Contact Federal Government Officials
1. The Senate passed the budget bill last evening and it now needs to be reconciled with the already-passed House version. This process, including final voting, is projected to be done by the end of the month. The move will make the passage of the impending tax bill smoother. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-senate-budget-taxcuts-20171019-story.html Let’s contact all our MoCs and remind them that we do not want them to approve anything that will harm our young, old, or poor in terms of healthcare, food, housing, or education.
2. Four ambushed soldiers died in Niger, betrayed by faulty info, their rescue bungled by private contractors. Trump's response was typical, grabbing and misdirecting attention, blaming the victim's Gold Star family and Congressional supporter, sacrificing the dignity and reputation of a once respected figure, General Kelly, to defend his lies. So, the Trump administration is very reluctant to release info and may have to be subpoenaed to do so. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congress/pentagon-faces-demands-for-details-on-deadly-attack-in-niger/2017/10/19/89ff2684-b50a-11e7-9b93-b97043e57a22_story.html?utm_term=.3f34a72f3cac Let’s ask our representatives to call for an immediate investigation into this incident and demand an apology to this Gold Star family and their defenders.
3. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is expected to circulate a rule and announce a vote on his plan to gut net neutrality within weeks, perhaps as soon as November 22nd (https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/10/ajit-pai-gets-new-term-on-fcc-despite-protest-of-anti-net-neutrality-plan/). Free and open Internet advocates at Fight for the Future are reporting that key lawmakers are sympathetic but are not hearing enough calls from their constituents to spur them to action. They’ve set up a new call tool to allow us to pressure our reps to stop the vote. Let’s join the fight here: https://www.battleforthenet.com/.
4. While conservative Christians seemed largely pleased with the draft strategic plan of the Dept. of HHS, its religious thrust proved to be deeply troubling to medical professionals like Dr. Esther Choo, associate professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, who told [Snopes]: The strategic plan has a surprising amount of language around religion, working with religious groups, preserving religious freedom, and even assertion of fundamental beliefs that are religiously based such as the statement that life begins at conception, which concerns me as a potential starting point for denying women necessary health services. It is stunning as a document from a public health, health services, and science-focused organization. I am a scientist and public health advocate who also happens to be personally quite religious, but I found the plan as drafted to be both unusual and disturbing." http://www.snopes.com/2017/10/11/hhs-says-life-begins-conception/ Comments are being accepted until Oct. 27: https://www.hhs.gov/about/draft-strategic-plan Our MoCs also need to know that we do not want this plan to be put into practice.
5. From one of our own, on the same topic: I am concerned about the DHHS Strategic Plan, which is open for public comment till 10/27. Concern #1: The document defines life as beginning at conception. This clause as part of the official Strategic Plan will make it easier for the government to limit or eliminate access to abortion, emergency contraception, and several types of infertility treatment. I was a volunteer at a rape crisis center and the relief on women's faces when they heard about EC was unbelievable. Regarding infertility treatment, IVF includes creation of embryos in a lab (which would under this definition constitute "life".). This guideline could lead to medically dangerous decisions ("Ms. X, you need to put in all 8 of those embryos and carry them all to term even though that's medically disastrous,") or perhaps, the eventual outlawing of this kind of infertility treatment altogether. For LGBT couples who rely on assistive reproductive technology to have a child that is genetically theirs, this kind of limitation would be devastating. It would also be devastating to straight individuals who want to have a child but need IVF assistance. Concern #2: The Strategic Plan includes extensive mention of faith (46 mentions... for comparison, the last Strategic Plan had 3 mentions) and appears to open the door further to faith based organizations receiving federal funds but discriminating against individuals they find objectionable (e.g. LGBT community, women who use birth control). For people who live in rural areas, this discrimination could spell limited access to healthcare. Comments are being accepted until Oct. 27: https://www.hhs.gov/about/draft-strategic-plan
6. Forests in the United States are being cut down in order to help fuel power plants in the UK. The limbs are turned into wood pellets, which are labeled "carbon-neutral" in the European Union, even though that is not entirely accurate http://bit.ly/2yzIsU2 Right now, the label is being considered in the United States as well, though critics argue that the label, in addition to being inaccurate, will also spur deforestation and a boost in carbon emissions. It is also feared the label will give the go-ahead to move to wood pellet as fuel for power plants, rather than looking to emissions-free options like wind and solar energy http://bit.ly/2igEiWn Meanwhile, there are concerns about wood pellet plants in the U.S., their impact on the environment, and issues with air quality http://bit.ly/2l2ekMk Let's call on the EPA to make sure that they do not follow the EU's lead; wood pellets should not be labeled "carbon-neutral." Environmental Protection Agency Office of the Administrator 1101A 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20460 We can also contact the UK Secretary for Energy Policy, Greg Clark, and ask that he and the EU Energy Council reform their renewable energy policies https://act.nrdc.org/letter/forests-not-fuel-171017?
7. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that he expects to have a vote on the 20-week abortion ban http://bit.ly/2ylIAai Let's make sure that we contact our senators and tell them to oppose H.R. 36/S.1922: The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. 5calls has a script we can use as we contact our MoC https://5calls.org/issue/federal-20-week-abortion-ban
8. "The Endangered Species Act (ESA) itself is under attack. Since January, congressional Republicans have launched at least 46 legislative assaults on the legislation or a specific species, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Five bills to amend the legislation were advanced by the House Natural Resources Committee just this month." Let's read this article from Moyers&Co "Road Kill: Side-Swiping the Environmental Protection Act" which discusses the impact that the Republican regime has had so far on the Environmental Protection Act and the ESA as well as some of the intended next steps. If we are not already environmental activists, let's commit to contacting our MoC's once a week about wildlife and environmental issues. They need to hear from us to know that we care.
9. Many of us who work in higher education want to support Dreamers. We've seen firsthand how hard these young people are working for their futures. Here's a form that lets us tell Congress that we'd like them to pass new legislation to protect the DACA program and its current recipients: https://www2.acenet.edu/protectdreamers/
10. Supplies of certain medicines could be at risk because of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Per The Pharmaceutical Journal: "Devastation of infrastructure could result in critical shortages of common medicines, including Crestor and Humira, produced in Puerto Rico, one of the world’s biggest centres for pharmaceutical manufacturing...Puerto Rico is one of the world’s biggest centres for pharmaceutical manufacturing, hosting more than 500 medical product facilities, but damage to infrastructure has led the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action...The FDA identified more than 20 firms as producing medically important FDA-regulated products, and 40 high-priority drugs for which short-term disruption of production could lead to shortages which would have a substantial impact on public health." Let's remember that local issues can have far-reaching consequences and reach out to our MoCs to warn them of yet another reason Puerto Rico needs their help.
11. Facebook and Google are responsible or 85% of all digital political ads, according to the NY Times, yet they claim they can’t—and certainly don’t—indicate who is paying for these ads, as we learned when Facebook was forced to turn over Russian-linked ads to a congressional committee investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Now they are lining up high-powered lawyers to fight the “Honest Ads Act” introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mark Warner (D-VA), and John McCain (R-AZ), which would force Facebook, Google and other internet companies to disclose who is purchasing online political advertising: https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/senators-demand-online-ad-disclosures-tech-giants-n812291 We should urge our senators to back this bill and let the Federal Election Commission know that we will not tolerate any longer exempting the internet from the rigorous regulations to which paid television, radio and print political advertising has been subject for years: 1-800-424-9530 or Federal Election Commission, 999 E St NW, Washington, DC 20463
1. ALL: A bipartisan group of governors have written a letter to “urge Congress to quickly pass legislation to stabilize our private health insurance markets and make quality health insurance more available and affordable.”
https://twitter.com/JohnKasich/status/920813929009475584 Let’s see if our governor signed the letter, and then sending him/her either our gratitude or our encouragement for signing onto this effort.
2. ALL: Many of us may not have been paying attention to state-level politics as much as we should. And maybe we haven't been voting in local elections as often as we should. But as Flippable.org points out, "From healthcare to racial justice, the laws that impact our lives the most are often passed by states—not by the federal government." For those of us who aren't sure with how state government looks, here's a handy visual primer: https://www.flippable.org/get-smart/state-government-101/. And here's a list of upcoming state-level elections: https://www.flippable.org/get-smart/special-elections/ Let's check for our states and make sure we get registered and vote!
3. FL: How many of our 2,012 public proposals submitted to the [Florida] Constitution Revision Commission were rejected outright in a 20-minute meeting? 2006 of them. That's 2006 REJECTIONS of public input. "The hundreds of rejected proposals include limiting money in politics and political committees, updating medical references to abortion, establishing religious protections for businesses, creating a state commission on sea level rise, electing the Public Service Commission, legalizing marijuana and dozens of others ideas submitted by concerned citizens, special interest activists, political gadflies and constitutional scholars. For months, the commission conducted hours of public hearings across the state, encouraging people to submit proposals to the CRC website." We can read more at the Miami Herald. We can contact the Constitutional Revision Commission to tell them not to dismiss and disrespect us like that.
4. PA: Huge budget cuts crippled outreach that lets people know when, how and where to sign up for the ACA, so Indivisible ACA Signup Project is spreading the word through social media. They have only 5 days to get 24 more supporters. Help them reach their goal by October 25 to set off a Thunderclap, a social media flash mob message blast. Please click, add your social media support on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. THEN cut, paste and share: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/63284-aca-signup-reminder Find out more about how Thunderclap helps grassroots organizing here: https://www.socialworkhelper.com/2013/10/02/thunderclap-can-help-grassroots-organizing/amp/
5. D.C.: Huge budget cuts crippled outreach that lets people know when, how and where to sign up for the ACA, so Indivisible ACA Signup Project is spreading the word through social media. They have only 11 days to get 24 more supporters. Help them reach their goal by November 1 to set off a Thunderclap, a social media flash mob message blast. Please click, add your social media support on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. THEN cut, paste and share: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/62916-dc-aca-signup-reminder Find out more about how Thunderclap helps grassroots organizing here: https://www.socialworkhelper.com/2013/10/02/thunderclap-can-help-grassroots-organizing/amp/
1. Gainesville, Florida’s mayor, Lauren Poe, called Richard Spencer, a "terrorist leader." Spencer spoke at the University of Florida's Gainesville campus yesterday where he was met with protest both inside and outside of the hall in which he was speaking. http://thehill.com/homenews/news/356261-gainesville-mayor-richard-spencer-is-a-terrorist-leader Let’s thank Mayor Poe for his plain spoken description that so many others are reluctant to use: email: firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail: Gainesville City Hall, 200 E University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601 or via a message on his Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/MayorLaurenPoe/
2. From Postcards for America: Given 45’s publicized comments regarding the recently fallen soldiers, one wonders about the families of the rest who have been killed in combat since he took office, so I have included them, too, in the PC2A. Let's write to the families with our condolences on behalf of our country: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RI-IkqIlPaNdevEqhES9bWkkdc50lzjYxf-aychBZQY/edit
3. Founded by leaders of sister marches that were held around the country on January 21, 2017, March On https://www.wearemarchon.org/ is organizing to crowd-source an agenda, register voters and fight voter suppression, and build a Super PAC (https://www.fightbackpac.com/) . Their efforts will culminate in a March On The Polls on Election Day 2018. Let’s sign up on their website. Together, let’s elect our way to a better America.
4. We need to think outside of the box to counter the onslaught of fake news. Let’s educate ourselves about how other countries are dealing with this problem:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/18/world/europe/italy-fake-news.html?action=click&contentCollection=world®ion=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront and http://time.com/4887297/europe-fake-news-east-stratcom-kremlin/
5. From one of our own: If you haven't seen the Hamilton 68 project, check it out-- this dashboard displays data, updated weekly, about trending hashtags and Russian propaganda efforts on Twitter in near-real time. It's not just about elections. They are constantly sowing division and chaos. [Hamilton 68 was created by Clint Watts, fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at the George Washington University] Here’s the link: http://dashboard.securingdemocracy.org/
6. From Crooked Media (Pod Save America, Pod Save the People, and other informative, politically-relevant podcasts): "The Mercer family funds far-right hate groups like Breitbart. They make their money by charging hefty fees to institutional investors in their hedge fund. Those investors include schools like Columbia University and Michigan State. http://bit.ly/2yyNVKz If we don't want our school, city, or pension fund helping the Mercer family fund hate, tell them to divest."
7. While not always agreeing with his politics, George W. Bush never made us fear nuclear or civil war. His speech at yesterday’s George W. Bush Institute event in New York, the former President spoke up for true values in our country: http://thehill.com/homenews/news/356212-george-w-bush-bigotry-seems-emboldened-in-us (with full text here: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/19/full-text-george-w-bush-speech-trump-243947 ) Let’s thank President Bush for his words via The George W. Bush Presidential Center, 2943 SMU Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75205
8. There are 600+ political prisoners in Homs prison in Syria right now, some went in at less than 16 and are now adults. They all are on verge of getting massacred. http://orient-news.net/en/news_show/141575/0/Syrian-detainees-in-Homs-Central-Prison-warn-against-Assad-break-in #Assad needs to be stopped from murdering political detainees. Let's use this tweetsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Kin8PZ5RDgZL2m93v83OrZImzF7E2zxHsSJBXv8V1Uo/edit#gid=0 and sign this petition: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Zeid_Raaad_Al_Hussein_Stop_the_Mass_Execution_of_Political_Prisoners_in_Homs_Syria/share/
9. Two of the world’s largest insurance firms have partnered with the NRA to provide “NRA Carry Guard” insurance to gun owners who shoot someone and claim self-defense. This plan is specifically designed to protect “Stand Your Ground” shooters like George Zimmerman (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nras-carry-guard-comes-under-fire-as-murder-insurance/). Since our country is now led by a president who the NRA put their full weight behind, clearly we cannot look to the White House for moral leadership here, and we need to provide it ourselves. We can call on Chubb Insurance and Lockton Affinity to drop these policies at this website: https://stopmurderinsurance.org/.
1. Let’ use this site to tell Trump not to repeal the Clean Power Plan: http://sign.actiontaker.org/page/s/clean-power-ja
2. On October 4, four soldiers belonging to the Third Special Forces Group were killed in Niger in an ambush led by 50 ISIS fighters. As usual, Trump's response fell short of presidential expectations. Many questions have remained unanswered since the attack, with more questions arising every day. Please sign this petition demanding that President Trump tell us the truth about what happened in Niger. https://www.thepetitionsite.com/845/825/665/trump-needs-to-tell-the-truth-about-niger/
Marches/events/teleconferences/Twitterstorms to attend/organize
1. The next Resistance School session is scheduled for Thursday, October 26 at 6pm ET, when Luis Avila will lead the second fall session on relationship building. We can sign up here: https://www.resistanceschool.com/sign-up-1/
1. ““Mindful resistance” is the key to defeating Trump” - https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/10/2/16394320/mindful-resistance-key-defeating-trump-mindfulness
2. This is an interesting read on the family that made BILLIONS on Opioid sales but has kept their family name away from a connection to the drugs. Instead they donate to art and cultural funds getting their names on buildings, building wings and schools. Maybe they should be building DRUG REHAB CENTERS. http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a12775932/sackler-family-oxycontin/
3. Still relevant: “Arguing is easy; persuasion is hard: what Donald Trump teaches us about debate” - http://www.upworthy.com/arguing-is-easy-persuasion-is-hard-what-donald-trump-teaches-us-about-debate?c=ufb1