black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words, "Democracy is Dissent."

Something Positive from the first days of Trump

And he’s not too happy about it!

black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words, "Democracy is Dissent."

Democracy is Dissent. A statement declaring that we have a 1st Amendment constitutional right “of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress.”

Central Oregon Coast NOW

Here are some positive results from the events of the last two weeks. Copy and pasted from a friend.
For everyone who DID something, small or big, your efforts have been successful. Because of you:

  1. Federal hiring freeze is reversed for VA (Veteran Affairs).
    2. Court order partial stay of the immigration ban for those with valid visas.
    3. Green card holders can get back in country.
    4. Uber pledges $3M and immigration lawyers for its drivers after#DeleteUbertrends on Twitter.
    5. Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) enrollment ads are still going to air.
    6. The ACLU raised 24M over the weekend (normally 3-4Mil/year).
    7. HHS, EPA, USDA gag order lifted.
    8. EPA climate data no longer scrubbed from website.
    9. More people of different career/religious/economic/race backgrounds are considering running for political office than ever before.
    10. MOST importantly, since we live in a participatory democracy, the people are engaged.

View original post 35 more words

What to Do This Week of Jan 29, 2017: Actions for Democrats, Independents, & Republicans of Conscience

black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words, "Democracy is Dissent."

As promised, I am once again reblogging Jennifer Hofman’s weekly “To Do” list.  This week’s actions focus on

  • opposing the religious discrimination and immigration executive order signed by Trump on Friday.
  • opposing the cabinet nominations of Betsy DeVos, Jeff Sessions, Steve Mnuchin, Rex Tillerson, and Tom Price
  • supporting free speech rights to assemble and protest as guaranteed under the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution
  • supporting access to health care for all
  • supporting planet earth’s water and endangered species
  • supporting full statehood rights for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico

And on an aside note, Jennifer positively notes that the White House petition for Trump to release his tax records that I urged all of my readers to sign onto a little over a week ago has now received more signatures than any other petition ever posted on the WhiteHouse.gov website. As of 4:50 pm on January 30, 2017, 443,909 people have signed this petition.

So read on, make your calls, and enjoy the good news.

What to Do This Week of Jan 29, 2017

Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience

We have 21 months to mid-term elections. Fired up?

The intention of this weekly document is to make clear suggestions for action backed by well-considered research. If an issue doesn’t affect you, consider whether you would support this issue on behalf of other Americans and act accordingly. Although these topics have been well researched, they are subject to human error. Please do your own research!

Did someone send this to you? Sign up for this weekly checklist here:

http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

I believe I can make a difference.

Print out the Americans of Conscience Action Worksheet and make a plan.

I believe in equal rights for all Americans.

Action 1: Oppose religious discrimination by contacting the White House.

Call: The WH comment line is closed, however, use:

Email: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Script: I oppose the executive order banning entry to the US by green card-carrying residents, dual passport-holding residents, legal citizens, and vetted, peaceful refugees. This action is unconstitutional and unamerican.

Tweet: .@realDonaldTrump How foolish it looks for a POTUS to prevent legal residents + peaceful immigrants from entering the USA.

(A note on the tweet: Shame motivates narcissists, not criticism.)

Action 2: Defend the rights of legal immigrants to our country.

Donate to the National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org/

Action 3: Ask your elected officials to publicly oppose this executive order.

Call: Your three MoCs (1 representative and 2 senators) (lookup)

Script: Hi! I am a constituent from _ZIP code _ and oppose the executive order on banning refugees and legal residents. Can you tell me if _MoC’s name_ has publicly opposed this action? If not, can you tell me when s/he will?

I believe in a government with qualified, trustworthy leadership.

Oppose these cabinet appointees

Call: Your two senators.

Script: Hi! I’m a constituent from _ZIP code_ calling about cabinet appointees. I know that five is a lot to oppose, but I believe the following people are unfit to lead: Betsy DeVos, Jeff Sessions, Steve Mnuchin, Rex Tillerson, and Tom Price. Will you let me know how _my senator_ plans to vote on these appointees?

I believe in my Constitutional right to free speech.

Oppose legislation that risks criminalizing your constitutional right to peaceful protest if you live in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, North Dakota, or Washington state. (source) (source) (source) (source) (source) (source)

Action 1: Call. Look up your state legislators’ numbers at openstates.org

Script: Hi! I am a constituent from _town_ calling to oppose new legislation that threatens my constitutional right to peacefully protest. Can you tell me where my representative stands on this issue?

Action 2: Share. If you know anyone in the states above, ask them to make these calls.

I believe in quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.

Oppose repealing the Affordable Care Act

Call: Your representative (not senators–for now) (lookup)

Script: Hi! I’m a constituent from _ZIP code_ and I support the Affordable Care Act. If the ACA is repealed, it will affect me personally. For example, (share what your life will be like without it, i.e., I take prescriptions I can’t afford, my child has a chronic condition, we would have to sell our home, etc.). Can you tell me where _rep’s name_ stands on this issue?

Sign up for health insurance

Conservatives are second-guessing a quick repeal of this law (source), so it’s more important than ever to show them you value the ACA.

Sign up by Tuesday at healthcare.gov. Experts say coverage is likely [to] remain valid for the rest of 2017 (source).

I believe in creating a healthy planet for future generations.

Action 1: Support the water protectors at Standing Rock.

If you are able, contribute to mounting legal fees after months of arrests (source).

Click here: https://fundrazr.com/d19fAf

Action 2: Oppose the wall at the Mexican border.

Its construction would be threaten 111 endangered species (source).

Call: Your representative (not senators–yet) (lookup)

Script: Hi, I’m a constituent from _ZIP code_ and would like to know if _elected official_ has publicly opposed building a wall on the Mexico border. I’m concerned not just about the expense to Americans and relations with Mexico, but for the numerous endangered species this project would harm.

I believe in a vote for every American.

Support Americans citizens without representation.

For years, residents of Puerto Rico and Washington, DC have been seeking statehood and a vote. They need your help.

Email: Your MoCs (your representative and both senators) (lookup)

Write: Use your new postcards and stamps.

Script: I am a constituent from _ZIP_ and support statehood for the over 4 million US citizens in Washington DC and Puerto Rico. All citizens deserve a voice and representation.

Note: Send e/mail so that phone lines are open for pressing issues.

Recommended reading

Useful, in-depth articles I find while I’m reading obsessively. You’re welcome.

Storytelling: How to talk so Members of Congress will listen, by Rachna Choudhry (Click to read.)

Deliberate action: Step two of the Trump Resistance Plan, by Stephen Harper (Click to read.)

“Christofascism:” Understanding the minds of zealots, by Kieryn Darkwater (Click to read.)

Self-care: How to stay outraged without losing your mind, by Mirah Curzer (Click to read.)

This is #NotNormal

It is not normal for a president to target investigations on states that didn’t vote for him (source). It is not normal to lie about which people are to blame for not winning the popular vote (source). A normal president accepts election results and, after winning, focuses on his or her leadership.

It is not normal for a president to ban a federal department from communicating with the public (source), to force them to hide data (source), nor pressure a department to lie on his behalf (source). A normal president welcomes information from government experts to assist in his or her leadership.

It is not normal to deny entry to legal residents with all required documents (source) nor invade their privacy (source). A normal president respects privacy and allows legal residents to travel freely.

Good news

Thank goodness. Couldn’t you use some good news right now?

One less conflict of interest: Direct references to the first lady’s product lines have been removed from the White House website (source).

Republican heroes: Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) advocates for an “intelligence-led approach” to securing the Mexico border, not a wall (source).

Integrity matters: A whitehouse.gov petition for the president to release his tax returns is receiving more votes than any petition ever–over 380,000 so far (source).

Truth to power: The Tohono O’odham Nation publicly opposes a wall through their tribal lands on the border of Mexico (source).

Fighting fake news: Google and Facebook are starting to take measures to prevent the spread of fake news (source) (source) (source).

Reigning in bullies: Ada Morales’ rights as a US citizen were upheld when a federal court ruled her 24-hour detention by US immigration unconstitutional (source).

Americans showing up for each other: “When the International Refugee Assistance Project put out a call for lawyers to help new arrivals in danger of being turned away, it received 3,000 volunteers in four hours” (source).

Please keep taking care of yourself. If we get tired, he wins.

Housekeeping

Final action

If you found this checklist useful, please spread the word!

Tweet: It’s easy to feel hopeless. This checklist helps me get engaged: https://goo.gl/8Vvi7I

Email and Facebook: This awesome checklist helps me take action and make a positive difference: https://goo.gl/8Vvi7I

We’re stronger together!

 

Update House Passes Bill Making the Hyde & Helms Amendment Permanent + More

Here’s an update to yesterday’s blog on H.R. 7, aka  the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.”

Last night at 4:49 pm, the House of Representatives by a vote of 238 to 183 with 11 members not voting, passed this ideological, antiwomen’s reproductive healthcare bill. The 238 yea votes included 3 Democrats (Cuellar, Lipinski, Peterson) and every Republican who voted.

I checked out the roll-call vote.  Here are the Ayes. These so called Representatives voted to make the Hyde Amendment and the Global Gag Rule (the Helms Amendment) permanent. And in addition, this vote denies federal subsidies to any person or small businesses who have healthcare plans under the Affordable Care Act that cover abortion. Contact them and express your outrage at their lack of concern for women’s lives.

—- AYES    238 —

Abraham
Aderholt
Allen
Amash
Amodei
Arrington
Babin
Bacon
Banks (IN)
Barletta
Barr
Barton
Bergman
Biggs
Bilirakis
Bishop (MI)
Bishop (UT)
Black
Blackburn
Blum
Bost
Brady (TX)
Brat
Bridenstine
Brooks (AL)
Brooks (IN)
Buchanan
Buck
Bucshon
Budd
Burgess
Byrne
Calvert
Carter (GA)
Carter (TX)
Chabot
Chaffetz
Cheney
Coffman
Cole
Collins (GA)
Collins (NY)
Comer
Comstock
Conaway
Cook
Costello (PA)
Cramer
Crawford
Cuellar
Culberson
Curbelo (FL)
Davidson
Davis, Rodney
Denham
Dent
DeSantis
DesJarlais
Diaz-Balart
Donovan
Duffy
Duncan (SC)
Duncan (TN)
Dunn
Emmer
Farenthold
Faso
Ferguson
Fitzpatrick
Fleischmann
Flores
Fortenberry
Foxx
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Gaetz
Gallagher
Garrett
Gibbs
Gohmert
Goodlatte
Gosar
Gowdy
Granger
Graves (GA)
Graves (LA)
Graves (MO)
Griffith
Grothman
Guthrie
Harper
Harris
Hartzler
Hensarling
Herrera Beutler
Hice, Jody B.
Higgins (LA)
Hill
Holding
Hollingsworth
Hudson
Huizenga
Hultgren
Hunter
Hurd
Issa
Jenkins (KS)
Jenkins (WV)
Johnson (LA)
Johnson (OH)
Johnson, Sam
Jordan
Joyce (OH)
Katko
Kelly (MS)
Kelly (PA)
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kinzinger
Knight
Kustoff (TN)
Labrador
LaHood
LaMalfa
Lamborn
Lance
Latta
Lewis (MN)
Lipinski
LoBiondo
Long
Loudermilk
Love
Lucas
Luetkemeyer
MacArthur
Marchant
Marino
Marshall
Massie
Mast
McCarthy
McCaul
McClintock
McHenry
McKinley
McMorris Rodgers
McSally
Meadows
Meehan
Messer
Mitchell
Moolenaar
Mooney (WV)
Mullin
Murphy (PA)
Newhouse
Noem
Nunes
Olson
Palazzo
Palmer
Paulsen
Pearce
Perry
Peterson
Pittenger
Poe (TX)
Poliquin
Posey
Ratcliffe
Reed
Reichert
Renacci
Rice (SC)
Roby
Roe (TN)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rohrabacher
Rokita
Rooney, Francis
Rooney, Thomas J.
Ros-Lehtinen
Roskam
Ross
Rothfus
Rouzer
Royce (CA)
Russell
Rutherford
Sanford
Scalise
Schweikert
Scott, Austin
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Shimkus
Shuster
Simpson
Smith (MO)
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Smucker
Stefanik
Stewart
Stivers
Taylor
Tenney
Thompson (PA)
Thornberry
Tiberi
Tipton
Trott
Turner
Upton
Valadao
Wagner
Walberg
Walden
Walker
Walorski
Walters, Mimi
Weber (TX)
Webster (FL)
Wenstrup
Westerman
Williams
Wilson (SC)
Wittman
Womack
Woodall
Yoder
Yoho
Young (AK)
Young (IA)
Zeldin

And here are the Noes. These Representatives voted to protect women’s reproductive healthcare.  Contact these people and thank them for their support of women and their lives.

 —- NOES    183 —

Adams
Aguilar
Barragán
Bass
Beatty
Bera
Beyer
Bishop (GA)
Blunt Rochester
Bonamici
Boyle, Brendan F.
Brady (PA)
Brown (MD)
Brownley (CA)
Bustos
Butterfield
Capuano
Carbajal
Cárdenas
Carson (IN)
Cartwright
Castor (FL)
Castro (TX)
Chu, Judy
Cicilline
Clark (MA)
Clarke (NY)
Clay
Cleaver
Clyburn
Cohen
Connolly
Conyers
Cooper
Correa
Courtney
Crist
Crowley
Cummings
Davis (CA)
Davis, Danny
DeFazio
DeGette
Delaney
DeLauro
DelBene
Demings
DeSaulnier
Deutch
Dingell
Doggett
Doyle, Michael F.
Ellison
Engel
Eshoo
Espaillat
Esty
Evans
Foster
Frankel (FL)
Fudge
Gallego
Garamendi
Gonzalez (TX)
Gottheimer
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Grijalva
Gutiérrez
Hanabusa
Hastings
Heck
Higgins (NY)
Himes
Hoyer
Huffman
Jackson Lee
Jayapal
Jeffries
Johnson (GA)
Kaptur
Keating
Kelly (IL)
Kennedy
Khanna
Kihuen
Kildee
Kilmer
Kind
Krishnamoorthi
Kuster (NH)
Langevin
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Lawrence
Lawson (FL)
Lee
Levin
Lewis (GA)
Loebsack
Lofgren
Lowenthal
Lowey
Lujan Grisham, M.
Luján, Ben Ray
Lynch
Maloney, Carolyn B.
Maloney, Sean
Matsui
McCollum
McEachin
McGovern
McNerney
Meeks
Meng
Moore
Moulton
Murphy (FL)
Nadler
Napolitano
Neal
Nolan
Norcross
O’Halleran
O’Rourke
Pallone
Panetta
Pascrell
Payne
Pelosi
Perlmutter
Peters
Pingree
Pocan
Polis
Price (NC)
Quigley
Raskin
Rice (NY)
Richmond
Rosen
Roybal-Allard
Ruiz
Ruppersberger
Ryan (OH)
Sánchez
Sarbanes
Schakowsky
Schiff
Schneider
Schrader
Scott (VA)
Scott, David
Serrano
Sewell (AL)
Shea-Porter
Sherman
Sinema
Sires
Smith (WA)
Soto
Speier
Suozzi
Swalwell (CA)
Takano
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Titus
Tonko
Torres
Tsongas
Vargas
Veasey
Vela
Velázquez
Visclosky
Walz
Wasserman Schultz
Waters, Maxine
Watson Coleman
Welch
Wilson (FL)
Yarmuth

I did find a video of the Rules Committee hearing on this bill (held January 23, the day before the final vote in the house).  It’s about 90 minutes with most of the speakers in support of threatening women’s lives.

Immediately after the vote, a motion to reconsider was laid on the table. This motion was accepted without objection.  So once they remove this temporary hold, the bill will be sent to the US Senate for review, hearings, and a vote.  As soon as I find out which Senate committee this is going to, I’ll let you know.

You can meanwhile set up meetings, calls, and emails to your two Senators and strongly encourage them to vote against H.R. 7. If you click here, you can find your Senators’ web pages and contact information.  Some of these websites may also include announcements of townhall meetings.  If there is one of these in your area, GO! to the townhall meeting and let them know that women’s lives need to be protected and to vote NO on H.R. 7.

Keep Abortion Legal NOW Round

US House Attempting to Make the Hyde Amendment Permanent

NOW's Keep abortion legal round

The US House of Representative is expected to vote today on the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” aka known as HR 7 of 2017. Introduces on January 13, 2017, this fast-tracked bill attempts to block all women from accessing health insurance that covers abortion care.

The Feminist Majority posted information about this bill at 11:50 am ET this morning giving background to what this bill does and how it threatens women’s lives. I’m copying and pasting their blog for you to read.  Once you read this, contact your US Representative and tell him/her to vote no on this very dangerous bill that would make the Hyde Amendment permanent.

House Expected to Vote on Major Abortion Restriction

by on • 11:50 AM

Today the House is expected to vote on H.R. 7, known as the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill that would attempt to block all women from accessing health insurance that covers abortion care. It is a sweeping piece of legislation that touches on a number of anti-abortion policies.

H.R. 7 would make permanent the federal abortion funding restrictions, known as the Hyde Amendment, which Congress typically includes in the annual appropriations bill. The Hyde Amendment denies abortion coverage to the over 28 million women who receive their health insurance through federal programs, such as federal employees, Native Americans, veterans, federal prisoners, and the largest targeted group of reproductive age, low-income individuals on Medicaid.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly 1 in 6 women of reproductive age are enrolled in Medicaid. Of these women, 60 percent live in a state that forbids Medicaid coverage of abortion, meaning they have to pay an average of over $350 out of pocket to access an abortion. The substantial burden forces one in four poor women who wish to terminate an unwanted pregnancy to carry to term.

H.R. 7 would also codify the Helms Amendment, which bans any international organization from using United States’ funds to provide abortion as a “method of family planning,” and has been interpreted to prevent funding even in cases of rape, incest and life endangerment. Under H.R. 7, the United States, the largest aid donor in the world, would permanently deny survivors of war rape access to abortion.

The routine use of rape as a tool of war has been documented in conflicts around the world, from South Sudan to Syria to Nigeria, and constitutes a form of torture. According to the Global Justice Center, 40,000 women and girls are raped in conflict each year, but many more have suffered during specific conflicts. At least 50 percent of survivors are under the age of 18, but in some areas, up to 80 percent of those targeted are children, and many are very young adolescents. The risk of maternal death for girls aged 15 years and younger is twice that of an adult, and these young victims have higher rates of injury, infection or disease related to pregnancy and childbirth. Therefore, for girls raped in conflict, the ability to access abortion has life or death consequences.

Another large group of women who would have their rights to abortion covered health insurance restricted are women who purchase health insurance through the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under H.R. 7, women who purchased insurance that covered abortion care would not be eligible for tax subsidies. 25 states have already enacted laws that forbid the selling of abortion care in the ACA marketplace. In addition, small businesses that choose health insurance plans that cover abortion would be denied the insurance-related tax credits that apply to small businesses.

Advocates of abortion access fear that eliminating tax subsidies and implementing strict regulations will push insurance companies to stop covering abortion for all women, as they are unlikely to offer a product that so many are effectively barred from purchasing.

H.R. 7 stands in direct opposition to the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act that was introduced in Congress in 2015. The EACH Woman Act would restore abortion insurance coverage to all women affected by the Hyde Amendment, as well as prohibit federal, state and local governments from passing laws that restrict private health insurance companies from offering abortion care, as has been done in 25 states.

President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, is one of the staunchest opponents of the ACA and abortion and contraception access, opposing private health insurance coverage for abortion, voting to defund Planned Parenthood and co-sponsoring legislation to outlaw abortion, stem cell research, some forms on contraception and in vitro fertilization.

When asked in 2012 what he would say to low-income women who couldn’t afford birth control if it wasn’t covered by their health insurance, he replied, “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one. The fact of the matter is, this is a trampling of religious freedom and religious liberty in this country.”

The House has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, defund Planned Parenthood, and introduce other anti-abortion measures. Feminist Majority Foundation has a campaign to support the Each Woman Act.

Media Resources: Mother Jones 1/23/17; Feminist Majority Foundation 9/26/16, 8/12/16, 9/28/16, 1/6/17, 1/19/17; Guttmacher Institute 4/9/16;”

Now that you’ve read what’s going one,  contact your US Representative and tell him/her to vote no on this very dangerous bill that makes the Hyde Amendment permanent.

Here’s a sample script from the Women’s Medical Fund in Philadelphia. You can use your own words or do something like this to express your outrage at government interference with your personal medical decisions:

“Hello,

Please tell [REPRESENTATIVE NAME] to vote NO on HR 7! Bans on abortion coverage like H.R.7 interfere with a woman’s ability to make her own decision about pregnancy and parenting.

Regardless of how we access insurance coverage, each of us should be able to live, work, and make decisions about our future, with dignity and without political interference.

Thank you.”

Then once you’ve made your call, send an email to your representative. All Above All has an easy link with basically the same message for you to send.

Call AND write today!

picture of the words "peace" and "justice" with arrow pointing from one to the other in a circular manner.

The Dos and Don’ts for Bystanders in Situations of Danger and Intimidation

picture of the words "peace" and "justice" with arrow pointing from one to the other in a circular manner.

Peace to Justice to Peace; meme courtesy of Word Clip Art

In December, after the increase in hate crimes, intimidation, and interpersonal violence across the United States, the American Friends Service Committee put out a statement on how you, as a bystander, can help without escalating these types of dangerous situations.

As a person who believes that all peoples are and should be welcome, I think these do’s and don’ts are something that all of us should take heed of and act on when we come across these intimidating situations.

Help make your town a welcoming community. Here are the general Do’s and Don’ts when you witness these potentially dangerous activities.  For more on each “Do” and “Don’t,” click here to download and read the details.

Do:

  • Do make your presence as a witness known.
  • Do take cues from the individual being harassed.
  • Do keep both of you safe.

Don’t:

  • Don’t call the police.
  • Don’t escalate the situation.
  • Don’t do nothing.
black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words, "Democracy is Dissent."

What to Do This Week of Jan 1, 2017

black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words, "Democracy is Dissent."

Democracy is Dissent. A statement declaring that we have a 1st Amendment constitutional right “of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress.”

This morning I received an email copy of a blog from one of the bloggers that I follow. She had reblogged a posting from another blogger (Jennifer Hofman). Ms. Hofman has created a weekly to-do/action list on what you can do to support our brothers/sisters/cis-gender friends, neighbors, and colleagues against the right-wing backlash we have seen with the incoming presidency of Donald Trump.  Actions dealing with “free speech, the right to practice a religion, the new right to be married to my wife, to dissent, and privacy” are just some of the areas on which this weekly to-do list focuses.

This week she suggests we all contact the chairs of the US Senate Committees that are tasked with processing and holding the confirmation hearings on Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees for the Departments of State, Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury as well as the Office of Management and Budget.  All of these departments have an effect on the civil rights, safety, and daily lives of people here in the US as well as for people around the world.

Ms. Hofman states that these nominees create a significant risk of our lives.  She says,

“[We] will have a president… whose incoming cabinet has deep ties to foreign leaders, big oil, and racist ideology. For anyone who isn’t white, straight, male, and worth more than a million dollars our, incoming leadership appears to care little about you.

But this is not who we are. We still have a voice. “If you feel hopeless, it’s because you’re not doing enough.” When I wake up filled with dread, these words remind me– don’t fret, just do more.

Do something.“

I agree!  Make these calls today!

So here is this week’s TO-DO List.

What to Do This Week of Jan 1, 2017

Actions for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of conscience

There are two weeks until DJT takes office

The intention of this weekly document is to make clear suggestions for action backed with well-considered research. You don’t need to do them all–just the ones that align with your values and abilities. If an issue doesn’t affect you, consider whether you would support this issue on behalf of other Americans and act accordingly.

Although these topics have been well researched and are intended to be helpful, they are still subject to human error. Please do your own research!

If you’d like to subscribe to this weekly action list, please go here:

http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

Happy New Year

This is a long one. But we’ll start with good news and end with a whole slew of more good news, okay?

The power of our voices

First of all, with less than 24 hours notice, the people opposed an effort to gut the independent congressional ethics committee in favor of self-policing and–get this–it WORKED. Although most news sources are crediting djt’s statement with the abrupt change of course, insiders are saying it was public outrage that did it, specifically phone calls.

Congresswo/men want to be reelected. When you speak up, they listen.

The risks ahead of us

On Jan 20, we will have a president who doesn’t respect the constitution, whose advisers deal in conspiracy theories and fear mongering, and whose incoming cabinet has deep ties to foreign leaders, big oil, and racist ideology. For anyone who isn’t white, straight, male, and worth more than a million dollars our, incoming leadership appears to care little about you.

But this is not who we are. We still have a voice. “If you feel hopeless, it’s because you’re not doing enough.” When I wake up filled with dread, these words remind me– don’t fret, just do more.

Do something.

How to act strategically

Which brings us to this week’s action checklist. As Americans of conscience, the most important issue for action is the senate’s cabinet confirmation hearings.

We must oppose djt’s many nominees who have unprecedented conflicts of interest that risk the integrity of our democracy. The good news? Speaking up might effect change since the senate needs 51 votes to confirm, and Republicans hold only 52 spots. Don’t assume your senators will make the right choice for our country. Be clear and unyielding.

Make calls. It works. Based on the advice of my own senator’s staff, make these calls before hearings begin on Jan 10. This means right now, for each cabinet appointee you feel is unfit to serve, there are two specific actions to take:

  1. Tell the Senate committee chair (Republican) you oppose the nominee.
  2. Tell the Senate ranking member (Democrat) you oppose the nominee.
  1. Optional: You can also call your own two senators to let them know.

Note: Do leave a message if you get voicemail or call after hours.

The following seven people are the Senate Democrats’ official “oppose” list. I’ll be suggesting more in next week’s email. Appointments with an asterisk* were major donors to djt campaign and/or PACs.

  1. Oppose Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson for ties to Exxon and Russia (source)

Committee: Foreign Relations Committee (more deets)

Call: Chair Bob Corker (R-TN) 202-224-3344

Call: Ranking member Ben Cardin (D-MD) 202-224-4524

Script: I am calling to oppose Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. His ties to Russia and Exxon are a risk to our nation’s integrity and security.

  1. Oppose Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions for racial bias and opposition to LGBT rights (source)

Committee: Senate Judiciary Committee (deets) hearings on Jan 10 and 11

Call: Chair Chuck Grassley 202-224-3744

Call: Ranking member Patrick Leahy 202-224-4242

Script: I am calling to oppose Jeff Sessions for Attorney General because I believe in the rights of gays and lesbians and people of color.

3. Oppose Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Price for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). (source)

Committee: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (deets) Note: this is the same committee as for Betsy DeVos and Andy Puzder (below), so combine them if you wish.

Call: Chairman Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944

Call: Ranking member Patty Murray 202-224-2621

Script: I am calling to oppose Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human services. I believe we should be expanding health care coverage for Americans, not making it more difficult to access and afford.

4. Oppose Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos* for her support of diverting tax dollars to private schools. (source)

Committee: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (deets)

Call: Chairman Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944

Call: Ranking member Patty Murray 202-224-2621

Script: I am calling to oppose Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. I believe my tax dollars should fund a robust and free primary education to all Americans. Her plans would leave public schools even more underfunded.

5. Oppose Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder* for his opposition to workers rights and fair wages (source) (implications)

Committee: Hearing on Jan 12 (deets) Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

Call: Chairman Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944

Call: Ranking member Patty Murray 202-224-2621

Script: I am calling to oppose Andy Puzder for Labor Secretary. I value fair wages and worker’s rights, and Mr. Puzder seeks to weaken both.

  1. Oppose Mick Mulvaney’s appointment to Director of Management and Budget Office. (source) (opinion)

Committee 1: Senate Budget Committee (deets)

            Call: Chairman Mike Enzi 202-224-3424

            Call: Ranking member Bernie Sanders 202-224-5141

Committee 2: Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (deets)

Call: Chairman Ron Johnson 202-224-5323

Call: Incoming ranking member Claire McCaskill 202-224-6154

Script: I am calling to oppose Mick Mulvaney’s appointment. I believe in honoring our country’s financial obligations and supporting affordable healthcare.

7. Oppose Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin for his history of predatory business practices (source)

Committee: Senate Finance Committee (deets)

Call: Chairman Orrin Hatch 202-224-5251

Call: Ranking member Ron Wyden 202-224-5244

Script: I am calling to oppose Steven Mnuchin (m’NOO-chin) for Treasury Secretary. I believe someone in this role needs to have a history of solid ethics and integrity.

Edit: I got an email from someone asking for clarification [on why we should be calling Senators who do not directly represent us]. Normally senators don’t want to hear from non-constituents. Here’s my reply:

Yes, that is absolutely 100% normally the case. However, we’re contacting them specifically in their role as leaders of the senate committee that will be vetting a cabinet member. Because of this, they absolutely need to hear from all constituents. It is also useful to contact one’s own senators about who you’re opposing, but for cabinet positions, we’ve got to tell the committee leaders how we feel and what we value.

Recommended reading

Not normal

Good news

At last! I promised a whole slew of good news, so here is your reward for making all those phone calls. You did make those calls, right?

Housekeeping

  • If you’d like to subscribe for this weekly message, please visit this link.
  • To see archives of What To Do checklists, click here (and scroll to the bottom)
  • If you’d like to contribute, click here.

Final action

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We’re stronger together!

 

 

Graphic of a government building saying that the Electoral College member should not be bound by party but by voting of the candidate who is qualified.

Letter to Electoral College Members

 

Graphic of a government building saying that the Electoral College member should not be bound by party but by voting of the candidate who is qualified.

The Electors need to join the 156 “faithless” electors in our nation’s history by putting country above party.

 

 

I received an email asking me to write to some or all of the electors across the country in the 2017 Electoral College. I decided to just focus on the 21 Trump electors here in Pennsylvania.

I took their letter and did some customization.  If you want to do the same, you can go to http://directelection.org to get the instructions and letter to customize and send out yourself.  Note, these letters MUST get to the recipients before Monday, November 19 before they vote.

Here’s what I said  in the letters I just put into the mail:

I am writing to you in your capacity as a presidential elector. I don’t envy the responsibility that you bear during these difficult times when we face a new split between the popular and apparent electoral votes. While I believe that Hillary Clinton’s popular margin of victory, over 2.5 million votes nationwide, ought to convince the electors to vote for her, I am writing to ask you to choose her for a different reason: that the Electoral College was designed specifically to bar people like Donald Trump from the presidency.

Our presidential system, conceived in 1787 and not amended since 1804, empowers the electors to use their wise judgment to choose our president. Whatever we may think of this system now, there were sound reasons for it at the time.

Among these reasons for the Electoral College is to ensure that the incoming president has the requisite qualifications, abilities, skills and ethics to do the job. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Paper 68:

“The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

Donald Trump continues to demonstrate that he lacks the necessary qualifications and skills for the presidency.

There are many reasons to reject Donald Trump as unfit to be president. I will name just one: he will pervert our standards of law and ethics by using the presidency to enrich himself and his family. He has been sued more than any candidate in our history. On November 18, he agreed to pay $25 million to settle lawsuits alleging fraud at his “Trump University.” Since the election, he and his children have continued to pursue their business interests with foreign leaders.

And now Mr. Trump has stated that he will not announce how he will handle this conflict until after the Electoral College meets. This, IMHO, is a major concern because you, as my elector, have limited, if any, information to make a qualified vote on this grave ethical and constitutional issue.

As Richard Painter, President George W. Bush’s chief ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007, has pointed out, Donald Trump’s hotel in D.C. would violate Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution, which bars officers from receiving profit or gain from foreign powers. We don’t even know the range of his interests because he has refused to release his tax returns or place his companies in a true blind trust. Let’s not inaugurate a president whose greed destines him for impeachment.

I am grateful for your service to our nation as an elector. You may, in fact, believe that Donald Trump would make a better president than Hillary Clinton or anyone else. But if you share my fear that Trump would weaken and shame our country, then I encourage you to exercise the power granted you by the Constitution and join the 156 “faithless” electors in our nation’s history by putting country above party and blocking Donald Trump from the presidency.

Hamilton would have wanted you to do so.

So would I.

Thank you!

 

Text of proclamation: The County of Centre Proclamation: NUMBER 35 OF 2016 WHEREAS, for the past several years the National Coalition for the Homeless and National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness have sponsored National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week; and WHEREAS, the purpose of this week, is to educate the public about the many reasons people are hungry and homeless including the shortage of affordable housing, housing discrimination especially towards people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities and single parents, the need to economic investment in rural communities and the lack of cost of living increases to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); and WHEREAS, there are many organizations committed to sheltering, and providing supportive services; and WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women's core values is economic justice which includes services for residents and programs to reduce hunger and homelessness; and WHEREAS, the Centre County Commissioners recognize that hunger and homelessness continues to be a serious problem for many individuals and families in Centre County; NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Centre County Board of Commissioners does hereby proclaim November 12-20, 2016 as” National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week” in Centre County and encourages all residents to seek out activities and organizations to promote education on these issues. ADOPTED this 15th day of November, 2016 CENTRE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

National Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week

This week is National Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week. This week “hundreds of colleges, churches, community groups, and service agencies” from around the country gather in each of their communities to highlight the issues of poverty. We focus on the impact of poverty – housing insufficiency, food insufficiency, and homelessness.

This morning,  the Centre County Commissioners presented Ni-Ta-Nee NOW with a proclamation declaring November 12-20, 2016 (slightly longer than one week in our case) as “National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.”  I accepted the proclamation on behalf of NOW and then spoke in general as to why this is an important issue.

picture of the three Centre County Commissioners presenting the proclamation to Ni-Ta-Nee NOW.

Centre County Commissioners presenting the “National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week” proclamation to Ni-Ta-Nee NOW. L. to R.: Mark Higgins, Michael Pipe, Joanne Tosti-Vasey, and Steve Dershem.

Hunger and homelessness is a problem in our county as well as the rest of the United States for low-income people and women fleeing violence in the home. I spoke about this problem at the public meeting and indicated to the public that we want our community to know that hunger and homelessness is a problem here in Centre County. I also talked about where you can receive services here in the county if you are hungry, homeless, or are at threat of becoming hungry and homeless.

We worked with the Commissioners to create this proclamation. The public meeting will be aired on our local public cable station and printed in at least one local newspaper.

Here is the proclamation:

Text of proclamation: The County of Centre Proclamation: NUMBER 35 OF 2016 WHEREAS, for the past several years the National Coalition for the Homeless and National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness have sponsored National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week; and WHEREAS, the purpose of this week, is to educate the public about the many reasons people are hungry and homeless including the shortage of affordable housing, housing discrimination especially towards people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities and single parents, the need to economic investment in rural communities and the lack of cost of living increases to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); and WHEREAS, there are many organizations committed to sheltering, and providing supportive services; and WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women's core values is economic justice which includes services for residents and programs to reduce hunger and homelessness; and WHEREAS, the Centre County Commissioners recognize that hunger and homelessness continues to be a serious problem for many individuals and families in Centre County; NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Centre County Board of Commissioners does hereby proclaim November 12-20, 2016 as” National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week” in Centre County and encourages all residents to seek out activities and organizations to promote education on these issues. ADOPTED this 15th day of November, 2016 CENTRE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Proclamation by Centre County Commissioners declaring Nov. 12-20, 2016 National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week.

And here’s the written text of my thank you to the Commissioners.

I’m Joanne Tosti-Vasey, Vice President – Action of Ni-Ta-Nee NOW. Ni-Ta-Nee NOW is the local chapter of the National Organization for Women. Michele Hamilton—our local chapter president and President of Pennsylvania NOW—sends her regrets for being unable to be here this morning.

First of all, thank you, Mike, Mark, and Steve for acknowledging this week on behalf of the county.

We want to thank all the programs that are working to alleviate hunger and homelessness in Centre County. Programs include the various food banks, Meals on Wheels, Out of the Cold, Housing Transitions, the Women’s Resource Center and the Youth Service Bureau.

We also appreciate those working to protect the rights of people seeking permanent housing, especially MidPenn Legal Services.

The National Organization for Women knows and understands that sensitively and appropriately dealing with housing insecurity, food insecurity, and homelessness is necessary to maintain the health, employment, and educational opportunities for all as well as dealing with the safety issues of women and their families who have to or need to flee violence.

So, once again, thank you for acknowledging this week and the need to focus on hunger and homeless throughout the county.

I Believe and I Vote

I believe in democracy.
I believe in every citizens’ right to vote.
Without intimidation or fear.
I believe in justice and opportunity for all.
For our Mothers, Daughters, and Sisters…
For our Fathers, Sons, and Brothers.
… It’s the American Way.
What about you?
Remember in November!
VOTE!

Words are very powerful.  Sometimes, however, pictures are worth a 1000 words.

Here’s one such video.  Believe in yourself and your power as a voter.  Get out and vote!

Complete Video with audio 10-10-2016 from George Polisner on Vimeo.

Civic Works -GOTV Video for 2016 -George Polisner and Muhammad Azim.