Posted: 18 May 2017 05:06 AM PDT
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- Last evening, the Dept. of Justice took a step in the right direction by appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and ties between Russia and the Trump administration. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/robert-mueller-will-serve-as-special-prosecutor-on-russia/527121/ Let’s thank Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for taking this crisis seriously and doing the right thing. We can reach him at: U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001 or here: https://www.justice.gov/doj/webform/your-message-department-justice
- Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) has been fighting for an independent commission on #TrumpRussia, and yesterday he filed a discharge petition to move the bill forward. (https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-05-11/justin-amash-backing-eric-swalwell-bill-calling-for-independent-russia-commission) As former Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) said on his Facebook page yesterday, ” Appointing a Special Counsel to conduct the investigation into Russia’s involvement in our elections and any connections to the Trump campaign or administration is necessary given recent developments. But the scope of a Special Counsel’s jurisdiction is limited to criminal misconduct. The public deserves a full investigation and understanding of the role of Russia in our elections and Russia’s connections to the Trump campaign and administration, whether or not there were any crimes — and only Congress can accomplish that. Congress needs to continue to carry out a full, fact-based, bipartisan investigation, and it should have the resources to do it fully, fairly and promptly.” With a discharge petition, if a majority of the House signs they can force a vote on legislation even if the GOP leadership does not want to schedule one. Let’s call our reps and urge them to sign the petition!
- As news that Trump reportedly asked then FBI Director James Comey to quash the Flynn investigation sinks in, Congress is increasingly in a flurry: http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/congress-rattled-reports-trump-tried-end-flynn-probe-n760521 and http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/333739-the-memo-gop-anger-at-trump-is-building Now is the time to be in touch with your MoC, particularly if Republican, to ask for their leadership at this difficult time. Please also reach out to friends and family in “red” states and districts to directly ask them to be in touch with their MoC and consider including contact information to make it easier for them to take action.
- Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price spoke disparagingly and contrary to evidence regarding treatment of opioid addiction, which garnered him a letter signed by 700 researchers and practitioners seeking to set the record straight: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/05/16/528614422/prices-remarks-on-opioid-treatment-were-unscientific-and-damaging-experts-say Let’s let Secretary Price know that the epidemic is damaging enough without sowing confusion about effective treatment:The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20201
- From Grandmothers in Action: “Anyone who cares about the credibility of the American electoral crisis should want a thorough investigation of whether and how Russia interfered in the election and through whom.” (New York Times Editorial, 5/12/17) Here is the new postcard effort for us grandmothers: we urge you to join fellow Grandmothers in stepping up the pressure on Republican members of the Intelligence and Justice Committees to do their sworn duty. [Here] is a list of committee members, a template of the card to be printed on canary yellow card stock, and the usual suggestion that you write a short note as you sign and address the cards. Something like “It’s time to put country over party” or “We’re counting on you.” Template here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0k1qCMVpKZpRjRUdU52VldwSjg Details and addresses here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0k1qCMVpKZpckMzVlNDa1NNM3lTbU9BSDAzaDFseHc3TUc4
- It is evidence of the fear Trump has instilled in immigrants and their advocates that NYC Mayor DeBlasio’s press secretary’s tweet that ICE agents had visited an elementary school in Queens caused a instant storm of objection. Luckily, it is also evidence that we are at the ready to defend immigrants, whose deportation is up 38% compared to this time last year. However, it turns out the “ICE agents” actually came from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency with no power to enforce immigration law but rather responsibility for immigrant benefits. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/nyregion/when-federal-agents-visit-a-queens-school-outrage-flows.html It is essential that the heightened fear Trump has instilled not be worsened by local misinformation. Perhaps we should make this point to DeBlasio: (http://www1.nyc.gov/home/contact-us.page) and other local officials.
- While the attention is on Trump’s scandals, the GOP is continuing to attack vital protections for American food, water, workers and kids by pushing through the Regulatory Accountability Act. (http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/03/the-coming-gop-assault-on-regulations-000351). Here’s the Environmental Defense Fund’s case against it: http://blogs.edf.org/health/2017/05/11/red-tape-and-over-reach-that-is-the-regulatory-accountability-act-in-a-word-and-a-graphic/. This legislation has already passed the House, so let’s call our senators and make sure they know we’re paying attention and want them to push back against this bill.
- From Postcards for America: Here is a #CountryBeforeParty postcard effort in which we can all take part: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10Jrqri34i0YCjAnVOGU4dm58ux-L-Ytoe5c1RojoinM/edit
- Rep Ted Lieu (CA-D) introduces the SWAMP BILL, (Stop Waste and Misuse by President). The bill requires the president to pay back to the government all public money spent at his properties. “Act states that Trump’s visits to his own properties “results in the American taxpayer effectively subsidizing the president’s businesses.” http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/333678-dem-floats-bill-to-make-trump-refund-travel-costs Let’s call our Representatives and support this Swamp for the passage of this bill to recover those monies spent at Trump properties
- CORRECTED LINK: The American Library Association is warning us that federal funding for vital library services is in danger. May 19th is the deadline to send letters to support FY 2018 funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. Contact both of your Senators and ask them to support federal funding for libraries by signing on to both the Reed/Collins LSTA and Reed/Grassley/Stabenow IAL Dear Appropriator letters. Many Senators will only sign if their constituents ask them to. Let them know why libraries are important to your community and ask them directly to show their support. Not sure if your Senators have signed? https://airtable.com/shrbwBqmeYMWSYu2f/tblibE5jSCHVLvFmx/viw6jssU5hI83m3jY If they haven’t yet signed, give them a call and ask them to “please support federal library funding by signing both the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Given the President’s proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and virtually all other library funding sources, the support of both your Senators is more important than ever before. Five minutes of your time could help preserve over $210 million in library funding that’s at serious risk.
- Journalists with integrity have been at the forefront of the #resistance continually trying to find and present the truth to the American people. Trump does not care for the actual version of the truth and is alleged to have gone so far as to ask Comey if could jail some journalists. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/17/trump-news-james-comey-jail-journalists We all have our favorite news sources and reporters. Let’s reach out to them and thank them for their work and their courage.
- “500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the United States alone. That’s 175 Billion a year filtering into landfills (environment) and littering our waterways and oceans”. We can be better stewards. Let’s join The Last Plastic Straw and help eliminate plastic drinking straws from our landfills, our streams, our oceans, and our beaches. Simply request “no straw” at bars & restaurants and share your commitment with others. Encourage your favorite restaurant or bar to only provide straws on request from the customer and to use compostable or reusable options to the plastic straw. We can follow them on Facebook, too: https://www.facebook.com/TheLastPlasticStraw and on Twitter: @NoPlasticStraws
- Next Thursday, Rob Quist faces off against a rubber stamp for Trump in the special election for Montana’s seat in the House of Representatives. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/05/05/pence-set-to-stump-for-republican-in-montanas-open-house-race/?utm_term=.66b431ce866c) Let’s help him send Trump a message by getting another Democrat elected to Congress. We can find phone bank parties near us organized by Swing Left (or learn how to host our own!) at this link: https://swingleft.org/special-election-house-parties.
- While other television news stations were focused on the White House situation, Fox News spent time on the murder of Seth Rich using false information from someone purporting to be representing the deceased’s family. Rich’s family “is officially asking for a retraction & an apology from Fox News. http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/05/17/seth_rich_family_asks_fox_news_for_apology.html Once again, let’s let Fox News know that if they are going to be in the business of news that they make it real. Fox News: Fox News, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10036
- To commemorate the one year mark since the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, the Orlando LGBTQ community has set up an “Honor Them With Action” campaign. We can sign up to participate in honoring the victims of the Pulse massacre, and the Honor Them With Action website has examples of how we can do so: https://honorthemwithaction.org/individuals/
- With all that’s happening in Washington, it’s important not to lose sight of the states, where the Republicans are continuing to push burdens on voting rights to keep themselves in power. There’s a special election for a vacant House seat in New Hampshire on May 23rd, and they need our help! (http://www.unionleader.com/state-government/McLean-Morin-to-square-off-for-vacant-House-District-44-seat-04042017) Let’s join America Votes in making calls for James Morin – we can get set up by e-mailing Mike O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Equality March for Unity and Pride will take place, internationally, on June 11th. This march will focus on bringing awareness to the overt and systemic discrimination that members of the LGBTQ+ community face. To learn more about this event and find a participating city near us: http://www.equalitymarch2017.org/
- After the huge success of Mama’s Bail Out Day last week, the Movement For Black Lives has compiled a list of action items we can take to continue the fight against monetary-based bail outs: 1) Donations are still being accepted to help bail mama’s out: https://brooklynbailfund.org/national-bail-out-day-donate 2) We can also register for National Bail Out’s webinar, which takes place Thursday, May 25th. The webinar will focus on bail reform and how we can effect change: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/0a5c4ea4c6fe399ecde7dc3c8da9331e and 3) We can also call on our Representatives to cosponsor and support the No Money Bail Act (H.R. 1437) of 2017: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1437
Petitions to Sign
- Let’s join these many partners in telling Congress to pass the “Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act” to lower drug prices and rein in abuses by pharmaceutical corporations: https://www.signherenow.org/petition/rx-drugs/o/
- In the meantime, Flint, MI still does not have clean water. To make matters worse, “Over 8,000 people in Flint currently risk foreclosure on their homes. The city recently issued a number of notices warning that officials would pursue tax liens if Flint residents did not pay their overdue water bills.” These people may well lose their homes for not having drinkable water. http://www.care2.com/causes/8000-flint-residents-face-foreclosure-for-failing-to-pay-for-poisoned-water.html There is a bill sitting on Gov. Snyder’s desk that would send $100 million to Flint, but he has yet to sign it. Let’s tell him to get it signed to help these folks, not take their homes and let’s tell Flint officials as well: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/396/079/048/TAP=1007&cid=causes_petition_postinfo/
- The FCC votes on Net Neutrality today. Let’s join the ACLU in asking the FCC not to reverse the 2015 rules that keep the Internet open, free, and democratic for all. https://action.aclu.org/secure/keep-internet-free
- This simple slideshow, by NYT Turkey correspondent Patrick Kingsley, offers his first-hand view of President Erdoğan’s Turkey who Trump welcomed at the White House this week. We might be surprised to recognize in this presentation a deep and bitter ideological division in contemporary Turkey that resembles what we are experiencing right here at home. Just click through the images and clips. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/16/world/europe/17turkey.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1
- “What Would Happen if Donald Trump Were Impeached?” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/16/donald-trump-impeachment-russia-investigation-nixon
- EPA asked the public which regulations to gut — and got an earful about leaving them alone: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/05/16/epa-asked-the-public-which-regulations-to-gut-and-got-an-earful-about-leaving-them-alone/?utm_term=.6c64cf0654f9
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