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Contact Federal Government Officials

Find senator’s contact info here: https://goo.gl/RLiotu

Find representative’s contact info here: https://goo.gl/5i7SXC

Fax legislators for free:  Reps:  https://faxzero.com/fax_congress.php

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Many newspapers, including New York Times and Washington Post require subscriptions, but without one we can see a few articles each month.  We can also check with our local libraries to find out how to get online access through them.

1.       No one wants a government shutdown.  But there are lingering essential issues that need to be addressed:  A) DACA:  these young people who arrived in the U.S. as children through no fault of their own, trusted our offer to help them and now they are being blackmailed.  We need to restore their place in society and their faith in our government.  Let’s keep this young hope alive: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/13/dreamers-daca-renewals-feds-resume-accepting-340217  B)  CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program that provides insurance to 9 million children whose parents do not qualify for Medicaid) https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/with-chip-funds-running-low-doctors-and-parents-scramble-to-cover-kids-needs, C)  Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) program is also awaiting renewed funding.  This program, in primarily rural areas, provides healthcare to  over 27 million of us, including 7 million children.  http://www.toledoblade.com/JackLessenberry/2018/01/05/Programs-for-poor-threatened-by-squabbling-in-Washington.html  These are people’s lives that we are toying with.  http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-gop-democrats-fighting-over-government-shutdown-daca-2018-1 Our MoCs need to know that we are willing to suffer a government shutdown if these needs are not adequately addressed in the budget bill. 

2.      From Ventura Indivisible:  This week is the 45th anniversary of Roe v Wade and our legislature will be swamped with dramatically-named anti-choice bills aimed at interfering with both women's rights to choose what is best for themselves and their families, but also with the hard decisions patients must make with their doctors, when their health, or even their lives, are in danger. Make sure legislators knows we expect them to trust women. Here are the bills: A) S. 1922  - Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (Senate bill - This passed House as H.R. 36), B) H.R.4712 - Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, and C) H.R.490 - Heartbeat Protection Act…  [we want our MoCs to] promote bills for that promote reproductive healthcare services, safe and legal abortions, affordable birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, standards to reduce our ridiculously maternal death rate and medically accurate sex education for all people, regardless of income, location or education.
In the meantime, watch this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CA6A3ZlGlH8

3.      Since November, Trump’s administration has denied Temporary Protected Status (TPS) renewal to hundreds of thousands of individuals from Nicaragua, Haiti, and now El Salvador. These people are unable to obtain legal permanent residency in the US before their TPS expires (http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/14/americas/tps-el-salvador-rogelio-galdamez/index.html). The SECURE Act was introduced to allow qualified TPS recipients to apply for permanent residence, which would in turn allow these valued members of our community to remain in the US without the constant threat of potential deportation. Let’s join 5Calls in asking our members of Congress to support this legislation and protect our immigrant friends and neighbors at this link.

4.      Yesterday marked National Religious Freedom Day in America, the anniversary of the Virginia General Assembly’s adoption of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786. It comes at a moment when this fundamental civic value is under assault by the Trump administration, which has sought to make religious discrimination a central part of our immigration policies (https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/22/trump-travel-ban-appeal-block-317892). Let’s take this opportunity to remind our members of Congress we want them to stand up for this principle by opposing the travel ban and voting against any funding for policies based on religious bias.

5.      January 18 is the deadline to pass a clean DREAM Act to protect over 800,000 young Dreamers, but Trump is using this deadline as a bargaining chip to demand massive funds to build his wall and increase border security.  With only days left to save DACA, we can use this Dream Act Toolkit to call our Members of Congress or tweet them. If our Representatives are key voters, we can click to be connected to them right away and send them prewritten tweets too. If they are not, we find the number to call them on the bottom of the page.  https://dreamacttoolkit.org/  For further actions, we can sign up here to help. We can organize, or help with a local action, or help the digital team.  https://fightforourdream.org/

6.      “Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on Tuesday introduced the “Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act,” which lays out specific foreign actions against U.S. elections that would warrant penalties from the federal government. Van Hollen said in a statement to The Hill that the bill would send “an unequivocal message to Russia and any other foreign actor who may follow its example: if you attack us, the consequences will be severe.””  http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/369056-bipartisan-senators-move-to-deter-future-election-interference This legislation does not yet have a number, but let’s contact our MoC urging them to support this bipartisan effort in our best interest.

7.      The Senate is just one vote shy of having the 51 votes needed to overturn the FCC's ruling on net neutrality http://wapo.st/2DnwYpI While all Democrats are in favor of the resolution, we still need one more Republican for it to pass. If we have a Republican senator, let's make sure we contact them and ask that they support a Congressional Review Act to reverse the FCC's ruling. We can find a call script at 5Calls: https://5calls.org/issue/fcc-net-neutrality-cra

8.     The Senate is set for a final vote tomorrow on legislation that would reauthorize Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act and give the NSA the ability to conduct warrantless surveillance on countless Americans for another six years (https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/11/16874158/house-702-fisa-bill-vote-nsa-surveillance-spying). Trump has made it clear that he cannot be trusted with this power. Let’s make sure our senators know we want them to put some real limits on the surveillance state and stop this bill from moving forward. We can find a script from 5Calls at this link.

9.      Although Trump has rejected a bipartisan compromise on immigration, there is still a chance for S.1615 the Dream Act of 2017 to pass.  https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/16/16879632/daca-bill-durbin-graham The bill has a bigger chance if we keep calling our Senators.

10.  In his fight against DACA, Trump thinks he is playing to his base, but according to Ben Wikler of MoveOn, a survey in 12 states up for midterm elections, where Trump won by 11%, 81% want protection for dreamers and 53% do not want a wall. https://mobile.twitter.com/benwikler/status/953346522543947781  Especially, if our Members of Congress are from these states (FL IN MI MN MO MT ND OH PA VA WV & WI), we can use this information to show them that their voters want Dreamers to be safe here.

11.   “Two past White House ethics lawyers — one Democrat, one Republican — call President Trump's first year in office the most unethical in modern history.”  https://www.npr.org/2018/01/16/578247224/report-trump-administrations-first-year-has-been-unethical  Let’s make sure that our legislators know that we know that this is not normal and want them to take action.

12.  Trump has selected Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to be NASA administrator despite his total lack of scientific or engineering training and his denial of climate science. He’s up for a committee vote on Thursday, but thanks to the hard work of activists around the country his nomination may be in trouble (https://www.wsj.com/articles/rep-bridenstines-bid-to-become-nasa-head-stumbles-amid-partisan-brawl-1516016264). Let’s make sure our senators know we want them to oppose this unqualified nominee. We can use this script from 5 Calls here.

13.  South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has noted that it is embarrassing that we are at a time when children cannot listen to the news (in response to s***hole controversy which he was in the room for):  http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/369059-graham-on-s-hole-remarks-its-pretty-embarrassing-when-children-cant-listen-to Let’s ask Senator Graham to be done with lavishing praise on Trump’s golf courses and instead publicly stand up to Trump: 290 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, 20510 or on Twitter @LindseyGrahamSC

14.  While some sources seem to suggest that Trump will have a harder time getting his judicial nominees appointed this year, let's not forget the damage these lifetime appointments have done already and that there are more in the hopper. 
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/30/donald-trump-legacy-judiciary Due to Republican obstruction during the Obama years there are currently a whopping 145 vacancies in the various federal courts: http://www.uscourts.gov/judges-judgeships/judicial-vacancies  Republicans are hoping to push many of their nominees through. Let's keep an eye on these people here:http://judicialnominations.org/pending-nominees -- and let our Senators know that we don't want them to approve nominees who are overtly and unquestionably partisan, regardless of their credentials.

15.  ICE’s new draconian tactics—evident in the recent ICE raids on 7-11 stores and in their cozy relationship with Motel 6 (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-03/motel-6-sued-for-sharing-latino-sounding-guest-names-with-ice )--are ostensibly directed at employers but are instead causing panic among undocumented workers. Employers negotiate reduced fines and apply political pressure when they become targets; workers are deported. According to a federal survey, more than half of California’s agriculture workers are without documents—and no visa system is in place to enable them to work. “When your laws don’t align with the market,” according to once-INS head Doris Meissner, “then the market is always going to win.” http://ift.tt/2D7RcjX Employers, that is, are not likely to suffer, but we must defend the hard-working folks on whom our economy depends but whom our government offers no way to work legally: Acting Director of ICE Thomas Homan 1-888-351-4024 or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 500 12th St., SW, Washington DC 20536.

16.  “But last week, the Trump administration announced that the “temporary protected status” program will end in September 2019. The decision will affect more than 49,000 people in California, and could change Mendota – where Salvadorans are believed to be the majority – entirely.” If you don’t understand how the efforts of trump to end the protections of the El Salvador people affect us, take a few minutes to read about this town in CA populated by many of these folks. The economy and culture depend on these families and their contributions.  http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article194597579.html Let’s tell our Representatives that these folks are an integral part of our country and need to be protected

17.   17 high-ranking former Interior Department officials have written to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to protest a new interpretation of the Migratory Treaty Act (MBTA) that will not punish companies for engaging “’in activities that routinely kill migratory birds so long as they were not intending that their operations would 'render an animal subject to human control.’” http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/368709-former-interior-officials-criticize-trump-admin-policy-on-birdLet’s contact Secretary Zinke to urge him to continue enforcing the more stringent Obama-era policy of holding companies to a higher standard in protecting wildlife.  Mail: Secretary Ryan Zinke, Department of the Interior,1849 C Street, N.W., Washington DC 20240; Email: feedback@ios.doi.gov  

18.  Rogan’s List reported this last November:   The Dept. of Health and Human Services oversees the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, among other branches. Monday, Trump nominated Alex Azar to replace Tom Price as Secretary of HHS.  Azar, a former executive at the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act, supports, among other things, converting Medicaid from an entitlement program covering everyone who is eligible into block grants.  Rep. Elijah Cummings tweeted that putting Azar in charge of HHS is like asking the fox to guard the hen house.  http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/360081-trump-nominating-azar-as-next-hhs-secretary  Update:  It looks as if the Senate Finance Committee may approve his nomination and bring the vote to the full Senate. “The problem with Azar isn’t his smarts. It’s the fact that he’s coming from a gig as head of U.S. operations for Indianapolis drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co., making him a likely advocate for the pharmaceutical industry rather than patients.”  http://www.latimes.com/business/lazarus/la-fi-lazarus-azar-health-secretary-hearing-20180112-story.html  Let’s tell our Senators that we need someone in this position is who more concerned about people than profits for the industry.

Election 2018 - General

1.       From Loyal Opposition:  Voters should be familiar with the voting trends in their districts. The Cook Political Report provides a list of congressional districts alongside their PVI (partisan voter index). Find out more about your district and be an informed constituent:  https://www.cookpolitical.com/pvi-map-and-district-list

Election 2018 – By State

Other Actions

1.       If we want to promote and encourage the resistance postcarding movement, Postcards for America has created some postcards we can print at home or at a service to distribute and get the word out about both Postcards for America and Postcards to Voters.  Many will be distributing these during the Women’s’ March this weekend.  We can, too!  Check it out here:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1d8wy67aSTfSoZ7S7ikt8gFa-2KBtVKz0/view

2.      We've all heard how gerrymandering can act to suppress votes and skew electoral results for one party or the other, but how does it work exactly? This article explains, using some basic math, how "gerrymandering, not the will of the people, has determined the makeup of the lower chamber" in several states." Let's check out what the gerrymandering looks like in our home state by consulting the helpful graph included here, too:  https://resistbot.news/gerrymandering-101-bf5df2661cfd 

3.      Many of us feel uneasy about making public comments on federal regulations.  One of our own has come up with this to show us how: “How to Public Comment on Federal Environmental Regulations and Thereby Save the PlanetLet’s read it, learn, and comment confidently!  Link:  https://medium.com/@postcards4USA_34557/how-to-public-comment-on-federal-environmental-regulations-and-thereby-save-the-planet-c5582bc8665c

4.      Return to Now's 2016 article "How Prison Labor is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support It" is just as valid today.  The article lists 50 major companies that, if we buy products or services from any of them (and we likely do), we are supporting modern American slavery. Let's read the article and take a look at the list of companies and consider making changes to where we spend our money in the future.  (Extra credit: We can contact the companies we use directly and ask what they are doing to change this and let them know we're not happy with their use of prison slave labor.)

5.      This past week, two unqualified judicial nominees cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee -Brett Talley (District Court for the Middle District of Alabama) and Holly Teeter (District Court for the District of Kansas). Talley and Teeter were rated “Not Qualified” by the non-partisan American Bar Association. Now the GOP is attacking the Bar Association. Sign up for emails from Why Courts Matter for timely alerts on federal judicial nominees.

6.      From Postcards from Kate: It takes quite a lot of courage to denounce racism in front of a friend of the racist-in-chief. On Sunday, Rev. Maurice Watson of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Largo, MD demonstrated that courage, unequivocally condemning 45's racist characterization of non-white countries. His congregation that day included VP Pence. Read more here and then send Watson a thank you note for taking a stand. Contact info:  Dr. Maurice Watson, Senior Servant, Metropolitan Baptist Church, 1200 Mercantile Lane, Largo, MD 20774 or pastorwatson@metropolitanbaptist.org

7.      The far-right hate group One Million Moms has called on Scholastic to stop publishing, George, a critically-acclaimed children's book about a transgender girl http://bit.ly/2D9baek From Mombian, "Let’s reassure Scholastic that they made the right decision in supporting LGBTQ children and families through LGBTQ-inclusive materials. Contact them now to tell them why you appreciate LGBTQ representation in children’s and young adult books."  http://bit.ly/2B84s6u Contact info: Investor Relations: (212) 343-6741 Corporate Communications: (212) 343-6657 Twitter: @scholastic Contact form online:  http://investor.scholastic.com/contactus.cfm  Let’s also buy the book to show support:  http://www.scholastic.com/george/#

8.     Books Inside is a Utah-based non-profit organization whose purpose is to ensure that quality books are available inside prisons and jails providing opportunities for incarcerated individuals to broaden their skills and knowledge, and to connect with other people, worlds, and experiences through the magic of reading and learning. They are also looking for opportunities to work with jails and prisons that have few or no books. For further information or questions please contact them at info@booksinside.org  or at P.O. Box 91183, SLC UT 84109.  We can read more about them at the Deseret News.  Let's look to see if there are ways we can contribute to the cause.

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.       It’s not too late to find a Women’s March to participate in this weekend:  http://www.powertothepolls.com/anniversary.html

States

1.       FL:  A union-busting bill, HB25/S1026, that teachers, nurses, housekeepers, and every other union-protected industry fought and defeated during the 2017 legislative session has been revived verbatim for 2018 and, in December, passed through its first voting hurdle toward becoming law. Now, the Florida GOP is trying to ram this legislation through. (Source: Tallahassee Democrat from the USA Today network.) Let's read this article at the Miami New Times then contact 1) our state representatives to let them know we oppose HB25 and 2) our state senators to tell them we oppose S1026.

2.      VA: “The fight to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia has gained momentum with the national discourse about sexual harassment and gender equity and social media campaigns such as #MeToo and #YesAllWomen.”  http://wtvr.com/2018/01/15/womens-rights-groups-urge-virginia-to-ratify-era/  Let’s work on making this happen, Virginians!  Only two states left to go!


Reading/Watching

1.       The Senate now has 50 votes to help restore net neutrality, but timing is a significant piece of this progress - https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/internet-speech/little-known-congressional-procedure-could-save-net-neutrality

2.      "51 Things White People Can do for Racial Justice" - https://medium.com/@cshutack/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234

3.      A tiny group of political renegades is transforming one of the reddest states in the country through a surprising strategy: ignoring their own party. Could it work elsewhere? Let's read the article and consider if some of the strategies could work in our own local and state elections. - https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/12/how-to-turn-red-state-blue-purple-alaska-politics-2018-216304






Contact Federal Government Officials

Find senator’s contact info here: https://goo.gl/RLiotu

Find representative’s contact info here: https://goo.gl/5i7SXC

Fax legislators for free:  Reps:  https://faxzero.com/fax_congress.php

********************************
Many newspapers, including New York Times and Washington Post require subscriptions, but without one we can see a few articles each month.  We can also check with our local libraries to find out how to get online access through them.

1.       We still need Congress to pass a clean Dream Act http://bit.ly/2DdJZmJ If Congress neither passes a clean Dream Act before the spending bill vote, nor includes a clean Dream Act in the spending bill itself, then we need to make sure that they vote "no" on the budget. We Are Here to Stay has a list of the Democratic Senators and Representatives who voted in favor of the stop-gap funding bills http://weareheretostay.org/deportationcaucus/ Let's see if our MoC are on the list, and if they are, ask them to oppose any spending bill that does not have a clean Dream Act.

2.      California Congressman Ted Lieu has given us a helpful phrase that we can use with our MoC – that he supports an immigration system like the one Trump’s grandfather used:  http://thehill.com/homenews/house/368979-ted-lieu-i-support-an-immigration-system-like-the-one-trumps-grandfather-used Let’s consider this phrasing in our communications with our MoC about immigration.

3.      Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much – Trump has stated, “I am not a racist.”  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/15/i-am-not-a-racist-trump-says-after-backlash-over-shithole-nations-remark If we are getting in touch with Trump (The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20500), we can consider quoting Nixon in our communications: “I’m not a crook.”

4.      Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's proposed rule to expand offshore drilling has an open comment period until March 9th http://wapo.st/2B2L8aH http://bit.ly/2FF6Gxq We can leave a comment voicing our opposition to offshore drilling expansions here: http://bit.ly/2CWJi0F We can also read about the proposed rule which would ease safety standards for offshore drilling http://bit.ly/2B2eF44 Then leave a comment here: http://bit.ly/2B36BQD

5.      The EPA has extended the public comment period for the the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan, until April 29th. If we have not already done so, let's leave a comment opposing the repeal http://bit.ly/2Av2lyh They have also announced that there will be three listening sessions on the proposed repeal, to be held in Kansas City, MO, San Francisco, CA, and Gillette, WY. For those of us who are able, let's make sure we show up to these sessions and voice our opposition to the repeal of the Clean Power Plan http://bit.ly/2DjpLak For motivation, we can head over to the NRDC website to read about the "People's Hearings" that have already taken place 

6.      Lost in the furor surrounding Trump’s words on Friday was the subject of the meeting where he spoke them. “A tentative deal worked out Thursday by a small bipartisan group of senators crumbled in an Oval Office meeting in which, according to multiple people involved, an angry Trump asked why the United States should accept immigrants from ‘shithole countries’ such as Haiti, El Salvador and African nations over those from European countries such as Norway.” https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/01/14/hopes-for-immigration-deal-fade-as-lawmakers-trade-barbs-and-trump-declares-dreamer-program-probably-dead-4/. Here is a good discussion of the contents of that compromise deal, which includes DACA, but which not all progressives will be happy with:
 https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/01/11/report-senate-reaches-bipartisan-immigration-deal/amp/?__twitter_impression=true. The hope for this not-so-ideal deal is that if it passes, we can avoid a government shutdown in 4 days and get at least some of the things we want. We’ll have to make up our minds in the next couple of days whether we think that’s worth compromising with people who consistently act on bad faith.

7.      The Senate is currently considering a House-approved bill that would provide $81 billion to aid recovery efforts related to our recent hurricanes and wildfires, but in typical GOP fashion, there are a couple of provisions that have little to do with disaster relief and a lot to do with gutting safeguards. One provision diverts scarce FEMA funding to the Army Corps of Engineers for questionable purposes, while another would make the National Flood Insurance Program, which enables development in areas prone to flooding (e.g. sensitive wetlands), exempt from the Endangered Species Act. The impacts of these two provisions are bad enough for the NRDC to call them "poison pills"  https://www.nrdc.org/experts/rob-moore/hurricane-aid-package-includes-poison-pills  Let's tell our senators that we want those provisions stripped out of the bill. 

8.     In what sounds more like the 1960s Civil Rights-era realities, “If an LGBTQ couple drove from Maine to California today, their legal rights and civil rights protections could change more than 20 times at state borders and city lines,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/129-anti-lgbtq-state-bills-were-introduced-2017-new-report-n837076  Let’s tell our federal legislators that civil rights protections need to be made country wide for everyone and not left to local discrimination.

9.      He was brought here as a child.  He grew up, married, had children, worked at a job, paid taxes. He never even had a parking ticket.  He routinely checked in with officials and he had been given stays of removal, until this administration.  Yesterday, on MLK Day he was deported to Mexico where he has not lived in 30 years.  He was too old for DACA and hoped that a new DACA bill could save him.  https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2018/01/15/jorge-garcia-daca-deported-mexico-immigration/1033296001/  Let’s keep telling our MoCs that we need a DACA program to protect everyone who came here as a child and who is living according to our laws.

10.  Many of us have young children in our lives who are asking us questions about the difficult things they hear in the news. The New York Times Book Review recently recommended four picture books that “show the road to kindness, compassion, and peace in a turbulent world.” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/12/books/review/kindess-compassion-love-nikki-giovanni-i-am-loved.html  Let’s take a look and see if we wish to purchase or borrow these books from the library and share them with the children we know.

11.   Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) pledged last week to ask judicial court nominees under oath if they have any history of committing sexual assault or harassment. "Starting today, I'm asking nominees to our courts, under oath, whether or not they have a history of sexual assault or harassment. Like in other industries, our judges are in positions of power,"  Let's read more at The Hill.  Let's thank Sen. Hirono for taking immediate and specific action.  Let's also let our own Senators know that we expect them to commit to asking these questions as well. 

12.  The new euphemism for hunger is “food insecurity,” and it afflicts, by some counts, up to half of all college students: https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/03/15/520192774/national-survey-shows-high-rates-of-hungry-and-homeless-community-college-studen  Many of these attend public colleges effectively abandoned by their states: 
https://www.cbpp.org/research/state-budget-and-tax/a-lost-decade-in-higher-education-funding  Food stamps, now administered through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), cannot be used by needy students because federal work requirements for SNAP eligibility are too onerous to make college possible:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/14/opinion/hunger-college-food-insecurity.html  Students are scarcely the only hungry people in Trump’s America; nonetheless, we should tell Brandon Lipps, the administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service, that these levels of campus hunger are unacceptable: 703-305-2062 or Food and Nutrition Service, Dept. of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria VA 22302.

Election 2018 - General

1.       Vote Smart, formerly Project Vote Smart, provides free, unbiased, in-depth information about current officials, candidates, issues, legislation, and voting. Non-partisan and nonprofit since 1988.  Let’s check it out and see how it can help our decision-making this year:  https://votesmart.org/

Election 2018 – By State

1.       MA—An Automatic Voter Registration bill pending in the Massachusetts legislature would create an opt-out, rather than opt-in, method of registering voters in the Commonwealth, improving the voter registration system and adding up to 700,000 new voters to the voter rolls. Let’s click here to see how we can help, www.commoncause.org/states/massachusetts/issues/voting-and-elections/avr/ , and let’s sign up to lobby our representatives on Beacon Hill on Automatic Voter Registration Lobby Day, January 31, 2018, www.commoncause.org/states/massachusetts/events/AVR-lobby-day-2018.html

Other Actions

1.       Wednesday at 5 pm EST, Trump is said to be distributing fake news awards.  This in itself could be violating ethics rules:   https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/15/trump-fake-news-awards-ethics-339183  Do not watch or take part. Let’s use these commonsense instructions how to redirect our energy and reframe the conversation realizing that it will be good practice for the 2018 elections:  http://www.eclectablog.com/2018/01/trumps-attack-on-the-free-press-is-perfect-practice-for-the-2018-midterms.html

2.      In a sick move, the website MartinLutherKing.org is actually a dis-information site owned by the White Supremacist organization, The Daily Stormer. The site is hosted by Limestone Networks Inc.  The page's content refers to King as a “communist,” “woman beater” and “sexual deviant,” and that it is “time for White Americans to repeal the King holiday.” “We have known about this organization and site for years and there is nothing legally that we are aware of we can do," says a spokesperson for the King Center.  Let’s help by reporting this site for abuse here: https://www.limestonenetworks.com/about/report-abuse.html  Limestone reserves the right to terminate accounts for any reason. Let’s hope neo-Nazi lies is a good enough reason for them.  Use whatever reasons you wish on the report abuse form, just make sure your comment is clear about the issue. We can also send them postcards telling them to stop: Limestone Network 400 Akard St, suite 200 Dallas Rd 75044    h/t Sleeping Giants

3.      Herd on the Hill was started in February 2017 by DC area volunteers to give us a voice in Congress. Herd on the Hill volunteers use their proximity to congressional offices in DC to work around these barriers to get our views directly in front of our elected officials by delivering our faxes, letters and comments in person. Let's check out their website and also their Facebook page where we can follow Herd on the Hill's latest activity. Let's keep this team in mind as a resource to reach our representatives. 

4.      Thanks to Postcards for America, we can apologize to countries whom Trump insulted.  Details here:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MEH52c53BoksNRYOpVriAWp1G4fYe1LVhVQi0wFNA_o/edit

5.      On Monday Postcards to Voters launched Campaign 48 for Gayle Jordan, Democrat for Tennessee State Senate District 14.  This grassroots, get-out-the-vote team now has over 10,000 volunteers.  Local elections are more important than ever.  Let's continue to tell our frustrated friends and family ("What can I do? How can I make a difference?") about Postcards to Voters as a way they can take a positive action by writing 5 get-out-the-vote postcards to other Democratic voters across the nation.  If we haven't joined ourselves, let's consider trying it now. Every postcard counts. When we vote, and help others vote, we all win. 

6.      America Magazine wants to know what you think are Trump's best and worst policies.  Your answers may be featured in America, including the additional information you provide. Answers may be edited for length. Survey here:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CY3H9YJ

7.      ERA Action is “dedicated to ratifying the ERA in the timeliest manner possible—to finish what Dr. Alice Paul started nearly a century ago.  ERA Action is a grassroots movement dedicated to ratifying the ERA via the 3 State Strategy”.  Let’s look around their website and see how we can help:  https://www.eraaction.org/

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.       From Living Room Conversations:  Join us for our first round of monthly video Living Room Conversations events! We are excited to be adding these monthly conversations as a staple of our mission to help Americans connect across divides. Sharing perspectives from across the political spectrum is a big part of what makes these experiences great. Just like with an in-person living room conversation, we encourage you to invite any of your friends or family who might have different political views.  Our first topic for these online discussions will be Talking Politics. We’d love to have you at one of the following sessions. Sign up at the links: A) Session 1 - Thursday, January 18th at noon PST, B) Session 2 - Thursday, January 18th at 6pm PST, or C) Session 3 - Sunday, January 21st at 1pm PST

States

1.       CA:  Huge budget cuts crippled outreach that lets people know when,  how and where to sign up for the ACA, so Indivisible ACA Signup Project is spreading the word through social media.  They have only 9 days to get 32 more supporters.  We can help them reach their goal to set off a Thunderclap, a social media flash mob message blast. We can click, add our social media support on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.  THEN cut, paste and share:  https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/65571-california-enrollment-alert  Find out more about how Thunderclap helps grassroots organizing here:  https://www.socialworkhelper.com/2013/10/02/thunderclap-can-help-grassroots-organizing/amp/

2.      DC:  Huge budget cuts crippled outreach that lets people know when, how and where to sign up for the ACA, so Indivisible ACA Signup Project is spreading the word through social media.   They have only 9days to get 38 more supporters.  We can help them reach their goal to set off a Thunderclap, a social media flash mob message blast. We can click, add our social media support on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.  THEN cut, paste and share:  https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/65572-dc-aca-open-enrollment-alert  Find out more about how Thunderclap helps grassroots organizing here:  https://www.socialworkhelper.com/2013/10/02/thunderclap-can-help-grassroots-organizing/amp/

Reading/Watching

1.       Although written over a year ago, Naomi Shulman’s “No Time To Be Nice: Now Is Not The Moment To Remain Silent” is more relevant than ever:  http://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2016/11/17/the-post-election-case-for-speaking-out-naomi-shulman

2.      “Hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the U.S. may face violence and murder in their home countries. What happens when they are forced to return?” https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/15/when-deportation-is-a-death-sentence

3.      The story behind the unfortunate, and seemingly conscious mix-up in women’s march organizations and activities:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/us/womens-march-anniversary.html







Contact Federal Government Officials

Find senator’s contact info here: https://goo.gl/RLiotu

Find representative’s contact info here: https://goo.gl/5i7SXC

Fax legislators for free:  Reps:  https://faxzero.com/fax_congress.php

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Many newspapers, including New York Times and Washington Post require subscriptions, but without one we can see a few articles each month.  We can also check with our local libraries to find out how to get online access through them.

1.       Unless Congress passes an omnibus spending bill to fund the government through September or passes a short-term bill by this Friday, the government will shut down.  However, many issues are still left hanging. https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2018-01-12/democrats-have-a-shutdown-conundrum-over-daca-and-chip and https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/01/14/after-touring-puerto-rico-mass-congressional-delegation-calls-for-more-post-hurricane-aid/a4RJiDH0QnD3o4B0jgweDL/story.html  Let’s make sure our MoCs know that we do not want them to sign on to a bill unless it includes A) a clean Dream Act to save the DACA program, B) the re-authorizing of the CHIP program, and C) a solid helpful financial plan to get Puerto Rico back on track physically and fiscally.

2.      This week in Congress:  the House will be considering fifteen (15) bills this week starting Tuesday.  Let's check out the Majority Leader's Schedule to see what's coming. 

3.      Today, members of Congress will engage in the annual ritual of tweeting out praise of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. Tomorrow, many of those on the Republican side of the aisle will return to ignoring their opportunity to defend that legacy. Civil rights leaders like Rep. John Lewis have been calling for Congress to restore the Voting Right Act since the day it was gutted by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder, only to be blocked by Republican leadership (https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-06-22/house-democrats-move-to-restore-key-provisions-of-the-voting-rights-act). Securing this legislation was one of Dr. King’s great victories. Let’s contact our reps and let them know that if they are serious about honoring his memory, they should take action to re-strengthen its protections.

4.      The federal courts have always been a crucial front in the battle to guarantee civil rights for all Americans. Donald Trump’s judicial nominees are set to make that fight much more difficult. He wants to give lifetime appointments to people like Thomas Farr, a North Carolina lawyer with a record of defending racist voter suppression laws and even actively participating in an effort to drive African-American voters away from the polls (http://www.businessinsider.com/thomas-farr-modern-white-supremacist-black-civil-rights-leaders-say-2017-12). Let’s contact our senators and tell them we want them to commemorate Dr. King’s birthday by announcing they will oppose Farr’s confirmation, along with any other nominee who cannot be trusted to stand up for the right to vote.

5.      The Senate convenes on Tuesday at 4:30 pm to resume consideration of the House message to accompany S.139, the vehicle for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Reauthorization bill. Let's recall that last Thursday, the House passed this bill and forwarded it to the Senate without any amendments to protect Americans from surveillance. We can read more about FISA at Fortune. If we have not already done so, let's tell our Senators that we want protections for Americans added to FISA before they reauthorize it for six (6) years.

6.      Hawaiians, and the rest of us, have now seen how easily an “accidental” nuclear war might begin:  https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/hawaii-missile-alert-test-goes-wrong-terrifies-state-n837551  Trump, however, wants more “low-yield” nuclear weapons, or so a leaked draft of the Nuclear Posture Review, a roadmap for US nuclear strategy published every four years, suggests.  These, the president thinks, could be more readily deployed since they would kill only about 100,000 people at a time:  http://www.businessinsider.com/nuclear-posture-review-trump-huffpost-draft-report-2018-1 Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) have sponsored H.R. 669/S. 200, requiring a Congressional declaration of war before nuclear weapons can be used. Given what we know, it is imperative that we get our MoCs to co-sponsor this bill.  We can call, fax, tweet, or Win Without War will help us write to them: http://act.winwithoutwar.org/sign/dont-let-trump-tweet-us-war/

7.      “Trump has pledged to marshal federal government talent and resources to address the opioid crisis, but nearly a year after his inauguration, the drug policy office, known as ONDCP, lacks a permanent director.” After seven appointees have departed, Taylor Weyeneth, a 23-year-old with no drug experience and a resume riddled with “mistakes” who campaigned for trump rose to the position of deputy chief of staff. “The story of his appointment and remarkable rise provides insight into the Trump administration’s political appointments and the troubled state of the drug policy office.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/meet-the-24-year-old-trump-campaign-worker-appointed-to-help-lead-the-governments-drug-policy-office/2018/01/13/abdada34-f64e-11e7-91af-31ac729add94_story.html?utm_term=.248a7056b5a5  We can’t address the opioid crisis with inept and inexperienced leadership. Let’s demand that our Representatives call on Trump to appoint an experienced candidate to head the Office of the National Drug Control Policy. 

8.     From Postcards for America:  The U.S. Department of the Interior manages America's vast natural and cultural resources.  The department employs some 70,000 people, including expert scientists and resource-management professionals, in 9 bureaus. For purposes of this PC2A, I have chosen 3 sections which I believe may be having some of the most difficult times. Let’s thank them and boost their morale! Without career government employees, the US Government will cease to function.  We need them in place when we get our country politically back on the right track!  Here’s the link:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IRSSFv7Tbrlg7p9Df2oMCuSHzSr2le8H_4ShG0hLlPs/edit

9.      “The same Russian government-aligned hackers who penetrated the Democratic Party have spent the past few months laying the groundwork for an espionage campaign against the U.S. Senate, a cybersecurity firm said in a report Friday.”  
https://apnews.com/9a6888c2163f43a7913c808e8cf9bc6e  Let’s contact our MoC to ask what they’re doing to protect US entities from hackers.

10.  The Education Department has awarded a contract to a debt-collection company with ties to the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. 
http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/368930-company-with-devos-ties-awarded-education-dept-debt-collection Let’s contact our MoC to ask them to look into potential conflicts of interest in the way that the Education Department awards contracts. 

11.   Trump’s “s***hole” comment earned our nation an understandably rebuking letter from all 55 African nations:  http://thehill.com/policy/international/368866-african-union-trump-shithole-remarks-dishonor-american-creed Let’s be in touch with our MoC to say that our country needs to be better than this and that we are looking to them to stand up as leaders.

12.  Although in the room when Trump made his disparaging remarks, both Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) “do not recall” him saying them, in spite of several consistent accounts of the situation: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/368745-gop-senators-say-they-do-not-recall-trump-referring-to-shithole Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that it was "unfair" to call Trump a racist http://nbcnews.to/2AZ9VfO Let's contact these senators and let them know what we think about them defending Trump's blatant racism. Senator Tom Cotton: 124 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Phone: (202) 224-2353 Senator David Perdue: 455 Russell Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Phone: (202) 224-3521 Senator Rand Paul: 167 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC, 20510 Phone: (202) 224-4343

13.  While starving the EPA and the Census Bureau, not to mention the Departments of Labor, Education, Interior, and Housing & Urban Development, Trump has apparently ensured that Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), like the military, can have all the resources it wants.  Enough, this week, to raid 98 Seven-11 stores in 17 states so as to arrest 21 workers suspected of illegal employment: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/11/577271488/ice-targets-7-eleven-stores-in-nationwide-immigration-raids  We must strenuously object to this allocation of our taxes while vital federal functions languish for lack of funding.  Let’s tell the White House and the Acting Director of ICE Thomas Homan at 1-888-351-4024 or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 500 12th St., SW, Washington DC 20536

14.  In a stealth attack on our future, Trump plans to appoint Tom Brunell, who literally wrote the book on Gerrymandering, to oversee the census. Redistricting, elections, the balance of power and social programs are all in jeopardy from this blatantly partisan pick. Ben Wikler of MoveOn explains why this pick is so dangerous, what we can do and gives us a script for calling Congress:  

Election 2018 - General

1.       Despite having more registered Democrats than Republicans, Florida, because of gerrymandering, has a Republican-controlled state house. But 2018 might herald a new era. This year, Florida’s district maps are fairer, thanks to a constitutional amendment and court order. Let’s help Sister District’s efforts to elect Democrat Margaret Good (FL-72) in a special election to be held February 13, 2018, by participating in a get-out-the-vote postcard campaign. https://www.sisterdistrict.com/margaret-good-florida-72/ ; https://www.sisterdistrict.com/programs/postcards/ . We can sign up here and find and find a postcard campaign near us: https://www.sisterdistrict.com/

Election 2018 – By State

1.       IA:  Iowa House of Representatives District 6 special election on Tuesday, January 16.  Vote for Democrat Rita DeJong, https://www.ritaforiowa.com/

2.      SC:  South Carolina House of Representatives District 99 special election on Tuesday, January 16. Vote for Democrat Cindy Boatwright, https://www.cindyboatwrightforsc.com/

3.      WI:  Upcoming special elections on Tuesday, January 16 in A) Wisconsin State Senate District 10. Vote for Democrat Patty Schachtner, https://www.pattyforsenate.com/, B) Wisconsin State Assembly District 58. Vote for Democrat Dennis Degenhardt, 
https://www.degenhardtforassembly.com/, and C) Wisconsin State Assembly District 66. Vote for Democrat Greta Neubauer, www.votegreta.com/ 

Other Actions

1.       For the educators among us, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance has some helpful resources for teaching Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy. First, let's check out the "Do's and Don'ts of Celebrating MLK Day" http://bit.ly/2B0KIS4 Then, let's use this advice not just on Dr. King's birthday, but also throughout the year, as we connect it to current movements, like Black Lives Matter https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/from-mlk-to-blacklivesmatter-a-throughline-for-young-students

2.      Over the weekend, former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Michael Steele, tweeted, “As we take this weekend to reflect on the leadership and the moral strength that girded the actions and the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, I want to share his example with those in my Party who have not yet found the strength they need.”  With his tweet he shared a meme with this quote from MLK: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  https://twitter.com/MichaelSteele/status/952029131956539392  The leadership of the RNC has been woefully silent during the growing concerns about Trump, Russia, and leadership issues.  https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/01/10/where-republican-outrage-trump-turns-america-into-banana-republic-gabriel-schoenfeld-column/1015009001/  Let’s contact the RNC and ask them about their commitment to American values and their silence on the matter.  Contact:   ecampaign@gop.com, or 310 First Street SE, Washington, DC 20003, or 202-863-8500 or tweet the current Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel @GOPChairwoman

3.      While we talk and hear a lot about “collusion”, Instead, we need to start using the words that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is probably using: "conspiracy" and "coordination."  https://www.usnews.com/opinion/thomas-jefferson-street/articles/2018-01-11/retire-collusion-from-national-vocabulary-on-trump-campaign-and-russia  Let’s work on using those two words instead of collusion.

4.      Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicare, Medicaid & ACA for President Obama, is doing his best to keep us updated on what is happening, and can happen in the healthcare arena.  We can sign up for his updates here to help stay aware and find out how we can help.

5.      As we continue our activism, we have so much to learn from the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Let’s tap into his wisdom by taking a look at these wonderful resources:  A) The Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project, https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/about-papers-project, B) Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 
http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/kingweb/popular_requests/frequentdocs/birmingham.pdf, C) Selected Bibliography from The King Center, www.thekingcenter.org/books-bibliography, and D) A great resource to find books for children about black history, ideas for teaching the values of MLK to children, online quizzes to test your knowledge of MLK and more:  https://www.familyeducation.com/entertainment-activities/martin-luther-king-day

6.      Long before the current need, the Syracuse Cultural Workers has been “speaking for justice --giving voice to resistance since 1982”.  Check out their selection of relevant postcards:  https://www.syracuseculturalworkers.com/products/type/card/card-type/Postcards  While on their site, check out all the other items, too!

7.      On Dec. 4, 2017, fifty (50) years after the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. launched his Poor People's Campaign, the Rev. William J. Barber II and the Rev. Liz Theoharis summoned Americans to a new Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. The Campaign intends to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality. We can read more about it at the Albany Times-Union and at the Poor People's Campaign website.  Let's consider joining the campaign.

8.     One way to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday and his commitment to poor and working people is to school ourselves in the effects this administration has had on them.  Only by understanding these can we effectively fight the inequality we see around us.  Here's a place to begin: the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions, has published a list of ten actions that have hurt workers during Trump’s first year: http://www.epi.org/publication/ten-actions-that-hurt-workers-during-trumps-first-year/  Let’s read this and use it to help our community.

9.      Over 30,00 Syrian refugees are suffering, starving, in Idlib, the last Syrian Province not under Assad’s control.  Now as new bombings are planned, a major humanitarian crisis is about to get much worse.  Crammed into tents in the harsh winter cold, awaiting more bombings, with little hope of protection or escape, these people need our help. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/13/syria-idlib-refugees-assad-migration-rebels  We can click here to find prewritten tweets, raising awareness, showing the damage that has already been done, and demanding the that the UN takes action. With just a few clicks, we help raise awareness and hopefully save some lives.  Click to tweet links available here: http://j.mp/2mBHzDS 

10.  "Zeta Global inherited a hate speech problem late last year when they acquired Disqus. We're calling on the leadership to enforce Disqus' hate speech policies by cutting ties with Breitbart. Emails: David Steinberg, Co-Founder & CEO: dsteinberg@zetaglobal.com Steve Gerber, President & COO: sgerber@zetaglobal.com Template: Hi David/Steve, I'm reaching out to ask if you're aware that your business is now powering Breitbart's hate speech via your recent acquisition of Disqus. Over 3700 advertisers have already cut ties with Breitbart since last year. As a member of the Sleeping Giants campaign, I'm calling on you to do your part and end your business relationship with Breitbart. For your consideration, I'm including a few screenshot examples with this email. Thanks, [Your Name]" Screenshots for the e-mail can be found on the Sleeping Giants Facebook page: 

11.   Celebrate MLK Day with a commitment to social justice, and set up a recurring monthly donation to the NAACP. This org has been crucial in getting out the vote in special elections throughout 2017. 
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/12/despite-the-obstacles-black-voters-make-a-statement-in-alabama/548237/ A monthly donation can help the NAACP continue to support and mobilize the most disenfranchised voters throughout 2018. https://donate.naacp.org/page/contribute

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.       On January 18 at 7pm CT/8pm ET, Organizing for Action, in partnership with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), led by President Obama's former Attorney General, Eric Holder, will be conducting a webinar to teach us how to host a training about the effects of gerrymandering.  We need to educate our communities and this training will give us everything we need to start a conversation with family, friends, and neighbors. We can register for the training here:  http://bit.ly/2myS6Qc

2.      The national Women’s March will be held in Las Vegas this weekend and we can register here:  http://www.powertothepolls.com/rsvp.html  If we can’t make it there, there are a growing number of sister marches being planned.  Let’s check for one close to us and attend:  http://www.powertothepolls.com/anniversary.html

States

1.       Various:  Scott Lloyd, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), is attempting to prevent a fourth young immigrant from obtaining an abortion http://bit.ly/2D4rD6F The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, but eleven state attorneys general have filed a brief in support of the Trump administration http://bit.ly/2Dpj0S1http://bit.ly/2zkYfXg If our attorney general is one of those who signed, let's be sure to contact them and tell them that we do not support the violation of constitutional rights, nor do we condone forced pregnancy.

2.      FL:  All hands on deck: Florida is one of only four states that permanently deprives people of the right to vote because of a past conviction. A state ballot initiative to restore the vote to 1.6 million disenfranchised Floridians needs more than 35,000 citizen signatures in the next 18 days to get on the ballot in 2018. Whether or not we live in Florida, let’s visit this page and find out how we can help: https://florida.ourstates.org/

Reading/Watching

1.       “Data point to a new wave of female political activism that could shift the course of US politics” - https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/01/10/a-new-wave-of-female-political-activism/


2.      “Heartland Democrats to Washington: You’re Killing Us” - https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/11/terry-goodin-rural-democrats-indiana-216273

3.      Experts in authoritarianism advise us to keep a list of things subtly changing around us, so we’ll remember.  Amy Siskind is keeping that list for us. Amy writes, "This is the longest weekly list so far, and contains historic moments. Senator Dianne Feinstein released 300 pages of Fusion GPS testimony on the Steele dossier ... Trump’s “shithole” countries statement prompted worldwide condemnation and questions of whether he is eroding US moral authoritywhile concerns about his fitness for office continued to swirl."  Let's review Amy Siskind's list week 61.

4.      And, as usual, our weekly dose of Small Victorieshttp://mailchi.mp/peaceisloud/small-victories-know-your-rights?e=86890239c4