Contact Federal Government Officials
1. On Monday, The Washington Post brought a nauseating quotation to light from a White House official – that the Parkland shootings were a “reprieve” from the prior week at the White House: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-the-weary-white-house-florida-shooting-offered-a-reprieve-from-scandals/2018/02/19/04293442-158a-11e8-92c9-376b4fe57ff7_story.html?utm_term=.92006e638175 Let’s let the White House know that we can walk and chew gum at the same time and that we will fight for better gun control while still finding Rob Porter’s domestic violence amid fast and loose security practices, Pruitt and Shulkin’s unethical use of taxpayer funds, and Michael Cohen’s “fixer” payments to porn stars abhorrent
2. David Frum penned this piece in the Atlantic titled “America is Under Attack and the President Doesn’t Care” https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/america-is-under-attack-and-the-president-doesnt-care/553667/ Let’s share it with our MoC and ask what their plans are for sanctions and future elections.
3. It seems like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is hoping that the judicial stays will take the heat off the March DACA deadline (and perhaps that our short-attention spans will turn elsewhere): http://thehill.com/latino/374322-whats-next-for-daca-recipients Let’s stay connected with our own MoC to let them know that these young Americans need a reprieve from uncertainty and deserve a thorough legislative solution to Trump’s self-inflicted wound. Let’s also let Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell know that we expect them to follow through on their promises: on Twitter @SpeakerRyan and @SenateMajLdr or https://www.speaker.gov and https://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/
4. Thwarted by legal issues from purchasing beer, lottery tickets, racy magazines, and cigarettes, this 13-year-old easily and legally purchases a gun: http://www.businessinsider.com/this-13-year-old-couldnt-buy-cigarettes-but-he-could-buy-a-gun-2016-6 Let’s tell our MoCs that we think that a weapon is more dangerous for a child to buy than lottery tickets.
5. Trump's budget proposal includes the elimination of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Project (LIHEAP), which helps low-income families, individuals with disabilities, and older individuals pay their heating bills http://bit.ly/2ByG5ml The program has already seen a decrease in funding, even while the price of utilities has increased. Let's call our MoC and ask that they support full funding for LIHEAP.
6. The NRA has been accused of illegally conducting political spending while reaping the tax benefits of being a non-profit: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/21/nra-illegal-political-spending-lobbying-pac and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint (http://crew.3cdn.net/9d9bdeceea844c1be0_fam6yx6ix.pdf) with the IRS in 2015 and updated its findings in 2016 that "the NRA has failed to disclose $60 million in political spending since 2008." (https://www.csgv.org/action/tell-fec-irs-investigate-nra-violations-federal-law/) Let’s tell IRS Commissioner David J. Kautter to launch investigations into the NRA’s fraudulent activities immediately: 1111 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20224-0002 or (202) 622-9511 or Fax: (202) 622-5756 We can also send information that raises questions about an exempt organization’s compliance with the Internal Revenue Code by submitting Form 13909, Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral) Form: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f13909.pdf Form 13909 and any supporting documentation may be submitted via: mail to IRS EO Classification, Mail Code 4910DAL, 1100 Commerce St., Dallas, TX 75242-1198, fax to 214-413-5415, or email to email@example.com
7. “The Trump administration wants to allow insurance companies to offer more policies that have limited health benefits and that can reject customers if they have pre-existing medical conditions. Short-term plans don't have to include the minimum essential health benefits – such as mental health care or prescription coverage – that have to be included in an ACA compliant policy. And insurance companies can refuse to offer coverage to someone with a pre-existing medical condition, or charge people more money if they're likely to need more care. “The expansion of short-term health insurance plans is part of a strategy to create a parallel insurance market that does not comply with the ACA's rules," said Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, on Twitter. “ https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/02/20/587244292/trump-administration-wants-to-let-insurers-offer-plans-with-fewer-benefits Comments are currently open and we can add ours comment here. https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=CMS-2018-0015-0001
8. Eager to know what we can do to help protect our state voting systems from Russian hacking the future? Let’s learn from The Loyal Opposition and follow their calls-to-action: https://www.theloyalopposition.net/daily-ctas/must-act-now-protect-russian-cyberattacks-state-voting-systems-2018/
9. Yesterday, Trump notified the Dept. of Justice to look into more regulations of bump stocks: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/374722-trump-to-take-steps-to-ban-bump-stocks Let’s not forget that the NRA gave this go-ahead after the Las Vegas shooting: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nra-says-bump-stocks-devices-used-by-las-vegas-shooter-should-be-regulated/ Let’s tell our MoCs that we want THEM, not the NRA, making decisions about gun safety and reform.
Election 2018 – General
1. We’re less than a week away from a February 27th special election for a New Hampshire state rep seat, and the Democratic nominee needs our help. Phil Spagnuolo would be a champion for Medicaid at a time when it’s under threat, someone who can personally make the case for how important it is. (http://www.wmur.com/article/nh-primary-source-substance-misuse-recovery-coach-spagnuolo-plans-run-for-nh-house/13095593). Let’s give him a hand! We can find instructions on how to phone bank (from anywhere) voters for him at http://tinyurl.com/codebluenh.
2. Democrats have Connecticut’s congressional delegation locked up, but the state legislature is a different story, with only a seven-seat Democratic majority in the House and 18 senators from each party. On February 27th, we have a chance to pick up a House seat Republicans have held for 44 years in a special election (https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Hopefuls-hunt-for-voters-12604272.php). Let’s help get out the vote for Democrat and former Stratford town council member Phil Young! We can help phone bank (from anywhere) for him at this link.
3. The children who were in grade seven and above when the massacre at Sandy Hook occurred, are pretty much all going to be voting age in November. They remember, and they’ve seen the continued lack of gun reform. Let’s help make sure they get registered. Their voices are important. https://vote.gov/
Election 2018 – By State
1. ALL: VoteLocal has created a spreadsheet that shows us all of their vetted candidates for 2018 arranged by state:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gVTxDYgGNgzvCgUveNvHfwHvTG4pFuxSIRSmTBJStIE/edit#gid=0 If we have additions to make or see changes that should be made, we can email: Equal2018@gmail.com
1. Shannon Watts Monday evening: “Typical turn out for a @MomsDemand meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina: 20 people…..Tonight: So far, we’re counting 500. We had to start a spill room.” The tide is turning. Let’s find and join our local Mom’s Demand Action group and help turn gun reform into a groundswell: https://momsdemandaction.org/
2. At a fundraiser in Broward County two days after the shooting, House Speaker Paul Ryan told a Florida school-teacher he “didn’t want to talk politics” when she brought up the issue of gun control. http://www.newsweek.com/paul-ryan-challenger-florida-gun-control-810286. Ryan has also rejected a request to convene a special committee on gun violence https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/02/15/ryan-rejects-call-special-committee-gun-violence-calls-shooting-pure-evilsays-shooter-may-have-slipp/341223002/ and claims that the bill the House recently passed closes up some of the loopholes that allow people with a mental health history to obtain a gun. However, this bill--currently stalled in the Senate for good reason--would allow people from states where concealed carry is legal to carry guns in any state, essentially nullifying the state’s own gun laws. Let’s tell Speaker Ryan that (1) we are on to his duplicity, (2) we want to see a special committee studying gun violence, and (3) we want action on gun laws that does NOT allow concealed carry reciprocity. And let’s tell our Senators to make sure to vote NO on H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.
3. “High school and college students from across the country are teaming up with Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to launch a new initiative – Students Demand Action”. Join here: http://act.everytown.org/sign/join-students-demand-action or students can text Student to 64433
4. Dallas officials have asked the NRA to find a new location for their 2018 annual meeting scheduled there for May. “Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said Monday the NRA would be "met with opposition" if they continue with the planned event from May 4-6 in downtown Dallas.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/02/20/florida-school-shooting-nra-addresses-criticism-holding-convention-dallas/353989002/ Let’s thank him: http://dallascityhall.com/government/citycouncil/district4/pages/contacts.aspx While we are at it, let’s add some pressure to the mayor of Indianapolis where it is scheduled for next year: http://www.indy.gov/eGov/mayor/Pages/home.aspx
5. "Can you help us with a *5-second survey*? A national group we work with, Action Together Network (http://actiontogethernetwork.org), is taking a nationwide temperature check to see how members of groups like ours primarily identify themselves politically. The survey will be live for 1 week, until February 27th. The results will be shared on March 13th - and we will share them with you then. Survey link: http://bit.ly/ATNsurvey
6. Let’s help the students in Florida fund the March for Our Lives by donating to their GoFundMe account: https://www.gofundme.com/8psm8-march-for-our-lives
7. As part of their Electoral Justice Project, Movement for Black Lives has launched Wakanda the Vote https://ejp.m4bl.org/ This campaign focuses on getting individuals across the country registered to vote as they attend the movie Black Panther. Organizations can create registration events by texting PANTHER to 91990, and individuals can register to vote by texting WAKANDA to 91990.
8. From Drain the NRA: “By partnering with the NRA, these public and privately held companies are taking a political stance by aligning themselves with the nation’s most deadly and divisive lobbying organization. By association, these companies are endorsing the gun lobby's practices of halting sensible gun safety legislation, such as universal background checks and a ban on bump stocks, that would ultimately make our communities safer. As shareholders, customers and citizens, we're demanding these corporations end their advertising and corporate partnerships with the NRA and stand for safer communities, not the gun lobby.” Let’s join in this effort: https://www.drainthenra.com/company-information-1
9. “A raffle item at a Cameron Park Fire Department crab feed Saturday night made some attendees so uncomfortable that they left the event. Firefighters were auctioning off an AR-15 rifle, the type of weapon allegedly used Wednesday by Nikolas Cruz in the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead. Cameron Park’s crab feed is not the only event featuring an AR-style gun that is receiving criticism. In Michigan, a high school booster club canceled a fundraising dinner that would have featured a gun raffle including an AR-15. In Missouri, third graders are selling raffle tickets for an AR-15 to benefit their traveling baseball team. http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article200867469.html This makes no sense at all, first responders and third graders selling raffle tickets for automatic weapons. Please don’t participate in these disgusting raffles and file a complaint with any group that is doing this.
10. On Monday, the NY Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin floated an idea worth our taking up; if Congress won’t curb the sales of guns, how about the banks?
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/19/business/banks-gun-sales.html Apparently, PayPal, Square, Stripe, and Apple Pay will not allow their services to be used for the sale of firearms. Why not Visa, Mastercard, and American Express? This kind of restriction is not unprecedented; just this month, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America barred the use of their cards to buy cryptocurrencies. Let’s point out to the credit card companies that they need us and we don’t want them to facilitate gun sales: Visa 1-800-847-2911; Mastercard 1-800-307-7309; American Express 1-800-528-4800
11. Many of us who are fortunate enough to have retirement savings or other investments may be funding firearms manufacturers and retailers without our even being aware of it. We can look into where our money is being invested and look to divest from firearms manufacturing companies and retailers who sell guns (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/your-money/the-gun-makers-in-your-fund-portfolio.html). Goodbye Gun Stocks (https://goodbyegunstocks.com/) can help you see if your fund is investing in firearms manufacturers and retailers, as well as help you find gun-free funds. We can also see if our local or state pension funds are culprits and demand that they divest (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/15/business/dealbook/new-york-city-pension-fund-to-divest-itself-of-gun-retailer-stock.html).
12. One Vote at A Time started after the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016. Their goal: to make free-of-charge campaign ads for candidates who believe in gun safety. In 2017, they made over 30 ads for 19 candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates[SR1] . In 2018, they are going to 10 states to work with hundreds of candidates. If we are or know of a Gun Safety Candidate interested in their support, we can contact them here: https://www.onevoteatatime.us/contact/ We can learn more about them here:
Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize
1. February 24: On February 26th, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments about Janus vs AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), a case which asks whether public employees who choose not to join their designated union may nevertheless be charged “agency fees” to support the collective bargaining from which they benefit. While the conservatives pretend this is a first amendment issue, if the Court bans “agency fees” it will—as no doubt the conservatives hope—deal a huge financial blow to the American labor movement: https://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2018/02/getting-their-dues We can join with teachers, firefighters, and police to show our opposition to this effort to undermine public unions on February 24th at the Working People’s Day of Action all over the country: http://www.itsaboutfreedom.org
2. March 24: The surviving students in Florida are organizing the “March for Our Lives in Washington, DC. Supporting them are Moms Demand Action and Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence. Let’s check out their website and add (scroll down to “March with Us”) our local march information, too: https://www.marchforourlives.com/
3. March 25: NJ Grassroots Organizing Conference 2018, a networking and training forum for advocacy organizations, community groups, and student groups. Registration and other info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/158938258241976 We can also like their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/marchforourlives/ and follow them on Twitter here: @AMarch4OurLives and here: @NeverAgainMSD
1. MI: There are currently nine states, as well as Washington, D.C., which have banned conversion therapy from being practiced against minors http://bit.ly/1n6TFT1 On February 13th, State Representative Adam Zemke introduced House Bill 5550, which would prohibit mental health professionals from attempting to change a minor's gender identity or sexual orientation http://on.freep.com/2EEQT4Z Let's be sure to call our state reps and ask that they support House Bill 5550 to make Michigan #The10thstate
1. This blog (with a salty title quoting a comedian) has gained a lot of traction on social media and goes a long way in cutting through the noise: https://agingmillennialengineer.com/2018/02/15/fuck-you-i-like-guns-2/
2. “Putin’s Post Modern War with the West” - https://www.wilsonquarterly.com/quarterly/the-disinformation-age/putins-postmodern-war-with-the-west/
3. “Do Protests Matter? What the Tea Party Movement Can Teach the Trump Resistance” - http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/do-protests-matter-what-the-tea-party-movement-can-teach-the-trump-resistance-20180129