective in doing real police work, and that walking a beat and getting to know a community would prevent more problems than more and bigger weapons ever would. Roots Action helps you tell your Congressfolk to support H.R. 1232 and help police do the job they're supposed to do. Because that, not blind obedience, is our job as citizens.
Finally, the Obama Administration may have protected a good chunk of Alaska's coast from drilling, but (as often happens with the Obama Administration) they're prepared to let oil and gas corporations go drill-happy in the rest of the Arctic area we control, as well as off the Atlantic coasts. It'd be too easy to simply respond "Spillageddon in the Gulf" and "Shell oil rig running aground" to these desires, but the fact of the matter is this: the oil and gas corporations have no real incentive to drill safely. No, really -- even if they get caught breaking the law, as BP has done, their penalties become tax write-offs, which essentially means a new bailout every time they let a big spill happen. And they will let it happen, and it will do decades-long damage everywhere it happens -- and in the Arctic, a spill will be much harder to clean up. Hence the Sierra Club helps you tell our government to reject oil and gas drilling in the Arctic or Atlantic Oceans, while the Alaska Wilderness League helps you tell the Department of the Interior to stop Arctic drilling, and CREDO helps you tell Interior to stop Atlantic drilling.