Contact Federal Government Officials
- Seventeen (17) bills are currently on the House agenda for the week of July 10. https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/ Let's take a look so we know what to expect. We can make any last-minute calls or send emails to our representatives to voice our expectations of how we would like them to vote on specific bills. One of the bills on the House agenda this week is HR2810: National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Here is the text of the bill as of July 6: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2810/text This bill is for the defense budget and we should expect to hear more about it in the media this week.
- There’s been bipartisan criticism of Trump’s ridiculous idea of working with Vladimir Putin to stop future election hacking – Senator Lindsey Graham said it wasn’t the dumbest idea he’d ever heard, but it was pretty close (http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/graham-working-with-russia-not-the-dumbest-idea-but-close-989079107596). But it’s not enough for members of both parties just to criticize him to the idea. Republicans have done that plenty. They need to actually take action and stop this from happening. Let’s all call our members of Congress and tell them to use the appropriations process to bar the President from forming this “joint cyber-security unit,” and to instead provide federal assistance to states and localities to help secure out election infrastructure against future hacks.
- An Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter in Australia has spoken with startling clarity about what the world can draw from Trump’s time at G20: http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-09/did-trumps-g20-performance-indicate-us-decline-as-world-power/8691538 This piece in Politico has a similar view: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/07/07/trump-handed-putin-a-stunning-victory-215353 Let’s use these sobering perspectives to motivate our communications with our Members of Congress about Trump’s disrespect for our republic, our norms, our press, and our institutions – along with our environment, our citizens, and our safety.
- A group of progressive organizations have come together to organize a letter-writing campaign in response to the call by Orrin Hatch—head of the Senate Finance Committee—that “stakeholders” advise the committee on how best to reform the tax system. That’s us, though we’re not who Hatch had in mind. We must respond by July 17: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-congress-we-need-the-wealthy-and-big-corporations-to-pay-their-fair-share
- The reason Republicans are in such a rush to pass Wealthcare is that they're eager to move on to cutting taxes even more for the wealthy. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/29/moderates-republicans-oppose-gop-budget-240114) To do that, they're going to need to pass a budget - and the current budget proposal will cut more than $200 billion from programs for hungry kids, affordable housing and veterans. Let's call our members of Congress and tell them to oppose any budget that makes our children and working families pay so that millionaires and billionaires don't have to.
- The so-called Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity “is a waste of taxpayer money and a distraction from the real threats to the integrity of our elections today: aging voting systems and documented Russian interference in our elections,” say California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/trump-commission-requested-voter-data-heres-every-state-saying/ The Trump administration is touting the bipartisan nature of this commission—example: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/06/28/readout-vice-presidents-call-presidential-advisory-commission-election Let’s tell the two Democratic appointees that we don’t want them lending legitimacy to this commission, and we want them to resign. Contact Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, 148 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0148, 207-626-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org, and New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, State House, 107 North Main St, Concord, NH 03301, 603-271-3242, email@example.com.
- The Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2017 (H.R. 1447), which would amend the Fair Housing Act to protect the LGBTQ community from housing discrimination, has stalled in the House. Meanwhile, the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has removed resources on its website that would help inform housing providers of rules that protect the LGBTQ community http://bit.ly/2u6AIaV If our senator was among the 30 who sent a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson calling out the removal of resources, let's make sure we thank them. Let's also make sure that we contact our representatives, as well as the House Subcommittee on Constitution and Civil Rights, and tell them that we want H.R. 1447 to move forward, out of committee http://bit.ly/2t1oPOH Let’s also contact Ben Carson to let him know that we are concerned too and expect him to protect LGBTQ citizens from housing discrimination. Ben Carson, HUD, 451 7th St SW, Washington DC 20410, or we can call: 202-708-1112.
- A U.S. Mint worker placed a noose on the chair of an African-American colleague (on video tape) and has been placed on leave: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/u-s-mint-worker-placed-on-leave-noose-black-colleague/ Let’s let the Mint know that this cannot be tolerated in any way: U.S. Mint Leadership Team, 151 North Independence Mall, East Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106-1886
- “[Pope] Francis, the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, said he was afraid of "very dangerous alliances among (foreign) powers that have a distorted vision of the world: America and Russia, China and North Korea, (Vladimir) Putin and (Bashar al-)Assad in the war in Syria." He said the greatest danger concerned immigration, with "the poor, the weak, the excluded and the marginalised" juxtaposed with "those who... fear the invasion of migrants". https://www.reuters.com/article/us-g20-germany-pope-idUSKBN19T09W Let’s make sure that we let our MoCs know that we, too, are concerned about this growing distorted vision of the world on the part of our leader.
- Over the weekend Sen. Rubio (R-FL) tweeted, “Partnering with Putin on a "Cyber Security Unit" is akin to partnering with Assad on a "Chemical Weapons Unit". Let’s let Sen. Rubio know that we agree and that HE is in a position to do something about it. https://contactsenators.com/florida/marco-rubio
- A loophole in US campaign finance law allows elected officials—yes, the President, too—to coordinate with dark money organizations to push their agendas, including supporting or opposing Cabinet nominees, judicial nominees, and policies. Five dark money organizations, for example, spent more than $14 million to get Gorsuch nominated to the Supreme Court. Dark money organizations are nonprofits that don’t have to disclose their donors to the public. Let’s send this link to our MoCs: https://maplight.org/story/white-house-relied-upon-dark-money-lobbyist-to-quarterback-gorsuch-confirmation/ and tell them that we demand transparency in government and we want this loophole closed.
- OH: Butler County (Ohio) Sheriff Rick Jones will not carry and will not have his deputies carry Narcan to save the lives of those who have overdosed on opioids. He feels it is not the best approach to the opiod problem. This seems like the moral equivalent of fire departments not having hoses. http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2017/07/06/butler-county-sheriff-rick-jones-my-deputies-wont-use-narcan/457229001/ As the opioid epidemic rages in our country and claims more lives daily, let’s let Sheriff Jones know that his job is to protect and serve: http://www.butlersheriff.org/general-info/contact-us/
2. WA: Charleena Lyles, a pregnant black woman with mental health issues, was killed by Seattle police in front of her four children after she called them to report a break-in – despite the fact that both officers involved were carrying non-lethal force options. (http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/23/us/seattle-police-shooting-charleena-lyles-protest/index.html) She and her kids deserve transparency and accountability. With Jeff Sessions making it clear that justice for those killed by police is not a priority for the Trump Justice Department, we need to do everything we can to raise the pressure on the city of Seattle to make sure it happens. Let’s join Moms Rising in demanding the mayor and prosecuting attorney take action: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/momsrising_petition_charleena-lyles?akid=s229429..vfZ7WL.
- From one of our own: Regarding Zappos carrying Ivanka shoes -- I made my monthly call to Zappos today, and was passed on to the same department I've expressed concerns to before. When I asked to move up the food chain, I was given the name of the CEO (Tony Hseih) (yes, that is the correct spelling, per customer service) with an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org. I just sent an email expressing my concerns about factory working conditions and harassment of those investigating same. Let’s use this name and email address to do make our concerns known, too. We can also snail mail him here: 400 Stewart Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89101
- Why should we care about net neutraliity? CNET states it this way: "That [net neutrality] means your broadband provider, which controls your access to the Internet, can't block or slow down the services or applications you use over the Web. It also means your Internet service provider -- whether it's a cable company or telephone service -- can't create so-called fast lanes that force content companies like Netflix to pay an additional fee to deliver their content to customers faster." https://www.cnet.com/news/13-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-fccs-net-neutrality-regulation/ Let's not forget that July 12th is the Internet-wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality. We can learn more about the day of action, and sign up to participate https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12/
- From one of our own:
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has
initiated a review of the eligibility of Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania to
receive benefits under AGOA. Rwanda is banning used clothes that are
gutting their textile market.
https://thisisafrica.me/rwanda-will-proceed-ban-used-clothes-despite-threats-united-states/ We should reach out to United States Trade Representative, Robert E. Lighthizer and ask him to continue their eligibility for duty-free access to the American market. Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20508.
- After receiving what she perceived to be fake documents, Rachel Maddow wanted to alert other news organizations to be leery of documents that will result in “fake news”. http://thehill.com/homenews/media/340978-maddow-warns-other-media-of-fake-nsa-documents As #resisters, let’s also use this example to do our own due diligence when passing along information.
- Here’s a unique fundraising idea for the 2018 elections in which we can help all Democratic federal candidates. “It Starts Today is an independent initiative through which grassroots donors can fund every Democratic nominee for the House and Senate. We don’t play favorites or write anyone off, and your money goes directly to the nominee in every race in every district in every state.” Check out It Starts Today here: https://contribute.itstarts.today/2018
- Let’s join Demand Progress in asking our secretaries of states to refuse to provide voter data to the Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The commission is a “smoke screen for nationalizing voter restrictions.” http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/petition-trump-wants-all-our-personal-voting-data
- Here’s a petition from MoveOn,org asking the Senate “oppose TrumpCare and work instead to make healthcare more accessible.” http://petitions.moveon.org/keystoneprogress/sign/senates-health-care-repeal
Marches/events to attend/organize
- We can join Free Press Action Fund's action call today, Monday, at 8pm ET to learn more about how we can fight back to save net neutrality: http://act.freepress.net/survey/internet_nn_call_july_2017
- Sum Of Us will be hosting an Upstander Community Call on Friday, July 14th, to discuss how we can fight back against Trump's corporate coup. Let's register and help brainstorm http://bit.ly/2uYCDe1 We can also learn more about what it takes to be an Upstander https://actions.sumofus.org/a/upstanders-homepage
- Although it seems like weeks ago now, it has only been a few days since Trump dialed up the strange on Twitter with his rant about John Podesta. Podesta thoughtfully replied with this op-ed in the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/john-podesta-why-is-trump-tweeting-about-me-when-he-should-be-doing-his-job/2017/07/07/fc2c74a6-6338-11e7-8adc-fea80e32bf47_story.html?utm_term=.9d7a5ab8e0d5
- Let's review Amy Siskind's list of all the not-normal things that happened last week. https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-34-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-a15f5f9de76b Let's continue to be aware of the way things are changing around us.
- “In an attempt to garner support for Senate Republicans' health care plan, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Indiana Republican Party issued a call for residents to share their "Obamacare horror stories" on its Facebook page.’ The results were not what they thought they would get: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/indiana-gops-facebook-call-for-obamacare-horror-stories-goes-wrong/