Impeachment Proceedings

Impeachment Inquiry, October 16 Update

Call your Members of Congress (MoCs) to express support for the impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives, and encourage all your friends across the country to do the same. 

 

Also, your 2019 To-Do List:

https://onethingyoucando.com/your-2019-to-do-list/

 

And if you need to do something NowRightNow to fight against [Fresh Horror]:

https://onethingyoucando.com/want-to-do-more/

 

So. It’s time, and it’s been time. The House of Representatives has finally opened an impeachment inquiry.

 

Trump’s actions in the Ukraine scandal kicked it off, but since then, there’s been an absolute torrent of news about impeachable offenses and things relating to impeachable offenses.

 

This is of course on top of the vast, wobbling pile of impeachable offenses that Trump had racked up from pretty much the instant he finished taking the oath on Inauguration Day 2017.

 

What you need to be doing now is calling your MoCs every day to support the impeachment inquiry, and you need to ask friends and family in red states to do the same.

 

Yes, you need to do this even though we’re still in the inquiry stage, which means only the House of Representatives is directly involved. Once the House draws articles of impeachment, they go to the Senate, where the 100 senators serve as a jury. Even though it’s not the Senate’s turn yet, you need to pressure your Senators and keep impeachment on their radar.

 

Yes, you need to make these calls even if you have bullheaded blood-red GOP Senators. Their offices log all the calls they get on various issues, even if they don’t agree with the stances of the constituents who call. You can pressure them and make them sweat through the brute force of the volume of the calls.

 

Here’s the thing. OTYCDis largely written by me, Sarah Jane, and since the news of the Ukraine whistleblower’s complaint came to light, events have moved too fast for me to write and rewrite a calling script over the course of the day. I’m not in a position to be able to update impeachment inquiry calling scripts 24/7 on the fly.

 

Before you call, check the Twitter feed of Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter), so you can tailor your comment about the impeachment inquiry to the day’s events. 

 

She is quick on the draw with calling scripts, and will have a template you can use or adapt when making your calls to MoCs.

 

Important backstory: Impeachment starts in the House of Representatives before moving to the Senate. An impeachment inquiry, which is what’s happening now, is pretty much like the grand jury stage of legal proceedings—witnesses are called, and a fair amount is done in secret.

 

When you hear the phrase “impeachment and removal,” that refers to the House acting to impeach and the Senate voting to remove Trump from the office of the president. While the U.S. Congress has impeached presidents, none have been removed—they’ve either quit before the Senate trial and vote, or the Senate voted to acquit.

 

Only the House is actively involved in impeachment proceedings right now. Your House rep may be in a position to act on the impeachment inquiry. Your calls to your rep should focus on things your rep can do.

 

You should call your Senators even though the Senate is not involved yet. These calls should start with “I realize the House is still working on impeachment” or some other statement that recognizes it’s not yet with the Senate.

 

Rephrase your statement for your House rep in terms that ask your Senators to publicly support the recent actions of House Dems, or to make note of the recent actions and ready themselves to be jurors.

 

Another point I like to hit when talking to my Senators, who are both Dems, is to talk to their GOP colleagues. I’ve asked them to stress the fact that we’ve had almost three years to watch Trump’s performance in the job, and the only thing he’s learning is how to stifle oversight and abuse the powers of the presidency more effectively. I also ask them to voice the fact that things are only going to get worse, not better, until Trump is impeached and removed.

 

Point friends and family to Celeste’s feed as well, or copy and paste Pewter’s latest script and send it to them, if that works best.

 

Making phone calls is still the best way to reach your MoCs. If it’s after hours or a weekend, leave a voicemail. If you can’t call your reps, email them.

 

Help friends find their MoCs and the relevant contact information for each of the three.

 

Give them all the help and support they need to make the calls. Don’t nag. Just encourage, and celebrate every action they take.

 

After you make your daily MoC calls, please show your appreciation for Celeste Pewter in some fashion.

 

You can follow her on Twitter: @Celeste_Pewter

 

You can tweet about calling your MoCs, using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

You can follow @ICalledMyReps on Twitter.

 

And you can subscribe to her peerless newsletter, It’s Time to Fight:

http://itstimetofight.weebly.com

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Doby clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Impeachment Proceedings

Impeachment Inquiry, October 15 Update and a Reminder: 2019 Elections in Three Weeks

Call your Members of Congress (MoCs) to express support for the impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives, and encourage all your friends across the country to do the same. 

 

And a reminder: 2019 elections take place in three weeks, on Tuesday, November 5. Check your local newspaper or its website to learn if elections are taking place near you. If not, go to Flippable and see how you can help elect Democrats in states that are holding elections.

 

Also, your 2019 To-Do List:

https://onethingyoucando.com/your-2019-to-do-list/

 

And if you need to do something NowRightNow to fight against [Fresh Horror]:

https://onethingyoucando.com/want-to-do-more/

 

So. It’s time, and it’s been time. The House of Representatives has finally opened an impeachment inquiry.

 

Trump’s actions in the Ukraine scandal kicked it off, but since then, there’s been an absolute torrent of news about impeachable offenses and things relating to impeachable offenses.

 

This is of course on top of the vast, wobbling pile of impeachable offenses that Trump had racked up from pretty much the instant he finished taking the oath on Inauguration Day 2017.

 

What you need to be doing now is calling your MoCs every day to support the impeachment inquiry, and you need to ask friends and family in red states to do the same.

 

Yes, you need to do this even though we’re still in the inquiry stage, which means only the House of Representatives is directly involved. Once the House draws articles of impeachment, they go to the Senate, where the 100 senators serve as a jury. Even though it’s not the Senate’s turn yet, you need to pressure your Senators and keep impeachment on their radar.

 

Yes, you need to make these calls even if you have bullheaded blood-red GOP Senators. Their offices log all the calls they get on various issues, even if they don’t agree with the stances of the constituents who call. You can pressure them and make them sweat through the brute force of the volume of the calls.

 

Here’s the thing. OTYCD is largely written by me, Sarah Jane, and since the news of the Ukraine whistleblower’s complaint came to light, events have moved too fast for me to write and rewrite a calling script over the course of the day. I’m not in a position to be able to update impeachment inquiry calling scripts 24/7 on the fly.

 

Before you call, check the Twitter feed of Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter), so you can tailor your comment about the impeachment inquiry to the day’s events. 

 

She is quick on the draw with calling scripts, and will have a template you can use or adapt when making your calls to MoCs.

 

Important backstory: Impeachment starts in the House of Representatives before moving to the Senate. An impeachment inquiry, which is what’s happening now, is pretty much like the grand jury stage of legal proceedings—witnesses are called, and a fair amount is done in secret.

 

When you hear the phrase “impeachment and removal,” that refers to the House acting to impeach and the Senate voting to remove Trump from the office of the president. While the U.S. Congress has impeached presidents, none have been removed—they’ve either quit before the Senate trial and vote, or the Senate voted to acquit.

 

Only the House is actively involved in impeachment proceedings right now. Your House rep may be in a position to act on the impeachment inquiry. Your calls to your rep should focus on things your rep can do.

 

You should call your Senators even though the Senate is not involved yet. These calls should start with “I realize the House is still working on impeachment” or some other statement that recognizes it’s not yet with the Senate.

 

Rephrase your statement for your House rep in terms that ask your Senators to publicly support the recent actions of House Dems, or to make note of the recent actions and ready themselves to be jurors.

 

Another point I like to hit when talking to my Senators, who are both Dems, is to talk to their GOP colleagues. I’ve asked them to stress the fact that we’ve had almost three years to watch Trump’s performance in the job, and the only thing he’s learning is how to stifle oversight and abuse the powers of the presidency more effectively. I also ask them to voice the fact that things are only going to get worse, not better, until Trump is impeached and removed.

 

Point friends and family to Celeste’s feed as well, or copy and paste Pewter’s latest script and send it to them, if that works best.

 

Making phone calls is still the best way to reach your MoCs. If it’s after hours or a weekend, leave a voicemail. If you can’t call your reps, email them.

 

Help friends find their MoCs and the relevant contact information for each of the three.

 

Give them all the help and support they need to make the calls. Don’t nag. Just encourage, and celebrate every action they take.

 

After you make your daily MoC calls, please show your appreciation for Celeste Pewter in some fashion.

 

You can follow her on Twitter: @Celeste_Pewter

 

You can tweet about calling your MoCs, using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

You can follow @ICalledMyReps on Twitter.

 

And you can subscribe to her peerless newsletter, It’s Time to Fight:

http://itstimetofight.weebly.com

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

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Believe It, You Matter: The “May Contain Peanuts” Presidency

This post originally appeared on OTYCD in April 2019.

 

Believe It, You Matter: The “May Contain Peanuts” presidency.

 

Sarah Jane here. I write all the Believe It, You Matter entries. Offering this in case it helps you talk to friends who might have voted for Trump in 2016, who lean Republican, and who are struggling with who to vote for in 2020.

 

Ok, so you go to the store and you buy a bag of peanuts. *As you’re having your snack, you idly flip it over and notice that on the back, in a far smaller font, there’s a warning:

 

May contain peanuts.

 

This despite the fact that it says PEANUTS in two-inch-high red letters on the front of the goddamn package.

 

Why the hell is that warning there?

 

It’s there because a) the company that sells the peanuts got sued by someone, and they got nailed for not having an explicit, legible warning printed on the package, or b) the lawyer for the company got spooked by a similar lawsuit and insisted they put that language on the package, just in case.

 

It seems ridiculous to warn people that a package of peanuts contains peanuts. It should be self-evident. And guess what? It IS self-evident to virtually everyone. The vast majority of people who are allergic to peanuts read the front of the package and stay far away.

 

Except one guy.

 

THAT guy.

 

There’s ALWAYS that guy.

 

And somehow That Guy finds a That Guy Lawyer and brings a ludicrous lawsuit claiming that a bag of peanuts that says peanuts on the front is not enough of a warning. So the company does a collective eye-roll and tells the graphics department to put the warning on the back of the goddamn package, just in case.

 

Trump is That Guy.

 

There’s a bunch of things that everyone who runs the country, or wants to, does because it’s The Right Thing To Do.

 

An example of that is candidates for president releasing their tax return at some point in their campaigns.

 

They do that because Richard Nixon submitted some hinky-looking tax returns in the early 1970s. The hinkiness fed into the Watergate scandal. It was the tax thing, NOT Watergate, that prompted Nixon to famously say, “I am not a crook.”

 

Anyway. Since Nixon, all presidential candidates have released a series of tax returns from their recent past, to show they’re clean and hink-free.

 

It wasn’t, and isn’t, a law. It never needed to be.

 

Everyone understood that releasing their tax returns was The Right Thing To Do, and it let the public get a clearer picture of the people who wanted the job of Leader of the Free World.

 

Except Trump.

 

Oh, he PROMISED, as a candidate, to release them, but he never got around to it, and the GOP never got around to demanding that he do it before picking him as their 2016 nominee.

 

As President, Trump famously said, “Hmmm, nah, not gonna,” and KellyAnne Conway was wheeled out to back him up.

 

As I type this in late March 2019, the Dems who run the House of Representatives are in the process of summoning Trump’s tax returns. [I have no idea why it’s taking so goddamn long.] Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is bracing for a fight, even though Congress definitely has the right to ask for them.

 

But the Dems shouldn’t have to ask for them, because Trump should have released them like every single other candidate has since Nixon. And the GOP should have told him “Release your goddamn tax returns, or you can’t be the 2016 Republican nominee. Simple as that, dude,” and they should have followed through.

 

But he didn’t, and they didn’t, so here we are.

 

Because of Trump, we now have to codify in law what everyone did voluntarily for decades, because while their individual political worldviews might be shitty, they, themselves, were not shitbags.

 

Because of the GOP, we now have to codify in law what they should have stepped up and enforced, voluntarily, because they’re craven cowards who claim to hate regulations and big government, but they won’t do what’s necessary help create a world in which people Do The Right Thing without being compelled to by law.

 

Trump is That Guy.

 

Fuck That Guy!

 

Fuck him for forcing us to pass laws covering acts that everyone before him was sensible enough to do without having to be compelled. Fuck him for his shitbaggery that’s forcing us to say, “Hey, you presidential candidates can’t be a shitbag in this particularly obvious way, or else.”

 

Fuck the GOP for not stepping up when it mattered.

 

Fuck him for making the process of running for high office that little bit more grim and tedious.

 

Trump is That Guy.

 

Don’t re-elect That Guy.

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

*I have not encountered such a bag of peanuts in the wild, but I have encountered other products with equally absurd warnings on their packaging. I have not meticulously cataloged them with photographic evidence.

Uncategorized

Learn If Your State Is Passing Laws That Restrict Voting, and Fight Back

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

 

Is your state trying to pass laws that make it harder to vote? Consult the Brennan Center’s info and maps, and if the answer is yes, fight back.

 

Voting restrictions are a scourge on democracy, but as long as they benefit Republicans, Republicans will try to pass them. We feel that if you are eligible to vote, and you want to vote, you should be able to vote, and you should be given many options for doing so to let you choose what works best for your schedule.

 

The Brennan Center for Justice, located at the New York University School of Law, tracks state bills that intend or have the effect of making it harder to vote.

 

First, read the Brennan Center’s Voting Laws Roundup for 2017, and see if your state is mentioned:

https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/voting-laws-roundup-2017?utm_content=bufferba0df&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

Also see the Brennan Center’s interactive map of New Voting Restrictions in America:

https://www.brennancenter.org/new-voting-restrictions-america

 

Once you know what’s going on in your state, call your state-level reps to speak out against laws that restrict voting.

 

Don’t know who your state house rep and state senator are? Plug your address and zip code into this search tool (note–the address is key. If you only give your zip code, you won’t get the two names you most need):

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org

 

Then click on the names of your state house rep and state senator. Their contact info will come up.

 

Here’s a sample script that you can modify accordingly:

“Dear (State Senator/House Rep Lastname), I ask you to oppose (House/Senate bill ####), which will have the effect of making it harder to cast a vote. Everyone who is eligible to vote, and wants to, should have the opportunity to do so. Bills and laws that make it harder to vote are inherently anti-democratic. Please do not sponsor, co-sponsor, or support bills that stop people from voting. Thank you.”

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

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Learn How to Fact-Check in the Age of Trumpism, Thanks to Laura M. Browning

This OTYCD entry originally posted in April 2017.

 

Read Fact-checking in the Age of Trumpism, a concise primer by Laura M. Browning. 

 

Just after the election ended, much was made of an NPR interview with an admitted purveyor of fake news (by which we mean stories deliberately made up to get clicks and earn ad revenue) who claimed that while right-wing folks swallowed any article that reinforced what they already thought about Hillary Clinton, no matter how ludicrous, left-leaning folks never seemed to fall for fake news focused on Trump.

 

Specifically, he said: “We’ve tried to do similar things to liberals. It just has never worked, it never takes off. You’ll get debunked within the first two comments and then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out.”

 

What’s our point? Don’t get cocky. You might have rudimentary skills for spotting and rejecting fake news, but you’re vulnerable to believing things you’d like to be true, but aren’t. You need to hone and maintain your bullshit detector if you want it to work properly.

 

Laura M. Browning wrote Fact-checking in the Age of Trumpism for a January 2017 presentation about how to spot and avoid fake news. It’s not about fact-checking Trump or your MAGA-spouting uncle. It’s about controlling and cultivating your news feed and keeping it free of garbage.

 

Also, pay special attention to the paragraph about checking your emotions. Does this news flatter your worldview? That’s all the more reason to kick it, pinch it, and generally jump up and down on it to make sure it’s solid before you retweet and repost it and tell friends about it.

 

Browning’s primer is the difference between eating a free fish lunch and learning to fish. It’s a must-read any day of the year, and doubly so on April Fool’s Day.

 

Read Fact-checking in the Age of Trumpism:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1E0m6GEQwwTnOk3-mWrC6zZs60wDJBh9IH-yfpl3TRvM/edit#

 

Sign up for Browning’s newsletter, One Small Thing:

http://tinyletter.com/onesmallthing

 

Follow Browning on Twitter:

@ellembee

 

Read that NPR interview with the creator of fake news who claimed that left-leaning readers were harder to trick:

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/11/23/503146770/npr-finds-the-head-of-a-covert-fake-news-operation-in-the-suburbs

 

And for the sake of it, here’s a link to Snopes:

http://www.snopes.com

 

…and a link to Politifact. Browning recommends both sites for fact-checking:

http://www.politifact.com

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

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Join the Postcards for America Page and Keep Fighting Trump With Postcards

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

 

The OTYCD page on joining #TheIdesOfTrump–the effort to bury Trump in postcards on March 15–is the most popular in the young blog’s history.

 

Seeing as you all have such an appetite for sending postcards, we’re doing a post on one or our favorite Facebook activist pages: Postcards for America.

 

Its main goal is to encourage you to send postcards to your members of Congress about your fears and concerns. But it also alerts you to other postcard campaigns and suggests legislators who might benefit from receiving great wobbling piles of postcards that tell them they’re wrong, or in some cases, exquisitely correct and in need of thanks.

 

Apply for admission to the Postcards for America Facebook group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/postcardsforamerica/

 

Please note: Postcards for America is a closed group. You can apply to join and you will have to wait for an administrator to approve you before you are admitted.

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

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Read How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

 

Read this January 2017 Scientific American column by Michael Shermer on how to convince someone when facts fail.

 

Once upon a time, everyone agreed that you can have your own opinions, but you can’t have your own facts. Sadly, companies such as Fox News learned to make mad profits off of selling people a set of facts that just plain feels better to them than the reality that the rest of the news media reflects.

 

Twenty-one years later, we’re in an ugly situation where Fox News finds itself beset by upstarts that pander even more blatantly to what a subset of people want to believe, regardless of whether it’s accurate or true.

 

Talking to true believers is tough, and maddening. Getting through to them is even harder. Shermer, a professional skeptic and publisher of Skeptic magazine, discusses the phenomenon and has good advice on how best to handle it.

 

Read his column on how to convince someone when facts fail:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-convince-someone-when-facts-fail/

*Full disclosure: One of us at OTYCD was active in the skeptic movement in the 1990s and met and worked with Shermer on several occasions.