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Follow Your Congressional Reps on Social Media

Are you active on social media, even a little bit? Are you thinking about signing on?

Please follow the pages and accounts of your Congressional representatives.

Pull up the web pages of your three Congressional reps–your two senators and your house rep. Social media platform logos tend to show up at the top of the home page or the bottom. If they’re not there, try the Contact page.

Most members of Congress are on Facebook and Twitter. If they’re on other platforms and you want to follow them there, go right ahead. But don’t feel like you must follow them on every platform. Do what makes sense for you.

If any of your reps are not on social media, or aren’t on the platform you like best, call their offices and ask them to join. You can bet there’s an intern or entry-level staffer who’s been chewing the rep’s ear off, trying to make their case. If enough constituents call to ask them to get on social media, or on a specific platform, that might change their minds.

Following your reps on social media is worth it. It keeps you up to date on what they’re saying and doing, and lets you know when they might appear at an event happening near you. It lets you show your support for them. And it helps move toward a world in which members of Congress take messages that arrive through social media as seriously as requests that come over the phone or through postal mail.

But don’t forget that for now (early 2017), social media is the least effective way to speak to your reps. If you need to ask your members of Congress to do something, use the phone. Do not use social media. Your message will not get through to them.

If you’re not on social media at all, consider signing up to follow your reps. You can have a private account on Twitter, and you can keep strict privacy settings on your Facebook page.

If you’re not on social media at all and have no wish to be, sign up for their e-newsletters and postal mailings instead, if you haven’t already. You should be able to do this through their web sites.

 

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Tell Your MoCs to Make Trump Keep Watch on Homegrown White Terrorists

Call your members of Congress and ask them to make sure the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program keeps monitoring and prosecuting homegrown white terrorists.

Last month, the Trump administration announced plans to narrow the focus of a government anti-terrorism program run by the Department of Homeland Security.

The CVE covers homegrown terrorist threats as well as those hatched abroad. Trump and his minions floated the notion of changing the program’s name to “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism” and focusing it on Muslim terrorists–seemingly redirecting the program from stopping Neo-Nazis and white supremacists. White racist groups exist, and they and their members have been plotting and committing terrorist acts. The most infamous recent atrocity on American soil was Dylann Roof’s murder of nine worshippers at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.

Limiting the CVE to Islamic terrorists is a bad idea. Wittingly or not, Trump’s racist statements and his failure to quickly and strenuously condemn incidents such as the Quebec mosque shooting in January, where a young white man killed six, have emboldened  racists. Signaling that the federal government no longer sees attacking non-whites and non-Christians as terrorism will only encourage the sicker individuals among them to lash out.

Important note: Does your House rep sit on the House Homeland Security Committee? Do you have a senator on the Senate Committee for Homeland Security & Government Affairs? Then it’s that much more important for you to call about this issue. Check the committee rosters before calling:

 

House Homeland Security Committee:

https://homeland.house.gov/full_committee/

 

Senate Committee for Homeland Security & Government Affairs:

https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/about

 

Sample script: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). I am calling to ask (House Rep/Senator Lastname) to push back against the Trump administration’s plan to narrow the focus of the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism program. Trump evidently wants to change it to focus exclusively on what he calls “radical Islamic extremism.” Doing so would send a signal to the would-be Dylann Roofs of the world that they can attack non-white, non-Christian people and the federal government will look the other way. We need to focus on stopping and prosecuting terrorists regardless of what motivates them. Attacks by white racists can do as much damage, or more, as attacks by Muslims.”

 

Read an Independent article on the planned changes to the CVE:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-cut-white-supremacism-countering-violent-extremism-programme-neo-nazi-counter-extremism-a7558796.html

 

Read the Department of Homeland Security’s main landing page for the CVE program, while it still reflects its broader focus:

https://www.dhs.gov/countering-violent-extremism

 

Read about the suspect in the Quebec mosque shooting:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-city-mosque-attack-alexandre-bissonnette-1.3958559

 

Read about Dylann Roof’s attack on the Charleston church and his subsequent death penalty sentence:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/06/18/for-charlestons-emanuel-a-m-e-church-one-of-the-oldest-in-america-shooting-is-another-painful-chapter-in-long-history/?utm_term=.7c53fb65a5ab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Save This Tool for Tracking All the Laws and Executive Orders Trump Signs in 2017

It feels like Trump and his administration have been more active than a birthday party full of eight-year-olds hopped up on sugar and caffeinated soda and itching for a swing at the piñata.

Pinning down and understanding every law and executive order Trump has signed so far is almost a full-time job, but the team at Vice are up to the task.

Bookmark this web article that is tracking all the laws and executive orders Trump signs in 2017.

https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/all-the-laws-and-executive-orders-trump-has-signed-so-far

The Vice staff have done a capital job of identifying each bill and executive order Trump signs and putting them in a larger context, stating plainly what each will do, and who they will effect. It also includes relevant links to related Vice stories.

 

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Ask Your House Rep to Support H.R. 3029, Which Would Bar Spending Your Money on Trump’s Efforts to Suppress the Vote

Ask your House Rep to support H.R. 3029, which would make sure that no taxpayer dollars are used to fund the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity–aka Trump’s voting rights suppression campaign.

Marc Veasey, a Democrat who represents the newly-drawn 33rd District in Texas, introduced H.R. 3029 on June 22–not long before Kris Kobach requested sensitive data on voters from all 50 states on behalf of Trump’s commission. The bill’s title is pretty straightforward and a tad dull: To prevent Federal funds from being used to carry out Executive Order 13799.

Yeah, OK, it has no chance of becoming law. Trump would have to sign it, and that’s not gonna happen. But still, it’s worth backing Veasey’s bill as one more way to protest the blatant move to suppress voting rights that the commission represents.

If your House Rep is Veasey, call and thank him for putting this bill forward.

Sample script: “Dear House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). I am calling to ask you to support H.R. 3029, which would prevent the use of taxpayer funds for the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. The commission, which Trump created through Executive Order 13799, is already creating havoc through the recent request for all 50 states to surrender sensitive information on voters to the government. While I realize there’s not much chance the bill will become law, I feel it’s important to support it as an act of protest against Trump’s specious efforts to suppress the vote.”

 

See House Rep Veasey’s press release about the H.R. 3029:

https://veasey.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/veasey-introduces-bill-to-deny-funding-for-trump-s-sham-commission-on

 

See and bookmark the GovTrack page on the bill:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr3029

 

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Self-advocacy 101: Find Your Congressional Representatives

FWIW: This is the first-ever post to OTYCD, uploaded on January 7, 2017.

Before you can start pushing back against Trump, you need to know who represents you in Congress.

Find out who your Congressional representatives are by plugging your zip code and your state into this web site:

http://whoismyrepresentative.com/

This web site is better for learning who stands for you in the House of Representatives (plug in your zip code and it will narrow the choices to two. The name that seems more familiar to you is probably your House rep):

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Once you have pinned down your two Senators and your House Rep, pull up their web pages. Scroll to the bottom. If their offices aren’t listed there, go to the Contact page and find them.

Pick the state office that is closest to you (*NOT the Washington D.C. one).

Find the phone number for that office.

Put it in your phone.

Repeat for your other two representatives.

Done!

* You can put the Washington, D.C. numbers in your phone, but call them last. You are far more likely to reach a real person if you call the district offices.

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Never Stop Demanding That Congress Investigate Trump’s Ties to Russia and His Violations of the Constitution

Trump and his minions have done, or tried to do, any number of horrible things. Most of them demanded an immediate answer. Others demanded ongoing attention.

Several people are speaking up to say the daily shenanigans are distracting us from focusing on the two issues that have the power to force Trump from office: His financial conflicts of interest, and the Russian hacking scandal, which should shed light on Trump’s curious connections to Putin.

To be fair, these issues have not been forgotten, just overshadowed. A team of lawyers from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is suing Trump over his violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments clause. Jerry Nadler, a house rep from New York who sits on the house judiciary committee, recently filed a resolution of inquiry into Trump, an early step on the road to impeachment. Members of Congress are pursuing bipartisan investigations into the Russian hacking scandal, despite Republican attempts to keep such queries under its party’s control (which would let them soft-pedal the findings).

But the blogger behind The Liberal Yell rightly points out that it’s on us, the citizens, to keep pressing Congress to stay on the two issues that could end Trump’s presidency, and we should support their efforts to do so.

See the blog below.

http://theliberalyell.com/focus-people-there-are-only-two-things-to-demand-of-congress-in-regards-to-trump/

To summarize: TLY asks us to stay firmly on these two issues, regardless of what other evils Trump looses. No matter what happens, do not lose sight of the need to look into Trump’s Emoluments clause violations and the importance of getting to the bottom of the Russian hacking.

Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post for a great tool–a custom postcard demanding investigations into both issues, which you can download and print and mail and hand out to others.

Read about bipartisan efforts to investigate the Russian hacking scandal, and Republican resistance to it:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/02/02/senate-panel-investigate-russian-election-interference/97411482/

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/1/10/14220484/house-dems-bipartisan-probe-russian-hacking

http://www.snopes.com/mitch-mcconnell-blocked-investigating-russian-hacks/

Learn about New York House Representative Jerry Nadler’s filing of a resolution of inquiry into Trump, and its implications:

https://www.countable.us/articles/237-preliminary-impeachment-inquiry-filed-president-trump

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Protect America from Election Interference by Asking Your MoCs to Revive or Vote for These Bills

Ask your members of Congress (MoCs) to support or revive bills identified by Lawfareblog as measures that could protect America’s next big election from outside interference.

In his June 20, 2017 Lawfareblog piece How Congress Should Fight Election Interference, Dr. Ben Freeman identifies three bills–one live, two which died in previous sessions of Congress–that could help safeguard the country against meddling of the sort perpetrated by Russia during the 2016 election.

The first is S. 625, the Foreign Agents Modernization and Enforcement Act, which would force propaganda outlets such as Russia Television (better known as RT) to register as a foreign agent. The bill would also permit us to better scrutinize these entities by asking them where they get their money and who their friends are.

Here’s a sample script for calling your senators about S. 625:

If you’re represented by New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen or Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young, thank them for co-sponsoring the bill and tell them you wish it well.

If not, say something like this: “Dear Senator (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname of town, zip code). I am calling to ask you to support S.625, the Foreign Agents Modernization and Enforcement Act. It’s a bipartisan bill, introduced by your colleagues Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Todd Young of Indiana, and it would close a loophole that allows propaganda outlets such as Russia Television to register as nonprofits instead of the foreign agents that they are. The bill would also allow us to ask RT where it gets its money and what foreign connections it has. Thank you for considering my request.”

The other two bills Freeman cites are dead bills that should be revived. The Close the Foreign Lobbying Loophole Act would have addressed and clarified many issues that ensnared Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort. It would also have outlawed the act of lobbying for a foreign power overseas without publicly disclosing that fact back here. Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Claire McCaskill of Missouri introduced the bill, S.3123, in 2008 during the 110th Congress. If either of them represent you, please ask them to revive and resubmit it.

The other is the Ethics in Foreign Lobbying Act of 2016, aka H.R. 6057, which would have levied a fine of $2,000 for each violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). It was introduced by Ohio House Rep Marcy Kaptur in the 114th Congress. If she is your house rep, please call or email her and ask her to revive the bill.

 

Read Freeman’s Lawfareblog post:

https://www.lawfareblog.com/how-congress-should-fight-election-interference

 

Read Republican Senator Todd Young’s press release about S. 625, the Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act:

https://www.young.senate.gov/content/americans-deserve-media-transparency-not-propaganda

 

See the GovTrack page on S. 625:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s625

 

See the GovTrack page on S. 3123, the Close the Foreign Lobbying Loophole Act:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/110/s3123

 

See a 2008 press release on S. 3123:

https://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/media-center/news-releases/schumer-mccaskill-introduce-legislation-to-close-foreign-lobbying-loopholes

 

See the GovTrack page on H.R. 6057, the Ethics in Foreign Lobbying Act of 2016:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr6057

 

Support Lawfareblog and the Lawfare Institute, which publishes it:

https://www.lawfareblog.com/support-lawfare

 

Support GovTrack:

https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?c=350193