5/4/17 To-do List
Contact Government Officials
- Two Republicans have done an about face on the healthcare bill with the addition of an amendment that is rather questionably helpful. There is a better chance than ever that the healthcare plan will be approved and it could be voted on as early as today. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/02/health-care-republicans-obamacare-237910 It is imperative that we keep on our representatives to oppose this bill. So many people will not be able to be insured, as costs will be prohibitive. People will die. We need to call our reps. We need to keep telling our stories and to demand that no vote be taken without a CBO score so we all understand the costs involved.
- In a giant step backwards, it is reported that Trump will issue an anti-LGBTQ executive order (disguised as “religious liberty” today, the National Day of Prayer, surrounded by religious leaders. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/02/donald-trump-religious-liberty-executive-order-237888 This order would, if it resembles the original one (https://www.thenation.com/article/leaked-draft-of-trumps-religious-freedom-order-reveals-sweeping-plans-to-legalize-discrimination/), would grant individuals and groups exemption from a whole array of federal laws, including those governing outright discrimination, if they claim religious objection to, for example, same-sex marriage, women’s right to contraception and abortion, trans identity, premarital sex and so on. The ACLU is urging us to fill the White House message box with our views about this executive order: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
- As we have all been hearing, everyone is up in arms about the new healthcare bill's lack of provisions for pre-existing conditions. Paul Ryan has proposed "high risk pools" as an alternative to the ACA's rule that people with such conditions cannot be denied health insurance. High-risk pools, or funds set aside for subsidizing the healthcare costs of high-risk patients are, some conservatives say, "a fairer and more equitable solution to this social problem, rather than hiding the cost by forcing other people to pay premiums that are artificially higher than the value of the product." https://www.wsj.com/articles/pre-existing-confusion-1493680248?mod=e2two. However, of the states that have implemented high-risk pools, "Many had limited enrollment, very high premiums, steep deductibles, pre-existing condition exclusions lasting six to 12 months, annual and lifetime benefit limits and waiting lists." http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20170213/NEWS/170219968. That doesn't sound like a good alternative to us. Let's keep calling our MoCs to vote NO on the health care bill, and we can add that we don't think that high-risk pools are fair, or equitable.
- Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN distinguished people with pre-existing conditions from those “who lead good lives”: http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2017/05/01/lead-brooks-interview-live.cnn Please take a moment to let Rep. Brooks know what you think of his perspective: 2400 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515
- Amidst the health care madness, things are tilting the wrong way on our participation in the Paris climate change agreement: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/05/02/in-the-trump-white-house-the-momentum-has-turned-against-the-paris-climate-agreement Please reach out to EPA Chief Pruitt (who wants to break the agreement): Pruitt.firstname.lastname@example.org and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry (who wants revision) The.Secretary@hq.doe.gov and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (who wants to stay in the agreement) https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
- Congressional Republicans are trying to undermine crucial protections that safeguard the air we drink, the water we breathe, the food we eat, and help make sure we’re treated fairly at work. http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/03/the-coming-gop-assault-on-regulations-000351 and http://thehill.com/homenews/house/312730-house-passes-bill-to-overturn-midnight-regulations-en-masse They’ve passed three bills through the House that would leave tens of millions of Americans vulnerable to workplace and environmental disasters, and with all the chaos the Trump administration is causing they haven’t gotten nearly enough coverage. We can stop them in the Senate if our senators know we’re paying attention. Let us join the United Farm Workers in sending a message to our senators to demand they loudly and steadfastly oppose these bills – we can find sample letters and more information at this link: http://action.ufw.org/page/speakout/enviro417
- Julie Kirchner, the former executive director of an anti-immigration hate group (according to the Southern Poverty Law Center: http://bit.ly/1KWdEcO ), is now the ombudsman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. (USCIS). http://bit.ly/2p9nJPJ Let's call the Department of Homeland Security, and the USCIS to let them know that this is unacceptable. DOH: 202-282-8495 USCIS: 1-800-375-5283
- The Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1180) , which is not nearly as helpful as it sounds, has passed the House. http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/331395-working-families-need-higher-wages-and-guaranteed-time-to Let's call our Senators and urge them to oppose this harmful legislation. We can also call the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to ensure that the Senate version of this bill (S. 801) does not pass. 5Calls has a script available: https://5calls.org/issue/recFlMoKlkl8pX6Jg
- Let's not forget to keep calling ICE's VOICE hotline, to report our (extraterrestrial) alien encounters! http://n.pr/2pySnVx The LoveArmy has a Report Alien Encounters campaign, which connects us to the VOICE hotline, and offers handy dandy graphics to share on social media: http://bit.ly/2p9Fsq6
- Over 200 member of Congress have signed on to the Equality Act, which would add LGBTQ protection to the Civil Rights Act. http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/over-200-members-congress-file-federal-lgbtq-rights-bill-n754006 Let’s sign on as citizen co-sponsors: http://sign.actiontaker.org/page/s/Equality-Act
- Yet another Trump disclosure omission: “Jared Kushner didn't disclose his business ties with George Soros, Peter Thiel, and Goldman Sachs, or that he owes $1 billion in loans…” http://www.businessinsider.com/jared-kushner-ties-george-soros-goldman-sachs-peter-thiel-1-billion-loan-2017-5 Let’s contact the Office of Government Ethics and ask that they investigate, this, too: https://www.oge.gov/Web/OGE.nsf/Resources/Contact+Us
- In yet another executive order expected to be signed today on the National Day of Prayer, Trump’s ignorance concerning the separation of church and state will come into play. The EO will relax prohibitions on political activities by religious organizations: http://time.com/4766166/donald-trump-johnson-amendment-churches-executive-order/ Let’s let Trump know that we think that the separation of church and state has served our country well and that we want it to continue: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
- WARNING: “If you receive an email with an unexpected invitation to open and view a Google Doc, don’t do it. In what appears to be a large-scale phishing attack…[that] if you click on "Open in Docs," it will spam everyone in your Google contacts, and it may also try to steal your information.”http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2017/05/03/don_t_click_on_unexpected_emails_with_google_doc_invitations_it_s_a_major.html Let’s take extra care with this.
- During his recent interview with Trump (the one Trump ended abruptly) John Dickerson of CBS News showed the kind of journalistic integrity we need: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-interview-full-transcript-face-the-nation/ Let’s send a note of thanks to Dickerson: CBS News, 524 W 57th St, NY, NY 10019
- Both Jane Goodall and Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani spoke up about Ivanka Trump’s use of their words/story in her new book: http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/02/media/ivanka-trump-jane-goodall/index.html and http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/02/technology/girls-who-code-reshma-saujani-ivanka-trump/index.html Let’s encourage Ms. Trump to reflect on their responses: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500
- Tens of thousands of us marched across the country last weekend to demand real action on climate change from the federal government (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/29/us/politics/peoples-climate-march-trump.html). But our fight for climate action can’t stop there. We can connect with groups in our area taking local action by signing this pledge from 350.org: http://act.350.org/sign/local-power
- In what appears to be a jumpstart to his 2020 campaign, a Trump ad on the successes of his first hundred days is being aired. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/01/trump-campaign-ad-nonprofit-237852 CNN, however, refused saying that the statement in the ad that mainstream media is fake news is false. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/cnn-trump-feud/525096/ Let’s thank CNN for that decision: 190 Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
- “Former President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he and his wife, Michelle, are donating $2 million to summer jobs programs in Chicago.” http://thehill.com/homenews/news/331788-obamas-donating-2m-to-chicago-summer-jobs-programs Let’s write and thank them for their generosity and understanding the kind of help young people often need: Office of Barack and Michelle Obama, P.O. Box 91000, Washington, DC 20066
- Mama’s Bail Out Day, a project of the Movement for Black Lives, reports that it has raised more than half of its hoped-for $300,000 in individual donations. If we haven’t yet contributed to this effort to bail out mothers who languish in jail for lack of money bail during Mother’s Day week, now’s the time to give what we can! The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund is taking the contributions: https://brooklynbailfund.org/national-bail-out-day-donate
Petitions to Sign
- We know that religious freedom is a euphemism for license to discriminate. Let’s join with the People for the American Way and sign here to say NO to discrimination: https://secure.pfaw.org/site/SPageNavigator/action.html?survey_id=12023&autologin=true
- Last month, the California State Senate passed the nation’s first sanctuary state legislation, which, if enacted, would block state and local law enforcement agencies from using their resources to comply with Trump’s nativist agenda. But Governor Jerry Brown has yet to sign this legislation. #AllofUs urges us to sign a petition encouraging Brown to live up to his reputation as a progressive and act to pass this law: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/make-california-a-sanctuary-state
- Literature can be activist. For one thing, it can remind us that the political situation we are facing is far from unique. Let this trenchant and compelling short story by Egyptian author Basma Abdel Aziz, translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette, remind us of what we don't want to become. "Scenes from the Life of an Autocrat" could *almost* have been written about Trump. https://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/2017/march/scenes-life-autocrat-basma-abdel-aziz
- Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) on why the new healthcare plan is an attack on mental health care: https://www.statnews.com/2017/05/03/mental-health-care-trump-medicaid/
- The philosopher George Santayana once famously said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Historian Timothy Snyder has written a slim volume called On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. It can be used to guide us in our effort to follow Santayana's advice. Not only does Snyder go through important events that help us understand how fascism, Nazism and communism took hold, he also tells us how we as individuals can keep the United States from becoming another failed democratic country. The book, a quick read, can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Tyranny-Twenty-Lessons-Twentieth-Century/dp/0804190119/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493845765&sr=8-1&keywords=on+tyranny It is available as a Kindle book, paperback, and audiobook.