Contact Federal Government Officials
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: email@example.com
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
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 Planet” Let’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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com 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
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!
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