Call Your State Legislators · Community Activism · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Live in Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, or Maine? Ask Your State Legislators to Kill, Rescind, or Defend Against a Call for a Constitutional Convention

Do you live in Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, or Maine? Ask your state legislators to kill, rescind, or defend against a call for a Constitutional Convention (Con Con).

 

We at OTYCD have written about the long-term right-wing goal of calling a Con Con. The idea of a Constitutional convention isn’t inherently bad, but what its far-right advocates want to achieve IS inherently bad, and needs to be stopped.

 

The best way to stop a Con Con is to elect more Democrats to state legislatures–the entities that can put the call forward, and cancel the call as well.

 

On November 6, 2018, voters in several states did just that–they elected more Democrats. In seven states, they elected enough Democrats to flip one or both legislative chambers from red to blue.

 

In May 2018, we at OTYCD explained how to find out if your state legislature had passed a resolution in support of a Con Con, and explained how to ask your state legislators to rescind the resolution. It’s definitely doable; Nevada, Maryland, and New Mexico all rescinded in 2017.

 

In this post, we’re cross-checking the newly flipped legislatures against the map provided by the pro-Con Con people, so citizens in those states can ask their representatives to rescind a resolution or kill bills that are in progress.

 

We’ll be reproducing some language from that blog post to illustrate these points.

 

But first! If you don’t know who your state house rep and state senator are, go to the link below and plug in your address and zip code to get their names:

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org

 

Also, we should start with the good news: on the pro-Con Con org’s map, states colored green have passed the resolution. None of the states that flipped one or both of their chambers on Tuesday are green on that map.

 

New York flipped its Senate properly blue at long last. New York state is also blue on the Con Con map–that means active legislation was in at least one chamber in 2018.

 

Unfortunately, the map does not identify which of the two chambers the bill is in. (Theoretically, a blue state could have bills in both.)

 

New Yorkers should call or email their state legislators, explain what a Con Con is, and explain there’s a bill in at least one of the state chambers in 2018. Say that you want that bill halted, or better yet, killed.

 

 

The newly flipped Minnesota House is in a blue state on the Con Con map (its Senate is in GOP hands). It’s not clear which of the two chambers the bill is in, but Minnesotans should call their state house rep, explain about the Con Con, and ask them to kill the bill or remain on alert to kill it.

 

New Hampshire flipped both its chambers to Democratic control on Tuesday. It’s on the pro-Con Con map as a yellow state, which means legislation has passed one chamber.

 

As with the blue states, the map does not identify which of the two chambers has passed the bill. It’s also not specified when that yellow-state chamber passed the bill; it could predate 2018. It could predate 2018 by a lot.

 

New Hampshirites should contact their state reps, explain what a Con Con is, and explain that a pro-Con Con bill has passed one chamber, but it’s not clear which, or when. Say you oppose a Con Con resolution, and that you want your state reps to vote no on any Con Con resolution bills that might arrive on their desks.

 

Maine and Colorado flipped their state senates. Both appear on the pro-Con Con map colored white, which, by inference, means there’s no legislation pending there at the moment, and the states don’t appear to be current targets of the org.

 

Even still, it’s probably worth it for Mainers and Coloradans to call their state senators, explain what a Con Con is, and explain that while the state is not currently a target, you want your reps to oppose any attempt to push the initiative. It’s the project of a far-right-wing org called COS Action. COS stands for ‘Convention of States.’

 

 

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Believe It, You Matter, Part IX: Yes, It’s Exhausting. Get Rest and Come Back.

This OTYCD post originally appeared in August 2018.

 

Believe It, You Matter, Part IX: Yes, it’s exhausting. All of it. Everything. Get rest and come back.

 

Sarah Jane here. I write all the Believe It, You Matter entries on OTYCD.

 

Let me tell you–there are times when I just can’t even with this fucking administration. Really.

 

I could only listen once to the ProPublica secret recording of the small children who had been separated from their mothers. I needed hours to put myself together after hearing the little girl who repeated that phone number, and I needed those hours because I would have been that kid in that situation, repeating those numbers like a magical spell of protection, over and over, until the spell worked.

 

I’ve had to detach myself from the news for days on end for the sake of my own mental health. I’ve had to do that more frequently of late.

 

It’s not just you.

 

Too much is going on.

 

The Trump administration is a container ship full of Dumpsters, all of which are on fire. But that container ship full of flaming Dumpsters is itself on a container ship that’s designed to deliver container ships, and every last one of those container ships are full of flaming Dumpsters. It’s Dumpster fires all the way down.

 

Superman would be hard-pressed to fix all this shit. Superman would be hard-pressed to simply keep track of all this shit as it happens.

 

Superman doesn’t exist. You do, though, and so do countless millions who have been resisting this administration since the morning after the election.

 

In a post OTYCD first published in March 2017, we included a link to a TEDx talk about the tipping point for an effective resistance movement. If 3.5 percent of the population are on board, the movement can succeed.

 

To update the figures given before: America’s population is just shy of 327 million. 3.5 percent of not-quite-327 million is 11.4 million.

 

Oh, we got that. We can muster at least 11.4 million resisters. As that March 2017 OTYCD post notes, between 3.3 million and 4.6 million Americans came to the 2017 Women’s March, held a day after Trump’s inauguration. Since then, he’s only continued to turn people off and lose them completely.

 

But to get that, we have to have each others’ backs, and we have to take periodic rest breaks. Self-care is crucial. Authoritarian regimes aim to tire out their populations with onslaught after onslaught until they give up and give in.

 

We can’t afford to do that. We can sustain a long fight. But we need to be smart and careful with our resources and ourselves.

 

Have you seen any BBC nature documentaries? Not long ago they did a great one that included penguins, and in particular, had a segment on how Emperor penguins help each other survive the Antarctic winter [scroll down to see the time-lapse video.]

 

The Emperor penguins huddle as a huge group, and the group constantly rotates so no penguin is on the blessedly warm inside forever, and no penguin is on the desperately cold outside forever.

 

We need to do this for each other.

 

No competition. No judgment. No whining. Just helping each other and taking turns facing the cold and enjoying the warmth we need to prepare to face the cold again.

 

Hang in there. Be gentle with yourself. Get rest. But come back, always come back. You’ve got to stay here and carry on the fight.

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Support, and Learn From, Repairers of the Breach

This post originally appeared on OTYCD in September 2018. We’re reposting it because OMG Rev. Dr. Barber won a 2018 MacArthur Genius Grant! Congratulations to him and all at Repairers of the Breach.

 

Support, and learn from, Repairers of the Breach, a nonprofit ecumenical organization that has had great success with pushing back against ultra-conservatism and its ill effects.

 

Repairers of the Breach is a North Carolina-based organization helmed by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. Under his leadership it created the Moral Monday protests in 2013, weekly actions at the North Carolina state legislature that drew attention to a new social justice issue each week.

 

Repairers of the Breach and its leader, Rev. Barber, is building a contemporary version of the movement that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led five decades ago. It targets the ills of racism, poverty, and extreme militarism with a clear, progressive moral vision.

 

The ideas and the passion of Barber and the Repairers of the Breach needs to spread farther and wider. Please read their literature, learn from their events, and support their work in whatever way you can.

 

Visit the Repairers of the Breach website:

http://www.breachrepairers.org

 

Read its blog:

http://www.breachrepairers.org/blog/

 

Subscribe to the Repairers of the Breach email list:

http://www.breachrepairers.org/subscribe/

 

Donate to Repairers of the Breach:

http://www.breachrepairers.org/donate/

 

Like its Facebook page and learn about upcoming events, some of which are streamed:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/breachrepairers/events/

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@BRepairers

 

Purchase Barber’s books, Forward Together: A Moral Message for the Nation and The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear, via Powell’s:

http://www.powells.com/book/forward-together-a-moral-message-for-the-nation-9780827244948/62-0

http://www.powells.com/book/third-reconstruction-9780807007419/62-0

 

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Call Your Members of Congress · Marches and Protests · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Continue the Work of the No One Is Above the Law Protests: Call Your MoCs to Demand Whitaker Recuse and Demand Investigation of Sessions’s Departure

Continue the work of the No One Is Above the Law protests: Call your members of Congress (MoCs) to demand that Matthew Whitaker recuse from the Mueller probe, and demand investigation of Sessions’s departure.

 

You got the call and answered it. You were out there at 5 pm local time at your No One Is Above the Law protest site. Thank you.

 

The next step is to carry on the work by calling your MoCs and demanding the following:

 

That acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker recuse himself from the Mueller probe; and demand investigation of the circumstances of Jeff Sessions’s exit from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

 

Whitaker is problematic on several levels, not least that an office of this level of importance requires the Senate to weigh in. Trump is evidently trying to avoid scrutiny by making him Acting AG. But, in a November 8, 2018 opinion piece for the New York Times, Neal Katyal and George Conway (Kellyanne Conway’s husband, btw), flatly assert that the move is unconstitutional.

 

Key paragraphs:

It means that Mr. Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.

Much of the commentary about Mr. Whitaker’s appointment has focused on all sorts of technical points about the Vacancies Reform Act and Justice Department succession statutes. But the flaw in the appointment of Mr. Whitaker, who was Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff at the Justice Department, runs much deeper. It defies one of the explicit checks and balances set out in the Constitution, a provision designed to protect us all against the centralization of government power.

If you don’t believe us, then take it from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whom Mr. Trump once called his “favorite” sitting justice. Last year, the Supreme Court examined the question of whether the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board had been lawfully appointed to his job without Senate confirmation. The Supreme Court held the appointment invalid on a statutory ground.

 

Full article here:

 

Even if it was legal to appoint Whitaker, he has known biases against the Mueller probe, and they are on record. Those stated biases would legally compel him to recuse.

 

But Whitaker says he has no intention to recuse:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trumps-acting-attorney-general-matt-whitaker-has-no-intention-of-recusing-from-russia-probe-associates-say/2018/11/08/a5bc8d90-e370-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html?utm_term=.7c669d2b9229

 

As for the Sessions thing–the reason we need to ask for an examination of his exit is it appears to be a firing, but we need to clarify what happened. A firing requires elevating Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein to the role Sessions left. The wording of his resignation letter indicates he did not leave of his own volition–ergo, he was fired.

 

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter), as always, is on top of it. What follows are her scripts for calling your House Rep and your Senators. Scroll down for word on how you can show your appreciation for Pewter.

 

Before you call, check Celeste’s Twitter feed, in case she’s issued updated scripts. Also, check the social media feeds of your MoCs, to see if they’ve made a statement on either matter. If they have, mention it in your calls.

 

Also! Before you call, check to see if your House Rep or one or both Senators are on their chamber’s Judiciary Committees. If they are, it’s extra-important for you to call.

 

Senate members listed here:

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/members

 

House members listed here:

https://judiciary.house.gov/subcommittee/full-committee/

 

Lastly–why it’s important to call. Going into the streets to protest is important and necessary. Backing those protests up with specific demands for your representatives makes for a one-two punch.

 

Here is the script for your House rep:

 

You can show love for Celeste Pewter in many ways.

 

You can follow her on Twitter: @Celeste_Pewter

 

You can tweet about calling your Senators, 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Marches and Protests · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Attend the No One Is Above The Law Protest Near You Thursday November 8, 5 pm Your Time

Attend the No One Is Above the Law protest near you, taking place Thursday, November 8, at 5 pm your time (local time).

 

So, we at OTYCD wrote about the if-then protest in the past, when MoveOn.org and friends started planning it.

 

We also urged you to visit the site and write down the details for your local No One Is Above the Law protest site in case a triggering event sends people stampeding toward the site from all over the Internet and the web page goes down.

 

Welp. On Wednesday November 7, with the midterm results not even a day old (and some still trickling in), Trump compelled Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign and installed an Acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, who had been Sessions’s chief of staff.

 

Read articles on the slo-mo modern spin on the Saturday Night Massacre here (and click these words if you need a refresher on the original Saturday Night Massacre):

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/attorney-general-jeff-sessions-resigns-at-trumps-request/2018/11/07/d1b7a214-e144-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html?utm_term=.89b91e4aee90

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/with-the-midterms-over-mueller-faces-key-decisions-in-russia-investigation/2018/11/07/7ef2765a-e151-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html?utm_term=.6490220bf6eb

 

 

You can question whether any of this is legal. You can question whether Trump can put Whitaker, who is not Senate-confirmed, into the Acting AG role. You can question whether Whitaker has to recuse himself, given that he is on record as opposing the Mueller investigation, and has made comments about muffling it by starving it of funds.

 

Rampant attack on our democracy? Yep. All that nonsensical fuckery was more than enough for the team behind the No One Is Above the Law if-then protest to pull the trigger on the event.

 

If you haven’t checked out the web page, please do so now, and find out where your nearest protest site is. Note the address down on paper. Google it and plot how you can get there and where you can park. As of November 7, 2018, the page reflected more than 900 events scheduled:

https://act.moveon.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response-events/search/

 

You’ll also notice that the organizers didn’t quite follow the standing plan. They chose to set it for 5 pm local time to give folks more time to prepare.

 

We’re now going to reproduce the bit from the page that appears after the logistics:

 

THEN WHAT?

Good question!

These events are only the first step. Our goal with these actions is to create an opportunity for anyone outraged by Trump’s abuse of power to engage immediately in voicing their concern. Together, we will communicate unmistakably that this is not okay and that this act to undermine democracy is not going to be allowed to become a new normal.

But that’s only the first step, and it’s far from the last one.

Congress is the only body with the constitutional power and responsibility to hold a president politically accountable for major violations of the public trust like this. And “we, the people” are their backstop and source of legitimate power.

And what people do next to force Congress to act is up to them!

Certainly, everyone at an event should also call their member of Congress to demand action. And everyone is encouraged to communicate that demand directly at congressional offices.

Beyond that, it’s up to you! It’s a good idea to discuss possible scenarios in advance with the hosts of your event or with your friends to develop other nonviolent ways you would like to compel actions from Congress.

Here’s what groups will be asking Congress to do:

 

CONGRESSIONAL ASKS

  1. Demand members of Congress protect the special counsel’s office, including preserving its files and staff and ensuring it receives the full cooperation of all federal government law enforcement assets.
  2. Demand the creation of a modern-day version of the Senate Select Watergate Committee to investigate all matters involved in the Russia scandals and Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
  3. Demand bipartisan hearings in the House Judiciary Committee on obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
    • Some groups will call these the first steps to impeachment hearings; others will not.
    • Impeaching Donald Trump is not a demand shared by all partner organizations. Nor is supporting impeachment a prerequisite to attend these events. But it is a view welcome at events, and you can definitely bring a poster calling for it if that’s your view. We can all be for the three things above if some of us are also for additional things, such as impeachment.
…So this might be a one-off, and it might not be.
Another suggestion from us at OTYCD: After you look up and note your own protest
location, look it up for friends and family who might approach you for help, or those
who you want to approach, in the spirit of making it as easy as possible for them to join.
You might want to go as far as giving them easy-to-follow driving directions and parking
tips.
If you can, offer a car-pool ride to other interested protesters. If you cannot or do not
want to go, but can offer child-care services, that definitely helps, too.
If you can’t go and can’t help others go, follow and boost these hashtags:
#NoOneIsAboveTheLaw
#TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw
#whitakermustrecuse
During the course of the day, watch the Twitter feed of Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter).
She is prepping call scripts as we draft this blog post, and she’ll be on top of relevant
breaking news.
Also watch the feeds of Ben Wikler (@BenWikler) and Anna Galland (@annagalland),
both of MoveOn. They will have news about the nationwide protests and other things
you’ll want to know.
Sorry it’s come to this, folks. Sorry it comes so soon after the conclusion of the multi-
month saga that was the lead-up to the 2018 midterms, which took so much out of so
many of us.
We thought we could rest. Hell, most of us planned on taking at least one goddamn
day off. Wednesday. Joke’s on us. (Fuck that guy. Seriously, fuck that guy.)
But we gotta muster. We gotta. We gotta show up in big honking numbers, just like
we did on Tuesday.
Democracy needs us again. It’s just that kind of week. (If you’re not already keeping a
journal, now’s the time to start. Your kids, grandkids, nieblings, and grandnieblings will
want to know what this time was like, and they will want to know what you did to push
back.)
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page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

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Believe It: You Matter, Part II: You Matter to Other People

This OTYCD entry originally posted in May 2017.

 

Believe it. You matter to other people. 

 

One of the most pernicious lies that authoritarians and their ilk try to push is that you don’t matter. That’s bullshit. You matter. If you didn’t matter, Trump and those who do his bidding wouldn’t be so hot and bothered about suppressing the vote under the guise of routing out voter fraud.

 

No matter who you are, no matter where you are, you have people who care about you and your opinions. For serious.

 

You can push back against Trump by believing, wholeheartedly, that you matter, and that the people around you care about what you have to say.

 

Stand up. Be calm. Be respectful. Be heard. Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

Keep speaking out against Trump and his sick, destructive worldview.

 

And most of all, keep finding ways to invite people to join you in your resistance. You are powerful alone, but you are more powerful with friends.

 

Don’t be put off if they say no. Keep asking people who you like to join you until someone says yes. If you are kind and deferential and no-strings-attached about it, someone will, eventually.

 

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Elections · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

VOTE. HELP YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY VOTE. TODAY IS THE DAY. THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS ARE HERE.

The time has come.

 

It’s worth all caps.

 

VOTE. HELP YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY VOTE. TODAY IS THE DAY. THE MIDTERMS ARE HERE!

 

Know also: Some Democrats will lose some races. We at OTYCD would be delighted if every Democrat wins every race everywhere, but come on, that’s not gonna happen.

 

Know also: Trump, notoriously, has done nothing to secure America’s voting infrastructure against onslaughts from Russian cyber-attacks.

 

Whatever happens, stay strong, stay realistic, and stay here and carry on the fight.