First things first. Earlier this week, we discussed the Syrian government's imprisonment of Bassel Khartabil, the man who made 3-D computer models of famous Syrian historical sites since destroyed by ISIS. Well, now we have a Change.org petition demanding Mr. Khartabil's release. In the wake of the Arab Spring protests that rocked oppressive governments all over the Middle East, the Syrian government arrested Mr. Khartabil in 2012, not long after that government started beating and killing good Syrian protestors. Mr. Khartabil has a long history fighting for open internet access in Syria -- which the Syrian government has, naturally, translated as "harming state security." Mr. Khartabil did some time at the Syrian network of detainment centers that Human Rights Watch calls "the torture archipelago," but when several publicly-known organizations wielded The Big Stick of Bad PR, they got the government to move him, at least, to a prison where his wife could see him -- but now they've moved him again without telling anyone where. So clearly the Syrian government is in desperate need of more embarrassment.
Also, the state of Missouri plans to execute Ernest Johnson on November 3, though Mr. Johnson is intellectually-disabled, and the U.S. Supreme Court has held, in Atkins v. Virginia, that executing intellectually-disabled folks violated the U.S. Constitution's 8th Amendment. (Which was not an Anthony Kennedy majority opinion, believe it or not -- though Justice Kennedy did join the majority opinion written by Justice Stevens.) But the state of Missouri has, apparently, ignored his I.Q. test of 67, ignoring his fetal alcohol syndrome, ignoring two brain injuries he suffered as a youth -- and honed in solely on his ability on the basketball court in arguing he's not disabled. Remember that time Ernest Johnson dropped 11 treys on the Lakers in 1984? No, you don't, because it never happened. Seriously, people are far more complex than Our Glorious Elites would have you believe; everyone has an ability you wouldn't expect, but no sane person would use that as an excuse to ignore the law. The execution's in November, but we have only a few days to tell the Governor to grant a stay and convene a Board of Inquiry, so the ACLU helps you do that.
In other news, Roots Action helps you tell the Congressional leadership of both parties to reject the Trans-Pacific "Partnership," that nefarious "free" trade deal that would allow extralegal judicial bodies to nullify our laws if it costs some corporation money and would continue the death march of American jobs overseas. Of course, even though the centrist Democrat Hillary Clinton has come out against the TPP, supporting the TPP remains a "bipartisan" cause; still, our duty is the same no matter what our Congressfolk think. And their arguments favoring the TPP are becoming ever more desperate: President Obama essentially told the world that folks opposing the TPP are liars, Larry Summers slathered us with booga-booga about China before making promises he obviously never intended to keep about listening to the people more next time. Lately, Sen. Hatch, no great friend of labor or the environment, raised his hackles about inadequate protections for big pharmaceutical corporations, and Sen. Tillis expressed displeasure with proposals cutting off big tobacco access to the TPP's tribunals. Still, this is no time for complacency.
Finally, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch still hasn't moved to investigate Alabama's suspicious closings of over 30 DMV centers all over the state -- closings supposedly forced by the state's budget troubles, but we're not idiots. Strict Voter ID laws plus closed DMVs equals a crapload of good Alabamans who won't be able to vote in elections because they can't get the photo ID they need. Gov. Robert Bentley has since announced that the DMVs will be open one day a month. Gosh, that's twelve days between now and Election Day 2016! Who wants to bet they'll all be weekdays? When folks have, you know, jobs they can't just blow off to truck down to what will obviously be a very overcrowded DMV? The generosity of our politicians, it just kills me. Voter ID laws put unfair burdens on the same poor, senior, and minority folks who haven't needed photo ID and who generally don't vote Republican because Republicans only show them the back of their hand. But, presumably, we still have a federal government that cares about these things, so CREDO helps you tell our Attorney General to investigate Alabama's DMV shenanigans.