Posted on June 1, 2018
Each month, we ask CREDO members to vote on how we distribute funding to three great progressive causes. This June, CREDO members have the chance to support organizations fighting for reproductive freedom, battling climate change and defending transgender rights by voting for NARAL Pro-Choice America, Rainforest Action Network and the Transgender Law Center.
Learn more about these groups below and click here to vote for one, two or all three groups today.
NARAL Pro-Choice America
NARAL Pro-Choice America and its 1.2 million member-activists fight every day to protect and expand reproductive freedom – including access to abortion and birth control, paid parental leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination.
Funding from CREDO members would help NARAL mobilize its 1.2 million members-activists under a mantra of Power, Progress, Principles: building power through people, carving out a path toward real progress and holding our leaders accountable to these principles. Funding would also help the organization gear up for a major Supreme Court challenge to NARAL’s Reproductive FACT Act, the first reproductive rights test for the Gorsuch Court.
Rainforest Action Network
Rainforest Action Network preserves forests, protects the climate and upholds human rights by challenging corporate power and systemic injustice through frontline partnerships and strategic campaigns.
CREDO funding would support the escalation of RAN’s on-the-ground and digital organizing campaign to oppose JP Morgan Chase’s financing for tar sands through high profile non-violent direct actions that secure media attention. These direct actions would show JP Morgan Chase that its involvement in tar sands will harm its brand image by exposing its financial links to human rights abuses and climate chaos.
Transgender Law Center
The Transgender Law Center does what it takes to keep transgender people alive, thriving and fighting for liberation. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC is the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all.
In these uncertain political times when federal support for transgender equality has been rolled back, transgender immigrants are bearing the brunt of double attacks on their rights and well-being. Funding from CREDO members would allow TLC to rapidly move forward with impact litigation when an appropriate case presents itself, organize a National Training Institute or provide particular technical assistance to communities when state or local issues create a heightened need for trans organizing, or provide Trans Immigration Defense Effort support in response to urgent threats facing immigrants.
Your vote this June will determine how we divide $150,000 in donations among these three progressive causes. Be sure to cast your vote to support one, two or all three by June 30.
CREDO members who use our products are the reason why we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile, the carrier with a conscience.
Posted on May 30, 2018
Big victory for renewable energy in New Jersey! Thanks to our allies and CREDO activists in the state, Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed a “historic measure to revive renewable energy in New Jersey.”
More than 2,600 CREDO members in New Jersey signed our petition urging the state legislature to stand up for solar power. Now, New Jersey will help to lead the way in promoting clean, renewable solar power to its residents by creating New Jersey’s first community solar program and ramping up New Jersey’s Renewable Portfolio Standard – the rule that requires power companies to include an increasing percentage of renewable energy in the energy they sell.
To all our New Jersey CREDO members, thank you for your activism.
We also want to thank our allies at Vote Solar, Earthjustice, the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Sunrun who have been working hard on the ground in New Jersey and advocating to move this legislation forward.
Posted on May 29, 2018
Tuesday Tip: 5 Books for Summer Reading
Summer will be here soon. Days will be longer and, magically, you’ll have a lot more time to do stuff – like surf the internet or binge watch that Netflix series you missed.
Or read a good book. Yes, that’s more like it. Relax with a cool drink and a book and improve your mind. It’s true. Research shows that reading is excellent for your thinking and memory and maintains brain health as you age.
Here are five of our favorite books for summer reading.
Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
This is the emotional and inspiring true story of a transgender girl, her identical twin brother and a small-town American family’s journey from discovery to understanding to fierce advocacy for transgender rights. Ellis Nutt, Pulitzer Prize–winning science reporter for the Washington Post, delivers a luminous account of the Maines family, as parents Kelly and Wayne rise above their preconceptions, learn to love both their children equally and launch a landmark legal fight that forces a town to confront its prejudices and a school to rewrite its rules. It was also named one of the best books of the year in 2015 by the New York Times Book Review.
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer
From land of the free, home of the brave to toxic Trumpscape. How did we get here? Investigative journalist Mayer shows us how, revealing the small group of immensely wealthy, extremely conservative plutocrats who have made America the bastion of inequality, tribalism and scorched-earth capitalism it is today. For decades, a secretive group of oligarchs – including the Kochs, the Scaifes, the Olins and the Bradleys – have spent billions to design and deliver a plan that has fundamentally altered our society, culture and politics. An eye-opening and frankly frightening account of how the United States has been made what it is today by a faction of right-wing families with entirely their own interests in mind.
Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out and Finding the Courage to Lead by Cecile Richards
Cecile Richards is the daughter of the late, great, straight-talking Texas Gov. Ann Richards. She served as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund for more than a decade. In this highly personal and instructive memoir, she describes how she learned to lead and make change and fight for women’s rights and social justice, starting when she was sent to the principal’s office in 7th grade for protesting the Vietnam War. Richards tells a powerful story of the prejudice, fake news and threats of violence that face those who challenge the status quo – and she urges us to fight through it all to take risks, make trouble and create a better world along the way.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
A longtime civil rights advocate and litigator, Alexander makes the case that the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a system of racial control, imprisoning Black men by the millions, relegating them to permanent second-class status and repressing communities of color. The rate of incarceration for African Americans nearly tripled from 1968 to 2016, and Black boys now face a 32 percent probability of incarceration in their lifetime. This is a system designed to maintain African Americans as a permanent underclass, Alexander argues convincingly. Her book is a must-read for all people of conscience.
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
What does an extinction look like? It looks like a massive asteroid impact. Like an enormous volcanic eruption. And it looks like now. In the past half-billion years, there have been five mass extinctions in which the diversity of life on earth decreased suddenly and dramatically. We are now seeing a sixth extinction and the cause of the cataclysm is not asteroid or megavolcano but us people. In prose candid, entertaining and, yes, discouraging, New Yorker writer Kolbert explains how we are changing the planet’s environment as no species ever has and she compels us to rethink the fundamental meaning of what it is to be human.
Posted on May 23, 2018
Earlier this May, we learned that AT&T paid Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, $600,000 to “advise” on various matters in the telecommunications industry – even though Cohen is not an expert in the field. Cohen is widely considered a “fixer” who is best known for paying hush money to a woman with whom Trump allegedly had an affair and accepting massive sums of money from corporations in exchange for access to the president.
The timing of the payments to Cohen through a shady shell corporation raises serious questions about AT&T’s intentions to influence the Trump administration.
First, AT&T’s proposed $85 billion mega-merger with Time Warner is currently pending before the Department of Justice, which has sued to block the merger from moving forward. Trump has also publicly opposed the merger and promised to block it if he was elected. CREDO and our members have pressured the DOJ a number of times to reject this merger, which would hurt consumers, decrease competition and drastically increase market concentration.
What was AT&T expecting from Cohen and Trump after making such a massive payment? Cohen is no policy expert and, as far as we can tell, has no serious understanding of the telecom industry. An internal memo from AT&T claims Cohen was hired to work on “legislative policy development” and “regulatory policy development.” This reasoning simply doesn’t pass the smell test.
Second, payments from AT&T flowed into Cohen’s bank account starting in early 2017 and ending in January 2018 – just as Trump’s hand-picked FCC chairman Ajit Pai pushed through the repeal of net neutrality regulations despite massive public outcry – including from hundreds of thousands of CREDO members and even 75 percent of Trump supporters. We already knew AT&T opposed net neutrality, but now internal documents from AT&T reveal that the company paid Cohen to work on issues “with a focus on the FCC.”
Unlike AT&T and its corporate grift, CREDO Mobile has never given money to Donald Trump’s lawyer, and we never will. CREDO customers will never have to worry that their mobile carrier will participate in a pay-to-play scheme to win approval for corporate mega-mergers or destroy net neutrality.
At CREDO, our customers know that their phone bill is supporting progressive organizations and grassroots activists fighting to stop Trump and his right-wing agenda, including the battle to protect net neutrality and preserve a free and open internet.
Here’s the comparison of AT&T and CREDO – by the numbers:
Posted on May 22, 2018
UltraViolet Executive Director Shaunna Thomas joined CREDO Action Co-Director Heidi Hess for a special conversation to discuss how the organization is fighting sexism and standing up for women’s rights. If you missed the live broadcast, you can watch the full video below or on our Facebook page.
Posted on May 22, 2018
Plenty of parking: This summer, visit a national park
With summer on the way, you might be planning a vacation. Here’s a suggestion: go to a national park—because the great outdoors is always a good idea.
You might choose the most visited: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which offers 800 miles of hiking trails across North Carolina and Tennessee. Or the least visited: Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska, which is north of the Arctic Circle and accessible only by bush plane.
You might try the largest: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, also in Alaska, is 25 percent bigger than Switzerland. Or drop in at the smallest: David Berger National Memorial in Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, consists of a sculpture on the grounds of the Mandel Jewish Community Center and commemorates David Berger, a weightlifter with dual U.S.-Israel citizenship who was one of the 11 Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
You have 60 national parks to choose from and now is a great time to go and show your appreciation. President Trump and his Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, consider our parks not an irreplaceable national treasure owned by all Americans (which they are) but a resource to be mined, drilled and logged for corporate profit (which Zinke is trying to make them).
Here at CREDO, we’re fighting to preserve the health and accessibility of our national parks. And we’re winning. In April, after more than 85,000 CREDO members submitted public comments, the Interior Department backed down from a proposal to significantly raise entrance fees at some of our most iconic national parks.
Here are six parks that show the wild diversity of our national network.
We hope they’ll spark your vacation brainstorming process and encourage you to get out and enjoy a park soon.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia is the only national park in Maine and, fittingly, includes fine examples of the state’s many dramatic natural features. There are peaks, including Cadillac Mountain, which at 1,530 feet is the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard and the first place to see the sun rise in the U.S. (from October 7 to March 6). There are ponds, forests, fields and rocky coastlines. There is abundant wildlife, from whales to raptors. And you can explore it all on the park’s 45 miles of historic carriage roads—commissioned by John D. Rockefeller in 1915—by foot, bike or horse. There are also varied choices of accommodation. You can camp, rent a cabin or find a B&B in Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor or Northeast Harbor, along with a lot of good restaurants.
Hulls Cove Visitor Center, Route 3, Bar Harbor, ME 04609. Plan your visit.
Great Basin National Park, NevadaGreat Basin is a great place to get away from it all. Located in eastern Nevada on the Utah border, it’s one of our least-visited national parks. It’s surrounded by desert but there is abundant diversity here. There is 13,000-foot Wheeler Peak, with its rock-covered glacier. There are ancient bristlecone pine trees, some of them thousands of years old. Below the park are the Lehman Caves, an extensive natural limestone cave system, and above the park is a galactically brilliant night sky. This is one of the darkest places in the U.S. and it features a magnificent view of the Milky Way.
5500 W Hwy 488, Baker, NV 89311. Plan your visit.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
The mountainous dunes here are the tallest in North America. The highest reach over 700 feet and take over an hour to climb up from the parking lot. Prefer not to climb down? No problem. Bring your own sled or sandboard and, after you enjoy the view from the top, you can ride to the bottom. Then cool off with a swim in Medanos Creek, depending on the snowpack in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains above the dunefield. If you’re not an X-sports kind of person, there are miles of trails for hiking and backpacking, through not only dunes but grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes and tundra. And, as they say here, half the park is after dark. The park’s combination of dry air, scant light pollution and elevation make for excellent stargazing.
Visitor Center, 11999 State Highway 150, Mosca, CO 81146. Plan your visit.
Isle Royale National Park, Lake SuperiorA great escape relatively close to civilization, Isle Royale is a group of islands in Lake Superior, near Michigan’s border with Canada. Accessible only by boat, seaplane or 6-hour ferry trip, the rugged islands are an easy place to find time alone. They see fewer visitors in a year than Yellowstone in a day. Go backpacking, day hiking, kayaking or even scuba diving on one of the lake’s shipwrecks. There are no wheeled vehicles allowed here (not even bicycles) to preserve the peace of the moose, wolves, foxes, otters and other wild species. The park is perfect for camping but, if that’s not your cup of cocoa, there is the Rock Harbor Lodge and several cabins.
800 East Lakeshore Drive. Houghton, MI 49931. Plan your visit.
North Cascades National Park, WashingtonThe inaccessibility of North Cascades—Highway 20 is the only road through—ensures that the park is uncrowded and pristine, though it’s only 100 miles from Seattle. This is a rugged mountainscape of glaciers, temperate rainforest, bald eagles and waterfalls. Many of the hiking trails are difficult but one that isn’t is Cascade Pass, along what was once a trade route used by Native peoples traveling between the coast and the interior. They followed ridge crests to avoid the dense brush along avalanche chutes and stream bottoms and you can retrace their steps on a relatively easy 3.5-mile hike through the forest and up to the pass, which is at 5,392 feet and offers breathtaking views.
810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284. Plan your visit.
Pinnacles National Park, CaliforniaJust 2 hours southeast of San Francisco, amid oak groves and chaparral-covered hills, Pinnacles is a unique landscape of rock crags, caves and spires formed 23 million years ago by volcanic eruptions. It’s an uncrowded but striking landscape crossed by 30 miles of hiking trails rated from easy to expert level. Wildlife here includes bats living in the rare talus caves (bring your flashlight), peregrine falcons, golden eagles and a population of almost 100 California condors, back from the brink of extinction. The park is divided into two halves, east and west. There is camping on the east side but not the west.
Many of us here at CREDO will be headed to a national park this summer. We hope to see you out there.
5000 Highway 146, Paicines, CA 95043. Plan your visit.
Posted on May 16, 2018
Here’s a huge thank you to the more than 86,000 CREDO activists who took action demanding that the Senate reject the nomination of Adm. Ronny Jackson, Trump’s White House physician, to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.
After massive public pressure –- including by CREDO member and our allies –- Jackson removed himself from consideration from the position.
Trump fired former VA Secretary David Shulkin because Shulkin opposed Trump’s radical privatization plans. To replace him, Trump nominated Jackson – a man with zero experience in management who is most famous for his comically over-the-top praise of Trump’s physical condition.
We know Trump’s next pick to lead the VA could be another privatization advocate, so we hope you will join us again to oppose any nominee who plans to do our veterans a disservice by handing over their care to private industry.
Posted on May 16, 2018
72 hours after the 9/11 attacks, every Member of Congress, save one, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), voted to give then-President Bush the authority to go to war against the perpetrators of those attacks. 17 years later, that authority is still being used as the basis for U.S. military action around the world.
Congresswoman Lee’s argument was simple: the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) was a blank check for war. Her opposition earned her death threats, requiring protective service. Nearly 17 years later, it is more clear than ever that Rep. Lee was right.
With 60 short words, the 2001 AUMF unleashed what would become the longest war in American history. It has been used to justify military force not just in Afghanistan to go after al Qaeda and the Taliban but in at least 14 total countries. Fulfilling those missions has cost the United States trillions of dollars and the lives of thousands of service members, and has killed countless civilians in the crossfire.
Those are staggering costs. And yet, what’s even more shocking is how much of a complete failure the entire endeavor has been. In the words of one congressionally mandated independent analysis conducted just last year, “Al-Qaeda today is larger, more agile, and more resilient than it was in 2001.” But today’s so-called “war on terror” has spiraled well beyond al Qaeda, with American forces fighting extremists from Niger to Yemen to Syria to Somalia, many in organizations that didn’t even exist in 2001.
This blank check for war has given us an endless war, just like Rep. Lee predicted. And the longer we keep fighting it, the more we and the people of the world keep losing.
We’ve tried big wars. We’ve tried small wars. We’ve tried arming and training local forces to do the fighting. We’ve even tried using a fleet of flying killer robots. And it’s all yielded the same result. Failure.
Yet astoundingly, some in the United States Congress have decided it’s time to double down and write a new — even bigger — blank check. Earlier this spring, Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced a new war authorization with the stated intention of “reining in” the president’s ability to wage worldwide, endless war. But the problem is, their bill does no such thing. In fact, this new AUMF is an even more dangerous blank check for war. And if we don’t step in and stop it soon, it may just become law.
The Corker-Kaine war authorization would double down on our failed policies by codifying the use of force against everyone the United States is fighting already fighting under the auspices of the 2001 law (it names 8 groups in total.) Even scarier, the bill then turns the Constitution completely on its head by giving the president the authority to add to that list of organizations and countries with just an FYI to Congress. Congress can technically vote to reject that move — but only after two months (an eternity in modern warfare), and only by a huge margin. The fact is, once the president has single-handedly started a new war, it would be nearly impossible to slam on the brakes.
The two provisions designed to be “constraints” are: (1) a limit on the president making nation-states targets under the war authorization and (2) a requirement that Congress review the legislation every four years. However, upon closer examination, both become meaningless.
Take Iran, for example. It’s true that if the Corker-Kaine war authorization became law, Donald Trump could not claim it gives him license to go to war with Iran. But he could, in theory, use it to go to war against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps by claiming that they are affiliated with al Qaeda, an argument his own Secretary of State and National Security Advisor have spent considerable energy making over the years.
As for the congressional review, instead of a traditional sunset which would mean that if Congress didn’t agree to renew the war authorization it would automatically terminate, Corker-Kaine would once again flip this on its head. Inaction by Congress would lead to automatic re-authorization rather than repeal. Let me ask you which is more likely, Congressional action to repeal it or inaction to leave it in place? Exactly.
The reality is that Sens. Corker and Kaine have ignored the very reason that the Founders put the power to declare war firmly in Congress’ hands in the first place. In explaining themselves in the Federalist Papers, the Constitution’s authors made clear that, having seen countless European wars fought by kings and queens, often for petty personal grievances, they wanted it to be hard for the president to go to war. They didn’t want one person, any single president (and certainly not THIS president) to be able to take our nation to war by themselves. So they gave that power to the branch of government directly accountable to the people: Congress. They didn’t expect Congress to be functional or even to be able to agree. In fact, they were counting on that dysfunction and disagreement to make going to war extremely difficult. They wanted it to be hard. They wanted us to get a say.
And that’s what we have to do now. Senators are deciding whether they’re going to support the Corker-Kaine war authorization. They’re debating whether or not to double down on an endless, failing war on terrorism. And we have to be part of this debate. We have to make going to war hard.
It’s up to us to demand that our Senators learn the lessons of 17 years of failure. It’s up to us to demand that our Senators heed Representative Barbara Lee’s warning from 2001 that we must never give the President a blank check for war. And it’s up to us to tell the Senate to reject the Corker-Kaine blank check for endless war.
CREDO and Win Without War are mobilizing allies and activists together to end Trump’s blank check for war. If you’d like to take action, please click here.
Stephen Miles is the director of Win Without War, a powerful community working to build a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. They combine a diverse national coalition with people-powered campaigns and advocacy to drive a progressive, values-based U.S. foreign policy. CREDO members voted to donate over $57,000 to the Win Without War in 2017. To learn more about who we fund and how we distribute our donations, visit CREDOdonations.com.
Posted on May 15, 2018
For better or worse, the world is now full of live broadcasters. With a smartphone and an app, anyone – individuals, celebrities, politicians or businesses – can easily tap, shoot and share live streaming videos with the world.
You can watch Facebook livestream and YouTube live videos from any device – phone, tablet or computer. Here’s how to tune in on two of the busiest streaming platforms, Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
Whenever your friends or people you follow start Facebook live video streaming, it appears in your News Feed, and you can watch it there.
To see all the Facebook livestream videos happening in your part of the world, click Live Video to the left of your News Feed on your computer and you’ll go to the Facebook Live Map. From there, you can jump into any one of thousands of live videos being streamed. If you don’t see the Live Video link, click See More to extend the pulldown menu. On your phone, tap the menu at upper right, scroll down and tap See More, then tap Live Videos.
Another option is to enter the hashtag #live in the Search field. This will show you a list of Facebook livestreams. You can narrow your search by topic if you enter #live then the topic you’re interested in.
While you’re watching a Facebook livestream, you can weigh in with comments, and the broadcaster and other viewers will see your thoughts in real time. You can also invite friends to watch the same stream or share it to them.
YouTube Live Video
Watching YouTube live video is even easier. Just go to youtube.com/live. This will show you a wide variety of streams, organized in categories including Featured Live Streams, Live Now – Sports and Live Now – Animals.
You can also enter live stream in the YouTube search field. Add a topic to narrow your search results to the subject you’re interested in.
Same as Facebook Live, you can comment on the stream you’re watching in real time.
Live streaming provides a fascinating look at the world around you as it happens. Check it out and be enlightened.
Posted on May 8, 2018
Wasted: How you can help stop food waste
What if you took nearly half the food you buy and threw it away?
That’s what we do as a nation every year. Around 40% of the food we produce is wasted—an average of 400 pounds per person annually. Globally, one-third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, along with all the work, water, energy and land that goes into producing it.
In fact, the world cultivates enough food to nourish every person on the planet. And yet 1 out of 7 people in the world goes hungry—a number of people higher than the population of the U.S., Canada and the EU put together.
Annually, 9 million people die of hunger—more than die of malaria, AIDs and tuberculosis combined. That’s the population of New York City, dead every year because they can’t get enough to eat.
We can’t solve the problem of global hunger without changing the economic systems that condemn so many people around the world, including in the United States, to hunger and food insecurity while others the privilege to waste. But there are things you can do reduce food waste yourself. You’ll save resources— including your own. Wasted food costs the average U.S. household of four as much as $2,275 a year.
Don’t buy more than you need. This sounds obvious. And yet we do it so often. To buy only what you’ll use, plan your meals and make a detailed shopping list. Check what you already have on your shelf before you go. While you’re shopping, think twice: do you really need that much? Don’t shop hungry (seriously, it works). And don’t buy food just because it’s on sale.
Restaurants have for years been increasing their portion sizes to keep customers coming back. And the trend is seeping into our kitchens at home. Resist the urge to overcook. Use small plates to remind yourself what a reasonable portion is.
Eat your leftovers.
Here’s what a lot of people do when they have leftover food. They put it in the fridge to ease their conscience, ignore it, then toss it when it finally goes bad. The road to food waste is paved with good intentions. You’ll be more likely to actually eat your leftovers if you get good containers and label them with a date. Try a new routine at lunchtime and enjoy your leftovers in the fresh air rather than eating at a cafe.
Declutter your kitchen.
Too often we forget what food we have until it’s too late. Keep your food organized and visible. Follow the first-in-first-out strategy to keep food from spoiling.
Ignore (most) expiration dates.
These dates, which started back in the ’70s, indicate “peak quality,” not edibility. And yet more than half of Americans now think they signal the point after which food is not safe to consume. In fact, the dates are not federally regulated or required (except for infant formula) and they vary by manufacturer. Instead, use your eyes and your nose.
You can find local food banks at Feeding America and WhyHunger.
If you have a garden, composting is a great way to use leftover food productively. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can compost in your apartment to keep your houseplants healthy. Read our blog on how to compost indoors.
With a little care and planning, we can all reduce the amount of food we waste and help make our planet a healthier place.