Thursday, January 31, 2019

Urge your state Rep to vote yes on Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan. But OPPOSE the HB2545 Amendments

Tonight at 12 is the deadline to sign the drought contingency plan. 

Please, contact your state Representative and ask them to vote yes on HJR2002 Colorado river drought contingency plan that authorizes the director of the Department of Water Resources to sign the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan. But ask them to oppose the HB2545 Amendments. (See details below.) 

To find your district:

Use that district to find your representative:

The drought-contingency package. that covers how Arizona will deal with the loss of some of the water we get from the Colorado River, was unanimously approved by the House Committee on Natural Resources, Energy and Water and now goes to the full House. It provides even more money to Pinal County farmers to help keep agriculture alive. The original plan called for giving the farmers $5 million in state tax dollars to drill new wells and construct delivery systems to replace the river water they will no longer get. But HB 2545 increases that to $9 million. On top of that, the state will put up another $20 million toward the cost of getting more groundwater for those farmers.

Sandy Bahr, director of the Grand Canyon chapter of the Sierra Club, said lawmakers were looking at the whole issue the wrong way, particularly with their focus in trying to sustain farming in Pinal County through pumping more groundwater. 'Today we have an opportunity to move down a more sustainable path regarding our water future. Unfortunately, that's not what we're doing.' Much of the drought contingency plan is designed 'to appeal to a few interest. The plan is just a stopgap measure, dealing with how the state will divide up the available water only through 2026 - and doing it by allowing farmers to pump more water out of the ground despite a history of subsidence from prior pumping. And now the state is going to pay for more of that to happen. And she said one reason members of the California congressional delegation agreed to vote to provide funds to construct the Central Arizona Project to deliver water was that the farmers agreed to give up claims to groundwater.

I just read a memo written by Sandy Bahr from the Sierra Club who is keeping up with the drought contingency negotiations. The proposed bills allow us to go on like we have been to attract development without considering how climate change will deplete our water supply. Remember Griffin - the realtor who fought to dismantle the regulations that protect our groundwater from over zealous developers? You can find her name on the HB2545 Amendments. These legislators see growth as the path for economic security, but we don't have enough water to maintain that kind of growth in our desert. They will suck us dry. 

 • HB2545 Amendments; Colorado River drought contingency (Bowers: Fernandez, Griffin) includes the following: 
  • establishes the temporary groundwater and irrigation efficiency projects fund and appropriates seven million dollars to it from the general fund. It also diverts $2.50 per acrefoot of the groundwater withdrawal fees in the Pinal Active Management Area to the fund as well. This fund is called “temporary” despite the fact that it runs the same length of time as the entire DCP, from 2019 through 2026. This fund is for constructing wells and infrastructure to increase groundwater pumping in Pinal Active Management Area and the Harquahala Irrigation Non-expansion Area. 
  • establishes the Arizona System Conservation Fund and appropriates $30 million from the general fund to the fund. This is to pay tribal nations for water to which they are entitled and keep that water in Lake Mead to delay or limit additional shortages on the system.
  • includes a limited repeal of the Water BUD (water that cannot reasonably be used directly) and is a bill to basically benefit one water company. It allows for the accumulation of longterm storage credits for stored water while at the same time pumping groundwater. Those seeking this will be back to open it up even further. Already, this applies to mining interests. It is basic math that you should not get credit for storage while at the same time you are pumping groundwater.
  • allows for the exchange of long-term storage credits between active management areas. This further complicates the water structure in Arizona and could result in more localized problems with groundwater pumping, including land subsidence.
  • allows 95 percent of effluent that is recharged to be pumped back out in a year and allows anything below that 95 percent to be credited to a long-term storage account, and allowing the credits to be used to meet requirements for assured and adequate water supplies. (
  • appropriates $2,000,000 from the general fund for one year to the augmentation and conservation assistance fund for conservation grants for conservation of groundwater in the active management areas. 
  • Includes language that indicates that we need renewed efforts to create long-term solutions and that the health of the Colorado River is important to our state’s economy, plus that sustainable long-term plans that encourage conservation are important.
There are additional public dollars that will be spent to accommodate the Pinal County agricultural interests and to prop up the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District. The Central Arizona Water Conservation District has approved $5 million for the temporary groundwater and irrigation efficiency projects fund. Tucson is committing to contribute 35,000 acre-feet of water over two years to Pinal County agriculture in exchange for long-term credits in the Tucson area and also wants the additional credit for effluent. The largest chunk of the funding will be to buy additional water from the Gila River Indian Community in order to prop up the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District, an entity that promotes unsustainable sprawl development and groundwater pumping, provided there is water being recharged somewhere.

As is often the case in the political world and certainly the case when it comes to water, all is not what it appears to be. This is not about sustaining agriculture for the future or dealing with what is now the increasing aridification of our state. It is about keeping value in lands for future development and sending the message to developers that Arizona is open for business as usual – heavily subsidized development and agriculture – and will continue to allow unfettered development despite our water issues.

The Sierra Club is pleased that some funding, although limited, will now go to conservation, and that there is some mention of the need for long-term plans, but we still think the Governor and Legislature could develop a better plan or could at least improve what is on the table. We ask that the Legislature consider a long-term plan that better protects our rivers, including the Colorado, limits groundwater pumping, and looks at deeper conservation – shifting to crops that use less water and limiting urban sprawl and unsustainable growth.

We encourage you to reject HB2545 and work on a plan that is good for all Arizonans and our future. Thank you for your consideration. For more information, please contact Sandy Bahr at (602) 999-5790 or

More information: 

Sign the petition: Demand the U.S. Senate reject Andrew Wheeler for the EPA

Andrew Wheeler, Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has built a career rooted in looking out for the coal industry — not everyday Americans. He spent years lobbying for Murray Energy, the largest coal mining conglomerate in the United States.

It’s no coincidence that they trust Wheeler to enact their dangerous deregulation agenda. Andrew Wheeler:
  • Proposed undermining the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), critical protections that limit the amount of mercury and other toxins power plants are allowed to release into the air. These safeguards protect children and families from exposure to mercury, a horribly damaging neurotoxin.
  • Struck rules on the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the super-potent climate-changing, ozone-destroying pollutants used in refrigeration, air conditioning, insulation, aerosols, and other products.
  • Scaled back a ban on deadly paint strippers containing methylene chloride, putting workers at grave risk from these products.
  • Declared an all-out war on clean cars.
The Trump-Wheeler deregulation agenda is a clear assault on our economy, environment, and public health. Wheeler cannot be trusted to lead an agency that is critical to keeping the air we breathe and the water our kids drink safe. On his watch, the EPA will do more harm than good and provide nothing but cover for bad corporate actors and polluters.

Let's send a message to the Trump administration and his allies in the fossil fuel industry: demand the Senate reject Wheeler’s nomination.

Click here to send the following message to U.S. Senate:

(Consider adding a personalized note for more impact.)

The Trump-Wheeler deregulation agenda is a clear assault on our economy, environment, and public health. Wheeler cannot be trusted to lead an agency that is critical to keeping the air we breathe and the water our kids drink safe. On his watch, the EPA will do more harm than good and provide nothing but cover for bad corporate actors and polluters. Vote NO on Andrew Wheeler.

Participating Partner Organizations:

Climate Hawks Vote
Corporate Accountability
Daily Kos
League of Conservation Voters

Tell Congress: Support the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, which would give more than one in four Americans a raise

Give America a raise! 
Petition to Congress:
"Support the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, which would give more than one in four Americans a raise."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
Congressional Democrats just united to introduce the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, which would immediately bump the minimum wage and raise it to $15 by 2024.2 Preschool teachers, fast-food workers, bank tellers and working parents: millions of Americans would benefit immediately, some seeing as much as $3,500.Time to force Trump Republicans to go on the record opposing a raise for one in four workers.1
We need to drive up public support for this bill immediately to force Republicans to show where they really stand – on the side of big business and bad bosses.
No one benefits more from raising the minimum wage than women and people of color forced into low-wage jobs by prejudice and institutional racism. Forty percent of Black workers and 34 percent of Latinx workers would see a pay increase under this legislation. Nearly 56 percent of the overall number who would get a raise are women.4
The Raise the Wage Act would eliminate the tipped wage so that even employees who get tips, like restaurant servers, are guaranteed a fair wage – a change studies show benefits workers. It would eliminate loopholes businesses use to underpay workers. Most importantly, it would peg the minimum wage to the median wage so the minimum wage stops slipping in value.5
Today, the real value of the federal minimum wage is actually a few dollars lower than it was in 1968. Boosting the minimum wage would also create jobs by injecting more money into local economies. Restaurants continue to thrive even in cities that raised the minimum wage, and more than 90 percent of those who would benefit are adults.6
In other words, every Trump Republican talking point on the minimum wage is a lie to disguise their alliance with businesses that aim to pay people as little as possible to pad their own pockets. This is our chance to show who really fights for working people.
Tell Congress: Give millions of Americans a raise. Click below to sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out,
Josh Nelson, Co-Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
  1. National Employment Law Project, "Raise the Wage Act of 2019 Letter of Support," Jan. 16, 2019.
  2. Dave Jamieson, "House Democrats Propose $15 Minimum Wage With New Majority," HuffPost, Jan. 16, 2019.
  3. National Employment Law Project, "Raise the Wage Act of 2019 Letter of Support."
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
More Information:  

Democrats introduce bill to hike federal minimum wage to $15 per hour - CNBC

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Tell Your Members of Congress: Repealing Waters of the U.S. Makes it Legal to Pollute Arizona Water

This map shows how the water from Cieenga Creek flows into Tucson's water supply.
This morning I listened to the confirmation hearing for Andrew Wheeler to head of the E.P.A. It was good to hear members of Congress challenging Wheeler's actions and pressing for climate action! But I was disheartened to hear Wheeler's statement that repealing the Waters of the U.S. rule would not affect the States' authority to protect their water. Unfortunately, that isn't true of Arizona. Arizona law prohibits the state from passing regulations that go beyond federal standards. So essentially repealing the Waters of the U.S. rule makes it legal to pollute our water. (See details in letter below.)

At Sustainable Tucson's environmental education meeting with Rep. Kirkpatrick, I urged her to codify the rule into law. My request is included in my water presentation that I posted here.

Please, consider writing your Representative and Senators to work on codifying the Waters of the US into law so it can't be changed by any acting president at will.

The details are included in the following e-mail I just sent to Senator Kyrsten Sinema. Please, read the letter and personalize it so it won't sound like a form letter.

You can contact Sinema at 602-598-7327 or email

If you would like to thank Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick for meeting with us and urge her to codify the Waters of the U.S. into law, I believe she can be reached at:

(I will let you know when I get more permanent contact info.)

My letter: 
Dear Senator Kyrsten Sinema,
I believe that the future of Tucson depends on preserving and protecting our water supply. Towards that end, my husband and I volunteer a great deal of our time promoting conservation and rainwater harvesting. 
I am writing to urge you to work on codifying the Waters of the U.S. Rule into law - since it is currently an EPA rule that any acting president can change at will. In fact, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are already implementing Executive Order 13778 which directs federal agencies to rescind the Waters of the U.S. that included rivers that don't flow year around. Repealing this rule will have a devastating impact on our water supply. All of our waterways are connected. If we don't protect streams and non-perennial rivers, we aren't protecting the bigger rivers. Tucson, in particular, will be negatively affected by repealing the Waters of the U.S. rule. Arizona's water has already been depleted by a 19 year drought. But repealing the Water of the U.S. Rule will leave Tucson's water supply completely unprotected.

As Pima County Administrator C.H. Huckelberry stated:
Tucsonans rely on both surface water and groundwater derived by infiltration or runoff, as well as Colorado River water. History has shown that pollutants entering dry riverbeds can contaminate our drinking water. Changes in standards for the Clean Water Act would be particularly consequential in Arizona. While other states have the authority to protect the quality of streams not subject to the Clean Water Act's jurisdiction, Arizona does NOT. In Arizona, state legislation forbids state agencies from exceeding the federal regulatory framework. Therefore, any reduction in scope of federal jurisdiction may have the effect of exempting certain areas from water quality protections at the state level. 
EPA data showed that 94 percent of streams in Arizona were protected by the Waters of the U.S. rule. These streams are small but they feed into the Gila and Santa Cruz rivers. If the protections of the Clean Water Act are reduced to perennial waters, the vast majority of Arizona's streams will have no water quality protections at all. Essentially pollution becomes legal unless the state steps in. The state means the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality - which advertises that it sped up the permitting process for businesses and reduced "burdensome" laws and regulations - 48 of them.

The Waters of the US Rule affects most of Tucson’s rivers (because most are not perennial). For example, without the Waters of the US rule, there is little to stop the operators of the Rosemont mine from dumping tailings and other pollutants into Davidson Canyon where they eventually would make their way into Cienega Creek and Tucson’s water supply. This stream provides Tucson with 20% of our ground water.

Senator Sinema, it is vital for the Waters of the U.S. rule to be codified into law to protect Tucson's water supply for now and in the future. Please, do everything you can to make the Waters of the U.S. Rule a law. 
Thank you,
Jana Segal
If you would like to share your thoughts or concerns about legislation or policy you can reach Senator Sinema's Phoenix office by calling 602-598-7327 or email

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Group of House legislators introduced H.R. 1, the “For The People Act.”

Last week, a group of House legislators introduced a bill known as H.R. 1, the “For The People Act.” As a nonpartisan watchdog, we are excited to see that the bill takes concrete steps toward ethics reforms that we have long pursued, no matter which political party is in power, namely:

  • Increasing the independence and authority of the Office of Government Ethics—making it an ethics watchdog with teeth.

  • Restricting “golden parachute” payments from private companies to employees as a financial incentive to enter government service—curbing industry’s undue influence on policymakers.

  • Strengthening penalties against lobbyists and others who fail to disclose work on behalf of foreign governments to influence public policy—holding bad actors more accountable.

As POGO begins another new year with a new Congress, we are encouraged by the ethics reforms in this bill, and will work to build bipartisan support for them. Click here to read more about this historic bill that is shaping up to be a beacon of transparency in a new year.

- Liz Hempowicz, Project On Government Oversight

More Information: 

'For the People Act' introduced by House Democrats - Kgun 9

Our largest intact old-growth forest is turning into toilet paper

Even as NRDC fights in scores of courtrooms to save our environment from the Trump administration, we continue to wage many other important campaigns as well. Today, I want to update you on our longstanding effort to protect Canada's spectacular boreal forest from destruction at the hands of giant timber and consumer product companies.
1. The Big Picture:
  • Canada's boreal forest is our planet's largest intact old-growth forest. But logging, oil, gas, and mining companies are clearing more than one million acres each year. That's more than seven NHL hockey rinks a minute, threatening hundreds of Indigenous communities, iconic caribou, and billions of migratory birds, all of which call this ancient forest home.
  • As for the ancient trees? Many of them are being turned into toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissues.
2. Why It Matters:
  • Know what else calls the boreal forest home?
  • 300 billion tons of carbon, stored in the boreal region's soils, plants, and wetlands. That's equal to more than three decades' worth of fossil fuel emissions. And it means every acre exploited by industry makes climate change even worse — not to mention putting in peril the people and wildlife who've thrived in the boreal for centuries.
3. What We're Doing:
  • Protecting the world's largest old-growth forest takes sustained commitment. But NRDC has been in the fight for two decades — and as we round the bend into 2019, we're more committed than ever to:
    • Pressuring the Canadian government to work with Indigenous communities to protect the boreal forest from unsustainable logging and save the threatened boreal caribou — before it's too late.
    • Turning up the heat on companies like Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, and others to say no to making throwaway tissue products from trees that come from the boreal forest, and urging these companies to use recycled content instead.
    • Educating consumers on what products to avoid that are made with boreal wood.
4. Learn More:
  • See what the boreal forest looks like. Check out this video to grasp the full beauty of the boreal forest and learn more about how carbon sinks — like the boreal — work and why they're critical.
  • Learn about the ways in which Indigenous Peoples are leading the fight to protect their forest homelands. Meet the Innu forester working to save Canada's boreal forest.
  • Discover what it's like to study one of North America's most elusive mammals. Meet the wildlife ecologist who is researching ways to help boreal caribou survive.
  • Find out which companies are calling for protection of Canada's boreal forest. Read the letter from industry executives urging the Canadian government to step up and take bold steps to save the boreal forest.
Stay tuned! We'll keep you updated on our fight to protect the boreal forest. But in the meantime, get even more info at NRDC's boreal forest headquarters.

- Rhea Suh, President, NRDC

Calls needed: Demand that Mitch McConnell stop holding the government hostage

Call now to demand that Mitch McConnell call a vote on the DHS continuing resolution that the House of Representatives just passed.
Click below for a sample script and the number to call:
Take action now ►

Calls needed: Demand that Mitch McConnell stop holding the government hostage
President Trump is desperate for border wall funding. Last week he hijacked prime time to spread anti-immigrant hysteria and  keeps threatening to use emergency powers to get funding.
We need to turn up the pressure on Mitch McConnell to end this shutdown before things get worse. Call now to demand that he call a vote on the DHS continuing resolution and re-open the government now. The same bill passed in the Senate unanimously in December and is likely to pass in the Senate again.1
More than 800,000 federal workers have been on unpaid leave or working without pay for more than two weeks. Many are struggling to make ends meet.2 Yet, McConnell doesn't seem to care. He is willing to keep the government closed to try to force Democrats to compromise with his party's fragile leader. Democrats have made clear that they want to end the shutdown and will refuse to cave to Trump's hostage taking. Now the ball is in McConnell's court. His refusal to act is unacceptable.
The Democratic plan to end the government shutdown includes two components: one bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security until February to allow time for further negotiation and another to fund other federal agencies through October. Both bills easily passed in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support and would very likely pass the Senate again. In fact, at least three Senate Republicans recently called on Congress to stop playing games and end the shutdown.3
The next step is for the Senate to pass legislation and send a bill to Trump. That can't happen until McConnell gets the message and allows a vote.
Calls needed: Demand that Mitch McConnell stop holding the government hostage. Click the link below to start your call:
-Nicole Regalado, CREDO Action 
Click below for a sample script and the number to call:
Take action now ►
  1. Matt Fuller, "Democrats Pass Bill To Reopen Government; Shutdown Continues," HuffPost, Jan. 3, 2019.
  2. Stephanie Ebbs, "Faces of the shutdown: In second week, more people impacted by closed agencies," ABC News, Jan. 4, 2019.
  3. Alexander Bolton, "Cracks beginning to show in GOP shutdown resolve," The Hill, Jan. 3, 2019.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Tell Congress: Pass the Presidential Tax Transparency Act

Petition to Congress:
“Force the president and all presidential candidates to release their tax returns by passing the Presidential Tax Transparency Act.”
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►

The pressure is mounting on Trump over his taxes. The IRS already destroyed his main excuse, saying he can release his returns during an audit.1
The new Democratic chair of the House Ways and Means committee is under massive pressure to immediately use his legal authority to request Trump's tax returns. Democrats are also stepping up to the plate with legislation to force Trump's hand.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden just reintroduced his Presidential Tax Transparency Act, which would make it mandatory for presidential candidates to release tax returns, and a similar bill is moving in the House. We need to push every possible avenue – from legislation to investigations – to expose Trump's taxes and demand members of Congress decide between loyalty to Trump and loyalty to our democracy.
Sen. Ron Wyden’s bill would require all candidates and sitting presidents to release their last three years of tax returns or the Federal Election Commission would do it for them.2 A similar proposal in the House will be included in the massive anti-corruption bill Democrats will push in the coming weeks.3 
Trump’s taxes are the window to his entire web of swampy corruption:
  • Tax fraud. A breathtaking New York Times investigation found that the Trump family used shell companies, illegal markups and undervalued properties to transfer millions from Fred Trump to Donald and his other children. The reporting not only explodes the myth of Trump the self-made billionaire, but also specifies "instances of outright fraud."4
  • Compromising financial ties to Russian oligarchs or the super-rich in America. Without a look at his tax returns, the American public cannot know whether Trump’s current debt or his previous business partnerships obligate him financially to Russian oligarchs aligned with Vladimir Putin. Trump’s debt load increased from $350 to $630 million in 2016, when American banks were reluctant to extend Trump credit.5In 2008, Trump’s son is claimed to have said, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia."6
  • Profiting from the Trump Tax Scam and holding office. A government watchdog filed a lawsuit just days after the inauguration claiming that Trump is in violation of the Constitution because any payments to Trump from foreign entities violates the anti-bribery “emoluments” clause of the Constitution.7 It appears clear that Trump is using his position to enrich himself and his family.
Republicans who oppose Wyden's bill are simply putting partisan loyalties ahead of allowing Americans to make informed decisions. By demanding that Congress act, we can keep the focus on Trump’s outrageous stonewalling, force Republicans to pick between loyalty to party and country, and lay down a principle for all candidates in future elections. We need strong legislation mandating release of tax returns now.
Tell Congress: Pass the Presidential Tax Transparency Act. Click below to sign the petition:
- Josh Nelson, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
  1. Michael Burke, "Top Finance Dem reintroduces bill that would require Trump to release tax returns," The Hill, Jan. 3, 2019.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Naomi Jagoda, "House Dems offer bill to require presidents to release tax returns," The Hill, Jan. 9, 2019.
  4. David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Ross Buettner, "Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father," The New York Times, Oct. 2, 2018.
  5. Josh Marshall, “Trump & Putin. Yes, It's Really a Thing,” Talking Points Memo, July 23, 2016.
  6. Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman and Michael Birnbaum, “Inside Trump’s financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin,” The Washington Post, June 17, 2016.
  7. Kim Bellware and Cristian Farias, “President Trump Has Already Violated The Constitution, Lawsuit Claims,” HuffPost, Jan. 23, 2017.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Senate: Reject Far-right William Barr for attorney general

Tell the Senate:
"Reject William Barr's nomination as attorney general. His long record of right-wing extremist views combined with his anti-Mueller memo disqualify him."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►

Far-right William Barr must not become attorney general
Trump's government shutdown has been eclipsing some important news: His pick for attorney general, William Barr, wants to give him cover when it comes to the Mueller investigation.
This past summer, Barr argued to senior Justice Department officials that Robert Mueller cannot investigate Trump for obstruction of justice.1
Barr's memo would be disqualifying even if the rest of his record was spotless, but of course, as a member of team Trump, his record is deep on bigotry and intolerance.2 With news last week that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may leave the Justice Department after Barr is confirmed, there is even more urgency to build momentum to block Barr ahead of this week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination.
Since no one asked Barr to write his memo to the Justice Department, it appears that he was actively trying to court favor with Trump by attacking Mueller.3 He essentially signaled that he would shut down a huge portion of the Mueller investigation – the part focused on whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice – with arguments that law professors say don't hold up. The news of the memo came right after news that Acting Attorney General Matthew Whittaker overruled Justice Department ethics officials and decided not to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation. In short, Trump seems to pick attorneys general based on whether they will help cover up his alleged crimes.4
When it comes to Mueller, Barr is worse than Jeff Sessions, but he has an equally ugly record on everything else:
  • Mass Incarceration: Barr and Sessions both want to expand mass incarceration and impose even stricter punishments. Barr even oversaw the writing of a report called "The Case for More Incarceration."5
  • Immigration: In the 1990s, as George H. W. Bush's attorney general, Barr led an effort that diverted Haitian asylum seekers to Guantanamo Bay. Some who were HIV positive were segregated and forced to undergo additional screening, creating what one LGBTQ activist called "the world's first and only detention camp for refugees with HIV." Barr defended it as late as 2001.6 He later went on to claim Trump's Muslim Ban was completely legal (courts disagreed) and lovingly applauded Sessions for his hard-line immigration policies like family separation.7
  • Right-wing agenda: Like Sessions, Barr wants to make the federal government a tool for his right-wing social agenda. He opposes Roe v. Wade, blamed secular culture for everything from HIV to crime, hailed Sessions's attempt to erase transgender Americans and once insisted that the feds should restrain what he termed “sexual immorality” like homosexuality and sex outside of marriage.8,9
The tide could be turning on Barr. Even right-leaning Democrats are saying Trump should withdraw the nomination.10 Now it's up to us. We need a loud outcry right now to make sure no Democrat supports William Barr's nomination, and every Republican knows there is a political cost to ramming it through.
Tell the Senate: Reject William Barr. Click the link below to sign the petition:
Heidi Hess, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
  1. Daniel Hemel and Eric Posner, "Bill Barr Just Argued Himself Out of a Job," The New York Times, Dec. 21, 2018.
  2. Jon Weiner, "William Barr: Worse Than Jeff Sessions?" The Nation, Dec. 13, 2018.
  3. Daniel Hemel and Eric Posner, "Bill Barr Just Argued Himself Out of a Job," The New York Times.
  4. Charlie Savage and Katie Benner, "A Memo and a Recusal Decision Underscore Potential Threats to the Mueller Inquiry," The New York Times, Dec. 20, 2018.
  5. Weiner, "William Barr: Worse Than Jeff Sessions?"
  6. Kate Smith, "'A stain on U.S. history': Trump's attorney general pick used Guantanamo Bay to hold thousands of Haitian refugees," CBS News, Dec. 10, 2016.
  7. Weiner, "William Barr: Worse Than Jeff Sessions?"
  8. Ibid.
  9. Jay Michaelson, "William Barr, Trump’s Attorney General Pick, Wanted Government to ‘Restrain Sexual Immorality,," Daily Beast, Dec. 9, 2018.
  10. Alex Rogers and Manu Raju, "Key Senate Democrat says Trump 'should withdraw' attorney general nomination," CNN, Dec. 20, 2018.
More Information:

William Barr’s confirmation hearing expected to be a battle over Mueller’s future - Washington Post

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Tell the media: Stop blaming "both sides" for Trump's government shutdown

Media call it what it is! #TrumpShutDown
Tell the mainstream media:
"Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are responsible for the government shutdown. Stop falsely blaming 'both sides.'"
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►

Tell the media: Stop blaming both sides for Trump's government shutdown
It's not just Fox News anymore: Media outlets that many people trust are now unbelievably blaming both sides for Donald Trump's childish and dangerous behavior.
Major news organizations, like the Associated Press, The New York Times and television news networks are creating a false narrative about Donald Trump's racist border wall, reporting – as news, not opinion – that both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for the government shutdown.
The idea that both sides are to blame is absurd: Democrats in the House of Representatives recently passed a bill that the Senate passed unanimously a few weeks ago to reopen the government.
The blame for this fabricated immigration and shutdown crisis falls squarely on Trump and Republicans, and the media must report on this situation accurately. We must speak out now to hold them accountable.
Mainstream media played a massive role in catapulting Donald Trump's campaign to the White House.1 During the 2016 cycle, the media gave him more than $5 billion in free air time, marking the media's absolute complicity in his constant stream of racist, misogynistic and hateful attacks.2
Now, some of these same media organizations are giving cover to Republicans to continue conflating the Trump-created border crisis and his unnecessary, wasteful, racist border wall with the government shutdown. The same shutdown in which where more than 800,000 federal workers are held hostage without pay, shuttered government offices and services continue to negatively affect millions, and immigrants at the border seeking asylum continue to suffer.
Here's just a sample of the "both sides" rhetoric:
  • After recent shutdown negotiations, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman accused Democrats and Republicans of "talking past each other, these two sides."3
  • The Associated Press issued a "fact check" blaming both sides, stating "Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for his border wall is one reason for the budget impasse. The Democrats refusal to approve the money is another."4
  • Time's Tessa Berenson wrote an article entitled "Both Sides Find Compromise Hard on the Government Shutdown," with a false rundown of a two-sides narrative.5
  • CNN host Jim Sciutto implied that Democrats face "the risk of being portrayed as obstructionists," for not conceding any ground for Trump's absurd wall proposal.6
Whether the media is motivated by ratings or the appearance of impartiality or it's just lazy reporting, the media's "both sides" portrayal is simply unacceptable. The news media play a critical role in our democracy by shining a light on the corruption, hate, unethical behavior and criminality pervading the Trump administration. The American public trust these sources exactly because they are supposed to report the news accurately, and we deserve better.
Every reputable and ethical journalist and media organization has an obligation for accurate and fair reporting that is truthful and accountable and minimizes harm.7 We must ensure they live up to these important standards. Click the link below to sign the petition:
Josh Nelson, CREDO Action 
Add your name:
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  1. David Sillito, "Donald Trump: How the media created the president," BBC, Nov. 14, 2016.
  2. Emily Stewart, "Donald Trump Rode $5 Billion in Free Media to the White House," The Street, Nov. 20, 2016.
  3. Media Matters, "After Trump speech, Maggie Haberman says both sides are to blame for "talking past each other,'" Jan. 8, 2019.
  4. Tweet by Associated Press Politics, Jan. 8, 2019.
  5. Tessa Berenson, "Both Sides Find Compromise Hard on the Government Shutdown" TIME, Jan. 2, 2019.
  6. Media Matters, "CNN host: Democrats risk 'being portrayed as obstructionists' over Trump's shutdown," Jan. 7, 2019.
  7. Society of Professional Journalists, "SPJ Code of Ethics," Sept. 24, 2014.
More information:

The shutdown could end when Senate Republicans decide to end it - Vox

Ask Big Banks to Defund Climate Change

It is simple. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has given us a timeline. We only have 12 years left to take bold and sweeping action on climate.

If we do not take action, we will experience the worst impacts of climate change. We've already gotten a taste of what's to come: rising sea levels, record breaking droughts, hurricanes, and storms.

We know what needs to happen. We must stop fossil fuels from being extracted and burned and keep our forests intact. To do that, we have to push financial institutions to stop funding these projects once and for all.

This year, we're making a New Year’s resolution to take action on climate. Join the Rainforest Action Network in demanding big banks #defundclimatechange.

- Ruth Breech, Rainforest Action Network

Click here to send the following message to big banks 

It has been proven time and time again that fossil fuels and deforestation is exacerbating climate change. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made it clear: we must stop funding these projects to avoid catastrophic climate change.
We are demanding that you finally end your financing of climate change and fossil fuels.
It is time to stand on the right side of history.

Tell Senators to oppose Wheeler for the EPA

This week, President Trump officially nominated Andrew Wheeler to be the Administrator or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Senate Republicans are trying to rush a hearing on his nomination next week even though the federal government, including the EPA, is still shutdown.

As Acting Administrator, Wheeler has already done the bidding of corporate polluters, proposing new rules that allow cars, trucks, power plants, and industrial facilities to emit more pollution and. We can't let Wheeler's nomination coast through, especially when the government is shutdown, and Superfund sites go uncleaned, and our air and water is at risk.

What has Wheeler done as Acting Administrator? He gutted the coal ash rule, clean car standards, methane standards, and is putting forward a Dirty Power Plan that the EPA's own analysis says will cause an additional 1,400 deaths each year due to more pollution. 

He is also pushing plans to ruin the lifesaving Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, opening the door to more toxic mercury and particulate matter pollution from coal plants and jeopardizing the health of women and children. Wheeler';s proposal ignores the massive reductions in toxic pollution brought by these standards and the up to 11,000 lives saved and approximately 130,000 asthma attacks avoided per year as a result of this protection.

Furthermore, Wheeler is pushing to redefine which U.S. waterways are covered by the Clean Water Act, putting drinking water for one in three Americans at risk.

Andrew Wheeler is clearly unfit to oversee the agency that was created to protect our air, water, and climate. We must oppose his nomination.

Wheeler shows the same signs of ethical misconduct as Scott Pruitt, disregarding ethics and conflict of interest concerns while meeting with big polluters and pushing their dirty policies at the expense of our health and environment. As if that weren't enough, Wheeler, like his ousted predecessor, Pruitt, has seen his share of scandal. Wheeler has shared and liked racist posts on social media and engaged with right-wing trolls and conspiracy theorists. 

Senate Republicans confirming Andrew Wheeler to lead the EPA is just like putting the Hamburglar in charge of McDonald's, because he will do nothing to protect the health of the public and everything to enrich corporate polluters.

We can't let a coal lobbyist doing the bidding of corporate polluters lead the EPA.Tell your senators to oppose his nomination!

- Melinda Pierce, Sierra Club