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12/19/18 

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1.    Savanna’s Act (S.1942), a bipartisan bill that would make it easier to track murders and abuse of Native American women, 84% of whom experience violence in their lifetime, is being blocked by House Judiciary Chair, Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), after passing by a voice vote in the Senate. https://www.westfargopioneer.com/news/government-and-politics/4543588-heitkamp-house-member-playing-petty-politics-blocks-savannas. Rep. Goodlatte, has not given a reason for blocking this relatively non-controversial measure that aims to substantially increase protections for Native Americans, and if the bill does not pass the House by the end of the year, it will have to be introduced all over again in the next Congress. Let’s contact Rep. Goodlatte (202-225-5431) and also tell our own MoCs to put pressure on him to stop blocking this bill.

2.   A group of bipartisan Senators is trying to inject language in a must-pass spending bill that would make it a crime for U.S. companies to participate in anti-Israel boycotts. https://thehill.com/homenews/house/421945-israel-boycott-fight-roils-democrats-in-year-end-spending-debate   Regardless of our positions on the Middle East, the right to engage in boycotts should not be a decision that is dictated by the government, and any law that attempts to challenge this is a dangerous threat to our human rights. Meanwhile, Bahia Amawai, a speech pathologist in the Texas public school system has just lost her job because she refused to sign an oath pledging not to boycott Israeli products. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/texas-speech-pathologist-fired-sign-israel-palestine-pledge-anti-bds-intercept-a8688031.html. Let’s tell our MoCs that we are against this ploy to sneak a controversial issue into a must-pass bill, and we want them to insist this language be taken out of any impending spending bills. Let’s also contact the Pflugerville Independent School District (512-594-0000) and ask that Ms. Amawai be immediately reinstated.

3.   Although no African American student has been implicated in any high-profile school shooting, Trump’s “school safety” commission formed after the Parkland, FL high school massacre--headed by Ed Secretary Betsy DeVos and including Acting AG Matthew Whitaker, HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Neilsen--will formally recommend that the Trump administration rescind "groundbreaking" Obama-era policies that aimed to prevent disciplinary discrimination against students of color on the grounds that these make students less safe; no gun control provisions are recommended: 
https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/12/trumps-school-safety-commissions-strange-focus-on-discipline/578455/   Let’s tell these officials that we are not fooled: if “school safety” is really their object, they should disarm shooters, not permit the wildly disproportionate disciplining of students of color: DeVos 800-872-5327; Whitaker 202-353-1555; Azar 877-696-6775; Nielsen 202-282-8495.
  
4.   The Brennan Center for Justice has identified more than 100 emergency powers that “the president can invoke with the stroke of a pen.”  
https://www.brennancenter.org/press-release/president-has-extraordinary-authority-under-emergency-declarations-have-gone-unchecked Some of these powers “allow the president to shut down or take over radio stations and even suspend a law that prohibits government testing of chemical and biological weapons on unwitting human subjects.” Let’s join the Brennan Center in calling on our Members of Congress to review these powers and pass legislation to eliminate those that are not needed and to pass reforms to prevent their abuse.

5.  This month, the UN adopted the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). Although nonbinding, they include important commitments to uphold the human rights of refugees and migrants, support best practices, and work to end harmful ones. https://www.refugeesinternational.org/reports/2018/11/19/ensuring-that-the-global-compacts-on-refugees-and-migration-deliver  As a first step, governments must demonstrate political will by stepping up with funding to begin implementing the compacts’ commitments, and that requires action in Congress, so let's tell our MoCs to get busy writing and sponsoring funding legislation to support the GCR and GCM. 

6.   As the Mueller investigation continues to heat up and the Congressional session winds down, let’s take a moment to send holiday wishes to a MoC who has been serving admirably or an activist or journalist who helps keep us going.

Election/Voting

Other Actions

1.    As migrants like Jakelin Caal Maquin and her father make their way north through Mexico, they face constant danger from dehydration and exhaustion. Organizations like the Border Angels do their best to aid those arriving at the border through monthly water drops along common migrant routes and with free counseling and support for those who have recently crossed into the United States. If you have the resources to go to the border, or know someone who can, the coming months are the time to do it; the organization is looking for volunteers to help with water drops and lead tours of Friendship Park, where residents of the United States and Mexico can meet in person. We can read more about Jakelin's story here: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/17/guatemalan-girl-jakelin-caal-maquin-death-crossing-us-border

2.   "Without a functional democracy in which everyone is included and represented, we can’t achieve any of our other priorities. All the issues we care about deeply: health care, immigration, ending wars, racial justice, climate change — fixing these things requires a democracy that is responsive to the people, not the powerful and wealthy." That's why House Democrats chose to make democracy reform the goal of their very first legislative act, H.R.1, and why Indivisible is working so hard to help us understand and demand that our MoCs support it.  Let’s read and understand:   

3.   From one of our own: Her death was not only preventable - it was predictable. 
http://time.com/5480503/jackeline-caal-death-dhs/   I have done enough work as a physician advocate with immigrants in detention - including children and dependent adults - to see this for what it is - a profound and ongoing humanitarian crisis. One that Flores Class Counsel has been litigating since the 1990s. This is NOT hyperbole. Our appeals will continue to fall on deaf ears unless we escalate. Instead of a women’s march, would physicians, faith leaders, and other friends be willing to engage in a coordinated sit-in at in district congressional offices around the country in January? The ask could be a triage nurse and state licensed physician on call (by telemedicine) or on site at every CBP/ICE facility (whether government run or subcontracted) where any immigrant is incarcerated for over 24 hours. If we feel we can be helpful, let’s contact Dona Kim Murphey on Facebook:  
https://www.facebook.com/dunkindona  or Twitter: @dunkindona

4.   While Cyntoia Brown is in the news right now as the governor of Tennessee considers clemency for her case, there are so many others in similar positions around the country who have been punished for trying to save themselves from an abuser.  Survived & Punished is a national project to end the criminalization of survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  Here’s a case in Wisconsin:  http://www.kenoshanews.com/news/local/defense-seeks-evidence-victim-in-homicide-was-under-investigation-for/article_39689544-b283-5b99-9025-5cfd75245c95.html There are so many in New York that Survived & Punished has a petition asking “Governor Cuomo to immediately use his clemency powers to free all criminalized survivors of gender violence who are currently held in New York state prisons”.  Let’s sign it:   https://campaigns.organizefor.org/petitions/demand-gov-cuomo-free-criminalized-survivors-of-gender-violence  Let’s be on the look out for these types of situations and see how we can help.

5.   From one of our own:  Although the Twitterstorm is over, we can still tweet from this Save Yemen tweetsheet:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/196H-IKh1r2gp80vpMfiewasjm3ZvDRHHa6x7EQptKZw/edit?fbclid=IwAR1vbsKPKXAuqjtngDRuZaK6rDYmMsj4Z7AZCOFOH1b_wM_hLGoqDeWgoZg#gid=0

6.   Trump's new campaign ad asks that people to call and thank him for helping to make America great again (and then asks for a donation).  
https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-2020-ad-claims-he-achieved-more-any-president-history-urges-1262708  Instead of watching the ad, let's just call the number (800-684-3043) and tell him what's on our minds.  

7.   On Monday, two reports to the Senate’s intelligence committee were revealed; they show that Russian online propagandists aggressively targeted African Americans during the 2016 election campaign, using social media to “confuse, distract, and ultimately discourage” black people and other pro-Clinton blocs from voting.  The reports claim that the Russian social media campaign, conducted on Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others, was meant to inflame anger about skewed rates of poverty, incarceration and the use of force by police among black Americans in order to “divert their political energy away from established political institutions”; both fault social media executives who “misrepresented or evaded” and “dissembled” in their Congressional testimony and failed to turn over data: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/17/russian-propagandists-targeted-african-americans-2016-election  We, the users, must pressure the social media giants to take responsibility for their sites: Google, 1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View, CA 94043 or 650-253-0000 or FAX 650-253-0001;   Facebook Board of Directors, Corporate Secretary, 1601 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 or 650-308-7300;  Twitter, Inc., Corporate Secretary, 1355 Market St., Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94103 or 415-222-9670

8.   A growing number of “advertisers have now dropped “Tucker Carlson Tonight” after the Fox News host said in a show last Thursday that immigrants to the United States made the country “poorer” and “dirtier.””  https://www.thewrap.com/tucker-carlson-dropped-advertisers-sponsors-immigrant-flap/  Let’s support those companies that no longer advertise there:  Pacific Life, Indeed, Bowflex, SmileDirectClub, NerdWallet, Minted, Ancestry.com and Jaguar.   Then, let’s start asking other advertisers on the show to stop:  https://www.foxnewsadvertisers.com/2018/10/22/top-tucker-carlson-advertisers-3q2018-quarterly-summary/

9.   From one of our own:  Michigan Support Circle is trying to raise rent for a very young family reunited in Michigan.  Let’s learn more about this family and see if we can help:  https://www.gofundme.com/fredy-and-family

10.  Indivisible.org has accomplished a lot in the past year and is looking to continue the good work of helping regular folks hone their activist skills. They’d like to expand the number of organizers they have on staff so that the number of local chapters can continue to grow. If we can, we can help them increase their staff by donating here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/2019-orgteam

11. The Dutch-based organization "De Correspondent" provides an ad-free antidote to breaking news for more than 60,000 members, making it one of the largest and fastest growing member-funded journalism platforms in Europe. Now, the American version, "The Correspondent", will launch in mid-2019.   Media critic Jay Rosen discusses "The Correspondent", his work to bring it to English-speaking audiences and the benefits of member-funded journalism with Comedy Central's Daily Show host Trevor Noah here. We can contribute to its success by choosing what we pay for a one-year membership to their ad-free site at The Correspondent. Let's support quality in-depth reporting.

State Actions

1.    NY: Governor Cuomo’s 2019 legislative agenda calls for improvements to representative democracy, including allowing voting by mail, enacting early voting, instituting same day and automatic voter registration, synchronizing federal and state elections, and making Election Day a state holiday. In addition, Cuomo is proposing campaign finance reforms, including closing the LLC loophole, banning corporate campaign contributions, overhauling the campaign finance system, and ending outside income for lawmakers. https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-unveils-agenda-first-100-days-2019-justice-agenda If we’re in New York, let’s tell Gov Cuomo (https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form)  and our state legislators (https://openstates.org/) that we want these reforms enacted into law.

2.  VA:  VA ratify ERA is working to collect petition signatures to show that there is support by Virginians for the ratification of the ERA.  Here’s how we can help:  https://varatifyera.org/toolkit/collect-petition-signatures/

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.    Lifting Hands International, a small grassroots refugee aid 501c3, operates a refugee center in northern Greece, next to a municipal camp of Yazidi refugees (all survivors of genocide). Recently the population almost tripled and now the camp is way over capacity and experiencing shortages. We can help Lifting Hands clothe, shelter and succor these refugees when we join this Twitterstorm TODAY, Wednesday, December 19, at 8pm Eastern Time to spread the word. Action Together Network’s Twitter Warriors  have put this together and made it easy for us to join in. When we click on this link, we will find prewritten tweets that we can send out with just a few clicks. Every tweet counts, so let’s get busy! 

2.   Whether we align ourselves with the Women’s March, or March On, or Women’s March Alliance, or WoMen for All, or with no group at all, we have an opportunity to make history and march once again on January 19, 2019.  Check with your favorite organization or local folks to help or to find out what is happening.

Reading/Watching

1.    Quoting 'The Lorax,' Court Pulls Permit For Pipeline Crossing Appalachian Trail - https://www.npr.org/2018/12/14/676950106/quoting-the-lorax-court-pulls-permit-for-pipeline-crossing-appalachian-trail

2.   A Complete Guide to All 17 (Known) Trump and Russia Investigations -  https://www.wired.com/story/mueller-investigation-trump-russia-complete-guide/

3.   Our Government Is Deliberately Inflicting Suffering on Asylum Seekers -
https://sojo.net/articles/our-government-deliberately-inflicting-suffering-asylum-seekers

4.   What We Now Know About Russian Disinformation - https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/17/opinion/russia-report-disinformation.html






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