Blog

Busting the obstructors

Deadline: right NOW and until they stop –

UPDATE May 6: House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler has initiated a resolution to hold Attorney General Barr in contempt of congress for failing to submit the full Mueller Report and underlying evidence.

The Obstructor-in-Chief, fearing his “presidency” will be forked if the truth comes out about his abuses of power and other wrongdoing, is heaping new obstructive conduct atop his and his cronies’ sky-high stonewall pile. After the Barr-redacted Mueller Report revealed a road map for House Democrats to investigate wrongdoing by 45 and his criminal gang, the administration’s obstruction zoomed into overdrive: they’re preventing witnesses from testifying, fighting subpoenas, ignoring document requests, filing lawsuits, and more! Speaker Nancy Pelosi lays it out in her May 1 memo, titled (caps in original!): “TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OBSTRUCTION: UNPRECEDENTED, UNWARRANTED, UNCONSTITUTIONAL.”

What to do:

As Democrats, including the House Committees trying to perform constitutionally mandated oversight grapple with this unprecedented obstruction, we need to let our Members of Congress know they must not blink first or bow to pressure. We also need to urge them to use every possible tool to fight the roadblocks, and at the same time to keep following every possible path to investigate. Finally, we need to let them know we have their backs, because they will surely hear from the other side! Keep reading below the call script for a list of some obstruction-busting tools you can mention when you call.

What to say: 

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I fully support the Democrats in investigating Trump and the administration’s abuses of power. Please use all possible tools such as [SEE BELOW FOR LIST] to fight the obstruction and keep investigating.

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • 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

In the Toolbox:

Representative Elijah Cummings, Chair of the House Oversight Committee, speaking on April 30 about threats of non-compliance by former White House Personnel Security Director Carl Kline, who was in charge of the security-clearance process and now works at the Defense Department, said:

We will do everything in our power to enforce our subpoena. I refuse to be in a situation where we are unable to use every tool that we have in our toolbox to do that.

Democrats are using some of these options, and weighing others. Mention one or two of them when you call your Member of Congress:

  • Subpoenas 
  • Fines
  • Imprisonment
  • Criminal contempt of congress
  • Cut appropriations to departments that aren’t complying
  • Refuse to pay salaries of officials

Road block sign, photo © Alex Grichenko

Mueller Mad Libs

Ah, the Barr version of the Mueller Report – so many redactions, it looks like Sarah Huckabee Sanders wearing her Hamburglar outfit, and does as much to raise our confidence … Do you wonder what’s behind all those impenetrable Barr’s bars? Wonder no longer, all is revealed – gather your friends round and create your own Mueller Mad Libs!

Here are four selections expertly curated by Indivisible East Bay’s encryption and grammar nerdery team. Please share and enjoy! Also: check out our action article, “We See Through Barr’s Transparency.” And don’t forget to contact your members of Congress – and spread the word!

Phone and text bank for special elections

Updated May 1: Read below for all details and to see all upcoming dates (and check back for additional dates). Note that if a date has no link to RSVP you can RSVP and send any questions directly to host Nancy Klein at nancyklein44@gmail.com or 510-917-4045

Think nothing is happening in May 2019, so far from November 2020?  Think again – a steady stream of special elections needs YOUR help – texting and phoning is up and running. For example, PA-12 House seat is vacant (the repub resigned right after being re-elected) and we have a shot at flipping another seat!  There is a primary in North Carolina in May.  Virginia elects a new House of Delegates this year.

Hero phone and text bankers in West County, who wore their fingers to the bone dialing and texting for the 2018 Blue Wave, are jumping back into weekly (mostly) phone and text-banking parties on Tuesdays from 1 to 3 PM in El Sobrante, and in Richmond starting on May 14.

They’re focusing on the many upcoming special elections, and you can come help slow the trump train by texting and making calls! Join any of these West County phone or text-bank parties, Tuesdays ongoing, anytime between 1 to 3 PM. We’ll update this article as more events are added, so check back!

All are welcome, from newbies to experienced! The hosts will train you and make sure you’re comfortable calling or texting. Bring your phone, charger, and earbuds (for your comfort) AND a laptop or tablet (or when you sign up, let them know you’d like to borrow one), and don’t forget your good cheer and positive energy to #Resist! And bring friends!

To RSVP (if there’s no link for a date) and if you have any questions, contact host Nancy Klein at nancyklein44@gmail.com or 510-917-4045

Talking impeachment with Tom Steyer, April 2019

By Katie Cameron and Rosemary Jordan

Tom Steyer, head of Need to Impeach, held a Town Hall at Ruby Hill Winery’s Casa Real in Pleasanton on April 23, 2019, to encourage his large and enthusiastic audience to keep the pressure on Representative Eric Swalwell, who is now running for President. The following day, April 24, an impeachment petition with many constituent signatures was to be dropped off at Swalwell’s office; Indivisible East Bay member and CA-15 team co-lead Ward Kanowsky also planned an April 24 visit to Swalwell’s district office, making it an impeachment day of action!

Prior to the Town Hall, Steyer had asked to hold a private meeting with Alameda4Impeachment (A4I). Four members of A4I’s leadership team – Rosemary Jordan, Ken and Katie Cameron, and Lynn La Rocca (most of whom are also active IEB members) – met with Steyer at the winery, where we were joined by Need to Impeach staff members Jamiah Adams and Nat Arriola.

A4I's Katie, Rosemary, Lynn, and Ken meet with Tom Steyer, photo by Jamiah Adams
A4I’s Katie, Rosemary, Lynn, and Ken meet with Tom Steyer, photo by Jamiah Adams

From the start it was clear that Steyer was there to listen to us. We shared photos of our work over the past two-plus years and our original Articles of Impeachment, and then quickly turned to the current situation and possible actions to take.

A4I's Katie and Rosemary meet with Tom Steyer, photo by Lynn LaRocca
A4I’s Katie and Rosemary meet with Tom Steyer, photo by Lynn LaRocca

First, we commended Need To Impeach for its recent stronger efforts to coordinate with other national and local impeachment efforts. We explored ways to end-run or persuade the Republicans, especially in the Senate, and we discussed and evaluated the Pelosi-Hoyer negative messaging on impeachment.

Perhaps most important, we all expressed frustration over the stonewalling of subpoenas by the White House and other Administration officials. It was clear that none of us, including Steyer, had answers on how and whether the House can proceed with impeachment without cooperating witnesses and necessary documents. A4I followed up by sending some questions to legal expert Ron Fein, and obtained very helpful clarification within hours; you can read the Q&A with Fein here.

The Town Hall was very well attended. Great food, typical of Steyer events – he takes care of his audience! Steyer called for us, the people, to urge our Members of Congress to hold public hearings that reveal the impeachable offenses, and to remove an outlaw President.

Audience questions were invariably supportive of Steyer’s efforts, and of impeachment, but there was an undercurrent of frustration: Is the clock running out? What do we do if no witnesses comply with subpoenas? If the House impeaches, but the Senate does not convict, can Trump do a victory lap and win the White House? Steyer’s response is that hearings will encourage support for impeachment, and that when we don’t stop an outlaw President, worse will follow.

Takeaways from our meeting with Steyer and the Town Hall: contact your Representative on a regular basis and press for an impeachment inquiry, and educate yourself about how to deal with the obstruction!

What you can do now:  

 

Katie Cameron is a founding member of Alameda4Impeachment. She spent her career in state government in Washington State, and now devotes most of her time to defeating the Trump administration and the corrupt forces that got him elected.

Rosemary Jordan is co-founder of Alameda4Impeachment, a registered Indivisible group and a partner in the Citizens Impeachment Coalition, which includes representatives of cities, towns and counties nationwide (including four in the East Bay) that have passed local Impeachment resolutions. Rosemary also serves on the Steering Committee of All Rise Alameda and is co-leader of the End The Tampon Tax In California campaign. She has over 20 years of professional experience in healthcare and aging.

 

Fight Voter Suppression and Free the Vote in California!

Action deadline: Friday April 26 and ongoing –

There’s strength in numbers. (Go Warriors!) Every vote matters, and we need to do everything in our power to combat voter suppression. Restoring voting rights to Californians who are on parole is a critical step, and although we can’t do this in time for the 2020 election, there’s a path to achieve this goal in the near future. And your help is needed.

East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta is coauthor of Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6, the “Free the Vote Act,” which eliminates the provisions of the California Constitution that disqualify people on parole from voting. A companion bill to ACA 6, AB 646, amends the relevant provisions of the Elections Code. Passage of ACA 6 requires a 2/3 vote in both the Assembly and Senate, followed by ratification by a majority of voters. AB 646, if passed into law, will only take effect if the voters pass ACA 6 in the 2020 election. ACA 6 and AB 646 have been designated as priority measures by CA State Strong.

Almost 50,000 Californians on parole are disqualified from voting, even though they have served their sentences and been released from prison. The right to vote is a pillar of citizenship, and people on parole for felony convictions are still citizens who pay taxes and have an overriding constitutional right to have their voices heard on political issues. As Assemblymember Bonta explains:

After paying their debt to society, people have a right and obligation to contribute to society. Part of building a productive life includes becoming civically engaged and exercising the fundamental right to vote.

Given the “racial underbelly of criminal justice policies in general,” it comes as no surprise that felony disenfranchisement disproportionately impacts people of color. In California, three out of four male prisoners are nonwhite. Black American adults are more than four times more likely to lose the right to vote than non-Black American adults. As the Sentencing Project puts it, research shows that:

African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, and they are more likely to experience lengthy prison sentences.

In other words: Black Americans are more likely to lose their voting rights, and to lose them for longer. To add insult to injury, prisoners are often counted as residents of largely white rural areas where prisons are located for the purposes of redistricting, leading to “prison-based gerrymandering.”

Felony disenfranchisement is a shameful reminder of California’s Jim Crow laws, enshrined in our Constitution. As a matter of fundamental fairness, we must amend the Constitution to restore the right to vote to people with convictions. Restoring the right to vote helps people leaving prison reintegrate into the community. Successful reintegration reduces recidivism and increases public safety. As Secretary of State Padilla commented: “Civic participation is foundational to a sense of community—and it can play a major role in reducing recidivism.”

California has already begun to reform its felony disenfranchisement policies. In 2016, voting rights were restored to people convicted of a felony offense who had been sent to county jail, but not those sent to state or federal prison. ACA 6 and AB 646 will advance this effort by ensuring that people on felony parole who have served their sentences will be treated equally regardless of the facility in which they were incarcerated.

This is an idea whose time has come. An increasing number of states have passed legislation eliminating or modifying felony disenfranchisement. It’s become a topic of discussion for Democratic Presidential hopefuls and other bigwigs and has entered the discourse on social media. California is lagging behind in this national movement to advance democracy.

What you can do:

1. Call your state representatives, now and every day.

If you’re a constituent of Assemblymember Bonta, thank him; if you’re a constituent of Assemblymember Wicks or Bauer-Kahan, call and encourage them to support ACA 6 & AB 646. Yes, call even when your representatives have taken good positions on an issue! The other side is calling, and you need to make your voice heard.

Find your legislator here.

What to say:

For Assemblymembers Wicks and Bauer-Kahan:

My name is _______, my zip code is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want _______ to co-author and support Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6, which restores voting rights to Californians on parole after they have been released from prison. I also want _______ to support AB 646, the companion bill to ACA 6.

For Assemblymember Bonta:

My name is _______, my zip code is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank Assemblymember Bonta for coauthoring ACA 6 and supporting voting rights for Californians who are on parole after they have been released from prison. I strongly support ACA 6 and AB 646.

  • Buffy Wicks 510-286-1400; email
  • Rob Bonta 510-286-1670; email
  • Rebecca Bauer-Kahan 925-328-1515; email

2. Come to Sacramento on May 20 for the 2019 Quest For Democracy Advocacy Day

Join IEB and community partners at this event at the Capitol in Sacramento, where participants will meet to strategize, train, and then advocate directly to legislators. A bus will leave for the event from Fruitvale and West Oakland BART stations in Oakland on the following schedule on May 20:

  • 7 AM: Bus will be at Fruitvale BART
  • 7:15 AM: Bus leaves Fruitvale BART
  • 7:30 AM: bus leaves West Oakland

RSVP (required!) and let them know you’re with IEB.

Read our prior articles:

Can you help work on these critical issues with the Indivisible East Bay Voter Rights & Election Integrity team? Email: info@IndivisibleEB.org, or join the #voting-issues channel on IEB’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email: info@IndivisibleEB.org

 

December 10 March for voting rights, photograph © Michael Fleshman

IEB Impeachment Updates: April 19-22

By Rosemary Jordan

Members of Indivisible East Bay and Alameda4Impeachment (A4I) visited Representative Barbara Lee’s Oakland district office on April 19 to reinforce their repeated requests for a meeting with Lee on next steps for impeachment. The group was well received by district staff, including aide Jain Thapa (who especially liked the group’s bold graphics on social media and printed signs – kudos to A4I/IEB member Lynn LaRocca, the graphic designer who created the powerful images).

 

On April 22, A4I/IEB members participated in a joint rally outside Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco office calling for her to advance an impeachment inquiry. The action was covered by the SF Chronicle. Members were glad to meet with representatives from By The People, a group that uses proven mass mobilization methods to bring greater attention to impeachment.

Want to take action or get involved?

  • Visit bit.ly/impeachresolution for By the People’s template to send a letter to your representative.
  • You can also use Indivisible National’s page to urge your representative to cosponsor H.Res. 257, Rep. Tlaib’s impeachment resolution. 
  • Watch for a major announcement from By The People about a significant non-violent civil disobedience action at the Capitol on May 14 – if you can go to DC to be part of this collective action, please email Alameda4Impeachment@gmail.com for more information.
  • Join the discussion on the #impeachment channel on IEB’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email: info@IndivisibleEB.org

 

Photographs by Katie Cameron and Rosemary Jordan

Rosemary Jordan is co-founder of Alameda4Impeachment, a registered Indivisible group and a partner in the Citizens Impeachment Coalition, which includes representatives of cities, towns and counties nationwide (including four in the East Bay) that have passed local Impeachment resolutions. Rosemary also serves on the Steering Committee of All Rise Alameda and is co-leader of the End The Tampon Tax In California campaign. She has over 20 years of professional experience in healthcare and aging.

 

Ballot Marking Devices: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Ion Y contributed to this article

The 2020 election may be the most consequential election of our lives, and we must ensure that it’s secure and that all our votes are counted. Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs), electronic marking devices that don’t make a lasting paper record of a vote, are used in 20 states statewide; another 23 states, including California, use them in some counties. However, despite their rising popularity and claims about their safety, BMDs have serious weaknesses we need our state officials to be aware of.

The Secure Elections Network, made up of leaders and members of Indivisible groups in several states, including California (that’s us – Indivisible East Bay), are presenting a free webinar about BMDs. Join us for “Ballot Marking Devices: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” on April 28 at 5 PM. You can register here

The agenda and speakers include:

  • Introduction:  Jon Foreman, Indivisible Montgomery Maryland
  • Program: Andrew Appel, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University and expert on voting machines and technologies, will present an Analysis of Various BMD Systems
  • Discussion and questions

For more info about the webinar, email stephanie.chaplin20@gmail.com.  And see the Secure Elections Network’s past webinars here.

To look up what kinds of voting machines your county uses, look at the California Secretary of State’s list of voting machines used by county. For an overview of the three types of voting machines you are likely to use or read about see the Brennan Center’s overview of voting equipment.

Contra Costa County uses paper ballot scanners on Election Day. It uses BMDs primarily for accessibility and it appears they’re not intended for use by default. However in the 2018 election they were the only option to vote in person at the County’s early voting sites. It is unclear if this issue has been rectified since. Alameda County uses paper ballot scanners, and for accessibility they have “touchscreen devices”. Although they’re not explicitly called BMDs, that is what they are, and have the same concerns.

Can you help work on these critical issues with the Indivisible East Bay Voter Rights & Election Integrity team? Email: info@IndivisibleEB.org, or join the #voting-issues channel on IEB’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email: info@IndivisibleEB.org

Graphic of Polling place equipment in California, November 2018 © Verified Voting 

Bake sales for Grannies Respond projects

Indivisible East Bay’s CA-11 Team has worked with Indivisible Kensington (IK) on many important local and national issues over the past two years. Now IK is raising funds for Grannies Respond/Abuelas Responden, an amazing group that fights against the administration’s zero tolerance immigration policies.

In the summer of 2018, hundreds of grannies traveled from all over North America to the U.S.-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas, to protest what was happening at the border. Along the way, in various states, they picked up their own caravan of concerned Americans. What Grannies Respond saw at the border motivated them to continue helping immigrants seeking asylum, and they recently started the Overground Railroad Project. Modeled after the Underground Railroad, the Project helps immigrants at bus stops across the country as they make their way to family members and community hosts who will house them while they await court dates.

Indivisible Kensington is having bake sales to benefit the group on Sunday, May 5 from 11 AM to 2 PM, at two locations: the Kensington’s Farmers Market and Young’s Market. IK will also take donations of cash or baked goods. Email indivisiblekensington@gmail.com if you have questions or want to help.

To support Grannies Respond/Abuelas Responden directly, click here.

 

Save her lungs

Deadline: today and ongoing –

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women and men in the United States and worldwide, taking the lives of more women than breast, ovarian, cervical, and uterine cancers combined. According to the Lung Cancer Alliance, each day in the U.S. an average of 181 women will die from lung cancer – that’s one every eight minutes! Two-thirds of the people diagnosed with lung cancer, but who never smoked, are women.

We need federal action to fight this deadly disease and reduce the rising death tolls. In the words of Senator Feinstein, who is one of the original sponsors of the bipartisan and bicameral Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act of 2019 (Senate and House bills S.1107 and H.R. 2222):

Today, more women than men live with lung cancer. In 2019, an estimated 66,000 women will lose their lives to this terrible disease. Despite the effect it has on women’s lives across the country, there’s still much we don’t know. For instance, we don’t know why women who have never smoked have been shown to be twice as likely to get lung cancer as nonsmoking men. This bill will provide much-needed support for research focused on understanding this disparity and promote preventive screening for women.

What you can do:

Thank Sen. Feinstein for her leadership, and ask your other Members of Congress to cosponsor the Senate and House bills.

What to say:

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

My name is _____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank Senator Feinstein for being an original sponsor of S.1107, the Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act of 2019. We need federal action to coordinate a public health plan, and to accelerate research and investigate solutions to address the impact of lung cancer in the U.S. Please do all you can to advance the legislation this year.

For Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553

My name is _____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Please cosponsor S.1107, the Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act of 2019. We need federal action to coordinate a public health plan, and to accelerate research and investigate solutions to address the impact of lung cancer in the U.S.

For Representative DeSaulnier:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay.  Please cosponsor H.R. 2222, the Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act of 2019. We need federal action to coordinate a public health plan, and to accelerate research and investigate solutions to address the impact of lung cancer in the U.S. And thank you for your leadership in founding the Congressional Cancer Survivors Caucus.

For Representatives Lee and Swalwell:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay.  Please cosponsor H.R. 2222, the Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act of 2019. We need federal action to coordinate a public health plan, and to accelerate research and investigate solutions to address the impact of lung cancer in the U.S.

  • 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

This article is dedicated to those near and dear to us who have battled or are fighting lung cancer.

Graphic © Lung Cancer Alliance

We see through Barr’s “transparency”

Deadline: hair on fire right now –

Updated April 27, 2019: 

Attorney General William “Cover Up” Barr delayed releasing his redacted version of Special Counsel Mueller’s 300+ page report for nearly a month after he got it. (See Indivisible East Bay’s text searchable version of the pdf). This served Individual-1 and also served two purposes: Barr wants to bury the report by dropping it the day before a long holiday weekend while Congress is in recess; and he and the administration had nearly a month to spin and lie to control public perception about the investigation’s findings. Oh yeah, and he dropped it after holding another head-spinning publicity stunt, oh we mean press conference, about Mueller’s report … but without (wait for it) Robert Mueller.

After constant demands from Congress that Barr release the full report and underlying investigation materials (thanks to your calls and nationwide Trump Is Not Above the Law protests), Barr said he’d redact “sensitive” materials from the report and release the rest. That’s NOT enough — we know Barr can’t be trusted! He’s left a paper trail, like the audition memo he wrote to get his AG gig. And there’s his history of summarizing and redacting important documents. In 1989 Barr summarized a legal opinion that led to the FBI abducting Panama’s leader, General Manuel Noriega. Only after Congress subpoenaed the legal opinion was it revealed that Barr’s summary did not fully disclose the opinion’s principal conclusions. Déjà vu all over again?

In Winston Churchill’s words, this is just the end of the beginning. Congress now has a version of the report, but it must continue to push to get the FULL report and all underlying investigatory evidence. Barr also put his heavy thumb on the scale, improperly making the determination that the evidence did not establish Trump obstructed justice. This is NOT Barr’s determination to make – Congress must move ahead and redouble its investigations to hold Trump and his cronies accountable.

What to do:

1. Call your Members of Congress, now and every day.

Yes, you need to call even when your MoCs have taken good positions on an issue – the other side is calling, and you need to make your voice heard!

What to say:

My name is _______, my zip code is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay.  I want _______ to do everything in their power to demand that AG Barr immediately give the full, unredacted Mueller report and all evidence to Congress. Also, I support the Democrats’ investigations to hold Trump accountable, and want them to expand the investigations to follow up on all evidence in the Mueller report.

2. Spread the word on social media!

See Indivisible National’s April 18 statement, and then try out their nifty new tool to create and upload a short video clip expressing your opinion.

More info & background

To find out more, and learn what actions we’ve been taking for over a year, read our past articles: