As you know, the State Department decided, in its annual "Trafficking in Persons" report, to bump Malaysia up from Tier 3 (reserved for the worst offenders) to Tier 2. Why? Because Malaysia has woken up to its human trafficking problem and has taken concrete steps to stop it? Alas, no -- given that we're still finding mass graves of migrant workers in Malaysia, given that refugees from other lands still find themselves forced into slavery, we must conclude that the State Department acted to head off legislation offered by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) aiming to prohibit "free" trade deals with Tier 3 nations from getting fast-tracked. And Malaysia, naturally, is a signatory to the Trans-Pacific "Partnership" "free" trade deal. The Obama Administration has spoken: corporations are not only more important than a nation's laws, they're more important than human freedom. But this also gives our normally cowardly members of Congress a reason to suddenly declare their opposition to the TPP, so Public Citizen helps you encourage your Congressfolk to reject the TPP as they reject human trafficking.
Meanwhile, the Wilderness Society helps you tell the Department of the Interior to end the era of "sweetheart deals" for coal corporations when they extract coal from public lands. The last time our government set royalty rates for coal extraction from public lands, Warren G. Harding was President; hence, royalty rates -- which is the rate at which coal corporations pay us to mine our land, remember -- have been rock-bottom for nearly a hundred years. The pro-pollution crowd will squeal ZOMG TEH ELECTRIC BILLZ WILL SKYROCKITZ!!!!! When folks say that, pay attention to what they're ignoring saying -- like, say, corporate pay packages. If coal corporations have to pay more to extract coal from the ground, they don't have to charge consumers more -- they could just as easily pay their executives less. Those who say that just isn't possible need to answer this question: should we-the-taxpayers tolerate having our energy bills taken hostage every time we try to get what we deserve? Whether they like it or not, the war-on-coal crowd's answer to this question is always "yes."
Finally, though the Department of the Interior has banned Arctic drilling, President Obama has approved Shell Oil's plan to drill for oil there -- because Interior's ban doesn't apply to corporations that already had drilling leases in the Arctic, like Shell. But S. 1794, the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act, would (as the title suggests) prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from issuing any more oil or gas drilling leases in the Arctic Ocean. And why? Because we don't know enough about the Arctic to drill there safely, and what we do know -- that the inevitable massive spill would be even harder to clean up in frigid Arctic waters than in temperate Gulf of Mexico waters, and that drilling would endanger Alaska's vaunted salmon industry, among other things -- should further dissuade us from drilling. Cheaper oil, as always, is no argument when contemplating further fouling of our air and our water -- nor is domestic oil, as if we can only wean ourselves off Middle Eastern oil with more oil. So the Alaska Wilderness League helps you tell your Senators to support the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act.