Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Uncategorized

Refresh, Review, and Prepare for the 2018 Elections (GOP Tax Bill-Related Briefing, Postmortem Edition)

This OTYCD entry originally appeared in December 2017.

 

Refresh, review, and prep for the 2018 elections following the vote on the GOP tax bill.

 

The GOP tax bill passed both chambers between December 19 and December 20, after some glitches that forced a revote in the House of Representatives.

 

John McCain did not vote–he had to go home to Arizona to recuperate from complications from his brain cancer treatments. But the yes votes on the final bill included Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.

 

Let’s review what we should do now.

 

First–Much has been asked of you lately. You have worked hard. If you need a break nowrightnow, take it. If you need to purge politics from your life for a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, do it. Tend to yourself. Do whatever you need to do so you can come back, refreshed and ready to fight. If you can hang on until Congress adjourns on December 22, do. If you feel yourself fraying, step away now, before you have a chance to unravel. Remember, you matter, and your voice matters. We need you to stay here and carry on the fight.

 

Next, call your MoCs again and either thank them for holding firm against the bill, or berate them for passing it.

 

Check this New York Times article to see how your House Rep voted (if you have a Republican senator, and that senator isn’t John McCain, your senator voted yes):

 

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter–you’re following her, right?) tweeted the reason why you should make a final call on this topic on December 20:

 

Go call your reps right now, and be ANGRY. You know what happens when people don’t call after contentious votes? We shrug and think, “Ok, what’s next?” But if you call, it forces us to pause and wonder how to address it.

Call your MoCs on this issue last time if you haven’t already. Yes, we know you’re sick of calling about this, and you might be despondent over the passage of the bill. We get it! We’ve been beating the drum about the GOP tax bill since early November. But if the pressure disappears the instant the bill passes, your MoCs might downplay the protests. Force them to pause and wonder how to address it.

Also, it’s perfectly OK to be mad or sad over this, but don’t let your emotions derail you. Put them to use. Again, Celeste Pewter tweets wisdom:

Channel your frustrations into the tax bill into rage right now. Angry tweeting is cathartic, but will not solve anything in the long run. What are actionable steps you’ll take OFF line? Think about it, and do it.

Here also is a string of tweets from Andy Slavitt (@aslavitt):
My view on last night’s tax vote: don’t dwell too long. They think they are just be getting started. 1/
I believe last night’s vote was baked months ago, seen internally to GOPers as necessary for party survival. Collins, Rubio, Flake & Corker vote had more to do with fraternity than ideology. 2/
Negotiating for something for themselves or to show their power was all they ever intended. The fact is they were all crap negotiators but once AL flipped & McCain was hospitalized, demands dropped & everybody fell in line. 3/
The fact that the bill was unpopular was an irritant, that every economist & deficit hawk saw it as a clear disaster just had to be lived with. The prospect of passing no legislation in what felt like a closing window was unacceptable for a simple reason. 4/
It costs $20 million or more to run a Senate race or a competitive House race and those dollars generally don’t come locally and they don’t come without promises. The single fact that 6000 lobbyists worked on the bill is the one I will remember. 5/
The immediate agenda once the tax is signed is all that matters now . . . 6/
CHIP and DACA and the size of zmedicare cuts are immediately on the agenda with the CR coming on Friday. As are the reinsurance and CSR amendments Collins asked for. 7/ [Editor’s note: CHIP is the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which serves more than nine million American children, and has gone unfunded since expiring on September 30; DACA stands for Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, a program that helped people who are Americans in every sense except the paperwork; CR stands for ‘continuing resolution,’ a maneuver that will furnish the funds that let the government pay its bills for a set period of time. The current CR expires Friday, December 22; many are urging Democrats to make the next CR contingent on reauthorizing CHIP, protecting the DACA folks, or both.]
GOP has focused so much on the tax bill and so much of that agenda they don’t like that much of it will get kicked to January. The dynamic is horrifying.8/
In the new party roles, anytime something is done for people, Republicans want something in return. Example: CHIP, DACA, Medicare all have price tags on them. Republicans insist on cutting the ACA, a border wall, and Defense spending.9/
And we are weeks for 2018…Republicans are ready to reach for much more. Graham & Cassidy have already begun the process of trying to recruit Collins or Murkowski to do ACA repeal next year. The White House and Paul Ryan promise to cut Medicaid and other poverty programs. 10/
Going into 2017: Most Americans didn’t know what CHIP was until the GOP decided not to pass it; weren’t focused on Medicaid until the GOP tried to slash it; and thought pre-existing condition protections were safe until the GOP tried to end them. It’s different now.

Other things to know:

Most people realize how bad this bill is, and most see how it’s Robin Hood in reverse–not just “liberals”.

See this December 20 tweet from Michael Linden (@michaelslinden), a tax expert:

Honored to be part of a tele-town hall with small business owners hosted by this evening. If this call is any indication, small business owners are super upset about the tax bill. It’s so complicated, and it benefits corporations over them, and they know it.

Also see these articles, which are just a few of many on how bad the bill is:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/18/16782484/gop-tax-bill-cuts-reform-republican

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/12/gop-tax-bill-inequalilty/548726/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/12/20/republicans-are-about-to-pass-a-tax-bill-democrats-think-theyre-signing-their-death-certificate/?utm_term=.9fba711406ca

The team behind the Trump Tax March and Not One Penny are ready with a call to Repeal the Trump Tax:

https://notonepenny.org

https://repealthetrumptax.org

We’ll devote posts to that as they develop, but for now–know that Paul Ryan and his minions plan to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security next.

If they try to do that, they should be met with a loud and forceful response: Repeal the tax cuts you just passed, and apply the money to those programs.

Now, having said all that: It was clear before the bill staggered to the finish line, and it’s clearer now that it has passed:

 

All Republican senators have to go.

 

All. Of. Them. Without exception.

 

Maybe there are some decent ones in the House of Representatives, maybe, but the Senate? They all have to go. All of them.

 

You now have to start thinking seriously about what you will do to help get all those Republicans out of office.

 

We’ve wrangled a bunch of links to past posts to cover things you should consider doing, and things you can start doing.

 

 

First off–if you haven’t seen the page on The Most Important Thing You Can Do, go there and read those four posts. (Yes, there are four Most Important Things You Can Do. #SorryNotSorry.)

https://onethingyoucando.com/the-most-important-thing-you-can-do/

 

 

Only one-third of the Senate is up for re-election in 2018. Defending Democratic Senators helps the cause just as much as defeating Republican incumbents.

Start scouting for senators who you can donate time and money to in 2018:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/11/23/start-scouting-for-senators-who-you-can-donate-time-and-money-to-in-2018/

 

 

Also, think about which House of Representatives members to support or oppose in 2018. All of them are up for re-election, and some incumbents are retiring. Watch the Democratic primaries, see who you can get behind, and do it. Again, you need to commit time, money, word-of-mouth support, or some combination of all three.

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/11/20/think-about-which-house-reps-to-support-or-oppose-in-2018/

 

 

Trump and his minions are going to try everything they can to suppress the vote. Once you are sure you’re registered, and once you’ve started talking to friends who were eligible to vote in 2016 but chose not to do so, look into other ways you can support and defend the right to vote.

 

 

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!

 

 

Support Spread the Vote, which helps citizens obtain IDs and other paperwork they need in order to vote in their home states:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/11/26/support-spread-the-vote-which-helps-citizens-obtain-ids/

 

 

Support the efforts of Let America Vote:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/11/25/support-the-efforts-of-let-america-vote/

 

 

Support H.R. 2840, the Automatic Voter Registration Act:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/11/27/support-h-r-2840-the-automatic-voter-registration-act/

 

 

Help Florida’s ex-felons regain the right to vote:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/11/25/help-floridas-ex-felons-regain-the-right-to-vote/

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

Fight Back If Your State Wants to Pass A Law That Lets Drivers Escape Liability for Hitting Protestors

This OTYCD entry originally posted in August 2017.

Is your state working on a law that would lighten or lift punishments for drivers who hit protestors with their cars? Call your state legislators and tell them to vote no or stop progress on that bill. 

 

Months ago, in the depths of winter 2017, we at OTYCD were grossed out enough to ask readers who live in North Dakota to oppose HB 1203, a bill that would lessen legal penalties for drivers who hit protestors with their cars:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/04/21/oppose-a-north-dakota-state-bill-that-would-cheapen-the-lives-of-protesters/

 

It failed to pass the North Dakota house by a too-close-for-comfort margin of 50 to 41. But apparently some sick individuals who got elected to state office elsewhere in the country thought that HB 1203 was a good idea and introduced their own versions in their home legislatures. (You get one guess as to what their party affiliations are.)

 

According to a CNN story linked below, these five states have joined North Dakota in pursuing bills that would make it easier for drivers to hurt or kill protestors with their vehicles and escape punishment or receive what amounts to a slap on the wrist. The bill numbers are included:

 

 

Rhode Island, HB 5690. Introduced in March but has since been held, per the state’s House Judiciary Committee, for more study.

 

 

North Carolina, HB 330. Introduced in March. It passed the house in April on a 67-48 vote and is now with the state’s Senate Committee on Rules and Operations. It could proceed from there to broader consideration in the state senate.

 

 

Tennessee, SB 944 and HB 668. The house version is dead, but the Senate version is still alive, sitting with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

 

And so you’re aware:

 

Florida‘s senate and house introduced bills along these lines in February and March, respectively. Both have since died.

 

The Texas house introduced HB 250 last month during its legislative special session. It was referred to the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee and was still there when the session ended on Aug 15.

 

So, what should you do?

 

If you live in any of the four states where the bills are not-quite-dead, call your state legislators and make it damn clear that you expect them to let these bills die in committee or vote against them if they come up. If your reps happen to be sponsors of one of these bills, ask them to remove their support. If you live in one of the two states where bills were introduced, but died, call and make it clear that you expect the bills to stay dead. And if you live anywhere else? Call your state reps, mention these bills, and make it clear that you want them to stop any such bill before it starts.

 

Here’s how to find your state legislators. You have a state senator and a state house rep. Plug your street address into this search engine to find them:

whoaremyrepresentatives.org

 

 

Sample script for state legislators who are from the four states that have not-quite-dead-yet bills: “I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). I am asking state senator/house representative (Lastname) to oppose (Bill ID goes here), which would shield drivers from the consequences of accidentally hitting protesters who block a roadway. It was a sick idea before that guy attacked those protestors in Charlottesville, and it’s an even worse idea now. Please do everything you can to stop its progress. If you are a sponsor, please remove your support, thank you.”

 

 

Sample script for state legislators from the two states where bills were introduced, but died: “I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). I realize that (Bill ID goes here) has essentially died and can’t become law in the current session, but I am asking state senator/house representative (Lastname) to make sure it stays dead and is not revived in a future session. The bill would have shielded drivers from the consequences of accidentally hitting protesters who block a roadway. It was a sick idea before that guy attacked those protestors in Charlottesville, and it’s an even worse idea now. Please do everything you can to stop its progress. If (State Senator/House Rep Lastname) co-sponsored the bill, I am asking (him/her) to please withdraw support. Thank you.”

 

 

Sample script for those of us in the 44 other states: “I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). In the wake of the horrifying car attack on protestors in Charlottesville, I learned that six states had been pursuing bills that would lessen or remove penalties on drivers who hit or killed protestors with their cars. I realize there is no such bill moving through our state legislature now but I am asking State Senator/House Rep (Lastname) to oppose such a bill if anyone tries to introduce one. Thank you.”

 

 

See the CNN story from August 19, 2017 on states’ efforts to lessen penalties on drivers who injure protestors:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/18/us/legislation-protects-drivers-injure-protesters/index.html

 

 

See a similar story from a British paper (warning: It includes a graphic image from the Charlottesville attack):

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/charlottesville-states-introduced-bills-laws-protect-drivers-run-protesters-texas-florida-tennessee-a7902546.html

 

 

Read about backlash to these bills after the terrorist incident in Charlottesville that killed Heather Heyer and injured 19:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/backlash-gop-bills-shield-drivers-hit-protesters-49234719

 

 

Read state-level coverage of various laws (warning–some of these stories include links to eyewitness videos taken of the attack in Charlottesville):

http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/10/bill-would-make-drivers-immune-civil-liability-protests/97743390/

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article167065952.html

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-bills-protest-criminal-20170201-story.html

 

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!

First Amendment, Defending a Free Press · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Read George Lakoff’s “A Modest Proposal: #ProtectTheTruth” and Act On It

This OTYCD entry originally posted in January 2018.

Read George Lakoff’s piece, A Modest Proposal: #ProtectTheTruth, and act on it on Wednesday, January 17, 2018, and any other time Trump attacks good journalism.

Lakoff is Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society at UC Berkeley and is the author of Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, which you should read if you haven’t already.

He is convinced that Trump will attack the free press again on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. He doesn’t say why he believes Trump will lash out on that specific date, but the prediction seems to be a safe bet given how often Trump has attacked the free press to date.

Lakoff’s January 13, 2018 Medium piece equips you with tools to fight Trump and defend good journalism–the bedrock of a healthy democracy.

The link to Lakoff’s piece is below, but here are the key passages:

“Yet there’s a way to beat the troll strategy: ‘the key is to direct a ‘stream’ of pro-active, accurate messaging at the targeted audience.’

In other words, reframe to undermine the opposition’s frame, and repeat. #ProtectTheTruth

So when the president attacks the press on Wednesday, don’t take the bait. Instead, focus on truth and its moral context. Truth is under attack. Let’s protect it, and express our appreciation for those brave journalists whose job is to spotlight it.

Some ground rules:

  • Don’t use any of his terms, images, or hashtags.
  • Ignore his antics — if you retweet it you can’t defeat it, and when you embed it you spread it. Deny him the virality he craves. Ignore his antics.
  • Shift the frame to focus on powerful, truthful reporting.”

 

Read A Modest Proposal: #ProtectTheTruth.

 

See George Lakoff’s website:

https://georgelakoff.com

 

Purchase Lakoff’s books:

Books

 

Like Lakoff on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/George-Lakoff-165643503477608/

 

Follow Lakoff on Twitter:

@GeorgeLakoff

 

 

 

 

Action Alerts · Ethics · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Tell Congress to Tell Trump to Fully Comply With The Emoluments Clause

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

Tell your House Rep that you want Trump to comply with the Constitution by fully and properly tracking the payments that his businesses receive from foreign governments.

 

A previous OTYCD post noted how Trump was in violation of the Constitution the day he took office, because of the Emoluments clause, which states that the president cannot receive gifts or payments from foreign governments. Having hotels and resorts all over the world–Washington D.C. included–with his name on them complicates the matter significantly.

 

In order to have a hope of complying, Trump has to track all the payments his many and varied business entities receive. Initially, his organization promised that it would donate all the profits it earned from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury.

 

Well, on May 24, the Trump organization said it was not going to do the full due diligence required to be in compliance with the Emoluments clause, evidently because it’s just too damn hard. In an eight-page pamphlet it sent to the House Oversight Committee, it stated:

“To fully and completely identify all patronage at our Properties by customer type is impractical in the service industry and putting forth a policy that requires all guests to identify themselves would impede upon personal privacy and diminish the guest experience of our brand.”

 

Elijah Cummings, minority leader of the house committee, shot back with deserved anger, saying the pamphlet “raised grave concerns about the president’s refusal to comply with the Constitution.”

 

We at OTYCD are asking you to back Cummings up by calling your house reps and demanding that the Trump organization do everything it can to get right with the Constitution, even if it’s wildly inconvenient. The sanctity of the Constitution is more important than the “guest experience” at Trump’s properties.

 

If your house rep IS Elijah Cummings, call him to thank him for doing the right thing.

 

Otherwise, riff off of this sample script:

“Dear House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code), and I am calling to ask you to demand that the Trump organization do everything it can to prove that its business entities are in compliance with the Emoluments clause of the Constitution. In late May, the organization said it would not do the work involved in confirming that its entities were respecting the Constitution because doing so might affect the quality of the “guest experience” at Trump hotels and resorts. Well, maybe Trump should have thought that through before he ran for president. The Constitution is priceless. The guest experience at Trump properties is not. If his guests have to suffer a little to ensure that the Constitution receives due respect, that’s a small price to pay, and Trump can eat it.”

 

 

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 about the Trump organization’s refusal to fully comply with the standards required by the Constitution:

https://www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/527997/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/05/24/trump-shows-he-wasnt-serious-about-shunning-emoluments/?utm_term=.b22e01bd7440

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-failing-track-foreign-cash-his-hotels-n764061

 

 

Read the eight-page pamphlet that team Trump prepared for the House Oversight Committee:

Click to access Trump%20Org%20Pamphlet%20on%20Foreign%20Profits.pdf

 

 

Read Elijah Cummings’s rejoinder:

Click to access 2017-05-24.EEC%20to%20Trump%20Organization.pdf