Contact Federal Government Officials
1. Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said she was not aware that Russia wanted Trump to win. This is in spite of the clear conclusion of the US intelligence community:https://apnews.com/f3e88ea359854442a5ba8f0aabdf574c As there is no version of this statement from the head of Homeland Security that bodes well for us – denial, ignorance, being coy – let’s let Secretary Nielsen know that a firm grasp on this issue is essential to homeland security: https://www.dhs.gov/contact-us
2. An Associated Press reporter was physically shoved out of an EPA meeting where certain press outlets were being blocked from attending. The topic was water contamination: https://apnews.com/7c5ce52b316a4c91930a0998cd613115 Yes, this is where we are. Let’s let our MoC know that this is outrageous, and we can let Administrator Pruitt know that we still await his resignation:
https://www.epa.gov/home/forms/contact-epa or on Twitter at @EPAScottPruitt
3. Donald Trump has nominated J. Campbell Barker to be a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas (https://setexasrecord.com/stories/511319783-texas-ag-praises-trump-nomination-of-deputy-solicitor-general-campbell-barker-to-federal-court-in-tyler). He has a long record of defending discriminatory voter ID laws and bigotry against the LGBT community and opposing protections for immigrants and the environment. We can read a full report about him from the Alliance for Justice here, and then call our senators and tell them we want them to oppose his nomination.
4. In the wake of the numerous shootings our country has endured, it is Congress's job to respond with legislative action. While the omnibus spending bill that passed earlier this year included the Fix NICS Act, it did not include any new gun control measures, it merely encouraged agencies to adhere to requirements that are already in place to keep the background check system current (https://theatln.tc/2HVgUtX). Senator Chris Murphy introduced the Background Check Expansion Act (S. 2009), which would require background checks for all firearm sales, closing the "gun show loophole." There is a similar, though less comprehensive background check bill in the House (H.R. 4240), which has bipartisan support though it has not been brought to the floor. Let's call our MoC about these bills and urge them to fight our gun violence crisis with legislation. We can use the call scripts available at 5calls.
5. The EPA just concluded its “National Leadership Summit” on PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS chemicals, excluding both community groups working on toxic chemicals in the water supply and, apparently, the press—though not, of course, the American Chemistry Council and the Flurocouncil: https://apnews.com/d799f4e096cc42cf99ae01b02d1e0688 The summit follows the revelation that the EPA and the White House tried to suppress a report from the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which indicated that levels of the chemicals the EPA previously deemed “safe” may actually harm people, on the grounds that releasing it would be a “potential public relations nightmare”: https://theintercept.com/2018/05/18/the-epas-leadership-summit-on-pfoa-pollution-will-exclude-victims-and-community-groups/ Some suggest that the move to quash the ATSDR study will damage Scott Pruitt more than his ethics scandals; surely it is more dangerous, and we can tell him so: @EPAScottPruitt or Mail Code 1101A, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20460 or 202-564-4700.
6. So, the White House has just decided to reinstate Jared Kushner's top security clearance, which he supposedly "lost" in February:
https://www.npr.org/2018/05/23/613780930/trump-son-in-law-kushner-to-regain-top-clearance-following-mueller-interview. Expert on authoritarian states Dr. Sarah Kendzior has been warning us that this reinstatement is actually just a sham, since this administration has never followed protocol anyway.
https://twitter.com/sarahkendzior/status/967452327476191232 What was announced today, she says, is simply "kleptocratic flaunting" since Kushner's protocol violations are broadly known. Let's ask our MOCs whether they're paying attention to this huge, and continuing, security risk. Are they OK with Kushner selling state secrets and abusing his position of power? Because that's what he is most likely doing.
Election 2018 – General
1. Postcards to Voter's results! Tuesday's elections included three (3) campaigns for which Postcards to Voters volunteers sent cards to get out the vote. We won two and lost one. 1)AR-Campaign 77: Teresa Gallegos. Teresa lost her bid for State Senate. (Source: ArkansasOnline) 2) GA-Campaign 82: LaKeisha Gantt. LaKeisha has won for Clarke County Board of Education board of education for District 7. (Source: UGA Red and Black) 3) GA- Campaign 84: Lisa Lott. Lisa overtook incumbent Regina Quick for Superior Court Judge, Western Circuit for the win. (Source: UGA Red and Black). Congratulations to the winners and our thanks to all and candidates and volunteers. If we want to write cards for current open campaigns, we can sign up here.
2. We now know that our voting equipment is not totally safe. States need to adopt a form of voting that also provides a paper backup to be used, if/when necessary. Let’s check to see what kind of equipment our state has: https://www.npr.org/2018/05/08/599452050/the-u-s-voting-system-remains-vulnerable-6-months-before-election-day-what-now If our state does not have a paper system, we need to contact our state election officials and tell them we want our votes backed up with paper: https://www.usa.gov/election-office
3. Swing Left, a grassroots organization dedicated to flipping the US House of Representatives blue, has a new initiative called Swing Left Academy. It offers online trainings to help us learn how to win political campaigns through canvassing, phone banking, voter registration, and organizing. Let’s check it out and sign up here: https://academy.swingleft.org/
Election 2018 – By State
1. Voting dates and deadlines this week:
Voter Registration Deadline
Voter Registration Deadline
2. AL: Introducing FLIP ALABAMA, a Facebook group that helped to get Doug Jones elected by squeezing every possible vote out of the state. Now it’s part of a 50-state project to get our country back by electing Democrats to as many offices as we can. We can join here, get some new ideas and meet new folks. Together we can continue to turn our beautiful state Blue. We can check the group out, then, if we like it, join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FlipAlabama/
3. CA: Introducing FLIP CALIFORNIA, a Facebook group dedicated to winning elections! It's part of a 50-state project that came out of the success of FLIP ALABAMA in helping to get Doug Jones elected by squeezing every possible vote out of the state. We can join here, get some new ideas and meet new folks. Together we can make our beautiful state the Bluest it’s ever been, so let’s start getting our country back, state by state! We can check the group out, then, if we like it, join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FlipCalifornia/
4. CA: From Political Charge: California has its statewide primary election on Tuesday, June 5. Share and/or bookmark these voter resources and know the quick facts going into Election Day. There are also a few key races noted--click the name of the race to see a list of candidates. https://politicalcharge.org/2018/05/23/california-6-5-primary-voter-resources/
5. IA: Introducing FLIP IOWA, a Facebook group dedicated to winning elections! It's part of a 50-state project that came out of the success of FLIP ALABAMA in helping to get Doug Jones elected by squeezing every possible vote out of the state. We can join here, get some new ideas and meet new folks. Together we can turn our beautiful state Blue, so let’s start getting our country back, state by state! We can check the group out, then, if we like it, join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FLIPIowa/
6. MS: Introducing FLIP MISSISSIPPI, a Facebook group dedicated to winning elections! It's part of a 50-state project that came out of the success of FLIP ALABAMA in helping to get Doug Jones elected by squeezing every possible vote out of the state. We can join here, get some new ideas and meet new folks. Together we can turn our beautiful state Blue, so let’s start getting our country back, state by state! We can check the group out, then, if we like it, join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FlipMississippi/
1. The Poor People’s Campaign, which is continuing the last effort of Dr. King by organizing nonviolent direct action to demand answers on systemic racism and poverty, is in its second week, and is continuing to gain traction. (http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article211362669.html). This is the sort of moral movement that may well help us respond to the Trump era. Let’s sign up to join in here. If we’re not in a position to do so, we can support the movement by contributing to the legal defense fund to get all those arrested after acts of non-violent civil disobedience get the support they need here.
2. Many are haranguing on those Democratic legislators who voted for the recent bank bill which is now on its way to Trump to sign. These legislators did not sell out. They fixed some things in the original Dodd-Frank bill that helped smaller banks, not large banks. They knew what they were doing. Even the co-author of the bill, Barney Frank said that the changes do not weaken the bill: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/22/dodd-frank-overhaul-doesnt-weaken-rules-for-large-banks-barney-frank.html When we hear this misconception, let’s make sure to counter it with the truth.
3. MGM Resorts International is phasing out plastic straws at all of its hotels. The "Straw Reduction Initiative" began this month at Aria and Mandalay Bay.The company says guests can still ask for straws, but they are not given out without request. Let's read more at Las Vegas Review-Journal. We can see a list of properties owned by MGM here. Let's contact MGM to let them know we support this initiative and are excited to see it roll out to all their properties. Since 19 of the 29 strip casinos are owned by just two companies, MGM and Caesars, let's also contact Caesars to let them know we want them to start their own Straw Reduction Initiative.
4. Connecticut’s child welfare agency has launched an initiative to actively recruit members of the state’s LGBT community to become foster and adoptive parents, bucking recent efforts in some states to curtail gay adoptions. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D) has said that Connecticut wants to be known as a state that welcomes and embraces the LGBT community. Let's read more at APNews. We can send thank yous to Gov. Malloy. We can also write to our own governors to encourage them to adopt a similar model for our states.
5. Adult guardianship is easily misused in this country and so many people have their rights and their money intentionally taken away by people who do not have their best interests at heart. http://www.cbs17.com/news/north-carolina-news/north-carolinians-describe-guardianship-as-a-sick-twisted-process-/1191065624 Let’s check out the National Center on Elder Abuse and Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship to see how we can help.
6. A federal court has ruled that Trump’s practice of blocking his Twitter critics violates the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Let’s share the opinion on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. Here’s a link:
Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize
1. June 5, Washington, D.C., World Elder Abuse Awareness Day - Fourth Global Summit, Register here: https://www.regonline.com/registration/Checkin.aspx?EventID=2237772
1. ALL: We do not have to rely on Congress taking action at the federal level to pass gun control regulations. Rather, we can also focus on our MoC at the state level. Indivisible has a comprehensive guide we can use to learn about the current gun laws, and then the specific measures we can support in our state. Let's take a look at the guide, and then contact our state legislators.
2. MI: From MI Resistance: "The Prevailing Wage Act of 1965 requires contractors to pay union-level wages and benefits for construction projects financed or sponsored by the state of Michigan. It is currently in danger of being repealed. If the Prevailing Wage Act is repealed, companies will no longer have to ensure competitive compensation and safety standards for workers, and they will no longer have to participate in equitable bidding for contracts. Contrary to the GOP argument that the repeal will save tax dollars, it will likely only increase the contractor’s margin of profit. Other states, who have removed similar laws, found little to no cost savings to tax payers." For those of us with Republican state representatives, it is especially important to urge them not to vote on the repeal, so that Michigan residents can vote on the ballot measure in November: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
1. “Most Americans don’t realize Robert Mueller’s investigation has uncovered crimes” - https://www.vox.com/2018/5/23/17384096/mueller-investigation-poll Let’s remember that the Mueller investigation has issued 17 indictments and gotten five guilty pleas.
2. An interesting read from the NYT on understanding the process of Mueller’s final findings. The piece explains the way things could go if no crime is found OR if trump broke the law.
3. Looking ahead to the next school year, former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recommends more drastic measures to ensure changes to our gun laws: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/05/arne-duncan-boycott-school/560921/