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5/5/20

NATIONAL ISSUES


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

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Or use Resistbot:  https://resist.bot/

Purchase stamps, postcards, and other mailing supplies: 

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



NEED FOR NEXT COVID-RELIF BILL: “Republicans want liability protections, Democrats want state aid, and the White House wants to press "pause" while pushing payroll tax cuts.”  https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/senate-returns-multiple-stumbling-blocks-threaten-next-coronavirus-bill-n1199051  Congress has passed four relief/stimulus bills.  The most recent one included roughly $480 billion in funding, $380 billion of which is dedicated to small business loan programs, $75 billion to hospitals, and $25 billion to establish testing programs.  The bill did not, however, include additional funding for states and cities that are struggling financially during this crisis; funding for the US Postal Service; funding for states to implement vote-by-mail; election security; more money for SNAP (food stamps); more healthcare funding; additional payments to suffering unemployed Americans and essential workers; protections for frontline workers; and help for the homeless, prison populations, disabled community, farm workers, and immigrants. Let’s contact our MoCs to let them know what we feel is needed in this next relief bill. 

RATCLIFFE NOMINATION:  This week, the Senate Intelligence Committee will hold hearings on the nomination of Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to be the next Director of National Intelligence. Ratcliffe lacks the experience this crucial position requires and previously withdrew his nomination for this post after it was revealed he had embellished his resume. He is also a Trump loyalist, raising questions about whether or not he is objective enough for this job (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-04/trump-spy-chief-pick-gets-second-shot-with-virus-under-scrutinyhttps://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/29/senate-john-ratcliffe-confirmation-hearing-221368). Let's contact our senators and let them know we want them to hold Ratcliffe to the highest possible standards as they consider his nomination, and share with them and our networks this list of questions Ratcliffe should answer produced by Lawfare.

DAILY DEATH TOTALS FROM COVID-19 ARE PROJECTED TO NEARLY DOUBLE ONCE MORE THINGS RE-OPEN: According to a White House model, the number of daily deaths, now at 1750 will hit 3,000 by June 1.  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/04/us/coronavirus-updates.html and https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/04/coronavirus-trump-administration-projects-3000-deaths-per-day-by-june.html Yet, states are going ahead with re-opening plans as if the disease is under control. And as the economy re-opens, more people will be faced with the difficult choice between risking their health by working in unsafe conditions or losing their unemployment benefits. Let’s tell our governors that going ahead with re-opening initiatives is reckless and immoral and ask them what they will do to make sure that we are protected against this unnecessary higher risk.

TRUMP AND LINCOLN:  On Sunday night, Trump held a Fox News Town Hall in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. During the disgraceful span, Trump claimed to have it worse than Lincoln and moved the goalposts for acceptable US deaths from COVID out to 100,000: https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/04/politics/donald-trump-fox-lincoln-memorial/index.html  Let’s contact our MoC to ask how many of us will be sacrificed to Trump’s insatiable ego.

PPP MONEY TAKEN BY LARGER COMPANIES: Nearly 300 public companies have reported receiving money from the fund, called the Paycheck Protection Program, according to the data compiled by The Post. Recipients include 43 companies with more than 500 workers, the maximum typically allowed by the program. Several other recipients were prosperous enough to pay executives $2 million or more. After the first pool of $349 billion ran dry, leaving more than 80 percent of applicants without funding, outrage over the millions of dollars that went to larger firms prompted some companies to return the money. The Small Business Administration has refused to release the names of companies that have received the loans, despite having released such information on its loan programs for years.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/01/sba-ppp-public-companies/ and https://www.ibtimes.com/coronavirus-economy-sba-paycheck-program-awarded-1-billion-publicly-traded-companies-2968754  Let’s tell MOCs to write more restrictions for these loans. This money was supposed to go to small business not companies that pay millions in salary to officers. Let’s ask the Small Business Administration why they won’t provide the names of those 43 companies that took money when previous practice calls for the publication of these names.  Let’s get those names and ask those companies to PAY IT BACK.  

WATER ACCESS MUST BE PROTECTED:  The same poor communities most vulnerable to covid-19 are the ones most likely to lose their access to water, but according to Food & Water Watch and the Guardian, about two-fifths of the country relies on water utilities that have not suspended shutoffs for nonpayment, despite public health warnings that good hygiene is crucial to preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The House version of the CARES Act included $1.5 billion to assist low-income households with water bills and required that localities and utilities suspend utility shutoffs to qualify for financial aid during the crisis; all of this was deleted from the final bill approved by the Senate: https://www.consumerreports.org/utilities/millions-in-us-at-risk-of-water-shutoffs-amid-layoffs-triggered-by-pandemic/  or https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/06/millions-us-at-risk-losing-running-water-amid-layoffs-triggered-coronavirus-pandemic  We must demand that our MoCs ensure that water be universally available during this pandemic and that provisions like the House ones be included in the next relief package. And/or let’s sign the Action Network petition:  https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/sign-now-stop-water-shutoffs-during-covid-19-pandemic-and-restore-water-access-immediately

NO SWIFTBOATING, NO BIRTHER-ING, NO BENGHAZI, NO EMAILS—NOT THIS TIME: Boston College Professor Heather Cox Richardson notes the patterns, that once again, the Republicans are successfully shifting the narrative. “The pressure on Biden to release his papers strikes me as the bad faith use of an important political conversation to score political points. It is vital to uncover the truth of what happened between Biden and Reade, but that’s not what’s going on here. Observers are demanding the release of material that has been donated in good faith for future researchers, to uncover information that we know would not be stored there. But it would certainly weaken Biden as a candidate. At the same time, Trump simply refuses to show anyone anything.” https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/may-2-2020  We’ve seen this before. Let’s: (1) write letters to the editor demanding to see Trump’s tax returns, investigations into the dozens of rape and sexual assault accusations against Trump, the publication of John Bolton’s book, investigations into why everyone who worked for Trump is bound to secrecy, and investigations into what has happened to the medical supplies that Trump has seized; submission info here: https://www.theopedproject.org/submission-information, and (2) if we’re represented by Democratic Senators and Representatives, let’s tell to make these demands their talking points, and repeat them ad nauseum.

#STANDWITHMASHPEE: On Thursday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will hear arguments in the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe's request for an injunction to preserve its land in trust (https://bit.ly/2yiIimK). In the meantime, let's read this article at Teen Vogue about the Department of Interior's decision to disestablish the Mashpee Wampanoag, then continue calling our senators to pass the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act (H.R. 312) (We can a  sample letter from Color of Change here.) and a bill to amend the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act and broaden which tribes can be federally recognized (H.R. 375)

SPEAK OUT AGAINST ICE TRANSFERRING (RATHER THAN RELEASING) DETAINEES IN RESPONSE TO JUDGE’S ORDERS: After a judge ordered ICE to reduce their detainee population in centers in Broward and Krome County, Florida, because of clear violations of COVID-19 safety protocols, such as lack of social distancing and lack of access to masks, ICE instead has chosen to transfer extra detainees to other centers. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/immigration/article242438581.html. While this is legally allowed, ICE is supposed to formally consider each detainee for release before transferring them, which they are likely not doing. Let’s ask our MoCs to put pressure on ICE to stop this practice, which ultimately creates higher risk by introducing people who have already been exposed into new environments. Moving detainees hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away also separates detainees from their lawyers and their families. 

SPEAK OUT AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN ICE DETENTION CENTERS: Last weekend a group of immigrant detainees at the Bristol County Jail in Massachusetts were hospitalized after an incident involving riot police, dogs, and pepper spray. The detainees were complaining about COVID symptoms. However, instead of being evaluated at their own medical unit, they were told that they would be transferred to a different unit, which they had learned from previous detainees was code for being put in solitary confinement, so they refused to go. https://www.wbur.org/news/2020/05/01/coronavirus-ice-detainees-massachusetts-detention?. Let’s ask our MoCs to join Rep. Kennedy, who represents this district, and Senators Markey and Warren to call for an independent investigation of the incident and demand that they call on ICE to release all detainees at this center who have not been convicted for a violent crime. If we live in MA, let’s also contact our state legislators and ask them to make a public statement with these demands. 

POSTCARDING OPPORTUNITY:  From one of our own:  At the moment, our nation seems full of tantrum-throwing adults who should know that their haircut isn't worth someone else's life—and should also know that they're risking their own health and their families' health when they gather to throw those tantrums together.  But there are far more of us who believe we ARE all created equal (and all includes the tantrum-throwing folks, too), and if we keep speaking out for the value of all lives we can be much louder than they are.  We can find this week's postcarding write-ups here:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1etUZKPfqMK5EDWtjKqqPgYSVi6LKtFWbKBvKQ6g9QZk/edit?usp=sharing

ELECTION/VOTING

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

PHONE/TEXT FOR CHRISTY SMITH: The stakes are high in next Tuesday's toss-up special election for the House seat in California's 25th District - Trump is attacking Democratic nominee Assemblywoman Christy Smith on Twitter, and Hillary Clinton has endorsed her.  https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/495686-clinton-endorses-democrat-in-california-special-house-election Let's send a Democrat to the House and send a message to the country by helping Christy win - we can sign up to make phone calls or text for her here.

CALL, TEXT, OR POSTCARD VOTERS WITH GRASSROOTS DEMOCRATS: It has never been more important to get strong progressive leaders in office and Grassroots Democrats is here to help. Whether we prefer calling, texting or postcarding voters, there’s a remote volunteer opportunity ready for us to use. 1) We can sign up here to  make calls to voters in Arizona for Mark Kelly, in Iowa for Theresa Greenfield, and for the House of Representatives in CA 21, 25, and 48.   https://www.mobilize.us/grassrootsdemocratslahq/event/93596/,  2) We can text voters in swing states across the country through Environmental Voter Project or text voters in CA 25 for Christy Smith.  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeYkHSLiso1grAIsDa6mftP3-Upc2ojz9IsQnvHSCP-IskXzg/viewform, and 3) We can write postcards to voters in California to defend the House or to voters in Arizona and Colorado to flip the Senate. When we sign up here, we will get addresses and scripts sent to us within 48 hours. 

GET TRAINED TO USE GRASSROOTS DEMOCRATS PHONEBANK SYSTEM: If we would like to make calls  through the Grassroots Dems system, and need to learn how to use it, we can get trained on Zoom TODAY at 7pm Pacific Time or Thursday, May 6 at 6pm Pacific Time. If we can't make one of the scheduled training sessions (Tuesdays at 7pm PDT, Thursdays at 6pm PDT), we can contact Field Director Davis Han at: davis@grassrootsdems.org to schedule a call time that works for us. We can find out more about this free phone banking training and sign up here:

LET’S SEND 10 MILLION LETTERS TO GET OUT THE VOTE IN NOVEMBER: Swing Left and Vote Forward have teamed up for The Big Send. While we’re stuck in quarantine, we can write letters to Democratic-leaning voters in key states, stockpile them, and then mail them before Election Day 2020. There’s no time like the present. Let’s get writing:  https://votefwd.org/bigsend

COVID-19 AND VOTER REGISTRATION: Voter registrations were apparently surging before the coronavirus crisis, but plummeted in March: https://insights.targetsmart.com/an-early-look-at-the-impact-of-the-covid-19-pandemic-on-voter-registration.html Here are a few things we can do to reverse that: (1) Work with our local high schools to get voter registration information out to all students who will be 18 by the November election; (2) Whether we are alums or parents of students, do the same for the colleges we’re connected to; and (3) fight voter suppression by signing up to volunteer with Reclaim Our Vote, https://actionnetwork.org/forms/reclaim-our-vote-signup

BECOME A NOTARY AND HELP WITH ABSENTEE/MAIL-IN BALLOTS: A handful of states (Oklahoma is one) require that absentee or mail-in ballots be notarized or witnessed. It looks increasingly likely that the safest way to vote in November will be to vote via absentee or mail-in ballot. Let’s help people in our communities vote. Let’s see if our state requires that our ballots be notarized by consulting the “state election centers” at Vote.org, https://www.vote.org/, and if it does, let’s consider becoming notaries public: https://www.nationalnotary.org/

POSTCARDS TO HELP MICHIGAN AND WISCONSIN VOTERS GET MAIL-IN BALLOTS: Indivisible Chicago has organized “Postcards to Wisconsin & Michigan.” The postcards, which target Democratic-leaning voters, are to be written now and mailed in October in time for people to request their mail-in ballots. Postcards, addresses, and instructions are free; postcard writers supply the 35-cent stamps. These swing states are crucial to win in November. Let’s sign up and get writing today:  https://www.postcards2wi.com/postcards-to-wimi

STATE ELECTION LAW OVERVIEW: The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has created resources with information about election calendars, voter registration timetables, the absentee/mail-in voting process, and in-person early voting in every state. Let’s bookmark this and share: https://lawyerscommittee.org/state-election-law/

STATE/LOCAL

MOST:  GET REPUBLICANS TO EMBRACE VOTING BY MAIL: “Stanford University just released a new study that looked at the 3 states that rolled out vote by mail across the state. The data told them that voting by mail does not give one party an advantage over the other.” https://politicalcharge.org/2020/04/23/how-to-get-republicans-to-embrace-voting-by-mail  That’s the key to their objections, isn’t it? Let’s call our Republican Governors with this data and remind them it’s their job to protect their constituents and institute vote by mail!

MA:  RANKED CHOICE VOTING: Voter Choice for Massachusetts is working to place a question on the 2020 ballot that would bring Ranked Choice Voting to Massachusetts elections starting in 2022.  If we are willing to sign up and help them get on the ballot — our volunteers and staff will coordinate mailing you a signature sheet (with a pre-addressed return envelope and stamp) so that you can safely support our efforts, click here.

MI: LINE 5: Enbridge has filed an application with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) "requesting authority to replace and relocate the segment of Line 5 crossing the Straits of Mackinac into a tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac," (https://bit.ly/2W5byGJ). Rather than approving the replacement of a pipeline that puts our Great Lakes at risk, it is essential to continue the work to decommission Line 5. Before a decision is made, the MPSC is open to comment from Michigan residents. Let's make sure we leave a comment by the May 13th deadline. We can read more about Line 5 at the For Love of Water (FLOW) Line 5 information page, then use the talking points available at Sierra Club to write an informed comment with the MPSC by email: mpscedockets@michigan.gov or by mail to: Michigan Public Service Commission, 7109 W. Saginaw Highway, Lansing, MI 48917.  Let's make sure to include Case No. U-20763 in our comments. Or, we can use the link and comment available at Oil & Water Don't Mix.

RALLIES/GATHERINGS/TRAININGS/GROUP ACTIONS/TWEETSTORMS

SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES WEBINAR:  Thursday, May 7 at 5pm ET - “With no opportunity for in-person campaign activities, the ability to connect with your base over social media is more valuable than ever.  Ampersand Strategies President Josh Nanberg talks to Beth Becker, founder of Becker Digital Strategies, about social media strategy for nonprofit, advocacy, and political clients.”  We can sign up here for this free webinar. 

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


No, The CDC Did Not Revise Down The Number Of COVID-19 Deaths - https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/briannasacks/coronavirus-death-toll-cdc-misinformation

Why Are White Supremacists Protesting to 'Reopen' the Economy?  -https://theconversation.com/why-are-white-supremacists-protesting-to-reopen-the-us-economy-137044

How COVID-19 protestors are unwitting victims of propaganda - https://www.thepitchkc.com/how-covid-19-protestors-are-unwitting-victims-of-propaganda/

How do you know voting by mail works? The U.S. military's done it since the Civil War - https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/how-do-you-know-voting-mail-works-u-s-military-n1186926

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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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