Friday, December 15, 2017

Investigate the EPA's removal of independent scientists from advisory boards

The petition to the comptroller general of the United States and the Government Accountability Office reads:
"Investigate Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's decision to ban EPA-funded scientists from scientific advisory boards."
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Investigate the EPA's removal of independent scientists from advisory boards
As the head of Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt is shameless in his quest to get rid of environmental protections. In the latest assault on his own agency's mission, Pruitt has quietly moved to replace independent scientists on EPA advisory boards with fossil fuel and chemical industry representatives.
This attack on science and scientists affects all of us. EPA advisory boards make recommendations about our environmental safety and protection – covering everything from pesticides and hazardous waste to climate and air pollution. We must resist Pruitt's blatant efforts to undermine scientific integrity at every turn.
Pruitt has banned scientists who have received EPA grants from serving on advisory boards, claiming that he is eliminating conflicts of interest. In fact, his policy does the opposite. Pruitt is getting rid of academic experts – who rely on outside research funding – and replacing them with corporate-funded scientists. Because research grants often go to the top scientists in a given field, Pruitt's policy systematically excludes many of the most qualified scientists from advising the EPA.
Just five days after announcing his new policy, Pruitt appointed 66 new scientists to advisory boards – many with ties to the same polluting companies the EPA is supposed to be regulating, including Phillips 66, Dow Chemical and Procter & Gamble.1 Two of the new board chairs have attacked the EPA's science in the past.2
Now 10 senators have called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate. In their words (emphasis in original):
The double-standard is striking: an academic scientist that receives an EPA grant for any purpose cannot provide independent advice on a completely different subject matter on any of EPA's science advisory boards, while industry scientists are presumed to have no inherent conflict if their research is entirely funded by a company with a financial stake in an advisory board's conclusions.3
Stand with these senators and demand an investigation into Pruitt's corporate takeover of scientific advisory boards.
Tell the comptroller general of the United States: Investigate the EPA's removal of government-funded scientists from advisory boards. Click the link below to sign the petition:
- Brandy Doyle, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
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  1. Juliet Eilperin, "EPA’s new science advisers add more industry experts, conservatives to the mix," The Washington Post, Nov. 4, 2017.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse et al., "Letter to the Honorable Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States," Nov. 9, 2017.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Stop bots from dismantling Net Neutrality

Anonymous online robots have used thousands of stolen identities to submit over a million fake anti-net neutrality comments to Trump’s FCC.(1)
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating the comment hacking. But the FCC is being accused by Schneiderman -- and one of its own commissioners -- of withholding key evidence and obstructing the investigation.(2)
Twenty-eight Democratic U.S. senators have called on the FCC to delay Thursday’s vote to repeal net neutrality until the fake comments have been fully investigated.(3) But unless more Republicans in Congress speak up, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will not slow down in his race to repeal net neutrality.
You live in an area that is represented by a Republican in either the House or the Senate. With only 2 days left until the FCC votes, your voice is urgently needed to save net neutrality and defend our democracy!
Will you call Congress today and ask them to tell the FCC to put the brakes on any net neutrality vote until we get to the bottom of who’s trying to pervert our democratic processes?
At least 1.3 million anti-net neutrality comments were fake. They used fake email addresses and, more sinisterly, stolen identities. Nearly half a million of those comments may have come from Russian sources. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman believes that at least 50,000 New Yorkers may have had their identities used to oppose net neutrality without their permission, and has launched a criminal investigation.(4)
But according to FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, the Republican-controlled FCC is refusing to participate in the investigation -- and failing in its duty to protect the legitimacy of the public commenting process.
These fake comments are just the latest attack on our democratic institutions and practices -- and one of the most consequential since Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Pai should be on high alert over this fraud -- instead he’s focused on pleasing his corporate overlords.
That’s why we’re going to ask more members of Congress to demand a delay on this week's net neutrality vote until we get to the bottom of the comment hacking. We only have two days to stop it -- will you call Congress now?
-the Courage team

Monday, December 11, 2017

Call JP Morgan Chase today and tell them NO to KXL. 212-270-1111

Last week, Rainforest Action Network hand delivered the petition you signed with over 40,000 signatures to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, to say No to the Keystone XL pipeline.
JPMorgan Chase is the top US bankroller of extreme fossil fuels, tar sands, and tar sands pipelines. Today, it has the opportunity to do the right thing and stop funding climate chaos — but it will only do so if we call in and demand it.
Please call this number to speak with a JPMorgan Chase representative:


Here’s a simple script you can use for calling JPMorgan Chase
“Hello, I’m (name) from (city, state, or country) and I’m calling to urge JPMorgan Chase stop profiting from climate change and to act responsibly. Right now, JPMorgan Chase is the top US funder of extreme fossil fuels, tar sands, and tar sands pipelines, including Keystone XL. JPMorgan Chase has a choice whether or not to renew the credit facility for TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline. I urge JPMorgan Chase to get on the right side of history by ending financing for TransCanada, the Keystone XL pipeline and defund tar sands projects.”

Thank you for for taking a few minutes out of your day to make a quick call. Your call joined by hundreds of others makes a huge impact! 

Note from Desktop Activist Tucson: I got a real person! 

Reject Kathleen Hartnett White, Trump's climate-denying pick to run the Council on Environmental Quality

The petition to the Senate reads:
"Kathleen Hartnett White is a dangerous right-wing climate change denier who holds extreme, anti-science views. Block and resist her nomination to lead the Council on Environmental Quality."
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Kathleen Hartnett White isn't just your run-of-the-mill extreme right-wing climate-denier. She's a senior fellow at the Koch brothers and Exxon-funded Texas Public Policy Foundation, believes carbon dioxide is harmless "plant food," equates belief in climate change to "paganism," and calls solar and wind power "unreliable and parasitic."1,2If Donald Trump's long list of climate-denying nominees wasn't terrifying enough, his pick to lead the Council on Environmental Quality might be the most extreme and dangerous one yet.
But her most egregious argument against climate change asserts that coal use in the 1800s actually ended slavery in the United States, saying "fossil fuels dissolved the economic justification for slavery."3
A person with such heinous, racist, climate-denying views has no business overseeing environmental policy in our country. We must speak out now to pressure the Senate to block and resist her confirmation before it comes up for a vote.

The little-known Council on Environmental Quality plays a big role in the White House in directing environmental policy across agencies and implementing the National Environmental Policy Act, which oversees environmental permit applications. An extreme climate-denier leading this council could have an oversized and dangerous influence over permit applications for fossil fuel infrastructure projects, like dirty oil pipelines or coal and fracked natural gas export terminals.

Remember this embarrassing moment?
In her recent Senate confirmation hearing, Hartnett White struggled to hide her anti-science views and long-time contempt for climate science. When asked if she believed the climate was changing, she first replied "I am uncertain," then fumbled to correct herself. Later in the hearing, when progressive champion Sen. Jeff Merkley asked Hartnett White if she believed carbon dioxide levels have increased dramatically, she replied with a sigh and said "no."4
Political pundits have said if Harnett White is confirmed it will be "a huge win for Steve Bannon," but activism resisting Trump's climate-denying nominees is working.5 After hundreds of thousands of progressives – including more than 170,000 CREDO members – took action, urging the Senate to reject Sam Clovis, Trump's racist, climate-denying pick to be the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientist, Clovis withdrew his nomination from consideration.6 We must speak out again in full force to block another dangerous nominee from setting foot in the Trump regime.
Tell the Senate: Reject climate-denier Kathleen Hartnett White's nomination to run the Council on Environmental Quality. Click the link below to sign the petition:

Josh Nelson, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
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  1. Andrew Kaczynski, "Trump pick for top environmental post called belief in global warming a 'kind of paganism,'" CNN, Oct 18, 2017.
  2. Democracy Now!, "Climate Denier Kathleen Hartnett White Named White House Environmental Adviser," Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Christopher Hooks, "Top TPPF Analyst: Coal Ended Slavery," Texas Observer, Sept. 30, 2014.
  4. Alexander C. Kaufman, "5 Times Trump’s Pick For Top Environmental Adviser Struggled To Defend Her Climate Denial," HuffPost, Nov. 8, 2017.
  5. Alexander C. Kaufman, "Trump’s Pick For White House Environmental Post Once Said Coal Helped End Slavery," HuffPost, Oct 13, 2017.
  6. Alexander C. Kaufman, "Trump’s USDA Pick With Ties To Russia Investigation Withdraws Nomination," HuffPost, Nov. 2, 2017.

Break the internet, so we can save it! Tuesday 12/12 #SAVENETNEUTRALITY #STOPTHEFCC

The FCC will vote to kill net neutrality this Thursday, but Congress can stop them. We have good intel suggesting there are Republican lawmakers close to speaking out to stop the FCC in Arizona and we need to activate local people interested in net neutrality to help make that happen. You can help by visiting and sharing it with your friends.

Comcast, Verizon and AT&T want to end net neutrality so they can control what we see & do online. They want to gut FCC rules, and then pass bad legislation that allows extra fees, throttling & censorship. But Congress can put a stop to all of this. Write Congress first, then call, then join our day of action December 12th!

I urge you to stop the FCC's plan to end net neutrality *before* the FCC's December 14th vote.

I don't want ISPs to have the power to block websites, slow them down, give some sites an advantage over others, split the Internet into "fast lanes" for companies that pay and "slow lanes" for the rest, or force me to buy special "tiers" to access the sites and services I choose. But that's exactly what the FCC plan would do. Please read it:

Blocking & throttling by ISPs is a serious problem. Comcast has throttled Netflix, AT&T blocked FaceTime, Time Warner Cable throttled the popular game League of Legends, and Verizon admitted it will introduce fast lanes for sites that pay-and slow lanes for everyone else-if the FCC lifts the rules. This hurts consumers and businesses large and small.

If some companies can pay ISPs to have their content load faster, startups and small businesses that can't pay those fees won't be able to compete. This will kill the open marketplace that has enabled millions of small businesses and created America’s 5 most valuable companies. Without strong net neutrality protections, Internet providers will effectively be able to impose a tax on every sector of the American economy.

Moreover, under Chairman Pai's plan, ISPs will be able to make it more difficult to access political speech that they don't like. They'll be able to charge fees for website delivery that would make it harder for blogs, nonprofits, artists, and others who can't pay up to have their voices heard.

If the FCC passes their current order, every Internet user and business in this country will be unprotected from abuse by Internet providers, and the consequences will be dire. Please publicly support net neutrality protections by denouncing the FCC's current plan. Do whatever you can to stop Chairman Pai, to ensure that businesses and Internet users remain protected. Thank you!

Want to do more? Join the online protest Dec. 12th!

The FCC is about to vote to end net neutrality—breaking the fundamental principle of the open Internet—and only an avalanche of calls to Congress can stop it. So this Tuesday, December 12th, Break the Interneton your site, on Twitter, on Youtube or in whatever creative way you can, to get your audience to contact Congress.

That’s how we win. Are you in?


Tell the FCC inspector general: Investigate FCC Chairman Pai's Sweetheart Deal for Trump TV

The petition to the inspector general of the Federal Communications Commission reads:
"Investigate FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's actions to benefit the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Until the investigation is complete, direct staff to cease work on the merger and direct Chairman Pai to recuse himself until the investigation determines whether a permanent recusal is warranted."
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Almost from the day he took office, Pai has pushed through a series of radical rule changes to help out the Sinclair Broadcast Group, a network so cozy with Trump that it is sometimes called "Trump TV." Among other sweetheart deals, Pai is scrapping FCC rules on media ownership to allow Sinclair – already the biggest television operator in the country – to acquire another network and grow even bigger.It's no secret that Donald Trump hates the media, but he's not just complaining about it on Twitter. Just as Trump's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai has been trying to kill net neutrality, Pai has also been quietly changing FCC policies to create a more pro-Trump media landscape.
If they succeed, Trump and Pai could permanently change the U.S. media landscape. But their actions appear to be so clearly designed to benefit one company – and Trump himself – that they could violate the FCC's own mission as an independent agency.
Last year, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner announced that the Trump campaign made a deal with Sinclair to get favorable coverage for Trump on the far-right network.1 Paying back the favor, once Trump entered the White House, he met with Sinclair's CEO and talked about "potential FCC rule changes" to help the company.2
But Pai's actions are just as disturbing. The FCC is supposed to be an independent agency that serves the public interest – not media companies and certainly not Donald Trump. Days after Trump won the election, then-FCC Commissioner Pai had an off-the-record meeting with SInclair's CEO. In the two-week period before Trump took office, Pai met with Sinclair two more times, once before meeting with Trump himself and once after.3 Then, two days after taking office, Trump nominated Pai as FCC chairman. Pai got to work right away on a series of policy changes that directly benefit Sinclair.
Pai's most radical step has been to eliminate rules that would prevent Sinclair from acquiring the Tribune Media Company. This is a mega-merger that would leave Sinclair with an incredible 223 stations covering 72 percent of U.S. households.4 With the FCC's longstanding media ownership rules out of the way, the commission will decide on the merger in the next few months.
Now, however, 15 senators have called for the FCC inspector general to investigate Pai's actions, saying they “suggest a disturbing pattern of a three-way quid pro quo involving Sinclair, the Trump administration and Chairman Ajit Pai."5 The senators have asked the inspector general to tell Pai to recuse himself from all decisions related to Sinclair during the investigation, and they want FCC staff to stop work on the merger until the investigation is complete.
If Pai is changing the media landscape to benefit Donald Trump, we need to know – and we need to stop him.
Tell the FCC inspector general: Investigate FCC Chairman Pai's actions to benefit the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Click the link below to sign the petition:
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
  1. Josh Dawsey and Hadas Gold, "Kushner: We struck deal with Sinclair for straighter coverage," POLITICO, Dec. 16, 2016.
  2. Claire Atkinson and Josh Kosman, "Sinclair is close to buying all of Tribune’s TV stations," New York Post, March 14, 2017.
  3. Sen. Maria Cantwell et al., "Letter to FCC Inspector General David L. Hunt," Nov. 15, 2017.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Tell the DNC Unity Commission: End superdelegates!

At best, superdelegates give the perception of an unfair advantage to frontrunners, party favorites, and well-funded establishment candidates. At worst, they can subvert the will of grassroots Democrats to pick the party’s presidential nominee. To re-establish trust with voters and allow the Democratic Party to move forward united against Donald Trump’s agenda, the DNC Unity Commission must recommend the DNC vote to end superdelegates once and for all.
The DNC Unity Commission was created in the aftermath of the 2016 primary to address serious concerns over the fairness and impartiality of the Democratic presidential nominating process.

Here at Demand Progress, we’ve been fighting for over a year to eliminate superdelegates, and return the power of choosing a presidential nominee back to voters and grassroots activists where it belongs.

We’ve reached a critical moment to get rid of superdelegates for good.

Tell the Unity Commission: Return the Democratic Party to the people. No more superdelegates!

Superdelegates are party insiders, elected officials, and big donors who get to vote on the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. They represent no one but themselves, and can cast their vote for whoever they want at the party’s nominating convention. Even if the state they are from overwhelmingly voted for a particular candidate, they can vote for whoever they want, essentially canceling out the votes of thousands of people.

Party insiders would like nothing more than for the Unity Commission to quietly kill reforms to the primary process, and they’re counting on activists like you and me to have short memories.

That’s why we need to get as many signatures on this petition as possible. The DNC needs to know this issue is not going away and that activists demand change. If we win strong recommendations to end superdelegates out of the Unity Commission, it will be much harder for the DNC to kill them at their meeting in February.

Democrats won an impressive number of local and state races in 2017 through deep organizing and platforms that spoke to the concerns of grassroots activists and rank-and-file voters.

We must keep the momentum going by ensuring the Democratic Party can present itself as a credible alternative to Trump and the Republican Party with a bold, economic populist agenda that refuses to divide Americans based on bigotry and fear.

Eliminating superdelegates will start the 2020 nominating process on the right foot by returning the choice of presidential nominee to primary voters.

Tell the Unity Commission: The people should choose the nominee, not party insiders. Eliminate superdelegates!

- Demand Progress