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2/27/19 


Contact Federal Government Officials


1.    Today, the House is expected to vote on H.R.8: Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (https://bit.ly/2XiJfmu). The bill would require background checks for every firearm sale, including private sales and sales made at gun shows. There is plenty of support in the House for this to pass, including 5 Republican cosponsors, but we have work to do to ensure that the Senate version, S.42, also passes. We can read through the argument for bipartisan, common sense gun regulation, put forth by two conservative lawmakers here, then let's contact our MoC and ask them to cosponsor and support the Bipartisan Background Checks Act. Indivisible has more information and a call script we can use: https://indivisible.org/resource/hr-8-preventing-gun-violence   If we wish, we can send our message by using this online form from Everytown for Gun Safety:  https://act.everytown.org/letter/ask-congress-strengthen-background-checks

2.   “The House passed legislation Tuesday to block President Trump’s emergency declaration at the southern border, marking an unprecedented congressional challenge to a president’s authority to invoke emergency powers.”  https://thehill.com/homenews/house/431722-house-votes-to-overturn-trump-emergency-declaration  The resolution now heads to the Senate where it must be voted on within 18 days. While the resolution is also expected to pass the Senate, it will likely not pass by a veto-proof majority. https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/431526-border-rebuke-looms-for-trump  Let’s put pressure on our Republican senators to stand up for separation of powers and the Constitution, and not to kowtow to this reckless, self-serving dangerous precedent. We can remind them that the majority of Americans do not believe this is an emergency, and even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unsure of its legality.  Let’s stay in touch with our Senators to let them know that we expect them to also reject Trump’s abuse of power.

3.   Possibly as early as next week, the House could vote on H.R. 1, the promised “sweeping voting rights, campaign finance and ethics reform package.”  https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/26/democrats-electoral-reform-bill-1188437  Let’s let our representatives know that we want them to co-sponsor and support this bill that will help so many of our citizens. 

4.   We can submit a comment to the Bureau of Land Management opposing oil drilling and exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, especially in view of the BLM’s recent Environmental Impact Statement which many find inadequate and incomplete in its assessment of how drilling will impact wildlife and climate change:  https://www.audubon.org/news/report-arctic-drillings-environmental-impacts-deeply-flawed-critics-say  The deadline for comments has been extended until March 13:  https://act.350.org/letter/no-drilling-in-ANWR/

5.   While the Trump administration refuses to acknowledge, much less ameliorate, the dire humanitarian crisis at the US/Mexico border, it is apparently perfectly willing to increase the $139 million in humanitarian aid it has placed at the disposal of Venezuela’s self-appointed leader Juan Guiado.  One, of course, would ensure that poor Central American asylum-seekers do not suffer inhumane treatment, while fearing the loss of their children, in American for-profit detention centers; the other is designed to inflame a Venezuelan political conflict, oust a president who offends Trump, and, no doubt, ensure access to Venezuela’s oil wealth:   https://www.npr.org/2019/02/25/697638242/pence-on-venezuela-we-will-keep-standing-until-your-libertad-is-restored   We must tell our MoCs to stop US incursions—even in the guise of aid—into Venezuela’s internal politics.   Amnesty International is seeking emergency donations particularly to assist children and families seeking asylum in the US: https://donate.amnestyusa.org/page/26137/donate/1

6.   Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) has just introduced a revised Medicare for all bill, and already the health care industry and centrist Democrats are speaking against it. https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/26/house-democrats-medicare-for-all-1189139  Let’s tell our MoCs that it’s time to join the rest of the world in providing a nationalized health care system that’s accessible and affordable, and this is surely a better way of spending our money than on corporate tax cuts or military intervention.

7.   At a time when climate change information and concern is becoming deafening, one has to wonder at the ignorance that would cause Trump, instead of working towards our part of the solution, would create a White House panel to debunk the nation’s scientists’ own report.   https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/02/trump-presidential-climate-security-committee/  Sen. Schumer (D-NY) said he will introduce legislation to stop funding for any such panel.  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-26/schumer-vows-to-defund-fake-white-house-panel-on-climate  Let’s let our senators know that we agree with Schumer and want them to stop this charade.

8.  “The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is running out of money and families are seeing up to a 70% cut in their payments.” The comedian Jon Stewart continues his advocacy for 9/11 responders and survivors who are in all 50 states and in 434 out of 435 congressional districts.  He is urging us to ask our MoCs to support the bipartisan bill "Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund" to authorize full, permanent funding for the victims and families of the 9/11 attacks.  https://thehill.com/homenews/house/431494-jon-stewart-9-11-responders-call-on-congress-to-fund-victim-compensation  We can also sign this petition:  https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/congress-needs-to-pass

Election/Voting

1.   Upcoming elections:  https://ballotpedia.org/Elections_calendar

2.   There’s a special election on April 2, 2019, in Wisconsin for a seat on the state’s Supreme Court. Let’s help Lisa Neubauer, who is currently Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, defeat Brian Hagedorn, former chief legal counsel to Wisconsin’s infamous Republican Governor Scott Walker, and start shifting the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a more progressive direction.  https://ballotpedia.org/Wisconsin_Supreme_Court_elections,_2019 Let’s sign up with Vote Forward, https://votefwd.org/ , and send letters to Democratic-leaning Wisconsin voters to urge them to vote. Even sending just five letters can make a difference!

Other Actions

1.    The humanitarian group Grannies respond
       https://www.granniesrespond.org/  has a project—writing letters to immigration detainees to lift their spirits and tell them that the outside world has not forgotten them. Instructions on what to write and where to send the letters are here:  https://padlet.com/granniesrespond/letters Let’s send our love to dispirited people.

2.   For Black History Month, a Loudoun County, Virginia elementary school played a runaway slave 'game' in gym class. Principal David Stewart sent a letter to the community on Feb. 12 recognizing and apologizing for the cultural insensitivity of the exercise. Let's read more at Loudoun Times-Mirror. We can contact Principal Stewart and the Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) Superintendent Dr. Eric Williams to press for the changes to the curriculum that they claim to be making. Let's show LCPS that the nation is watching.

State Actions

1.    AR: Recently-filed state bill SB349 focuses on reading in schools by putting National School Lunch (NSL) funding on the line. Let's read more at myarklamiss.com. Let's contact our Arkansas State Senators to let them know we oppose this bill. We want to get reading scores up; cutting lunches is not the way to do it.

2.   CA:  Clean Money Rapid Responders were crucial in fighting the influence of undisclosed Money donors in our state elections. They played a key role in the passage of the historic California DISCLOSE Act (AB 249) in 2017 and major victories in 2018 like the Social Media DISCLOSE Act (AB 2188), the bill to restore Net Neutrality (SB 822).  Now we can join the Clean Money Rapid Responders to continue fighting the dominance of Big Money by sharing Clean Money posts and actions on social media to continue the momentum by helping pass SB 47, the Petition DISCLOSE Act as well as the Issue Ads DISCLOSE Act and Publicly Owned Open-Source Paper Ballot Voting Systems.  When we sign up, we’ll receive occasional email alerts about important posts to share (if we’re on Facebook), tweet (if we’re on Twitter), recommend (if we’re on Daily Kos).  We can be the first to hear and share breaking Clean Money news!  If we have an email list, then we can sign up for the Email Forwarder Team, and at key times we'll receive a draft email to forward to our list for key timely actions. We can pick one or more of our Rapid Response teams here: https://www.yesfairelections.org/signup/rapid-response.php to get started.  It makes a HUGE difference!

3.   CO: On Thursday the 28th, the Colorado Senate will vote on The Youth Wellness Act, a bill in support of comprehensive sex education in Colorado public schools. "That means giving young people the entire spectrum of developmentally appropriate, medically accurate information," a position that has wide bipartisan support. Let's make sure the extremists who object to the inclusion of LGBTQ+ language in the bill don't get to force their views on everyone. We can contact our State senators and encourage them to support this bill, here:  https://onecolorado.salsalabs.org/hb191132sexedactionalert/index.html

4.   NJ: Sick of business as usual in our state with monied power brokers like George Norcross having far too much influence? Want to learn how we can work to change this corruption? South Jersey Women for Progress and other concerned organizations are hosting, “a stellar lineup of organizers, politicians and policy experts to discuss how NJ's notorious political system works and how it can be repaired. We will look at how what can be done to ensure a progressive, more transparent, more democratic path forward for NJ.” We can find out more and sign up to attend at the link below, or we can watch the live stream on the BlueJerseyNJ FB page. https://m.facebook.com/BlueJerseyNJ/  The event, on March 02, 2019 at 3:30 pm, will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cherry Hill. 401 Kings Hwy N, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034. For more information we can contact event organizers South Jersey Women for Progress here: 
organize@sjwpc.org  We can sign up and find out more about the event here:

5.   NY: In his budget proposal, Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a $500 threshold for triggering lobbying requirements. Grassroots organizations and individuals that engage in even a bit of issue-based advocacy would have to register as lobbyists. Let's read more at The Intercept. If we are New Yorkers, let's contact Gov. Cuomo to tell him that we oppose this requirement in his budget proposal.

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.    If we are elected women or self-identifying women activists, we can check out the free Power Through Education webinar series, presented by Rep19 and Vote Run Lead. Organizers inform us that presenters will include, “our country’s top thought leaders, elected officials and political experts.” We can for as many webinars as you would like. but some webinars are limited exclusively to elected women. All webinars will be at noon EST / 9am PST, starting on March 6. Information will be sent out prior to the event. We can find out more and register here. https://rep19.com/events

2.   On March 15 there will be Youth Climate Strikes all over the world.  Let’s keep an eye on this site for updates of where and when we can attend and help: https://www.youthclimatestrikeus.org/ 

Reading/Watching


2.   Meet the Man Curbing Trump's Power Without Anyone Noticing (about Karl Racine, Wash. DC attorney general) - https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/02/23/karl-racine-profile-attorney-general-emoluments-lawsuit-trump-2020-225200

3.   The Nation's Former Top Banker Thinks Donald Trump Doesn't Understand Basic Economics - http://time.com/5537309/janet-yellen-donald-trump-interview/





2/25/19 

Contact Federal Government Officials



1.   The House will consider eleven (11) bills this week starting Monday. Let's review the agenda at The Weekly Leader.  On Monday, the Senate is scheduled for a reading of Washington's Farewell Address, an annual Senate tradition. Thereafter, the Senate will consider a motion to proceed to S311, the "Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection' bill. (Source: Senate Floor Schedule) We can read more about this bill as well as arguments for and against at Countable.us 

2.   Last Friday, the Trump administration drastically changed the wording of Title X as it concerns birth control, family planning, and other reproductive health services.  Federal dollars will not be allowed to be spent for any program performing abortions or referring women to have abortions.  This back-handed attack of Planned Parenthood, whose “clinics serve 41 percent of Title X recipients nationwide and warned that dramatic changes to the program could jeopardize access to care for the 4 million low-income people served by the program.”   https://rewire.news/article/2019/02/22/trump-administration-releases-final-text-of-domestic-gag-rule-restriction-on-title-x/ and https://www.npr.org/2019/02/22/690544297/trump-administration-proposes-sweeping-changes-to-federal-family-planning-progra  Let’s sign this letter to stand with Planned Parenthood:  https://www.istandwithpp.org/no-gag-rule and then ask our MoCs what they plan to do help these citizens who will no longer have access to proper care. 

3.   Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 26th, the House is set to vote on a resolution to terminate Trump's national emergency declaration (H.J.Res.46)  https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/22/house-to-vote-tuesday-to-block-trumps-emergency-declaration-1179991 The resolution is expected to easily pass the House, but come up against a greater challenge in the Senate where it must be voted on within 18 days. Let's contact all three of our MoC and tell them that we want them to support the joint resolution. 

4.   Now that William Barr is U.S. Attorney General the public release of the Mueller report is in jeopardy.  “U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, introduced a bill last month that would provide transparency by requiring that the attorney general provide a written statement explaining whether any information was classified “or is otherwise not made available to the public” and explain the reasons.”  https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/full-disclosure-of-mueller-report-is-a-must/  Let’s make sure our MoCs know that we want them to co-sponsor and vote FOR the  Special Counsel Transparency Act (S.236)

5.   The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) holds meeting three times a year to review scientific data and vote on vaccine recommendations.  There is an upcoming meeting on February 27-28.  https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/meetings/index.html  It seems that many anti-vaccine commenters are making their thoughts known.  We can share our thoughts here:  https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=CDC-2019-0002-0001

6.   From one of our own:  Comments and actions week ending March 2, 2019 includes Title X Planned Parenthood Gag Rule Two regs on Coal-fired plants, Vaccinations:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1kSyXr4G0MQkP-ZYqS4X8A940IoddfmPs/view

7.   With his usual attention to personal loyalty alone not political neutrality or competence, Trump has nominated Kelly Knight Craft to replace Nikki Haley as UN envoy, likely downgrading this position from the Cabinet-level post it was during Haley’s tenure.  Craft and her billionaire coal magnate husband were big donors to Trump’s campaign and served as finance vice-chairs to his inaugural committee; she was recommended for the UN to Trump by Mitch McConnell.  Shortly after Craft assumed her current post as ambassador to Canada in 2017, she explained that she believed “both sides of the science” when it came to climate change:  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47341026 and
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/22/president-trump-picks-kelly-knight-craft-united-nations-ambassador/2955981002/.  We might tell our senators that we’d prefer to be represented to the world by someone who speaks for all of us, not simply Trump and McConnell—and, more importantly, by someone who believes in evidence!

8.  We’ve all heard about the deplorable conditions that those seeking asylum at the border must endure.  Those turning 18 while in detention “celebrate” their birthday by being transferred, in shackles, from a children’s facility to an adult facility.  "You feel like a criminal, handcuffed that way. No one tells you that on your birthday, not only will you not get to celebrate. On the contrary, two strangers are going to take you in handcuffs in a van to a detention cell that is freezing. The truth is I'm not a criminal — I have never been one, and I never will be one!" https://www.npr.org/2019/02/22/696834560/migrant-youth-go-from-a-childrens-shelter-to-adult-detention-on-their-18th-birth  Let’s ask our MoCs what they are doing to end this maltreatment of children and adults.

9.   The recent election fraud for a Congressional seat in North Carolina, where a GOP campaign worker admitted to filling in Republican votes on absentee ballots, has resulted in the Board of Elections voting 5-0 to void the results and hold a new election. We can check out how to help Democratic candidate Dan MacCready here. And not surprisingly, Republicans have been very quiet about the issue. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/22/us/republican-voter-fraud.html. Let’s ask our MoCs to get their positions on ethical voting practices on record and urge them to support HR1.

10. With Pence en route to Bogota, violent conflict over US humanitarian aid (or a Trojan horse in the view of some: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-47328505 ) at the Columbian border, and the memory of past violent and/or covert US interference in Latin America fresh; with Juan Guaido urging that “all measures” to oust Maduro be considered, Trump refusing to rule out an armed response, and Pompeo calling Maduro’s days “numbered, it is time for us to demand that our government cease its interference in the affairs of another sovereign nation; at most, the US should offer help, if it is wanted, in organizing new elections so that Venezuelans can decide their own future: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-47348293  Let’s tell the White House and our MoCs that we want American meddling in Venezuela to cease—and oppose any escalation of our role there.  Let’s also ask our representative to support  H.R. 1004 that would block the use of military force in Venezuela without the approval of Congress.

11.  Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta committed a grave breach of justice when he negotiated a plea deal with child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein without even notifying the victims.  https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article226577419.html Epstein’s crimes were serious enough for a life sentence, but instead he served 13 months in the private wing of a county jail where he could leave for 12 hours day/six days per week.  Secretary Acosta has not resigned, and Trump said that Acosta is doing a great job and that the plea deal seems like a “long time ago”:  https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/22/alexander-acosta-jeffrey-epstein-1179958   Many Democrats are justifiably calling for Acosta's resignation and anyone who cares about the plight of women and children corralled for sex trafficking should be similarly outraged. Let’s let Acosta know that his resignation is overdue:  https://www.dol.gov  and let’s let Trump know that it is not a long time ago from the perspective of the child victims Let’s also ask our MoCs to demand that Acosta be fired.  

12. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff wrote a powerful letter to his Republican colleagues via Op-Ed in the Washington Post: 

13. Three 2020 presidential candidates have noted that they would support reparations to black Americans affected by slavery, with Senator Elizabeth Warren noting that reparations to Native Americans should be "part of the conversation," as well (https://bit.ly/2GZiwpqhttps://nyti.ms/2T63kNL). Today, black families in the U.S. still face economic and social inequalities that have come as a direct result of slavery, and Native Americans face much the same as a result of colonization and genocide. This is perpetuated with systemic racism throughout modern institutions, which maintains inequality, rather than working towards equity. With reparations being brought back into the public conversation, there are a few things we can do to help build momentum. First, let's take the time to read through Ta-Nehisi Coates' long form article The Case for ReparationsThen, let's contact our representatives and ask them to cosponsor and support H.R.40: the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. Finally, we can work on making direct reparations through Seattle-based artist Natasha Martin's Reparations website and Facebook group, which connects people of color who need help or services, with white people who are able to satisfy those services or offer help.

Election/Voting

1.   Upcoming elections:  https://ballotpedia.org/Elections_calendar

Other Actions

1.   The North Carolina Board of Elections voted unanimously to have a do-over for the 9thDistrict Congressional race due to election fraud on the GOP side: 
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-north-carolina/north-carolina-orders-new-u-s-house-election-after-tainted-vote-idUSKCN1QA1QG   Democrat Dan McCready (who came very close to victory in November) is back in the race. Let’s consider a financial contribution if we are able:  https://www.danmccready.com

2.   Brandon Reyes, a DACA recipient who is a well-known and much-loved member of the Grand Rapids, MI community, was picked up by ICE along with his mother and have been taken into custody.  https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/2019/02/one-time-dreamer-detained-by-ice-in-grand-rapids.html  If we are able, let’s donate to their legal fund:  https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8cojHX4Y01?fbclid=IwAR2LyqjgJxc3phlUjVjV95tezIV0MCbC2FfXFT2vQowxR3FSaqLNA60D8pg

3.   College juniors who want a Democrat elected to the White House in 2020 can spend 8 weeks this summer—June 10, 2019, through August 2, 2019—in a paid training program by the Democratic National Committee learning how to be a field organizer for the presidential election. Stipend = $4,000. Applications for priority consideration are due Monday, March 18, 2019. Regular decision deadline is Monday, April 8, 2019. Let’s spread the word and encourage college juniors to apply:  http://organizingcorps2020.com/

4.   “New Jersey high school students made history earlier this year by becoming the first known high school class to draft a bill, lobby it in Congress and eventually have it signed into law. . . The law requires that decades-old government records relating to unsolved civil rights cases be reviewed, declassified and released to the public.”  https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/high-school-students-draft-bill-uncover-decades-civil/story?id=61111540 The bill provided answers to families who wanted to know how their family members died.  These students did an amazing job working through the system. Let’s hope some run for office in the future.  Let’s thank Hightstown High School for their leadership:  25 Leshin Ln, Hightstown, NJ 08520

5.   Foreign state actors are still at it—conducting disinformation campaigns against Democratic candidates. https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/20/2020-candidates-social-media-attack-1176018 Let’s use these tips to help stop the spread of disinformation on social media: https://www.suitupmaine.org/not-stop-spread-false-information-social-media/ and https://www.suitupmaine.org/do-this-not-that-how-to-effectively-resist-trump-on-social-media/

6.   Moms Running is offering a limited number of full scholarships to their Beta-test of the Moms Running: Jumpstart course. They are recruiting a diverse group of moms interested in running for office who would also benefit from access to mom-specific training resources and a network of similarly situated moms. If we plan to run for office within the next two years and would benefit from confidence building, mom support, and campaign fundamentals, then this is for us! Also, if we have moms within our network who fit the bill, we can send in following information no later than February 25, 2019:  Nominee Mom: A) Full Name, B) Email address, C) Phone number, D) Geographic location, and E)   2-3 sentences on why this mom should participate in the  course and why you think they would benefit from a scholarship.  We can send this to info@moms-running.com  They will then contact our mom-nominees via email with a short application form and take it from there! We can nominate as many women as we like, as scholarships are available every cycle of Jumpstart. 

7.   If our postcarding group needs a list to use this week, one of our own has created this:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/18Imf_sZksYnoC7mCniycuJCVp7pnjqBCOApAyED-Pig/edit

State Actions

1.   CA:  If we live in California, we can get free access to The New York Times through our local public library. While The New York Times provides award winning coverage of important events, the subscription price has made it difficult for some of us to access. Now thanks to cooperation between the Times and our State Library System, their paywall is no longer an obstacle. Once we have a library card, we can use our library’s website to access the online version anywhere we want. We can find out more about this program here:  https://www.nytco.com/press/new-york-times-access-now-available-for-free-in-all-california-public-libraries/

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.    Tomorrow, February 26, from 5-7PM (PST) Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) is offering a webinar on “Understanding Antisemitism and its Intersections with White Supremacy & White Nationalism”. This webinar is aimed at strengthening our collective movements for liberation. Our goals are: 1) to enable people to recognize anti-Semitism 2) learn how antisemitism intersects with white supremacy and white nationalism 3) develop a shared commitment to ending anti-Semitism alongside all oppressions.  We can find more info here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/280149326014879 and register here:  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_GfSJz_tbTqyVqXn7RNkAFw

2.   If we are elected women or self-identifying women activists, we can check out the free Power Through Education webinar series, presented by Rep19 and Vote Run Lead. Organizers inform us that presenters will include, “our country’s top thought leaders, elected officials and political experts.” We can for as many webinars as you would like. but some webinars are limited exclusively to elected women. All webinars will be at noon EST / 9am PST, starting on March 6. Information will be sent out prior to the event. We can find out more and register here. https://rep19.com/events

3.   On March 15 there will be Youth Climate Strikes all over the world.  Let’s keep an eye on this site for updates of where and when we can attend and help: https://www.youthclimatestrikeus.org/ 

Reading/Watching


1.   The DNC’s Debate Rules Won’t Make The 2020 Primaries Any Less Chaotic - https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-dncs-debate-rules-wont-make-the-2020-primaries-any-less-chaotic/

2.  Court records reveal a Mueller report right in plain view - https://apnews.com/2b8513d4a4224a559d7048edb396cdfd