Contact Federal Government Officials
1. Out of respect for the Parkland shooting victims, Trump was apparently counseled to stay off the golf course this weekend while in Florida. He took to Twitter instead and made it even more obvious that he is not going to defend our nation against the Russian attacks: https://apnews.com/8f6e1fd141da4efdb1efc880d03aae1e Trumps refusal to enact the Russian sanctions will only encourage the Russians. Let’s be in touch with our senators to express outrage about the lack of appropriate response to the indictments and encourage them to co-sponsor the DETER Act (S. 2313) which would automatically impose severe sanctions on Russia if Putin interferes in our elections.
2. In 1996, the NRA goaded Congress into effectively blocking gun violence research. “Infuriated by CDC-funded research suggesting that having firearms in the home sharply increased the risks of homicide, the NRA goaded Congress in 1996 into stripping the injury center's funding for gun violence research – $2.6 million. Congress then passed a measure drafted by then-Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.) forbidding the CDC to spend funds "to advocate or promote gun control." http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-gun-research-funding-20160614-snap-story.html Imagine if this were to happen with any other cause of death. Let’s contact our MoCs and insist that the Dickey Amendment be repealed. We have a right to know what is happening.
3. While the House passed H.R. 620: ADA Education and Reform Act, a rollback on the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is not clear whether there would be enough support in the Senate to clear the 60 votes needed to pass the bill http://bit.ly/2EFiUJX Still, let's be sure to call our senators and make sure that they oppose the ADA Education and Reform Act. Disability and civil rights groups fear the bill will weaken incentives for businesses to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which mandates equal access to public accommodations. We can use the call script available at 5calls: https://5calls.org/issue/americans-with-disabilities-act-ada
4. EPA Chief Scott Pruitt claimed in a recent article in Time Magazine that he has to fly first class because people in coach have been mean to him. http://time.com/5158661/scott-pruitt-first-class/. Recently, Pruitt spent $1,641 on a first-class seat from Washington to New York, and a total of $58,000 on non-commercial flights. Meanwhile, the President wants to decimate the EPA’s Office of Science and Technology and slash funds for prosecuting environmental crimes and administering clean air and water programs. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/02/12/trump-budget-seeks-23-percent-cut-at-epa-would-eliminate-dozens-of-programs/?utm_term=.934782030355. Perhaps this is why people are being mean. Let’s tell Mr. Pruitt that we want him to spend our taxpayer money on protecting the environment, not on his wasteful transportation habits.(202) 564-4700; Pruitt.Scott@epa.gov; Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20460; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EPAScottPruitt Twitter: @EPAScottPruitt.
5. According to Federal Judicial Court nominee Gordon Giampietro, criminals come from public schools, birth control is an assault on nature and gay marriage opens the doors to polygamy. Let's read more about him at Urban Milwaukee then contact our Senators to let them know we oppose this extremist anti-LGBTQ candidate.
6. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has cleared the regulatory path for Sinclair Broadcasting, a giant television conglomerate and vocal Trump mouthpiece, to buy Tribune Media. This deal would put Sinclair into 72% of US households, but thanks to the hard work and diligence of US Representative Frank Pallone, the FCC's Inspector General has agreed to investigate Pai's close connections with Sinclair and any favorable treatment Pai may have provided. http://www.tvtechnology.com/news/0002/fcc-ig-agreed-to-investigate-pai-handling-of-sinclairtribune/282776 Let's send a word of thanks to Congressman Pallone for pushing the FCC to take a much-needed second look at this sweetheart deal: https://palloneforms.house.gov/contact/
7. ultraviolet has prepared a February Congressional Recess toolkit for us called “Women Grab Back: Fighting for Justice in the Trump Era”. https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.weareultraviolet.com/images/20180214-UV-recess-toolkit-web.pdf Let’s use it!
8. From one of our own: These are the 80 bills currently in Congress. All of them propose commonsense gun safety reforms. Not a single one is being acted on by our GOP- and NRA-controlled Congress. Your task: use this doc to Resistbot and tweet the names of the bills to GOP members of Congress. Going further, at the marches this month, make 80 signs with the names of the bills. List names of victims on the back. Shame Congress for not doing more when the legislation's just sitting there waiting to be passed. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1IrXrSlA-OR6hPCDZCt93UHGAa-75omkdPkEOmrCeONg/edit#gid=859455503 Please share with your groups!
9. The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is making what’s been dubbed an unofficial visit to India to promote his family’s real estate projects. But he’s also planning to deliver a foreign policy speech on Indo-Pacific relations at an event with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Indian newspapers have been running full-page, glossy advertisements hyping his arrival and the latest Trump Tower project under the headline: “Trump is here — Are You Invited?” The ads also invited home buyers to plunk down a booking fee (about $38,000) to “join Mr. Donald Trump Jr. for a conversation and dinner.” News that the Trump Organization would be offering buyers in the Trump Tower the chance to meet the president’s son sparked criticism of potential conflict of interest, and the fact that Trump Jr. will be giving a foreign policy speech while on a private business trip complicates the matter further, ethics expert said. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/trump-jr-to-give-foreign-policy-speech-while-on-unofficial-business-trip-to-india/2018/02/19/37d00c37-d9e8-40c4-934b-0a26b8160dcd_story.html?utm_term=.c5f07864066e Jr. is peddling the trump business on our tax dollars. Secret service dollars will be used to protect him while he sells condos in India for his dad and delivers a foreign policy speech. He’s not part of the WH staff. Let’s contact the White House and tell Trump to stop mixing his family business with government. Stop wasting our tax dollars and filling your pockets.
10. Redlining was outlawed years ago. “Fifty years after the federal Fair Housing Act banned racial discrimination in lending, African Americans and Latinos continue to be routinely denied conventional mortgage loans at rates far higher than their white counterparts.” https://apnews.com/ae4b40a720b74ad8a9b0bfe65f7a9c29 Time to let our MoCs know that this needs to be addressed and fixed.
11. “Hundreds of federal political ads — including those from major players such as the Democratic National Committee and the Donald Trump 2020 campaign — are running on Facebook without adequate disclaimer language, likely violating Federal Election Commission rules, a review by ProPublica has found.” https://www.propublica.org/article/i-approved-this-facebook-message-but-you-dont-know-that Let’s tell our senators to get behind the Honest Ads Act (S. 1989). It’s been sitting in the Senate Rules and Administration Committee since October. Let’s scroll down this page to see the committee members we also need to contact: https://www.rules.senate.gov/
Election 2018 – General
1. State election officials, including many secretaries of state, have just been briefed by national intelligence agencies about the ongoing threat of interference in US elections by foreign powers. https://www.npr.org/2018/02/19/586968070/election-heads-straddle-the-line-between-sounding-the-alarm-and-being-alarmist One election official commented that he feels obligated to "straddle the line between sounding the alarm on the issue and being alarmist," for fear of eroding public trust in elections. Well, preserving trust in the voting process assumes that the process itself is free & fair, so with the White House recklessly ignoring the proven problem of foreign meddling, let's tell our election officials that they need to keep pushing the intelligence community to provide them with the information they need to safeguard the linchpin of our democracy. http://www.e-secretaryofstate.com
2. We know that voting for MoCs who do not receive funds from the NRA is important, but so is how they vote on gun-related legislation which we can see here:
https://www.npr.org/2018/02/19/566731477/chart-how-have-your-members-of-congress-voted-on-gun-bills Let’s use this information to make good choices during our upcoming elections.
Election 2018 – By State
1. Feeling moved and lifted up by students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida like David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, and Emma Gonzalez? https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/19/florida-shooting-students-push-gun-control Let’s send notes of gratitude and encouragement to them: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 5901 Pine Island Rd, Parkland, FL 33076 and then let’s follow their lead! Here are some ways we can get connected to gun violence social actions upcoming on March 14th, March 24th, and April 20th:
2. Women’s March Youth EMPOWER group is looking for “seasoned organizers to support the courageous youth organizing of this event as coaches. Each coach will join a coaches training call and be paired with at least two youth organizers to support.” If we can help, let’s sign up here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1msLHioGyr6dRtKihV5IEE34__bhDyeO7Z41ByDAkcds/viewform?edit_requested=true
3. State attorneys general have been on the front lines of the legal fight against the Trump administration, and this November we have an opportunity to add to their ranks. Governing Magazine considers nine attorney general seats to be in play this fall – seven of which are currently held by Republicans (http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/gov-2018-attorneys-general-races-states.html). Let’s help elect more Democrats to this crucial and under-publicized position. We can donate to the Democratic Attorneys General Association here: https://democraticags.org/
4. For far too long, the NRA has seemed like an all-powerful, unstoppable force, stopping all efforts at gun control, but Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, tells us that thinking that way is part of the problem. She recommends that we read this twitter thread, by ProPublica reporter Alec MacGillis, on liberal fatalism to see how we can begin to think and the act differently to enact effective gun control in our country: https://twitter.com/AlecMacGillis/status/964984035628986368
5. The NRA has a well-stocked supply of arguments and talking points to deflect serious discussion of meaningful Gun control, but people are starting to answer back. A veteran and gun owner gives a powerful, strongly supported point-by point-refutation of many of their claims in this Facebook post by his sister, Calista Kline. We can read this and draw from these arguments in our gun control discussions:
6. On February 14th, a coalition of organizations coordinated their efforts to provide a month of Bail Outs, in observance of Black History Month and International Women's Month. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people are incarcerated, without convictions, because they cannot afford bail. Black Love Bail Out works to provide bail money for those who cannot afford it. We can help bring Black Love Bail Out to our local communities; let's check out the toolkit available at https://nomoremoneybail.org/#top
7. In solidarity with their Florida counterparts, high schoolers in Kalamazoo, MI have created a petition asking for gun reform: http://michiganradio.org/post/65000-and-counting-sign-kalamazoo-students-petition-responsible-gun-control Let’s sign it: https://www.change.org/p/students-fighting-guns-since-adults-won-t
8. From Suit Up Maine: Good, practical steps we can take so we do not contribute to false information: https://www.suitupmaine.org/not-stop-spread-false-information-social-media/
Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize
1. On Wednesday, February 21st at 12 PM, there will be a rally to support Gun Safety Reforms in front of the Old Florida Capitol. Yet another assault weapon has been used as a tool of destruction in order to commit mass murder. We want these weapons and large capacity magazines banned in the state of Florida. Senate Bill 196 and 1476 are sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee and has yet to be heard. We call to place these, and other Gun Reform Bills on the agenda and give it a fair hearing! #HeartheBills Parkland students and State Representatives will speak. We can find out more about the event, and how to join in here:
2. After years of hard work by a broad coalition of activists, late last month Washington’s governor Jay Inslee rejected an application to build North America’s largest oil train terminal in Vancouver (http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/371254-washington-gov-rejects-proposed-oil-by-rail-train-station). Now STAND.earth and the folks who helped earn this victory are coming together to host a webinar on the lessons they learned we can apply to future fights with Big Oil and big corporations. The event will be held at 3pm Eastern on February 21st, and we can sign register to take part at this link.
3. We can sign up to attend the February 27th “Until Freedom Comes: A Comprehensive Bail Out Toolkit Webinar” here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/167d0c71442e1989c5b9141539e44ee6
4. March 3rd, Black Lives Matter: Houston and Houston Rising are hosting March for Black Women in Houston, TX. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/314975859009519
1. ALL: “There have been more than 290 shootings on school campuses in the U.S. since 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012 according to Everytown For Gun Safety, an advocacy group. Incidents were classified as school shootings when a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on campus, as documented in news accounts. This includes events that did not target students or teachers, like suicides, misfires and other activity.” http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-na-school-shootings-since-newtown/ Guns don’t belong in elementary schools, colleges or universities. Take a look at the map and see how many of these school shootings were in your state, then call your Reps and ask for sensible gun laws.
2. MOST: While gun advocates might like you to believe otherwise, facts have shown that gun violence is lowest in states with strict gun laws. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/17/nyregion/florida-shooting-parkland-gun-control-connecticut.html Only five states (CA, CT, OR, WA, and IN) have a “red flag” law that allows the courts to confiscate people’s guns if they are deemed to be a threat. http://time.com/5165221/gun-control-law-states-florida-shooting/. Let’s contact our state legislators and ask them to introduce “red flag” legislation in our state. We can find our legislators’ contact information here: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
3. FL: Florida's Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) has put forth two proposals in particular that would strip away significant religious freedom protections that have been a vital part of Florida’s constitution for more than 130 years. 1) Proposal 4 would fully repeal the No-Aid Provision of the Florida Constitution, which ensures that taxpayer dollars do not fund religion. 2) Proposal 45 would effectively repeal the Uniform Public Education Provision, which ensures that public dollars fund public schools that serve all our students and are not funneled into private and religious schools. Let's read more at Americans United. Though the CRC is likely to pass these proposals when it convenes for a final vote in May, it is enormously important for commissioners and members of the media to know that there is strong and coordinated opposition to these proposals. Let's take a look at the list of public hearings here and make a plan to attend if we are able.
4. MD: A state bill, HB0511, in the Maryland House of Delegates would require all institutions of higher education in the state to form “hate-bias” prevention programs and reporting systems that would be tracked by the state legislature. We can read more about it at The College Fix. If we are Maryland residents, let's contact our own delegates to let them know we support HB0511. If we are in other states, we can contact our own state representatives to ask how they are addressing hate-bias at state colleges and universities and point to Maryland's bill as one part of the solution.
1. Yesterday, we had a piece from the NY Times on how Russian bots and trolls work: https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000005414346/how-russian-bots-and-trolls-invade-our-lives-and-elections.html. Here's a new exclusive piece on how these bots and trolls ACTUALLY tried to interfere in state-level politics. We hope this investigative piece by Denver Post reporter John Frank is followed up by journalists in other states: https://www.denverpost.com/2018/02/19/colorado-russian-trolls-twitter-new-analysis/
2. Suit Up Maine has come out with a “Victories and Good News Roundup” to show us that we are getting things done! https://www.suitupmaine.org/victories-good-news-roundup
3. “The Truth About Our Computerized Election Systems” - https://medium.com/@jennycohn1/handout-the-truth-about-our-computerized-election-systems-c4a17539de71