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Take Action

Your Guide to Meaningful Action

End the War on Drugs

As filmaker Eugene Jarecki notes in The Nation, over forty years of prosecuting the “war on drugs” has cost a trillion dollars and accounted for 45 million drug arrests. Yet, for all that, America has nothing to show but a legacy of failure and increased addiction. The answer? End the war on drugs.

 TO DO

A good place to start in ending the so-called war on drugs is to urge Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition and to begin to bring the currently unregulated and profitable marijuana market under the rule of law, helping curb the crime, violence and out-of-control youth access that flourish under the current prohibition. After weighing in, share this post with your friends, family and Twitter and Facebook communities.

 TO READ

This NPR time-line on the war on drugs offers a powerful sense of the long-term futility of the campaign.

 TO WATCH

Jarecki’s film is a probing investigative look at America’s war on drugs and its impact on both the criminal justice system and individual families.

A weekly guide to meaningful action, this blog connects readers with resources to channel the outrage so many feel after reading about abuses of power and privilege. Far from a comprehensive digest of all worthy groups working on behalf of the social good, Take Action seeks to shine a bright light on one concrete step that Nation readers can take each week. To broaden the conversation, we’ll publish a weekly follow-up post detailing the response and featuring additional campaigns and initiatives that we hope readers will check out. Toward that end, please use the comments field to give us ideas. With your help, we can make real change.

Overturn Citizens United

John Nichols argued this week in The Nation that one thing the recent elections showed was that voters do not want corporate money to dominate our politics any more than they want corporations to dominate our lives. As Nichols pointed out, this was especially evident in Senate elections, where some of the biggest winners were outspoken backers of a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited and anonymous campaign contributions in US elections.

 TO DO

Add your name to this public letter supporting a constitutional amendment that would overturn the Citizens United decision and implore your elected reps to support Sen Bernie Sanders Saving American Democracy Amendment. After weighing in, share this post with your friends, family and Twitter and Facebook communities. 

 TO READ

This Nation editorial, published in January, 2010, after the Citizens decision, made clear that "the clearest and boldest counter to the Court's ruling is a constitutional amendment stating unequivocally that corporations are not people and do not have the right to buy elections."

 TO WATCH

This short history of the growth of corporate power is also a primer on exactly why the Supreme Court's closely divided Citizens United decision is incompatible with basic notions of democratic governance. Produced by the Story of Stuff project.

A weekly guide to meaningful action, this blog connects readers with resources to channel the outrage so many feel after reading about abuses of power and privilege. Far from a comprehensive digest of all worthy groups working on behalf of the social good, Take Action seeks to shine a bright light on one concrete step that Nation readers can take each week. To broaden the conversation, we’ll publish a weekly follow-up post detailing the response and featuring additional campaigns and initiatives that we hope readers will check out. Toward that end, please use the comments field to give us ideas. With your help, we can make real change.

No Grand Bargain

As Katrina vanden Heuvel writes this week at washingtonpost.com, at a time when the country desperately needs Congress to have the courage to take on the powerful entrenched interests that now threaten our future—big oil, King Coal, Big Pharma, Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, the medical complex—politicians are strutting about their courage in cutting programs for the elderly, the disabled, the ill and the vulnerable.

 TO DO

Election Day was a smashing victory for progressives and middle-class populism. In the face of this mandate, the “grand bargain” would lower top rates on the wealthy and corporations, target Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for cuts and inflict austerity that can only cost jobs. Now we need to speak out louder than ever. Please implore your representatives in Congress to reject the so-called “Grand Bargain.” After weighing in, please share this post with your friends, family and Twitter and Facebook communities.

 TO READ

In Salon, Michael Lind makes a strong case against the “Grand Bargain,” arguing that any deal that cuts entitlements is bad for mainstream Americans.

 TO WATCH

In this video, Cenk Uygur explains why the grand bargain isn’t a bargain at all, leaving one side (the middle class, veterans) without much benefit and another (big corporations, defense contractors) rolling in tax cuts.

A weekly guide to meaningful action, this blog connects readers with resources to channel the outrage so many feel after reading about abuses of power and privilege. Far from a comprehensive digest of all worthy groups working on behalf of the social good, Take Action seeks to shine a bright light on one concrete step that Nation readers can take each week. To broaden the conversation, we’ll publish a weekly follow-up post detailing the response and featuring additional campaigns and initiatives that we hope readers will check out. Toward that end, please use the comments field to give us ideas. With your help, we can make real change.

Do the Math: Help Halt Climate Change

As Naomi Klein writes at thenation.com, the reconstruction from Hurricane Sandy is a great time to start recognizing “the limits of political pressure and going after the fossil fuel companies directly, as we are doing at 350.org with our “Do The Math” tour.”

 TO DO

The day after Election Day, Bill McKibben and 350.org are hitting the road to build the movement that will change the terrifying math of the climate crisis. Klein will join them in New York City on November 16. Find out how you can join the movement and help spread the word. Then, share this post with your friends, family and Twitter and Facebook communities.

 TO READ

McKibben, writing for The New York Review of Books, makes clear that Hurricane Sandy was a warning by science, and a wake-up call by nature that we must heed.

 TO WATCH

In this exclusive video for The Nation, McKibben explains that though we can’t stop global warming, as the earth’s temperature has already risen, “we can keep it from getting worse.”

A weekly guide to meaningful action, this blog connects readers with resources to channel the outrage so many feel after reading about abuses of power and privilege. Far from a comprehensive digest of all worthy groups working on behalf of the social good, Take Action seeks to shine a bright light on one concrete step that Nation readers can take each week. To broaden the conversation, we’ll publish a weekly follow-up post detailing the response and featuring additional campaigns and initiatives that we hope readers will check out. Toward that end, please use the comments field to give us ideas. With your help, we can make real change.

Help the Victims of Sandy in Haiti

Haiti is still suffering dearly from the 2010 catastrophic earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and gave rise to what Kathie Klarreich and Linda Polman writing in The Nation call the “NGO Republic of Haiti,” in which the Haitian people are trapped in a recovery effort that has all too often failed to meet their needs. Hurricane Sandy has made things even worse. Three days of fierce rain and wind flooded about 100 camps where some 325,000 people, still homeless from the 2010 earthquake, continue to live.

 TO DO

As the massive relief and recovery effort forges ahead in the US, the International Rescue Committee is acting fast in Haiti. Donate now to support relief efforts focused on the most vulnerable populations and check out this list of non-financial ways you can support the IRC’s work. And please share this post with your friends, family and Facebook and Twitter communities.

 TO READ

This report from National Geographic made clear the extent of the power of the strongest earthquake the world had seen for at least two hundred years.

 TO WATCH

In this Democracy Now! report Naomi Klein presciently explained who was most likely to profit from international relief efforts in Haiti in the wake of the earthquake.

A weekly guide to meaningful action, this blog connects readers with resources to channel the outrage so many feel after reading about abuses of power and privilege. Far from a comprehensive digest of all worthy groups working on behalf of the social good, Take Action seeks to shine a bright light on one concrete step that Nation readers can take each week. To broaden the conversation, we’ll publish a weekly follow-up post detailing the response and featuring additional campaigns and initiatives that we hope readers will check out. Toward that end, please use the comments field to give us ideas. With your help, we can make real change.

Join the Election Protection Coalition

In the face of a wave of GOP-inspired efforts to enact draconian voter suppression bills in pivotal swing states, Ari Berman reports that the Election Protection coalition plans to recruit 10,000 volunteers to assist at the polls during early voting and on election day in twenty states, particularly in high-turnout minority voting areas and historically disenfranchised communities.

 TO DO

Election Protection is recruiting grassroots poll monitors in AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MA, MI, MN, MO, NC, NM, NY, OH, PA, TX, MO and VA. Consider volunteering. If you're a lawyer, law student or paralegal, there are special roles you can play. The coalition is also looking for people to serve as hotline call center volunteers on or before Election Day.  

 TO READ

In early October, Berman's recounting of Florida's recent history of voter suppression showed how vulnerable the franchise is for many African-American voters coast to coast.

 TO WATCH

This informational video from Brave New Films offers a panoply of useful voter information and unveils a new Election Protection smartphone app. (After downloading the app, users can verify their registration; Look up their polling place; Review voting rules and regulations for their state; See what type of machine they vote on and immediately contact the Election Protection coalition to report a problem.)

 

A weekly guide to meaningful action, this blog connects readers with resources to channel the outrage so many feel after reading about abuses of power and privilege. Far from a comprehensive digest of all worthy groups working on behalf of the social good, Take Action seeks to shine a bright light on one concrete step that Nation readers can take each week. To broaden the conversation, we’ll publish a weekly follow-up post detailing the response and featuring additional campaigns and initiatives that we hope readers will check out. Toward that end, please use the comments field to give us ideas. With your help, we can make real change.

Bring the Robin Hood Tax to The US

Katrina vanden Heuvel blogged recently about a piece of unadulterated good news: At a meeting of European Union finance ministers last week, eleven European Countries agreed to support a financial transaction tax. Such an act could raise revenue to avert austerity, while discouraging speculation to avert the next Wall Street-induced disaster.

 TO DO

Now, it’s high time that US progressives take heed, and draw inspiration from Europe's impending common sense reform. A Robin Hood-type tax has been proposed in the United States by Representative Keith Ellison and is known as the “Inclusive Prosperity Act.” Implore your elected reps to support Ellison’s legislation. After weighing in, share this post with friends, family and your Facebook and Twitter communities.

 TO READ

This extensive fact-sheet prepared by the Congressional Progressive Caucus shows how this tiny proposed tax of less than half of 1 percent on Wall Street transactions can generate hundreds of billions of dollars each year—enough to protect American schools, housing and hospitals.

 TO WATCH

This simple video makes clear how the Robin Hood tax could help save and improve the US social safety net while at the same time helping kickstart the economy.

 

 

A weekly guide to meaningful action, this blog connects readers with resources to channel the outrage so many feel after reading about abuses of power and privilege. Far from a comprehensive digest of all worthy groups working on behalf of the social good, Take Action seeks to shine a bright light on one concrete step that Nation readers can take each week. To broaden the conversation, we’ll publish a weekly follow-up post detailing the response and featuring additional campaigns and initiatives that we hope readers will check out. Toward that end, please use the comments field to give us ideas. With your help, we can make real change.

Stop Stop-and-Frisk

An explosive new profanity-laced audio recording obtained by The Nation showing the NYPD performing a particularly aggressive and racially charged stop-and-frisk of a 16-year-old Harlem student is generating an uproar and fueling renewed efforts to end the controversial practice.

Today, in New York’s City Council, members are debating proposals aimed at halting the NYPD’s hundreds of thousands of “stop-and-frisk” stops each year. After years of complaints that the stops are racially discriminatory, the hearings signal that the public debate has gotten loud enough that lawmakers feel they have to be a part of it, whether they want to join the chorus of critics or defend the program. 

 TO DO

The Community Safety Act is a landmark police reform legislative package currently pending in the New York City Council that consists of four bills aimed at ending discriminatory policing. If you’re a New York City resident, implore your local reps to support the CSA. If you’re not, please share this post with any friends, family or Facebook and Twitter contacts who may live in NYC. All US residents should demand that their senators support the End Racial Profiling Act, which could also put “stop-and-frisk” out of business. 

 TO READ

Writing in The Nation last June, David Cole explained why the vast majority of stop-and-frisks are never subjected to judicial review: because most stops don’t lead to arrests. Thus, these encounters are not “policed” by courts the way arrests are. And not surprisingly, when police officers—like anyone else—know they are not being watched, they are likely to cut corners.

 TO WATCH

The Nation’s exclusive video is believed to be the only recording of a stop-and-frisk ever released to the public.

 

A weekly guide to meaningful action, this blog connects readers with resources to channel the outrage so many feel after reading about abuses of power and privilege. Far from a comprehensive digest of all worthy groups working on behalf of the social good, Take Action seeks to shine a bright light on one concrete step that Nation readers can take each week. To broaden the conversation, we’ll publish a weekly follow-up post detailing the response and featuring additional campaigns and initiatives that we hope readers will check out. Toward that end, please use the comments field to give us ideas. With your help, we can make real change.

Help Re-Elect the President

As The Nation editorialized this week, “a victory for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in November would…represent the triumph of social Darwinism, the religious right, corporate power and the big money donors who thrive in a new Gilded Age of inequality.” Despite his capitulations and compromises, the president must be re-elected if progressives are to avoid four years of desperate rear-guard actions on a wide range of critical issues.

 TO DO

Are all your friends and family registered and planning to vote? Anyone unsure of their status? Confused about where to find their polling place? Make sure they’re ready for Election Day by directing them to Color of Change’s comprehensive voter registration center. Then, share this post with your Facebook and Twitter communities.  

 TO READ

Nation columnist Eric Alterman succinctly laid out the likely outcome of a GOP presidential win: “The result, should Romney become president, will be a mixture of policies that favor the superwealthy, punish the poor and middle class, restrict the rights of average Americans, and—I say this without hyperbole—cause a degree of almost unimaginable and unprecedented chaos in virtually every area of American public life.”

 TO WATCH

Ostensibly a parody of his viral rendition of the children’s-book-for-adults Go The F*ck To Sleep, this video shows academy award nominee Samuel L. Jackson magically appearing in the homes of disaffected voters to make the (sometimes obscene) case for enthusiastically supporting President Obama’s re-election.

 

A weekly guide to meaningful action, this blog connects readers with resources to channel the outrage so many feel after reading about abuses of power and privilege. Far from a comprehensive digest of all worthy groups working on behalf of the social good, Take Action seeks to shine a bright light on one concrete step that Nation readers can take each week. To broaden the conversation, we’ll publish a weekly follow-up post detailing the response and featuring additional campaigns and initiatives that we hope readers will check out. Toward that end, please use the comments field to give us ideas. With your help, we can make real change.

Let Former Felons Vote

Before 2007, Florida was one of three states that permanently disenfranchised ex-felons. Former Governor Charlie Crist amended the rules so that nonviolent ex-felons could more easily regain their voting rights. However, as Brentin Mock details in a report from Florida in The Nation, as soon as Rick Scott took office in 2011, he began to reverse Crist’s reforms. Now, those with non-serious felonies convictions have to wait five years after release before they can even be considered for rights restoration.

 TO DO

Florida is not alone in limiting the ability of ex-felons to vote. Iowa, Virginia and Kentucky permanently disenfranchise everyone with felony convictions and at least twelve other states impose some restrictions. The Democracy Restoration Act would restore voting rights in federal elections to all former felons. Add your name to the growing chorus of Americans calling for felon voting rights. After weighing in, share this post with friends, family and your Facebook and Twitter communities.

 TO READ

This Felon Enfranchisement Tool-Kit, produced by the ACLU, offers a wealth of resources, reports and comparative data making the case that felon voting is a legitimate part of any functioning democracy.

 TO WATCH

In this MSNBC video, former Florida Governor Crist criticized his successor for using “shameless” tactics to suppress voting rights, including preventing felons from voting.

 

A weekly guide to meaningful action, this blog connects readers with resources to channel the outrage so many feel after reading about abuses of power and privilege. Far from a comprehensive digest of all worthy groups working on behalf of the social good, Take Action seeks to shine a bright light on one concrete step that Nation readers can take each week. To broaden the conversation, we’ll publish a weekly follow-up post detailing the response and featuring additional campaigns and initiatives that we hope readers will check out. Toward that end, please use the comments field to give us ideas. With your help, we can make real change.

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