Saturday, July 21, 2018

Tell Congress: Veterans deserve better than Robert Wilkie for Dept. for Veterans Affairs

Petition to the U.S. Senate:
"Block and resist Robert Wilkie's nomination to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. His racist and anti-LGBTQ history and record of defending hateful individuals and institutions is unbefitting of the office."
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The brains behind Trump's transgender ban is poised to take over the Department of Veterans Affairs – and that's not the only disqualifying mark on his record.1
Robert Wilkie also proudly defended racists like Jesse Helms and Trent Lott and used racial and homophobic smears to attack Democratic candidates. He is a longtime loyalist to the Confederate cause, regularly appearing at events and supporting organizations that push to display the Confederate flag. Wilkie is just one more example of Trump preferring those who lean toward his own racist, bigoted worldview.2
Wilkie's past affiliations and statements are unbefitting of someone who will have to serve veterans regardless of their race, sexual orientation or gender identity. We need to make it clear that Wilkie has no place as VA secretary.
First, Trump fired VA Secretary David Shulkin for opposing the White House's efforts to hand parts of the VA over to Wall Street and for-profit companies. Then, Trump tried to install his unqualified personal doctor, Ronny Jackson, only to see the nomination backfire when Jackson's turbulent history and mismanagement came to light. Now, Trump has nominated Department of Defense official Robert Wilkie, who has his own skeletons in his closet.3 Wilkie:
  • Proudly defended racists like Jesse Helms and Trent Lott. Wilkie worked for and publicly championed former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, who opposed Martin Luther King, Jr. and called LGBTQ Americans “weak, morally sick wretches.” He later defended Trent Lott after the senator praised Strom Thurmond's segregationist campaign for the presidency.4
  • Has his own racist and homophobic track record. Wilkie once attacked a Democratic senator for having “openly courted money from the homosexual community." As executive director of the North Carolina GOP, he defended a racist ad campaign implying there were enough black members of Congress already. On top of it all, he has led the Trump administration's efforts to impose a cruel transgender ban on the military.5
  • Crusaded for the confederate cause. Wilkie spent years as a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and would appear routinely at annual memorial ceremonies for the Confederacy. He has supported displaying the Confederate flag and once attacked Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, then the sole Black senator, for opposing an effort to patent a logo that included the Confederate flag.6
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs serves all veterans, not just straight white southerners. Wilkie's track record will make it impossible for many veterans to believe that he has their best interests at heart. We need to make sure senators of both parties don't deliberately overlook Wilkie's track record and instead oppose his nomination.
Tell the Senate: Veterans deserve better than Robert Wilkie. Click below to sign the petition:
Heidi Hess, CREDO Action
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  1. Paul Sonne and Lisa Rein, "Trump’s VA pick, once a defender of Confederate symbols, built his career serving polarizing figures," The Washington Post, June 26, 2018.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Tell Congress stop privatizing incarceration of immigrant families and asylum seekers

Privatized detention and incarceration centers are hell on earth--and they are big business for private companies. Ending private detention is a way to start ending detention - period.

Between 2014 and 2018, the Office of Refugee Resettlement paid private companies $3.4 billion to house migrant children. Further, 44 percent of those companies face serious, well documented reports and allegations of child maltreatment.

In these centers children suffer from:
  • Forced administration of psychotropic drugs
  • Jail-like conditions with armed officers
  • Physical abuse, sexual abuse and even death
Sign this petition to demand Congress end privatizing detention and incarceration now!

Another $2 billion is spent on adults facilities--more of which are being built to support Trump’s white nationalist immigration policy. These privatized detention centers are big money makers for the industry. And Trump has benefited from these industries, receiving monetary donations from industry CEOs. This is sickening and must end now.
Sign this petition to demand that Congress stop privatizing detention and incarceration centers that abuse thousands of immigrant children and families!

Message to Congress:

We demand that you end privatization of detention and incarceration of immigrant families and asylum seekers. These private contracts have led to documented cases of physical, psychological, and sexual abuses of children and families. Children have died in these facilities. End the suffering and injustices of these cruel companies. Stop privatizing detention of immigrant families now.

Participating Partners:
  • Brave New Films
  • Courage Campaign
  • Daily Kos
  • Franciscan Action Network
  • People Demanding Action
  • People's Action
  • PFAW (People For the American Way)
  • Progress America
  • Rashida Tlaib for Congress
  • United We Dream

Tell Congress: Protect the Endangered Species Act from Republican attacks

click to enlarge 

The petition to Congress reads:
"Forcefully reject and work to block any proposal that would gut the Endangered Species Act."
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Protect the Endangered Species Act from Republican attacks
It's absolutely alarming: The Endangered Species Act itself is now as threatened as the wildlife that it's meant to protect.
Republican Sen. John Barrasso, longtime friend of the fossil fuel industry and enemy of the ESA, recently proposed new legislation to severely weaken the decades-old law that has saved dozens of endangered species and helped the recovery of hundreds more.1
What's more, the Trump administration just announced its own plans to roll back protections in the ESA to make it easier to de-list species.2
The future of countless threatened species is at stake if we don't take action now. We must speak out to build massive public pressure on Congress to reject this legislation and stop any attempt to weaken the ESA.
Since it was enacted in the 1970s, the ESA has been wildly successful in protecting endangered species on the brink of extinction.3 More than 99 percent of all species listed on the ESA have been saved, including the iconic bald eagle, grey wolf, whooping crane, and grizzly bear.
Yet, under Sen. Barrasso's purely political, unscientific proposal, these incredible gains to protect imperiled animal and plant species could be completely wiped out. His legislation would shift much of the broad protection authorities away from the federal government and onto the states, that lack the resources to protect endangered species.4
It's no surprise that Sen. Barrasso has been leading the charge to gut the ESA: He is one of the fossil fuel and mining industries' top recipients of campaign cash. From 2011 to 2016, Barrasso received more than $700,000 from extractive industries that are eager to exploit the land that endangered species inhabit.5 And, as a result, Barrasso has been more than willing to do the industry's bidding. He has a long legislative record attacking the ESA, having led the charge on 10 bills to gut the ESA and voting against the law nearly a dozen times.6
This is a fight we can win. While Barrasso and the fossil fuel industry continue to wage a lobbying and public relations campaign to weaken the law, the public is not falling for their spin. Polls show that the ESA is wildly popular – 90 percent of voters support the law and 70 percent believe scientists, not politicians, should decide which species should be listed under the act.7
At a time when climate change is threatening endangered species at an ever-growing rate, our public officials should be working to enact stronger protections, not weaker ones that allow the fossil fuel industry to exacerbate the climate crisis. Please add your name today demanding that Congress reject this dangerous Republican attack on our nation's endangered species.
Tell Congress: Protect the Endangered Species Act from Republican attacks. Click the link below to sign the petition:
- Josh Nelson, CREDO Action
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  1. Mark Hand, "Republican senator wants to undermine the law that saved the bald eagle," ThinkProgress, July 2, 2018.
  2. Miranda Green and Timothy Cama, "Trump administration introduces proposal to roll back Endangered Species Act protections," The Hill, July 19, 2018.
  3. Center for Biological Diversity, "A Wild Success: A Systematic Review of Bird Recovery Under the Endangered Species Act," June 2016.
  4. Hand, "Republican senator wants to undermine the law that saved the bald eagle."
  5. Rebecca Bowe, "What’s Behind Attacks on the Endangered Species Act? Lots of Industry Money," July 18, 2017.
  6. Center for Biological Diversity, "Senator Barrasso Proposes Legislation to Gut Endangered Species Act," July 2, 2018.
  7. Tulchin Research, "Poll Finds Overwhelming, Broad-Based Support for the Endangered Species Act Among Voters Nationwide," July 6, 2015.

Tell your Representative: Don't allow mining to pollute Boundary Waters Wilderness

TAKE ACTION  Speak out to defend Boundary Waters!

A small but vocal group of representatives in the U.S. House are encouraging President Trump to allow foreign companies to set up mining operations in some of the nation's most iconic wild places.

Not only are they pushing for mining around the rim of the Grand Canyon, they are also targeting the beloved Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota.

Take action: Tell your Representative to defend Boundary Waters.

As the most frequently visited wilderness in our country, Boundary Waters is a national treasure. Its vast system of more than 1,000 lakes and rivers provides endless canoe, kayaking and fishing adventures. But this interconnected water system also makes the area especially sensitive to toxic pollution that would be introduced by nearby mining.

It's important that this destructive idea does not catch on in Congress! Tell your Representative to oppose mining on the edge of Boundary Waters Wilderness and other special wild places.

- The Wilderness Society 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Tell Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to stop covering for Trump

Tell Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:
"Stop blocking a vote on the bipartisan legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation."
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Mitch McConnell must stop covering for Trump
Donald Trump has crossed a line that even Republicans can't ignore.
After Trump sided with Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was forced to say, "The Russians are not our friends… I have complete confidence in our intelligence community and the findings that they have announced."1
But for months, McConnell has been trying to kill the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, the bipartisan bill that would stop Trump from sabotaging Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump's Russia ties. On Wednesday, just a day after Trump tried to mitigate the damage of his disastrous Putin presser, he once again sided with Putin over U.S. intelligence.2 It's completely unacceptable, and Republicans must defend our democracy by passing legislation to protect the Mueller investigation.
Tell Mitch McConnell: Bring the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act to the Senate floor for a fair up or down vote. Click here to sign the petition.
McConnell says he will not allow a Senate vote on this bipartisan legislation because he doesn’t think Trump will try to fire Mueller.3 But Trump already tried fire to Mueller last summer and only backed down when White House staff threatened to quit.4
Since then, Mueller’s investigation has yielded multiple indictments of high-level Trump associates.5 It has produced five guilty pleas. Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort is sitting in jail awaiting trial.6 Last Friday, the DOJ released new indictments accusing 12 Russians of hacking the DNC in July of 2016.7
The vast majority of Americans think Mueller should conduct his investigation without White House interference.8 That fact isn’t lost on the many GOP senators, who’ve said they agree with the American people that Trump would be crossing a red line by disrupting the investigation now. A vote on this bill would send a strong message to Trump that the Senate will no longer be complicit in his attempts to undermine the investigation, especially after his disastrous Putin press-conference.
With an illegitimate autocrat occupying the White House, our system of laws needs the strongest possible defense – no White House is above the law. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Senate must put a check on Trump and protect the integrity of the Mueller investigation.
Tell Mitch McConnell: Bring the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act to the Senate floor for a fair up or down vote. Click the link below to sign the petition.
- Kaili Lambe, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
  1. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Nicholas Fandos and Thomas Kaplan, "Republicans Rebuke Trump for Siding With Putin as Democrats Demand Action," The New York Times, July 16, 2018.
  2. John Wagner and Felicia Sonmez, "White House attempts to clarify Trump’s response to whether Russia is still targeting U.S. elections ," The Washington Post, July 18, 2018.
  3. Lauren Gambino, "McConnell says he will not allow vote on bill protecting Mueller from firing," The Guardian, April 17, 2018.
  4. Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, "Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit," The New York Times, Jan. 25, 2018.
  5. Carl Hulse, "Push for Special Counsel Bill Shows G.O.P.’s Rising Fear Mueller Will Be Fired," The Washington Post, April 19, 2018.
  6. Chris Megerian, "Pivotal moments in Mueller’s Trump investigation: 5 guilty pleas, 17 indictments and more," Los Angeles Times, May 17, 2018.
  7. Mark Mazzetti and Katie Benner, "12 Russian Agents Indicted in Mueller Investigation," The New York Times, July 13, 2018.
  8. Scott Clement and Emily Guskin, "Post-ABC poll: Majority of Americans support Mueller’s probe of Russia, Trump campaign," The Washington Post, April 13, 2018.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Urge your Rep to oppose these BAD Amendments to the Appropriations Bill

Today, Wednesday July 18, Congress is anticipated to be voting on amendment 63 to the Department of Interior Appropriations bill that would deeply undercut Ironwood Forest National Monument. (Rep. Paul Gosar's amendment defunds Arizona's Ironwood National Forest)

While researching the Department of Interior Appropriations bill, a Sustainable Tucson activist uncovered some other disastrous amendments (below.) 

Please, call your Representative now and ask them to oppose the amendments to the Department of Interior Appropriations bill that you disapprove of.  Read off the numbers of the amendments you want them to oppose. 

Key AZ representatives to contact regarding your opposition to amendment 63 are Paul Gosar himself (202-225-2315), Martha McSally (202-225-2542), Tom O’Halleran (202-225-3361) and Kyrsten Sinema (202-225-9888).

Bad Amendments to the Department of Interior Appropriations bill

33. Eliminates funding for Diesel Emission Reduction Grants and sends the savings to the spending reduction account.

38. Transfers funds from the Forest Service land acquisition account to the spending reduction account.

39. Reduces funding for the National Endowment on the Arts and the Humanities by 15 percent.

43. Prohibits the use of funds for enforcing the Obama Administration's EPA Methane Rule.

44. Prohibits funds from implementing the Social Cost of Carbon rule.

47. Prohibits funds from being used to regulate trailers under the Clean Air Act.

48. Prohibits the use of funds to implement or enforce the threatened species listing of the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse under the Endangered Species Act.

50. Prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from using any funds to take retaliatory, or EPA described “backstop” actions, against any of the six states in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in the event that a state does not meet the goals mandated by the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load.

56. Prohibits funds made available by this Act to be used to implement or enforce the EPA’s ground level ozone rule.

59. Prohibits the EPA from using funds to give formal notification under, or prepare, propose, implement, administer, or enforce any rule or recommendation pursuant to, section 115 of the Clean Air Act.

61. Ensures that none of the funds made available by this Act may be used for the Environmental Protection Agency.

63. Bar funds to carry out the Ironwood Forest National Monument proclamation

66. Prevents the enforcement of limitations or prohibitions on the use of genetically modified crops in commercial agricultural operations conducted on National Wildlife Refuges.

69. States that no funds should be made available for Environmental Justice Small Grants issued by the Office of Environmental Justice.

Urge your senator to oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, because the President shouldn't be above the law

Foreign companies shouldn’t be able to spend money in our elections.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t agree with that basic principle – and now a Russian company indicted in February as part of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation is trying to use a decision written by Kavanaugh to get the case dismissed.

That’s just one of Kavanaugh’s extreme views on our democracy. He has written that he believes the president is above the law, he would give wealthy donors and corporations more power in politics, and he even upheld a discriminatory voter suppression law in South Carolina.

Momentum is building to oppose Kavanaugh, but we need to make sure senators know exactly why he’s unacceptable.

Call your senators now at (202) 224-3121 and ask them to oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination because of his extreme views.

Here’s a suggested script for when you call:

“Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent. I’m calling to ask Senator (NAME) to oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. I’m very concerned about his views on money in our elections, his belief that the president is above the law, and his past rulings on voting rights and foreign money. Please oppose his nomination. Thank you.”

Concord Management and Consulting was accused of failing to register as a foreign agent and report its election-related expenditures to the government. Now the company is using Kavanaugh’s decision in a case involving the Foreign Elections Campaign Act to try to get the case thrown out. Kavanaugh’s decision left the door open for unlimited spending by foreign groups on “issue advocacy” – ads that most people would consider election spending, but because they do not explicitly say to vote for or against a candidate, Kavanaugh’s narrow reading would allow them.

We don’t need a Supreme Court justice who sides with the wealthy and powerful over the rest of us. We don’t need a justice who was handpicked by the same wealthy special interests that are now spending millions of dollars to make sure he’s confirmed.

Call your senators now at 202-224-3121 and tell them to oppose Kavanaugh.

After you call, help spread the word by sharing our blog post about Kavanaugh’s record.

-Francoise Stovall, Every Voice


*see other contact information for your senators at the top of the column to the right.