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8/8/19

NATIONAL ISSUES




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FBI AFRAID TO FULLY INVESTIGATE WHITE NATIONALISTS: Dave Gomez, a former FBI supervisor, told the Washington Post that “he thinks FBI officials are wary of pursuing white nationalists aggressively because of the fierce political debates surrounding the issue” (in other words, that it will anger Trump’s base). https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/fbi-faces-skepticism-over-its-anti-domestic-terror-efforts/2019/08/04/c9c928bc-b6e0-11e9-b3b4-2bb69e8c4e39_story.html. Let’s contact the FBI (202-324-3000) and ask them to use the full extent of their resources to stop domestic terrorism. Let’s also contact our House Reps. and ask them to hold hearings on the role that white nationalists are playing in destabilizing our country.  

FOX NEWS AND WHITE SUPREMACY:  On Fox News on Tuesday evening, host Tucker Carlson said that white supremacy is a “hoax”: 
https://apnews.com/e0f9f2ea88dc435db914c8e53dcaf59e  Let’s contact Fox News to call for the firing of Carlson: https://www.foxnews.com/contact  or on Twitter @FoxNews

WHITE NATIONALISM AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT:
State Department official Matthew Gebert has been discovered to be a white nationalist movement leader:  https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2019/08/07/us-state-department-official-involved-white-nationalist-movement-hatewatch-determines  Let’s contact the State Department to demand his firing: 

HOMESTEAD DETENTION CENTER MAY NOT REALLY BE SHUT DOWN
While there are no children in the Homestead Detention Center now, the facility has apparently been put on “warm status”: ready and available to house more children when needed.  https://amp.miamiherald.com/news/local/immigration/article233546697.html?. Meanwhile, there is still no clear information as to where the children were taken, many of whom were carted into buses in the middle of the night to avoid being seen by witnesses who have been at the site for over 150 days. Let’s ask our MoCs to write a letter of inquiry to HHS and demand a full accounting of the whereabouts of every single child who was removed from Homestead during the past few weeks. Let’s also stress that we do not consider this issue resolved until every child in any U.S. detention center is released into the custody of a family member of a safe home.

PROTECT FOIA:  Senators Feinstein (D-CA), Cornyn (R-TX). Grassley (R-IA), and Leahy (D-VT) have introduced legislation in the Senate called the Open and Responsive Government Act of 2019 (S. 2220), that would safeguard Freedom of Information Act requests and ensure the public’s right to information:  
https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2019/jul/24/Senate-FOIA-bill-b4/ and http://www.tamatoledonews.com/page/content.detail/id/609184/National-Newspaper-Association-cheers-senators-for-Freedom-of-Information-Act-bill.html?nav=5002  This legislation is in its early stages, but we should begin right now to urge our senators to sponsor it and make sure Mitch McConnell brings it up for a vote.

HELP REUNITE IMMIGRANT FAMILIES:  Hundreds of immigrant children have been separated from their families and Immigrant Families Together (IFT) has been actively working to reunite them. IFT partners with legal, advocacy, service and religious organizations nationally working case-by-case with a network of volunteers and sanctuary groups to bring migrant families back together. Their initiative partner, Miles4Migrants,  provides flight coordination and will cover the cost of airfare, using donated miles and points, to reunite children with their parents as quickly as possible. If we have information that could lead to the rightful reunification of a child with their family member, we can call Immigrant Families Together. 818-533-1974 or click this link https://www.ifteverylastone.org/contact If our organization needs assistance with a case, they can also provide resources in English and Spanish to assist us. We can find out more about the organization here: https://immigrantfamiliestogether.com/ 

“MASSACRE MITCH”:  If Trump is the ugly face of racism and white supremacy, NRA champion and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is Congress’s puppet master.  In the past few weeks, he has refused to bring House-passed legislation requiring the use of paper ballots and funding the Election Assistance Commission to a Senate vote https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/454742-mcconnell-blocks-two-election-security-bills ; he has refused since February to bring HR8, a bipartisan Background Checks Act, to the Senate https://www.cbsnews.com/news/house-bill-for-stronger-background-checks-on-guns-mitch-mcconnells-stalls-senate-vote/; he did everything he could to block Fix NICS, which would incentivize states to supply data to the National Instant Background Check system 
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/house-bill-for-stronger-background-checks-on-guns-mitch-mcconnells-stalls-senate-vote/  Last week’s “Moscow Mitch” has become, this week, “Massacre Mitch.”  We must continue to barrage McConnell with our dismay at his unwillingness, even in the face of mass shootings and election fraud, to allow the Senate to vote on crucial election and anti-gun legislation:  202-224-2541 or 317 Russell Senate Off. Bldg., Washington DC 20510.   And we must tell our Senators we expect them to stand up to McConnell’s bullying and do their job.

CHILDREN AND THE LARGEST IMMIGRATION RAID IN A DECADE: “U.S. immigration officials raided seven Mississippi chicken processing plants Wednesday, arresting 680 mostly Latino workers in the largest workplace sting in at least a decade.”  https://www.apnews.com/bbcef8ddae4e4303983c91880559cf23  Apparently, no concern was given for the workers’ children who were in school.  https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2019/08/07/what-happens-children-people-detained-ms-ice-raids-immigration/1947642001/  Let’s ask our MoCs that they find a way to help protect these children whose parents are taken.

EQUINOX AND SOULCYCLE:  Equinox and SoulCycle are facing backlash after a report that the brands' chairman is holding a fundraiser for President Donald Trump.”  https://www.businessinsider.com/equinox-soulcycle-face-backlash-over-chairmans-trump-ties-2019-8   If we are members at Equinox Fitness Clubs, PURE Yoga, Blink Fitness or SoulCycle, let’s let chairman Stephen Ross know how we feel and find alternative places to use and support:  https://www.related.com/our-company/contact-us (scroll down for contact options)

ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN:  Although Trump claims there is no “political appetite” for a ban on assault weapons (https://www.npr.org/2019/08/07/748848662/trump-heads-to-el-paso-and-dayton-amid-skepticism-from-local-leaders), “(t)he most recent national polling on guns, a Marist-NPR-PBS survey conducted in mid-July, showed that 57 percent of Americans support banning the sale of “semi-automatic assault guns such as the AK-47 or the AR-15,” 
(https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2019/08/06/daily-202-unanimity-on-gun-control-among-2020-democrats-reflects-the-party-s-realignment-toward-the-suburbs/5d48f9fb88e0fa1454f801a0/)  Let’s let our MoCs know that we want the ban on assault weapons reinstated.  Let’s start with supporting H.R.1296 - Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 and S.66 - Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 both of which have been languishing in Congress since winter. 

OIL PIPELINE PROTEST: "Energy Transfer Partners is now planning to double the amount of oil the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) carries, to over a million barrels a day. And they’re doing this — once more — without the informed consent of the local indigenous community. Leaders from Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge, and Rosebud have partnered with the Lakota People's Law Project to demand a public hearing. Together we're asking for transparency and an opportunity to have our say." Let's add our voice by using this link to send an email to North Dakota's Public Service Commission: https://www.lakotalaw.org/our-actions/dapl-hearing

PROTECT NON-DISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS:  The Trump administration is trying to roll back Rule 1557--Nondiscrimination in Health and Health Education Programs or Activities--existing non-discrimination protections;  such a rollback would severely threaten trans people's access to all forms of healthcare and would also threaten access to health care for queer people, people seeking reproductive care, and those who aren't proficient in English.  We can comment to the Department of Health and Human Services until AUGUST 13; here’s an easy way:  

“BOYS WILL BE BOYS” IS NO LONGER AN EXCUSE:  “Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign on Tuesday for invoking the "boys will be boys" defense in response to a Facebook photo of a young group of men wearing "Team Mitch" t-shirts while choking and groping a cardboard cutout of the lawmaker.”  https://www.newsweek.com/aoc-slams-mcconnell-campaigns-boys-will-boys-defense-boys-will-held-accountable-their-1452903  Let’s remind his campaign that we no longer buy the notion that “boys will be boys”.  It is time that boys be respectful and behave appropriately:  @Team­­_Mitch or comment on a Facebook post:  https://www.facebook.com/McConnellForSenate/ or email: contact@teammitch.com Let’s remind McConnell, too:  https://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/officelocations

TRUMP: From the airplane, in between unwelcomed visits to Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, our esteemed president took to Twitter to blast politicians and members of the media. Yes, while traveling from one community reeling from a mass shooting to another community reeling from a mass shooting:  
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/456591-trump-lashes-out-at-cable-news-coverage-of-biden-speech-while-flying   Let’s reach out to the White House to call for his resignation: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC 20500; comment line 202-456-1111; on Twitter @realdonaldtrump

DISABILITY RIGHTS/SESAME STREET: The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) has ended its years-long partnership with Sesame Street (https://bit.ly/2M5QKej). While ASAN and Sesame Street had previously worked together on the See Amazing campaign, focusing on inclusion and the value of autistic individuals, Sesame Street's latest PSAs have promoted Autism Speaks' Screen For Autism Initiative and 100-Day Kit, both of which include dangerous, stigmatizing language that demonize autism. ASAN, an autistic-led organization, did reach out to Sesame Street to communicate their concerns, yet Sesame Street refused to stop promoting the ideals of Autism Speaks, an organization run overwhelmingly by non-autistic people. Let's read through the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network's statement, then reach out to Sesame Street and amplify ASAN's message: "We call on Sesame Street to recognize the damage they are doing, end their partnership with Autism Speaks, and commit to producing and promoting only content which increases the inclusion, acceptance and well-being of autistic children."

TX CONGRESSWOMEN DECLINES TRUMP INVITE:  U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, whose district encompasses the Walmart where 22 people were fatally shot and dozens more were injured, announced Tuesday that she declined a White House invitation to join Trump in El Paso — linking Trump’s rhetoric toward Mexicans and immigrants to that of the shooter’s. “I declined the invitation to accompany the President because I refuse to be an accessory to his visit,” Escobar wrote on Facebook. “I refuse to join without a true dialogue about the pain his racist and hateful words and actions have caused our community and this country.”
https://www.texastribune.org/2019/08/07/trump-el-paso-veronica-escobar-shooting It would be nice if more of our MOCs would do this. You can send her a note of thanks. Here is a list of her office addresses:

ELECTION/VOTING

VOTING RIGHTS: The Brennan Center for Justice has released a report which shows that voter purge rates from 2016-2018 are much higher in counties with a history of voter discrimination (https://bit.ly/2OKS1ts). While the report does note instances where removing a name from voter rolls are legitimate (e.g. death, change of address) the discrepancy in purge rates among states is troubling and indicates that discriminatory practices when determining who to remove from the voter roll is likely continuing. Let's read through the report, then verify our voter registration status: https://www.headcount.org/verify-voter-registration/

ENVIRONMENTAL VOTER PROJECT—The Environmental Voter Project identifies citizens who care about environmental issues but decline to vote, and then turns them into voters. Let’s get involved: https://www.environmentalvoter.org/

STATE SPECIFIC ISSUES

MOST: END CONTRACTS WITH PRIVATE PRISONS: The Denver City Council is the latest government entity to end contracts with private prisons. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/08/06/denver-city-council-corecivic-geo/. Let’s check to see if there are private prisons in our state, and then ask our state and/or municipal legislators to ban them. 

MOST:  END PRACTICE OF DEPUTIZING LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS TO ACT AS ICE AGENTS: 287g agreements allow local municipalities, such as county sheriff’s offices to deputize their officers as immigration enforcement agents. This practice leads to racial profiling and keeps our communities less safe, since immigrant victims of crimes are afraid to come forward. According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, 7,000 people were deported in 2018 as a result of these agreements. This number is projected to increase. Let’s use this map (scroll down to bottom of the page) to see if our county has a 287g agreement, and also research whether our county is considering joining the program. Then let’s use this toolkit to put pressure on our county to end or refrain from participating in the program. 

CA: COMMENT ON PROPOSED ETHNIC STUDIES CURRICULUM TREATMENT OF AMERICAN JEWISH EXPERIENCE:  A Proposed Model Curriculum for Ethnic Studies raises strong concerns for the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. Of particular concern, given the recent rise in Anti-Semitism in our country, is the overall lack of representation of Jews, lack of any discussion of Anti-Semitism, degradation of Jews and of Israel in sample curricular materials. We can read the California Legislative Jewish Caucus’ letter about Proposed Model Curriculum for Ethnic Studies, and it’s omission of American Jewish experience and possible anti-Semitic content here:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_LNvdDqJa0A-ougc9deePJ-XyB7JurNz/view  We can find links to the model curriculum documents,  make our own judgments and leave our comments, if we wish to, before the August 15 deadline:  https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/esmcpubliccomment.asp

RALLIES/GATHERINGS/TRAININGS

NATIONAL NETWORK ASSEMBLY:  The first National Network Assembly, made up of hundreds of local grassroots leaders and organizers from around the country is happening in Des Moines, IA, August 22 to 25.   https://mailchi.mp/thedemlabs/nationalnetworkassembly There will be workshops, sessions, and meetings in which participants will strategize, plan, and learn skills to take home to their groups.  The 2019 National Network Assembly will strengthen the connective tissue between grassroots groups by bridging multiple networks and organizations that represent over 1,000 leaders across all 50 states.  We can find more information, register to attend, and donate to the scholarship fund here: https://www.nationalnetworkassembly.org/ We can use this document to invite others to attend:   https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oKWdGLESqQYFVIa3JXQrtsXO9zrZv7ihCdGfnmSZ0-M/edit

GLOBAL CLIMATE STRIKE—Young people around the world are taking to the streets September 20-27, 2019, to end the regime of fossil fuels. Young or old, we can get involved here: https://globalclimatestrike.net/. If we organize our own climate strike event, we can include voter registration with the help of the Environmental Voter Project: https://www.environmentalvoter.org/

READING/WATCHING

Cyntoia Brown released from prison after celebrity support - https://www.apnews.com/b6515e08c251460791f1301be99cfb6d

The men behind the US's deadliest mass shootings have domestic violence — not mental illness — in common - https://www.businessinsider.com/deadliest-mass-shootings-almost-all-have-domestic-violence-connection-2017-11

Texting for Political Campaigns Report - https://www.techforcampaigns.org/2018-texting-analysis

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We can stay up to date on Congress by checking out their schedules. a) The House publishes a weekly schedule at The Weekly Leader (published and dated Friday) as well as daily schedules at The Daily Leader. b) The Senate updates their schedule daily at the Senate Floor Schedule



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