On Friday, President Obama vetoed H.R. 3815/S. 2040, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which would have allowed families of 9.11 victims to sue the Saudi Arabian government over its alleged role in the attacks -- and might well have the happy effect of showing more Americans how damaging our blind alliance with Saudi Arabia is. The bill doesn't actually claim the government of Saudi Arabia did the deed, but merely allows 9.11 families to have their day in court over the issue. Mr. Obama vetoed the bill, apparently out of concern for the concept of "sovereign immunity" (an ancient legal doctrine which generally prevents states from being sued), but other laws (the Federal Tort Claims Act and the Tucker Act, to name two) have already modified the concept over the years, and anyway that's a bit rich coming from the guy who's still pressing a "free" trade deal that would vastly expand corporations' ability to sue governments and extort bailouts from taxpayers. So Just Foreign Policy joins with MoveOn in helping you tell your Congressfolk to override the veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.
Meanwhile, you know the police use "Stingray" devices (which tricks cell phones into giving up all their info by pretending to be cell phone towers) to conduct all sorts of surveillance they're not authorized by a warrant to get. But you may not know that the Stingray's effects can be even worse -- they can keep protestors from reaching each other, and they can also keep folks from making 911 calls, which could mean the difference between life and death. Police could also use stingrays to spoof messages from other people's phones, a power that could not possibly be abused by the unscrupulous. Hate to pile on, but the FBI routinely makes local police sign agreements that prevent them from telling judges about their use. Folks still unconvinced can answer this question: if you know a technology will cause considerably more harm than good, why would you use it? Forgive me if I sound a bit conservative about this matter. Decide the Future helps you tell the FCC to prohibit local police from using stingrays. (The FCC has jurisdiction over the frequencies Stingrays use, which are the same frequencies that phones use.)
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell Congress to close the "carried interest loophole" that allows hedge fund managers to pay a lower rate on their taxes than many working families, then Sign Here Now still helps you do that. Hedge fund managers can make millions of dollars a day and still pay a lower rate than folks who work for a living! How is that conducive to freedom? A right-winger might argue that freedom thrives whenever we allow individuals to get the most freedom for themselves, but if those individuals can get enough freedom to dictate our lives to the rest of us, how are we then more free? And that's what tax loopholes for the rich do: they give the rich more power to run roughshod over the rest of us. And if you're having trouble figuring out what exactly a hedge fund manager does to earn all that money, you're not stupid or uneducated, you're just awake. Too many banksters make bajillions of dollars not by helping people make better products or processes, but by moving properties around in a giant shell game. As Americans, we deserve a lot better than that, and we must demand it.