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

What to Do This Week of Jan 8, 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. 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.”

As promised, I am once again reblogging Jennifer Hofman’s weekly “To Do” list.  This week’s actions focus on more Cabinet-level nominees. These include

  • Ben Carson for Health and Human Development
  • General John Kelly for Homeland Security
  • Scott Pruitt for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Former Texas Governor Rick Perry for Energy
  • Wilbur Ross for Commerce
  • General James Mattis for Defense
  • Mike Pompeo for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

After making your calls, read the links at the end of the blog to see the good news she lists.  As a teaser, here’s some of the good news she includes:

  • President Obama bans drilling in the Atlantic and the Artic Oceans (for as long as this can last under the new administration).
  • Several senators introduces legislation that would ban discriminatory registries.
  • Charles Feeney, the “James Bond of Philanthropy” gives the last $7,000,000 of his multi-billion dollar fortune to Cornell University to support students doing community service. Other donations over the years have spanned the fields of education, human rights, peace, scientific research, and public health
  • and more…

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

What to Do This Week of Jan 8, 2017

Actions for Democrats, Independents, & Republicans of Conscience

The intention of this weekly document is to make clear suggestions for action backed with well-considered research. Although these actions 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/

The most important thing this week: Senate confirmation hearings

This is a second dense action list in a row, but I promise you a ton of good news at the end as your reward.

In yet another unprecedented action, most of djt’s cabinet appointment hearings are stacked together starting Tuesday this week. Some will have hearings without a completed ethics review from the Office of Government Ethics. Even if you don’t think this is evasive and creepy, this schedule will make it hard for the OGE, the press, and the American public to understand who the new cabinet leaders are and assess their conflicts of interest.

What you can do is put pressure on the Senate committees so they know we’re paying attention.Yes, making calls can be stressful, but it’s working. Staffers are telling us they’re hearing from lots of people. Never underestimate the power of your voice.

Edited: If you oppose djt skipping the ethics process for the first time in four decades, go to Wall of Us for very clear instructions on how to protest this creepiness.

Here’s their link (and I suggest following them too!) Today (Sunday) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said no votes would be permitted until ethics paperwork is filed. It is good new, however, depending on when they’re filed, it doesn’t allow committees review the materials before hearings (the way Obama’s administration did eight years ago).

Your voice matters

For each cabinet appointee you feel is unfit to serve, take two specific actions:

  1. Tell the Senate committee chair (Republican) you oppose the nominee.
  2. Tell the Senate ranking member (Democrat) you oppose the nominee.
  3. Optional: Call your own two senators to oppose–especially if you are a Republican.

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

Make the calls

  1. Oppose Housing and Urban Development Secretary appointee, Ben Carson.

Committee: Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

Call: Chair Richard Shelby 202-224-5744

Call: Ranking member Sherrod Brown 202-224-2315 (may be full?)

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. I would like him to know I oppose Ben Carson for HUD Secretary. I’m concerned about Carson’s lack of experience and opposition to this department. (source)

  1. Oppose Homeland Security Secretary appointee, Gen. John Kelly.

Committee: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Call: Chair Ron Johnson 202-224-5323

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

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his/her role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. I would like him/her to know I oppose General John Kelly for Secretary of Homeland Security. Not because he is unqualified, but I oppose militarizing the US cabinet. (source source)

  1. Oppose Environmental Protection Agency appointee, Scott Pruitt.

Committee: Senate Environment and Public Works

Call: Chair John Barrasso 202-224-6441

Call: Incoming ranking member Tom Carper 202-224-2441

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. I would like him to know I oppose Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator. I’m concerned about his climate denial, anti-EPA lawsuit, and ties to the energy industry. (source)

  1. Oppose Energy Secretary appointee, Rick Perry.

Committee: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Call: Chair Lisa Murkowski 202-224-6665

Call: Ranking member Maria Cantwell 202-224-3441

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in her role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee. I would like her to know I oppose Rick Perry for Energy Secretary. I’m concerned about his ties to oil, climate denial, and history of opposition to this agency. (source)

Only three more! You can do it!

  1. Oppose Commerce Secretary appointee, Wilbur Ross.

Committee: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Call: Chair John Thune 202-224-2321

Call: Ranking member Bill Nelson 202-224-5274

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee. I would like him to know I oppose Wilbur Ross for Commerce Secretary. I’m concerned about his deep financial ties to Russia. (source)

  1. Oppose Defense Secretary nominee, Gen. James Mattis.

Committee: Senate Armed Services

Call: Chair John McCain 202-224-2235

Call: Ranking member Jack Reed 202-224-4642

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I would like him to know I oppose General James Mattis for Secretary of Homeland Security. He may be qualified, but we at a dangerous precedent when militarizing civilian cabinet posts. (source source)

  1. Oppose CIA Director appointment, Mike Pompeo.

Committee: Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Call: Chair Richard Burr 202-224-3154

Call: Vice chair Mark Warner 202-224-2023

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the chair/vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I would like him to know I oppose Mike Pompeo for CIA director. I’m concerned about someone who supports government surveillance, torture, and religious oppression leading this vital agency. (source)

Still have time?

Last week’s email had seven additional cabinet appointees to oppose–some of whom will have a hearing this week. If you haven’t yet called to oppose them, here’s the link to last week’s document.

Good news

You did it! Here’s your reward: news of actual humans being kind, supporting each other, and standing up for what’s right. We are still a fantastic, diverse country (in case you needed a reminder).

  1. Some Rockettes choose to sit out on inauguration (story from Rolling Stone)
  2. Vermont governor pardons 192 non-violent marijuana convictions (story from NYT)
  3. A&E cancels plans for Escaping the KKK documentary (story from WaPo)
  4. Obama vaporizes anti-Muslim NSEERS program (story from Vox)
  5. A bunch of awesome senators introduce legislation blocking discriminatory registries (press release)
  6. Obama bans drilling in Arctic and Atlantic oceans (story from The Guardian)
  7. Adorable reaction of bystander to lesbian wedding proposal (from HuffPo)
  8. Billionaire donates the last of his fortune to charity (story from NYT)
  9. This will make you tear up. There are GOOD people in the world. (from newsner)

TOLD you there was good news!

Final action

  • Please share any or all content in this message today (no attribution needed).
  • Tweet: Oppose djt’s cabinet appointments before hearings start Tues! Deets:
  • Facebook: Cabinet hearings start on Tuesday and this list makes it easy to oppose them. Take action today!

Housekeeping

  • If you’d like to subscribe to 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.

We’re stronger together!

 

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

Nominee Hearings: Make America Corrupt Again

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.”

Some cabinet-level hearings have started. Several others are scheduled over the next two weeks before the presidential inauguration. Most are problematic. Here’s what Nel has to say about these next two weeks.

Check out my other blogs (click here and here) to find the Senate Committee chairs’ phone numbers where you can call to raise your opposition to the problematic cabinet-level nominations.

Meanwhile, here’s what Nel has to say about these next two weeks.

 

Nel's New Day

Writing about the timing for Senate confirmation hearings—at least accurately!—has become almost impossible. A few days, I was bemoaning how Cabinet members are being rushed through without deliberation, but every hour seems to change the GOP game plan. Originally, six Cabinet-level confirmations were scheduled on the same day that the chamber works on the budget (that one that grows the deficit by $10 trillion in the next decade) and Donald Trump (DT) gives his first press conference in six months to divert attention from his nominees. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said, “There is a whole lot of: ‘Don’t watch what we’re doing here.” Watchers now, however, can see how the GOP is failing at its job.

The inability of Betsy DeVos (Department of Education) put off her hearing until next Tuesday in the hopes that she can finished her required ethics paperwork. Her investment in a for-profit charter school would…

View original post 1,113 more words

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

Spread the word! Please share any or all content in this message today (no attribution needed).

Tweet: Seriously awesome action checklist for this week! https://goo.gl/UTwsEH

Facebook: This is a seriously awesome way to take action! Sign up for the What To Do action checklist and make positive change today! https://goo.gl/UTwsEH

We’re stronger together!