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5/21/20

NATIONAL ISSUES


Contact all Federal Members of Congress
(includes contact info and links to social media)

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Or use StampsLicked to have messages hand-delivered to our own legislators:  https://stampslicked.org/



ASK CONGRESS TO INVESTIGATE SECRETARY OF STATE POMPEO FOR MISUSE OF TAXPAYER FUNDS: In addition to the controversial Saudi Arms sales, and the recent firing of the State Department Inspector General, new reports have surfaced that Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo used taxpayer money to hold fancy dinners with a variety of business executives  and media influencers, ostensibly in preparation for a future political run. https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewsolender/2020/05/20/pompeo-scrutinized-for-lavish-government-funded-dinners-with-business-media-figures/#219067903a39. Let’s ask the House Oversight Committee and Office of Government Ethics for an immediate investigation and let’s demand Pompeo’s resignation.  

HEROES ACT:  We know that Trump and the majority of the Senate are against approving the House-passed Heroes Act and for a variety of reasons.  Workers, families, and states are still in dire need of support due to COVID-19.  The House bill reflects that need.  https://www.newsweek.com/heroes-act-stimulus-checks-stall-senate-dems-gop-clash-urgency-1505332  Let’s tell our senators that real people need real help and that our state’s budget is taking a beating and could use the same level of help that some corporations and industries received. 

TELL CONGRESS TO STOP THE FIRING OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT INSPECTOR GENERAL: Trump’s latest firing of State Department Inspector General Stephen Linnick is another step on the dangerous path to dictatorship. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/15/state-department-inspector-general-fired-261536. Since law requires a 30-day notice before the firing actually takes place, Democrats in Congress should stop tweeting about how terrible this is and actually do something. Former Director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, has a long list of ideas of things Congress can do. For starters, they can hold a hearing with the IG, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and other related witnesses and blitz the media with the inappropriateness of this action. They can also take further action by threatening budget cuts until Linnick and Atkinson, the IG involved in the Ukraine crisis, are reinstated. Let’s look at Walter Shaub’s list, here, and then let’s demand that our MoCs take action. The future of our democracy depends on oversight. 

INSPECTORS GENERAL PROTECTION:  In recent weeks, the Trump administration has removed one inspector general after another from their positions. In comments to the press, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described inspectors general as "serving at the pleasure of the President," making it clear they simply don't understand the importance of having an independent watchdog for the public (https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/20/politics/pompeo-press-conference/index.html). Senator Chris Murphy and Rep. Jim Cooper have proposed the Inspectors General Independence Act (H.R. 6668) to protect inspectors general from being removed without real cause (https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/492095-two-democrats-roll-out-bill-to-protect-inspectors-general-from-politically). Let's contact our MoCs and tell them to support it.

CENSURE TRUMP FOR WITHOLDING THREAT AND INSIST ON UNIVERSAL RIGHT TO VOTE BY MAIL: Trump is threatening to withhold funds from Michigan and Nevada, two states with Democrat governors for sending applications for absentee ballots to their registered voters, with the bogus accusation of encouraging voter fraud. Several states with Republican governors, such as Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, and West Virginia, have also sent their voters absentee ballot applications, and Maryland, which has a Republican governor, is actually sending everyone absentee ballots. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-threatens-cut-michigan-nevada-funding-mail-in-voting/. Let’s call out Trump for his disgusting bullying in making voters choose between their health and their right to vote in our local newspapers and demand that Congress pass S3562, The Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020. And let’s contact our own governor and ask them to follow the lead of these states in making sure everyone who wants one has easy access to an absentee ballot. 

SAVE THE POST OFFICE, SAVE THE ELECTION—PART I: Voting by mail is emerging as the best way for us to have a safe and secure election during the coronavirus pandemic. But there won’t be any voting by mail without the USPS. Unless Washington intervenes, the USPS will run out of operating funds by September. Trump says he’ll veto any bill that includes aid to the USPS. https://www.axios.com/trump-postal-service-squeeze-f08faad5-c1ec-43f9-b851-04c88ab3b6bb.html Let’s pressure our Members of Congress to fully fund the USPS and provide the resources necessary to vote by mail in November.
  
SAVE THE POST OFFICE, SAVE THE ELECTION—PART II: The US Postal Service enjoys a 90% public approval rating. But, inexplicably, the Trump/Republican regime is refusing to rescue it from running out of operating funds before September 2020. https://fortune.com/2020/04/27/usps-bailout-biden-trump/ The USPS is an essential part of our elections’ infrastructure, and its demise would kill our ability to safely vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic. We need a drumbeat of media coverage of this state of affairs. Let’s contact one or more of the following and tell them to give this issue the urgent attention it deserves: our local TV news stations, local newspapers, regional newspapers-of-record, our favorite columnists, our local NPR stations, our favorite national newspapers. Contact info can be found through google searches.

TELL TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES TO STOP PARTICIPATING IN DEPORTATIONS: The group, Witness at the Border has been reporting that despite COVID, deportation flights to Central America are leaving every day from the airport in Brownsville, Texas. Over one hundred people deported to El Salvador have subsequently been killed, and many of those deported have tested positive for COVID, increasing the incidence of disease in these countries. The flights are arranged by Classic Air Charter and their subcontractors, and deportees are brought to the airport on TrailBoss buses. The Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice has launched a letter-writing campaign to all of these companies. Let’s check out their letter templates here, contact these companies, and share this campaign with our friends and networks. 

NAVAJO NATION HIGHEST RATE OF COVID PER CAPITA:  With only a fraction of the population, the Navajo Nation is now reporting more coronavirus cases per capita than New York, one of the initial epicenters of the outbreak in the United States.  https://thehill.com/changing-america/respect/diversity-inclusion/498517-navajo-nation-under-strict-lockdown-with-highest  The Navajo Nation needs medical and community items as well as monetary donations.  Let’s ask out MoCs what they are doing about this.  We can also check out the list of items and/or donate at this site:  https://www.nndoh.org/donate.html

Correction:  GHOST GUNS:  3D-printed "ghost guns" are currently going largely unregulated - they don't meet the current legal definition of a firearm, which means they're not required to have serial numbers and you can purchase them or the kits to make them without being subject to gun control laws currently on the books.  https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/14/senate-democratsghost-guns-256968  Democratic senators have introduced the Untraceable Firearms Act (S. 3743) to make sure these weapons have serial numbers and to keep them out of the hands of violent felons and domestic abusers. Let's contact our members of Congress and tell them to support the bill, and share this video from Giffords to spread the word about untraceable guns.

TELL ICE TO STOP USING COVID-19 TO FORCE FAMILY SEPARATIONS: ICE is taking advantage of COVID-19 by asking detained parents to sign a form that would allow children to be separated from them, released from detention, while their parents remain detained indefinitely.  https://www.newsweek.com/ice-accused-using-coronavirus-crisis-launch-family-separation-2-0-1505156 Immigrant families detained by ICE at the Berks, Dilley and Karnes detention centers have been asked to decide between indefinite detention and risk contagion by COVID-19 or risk being separated from their children. This cruel, disturbing and inhumane policy must stop now. We can click this link to email the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, and urge him to release these families during this pandemic: https://www.raicestexas.org/2020/05/18/action-to-email-secretary-wolf/

NURSES STILL AT RISK:  The National Nurses United conducted a survey of more than 23,000 union and non-union nurses across all 50 states and Washington DC about their working conditions between 15 April and 10 May; they found that 84% of nurses had not been tested for Covid-19, 87% are forced to reuse single-use personal protective equipment, and 72% of nurses have exposed skin or clothing while treating coronavirus patients:  https://www.nationalnursesunited.org/press/new-survey-results and https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/20/survey-finds-87-of-americas-nurses-are-forced-to-reuse-protective-equipment  Let’s demand that our MoCs mandate protection for these—and all—“essential” workers, or we can sign the Union of Concerned Scientists’ letter in support of the Every Worker Protection Act (H.R.6559) here:  https://secure.ucsusa.org/onlineactions/fvDDUmBr_UaOkchYfZK8Mw2

KANSAS SENATE RACE NEEDS OUR SUPPORT:  Democrats are looking competitive in seats across the country as we work to take back the Senate in November - including some unexpected opportunities. Republicans are desperately trying to recruit Mike Pompeo to run for the Senate in Kansas, with former Secretary of State and notorious anti-voting rights and anti-immigrant extremist Kris Kobach looking like a strong contender for the Republican nod and Democratic state senator Barbara Bollier outraising the GOP field as  a credible challenger. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/14/mcconnell-pompeo-kansas-senate-255451 Let's show Barbara our support by signing up to volunteer or donating to her campaign.

ELECTION/VOTING

2020 ELECTION CALENDAR: This resource is searchable by date and state -  https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2020-state-primary-election-dates.aspx

REMINDER:   Let’s make sure to regularly check our voter registration status. States are purging voters routinely--we don't want to get caught off guard. Take 1 minute and check right now: I Will Vote  Then, let’s check how to vote by mail in our state. Many rules have changed due to the pandemic and we may be able to vote with a mailed ballot. We can find our state's latest voting rules here: How to Vote By Mail in Every State

#VOTEPROCHOICE GEORGIA VOTER GUIDE: Georgia’s primary election is on June 9.  #VoterProChoice has issued their voter guide.  Let’s check it out: https://www.voteprochoice.us/voter-guide  We can also use their social media toolkit:  https://www.voteprochoice.us/partner-toolkit/

GET OUT THE VOTE POSTCARD GOUPS:  From one of our own:  Let’s use this list to find groups with whom we can get involved in getting postcards out to voters encouraging them to vote:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vTd9UmW__Zqj89o4Df8qYhLOK5dimPxreYvGhM97wZ-l2Cj8DcfRD3a-JAJrQbgiIaB3kKOj525G9ul/pub?urp=gmail_link

STATE/LOCAL

ALL:  SAVE THE POST OFFICE, SAVE THE ELECTION PART III:  The US Postal Service is under two threats: (1) without help from Congress and the White House, it will be financially insolvent by September 2020; and (2) its Board of Governors is now almost completely controlled by Trump appointees. Trump, and the Republican party generally, is notoriously hostile to the USPS. https://www.axios.com/trump-postal-service-squeeze-f08faad5-c1ec-43f9-b851-04c88ab3b6bb.html Let’s contact our Secretaries of State  and our State Legislators   and tell them to (1) put heavy pressure on Washington to fund the USPS and keep it fully functioning for all Americans, and (2) develop contingency plans for safe, secure distance voting in November in case Trump and his Republican collaborators succeed in killing the Post Office.

CAPROTECT VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES LIVING NEAR POLLUTING OIL DRILLING SITES: Research shows that COVID-19 is heavily impacting communities living in high pollution areas. The cost of living in close proximity to oil and gas wells include risk of cancer, asthma, and preterm birth, but also risk of water contamination, oil spills and explosions. Now more than ever is the time to take steps to protect communities living near oil drilling sites. Assembly Bill 345 seeks to do just that.  Passing AB345 will create health and safety buffer zones by requiring a minimum setback distance between dangerous and hazardous oil and gas extraction wells and homes, schools, daycares, playgrounds, hospitals, and health clinics.  The passage of AB 345 will bring us closer to protecting children and families from the hazards of living near an oil and gas well. We can click here to find our Senator’s number, with key talking points to urge them to vote YES on AB345 and protect our community from the hazards of living near an oil and gas well:

RALLIES/GATHERINGS/TRAININGS/GROUP ACTIONS/TWEETSTORMS

TWITTERSTORM FOR VA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE VANGIE WILLIAMS TODAY: Twitter Warriors is doing a Twitterstorm for Virginia Congressional candidate Vangie Williams TODAY, Thursday May 21 at 8p.m. EST. Williams was the nominee in 2018, but did not win the seat, and is now running in the primary on June 23.  We can find out more about the primary on Ballotpedia here: https://ballotpedia.org/Virginia%27s_1st_Congressional_District_election,_2020_(June_23_Democratic_primary), read more about Vangie here:  https://ballotpedia.org/Vangie_Williams and on her webpage:
https://vangieforcongress.com/  If we decide to give Vangie our support, we can click here to find prewritten tweets to send out with just a few clicks:  https://t.co/r7dvJE49DS?amp=1

WEBINAR ON REGISTERING VOTERS DURING THE PANDEMIC:  National Voter Registration Day and Nonprofit Vote are hosting a webinar on Friday, May 22. The topic is “Navigating the new urgency and tactics around voter registration.” Let’s register and learn how we can help:  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vdMvs1fiRmKB-qwHsYF_sw

ACLU SMART JUSTICE CAMPAIGN WEBINAR:  The ACLU Smart Justice campaign has decided to host a digital day of action titled “Uniting for Pretrial Reform” in May. It will be online, and it will be throughout the day on May 27th. Some of the sessions include a Q&A with ACLU staff, a tele-townhall with multiple legislators (on the topic of pretrial reform), a storytelling panel in the afternoon, and throughout the day there will be multiples ways to engage our elected officials.  Here’s a registration link to sign up! https://zoom.us/webinar/register/1415859446055/WN_Wb92iZkTRGmkTJlHepNcIg  We want to make sure that people feel their voices can be heard even during this new normal phase we currently we find ourselves in and that we advocate for the most vulnerable of us.  

MASS POOR PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY & MORAL MARCH ON WASHINGTON: “The Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington is going digital! On June 20th, we will hold the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in this nation’s history. A global pandemic is exposing even more the already existing crisis of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. On June 20, the 140 million poor and low-wealth people across this nation will be heard!”  We can sign up here:  https://actionnetwork.org/forms/rsvp-for-june-20-2020-mass-poor-peoples-assembly-moral-march-on-washington

READING/WATCHING/LISTENING




The Trump Administration Is Rushing Deportations of Migrant Children During Coronavirus - https://www.propublica.org/article/the-trump-administration-is-rushing-deportations-of-migrant-children-during-coronavirus

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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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