As the Guantánamo Bay facility begins its 15th year, Amnesty International points us to a petition, on Whitehouse.gov, which helps you tell President Obama to, once and for all, close the Guantánamo Bay facility and thus end that blight on our history and our commitment to democracy. I'll admit that there are many fewer detainees at Guantánamo than at the beginning of the Obama Administration, but Guantánamo still houses more than 100 detainees, most held for a decade or more, without charge. If these are "the worst of the worst," you have to wonder why we can't charge them with anything, and thus you also have to wonder why we've tortured so many of them. The petition needs 100,000 signatures to mandate a White House response -- I can recall petitions only requiring 25,000 signatures before getting a White House response, and I don't know why the goalposts have moved, but that only means we must, as Phil Jackson used to say, "play above the referees."
Meanwhile, the Israeli Knesset is mulling a bill that would label certain national advocacy groups as "foreign agents," based on their reliance on funds from European governments. Sound common-sensical to you? Then ask yourself why the bill excludes other national groups that rely heavily on funds from foreign individuals, when a bill aiming to make foreign influence "transparent" should do both. Alas, we learn that groups fighting the occupation tend to rely on foreign government funding, while groups relying on buku bucks from folks like Sheldon Adelson tend to support the occupation. It's a damn shame what good people will do when they're insecure about the worth of their own institutions and freedoms. And Jesus Mary and Joseph even the Washington Post has come out against this bill, saying it uses "the kind of tactic that Russia and China have used to squelch dissent." Ouch! Just Foreign Policy joins with MoveOn to help you tell Congress to speak out against this retrograde effort at Israeli "security."
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell President Obama to designate the Grand Canyon as a national monument and so protect it forever from uranium mining, then CREDO still helps you do that. Hard to believe that anyone would want to mine for uranium in the Grand Freaking Canyon -- one of the world's most beautiful places and no looking at photographs will not prepare you for how awesome it is -- but some folks have no shame. Some folks are not appropriately attentive to the fact that the Colorado River runs through the Canyon and provides drinking water to seven states, either. Now, it's not out of the question that President Obama would do it -- his former Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, proved to be rather receptive to environmental issues concerning his home state (he's from Colorado) and issued a 20-year moratorium on uranium mining in the Grand Canyon area. But it's still our duty to communicate our will to our President, particularly when local politicians, perhaps looking to make big donors richer, have challenged the moratorium.