Menashi: Unfit to sit

By Ann G. Daniels

The bad news: Steven Menashi, nominated to the super-important Second Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, thinks it’s “obvious” that Western culture, government, science, etc. is superior to everything else, especially everything Muslim; was a top legal advisor on Betsy DeVos’ plan to protect for-profit colleges that ripped off their students; and has denounced feminists, LGBTQ+ rights, and diversity efforts. The good news: he’s so bad that even Sen. Susan Collins has said she’ll oppose him, and his supporters in the administration and the Senate repeatedly had to postpone the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on his nomination before the Committee passed the nomination 12-10 on party lines on November 7. The bad news: now the nomination proceeds. And while we don’t yet have a date for the next vote, and trying to predict what the Senate will do is a little like trying to predict the future by reading chicken entrails, we have to be ready.

More good news, though: Senators Feinstein and Harris – both of whom voted no in the Senate Judiciary Committee – have already spoken out on this appalling nominee. And there’s a chance that Sen. Collins and other Republicans will cross party lines when the full Senate votes.

Senator Feinstein has expressed her concerns about Menashi’s “role at the White House” and his lack of disclosure about his work there, including on issues including family separation; and about his work under Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education’s efforts to reverse sexual assault protections, use federal funds to buy guns for teachers, and reverse attempts to crack down on deceptive for-profit colleges. She has also expressed deep concern over his racist statements, since a judge – especially in an area as diverse as that governed by the Second Circuit – must be impartial toward all who come before him

Similarly, Senator Harris has stressed that Menashihas refused to answer questions” about his work in the White House or whether he was “involved in Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Zelensky,” and she has also cited his work for Betsy DeVos on “predatory for-profit colleges.” She finds his nomination “Unacceptable.” 

We agree. As the NAACP so eloquently says: “Steven Menashi has a vile, offensive record … Under no scenario should he sit in Thurgood Marshall’s former seat on the Second Circuit and preside in the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse.”

What to do:

Please thank our Senators for speaking out on this unacceptable nominee, and urge them to stand strong and keep speaking out.

What to say:

My name is ___, my zip code  is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank Senator _____ for speaking out with her concerns about Steven Menashi, and I want to urge her to keep speaking out. I trust she will vote NO on Menashi’s confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals and I hope she’ll do everything possible to persuade her colleagues to vote NO. Menashi has shown that he’s hostile towards Muslims, women, the LGBTQ+ community, lower-income families, and immigrants. He cannot be trusted to fairly decide matters before the court. 

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

Do you live outside California, or have friends or family in other states? Use this link to find contact info for your Senators: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials. Or call the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121, ask to be transferred to your Senator, and say this:

Hello, my name is ____ and my zip code is _____. Please vote NO on Steven Menashi’s confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Menashi has shown that he’s hostile towards Muslims, women, the LGBTQ+ community, lower-income families, and immigrants. He cannot be trusted to fairly decide matters before the court. 

 

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.

“Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse”, photograph by Ken Lund

 

 

Defunding Hate: What’s the Budget Got to do with it?

By Linh Nguyen and Ann G. Daniels

Deadline: Now, the budget bill is coming up fast –

This is where the rubber meets the road: the rubber erasers, and the mechanical pencils, and if you’ve got those wacky green eyeshades you can pull them out too. We’re gonna get nerdy and talk about how things really work in DC: how the budget process, and the way this administration has been screwing around with it, has been funding the racist immigration policies we’ve been fighting for the past three plus years. 

First, a look at why the budget process is so hugely important to this administration in making its anti-immigrant dreams come true. A brief glance at some of the lowlights shows something truly remarkable – they didn’t require any new legislation:

The Democratic House has passed a lot of good bills this year, but the Republican-controlled Senate hasn’t taken any of the significant ones up for so much as a debate – except for spending bills. Funding the government through the budget is mandatory; spending bills come up every year, and if the Senate ignores them the government shuts down, as we saw last winter. 

A few quick points about the appropriations process:

In any situation, where we choose to spend our money is hugely important and says a lot about our values. In our current situation, where other ways of lawmaking are cut off, lawmakers are forced to legislate by placing restrictions on how money may be spent. Unfortunately, Congress has so far largely declined to put in the effort to make those restrictions stick.

Now, let’s get into the weeds a bit.

The administration has abused budgetary authority to achieve their racist goals using three principal tactics: overspending, use of reprogramming authority, and failure to cooperate with Congressional oversight. The table below shows how they’ve used each of these:

Abuse of authorities


The following graph shows just one example of how ICE has overspent. ICE ratcheted up its funding twice per fiscal year – once in the final funding bill, when Congress invariably bailed ICE out for its overspending in the first part of the year, and then again by moving additional money into its account through transfers and reprogramming. ICE has consistently been funded to detain an average of 40,500 people per day, but has detained significantly more, peaking at 48,019 individuals in detention in early January 2019 in the midst of the government shutdown.

Overspending on detention beds

 

Immigration detention timeline
Immigrant detention funding fight timeline


Where we are now:
In September 2019, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR), a temporary measure to keep the government funded and operating for a limited period of time – in this case, until November 21. The good news: it didn’t fund the racist border wall, and it didn’t increase funding for immigration detention beds. The bad news: it didn’t do anything to keep the administration from stealing money from military families and disaster relief and using it for anti-immigrant purposes, which it’s been doing through its reprogramming authority – allowing money funded for one purpose to be used for another purpose within the Department of Homeland Security. When the CR expires in November, Congress will have to pass a spending bill – and we want it to do the job right.

What you can do:

Tell your Members of Congress:

My name is ___, my zip code is ___, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Thank you for refusing to fund Trump’s racist wall and for passing a spending bill in September that didn’t increase funding for immigration detention beds at the border. But I was disappointed the September Continuing Resolution did nothing to keep the administration from stealing money from military families and disaster relief, as it’s been doing all year. When the CR expires in November, I want you to work to pass a spending bill that safeguards our tax dollars from this corrupt and racist administration. If Trump wants to steal more money from the American people, he will need to shut down the government again to do it.

  • 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

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.

For more info, including a presentation by Indivisible East Bay’s Linh Nguyen of this material and more, watch Impeachment University’s video of the Town Hall hosted by the Equal Justice Society.

For complete slide deck, see IEB - DefundHate-EJS-Townhall
.

Linh Nguyen is one of several IEB congressional procedure pedants.

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.

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