Contact Federal Government Officials
- Last week, in a bipartisan show of unity, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the annual defense spending bill that would finally put some restraints on Trump’s power to make war. (http://thehill.com/policy/defense/340066-lawmakers-applaud-after-panel-approves-language-revoking-war-authority) This is long overdue, and there is likely to be resistance to it going any further. Let’s call our members of Congress and let them know we want this language included in the final bill and a real debate on war powers.
- Medicaid helps provide medical coverage for lower-income children, our older population, those with disabilities, and pregnant women. Still, the BCRA would remove funding for these vulnerable members of our population. Let's make sure that our senators understand that Medicaid funding is non-negotiable. 5Calls has phone numbers and a call script: https://5calls.org/issue/recUYfszr78yGS7t1
- On Wednesday, the GOP tweeted to several Dems asking for their healthcare plans if they were so unhappy with theirs. Hillary Clinton’s response was, "Right here. Includes radical provisions like how not to kick 23 mil ppl off their coverage. Feel free to run w/ it," Clinton tweeted along with the link.” http://www.businessinsider.com/hillary-clinton-gop-twitter-obamacare-healthcare-bcra-2017-7 Since they asked, let’s tell our MoCs to use her plan since it fixes what needs to be fixed!
- Trump’s “promises” aside, the Dept. of Transportation has suddenly withdrawn its member from the board of the Gateway Program Development Corporation that oversees the planning of the new Gateway rail tunnel connecting NY and NJ. This tunnel replaces one over 100 years old and is “arguably the most urgent infrastructure project in America”: http://gothamist.com/2017/07/05/gateway_tunnel_federal_transportation_department.php What this DoT withdrawal means for federal funding is unclear, but there is ample precedent for federal presence on the boards of corporations overseeing capital improvements and Trump has proposed a 13% cut to the DoT budget. We need to tell the DoT that we expect the federal government to use OUR tax dollars to help finance this and other such urgent infrastructure projects: DoT 1200 New Jersey Ave, SE, Washington, DC 20590 or 1 (202) 366-4000
- Betsy DeVos' Dept. of Education is planning to stop publishing the Title IX list of colleges and universities under investigation for sexual assault. http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-education/2017/06/29/title-ix-list-going-out-of-print-221112 Let's tell DeVos that we want the list to continue. Betsy DeVos, DOE, 400 Maryland Ave SW, Washington DC 20202-0001.
- Let’s fight hate crimes by urging our MoCs to pass the Online Safety Modernization Act. http://katherineclark.house.gov/index.cfm/2017/6/clark-brooks-meehan-push-online-safety-roadmap-combat-sextortion-internet-threats-other-online-crimes This bipartisan bill targets “doxxing” (release of a victim’s private address to online mobs threatening rape and murder), “non-consensual pornography” (private photos published without permission), “sextortion” (demanding sex or money under threat of exposure of private photos), and “swatting” (calling in fake emergencies so that armed SWAT teams show up at victims’ homes). The bill will enact penalties for these activities, and provides additional resources to federal law enforcement authorities to investigate and prosecute these crimes.
- In yet another example of how Trump disrespect women, women staffers in Trump’s White House are paid 37% less than staff members who are men, according to the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank. https://www.aei.org/publication/based-on-median-salaries-gender-pay-gap-at-trump-white-house-is-almost-2x-37-what-the-media-are-reporting-20/ ; http://www.cbsnews.com/news/white-house-gender-pay-gap-has-tripled-under-trump/ The median salaries are $72,648 for women and $115,000 for men. That’s triple the 11% gender pay gap in President Obama’s White House. Let’s tell the White House that a gender pay gap of this magnitude does not make American great. Call: 202-456-1111. Email: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ Write: The White house, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500
- ALL: 10 attorneys general led by Maura Healey are demanding the Trump Administration be more open and honest with the public about their detention and deportation of our friends and neighbors. (https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/06/29/healey-and-other-ags-demand-data-immigration-arrests/QGmfMciJLIQwZhKS2pqNyJ/story.html) This seems like the very least the administration can do. Those of us in those 10 states can call our attorneys general to thank them for their leadership and ask them to continue aggressively protecting immigrants’ rights. Those of us who aren’t should call our attorneys general and ask them why they don’t support more transparency: http://www.naag.org/naag/attorneys-general/whos-my-ag.php.
- ALL: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is being sued by a coalition of state attorneys general for summarily rescinding, in violation of federal law, her agency’s Borrower Defense Rule. The Rule “was designed to hold abusive higher education institutions accountable for cheating students and taxpayers out of billions of dollars in federal loans,” according to a press release by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who is leading the coalition, which includes California, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/07/06/535776573/18-states-sue-betsy-devos-and-education-dept-over-delay-of-borrower-defense-rule If our state’s AG is a member of this coalition, let’s thank them. If not, let’s contact our state’s AG and tell them we want the residents of our state to be protected from predatory for-profit colleges and we expect them to join this coalition. Contact info here: http://www.naag.org/naag/attorneys-general/whos-my-ag.php
- ALL: Over a year ago, Slate warned us about that the Koch front, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), was urging the use of state “preemption” laws to undermine decisions reached by city governments: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/metropolis/2016/09/how_alec_acce_and_pre_emptions_laws_are_gutting_the_powers_of_american_cities.html Paul Ryan claims that “Government closest to the people governs best,” yet Republican legislatures insist, again and again, that that government is the state. And they are working hard to undermine the ability of cities to pass local control of (so far) minimum wage and paid leave laws, fracking bans, sanctuary city policies, public broadband initiatives, LGBTQ rights--both through preemption laws and by holding mayors personally liable: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/06/upshot/blue-cities-want-to-make-their-own-rules-red-states-wont-let-them.html We must find ways to oppose this extremely dangerous trend—by shifting the balance of power in state legislatures, obviously, and by making certain our state legislators, of whatever party, know that city governments represent the will of city dwellers.
- CO: Fight partisan gerrymandering—come 2020, let’s ensure that Colorado’s voters choose their congressional representatives and not the other way around. A bipartisan coalition led by the League of Women Voters of Colorado is drafting a 2018 ballot initiative that would require Colorado’s redistricting commission to include at least three unaffiliated (neither Democratic nor Republican) commissioners. In addition, the ballot initiative would require any new redistricting map to be approved by a supermajority of legislators—a move intended to get bipartisan consensus in redistricting. http://www.denverpost.com/2017/07/02/end-political-gerrymandering-colorado-unaffiliated-voters/ An effort will begin this fall to collect the 98,000+ signatures of registered voters to get this initiative on the ballot. Coloradans, let’s keep track of this by signing up for news and alerts with the League, http://lwvcolorado.org/lwv/
- TX: Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has spoken out loudly against the Texas anti-transgender bathroom bill: "I'm not a lawyer, but I am a Texan," said Straus, ... "I'm disgusted by all this. Tell the lieutenant governor I don't want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands." http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/politics/Texas-House-Speaker-Didnt-Want-Suicide-Over-Bathroom-Bill-432302063.html Let's thank the speaker for taking a stand for diversity and civil rights: Joe Straus, 7373 Broadway Ste 202A, San Antonio TX 78209-3253.
- MT: In Missoula Montana, citizens have come together to welcome and embrace refugees. http://billmoyers.com/story/montana-moms-refugees-welcome/ The organization Soft Landing Missoula has found great ways to collaborate for results. If we are working on refugee issues, let's add Soft Landing Missoula to our networks. http://softlandingmissoula.org/ We can write support letters to Mary Poole, Executive Director, Soft Landing Missoula, 939 Stephens Ave Ste C, Missoula MT 59801-3804, then we can see if our state offers (or can offer) something similar.
- If we are, or know of, a progressive woman running for office, check out Project Shelia, which is offering “free and low-cost campaign websites for progressive women running for office. Use us to start your campaign or apply to join our web team.” Let’s check it out: http://projectsheila.net/
- Looking for new ways to be creative in the #resistance? "Trump has awakened an American “craftivism” movement that’s been dormant since the 1980s AIDS quilt. Craftivism in the US is largely associated with the resurgent feminist movement, but its roots trace back to colonial times. In the 1760s, women revolted against British taxation on textiles by spinning their own yarn and sewing their family’s clothes. Famous spy Molly “Old Mom” Rinker smuggled messages to George Washington’s troops through balls of yarn. The taste for slick, mass-printed messaging has since waned. In lieu of ready-made, professionally-designed protest paraphernalia, today’s activists—armed with glue guns, sewing needles, and X-ACTO craft knives—are making one-of-a-kind protest gear." Pink Pussy hats, beautifully crafted signs, and sweaters are seen everywhere. Be on the look out for a book by Sarah Corbett, How to be a Craftivist: the Art of Gentle Protest which covers this issues and will be released shortly. These homespun works are the expressions of the frustrations of all of us living under this political climate. https://qz.com/1016914/trump-has-awakened-an-american-craftivism-movement-thats-been-dormant-since-the-1980s-aids-quilt/?mc_cid=ec93894bd4&mc_eid=f0e452108b Take a look and be inspired to craft your own message for the next march.
- Let’s join Kamala Harris in thanking states who have “rejected Trump’s request for personal voter data -- and urge every state to do the same: http://go.kamalaharris.org/page/s/voting-rights
Marches/events to attend/organize
- The Town Hall Project has partnered to help create Resistance Near Me, to help us find local actions items https://resistancenearme.org/ We can find and/or submit nearby events, including coffee hours, town halls, rallies, office hours, and general resistance events. Let's check it out and get active!
- On July 12, sites like Amazon, Netflix, Etsy, Reddit, and Twitter will all be using their platforms to stand up for the free and open internet and spread the word about FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s plan to kill net neutrality. We, too, can sign up to be part of this effort: https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12/
- A bit of happy news: Migrant Justice has announced that Esau Peche and Yesenia Hernandez, who had been detained by Border Patrol following the Milk With Dignity march on the Ben & Jerry's Vermont production facility, have been released! ICE ended up receiving over 1,600 e-mails in support of Esau and Yesenia's release, as well as dozens of letters http://bit.ly/2tMmg7p
- "When Donald Trump began to block a growing number of Americans from seeing his tweets, the Knight First Amendment Institute shot back. The organization warned the President in June that the Twitter account is a public forum, and that excluding citizens (novelist Stephen King is among those blocked) violates the Constitution." Read on to see how the crack legal minds at this institute, affiliated with Columbia University, are working on making the "case that social media is subject to the First Amendment." http://fortune.com/2017/07/03/knight-institute-first-amendment-jaffer/
- An excellent short history of neoliberalism and what author George Monbiot calls the current “zombie” economics: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot