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10/15/19

NATIONAL ISSUES




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DEVOLVING SITUATION IN SYRIA: Not surprisingly, the situation in Northern Syria has been worsening as Turkey has taken more violent action there against Kurdish people and as more ISIS prisoners have escaped:  
https://apnews.com/a7033640aad04506b2e8aa139d9edabe  “Syrian troops entering Kurdish-held Rojava represents a massive victory for not only Syrian President Bashar Assad but Putin and the Iranians, who had long demanded that the Americans withdraw from the corridor that links northern Iraq with eastern Syria.” https://businessinsider.com/trump-russia-free-hand-syria-putin-cant-believe-luck-2019-10 and https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/bada105448ba44b8ad298022aaf33ca4 Countless of our Kurdish allies will be slaughtered.  This is a disaster of our own making due to the sheer incompetence, cruelty, and focused personal interests of our president that lie outside our own nation. Let’s let our MoC know that the horse is well out of the barn and that it is time to remove Trump before he does more harm.

SAVE MEDICARE Privatizing Medicare has already begun, starting with Trump’s latest Executive Order.  First, it raises provider reimbursement rates to match private insurers, increasing the cost of Medicare enormously, possible bankrupting it. Consumers will most likely bear the burden of this in soaring Part B premiums. Next Seniors, increasingly funneled into Medicare Advantage programs, face a strong possibility of higher premiums, restricted access to doctors, denial of treatments and more.  https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-10-04/hiltzik-trump-medicare and https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1182649425828728837.html  For more information, we can also read Social Security Works’ condemnation of the Executive order here: https://socialsecurityworks.org/2019/10/03/trumps-executive-order-is-backdoor-privatization-of-medicare/ Let’s demand our MoCs put a stop to this. When we share this with our friends and organizations, we can increase public pressure to end this scheme.

MACABRE VIDEO OF TRUMP’S VIOLENCE: Lest we harbor any doubts about the willingness of Trump's base to encourage violence against the president’s “enemies,” we need only consider the video shown at the American Priority Conference (AMP) of Trump supporters, heavily financed by the private prison company GEO Group and held at Trump's Doral Miami resort; in the video, Trump's face is superimposed on a killer's body as he shoots “parishioners” in the “Church of Fake News” in the face or otherwise assaults them.  Among the targets: former Pres. Obama, Black Lives Matter, Rep. Maxine Waters, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Rep. Adam Schiff, the late Sen. John McCain, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rosie O’Donnell, and anonymous people whose faces are replaced with news organizations' logos: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-graphic-video-depicting-trump-like-figure-assaulting-foes-media-shown-trump-doral-miami-resort-new-york-times/ or https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/13/us/politics/trump-video.html  The organizer of the conference, Eric Phillips, denies any knowledge of the video; Trump has not commented (though his son was in attendance).  We, however, should make our voices heard; since there seems no way to contact AMP or its sponsor America First Events, let’s flood our local newspapers and talk radio shows with expressions of our dismay.  Let’s also let our MoC know that there is no place in a civil society for depiction of our president massacring opponents and the press and that his vile discourse has already inspired enough violence.

ANOTHER ASSAULT ON REFUGEES:  According to an executive order announced by the Trump administration late in September, both state and local governments must consent in writing before refugees can be placed in their jurisdictions;  a state or a city, that is, could ban refugees even when a city (or state) is prepared to welcome them:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-enhancing-state-local-involvement-refugee-resettlement/  Among other things, this order would (as surely it was intended to do) undercut the “sanctuary” movement.  The Secretaries of State and of Health & Human Services are ordered to implement this new order; let’s tell them what we think before the 90 days to implementation are up:  DOS, 202-647-4000 or 2201 C St., NW, Washington DC 20520; HHS, 877-696-6775 or 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201.

IMMIGRATION/BAHAMIANS: It has been a month since Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas, displacing approximately 14,000 people (https://bit.ly/2Mc8qCw). While the islands have seen some aid to help recovery efforts, they are likely to face stronger and more frequent hurricanes as climate change progresses, resulting in more displaced people (https://to.pbs.org/2IOIBYp). Bahamians not only need funds for recovery efforts, but they need long-term solutions to the existential threat of climate change. While the Trump administration has denied Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Bahamians, we can still ask that visa requirements be waived for those who have been affected by Hurricane Dorian. We can also pursue TPS for Bahamians through legislation, by asking our MoC to support the Bahamas Temporary Protected Status Act of 2019 (S. 2478/H.R. 4303). 

STATE DEPARTMENT THEOCRACY: As of Monday evening, the State Department landing page is covered in a story titled “Being a Christian Leader” which is a recounting of a talk that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently gave:   
https://www.state.gov.  https://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2019/10/pompeo-state-dept-homepage-advocates-being-a-christian-leader/  Let’s contact the State Department to say that we are not living in a theocracy and that this is inappropriate as a landing page for our nation’s State Department due to the separation of church and state:  https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform   Let’s also let our MoCs know our disgust about this when contacting them about other issues.

IMMIGRATION/DEFUNDING ICE: From Sleeping Giants: "One of GitHub's core values is "Positive Impact." They use it to recruit employees, promote their brand and sell tickets to their annual conference, Universe. But this week, GitHub CEO Nat Friedman confirmed that they are not actually committed to "Positive Impact." Instead, they've renewed their ICE contracts in order to secure Microsoft's even MORE lucrative multi-million-dollar contracts with ICE. So today, we're asking Nat to consider removing "Positive Impact" from GitHub's core values to reflect what is, in fact, a strong commitment to enabling human rights violations in our country. Can you help us send him an email? Contact: Nat Friedman CEO, GitHub: nat@github.com." We can find an e-mail template here.

SUPPORTING DEMOCRACY IN HONG KONG: We have all watched with growing horror as civil rights and human rights have come under increasingly brutal attack in Hong Kong. Now our Congress has finally given us a way to do something substantive about it. Let's tell our MoCs to support the Hong Kong Human Rights And Democracy Act, which would implement annual recertification of Hong Kong's autonomous nature vis-a-vis China, and require our government to sanction Chinese officials involved in the extradition of Hong Kong citizens to mainland China (a terror tactic meant to quash legal protest). https://govtrackinsider.com/hong-kong-human-rights-and-democracy-act-would-crack-down-on-chinese-officials-suppressing-1c9d992e140a

KEEPING UP: "What’s on tap in politics this week? Two in-depth newsletters will inform you about all the important events! We offer two versions, The Federal Tap and The State and Local Tap, so that you can get a comprehensive review of the news that matters to you. The Federal Tap covers federal courts, Congress, policy news, and, of course, the executive branch. Unlike other resources, The Federal Tap explains why each piece of news matters and provides links to sources and additional information." Let’s sign up here to get these newsletters in our inbox:  https://ballotpedia.org/Ballotpedia:The_Tap

MIS-FORTUNE? (from Chop Wood Carry Water):  I got an email this morning informing me that Fortune Magazine has invited Kirstjen Nielsen to speak at their "Fortune's Most Powerful Women" convening in DC at the end of the month. I don't need to tell you that Nielsen carried out the Trump administration's racist immigration agenda, including its family separation policy. Let's ask Fortune not to give her a platform to rehabilitate her image and escape the consequences for her crimes.  I called them at (800) 621-8000 and, after saying "representative," got right through to someone. I asked them to pass my message along to management.  We can also email them at letters@fortune.com. And sign this petition. And finally, tweet this:  Gross:  @FortuneMagazine has invited #KirstjenNielsen to speak at their  
#MostPowerfulWomenConvening in D.C. later this month. Fortune, there are plenty of powerful women who HAVEN'T used that power to torture children. What a disgrace. Call her a war criminal, not an honoree.

POSTCARDING:  From one of our own – Here are this week’s issues/addresses write-ups for postcarding:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1g-eEOUNnyQXkwH5TWjLfHhsWZF6_57gjddSREO0Fq78/edit  Let’s look these issues  over and choose the ones that speak to you or share in our postcarding group.

PARDON REALITY WINNER. Air Force veteran Reality Leigh Winner has been charged under the Espionage Act for leaking a single document report analyzing cyber-attacks on the United States’ election infrastructure. This report set off a wave of concern and scrutiny regarding the security of the 2018 elections and upcoming 2020 elections. (More about Reality Winner at Wikipedia.) Stand With Reality, Code Pink, The Freedom of the Press Foundation, RootsAction and others have joined together to collect 25,000 signatures asking for her pardon or the commutation of her sentence to time served. We can add our names to the petition here. We can send cards and letters of support to Reality herself at: REALITY WINNER 22056-021, FMC CARSWELL FEDERAL MEDICAL CENTER, PO BOX 27137, FORT WORTH, TX 76127

GOOGLE MISLEADING CLAIMS?  “Google has made “substantial” contributions to some of the most notorious climate deniers in Washington despite its insistence that it supports political action on the climate crisis.”  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/11/google-contributions-climate-change-deniers  Let’s contact Google and tell them to put their money where there mouth is:  http://www.corporate-office-headquarters.com/google-inc

DO NOTHING CONGRESS?  The right keeps complaining that Congress is doing nothing.  That no legislation is being passed.  This is not quite true.  The House has worked and passed on many bills during this session, nearly 300 in fact.  The do-nothing part is the Senate, where Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has only brought forth and passed less than 50 of them.  https://demcastusa.com/2019/10/10/democrats-are-passing-legislation-in-the-united-states-house/  Let’s contact McConnell and tell him we know to stop those negative comments about Congress doing nothing.  DO SOMETHING, Mitch McConnell!  Here is the contact information for his local offices:  https://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/officelocations

ELECTION/VOTING

UPCOMING 2019 ELECTIONS:  In order to keep track of upcoming elections, we can use this from Ballotpedia:  https://ballotpedia.org/Elections_calendar

KY: LET'S GET OUT THE VOTE IN KENTUCKY! Postcards To Voters continues its campaign to reach every Democratic voter in Kentucky with Campaign 171: Kentucky Democratic Slate. While we can't write to #DitchMitch this year, we can help boost turnout and enthusiasm in Kentucky starting now with races from Governor to State Treasurer. If we are Kentuckians, we can check out a sample ballot for our county at the Kentucky Secretary of State siteLet's request 5 addresses today for this important campaign.

LA: LOUISIANA ELECTION RESULTS FOR POSTCARDS TO VOTERS' VOLUNTEERS. We wrote postcards for 4 of Louisiana's Saturday elections. Here are the results: a) Campaign 170: Ed Price for State Senate. Price won easily with 59% of the vote. (More at nola.com); b) Campaign 172:  Lori Callais for State Rep; Callais will now face Republican Buddy Mincey Jr. in a runoff. In the field of 5 candidates, Mincey received 45% of the vote; Callais received 15%. (More at The Livingston Parish News.) c) Campaign 174: Robin Parrott for State Rep; Republican incumbent Sherman Mack has retained his position as the state Representative for District 95, with an overwhelming (78% to 22%) win over challenger Robin Parrott (More at The Advocate.) d) Campaign 175: Muriel Laws for Livingston Parish Council. Laws did not receive enough votes to move on to the runoff. Thanks to everyone who supported these campaigns.

LA:  LOUISIANA ELECTION RESULTS. a) Governor's race: Incumbent Louisiana Governor, Democrat John Bel Edwards, fell short of the majority of the vote needed to clinch reelection in Saturday’s all-party primary and will face Republican businessman Eddie Rispone in a one-on-one general election next month. (More at Politico.) b) We can review all of LA's election results at WAFB. c) If we are Louisiana voters, let's plan to vote Tuesday, Nov. 5. 

VA: REGISTER TO VOTE, OR CHECK REGISTRATION, BY TODAY’S DEADLINE:  TODAY is the last day to register to vote in the November 2019 elections.
We can find out here, at the Virginia Department of Elections website,  if we are registered, and if we are not, how to register TODAY so we can vote for a Blue Virginia in the next elections.

FREE PROGRESSIVE LODGING: “Volunteers donate their time and energy to canvas and get-out-the-vote. But often they're cash-strapped and need a place to stay. Supporters have lodging to share. How can the two be connected? A free new app connects volunteers with hosts to find free lodging.  https://mailchi.mp/thedemlabs/volunteerlodging  Let’s see if we can find ways to use these apps to help our work getting out the vote or other efforts.  (h/t Dem Labs)

STATE/LOCAL

RALLIES/GATHERINGS/TRAININGS

FRIDAY CLIMATE STRIKES:  As per Greta Thunberg’s tweet: “Last Friday over 4 million people striked for the climate. This Friday we do it again! 170 countries and 6383 events so far in #weekforfuture Find or register your strike at Fridays for Future: http://fridaysforfuture.org or local websites.” 

IMMIGRATION CONFERENCE: From Justice for Our Neighbors: Families separated at the border, threats of increased deportations and ICE raids, enormous historic backlogs in naturalization applications and all-time-lows in refugee admissions: All of these issues and so many others will be at the forefront of topics @nationalimmigrantintegrationconference this October 20-22, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Let's learn more and register here: https://niicnewamericandreams.org/

READING/WATCHING

Why environmental groups need to focus on intersectionality -


Read the full opening statement by former U.S. ambassador Yovanovitch to House committees - https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/read-the-full-opening-statement-by-former-u-s-ambassador-yovanovitch-to-house-committees

The Good Fight's Animated Guide To Impeachment (a la Schoolhouse Rock) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joX-oJCudh0

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We can stay up to date on Congress by checking out their schedules. a) The House publishes a weekly schedule at The Weekly Leader (published and dated Friday) as well as daily schedules at The Daily Leader. b) The Senate updates their schedule daily at the Senate Floor Schedule


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