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Live in Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, or Maine? Ask Your State Legislators to Kill, Rescind, or Defend Against a Call for a Constitutional Convention

Do you live in Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, or Maine? Ask your state legislators to kill, rescind, or defend against a call for a Constitutional Convention (Con Con).

 

We at OTYCD have written about the long-term right-wing goal of calling a Con Con. The idea of a Constitutional convention isn’t inherently bad, but what its far-right advocates want to achieve IS inherently bad, and needs to be stopped.

 

The best way to stop a Con Con is to elect more Democrats to state legislatures–the entities that can put the call forward, and cancel the call as well.

 

On November 6, 2018, voters in several states did just that–they elected more Democrats. In seven states, they elected enough Democrats to flip one or both legislative chambers from red to blue.

 

In May 2018, we at OTYCD explained how to find out if your state legislature had passed a resolution in support of a Con Con, and explained how to ask your state legislators to rescind the resolution. It’s definitely doable; Nevada, Maryland, and New Mexico all rescinded in 2017.

 

In this post, we’re cross-checking the newly flipped legislatures against the map provided by the pro-Con Con people, so citizens in those states can ask their representatives to rescind a resolution or kill bills that are in progress.

 

We’ll be reproducing some language from that blog post to illustrate these points.

 

But first! 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

 

Also, we should start with the good news: on the pro-Con Con org’s map, states colored green have passed the resolution. None of the states that flipped one or both of their chambers on Tuesday are green on that map.

 

New York flipped its Senate properly blue at long last. New York state is also blue on the Con Con map–that means active legislation was in at least one chamber in 2018.

 

Unfortunately, the map does not identify which of the two chambers the bill is in. (Theoretically, a blue state could have bills in both.)

 

New Yorkers should call or email their state legislators, explain what a Con Con is, and explain there’s a bill in at least one of the state chambers in 2018. Say that you want that bill halted, or better yet, killed.

 

 

The newly flipped Minnesota House is in a blue state on the Con Con map (its Senate is in GOP hands). It’s not clear which of the two chambers the bill is in, but Minnesotans should call their state house rep, explain about the Con Con, and ask them to kill the bill or remain on alert to kill it.

 

New Hampshire flipped both its chambers to Democratic control on Tuesday. It’s on the pro-Con Con map as a yellow state, which means legislation has passed one chamber.

 

As with the blue states, the map does not identify which of the two chambers has passed the bill. It’s also not specified when that yellow-state chamber passed the bill; it could predate 2018. It could predate 2018 by a lot.

 

New Hampshirites should contact their state reps, explain what a Con Con is, and explain that a pro-Con Con bill has passed one chamber, but it’s not clear which, or when. Say you oppose a Con Con resolution, and that you want your state reps to vote no on any Con Con resolution bills that might arrive on their desks.

 

Maine and Colorado flipped their state senates. Both appear on the pro-Con Con map colored white, which, by inference, means there’s no legislation pending there at the moment, and the states don’t appear to be current targets of the org.

 

Even still, it’s probably worth it for Mainers and Coloradans to call their state senators, explain what a Con Con is, and explain that while the state is not currently a target, you want your reps to oppose any attempt to push the initiative. It’s the project of a far-right-wing org called COS Action. COS stands for ‘Convention of States.’

 

 

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Call Your MoCs to Protest HHS’s Proposed Plan to Stop Recognizing Transgender People as People

Call your members of Congress to protest Health and Human Services (HHS)’ proposed plans that would cease recognition of the civil rights of transgender people. 

 

Today’s Trump Administration fuckery comes from a Health and Human Services (HHS) proposal that would essentially cease to recognize the civil rights of transgender people.

 

The Obama administration had done much to issue guidelines and protections for this vulnerable group. On October 21, 2018, the New York Times reported that it had received an HHS memo that suggested narrowly defining gender as the sex assigned to an individual at birth.

 

If enacted, the changes would affect around 1.4 million Americans who have realized their sex and their gender don’t align.

 

Full article is here:

 

 

We can argue why the Trump administration is doing this, and why they’re doing this now. But once again we find ourselves metaphorically coaxing a toddler to put down the matches and walk away from the gas stove. Stop the danger first, then ponder the whys.

 

Here’s a script to use with your members of Congress (MoCs). Before you call, check the social media feeds of your two Senators and your House Rep. Have they said anything at all? Follow the script as written. Have they spoken out in favor of transgender rights, as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has? Thank them and mention the platform where you saw the message. Have they spoken against? Firmly, politely castigate them for their stance. Got it? OK, here’s a suggestion for what you can say:

 

“Dear Senator/House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname of town, zip code), and I am calling to ask you to do everything you can to stop Health and Human Services from rewriting the government’s definition of sex and gender to effectively erase transgender people. Recently, the New York Times received an HHS memo that promised to do just that by redefining the meaning of sex so narrowly that it fails to recognize the existence of transgender people.

If HHS succeeds, the department’s needless cruelty will affect the lives of around 1.4 million Americans who know that their gender doesn’t match the sex that they were assigned at birth. Transgender people suffer greatly as it is. The Obama administration took steps to grant them some civil rights protections. We shouldn’t be repealing those protections–we should be strengthening them and expanding them. I urge you to speak publicly against this proposal and draft laws that would reinforce the good work that the previous administration started.”

 

If you are a physician, please contact your relevant professional medical group, or the relevant subcommittee within that group, to urge it to push back against the government’s attempt to make laws that imperiously stomp all over science.

 

If you live in Massachusetts and you haven’t voted yet (early voting started Monday, October 22), please vote YES on Question 3. Voting yes is a vote to defend transgender rights in that state. If we at OTYCD hear about similar ballot measures in other states, we’ll add those here and we’ll note the correct wording to choose to affirm transgender rights.

 

If you can make a donation, consider giving to the Center for Transgender Equality:

https://transequality.org

 

On Twitter:

@transequality

 

 

…and/or the Transgender Law Center:

https://transgenderlawcenter.org

 

On Twitter:

@translawcenter

 

 

Also follow the #WontBeErased hashtag on Twitter.

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the

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

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See This List of Members of the House Freedom Caucus So You Can Vote Them Out in November

ThisOTYCD post originally appeared in June 2018. In the lead-up to the midterms, we’re re-running important posts. Please click on the announcement from Sarah Jane to learn why you’re not seeing timely daily posts.

 

See this list of the current sitting members of the House Freedom Caucus, so you can vote them out in November.

 

The House Freedom Caucus is the most far-right group of Congresspeople within the House Republican Conference. While not everyone in it is thoroughly terrible–Michigan’s Justin Amash is clearly, and refreshingly, possessed of a functioning spine–they engage in shenanigans on the regular.

 

A recent notable beclownment was its drafting of articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in late April 2018.

 

North Carolina Rep Mark Meadows characterized the document as a “last resort” if Rosenstein continued to rebuff requests for information about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s involvement with Russia.

 

Anyone with a functioning brain realizes the HFC is trying to undermine Rosenstein, Mueller, and the probe. Reporting on the draft simply credits it to the HFC, and only names Meadows specifically in connection with the document.

 

News stories on the matter say nothing about who, exactly, drafted it, so we are left to infer that everyone in the HFC approves of it, even if they might not have personally worked on it.

 

In light of this, we’re devoting this post to listing every current, sitting member of the HFC so you can help vote them out in November 2018. If these folks represent you, you’re probably already well aware of their records. If they don’t, it’s worth learning about them and looking into helping their Democratic opponents. (Every member of the House of Representatives is defending their seats this fall, assuming they’re not retiring.)

 

Several of these names will be familiar from an earlier OTYCD post on eleven House GOP members who called for investigating Andrew McCabe, James Comey, Sally Yates, Hillary Clinton, and assorted Department of Justice personnel for bias. We have repeated information from that post where appropriate.

 

The HRC does not publish or otherwise identify its members. What you see below represents the best list available as of April 2018.

 

 

Justin Amash, representing Michigan’s 3rd District. As stated above, Amash is unusual for displaying consistency as well as a spine. Let’s be clear here–his politics are odious, but he does have that going for him. He also appears to vote more often with the Democrats, but that’s largely a function of him rejecting legislation because it’s not conservative or far-right enough for his tastes. Make of that what you will.

Amash is running for a fifth term. The primary takes place August 7, 2018. He will face one Republican challenger. There are also two Democrats and an Independent in the mix. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

 

Joe Barton, representing Texas’s 6th District. In November 2017, he announced that he would retire from Congress after a three-decade career in the House of Representatives. This statement came soon after news broke of his involvement in extramarital affairs. It should be said that no one has accused Barton of sexual misconduct or harassment, and the affairs were consensual. Regardless, he felt it best not to run again.

 

Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez will face Republican Ronald Wright and Libertarian Jason Harper in November. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Read OTYCD‘s post on Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/05/26/keep-an-eye-on-jana-lynne-sanchez-who-is-running-for-a-texas-house-seat-in-2018/

 

 

Andy Biggs, representing Arizona’s 5th District. He’s running for his second term. Five Democrats are running in the August 28, 2018 primary. No Republicans have stepped up to challenge Biggs; the filing deadline is May 30. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

 

Rod Blum, representing Iowa’s 1st District. He’s running for a third term, and he looks especially vulnerable. The 1st was a battleground district in 2016, and Politico has listed the race as one of the top 10 House races to watch in 2018. Four Democrats and a Green Party member will appear in the June 5 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as a Toss-up.

 

 

Dave Brat, representing Virginia’s 7th District. He first gained notoriety for his improbable defeat of the powerful GOP incumbent Eric Cantor. Brat won’t face any Republicans in the primary, but two Democrats and a Whig Party member (yes, you read that right, the Whig Party) will appear in the June 12, 2018 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Lean Republican.

 

Mo Brooks, representing Alabama’s 5th District. He’s running for his fifth term. The June 5, 2018 primary features one other Republican and a Democrat. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Ken Buck, representing Colorado’s 4th District. He’s running for a third term. Two Democrats will meet in the June 26, 2018 primary; he has no Republican challengers. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Ted Budd, representing North Carolina’s 13th District. He’s seeking a second term. He will face Democrat Kathy Manning and Libertarian Tom Bailey in November. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Lean Republican.

 

Warren Davidson, representing Ohio’s 8th District. He won a special election in 2016, won the general later that year, and is running again this fall, where he will compete against Democrat Vanessa Enoch. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Ron DeSantis, representing Florida’s 6th District. He’s retiring from his House seat in order to run for governor of Florida. Three Democrats and five Republicans will appear in the August 28, 2018 primary. The filing deadline is May 4. As of September 2017, Nancy Soderberg had the most cash on hand among the Democrats. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Scott DesJarlais, representing Tennessee’s 4th District. He’s running for a fifth term. He faces one challenger in the August 2, 2018 primary, which will also have three Democrats and an Independent. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Jeff Duncan, representing South Carolina’s 3rd District. He’s running for a fifth term. Two Democrats and a member of the American party will run in the June 12, 2018 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Matt Gaetz, representing Florida’s 1st District. He’s running for a second term. Two Democrats and two other Republicans will meet him in the August 28, 2018 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Tom Garrett Jr., representing Virginia’s 5th District. He sent mixed signals in late May, saying he wouldn’t run for a second term, and then saying he would. His re-election campaign appears to be on. He will face Democrat Leslie Cockburn, who won the most votes at the May 5, 2018 primary convention. Independent John Harris is running as a write-in candidate. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Lean Republican.

 

Louie Gohmert, representing Texas’s 1st District. He was first elected to the House in 2004 and is running again. He will face Democrat Shirley McKellar and Libertarian Jeff Callaway in November. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Paul A. Gosar, representing Arizona’s 4th District. He is running for a fifth term. Three Democrats and a Green Party member will run in the August 28, 2018 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Morgan Griffith, representing Virginia’s 9th District. He’s running for a fifth term. No challenger will meet him in the June 12, 2018 primary, but two Democrats and an Independent will appear. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Andy Harris, representing Maryland’s 1st District. He is seeking a fifth term. This is a crowded field. Six Democrats, including Allison Galbraith, two other Republicans, and a Libertarian have committed to the June 26, 2018 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

See the OTYCD entry on Allison Galbraith:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/04/08/support-democrat-allison-galbraith-whos-running-for-a-house-seat-in-maryland/

 

Jody Hice, representing Georgia’s 10th District. He’s running for a third term. The May 22, 2018 primary includes three Democrats, two other Republicans, and an Independent. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Jim Jordan, representing Ohio’s 4th District (he’s also co-chair of the HFC). He was first elected to the House in 2006. He will face Democrat Janet Garrett in November. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Raúl Labrador, representing Idaho’s 1st District. He is running for governor of Idaho in 2018. Republican Russ Fulcher and Democrat Christina McNeil will face off in November.  The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Mark Meadows, representing North Carolina’s 11th District (he’s also co-chair of the HFC). He’s seeking a fourth term. He will face Democrat Phillip Price in November. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Alex Mooney, representing West Virginia’s 2nd District. He’s running for a third term. He’s competing against Democrat Talley Sergent. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Gary Palmer, representing Alabama’s 6th District. Like Mooney, he’s running for a third term. The primary happens June 5, 2018, but Palmer and Democrat Danner Kline are the only ones on the ballot in each case, and there are no candidates from other parties this time around. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Steve Pearce, representing New Mexico’s 2nd District. Pearce is in New Mexico’s gubernatorial race, leaving the House seat free in 2018. The primary takes place June 5, 2018, and features two Democrats and four Republicans. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Lean Republican.

 

Scott Perry, representing Pennsylvania’s 4th District. In February 2018, the state’s Supreme Court threw out the old Congressional district map, deeming it illegally gerrymandered. What was the 4th now covers much of what was the 13th district. Perry does not appear to be running again, and the Democratic incumbent under the old map, Brendan Boyle, is seeking re-election in the 2nd District. Got that?

Democrat Madeleine Dean will face Republican Dan David in November. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Democratic.

 

Bill Posey, representing Florida’s 8th District. He first won election in 2008 and is running again. The primary is set for August 28, but only Posey and Democrat Sanjay Patel are on it, with no one from the smaller parties in the mix. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

Mark Sanford, representing South Carolina’s 1st District. If the name sounds familiar, yeah, this was the guy who melted down as governor of South Carolina over extramarital affairs. Remember “hiking the Appalachian Trail”? Yeah, he’s that guy. Anyway, he won the House seat in a special election in 2013 and is running again. He faces two other Republicans in the June 12, 2018 primary. Two Democrats will appear as well. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Likely Republican.

 

David Schweikert, representing Arizona’s 6th District. He’s seeking a fifth term. The August 28, 2018 primary is crowded on the Democratic side, with five candidates, but clear on the Republican side, with Schweikert the only choice. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Likely Republican.

 

Randy Weber, representing Texas’s 14th District. He’s hoping for a fourth term, and is facing Democrat Adrienne Bell and Libertarian Don Conley III. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

See OTYCD‘s post on Adrienne Bell:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/05/26/support-adrienne-bells-run-for-the-house-seat-in-texass-14th-district/

 

 

Ted Yoho, representing Florida’s 3rd District. He’s running for a fourth term. Three Democrats will run in the August 28, 2018 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.

 

 

Choose the Democratic challengers of any of these folks for your Core Four:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/04/08/choose-your-core-four-for-2018/

 

 

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As for cites on the House Freedom Caucus…

 

Read about the HFC’s drafting of articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-allied-house-conservatives-draft-articles-of-impeachment-against-rosenstein-as-last-resort/2018/04/30/d78af412-4c97-11e8-b725-92c89fe3ca4c_story.html?utm_term=.5a0ab3b10263

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/384217-impeaching-rosenstein-some-republicans-are-talking-about-it

 

Read the actual articles of impeachment against Rosenstein, obtained by the Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/05/01/republicans-highly-political-articles-of-impeachment-against-rod-rosenstein-annotated/?utm_term=.402747613668

 

 

Read a USA Today Op-Ed on how the impeachment effort against Rosenstein represents a violation of ethical rules and an attempt to hobble Mueller’s probe:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/05/02/impeachment-articles-rosenstein-sabotage-russia-probe-column/572548002/

 

 

Read a CNN story on a Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee decrying the HFC’s shens:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/01/politics/david-cicilline-rod-rosenstein-impeachment-cnntv/index.html

 

 

Read stories about Rod Rosenstein standing firm in the face of the HFC’s threat:

https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2018/05/02/mark-meadows-rod-rosenstein-extortion-justice-department-mueller/573291002/

 

 

And read some background on the HFC:

http://time.com/4718360/freedom-caucus-donald-trump-what-to-know/

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Work Like Never Before: Countdown to the Midterms

Sarah Jane here. I’m the lead writer and editor on the One Thing You Can Do blog.

 

We’re post-Kavanaugh. We’re angry and exhausted but anger is winning out.

 

Here is the silver lining: The pushback against Kavanaugh scared the crap out of the GOP, and while they won (which is bad, don’t get me wrong), they won by a hair, a sneeze, a twitch, a wiggle, a blink, and they had to fight like hell and take damage and break shitloads of rules and norms and traditions to eke out that whisper of a win.

 

The GOP know how precarious it is, and they’re feeling it. The boasting at Kavanaugh’s formal confirmation ceremony (which is damn weird and wrong in context, because c’mon, we’re talking about SCOTUS here, and SCOTUS is supposed to be above politics, right?) is just as much to shore themselves up and sell themselves on what they just did as it is to perform ritual cruelty and recommit to general assholic behavior.

 

They want you to go away. GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is convinced this will all blow over.

 

Show McConnell that he is wrong. Show him this won’t blow over. Show the GOP you are not going to go away.

 

Assuming you’ve had a rest–because you should really, properly step away and rest for a bit after all this–stoke the glowing embers of your anger and light your way through the last few weeks before the midterms.

 

If you’re not using the Core Four strategy, check it out, then pick two Democrats to support in each chamber of Congress, an incumbent and a challenger for each.

 

Donate to worthy Democratic incumbents and challengers.

 

Canvass–knock on doors to talk to people in person about the merits of a candidate for office.

 

Phone-bank and text-bank–like canvassing, except it’s over the phone or via text.

 

Write get out the vote (GOTV) postcards and help underwrite Tony the Democrat’s postcard-writing army.

 

Follow Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) on Twitter for updates on the state of the (admittedly difficult, thoroughly worth it) quest by Democrats to claim control the Senate.

 

Follow Swing Left (@swingleft) on Twitter for updates on the state of the quest by Democrats to claim control of the House of Representatives (doing well at the moment but as we’ve said before, always act like your candidates are 10 points behind, even if they aren’t).

 

Follow Flippable (@flippable_org) on Twitter for updates on efforts to flip state legislatures blue, and see what you can do for your own state’s legislature. We need to turn the state legislatures blue to, for example, remove anti-abortion laws sitting on the books that would go into effect if Roe vs. Wade is overturned.

 

Follow Tokyo Sand (@DHSTokyo) on Twitter and subscribe to the Political Charge blog for updates on state voter registration deadlines as they approach and arrive, plus vital related news about the midterms.

 

Assuming it’s not too late in your state, consider filling out and returning an absentee ballot now, to free yourself to help others get to their polling places on November 6. Take the day off work if you can and volunteer to help others vote.

 

Learn if your state is one that allows 17-year-olds to register to vote if they’ll be 18 by November 6, and help them register, if there’s still time.

 

Put campaign signs on your lawn and campaign stickers on your car.

 

Talk to friends and family about voting. Help them make a plan to vote on November 6. Help those who want to do more than just vote.

 

Be welcoming and kind to Independents, Libertarians, Republicans, and others who don’t normally vote for Democrats but are doing so in the 2018 midterms.

 

Talk to people who didn’t vote in 2016. Donate to organizations that help people register to vote.

 

Don’t compare yourself to other activists. Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to do as much as you want to do. See the value in what you are doing, and keep doing it.

 

Give as much time as you can to as many candidates as you can on the federal, state, and local levels [as well as ballot questions, if that applies in your state].

 

Months ago, we asked you to donate two hours a week to helping your preferred candidates. Now that we’re T-minus one month from the midterms, we’re asking you to take your schedules in hand and figure out how much time you can devote to the democracy bucket brigade between now and November 6.

 

Anything you do from the list above counts. Include routine self-care in there, too.

 

And, Believe It: You Matter. It’s true, and it never stops being true. You matter, your vote matters, and your activism matters.

 

Go forth and do good, people.

 

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Call Your Senators and Demand That They Vote NO on Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Nominee for SCOTUS, September 6, 2018 Edition

Update from Sarah Jane, September 6, 2018: So the second day of the hearings happened, interrupted by that anonymous New York Times op-ed from a sitting White House official confirming that Trump is totally 25th amendment material, but don’t worry, he and his colleagues are managing the guy while letting Republicans force through an agenda that few want.

That agenda includes nominating Kavanaugh. Use yesterday as motivation to keep calling your Senators to #StopKavanaugh–boost your Democratic Senators for bringing the fight, and pressure your Republican Senators into voting no.

Once you’ve made your calls, encourage friends and family to call their Senators, too. It’s extra-important that you ask those in red states to call and oppose the SCOTUS nomination.

Recruiting others to the cause is key. We need a ton of people calling their Senators 24/7, making it damn clear that Kavanaugh is a NO. Refer to @Celeste_Pewter’s calling script below and forward it with abandon.

To quote Dante from Clerks, ‘I wasn’t supposed to be here today,’ but, you know. I am going to keep beating the #StopKavanaugh drum on weekdays and I’m going to repost the voting registration deadlines on weekends until the midterms.

 

Update from Sarah Jane, September 4, 2018: This post originally appeared on July 16, 2018. With the Kavanaugh hearings starting today I am making an exception to my hiatus to offer updated info on how you can #StopKavanaugh.

 

This is another situation we have to treat like the fight to save Obamacare. We need to mobilize massive, massive, MASSIVE pressure. You need to call your Senators every day on this, and you need to recruit friends and family to call their Senators every day. For serious.

 

Our friend @Celeste_Pewter has been diligently beating the drum on the Kavanaugh issue, stressing the importance of fighting back and giving options for how to do it. We at OTYCD are reproducing her September 3, 2018 string of tweets on the topic. Scroll down to learn how to support her and her work.

 

All: Tomorrow [September 4] is going to be tense day for all of us. Remember: NONE of you are alone. If you need a pep talk or cat pictures, ping me. Also remember: we’re all frustrated and angry with how the hearings are proceeding, but let’s focus on what we CAN do at the moment.

 

Our part in this can be broken down into a few steps: 1. Calling any senators we have on judiciary, and demand they question vigorously. 2. Telling our Senators to vote no. 3. Pushing for state-level protections, a la MA’s Nasty Women Act. 4. Getting 5 others to do 1-3.

 

If you can do a little more and are in driving distance of D.C. – consider joining the protests. Let the Senate know we’re watching. To paraphrase , the more eyes, the better [The link goes to a Facebook page called Show Up to Stop Kavanaugh!, an event that starts at 6 pm in Washington, D.C. Also, follow @benwikler for updates on the protest]:

https://www.facebook.com/events/251262148834237/

 

If you’re able to watch a live stream, the Kavanaugh hearing’s live stream is here:

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/nomination-of-the-honorable-brett-m-kavanaugh-to-be-an-associate-justice-of-the-supreme-court-of-the-united-states

 

If you’re looking to write postcards – and I know several of you write thoughtful, eloquent messages every week, has provided excellent templates here:

https://getloudnow.squarespace.com/gln/blockbrett

 

And I feel like I’ve linked this a million times, but: 1. Scripts:

 

2. The team’s super handy call tool: (Seriously, let’s kick the
numbers up to 300+ for each script tomorrow, ok?)

 

https://www.blockbrett.com

 

3. ‘s handy sheet to phone numbers for those on Judiciary [This leads to a screen shot that we can’t reproduce, but you can find it at the @ThisEastonLife Twitter home page]

 

4. My Kavanaugh Medium guide, but with specific focus on state-level protections [Including this as a clickable link because weird technical issues won’t allow reproduction of the URL]

 

Tomorrow’s going to be tough. Everything you might feel tomorrow. = 100% valid. Just remember: keep focusing on what you CAN control. And if we each do those four simple steps? Imagine 4 x 1000 or 2000. That’s a lot of collective power. Let’s get to work. Ask w/ questions.

 

P.S. 1. For those of you who are looking for this thread in text form, I’m formatting the TinyLetter now. 2. Don’t forget to hashtag any tweets about SCOTUS-related calls with will boost. Let’s share who’s picking up, staffers to ask for, etc.

View story at Medium.com

 

 

Original post follows.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

We need to push back.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Here are additional ways to support Celeste Pewter, author of the black-backgroundedscript above.You can follow her on Twitter:

@Celeste_Pewter

 

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

the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

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

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

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

 

Subscribe to her peerless newsletter, It’s Time to Fight:

http://itstimetofight.weebly.com

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the

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

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

Call Your MoCs and Demand They Enforce Sanctions Against Russia, Dammit, August 9, 2018 Edition

Call your MoCs to demand enforcement of sanctions against Russia.

 

Update, July 18, 2018: In the wake of the July 16, 2018 Helsinki meeting, activists such as Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_pewter) are encouraging citizens to ask their representatives for stronger, bipartisan sanctions against Russia.

 

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

 

See that post, which included a script from Pewter:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

This is the entry for August 9, 2018.

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Then follow it up with this:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

So guess where this is going.

 

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

It came and it went.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Team America: World Secret Police.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

…this prompted Cathy R to tweet,

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

 

Alexandra Erin answered:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Marches and Protests · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Save These Tools · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Believe It, You Matter, Part X: We May Not Get Everything We Want. Keep Fighting Anyway.

Believe It, You Matter, Part X: We May Not Get Everything We Want. Keep Fighting Anyway. 

 

You might have noticed that people are pissed about the way things are going. You might be one of those pissed-off people. Team Trump and its shitshow of corruption, cruelty, and pro-bully tactics have spurred millions to do more to push back.

 

A fair number of registered Republicans–including some high-profile ones–have left the party and gone independent. Many folks who were never politically active stepped up after the November 2016 election. They went to protests for the first time in their lives. Same again for phone-banking, knocking on doors, donating to causes and candidates, and calling their members of Congress. A small but heroic number found the courage to run for office.

 

It is unprecedented. It is organic. It might be unique in the history of America. And it should continue as long as Team Trump keeps crazy-assing and the GOP keeps shirking its duties to check Team Trump’s fucked-up, hateful, hurtful actions.

 

But! While we are righteous, motivated, and strong, we could still lose.

 

Take the SCOTUS nomination battle. Team Trump and the GOP are determined to ram their choice through before the midterms. We don’t want that. But because Democratic Senators are in the minority, there’s only so much they can do to stop it.

 

They will do what they can. They will fight. And, as we at OTYCD have asked, you should call your Senators and urge them to fight (if they’re Democrats) or vote no if they’re Republicans. Yes, your Republican Senators probably won’t change their votes, but they need to know their constituents oppose them on this, and will work to vote them out if they move a Trump nominee along.

 

But we could lose this one, and losing this one would be bad. People you love will be hurt by a SCOTUS dominated by hard-right judges. People you love could die as a result of a hard-right SCOTUS decision. You could lose your health insurance. Gerrymandering might get a yellow or green light. Voting rights might be curtailed. Parts of the Constitution that annoy evangelical Christians, greedy corporations, racists, and committed bullies could be muzzled and stomped upon. Democracy could be smothered. [Edited to add: This post was written and queued before the Senate approved Kavanaugh by a 51-49 vote.]

 

The answer is to keep fighting.

 

The only way to stop the SCOTUS from being perverted by hard-right extremists is to elect Democrats to the Senate and keep electing Democrats to the Senate until there are enough of them to control the chamber. And once they control the chamber, you need to defend them so they can keep control of the chamber and stop hard-right extremists from getting on the court.

 

If Democrats controlled the Senate now, they could refuse any nominee who’s stupidly hard-right and continue to refuse until Team Trump puts forward an actual moderate. But they don’t, so they can’t.

 

But if you curl into a ball and quit when the news of InJustice EvilJerk’s swearing-in breaks, we all lose.

 

Same again with the 2018 midterms. Things generally look good right now. But we won’t get absolutely everything we want. Simply from a mathematic standpoint, it’s unlikely that every Democrat wins and every Republican loses. There are too many races, at too many levels. There will be losses, and some of those losses might be tough.

 

Plus, there’s an elephant in the room (or, rather, the polling place). Having successfully messed with the 2016 elections, Russia’s hackers will be keen to try again in November 2018, and Team Trump has yet to order the National Security Agency (NSA) to take the steps needed to defend our country from those attacks.

 

Again, if you curl into a ball and quit when news breaks of, say, Iowa House Rep Steve King’s reelection, we all lose.

 

Yes, rest. Yes, unplug. Yes, take time away. You are allowed to have fun. You are allowed to do things that make you happy. Heck, it’s vital. Drafting and sticking with a self-care routine is one of the most important things you can do.

 

Rest. Recharge. Frolic. Forget for a few hours or days, maybe even weeks. But come back. Always, always come back. We need you.

 

And hey, getting mad is OK, too. Crying is OK. Despairing is OK. Feeling the force of your emotions is OK! But come back. Always, always come back. We need you.

 

Trump will go, but you must not.

 

You’ve got to stay here and carry on the fight.