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1/9/19 

Contact Federal Government Officials


1.    Yesterday, on the eighth anniversary of former Rep. Gabby Gifford’s near-death shooting, House Democrats, as promised, introduced legislation that would require universal backgrounds checks for gun sales. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, when passed, will save lives. http://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/house-democrats-target-private-gun-sellers-new-background-checks-bill  Since most Americans agree with this, let’s tell our reps that we certainly expect them to support this bill.  Let’s also use this tool from Everytown for Gun Safety:  https://act.everytown.org/letter/ask-congress-strengthen-background-checks

2.   As Rep. Joseph Kennedy III tweeted yesterday, “He has lied about who’s paying for it. You are. He has lied about who’s arriving at our border. Asylum seekers & terrified families. He has lied about who supports it. No former presidents. He has lied about why we need it. We don’t. Tonight will be no different.”  The live fact-checking from last night’s speech, which confirms Rep. Kennedy’s thoughts, can be found here:  https://apple.news/ABjNZFz93RLe2voTaDsCy4w  We all know that Trump’s self-made, politically-driven border crisis is something that he can undo immediately.  The speech was an orchestrated diversion from the Manfort and Supreme Court news of today which do not bode well for Trump.  Let’s tell our MoCs that we support all their efforts to open as many parts of the government as they possibly can through legislative means bypassing the White House.

3.   Several Senators are considering a strategy of blocking all legislation until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brings forth a bill passed by the House that would re-open the government. https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/will-democrats-stop-senate-legislating-government-shutdown-ends  Let’s make sure our Democratic Senators know that we want them to pursue this strategy. If our Senators are Republicans, let’s tell them that it’s time to put country before party and stop kowtowing to the president. We can remind them that the Senate passed the same bill unanimously before Trump refused to sign it, and a veto can be easily overridden, if Congress stands up and does their Constitutional duty as an equal form of government.

4.   After years of decreasing carbon emissions, the U.S. saw a sharp increase of 3.4% directly related to Trump administration regulation rollbacks.  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/08/carbon-emissions-trump-agenda-climate-change  Most of our MoCs believe in science.  Let’s ask them what they are going to do about this to get back on track.

5.   The Trump administration has issued new Title IX regulations that would make it harder for students who are sexually assaulted to report the assaults. We can speak out against this by making public comments opposing the new rules by Jan. 28. We can then ask our Representatives to support 3 bills in the House that protect Title IX. Suit Up Maine has more information for us here:  https://www.suitupmaine.org/protect-title-ix/ We can also join Enough is Enough in advocating for survivors by completing handwritten postcards telling DeVos to keep her #HandsOffIX.  When we click this link, we’ll get a toolkit with postcards and scripts here:  https://bit.ly/2EcRrxv

6.   Last Thursday, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) introduced a bill, HR51, that would make Washington, D.C. the 51st state. Let's read more at The Hill. The bill now has 155 co-sponsors. Let's check this list for our own representatives. If they are already co-sponsors, let's contact them to let them know they have our support. If they have not yet signed on, let's contact them to ask that they do so.     

7.   One of the bills that has been debated by the new Congress this week is S1, Strengthening Middle East Security in the Middle East Act.  This bill  would condone various state laws that would allow states not to do business with any company or individual that participates in a boycott against Israel. https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-a-week-into-new-u-s-congress-tense-debate-erupts-over-anti-israel-boycotts-1.6822237. Regardless on our position on Israel or the boycott, this is a dangerous precedent that limits free speech, as pointed out by the ACLU. Let’s make sure our Senators know that we do not see a position against this bill as anti-Semitic, as proponents are claiming, and we expect them to make a strong stand for free speech.

8.  We know that Trump doesn't care about good governance or the Constitution, but the rest of us sure do! The Constitution requires, as an explicit and deliberate check on presidential power, that cabinet officials be confirmed by the Senate, so the "greater flexibility"  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/06/trump-acting-cabinet-members-give-him-more-flexibility  Trump gets by keeping unconfirmed officials in an "acting" role is exactly a power that he does not, and should not, have. Every MoC must condemn this abuse of power in the strongest terms, so let's remind them of that! 

9.   From Indivisible: “If you’ve got a Democratic Senator, thank them for standing strong against Trump’s continued tantrum over the wall funding. We’ve got a call script here ready for you to call! When you’re done calling, let us know how it went by filling out the 'report the call' section on the form and hitting submit.”  And if you’ve got a Republican Senator, tell them to tell McConnell enough is enough -- that he should put the House-passed legislation to a vote in the Senate. Here’s a script to help you make your call

10. Should we need yet another reason to urge our MoCs and the White House to end the government shutdown, we need only look at Native American Lifelines: (http://www.nativeamericanlifelines.org/), an outreach and referral service that is part of the government-funded Urban Indian Health Program;  like many others, this group will run out of money for providing care.  https://www.npr.org/2019/01/08/683144164/shutdown-impacts-native-americans-ability-to-get-health-services 

11.  From Chop Wood/Carry Water:  Sign this letter, (courtesy of Climate Hawks Vote) asking the leaders of the House Judiciary and Oversight committee to investigate the election fraud in North Carolina's 9th district. Mark Harris shouldn't be seated, and the board that would have investigated his illegal activities in North Carolina has been dissolved. Congress must act! 

Election/Voting

Other Actions

1.    Follow-up: On Monday, Tennessee’s governor granted an early release to Cyntoia Brown, who was a 16-year-old victim of sex trafficking in Tennessee in 2004 when she fatally shot Johnny Mitchell Allen, a 43-year-old real estate agent who solicited sex from her. Brown’s planned release date is Aug. 7. We can read more at Tennessean. Thank you to everyone who called and wrote to Gov. Haslam asking for clemency for Cyntoia.   Now, let’s thank him:  Governor Bill Haslam 1st Floor, State Capitol Nashville, TN 37243

2.   RAICES, ACLU SoCAL and Brooklyn Defender Services are working hard to help immigrants at the border, and they're asking for our help. First, we can sign their petition, which "demands a universal right to counsel in immigration proceedings" -- currently not the law. Small children are being forced to represent themselves in court, which is unforgivable. We can also support the "While They Wait" fund they just started, which "will help pay for necessities and fees like employment authorization applications, while enhancing [migrants'] access to legal services." We can do both, and learn more about what's really going on at the border, here: 

3.   For over twenty years, there have been allegations of abuse, sexual assault, and child pornography against singer R. Kelly (https://bit.ly/2HLT3R1https://n.pr/2H47v7R). During that time, multiple women have come forward, some of whom were girls at the time of the abuse. This eventually led to the creation of the #MuteRKelly campaign in 2017, and a docu-series that was just released on Lifetime. However, the results of the campaign have paled in comparison to the #MeToo movement; the singer continues to be carried by his label, and venues continue to book him. It is hard to deny the fact that when the victims of abuse are black women, the country does not listen to and support them. Let's change that. We can join UltraViolet, an organization which works towards gender equality, in asking RCA Records to support women and drop R. Kelly: Phone: 212-930-4000 Address: 550 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10022 Twitter: @RCARecords

4.   The latest teacher strike is likely to begin Thursday in the nation’s second-largest school system, Los Angeles, where 82% of students are from low-income households, which has the highest percentage of English learners of any public school system, and which spends far less per capita on students than other blue states; United Teachers LA is demanding a significant reduction in class sizes, the hiring of enough nurses, librarians, and counselors to “fully staff” campuses, an end to unnecessary standardized testing, and the “common sense regulation” of charter school growth:   https://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-edu-last-negotiations-teachers-strike-20190106-story.html We can follow the negotiations here: https://www.facebook.com/UTLAnow/  We can contact Austin Beutner, once investment banker, now school superintendent, at LA Unified School District, 333 South Beaudry Ave., LA 90017 or 213-241-1000 to let him know that we support these demands.  Then, let’s get involved in our own schools and work toward the same kind of improvements.

5.   A new study from Yale shows us the truth about race and fairness in American society. We were surprised, too. Every resister/activist should read this. "How can you solve a problem if you can’t see it? A recent study by Yale researchers compared beliefs about racial economic equality with the reality estimated by economic population data. They found that Americans think our society is much fairer in terms of how wealth and income are shared across racial groups than what the numbers indicate. These overly optimistic perceptions may help explain why the wealth and income gaps persist." 

6.   They are not a panacea for correcting the injustices of mass incarceration, but community bail funds can prevent devastation to individuals and their families by keeping them out of prison while they await trial. This excellent article explains:  https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2018/12/27/pretrial-detention-bail-amy-couture Let’s check this list to see how we can help provide community bail funds in our state: https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/nbfn-directory

7.   After the 2016 election, we built strength to push back against Trump and his Republican enablers—and, in many ways, it worked. As this new year begins, and as we look to ending this regime in 2020, let’s renew our strength by, if we are able, renewing our membership with the ACLU, re-subscribing to our newspaper of choice or donating to NPR or ProPublica, and donating to our local Resistance group or a group like Indivisible, Swing Left, Sister District, or Flippable.

State Actions

1.    ALL:   Leaders of the bipartisan National Governors Association are urging President Donald Trump and congressional leaders to end the partial government shutdown, telling them “a federal government shutdown should not be a negotiating tactic as disagreements are resolved.” The group’s chairman, Montana Democrat Steve Bullock, and vice chairman, Maryland Republican Larry Hogan, sent the letter on Monday.”  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/governors-call-for-end-to-government-shutdown?fbclid=IwAR3pWpIxZj5C_oXlh9OBDJ8UOt46qsWtQ2XFfwubQh81dpIsPEn7O7XEyHk  Let’s call our Governors, check if they are asking for the #trumpshutdown to end. Contacts:  https://www.usa.gov/state-governor

2.   FL:  Thanks to the passage of Amendment 4, starting January 8, Floridians with past convictions who have completed their full sentences can register to vote. Let’s help people get registered by urging them to connect with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, https://floridarrc.com/jan8/

3.   FL:  Voter Registration Drive & Family Fun Day is January 12, 2019, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Miami Carol City Park, 3201 NW 185th St, Miami Gardens, FL 33056. Sponsored by the ACLU of Florida and the City of Miami Gardens.   
https://www.aclufl.org/en/events/miami-voter-registration-drive-family-fun-day  Let’s go—and bring friends, family, and neighbors to join us!

4.   MI:  In November, Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved Proposal 2 designed to amend “the Michigan Constitution to move redistricting out of the Legislature and to a commission.”   http://www.michiganradio.org/post/redistricting-proposal-passes-michigan  In the lame duck Congress, however, “House Bill 6595 was signed into law, becoming Public Act 608. This unconstitutional law puts unfair and unnecessary restrictions on citizen ballot initiatives and referendums by making it more difficult to collect signatures from Michigan voters. This law is a direct attack on our right to direct democracy and ability to petition our government.”  Voters Not Politicians, the group behind the successful Proposal 2 petition drive is working on how to strike this law down via a referendum.  If we are willing to help this group and collect signatures, here is where we can volunteer:  https://www.votersnotpoliticians.com/volunteer2019

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.    As stories of the recent harrowing California Wildfires fade from the public eye, many survivors are still in need, seeking to recover, to rebuild their homes and their lives.  We can help them by joining Action Together Network’s Twitterstorm to raise awareness of their plight, share information about resources and suggest further actions to take.  The storm takes place this Sunday, January 13, from 8-9pm EST. To join in, we can click here for more information and access to prewritten tweets we can send out with just a few clicks: https://www.facebook.com/events/2230916840510426/

2.   The Indigenous Peoples March will be held on Friday, January 18, in Washington, D.C.  We can find more information here:  https://indigenouspeoplesmovement.com/

3.   Another Women’s March is coming up.  Whether we align ourselves with March On, or Women’s March Alliance, or WoMen for All, or with no group at all, we have an opportunity to make history and march once again on Saturday, January 19, 2019.  Let’s check with our favorite organization or local group and find out how we can help.

Reading/Watching

1.    What Happened When A Trump Supporter Challenged Me About the Wall (An argument against Trump’s border wall using only conservative sources) - https://medium.com/@vickyalvearshecter/what-happened-when-a-trump-supporter-challenged-me-about-the-wall-e54e86a5edd1

2.   "Making the future tangible is only one of the psychological barriers that have made climate change into an elusive problem...But it’s still possible to train your brain to get over these hurdles. Here’s how." How your brain stops you from taking climate change seriously: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/how-your-brain-stops-you-from-taking-climate-change-seriously

3.   What the President Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency:  From seizing control of the internet to declaring martial law, President Trump may legally do all kinds of extraordinary things - https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/01/presidential-emergency-powers/576418/







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