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

Update November 7, 2019: The event described in this article has a more recent and up-to-date action. Please go to Election Security Day of Action, Plus John Oliver.


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

Take action to secure our elections

Deadline: call your MoCs, and register now for 8/20 webinar –

The evidence is clear: in 2016, Russia targeted voting systems in all 50 states and used social media to spread disinformation and disunity among the electorate. The entire national security community agrees that election interference in 2016 was only a preview of what’s to come – unless Congress acts to provide our states and counties with the money they need to secure our voting systems and make our most fundamental right as easy to exercise as possible.

The House rose to the challenge and passed H.R. 3351, a funding bill that would allocate $600 million to states and localities, so that they can protect voter data and replace paperless voting systems with hand-marked paper ballots and scanners. Yet the Senate has failed to move forward at all – thanks to Mitch McConnell, who has refused to allow any election security bills to even come up for a vote.

We have a chance to win that $600+ million to secure our elections by the the last day of September, which is the Congressional funding deadline. We recently wrote about how to address this funding with our own Members of Congress (you can still take that action, see #2, below). Now Public Citizen, in collaboration with the Mueller Book Club and several other elections groups across the country, are organizing much greater efforts to pressure Congress to fund secure elections. Election security is national security and the work to achieve it must be national as well. You can get informed and learn how to help by registering for the election security movement webinar call: “Secure the Vote: Holding Mitch McConnell and his Senate enablers accountable.”

What you can do:

1. Sign up to join the webinar call on Tuesday, August 20 at 5:30 PM, and then join in to take action!

2. Contact your Members of Congress to urge them to treat election security funding as a national security issue.

What to say if your representative is Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) or Barbara Lee (CA-13):

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling to thank Rep. _________ for voting for $600 million for election security in the 2020 budget. I’d like them to speak out publicly to persuade the public and their colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661

What to say if your representative is Eric Swalwell (CA-13):

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling to thank Rep. Swalwell for his public efforts on election security. I’d like him to use his position on the Intelligence Committee to persuade his colleagues that voting for the $600 million for election security funded by H.R. 3351 is an issue of national security.

  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

What to say to our Senators:

  • To Senator Dianne Feinstein, on the Senate Appropriations and Intelligence Committees (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841:

My name is _____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. The House Appropriations Committee has authorized $600 million for election security. I’d like the Senator to use her position on the Appropriations Committee to resist any attempts to remove election security money from the final budget, and also work to persuade her Senate colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

  • To Senator Kamala Harris, on the Senate Intelligence Committee (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. The House has voted to authorize $600 million for election security in the 2020 budget. I’d like the Senator to work to persuade her colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

3. Spread the word to people in other states, particularly those whose Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee (they will decide if election security funding remains in the budget) or the Senate Intelligence Committee (they’re in the best position to understand the details of foreign interference in 2016 and 2018).

4. Watch for local events calling on the Senate to fund election security on Tuesday. Sept. 17 as part of the nationwide Secure Our Vote Day of Action. Nothing planned near you? Sign up to host one!

5. For more background and information, read our June 27, 2019 article, Election Security IS National Security. 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

Heidi Rand contributed to this article

Photograph “Moscow Mitch” by Becker1999 

Counter White Supremacists’ Terrorism

Even FBI agents are finally saying it: domestic terrorism poses “a threat to the American people and our democracy.” It isn’t news that there has for years been a “resurgence in radicalization and recruitment” in right-wing extremism. It also isn’t news that this cancer has metastasized wildly since the election of the Current Occupant of the White House, who told the world that he felt there was no threat from white nationalism after the Christchurch mosque massacre – the massacre that inspired the El Paso racist massacre just days ago. For years, the government has had their priorities exactly backwards, according to some experts: 

Citing figures from the Anti-Defamation League, [Rep. Jamie] Raskin noted that from 2009-2018, far-right extremism was responsible for 73% of extremist murders, while international terrorism was responsible for 23% of terrorism deaths. “The FBI has testified the bureau allocates its resources almost exactly backwards than the problem would suggest,” Raskin said. “Devoting 80% of field agents to stopping international terrorism including Islamic extremism and only 20% to stopping domestic terrorism including far right and white supremacist extremism.”

And it gets worse: 

The Trump administration has systematically cut back on resources used to address threats from domestic extremists even as the FBI has reported a 30-40% rise in domestic terrorism cases just since October.

What you can do:

Our government needs to put its resources in the right places: not toward putting kids in cages, but toward investigating and addressing the very real problem of white supremacist violence in this country. Tell our Members of Congress:

My name is ___________, my zip code is ___________, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m worried about white supremacist violence in this country. In the most recent mass shootings by white supremacists, they published manifestos to spread their ideology. I want Senator/Representative ___________ to push for additional funding for the Countering Violent Extremism program to focus on white supremacists and their radicalization. I also hope Senator/Representative ______ will do everything possible to fight this administration’s support for racism and racist violence, including investigating political pressure on law enforcement to ignore white supremacist extremism.

  • 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

 

Bring Back the Senate for Gun Control

What a shame Congress can’t do anything to stop this country’s epidemic of mass shootings and deaths by white supremacist gun violence. Except, oh wait, they can. And they have. Or rather, they would. Except Mitch McConnell won’t let them.

The House of Representatives passed two gun control bills in February 2019: H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would require background checks for private gun sales (think online sales and gun shows); and H.R. 1112, which would extend the waiting period from the background check system before a sale can proceed, from the current three days to ten days. Normally, the bills would now go to the Senate and be referred to the appropriate committees. Instead, McConnell placed them on the Senate calendar, which sounds good but isn’t, it actually means they’re just … sitting there, while more people die.

In addition, the Senate has before it S. 42, introduced in January 2019 and cosponsored by both Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, which would prohibit a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check. The bill is in the Judiciary Committee, which both of our Senators sit on – and which is chaired by Lindsey Graham, whose support for gun control is limited to talking about “red flag” laws, which allow local law enforcement officials to temporarily seize guns from people who may pose a risk to themselves or others.

Meanwhile, mass shootings go on. And on. And the Senate is in recess, with the GOP offering its usual thoughts and prayers.

Senators Feinstein and Harris have both called for the Senate to act:

The House has already passed a universal background check bill that would make it harder for dangerous people to buy guns. The Senate could return to Washington this week and vote on that bill, but Senate Republican leaders continue to say no.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, August 4, 2019 

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act passed the House in February—but it hasn’t even received a hearing in the Senate. It’s past time to take action. To Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans, I say: have some courage. Let’s vote.

Sen. Kamala Harris, August 5, 2019 

Amen, and amen.

What you can do:

1. Call Sens. Feinstein and Harris. It may not seem like they need your call since they’re already doing the right thing, but remember: the NRA will always mobilize its membership and you can be sure that our Senators are hearing loud and clear from gun control opponents. They need to hear from US!

What to say:

My name is ____________, my zip code is _________ and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling to thank Senator _________ for supporting gun control legislation. The Senator is right: the Senate needs to reconvene, now, to vote on H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112. Trump is cheering on white supremacist violence and Mitch McConnell is enabling it by refusing to let the Senate vote on these bills. Also, I hope the Senator will use her position on the Judiciary Committee to do everything possible to pass S. 42.

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

2. Support these organizations:

 

Graphic: “U.S. Senate To Increase Work Days” by Mike Licht

Impeachment takes flight

Deadline: Now, while the iron is hot –

After running calls to action and articles for months asking you to urge our Representatives to open an impeachment inquiry (see the list at the end of this article), we’re happy to report, in Professor Laurence Tribe’s expert words, that the eagle has taken flight!

The House Judiciary Committee’s initiation of an impeachment inquiry was revealed publicly in the Committee’s July 26 court filing seeking the release of grand jury materials that were redacted in the Mueller Report. As of August 1, a majority of the House Democratic caucus, nearly 120 members, now support an impeachment inquiry, thanks to YOUR hard work! It’s a great start, but we must keep up the pressure – we must get louder than ever and ensure our lawmakers follow through. Also on August 1, Indivisible National, in coalition with Need to Impeach, MoveOn, and Stand Up America, launched Impeachment August, a broad campaign to help achieve what we’ve been working on: pressuring the House Democrats to vote for a formal impeachment inquiry.

What you can do:

All of our East Bay representatives have come out in support of impeachment, but that’s just the first step. We need them to support the proposed House Resolutions on impeachment: H.Res. 257, Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s resolution to authorize an impeachment inquiry, and H.Res. 396, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s resolution which also includes potential articles of impeachment. So far, Rep. Barbara Lee has supported H. Res 257, but Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Eric Swalwell have not yet cosponsored either resolution. 

What to say:

If your Representative is Barbara Lee:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want the House to begin a formal impeachment inquiry, so I thank Rep. Lee for cosponsoring House Resolution 257. I’m also asking her to please urge her colleagues to follow her lead in support of impeachment.

If your Representative is Mark DeSaulnier or Eric Swalwell:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank Rep. ___ for speaking out in favor of an impeachment inquiry. I want the House to begin a formal impeachment inquiry, and urge him to please cosponsor House Resolutions 257 and/or 396.

  • 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

What else you can do:

  • Read the letter written by Free Speech for People, and cosigned by a broad coalition of groups (including Indivisible) to the House Judiciary Committee. The letter raises concerns about and makes recommendations regarding the Committee’s timeline, scope, and public strategy for the impeachment inquiry.
  • Attend town halls your Members of Congress schedule, and other public events at which they appear. Ask a question about impeachment, and ask them to cosponsor House Resolutions 257 and/or 396.
  • Sign up for, or organize, constituent meetings with your MoCs, assisted by national coordination from By the People.
  • Join the discussion on the #impeachment channel on Indivisible East Bay’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email info@IndivisibleEB.org
  • Call on the presidential candidates to speak out about impeachment. See our list of links to all of the candidates’ websites and social media accounts, in this article
  • 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:

Larry B contributed to this article

Photo “Bald eagle flying” by Skeeze

 

Tell your MoCs: read Mueller’s Report, and act!

Update July 25, 2019 – If you missed any of Robert Mueller’s testimony, here are some great quick ways to get in the know:

You can also watch the Mueller Book Club’s Facebook Live streams of the testimony, and analysis:

 

Deadline: now and ongoing –

Every American should read what Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation unearthed about Russian election interference, the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia, and Trump’s obstruction of the investigation. And that goes DOUBLE for our Members of Congress, who have the duty to hold the current occupant and executive branch accountable.

Mueller’s only public statement, on May 29, 2019, was brief. Here are the main takeaways, and this article boils it down to ten points in plain English. Mueller will testify publicly before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on July 24, the first time he’ll face public questioning about the investigation. There are several things you can do to prepare so we can best analyze and amplify Mueller’s testimony, and counter Attorney General Barr’s lies and spin about the Report:  

1. First, find out whether your Members of Congress have read the full Mueller Report. Enter your address at this Common Cause tool; thank your MoCs if they have read it – or urge them to read it if they haven’t; and urge them to keep fighting to hold Trump accountable! Find your MoCs’ contact info at the end of this article.

2. Then – haven’t read the Mueller Report yourself? Get it for free:

3. Whether you’ve read it or not, join the Mueller Book Club. They’re offering two ways to watch the hearings:

  • Join the Club’s Zoom conferences during both segments of the live testimony, including a live stream of the testimony:
    • Click here to register for the Judiciary Committee segment (conference will begin at 5:15 AM PT; testimony begins at 5:30 AM)
    • Click here to register for the Intelligence Committee segment (conference will begin at 8:45 AM PT; testimony begins at 9 AM)
    • Click here to register for the 5:30 PM post-testimony analysis  with policy and legal experts to discuss the key takeaways from the day and next steps moving forward!
  • Or watch the Club’s Facebook Live stream of the testimony at their FB page.
  • You can also see past Mueller Book Club discussion videos.
  • Spread the word by submitting a letter to the editor! Use the Club’s tool to write a letter and find contact info for your local newspapers.

4. Next, want more background and more actions you can take? Read our earlier articles:

5. Last but not least — did you miss the debut of our Mueller (mis)fortune cookies at the Indivisible East Bay July 4 booth in El Cerrito? Get one while they last at our July 28 All Members Meeting, 1-3 PM, Sports Basement, Berkeley!)

 

CONTACT INFO FOR OUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS:

  • 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

Graphic © Mueller Book Club