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1/18/19 

Contact Federal Government Officials



2.   The government shutdown is now in its 28th day and the ramifications are increasing.  It is costing so many so much.  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/01/15/government-shutdown-2019-five-ways-federal-shutdown-wastes-money/2573961002/  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) holds the key.   Let’s continue demanding he bring this to a vote that will surely pass.  Contact:  https://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/officelocations

3.   As if current policies favoring deregulation and lowering environmental standards aren't enough, EPA referrals for criminal prosecution are at their lowest since 1988, due to the administration’s gutting of the agency’s investigative unit. https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/425361-epa-referrals-for-criminal-prosecution-lowest-since-1988-report. Let’s talk to our MoCs and ask what they can do to make sure that polluters don’t get away with violating the minimal regulations we still have in place.

4.   The House voted 362-53 to disapprove Trump’s lifting of sanctions on three Russian companies; https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/425864-house-votes-262-53-to-disapprove-trump-lifting-of-sanctions-on however, the same resolution fell three votes short in the Senate.  https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/chuck-schumers-campaign-block-russia-sanctions-relief-comes-short and  https://www.apnews.com/93e38e1cbc174e808c2902a90adc0505  So, the same group that will not vote to end the shutdown is willing to lift sanctions on companies implicated in the Russian investigation.  Let’s thank GOP Sens. John Boozman (Ark.), Susan Collins (Maine), Tom Cotton(Ark.), Steve Daines (Mont.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), John Kennedy (La.), Martha McSally (Ariz.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ben Sasse (Neb.), the Republican Senators who broke ranks and voted with the Democrats, but let’s also tell all our Republican Senators to stop enabling the president from doing things that are impacting American livelihood and demand that they support a bill to reopen the government immediately. 

5.   The maddening “doublespeak” continues as now Trump lawyer extraordinaire Rudy Giuliani would like us to believe that he never said there was no collusion with Russia:https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia/trump-lawyer-giuliani-shifts-on-collusion-cant-say-if-campaign-tied-to-russia-idUSKCN1PB1P3  When we are contacting our MoC about the shutdown, let’s let them know that we are paying keen attention to the Russia story with concern and disgust.

6.   Ex-coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler is being considered by the Senate for confirmation as head of the EPA. When asked whether he agreed with the conclusions of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, Wheeler said he couldn't answer because he had not been fully briefed on the report; "That's unacceptable," responded Sen. Ed Markey, D-MA),"You're looking to be confirmed as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency . . . . and you. . .  haven't had enough time yet to review whether or not there's an extra level of urgency to this problem.”:
 https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/01/16/climate-clash-democrats-grill-epa-nominee-andrew-wheeler-wednesday/2539053002/  Wheeler’s opposition to environmental regulation and his efforts to roll back pollution standards are widely-known; climate change, in Wheeler’s view, does not constitute the “greatest crisis” facing the EPA:  
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/16/andrew-wheeler-climate-change-trump-epa-hearings  We must contact our senators and urge them to vote against Wheeler’s confirmation on the grounds that he has not only demonstrated his ignorance to the Senate but lied about the effects of deregulation.

7.   The Disability Integration Act (now numbered S117), was reintroduced earlier this week. This bill helps fight for the independence of all people, including the disabled. We can read more at InsuranceNewsNet  Let’s ask our senators to co-sponsor and support S117. 

8.   Yet another GOP representative has used racist language.  Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) in the House yelled “Go back to Puerto Rico!” while Rep. C├írdenas (D-CA) was speaking.  https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/house-floor-erupts-go-back-puerto-rico  Let’s ask our representatives for the same removal from committee assignments and at least a disapproval resolution. 

9.   “As the Trump administration demands funding for a border wall to stop illegal immigration, a new study finds that for the seventh consecutive year, visa overstays far exceeded unauthorized border crossings.”  https://www.npr.org/2019/01/16/686056668/for-seventh-consecutive-year-visa-overstays-exceeded-illegal-border-crossings  Let’s tell our MoCs that if they are concerned about the number of undocumented workers, let’s use the correct research to work on the right solutions.

10. “The State Department is calling back its furloughed diplomats next week after shifting money to payroll from other accounts, but the returning employees will still have to wait to get their retroactive pay, officials said Thursday.  https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/shutdown-hits-us-diplomats-overseas-state-department-calls/story?id=60403477  This picking and choosing who is coming back and who is staying out is wrong.  Please call your senators and ask for a no confidence vote to remove Mitch and proceed with a vote to open all government. 

11.  The advocates of business-as-usual are pumping out a steady stream of screeds deriding the Green New Deal as economically unrealistic (for example: 
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/green-new-deal-comes-with-real-trade-offs-feds-kashkari-says-2019-01-15), while ignoring the fact that climate science has told us we have only 12 years to renounce our carbon-belching ways. Our situation is a bit like that of a person standing on the beach, watching an approaching tsunami while the guy next to you whines about the path to high ground being rocky and steep. We could all wait for someone to pave a highway to safety for us, but that would take far too long, so instead let's tell our reps and senators to join AOC, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and others in supporting a Green New Deal. We can't afford NOT to do it.  https://www.dataforprogress.org/green-new-deal/#afford

Election/Voting

Other Actions

1.    As the wildly abnormal gets normalized around us, let’s think about small ways to keep key issues front and center: lapel pins, bumper-stickers, signs in yards and windows, emails to friends and family to express concern about shutdown and Russia, letters to the editor of our local paper, etc. Let’s also make sure that we are taking breaks and focusing on self-care in these hard times!

2.   “Let’s take a quick look at the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, otherwise referred to as the House Intelligence Committee. . . which is "charged with conducting oversight on the U.S. intelligence community and making sure that their activities are abiding by the Constitution and established laws. That includes the CIA, FBI, DEA, NSA, Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Homeland Security, the intelligence agencies of the 5 branches of the military, and 5 other agencies.":  https://politicalcharge.org/2019/01/15/what-does-the-house-intelligence-committee-do/

3.   Activists who work for well-being causes can significantly change our world for the better. However, activism can be a stressful process -- so it's vital for activists to manage stress well by investing in their own well-being while they're working for the well-being of others. CWB Senior Scholar Paul Gorski has developed these resources to help people overcome activist burnout:”  https://wellbeing.gmu.edu/resources/thriving-activist

4.   “Netflix has decided not to film its forthcoming teen drama “OBX” in North Carolina largely because of the remaining anti-LGBQT clause in that state’s House Bill 2. That’s the so-called “Bathroom Bill,” which says that transgender people can only use public bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificates.”  https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/television/2019/01/11/netflix-won-film-obx-north-carolina-due-bathroom-bill/VYlNaItwOLv1XpBMq4PDgM/story.html  Let’s thank Netflix for standing up against hate:  Netflix Corporate Headquarters 100 Winchester Circle Los Gatos, CA 95032

State Actions

1.    CA:  Voting is a vital part of being a citizen, but registering to vote should not put us in danger. Now a new state law has just made registration safer. If sharing our address could put us in life-threatening danger, we may be eligible to register to vote confidentially. For more information, we can contact the Safe at Home program at (877) 322-5227 or visit www.sos.ca.gov/registries/safe-home/.  We can also spread voter registration safety by sharing these links with our friends.

2.   IA: Governor Kim Reynolds is proposing a constitutional amendment lifting the state's felon voting ban. The felon voting proposal, if approved, would overturn a ban on felon voting that former-Governor Terry Branstad enacted through executive order in 2011. Let's read more at Des Moines Register. Let's contact Gov. Reynolds to let her know that she has our support, then contact our Iowa state legislators to ask that they support this measure. 

3.   KS: In her first official act, Governor Laura Kelly signed an executive order reinstating the protections for LGBT workers that were eliminated by former-Governor Sam Brownback in 2015. The order is limited to executive branch agencies under Kelly’s control. Let's read more at The Wichita Eagle.  Let's thank Gov. Kelly for her efforts and let our Kansas state legislators (State HouseState Senate) know we want them to step on this issue as well.

4.   VA: Virginia could be the State that gets us to the 3/4 States needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment!  It passed on the Senate floor, 26-14, but faces an uphill battle going forward into the House.  Speaker Kirk Cox indicated early on that he'd send the resolution to the friendly Rules committee.  He did not. He instead sent it to the Privileges and Elections Committee, chaired by Del. Mark Cole.  Mark Cole said early in the process that he'd give the ERA a "fair" hearing in his committee.  He is now publicly backpedaling on that promise.  To make matters worse, the word on the street is that House Republicans have made a deal with the national Family Foundation for $1,000,000 to "kill" the ERA.  It’s up to us to help SAVE the ERA! Using the contact info below, we can call, email, or send a postcard to the following:  A) Tell Speaker Cox to:  "Send the ERA resolution directly to the House floor for a fair vote."  Speaker Kirk Cox, Pocahontas Bldg., Rm. E605, 900 East Main Street, Richmond, VA  23219 or DelKCox@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1066, B)  Tell Del. Mark Cole to: "Give the ERA resolution a full and fair hearing in the Privileges and Elections Committee."  Delegate Mark Cole, P&E Chair, Pocahontas Bldg, Rm. E202, 900 East Main Street, Richmond, VA  23219 or DelMCole@house.virginia.gov, and C)  to the Committee members: (Tap on “The Committee” icon) and their Contact details  https://www.ratifyera.org/virginia?utm_source=so or (804) 698-1088  Let’s turn up the heat and pass the ERA!

5.   WY: Governor Mark Gordon has requested that $21 million be added to the supplemental budget to diversify economy, protect wildlife and state lands from invasive species and predation, and better support local governments. We can read more at SweetwaterNOW.  Let's contact Gov. Gordon to let him know that wildlife protection is one of our priorities. Let's contact our Wyoming state legislators to ask them to support Gov. Gordon's request for wildlife protection funding.

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.    The #TrumpShutdown, the longest in U.S. history, continues unabated. Trump could end this by dropping his foolish wall funding demands, McConnell could end this by passing the same clean spending bill passed by both houses in December, then letting the Senate override a veto. Both have dug in their heels, but we’ve seen public pressure shift stubborn stances before and we can ratchet this pressure up. Let’s help turn on the heat by joining the #TrumpShutdown Twitter storm TODAY, Wednesday, January 16 at 8pm Eastern Time. Action Together Network’s Twitter Warriors have put this together and made it easy for us to join in. When we click on this link, we will find prewritten tweets that we can send out with just a few clicks. Every tweet counts, so let’s get busy!

2.   The Indigenous Peoples March will be held on Friday, January 18, in Washington, D.C.  We can find more information here:  https://indigenouspeoplesmovement.com/

3.   If we are looking for a truly inclusive Women’s March this weekend, inclusive from the top to bottom, let’s check out March On and join in:  https://www.wearemarchon.org/jan2019/

Reading/Watching

1.    Studies show that countries with more women in government have healthier populations - https://www.businessinsider.com/more-women-in-government-the-healthier-a-population-2019-1

2.   For First Time in Recent History, a US Military Service Is Working Without Pay - https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/01/15/first-time-history-us-military-service-working-without-pay.html





1/16/19 

Contact Federal Government Officials


1.   Yesterday, the Disability Integration Act (yet unnumbered) was reintroduced in the Senate.  “The Disability Integration Act (DIA) is the next step in building a fulfilling and sustainable world for persons with disabilities”   https://www.csindy.com/TheWire/archives/2019/01/11/independence-center-to-host-watch-party-for-disability-integration-act and http://www.disabilityintegrationact.org/  Let’s ask our senators to cosponsor and support this important bill that will help so many.

2.   The nomination hearing for William Barr as US Attorney General began yesterday.  While he said he will not interfere with the Mueller investigation “without good cause”, one has to wonder who gets to define that “good cause”.  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2019/jan/15/trump-live-latest-news-updates-us-politics-today-william-barr-shutdown  Let’s ask for a more direction answer to that question, then let’s also use the advice from Chop Wood/Carry Water and ask the Senator[s] to oppose William Barr for Attorney General unless he pledges to release the full text of Mueller's final report to the public. Or recuses himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation completely. He's just way too compromised on this issue and it worries me, considering the stakes.

3.   Trump claims he wants to build a wall to keep Americans safe. Meanwhile the shutdown continues to threaten our safety with each passing day. TSA shortages are threatening our airline security. And many federal workers don’t have the funds to pay for needed medication. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/federal-worker-forced-ration-insulin-because-government-shutdown-n958066?fbclid=. Even Trump ally Senator Lindsay Graham proposed opening the government, but Trump and Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell have refused to budge. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-shutdown-temporary/trump-rejects-senators-proposal-for-temporary-government-reopening-idUSKCN1P81LU.  McConnell COULD bring this up for a vote, and override a veto, but refuses to do so.   https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/425469-mcconnell-senate-wont-override-trump-veto-on-shutdown-fight  We need to let McConnell and our senators know that this obstructionism, at the expense of unpaid federal workers and people’s real safety and health for some bogus “national emergency”, is not acceptable to voters and to open up the government now.   McConnell, 317 Russell Senate Off. Bldg., Washington DC 20510 or 202-224-2541 or FAX 202-224-2499.

4.   From Herd on the Hill:  CALL TO ACTION:  We want your letters!  Write to us about how the shutdown is hurting you • your family • your friends • your community • your town • your colleagues • your pocketbook • your company • your country.  We will hand-deliver to your Representatives and Senators in the days ahead.  Here’s how:  https://stampslicked.org/

5.   Newly-elected Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) on Monday called for conservative Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to resign from the House because of his remarks questioning whether white supremacy is "offensive." “I think he ought to step aside and I think Congress ought to make it very clear he has no place there,” Romney told CNN’s Manu Raju on Monday. He said King “ought to resign and move on and let someone else who represents American values take his seat,” adding “he should find a different line of work."  https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/425308-romney-calls-on-steve-king-to-resign-after-white-supremacist-comment  Now all we need is for the GOP to call out Trump for all his racist statements about all “fine people” marching in Charlotte, all the Mexican rapists, and insulting a gold star muslin family.  Let’s ask GOP members of Congress to denounce Trump’s rhetoric and racist language. 

6.   Immigration Rights activist Eduardo Samaniego, who has been in detention for over 80 days, has another hearing tomorrow, January 17th. In response, actions have been planned today at ICE offices to demand his immediate release from detention. Let’s make sure to contact ICE officials where he’s being held in Georgia, and Secretary of DHS Kirstjen Nielsen and demand that they free Eduardo now. More information and scripts can be found in this free Eduardo toolkit put out by the Pioneer Valley Workers Center.

7.   Last weekend a congressional delegation traveled to Puerto Rico to see for themselves what is really happening, or not happening, there following the devastation from the 2017 hurricane, Maria. What they saw was worse than they anticipated.   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/congressional-delegation-visits-puerto-rico-today-2019-01-12/  Let’s remind all of our MoCs that we want them to address the needs of Puerto Rico now and do something so that kind of neglect will not happen again.

8.   In the critical opening round of a battle that will probably end in the Supreme Court, a federal judge has ruled against the Commerce department’s attempt to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census.  Turns out, according to the NY Times, that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross spent months campaigning to get the DoJ to ask for the inclusion of the question, and “In sworn testimony, the department’s senior civil-rights official conceded that census data was not necessary to enforce the Voting Rights Act,” although that was the excuse used for the inclusion of the citizenship question.  The American Civil Liberties Union called the judge’s ruling a “forceful rebuke of the Trump administration’s attempt to weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities”: https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/425379-federal-judge-rules-against-census-citizenship-question   We, too, can rebuke this attempt to undermine the census by Trump and his allies by contacting the White House and Ross: : @SecretaryRoss or (202) 482-2000 or Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20230.

9.   Last Friday, several Republican senators introduced legislation, S104, to permanently end government shutdowns by creating an automatic continuing resolution for any appropriations bill, allowing the federal government to remain open even when budget agreements break down. Ohio Senator Rob Portman (R) has sponsored this bill in every Congress since 2010. We can read more at CBSNews. This bill has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee. Let's contact our Senators in support of S104 to keep it moving forward. 

10. On Meet the Press on Sunday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that he does not think that most people outside of Washington are concerned about the Mueller investigation.  https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-january-13-2019-n958141  Let’s let Cruz know where we live and that we are concerned.

Election/Voting

Other Actions

1.    MedGlobal has partnered with Immigrant Justice Now in Tijuana and they are requesting chewable multi-vitamins for all the malnourished children that are waiting for their asylum request numbers to be called by CBP. They will then have to enter the frigid ICEBox for 5-7 days as their claims are processed.  Immigrant Justice Now is also using some of your donations to make this cruel process less harmful.  We are helping to build their immune systems & going to give them thermal underwear sets & thermal socks to wear as they enter our immigration system. Please donate to help us bring dignity & humanity to this malicious immigration process, even $5 will make a difference:  https://www.immigrantjusticenow.org/donate/

2.   If we don’t already subscribe, it is time to check out Political Charge’s daily blog for people who care about what's happening in our government and have a bias for action.  Check it out here and sign up:  https://politicalcharge.org/

3.   Gillette has been getting some pushback for its recent ad that speaks out against toxic masculinity, including calls to boycott its parent company, Proctor and Gamble, for being too “politically correct.” https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/gillette-best-men-can-be-ad-draws-activist-praise-right-wing-ire-1.1198471. Let’s thank Gillette for taking this stand and let them know we have their back. We can reach them on Facebook, Twitter, or on their website contact page.  Let’s also tell them that we’d like them to stop advertising on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson show.

4.   From Postcards from Kate: Today we're thanking NYTimes reporter Trip Gabriel for the interview that finally got Rep. Steve King (R-IA) stripped of his committee assignments by the same party which overlooked his incendiary comments for years. Link to article here.  Contact:  Trip Gabriel, Reporter, New York Times, 620 Eighth Avenue,
New York, NY 10018.

5.   Attention university faculty and administrators: here's a specific action item for us. As we all know, Trump could care less about the arts, and would like to eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities. Only too clear, also, is the administration's lack of interest in a liberal arts education. So, it's time to reach out to the new Congress -- our best hopes lie with them. Here's an excellent guide for how universities can advance their case with our elected officials. Some of this advice, offered by the Modern Languages Association (the largest association of literary scholars in the world), applies to any professional or educational group/institution who'd like to get Congress' ear, so it's worth a read. https://action.mla.org/policy-building-relationships-with-the-new-congress/

6.   Jesse Duquette, whose political cartoon "The Daily Don" is published only on Facebook and Instagram, now has a compilation of the best of his work available for pre-order through our favorite booksellers (AmazonBarnes and Noble, or through our local book source). Called "The Daily Don: All the News that Fits Into Tiny, Tiny Hands," this book will be available in April, 2019. We can read more about Duquette's daily project at The Globe and Mail. We can follow "The Daily Don" on Facebook and find it on Instagram. Duquette's satire is a good companion to Amy Siskind's list.

7.   The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. They have compiled resources to help us make more informed decisions. Do we know what's in our tap water? What about our shampoo? What’s lurking in the cleaners underneath our sink? What pesticides are on our food? Let's check out EWG's Consumer Guides for more information on our particular areas of concern and bookmark the site for future reference.

8.   If we're KonMari-ing your home, or just doing a post-holidays purge, here are some great places to DONATE STUFF!  A)  Give Back Box - Fill up any leftover boxes you have and amazon will ship for free to get your items to those in need - www.givebackbox.com, B) Vietnam Vets - They’ll take almost anything and will pick up from you! - www.pickupplease.org, and C) Habitat for Humanity - They'll take larger furniture, tools and building supplies - www.habitat.org/restores/donate-goods

State Actions

1.    ALL:  A number of states are proposing various bills that would allow various kinds of discrimination in the name of “religious freedom.” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/14/christian-nationalists-bills-religious-freedom-project-blitz? Let’s make sure to research whether our state is considering any legislation that allows discrimination against religious minorities or the LGBTQ community and speak out/organize against it.

2.   VA:  Yesterday, the Virginia Senate voted to approve the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment).  https://www.roanoke.com/news/politics/general_assembly/virginia-senate-passes-era-resolution-by---vote-now/article_efc17fd3-3ca2-5cd9-8b9c-1fdecb1002f8.html  Now, it is on to the House.  Let’s all call our reps and let them know that we support this historic vote in the affirmative!

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.    The #TrumpShutdown, the longest in U.S. history, continues unabated. Trump could end this by dropping his foolish wall funding demands, McConnell could end this by passing the same clean spending bill passed by both houses in December, then letting the Senate override a veto. Both have dug in their heels, but we’ve seen public pressure shift stubborn stances before and we can ratchet this pressure up. Let’s help turn on the heat by joining the #TrumpShutdown Twitter storm TODAY, Wednesday, January 16 at 8pm Eastern Time. Action Together Network’s Twitter Warriors have put this together and made it easy for us to join in. When we click on this link, we will find prewritten tweets that we can send out with just a few clicks. Every tweet counts, so let’s get busy!

2.   The Indigenous Peoples March will be held on Friday, January 18, in Washington, D.C.  We can find more information here:  https://indigenouspeoplesmovement.com/
  
Reading/Watching

1.   A Literal Wall Expert Explains Why Trump's Wall Won't Even Work - https://www.ecowatch.com/trumps-wall-wont-work-2625987846.html

2.   Arrests For Illegal Border Crossings Hit 46-Year Low - https://www.npr.org/2017/12/05/568546381/arrests-for-illegal-border-crossings-hit-46-year-low


4.   What if the Obstruction Was the Collusion? On the New York Times’s Latest Bombshell - https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-if-obstruction-was-collusion-new-york-timess-latest-bombshell