Thursday, August 31, 2017

Carbon Fee and Dividend may be just what we need to fight climate change

Click on pic to read.

Carbon Fee and Dividend may be just the congressional solution we need to fight climate change. This is a policy that places a steadily-rising fee on the carbon content of fossil fuels. Making these dirty fuels accountable for the damage they do to our society will hasten the transition to cleaner energy — wind and solar, for instance — and cleaner forms of transportation, like electric vehicles.

Returning the revenue from the fee in equal shares to all households will shield Americans from the economic impact of the carbon fee. It also makes the fee revenue neutral, giving it greater appeal to Republicans who want to prevent the government from growing bigger.

One more feature of this policy is the application of border adjustment tariffs on imports from nations that lack an equivalent price on carbon, thereby maintaining a level playing field for American companies. These border adjustments provide a strong incentive for other countries to follow our lead with an effective carbon price.

The conservative Climate Leadership Council has proposed a similar policy. This group includes such distinguished Republicans as former Secretaries of State George Shultz and James Baker as well as former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

- Taken from MARK REYNOLDS' article in The Hill, "The Jon Snow of climate change is emerging in Congress"

Climate Solutions Caucus taking action introducing 2 Acts and blocking an anti-climate amendment

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, the Florida Republican and chairman of the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus has seen firsthand the dangers of climate change - the ankle-deep sea water that floods his district in Miami during certain high tides.

His efforts to sound the alarm and bring Republicans and Democrats together to address the risk of climate change are bearing fruit. Since the start of this Congress, membership in the Climate Solutions Caucus has more than tripled and now stands at 52, with equal numbers from both sides of the aisle. Following an August recess when many constituents asked their members of Congress to join the caucus, that number is expected to grow.
With the caucus approaching the critical mass necessary to move solutions forward, its focus is gradually shifting from recruitment to action:

In February, caucus members Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) introduced the Technologies for Energy Security Act (H.R. 1090) to extend tax credits for, among other things, small-scale wind power and geothermal energy. Among the 96 cosponsors of this legislation are half the members of the Climate Solutions Caucus.

In May, caucus members John Delaney (D-Md.) and John Faso (R-N.Y.) introduced the Climate Solutions Commission Act (H.R. 2326), which would establish a bipartisan panel to review “economically viable actions or policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” and make recommendations to the president, Congress and states.

On July 13, caucus Republicans overwhelmingly voted against an anti-climate amendment to the Defense authorization bill, marking the first time that the caucus voted as a bloc to defeat such a measure.

Taken from MARK REYNOLDS' article in The Hill, "The Jon Snow of climate change is emerging in Congress"

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Take Action to Stop Border Militarization


The House passed a funding bill that includes $1.6 billion to expand the wall at our southern border, and President Trump recently threatened a government shutdown to fund the wall. But existing walls and other border enforcement measures have only resulted in thousands of migrant deaths, environmental destruction, and the militarization of our border communities. We need humane immigration policy reform, not more walls.
Take action today – sign this petition to Senators urging them to oppose the wall and other proposals to further militarize our borders.

Protest trans ban at McSally's, ask for legislation to support trans rights

What a week.

All in one day, just prior to the terrible Hurricane Harvey crashing into Texas, we found out that:
1. There will be an announcement about the end of protections for Dreamers;
2.  Trump finalized text on an official transgender ban for military service;
3.  Racist and convicted criminal former Sheriff Joe Arpaio was pardoned.
THURSDAY a partnership of groups will be meeting to "welcome" Rep. McSally at an event featuring her.  Once again the event is a closed, $60 "pay-to-play" which is not open to regular constituents.  Instead, we will be meeting at the intersection of Skyline Dr. and Campbell to "welcome" her.

Tomorrow, Thursday August 31st at 11AM
Corner of Skyline and Campbell

Tell the Trump regime: Restore flood safety rules

The petition to the Trump administration reads:
"We cannot afford another Hurricane Harvey. To protect American lives and infrastructure in future disasters, federal agencies must rely on science-based planning. Restore the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►

Trump is unacceptable
Texas is experiencing the most extreme rainfall event in U.S. history,1 and it isn't over yet. Stranded victims on rooftops are begging for rescue. Hospitals and nursing homes are filling with polluted floodwater. Tens of thousands have been left homeless. The state will take years, if not decades, to recover.
But the harsh truth is that we can only expect more nightmare floods in the future. As our atmosphere and oceans heat up, we will face more record-breaking storms, rainfall and flooding.2 Even as first responders race to save lives, there are things we can do now to protect human life in advance of storms to come.
Yet just 10 days before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Donald Trump signed an executive order to reverse potentially life-saving flood safety rules implemented by Pres. Obama.3 This destructive, irresponsible decision risks American lives when future disasters strike. The Trump regime must reverse this order – now.
The Federal Flood Risk Management Standard requires federal agencies to take sea level rise and flood risks into account when funding new infrastructure or rebuilding after disasters.4 It is the first new U.S. flood protection rule in 40 years,5 and a former official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) called it "the most significant action taken in a generation" to safeguard U.S. infrastructure.6
Since 1998, FEMA has spent nearly $50 billion on grants in response to federally declared flood disasters, most of which have gone to rebuild public infrastructure projects like bridges, schools, roads and hospitals.7 FEMA estimates that every dollar spent on mitigation saves $4 in recovery and rebuilding costs after disasters.8
By requiring agencies to either build projects that withstand future flooding or avoid building in flood-prone areas, the new standard was supposed to move the United States toward a safer, more prepared future. Instead, Donald Trump reversed it with a stroke of his pen – making communities less safe and putting taxpayers on the hook to pay for future destruction.
Even some Republicans in Congress denounced Trump's decision to reverse the rules as "fiscally irresponsible."9 Now just two weeks later, Congress is now returning after its recess to contemplate a budget that will require increased emergency funds and flood insurance costs. Hurricane Harvey will cost Texas between $30 billion and $100 billion in damage, if not more.10 Experts say that if the Trump regime does not restore the flood standard, much of the federal funds sent to rebuild will be wasted on construction that won't withstand the next severe storm.11 And these numbers hide the human cost of that damage, including lives lost.
Trump's refusal to listen to scientists and experts is putting Americans at risk. We cannot let the right-wing extremists in the Trump regime and Congress politicize preparation for natural disasters. We need our federal government to use the best available science to protect our roads, bridges, schools and hospitals. Anything less is gambling with our future.
Now is the time to push the Trump administration to reinstate the flood safety rules and restore the role of science in government policy.
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
Want to make a donation now to directly help those most in need in the wake of Hurricane Harvey?
Click here to view a list of resources and opportunities to donate compiled by CREDO staff.
References:
  1. Jason Samenow, "Harvey marks the most extreme rain event in U.S. history," The Washington Post, Aug. 29, 2017.
  2. National Climate Assessment, "Findings: Extreme Weather," 2014.
  3. John Nichols, "How Donald Trump and Elaine Chao sold off flood-control policy to the highest bidders," The Nation, Aug. 28, 2017.
  4. Franklin Nutter and Robert Moore, "Don't block Obama's flood rule," POLITICO, July 6, 2016.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Harriet Sinclair, "Trump rescinded Obama's flood-risk rule weeks before Hurricane Harvey hit," Newsweek, Aug. 27, 2017.
  7. Nutter and Moore, "Don't block Obama's flood rule."
  8. Ibid.
  9. Nancy Klingener, "Curbelo: Trump Infrastructure Order Is 'Irresponsible,'" WLRN, Aug. 16, 2017.
  10. Eliza Relman, "Trump reversed regulations to protect infrastructure against flooding just days before Hurricane Harvey," Business Insider, Aug. 28, 2017.
  11. Ibid.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tell Congress: No backdoor cuts to Social Security. Reject the Social Security Commission Act of 2017.

The petition to Congress reads:
“Social Security is not a hostage or a bargaining chip. Reject H.R. 3423, the Social Security Commission Act of 2017, and remove Social Security from the upcoming debt ceiling debate.”
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►

Sign the petition: Stop the latest sneak attack on Social Security.
A handful of conservative Democrats in Congress are teaming up with right-wing Republicans to sneak through legislation that would slash our Social Security benefits.
Worse, they are effectively taking Social Security hostage by attaching the scheme to a routine debt ceiling increase that must be signed into law by the end of September to prevent the U.S. government from defaulting on its debts.1
A final deal could be struck any day now that would lead to devastating cuts to Social Security benefits. We need to fight back now to make sure Congress knows that this or any other attack on Social Security benefits is unacceptable.
The Social Security Commission Act of 2017 would establish a 13-member commission, made up of seven Republicans and six Democrats, tasked with developing a proposal for ensuring Social Security’s solvency for the next 75 years. Congressional leaders would then fast-track the commission’s proposal without amendments, with limited debate and with only a simple majority’s approval in the Senate.2 The purpose of this sham commission is to justify and jam through cuts to Social Security benefits.
During the Obama administration, Republicans in Congress began the dangerous practice of holding the country’s credit rating hostage while demanding cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Even now, with one of their own in the White House, they are planning to do it again – and some conservative Democrats like Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) and Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) are helping them do it.
Not surprisingly, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which includes such anti-Social Security stalwarts as Pete Peterson, the Wall Street billionaire who built the Social Security lie machine, as well as Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the notorious co-chairs of the “Bowles-Simpson” commission to cut Social Security, supports this attack on Social Security.
We will not stand by while conservatives in Washington and on Wall Street take Social Security hostage. That’s why we’re joining our friends at Social Security Works to fight back against this dangerous proposal to fast-track slashing Social Security benefits before it is too late.
Tell Congress: No backdoor cuts to Social Security. Reject the Social Security Commission Act of 2017. Click the link below to sign the petition:
- Josh Nelson, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. Bob Bryan, "Congress has 12 working days to avoid an economic disaster — and there's good reason to panic," Business Insider, Aug. 13, 2017.
  2. Rep. John Delaney, Text: H.R.3423 — 115th Congress (2017-2018), introduced July 26, 2017.

Let your representative know that we expect them to support tax and budget policies that raise and distribute the resources needed to help current storm survivors and prepare us to withstand the next Harvey.

Andrew White helps a neighbor down a street after rescuing her from her home in the upscale River Oaks neighborhood after it was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the devastating storms and flooding in the Houston region. If you can, please support local organizations providing much-needed assistance to the people impacted most. It will take a lot to recover from Harvey in the coming days, weeks and months, but we can do it if we support each other.

Footage of flooding. 

Confronting Natural (and Unnatural) Disasters

The Houston region’s historic, devastating flooding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey stands as a stark reminder of the importance of sound public policy. We need our government to fund vital things like disaster relief and recovery efforts, and to boost disaster prevention efforts, including everything from funding necessary upgrades to our oft-neglected national infrastructure to advancing serious efforts to confront environmental degradation and climate change, which reduces our protection from natural disasters while making those disasters more destructive.

In a political climate where politicians are often rewarded for ignoring or denigrating the role of government in preventing and addressing disasters like Harvey, it’s ever more important for us to remind our elected officials that they have both the power and the responsibility to do what they can to ensure our country is able to meet these kinds of challenges. With just a few days left before members of Congress return to Washington to debate and vote on our national spending priorities, it’s important for us to let them know that we expect them to support tax and budget policies that raise and distribute the resources needed to help current storm survivors and prepare us to withstand the next Harvey.

Use these message points as a starting place to discuss the importance of funding agencies, programs, and services that help us all predict, prevent, and/or deal with large-scale disasters like Hurricane Harvey.

The completely unnatural disasters of poverty and inequality mean that poor and vulnerable people get hit the hardest when disaster strikes. That’s why disaster preparedness isn’t just about getting ready for specific disasters. It’s also about making sure families have the basics all the time, so they are healthy and secure enough to evacuate disaster zones and rebuild their lives afterward. Use the other resources in our recess toolkit to remind your representatives of the importance of making our tax and budget policies work for women and families more generally.

- We the Resistance

This is an important opportunity to hold the White House accountable. Please sign the White House Climate Science Report Petition demanding that the Trump administration stop playing politics with climate science.

It's almost impossible to come to grips with the full scope of the devastation Hurricane Harvey has bought to Texas. The tragic loss of life, homes flooded out, families evacuated and forced into shelters, entire lives turned upside down.

As the storm still rages on, our hearts go out to everyone in Harvey’s path, and to all those who will be dealing with the aftermath for months and years to come.

But there are crucial ways you can help:
  1. First thing’s first: There are many groups on the ground assisting with response efforts—from the American Red Cross to the Greater Houston Community Fund to local food banks to the Houston Humane Society. A quick Google search will give you plenty of suggestions on ways you can support the emergency response efforts.

  2. This is a good opportunity to remind people of the importance of donating blood, which can be a real lifesaver for people in crisis.

  3. Scientists are examining the many climate variables that supercharged this storm and contributed to such catastrophe—but there’s one fact that remains clear: As our climate warms, we’re experiencing ever-more devastating storm surges and record rainfalls during hurricane season—which is also why these storms are becoming more destructive and costly.
While Americans struggle with the real-life consequences of the climate crisis, the Trump administration is undercutting critical science research we need to protect ourselves—and minimize the intensity of these disasters in the decades to come.

This is an important opportunity to hold the White House accountable. Please act now to help us reach 100,000 signatures on the White House Climate Science Report Petition demanding that the Trump administration stop playing politics with climate science.

And if you’ve already signed, please share this petition on Facebook and Twitter to ask your friends to follow your lead.
Please note: Signing petitions on the White House Petition Site is a two-step process. First you must enter your information and submit the form, and then you need to check your email inbox to confirm your submission by clicking a link in a bounce-back email. It is crucial that you take both steps to ensure your name is counted.

This is our chance to make sure politics doesn’t get in the way of science—so that we can help prevent future disasters on the same level as Hurricane Harvey.

- Heather Shelby, Environmental Defense Fund 

Monday, August 28, 2017

If you are wondering how to help those in need after Harvey, here are a few options

Our hearts are breaking for the victims of Hurricane Harvey--the Houston area has now seen an unprecedented amount of rain and flooding, causing several deaths and leaving thousands displaced.
If you are wondering how to help those in need after Harvey, here are a few options:
1. To give to immediate relief efforts, you can donate to any of these local Texas food banks listed in Texas Monthly.1
2. Families with young children, the homeless, and people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable right now. To help affected families, you can donate to Driscoll Children's Hospital and the Texas Diaper Bank. To help the homeless, you can give to the Houston Coalition for the Homeless, and to help with evacuations for people with disabilities, you can give to Portlight.2
3. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has also established a local Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Here's how to donate online or by mail.
4. To help animals impacted by the floods, you can support Austin Pets Alive!, also recommended by Texas Monthly.
Officials are predicting that the flooding will get worse.3 Many people in Texas have lost everything and it will take years to rebuild their lives. No amount of help is too little or too much.
This is obviously just a partial list. If you'd like to review other options, check out these articles from the Houston ChronicleTexas Monthly, and the Huffington Post.
Thanks for helping out,
-- the UltraViolet team

Sources:
    Hurricane Harvey: How to help victims of the Texas storm, Houston Chronicle, August 27, 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sign the petition to drop all charges against the Water Protectors who peacefully stood up against the Dakota Access Pipeline going under the Missouri River


Water protectors are not criminals. They put their lives on the line to keep DAPL from putting a pipeline under the Missouri River (that provides water for 18 million Americans). Take a stand for those who stood for all of us at Standing Rock by urging North Dakota to #DropDAPLCharges now: https://www.lakotalaw.org/our-actions/drop-the-charges

Recently leaked documents reveal that a private security firm hired by DAPL parent company Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) targeted, surveilled, and provoked the peaceful and prayerful water protectors at Standing Rock.

https://www.facebook.com/LakotaPeoplesLawProject/videos/10155061096097029/

Sign the Petition to ask North Dakota's State's Attorney to drop all charges against water protectors.

I am writing to ask you to drop all charges against water protectors arrested at Standing Rock whom you are presently criminally prosecuting.

Recently unearthed documents and revelations published by several media outlets show that TigerSwan, the private security firm contracted by Dakota Access pipeline parent company Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), violated the law in numerous ways. A growing body of evidence shows that TigerSwan:

• Paid security operatives and employees to infiltrate camps to provoke violence, disruption, and dissent among the nonviolent water protectors, to create divisions based on race and religion, and to plant contraband in the belongings of peaceful and prayerful demonstrators;

• Engaged in a campaign to spread false and defaming information about Water Protectors and Native American tribal members in local, state, and national media outlets and on social media; 

• Instigated and directed state and local law enforcement to take action based on physical and electronic surveillance that violated individuals’ constitutional rights to privacy and that targeted people based on race, religion and political beliefs;

• Falsely characterized the nonviolent Water Protectors as “religiously motivated jihadists” and “domestic terrorists” in order to instigate extreme and ongoing violence against them on the part of North Dakota law enforcement, causing one woman to lose her eye and another to lose the use of her arm.

All of this was done while TigerSwan knowingly operated in the State of North Dakota as a private security company without the required state license. Moreover,  TigerSwan was also operating in the employ of the Morton County Sheriff's Office.

I urge you to take decisive action to protect the fundamental rights of the water protectors by ordering the immediate dismissal, with prejudice, of all state criminal cases brought against them as a result of their participation in the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline and its attendant threats to clean drinking water, sacred religious spaces, and our planet's environment.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Contact your Members of Congress about these 9 terrifying bills

Gotcha! 
From the article by Tom Cahill, writer of the Resistance Report:


1. H.R. 861: To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency

This bill — cosponsored by Republican members of Congress from fossil fuel-producing states — is just one sentence long, and says nothing about what would happen to the multiple environmental regulations the EPA has instituted since 1970, or its multibillion-dollar budget, or its thousands of staffers.

H.R. 861 is currently awaiting action in the subcommittee on environment.

2. H.R. 610: Tax dollars for private schools

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced this bill in January, which would redistribute funding earmarked for public schools in the form of vouchers for parents to send children to private schools. Over the long term, this would eventually bankrupt public schools, and create a stratified education system in which cash-strapped public schools would be unable to meet the educational needs of low-income students. The bill is awaiting action in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

3. H.R. 899: To terminate the Department of Education

If this bill, introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky), becomes law, the U.S. Department of Education would terminate by the end of 2018. The bill’s brevity leaves many questions unanswered, like what would happen with Department of Education grants for public schools and universities, its budget, or its staff. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has said she would personally be “fine” if the agency she heads were to be abolished.

4. H.J.R. 69: To repeal a rule protecting wildlife

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), whose constituents likely include hunters who kill wildlife for sport rather than for food, introduced this joint resolution voicing displeasure with a Department of Interior rule that prohibits “non-subsistence” hunting in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. The resolution passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.

5. H.R. 370: To repeal the Affordable Care Act

While President Obama was in office, House Republicans voted at least 60 times to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — despite its futility. However, the Trump administration has made the repeal of Obamacare a top priority, meaning the repeal bill from Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) is likely to pass.

6. H.R. 354: To defund Planned Parenthood

Despite the widely publicized debunking of the video alleging the women’s health nonprofit was selling human organs, Republicans are still refusing to stop destroying Planned Parenthood. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee) introduced a bill that would prevent any federal grants from going to Planned Parenthood for a full year unless they swore to not perform abortions. As the chart below from Planned Parenthood shows, only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood resources go toward abortions, while the vast majority of funding is used to help low-income women get STD tests, contraceptive care, and breast cancer screenings:

7. H.R. 785: National Right-to-Work legislation

Conservative ideologue Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is aiming to cripple unions at the nationwide level with a bill that would systematically deprive labor unions of the funding they need to operate. Unions often provide one of the crucial pillars of support for Democratic candidates and causes, and conservatives aim to destroy them once and for all by going after their funding. It’s important to note that right-to-work is bad for all workers, not just union members — in 2015, the Economic Policy Institute learned that wages in right-to-work states are roughly 3.2 percent lower than in non-right-to-work states.

8. H.R. 83: Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act

Multiple cities and states around the country have openly stated that they won’t abide by President Trump’s plan to aggressively round up and deport undocumented immigrants. A bill by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pennsylvania) would strip all federal funding of any city that doesn’t obey Trump’s immigration policies for up to a year.

9. H.R. 147: To criminalize certain forms of abortion

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona) wants to aggressively prosecute pregnant women seeking abortions, along with abortion providers, by making abortion a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. While Franks’ bill wouldn’t universally target all abortions, and just abortions made for sex, gender, race, or color of the child, it nonetheless opens the floodgates for future actions criminalizing abortion in the future. The bill is currently awaiting action in the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.

To fight back against these bills, call 202-224-3121, ask for your member of Congress, and tell them to vote no.

- Tom Cahill, The Resistance Report

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Demand that denim giants clean up their act and their supply chains


Photographer: Lu Guang/Greenpeace
Pollution from the world’s largest denim companies like Wrangler, American Eagle Outfitters, and Calvin Klein is contributing to the terrible air quality that’s killing 4,400 people every single day in China.

And worst yet, these companies won’t tell us how much toxic carbon they’re spewing into the atmosphere from burning coal — one of the key contributors to both climate change and deadly air pollution.

If we want to get serious about stopping climate change, we have to hold corporations accountable for all the pollution they’re responsible for—not just the pollution they’re willing to tell us about.

Tell these denim giants to come clean about their carbon emissions and stop contributing to life-threatening air pollution: Calvin Klein, Wrangler, Tommy Hilfiger, American Eagle, Lee, Guess, and Express.

This is how corporate executives line their pockets with bigger profits by disguising the pollution they pump into our air and water: they outsource production to contractors in China, where they can avoid taking responsibility for the carbon emissions created by manufacturing their products.

The apparel industry is a huge contributor to global climate change. Manufacturing a single pair of denim jeans produces 44 pounds of CO2, roughly equal to the greenhouse gas emissions from driving a passenger car nearly 50 miles.

One study shows that clothes manufacturing alone generated about 3% of the global CO2 emissions in 2011 -- roughly equal to climate pollution created by putting 163 million new cars on the road.

Tragically, global warming will likely have the most severe impacts on the developing countries that produce most of the world’s apparel. This means the people getting paid the least in this industry will bear the brunt of the impacts on their health and homes.

Dept. of Labor just took the first step toward stripping overtime pay (comments needed)


Trump’s Department of Labor has just taken the first step toward stripping overtime pay from millions of Americans.1
Tens of thousands of people fought for and won new, modernized overtime rules from the Obama administration. These rules will benefit 12.5 million Americans who will now be eligible for overtime or see an increase in their take-home pay – and could be one of the most impactful achievements of the Obama administration.2
But Donald Trump’s Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta says paying people for their labor would “create a stress on the system.”3 The Trump administration has issued a “request for information” in an attempt to solicit business excuses to strip overtime from workers. We need to expose Trump’s phony populism and fight to save overtime by submitting as many comments as possible.
In 1975, 65 percent of salaried employees received overtime pay if they worked over 40 hours a week. Until the recent reforms, that number was less than 11 percent.4 Since 2004, salaried employees were only eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay if they made less than $23,660, below the poverty level for a family of four. Under the new rules, the threshold is $47,476.5
The new rules also crack down on businesses that use massive loopholes to pay far less than the minimum wage. Today, some fast food companies pay employees the equivalent of a 40-hour-week at minimum wage – but force them to work 60 or more hours per week, spending 95 percent of their time at the cash register or sweeping floors, all while labeling them “managers” to deny time-and-a-half pay.6
It all adds up to a raise for nearly 12.5 million workers and an economic boost for all of us from putting more money in the pockets of everyday Americans. Donald Trump and his Republican partners in Congress are determined to make America a low-pay nation, and attacking overtime is part of the plan. We need to flood the Department of Labor with comments in support of the strong Obama-era overtime rules.

  1. Amy Held, "Labor Department Rethinking Obama-Era Overtime Pay Rule,” NPR, June 27, 2017.
  2. Dave Jamieson, “Obama Is Bringing Overtime Pay To Millions Of Workers,” Huff Post, May 17, 2016.
  3. Held, "Labor Department Rethinking Obama-Era Overtime Pay Rule.”
  4. Rep. Mark Takano, “Rep. Mark Takano and 31 House Democrats Call for Expanded Overtime Pay,” Jan. 19, 2015.
  5. Jamieson, “Obama Is Bringing Overtime Pay To Millions Of Workers.”
  6. Economic Policy Institute, “Why It’s Time to Update Overtime Pay Rules: Frequently Asked Questions,” Aug. 4, 2015.
  7. Ross Eisenbrey, “Where Should the Overtime Salary Threshold Be Set? A Comparison of Four Proposals to Increase Overtime Coverage,” Economic Policy Institute, December 23, 2014.

Urge President Trump to Set a Presidential Determination of At Least 75,000 Refugees


In the face of the largest global refugee crisis in modern times, the Presidential Determination represents the United States’ commitment to offering safe haven to the world’s refugees. 

As your constituent, I urge you to actively encourage the Trump administration to welcome at least 75,000 refugees to the U.S. in Fiscal Year 2018.

The Refugee Act—which passed Congress unanimously in 1980—states that before each fiscal year, the president must consult with Congress to determine the maximum number of refugees that can be resettled in the U.S. for that year.

The “Presidential Determination” does not dictate how many refugees will end up arriving, but it sets a ceiling that serves as goal for the government and refugee resettlement agencies for the coming year.

To remain a global humanitarian leader, we must continue to welcome refugees who flee their homes in search of freedom from violence and persecution. People’s lives and futures are at stake.

I believe that protecting refugees makes us stronger as a community and as a country. 

Cut and paste message above to Sen. McCain's website.

Cut and paste message above to Sen. Flakes website


Read the New York Times article: How Trump’s Executive Order Will Affect the U.S. Refugee Program


To specifically help Syrian refugees, sign MoveOn's petition.

There is a refugee crisis happening right now and the U.S. needs to show leadership and kindness by accepting these refugees from Syria and elsewhere. Germany is accepting 800,000 refugees while we are only accepting in the few thousands. We have the wealth to do it, so let's do it!

- MoveOn



Monday, August 21, 2017

Speak out in support of our water at the Pima Country board of Supervisors today

Come speak up in support of the resolution that demands for the EPA to accelerate the cleanup of 1,4 dioxene in S. Tucson, and the resolution in support of keeping the EPA's existing rules protecting the Waters of the U.S. If the EPA dismantles these rules, none of Tucson's water sources will be protected. That means Monsanto or Raytheon or the Air Force could dump toxins that end up in our aquifers.

Pima Board of Supervisors meeting
Today at 8:30 AM - 12 PM
130 W Congress St, Tucson, AZ 85701

Arrive at 8:30 am for the 9:00am call to the audience on the 1st floor.
Fill out a card, and take 3 minutes to tell our elected officials that you condemn white pride and white supremacy. Tell our elected officials that racism and hate have no place in our Tucson.
Stand up for our brothers and sisters of color. Stand up for Tucson.

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.