Happy Wednesday, good Americans! Now call your Senators and tell them to pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act; H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act; H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act; H.R. 5, the Equality Act; H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act; H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act; H.R. 397, the Butch Lewis Act; H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act; H.R. 582, the Raise the Wage Act; H.R. 986, the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act; H.R. 1146, the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act; H.R. 1373, the Grand Canyon Centennial Act; H.R. 1644, the Save the Internet Act; H.R. 2474, the PRO Act; H.R. 2513, the Corporate Transparency Act; H.R. 2722, the SAFE Act; H.R. 5035, the Television Viewer Protection Act; and H.J. Res. 79, which would remove the expiration date from the original Equal Rights Amendment. These are all good bills: the Voting Rights Advancement Act, for example, would put the teeth back into the Voting Rights Act that our Supreme Court knocked out, while the Save the Internet Act would reinstate the FCC's pro-internet freedom net neutrality rules as the law of the land again. So tell your Senators to pass these bills, with no excuses.
Meanwhile, H.R. 7221, the Prohibiting Law Enforcement Use of Chemical Weapons Act, would (as its title suggests!) prevent police from using tear gas as a weapon. If you're of the mind that reforms such as these would "keep cops from doing their jobs," please think about it: how many crooks do police apprehend with tear gas? It is an enormously cumbersome and imprecise weapon, much more so than a handgun or a taser. Of course, crooks don't get apprehended with tear gas -- but peaceful protestors sure do! And that's who the tear gas is really for. You would also want to consider why police would need a weapon soldiers haven't been able to use since 1997; I would discard answers that include the phrase "because the streets are so much more dangerous now," because a) that's not true and b) I just said that tear gas is a bad weapon to fight crime with. No, really, people do pretend to be that stupid. Anyway, the Other 98 helps you tell your Congressfolk to protect peaceful protestors from police violence by passing the Prohibiting Law Enforcement Use of Chemical Weapons Act.
In other news, Amazon has stepped up its feel-good PR campaign -- you saw the ad with the deaf single dad? Yeah, they'll fire his ass, too, if he walks too slowly in the warehouse -- almost like they know they achieved their position as the world's number one online retailer mainly by doing evil! Amazon has also lately imposed a one-year moratorium on police use of its infamous (and pretentiously-titled, don't think any of that Kraftwerk coolness rubs off on you!) Rekognition software. You remember Rekognition, right? The facial recognition software that's almost as bad at telling black folks apart as your right-wing uncle is? A one-year moratorium is exactly the kind of thing that's designed to make people feel good about using Amazon again -- and then quickly forgotten once the PR storm passes over, as it will for a lot of Americans, though not for a lot of black Americans who still have to face random police brutality. Anyway, MPower Change helps you tell Amazon to cut all of its ties with law enforcement. They're still providing cloud computing services to ICE, after all; think that helps out anyone but Amazon?
Finally, our National Park Service finalized rules in several Alaska national parks allowing hunters to kill bears and cubs while they hibernate and shoot wolves and coyotes while they're with their pups; the rules also allow hunters to shoot coyotes from motorboats and lure bears out of their dens with donuts so they can shoot them. Well, that all sounds very sporting, doesn't it? It doesn't sound like "good Americans ritualizing how their forebears used to survive"! It doesn't even sound like "an excuse for a bunch of guys to hang out and get drunk," as one hunter described hunting's purpose to me years ago. No, the word we're looking for here is cruel, though Alaska's Congressional delegation supports the change, claiming that it -- hey, not my words, but Sen. Murkowski's! -- is a "matter of states' rights"! Who knew the "right" to own slaves was at play here? And on federal land, no less! So, in short: it's not just cruel, it's also bad law-making. And since our Administration wants to do this to other Alaska national parks, the Alaska Wilderness League helps you oppose similar cruelty in other federal parks in Alaska.