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Contact Federal Government Officials
1. Russian involvement in our election process remains a grave and continuing concern. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/19/17023240/election-2018-russia-interference-stop-prevent Trump has yet to impose the Congress-approved sanctions against Russia, nor has he instructed his National Security Agency to disrupt Russian cyberattacks: http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/375784-nsa-director-says-he-hasnt-receive-orders-from-trump-to-disrupt-russian There are a few important bipartisan bills currently pending in the House and Senate, that would address this. The Honest Ads Act (S. 1989/H.R. 4077) would close the disclosure loopholes for campaign-related ads being run by foreign interests on the Internet, making it harder for foreign social media campaigns to go unnoticed. The DETER Act (S. 2313/H.R. 4884) would provide strong new sanctions for any foreign interest interfering in our elections. The PAPER Act (H.R. 3751) would provide federal assistance and financial support for states to modernize the security and protect the integrity of their election systems. The Secure Elections Act (S. 2261) would provide grants to states and establish an advisory panel of independent experts to share information about election cybersecurity incidents, threats and vulnerabilities. Let make sure that our MoCs know every day that this is a major concern that we want addressed.
2. In November of last year, representatives in the House introduced a background check bill which would ensure that background checks occur in all commercial firearm sales, including gun shows, classified ads, and over the internet http://bit.ly/2HRsEPc Although the bill has bipartisan support, and over 160 cosponsors, it has been sitting in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) filed a discharge petition this week to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote. Let's call our reps and make sure that they have signed on to the discharge petition, and that they support H.R. 4240 - Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2017.
3. The Hill reported yesterday that Democrats are fearful of taking too many steps on gun control, because they worry it might lose them elections. http://thehill.com/homenews/house/375719-dems-fear-overreach-as-left-presses-assault-weapon-ban But Democrats should be echoing the message of Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), who was on the money, when he recently claimed, “I’d much rather lose an election than a child.” http://www.gazettenet.com/McGovern-speaks-on-tourism-at-Franklin-County-Chamber-of-Commerce-15785846. Let’s tell our Democratic MoCs that it’s time for them to show leadership and take a courageous and moral stand on banning assault rifles, a position currently supported by 67% of the American public. https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2521
4. Thomas Farr has a record of not only defending racist voter suppression laws, but actually participating in efforts to suppress black voters (http://www.businessinsider.com/thomas-farr-modern-white-supremacist-black-civil-rights-leaders-say-2017-12). Donald Trump wants to give him a lifetime appointment as a federal judge, where he’ll have tremendous power to continue putting up barriers to the voting booth. Members of the North Carolina NAACP are traveling to D.C. today to oppose his confirmation. Let's have their backs and ask our senators to commit to voting against him. We can find talking points in this script from 5 Calls.
5. Though it usually takes a mass shooting to focus national attention on gun violence, we should remember that 90 Americans are killed by guns every day – many of them children (http://abcnews.go.com/US/parkland-mass-shootings-children-wounded-killed-guns-daily/story?id=53197811). Donald Trump thinks the problem will be solved by arming teachers. We need to remind him that the scope of this crisis is much larger than that. States United to Prevent Gun Violence has launched the #BackfireTrump project, where we can sign up to auto-tweet at Trump weekly, daily or every time an American dies from gun violence to remind him and our Twitter followers of the toll that guns take on us. Those of us with Twitter can sign up to take part in it here: http://backfiretrump.com/.
6. Since Speaker Ryan has repeatedly failed to demonstrate the courage to stand up against the gun lobby, advocates are trying to go around him. As of Monday evening, 87 House Democrats had signed a discharge petition to force a vote on H.R. 4240, a bipartisan bill that would create universal background checks for gun sales and make sure everyone who should be prohibited from buying firearms is listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2018/02/27/fix-nics-senate-debate-gun-control-251408). We can find a list of reps who have signed on here. Let’s contact our MoCs and either thank them for their leadership or ask that they sign the petition.
7. “A federal environmental program that distributes grants to test the effects of chemical exposure on adults and children is being shuttered amidst a major organization consolidation at the Environmental Protection Agency.” http://thehill.com/regulation/energy-environment/375725-major-epa-reorganization-will-end-science-research-program Let’s remind our MoC that a Republican president established the EPA and that we all have a vested interest in the effect of human activities on our health. Then, let’s voice our displeasure to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt: https://www.epa.gov/home/forms/contact-epa or on Twitter at @EPAScottPruitt
8. We need one more net neutrality supporter for the Congressional Review Act to move forward in the Senate. While all Democratic senators are in favor of the CRA, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) remains the only Republican to support it. If we have a republican senator, let's be sure to give them a call and tell them we need them to reverse the FCC's decision on net neutrality by supporting the CRA. If we've already contacted our members of Congress, let's check out Indivisible's explainer on the process of the a Congressional Review Act so we can be prepared for our next action: https://www.indivisible.org/resource/process-using-congressional-review-act-protect-net-neutrality-explained/
9. Yesterday, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments in Janus vs. AFSCME, a case that affects the long-term viability of public-sector unions: https://www.npr.org/2018/02/01/582539884/supreme-court-could-bleed-unions-dry After long years of attacking unions in the private sector, big business and conservatives are now setting their sights on unions of government workers using so-called right-to-work laws, which lower wages and endanger workers in multiple ways: https://www.facebook.com/RBReich/videos/1874540772558510/ As the Court deliberates this landmark case, let's be sure our representatives in Congress know that Progressives stand with unions, because they stand with us.
10. The humanitarian crisis in Syria is devastating, and hardly anyone is paying attention. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-syria-ghouta-humanitarian-crisis-iran-0226-20180222-story.html The Syrian American Medical Society reports that in East Ghouta, more than 400,000 people (including 95,000 children) are under a siege that is restricting the inflow of food and medical supplies, and 13,000 children are in urgent need of medical care. https://www.sams-usa.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/East-Ghouta-Talking-Points-3.pdf. Let’s tell our MoCs to call for an end to the siege and an immediate humanitarian convoy to bring essential food and medical relief to the people of Syria.
11. The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that detained immigrants do not have a right to bail hearings, overruling the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which had ruled that bond hearings are required after six months to determine whether detainees who do not pose flight risks or a danger to public safety may be released while their cases proceed. Writing in an angry dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer said that the Court’s decision was most likely “the first time ever” that it had interpreted a federal law to allow the long-term confinement of people held in the United States and accused of misconduct without an opportunity to obtain bail. “An ‘opportunity,’” he added, “does not necessarily mean release. . . “ https://www.npr.org/2018/02/27/589279446/supreme-court-rules-immigrants-held-in-detention-are-not-entitled-to-bail-hearin Twenty-nine members of Congress submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of this decision:
http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/15-1204-amicus-pet-29USRepresentatives.pdf If any of our MoCs are among them, let’s tell them that we do not want people detained without recourse.
12. A memo from Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education has come to light; it argues that the nation's loan servicers should be protected from state rules that may be far tougher than federal law on student loan debt collectors who have been accused of deceiving and abusing student borrowers and have been sued by attorneys general in a handful of states: https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/02/27/588943959/education-department-wants-to-protect-student-loan-debt-collectors We should contact the Dept of Education now, before a rule blocking the states from taking action against these abusive debt collector is put in place: 1-800-872-5327 or U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20202.
Election 2018 – General
1. We’re closing in fast on our first chance to flip a congressional seat in 2018, the March 13th special election in the Pennsylvania 18th. Democratic nominee Conor Lamb, a U.S. marine and federal prosecutor who will fight for workers’ rights and is refusing corporate PAC donations, is just three points behind Rick Saccone, an anti-union, anti-choice, pro-tax scam reactionary (https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/23/17013730/conor-lamb-rick-saccone-pennsylvania-special-election). But this is a tough district and Conor Lamb needs our help to turn out every voter he can. Let’s sign up to phone bank for him at bit.ly/FlipThe18th.
2. Imagine if we each got five people to register to vote. Do we know teens turning 18? New neighbors? New co-workers who relocated? Let’s share this link on social media and on neighborhood listservs, etc. https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote
Election 2018 – By State
1. One of the perks of belonging to the NRA are the numerous financial benefits received from partnering companies: https://medium.com/@nraboycott/companies-need-to-cut-their-ties-with-the-nra-c2e7de041e53 The public pressure on these companies by gun reform people is having an effect with many companies ending their partnerships with the NRA. Let’s keep track here and keep applying pressure: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Oh_NQIOmEZAA7goe4Z_xKQ5wZxp405sx3FAcmVaQl1Y/edit#gid=0
2. The March for Our Lives organizers have set up a site that matches DC-area hosts with high school students and chaperones who need lodging for the March 24 event. The website is dcambs.org/lodging Let’s share widely.
3. From one of our own: As you may have heard, the GA government is threatening Delta airlines (removing tax exemption perks) because of their decision to break ties with the NRA... word on the street is that Delta may buckle TODAY under the pressure. Please support their decision to stop offering NRA discounts: Call Delta at 404-715-2600; dial ‘0’ to get the operator; Tell them you want to be transferred to the NRA comment group of Customer Service. They are creating cases w/ comments. Have your skymiles membership ready if ya have it... but comments welcomed from all!
4. The immigration justice movement won a victory when the Supreme Court refused on Monday to hear the administration’s challenge to a lower court ruling that has upheld DACA. http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/375575-supreme-court-refuses-to-hear-trump-challenge-on-daca. This means that many eligible DACA recipients can file renewals, for now; however, many of them don’t have the necessary funds. United We Dream is collecting donations to help DACA-eligible immigrants pay renewal fees and they are also running clinics to help DACA-eligible immigrants with the renewal process. We can donate here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/renewalfund-courtdecision.
5. Last fall, the NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors issued this statement that included, “In lieu of a visit to the White House, we have decided that we’ll constructively use our trip to the nation’s capital in February to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion — the values that we embrace as an organization.” Yesterday, while in DC, the team visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture with area school children. http://wjla.com/sports/content/golden-state-warriors-spending-time-with-dc-students-instead-of-visiting-white-house Let’s thank them for using their time so well: The Golden State Warriors, 1011 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607 or (510) 986-2200
6. Applying for college, but worried about whether colleges will penalize students who have been disciplined by their high schools for protesting against gun violence? Many universities and colleges are assuring us that there will be no negative impact on applicants. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/02/23/admissions-officers-take-stand-back-high-school-students-engaged-anti-gun-protests Here’s where we can get authoritative information: The National Association for College Admission Counseling “has collected information from member colleges and universities that outlines their practices around how disciplinary actions related to activism will be factored into the admission process.” They are updating the information regularly.
7. If we are looking for more ways to combat the NRA, we can see if we own any stocks or funds that support them and then divest. Even in the last few days, this idea is rapidly gaining momentum. Several financial institutions are starting to reject their NRA alliances as, as more of us divest, more will follow. Already First National Bank of Omaha, the biggest privately-owned U.S. bank, is ending its partnership with the NRA. Bank of America has announced it is investigating its holdings, pension funds are looking into divesting and gun stocks are trending down on a Wall Street. Now is an excellent time to deprive the NRA of its lifeblood: Money. If we want to divest as individuals, we can read this: https://twocents.lifehacker.com/how-to-divest-from-gun-stocks-1823069001 If we want to divest from our retirement funds we can read about it here: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/your-401k-probably-has-gun-stocks-in-it-heres-how-to-get-rid-of-them-2018-02-23 We can also call our fund administrators directly and tell them to divest. Although the data here was last updated in 2016, we can also do a preliminary check here, then call the funds to verify: https://goodbyegunstocks.com/
Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize
1. Tonight at 5pm EST, join We Belong Together Chair Jess Morales Rocketto and National Domestic Workers Alliance Director Ai-jen Poo for a Facebook LIVE conversation about what's happening in Congress and what’s next in the fight to protect Dreamers and their families from deportation. More information and sign-up here: https://actionnetwork.org/events/whats-next-in-the-fight-to-protect-dreamers-and-their-families-que-sigue-en-la-lucha-para-proteger-a-ls-dreamers
1. ALL: As one of the many educators fiercely opposed to arming teachers, this one an ex-Marine, put it, “I will help students to survive an armed intruder if I have to. But I will not arm myself with a gun in my own classroom just because those in power refuse to wield the more powerful weapon of common sense. That is where I draw the line.”
http://time.com/5172852/trump-guns-teachers-nra/ While teachers (and Americans: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/02/23/in-2017-americans-narrowly-opposed-allowing-teachers-and-school-officials-to-carry-guns/) express their opposition, the real stakes in Trump’s plan to militarize schools are increasingly highlighted: “Groups at the bottom of American race hierarchy receive the brunt of state violence. . . . This was true for mass incarceration ... for stop and frisk … for the war on drugs, and it is true for zero tolerance in schools. To think that it won’t be true of a world where teachers and faculty are empowered to use weapons is pure fantasy”:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/02/27/arming-teachers-would-put-black-and-latino-kids-in-danger/ For the sake of all children, we must fight the effort to put guns in schools both at the local and the federal levels. Let’s voice our opposition to our city and state reps as well as our MoCs.
1. “Why the Russia Investigation Could Be More Like Iran-Contra Than Watergate” - https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/why-the-russia-investigation-could-end-more-like-iran-contra-than-watergate/554345/
2. Unpredicted and underreported, a change is sweeping our nation. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman show how our activism creates a chain reaction of social change: When people see the status quo as immovable, they tend to be passive even if they are themselves dissatisfied. Indeed, they may be unwilling to reveal their discontent, or to fully admit it to themselves. But once they see others visibly taking a stand, they both gain more confidence in their dissent and become more willing to act on it — and by their actions they may induce the same response in others, causing a kind of chain reaction. - https://goo.gl/gL7NfS
3. Max Boot has a fine column in the Washington Post titled “Trump vs. Mueller is a Battle for America’s Soul”: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-vs-mueller-is-a-battle-for-americas-soul/2018/02/26/0979904c-1b19-11e8-9de1-147dd2df3829_story.html?utm_term=.4296ef0ceddc