Friday, August 18, 2017

My response to Rep. McSally's letter about the Importance of Arizona's National Monuments.


Today I got this letter in response to a petition I signed....

Thank you for contacting our office about the future of Arizona’s national monuments. Because of your interest in this issue, I’m sending you the news release below. It was issued earlier today.

Congressional Seal



For Immediate Release
August 17, 2017
U.S. Rep. McSally Urges Secretary of Interior to Consider the Importance of Arizona’s National Monuments
Requests Secretary Consider State, Local, and Public Comment while Reviewing National Monuments as Directed by Executive Order

TUCSON – U.S. Representative Martha McSally today sent a letter strongly urging U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to take stakeholders’ input and public comments into account before making recommendations to rescind, reduce, or alter several of Arizona’s National Monuments.

“Arizona has more National Monuments than any other state. In addition to the pristine and unique geological formations, extensive forests and diverse wildlife found at these Monuments, these National Park units attract thousands of visitors annually providing economic activity and jobs in our state,” wrote Congresswoman McSally in the letter. “As you consider the remaining Arizona Monuments under review, I request that you place the highest level of care on state and local stakeholders’ input and the public comments you received before making your recommendations.”

On April 26, 2017 the President issued an Executive Order directing Secretary Zinke to conduct a thorough review of certain National Monuments designated under the Antiquities Act and make recommendations about their designations. The Executive Order required the Secretary to particularly focus on lands that were created after January 1, 1996 that are larger than 100,000 acres.

The Secretary began reviewing National lands in April 2017. On August 4, 2017 he issued his first recommendation on an Arizona National Park. Of the 27 National Monuments currently under his review, Ironwood Forest, Vermilion Cliffs, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona have not yet received a recommendation from Secretary Zinke.

To view a PDF of the letter, click HERE.

The full letter text follows.

August 17, 2017
The Honorable Ryan Zinke
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Zinke,

In response to the President’s April 26, 2017 Executive Order directing you to review National Monument designations, I request that you carefully consider the impact of your recommendations on Arizona.
Arizona has more National Monuments than any other state, and the President’s Executive Order which directs you to recommend rescissions, reductions, or alterations to National Monuments over 100,000 acres created since 1996, will have a particularly profound impact in Arizona and on my constituents. As you are aware, four National Monuments in Arizona—Ironwood Forest, Vermilion Cliffs, Grand Canyon-Parashant, and Sonoran Desert—were included in your initial review. In addition to the pristine and unique geological formations, extensive forests and diverse wildlife found at these Monuments, these National Park units attract thousands of visitors annually providing economic activity and jobs in our state.

You have recently made recommendations concerning several of the 27 National Monuments under review, including the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona, and I appreciate your thoughtfulness. As you consider the remaining Arizona Monuments under review, I request that you place the highest level of care on state and local stakeholders’ input and the public comments you received before making your recommendations.

Sincerely,

Martha McSally
Member of Congress


Here is my personal response:

Thank you for forwarding me this letter. Please, thank Representative McSally for writing it.

I hope this means that she is reconsidering her position about cutting back regulations like the Clean Water Act that protect our streams and national parks.

While a new mine may create 260 jobs, ecotourism provides over 3000 jobs in Pima County alone. 43 million people visited Arizona in 2016 who collectively spent $21.2 billion in the state. The money spent by visitors supports jobs and generates tax revenue. The $3.09 billion in 2016 tax revenue equals an annual tax savings of $1,186 for every Arizona household and supported 184,200 industry jobs. Who wants to view the Grand Canyon through a grey haze.

Drive down the back roads of Arizona and you will see one ugly boarded up ghost town after another and huge pits. While the jobs are temporary, the damage to the land and water last much longer.

In addition to polluting our air and water, extracting coal uses up water. We just can't afford to use up all that water. As more and more states experience droughts, there will be even more competition for our already depleted water supply.

It's time that we transition out of dirty coal and towards more sustainable clean energy. Solar energy creates more high paying jobs than all of the fossil fuel industries combined. Protecting our public lands and waterways is vital for the future of Arizona and our economy.

Sincerely,
Jana Segal
Sustainable Living Tucson

Sign the petition: It’s not “alt-right,” it’s white supremacy

Tell traditional corporate media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and NBC:
“Stop sanitizing and normalizing white supremacists and Nazis. Stop using the term 'alt-right.'”
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
Dear Jana,
“Alt-right” has got to go
“Alt-right” has got to go.
Donald Trump has emboldened white supremacists across the country to emerge from the sewers of the extreme right wing into the light of day. But before Trump’s rise to power, white supremacists got a 21st century rebrand.1
Richard Spencer, an infamous white supremacist who wants to create an Aryan homeland for dispossessed white people, coined the term “alt-right” in 2008.2 He wanted to encapsulate extremist right-wing ideals of “white identity” and the preservation of “Western civilization” and make room for a different kind of conservative.3 What he has really made room for is a new kind of white supremacist, unburdened by the negative baggage of Klan robes or Nazi swastikas.
When traditional corporate media outlets call today’s white supremacists “alt-right,” they sanitize and normalize a movement that seeks to reverse decades of civil rights gains and solidify white power and privilege, using violence if necessary. They need to stop.
Last weekend, white supremacists spent almost 24 hours violently promoting their white resentment and rage in Charlottesville, Virginia. Their torchlit cries of “white lives matter,” “Jews will not replace us,” “one people, one nation, end immigration” and “heil Trump” gave way to fights with counter protesters and finally a terror attack that killed one counter protester and injured almost 20 more.
What white supremacists planned in Charlottesville was more like a military invasion than a protest.4 They seemed more committed to inciting violence and raising the profile of their extremist movement than staging a peaceful rally.5
Since the weekend, Trump has led the way in condoning their terrifying actions and communicating to them that he is on their side.6 The tweeter-in-chief was silent while torch- and assault-weapon-carrying racists marched through the streets. When he first spoke out, he shamefully blamed “many sides” for the violence. It took him 48 hours to condemn the racist violence in Charlottesville, 48 hours that white supremacists celebrated as a major victory. And the condemnation barely lasted a day. As the week wore on, Trump characterized Nazi extremists as "very fine people" and said it was "sad" that Confederate monuments were being removed.
But the media played a powerful role as well. Though most outlets condemned Trump’s refusal to call out racism in his initial statement, they repeatedly referred to the white supremacist Nazi terrorists as protesters and their race riot as a rally or clash.7,8 They gave space to guests who tried to strike false equivalencies between the white supremacists and anti-racist counter protesters or the Black LIves Matter movement more broadly. This is not the time for the media to normalize white supremacists as conventional political actors wearing suits and ties and pretend that there are two sides to white supremacy and Nazism. As Van Jones pointed out while blasting Trump:
This is a day in which… an American citizen was assassinated in broad daylight by a Nazi. A Nazi, who the day before had been marching with torches down American streets saying anti-Jewish, anti-black stuff… this not a time to talk about both sides.9
When it comes to this kind of hate, there are not many sides. There are not two sides. The media needs to do better and we need to force them to act.
Before Charlottesville, the Associated Press Stylebook raised flags about the use of “alt-right” in media coverage of the white supremacy movement, and suggested that reporters “avoid” using the term, but did not go as far as recommending that reporters not use it.10 This week, they took a slightly stronger stance. They still suggest that writers “avoid” the term but also call out “alt-right” as a “euphemism to disguise racist aims.”11
These guidelines, which reporters and editors do not even consistently follow, are not enough. Outlets that use “alt-right” are dignifying white supremacy’s horrific racism, xenophobia, misogyny, anti-Semitism and anti-LGBTQ hate. That’s why ThinkProgress stopped using the term last November.12 Other media outlets should follow their lead.
Tell media outlets: Call white supremacy what it is. Stop using the term “alt-right.” Click the link below to sign the petition:
- Heidi Hess, Senior Campaign Manager

References:
  1. Oliver Willis, "What is the 'alt-right'? A guide to the white nationalist movement now leading conservative media," Media Matters for America, Aug. 25, 2016.
  2. SPLC, "Richard Bertrand Spencer," accessed Aug. 15, 2017.
  3. SPLC, "Alternative Right," accessed Aug. 15, 2017.
  4. Zenobia Jeffries, "Charlottesville was not a 'protest turned violent,' it was a planned race riot," Yes Magazine, Aug. 12, 2017.
  5. Richard Fausset and Alan Feuer, "Far-Right groups surge into national view in Charlottesville," The New York Times, Aug. 13, 2017.
  6. Zack Beauchamp, "Trump loves saying “radical Islamic terrorism.” He has a tough time with “white supremacy.”" Vox, Aug. 14, 2017.
  7. Adam Johnson, "For media, driving into a crowd of protesters is a ‘clash,’" Common Dreams, Aug. 13, 2017.
  8. German Lopez, "We need to stop acting like Trump isn’t pandering to white supremacists," Vox, Aug. 14, 2017.
  9. CREDO Mobile, "Van Jones Blasts Trump," Aug. 14, 2017.
  10. John Daniszewski, "Writing about the ‘alt-right.’" AP, Nov. 28, 2016.
  11. John Daniszewski, "How to describe extremists who rallied in Charlottesville," AP, Aug. 15, 2017.
  12. ThinkProgress, "EDITORS’ NOTE: ThinkProgress will no longer describe racists as ‘alt-right,’" Nov. 22, 2016.

Petition: against bill that absolves civil & criminal liability for drivers who hit protesters


Activist Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville, after a white supremacist ran his car through a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters.

Republican politicians have been working to make this legal for months.

A bill passed the North Carolina State House that would have absolved civil & criminal liability for drivers who hit protesters, but Heyer's tragic death has (temporarily) stalled the bill.

In response to anti-Trump and anti-racist protests, lawmakers in eighteen states have been passing laws that would not only make it harder for peaceful protesters to exercise their First Amendment rights. White supremacists can violently attack these protesters with impunity.


Sign the petition to all state legislatures: Protect anti-racist protesters from violent attacks. No to any laws that shield white supremacists from harming them.

Our Message to All state legislatures :

All protesters have a First Amendment right to demonstrate peacefully. Those who commit acts of violence—such as the man who killed Heather Heyer—must not be shielded from civil or criminal liability by such atrocious laws being proposed.

- Daily Kos

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Call on Congress to formally censure President Trump


This week, President Trump defended neo-Nazis and white supremacists on national television.

He claimed to have closely followed the events in Charlottesville, VA, where white supremacists chanted "Jews are Satan's children," shouted racial slurs at town residents, and which culminated in the murder of a young protester at the hands of a right-wing domestic terrorist.

Observing all this, he said both sides were to blame. He also said there were "fine people" on both sides.

The president has failed to condemn white supremacists in the past. But his repeated defense of them is a new low. He must bear a cost for this historic moral failure.

Join J Street and MoveOn.org in calling on Congress to formally censure President Trump.


Your letter:

I'm writing to you as a constituent deeply disturbed by President Trump's statements on the deadly events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. The president's failure to unequivocally condemn neo-Nazis and white supremacists -- and worse, his moral equivalence between those groups and protesters who bravely turned out to oppose hate -- is a stain on his presidency and upon this nation.

Congress must speak out with one voice and formally condemn President Trump's defense of white supremacists. A bipartisan censure would send a signal to the president that he has crossed a line, and would send a message to the world that his behavior this week does not represent American values.

The president failed a test of moral leadership. Now Congress is faced with a similar test. I hope you will do the right thing and back legislation to censure President Trump.

Signed,


[Your name]

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Trump wants the names and IP addresses of protesters who disagree with him

Petition to Jeff Sessions:
We demand that you immediately withdraw the DOJ effort to force Dreamhost, the web host for the Trump Resistance site disruptj20.org, to turn over the IP addresses, emails and message content from the 1.3 million site visitors leading up to the Resistance March on Inauguration Day.
The Department of Justice wants access to the 1.3 MILLION IP addresses of individuals who visited a Trump Resistance site leading up to the January inauguration.1
Let me repeat that: The Department of Justice, led by Trump-goon Jeff Sessions, wants the names and IP addresses of 1.3 million people who simply visited a Resistance website leading up to Trump’s inauguration.
This is not a drill, this is how The Handmaid’s Tale and 1984 get started. Tell the DOJ to back off. Sign the petition demanding they withdraw their outrageous search for the IP addresses of Trump Resisters.
The DOJ’s search warrant is more than a step too far, it’s a step off a bridge. Trump wants to use his position as President to identify as many people who disagree with his politics as possible.
The Constitution’s Bill of Rights was written to protect citizens against the overreach of government. And now the DOJ is stomping all over it – attacking free political speech and the right to peaceably assemble.
If we don’t push back now, the Trump administration will just get even more zealous with infringing on our civil liberties.
The Resistance movement was built out of the need to protect our country and the people we love from a xenophobic bigot in the White House. Now Trump and Sessions have their sights set on them.
This is not a drill: Sign the petition to demand the DOJ immediately withdraw their search sfor the IP addresses of Trump Resisters.

Sources:
1. The Hill, “Justice demands 1.3M IP addresses related to Trump resistance site,” August 14, 2017.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tell Congress: Protect medical marijuana from Jeff Sessions

Fresh off of renewing the racist “war on drugs” and boosting private prisons, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is now going after sick people.
In a private letter to congressional leaders, Sessions demanded permission to prosecute medical marijuana providers and patients. For years, a bipartisan agreement in Congress has denied funding to the Department of Justice for such prosecutions. Now, Sessions is using scare tactics to try and undo that agreement.1
In states where medical marijuana is permitted, fewer people get hooked on dangerous opioids.2 Sessions’ dangerous crusade will put sick folks at risk and supercharge the opioid epidemic. We can’t let that happen.
Jeff Sessions once allegedly joked that he had no problem with the Ku Klux Klan “until I found out they smoked pot.”3 That’s all you need to know about his warped priorities. Since taking office, Sessions has insisted that America is in the grip of a crime wave even though violent crime is at historic lows, demanded that prosecutors pursue the strongest possible penalties for non-violent offenses, hamstrung oversight of abusive police departments and recommitted to using dangerous and inefficient private prison companies.4
Now, he is going after sick people and risking inflaming the opioid epidemic. Sessions personally requested that the Senate Appropriations Committee reject an amendment, in place since 2014, that bans the Department of Justice from interfering with states that permit medical marijuana distribution, use or possession. The powerful committee recently rejected Sessions’ request – but the rest of Congress still has to agree in order for the amendment to be included in final legislation.5,6
Sessions is trying to turn back the clock and reboot the war on drugs, putting lives at risk in the process. He already has bipartisan opposition, but we need to make sure lawmakers find the courage to fight his scaremongering.
When people do not have access to medical marijuana, they are more likely to turn to dangerous, addictive and potentially lethal opiate painkillers. The National Institute on Drug Abuse confirms more and more research showing that states with medical marijuana laws have fewer overdoses and deaths.7
Sessions’ racist, xenophobic, pro-incarceration tenure at the Department of Justice is one of the most damaging parts of the Trump administration. Already over 368,000 CREDO members have called for his removal. We can win this fight to protect patients and further show that Sessions has no place in the Department of Justice, so we need to speak out with force immediately.
Petition to Congress:
"Protect sick people and fight the opioid epidemic by resisting Jeff Sessions’ misguided crusade to prosecute medical marijuana providers and patients. Support bipartisan legislation banning the Department of Justice from prosecuting medical marijuana patients and respecting states' ability to set their own medical marijuana laws."
Add your name:
Thank you for speaking out.
- Credo
References:
  1. Alan Pyke, “Sessions asks Congress to let him prosecute medical pot shops, patients,” ThinkProgress, June 13, 2017.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Hanna Kozlowska, “Jeff Sessions has done more damage in his first 100 days than his boss,” Quartz, May 19, 2017.
  5. Christopher Ingraham, “Jeff Sessions personally asked Congress to let him prosecute medical-marijuana providers,” The Washington Post, June 13, 2017.
  6. Drug Policy Alliance, “Powerful Senate Committee Ties Jeff Sessions's Hands on Medical Marijuana,” July 27, 2017
  7. Ingraham, “Jeff Sessions personally asked Congress to let him prosecute medical-marijuana providers.”

Monday, August 14, 2017

Tell Chief of Staff John Kelly: There's no place for white nationalist allies in the White House


The horrific violence witnessed in Charlottesville this weekend -- culminating in a deadly terrorist attack -- is part of a growing trend of white nationalist "alt-right" hate unleashed by the 2016 campaign. The White House has a responsibility to not only condemn, but to fight this scourge. And that begins with ridding the White House of those who champion alt-right ideas and whose rhetoric emboldens white nationalists: Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.

Only days before the attack in Charlottesville, Gorka was on television downplaying the threat of white nationalist violence. This weekend proves once again that the threat is real. And any serious strategy to combat it must begin with removing these men from the White House.

Sign the petition here. It's even more powerful if you add a personal comment. 

- J Street

2. Gorka's Dubious Past Includes Failing Hungary's National Security Test, by David Neiwert for the Southern Poverty Law Center