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Using IT for Political Advocacy

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment

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While many citizens choose Twitter and/or Facebook to advocate for important causes (or just vent), it’s definitely not the only weapon in the advocacy arsenal.

Countable and VoteSpotter are two apps enabling social advocates and political junkies to obtain info regarding issues and bills, so citizens can respond in real time to their elected officials.

We need everyone to fight for our Rights. Please contact your elected officials and tell them what’s important in your life. Remember, they work for you.

Do the elected officials in Washington stand with ordinary Americans – working families, children, the elderly, the poor – or will the extraordinary power of billionaire campaign contributors and Big Money prevail? The American people, by the millions, must send Congress the answer to that question. -Bernie Sanders

 

 

 

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Your Cat and Thai Slavery

February 29, 2016 Leave a comment

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Well, that’s my cat up there; I adopted Luna a few months ago, but she only ate dry food. Since I felt this type of diet wasn’t good for her, I tried to find the best nutritious, wet (as in canned) cat food that she would enjoy. I tried numerous brands. Some she turned her nose up at, others she sniffed and eventually ate, and some she devoured.

Little did I know, one brand was from Thailand. At first, I was upset because I prefer to invest in American-made products. Then I was concerned the product might not be safe. After a quick google search, I found out Thailand strives to be the go-to exporter of pet food, but what I also found were disturbing articles related to slavery and the fishing industry in Thailand.

To be blunt, I cannot support companies that profit through slavery and hope others will do the same and not buy pet food from Thailand. While I tried to find petitions to add to this article, most were closed at this time. If more information develops, I will update this article. Readers, please feel free to share information in the comments section. Thank you.

“I cried,” said Mr. Long, 30, recounting how he was resold twice between fishing boats. After repeated escape attempts, one captain shackled him by the neck whenever other boats neared. – Excerpt from the article, “Sea Slaves: The Human Misery that Feeds Pets and Livestock” By Ian Urbina

 

 

Consumer Politics: BuyPartisan

February 28, 2015 Leave a comment
Spending while Supporting Your Ideals

Spending while Supporting Your Ideals

I’m fessing up. There are products I like that I no longer buy. Why? Because I know where the company’s profits go. Now, my purchasing power no longer supports a political party that is not in line with my political beliefs.

More consumers can take advantage of the power of the purse by using the “BuyPartisan” mobile app. With a simple swipe of a product’s barcode, you can find information regarding “political donations of the CEO, Board of Directors, PAC’s and employees of the company you are buying from.”

In short, money is power, so support companies with your ideals when spending your green.

It is money, money, money! Not ideas, not principles, but money that reigns supreme in American politics. – Robert Byrd

 

 

Archived Posters Remind Us of When Government Worked for the People

Thanks to the WPA, Posters for the People, and Berkeley for this image.

WPA Poster Image from Posters for the People and Berkeley.edu

I was reading an old magazine—one that I hadn’t read at the time it came out. The cover asked, Tired of the Doom and Gloom? I could give you the same answer then as I would now. Yes, I am tired of the doom and gloom.

This slice of timely irony encapsulated by an Utne Reader from September/October of 2008 came out at a not-so-great time for many of us. It reflected my feelings perfectly, then and now. So much so that I couldn’t even read what it had to offer at the time, but now it was one of the my last mags left to keep or recycle. This one was a keeper.

Halfway through the magazine, I came upon The Art of the New Deal by Joseph Hart who was touting socially responsible posters from the Works Progress Administration, a part of FDRs New Deal. The WPA was responsible for putting people to work, including construction workers, miners, office workers, but also artists, actors, and writers. It was a true slice of progressive Americana.

The article advised that these historical posters would be available online through an organization called WPA Living Archive. I kept repeating the phrase in my mind until I got to my laptop. (It was early morning; I hadn’t finished my first cup of coffee, and my brain requires java for memory.) I entered the address, and came up with nothing. I searched the words and found Posters for the People, and an incredible collection took over my screen—remnants saved from a bygone era when government, at the very least, seemed to care.

For those of you who aren’t aware, we wouldn’t have Mount Rushmore, the Hoover Dam and bridges like the Golden Gate without the WPA. It was a socially responsible program to get people back to work after the Great Depression. I know the concept sounds foreign, especially after dealing with a congress that can’t even pass a jobs bill.

To be blunt, it’s a shame we can’t find that kind of determined love of country in our government now because we would be in a heck of a lot better shape if politicians put workers first, so I say the American citizenry needs to demand it. Only then is it possible for a new congress to emerge—a congress that actually cares to do its job, and do it well.

Change will only happen if we do our job. We need to call our elected officials out, and if that doesn’t work, vote them out. And on that note, I raise my second cup of mud with a toast, “Here’s to a new deal for us all.”

 

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Make a Difference When Gift Giving, Give a Goat

December 11, 2013 1 comment

ground_bag_03If you’re like many of us, you’re not sure what gifts to pick up for friends and family. Why not give a gift that will be sure to please the recipient and make life better for others? It’s easier than you think. The best way to help your local community is to buy local and buy products made in the USA. Another way to invest for the greater good is to purchase products from nonprofits. Either of these choices will make a positive impact in our communities and are sure to make your family and friends appreciate your thoughtfulness.

If you’d like to raise some eyebrows while making a difference, give a goat, a share of a goat or another animal through Heifer International. It doesn’t stop there. You can make this a family tradition, and get a different animal each year to celebrate the holidays or to remember and honor a loved one.

You can shop gift stores online at the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Bread for Life, Best Friends Animal Society, Do Good Buy Us, Handcrafting Justice, Human Rights Campaign, NPR, National Wildlife Federation, PBS Sierra Club and St. Judes are just a few of the fine nonprofit gift shops to choose from, and all of their respective links are available here: Online Gift Stores That Benefit Nonprofits

Lastly, my thanks to ABC News for compiling an updated list of American-made products. To check out products made in the USA, click here: Made in America 2013: Gift Ideas

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ― Mother Teresa

There is Still Time to Rise Up Against Income Inequality

March 10, 2013 8 comments

Income in America Out of Balance

“A Harvard business prof and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was even more equitable.” -Mother Jones Article: It’s the Inequality, Stupid

Obviously, our system is broken, but there is still time to fix it by rising up against income equality. It’s important to take the time to contact your elected officials, speak with your neighbors, and advocate with and for our communities. Together we can fight against the rising income equality in our country, and a way to start is by speaking up in support of living wage initiatives, and signing petitions such as the “Time for a Raise” Petition.

Once upon a time, the benefits of American life were bountiful, but our unions are being trounced upon by corporate interests. Full-time workers are living in poverty while corporations are getting subsidies, and taxpayers are picking up the tab for all of it.

So, please start your own raise awareness campaign:
-Support living wage initiatitives
-Invest in products made in the USA
-Support unions, local businesses, and artisans
-Contact your elected officials, and speak about the lack of job investments

Lastly, I want to thank you for your activism; it’s important that we all do what we can to extinguish apathetic tendencies, and promote opposition to income inequality in order to have equal opportunity for us all.

“There can be no peace as long as there is grinding poverty, social injustice, inequality, oppression, environmental degradation, and as long as the weak and small continue to be trodden by the mighty and powerful.”
-Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama quotes (Dalai Lama, b.1935)

Call to Action For Our Independence

July 3, 2012 1 comment

Photo credit to Google Free Images

On this holiday, most of our focus is on family, friends, barbecues and fireworks, but today on the eve of our national holiday my request is two-fold: a “call to read” the very document we celebrate: The Declaration of Independence, and a call to action to ensure our country knows the needs of our citizenry.

The Declaration of Independence is a quick read filled with contradiction, bias and hypocrisy, yet these words also reflect our rebellious nature which fills many citizens with pride. We are the United States of America; we are Americans. We understand that all men are created equal even if at the time of this document’s inception – or even now – we do not include everyone, nor are are they all treated in such a manner. Over the years, many people understood this document to be a starting off point not an end, and to those who fight for the America we endeavor to be, I salute you.

To those who shed light on the injustices of this world and request a call to action, thank you for your efforts in agitation.

To those of you who invest in our country, thank you for making the difference in our livelihoods and our future.

To those who fight “stop and frisk” procedures, thank you for your efforts in ensuring freedom for all.

To those who fight to stop fracking, thank you for your efforts to protect our environment and specifically our water.

To those who fought for a healthcare law because you understood the need, thank you for caring.

This list falls short; there are so many people who need to be appreciated for their efforts in working towards a positive evolution of our nation. So, I ask you to seize the opportunity to thank them, help them and if not already – become them. We can do better; we are Americans.

“When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

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