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Thwart a Constitutional Convention by Electing Democrats to State Legislatures

Thwart any plans the Republicans might have to call a Constitutional Convention by helping to elect Democrats to state legislatures–your state’s, and other states. 

You know the importance of electing Democrats at all levels–federal, state, and local. You’ve read our blog posts on state-level legislative elections, and you might have done something to help. But there’s another reason to stay alert to state legislative elections, both in your state and in other states, and work to ensure that Democrats get elected.

The country can call a Constitutional Convention if two-thirds of the states band together and ask for one. Such a convention would allow its members to amend or even rewrite the Constitution.

What’s the problem? In order to call a Constitutional Convention, 34 states would have to  pass bills in their own legislatures to ask for one. A total of 38 states are needed to pass any measures cooked up at the convention.

As of mid-2017, 32 states have Republican-controlled legislatures, and 24 of those states have Republican “trifectas”–Republican governors AND a Republican-controlled legislature. Democrats have only six trifectas, and six more legislatures are split.

Worse, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative think tank, has been steadily working toward changing the state legislative landscape to open the door to a Constitutional Convention. It’s agitating for a balanced budget amendment–which would prevent Congress from passing a budget that increases the national debt.

To lay it out plainly: If a Constitutional Convention happens anytime soon, it will be dominated by Republican-leaning states, and will almost certainly be dominated by measures that reflect Republican and conservative points of view. They could write amendments that bans gay marriage, or abortion. They could augment the second amendment in a dangerous way. Heck, they could rewrite the first amendment to curtail protests. They could get up to all sorts of nasty shenanigans. That’s not to say their amendments will convince 38 states to vote in favor, but still.

You can thwart this in many ways.

First, learn which party, if any, controls your state legislature, and assess the strength or weakness of the party’s control.

If your state is controlled by Democrats, learn how to strengthen the party’s control by increasing their numbers. This might mean spending time or money on electing, re-electing, and defending state candidates who need your help.

If your state splits control between the parties, see what you can do to broaden and boost Democratic control. Again, this might mean spending time or money on electing, re-electing, and defending state candidates who need your help.

If your state is controlled by Republicans, you will want to commit time and money to increasing the number of Democrats, especially if your state has a Republican trifecta.

If you want to help affect legislatures beyond your state, target states with Republican trifectas and do your damnedest to break them.

 

Learn about upcoming state elections through Flippable:

https://www.flippable.org

 

 

 

Read about Constitutional Conventions, the modern pro-convention movement, and what’s at stake:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/10/21/a-constitutional-convention-could-be-the-single-most-dangerous-way-to-fix-american-government/?utm_term=.5eaf6cce9a8e

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/were-surprisingly-close-to-a-new-constitutional-convention-bad-idea/2017/04/06/f6d5b76a-197d-11e7-855e-4824bbb5d748_story.html?utm_term=.bbdac53be324

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/01/_liberals_and_conservatives_are_teaming_up_to_call_a_new_constitutional.html

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/wisconsin/articles/2017-05-31/republicans-push-constitutional-convention-measures-forward

http://wuwm.com/post/wisconsin-could-become-30th-state-demand-constitutional-convention#stream/0

 

Check this Wikipedia page to see which party, if any, controls your state legislature:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_state_legislatures

 

Read about how Republicans now control many state legislatures:

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/after-winning-7-more-seats-gop-dominance-state-legislatures-all

 

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Fight the GOP Tax Bill, December 15 Update: Keep Fighting

Here’s your December 15 update on fighting the GOP tax bill, with side notes on defending Net Neutrality.

On December 14, Andy Slavitt (@aslavitt) tweeted a good rundown of the state of things:

Vote count on tax bill just got interesting w/ Senator McCain hospitalized now, Collins up in the air & short window before Jones is sat.2/

Word is Pence is planning to cancel international travel next week because he now thinks is vote may be needed.3/

If this is right, it means McConnell is concerned about having only 50 votes. If Corker votes no & McCain can’t vote, focus goes 2 Collins.4

Time is the other factor. The sooner the new Alabama senator is sat, the quicker the will of the Alabama voter will be heard. 5/

The GOP political reality is that post 2018 AL race, the prospects for accomplishing much next year is low. They view their window as now.6/

Defeating the tax bill is an uphill battle, but it means any Senator can change it, there is no room for time to slip, AL voters must be ignored & Collins must accept a promise that can’t be kept. And that’s what they’re planning to do unless they’re stopped./end

 

And in response to this Damian Paletta (@damianpaletta) tweet…

MORE BREAKING: Rubio is now a NO on the tax bill unless Child Tax Credit is expanded. Lee is now an undecided. Hatch concerned.

…which pointed to this Washington Post story:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/rubio-to-vote-against-gop-tax-bill-unless-tax-credit-for-working-poor-is-expanded/2017/12/14/8be53a22-e0f9-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html?pushid=5a32c5bbb0a05c1d000000c8&tidr=notifi_push_breaking-news&utm_term=.fc262481949e

… Ben Wikler (@benwikler) tweeted:

THIS FIGHT IS NOT OVER MELT THE PHONES 202-224-3121

 

Now, we’ve seen this before. Marco Rubio flinches and sputters and whines and goes on to vote how his party tells him to anyway. We at OTYCD will believe he’s serious only when he up and votes no on this thing.

Still. Mike Lee sliding into the ‘undecided’ column is news. And, Slavitt also noted on Twitter:

BREAKING: Word today from the Hill is that has no chance of anything but an IOU before being asked to vote for the tax bill.

…Maine Watch (@CollinsWatch) tweeted on December 14:

. has moved the goal posts on the tax bill so often that it’s ludicrous but this is what she said YESTERDAY: “If the commitments are not kept to me I will not support the bill.”

Will she keep her word and vote no? Who knows?

The answer is the same answer we’ve been giving you every day for weeks now: Call, call, call your members of Congress; encourage your friends and family to call; and when you call your senators, ask them to support efforts to either seat Senator-elect Doug Jones as soon as possible OR delay the vote on the GOP tax bill until he is seated.

Scroll down a ways to locate the standing script for calling your MoCs.

 

Now on to Net Neutrality (with apologies for technically giving you two things you can do, but hey, such are the times). On December 14, as expected, the five members of the FCC voted three to two to begin rolling it back.

First off, please contact FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and thank her for her full-throated defense of Net Neutrality.

Here’s her email address:

Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner
Mignon.Clyburn@fcc.gov

For that matter, following her on Twitter would be a good way to thank her, too:

@MClyburnFCC

She’s also inviting your responses in her pinned tweet, and inviting you to join her online on December 19 at 2 pm EST:

The majority is ignoring the voices of millions of Americans – I will not. Direct all questions about to me. Will answer top questions online on Tuesday (12/19) at 2pm EST.

 

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) has been doing typical excellent work on the Net Neutrality front, but we at OTYCD want to amplify a specific piece of it:

Don’t freak out.

Yes, this sucks, but the world has not ended. Our Net Neutrality strategy shifts now, and there are still many things you can do, and many things you can support your representatives in doing, to defend it.

But! Be mindful of getting too terribly whipped up. Authoritarian regimes try, deliberately, to burn you out by swamping you with horrors and keeping you spun up and twitchy. You really do need to take breaks, get rest, and come back ready to fight. No joke. If you can feel yourself getting ragged and frayed, step away, do something to relax, and then come back.

Oh yeah, and she’s 100 percent right about staying polite and not indulging in hate-mailing Ajit Pai. It’s a waste of effort, and it’s counterproductive, too.

Here’s what @Celeste_Pewter advised on Twitter just after the vote went down:

First, understand that this is NOT the end. I’ve seen many, many tweets suggesting this vote is the death knell for the internet. That’s simply not true. Read the document I linked in this tweet. This won’t happen overnight.

<This is the document she refers to: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db1122/DOC-347927A1.pdf>

2. Understand just what is and isn’t. This video will help. I’m seeing a lot of tweets suggesting means cutting off access; it’s more slowing/throttling access for more $. (Broadly speaking)

3. Now, here are some actionable steps. A. Nix the desire to hate email the FCC. Do people like Pai deserve it? Hell yes. But it’s not going to get anything done. B. Email your House Members/Senators TODAY and tell them you want the ball rolling on a telecoms bill. Script.

B1. I’m getting some questions about HR 4585, and whether we ask electeds to support. Going to say no – the bill address the FCC/rule, and not the root of this problem, which is this should be enshrined into law. Until laws happen, will be a political football.

C. Call your state attorneys general, and ask them how they plan on addressing the FCC’s changes. They’re going to have similar powers to protect consumers from anti-competitive practices. Additionally, ask them to sign off on the letter calling to investigate fake comments.

D. Check out news sites/tech sites for lawsuits about Net Neutrality, and donate to their efforts. Start with places like . Donate to those causes. Spread the word. E. Tell your preferred 2018 Dem candidates, you want them to add to their platform.
<Here is the Wired article she refers to: https://www.wired.com/2017/05/congress-not-fcc-can-fix-net-neutrality/>

Why? Because: A. You want to know what they’ll do about Net Neutrality if elected, B. Making Net Neutrality a leading campaign issue, can very likely encourage even more volunteer/voter interest. (Seriously, I think the DSCC/DCCC should make this a campaign point)

Here’s a script for your governor’s office. I don’t think they’ll do this, but if they tell you this is an issue outside of their jurisdiction, point to Washington state’s announcement as precedent for your call.

Some FAQs: 1. The petitions floating around should be seen as well-meaning ways to spread information, but will have ZERO actual impact. Petitions are designed to be hard. The boards/orgs/whatever you’re filing them to, want to discourage hundreds of random/arbitrary filings.
Credentials: I saw a lot of petition filings when I worked in politics, and they were always, always struck down. The rules are designed to be complex on purpose. (Also, politicians are totally using the petitions to get your info for $$ during campaign season, so there’s that.)  <FWIW, this is another reason why we at OTYCD virtually never ask you to sign a petition.>
2. I know I’ve said this hundreds of times, but please only use social media to rally your followers. Do not use it to contact electeds; their staff don’t have the time to filter thousands of @’s or FB posts, and your point will be overlooked/ignored.
3. The comment portal for this process closed in August. Telling people to post to GoFCCYourself has been doing nothing, and will seriously do nothing. (Sorry, sorry! But it’s true. All the recent posts saying to comment via GoFCCYourself, have made me cranky)
Finally. Take a breath. This is not over BY. FAR. The fight has gotten harder, but there are MANY of us and they are few. It may take until the Democrats are back in power, but we CAN AND WILL do this.
Please, please RT this info. Please spread this info widely; there’s so much bad info going around, I’m worried people will think their efforts have failed, and give up in defeat. FIGHT for the Internet and our right to unrestrained information.
P.S. Don’t let the pro-rollback members of the FCC lie to you. Their proposed alternatives simply do not work, and aren’t “imminently reasonable” as one of them said.

 

Many qs on Markey’s Congressional Review Act resolution re: 1. It DOESN’T hurt to tell your Senator you want them to support his resolution. Go for it. 2. But the process isn’t as straightforward as Twitter is claiming it to be.

3. Yes, it requires a simple majority to *pass* the resolution, but then it goes to POTUS. 4. POTUS can veto. Let’s be realistic: Trump will veto. Then two-thirds in both chambers is needed to overturn that veto. More here:

5. So absolutely say you want your Senators to sign on – and get them on the record – but diversify your approach to this. See my original thread.

An additional script. This is for your SENATORS only, and asks them to support Markey’s Congressional Review Act Resolution.

 

And for your 2018 candidates of choice. Know where they stand, before you support them.

 

And hey! Within hours of Pewter tweeting all this info, the Attorneys General of California, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Mississippi, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington state declared that they will sue the FCC over this.

Find your AG by plugging your address into this search engine:

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org

Is yours one of the AGs who are suing? Thank them, and say you support them.

Is yours one of the AGs who isn’t? Ask them to join the suit. Every little (friendly) nudge helps.

 

Text from previous update posts follow; scroll down for the calling script for the GOP tax bill.

Here’s a December 10 Twitter thread from tax expert Michael Linden that you should see, which lays out what makes this week important:

This coming week is make-or-break for the GOP tax scam. If you have any interest in fighting this disastrous bill, follow along for a state-of-play update. Short version: we CAN still stop this thing. 1/

Here’s where we are: Both the Senate & House have passed versions of the GOP tax scam. They have a lot in common (huge tax cuts for the wealthy & corporations, tax hikes on millions of middle class families) but aren’t identical. 2/

To become law, the House & Senate have to pass identical bills. So to come up with ONE new version that both chambers can pass, the GOP has sent their bills to a “conference committee.” 3/

That Conference Committee is, right now, behind closed doors, ironing out the differences between the House & Senate bill. The bad news is that the bill is much more likely to get worse than it is to get better. 4/

Once the Conference Committee creates a new bill that they think can pass both chambers, both the House and the Senate will have to vote AGAIN. That’s our last chance to . 5/

The Conference Committee is going to have precisely 1 “open” meeting (it’s not much more than a photo op), and that’ll be THIS WEDNESDAY, December 13th, at 2 PM. 6/

it’ll be only a matter of days before the FINAL vote in the House & Senate. Those votes could be as soon as Thursday, but likely will be early the week of the 18th. 7/

That means this week is CRITICAL. If we’re going to stop this bill, Congress needs to hear and feel the backlash. We can stop it either by flipping 10 GOP votes in the House or 2 GOP votes in the Senate. Tall orders, yes, but not impossible. 8/

Here’s a list of 50+ potentially flippable House GOPers. These all have some combination of the following characteristics: •From states that would be particularly hard hit •Voted against ACA repeal •Are in competitive 2018 races We need 10 of ‘em. 9/

In the Senate, our best bets are Susan Collins and Jeff Flake (and it would help if Doug Jones wins on Tuesday). Both were promised concessions that aren’t likely to be in the final bill. Both want to be thought of as “serious” and “independent.” 10/
So, what can you do? 1. Call EVERY day. Especially if you are in AZ, ME, or one of those 50 House districts, but call daily even if you aren’t (Congress needs to feel the backlash everywhere – & they talk to each other). 11/ <Note from OTYCD: Yes, this is one of those times when it is OK to call for days in a row on the same issue.>
2.If you are in the DC area, or can get here, come to the People’s Rally Against the Tax Scam at the Capitol on WEDNESDAY. This is our last best chance to make a lot of noise in DC. 12/
3. Go to a local protest or event. Check out and & for lists of local events. 13/
Bottom line: the GOP knows their tax scam is historically unpopular. They’re hoping that voters will forget about it by next November and beyond. Our best bet to stop the bill is by showing them we won’t forget. /end

 

And here are more things you might want to know:

There might be a GOP Tax Scam protest near you. Check this link to find out:

https://notonepenny.org/take-action/#events

 

In her December 6 update on fighting the GOP tax bill, Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) offered talking points that you can use with friends, family, and co-workers:

8. Here are talking points you can include in any contact you share w/ friends/family/colleagues. Key point is that the impact on the deficit could eventually result in cuts in entitlement programs.

 

The Senate has chosen its lineup for the Tax Conference Committee. They will represent the Senate when trying to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the GOP tax bill.

If any of these Republicans are your senators, it is super-extra-important for you to call and make your opposition known.

Orrin Hatch of Utah

Mike Enzi of Wyoming

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

John Cornyn of Texas

John Thune of South Dakota

Rob Portman of Ohio

Tim Scott of South Carolina

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

 

Before that, the House GOP named its tax conference committee members. If any of these folks are your reps, it is super-extra-important for you to call (again, all are Republicans):

Kevin Brady of Texas

Devin Nunes of California

Peter Roskam of Illinois

Diane Black of Tennessee

Kristi Noem of South Dakota

 

Rob Bishop of Utah

Don Young of Alaska

Greg Walden of Oregon

John Shimkus of Illinois

 

 

 

Here also are several other folks aside from @MichaelSLinden, @Celeste_Pewter, @TopherSpiro, and @aslavitt who you should be following on Twitter to stay on top of the GOP tax bill, which is morphing constantly, like a suspect science experiment in a horror movie. Some of these people are old friends from the Trumpcare fights. Some are tax experts.

Ben Wikler @benwikler

Seth Hanlon @sethhanlon

Sunjeev Bery @sunjeevbery

Lily Batchelder @lilybatch

Greg Leiserson @gregleiserson

Chad Bolt @chadderr

 

Here also are two more recent posts that relate to the GOP tax bill and its effects that you should see if you haven’t yet:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/02/refresh-review-and-prep-for-2018-gop-tax-bill-related-briefing/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/03/commit-now-to-put-any-tax-benefits-you-might-get-from-the-gop-tax-bill-to-fighting-its-effects/

 

One last note, which we’ve stated before: Even if this bill ultimately implodes and never becomes law, we still need to vote out every Republican that we can in 2018. This whole process has been nothing less than legislative malpractice. They should be punished for aiding and abetting it. Period.

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Fight the GOP Tax Bill, December 14 Update (Plus Defending Net Neutrality)

Here’s your December 14 update on fighting the GOP tax bill.

Ok, first–We updated all our Doug Jones-related posts last night but we didn’t tweak the December 13 update on the tax bill, so let us first say

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES SO MUCH YES

and

THANK YOU, ALABAMA!

Roy Moore has yet to concede, but multiple outlets confirm that Jones won the December 12 special election for the open senate seat in Alabama by about 1.5 points–a small but solid win, and enough to avoid an automatic recount, which would have happened if the two leading candidates were .5 percent apart or less.

It also looks like Moore cannot request a recount, even if he funds it, according to this entry by Rick Hasen on the Election Law Blog:

http://electionlawblog.org/?p=96376

So, Doug Jones will serve as Alabama’s junior senator until 2020 at least, and the Senate Republican count falls from 52-48 to 51-49, which will hamstring the GOP’s ability to push their agenda. Hooray!

The next step in helping Senator-elect Doug Jones is demanding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seat him, or else delay the vote on the GOP tax bill until he can be seated.

There’s precedent for this. When Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in a special election to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy in January 2010, Senate Republicans demanded that the pending vote on the Affordable Care Act be postponed until Brown could take his place. Their demands were honored.

Jeremy Slevin, who works with the Center for American Progress, did the Daily Show-style work to unearth video of McConnell and ‘Regular Order’ John McCain’s demanding that Brown be seated before taking the vote on the Affordable Care Act.

Go to @jeremyslevin to see those tweets.

Democrats can, and should, demand the same courtesy for Jones.

When you make your daily call to oppose the GOP Tax Bill, also tell them that they should support postponing the vote until Jones is seated.

Of course that doesn’t mean that Mitch McConnell will do the right thing. The man who held a Supreme Court seat open for the better part of the year will likely see no problem with shoving the GOP tax bill through before Alabama’s Secretary of State finishes the paperwork to certify the results of the special election.

On December 13, the Democrats did indeed call for a pause on the reconciliation process on the bill:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/democrats-call-for-halt-to-gop-tax-bill-until-jones-is-seated-in-the-senate/2017/12/13/9c42fe44-e00f-11e7-8679-a9728984779c_story.html?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.3b9049a3bee6

…but the Republicans might have figured things out. On December 13, Andy Slavitt (@aslavitt) tweeted:

UPDATE: GOP announcing Herve reached a tax deal. The rush is on.

But! Topher Spiro (@topherspiro) tweeted a good point around the same time on the same day:

Could they have a reason to say there’s a deal? Think about it for one second.

I mean, I could have predicted last night they would say they have a deal this morning.

But later in the day, the Washington Post reported that GOP Congressfolk had reached an ‘agreement in principle’ on the tax bill. Spoiler alert: It helps the wealthy and corporations more than it helps the middle class. Read the WaPo story:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/republicans-reach-compromise-tax-plan-expanding-tax-cuts-for-the-wealthy/2017/12/13/4f9ca66c-e028-11e7-bbd0-9dfb2e37492a_story.html?utm_term=.bd380aaff980

Regardless of whether the GOP Congressfolk have an actual deal or not, the answer for you is the same:

Call, call, call and tell your members of Congress to vote NO. Ask your friends and family to call, too. Do it every day until this bill is dead, or passed.

And you’re following @Celeste_Pewter on Twitter, right? In case you’re not, here’s a December 13 tweet-thread you should see:

All, your calls need to be stepped up a notch.

If possible, please make it calls and not emails or faxes. Time is of the essence right now.

Here’s the page with scripts. Updates to come.

4. Your governor’s office may very well tell you: “This is a federal issue, etc.” Counterpoint: tell them how the bill will impact your state, and constituents, and why they need to put pressure on their federal colleagues.

(If there is enough pressure on a specific subject on an elected, they will feel pressured to speak out. I used to monitor the news AND constituent responses for my boss, and make recommendations on issuing statements on issues.)

5. Call/email five friends and family, and explain in straightforward terms, why you need them to do steps 1-3. Make it easy for them. Give them names, numbers, emails and scripts. Tell them exactly what to do and say (but personalize). Then tell them to do this w/ 5 friends.

FAQ, as usual: A. Only use social media to rally your followers. Do not use it to contact your electeds. Their staff can’t ID who you are or where you live via social, so your contact here is pointless.

B. The reconciled version has to go back to both House and Senate for a vote, so you should be contacting both. C. Ask for: 1. A no vote w/ all electeds 2. For the Senate, ask for the vote to not take place until Jones is seated.

D. But understand: 3. The GOP is desperate to pass something, 4. McConnell likely to say no to the Jones request. (But you should still be asking anyway, to see where your Senators stand.)

E. While we want this bill to collapse, if we can at least mitigate some of the damage by getting the worst amendments/language stripped out, it will still make a difference. Make your calls, and make them TODAY.

Details on the bills are still coming in, so if you’re calling now, you can keep it vague (but make sure you personalize). Scripts.

 

Some additional things to do: 1. If your specific field will be impacted (e.g. grad student) write an OpEd and send it into your local paper. Their opinion emails are generally public. 2. Make a video (or write a post) explaining how the tax bill will impact you.

3. Tag your electeds in that video/post. I’ve seen Democratic electeds accounts help boost videos, which helps spread the word. Make your calls TODAY. They’re looking at a vote next week.

 

Repeat text follows, but scroll down for additional information about how best to defend net neutrality.

Here’s a December 10 Twitter thread from tax expert Michael Linden that you should see, which lays out what makes this week important:

This coming week is make-or-break for the GOP tax scam. If you have any interest in fighting this disastrous bill, follow along for a state-of-play update. Short version: we CAN still stop this thing. 1/

Here’s where we are: Both the Senate & House have passed versions of the GOP tax scam. They have a lot in common (huge tax cuts for the wealthy & corporations, tax hikes on millions of middle class families) but aren’t identical. 2/

To become law, the House & Senate have to pass identical bills. So to come up with ONE new version that both chambers can pass, the GOP has sent their bills to a “conference committee.” 3/

That Conference Committee is, right now, behind closed doors, ironing out the differences between the House & Senate bill. The bad news is that the bill is much more likely to get worse than it is to get better. 4/

Once the Conference Committee creates a new bill that they think can pass both chambers, both the House and the Senate will have to vote AGAIN. That’s our last chance to . 5/

The Conference Committee is going to have precisely 1 “open” meeting (it’s not much more than a photo op), and that’ll be THIS WEDNESDAY, December 13th, at 2 PM. 6/

it’ll be only a matter of days before the FINAL vote in the House & Senate. Those votes could be as soon as Thursday, but likely will be early the week of the 18th. 7/

That means this week is CRITICAL. If we’re going to stop this bill, Congress needs to hear and feel the backlash. We can stop it either by flipping 10 GOP votes in the House or 2 GOP votes in the Senate. Tall orders, yes, but not impossible. 8/

Here’s a list of 50+ potentially flippable House GOPers. These all have some combination of the following characteristics: •From states that would be particularly hard hit •Voted against ACA repeal •Are in competitive 2018 races We need 10 of ‘em. 9/

In the Senate, our best bets are Susan Collins and Jeff Flake (and it would help if Doug Jones wins on Tuesday). Both were promised concessions that aren’t likely to be in the final bill. Both want to be thought of as “serious” and “independent.” 10/
So, what can you do? 1. Call EVERY day. Especially if you are in AZ, ME, or one of those 50 House districts, but call daily even if you aren’t (Congress needs to feel the backlash everywhere – & they talk to each other). 11/ <Note from OTYCD: Yes, this is one of those times when it is OK to call for days in a row on the same issue.>
2.If you are in the DC area, or can get here, come to the People’s Rally Against the Tax Scam at the Capitol on WEDNESDAY. This is our last best chance to make a lot of noise in DC. 12/
3. Go to a local protest or event. Check out and & for lists of local events. 13/
Bottom line: the GOP knows their tax scam is historically unpopular. They’re hoping that voters will forget about it by next November and beyond. Our best bet to stop the bill is by showing them we won’t forget. /end

 

And here are more things you might want to know:

There might be a GOP Tax Scam protest near you. Check this link to find out:

https://notonepenny.org/take-action/#events

 

In her December 6 update on fighting the GOP tax bill, Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) offered talking points that you can use with friends, family, and co-workers:

8. Here are talking points you can include in any contact you share w/ friends/family/colleagues. Key point is that the impact on the deficit could eventually result in cuts in entitlement programs.

 

The Senate has chosen its lineup for the Tax Conference Committee. They will represent the Senate when trying to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the GOP tax bill.

If any of these Republicans are your senators, it is super-extra-important for you to call and make your opposition known.

Orrin Hatch of Utah

Mike Enzi of Wyoming

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

John Cornyn of Texas

John Thune of South Dakota

Rob Portman of Ohio

Tim Scott of South Carolina

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

 

Before that, the House GOP named its tax conference committee members. If any of these folks are your reps, it is super-extra-important for you to call (again, all are Republicans):

Kevin Brady of Texas

Devin Nunes of California

Peter Roskam of Illinois

Diane Black of Tennessee

Kristi Noem of South Dakota

 

Rob Bishop of Utah

Don Young of Alaska

Greg Walden of Oregon

John Shimkus of Illinois

 

 

 

Here also are several other folks aside from @MichaelSLinden, @Celeste_Pewter, @TopherSpiro, and @aslavitt who you should be following on Twitter to stay on top of the GOP tax bill, which is morphing constantly, like a suspect science experiment in a horror movie. Some of these people are old friends from the Trumpcare fights. Some are tax experts.

Ben Wikler @benwikler

Seth Hanlon @sethhanlon

Sunjeev Bery @sunjeevbery

Lily Batchelder @lilybatch

Greg Leiserson @gregleiserson

Chad Bolt @chadderr

 

In addition, you can call your members of Congress (MoCs) to ask them to defend Net Neutrality–that vote could come on December 14.

We’ve been beating the Net Neutrality drum all year. Below is a post that explains why we need to keep it, and contains a script you can use when calling your MoCs:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/02/defend-net-neutrality-and-keep-the-internet-a-level-playing-field-for-all/

Now, a refinement of this point. The vote that’s happening on December 14 is NOT a Congressional vote. It’s the five members of the FCC. Two are against repealing Net Neutrality, and three are believed to be for it.

Here are the email addresses of those three. Please email them and ask them to vote to keep Net Neutrality. As always, be clear and firm but unfailingly polite.

Ajit Pai, Chairman Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov

Michael O’Rielly, Commissioner Mike.O’Rielly@fcc.gov

Brendan Carr, Commissioner Brendan.Carr@fcc.gov

 

Here also are two more recent posts that relate to the GOP tax bill and its effects that you should see if you haven’t yet:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/02/refresh-review-and-prep-for-2018-gop-tax-bill-related-briefing/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/03/commit-now-to-put-any-tax-benefits-you-might-get-from-the-gop-tax-bill-to-fighting-its-effects/

 

One last note, which we’ve stated before: Even if this bill ultimately implodes and never becomes law, we still need to vote out every Republican that we can in 2018. This whole process has been nothing less than legislative malpractice. They should be punished for aiding and abetting it. Period.

Community Activism · Marches and Protests · Public Education · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Join the Network for Public Education and Combat Betsy DeVos’s Agenda

Want to resist the democracy-destroying agenda of Department of Education head Betsy DeVos? Join the Network for Public Education.

Founded in 2013 by Diane Ravitch, a historian of education and author of numerous books, including Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform and The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, it aims to protect and defend the nation’s public school system from the forces that would destroy it.

 

Visit the Network for Public Education’s web page:

https://networkforpubliceducation.org

 

See its agenda:

https://networkforpubliceducation.org/about-npe/our-positive-agenda/

 

Join its grassroots network (scroll down to find your state):

https://networkforpubliceducation.org/grassroots-education-network-3/

 

Review its Toolkit that explains school privatization, and why it’s a problem:

https://networkforpubliceducation.org/9121-2/

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/networkforpubliced/

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@Network4PubEd

 

Donate to the Network for Public Education:

https://networkforpubliceducation.org/about-npe/donate/

Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Elections · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality · Separation of Church and State · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Fight the GOP Tax Bill, December 13 Update, Plus Defending Net Neutrality

Here’s your December 13 update on fighting the GOP tax bill, with side notes on defending net neutrality.

The language you see here is largely similar to previous days, but there are some notable updates. Please read on, and thanks for reading.

If you live in Washington, D.C., Not One Penny will be holding a People’s Rally Against the GOP Tax Scam at the East Front of the U.S. Capitol building from 1 pm to 2 pm EST:

https://www.facebook.com/events/100850750707551/

 

Not in Washington? There still might be a protest near you. Check this link:

http://stoptrumptaxcuts.org/events/

 

Politico is reporting that the House of Representatives will not vote on the bill during the week of December 11. The December 8 story opens like so:

The House will not vote next week on a final agreement to rewrite the tax code, though House and Senate negotiators are expected to work through the weekend.

“It will not come up next week, but if it could, I would bring it up as soon as we come out of conference, because I do believe the American people are waiting for a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told colleagues late Thursday in remarks on the House floor.

Full story here:

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/08/final-tax-vote-schedule-timeline-287243

 

 

That means they’re going to work on the bill all week. And that means you need to keep calling, and keep urging your friends and family to call, too.

Here’s a December 10 Twitter thread from tax expert Michael Linden that you should see, which lays out what makes this week important:

 

This coming week is make-or-break for the GOP tax scam. If you have any interest in fighting this disastrous bill, follow along for a state-of-play update. Short version: we CAN still stop this thing. 1/

Here’s where we are: Both the Senate & House have passed versions of the GOP tax scam. They have a lot in common (huge tax cuts for the wealthy & corporations, tax hikes on millions of middle class families) but aren’t identical. 2/

To become law, the House & Senate have to pass identical bills. So to come up with ONE new version that both chambers can pass, the GOP has sent their bills to a “conference committee.” 3/

That Conference Committee is, right now, behind closed doors, ironing out the differences between the House & Senate bill. The bad news is that the bill is much more likely to get worse than it is to get better. 4/

Once the Conference Committee creates a new bill that they think can pass both chambers, both the House and the Senate will have to vote AGAIN. That’s our last chance to . 5/

The Conference Committee is going to have precisely 1 “open” meeting (it’s not much more than a photo op), and that’ll be THIS WEDNESDAY, December 13th, at 2 PM. 6/

it’ll be only a matter of days before the FINAL vote in the House & Senate. Those votes could be as soon as Thursday, but likely will be early the week of the 18th. 7/

That means this week is CRITICAL. If we’re going to stop this bill, Congress needs to hear and feel the backlash. We can stop it either by flipping 10 GOP votes in the House or 2 GOP votes in the Senate. Tall orders, yes, but not impossible. 8/

Here’s a list of 50+ potentially flippable House GOPers. These all have some combination of the following characteristics: •From states that would be particularly hard hit •Voted against ACA repeal •Are in competitive 2018 races We need 10 of ‘em. 9/

In the Senate, our best bets are Susan Collins and Jeff Flake (and it would help if Doug Jones wins on Tuesday). Both were promised concessions that aren’t likely to be in the final bill. Both want to be thought of as “serious” and “independent.” 10/
So, what can you do? 1. Call EVERY day. Especially if you are in AZ, ME, or one of those 50 House districts, but call daily even if you aren’t (Congress needs to feel the backlash everywhere – & they talk to each other). 11/ <Note from OTYCD: Yes, this is one of those times when it is OK to call for days in a row on the same issue.>
2.If you are in the DC area, or can get here, come to the People’s Rally Against the Tax Scam at the Capitol on WEDNESDAY. This is our last best chance to make a lot of noise in DC. 12/
3. Go to a local protest or event. Check out and & for lists of local events. 13/
Bottom line: the GOP knows their tax scam is historically unpopular. They’re hoping that voters will forget about it by next November and beyond. Our best bet to stop the bill is by showing them we won’t forget. /end

 

And here are more things you might want to know:

There might be a GOP Tax Scam protest near you. Check this link to find out:

https://notonepenny.org/take-action/#events

 

In her December 6 update on fighting the GOP tax bill, Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) offered talking points that you can use with friends, family, and co-workers:

8. Here are talking points you can include in any contact you share w/ friends/family/colleagues. Key point is that the impact on the deficit could eventually result in cuts in entitlement programs.

 

The Senate has chosen its lineup for the Tax Conference Committee. They will represent the Senate when trying to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the GOP tax bill.

If any of these Republicans are your senators, it is super-extra-important for you to call and make your opposition known.

Orrin Hatch of Utah

Mike Enzi of Wyoming

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

John Cornyn of Texas

John Thune of South Dakota

Rob Portman of Ohio

Tim Scott of South Carolina

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

 

Before that, the House GOP named its tax conference committee members. If any of these folks are your reps, it is super-extra-important for you to call (again, all are Republicans):

Kevin Brady of Texas

Devin Nunes of California

Peter Roskam of Illinois

Diane Black of Tennessee

Kristi Noem of South Dakota

 

Rob Bishop of Utah

Don Young of Alaska

Greg Walden of Oregon

John Shimkus of Illinois

 

 

 

Here also are several other folks aside from @MichaelSLinden, @Celeste_Pewter, @TopherSpiro, and @aslavitt who you should be following on Twitter to stay on top of the GOP tax bill, which is morphing constantly, like a suspect science experiment in a horror movie. Some of these people are old friends from the Trumpcare fights. Some are tax experts.

Ben Wikler @benwikler

Seth Hanlon @sethhanlon

Sunjeev Bery @sunjeevbery

Lily Batchelder @lilybatch

Greg Leiserson @gregleiserson

Chad Bolt @chadderr

 

In addition, you can call your members of Congress (MoCs) to ask them to defend Net Neutrality–that vote could come on December 14.

To clarify: The vote will be taken by the five members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), not Congress. The vote is likely to go 3-2 to repeal Net Neutrality. If that happens, Congress can do things to counteract it.

Here are @Celeste_Pewter’s notes on what to say when talking to your MoCs about defending Net Neutrality (don’t forget to follow her and her project, @roadto2018):

Here’s reason to hope that Congress will get behind finding ways to restore Net Neutrality with legislation: On December 12, Mike Coffman, a Republican House member from Colorado, sent a letter to Ajit Pai, head of the FCC, asking him to delay the vote planned for December 14.

Coffman tweeted a screenshot of the letter, which you can see on his Twitter feed:

@RepMikeCoffman

 

We at OTYCD have been beating the Net Neutrality drum all year. Below is a post that explains why we need to keep it:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/02/defend-net-neutrality-and-keep-the-internet-a-level-playing-field-for-all/

 

 

Here also are two more recent posts that relate to the GOP tax bill and its effects that you should see if you haven’t yet:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/02/refresh-review-and-prep-for-2018-gop-tax-bill-related-briefing/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/03/commit-now-to-put-any-tax-benefits-you-might-get-from-the-gop-tax-bill-to-fighting-its-effects/

 

One last note, which we’ve stated before: Even if this bill ultimately implodes and never becomes law, we still need to vote out every Republican that we can in 2018. This whole process has been nothing less than legislative malpractice. They should be punished for aiding and abetting it. Period.

Call Your Members of Congress · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Urge Your MoCs to Help Hurricane Maria Victims in Puerto Rico and the USVI

Continue to urge your members of Congress to stay on top of the evolving, complex crises in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands caused by Hurricane Maria, and ask them to do what is needed to provide aid and relief to their residents.

Note: This information was originally part of a multi-purpose post published on September 29. We’ve reworked the post and reposted it as a separate, dedicated item so it can continue to update it and circulate it until Puerto Rico and the USVI receives the help they need.

Just when you think Donald Trump can’t lower himself any further, he answered the desperate plea of Carmen Yulin Cruz, the Mayor of San Juan, who said, “I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying,” with an extra-disgusting series of tweets that pretty much blamed her and her fellow citizens for her plight:

 

The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.

…Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They….

…want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.

 

He sent those tweets on the morning of Saturday, September 30, from his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J. He is scheduled to visit Puerto Rico and perhaps the USVI on Tuesday.

Read more here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/09/30/on-twitter-trump-attacks-mayor-of-san-juan-for-poor-leadership-amid-deepening-crisis/?utm_term=.7f32635e348f

 

These Trump responses, delivered in the context of a catastrophe that already looked like Katrina 2.0, threatens to outdo that horror of 12 years ago.

Since those tweets appeared, angry citizens have been dropping the full weight of the Internet on Trump’s head, and on the Trump administration, repeatedly and without relent (as it should).

There is some good news in all of this. After an initial refusal, followed by a heap of pressure, the Trump administration agreed on Friday September 29 to temporarily suspend the section of the Jones Act that had been needlessly delaying aid shipments to Puerto Rico:

The bad news is the suspension only lasts for 10 days. Be prepared to call on this again if we get to day eight or nine and the need is still severe.

Now the roll call of resources for aiding those Americans afflicted by Hurricane Maria:

In general, and not just for Hurricane Maria-related activism, you need to follow Celeste Pewter on Twitter. She’s on top of …damn near everything happening that you’ll want to yell at your MoCs about, and she provides call scripts to boot.

Her Twitter handle:

@Celeste_pewter

…also know that the updated call script below cribs from a recent script that she wrote.

 

To stay on top of Puerto Rico, specifically, follow Nydia Velazquez, a House rep from Brooklyn who’s been all over this for a while now:

@NydiaVelazquez

In particular, she’s seeking a one-year suspension of the Jones Act, which can complicate the timely arrival of aid via ship, and she’s seeking waivers of federal laws that require matching funds from disaster-afflicted areas. (Update: As of September 27, Trump agreed to waive these financial demands.) Puerto Rico cannot muster the funds because it is deeply in debt and cannot obtain credit.

See Velazquez’s letter:

https://velazquez.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/members-congress-push-recovery-plan-puerto-rico

 

Also on the ball is Lin-Manuel Miranda, he of the Broadway hit Hamilton. Miranda is of Puerto Rican descent and is a solid champion of the island.

His Twitter feed will have faster updates on specific things you can do to help Puerto Rico:

@Lin_Manuel

Pinned to the top of his Twitter page is a link through which you can donate to the Hispanic Federation:

https://hispanicfederation.org/donate

 

Beatriz Rossello, the First Lady of Puerto Rico, has launched the aid organization United for Puerto Rico:

http://unidosporpuertorico.com/en/

 

GoFundMe has aggregated several fundraising pages that focus on Hurricane Maria relief efforts:

https://www.gofundme.com/raise-funds/hurricanemaria

 

And check out Diasporicans, a website for Puerto Ricans who live off-island. It has scripts for calling your MoCs to request help:

http://www.diasporicans.com

 

Still more suggestions for how to help, from PBS’s Newshour program:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/can-help-hurricane-victims-puerto-rico/

 

 

Another venue for donating to help Puerto Ricans is Puerto Rico Strong, which is a wish list of items that islanders need:

https://puertoricostrong.myshopify.com

 

The One America Appeal has widened its scope to cover Maria, Puerto Rico and the USVI:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/09/21/give-to-the-one-america-appeal-and-help-victims-of-hurricanes-harvey-and-irma/

 

…and here is a piece from ColorLines that lists charities and organizations that assist Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or both:

https://www.colorlines.com/articles/how-help-residents-puerto-rico-and-us-virgin-islands-recover-after-hurricane-maria

 

Lastly, if you are in a position to consider planning a vacation off the U.S. mainland, think about taking a trip to Puerto Rico or the USVI once they’ve had a chance to recover. Tourism is vital to the economies of both. Going there to relax and spend money will help these places out.

Action Alerts · Elections · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Support the HONR Network, Started By a Sandy Hook Victim’s Father, Which Defends Those Affected By Gun Violence and Terrorism

Support the HONR Network, an organization started by the father of a Sandy Hook student, which protects and defends the families of victims of headline-making gun violence and terrorism. 

Leonard Pozner got the worst news of his life on December 14, 2012–his son, Noah, was among the children killed at Sandy Hook. In a merciful world, that would have been the end of the horror he faced, but it was only the beginning. Immediately after the tragedy, he received harassing messages from self-appointed “truthers”–people convinced that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax.

He was told that his little boy was a paid actor, recruited to deceive the public. That he didn’t die. That he never existed. Offering proof, such as releasing Noah’s death certificate, only made them double down on their conspiratorial thinking, and made them more determined to spread the “truth” as they understand it. And they have powerful advocates in the form of people such as radio host Alex Jones.

Fed up, Pozner started the HONR Network to fight back against determined harassers–people who stalk the survivors of headline-making acts of gun violence and terrorism and inflict more pain on them. It recently achieved a real punishment for Lucy Richards, a 57-year-old Sandy Hook truther who sent multiple threatening messages to Pozner. She pled guilty to sending threats through interstate communications and will serve five months in prison followed by five months of house arrest.

To be utterly clear on this–reading about the beliefs of Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists and their compatriots is not a crime. Interacting with them online is not a crime. Holding such beliefs is not, in and of itself, a crime. But if you hunt down the contact information of the family members of the victims and deliberately push your conspiracy theories in their faces over and over and over again, you’ve crossed a line, and consequences could follow.

The HONR Network seeks to raise $200,000 to pursue those who are harassing the families of victims. As of mid-June 2017, it had raised about $13,000.

 

See the HONR Network’s website:

http://www.honr.com

 

Donate to the HONR Network GoFundMe:

https://www.gofundme.com/honrlegalfund?utm_medium=wdgt

 

Follow the HONR Network on Twitter:

@honrnetwork

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/honrnetwork

 

Read about what Pozner and his HONR Network friends are up against (this Cracked story inspired this OTYCD post):

http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2232-my-son-died-at-sandy-hook-conspiracy-nuts-think-im-lying.html

 

Read about the sentence levied against Lucy Richards:

http://time.com/4810828/sandy-hook-shooting-lucy-richards-threats/

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/09/sandy-hook-conspiracy-theorist-death-threats-prison?CMP=share_btn_tw