Tell Our Senators: Positively No Pompeo, Hell No Haspel

The Senate could vote on Mike Pompeo’s nomination for Secretary of State before the end of April, and if he’s confirmed, would vote on Gina Haspel’s nomination to succeed him as CIA Chief. Both would be disasters:

  • Pompeo is an Islamophobe who hates the Iran nuclear deal. He supports the NSA collecting Americans’ communications data. He has supported torture as an “interrogation technique,” and has expressed openness to waterboarding, though at his CIA chief confirmation hearing he told Senator Feinstein he wouldn’t restart using the techniques. He has lied about the intelligence community’s finding that Russia interfered in our elections.
  • Gina Haspel’s CIA career includes documented connections with torture, including connections with the torture of terrorism suspects in a secret prison and destroying evidence of the torture. She was denied a CIA promotion in 2013 because of her history with torture, in part thanks to Sen. Feinstein.

In an April 17 press release titled “Pompeo Not Qualified to Serve as Secretary of State”,  Senator Feinstein detailed why Mike Pompeo would not be “capable of proudly representing all of America in the pursuit of peace” – citing the exact reasons we’ve been calling on her to bring up.

Feinstein also recently said that Haspel has been a good CIA deputy director, but on March 14, 2018 said that Haspel “was involved in one of the darkest chapters in American history. Senators who will vote on her nomination MUST know the exact role she played in the CIA’s torture program.”

Senator Harris voted against Pompeo in his CIA confirmation hearings, but to date has said nothing about his nomination. Senator Harris, this should not be hard!

What you can do:

  • Please contact both senators.
  • Thank Senator Feinstein for standing up against torture in the past and for speaking out strongly against Pompeo.
  • Thank Senator Harris for voting against Pompeo in the past and ask her to speak out against him now. Tell her you are disappointed that she has not yet spoken out on this crucial issue.
  • Ask both Senators to vote against Pompeo and Haspel’s confirmations. 
  • Tell our Senators that since they stand against torture, they must stand against putting people who condone torture at the head of the State Department and CIA—they must vote NO on Pompeo and Haspel.

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

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

Tell EPA Not to Remove Pollution Controls from Oil & Gas Companies

Let’s start with the basics:

  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency currently has guidelines that allow states to control emissions from the oil and natural gas industry.
  • The oil and gas industry is the largest single industrial source of dangerous chemicals in smog and major contributors to emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • The deadly duo of Trump/Pruitt wants to get rid of those guidelines.
  • With five refinery communities in the Bay Area plus the traffic we all love so well, oil and gas industry emissions affect our health, and the health of those we love, every single day.
  • The public has until April 23, 2018 to comment on the proposed withdrawal of the guidelines. 

These guidelines gives states non-binding “control techniques guidelines” (CTG) with information on recommended techniques for emissions by the oil and gas sector, with leeway for states to choose other techniques if they prefer. However, if there are ozone smog problems, when EPA issues a CTG, under the Clean Air Act a state must revise its clean air plans to require “reasonably available control technology” for oil and gas industry equipment. The EPA estimates that the guideline has the potential for annual pollution reductions of over 64,000 tons of volatile organic compounds, which create smog; nearly 200,000 tons of the greenhouse gas methane; and 2,400 tons of other hazardous air pollutants that can cause serious health effects. Without the CTG, oil and gas company equipment could spew pollutants even where there are reasonably available ways to control the pollution.

In other words: get rid of the guidelines, unnecessarily increase air pollution and increase the harm to our health and the health of our environment.

Submit comments here by April 23, 2018, 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time (8:59 PM in California). More info, including talking points, here; more info, including a link to other people’s comments, here.

Want to do more environmental action?

Prop 13 Reform Initiative Update: Aiming for 2020

We have an update to the effort to reform Proposition 13 with the California School and Communities First Funding Act: the campaign will continue to collect signatures until the end of July 2018, but will shift focus to getting it onto the November 2020 ballot.

As we’ve reported, the Act will restore over $11 billion per year to California’s schools, community colleges, health clinics, and other vital local services, by closing a loophole that allows many California businesses to avoid paying their fair share of property taxes. What more is there to say, other than that many progressives support this effort, including Robert Reich and the League of Women Voters!

The change in schedule to 2020 in the effort to raise taxes on commercial property by changing Prop. 13 means:

  • We will continue to collect signatures with the same petitions we’ve been using. If you’ve already signed a petition, your signature will be counted, so please don’t sign again.
  • Since ballot placement is based on the order that initiatives qualify, we will most likely be the first initiative to qualify for the 2020 ballot, putting us at the top of the ballot rather than the bottom of the ballot where we would be if we qualified for 2018.
  • We will have more time to organize and educate people around a specific tangible policy and get the candidates running for office over the next two years to take a side – perhaps a good litmus test issue to differentiate where there are two progressive candidates running for Assembly or Senate seats.
  • Some large donors have told us they don’t want to give money now but are willing to support a 2020 campaign.

Bottom line: we will have more time to do this important work and convince our neighbors that we need to invest in our children, public schools, and local communities.

ICE out of CA

In response to Donald Trump’s March 2018 visit to California, Indivisible East Bay and numerous other groups signed the following statement released by the ICE Out of California Coalition. The coalition has fought back against the federal government’s cruel deportation machine and helped to pass measures limiting local involvement in deportations, like California’s SB 54 and stronger local policies.

We unequivocally reject the vulgar racism, bullying, and abuses of power which have become the hallmarks of this administration. The President’s hateful agenda has no place in a state where we believe that every human being should be treated fairly, regardless of birthplace or background.

We need policies that uphold our values of compassion and equality, not mass deportations that drag parent from child, arrests that criminalize and demonize immigrants, or a border wall as harmful as it is irresponsible.

We are united in a our vision of a better world, where we build bridges instead of walls. Let us recognize the humanity of all who live here and protect due process for everyone, including immigrants.

We’re fortunate in the East Bay that many of our elected officials explicitly support this kind of policy; for example, only days before IEB signed onto this statement, Rep. Mark DeSaulnier urged Contra Costa County to end ICE detentions. Please urge your elected officials to stand strong in support of immigrants and to resist the current administration’s disgraceful agenda.

  • 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
  • State legislature: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
  • Governor Edmund G. Brown: (email); (916) 445-2841c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814 

Read our article about recent developments concerning immigrant detainees at the West County Detention Facility.

Graphic copyright ICE Out of California

March For Our Lives & Other Events Against Gun Violence

There are numerous events against gun violence on different dates in different locations. We will add to and edit this list as we learn of new events and/or updates.

March 14: School Walkouts:

Schools and students nationwide will participate in a 17-minute walkout on March 14 at 10 AM (local time), to honor the 17 people killed on February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and to protest gun violence. KRON-4 News has put together this comprehensive list of all the participating schools in the entire Bay Area. Some school districts, including Oakland, Alameda, and Piedmont, have issued district-wide policies stating that they will be working with students on various events and activities for that day. Note: IEB is not encouraging students to do anything that could endanger their academic careers, and we don’t know whether specific schools will mark students absent, etc., or whether parental notification will affect the school’s handling of individual cases.

March 24: March For Our Lives

Student organizers and Everytown for Gun Safety are organizing March for Our Lives events on March 24 in locations around the country and around the world, aided by celebrity support and donations. This is the weekend event that families can go to together and kids and teens can attend without missing school. Bay Area locations include:

  • Oakland: 10 AM-1 PM, Frank Ogawa Plaza. Register here. The March is looking for volunteers; email OaklandMarch@gmail.com.
  • Richmond: 11 AM, Downtown Richmond, 1300 Nevin Ave
  • San Leandro: 9-11:30 AM. Gather at Washington Elementary, San Leandro at 9 AM to make signs; march begins at 9:45 AM; rally begins at 10:15 AM with speakers and activities (postcard making, letter writing, and refreshments). This event is suitable for families with young children.
  • Walnut Creek: 11 AM, location downtown Walnut Creek TBD
  • San Francisco: 1 PM, Civic Center Plaza. Interested in volunteering? Reach out here.
  • Search for an event near you here.

April 20: The Anniversary of Columbine

The two students who massacred their fellow students and several teachers at their high school in Columbine, Colorado on April 20, 1999 used explosives and other weapons of mass destruction as well as guns, but Columbine is generally recognized as the mass school shooting that began the modern plague that our nation has suffered from unremittingly in the nearly two decades since. In those days before live internet news, people watched and listened in horror as radio and TV reported what was previously unimaginable. Now, a student who lives near Sandy Hook, site of another previously unimaginable school shooting, has originated a call to mark the date: Friday, April 20 will see school walkouts throughout the country. We’ll list Bay Area events as we learn of them.

Graphic: #MarchForOurLives

Contact Your Representatives!

Contact Your Members of Congress (Senators and Representatives:

Sen. Kamala Harris (email); (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553; 333 Bush Street, Suite 3225, San Francisco CA 94104

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841; 1 Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco CA 94104

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

***************************************************************

Contact Your State Representatives and Governor:

Assembly and Senate: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/

Governor Edmund G. Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: (916) 445-2841

Tell Congress: It’s Stupid to Stop Investing in Libraries

Anyone remember a certain Republican Presidential candidate’s claim “I love the poorly educated”? Seems he is determined to Make America Poorly Educated – for the second year in a row, the White House budget proposal eliminates federal funding for libraries. Yup, you read that right. Libraries. Possibly the most popular institutions in this whole country, even in this digital age.

Most federal library funding comes through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), an independent grantmaking agency. IMLS provides more than $183 million for libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), in grants promoting innovation, lifelong learning, research and access to information. For example: over the past few years here in California, LSTA has funded improving access to legal information in Eastern Alameda County; computer training for adults; bringing books to communities without libraries; special needs and inclusive library services; summer tutoring; and so much more. None of these cost much, but they all cost more than the local library systems could afford. And they’d all be gone under the Administration’s axe. The proposal also cuts $27 million in funding for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program, which helps school libraries buy books, materials, and training focused on serving students in underserved communities across America. Does $27 million sound like a lot of money? Consider that a certain someone wants a military parade that could cost even more … for one parade …

LSTA and IAL probably give the biggest economic and social bang for the buck in the entire federal budget. LSTA funds go to every state, every year, according to a population-based formula. Each state contributes matching funds and decides how best to use their grants. Without this funding, Americans across the country run the risk of losing access to valuable services, training and education that are only possible when they’re supported by the federal government.

What you can do:

It’s up to your members of Congress to stop this nonsense. Ask your MoCs to publicly oppose cuts to federal library funding and commit to fighting for libraries throughout the appropriations cycle.

  • Print postcards to mail to your Members of Congress! We’ve designed a sheet with four postcards for you to send to your two Senators and your Representative. Give the extra to a friend! Print on stiff paper, with your document set to landscape orientation.
  • Call or email your MoCs and say:

I am strongly opposed to cutting federal funding for libraries from the 2019 budget as the Administration wants to do. Federal library funding isn’t a big part of the budget but it funds important programs for everyone. These budget cuts would make libraries provide more services with less money, or cut services altogether. Our communities need our libraries and we need you to help save library funding through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Library Services and Technology Act, and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program.

Sen. Kamala Harris (email); (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553; 333 Bush Street, Suite 3225, San Francisco CA 94104

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841; 1 Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco CA 94104

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (email): (510) 620-1000 DC: (202) 225-2095; 440 Civic Center Plaza, 2nd Floor, RichmondCA 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

More information here and here.

Pussyhat, Pussyhat, Where Are You?

If you’re an advanced beginner knitter – or even a beginner willing to try something new – you can make a pussyhat like one of these! They’re quick, fun knits.

Here’s an easy pattern for a basic hat, plus some variations like the photos above. There’s a pattern below for a star, too! (The “ROAR” hat is just a basic hat with letters cut out of felt and sewn on.)

Pussyhat pattern

You need:

  • Cascade 128 or similar bulky yarn, about 2/3 skein
  • 16″ circular needles, size 9 or 10
  • stitch marker(s)

Basic pattern, by Celia McCarthy of Piedmont Yarn, Oakland CA:

For this pattern you need only one stitch marker.

  • CO 76 stitches on circular needles (this pattern works well with a stretchy cast on method like the long tail cast on)
  • place stitch marker (PM) and join to knit in round
  • K2, P2 for 20 rounds
  • K for 20 rounds
  • Do a 3 needle bind off, weave in all ends

Pattern with insertions (triangle, heart, star, etc):

For this pattern, you need two stitch markers of different colors.

  • CO 76 stitches on circular needles (this pattern works well with a stretchy cast on method like the long tail cast on)
  • place first stitch marker and join to knit in round
  • K2, P2 for 12 rounds (can be more or less depending on how big you want the ribbed cuff to be)
  • Next round: K36, K2tog, place second stitch marker, K36, K2tog. The second stitch marker marks halfway around the hat.
  • Knit 2 rounds
  • Knit insertion (insertion patterns below). If you want to have the pattern on both sides of the hat, you will repeat the insertion pattern after the second stitch marker on each round. If you want the pattern on one side only, knit all stitches between the second stitch marker and the end of the round.
  • K all rounds until hat is desired length: total of 40 rounds or so
  • Do a 3 needle bind off, weave in all ends

Insertions:

Pink triangle:

  • Round 1: K18, P1, K18, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 2: K17, P3, K17, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 3: K16, P5, K16, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 4: K15, P7, K15, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Continue in this manner until you have 13 purl stitches*

* If you want to have the pattern on both sides of the hat, you will repeat the insertion pattern after the second stitch marker on each round. If you want the pattern on one side only, knit all stitches between the second stitch marker and the end of the round.

Pink heart:

  • Round 1: K18, P1, K18, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 2: K17, P3, K17, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 3: K16, P5, K16, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 4: K15, P7, K15, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 5: K14, P9, K14, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Rounds 6, 7, 8 and 9: K13, P11, K13, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 10: K14, P4, K1, P4, K14, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 11: K15, P2, K3, P2, K15, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*

* If you want to have the pattern on both sides of the hat, you will repeat the insertion pattern after the second stitch marker on each round. If you want the pattern on one side only, knit all stitches between the second stitch marker and the end of the round.

Star:

  • Round 1: K14, P1, K7, P1, K14, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 2: K15, P2, K3, P2, K15, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 3: K15, P3, K1, P3, K15, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Rounds 4 and 5: K16, P5, K16, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 6: K15, K7, K15, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 7: K14, P9, K14, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Round 8: K17, P3, K17, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*
  • Rounds 9 and 10: K18, P1, K18, pass marker, complete round with pattern or knit stitches*

* If you want to have the pattern on both sides of the hat, you will repeat the insertion pattern after the second stitch marker on each round. If you want the pattern on one side only, knit all stitches between the second stitch marker and the end of the round.

 

Still Need to Enroll in the ACA? Here’s What to Do (But Act Fast!)

The deadline to enroll in the Affordable Care Act is fast approaching. Some states, including California, have extended deadlines: Covered California open enrollment ends January 31, 2018. But Friday, December 15, is the deadline for people in many states to enroll for healthcare under the ACA.

ACA Open Enrollment is the annual period to enrollswitch plans, and get subsidies; it’s the only time people can sign up without qualifying for special enrollment and avoid a monthly fee.

What you can do: First, enroll yourself & your family, then spread the word to everyone you know about the imminent deadline.

There’s free drop-in enrollment help at the Oakland and Richmond Public Libraries:

More important info:

IEB’s Judiciary Team Rocks the Nation!

When the current occupant of the White House started what has turned into a terrifying court-packing effort (together with his cronies in the Senate), a few of IEB’s fearless research-loving members went into high gear. Since late summer 2017, what is now our Judiciary Team has created and shared an extensive database of information about judicial nominees as well as creating and sharing digital toolkits, and has become a resource for Indivisible National, Indivisible chapters nationwide, and other organizations. We’re proud to tell you some of their many achievements:

  • Indivisible National cites IEB’s Judiciary Team for our work and recommends us as a resource (about 3/4 of the way down this page).
  • Judiciary Team members Linh, Donna and Heidi have begun organizing with Lawyers For Good Government, a national group interested in working on Trump’s judicial nominations.
  • IEB Judiciary Team member Donna helped organize Rapid Resist text/phone bank campaigns into Texas and North Carolina against the nomination of Gregory Katsas for the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Indivisible SF also helped with the North Carolina campaign. Shout outs to Alysia, Cassie and Yoni of Rapid Resist!
  • Two groups in North Carolina have also mobilized against the nomination of Thomas Farr for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, after receiving information from us.
  • We have provided our friends at Indivisible SF with information and scripts to help their work contacting a network of groups in Colorado to mobilize against the nominations of Katsas and of Allison Eid to fill Neil Gorsuch’s seat on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Shout outs to Jonah and Kristen at ISF!
  • We have been in contact with two groups in Idaho that will call their Senators against Trump’s judicial nominations.
  • Donna has also been in contact with Indivisible chapters and other progressive groups in Minnesota and Oregon that have mobilized against Trump’s court nominations.
  • We have worked extensively with Indivisibles in Texas. At the request of Indivisible Houston, we created and provided a toolkit with talking points for MoC meetings, blog posts, graphics for social media posts, and call scripts. Indivisible Austin ended up using our materials to create a blog post/call to action. Indivisible Houston used the toolkit for a visit to Senator Cornyn’s office to discuss the nomination of Jeff Mateer (the one who said that trans children are “part of Satan’s plan”). Indivisible Denton did a call script and call to action. Indivisible Austin used our materials in their blog. Judiciary Team member Amelia also reached out to Equality Texas, which was also doing a call to action on Mateer, and shared their link with the Texas Indivisibles.
  • The latest addition to the state list: Arizona, where Rapid Resist has just begun campaigning against the Katsas nomination with IEB’s help. Thanks to Alysia, Cassie, and Yoni at Rapid Resist!

Have a questions for the Judiciary Team, or want to lend a hand? Contact us!