It’s a bird, it’s a dog … it’s birddogging!

By Ann G. Daniels

Sorry, animal lovers, but although this particular action sounds like a trip to the dog park, we’re really asking you to get a different kind of exercise: tracking down your Members of Congress, other electeds, and candidates, and getting them on the record.

Amazingly, ordinary folks can often get elected representatives and candidates to commit to positions in ways that even the press can’t, by using a little persistence and showing up at public events. After all: they represent YOU – or they want to – and they love being seen talking to their public. Do a little homework, and you can turn a cute photo-op into a serious opportunity to get them on the record!

What birddogging can do:

  • Push our elected representatives to take action or get them to take a stance
  • Confront our electeds on issues where we disagree with them
  • Get candidates on the record on issues they’re dodging
  • Inspire others in your community to get out and take action!

The great thing about birddogging is that there are plenty of roles for folks to fill: the researcher behind the scenes, the people willing to ask the questions, the folks who record the encounters on video, the social media mavens … so whatever you’re good at, there’s a place for you on a birddog team.

Indivisible East Bay has a great team that’s been birddogging Representative Eric Swalwell. Watch how it’s done, as IEB’s CA-15 team co-lead Ward Kanowsky pushes Rep. Swalwell on the timing of the impeachment inquiry at the October 1, 2019 Union City Impeachment Town Hall with Rep. Swalwell and special guest John Dean; video by CA-15 team co-lead LeAnn Kanowsky.

 

What you can do:

  • Check out Indivisible National’s excellent guide for how to get started.
  • Keep up with your elected representatives’ or target candidates’ schedule of public appearances:
    • If you’re in the East Bay: the Indivisible East Bay newsletter has an extensive events calendar including town halls and other public appearances. Also, IEB’s Slack has teams for state representatives and Members of Congress (House and Senate). If you’re on our Slack, look for:
      • ad_team_15
      • moc_team_ca11
      • moc_team_ca13
      • moc_team_ca15
      • moc_team_feinstein
      • moc_team_harris
        Or if you’re not on our Slack, email us at info@indivisibleeb.org for an invitation.
    • If you’re not in the East Bay: you and a formal or informal group can birddog your member of Congress or state representatives, or you can choose a candidate to target. Search their websites and call their district office/local campaign office to ask about upcoming public events. See Indivisible National’s Town Hall Guide for really helpful tips.
    • No matter where you live: follow your Members of Congress and targeted candidates on Facebook and/or Twitter, and sign up for their email newsletters.

 

Photo and video of Rep. Swalwell and Ward Kanowksy by LeAnn Kanowsky

Ann G. Daniels’ checkered professional background includes practicing law, reproductive rights advocacy, creating web content for nonprofits and educational organizations, and teaching adult and family literacy. She also designs jewelry, teaches knitting, and sings second soprano.

 

The other impeachment – Brett Kavanaugh

By Ann G. Daniels

Deadline: Now, the Supreme Court’s already in session –

While we’re talking impeachment … which we do, a lot … did you know that although a US President hasn’t YET been removed from office after being impeached, federal judges have been? That’s right, we can impeach a federal judge, and it’s been done before. Brett Kavanaugh, serial perjurer, time’s up.

As Senator Kamala Harris recently said, Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings were “not a serious pursuit of truth or justice” – and the way to get such a hearing is through the impeachment process. 

Senator Harris has called on the House Judiciary Committee to open an impeachment inquiry, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley has introduced H.Res. 560, “Inquiring whether the House of Representatives should impeach Brett M. Kavanaugh.” House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler says the Committee is “too busy” impeaching Trump – we certainly don’t want to distract them, but we believe Congress can multi-task, and we want their attention. After all, the House didn’t get a chance to grill Kavanaugh before, since judicial nominees only come before the Senate – let’s tell them to step up and be counted when they have the chance.

What to do:

Here’s a basic message you can tailor for each of our Members of Congress:

My name is _______, my zip code is _______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I believe that Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings were an outrage, and I want Congress to begin impeachment proceedings to look into his perjury during those hearings. We deserve to have a Supreme Court that we can trust not to make a mockery of justice.

  • For Senator Kamala Harris, add: I want to thank Senator Harris for publicly stating her support for impeaching Brett Kavanaugh. Please keep it up!
    (
    email); (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553
  • For Senator Dianne Feinstein, add: I hope Senator Feinstein will wholeheartedly support impeaching Brett Kavanaugh, and will publicly state her support as Senator Harris has done.
    (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • For Representative Barbara Lee, add: I want to thank Representative Lee for cosponsoring H.Res. 560. I hope she’ll continue to fight for impeaching Brett Kavanaugh.
    (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • For Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Eric Swalwell, add: I want Representative ____ to cosponsor H.Res. 560, and I hope he will fight to impeach Kavanaugh as Rep. Barbara Lee is doing. We need the House to take action to make sure that the Supreme Court doesn’t become as corrupt as the White House.
    Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
    Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065 

Chișinău,” graphic by Tony Bowden

Ann G. Daniels’ checkered professional background includes practicing law, reproductive rights advocacy, creating web content for nonprofits and educational organizations, and teaching adult and family literacy. She also designs jewelry, teaches knitting, and sings second soprano.

 

Dis-Barred: Barr should be impeached

By Heidi Rand

Deadline: Start now and keep going – We didn’t have to call the Psychic Hotline to know that Bill Barr would be the Disaster-in-Chief’s Roy Cohn. As patriotic whistleblowers and intrepid journalists shine light on the Current (not for long we hope) Occupant’s abuses of power, also illuminated are his colluding toadies’ high crimes, and it’s time to reveal what Bill “Cover-Up” Barr has been up to.

The Constitution provides the same remedy to eject a law-breaking Attorney General: impeachment. What might a Barr impeachment inquiry focus on?

What you can do:

Call your Members of Congress. The House would initiate an impeachment inquiry, so contact your Representative to thank them each for speaking out against Barr: Rep. Swalwell (CA-15) has called for Barr’s impeachment; Rep. Lee (CA-13) has called for Barr to resign, as has Rep. DeSaulnier (CA-11) and:

What to say: 

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I urge Representative ____ to continue speaking out publicly about AG Barr’s corrupt abuses of power, and I want the House to open an impeachment inquiry into his conduct related to the whistleblower’s complaint, and the Mueller Report and intelligence investigations.

  • 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

Our Senators can speak out publicly about Barr’s corruption, can push for investigations, including as members of the Judiciary Committee. Senator Kamala Harris is speaking out to insist that Barr come back to Congress to testify under oath about the question she asked him at a May Judiciary Committee hearing — which he refused to answer — whether the White House had asked him to open an investigation of anyone.

What to say to Senator Harris:

My name is ___, my zip code is ___, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Thank you for calling on AG Barr to return to testify to Congress under oath about your question to him at the hearing in May regarding whether the White House every asked him to investigate anyone. Please call for an impeachment inquiry into Barr’s conduct related to the whistleblower’s complaint and the Mueller Report and intelligence investigations.

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

Senator Feinstein released a statement on September 21 calling on Barr to transmit the whistleblower report and any guidance provided to the Director of National Intelligence to Congress as soon as possible. The former is moot, but Feinstein should continue to push for more information, and to speak out publicly about Barr’s abuses.

What to say to Senator Feinstein:

My name is ___, my zip code is ___, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Thank you for your September 21 statement about AG Barr. Please continue to pursue your request that he provide information on any advice or guidance by the Justice Department to the Acting Director of National Intelligence about transmittal of the whistleblower’s report to Congress. And please call for an impeachment inquiry into Barr’s conduct related to the whistleblower’s complaint and the Mueller Report and intelligence investigations.

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

Do you live outside the East Bay, or have friends in other districts or states? Spread the word! Use this link to find contact info for all Members of Congress.

 

“NOT OK,” graphic by Lynn LaRocca, of Alameda4Impeachment

Heidi Rand fights the evil empire with skills gained as a Ninth Circuit staff attorney and civil rights lawyer, using words to resist, and to inform and inspire others to take action. She also wields a mean camera and knitting needles, though not at the same time.

A Republic. If you can keep it.

Deadline: Save it or lose it –

Over the past year or more many of you have marched, made calls, read the Mueller Report, and in other ways stepped up to educate friends and Members of Congress about the urgent need to impeach the Criminal-in-Chief. At long last, the dam broke on Tuesday, September 24; as we watched the number of House Democrats jumping on board soar, Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally announced a formal impeachment inquiry under the umbrella of the six House Committees already investigating the wide range of Current Occupant’s high crimes and misdeeds.

We’re energized by this tectonic movement, and ready to push to keep the pressure on Congress, to keep the momentum going, and to unite to fight what is already coming: trolling, lying, and pressure from the forces of evil ON STEROIDS.

What you can do:

1. Take direct action! The coalition of groups that organized a lot of the most effective impeachment events and rallies has called for people to show up together at Town Halls and in-district events. Sign up here to get latest updates, and see whether there’s an event near you (or organize one!) Pledge to take action here.

2. Speaking of in-district events:

  • If you’re a constituent of Representative Eric Swalwell (CA-15), join him for a conference call on Friday, Sept. 27 at 10:30 am, to talk about the impeachment inquiry into Trump. Dial in: 1-800-719-7514 using code 635790. You’ll be able to ask questions on the call, but can also submit questions in advance to afielding@ericswalwell.com.
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) is holding two recess town halls: Oct. 1, 7-8:30 PM in Pittsburg, info & RSVP; and Oct. 3, 6:30-8 PM in Richmond, info & RSVP.

3. Indivisible National, By the People, and many other groups who’ve worked tirelessly in the impeachment coalition have their own sets of demands – many but not all overlap. We provide a list; please choose those which you agree with, and call to thank your Representative for coming out in favor of an impeachment inquiry (all East Bay Reps have done so – if you’re passing this article onto friends in other districts, they can find out if their Representative is in favor by looking at CNN’s list of House Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry.

  • The House should cancel the October recess and begin to hold public impeachment hearings immediately.
  • The Judiciary Committee and other committees should hold frequent public hearings that make the case to the public in a persuasive, organized presentation.
  • Cover the full range of impeachable offenses, beyond just what’s in the Mueller Report or involving Ukraine. Mention a couple of examples that are important to you personally — there are many to choose from at these sources:
  • The House should take action on its own authority, rather than waiting for responses from the courts or from the administration.
  • The committees should use the House’s inherent power to punish contempt and to compel testimony.

Contact info:

4. If you’re able and want to support vulnerable Democrat House members who have stepped up to call for impeachment, you can donate to their reelection campaigns through the Courage to Impeach Actblue page. Options to donate to them collectively, or select one or more individually.

5. Talk to your friends and relatives about impeachment. Not sure what to say? Get up to speed by reading our earlier articles, with background and more actions you can take on impeachment, investigations, and the Mueller Report:

 

“Whistle” graphic by Gramzon

Larry Baskett contributed to this article. Larry is a mechanical engineer from Berkeley who spent a year as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the California State Senate.

 

 

Impeachment’s getting real

Deadline: Right now –

Congress is back in DC post-recess, and we hope their ears are ringing from hearing loud and clear from you and many others who want them to push hard for impeachment! House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler has announced an imminent vote on the procedures for the committee’s inquiry, so it’s a critical time to tell your member of Congress what YOU think should be included in the articles of impeachment.

What you can do:

Take direct action! On September 21- 23, many groups and individuals are gathering in Washington D.C. to demonstrate the massive support for impeachment among the American people. Join them there, or here, or virtually!

  • Sat. Sept. 21, 12-1:30 PM: Join the Solidarity March in San Francisco for the We The People March taking place in DC and nationwide. Gather at the Federal Building, 90 7th St. for a “First Amendment Assembly” in solidarity with the DC March to showcase the power of the people featuring music and rousing chants.
  • Mon. Sept. 23: By the People, the umbrella grassroots impeachment advocacy group, will hold a mock hearing in the halls of Congress: The People Vs Trump. If you know anyone who lives near DC, share this link so they can join in.
  • NOW! Support By the People’s hearing and communicate your ideas for articles of impeachment to the folks demonstrating, using By The People’s great tool.  You can submit written testimony at that link (they have a great list of questions to guide what you write), or record a quick selfie video where you talk about your story and upload it at this link.

Call your Representative, and also call the House Judiciary Committee, to push these specific objectives for the inquiry:

  • Don’t wait for responses from the courts or from the administration to move the public inquiry forward.
  • Start public hearings in earnest immediately.
  • Cover the full range of impeachable offenses, beyond just what’s in the Mueller Report findings. Mention a couple of examples that are important to you personally — there are many to choose from at these sources:
  • Declare a specific date by which they will bring articles of impeachment to the House floor.
  • 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
  • House Judiciary Committee:  (202) 225-3951

For more information about impeachment, including views of MoCs leading the charge, like Representatives Al Green and Rashida Tlaib, take a look at the Impeachment University webinar series (archive viewable on YouTube). To keep up with nationally-coordinated actions, sign up with By the People. 

If you’re meeting with your Member of Congress’s staff, or with them personally, the IEB impeachment team would be glad to coordinate with you beforehand on the latest messaging and goals. Join the discussion, and post any questions or thoughts you have, on the #impeachment channel on Indivisible East Bay’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email info@IndivisibleEB.org

Help us spread the word: Do you know of a group that we could visit to present a 30- to 60-minute impeachment information and discussion session? We’ve got one all ready to go, so let us know on Slack or by email

Talk to your friends and relatives about impeachment. Not sure what to say? Get up to speed by reading our earlier articles, with background and more actions you can take on impeachment, investigations, and the Mueller Report:

It’s incredibly important for the House to impeach Trump, regardless of what the Senate does, to officially and publicly find him unfit for office and dangerous to the country. More and more MoCs come out in support of an inquiry every week. Let’s make sure they do it right! 

Larry Baskett contributed to this article. Larry is a mechanical engineer from Berkeley who spent a year as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the California State Senate.

Graphic: By the People 

 

Emoluments, schmoluments, why not have the G7 meet at a Trump resort?

… um, because Article I, section 9, clause 8 of the Constitution says:

[N]o Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

What’s an emolument, anyway? It’s defined as: “(1) the returns arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites (2) archaic advantage.” As BusinessInsider.com succinctly puts it: “The foreign-emoluments clause of the Constitution bars public officials from receiving gifts or cash from foreign or state governments without congressional approval. 

… Like, for instance, the president’s Doral Resort taking in money from foreign governments if the G7 Summit is held there, as Donald “Never Seen an Emolument I Didn’t Like” Trump has said it will be. The House Judiciary Committee seems to have some questions as well – they announced August 28 that they’re opening an investigation into the plan. Stay tuned!

What you can do:

Deadline: ASAP. Representative Barbara Lee is on the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, which has jurisdiction over (among other things) the State Department. Ask her to insist on a rider to appropriations for the State Department that would ban the use of funds for any clear violation of the emoluments clause. 

What to say:

My name is ____________, my zip code is _____________, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling Representative Lee in her capacity as a member of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. I’m disgusted that Trump is using his office to make money from his resorts, and having the G7 meet at the Doral would be immoral as well as unconstitutional. Please insist on a rider to appropriations for the State Department that would ban the use of funds for any clear violation of the emoluments clause. 

Rep. Barbara Lee: (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661 • email (if you are her constituent, zip code required)

 

Ann G. Daniels’ checkered professional background includes practicing law, reproductive rights advocacy, creating web content for nonprofits and educational organizations, and teaching adult and family literacy. She also designs jewelry, teaches knitting, and sings second soprano.

 

Tell our Senators: Keep ICE’s hands out of the cookie jar

UPDATED September 5, 2019

Under the US Constitution and federal law, it’s the responsibility of Congress and the President to create a federal budget and spending bills. The process is complex, but one thing is clear: federal agencies shouldn’t be able to decide, on their own, how federal funds get spent, or to take money that’s been allocated for another purpose. And yet, that’s exactly what has been going on – Department of Homeland Security is essentially taking hundreds of millions of dollars from federal agencies like FEMA and giving it to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use for Trump’s racist, deadly immigration agenda.  They deceptively call it “reprogramming and transfer authority,” but we call it sleight of hand. Or theft. Relatedly, on September 4 it was revealed that states from Virginia to Arizona will lose millions in the administration’s plan to divert $3.6 BILLION from Pentagon-funded military construction projects to build a wall along the border.

In the current budget process, the House of Representatives has passed a good DHS Appropriations bill, which sets overall spending limits by the agency. The House bill (1) puts some limitations on how ICE/Customs and Border Protection can spend its money, and (2) rescinds the DHS Secretary’s ability to move money from any part of DHS (such as FEMA) to CBP and ICE Enforcement and Removal. 

Now it’s the Senate’s turn. Senators Feinstein and Harris both signed a letter to the Senate Committee on Appropriations supporting reduced funding for the administration’s immigration and detention agenda, and opposing ICE’s reprogramming and transfer authority. But they need to hear from us, because there will be pressure for the Senate to come up with a bipartisan bill. Tell our Senators you want reduced funding for ICE and CBP, and an end to ICE’s “reprogramming and transfer” authority. Also: Indivisible’s “Defund Hate” week of action is September 9-13, and we have lots going on: check out our article and plan to join us and our partners for crafting, calling, rallying, and more!

Read on for a call script and contact info; and below that, for more information and resources.

What to do:

1. Contact our Senators, tell them you want reduced funding for ICE and CBP, and an end to ICE’s “reprogramming and transfer” authority.

What to say:

My name is _________, my zip code is _________, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank the Senator for opposing the administration’s horrible immigration agenda, and also opposing ICE’s reprogramming and transfer authority. I hope the Senator will work for a DHS appropriations bill like the one passed by the House. We need a bill with protections for immigrants and an end to using all of DHS as a slush fund for immigrant detention, deportation, and abuse.

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: email (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: email (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553

 

2. Check out Indivisible National’s “Defund Hate” campaign and mark your calendars for their September 9-13 Week of Action. If you text Defund Hate to 977-79, Indy National will send you the latest updates on our plan for the Week of Action, including telling you when events are registered near you. And be on the lookout for IEB and partners’ action items coming your way!

3. Spread the word! Got friends outside California? Send them this link so they can contact their Members of Congress.

 

More information: 

As if the administration’s immigration policy weren’t devastating enough in terms of the threat to life and health, last year, just as hurricane season was about to start, ICE raided $10 million from FEMA (the agency responsible for coordinating disaster response efforts). This year they’re raiding $155 million from FEMA and a total of over $270 million from agencies dealing in safety. And remember when Trump declared a national emergency so he could build his wall? That money he wanted – billions of dollars – was to be transferred from other agencies to which Congress had budgeted it. That, in a nutshell, is how “reprogramming and transfer” is happening – Congress budgets money for things that are not Trump’s immigration and detention program, and then he and DHS sneak in or bully their way in and take it anyway.

This ability to steal money that isn’t theirs lets ICE make a mockery of Congress. Congress appropriates money to the various parts of the government? Meaningless! Congress tells ICE to decrease immigrant detention to a specific level? Not happening – ICE thinks it’s above the law.

This budget cycle the Democratic House of Representatives is working to put a stop to these shenanigans with an appropriations bill for DHS that approaches the problem from several angles, such as:

  • Prohibits construction of border barriers, except with funds appropriated for that purpose.
  • Prohibits funding transfers to ICE Operations and Support for Enforcement and Removal Operations.
  • Prohibits ICE from removing sponsors of unaccompanied children based on information provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement as part of the sponsor’s application to accept custody of the child.
  • Limits future detention facility contracts or renewals from having an indefinite period of availability. 
  • Ensures access by Members of Congress to detention facilities.

California’s Senators have spoken out in favor of curbing funding for ICE and CBP and in favor of “language limiting the DHS Secretary’s ability to transfer funds for the purpose of detaining immigrants.” While not as strong as the House version, that’s pretty good. But the appropriations process is about to heat up in the Senate, and at this point in the proceedings there will be pressure on the Senate to come up with a bipartisan bill – meaning that it’s going to take support from us to keep our Senators fighting to keep ICE’s hands off money we don’t want them to have.

Bottom line: If we don’t want the administration to keep stealing millions of dollars that we need for health and safety and other critical issues that Congress has budgeted it for, we need to act NOW.

Resources:

 

Ann G. Daniels’ checkered professional background includes practicing law, reproductive rights advocacy, creating web content for nonprofits and educational organizations, and teaching adult and family literacy. She also designs jewelry, teaches knitting, and sings second soprano.

 

Graphic “Money” by TaxCredits.net, edited by Heidi Rand.
FEMA logo.

Day of Action to Secure our Elections

Deadline: 9/17 Day of Action –

We’ve spoken before of the threat to our elections from foreign interference and the need to provide funding for our state and local governments to defend the foundation of our democracy. We aren’t the only ones deeply concerned: Several major pro-democracy organizations collaborated on a webinar and call to action to ensure we get that funding. They explained the problems, spoke to election security experts in both research and in government, and provided a concrete set of actions we can take in the next weeks, building up to a day of action on September 17.

Keep reading for a selection of actions you can take; and below that, info about what the webinar covered, with links to videos and other resources.

What you can do – Actions to Secure Our Elections

Whether you want to do something with other people, or make calls, or write letters, there’s an action for you among the actions to Secure Our Elections. And to make it easy, all the action links take you to easy-to-use forms that walk you through the process:

  1. Sign up to host or participate in a Secure Our Vote Day of Action on September 17. The goal is to reach out to Senators voting on election security funding in as many states as possible. If there’s a day of action near you, RSVP to join it. If not, they can help you organize one: click the red Click to Host button to find out how.
  2. Call your elected officials about election security funding, starting NOW, to build up pressure on them before September 17.
    • To call your Senators, use the hotline at 833-413-5906 – it walks you through all the steps and makes it very easy.
    • Call governors and state legislators to ask if they’ve used the money provided to their states for election security. They’re ultimately responsible for how the money is spent; and since they’re rarely held to account for this, enough calls will make them sit up and notice.
  3. Write a letter to the editor. Election security doesn’t get enough press, and when it does it gets lost in the noise. If the press believes this issue is gaining traction they will cover it more intensely before the deadline. Enter your zip code into the link, and the super-helpful tool will not only identify the newspapers in your area, it provides a template to write your letter!

And last but definitely not least: Pass this information onThese actions, like the problem they’re addressing, are national. Even deep red states have officials who care about their elections. Even deep blue states have officials who need to hear how important the issue is. The above tools are intended to make it as easy as possible for people to carry them out in any state. Let your family, friends, and contacts in other states know that they can participate and why they should and what they can do.

More info: the webinar and resources

The Election Security Movement webinar was organized by Public Citizen in collaboration with Mueller Book Club, People For The American Way, Stand Up America, Clean Elections Texas, Democracy 21, New American Leaders and Stand Up! For Democracy in DC.

The speakers:

  • Aquene Freechild of Public Citizen and Secure Our Vote led the call. She asked questions of the other speakers and summarized both the current security issues and the actions we can take.
    • Short video summarizing issues
    • video summarizing actions (relevant portion starts at 01:07:15; length, 1 minute)
  • Christine Wood of Public Citizen explained the Day of Action.
    • video (relevant portion:starts at 00:28:44; length, 16 ½ minutes)
  • Liz Wally of Clean Elections Texas spoke on how to contact Senators. Yes, even in Texas!
  • Harri Hursti, co-founder of the DEFCON Voting Village (which allows participants to try to hack into voting systems), spoke about actual vulnerabilities in voting systems. His messages were technical but very approachable.
    • video (relevant portion starts at 00:08:12; length, 23 minutes)
  • Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a longtime leader in calling for election security, explained how serious the threat is, and how to make our actions count. He emphasized that public officials respond to public pressure! Calling Senators is valuable whether they strongly agree, strongly disagree, or are neutral. He also stressed that election officials need about a year to get a new system in place, so the next few months will decide whether the 2020 elections are secure.
    • video (relevant portion starts at 00:51:10; length, 16 ½ minutes)


If you want to learn more about IEB’s Voter Rights & Election Integrity team, and how you can help, email us at info@IndivisibleEB.org, or join the #voting-issues channel on IEB’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email: info@IndivisibleEB.org

Time is ripe for impeachment

Deadline: ASAP –

By Larry Baskett

During the impeachment update at August’s Indivisible East Bay All Members Meeting, we looked back at some Bay Area actions from the past few months. Most recently, you may have heard about an August 21 demonstration in San Francisco organized by CREDO Action and By the People that the SF Chronicle and other news media covered. As for DC happenings, House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler says they’ve started an impeachment inquiry, but we need to keep pushing to make sure they’re not just going through the motions. 

What you can do:

Call your Representative, and also call the House Judiciary Committee, to push these specific objectives for the inquiry:

  • Don’t wait for responses from the courts or from the administration to move the public inquiry forward.
  • Start public hearings in earnest immediately upon Congress’s return to session in early September.
  • Cover the full range of impeachable offenses, including the Mueller Report findings, but also including the many other instances of corruption and abuses of power. Mention a couple of examples that are important to you personally — there are many to choose from at these sources:
  • Declare a specific date by which they will bring articles of impeachment to the House floor.
  • 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
  • House Judiciary Committee:  (202) 225-3951

For more information about impeachment, including the latest views of MoCs leading the charge, like Representatives Al Green and Rashida Tlaib, take a look at the Impeachment University webinar series (archive viewable on YouTube). To keep up with nationally-coordinated actions, see the Impeachment August site and sign up with By the People, the umbrella grassroots impeachment advocacy group.

If you’re meeting with your Member of Congress’s staff, or with them personally, the IEB impeachment team would be glad to coordinate with you beforehand on the latest messaging and goals. Join the discussion, and post any questions or thoughts you have, on the #impeachment channel on Indivisible East Bay’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email info@IndivisibleEB.org

Help us spread the word: Do you know of a group that we could visit to present a 30- to 60-minute impeachment information and discussion session? We’ve got one all ready to go, so let us know on Slack or by email. The next two weeks are a good time to do it!

Talk to your friends and relatives about impeachment. Not sure what to say? Get up to speed by reading our earlier articles, with background and more actions you can take on impeachment, investigations, and the Mueller Report:

It’s incredibly important for the House to impeach Trump, regardless of what the Senate does, to officially and publicly find him unfit for office and dangerous to the country. More and more MoCs come out in support of an inquiry every week. Let’s make sure they do it right! 

Larry Baskett is a mechanical engineer from Berkeley who spent a year as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the California State Senate.

“SOS We’re in a constitutional crisis”, graphic by Lynn LaRocca, of Alameda4Impeachment

 

Call in day: Voting Rights for People on Parole

Deadline: On Monday, August 19, 2019, make a call to make California a more democratic place –

California is one of a rapidly shrinking number of states that doesn’t allow people on parole to vote. Believe it or not, it’s actually in the state Constitution. Now ACA 6, the “Free the Vote Act,” would amend the California Constitution to remove that prohibition – and it’s coming up for a vote in the State Assembly the week of August 19. Tell your Assemblymember: Vote YES on ACA 6. Read on for a short call script and contact info; and below that, more info, talking points, a great toolkit to boost this on social media, and more resources.

What to do:

1. Call your state Assemblymember and tell them to vote YES on ACA 6.

What to say:

If your Assemblymember is Rob Bonta, he’s a coauthor of the bill; you don’t have to ask him to vote on it, but you should thank him:

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. Not allowing people on parole to vote is a form of voter suppression and it needs to end. California should leave Jim Crow behind. Many states restore the vote to people when they leave prison. We should too.

  • Rob Bonta: District: 510-286-1670; Capitol: 916-319-2018

If your Assemblymember is Buffy Wicks, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, or Bill Quirk, tell them:

My name is ____________, my zip code is _____________, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want Assemblymember _______ to vote YES on ACA 6. Not allowing people on parole to vote is a form of voter suppression and it needs to end. California should leave Jim Crow behind. Many states restore the vote to people when they leave prison. We should too.

  • Buffy Wicks: District: 510-286-1400; Capitol: 916-319-2015
  • Rebecca Bauer-Kahan: Capitol (handles legislative calls): 916-319-2016
  • Bill Quirk: Capitol: 916-319-2020; District 510-583-8818
  • Not sure who your Assemblymember is? Check here; or call 916-702-8820 and enter your zip code and you’ll be connected directly to your legislator.
  • Got California friends outside the East Bay? They can use this click-to-call page for a script and to be patched through to their Assemblymember; or they can call 916-702-8820 and enter their zip code to be connected directly to their legislator.

2. Spread it on social media

Here’s a cool social media toolkit all set up for you! Use it, pass it on, spread the word!

More info about why we need ACA 6:

Under the California Constitution and Elections Code, people on parole cannot vote. ACA 6 seeks to change that.

Parole is intended to reintegrate formerly incarcerated individuals back into the community. Nearly 50,000 Californians on parole pay taxes at the local, state, and federal levels. Allowing people to vote again after they have finished their prison sentence increases their feeling of connection to their community in a positive way. Voting “can play a major role in reducing recidivism.”

On the other hand: stripping the vote from felons comes from the Jim Crow era. It’s part of a whole fabric of voter suppression in minority and marginalized communities – restoring the vote needs to be part of destroying that fabric. Current state law allows some people on community supervision to vote, but since some individuals have been punished harshly – even jailed! – for trying in good faith to vote when they were not allowed to, some eligible voters will be deterred from going to the polls rather than take any chances. Ending disenfranchisement for people on parole would clarify voting rights for all formerly incarcerated people in California.

California is behind the times in not allowing people on parole to vote: As of 2020, in sixteen other states and the District of Columbia a person’s right to vote will be automatically restored after their release from prison, with more states considering eliminating their provisions against people on parole voting; in addition, two states (Maine and Vermont) don’t remove voting rights for people with convictions, even while they’re in prison. It’s too late for us to be a leader, but at least let’s not be the tail end of this trend toward justice.

More resources:

Photograph, “Felon voting rights” by Michael Fleshman