First things first. The House of Representatives plans to repeal country-of-origin labeling (or COOL) laws for meat, fruit, and vegetables -- laws we've only had for a few years -- today, ostensibly because the World Trade Organization ruled last month that our COOL laws violated the TBT and GATT, but I suspect they're using the WTO's ruling as an excuse to gut laws they wanted gutted anyway. And isn't this the kind of thing we've been complaining about with "free" trade? And wasn't that President Obama telling us a few weeks back that when "critics warn that parts of this deal would undermine American regulation -- food safety, worker safety, even financial regulations," that "(t)hey're making this stuff up" and that "no trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws"? Well, that sure came back to bite him. Just remember, though: it doesn't matter what they want; it matters what we want. So Consumers Union helps you tell your House Reps to keep our country-of-origin labeling laws, even if it means we have to bow out of "free" trade agreements.
Meanwhile, Reps. McGovern (D-MA), Lee (D-CA), and Jones (R-NC) have introduced H.Con.Res. 55, which would direct President Obama to "remove United States Armed Forces deployed to Iraq or Syria on or after August 7, 2014, other than Armed Forces required to protect United States diplomatic facilities and personnel, from Iraq and Syria," no later than the end of 2015. Once the House takes up this bill -- and they will, since it invokes the War Powers Act -- they'll finally be compelled to debate the unilateral war President Obama began in Iraq and Syria against ISIS 10 months ago. But we shouldn't let Congress mouth off that they'd have given Mr. Obama more power if he only had an inkling of how to fight ISIS, because that evades the point: that they shirked their Constitutional duty to authorize the President to fight the war, as well as their responsibility to tell him how to fight it. Change the subject, lose the argument, that's what I say. I think H.Con.Res. 55 merits a phone call to your Reps and Senators. They'll never see it coming.
In other news, the Senate filibustered the Military Justice Improvement Act last year, but it's back this year, as an amendment to the defense authorization bill (specifically, it's S.A. 1578 to S.A. 1463 to H.R. 1735, H.R. 1735 being the House-passed defense auth bill and S.A. 1463 being the Senate's amended version of the House bill). S.A. 1578 would help reform the military's ability to handle sexual assault cases (and other cases) by taking the decision to prosecute sexual assault out of the chain of the command and giving it to military prosecutors. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that most of the 45 filibustering Senators' views of the Military Justice Improvement Act were of the "who cares it's women" and "let's not give Obama a victory on anything" variety, but I suppose some Senators are truly concerned about taking power from commanding officers. But do we expect the President to micromanage affairs in the legislative branch, because he's "above" them? So the National Women's Law Center helps you tell your Senators to vote for S.A. 1578 and help sexual assault victims in the military.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell the Obama Administration to exercise its authority on the people's behalf to conduct an environmental review of Enbridge's proposed expansion of its Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline, then the Sierra Club helps you do that. President Obama has made much of the State Department's process in evaluating the Keystone XL pipeline -- he made so much of it, in fact, that he vetoed Congressional legislation designed to make him approve the bill, while leaving open the possibility that he'd approve it once the State Department's evaluation was done. But the State Department approved an Enbridge scheme to move nearly twice as much oil through its pipeline, and then build a bypass of that pipeline, without the required environmental impact review or public notice -- required because the Alberta Clipper passes through northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Did I mention that the pipeline that burst into the Kalamazoo River in 2010 belonged to Enbridge? Let's see if we can put a stop to this madness.