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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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Support José Andrés, The Chef Who Served Millions of Meals to Puerto Ricans, and Who Stood Up to Trump

Support José Andrés, the chef who cooked and served millions of meals to hurricane-stricken Puerto Ricans and who stood up to Donald Trump.

 

Andrés is a hell of a chef, period, full stop.

As of November 2017, he holds two Michelin stars. In 2011, the James Beard Foundation gave him its Outstanding Chef award; past winners include Tom Colicchio of Craft, Eric Ripert of Le Bernadin, Grant Achatz of Alinea, Lidia Bastianich of Felidia Ristorante, Wolfgang Puck of Spago Beverly Hills, Jean-George Vongerichten of Jean-Georges, and Thomas Keller of The French Laundry. Andrés is also credited with introducing America to the concept of tapas.

 

His nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, came to Puerto Rico on September 25, 2017 to help feed residents in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

 

By mid-October, the team had built a supply network and prepped and delivered more than a million hot meals. Andrés has broadcast his efforts via his Twitter account and through the #chefsforpuertorico hashtag. He had started to curtail WCK’s efforts by late October, but he has continued to shine a light on the realities of post-Maria life in Puerto Rico on his social media accounts.

 

Before he stepped up in such an extraordinary way in Puerto Rico, he stood up to Donald Trump, at great personal cost to himself.

 

When Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015 by claiming that Mexican immigrants were drug dealers and rapists, Andrés withdrew from a deal to create a grand new restaurant in the Trump hotel planned for the old Post Office building in Washington, D.C. (Andrés was born in Spain and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.) Trump sued for breach of contract, and the two parties settled in April 2017.

 

According to the Washington Post, Andrés said at the time of his withdrawal from the Trump Washington D.C. restaurant deal:

“More than half of my team is Hispanic, as are many of our guests,” the chef said in a statement at the time. “And, as a proud Spanish immigrant and recently naturalized American citizen myself, I believe that every human being deserves respect, regardless of immigration status.”

 

We at OTYCD encourage you to support Andrés and his charitable works however you can.

 

Andrés’s empire includes 27 restaurants in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as food trucks and catering services. Are any of them near you? Check the link below and pay a visit, and vote with your dollars:

http://www.joseandres.com/en_us/restaurants

 

 

Follow Andrés on Twitter:

@chefjoseandres

 

 

Like him on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/chefjoseandres/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

 

 

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!

 

 

Visit the World Central Kitchen webpage:

https://www.worldcentralkitchen.org

 

 

Donate to World Central Kitchen:

https://www.worldcentralkitchen.org/donate

 

 

Read about World Central Kitchen’s and #chefsforpuertorico’s work on the island in the wake of Hurricane Maria:

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/10/20/559113161/celebrity-chef-jose-andres-has-served-nearly-1-5-million-meals-to-puerto-ricans

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/food/wp/2017/09/29/jose-andres-a-naturalized-u-s-citizen-has-become-the-face-of-american-disaster-relief/?utm_term=.809d93237d83

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/food/wp/2017/10/18/post-maria-jose-andres-and-his-team-have-served-more-meals-in-puerto-rico-than-the-red-cross/?utm_term=.08529f34dd69

http://time.com/4981655/jose-andres-fema-trump-puerto-rico/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/adriancarrasquillo/chef-jose-andres-and-the-trump-administration-are-fighting?utm_term=.nlNBa7E5eg#.oapoLBpy94

https://www.eater.com/2017/10/25/16545754/jose-andres-puerto-rico-world-central-kitchen

Read about how the chef quit his partnership with Trump after he disparaged Mexicans, and read about the settlement of the resulting lawsuit:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/digger/wp/2016/04/29/donald-trump-jose-andres-and-the-death-of-a-grand-washington-restaurant/?utm_term=.fc73d4f45799

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/reliable-source/wp/2017/04/07/president-trump-and-chef-jose-andres-reach-settlement-agreement/?utm_term=.ed2172cdc09f

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/donald-trump-and-celebrity-chef-jose-andres-settle-their-lawsuit/2017/04/07/987c5cae-1bbd-11e7-bcc2-7d1a0973e7b2_story.html?utm_term=.3953339addc6

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/04/07/523004201/trump-organization-settles-lawsuit-with-chef-jos-andr-s

 

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GOOD UPDATE! Democrat Danica Roem WON Her Virginia State Legislature Race

This OTYCD entry originally posted in September 2017.

YES YES YES! Democrat Danica Roem beat incumbent Republican Bob Marshall for a Virginia state senate seat. Roem becomes the first openly transgender elected official in Virginia, defeating an anti-LBGTQ Republican who had described himself as his state’s “chief homophobe.”

Read more about Roem’s historic win:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2017/11/07/transgender_democrat_danica_roem_defeats_bob_marshall.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/danica-roem-will-be-vas-first-openly-transgender-elected-official-after-unseating-conservative-robert-g-marshall-in-house-race/2017/11/07/d534bdde-c0af-11e7-959c-fe2b598d8c00_story.html?utm_term=.47cf6cdd6923

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/359271-first-openly-transgender-state-legislator-elected-in-virginia

 

Support Democrat Danica Roem, who is running for a seat in the Virginia state legislature.

Flippable, the organization created after the 2016 elections to focus on state and local elections, has identified the state of Virginia as, well, flippable. All 100 seats in its House of Delegates are up for grabs on November 7, 2017.

We at OTYCD hope to prep and post items on the five Virginia candidates in the districts that Flippable has deemed most worthy of your time and money.

Roem is a lifelong Virginian who has worked as a reporter for more than a decade. If she wins, she will be only the third transgender candidate elected to a state legislature. She’s going up against an incumbent, Republican Bob Marshall, who has supported anti-LBGTQ bills, including an anti-transgender bathroom bill.

Her big issue is traffic–specifically, fixing Route 28 to improve its horrific rush hour. She would also advocate for universal pre-K and for increasing pay for public school teachers. She wants to protect students from bullying and discrimination and supports measures that make Virginia more welcoming to all.

 

See Roem’s campaign website:

http://danicaroem.ngpvanhost.com

 

See her About Danica page:

http://danicaroem.ngpvanhost.com/about-danica

 

See her Top Issues page:

http://danicaroem.ngpvanhost.com/traffic-jobs-schools-equality

 

Donate to Roem’s campaign:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/danica-for-delegate

 

Phone-bank for Danica:

http://danicaroem.ngpvanhost.com/phone-bank-danica-0

 

Like Roem on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/danicafordelegate/

 

Follow her on Twitter:

@pwcdanica

 

See Roem’s Flippable page:

http://elections.flippable.org/elections?id=SVAH013

 

See her Ballotpedia page:

https://ballotpedia.org/Danica_Roem

 

See Flippable’s ‘Why Virginia?’ page, which will also lead you to the other four chosen candidates:

https://www.flippable.org/virginia-house#wsimg

 

Read other articles about Roem’s historic run:

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/transgender-candidate-danica-roem-wins-virginia-primary-makes-history-n772486

https://noisey.vice.com/en_us/article/ev4gep/this-trans-metalhead-stepmom-is-making-a-historic-run-for-office-in-virginia

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a12217328/danica-roem-interview-transgender-candidate-virginia/

Escape Your Bubble · Ethics · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Vote with your Dollars

Rebuke Trump and Help the FBI By Donating to Its Charities

Rebuke Trump and show support for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) by donating to charities that help FBI families.

 

If you believe Donald Trump’s tweets, the FBI is a hotbed of radical liberalism, bent on taking down his administration. We should’t have to tell you not to believe Trump’s tweets–they’re absurd. The FBI is many things, but a bastion of leftist free-thinking it is not.

 

Many, many people have decried Trump’s attacks on the FBI. Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) of Lawfareblog seems to be the first to fight back by supporting FBI-related charities. On December 23, he tweeted:

The President is impugning the integrity of the FBI by attacking two honorable public servants: Jim Baker and Andy McCabe. I just donated $1,000 to the in their names. I urge others to give as well and tweet that you did so to .

 

He then retweeted several others who mentioned their donations in honor of Baker and McCabe on social media.

 

Later that day, the FBI Agents Association (@FBIAgentsAssoc) tweeted:

Thank you to everyone who has generously contributed to our charitable funds. Your money will directly benefit FBI families in need.

 

On December 24, former CIA director John Brennan (@JohnBrennan) pointedly joined the cause, tweeting:

Andy McCabe & Jim Baker epitomize integrity, competence, and respect for rule of law. Not surprised fears them, along with the rest of FBI. I just donated to as a small way of saying . Here’s how you can too:

 

The FBI Agents Association administers two charities.

 

The Membership Assistance Fund helps FBI families who suffer a sudden, unforeseen tragedy, such as a cancer diagnosis or an accident.

 

The Memorial College Fund provides scholarships to the children and spouses of FBI personnel who died on the job or within a year of leaving the agency.

 

Both are 501(c) (3) charities. Note: If you are uncomfortable with guns, you might want to focus on the Membership Assistance Fund alone. The Memorial College Fund has raised money through the sale of commemorative firearms.

 

We at OTYCD recognize that the FBI is not a perfect organization, and its history includes some pretty terrible acts. That said, it most emphatically does not deserve the abuse that Trump is raining on it, and we should do what we can to defend the FBI in the context of defending the infrastructure of democracy from the corrosive effects of Trump’s authoritarian whims. Donating to these two FBI charities are a way to stand up for the agency and its people, who have been unfairly maligned.

 

 

See the main donation page for the FBI Agents Association:

https://fbiaa.org/ways-to-donate

 

 

See its page for the Membership Assistance Fund:

https://fbiaa.org/membership-assistance-fund

 

 

See its page for the Memorial College Fund:

https://fbiaa.org/memorial-college-fund

 

 

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Elections

Support 314 Action, Which Helps Elect STEM Candidates to Office

This OTYCD entry originally posted in August 2017.

Support 314 Action, a nonprofit that helps get people with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) backgrounds elected to office, and advocates for laws founded on solid science and evidence-based reasoning.

One of the most obnoxious and infuriating aspects of Trump’s election, and of the modern Republican party, is its aggressive contempt for science and reason. 314 Action exists to combat that. (Yes, 314 is a reference to Pi.) It aims to get people with STEM experience elected to Congress, it supports laws that reflect and respect scientific knowledge. 314 Action also calls out members of Congress and high-ranking officials who undermine or flout the facts.

 

See the 314 Action home page:

http://www.314action.org/home/

 

Learn about its mission:

http://www.314action.org/mission-1

 

Sign up to volunteer for 314 Action:

http://go.314action.org/page/s/takeaction

 

Run for office with the help of 314 Action:

http://go.314action.org/page/s/run

 

Learn about incumbent pro-science members of Congress:

http://www.314action.org/stem-trailblazers-1/

 

Read a story from The Atlantic about how 314 Action is helping doctors run for Congress:

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/05/congress-the-doctors-will-see-you-now/527244/

 

Follow 314 Action on Twitter:

@314action

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/314Action/

 

Donate to 314 Action:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/314act?refcode=website&amounts=15,25,50,100,250,500,1000&amount=25&recurring=true

Community Activism · Elections · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Look Into the Voting Records of Your State-Level Reps

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

 

Set aside some time to look into the voting records of your state house rep and your state senator, and figure out if they’re people who you can support.

 

Can you name your state-level house rep and senator? Could you do so before November 8, 2016? No worries, none of us at OTYCD could either.

 

If you don’t know who your state house rep and state senator are, go to the link below and plug in your address and zip code to get their names:

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org

 

Once you have their names, google them. See what they’ve voted for, and what bills they’ve sponsored. Also pull up their state legislative biography pages and see what committees they’re on.

 

Do they represent you well? Dig deep into what you find, and give yourself time to think about it all. State-level politics allows for less ideological rigidity. It doesn’t guarantee it, but it allows it. Conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans are extinct on the federal level, but there are some at the state level. Stay alert. The folks who call themselves Democrats may not match your values, and those who call themselves Republicans could well be the better choice.

 

You need to get acquainted with the voting records and overall performance of your state-level reps so you’re better informed when it comes time to vote.

 

If you’re like us, you followed this procedure when you found yourself in the voting booth and faced with the need to pick a state-level rep:

 

Is this person a Democrat?

 

Has this person done anything embarrassing, awful, or glaringly incompetent?

 

If the answers are “yes” and “no” respectively, they get the black check. If not, no.

 

That strategy is no longer good enough. Schedule some time to really learn who your state-level reps are, and learn if they’re people who you can get behind.

 

If they are, think about what you can do to support them when they run again, be it donating, door-knocking, putting a sign on your lawn, whatever.

 

If they’re not, start scouting for candidates who you can support.

 

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Support the Heather Heyer Foundation

This OTYCD entry originally posted in September 2017.

Support the Heather Heyer Foundation, a non-profit set up in the name of the counter-protester who died in the motor vehicle terrorist attack in Charlottesville. 

Heyer was the sole fatality in the attack, which took place on August 12, 2017. She was 32 years old. The last message she posted to social media before her death was “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” and that message is at the top of the foundation page, which is bordered in purple, her favorite color.

The foundation provides scholarships and funds to people who are passionate about positive social change, as Heather was. Scholarships will go primarily to those seeking degrees or certifications in the fields of law, paralegal studies (Heyer was a paralegal), social justice, social work, and education.

 

See the web site for the Heather Heyer Foundation:

http://heatherheyerfoundation.com/index.htm

 

Donate to the Heather Heyer Foundation:

http://heatherheyerfoundation.com/Donations.htm

 

Send letters of support to the HHF:

http://heatherheyerfoundation.com/Story.htm

 

Learn how to apply for the annual scholarships in her name for paralegal studies (deadline is February 15):

http://heatherheyerfoundation.com/Scholarship.htm

 

Read a moving piece about Heather Heyer, the last day of her life, and how her friends remember her:

https://www.thecut.com/2017/08/what-heather-heyer-knew.html

 

And here’s another strong one, published by the Guardian in October 2017:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/01/heather-heyers-mother-on-hate-in-the-us-were-not-going-to-hug-it-out-but-we-can-listen-to-each-other?CMP=share_btn_tw