Tell our MoCs: support Medicare Negotiation legislation

Deadline: NOW! – Unless you’re a magical unicorn who never gets sick, and you’ve never seen any drug ads, you know: Prescription drug prices are crazy high in the United States. It isn’t just anecdotal opinion: they really are much higher in the U.S. than in other high-income countries, and Americans spend more on prescription drugs than residents of other countries. You might think that the government, as the largest purchaser of prescription drugs in the world (through Medicare Part D), would use its bargaining power to get lower prices for patients. You’d be wrong: they are not allowed to do that.

Now, the Democrats have introduced the bicameral Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act, a set of bills that would give Medicare the power it needs to effectively negotiate with drug companies and bring drug prices down. In the House, Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) introduced H.R. 1046; as of this writing, Reps. Lee and DeSaulnier have cosponsored it, but Rep. Swalwell has not. In the Senate, Sherrod Brown introduced S. 377; as of this writing, neither Senator nor Feinstein nor Senator Harris has cosponsored.

What you can do:

1. For more information, read Indivisible National’s page about how the bill would work, why arbitration isn’t good enough, and more.

2. Call your Members of Congress and tell them to reject bills that use arbitration to bring down drug prices, and to cosponsor the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act.

What to say to your Representative: 

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay.  Please reject bills that would use arbitration to bring down drug prices.

  • Do you live in CA-11 or CA-13, represented by Rep. Mark DeSaulnier or Rep. Barbara Lee? Say also: Thank you for cosponsoring H.R. 1046, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act.
  • Do you live in CA-15 (Rep. Eric Swalwell)? Say also: Please cosponsor H.R. 1046, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act.
  • 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 to say to our Senators: 

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay.  Please reject bills that would use arbitration to bring down drug prices, and cosponsor S. 377, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act.

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

 

Money tablet” graphic by tOrange.biz 

 

 

 

 

East Bay Hella ❤ Impeachment

Inform, inspire, and activate – that’s what Indivisible East Bay and Alameda4Impeachment (A4I) did at the Summer Impeachment Pop-Up in Oakland on June 15, 2019. One of over 140 events called nationwide by MoveOnBy the People, Indivisible National, and many other partners, the focus was to urge the House of Representatives to open an impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Whether you joined us or not, don’t miss these images – more wonderful photos than we could fit into this article – taken by Mary DeShaw, a volunteer photographer with Pro Bono Photography; and videographer Lis Cox’s video recap of our event. Also check out Raw Story’s read-out from around the country.

Quanah Brightman, of United Native Americans, opened the event with a stirring Blessing. 

#Impeachtrump protest June 15 2019, Photo by Mary Martin DeShaw, Pro Bono Photos
Quanah Brightman, United Native Americans, offered an opening blessing, photo by Mary DeShaw

Jain Thapa, Representative Barbara Lee’s district staffer, addressed the gathering with prepared remarks, expressing Lee’s regrets that she wasn’t able to attend and delivering Lee’s thanks to A4I and IEB for their steadfast efforts to build awareness of the need for an impeachment inquiry. Thapa specifically called out as valuable A4I’s work and leadership in encouraging local City Councils to adopt Impeachment Resolutions.

Many people stepped up to read and record short portions of the Mueller Report. Members of Indivisible SF classed up the event by appearing in Hamilton costumes! (Photos by Mary DeShaw).

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At education and take-action stations, A4I and IEB members answered questions about impeachment and provided handouts urging people to call their Representatives (see the call script below). A4I/IEB member Larry created an “Impeachment Tree” participatory poster, on which dozens of people stuck “peaches” and “leaves” about corruption, abuse of immigrants, incompetence, criminality, attacks on democracy, and more. Contributions included “Encouraging DOJ to defy subpoenas,” “Taking babies from mamas & daddies,” “Using the WH and the gov’t as a personal ATM – stealing our future,” and more.

Impeachment Tree
Impeachment Tree, photo by Heidi Rand

A4I’s “Impeachment is Patriotic” banner was an ideal selfie-station backdrop, particularly for Angela Jarman, who appeared in her Lady Liberty costume.

Lady Liberty at Impeach Trump event
Lady Liberty, photo by Heidi Rand

Folks’ signs got right to the point! (Photos by Mary DeShaw).

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You can keep fighting for the next step to stop Trump’s unconstitutional power grab!

What you can do:

  1. Get Informed & Inspired! Sign up at ImpeachmentGuide.com to learn more about how you can join the movement to impeach Trump
  2. Read more about impeachment at this article written jointly by Indivisible East Bay and Alameda4Impeachment.
  3. Take action! Check out our recent articles for more info and actions you can take NOW:


What to say:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Please use the full extent of your oversight and investigative powers to get to the truth and hold Trump accountable, including opening an impeachment inquiry.

  • Do you live in CA-13, represented by Rep. Barbara Lee? Say also: Thank you for cosponsoring House Resolution 257.
  • Do you live in CA-11 (Rep. Mark DeSaulnier), or CA-15 (Rep. Eric Swalwell)? Say also: Thank you for speaking out publicly in favor of an impeachment inquiry! Please cosponsor House Resolution 257.
  • 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

 

Photographs by Mary Martin DeShaw, of ProBono Photography, and Heidi Rand.

Next Stop Hunger Games?

Deadline: yes, right now – How many things are wrong with this picture? The administration continues to detain migrants and refuse to let them apply for asylum; takes children away from their parents and leaves them in vans in a Texas parking lot for nearly two days; allows the border patrol to confiscate migrant kids’ medicine; and now says there are so many kids in detention it can’t afford to take care of them, so it’s going to cut back on – or just completely cutactivities for unaccompanied children “that are not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety.” That includes things most humane people consider necessary, like legal aid, and others you could make a good case for, like English classes and recreation. Presumably the plan now is to let the kids sit in cages (or vans?) until it’s time for them to go by themselves to court, where they can’t speak or understand the language. Or maybe we’re headed straight for the Hunger Games?

To quote Rep. Barbara Lee:

By defunding English classes and legal aid, this administration is depriving child migrants of tools that are critical for navigating their asylum cases. But cutting recreation on top of that? This is cruelty for cruelty’s sake.

Rep. DeSaulnier has also criticized the administration’s heartless treatment of the children in U.S. custody; and Senator Feinstein has introduced a bill, which Sen. Harris has cosponsored, to protect immigrant children.


What you can do:

Call your Members of Congress NOW and tell them to scream bloody murder about this inhumane treatment of small, defenseless human beings, and to continue to do everything they can as legislators to protect all those crossing our borders.

What to say:

My name is _____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want ____ to do everything in his/her power to keep this administration from spending my money to militarize the border, separate families, and treat migrants in custody inhumanely. The decision to cut services for unaccompanied minors is just the latest outrage. This needs to stop.

  • 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

 

“Abandoned soccer ball at refugee camp”, photo by Max Pixel

Give me an I! Impeachment National Day of Action 6/15

Deadline: RSVP now & join us on June 15 –

​​It’s high time we reclaim all of the positive “I” words we can think of from the dirty, filthy, disgusting UnIndicted Co-conspirator Individual-1! We’ll start with: “Inspiring” “Inclusive” “Indivisible” …  And of course in our current situation these three “I” words: “Investigate” and “Impeachment Inquiry.”

MoveOn and a long list of partners, including By The People, Need To Impeach, Indivisible, March for Truth, Credo Action, and Free Speech For People, are calling for a national day of action on Saturday, June 15, on the specific issue of impeachment. These groups have all concluded it’s time for the House of Representatives to initiate an impeachment inquiry.

What you can do:

  1. Get Inspired and Informed! Join Indivisible East BayAlameda4Impeachment (A4I), and many others at the flagship Bay Area event in Oakland, June 15 at 1 PM outside Representative Barbara Lee’s office at the Ronald Dellums Federal Building at 1301 Clay St. Among many other activities we’ll thank Rep. Lee for being the only Indivisible East Bay representative so far to cosponsor Rep. Tlaib’s H.Res. 257 to open an impeachment inquiry. Got friends outside the Bay Area? Of course you do – please share with everyone you know this link to search for events nationwide.
  2. Read more about impeachment at this article written jointly by Indivisible East Bay and Alameda4Impeachment.
  3. Check out our recent articles for more info and actions you can take NOW:

What to say:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Please use the full extent of your oversight and investigative powers to get to the truth and hold Trump accountable, including opening an impeachment inquiry. As Mueller said in his public statement on May 29, only Congress can accuse a sitting president.

[If your Rep. is Mark DeSaulnier or Eric Swalwell, also say: Please do your job and cosponsor House Resolution 257.]

[If your Rep. is Barbara Lee, also say: Thank you for cosponsoring House Resolution 257.]

  • 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

Mueller’s Report IS the smoking gun

Deadline: Yesterday, but if that’s impossible, NOW NOW NOW –

Mueller has spoken, and though his May 29 statement was brief, we’ll paraphrase and boil it down to the main takeaways:

  • The Special Counsel’s Office investigated efforts to interfere in our political system and, subsequently, to obstruct our investigation.
  • Volume 1 of the Report details numerous efforts by Russia to influence our election, and the Trump campaign’s response, as well as the Special Counsel’s conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.
  • Volume 2 describes the results and analysis of our investigation that the president obstructed justice.
  • Because of the Department of Justice policy that a sitting president can’t be charged with a federal crime, we did not make a determination whether Trump committed a crime.
  • However, “if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”
  • And “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrong doing.” (In other words: Congress — I did my job, now you do yours.)
  • Finally: “And I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments — that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American.

This article boils it down to ten easy points written in plain english with zero legalese.

Now that Mueller has spoken, it’s clear that his words reinforce what we’ve asked you to do over the past month:

We’re closing out this years-long month of May by asking you to mashup these intertwined actions! Click on the links above to our prior articles for more info and a wide range of actions you can take for each. But if you’ve already read them and want to get going, we’ll channel taciturn Robert Mueller and cut to the chase.

What you must do NOW:  

1. Read the Mueller Report! How to get it for free:

2. Urge your Representative to continue to investigate and to initiate an impeachment inquiry.

What to say: 

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Please use the full extent of your oversight and investigative powers to get to the truth and hold Trump accountable, including opening an impeachment inquiry. As Mueller said in his statement, only Congress can accuse a sitting president.

[If your Rep. is Mark DeSaulnier or Eric Swalwell, also say: Please do your job and cosponsor House Resolution 257].

[If your Rep. is Barbara Lee, also say: Thank you for cosponsoring House Resolution 257].

  • 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

Mueller has spoken. Now it’s YOUR turn to speak out!

No Drilling on Mt. Diablo

Action deadline: Comments on Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final EIS due June 9, 2019 –

This administration has a track record of sacrificing priceless public lands for the benefit of private oil and gas extraction, as shown by their efforts around the country and in California. They’re at it again — and this time, it’s right here.

On May 9, 2019, the Bureau of Land Management Central Coast Field Office released a Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement to open up 725,000 acres of land in California for new oil and gas leasing. Public land that would be open for drilling includes areas in and around Mount Diablo State Park and in Butano State Park near Pescadero.

The Center for Biological Diversity writes that oil development along the Central Coast could involve fracking, and this resource management plan ends a six-year moratorium on leasing public lands to oil and gas extraction. An official with the California agency that oversees drilling has claimed that it’s unlikely any drilling would actually take place in the Bay Area, due to current pricing and supply, and because California has stringent regulations, but ANY possibility of new fossil fuel extraction is too much. The Center for Biological Diversity has criticized this plan due to the potential for drilling throughout the East Bay and along the Central Coast.

We need to stop this before irreparable damage is done. >>Submit your comments using this form on the BLM website<< by June 9, 2019! Read on for instructions, talking points, and more information:

What to do:

Comment now! The 30-day public comment period ends on Sunday June 9, 2019. Submit your comments on on the BLM site here. When you comment online, you have a 60 minute time limit within which you must fill in all boxes with red asterisks on all pages (you don’t need to fill in the “Chapter Reference” or “Section Reference” boxes on the first page). Once you’ve finished with one screen, click the “Next” button in the lower right corner; the last screen will have a “Submit” button in that location. Or you can submit comments by mail to this address:

BLM Director (210)
Attention: Protest Coordinator, WO-210
P.O. Box 71383
Washington, DC 20024-1383

After you’re done, tell your friends, family, and neighbors. Not everyone is as active as you, our wonderful Indivisible members, but when something is local, it’s a great way to get others motivated to act. This plan is largely flying under the radar, but with your help we can get a strong local grassroots opposition. Share the link to this article with them!

What to write:

Here are some suggested comments; please personalize what you write, because copied and pasted comments or overly similar comments may be grouped together and not counted separately. Some of these sample comments have been adapted from the joint comment letter from the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club responding to the draft EIS, which can be found on page I-71 in the comments and responses here — click ctrl+f and in the search box, type I-71 (that’s a capital letter “I”).

  • Many of the lands included in this plan would require fracking in order to extract oil and gas. Fracking involves the use of toxic and poorly understood chemicals.These toxic chemicals get into the groundwater, especially in California, where fracking operations are dangerously shallow.Our communities, waterways, wildlife, and outdoor economy will all be put at risk.
  • The development scenario used to determine the environmental impacts is a low-end assumption that does not take into account technological improvements that may lower the costs or uncertainty in drilling within the East Bay or Central Coast. This masks the potential environmental costs of more intense fossil fuel extraction.
  • Opening up new public lands to fossil fuel extraction is contrary to California’s commitment to building a sustainable future without reliance on fossil fuels.California has a statutory target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and a plan to reduce petroleum consumption by 45 percent by 2030 to meet this target.We need environmentally and economically sound energy strategies focused on the development of renewable energy sources.
    • Why despoil our environment to extract a resource we have decided to move away from?
  • The climate crisis requires swift and immediate action. The extraction and burning of fossil fuels will worsen this crisis, contrary to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which mandates that the BLM manage public lands “without permanent impairment of the productivity of the land and the quality of the environment.” The only way to avoid permanent impacts to the quality of our environment from the climate crisis is to keep proven fossil fuels in the ground.
  • Our beautiful public lands are a precious resource that deserve to be protected. Destroying our natural landscapes cannot be easily undone, and the wider, long-term effects even less so. We must not sacrifice our health, wildlife and climate to profit the oil and gas industry.In a state where water is so precious — to agriculture, human populations, and wildlife — clean water is worth more than oil.

There’s more you can do! In our recent article we told you how to leave comments opposing the BLM’s draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that would open up public lands and mineral estates in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Kern, and six other California counties to oil companies. Comments are due June 10, so there’s still time.

 

Fantasy Landscape, photograph of Mount Diablo by Richard Conlon 

A light at the end of the tunnel of endless war

Deadline: Now through June (at least) –

Earlier this week, the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to the defense spending bill, proposed by Representative Barbara Lee, that would repeal the 2001 Authorization for Military Force (AUMF). The AUMF, first passed in 2001, gave the President the power to use military force without prior Congressional approval, but only in response to attacks deemed directly or indirectly responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since then it’s mushroomed in frankly terrifying ways: see our previous posts on the AUMF and our own Representative Barbara Lee’s years-long efforts to repeal it. And now the Administration has threatened to invoke the AUMF as justification for starting a war with Iran without consulting Congress.

We are so thankful for and and proud of Rep. Lee, and hopeful that we may actually see an end to the endless wars that we’ve been involved in. But first, that spending bill needs to pass the full House of Representatives, and the Senate.

What you can do:

  • If your Representative is Barbara Lee (email; 510-763-0370): thank her for her tireless opposition to war and support of checks on the Executive branch.
  • If your Representative is Eric Swalwell (email; 510-370-3322) or Mark DeSaulnier (email; 510-620-1000): ask them to voice their support for the AUMF repeal, and to vote for the defense spending bill with the AUMF repeal when it comes to the floor of the House.
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein (email; 415-393-0707) is a senior member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, so start calling her now to make a statement in favor of repealing the AUMF and commit to voting for it in committee.
  • Senator Kamala Harris (email; 415-981-9369) will not vote until (and unless) the bill comes to the Senate floor, but we can start asking her now to make a statement in favor of repealing the AUMF and to commit to voting for it.

Remind all of our legislators that it is past time to end this conflict; and it is more urgent now than ever, as the present administration is intent upon prolonging, expanding and intensifying this never ending war. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen!

Get REAL about education funding & education behind bars

By Elizabeth Douglas

Editors’ note: This piece contains both a powerful first-person narrative and important information about the Restoring Education and Learning (REAL) Act, H.R. 2168 in the House and S.1074 in the Senate, which could provide funding for education for literally hundreds of thousands of prisoners. Please read to the end to find out how you can support this important legislation.


Last week, the Education-Buster-in-Chief
announced that he wanted to “redirect $1.9 billion from a Pell Grant surplus to jumpstart other projects, primarily a NASA initiative to put astronauts back on the moon.” Pell Grants, in brief, are federal government aid for students who need financial assistance for college; and this budget request is not the first time Trump has tried to take away money from poor kids who rely on Pell Grants.

Poor kids like me. I was able to start my college career in large part because of the Pell Grant. The Bachelor’s degree that was mostly Pell Grant-funded provided the path to get my Master’s Degree, and this changed my life. I reflect back on the young woman I was then, determined to get an education, but with no viable means or way to get one. I was incredibly poor, despite 50-60 hour workweeks cobbled together from two different jobs. I had no family support: I left home the day I turned 18 due to several years of abuse from my parents, and became estranged from them for many years. No spousal support, either: I married far too early to someone who was essentially a leech, financially, emotionally, and physically (we later divorced). I was struggling to survive, and I was alone in this struggle.

I decided that I could only afford to take one year between high school and college to save up what little I could to make my education a reality. But that little didn’t cover it, so I applied for the Pell Grant – and got it. I still remember that moment I received my award letter as transcendently joyful and overwhelming. I shed many happy tears. I decided to enter the lowest cost but highest quality college that was close to where I lived; I couldn’t afford to move, and couldn’t afford more than two college application fees. I was lucky enough to be living close to a Junior College with ties to William and Mary in Virginia. The Pell Grant covered both my tuition – a steal at about $900 a semester back in the old-time days of early 2000 – and books for the year. I still had to work insane work hours just to live, but at least I didn’t have to worry about being unable to afford college.

My story is not so different from the millions of students (around 7.1 million, based on the data from 2016-2017) who now receive the Pell Grant. Except now, these students are facing more hurdles, such as the much wider gap between the cost of tuition and the limits of the Federal Pell Grant, as you can see from the chart below from The Pell Institute’s report Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States — 2018 Historical Trend Report. The cap for the 2019–20 award year is a very low $6,195, over fifteen thousand dollars below the average cost of full-time college enrollment – and as the graph shows, the average Pell award is only $3,740, and is likely to stay, thousands below even that low grant cap amount.

Pell Grant article Graph3b1

Thankfully, as in previous years, Congress rejected Trump’s moonshot heist by not giving him one cent of Pell Grant funds. Despite that win, there is an urgent need to protect Pell Grant recipients, and specifically one group of Pell Grant recipients that does not get enough attention: incarcerated individuals. There are no benevolent billionaires that are going to come to their rescue a la Robert F. Smith; no fairy godfather or godmother is stepping up to pay for their education. Yet getting a degree with the assistance of the Pell Grant is an essential way to change the lives of people behind bars and give them the opportunity to succeed and obtain employment post-release (see this Rand report for more details). According to the Department of Education, a recent study by the Vera Institute showed that “incarcerated individuals who participate in prison education programs are 43 percent less likely to return to prison than those who do not.”

On May 21, 2019, Betsy DeVos approved the expansion of the Obama administration’s Second Chance Pell Experiment (formally called the Second Chance Pell Pilot), allowing “up to 12,000 incarcerated individuals to receive Pell Grants in order to pursue a degree or credential.” But this is only a bandaid measure to right the wrongs of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (VCCLEA), a provision of which revoked Pell Grant funding “to any individual who is incarcerated in any federal or state penal institution.” Studies show that “if the ban on federal financial aid for inmates were lifted, about 463,000 prisoners would be eligible for a Pell Grant.”

Now, the bicameral and bipartisan Restoring Education and Learning Act (the REAL Act of 2019), H.R. 2168 in the House and S.1074 in the Senatepaves the way for exactly that. The House bill is already cosponsored by our own Representative Barbara Lee, and has a strong chance of succeeding since, as this NPR article points out, we are seeing a trend toward legislation that rejects the early 90s “tough on crime” era that led to prisoners’ rights to education being diminished in the first place. Our other Members of Congress haven’t signed on yet. If you want to help incarcerated individuals get an education, tell them: Get REAL, co-sponsor and support the REAL Act!

What you can do:

  • If your representative is Barbara Lee (email; 510-763-0370), thank her for cosponsoring H.R. 2168 – REAL Act of 2019.
  • If your representative is Eric Swalwell (email; 510-370-3322) or Mark DeSaulnier (email; 510-620-1000), ask them to cosponsor H.R. 2168 – REAL Act of 2019, and support equity in Pell Grant funding for incarcerated individuals.
  • Ask Senators Feinstein and Harris to cosponsor S. 1074 – REAL Act of 2019, and support equity in Pell Grant funding for incarcerated individuals.
    • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
    • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553

 

Image: Equity Indicator graphic

Elizabeth Douglas is a mom, runner, and activist from Alameda. She is also a Climate Reality Leader (Seattle 2017) with a strong interest in protecting our ocean and corals.

 

It’s impeachment inquiry time

Katie Cameron and Nancy Latham contributed to this article

Deadline – ASAP until the House Judiciary Committee launches an impeachment inquiry.

​​With ​Game of ​Thrones ​over, we​’re hoping to watch the final episodes of the (not)Game of (de)Throning the Criminal-in-Chief who Thinks-He’s-King, but is not! We, along with some Democratic House leaders, a majority of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, the one Republican who has read the Mueller Report, and millions of our fellow citizens, think it’s high time for the House Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment inquiry.

You’re bombarded with news stories, hot takes, and wildly diverse opinions about the “I” word. If you’ve been working for impeachment since inauguration day, or are now convinced from the evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors in the Mueller Report, we’ve got a great list of things you can do. If you’re still debating the need to take action, or want more info, keep reading below our action list.

What you can do now:  

  • Use Indivisible National’s page to urge your representative to cosponsor House Resolution 257, Rep. Tlaib’s resolution which would authorize an impeachment inquiry.
    • UPDATE May 24: Representative Barbara Lee is the first (and so far only) of our East Bay Reps to cosponsor the resolution. If you are Rep. Lee’s constituent, thank her!
    • You can also check out Need to Impeach’s tool to learn where your Member of Congress stands on impeachment (and share it with your out-of-town friends).
    • This May 2 SF Chron article covered Bay Area MoCs’ positions on impeachment.
    • Here are some of our MoCs’ comments: Rep. Swalwell’s tweet; and an interview with Rep. DeSaulnier. 
  • Visit bit.ly/impeachresolution for By the People’s template to send a letter to your representative.
  • Send House Speaker Nancy Pelosi an email using this Need to Impeach tool. Adapt the suggested text to your own personalized message. Send her a tweet expressing your opinion.
  • Tweet to Representative Jerry Nadler, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, urging him to take the lead and start an impeachment inquiry. 
  • Who said political action can’t be joyful and serious at the same time? Join IEB members and thousands of others at Impeach on the Beach, June 1, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Five thousand people (or more) will arrange their bodies to spell out “IMPEACH” in 150-foot-tall letters stretching for 610 feet on Ocean Beach, to be photographed from above. More details and sign up at this link
  • Spread the word! Talking directly to people you know is the most effective way to spark change. Urge friends and relatives, especially those who live in districts represented by Democratic House leaders and Committee Chairs, to contact their Reps, urging an impeachment inquiry. Keep that word “inquiry” in your messages, so people understand you’re not trying to convict without the House investigation. Give them this link to get in touch with their Members of Congress.
  • Join the discussion on the #impeachment channel on IEB’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email info@IndivisibleEB.org
  • Want to work with Alameda4Impeachment (A4I)? Email them for more info: Alameda4Impeachment@gmail.com 
  • We don’t often suggest signing petitions, but it’ll just take a minute – and these, from Need to Impeach, and Free Speech for People, have already proven to be effective.
  • Come to our All Members Meeting on Sunday, May 26, from 1-3 PM at Sports Basement, Berkeley. It’s an informal potluck get-together, and members informed about impeachment will be there.

What else you can do: Read up! 

  • Know the impeachable offenses: Unindicted co-conspirator Individual-1  has committed many impeachable offenses, some in plain sight, only a few of which rely on the Mueller Report  (“Russia, if you are listening…”). See for example Need to Impeach’s list and Lawfare’s article
  • Bone up on the impeachment process. These links help explain what the Constitution says about impeachment, the history of it and how the process works, and FAQs:
    • Robert Reich has this excellent short video on the impeachment process.
    • By The People is a national grassroots action group holding demonstrations in DC. Their website has excellent, easy to read info on impeachment.
    • Need To Impeach, the group Tom Steyer launched in October 2017, has grown to a movement of nearly 8 million people. NTI uses grassroots organizing to mobilize people to demand that Congress begin impeachment proceedings to uncover the full extent of Trump’s lawlessness.
  • Read the Mueller Report, in large part an impeachment inquiry referral to Congress. Or listen to Audible’s free audio recording of the report. For the Cliffs Notes version, check out Lawfareblog’s excellent notes about the Report.
  • Read The Constitution Requires It, by Free Speech For People Legal Director Ron Fein, co-founder and president John Bonifaz, and chair of the board Ben Clements, with a foreword by The Nation’s national affairs correspondent John Nichols. The book lays out information on impeachment clearly and concisely. And listen to The Constitution is Clear: Impeachment Hearings Now, authoritarian scholar Sarah Kendzior’s Gaslit Nation podcast interview of Bonifaz.

More info: the Whens, Whys, Hows & Whats of impeachment

When? Impeachment talk right now feels like a modern day Goldilocks & the Three Bears, with some people saying “Too soon!” others “Too late!” and the rest “Now!”

  • In the first category we most notably find House Speaker Pelosi and some other House leadership members, who say we need more investigations and more witnesses and more evidence.
  • In the second are those who think we already lost the “window.” According to them, we’re now too close to the 2020 elections and we should just settle it at the ballot box.
  • The third category includes those who’ve been on board all along or have recently reached the tipping point. This large group includes Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, who wrote To End a Presidency, the Power of Impeachment, which cautioned against impeachment, but who is now calling for hearings after the release of the Mueller report. Also in the “Now!” group: members of Congress angered by stonewalling over ignored subpoenas and worse, and some of the 900+ former federal prosecutors who signed onto a statement saying they believe Trump’s conduct as described in the Mueller Report would result in multiple felony obstruction of justice charges for any other person.

Why?

  • For one, as those former federal prosecutors put their reputations on the line to publicly state, the Mueller Report describes numerous acts that satisfy all of the elements for an obstruction charge, conduct that obstructed or attempted to obstruct the truth-finding process, as to which the evidence of corrupt intent and connection to pending proceedings is overwhelming. And, as we used to say to people who complained that the Mueller investigation was taking too long – he keeps committing crimes!
  • In addition, even if it’s unlikely that 45 will be removed from office, we can’t stand by while he shreds the Constitution and damages our democratic institutions. 

How & What?

  • Short answer: Impeachable offenses, impeachment inquiry, articles of impeachment, voting in House, trial in Senate. Sometimes people think impeachment means removal from office, but that happens only if the Senate votes to convict. Bill Clinton was impeached in the House, and acquitted in the Senate.
  • Longer answer:
    • Impeachment doesn’t begin as a foregone conclusion. It begins with an investigation opened by the House Judiciary Committee.
    • Second, the impeachment inquiry can be done quickly or slowly, to accommodate the election season.
    • Third, we believe a well-organized review of Trump’s impeachable offenses won’t hurt Democrats – it would rather be compelling television, informing the public of every high crime and misdemeanor.
    • Fourth, if the Republican dominated Senate refuses to convict, the voters can “convict” at the ballot box, armed with evidence from the House inquiry.
    • Finally, for those who worry about Pence becoming #46, the failure of the Senate to convict resolves that concern, and the investigation may entangle Pence in some of the offenses.

There’s a spectrum of pressure we can put on our electeds, depending in part on our own decisions about how to proceed. The point is that we should NOT sit idly by and say “Wait for 2020” – and you, dear IEB member, can choose to pressure for impeachment or impeachment-adjacent actions – whatever feels right to you. Whether or not we succeed in launching an impeachment inquiry, whether or not that inquiry helps end the Trump nightmare, our actions matter. Bear witness. Go on the record. Stand up and be counted at what could be the most important moral and legal turning point in our lifetimes. 

 

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

Nancy Latham is on IEB’s Governance Committee, and is a passionate member of the Resistance. In her day job, she works with non-profits, foundations, and government agencies that support greater equity and justice through initiatives in youth development, education, housing, and community development.

Imp Peach Mint photo: Indivisible San Francisco’s Master Steve Rapport 

Building Teams to Secure Our Elections

Haleh S contributed to this article

A webinar presented by the Secure Elections Network titled “Elections Officials: Building a Team to Secure Our Elections” on May 19 at 5 PM, will feature speaker Tina Barton, an election security advocate and the City Clerk of Rochester Hills, Michigan. In her presentation, “Building Networks/Working Together to Build Election Security,” Barton will describe her community work and ideas for creating a team of election officials and advocates to secure the 2020 elections.

Barton was appointed to Michigan’s Election Security Commission by the MI Secretary of State. The Commission, the first of its kind, was created in March 2019 to help boost voter confidence, increase turnout, and secure the integrity of elections against known and future threats such as hacking. Barton also oversaw Michigan’s first risk limiting audit pilot project after the 2018 midterm elections.

The Secure Elections Network (SEN) is made up of leaders and members of several Indivisible groups nationwide, including Indivisible East Bay. For more info about the webinar, email stephanie.chaplin20@gmail.com. You can watch SEN’s past webinars here. And read our articles about prior SEN webinars: Ballot Marking Devices 101 and Indivisible Webinar to Secure Our Elections

If you want to learn more about the work that IEB’s Voter Rights & Election Integrity team is doing, 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

Haleh S. is an Engineer turned Lawyer, turned Activist