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7/20/18 

Contact Federal Government Officials


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Many newspapers, including New York Times and Washington Post require subscriptions, but without one we can see a few articles each month.  We can also check with our local libraries to find out how to get online access through them.

1.       TODAY, Friday, July 20, is the last day the EPA will accept public comment on how it should address widespread water contamination from PFAS — the toxic chemicals used, among other things, to make Teflon and firefighting foam. Studies have linked certain of these chemicals to thyroid disease, liver damage, and fertility problems at lower levels than those used by the EPA.  In June, under pressure from environmental groups and despite objection from the Trump administration, the government’s toxicology report on PFAS was made public:  https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp200.pdf  We can comment easily through the Food & Water Watch website:  https://secure.foodandwateraction.org/act/epa-suppressed-report-pfas

2.      According to yesterday’s recent CIA disclosure, the president received highly classified intelligence information two weeks before his inauguration that indicated that Russian head of state Vladimir Putin had personally ordered complex cyber-attacks on the U.S. elections.  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/world/europe/trump-intelligence-russian-election-meddling-.html, and https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/19/cia-had-source-close-putin-told-donald-trump-russian-leader/. Not only has the president accepted Putin’s denial, he continues, even while back-tracking to say that it’s possible people other than the Russians were at fault. And, without consulting his intelligence chief, he has invited Putin to a follow-up summit in Washington, DC. https://apnews.com/11b98cd0a9e24524bf19fe205f5c46ea/Round-2-for-Trump-Putin:-A-fall-invite-amid-summit-mop-up. We need to insist to our MoCs that the president’s foreknowledge of Putin’s actions and his refusal to hold him accountable further implicates him in treasonous behavior against the United States, and the time to look into impeachment proceedings is now.

3.      Trump seems unable to get his story straight: on Wednesday, he pretty clearly said that Russia was no longer targeting the United States, contradicting his own intelligence chief; later in the day, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump was answering a different question; earlier, Trump claimed he had inadvertently used the wrong word when he discussed Russian interference in the 2016 elections at the Helsinki news conference: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-answers-asked-russia-targeting-us/story?id=56664385  Meanwhile, as the President’s lies continue to diminish his credibility around this issue, Russia’s defense ministry announced that it was ready to put in motion agreements Trump and Putin reached in Helsinki . https://www.facebook.com/RusEmbUSA/photos/a.493759737501088.1073741828.487645188112543/831817573695301/?type=3&theater ), and we still have no idea what these might be.  Let’s ask our Senators to demand a detailed account of these “agreements.”

4.      Yesterday, a motion to subpoena the interpreter who was in the room during the private one-on-one Trump/Putin meeting was voted down by the GOP members of the House Intel Committee.  https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/19/trump-russia-putin-interpreter-subpoena-732359 While an unusual request, so was the idea of meeting with an adversarial head of state with no other diplomats in the room.  Let's ask those GOP members of the committee why they blocked this and what they have to lose by transparency:  https://intelligence.house.gov/about/hpsci-majority-members.htm 

5.      Even though the White House has walked back on the issue, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/19/michael-mcfaul-trump-russia-question-732356, we should be disturbed by the gestures made to let the Russians question our former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul. Let’s thank our Senators for voting unanimously yesterday on a resolution not to hand over any U.S. citizens to the Russians for questioning. However, we should also remind them that the president can no longer be trusted, threats against an ambassador cannot stand and that it is clear where this administration’s allegiances lie. We can also remind Trump that he needs to resign: White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111 (these are volunteers who answer the phones), online: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/, Twitter @realdonaldtrump , and in writing: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500.

6.      Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), who said earlier this week that he would support the president simply because he’s the voter’s choice, blocked a resolution yesterday proposed by Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE) that would have expressed support for the intelligence community's assessment of Russian election interference and commended the Justice Department for investigating that interference. http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/397880-gop-leader-blocks-resolution-backing-intelligence-community-on-russia. Let’s tell Senator Cornyn that the needs of his country’s democracy should take precedent over supporting the president.

7.      Since October 11, the Trump administration has summoned at least 70 infants--some deemed “unaccompanied” after being separated from their parents--to immigration court for their own deportation proceedings, according to Justice Department data provided to Kaiser Health News. These babies have no right to an appointed lawyer, and their caregivers need to depend on contacting legal aid attorneys.  Despite a court order to reunify parents and children younger than 5 by June 10, HHS had united only about half of them by July 12; the parents of 12 have been deported:  https://www.texastribune.org/2018/07/18/immigrant-separated-families-infant-court-defend-donald-trump-zero-tol/  Let’s tell HHS Secretary Alex Azar to end this horror undertaken in our name immediately: Secretary@HHS.gov or 202-690-7000.

8.     Ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Patty Murray (D-WA), has introduced Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act (S. 3225) legislation which would require ICE to "reinstate the presumption of release of pregnant women and youth, set minimum standards for health care, prohibit shackling, and require public reporting on the detention of pregnant women" (https://bit.ly/2O2EXv6https://bit.ly/2zPpD1S). We can read more about ICE's treatment of pregnant immigrants here. Then, let's contact our senators and ask them to cosponsor and support this bill.

9.      As we urge our senators to vote "no" on SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh, it can be challenging to find an argument that resonates with Republican and red state Democratic senators. While Maine and Alaska constituents can ask Senators Collins and Murkowski to protect Roe vs. Wade, others can use the point being made by Michigan Republican Representative Justin Amash that Kavanaugh will vote against privacy rights (https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/07/kavanaugh-supreme-court-rand-paul-justin-amash/565418/). Let's read through that argument, as well as others, including Kavanaugh's favoritism towards corporations over consumers, here, then consider which point would be most salient with our own senators as we urge them to vote against Kavanaugh's nomination.

10.  So many of us are trying to find new different ways to help upright the current political scene.  Here’s an interesting one, highlighted yesterday by Robert Reich: " If just two Republican Senators changed parties right now, Mitch McConnell would be removed and Chuck Schumer would replace him. The Senate would become a check on Trump rather than a disgraceful set of enablers."  "At this point,” Reich says, “I think it’s important to try everything. What do we have to lose? I’m going to call their offices today and urge them to switch parties. Please join me. Call or fax: John McCain ph (202) 224-2235, fax (202) 228-2862; Bob Corker ph 202-224-3344, fax 202-228-0566; Jeff Flake ph (202) 224-4521, fax (202) 228-0515; Susan Collins ph (202) 224-2523, fax (202) 224-2693." Let’s read more here and then consider taking Reich's suggestion to heart and doing the same.  

11.   The House has voted to go to conference with the Senate on the Farm Bill (http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/397706-house-votes-to-go-to-conference-on-farm-bill) One of the key differences between the House and Senate versions is in the nutrition title, in which the House is pushing for work requirements for SNAP recipients, while the Senate has no such requirements, and would even expand job training pilot programs to help SNAP recipients rise out of poverty (http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/397188-house-and-senate-farm-bills-set-contrasting-visions-for)  Let's contact our MoCs and tell them that we do not want work requirements in the final version of the Farm Bill, and that we want them to keep funding the SNAP Employment and Training pilot projects.

12.  Last Tuesday was the fourth anniversary downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over the Ukraine, and the first time that the State Department did NOT release a statement condemning Russia's role. Apparently, the draft statement was quashed because Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not approve of its language. http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/397710-state-dept-doesnt-issue-statement-denouncing-russia-for-downing. Let's contact Secretary Pompeo and tell him to draft and release a statement of condemnation.


Election 2018 – General

An election guide from Postcards for America:  In this Google doc (updated regularly), each State shows ALL Democratic Candidates running for Congress, Governor, Lt Gov, Attorney General, Secretary of State (if applicable) with links to their websites and Twitter. Each has a link to a Twitter Thread, a Shareable Facebook Post and a Document. For most States, there are also Info & Links for Voter Registrations, Absentee Ballots, Early Voting & Voter ID, Age Requirements and being a Poll Worker.  Let’s check this out and use and share it:  

1.       Postcards To Voters has a couple more days' worth of addresses to go for Campaign 93: Danny O'Connor for Ohio US Congressional District 12. This large Central Ohio district has been held by Republicans for all but two of the last eighty years. The special election is Tuesday, August 7. If we are verified volunteers already, we can request addresses via our usual preferred method. If we're new to this effort to get-out-the-vote, we can sign up to volunteer here:  https://postcardstovoters.org/.  Let's help flip a US congressional seat in Ohio! 

2.      This week, the Senate confirmed Andrew Oldham to a federal judgeship in spite of his record of opposing voting rights. (https://www.texastribune.org/2018/07/18/andrew-oldham-governor-greg-abbott-adviser-confirmed-5th-circuit/) They did so on a straight party line 50-49 vote. One more Democratic senator would have blocked his way. So let's make sure we elect one - from Oldham's home state of Texas. We can sign up to help text to unseat Ted Cruz and elect Beto O'Rourke at

3.      If we are looking for reliable voter information, we can check out The League of Women website Vote411.org. We can enter our address to find our polling place, build our ballots with their online voters' guide and much more! With our voters' guide we can see the races on our ballot, compare candidates' positions side-by-side, and print out a "ballot" indicating our preferences as a reminder and take it with us to the polls on Election Day. 

4.      If we are military and overseas voters, or know people who are, we can check our voting resources here:  https://www.overseasvotefoundation.org/vote/eod.htm


Election 2018 – By State

  1. Upcoming voting dates and deadlines:

July 20
Louisiana
Filing Deadline
July 22
Alaska
Voter Registration Deadline
Primary
July 23
Georgia
Early voting ends
runoffs
July 24
Minnesota
Voter Registration Deadline
Primary
July 24
Georgia
Election date
Runoffs
July 28
Tennessee
Early Voting ends
Primary
July 30
Arizona
Voter Registration Deadline
Primary
July 30
Florida
Voter Registration Deadline
Primary
July 30
Arkansas
Early Voting begins
State Senate Dist 8
July 30
Hawaii
Early Voting begins
Primary
July 31
Kansas
Early Voting begins
Primary
(source:  by date:  https://goo.gl/gjFv2u by state:  https://goo.gl/7gTzvE)

  1. HI:  Hawaii 8/11 Primary: At a Glance

  1. KS:  Kansas 8/7 Primary: At a Glance

  1. MI:  Michigan 8/7 Primary: At a Glance

  1. MO:  Missouri 8/7 Primary: At a Glance

  1. TN:  Tennessee 8/2 Primary: At a Glance

  1. WA:  Washington 8/7 Primary: At a Glance


Other Actions

1.       It’s a policy and a strategy of the Trump administration to shore up its power by undermining, belittling, and discrediting the press. Remarkably, at yesterday’s White House press briefing, journalist Jordan Fabian of The Hill wouldn’t let WH Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders get away with it. When Sanders pivoted to him in an attempt to cut off his colleague Hallie Jackson of NBC News as she posed a tough question, Fabian yielded his time, forcing Sanders to respond to Jackson. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/business/media/white-house-reporters-hallie-jackson.html Let’s thank Fabian for being a mensch, (Tweet: @jordanfabian) and let’s tell the White House Correspondence Association that we want its members to always display this kind of solidarity as a strategy for holding this administration accountable to the American people. 

2.      Bill Browder is a name we keep hearing about in relation to the Trump/Russia connection. Putin mentioned his name during the Helsinki press conference. "Browder is the founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management and was the largest foreign investor in Russia until 2005. Since 2009 when his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, died in prison after uncovering a $230 million fraud committed by Russian government officials, Browder has been leading a campaign to expose Russia's endemic corruption and human rights abuses."  http://time.com/5340545/bill-browder-vladimir-putin-magnitsky-act-donald-trump/  Let's keep our eyes and ears open for more information from and about Browder.

3.      Despite the fact that we have whistleblower protections, they did not cover Reality Winner, the young NSA contractor and " former member of the U.S. Air Force who was accused of sending news outlets a top-secret National Security Agency report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election."  In a plea deal, Winner is now spending over five years in prison for helping to expose this issue. http://www.toledoblade.com/Will-Tomer/2018/06/29/Reality-Winner-s-case-highlights-the-need-to-protect-whisteblowers.html  Let's check how we can help Winner's cause and send her messages of support:  

4.      The Trump administration has been attacking trans students and trans immigrants – and now they are targeting our access to health care. We anticipate a proposal from the administration any day now falsely claiming that health care providers and insurers may legally discriminate against transgender people (http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/07/17/tonight-transgender-health-protest-in-front-of-the-white-house/). We can sign up here to be the first to learn how to take action as soon as the proposal is released. 

5.       In a case of murdering-while-white, a Minneapolis day care provider who hanged a toddler has received probation from Judge Jay Quam. Let's read more at TwinCities. Let's contact Judge Quam to let him know what we think. We can also file a complaint with the Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards.


Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

  1. July 21, the youth of America are converging on Washington, D.C. for this year’s Youth Climate March.  We can find more information, including sister marches, here:  http://thisiszerohour.org/the-march/

  1. July 22 at 3pm EDT, Issue Voters of Northern Nevada will be presenting a webinar on “Voter Mobilization:  Strategies and Best Practices”.  Here is the event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/191292124873267/ We can register here:  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vEbS2tQKQKyrs-yoroJ2qA

  1. The immigrant-led activist group Cosecha is calling for us to take the next step, with a national day of action to end cooperation with ICE on July 31st, demanding cities, counties, companies and all institutions stop working with them. Let's get involved. We can check out the #WeWillNotBeComplicit Action Guide at this link.


States


Find elected state officials: https://openstates.org/



Reading/Watching

1.    The Interior Department’s internal watchdog has launched a full investigation into a real estate deal involving a foundation established by Ryan Zinke and developers including Halliburton. The inspector general’s probe will focus on whether Interior Secretary Zinke violated conflict of interest laws. Let's read more at Politico and stay aware of how this investigation unfolds.

2.   We know now, that Russia, under Putin’s direction, attacked us aiming to influence the 2016 elections, and they are very likely still attacking us, intending to keep Republicans in power this November. We need to become better informed on what they have done and how they intend to continue.  In part 2  of John Choe’s The Resistance Information Warfare Handbook, we learn more about information war, defined here as “the practice of manipulating the culture of a specific target entity using weaponized information to achieve a strategic outcome.” We can see, in depth, how Russia’s strategic situation and goals affect the timing, production, and distribution of this “weaponized information,” or “Fake News.”  https://medium.com/@joohnchoe/the-resistance-information-warfare-handbook-part-ii-bbd3149bb19e

3.   "What Mueller Knows About the DNC Hack—And Trump Doesn’t" - https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/07/17/dnc-server-hack-russia-trump-2016-219017