Contact Federal Government Officials
1. As expected, the FCC repealed net neutrality yesterday. However, it is expected that it will now move to the courts and to Congress. https://www.wired.com/story/after-fcc-vote-net-neutrality-fight-moves-to-courts-congress/ New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, announced that he will lead a multi-state legal challenge to stop the rollback: https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-internet-lawsuits/new-york-state-ag-to-sue-over-net-neutrality-reversal-idUSL1N1OE1U4 This means we citizens need to turn our attention to a legislative solution. If we live in CA, DE, HI, IA, IL, KY, MA, MD, ME, MS, NC, NY, OR, PA, VA, VT, or WA, let’s thank our attorneys general for being part of this lawsuit. If we live elsewhere, we need to call our attorneys general and tell them to get on board. In addition, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) is leading the Senate in reversing the FCC vote using a procedure called a Congressional Review Act: https://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senator-markey-leads-resolution-to-restore-fccs-net-neutrality-rules Let’s ask our senators to co-sponsor or at least back this resolution.
2. While the tax bill has undergone numerous changes in the conference committee, it still repeals the ACA's individual mandate, and opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling http://nyti.ms/2BZZ99O Maine senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has expressed concern about the funding of ACA's subsidies, but she seems to be missing the point that if there is no individual mandate, the insurance market will be completely destabilized and subsidies would not be enough to offset the harm done http://bit.ly/2jWBC3l Sen. Marco Rubio (R-TX) says he is a no vote unless the child tax credit is expanded. It looks as if the tax may come out of the conference committee today and then be voted on early next week by both the Senate and the House. In addition to continuing to call our own MoCs, let's be sure to use Indivisible's peer-to-peer calling tool to connect with constituents in Alaska and Maine and ask them to call on their senators to oppose the GOP tax bill
3. The people of Alabama deserve to be fully represented in the Senate, especially as major legislation is voted on http://wapo.st/2C6LzBK Let's call our senators and ask them to hold off on voting for the tax bill until Doug Jones has been seated. We can use the call scripts available at Indivisible https://www.indivisible.org/resource/tell-republican-moc-vote-no-trump-tax-scam/
4. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has published a report on "How Fear and Toxic Stress are Affecting Daily Life, Well-Being, & Health" for immigrants in the U.S. http://kaiserf.am/2zcFFk0 Let's read through the findings, then refer to the data as we call our MoC and demand that they pass the Dream Act (S. 1615/H.R. 3440)
5. Over a year since his election, Trump still cannot admit that Russian wrongdoing in our government is, and has been, a real thing. He cannot bring himself to enforce the sanctions against Russia that were voted on by Congress and his State Dept. has yet to spend the allocated dollars to address Russia and ISIS. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/donald-trump-pursues-vladimir-putin-russian-election-hacking/?utm_term=.89f7c7f14cbd Then, we learn that Trump’s daily briefings do not include much about Russia so he doesn’t get upset: http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-derails-daily-briefings-if-they-cover-russian-meddling-2017-12 Whatever Putin has over Trump must be big. Let’s tell Trump to get on with working for us or get out of the White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/get-involved/
6. The push for a clean Dream Act by Dec. 22nd continues! We ask that everyone please promote the national call-in day TUESDAY , December 19, by driving calls to Congress in support of the passage of the bipartisan Dream Act before the holidays. For those of you in priority states and districts, we also ask that you please sign on to letters calling for the passage of the Dream Act by the end of the year and reach out to key House Republicans. More details can be found here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cqG76OEtkL84Ek5LPuvEc98oBKBHb8RK8OVDirJHPN0
7. Despite their assurances to the opposite last Spring (http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/326444-kelly-we-wont-separate-families), there have been increasing numbers of children being separated at the border when their families cross from Mexico and some of those are part of a complaint filed with Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS). https://www.buzzfeed.com/adolfoflores/new-complaint-accuses-dhs-of-systematically-separating Let’s contact DHS and tell them we do not agree with this treatment of these children who are clearly no threat to our country. https://www.dhs.gov/contact-us
8. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a stirring op-ed for the Washington Post about what Puerto Rico needs from our government at this time:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/this-is-what-puerto-ricans-need-from-the-government-right-now/2017/12/13/fc03ccca-dfb3-11e7-8679-a9728984779c_story.html?utm_term=.3db43f275f5b As we continue to keep up a steady drumbeat with our MoC about the tax bill and DACA, let’s not leave Puerto Rico out of our comments to them. Let’s also consider holiday donations as we are able.
9. In an extremely unusual case, “Fourteen former national security, intelligence, and foreign policy officials who have served at senior levels in Republican and Democratic administrations recently wrote an amicus brief as part of a lawsuit brought against President Donald Trump's campaign and Roger Stone, his longtime confidant.” http://www.businessinsider.com/unusual-russia-brief-lawsuit-trump-roger-stone-2017-12 The Russian involvement story has touched so much of our lives. Let’s watch this case, but also let our MoCs know that we want this dealt with so we can get back to running our country ourselves.
10. “During the Obama administration, the Pentagon issued directives for the military to adapt to climate change, which it labeled a national security threat.” But the Government Accountability Office reports that the Pentagon is falling behind on plans “to prepare its overseas installations for climate change.”
http://thehill.com/policy/defense/364760-watchdog-pentagon-taken-few-steps-to-prepare-overseas-bases-for-climate-changeLet’s contact our MoC to ask them what steps they’re taking to ensure that our military is keeping climate change in mind as it prepares for security threats.
11. “A survey conducted for the Interior Department found that 35 percent of its employees say they were harassed or discriminated against in the last year.” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke blames the problem on the culture established during the Obama administration, but it certainly isn’t helping that the current president is sexually harassing female senators via Twitter. http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/364893-interior-survey-harassment-discrimination-common-among-workers and https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/12/12/trump-sends-sexually-suggestive-and-demeaning-tweet-about-gillibrand/?utm_term=.8697abe531a9 Let’s contact our MoC to ask them to ensure that all federal agencies are taking sexual harassment seriously and providing their employees with appropriate training and support.
12. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “was created in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reforms, for two reasons: to protect consumers of financial products — virtually every American — from being ripped off by financial predators and to help avert large-scale crashes and bailouts.” It has returned over 12 million dollars to consumers, to us. Trump wants to eliminate this watchdog agency, however it is doing just what the American people need done: http://www.dailyjournal.net/2017/12/14/why-all-americans-should-want-a-strong-consumer-financial-protection-bureau/ We have the opportunity to share our experiences with the bureau to help illuminate its importance: https://story.consumerfinance.gov/tell-your-story/s/tell-your-story
1. Postcards to Voters just launched Campaign 36 for Phyllis Hatcher, the only Democrat running for a Georgia state senate seat in District 17. The Special Election is January 9, 2018. Right now, we can text Abby the Address Bot with a simple HELLO to (484) 275-2229 and she can help returning writers receive addresses. She will also help new volunteers to start their easy registration. For returning email-only postcarders, addresses are available via email for this campaign. If we are new emailers, we can sign up by emailing: JOIN@TonyTheDemocrat.org Here's a chance for us to begin our participation in Election 2018 with five (5) postcards to Georgia voters. Remember: this is the team that just wrote to every Democratic household in Alabama!
1. The deadline to enroll in the ACA for health insurance is today (Unless you live in CA, WA, CO, MN, NY, MA, RI, CT, or DC). Sign up here: https://www.healthcare.gov/ Make sure family and friends know, too!
2. As we have seen in Georgia and Alabama, our elected officials are not always as supportive of free and open elections as they should be. Luckily, here's a source that's collects this info. "In 2018, Let America Vote will monitor state legislatures across the country and will fight against schemes aimed at making it harder for people to vote. As elected officials support voter suppression bills, we add them to the “Voter Suppression Hall of Shame.” Here are some state officials who are working to make it harder for people to exercise their right to vote in 2018. We must continue to hold them accountable for their actions." Have a secretary of state or other official who should be reported? We can do that here, too. http://www.votersuppressionshame.com
3. “Ivanka Trump’s brand is about to open a store in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, marking her second foray into brick-and-mortar commerce in the U.S. The move follows a tumultuous year for the first daughter’s brand, which became more polarizing to consumers after the election of Donald Trump. Ivanka Trump, who serves as a White House adviser, has been walking the line between policy and business since her father was elected president. Ivanka Trump Marks LLC, which handles her trademarks, has continued to seek expansion opportunities, while Trump hotels in Washington and Vancouver each operate an Ivanka Trump trademarked spa. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-13/ivanka-trump-store-is-said-to-open-thursday-in-new-era-for-brand. Let’s continue our boycott of the Ivanka’s products and her new store.
4. We are all fans of Ady Barkan, the new father (and ALS patient) who confronted Senator Jeff Flake on an airplane and challenged him to vote against the GOP tax scam bill https://theintercept.com/2017/12/08/republican-tax-bill-medicare-disability-jeff-flake/ : To really show our thanks for his bravery and persistence, we should consider supporting one or both of Barkan's projects at the Center for Popular Democracy: Local Progress and Fed Up. Local Progress aims to create a nationwide support network for local progressive politicians (http://localprogress.org/what-we-do/why-local-progress/), while Fed Up promotes full employment and increased transparency and accountability for the Federal Reserve (http://whatrecovery.org/).
5. Promote justice—empower Black women! The Cut has a list of organizations that could use our support: A) The Collective Political Action Committee, Building Black Political Power, https://collectivepac.org/ (helped elect Doug Jones), B) Higher Heights, investing in Black women’s political leadership, http://www.higherheightsforamerica.org/C) Woke Vote, young grassroots organizers in the South registering voters and canvassing for Blue campaigns, https://www.wokevote.us/home/ (helped elect Doug Jones). See this article for more: https://www.thecut.com/2017/12/black-women-turnout-roy-moore-doug-jones.html
Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize
1. The Women’s March is hosting a series of anniversary events around the country to kick off their 2018 get-out-the-vote agenda, “Power to the Polls”, with their main event being held in Las Vegas, NV on January 21, 2018. http://www.newsweek.com/womens-march-will-storm-las-vegas-trump-inauguration-anniversary-748110 “This anniversary event will kick-off a national voter registration and mobilization tour targeting swing states to register new voters, engage impacted communities, harness our collective energy to advocate for policies and candidates that reflect our values and collaborate with our partners to elect more women and progressives candidates to office. Stay tuned for more information and RSVP here for updates.”
1. ALL: 39 of 50 states hold elections to choose all or some of their judges. This coming fall, 27 of those states will hold elections for seats on their highest courts. The Brennan Center for Justice has analyzed seven 2016 state supreme court elections and primaries; they conclude that several of the 2017 races will likely be dominated by special interest spending, a large part of it secret money from groups that do not disclose their donors. The Brennan Center will monitor all state supreme court contests this fall and will issue periodic analyses in the lead-up to Election Day; this research and data will be available on the Center’s supreme court elections page. Their press release identifies the states of particular concern and explains why: https://www.brennancenter.org/press-release/new-analysis-2016-judicial-elections-see-secret-money-and-heightened-outside-spending This influx of money into judicial elections has dire effects on the judgments meted out by the courts:
http://www.wnyc.org/story/money-is-flowing-into-state-supreme-court-races-study-says We ourselves need to keep a close eye on these elections, and we need to urge our state officials to guarantee that judicial elections are not tainted by negative campaigning and that voters, litigants, and potentially even judges are not kept in the dark about possible conflicts of interest.
2. FL: Fracking! The Florida Legislature is currently considering [FL] Senate Bill 462 and [FL] House Bill 237 which could determine the future of hydraulic fracking and other similar techniques in Florida. John Hall and John Hushon, guest columnists for the Herald Tribune and veterans of the oil and gas industry, spell out why they support a ban on fracking in Florida. They write, "The subsoil conditions in Florida strongly suggest that migration of toxicity to aquifers is a substantial risk even if there are no “accidents” or “spills” — yet national data suggests that more than 10 percent of all fracking procedures result in spills. And national data also suggests that well water drawn from within one mile of a fracking well contains above acceptable toxicity. We simply cannot risk this." Let's read the full article at Herald Tribune. These bills would prohibit all forms of “advanced well stimulation treatments,” meaning no high-pressure injections aimed at cracking the bedrock in search of black gold. Acid fracking – similar to hydraulic fracturing, with chemicals subbed in for water pressure to break through the rocks – is also expressly banned in the bills. (Source: Florida Politics) Floridians, we need to write to our Florida state representative in support of HB237 and our Florida state senator in support of SB462. These bills will be considered starting in the January 2018 session. Let's make some noise against fracking before the session even starts.
1. Evangelical whites may have voted for Moore, but not evangelical blacks:
2. “…for less than the cost of the Republican tax plan, Congress could eliminate child poverty in the United States. Twice.” https://talkpoverty.org/2017/12/12/u-s-eliminate-child-poverty-cost-senate-tax-bill/
3. This week we have some follow-ups related to actions we've seen previously on Rogan's list. This week: a) ABA-rated "unanimously not-qualified" Brett Talley has been withdrawn as a candidate for a lifetime judicial appointment (Source: NPR) b) "Transgender children are part of Satan's plan" judicial nominee Mateer has been withdrawn as a candidate for a lifetime judicial appointment. (Source: The Hill) c) Controversial industry-compromised Michael Dourson has withdrawn his nomination for a EPA appointment to regulate toxic chemicals (Source: NBCNews) d) The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Department of the Interior’s 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims across 1 million acres of public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon. (Source: Center for Biological Diversity). e) A Democrat won in Alabama! Let's focus on the House and Senate in 2018. (source: NBCNews). We are seeing the results of our hard work and dedication. Let's prepared to feel refreshed and energized for 2018. We are making a difference.