Bar Barr – Tell Senators to vote against AG nominee

Deadline: ASAP and until the vote – Here we go again: another nominee for Attorney General who thinks the president has unfettered powers, that religion trumps (sorry not sorry) law and that it certainly is more important than the rights of LGBTQ folk, that the Muslim ban is good but abortion rights and criminal defendants’ and prisoners’ rights are not … Ladies and gentlemen and resisters of all ages, the Current Occupant presents: William Barr!

The vote on Barr’s nomination is fast approaching. Senator Kamala Harris has said she will oppose his nomination because “he won’t defend independent investigations from attacks and ensure equal protection under the law for all Americans.” She’s also said she opposes him because he doesn’t “embrace a smart on crime approach to public safety.” We agree. Please thank her, and ask Senator Dianne Feinstein to say the same – and to commit to vote against the nomination. See below for call scripts and contact info.

Some scary facts about Barr:

  • He has publicly criticized Robert Mueller’s investigation, yet during his Senate hearing, he refused to commit to recuse himself from overseeing Mueller’s investigation. He also refused to commit to make Mueller’s findings public. Biased and secret – the exact opposite of what an Attorney General should be.
  • As organizations concerned with the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of and from religion have pointed out, he has called for constitutional U.S. law to be replaced with “God’s law.”
  • “He believes that Trump cannot be questioned for firing [FBI Director James] Comey in a criminal obstruction probe because presidents always have the discretion to fire an FBI director” – People for the American Way
  • Barr believes in being tough on minor drug offenders and opposes sentencing reform. He’s a big fan of mass incarceration.
  • He recently praised former Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “an outstanding attorney general.”
  • Read an excellent summary of his disturbing positions on justice reform, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, reproductive freedom, and more, in this article.

What you can do:

Call your Senators. They are the ones who will vote on the nomination.

Senator Harris has already spoken out against Barr and said she will vote against him. What to say:

My name is ___, my zip code is ___, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Thank you for speaking out against Attorney General nominee William Barr and saying you’ll vote against him. He’s the wrong person for the job, for all the reasons you’ve said – he won’t uphold the law in a way to protect us.

Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553

Senator Feinstein has made statements indicating that she doesn’t favor Barr, but as of January 17 she hasn’t said so explicitly and also hasn’t said how she’ll vote. What to say:

My name is ___, my zip code is ___, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Please speak out and commit to vote against Attorney General nominee William Barr and saying you’ll vote against him. He’s the wrong person for the job. He won’t uphold the law in a way to protect us.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841

Spread the word to everyone you know, send them the link to this article, and if they don’t have their Senators’ numbers on speed dial, give them this link.

Statement on the Women’s March 2019

As many of you know, there has been a controversy surrounding the national leadership of the Women’s March and allegations concerning their affiliations with people and organizations that have expressed anti-Semitic sentiments. Some of you have asked whether, in light of this, Indivisible East Bay will be participating in the local Women’s March.

The short answer to this question is yes. As we did last year, we will be joining with Indivisible Berkeley and other allies to march, and we’ll have an informational table.

The longer answer is that the Women’s March Oakland is an independent entity, with its own leadership; although the marches all over the country are coordinated to the extent that they take place on the same day, use the same logo, operate under the same name, and more, the national organization and national leadership are separate from the local marches. Women’s March Oakland responded to the allegations of anti-Semitism, as soon as they broke, by organizing a training on dealing with “antisemitism and other kinds of hate.” Their homepage states: “We categorically denounce and reject all forms of bigotry and hate, including racism, sexism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, classism, xenophobia and ableism.” Their leadership has never, to our knowledge, broken this vow. We at IEB believe that this is the right message and that it’s appropriate to continue to participate in an event run by a group operating under these principles.

Beyond this, we urge you to read this powerful Jewish Women of Color Open Letter for important and too rarely-heard views on how we can fight against anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred, and fight for women’s rights and human rights, together, without seeking or giving into forces that seek division. Without minimizing or glossing over problems, we also note that Women’s March national has stated as a Unity Principle: “We must create a society in which all women – including Black women, Indigenous women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Jewish women, Muslim women, Latinx women, Asian and Pacific Islander women, lesbian, bi, queer and trans women – are free and able to care for and nurture themselves and their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.”

If you plan to attend the Women’s March Oakland, we encourage you to join us; look for our banner with our distinctive logo. If you prefer not to attend the March, we respect that decision, and we hope that you understand and respect our reasons to participate.

You need to call: No Wall, No Way!

Deadline: today and every day –

The Current Occupant told his supporters to call their elected representatives and say build that wall. An Indivisible East Bay member who was in Senator Feinstein’s D.C. office last week heard interns taking calls from people doing just that. What she didn’t hear: people calling to say No Wall!

Our Senators have spoken out against the wall, but they need our support when some of their constituents overwhelmingly demand this crime against decency … You know what to do. Do it, today and every day!

What you can say:

My name is ___, my zip code is ___, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling to thank Senator Feinstein/Harris for opposing the idea of building a border wall. The Wall is anti-humanitarian, anti-environmental, and a terrible waste of resources. Please don’t give in. No wall!

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841

Sen. Kamala Harris: (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553

For more information, here are some things we’ve written in the past about why the Wall is such a disastrously bad idea:

 

 

 

 

No More Likability BS

Oh, those women politicians. So smart. So accomplished. Why can’t they just be more … likable?

We’re calling BS. In fact, we’re calling it #LikabilityBS. And if you’re already as tired as we are of this everything-old-is-new-again campaign, we invite you to join us in calling out the media when we see them trivializing women elected officials, women candidates, or any powerful women by focusing on their supposed personality defects – or supposed problems with their dancing, their hair, their wardrobes, their unladylike language, or anything else that anyone thinks they need to make over to please the boys.

Here are some great ways to say: you don’t have to like them; you don’t have to like me; but you do have to take women seriously, and you do have to start covering our substantive positions and issues.

What you can do:

  • Call out the BS on social media. It’s easy to re-post and collect frowny faces, but the point is to educate and mobilize:
    • Educate by posting and showing people the BS going on;
      • Beyond posting on your own social media pages, amplify your message by writing comments on the Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram accounts for the media channel, reporter, pundit, etc., that you want to call out;
    • Mobilize by telling people what they can do: for example, sharing a letter to the editor that you’ve written (see below for how-to), or linking people to this page telling them how they can fight the #likabilityBS
      • Ask people to retweet or share your social media posts and comments
  • Write a letter to the editor: Most print and online media have a “letters to the editor” section, and this is a great way to reach the public. Criticize a publication for engaging in #likabilityBS or praise it for giving good coverage, or take it to task for not talking about substantive issues – you choose how to frame the discussion. Some newspapers have specific requirements: for example, that letter writers must be local to their distribution area or be subscribers – so be sure to check their rules! In general, letters to the editor are most likely to be printed if they are:
    • short – aim for 250 words or shorter
    • from you as an individual, not as a representative of a group
    • clear – let people know exactly what you’re talking about. If you’re responding to something the newspaper published (as opposed to something going on in society in general), refer to it specifically by the title and date of the article.
    • to the point – talk about one thing, not everything that’s on your mind.
    • written in a reasonable tone – avoid nastiness and DON’T YELL!!!!
    • written with proper grammar, syntax, spelling and punctuation – use your computer’s editing functions, ask a friend to read it over. Newspapers have editors, but they’re far more likely to print something that’s accurate to begin with.
  • Use the same tools and techniques to thank and compliment the media when they get it right!
  • Follow and support independent media and voices and spread the word:
    • Progressive Voices provides politically progressive content to consumers via mobile device and online
    • Free Speech TV is a national, independent news network committed to advancing progressive social change
    • Media Matters for America is a progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media
    • ResistanceLive is a daily broadcast on Facebook, YouTube and iTunes that provides political updates for the Resistance, brought to you by Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin
    • Local AM radio station Real Talk 910 broadcasts forward-thinking political talk and opinions featuring Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann and Norman Goldman.

Graphic © Walt Disney’s Cinderella, Little Golden Book adapted by Campbell Grant

The shutdown is our national emergency

It’s obvious to anyone who thinks before talking (or tweeting) that the government shutdown harms everyone, not just Democrats. But when pants are on fire, we need more than what’s obvious – we all need to be able to stand up and tell the truth. No, the people who long for this administration to fulfill prophecies of the end of the world won’t care, but there are millions of people who do. And so we offer this short collection of info about how the government shutdown is harming real people and the real world:

Who’s not getting paid?

  • When people think of federal employees, they may think of elected officials or high-paid white collar jobs. But federal workers as a whole make just slightly over the national average and include workers like food preparers, who make under $12/hour. These aren’t people who can afford to go without their paychecks.
  • From a National Park Service employee: “Our HR folks managed to get our Dec. 31 payroll in but who knows what’s next. It’s the lower graded employees who REALLY suffer. Some are seeking out temp jobs to fill the gap!”
  • A federal court employee reports that court employees have not been guaranteed that they’ll get paid for work beyond January 11, although they will be required to report to work as usual with or without pay. “I know several coworkers off the top of my head that can’t live without a paycheck. What are they supposed to do? I read today that some federal employees are applying for unemployment and can receive up to $450 a week but will have to return the funds once they get paid from the government. This shutdown has us scared and sick, not knowing the impact it will have on us personally and as a nation.”
  • Another federal worker: “I was planning to retire later this year but I can’t even get the paperwork going on that during the shutdown.”
  • The shutdown affects people who aren’t federal workers, too. The office that handles food stamps is staffed by federal workers, and although food stamps are essential to the people who get them, these workers aren’t considered “essential” – meaning that they aren’t coming to work and people aren’t getting the aid they need in order to eat.
  • Money and aid get held up in all kinds of ways: first-year students at a PA medical school received an e-mail saying they would get their student loan money for the upcoming term, but the funds were already late by the time the email arrived. For many people, getting money late can have serious repercussions.
  • See more personal stories here.

Health and Safety

The Environment

  • National Parks are basically semi-closed. The bathrooms are completely closed. People are driving off-road, doing what bears do in the woods, and more.
  • A park service employee reports “loss of control over schedules. … we are working on a tight timeline that is tied to many other events in the park with locked in dates. And of course, with skeleton staffs, there are serious negative impacts to delicate natural and cultural (not to mention HUMAN) resources that are being put at unnecessary risk.”
  • Wildfire prevention on federal lands – yes, the kind of thing needed to avoid huge loss of property and resources and life, especially in states like California and Nevada which are at least half federal land – has come to a halt. Of course, this is a health and safety issue as well.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency is running on skeleton staffing and little to no funding as a result of the shutdown. (Let’s not even go into how that fits into this administration’s view of that agency …)

What you can do:

Call Our Senators: The House of Representatives has a bill to reopen the government without money for the Wall; we want the Senate to refuse to advance any legislation except that bill. And just before Trump gave his speech and Stormy Daniels folded her laundry on January 8, our Senators did just that. Please call Sen. Feinstein at 202-224-3841, and Sen. Harris at 202-224-3553 to say thanks, and tell them:

My name is ____, my zip code is ___, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank Senator Feinstein/Harris for voting against advancing legislation that wouldn’t have reopened the government without funding for the Wall. Please keep it up: vote NO on everything that isn’t the House bill to reopen the government without money for the Wall.

Help those in need: In times of trouble, people always need food. Donate or volunteer at these worthy organizations:

Photograph “Open Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry” by Alan Levine 

Carbon Price is Right

Deadline: today and every day –

A tip of the hat to Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, who have signed the Senate resolution “expressing the need for bold climate action” in response to the recent UN report on global warming. The Senate resolution is non-binding, but it’s still important for our government to make this statement when the Denier-in-Chief is burying climate change reports.

But we need more than words — we need ACTION. We need carbon pricing. Bills currently in Congress, such as S. 2352 (cap and trade), S. 2368 (carbon tax), and H.R. 7173 (carbon fee and dividend) — a new bipartisan bill introduced just this month — promote different methods of carbon pricing, with different economic theories and ramifications. Our Senators haven’t said which model they like, and haven’t backed any of the bills. It’s deeply wonky stuff, but it’s crucial.

And as in so many environmental matters, California should take the lead. Read more in the climate change section of our recent briefing memo for Sen. Harris, and then tell both our Senators:

My name is _____, my zip code is _____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Thank you for signing the Senate resolution on climate action. We need you to follow up by demanding true action, by supporting one or more of the carbon pricing bills now before Congress. We need to act before it’s too late, and California should lead the way.

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841; 1 Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco CA 94104
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553; 333 Bush Street, Suite 3225, San Francisco CA 94104

Tell our MoCs: No more funding for ICE/CBP or the Wall

Deadline: today and every day – Like the spoiled kid who says he’ll take his toys and break up the game, the Current Occupant is threatening to shut down the government unless Congress agrees to his demands: $5 billion to pay for his wall and for more inhumane enforcement and detention at the border. This on the heels of tear-gassing kids and calling their parents “baby-grabbers.”

So far, the current House of Representatives is saying OK, but the Senate is saying NO. The Senate should, pardon the expression, stick to its guns. They can insist on a budget with no new funding for the wall or for enforcement; or, alternatively, support a Continuing Resolution, which would basically authorize just enough funding to keep the government going until the next Congress takes office.

And both the Senate and the House have the ability and responsibility to exercise oversight authority over the actions of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In fact, on December 11, at 11 AM Eastern time, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary – on which both Senators Feinstein and Harris sit – will hold a hearing on “Oversight of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.” You can watch on CSPAN or here.

What you can do:

Tell Senators Feinstein and Harris:

My name is _____, my zip code is _____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m horrified by the growing list of atrocities by immigration officials against refugees, from family separation to family gassing at the border. Thank you for speaking out. Please do everything you can to keep funding for ICE and CBP in check – fight for a budget with no new funding for the wall and border enforcement, or support a Continuing Resolution. And please be extra rigorous and thorough in your questioning in the upcoming Judiciary Committee hearing on Oversight of US Customs and Border Protection.

Contact info:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841; 1 Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco CA 94104
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553; 333 Bush Street, Suite 3225, San Francisco CA 94104

 

Tell Representatives DeSaulnier, Lee, and Swalwell that you want them to limit funding, and to call for investigations into the administration’s inhumane immigration policies, including turning away refugees, tear gassing, and family separation.

What to say:

My name is _____, my zip code is _____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m horrified by the growing list of atrocities by immigration officials against asylum seekers, from family separation to family gassing at the border. Thank you for speaking out, and please do all you can to investigate, conduct rigorous oversight, and limit funding for the administration’s inhumane immigration policies.

NOTE: You can add on the following for each of the East Bay’s Representatives:

  • If you’re a constituent of Rep. Swalwell, ask him to use his position on the House Judiciary Committee to do all he can, including oversight of ICE and CBP; and thank him for saying that despite threats of a government shutdown, he would never vote to fund the wall. Read our article.
  • If you’re a constituent of Rep. DeSaulnier, ask him to use his position on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to do all he can, including oversight of ICE and CBP.
  • If you’re a constituent of Barbara Lee, thank her for publicly calling out Trump’s “childish and unacceptable” threat to shut down the government if he doesn’t get funding for the wall – and her pledge not to support it.

Contact info:

  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (email): (510) 620-1000 DC: (202) 225-2095; 440 Civic Center Plaza, 2nd Floor, Richmond, CA 94804
  • Rep. Barbara Lee (email): (510) 763-0370 DC: (202) 225-2661; 1301 Clay Street #1000N, Oakland CA 94612
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell (email): (510) 370-3322 DC: (202) 225-5065; 3615 Castro Valley Blvd., Castro Valley CA 94546

Read our related article for more information.

Briefing memo for meeting with Sen. Harris, Nov. 2018

On November 30, 2018, a delegation from Indivisible East Bay visited with Senator Kamala Harris’s staffers Julie Chavez Rodrigues and Daniel Chen. As we do before all our visits with our Senators, we prepared a briefing letter on all the issues we wanted to discuss, including extensive background research. This meeting concerned the following topics:

  • Asylum seekers
  • ICE/CBP abuses and DHS appropriations
  • Comprehensive immigration reform
  • Climate change, including carbon pricing
  • Poverty reduction
  • Abuses of the intelligence agencies
  • Cabinet order
  • Digital privacy
  • Criminal justice reform and the First Step Act
  • Judicial nominations
  • Campaign finance reform
  • New blue house
  • Town hall

You can read the entire memo here.

 

Out of the mouths of babes

Deadline for public comments: December 10, 2018 

What could be meaner than taking food out of the mouths of children? The latest assault from the Grinch Administration is a proposed regulation that would change how the government evaluates legal immigrants for green cards and visas. If this regulation takes effect, it could literally result in immigrants foregoing necessary assistance for themselves, or for their kids, in order to keep their status. You have until Monday December 10 to protest this outrage by submitting a comment. Go to www.regulations.gov/document?D=USCIS-2010-0012-0001 and click the dark blue “COMMENT NOW” button in the upper right. If that doesn’t work, go to www.regulations.gov and click on “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” under “What’s Trending” and follow the instructions for submitting a comment. Be sure to reference DHS Docket No. USCIS-2010-0012. See below for suggested language and alternative methods to submit comments.

The government already considers whether an immigrant is likely to become a “public charge” before granting a green card and many kinds of visas. Until now, this has referred to receipt of cash benefits – and, despite what fearmongers would have you believe, only 3% of non-citizens use these benefits. Under the proposed change, the “public charge” analysis could include receipt of Section 8 housing and food assistance, potentially forcing legal immigrants to give up benefits that they and their families need in order to keep their immigration status. This is cruel and unreasonable, especially because:

What you can do:

From the official website:

You may submit comments on this proposed rule, including the proposed information collection requirements, identified by DHS Docket No. USCIS-2010-0012, by any one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal (preferred): www.regulations.gov. Follow the website instructions for submitting comments.

  • Mail: Samantha Deshommes, Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20529-2140. To ensure proper handling, please reference DHS Docket No. USCIS-2010-0012 in your correspondence. Mail must be postmarked by the comment submission deadline.

If your citizenship status is secure, please do this action. Please personalize this suggested language (because verbatim comments may be grouped together and not counted separately), and submit by December 10:

I am writing with reference to DHS Docket No. USCIS-2010-0012. I oppose the proposed regulation restricting green cards from families who use public assistance. This regulation would violate my state’s right to provide benefits to families in short-term crisis and increase federal meddling in local issues. I object to depriving more than 40 million children of food, health care, and shelter. I want my tax dollars to support and show basic decency toward aspiring Americans, not to keep out people who need temporary help on their journey toward citizenship.

 

 

Don’t Let the Government Destroy Important Environmental Documents

Deadline: November 26, 2018

The Current Occupant’s tradition of lying is by now well-known, but sometimes it’s easier if something just … happens to the truth, especially to documentation of the truth. And so Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Department of the Interior (at least as of this writing), has sent National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) a massive “Request for Records Disposition Authority” – or in normal language, a request to destroy a huge quantity of records concerning environmental protection.

What kind of records? The request involves documents about oil and gas leases, mining, dams, wells, timber sales, marine conservation, fishing, endangered species, non-endangered species, critical habitats, land acquisition, and lots more. Documents from every agency within the Interior Department, including the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and others. Documents going back more than 50 years. Thousands of cubic feet of paper documents. Gigabytes of digital documents.

And there’s more. Besides documents that already exist, the proposed schedule of destruction will also apply to all future documents created in these categories (whether on paper or born digital). In other words: Records supporting environmental concerns could, literally, vanish in favor of the administration’s industry supporters and financers.

More details about the NARA procedure in general and this request in specific in this excellent resource.

What You Can Do

(1) Contact your Members of Congress:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

Sample Script:

My name is _______, my zip code is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has asked the National Archives for a massive destruction of records that normally are kept for historical purposes. This is an unusual and troubling request. I am asking you to investigate this request and to stop the destruction of important and valuable records. The National Archives ID number is DAA-0048-2015-0003.

(2) Email to request.schedule@nara.gov with a Public Comment. Deadline: November 26, 2018.

Sample Script:

My name is _______, my zip code is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I am writing about action DAA-0048-2015-0003. I am against this massive destruction of records. This content would normally be kept and preserved by the U.S. Dept of Interior. I am asking National Archives to deny Secretary Zinke’s request so that these records are kept as they should be.

[Sign with your name, other contact info you wish to give out.]