Contact Federal Government Officials
1. This is the last week of August recess for Congress. Much has happened and we know much more will be happening once our legislators return. Let’s do what can this week, but also try to get some rest for what is to come. Let’s take our encouragement from Joe Biden: “You, me, and the citizens of this country carry a special burden in 2017. We have to do what our president has not. We have to uphold America’s values. We have to do what he will not. We have to defend our Constitution. We have to remember our kids are watching. We have to show the world America is still a beacon of light.” https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/joe-biden-after-charlottesville/538128/?utm_source=atlfb
2. Trump’s pick for the top science spot at the Department of Agriculture has no background in science, is a climate change denier, and a “birther” conspiracy theorist. And the Senate could vote on Clovis’ confirmation in a matter of weeks (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/30/usda-sam-clovis-influence-trump-241114). Let’s contact our senators now and tell them to reject a nominee who is both unqualified and disqualified.
3. Trump has pardoned former sheriff Joe Arpaio http://bit.ly/2wwqtgV Among his many despicable actions, Arpaio headed up what he referred to as a "concentration camp," Arizona's Tent City jail http://bit.ly/2wOOsI2 Let's make sure that we call our MoCs asking that they not only publicly condemn the pardon, but also take action against Trump. We can use the call script from 5Calls as a starting point in our conversations with our MoCs: https://5calls.org/issue/rec2JN6CphzCivgTK
4. Congress will be back in session on Tuesday, Sept. 5. In addition to other business, the Senate will continue with nominee hearings and confirmations. Trump has nominated sweat-shop promoter Patrick Pizzella for deputy secretary of the Department of Labor. https://www.bna.com/abramoff-ties-mean-n73014453697/ Let's get ahead of this one, too, and contact our own senators before the next session even starts. Let's tell them that we oppose Pizzella for Labor deputy secretary.
5. Sinclair Broadcasting is a heavily right-wing media company that is working to acquire Tribune Media. Sinclair has a blatant conservative bias and a history of overt favoritism toward Trump and Islamophobia. Already the nation’s largest local news provider, with 173 broadcast TV stations in 81 markets reaching 38% of US households, this $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media would add another 42 stations in 33 markets, extending Sinclair’s reach to 72% of US TV households. Although Congress imposed an audience cap of 39% on media companies, the FCC revived a loophole to help Sinclair skirt past the broadcast ownership rule and exceed restrictions on the number of broadcast stations it can own. http://thehill.com/policy/technology/346478-house-dems-press-fcc-for-answers-on-sinclair Let’s call Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman, to oppose the merger. Contact by phone at 202/418-1000 by email: Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov or by mail: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554
6. The White House signed a directive on Friday that precludes transgender individuals from joining the military, but gives Defense Secretary Jim Mattis discretion in determining whether those already in the armed forces can continue to serve. Mattis’s decisions will be based on several criteria, including military effectiveness and budgetary concerns. In addition, the military will no longer pay for sex reassignment surgeries unless withholding such funds would harm the health of someone already transitioning. Mattis has been given six months to prepare to fully implement Trump’s directive, which also applies to the Dept. of Homeland Security, where the Coast Guard is housed. According to a 2016 study by the RAND Corporation, an estimated 2,000 to 11,000 active duty and reserve troops are transgender. 1) Please call the Dept. of Defense at703/571-3343 and tell Mattis to protect our transgender service members. 2) Please also call/email Sen. John McCain, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee at 202/224-2235,https://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form, and urge that he include language in the National Defense Authorization Act to protect our troops.
7. The Census is required by the Constitution so that its information can be used to allocate seats in the House of Representatives, for state redistricting, and to provide demographic information for other purposes. However, funding for the 2020 Census in both the Senate and House 2018 appropriations bills is insufficient. http://bit.ly/2vfUPTO. Without fair and accurate data, a flawed 2020 Census could be used to weaken the voting power of voters of color through partisan gerrymandering. The appropriations bills (S. 1662/H.R. 3267) have passed both House and Senate committees and will go to the full bodies for debate and vote after the August recess. Let’s call all our MoCs and let them know that we support a fully-funded census.
8. Trump has cut and diverted funds from this intended purpose even after his law enforcement agencies showed him white supremacists were the big threat. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/charlottesville-latest-donald-trump-slashed-funds-groups-fighting-white-supremacy-rally-riot-a7894271.html Let’s tell our legislators to make a big increase in funding for Countering Violent Extremism funds for white supremacists and neo-Nazis and require it to be spent on this domestic threat not on Islamic radicals.
1. CA: From Chop Wood, Carry Water - California Edition: Please take a moment to write a comment asking the Department of Pesticide Regulation in CA to ban chlorpyrifos in our state. http://earthjustice.org/features/what-you-need-to-know-about-chlorpyrifos Those of you who get my Daily Actions email know this is a subject close to my heart, and CA is considering a ban strongly enough that they've opened up a public comment period. Here's the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. For those of us who can, much help is needed in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. If we need some guidance in how to help, let’s check here: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/8/27/16211642/hurricane-harvey-donations-charities-disaster-relief
2. The Charlottesville Boys and Girls Club is accepting postcards of love and encouragement to be distributed to children and young people of the city.Send your card(s) to Dear Young Person, PO Box 814, Charlottesville, VA 22902
3. If we are wanting to know some interesting people to follow on Twitter, this article by a former CIA intelligence analyst tells us about 10 we should follow to keep up on current events: http://www.teenvogue.com/story/10-to-follow-current-events
4. Let America Vote recently released a report and case study on the voter suppression impact of Florida’s felony disenfranchisement law, which bars one in every five black Floridians from voting (http://www.wmfe.org/grassroots-campaign-to-restore-voting-rights-to-florida-ex-felons-convenes/75786). Let’s read and share this report, and then let’s show some support to the folks working to fix it. Those of us in Florida can sign the petition to get a constitutional amendment changing the law on next year’s ballot at this link, and all of us can follow the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition on Twitter and donate to their work here.
5. After months of inquiries, asking if/when they plan on dropping their ads from Breitbart, Amazon has still not responded http://bit.ly/2ghc1TA They have been contacted by their own employees, been tweeted, e-mailed, phoned, protested during their shareholder meeting, and targeted with a billboard campaign by Sleeping Giants, yet Amazon has been silent. Let's make sure we let Amazon know that their silence will not stand. With a company their size, they have nothing to lose by making the right choice and stopping their ad dollars from funding a bigoted, hate-filled site such as Breitbart. Let's join Sleeping Giants and #GrabYourWallet, and send Amazon our thoughts about their position of silence. We can e-mail the PR team: email@example.com and contact the CEO, Jeff Bezos, directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
6. The National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) has submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Zinke's Interior Department's report on the national monuments that were just reviewed, as reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. NRDC's mission is" to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends." If we are concerned about environmental issues, let's read about the NRDC and the work they are doing and consider donating when we can. We can also follow the NRDC on Facebook. to stay up-to-date on their latest work.
7. For those of us who missed the Burnout and Sustainability Training for Activists webinar last Saturday, the video is now available on YouTube: http://bit.ly/2wfVcwl We can also check out host Aditi Juneja's Self Care Sundays podcast and make sure that we're taking care of ourselves https://www.selfcaresundayspodcast.com/
8. Several LGBTQ+ civil rights organizations are suing or gearing-up to sue Trump over the transgender military ban as reported in The Hill. Let's check out these organizations and their missions and consider donating to support their legal work. 1) GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), 2) National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), 3) Lamda Legal We can also find them on Facebook and follow their work there.
1. Let’s join 314 Action, a nonprofit political action committee that seeks to elect American scientists to national office, and sign the petition to stop Sam Clovis’ nomination/confirmation to the USDA: https://secure.314action.org/page/s/oppose-clovis
2. Let’s add our names to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to seek lowering of drug prescription prices: https://stabenow.bsd.net/page/s/lower-prescription-drug-prices
Marches/events/teleconferences to attend/organize
1. Today, Monday, August 28th, marks the first day of the March to Confront White Supremacy: Charlottesville to D.C. The march will take place over a week and a half, culminating on September 6th in Washington D.C. where the organizers will kick off a "sustained civil disobedience campaign" http://www.cville2dc.us/ From the organizers: "This is the time for us to stand up for justice and equality. This is the time to confront white supremacy in our government and throughout our history. We demand that President Trump to be removed from office for allying himself with this ideology of hate and we demand an agenda that repairs the damage it's done to our country and its people." Partners for the march include the Women's March, the Movement For Black Lives, Color of Change, United We Dream, One Million Hoodies, and others. Let's join in and help any way that we can; those of us who are able can join the march and/or action in D.C., while others with the means can donate to support the cause here: http://bit.ly/2vA03q2
1. “George Lakoff: In Politics, Progressives Need to Frame Their Values” - https://georgelakoff.com/2014/11/29/george-lakoff-in-politics-progressives-need-to-frame-their-values/
2. Amy Siskind continues to track all of the not-normal things happening each week. She writes, "Week 41 is full of content about Trump-Russia, and indications that the Mueller probe is closing in on Trump and his regime... he [Trump] continues his unimpeded march to authoritarian power, neutralizing the judicial branch with an unethical pardon, and attacking members of his own party to silence them. Let's review Amy Siskind's list week 41.
3. And for a soulful reminder than we've been here before, how about Nina Simone’s “Blacklash Blues”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVNmvhX-aOQ