House Bills, Federal · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Ask Your House Rep to Support H.R. 2884, the COVFEFE Act

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

Ask your House rep to support H.R. 2884, the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement Act, aka the COVFEFE act. 

OK, Illinois Democrat Mike Quigley was having a bit of fun when he named his act, but it has a serious and worthy purpose. It would amend the Presidential Records Act of 1978 to specify that a president’s communications over social media count as presidential records.

Amending the law in this manner formally recognizes that Donald Trump’s tweets, be they from his POTUS account or his personal account, are considered presidential communications, and must be documented for posterity. The law could also prevent Trump and future presidents from deleting tweets and might prevent a president from blocking individuals on Twitter.

 

Read GovTrack’s backgrounder on the COVFEFE Act:

https://govtrackinsider.com/the-covfefe-act-would-permanently-archive-all-of-president-trumps-social-media-posts-c77b97d5802b

 

See the GovTrack page on the bill:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr2884

 

Read the text of the COVFEFE Act:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr2884/text

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Learn to Welcome Others to the Movement, Period, Full Stop

This OTYCD entry originally posted in April 2017.

Learn to welcome others to the movement, period, full stop.

In November 2016, New York magazine published a fascinating article that didn’t get the recognition it deserved. Titled Why Some Protests Succeed While Others Fail and filed under its Science of Us blog, the story contained mind-blowing revelations about how best to cultivate and direct the anti-Trump energy that arose after the election.

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/11/how-should-trump-protesters-organize-themselves.html

First, let’s list the takeaways from the piece, as identified by the writer, Jesse Singal. These boil down to:

Use Trump to draw people in, but don’t make him your lasting focus. Otherwise, your energy and your momentum will evaporate along with him when he goes.

Welcome everyone who wants to protest with youand make them feel welcome.

Don’t be violent.

The mind-blowing bits appear in the section where Singal discusses the second point, about the value of making people feel welcome. He cites the work of sociologist Ziad Munson, who has studied why people join and become increasingly active in causes such as the pro-life movement. Here are the mind-blowing bits, quoted in full (bold is added by OTYCD):

One of the key things he’s found, over and over and over, is that people often get involved in movements without having particularly strong ideological commitments to them.

Take the anti-abortion activists who were the subject of Munson’s book The Making of Pro-life Activists: How Social Mobilization Works. “I went back and I tried to determine what were their beliefs about abortion the first time they were involved in some kind of pro-life activity,” whether a protest in front of a clinic, the March for Life, or whatever else, he explained. “At that moment, only half of them would have considered themselves pro-life.” Moreover, a quarter “would have openly said they were pro-choice.” So why do they get involved? Someone asks them to. In one instance, for example, a woman’s eventually intense, long-term involvement in anti-abortion causes began simply because her doctor, whom she respected a great deal, asked her to come to an event. Prior to that, it just wasn’t something she had thought of.

Why is this mind-blowing? It shows you how much power you have.

Yes, you.

You’re doing so much good work to push back against Trump. You have one more task to add to your To-Do List: Ask someone to join you in pushing back against Trump.

You don’t have to do it thisverysecond. But you should think about who you want to invite, and when, and what you want to invite them to do.

Maybe you ask them to go to a protest with you. Maybe you ask them to go to a League of Women Voters’ meeting with you. Maybe you ask them to phone-bank for a Democratic candidate with you. Maybe you ask them to go to a member of Congress’s next local town hall meeting with you. Maybe you ask them to write and stamp postcards with you.

Whatever works. Whatever makes sense. Just do it.

Then keep doing it. Keep inviting other people–especially those who like you and trust you–to join you in pushing back against Trump.

Keep doing it until Trump is gone and we’ve cleaned up all the wreckage he’ll leave behind.

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

Ask your MoCs to Do Right by the 2020 Census

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

Ask your members of Congress to fully fund the 2020 Census and ensure that it has a competent, non-partisan director.

 

The resignation of John H. Thompson, the U.S. Census Director, was easy to miss. It happened the same day that Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Thompson quit because he felt the 2020 census was being woefully underfunded. His final day on the job will be June 30.

 

The government uses the census to allocate resources in vital areas such as education, law enforcement, and housing. The census can also change how Congressional districts are drawn, with states gaining or losing house reps based on their populations.

 

A look at Trump’s campaign rhetoric, cabinet choices, and overall governing style shows his contempt for facts and for gathering accurate data, regardless of the aim. A look at the FY2018 budget shows that the only resources the Trump administration is keen about allocating are those bound for the military. And as for reshaping the Congressional district maps? That’s only of interest to Trump and friends if it means creating more Congressional Republicans, or eliminating Congressional Democrats, or both.

 

The 2020 census will guide policy and shape the Congressional map for the next 10 years. We have an obligation and a duty to ensure that it’s fully funded and that it’s guided by a good, upstanding director.

 

Please call your members of Congress and ask them to give the U.S. Census the funds that it’s asked for, and to choose a competent, nonpartisan director.

 

Sample script: “I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code), and I’m calling to ask (House Rep Lastname) to support full funding of the 2020 census and to back a competent, nonpartisan choice for its new director. The census is a huge project, and an important one. It gathers data that helps determine which Americans get which resources for a decade to come. It also has the power to reshape the Congressional map, creating and eliminating them as needed. Please do what is needed to ensure the success of the 2020 census, and please push back against any poor choices that the Trump administration might make.

 

 

Read about Thompson’s resignation, and the implications of that:

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/departure-us-census-director-threatens-2020-count

http://www.npr.org/2017/05/11/527990617/u-s-census-bureau-director-john-thompson-abruptly-resigns

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/us-census-director-resigns-amid-turmoil-over-funding-of-2020-count/2017/05/09/8f8657c6-34ea-11e7-b412-62beef8121f7_story.html?utm_term=.4d4bdec3465d

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/census-watchers-warn-of-crisis-if-funding-for-2020-count-is-not-increased/2017/04/17/e6cc170a-20d6-11e7-a0a7-8b2a45e3dc84_story.html?utm_term=.b87ae3453624

 

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

 

 

 

Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Learn to Welcome Others to the Movement, Period, Full Stop

This OTYCD entry originally posted in February 2017.

 

In November 2016, New York magazine published a fascinating article that didn’t get the recognition it deserved. Titled Why Some Protests Succeed While Others Fail and filed under its Science of Us blog, the story contained mind-blowing revelations about how best to cultivate and direct the anti-Trump energy that arose after the election.

 

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/11/how-should-trump-protesters-organize-themselves.html

 

First, let’s list the takeaways from the piece, as identified by the writer, Jesse Singal. These boil down to:

 

Use Trump to draw people in, but don’t make him your lasting focus. Otherwise, your energy and your momentum will evaporate along with him when he goes.

Welcome everyone who wants to protest with you, and make them feel welcome.

Don’t be violent.

 

The mind-blowing bits appear in the section where Singal discusses the second point, about the value of making people feel welcome. He cites the work of sociologist Ziad Munson, who has studied why people join and become increasingly active in causes such as the pro-life movement. Here are the mind-blowing bits, quoted in full (bold is added by OTYCD):

 

One of the key things he’s found, over and over and over, is that people often get involved in movements without having particularly strong ideological commitments to them.

 

Take the anti-abortion activists who were the subject of Munson’s book The Making of Pro-life Activists: How Social Mobilization Works. “I went back and I tried to determine what were their beliefs about abortion the first time they were involved in some kind of pro-life activity,” whether a protest in front of a clinic, the March for Life, or whatever else, he explained. “At that moment, only half of them would have considered themselves pro-life.” Moreover, a quarter “would have openly said they were pro-choice.” So why do they get involved? Someone asks them to. In one instance, for example, a woman’s eventually intense, long-term involvement in anti-abortion causes began simply because her doctor, whom she respected a great deal, asked her to come to an event. Prior to that, it just wasn’t something she had thought of.

 

Why is this mind-blowing? It shows you how much power you have.

 

Yes, you.

 

You’re doing so much good work to push back against Trump. You have one more task to add to your To-Do List: Ask someone to join you in pushing back against Trump.

 

You don’t have to do it thisverysecond. But you should think about who you want to invite, and when, and what you want to invite them to do.

 

Maybe you ask them to go to a protest with you. Maybe you ask them to go to a League of Women Voters’ meeting with you. Maybe you ask them to phone-bank for a Democratic candidate with you. Maybe you ask them to go to a member of Congress’s next local town hall meeting with you. Maybe you ask them to write and stamp postcards with you.

 

Whatever works. Whatever makes sense. Just do it.

 

Then keep doing it. Keep inviting other people–especially those who like you and trust you–to join you in pushing back against Trump.

 

Keep doing it until Trump is gone and we’ve cleaned up all the wreckage he’ll leave behind.

 

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

Ask Congress to Open an Investigation Into the Ambush in Niger That Killed Four American Servicemen; Also, Donate to the Deceased Green Berets’ GoFundMe Accounts

Ask Congress to open its own investigation into the incident in the African country of Niger that killed four American servicemen in early October 2017, and donate to the GoFundMe pages of the three Green Berets who died in the attack.

 

If the Trump administration wasn’t a 24/7 crisis generator, the Niger ambush would be getting the attention that it’s due. Instead, it’s been smothered under a pile of outrages.

 

First, a recap: On October 4, 2017, twelve American troops, along with about 30 Nigerian soldiers, were attacked by an ISIS-affiliated group near the town of Tongo Tongo in Niger, a country in central Africa. The American-Nigerian group was on what was considered a routine patrol. The attacking group had about 50 militants in it. An hours-long battle ensued that killed five Nigerians and four Americans: Staff Sargent Bryan C. Black; Staff Sargent Dustin M. Wright; Sargent La David Johnson; and Staff Sargent Jeremiah W. Johnson. All but Jeremiah Johnson were Green Berets.

 

The Pentagon is investigating, but it’s still not clear exactly what happened, and why. Information continues to drip out. The four who died were somehow left behind. The bodies of three of the men, along with their interpreter, were found hours after the area was evacuated. La David Johnson’s body was recovered about two days after the incident. Reportedly, he was found with bound arms and a gunshot wound in the back of his head, which might mean that he was caught and executed.

 

Subsequent investigations by a team from the U.S. military and the FBI turned up additional remains belonging to La David Johnson. The Pentagon expects to finish its inquiries in January, but finishing does not necessarily mean that it will publicly release its findings then.

 

Regardless of what the Pentagon discovers, we at OTYCD feel it’s a good idea to ask your MoCs to open an investigation into the Niger ambush. Arizona Senator John McCain had been aggressively shining the spotlight on the incident, and the need to know what happened. With McCain ailing due to brain cancer, he may not be able to continue to press the case.

 

By showing your MoCs that you remember the Niger incident, and you want answers, you encourage them to keep it on the radar.

 

Do either of your Senators sit on the Senate Committee for Armed Services? Then it’s extra-important for you to call. See its members here:

https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/about/members

 

Does your House Rep sit on the House Committee on Armed Services? Then it’s extra-important for you to call. Here’s its list of members:

https://armedservices.house.gov/about/members

 

 

Calling script: Dear (House Rep/Senator Lastname), I am (Firstname/Lastname from town, zip code). I am calling to encourage you to seek a Congressional investigation into the October 4, 2017 ambush in Niger that left four American servicemen dead. I realize the Pentagon is investigating and might be finished in January 2018, but I feel it is important for Congress to launch its own inquiry, and I’d support you in seeking one. The families of the servicemen who died deserve answers, as does the American public. Thank you for listening.”

 

 

Note also that as of December 31, 2017, the GoFundMe for the college educations of La David Johnson’s three children was still open, and had raised more than $731,000 against its $1 million goal. Donate here:

https://www.gofundme.com/sgt-la-david-johnson-scholarship

 

 

The GoFundMe for the two young sons of Green Beret Bryan C. Black is still open as of December 31, 2017. It has raised more than $55,000 of its $200,000 goal:

https://www.gofundme.com/rally-for-ssg-bryan-black

 

 

The GoFundMe for the family of Green Beret Dustin M. Wright remains open as of December 31, 2017. It has collected more than $53,000 against its $150,000 target:

https://www.gofundme.com/ssg-dustin-wright-memorial-fund

 

 

Read about the October 2017 ambush in Niger:

http://www.businessinsider.com/congress-demands-answers-from-pentagon-over-niger-attack-2017-10

http://www.businessinsider.com/niger-ambush-special-forces-lured-and-delayed-investigation-2017-10

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/senators-after-pentagon-briefing-want-more-answers-on-deadly-niger-mission/2017/10/26/42a3c128-ba96-11e7-a908-a3470754bbb9_story.html?utm_term=.9f3b435710db

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/john-mccain-may-use-subpoena-to-get-answers-on-niger-ambush/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mccain-says-trump-administration-not-being-upfront-about-niger-attack/

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/356329-fbi-joins-investigation-of-niger-attack

 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/07/politics/niger-investigation-questions/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/us-soldier-in-niger-ambush-was-bound-and-apparently-executed-villagers-say/2017/11/10/3aebba3e-c442-11e7-9922-4151f5ca6168_story.html?utm_term=.622cd603be59

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/21/politics/niger-ambush-sgt-la-david-johnson-remains/index.html

http://abcnews.go.com/International/niger-ambush-investigation-expected-complete-january-pentagon/story?id=51024994

https://www.npr.org/2017/10/30/560826204/niger-ambush-reignites-senate-debate-over-authorization-of-military-force

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/11/11/when-did-congress-authorize-fighting-in-niger-thats-an-excellent-question/?utm_term=.6c801ccf77b4

 

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Community Activism · Marches and Protests · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Ask Your Favorite Newspapers, Magazines, and Websites to Cover the Many Faces of the Resistance

This OTYCD entry originally posted in December 2017.

Ask your favorite newspapers, magazines, and websites to cover the many, many people who have joined the Resistance. 

Are you sick to death of stories about Trump voters who voted for Trump and are still okay with having voted for Trump? Same here.

Why are there not more stories about people who were never really that politically active until the 2016 election happened and now they’re pissed enough to fight back?

We want more stories about THOSE PEOPLE. They’d be far more interesting and there are far more of them.

Get in touch with your favorite publications and ask them to cover ordinary local folks who were moved to take extraordinary steps after Trump was elected.

Point them to your local Indivisible group, or link them to local Facebook pages for the Resistance, or point them to candidates who are running for something because of Trump, or point them to Action Alliance, which lists dozens of pro-Resistance groups that burst into being after the election:

https://www.actionalliance.co

Help change the narrative! Maybe we’ll get fewer stories about Trump voters at long last.

Call Your House Rep · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia...

Ask Your House Rep to Back a Bill to Revoke Steve Bannon’s Access to the NSC

ICYMI: Call your House rep and ask them to support H.R. 804, Florida rep Stephanie Murphy’s bill to revoke Steve Bannon’s access to the National Security Council (NSC).

The NSC is a forum where high-ranking officials debate, argue over, and generally kick around exceptionally sensitive national security issues, such as whether and when and how to go to war.

Political strategists like Bannon don’t normally sit in on NSC meetings, and when they do, it’s generally understood that they are to hug the wall and stay quiet. Trump just restructured the NSC to allow Bannon to attend regularly.

Washington Post humorist Gene Weingarten is all too correct when he describes Bannon as someone who “spent his career creating divisions.” He is precisely the wrong person to admit to meetings of the NSC. Precisely. The. Wrong. Person. His involvement with the shambolic executive order that created the Muslim ban is Exhibit A on why he should never take a seat in council meetings.

Murphy, who represents Florida’s seventh district, introduced H.R. 804 on February 1. If passed, it would withhold NSC meeting access from anyone whose “primary responsibility is political in nature.” Scroll down to see a Florida paper’s story on the bill as well as Murphy’s press release.

On a related note about what Congress can and cannot do–you might have heard that Bannon might need Senate confirmation to gain access to the NSC. That does not appear to be true. Scroll down to a link to a Lawfareblog post that explains why. (Short answer: The White House found a loophole.)

In addition to calling in support of Murphy’s bill, you can call your Senators to complain about Bannon and ask them to help remove him. Hearing complaints from constituents about Bannon does help your members of Congress. They will know that we think Bannon is a problem, and they may be able to come up with ways to address the matter, just as they are drawing legislation to nullify the executive order that created the Muslim Ban.

For example, Republican Senator John McCain has already voiced concerns about Bannon’s new role on the NSC, calling it a “radical departure from any National Security Council in history.” (Scroll down for the CNN story that quotes McCain.) Constituents and citizens who call and say they share his concerns should reinforce his opinion.

Other anti-Bannon actions are springing up. Graduates of Bannon’s alma mater, Virginia Tech, have asked the president to remove him entirely. (Scroll down to see the Washington Post story on this.)

Is your senator on the Committee for Homeland Security? Then it’s extra-important that you speak up. Please check the link below before calling. If these senators do not represent you, please target them first when sending postcards about this issue.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/committees/SSGA

 

Sample script: “I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code), and I’m calling to ask Representative (Lastname) to support House rep Stephanie Murphy’s new bill that would revoke Steve Bannon’s access to the National Security Council. Political strategists should not have routine access to the sensitive information discussed in NSC meetings, and Bannon, in particular, should not because of his support for white supremacy and his appetite for fomenting chaos and strife.”

 

Here is the link to H.R. 804 on Congress’s web site (thanks to Greg Cooksey for the headsup):

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/804/

 

Here is the newspaper story on Murphy’s bill and also her office’s press release on it:

http://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2017/02/01/stephanie-murphy-files-bill-that-would-remove-stephen-bannon-from-national-security-council

http://stephaniemurphy.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=17

Here is the Lawfareblog piece that explains why Bannon does not need Senate confirmation to gain admittance to NSC meetings:

https://www.lawfareblog.com/does-steve-bannons-role-principals-committee-require-senate-confirmation

Below are a few articles about Bannon, and about the NSC, and about why Bannon should not be on the NSC:

Here is the CNN piece that quotes John McCain, followed by an NPR piece with a longer version of the McCain quote:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/29/politics/susan-rice-steve-bannon/

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/29/512295108/with-national-security-council-shakeup-steve-bannon-gets-a-seat-at-the-table

More people who know what they’re talking about comment on Bannon’s new role on the NSC:

https://lawfareblog.com/notable-reactions-president-trumps-national-security-presidential-memorandum-national-security

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/02/01/steve-bannon-is-on-the-national-security-council-that-sends-a-big-signal/?utm_term=.345bd31a6971

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/30/two-theories-about-why-steve-bannon-midwifed-such-a-bad-executive-order/?utm_term=.9503e3f25c99

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/01/30/sinister-and-reckless-thousands-at-virginia-tech-call-on-trump-to-remove-political-strategist/?utm_term=.4df461a1727c

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/questions-multiply-over-bannons-role-in-trump-administration/2017/01/29/2abbf2dc-e644-11e6-b82f-687d6e6a3e7c_story.html?utm_term=.882b25b14858