Action Alerts · Call Your House Rep · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your House Rep and Demand Devin Nunes’s Removal as Chair of the House Committee on Intelligence

Call your House Rep and demand Devin Nunes’s removal from his post as Chair of the House of Representatives’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

 

Yep, we’re making an exception to our rule on issuing one thing you can do, per day, to push back against Trump. We need to get news out about the next Families Belong Together protest, but this needs attention, too, and it needs it today.

 

Devin Nunes, who represents the 22nd District of California, has been a goddamn menace on the House Committee on Intelligence since Trump’s election. He’s seemingly made it his business to personally defend Trump instead of serving the American people.

 

He should have been removed from the chairmanship of the committee ages ago. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, has consistently refused to do so.

 

With the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) July 21, 2018 release of the FISA documents relating to Carter Page, it is abundantly clear that Nunes absolutely, positively has to GO. The fact that Trump went on a tweetstorm about this on Sunday claiming that the DOJ and FBI ‘misled the courts’ makes it still more urgent.

 

While the documents are heavily redacted, every single knowledgable commenter on Twitter agrees that Nunes was stone cold wrong in his representations of what these documents contained, and his Democratic colleague, Adam Schiff, was correct.

 

Here is a selection of Twitter comments to that effect.

 

Caroline O (@RVAWonk):

An important takeaway from the Carter Page FISA documents released today: They prove without a shadow of a doubt that lied about the FISA warrant to try to discredit the Russia probe. And they also prove that told the truth.

 

Example: Nunes claimed the FBI cited a Sept. 2016 Yahoo News article to corroborate the Steele dossier. Schiff said no, the FBI cited the article to inform the court of Carter Page’s public denial of his Moscow meeting. (L) Today’s FISA docs show Schiff’s account is correct. (R) [She included a screen grab which we can’t reproduce.]

 

Devin Nunes won’t admit that he lied about Carter Page’s FISA warrant to undermine an ongoing investigation — but what about the rest of the GOP-led House intel committee, which largely went along with the Nunes memo? And what about , who could remove Nunes tomorrow?

 

Defending the Nunes memo in Feb, said: “This is about FISA abuse and…holding our govt accountable…and conducting oversight over the executive branch which…has been given great power over us at citizens. We need to make sure that that power is used correctly.” [She linked to a video of Ryan saying precisely this.]

 

So if cares about accountability & oversight, what’s he going to do to hold accountable for using his position as HPSCI chairman to lie to the American people, corrupt the oversight process, & undermine a federal investigation?

 

 

 

Julian Sanchez, another who is well-regarded in this realm and who tweets as @normative, said:

 

There’s a full page of discussion of Steele being hired to conduct political oppo research, and why the FBI regards his reporting as reliable anyway. Makes the Nunes claim that they tried to hoodwink the FISC about this look even more ridiculous.

 

It’s absolutely insane Nunes tried to claim FBI hid this information from the FISC. All this immediately follows the first mention of Steele (aka “Source 1”). [This is followed by a screen grab that we can’t reproduce.]

 

Also quite clear that, contrary to Nunes’ claims, the FBI was NOT using Michael Isikoff’s Yahoo News article as independent confirmation of Steele’s reporting, but as a source for Page’s denials he was working for Russia. [This is followed by a screen grab that we can’t reproduce.]

 

What this does make clear beyond any serious doubt is the brazen dishonesty of the Nunes memo. It is impossible to imagine a reasonable person reading this document and then making the claims in that memo in good faith.

 

 

 

 

The expert who tweets under the @pwnallthethings handle, in analyzing the Carter Page FISA documents, said:

 

Worth noting, for the record, that it was Rep. Trey Gowdy who went and read the FISA
application for the HPSCI majority when compiling the Nunes memo. So he has a lot to
answer for here.
Carrie Cordero (@carriecordero), a law professor, CNN analyst, and contributing editor
to the Lawfare blog tweeted:
Let me be crystal clear: the Chairman of the House intelligence committee, Devin Nunes,
set in motion a chain of events based on a bogus & politicized charge against DOJ’s use of
, that just upended 40 years of FISA practice that protected the nation’s secrets.
You can be for , and likewise lament that this case, for these reasons, is
the one that busted the system and will have profound consequences for protecting
national security information in cases involving going forward.

 

 

Rather than a tweetstorm, expert David Kris wrote a piece for the Lawfare blog on the documents. Key quote from that post:

 

The Nunes memo accused the FBI of dishonesty in failing to disclose information about Steele, but in fact the Nunes memo itself was dishonest in failing to disclose what the FBI disclosed. I said then, and I still believe, that the “Nunes memo was dishonest. And if it is allowed to stand, we risk significant collateral damage to essential elements of our democracy.”

Now we have some additional information in the form of the redacted FISA applications themselves, and the Nunes memo looks even worse. In my earlier post, I observed that the FBI’s disclosures about Steele were contained in a footnote, but argued that this did not detract from their sufficiency: “As someone who has read and approved many FISA applications and dealt extensively with the FISA Court, I will anticipate and reject a claim that the disclosure was somehow insufficient because it appeared in a footnote; in my experience, the court reads the footnotes.” Now we can see that the footnote disclosing Steele’s possible bias takes up more than a full page in the applications, so there is literally no way the FISA Court could have missed it. The FBI gave the court enough information to evaluate Steele’s credibility.

 

Full David Kris post is here:

https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-make-carter-page-fisa-applications

 

 

So! We at OTYCD are asking you to call your House Rep and demand Nunes’s removal as chair of the House Intelligence committee.

 

Before you call, check the links below that show the full list of members of the committee. Is your House Rep one of them? If so, it’s extra-important that you call.

 

 

Majority members of the committee (all Republican):

https://intelligence.house.gov/about/hpsci-majority-members.htm

 

 

Minority members of the committee (all Democrats):

https://intelligence.house.gov/about/hpsci-minority-members.htm

 

 

Also, if your House Rep is Speaker Paul Ryan? Super-extra-mega-important for you to call.

 

 

Sample script: “Dear House Rep [Lastname], I am [Firstname Lastname from town, zip code]. I am calling to urge you and your colleagues to remove Devin Nunes as chair of the House Intelligence Committee. He has been unbelievably irresponsible with his power since Trump was elected, and on Saturday, we got proof of just how irresponsible he was. Every responsible intelligence expert who comments publicly agree that he misrepresented the Carter Page FISA documents. Some accuse him of ‘brazen dishonesty.’ Others accuse him of misusing his power and undermining national security to serve a political end. Regardless, it is long past time to remove him from his position on that sensitive committee before he can do even more damage. I urge you to urge your colleagues to prevail upon Speaker Ryan and do the right thing at long last.”

 

 

Once you’ve done that, please support Andrew Janz, the Democrat who’s running against Nunes and hopes to take his seat. Donate to his campaign, phone-bank for him, canvass for him, follow him on social media–anything helps.

 

See the OTYCD post on Andrew Janz and his campaign:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/06/09/keep-an-eye-on-andrew-janz-whos-running-for-devin-nuness-house-seat/

 

 

Read the NYT story on the document release:

 

Here’s a July 22, 2018 CNN article that cites Trump claiming the docs show the DOJ and FBI ‘misled the courts’ (they didn’t):

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/22/politics/donald-trump-fisa-tweet/index.html?utm_term=image&utm_source=twCNNp&utm_medium=social&utm_content=2018-07-22T14%3A04%3A58

 

 

 

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Community Activism · Health Care · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Save These Tools · Separation of Church and State · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)

Defend Yourself and Your Friends Against a Post-Roe World: Stock Up on Plan B and Other Forms of Emergency Contraception

Defend yourself against a post-Roe world by stocking up on Plan B, the emergency contraception medicine you can take in the hours and days after sex to prevent pregnancy.

 

With the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), countless Americans fear that the Roe vs. Wade ruling will be overturned, reverting legislation on abortion to the individual states instead of allowing it on the federal level.

 

Those who express fear over this possibility are correct. It is, indeed, time to panic and take defensive stances. The far right has been hell-bent on overturning Roe since the SCOTUS decided it in 1973. Evangelicals and other far-right extremists don’t want women to control their own bodies. It’s not about preserving life. It never was. It’s about making women slaves to their fertility. Period. Full stop.

 

We’ve reached the point in this shitshow where it makes sense to buy and bank doses of Plan B, the emergency contraception medication that can prevent pregnancy in the hours and days after an act of penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex. Plan B is the best-known, but those who are over a certain weight should use ella instead. Plan B works less well with folks who weigh 180 pounds or more.

 

Emergency contraception can be effective as late as five days after sex, but it’s best to take it as soon as you suspect you might be pregnant. Emergency contraception is NOT, repeat, NOT an abortificient, aka a drug that causes an abortion. It prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the lining of the wall of the uterus. If the egg does not implant, it cannot lead to pregnancy.

 

And hurrah hurrah, you can purchase it over the counter (OTC). It costs $40 to $60, generally. If you’re wealthier than most, it’s even more important that you consider building an emergency contraception stash to help friends and family who are less well-off. Being forced to find an extra $40 to $60 is a legitimate hardship for many. If you can step up, please do so.

 

The options below allow you to place your order online, which lets you avoid judgmental and nosy pharmacists who might refuse to fill the script over a “religious objection”.

 

If you yourself are past the point of needing to worry about an unwanted pregnancy, it still makes sense to bank doses to help daughters, nieces, cousins, and their friends who might find themselves suddenly flung into hell in a state with anti-abortion trigger laws.

 

As noted below, Plan B has a shelf life of four years, and the expiration date is printed on the box. Afterpill, another variant, is good for 18 months. There doesn’t appear to be information on ella but the expiration date should be printed on the box.

 

Emily L Hauser (@emilylhauser) had a good, short Twitter thread on this on June 27, 2018 (Note that the coupon linked in the second tweet might be expired by the time this post goes live):

 

Between the election & the inauguration, I bought two rounds of Plan B (the morning after pill) to have on hand should my children or their friends need it in the anti-choice hellscape that I imagined would come into being. We’re a step closer to that hellscape now. 1/2

 

I just called Plan B customer service to confirm the following: Plan B (& other levonorgestrel meds) has a 4-yr shelf life; the exp. date is printed clearly on the box. Here’s a coupon: Here’s info from Planned Parenthood 2/2

 

I’m being reminded that Plan B isn’t nearly as effective over a certain weight. The

alternative is known as ella. Here’s information on the ella morning after pill

Here’s a way to order online [She included this link]:

https://www.prjktruby.com/about/products/ella/

[Here also is an info link about Ella]

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/morning-after-pill-emergency-contraception/whats-ella-morning-after-pill

PS It’s worth remembering that online information can lose its funding & go missing, be changed, etc & so on. Books are harder to get rid of. This is a terrific resource on human sexuality, geared toward teens/young adults & good for anyone with questions

[She included this link] https://www.dacapopress.com/titles/heather-corinna/s-e-x-second-edition/9780738218854/

PPS A lot of people are talking about how useful this information will be for their daughters – SONS (/people with any reproductive organs) NEED THIS INFORMATION, TOO. Please and thank you.

Another followup for the record: Plan B, ella, & all of their various forms do NOT terminate pregnancies – they prevent pregnancy from occurring in the first place. Here’s information on that: Also for the record, abortion is healthcare & yes I’ve had one.

Later, in the comments, she included a link for purchasing Afterpill, another brand of emergency contraception:

https://afterpill.com

Further along in the comments, another poster included an Amazon link to a generic emergency contraception medication:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NKMY5E2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_xEdnBbPECGPX2?th=1

 

 

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Marches and Protests · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Support the #OccupyLafayettePark Protests and Start Your Own #StandOnEveryCorner Protest

Support the #OccupyLafayettePark nightly protest in Washington, D.C., and start your own #StandOnEveryCorner protest.

 

So, have you noticed things are coming to a head? Yeah.

 

Helsinki was the last straw for a lot of people. Those who were close enough to Lafayette Park, which is near the White House in Washington, D.C., gathered spontaneously on the night of July 16, 2018.

 

It has its own hashtag on Twitter: #OccupyLafayettePark.

 

Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko), a political advisor to Hillary Clinton, is leading an effort to sustain the Lafayette Park protests until we get real movement on Trump–he quits, Congress impeaches him or sidelines his agenda by having three Republican Senators quit caucusing with the party, etc.

 

As we prep this post, the Occupy Lafayette Park movement has finished its third consecutive night of protesting. They had a 15- member mariachi band come out around 9 pm EST to annoy the occupants of the White House.

 

Parkhomenko has arranged to accept donations to the #OccupyLafayettePark movement through ActBlue. To be clear–all we have is the ActBlue link, which lists past headliners at the nightly protests. That’s all we have as far as explanation of where the money goes and what it underwrites. If we find an org that’s supplying bottled water, food, free transportation to the protestors, etc., we’ll add it here.

 

ActBlue link for donating to the #OccupyLafayettePark protests:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/occupylafayettepark?abt=twitter

 

If you don’t live near Washington, D.C. and can’t get there anytime soon, consider starting a nightly protest near you.

 

People are Fed Up with Trump and his evil minions, and they’re not content to wait for word of big, organized protests. Not that long before Helsinki, a few folks around the country had decided to make signs and do daily protests on their lunch hour, or after dinner.

 

As people have seen other protestors’ social media posts about their own spontaneous daily actions, it’s snowballed into a movement of its own: #StandOnEveryCorner.

 

Helsinki and #OccupyLafayettePark gave it a real push. You can follow the #StandOnEveryCorner hashtag to see what others are doing.

 

The person who seems to have started it–who started standing on his local corner a few weeks before it evolved into a hashtagged movement–is Bryce Tache (@brycetache). As of July 19,  2018, he and friends and neighbors in Minneapolis, Minnesota have gathered for an hour every night in Pearl Park for 30 days straight.

 

Charlie Adler, who tweets as @48States48Days, is a good handle to follow as well. But! Don’t be content to watch. Make a sign, choose a good place to stand and a time when you can be there every day, and just do it. Invite friends and tweet pictures using the #StandOnEveryCorner hashtag.

 

If you need suggestions on choice local protest spots, pull up MoveOn’s signup site for its No One Is Above the Law protests, which would be triggered if Trump fires Mueller, Rosenstein, or makes other moves to destroy the Trump-Russia probe. Plug in your zip code and see where that protest would take place. See if it works for you. If not, do some thinking and scouting and choose a place that’s like it.

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

 

But! In scouting for a protest spot, make sure that it’s accessible to people who use wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. They should be able to get to the spot under their own power, at their own pace, and without assistance. If someone has to help them up and over a curb to get there, pick a better place.

 

Also consider bringing a few folding chairs for those who can’t stand for long periods.

 

And it’s a good idea to prep and bring a “wardrobe” of protest signs for passersby who see your #StandOnEveryCorner gathering and want to join you then and there. Make it as easy as possible for them to join.

 

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Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Ethics · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your MoCs and Demand That They Say OH HELL NO to Trump’s Notion That Maybe He’ll Give Former Russia Ambassador Michael McFaul to Putin

Call your members of Congress (MoCs) and demand that they say OH HELL NO to Trump’s notion that maybe he’ll give former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, to Vladimir Putin for “questioning.”

 

Jesus Fucking Christ. Apparently we have reached the phase of the Trump presidency where we swear all the damn time. Ugh.

 

So, remember people observing what Trump said in public about the Helsinki meeting, and saying ‘Whoa, if this is what he’s saying in public, what the hell did those two talk about in private for two hours?’ We might be starting to get hints about that.

 

During the post-Helsinki press conference, Putin mentioned the notion of letting the U.S. question the 12 Russians we indicted on July 13, 2018 in exchange for letting Russian officials question Americans and America-affiliated folks who have annoyed Putin over the years.

 

He singled out by name Bill Browder, an American hedge fund manager who successfully persuaded the U.S. and several other countries to pass the Magnitsky Act, an anti-corruption measure which constrains Putin’s ability to grow and access his ill-gotten gains.

 

Browder is now a British citizen, so it would be hard for Trump to deliver him to Putin. Not so with Michael McFaul, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Russia under President Obama from 2012 to 2014. He annoyed the crap out of Putin by meeting with several of his Russian opponents and generally being in possession of a working spine.

 

Now understand this. Foreign leaders can make all the hare-brained, insulting requests they want of the U.S., and we’re sure there have been some doozies. It’s on the sitting administration and its staff to react appropriately, and know how to react appropriately.

 

The proper response to Putin’s request is ‘No, fuck you, no, and also, no, and seriously, did you get a hold of a bad batch of bathtub vodka? The fact that you’re actually asking for this makes us think there’s something wrong with your brain.’

 

But yesterday, during a press conference, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about this crazy notion, and gave an answer so wrong that it belongs in the Hall of Fame for Wrong Answers (maybe that should be the Hall of Infamy for wrong answers?).

 

We’re pulling this quote from a Politico piece that we’ll link below:

 

“He [Trump] said it [Putin’s quid pro quo interview idea] was an interesting idea. He didn’t commit to anything,” Sanders said at the daily press briefing. “He wants to work with his team and determine if there’s any validity that would be helpful to the process…It was an idea they threw out.”

 

Full Politico piece:

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/18/trump-russia-browder-mcfaul-questioning-731616

 

A complete and fully justified shitstorm followed. The White House should have thrown out the idea the Russians threw out, and done so with extreme prejudice.

 

But wait! It got worse! On July 18, 2018, the Russians made it clear that they wanted to interview former ambassador McFaul.

 

McFaul’s “crimes” are nothing more than pissing off Vladimir Putin. He pissed off Putin during the course of his duties as an ambassador, when he had diplomatic immunity.

 

Failing to bluntly and harshly dismiss the notion of giving an American ambassador to Russian prosecutors for “questioning” is deeply offensive and scary. Actually, those words aren’t quite up to the task of explaining how offensive and scary that is.

 

Spencer Ackerman did a better job of capturing that in his July 18, 2018 piece for The Daily Beast in which he quotes a sitting, anonymous U.S. diplomat as being “at a fucking loss” over the administration’s failure to defend sub-basic boundaries. The quote appeared in the story’s headline.

 

When diplomats are dropping F-bombs while speaking on the record to the press (albeit anonymously), things are bad. Defcon-level bad.

 

Full article is here:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/us-officials-at-a-fucking-loss-over-latest-russia-sell-out

 

Because this development is just that offensive and scary, here are a few more tweets from sober-minded folks who are full-throatedly sounding the alarm.

 

Tom Nichols, Republican and author of The Death of Expertise:

This is horrifying. There can be only one announcement: That Putin can go piss up a rope. The President must stand by – a former ambassador of the United States. This is not a partisan issue, this a threat against a fellow citizen from an enemy regime.

The *instant* answer should have been: “The President told Putin that he cannot deflect from his own corruption and abuses of his people by threatening US citizens, and that we will consider any further mention of as a threat to the safety of an American diplomat.”

No. You are not overreacting. The entire country should be aware of this. If Putin can single out , he can single out anyone. The President’s job is to protect us, not to even *consider* handing any of us over to an enemy government.

 

Trial lawyer Max Kennerly:

Republicans in Congress need to draw a red line for Trump by telling him that any degree of ‘cooperation’ with persecution of would be impeachable. This includes & . They would’ve said the same to Obama if he’d offered selling out an ambassador.

 

CNN commentator and conservative Amanda Carpenter:

Please imagine if Obama’s Press Sec said there would be an “announcement” about turning over a US Ambassador, that Russia despises, over to Russia for questioning. Republicans would be rightfully furious. This cannot stand. This isn’t a partisan issue. Support your countrymen.

 

Susan Rice, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a former national security advisor under President Obama tweeted:

Beyond outrageous. Amb. McFaul served our country honorably and with full diplomatic immunity. If the White House cannot defend and protect our diplomats, like our service members, they are serving a hostile foreign power not the American people.

 

And Jeb Bush, brother and son of past presidents and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, tweeted:

Not dismissing this absurd request out of hand is an extraordinary sign of weakness by an American president.

 

Want more? Check out #ProtectMcFaul on Twitter.

 

So! You won’t be surprised to learn that Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_pewter) got there first with a script about McFaul.

 

As always, first check your MoCs’ social media feeds and see if they’ve said something yet about this. If they have, it’s an expression of outrage and horror and a pledge to act–no one is defending this and no one would try, it’s that thoroughly bad. If they’ve said something, thank them.

 

Then carry on with the call, using this script as a jumping-off point.

 

Yes, we grant that McFaul is unlikely to be handed over to Putin. But this is the sort of madness that demands an instant, firm, loud, harsh, primal NO GODDAMNIT NO.

 

Scroll down for ways to support Celeste Pewter and her work.

 

Here are additional ways to support Celeste Pewter, author of the black-backgrounded

script above.

 

You can follow her on Twitter:

@Celeste_Pewter

 

You can call your Members of Congress (MoCs) and tweet about your experience using

the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

You can check out The Road to 2018, an organization she’s involved with that defends

and promotes vulnerable Democratic Senators. See our post on it:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/02/25/support-the-road-to-2018-which-defends-democratic-senators/

 

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

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Action Alerts · Community Activism · Ethics · Marches and Protests · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Join a Vigil to Confront Corruption and Demand Democracy on July 18, 2018

Join a vigil to Confront Corruption at sundown on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

 

This event was planned before Monday’s Helsinki summit, and before Trump revealed himself to be so clearly under the control of Vladimir Putin.

 

We’re cheating a little by putting out two posts today–the now-standard weekly post demanding that Trump actually enforce and support sanctions against Russia (by which we mean earlier ones that passed Congress 530-5 in a bill that Trump signed but has pretty much ignored, not the fresh round of sanctions citizens are asking for in the wake of Helsinki).

 

As of the night of Monday July 16, 2018, citizens began gathering in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., to protest Trump’s horrific performance and demand that he go.

 

Those outside D.C. who are hungry to display their disgust have helped spread the word about this protest, which is a joint effort of dozens of groups, including MoveOn, March for Truth, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Stand Up America, Lawyers for Good Governance, and more.

 

 

Find a vigil near you by typing your zip code into this search engine:

https://www.confrontcorruption.org/?email_address=&address_change%5Bsubmitted_address%5D=01852&address_change%5Bdistance%5D=50&commit=Search

 

 

See the main Confront Corruption and Defend Democracy page:

http://www.confrontcorruption.org

 

 

See its About page:

https://www.confrontcorruption.org/about

 

 

Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand for Science · Stand Up for Civilization

Call Your MoCs and Demand They Enforce Sanctions Against Russia, Dammit, July 18, 2018 Edition

Call your MoCs to demand enforcement of sanctions against Russia.

 

Update, July 18, 2018: In the wake of Helsinki, activists such as Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_pewter) are encouraging citizens to ask their representatives for stronger, bipartisan sanctions against Russia.

 

Yesterday we published a post about calling your MoCs (members of Congress) to demand action in the wake of Trump’s astonishingly bad performance at the July 16, 2018 Helsinki meeting with Vladimir Putin.

 

See that post, which included a script from Pewter:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/07/17/call-your-mocs-and-leave-no-doubt-in-their-minds-about-how-you-feel-about-trumps-press-conference-in-helsinki/

 

Since we wrote that post, Pewter updated her original Helsinki sample script to include additional talking points. Top of the list of things to request is ‘Sanctions–stronger than the sanctions enacted before. Should be bipartisan.’

 

Those talking points are below. If you haven’t yet called your MoCs about Helsinki, please do, and include a request for new, tougher Russia sanctions in your discussion. If you have, and didn’t have these talking points at hand, call again and ask for these things.

 

Standing accumulated text on the original sanctions, what Trump did and failed to do, and why his failure is scary and important follow after the Pewter talking points.

 

 

Sarah Jane here. While I was sick with the flu back in January 2018, I wrote a few posts asking folks to call their MoCs and demand that they pressure President Trump to impose the sanctions on Russia for meddling with the 2016 election, which Congress passed with a veto-proof margin.

 

Trump’s shrugging off of the deadline and refusal to impose the sanctions has gotten some attention, but not enough, because ridiculous scandals continue to happen.

 

It should not get lost, and I am determined that it won’t.

 

Trump should not be allowed to ignore the will of 530 members of Congress. In my opinion it’s one of the worst, scariest signs of sliding into authoritarianism. We need to push back, and keep pushing back. And given that almost everyone in Congress feels the same way, we have leverage here.

 

Worse, Trump’s blatant shrugging off of the will of 530 members of Congress is evidently being taken as a sign by GOP leadership to remain supine in the face of his disregard for democracy. More than once I recall hearing GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell refuse to advance a bill to a floor vote using the excuse that if the Senate voted for it, Trump wouldn’t sign it.

 

THAT IS NOT A REASON TO AVOID FLOOR VOTES, FFS.

 

Anyway. We did see a small amount of progress on March 15, 2018, when the Trump administration accused Russia of hacking vital American infrastructure and imposed sanctions on 19 individuals, including the 13 that Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted in February 2018. While the move is welcome, it’s not what we’re asking for. The administration still needs to obey Congress and impose the damn sanctions on Russia already.

 

We also saw progress on March 23, when Trump signed an omnibus spending bill that included measures that push back against Russia in various ways. It was also good news when the administration announced it would expel 60 Russian officials from America and close the Seattle consulate over the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain.

 

And as of April 4, we’ve seen reports that the administration might sanction Russian oligarchs. See the stories:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-to-impose-fresh-sanctions-against-russia/2018/04/04/bc09e0b8-3851-11e8-b57c-9445cc4dfa5e_story.html?utm_term=.943e72ddd109

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-sanctions/u-s-plans-to-sanction-russian-oligarchs-this-week-sources-idUSKCN1HB34U

 

But! The sanctions that Congress called for have still not been imposed.

 

And! We saw a serious setback on April 16, 2018, when the Trump administration walked back a new round of sanctions against Russia, throwing the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, under the bus in the process. Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Counsel, evidently claimed she “might have gotten confused”. Read a New York Times story on the walk-back:

 

Haley, for her part, is Not Having It as of April 17, 2018, when she told CNN, “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” Kudlow later apologized for his remarks. Read a Vox story on Haley’s pushback:

https://www.vox.com/2018/4/17/17249652/nikki-haley-russia-sanctions-larry-kudlow-response

 

It’s also worth noting a chilling comment Trump made on June 15, during a White House lawn broadcast of Fox & Friends (noting that for future historians, who will boggle at it). When asked about North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un, he said:

 

“He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

 

Trump himself later tried to downplay the utterance it by calling it sarcasm. [Attempting to blunt the impact of horrible comments by retroactively claiming they’re jokes is a classic strategy of bullies and abusers.] Conservative commentators have tried to soft-pedal it by claiming that Trump was talking about his own staff, not American citizens at large.

 

Given all the other things Trump has said and done, both as a candidate and as president, we at OTYCD are not taking it as sarcasm, or as a reference to how he wants White House staff to behave. He admires dictators. He doesn’t seem to care what dictators do to their people to force obedience.

 

We at OTYCD will continue to devote at least one post per week to the Russian sanctions issue until the Trump administration does what Congress told it to do.

 

This is the entry for July 18, 2018.

 

Below is more material from other past posts, plus a Celeste Pewter calling script. Please stay on this, and please spread the word. Thanks!

 

 

On Monday, January 29, 2018, the Trump administration was due to enforce sanctions imposed on Russia for meddling in our elections, as required by a 2017 law.

 

The administration brushed off the requirement by claiming the threat of the sanctions was deterrent enough.

 

After I wrote a combo Nunes memo-Russia sanctions enforcement post yesterday, Senator Claire McCaskill got to the heart of the problem in a tweet she sent late on January 29, 2018:

 

Congress voted 517-5 to impose sanctions on Russia. The President decides to ignore that law. Folks that is a constitutional crisis. There should be outrage in every corner of this country.

 

To my horror, the implications of Trump’s act are getting ignored, or crowded out by other horrible things.

 

Please, call your members of Congress and demand that they call Trump out for this. He cannot just brush off a law passed with a veto-proof majority. McCaskill is right–it’s a constitutional crisis. Please call.

 

Here’s your @Celeste_Pewter calling script for that topic:

 

 

Since Celeste prepared that calling script, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 13 Russians for interfering in the 2016 Russian election.

 

Read the Washington Post‘s story about the indictments, which came down on February 16, 2018:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-troll-farm-13-suspects-indicted-for-interference-in-us-election/2018/02/16/2504de5e-1342-11e8-9570-29c9830535e5_story.html?utm_term=.be1dd2d76f9d

 

The indictments also make Trump’s refusal to impose the sanctions that Congress voted overwhelmingly to impose that much more flagrant and disgusting. It also makes it that much more important that we at OTYCD stay on this topic and spotlight it until Trump finally does what he should have done back in late January 2018.

 

Here I will reproduce more useful info from past OTYCD post that quote Celeste Pewter and Alexandra Erin.

 

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) helped me keep sane with a series of tweets on January 31, which I’ll reproduce:

 

Ok. I keep seeing certain threads about Russian sanctions/authoritarianism being RTed into my TL, so I think it’s important to have some facts on what Congress can and cannot do to address the WH’s decision. Start with this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/30/even-if-trump-is-blatantly-ignoring-the-russia-sanctions-law-theres-not-a-lot-congress-can-do-about-it/?utm_term=.3b1222b2389a

 

Then follow it up with this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/30/the-trump-administrations-weird-explanation-for-withholding-russia-sanctions/?utm_term=.1821cef97d99

 

I think it’s easy (and understandable) to say: “Rule of law is deaaaaad!” but the question now becomes: What are YOU going to do about it? Senator tweeted this: [She quotes the tweet I reproduce above]

 

Yes, be outraged. But more importantly, channel your outrage. The WaPo article I listed lists four options for Congress to respond to this; these are the three most likely. Your elected work for you. Demand they make any three (or even all three) happen. [She includes a screenshot of the three things, from the first Washington Post piece above.]

 

Don’t just sit around waiting for government to collapse; if you’re truly as upset as all of your RTs seem to indicate – I’m getting a bit [thinking face with arched eyebrow emoji] with the fatalism – then make sure you call and make your electeds hear your voice. Yes, this includes GOP electeds.

 

If you’ve followed me long enough, you’ll know I used to be a constituent affairs director for an elected. Trust me when I say: staff will let their boss(es) hear it, if their phone lines are ringing off the hook. We want it to stop so we can do other work.

 

We want our bosses to give us solutions to make it stop. So make it happen w/ these Russian sanction calls. Make the constituent team know you don’t accept this, and you will keep calling, until they are so tired of you, they will demand the office do something.

 

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: we are many, and they are few. Do you really want these sanctions dictated by a few wankers in the administration? No. This time, you even have a bipartisan majority of the House and the Senate on your side. You have the power.

 

Here also are Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin)’s January 31, 2018 tweets on the topic:

 

There are a pair of recent moves, from the State Department and the Treasury Department, which suggest that in year two of Trump’s reign, the regime is being a lot less circumspect about being in Putin’s pocket, with less ego-clashing feud and less smoke-and-mirrors resistance.

 

Now, you might recall that back in 2017, Congress passed laws calling for tough new sanctions to punish Russia for its election interference. There was a lot of speculation about whether Trump would sign this act, but he finally did, grudgingly and complaining the whole time.

 

In the United States system of government, the theory is that Congress passes the law, and the executive branch *executes* them, hence the term. Trump as chief executive is the chief one responsible for carrying out laws passed by Congress.

So guess where this is going.

 

Monday, January 29th, was the deadline for the executive branch to impose the sanctions, as prescribed in the bill that Donald Trump personally signed into canon as the law of the land.

It came and it went.

 

The law called for the Treasury Department to help guide the sanctions by producing an investigative report of oligarchs and businesses linked to Putin.

 

Serious, lifetime-career experts at the Treasury Department prepared that report, which was then thrown out and replaced with a copy of the Russian Forbes 100 list plus a few public Putin associates and a disclaimer that it’s not a list of people who should face sanctions.

 

And Rex Tillerson, secretary of state and obvious Yosemite Sam pseudonym, told Congress that they haven’t imposed actual sanctions because the threat of sanctions is proving an effective deterrent. Slap on the wrist, everybody learned a valuable lesson. No actual penalty.

 

The actual implementation strategy here is to let everyone else know that doing “significant transactions” with certain Russia-linked entities may result in penalties for the other party. But it’s entirely discretionary. No actual rules per se.

Team America: World Secret Police.

 

This gives the Trump regime a valuable tool for looking tough (Trump’s favorite way to look), a free hand for Putin, and a way to arbitrarily impose sanctions on countries or other entities that Trump or Putin want to weaken.

 

With nothing actually in writing about what transactions get penalized, we could easily see a situation where a group that does significant business with the Ukraine and also had an incidental transaction in Russia gets hit with sanctions for violating the unwritten rules.

 

Or anybody backing dissidents and opposition politicians in Russia. The sub-basement floor is the limit with these guys.

 

I don’t think we are quite at “Treasury and State Department overtly help Putin crush his enemies” territory yet. Nope. But one year and change in to Trump’s rule, and we are at “Treasury and State Department overtly shield Putin and his cronies from consequences” territory.

 

And while it’s not a surprising shift, it is a marked shift from where they were last year, and the main thing that has changed is what year it is. Time makes Trump normal. The passage of the year changed his dislike of the sanctions from an outrage to the way things are.

 

And with Trump’s feet-dragging opposition to the sanctions accepted as the new normal, his executive branch failing to execute them becomes a natural progression of time rather than a startling departure from all norms of governance and the rule of law.

 

So you’ve really got to ask yourself, what would the start of a year 3 of Trump look like? How far would he be able to go after his next calendar reset? How far can he push things between now and then?

 

…this prompted Cathy R to tweet,

So now what? No further actions!? What can be done?

 

Alexandra Erin answered:

 

Talk about it. Spread awareness of it. Make sure everybody you know knows that it’s happening. Post it on your Facebook. Put it in an email forward to your uncle. The right does these things, and it shapes the way people think about politics, and vote.

 

Talk is not the only action required, but talk is an action that is required. There is a national discourse. We have to be shaping it.

 

Believe it or not, talking about the regime’s corruption is doing something. Talking about the resurgence of overt Nazism and white nationalism is doing something. Being willing to talk about these things, to label them as they are rather than accepting them as normal, helps.

 

We could be calling Congress to light a fire under them to demand the executive branch actually execute these things, to write newer, more specific, and tougher sanction laws, but to be honest: the public engagement and awareness aren’t there yet to get the critical mass needed.

 

So step one is: talk about it. Talk to people about it. Get people talking about it. The executive branch is flouting the rule of law, Trump is ignoring a law he himself signed into existence.

 

The right has a hundred talking points about why Russian interference doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter or helped Clinton or whatever. But none of that addresses the fact that Trump signed this law. He made it the law of the land. And he’s ignoring it.

Action Alerts · Call Your Senators · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Call Your Senators and Demand That They Vote NO on Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Nominee for SCOTUS

Call your senators and demand that they vote NO on Brett Kavanaugh, Team Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States.

 

First, an apology from Sarah Jane: I meant to write and queue this earlier, closer to when the nominee was named. Life and work deadlines got in the way. I can only apologize and repeat the fact that OTYCD is a part-time endeavor. Thanks for your patience.

 

Anyway. We know who the nominee is now, and his judicial record is as noxious as you’d expect, given that he passed muster with The Federalist Society.

 

We need to push back.

 

The fight will be hard, but not impossible. And the fight will definitely be impossible if we don’t bother to fight at all.

 

Your Senators need to hear from you, and you need to be firm and clear. (And polite.)

 

So! Call your two Senators and tell them you want them to oppose Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS nomination. Then call friends and family across the country and ask them to do the same. And keep calling as new developments emerge about Kavanaugh and his views. (We at OTYCD expect to devote future posts to this issue.)

 

Remember: Loud, fierce, sustained protests against Trumpcare and Trumpcare 2.0 made them fail. It was the folks who called, texted, left voicemails, and showed up to protest who made the difference. If we can make loud, fierce, sustained protests against Kavanaugh, we could sink his nomination.

 

Check the link below to see if either of your Senators are on the chamber’s Judiciary Committee. If they are, it is extra-important that you call. Bonus points if you do this on behalf of friends and family and update them on their own Senators.

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

 

Before you call, you should check the social media feeds of your Senators and see if they’ve issued a statement on Kavanaugh.

 

If they’ve already agreed to vote no, thank them for that.

 

If they’ve already agreed to vote yes, urge them to change their vote.

 

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_pewter) got there first with great scripts on this topic. The trio you see below are a) a script supporting the McConnell rule, updated to reflect the name of the SCOTUS nominee; b) a simple ‘No on Kavanaugh’ script; and c) talking points you can use to expand on the main scripts.

 

Please scroll down to learn how you can support Celeste Pewter’s work.

 

Here are additional ways to support Celeste Pewter, author of the black-backgrounded

script above.

 

You can follow her on Twitter:

@Celeste_Pewter

 

You can call your Members of Congress (MoCs) and tweet about your experience using

the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

You can check out The Road to 2018, an organization she’s involved with that defends

and promotes vulnerable Democratic Senators. See our post on it:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/02/25/support-the-road-to-2018-which-defends-democratic-senators/

 

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 or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!