Friday, June 30, 2017

Tell your senator: REJECT the Trump-McConnell dirty energy bill — our climate depends on it!

Last night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to bring a new dirty energy bill to the Senate floor when Congress gets back from their July 4 vacation.

McConnell made a rare move to skip committee hearings for a bill that hasn’t even been introduced yet. We can't let Trump and Senate Republicans play dirty tricks with our future. This bill would be a disaster for our planet.

Tell your senator: REJECT the Trump-McConnell dirty energy bill — our climate depends on it!

What we know:
After we blocked a similar bill in the last Congress, this new bill would (once again):
— speed up approval of exports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) abroad, increasing fracking here at home;
— give FERC (an agency with absolutely no accountability to the people) even more authority over decisions about pipelines for natural gas;
— authorize hundreds of millions of dollars for research into recovering methane hydrates, a dangerous new source of methane trapped under the ocean floor;
— have no mention of solar or wind in the "renewables" section!

This Trump-McConnell bill will lock us into our addiction to fossil fuels for decades to come. We can't afford to let that happen.

This bill is the fossil fuel industry’s dream come true, and they need 60 votes to pass it in the Senate. Oil and gas industry lobbyists are pushing hard to make that happen, but we won't give up without a fight!

Here’s the plan:
— First, we need to respond immediately to show Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the whole Senate that we’re paying attention. Mitch McConnell is trying to push this through while everyone is focused on the healthcare debate and the July 4 holiday.
— At the same time, we’re rallying allies to join in the fight and put pressure on key senators.
— Then, we’ll follow up with other ways you can help — whether it’s volunteering from your own home or putting pressure on your senators while they’re home for the upcoming July 4 recess.

One thing is for certain — it's going to take senators hearing from people like you to get them to do the right thing.

Tell your senator: Under no circumstances should you sacrifice the future of our planet for fossil fuel industry profits!

Our planet is out of time — we must move America off fossil fuels immediately.

- Miranda Carter, Food & Water Watch

Voting Rights Update

Amidst all the outrage around Russiagate, Trump’s tweets, and efforts to ram through Trumpcare, it’s easy to miss these insidious efforts just under the radar. This is a lot to wrap your head around. And it’s hard to fight back when the attacks are coming in so heavily from so many different angles. But fight back we must.

Trump’s ‘election integrity’ commission, headed by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is starting to build steam and will have a major meeting in less than three weeks.

This is the commission developed to justify Trump’s outlandish conspiracy theory about millions of “illegal” voters in 2016. And Kris Kobach is perhaps America’s foremost architect of voter suppression laws (and anti-immigrant laws, for that matter).

Yesterday, Kobach sent a letter to the secretaries of state for all 50 states requesting comprehensive data on ALL registered voters, including the last four digits of their social security numbers, their addresses, their dates of birth, their political affiliations, and their voting histories.

We expect Pence-Kobach to try to use this voter data for, perhaps among other things, something similar to Kobach's "Crosscheck" program in Kansas, but on steroids. Crosscheck is infamous for inflating claims of voter fraud with egregiously sloppy matching of names with various states' voter rolls.

It was just announced last night that America’s other most notorious vote suppressor, former Federal Elections Commissioner Hans Von Spakovsky, is being added to the commission. Von Spakovsky perhaps more than anyone in the country is responsible for perpetrating the phony myth of rampant individual voter fraud that’s routinely used by the Right Wing as the rationale behind their voter suppression policies.

The entire purpose of this commission from the beginning has been to lay the groundwork for more restrictions on voting. And we know why the Right wants to make it harder for certain Americans -- especially minority, low-income, and young voters -- to exercise their most fundamental democratic right … it’s to consolidate their grip on power and lock out progressives -- and even moderates -- from electoral wins by unfairly rigging the system against them.

To add to the attacks on voting rights we wrote about earlier (see below this message), the Jeff Sessions-led Justice Department ALSO issued an official request for information on how states covered by the National Voter Registration Act maintain their voter rolls -- indicating that Trump’s DOJ could be getting ready to work in concert with the Pence-Kobach voter suppression commission … a scary prospect from the department that’s supposed to protect Americans’ voting rights, but then again, we know that this DOJ has already moved to deprioritize protecting voters in ways such as backing off of key litigation over voter ID.

Defunding the banks and financiers behind these dirty pipelines is an effective way to prevent their construction

People all over the country have been divesting from the fossil-fuel industry. Working with a number of indigenous-led and grassroots activist groups, climate hawks gathered more than 151,000 signatures calling on major banks to pull their funding from the Dakota Access Pipeline and other tar sands pipelines.
Defunding the banks and financiers behind these dirty pipelines is an effective way to prevent their construction in the first place. Here are some of the incredible results from the pledges collected online:
  • Over 14,000 Bank of America customers with assets of more than $750 million
  • More than 13,000 Wells Fargo customers with assets over $882 million
  • Nearly 10,000 JP Morgan Chase customers with assets of more than $540 million
  • Over 5,000 Citibank customers with assets of nearly $225 million
Thousands are already closing accounts and moving assets to credit unions, local banks and fossil-free banks. This is what it looks like when the climate movement wields its financial power!

- Climate Hawks Vote

House bill locks up immigrants in privatized prisons longer - at taxpayers' expense

There was the major attack on immigrants by the House of Representatives yesterday in the form of two bills that passed that are nothing more than 1) racist red meat for the nativist faction of the right-wing base and 2) corporate welfare for the private prison industry. Even the conservative CATO Institute points out the bills are a total sham and a massive waste of taxpayer money. CATO notes that one of the bills, which enacts tougher sentencing guidelines for undocumented immigrants -- referred to as “Kate’s Law” after someone murdered by an immigrant -- would balloon the federal prison population and, if in place at the time, would not have saved the life of the bill’s namesake. (Not to mention that despite all the fear-mongering, immigrants are statistically less likely to commit crimes than the population at large.)

This legislation is political theater, but of the most dangerous variety, because it ignores facts to inflame bigotry and suspicion of immigrants.

Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that the DOJ is also playing a supporting role in these attacks on immigrant communities. They’ve been working with the administration to hype up the stories of victims of crime by undocumented immigrants and Attorney General Sessions even gave a speech this week in which he used these cherry-picked stories to present a phony narrative about the outsized danger presented by immigrants.

- Ben Betz, People for the American Way

UPDATE on heath care

Update on health care -- the biggest policy story heading into next week’s congressional recess…

Mitch McConnell is scrambling to adjust the disastrous Senate version of Trumpcare and pick up more support, after the CBO scoring of the bill predicted 22 million Americans would lose their healthcare under the bill. Polls show that, at best, fewer than 20% of Americans support the Republicans’ efforts to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, but it remains a high priority for the most committed members of their far-right base and, more importantly, for the Koch brothers and their other ultrawealthy donors who would reap a MASSIVE tax cut from the bill.

That’s all stuff you might already know… but in just the last couple of days, as more analysis of the legislation has continued to come out, we can see just how sneaky and insidious McConnell’s bill is … no wonder he thought developing the bill in extreme secrecy and ramming it through with reckless disregard for debate and process as perhaps his only chance of getting it passed.

We knew that the bill “back-loaded” many of the cuts, so that many wouldn’t take effect until 2021 and others not until later than that. But a new report yesterday by the CBO points out that the cuts to Medicaid would be even deeper and more devastating down the road due to future funding being tied to the consumer price index, which has a lower growth rate than inflation of medical costs. So not only are there deep cuts, but the money that still would be provided for low-income, disabled, and some elderly Americans would shrink in real terms and not go far enough to cover their care.

- Ben Betz, People for the American Way

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tomorrow the Supreme Court lifts the stay on the Muslim ban until it hears the case. How can we fight back?

You probably saw our message on Monday when we learned that the Supreme Court of the United States decided not only to hear the Muslim ban case but also to partially lift the stay in the mean time. This is devastating news and means that the Muslim and refugee ban will partially go into effect tomorrow. We saw what happened the last time this happened – discrimination and entire communities living in fear—and we can’t let that happen again.

Amnesty International has fought the Muslim and refugee ban since the beginning when President Trump originally instated it, and we will keep up the fight until it is stopped. This ban is nothing more than an assault on human rights based on fear, hatred, and bigotry. 
Will you join the fight? We need Amnesty activists like you to stand up and fight back.Join one of our urgent mobilization calls tomorrow.

Tomorrow at 12pm EST and again at 7pm EST, we will be hosting calls to learn more about this human rights crisis and what you can do to fight back. You’ll join Amnesty activists from across the country as well as senior Amnesty staff members as we plan our next steps to fight the Muslim and refugee ban. We can’t do this alone and need your help. Will you join us?

Call Information:
Dial: 1-844-397-3150
Passcode 022770

Time (call will be repeated):
9:00 AM PCT/11:00 AM CT/12:00 PM EST
4:00 PM PCT/5:00 PM CT/7:00 PM EST

- Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA

President Trump has signed an order banning people from 7 Muslim-majority countries and shut down the refugee program. We must denounce this hateful order.

We need every senator to act. That’s why we are calling on Amnesty activists like you to send a loud and clear message to your senators. No Ban, No Wall — Not in my name.

Dear Senator__________,

I urge you to immediately denounce Trump's travel ban. Trump’s order is based on fear-mongering, bigotry and xenophobia that I reject. Support efforts to protect the human rights of people in our community and around the world, including the rights to freedom of religion and non-discrimination.

Tell Senate: Oppose the Muslim Ban

Good news and bad news: on healthcare bill

the qualify of our healthcare affects everyone
The good news is...
Your calls are working! Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has postponed the vote on the Senate Republican leadership’s ACA repeal bill until after the July 4th recess, because they don’t have the votes they need to move it to debate now. Let’s do everything we can to keep it that way.
The bad news is...
Despite the Senate Republican leadership writing their ACA repeal bill in secret and planning to rush it to a vote, the public finally learned more about this bill last week, and it’s every bit as cruel and irresponsible as we expected. While it gives massive tax cuts to wealthy people and corporations, it takes coverage away from 22 million people, erodes the quality of insurance coverage for everyone else, and ends Medicaid as we know it. It penalizes women who want insurance plans that cover abortion and blocks individuals enrolled in Medicaid from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers, which offer birth control, life-saving cancer screenings, and maternity care. Even prominent GOP Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) admitted that “There is nothing in this legislation that will lower premiums,” and by Tuesday afternoon, there was too little support for the bill to bring it to a vote this week.
The Fight to Keep Affordable Health Care Continues
We need to keep up the pressure to ensure that they can’t proceed with this life-threatening legislation.
  • Keep calling your Senators at 202-224-3121 to make sure they know you oppose ACA repeal and expect them to do everything in their power to protect our care. Use this script as a jumping off point, and be sure to add your personal story.
  • Congress will be in their home districts for recess all next week. It’s critical that they hear our opposition to these attacks on our health care loud and clear. We’ve updated our resistance recess toolkit with important info for talking to your Senators and Representatives in person.
  • In addition to taking health care from millions of people, this bill’s attack on Medicaid could also jeopardize over four million jobs held by women in the health care sector. Read our new report to learn more about how Medicaid is a job creator for women and fosters economic mobility for women and their families.
  • You can find our full collection of resources on the importance of defending the ACA here.
Double the Trouble
The attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are happening alongside an attack on Planned Parenthood. So what would happen if both of them were eliminated? That’s the question explored by our latest report, Double the Trouble: Health Care Access Without the Affordable Care Act or Planned Parenthood.
As the report states, “Our research found that regardless of the services sought, without the coverage and protections of the ACA and the comprehensive care provided by Planned Parenthood health centers, patients would have to jump through multiple hoops to get the care they need or go without it altogether. In many cases, inability to access care could put individuals in untenable situations, forcing them to skip a rent payment or scramble to pay for childcare. In others, it could mean delayed diagnosis or treatment of a life-threatening or debilitating condition.”
  • Read the report to learn more about how the ACA and Planned Parenthood work together to make care accessible for millions of people.
  • Watch and share this video to spread the word about how ACA repeal and defunding Planned Parenthood could push people through the cracks of our health care system.
  • Keep up the pressure to prevent the terrible bill in Congress to repeal the ACA and defund Planned Parenthood from moving forward! See above.
Resistance Must-Read
  • When advocates center the needs of women of color, everyone wins.
- We the Resistance, a campaign of National Women's Law Center

Good News update: Senator Dean Heller (Republican) held a press conference to explain why he can't support the senate healthcare bill!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

5 Republican Senators have concerns about Trumpcare. Let's encourage them to do the right thing.

By now we've all heard that the Senate healthcare bill (that was drafted in secret) is even meaner than the House bill. If we want to make sure that all Americans have the best, most cost efficient healthcare, it is vital that we keep abreast of what is going on regarding this bill. Unfortunately, not all of us have time (or the legal understanding) to read all 142 pages. Thankfully, Senator Chris Murphy points out some important points. You can follow along on the proposed bill here

Pg. 39 – section on cuts to Medicaid starts.

Pg. 7 – section about tax credits for healthcare going down.

Pg. 134 – section that puts an age tax on older Americans. Right now insurance companies can’t charge the elderly more than 3 times what it can charge younger Americans. In this bill it goes up 5X more for older Americans.

Pg. 136 - waiver section that allows States to get rid of protections including the Essential Healthcare Benefits Protection that forces insurance companies to provide a minimum amount of healthcare such as maternity care, mental illness, and prescription drugs.

Around pg. 29 are the tax cuts. The bill is designed to give a giant tax cut to millionaires, billionaires, insurance companies and drug companies. If you make under $200,000 dollars a year, you get almost nothing from this bill.

Thank you, Sen. Chris Murphy for breaking that down for us!

Every American needs to listen to former secretary of labor, Robert Reich, as he explains what is in the Senate's healthcare bill and what it means to us.

Over the next decade, the bill gives a 33 billion dollar tax cut to the 400 wealthiest families in America – in a time when the rich are wealthier than they have ever been before. The cost is to the rest of us - a quarter of a million people will lose their Medicaid.

If this healthcare plan is enacted, it will be the single biggest transfer of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the rich in the history of this country!

If this bill passes, the Republicans who voted for it will bear the burden of hundreds of thousands of deaths. Let's save them from themselves. 

What can we do about it?

There are fifty-two republicans in the senate. We need to get 4 or 5 Republican members of congress to deflect. There are five Republican senators who already have misgivings about this bill. Three can stop this bill in its tracks. Contact them now and tell them how this bill will affect you and how much you appreciate their integrity.  Ask them to vote no on this bill.

Capitol switchboard.: 202-224-3121

Your call will be even more effective if you are aware of their concerns – so you can appeal to them.

Sen. Dean Heller (Nevada)

Sen. Ron Johnson (Wisconsin) 
On his page, he wrote how the senate healthcare bill fails. If you are going to talk to him, you should read this to know where he stands.

Sen. Susan Collins (Maine)

Sen. Collins is a moderate. She said that she won’t vote for the bill in its current form. Call to thank her.

Although talking to our Arizona Senators (if you’re not a millionaire or banker) often feels like running into a brick wall, you can try reminding them about how badly a similar Medicaid plan worked out here in Arizona.

Sen. Jeff Flake (Arizona):  (202) 224-4521

Check out his page for his stance on Healthcare:

Sen. John McCain (Arizona) (202) 224-2235

Monday, June 26, 2017

Have a heart! Call your Senator and ask him to vote no on this dangerous bill that would allow insurers to stop covering cancer treatments

The U.S. Senate unveiled their secretly drafted health care bill, and now we know why they were keeping it a secret.

The impact on cancer patients could be devastating:

  • Insurers could stop covering treatments
  • Re-imposing annual and lifetime caps on coverage
  • Skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs for cancer patients
Call your U.S. Senator - Senator Jeff Flake - and ask him to vote no on this dangerous bill.

It only takes one minute to leave a message with the receptionist or on their voice mail.

Please call right now. It’s as easy as 1-2-3:

Step 1:
Call Senator Jeff Flake at (202) 224-4521

Step 2:
Leave the following message. You’re always welcome to add your personal story, but it’s not required.

“My name is [your name] and I’m from [city]. I’m calling to ask you to vote against the Senate health care bill because it could take away cancer patients' and survivors' affordable health care coverage. Thank you."

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Tell U.S. Trade Rep: Replace NAFTA with a deal that benefits working people in all 3 countries, not just multinational corporations.

The Trump administration officially notified Congress it will be renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

NAFTA made it easier for corporations to offshore jobs and to attack environmental, health, and other safeguards. It killed jobs and depressed wages for millions, and it was written and negotiated behind closed doors by hundreds of corporate advisers.

Tell the U.S. Trade Representative now: Replace NAFTA with a deal that actually benefits working people in all three countries, not just multinational corporations. If enough of us speak out, we can stop corporate elites from calling the shots and put an end to their rigged, devastating trade deals.

Dear USTR Robert Lighthizer:

Your renegotiation of NAFTA is an opportunity to stop its ongoing damage and create a deal that benefits working people, not just big corporations. That is why we call on you to meet these criteria in any new agreement with Canada and Mexico:

*Institute a democratic, accountable, and transparent negotiating process without privileged backroom access for corporate interests.

*Eliminate the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system, which promotes job offshoring and gives multinational corporations power to sue the U.S. government before a tribunal of three corporate lawyers. These lawyers can order U.S. taxpayers to pay corporations unlimited sums of money, including for the loss of expected future profits.

*Include strong and enforceable labor and environmental standards, not the ineffective rules found in deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

*Require all imported food, goods, and services in the agreement to meet strong domestic safety and environmental rules.

*Eliminate rules that waive important Buy American and Buy Local policies.

*Eliminate rules that drive up the cost of life-saving medicines by giving pharmaceutical companies extended monopolies on drug patents.

- Our Revolution

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Communicating with the other side

I just got a message from a conservative friend who doesn't feel safe to express her point of view on facebook. She has been insulted and called names. I know that tensions are high, but it doesn't serve our purpose to be insulting or condescending. How does it help if they think we are irrational at best, or evil at worse. I feel that it's important to have an open conversation. We can only begin to come together through understanding. So I have decided to create a safe place on my own facebook page. I have even deleted comments from friends that are mean or insulting. Constructive, civil communication is the first step in finding our commonality as Americans and to show we are in the same tribe.

Here's a couple of helpful hints if you want any chance at communicating with people:   1) Don't insult them. 2) Don't use profanity. 3) Remember communication is a two way street. Don't bombard them with a bunch of facts. Listen to their point of view too. 4) Don't make a generalization about them or assume that you know how they think or feel because they are a member of a particular group or party.  We are all individuals. Ask them how they feel. Listen to their answer. 5) Appeal to them on a human level. Listen with your heart and try to understand where they are coming from. 6) Remember, they may be scared too.  It is more powerful to care about them as an individual, than it is to be right.  

Basically, treat them as you would like to be treated . If nothing else, you may end up with a friend.

Here's why

Friday, June 23, 2017

Tell Banks: Stop Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline

Homes evacuated after ExxonMobil oil pipeline spill in Arkansas
22 banks have just agreed to finance Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion to the tune of $5.5 billion Canadian. The expansion will be a disaster for Indigenous rights and the environment. It would make the pipeline able to transport more oil than either the Dakota Access Pipeline or the Keystone Pipeline.
The Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, Musqueam, and Sto:lo First Nations, whose territories cover most of Metro Vancouver Area, are among the nine First Nations and Tribes currently in litigation against the project. The Coast Salish, Sto:lo, Nlaka'pamux, and Secwepemc Nations, whose territories cover more than half the length of the pipeline, have also filed legal challenges to the project. The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, which comprises more than 120 First Nations and Tribes, stands in committed opposition to all tar sands pipelines crossing their traditional lands and waters, and has called for an international campaign to divest from any financial institution that funds them.
At the TD Bank shareholder meeting in March, Chief Serge Simon of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake said "Coordinated Indigenous opposition from Quebec to British Columbia to North Dakota will stop the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline one way or another." But TD Bank didn’t listen to this warning — instead they poured more money into the project. They weren’t counting on resistance to tar sands pipelines across North America growing stronger every day.
This pipeline would cut through the Canadian Rocky Mountains, crossing and threatening countless watersheds that feed into the Fraser River. It would dump out on the Burrard Inlet near Vancouver, meaning a sevenfold increase in oil tanker traffic — from five to 34 ships every month — threatening marine life, including the endangered orcas of the Salish Sea.
The tar sands oil that this pipeline would carry is one of the most carbon intensive fuels on the planet. Studies show that the Trans Mountain expansion would add 8.8 metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere a year — making catastrophic climate change more of a reality every day.
And the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline already has a disgraceful track record — 82 leak incidents, including four major oil spills. 
- Ruth Breech, Rainforest Action Network

Trump cutting Energy Star program is a conflict of interest

The Energy Star program is a win-win for consumers and businesses -- so why does Donald Trump want to cut it?

It turns out 11 of Trump's 15 properties in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco have received scores below 50 (out of 100) in energy efficiency from the Energy Star program.1 Buildings with low energy efficiency -- like Trump's properties -- tend to have lower property values than their competitors.

Tell your members of Congress not to let Trump put his company's profits ahead of American consumers and our environment!

Energy Star is an incredibly popular program that helps shoppers identify products that use less electricity. When news broke that the Trump administration wants to defund the program, more than 1,000 companies called for it to be saved.2

This program is a prime example of the government and the private sector working together. It costs just $50 million a year, and the EPA estimates that it has saved Americans $430 billion on utility bills since 1992.3

Once again, instead of supporting common-sense policies that help American businesses, consumers, and the environment, Trump prioritizes putting more money in his pockets.

Don't stand for this self-serving and environmentally harmful budget cut!

- The SierraRise team

1. Frisbie C. and Kantor, A. (26 April 2017) "Trump's plan to kill Energy Star could benefit his properties." CNN.���
2. (24 April 2017). "Industry Support Letter for Energy Star." Alliance to Save Energy.���
3. Nadel, S. (22 March 2017). "Don't Tread on Energy Star." American Council for Energy Efficient Economy. ���

Call now to stop the heartless GOP health care repeal

Senate Republicans just released their health care repeal bill, and it’s just like the original: insurance companies and the ultra-rich get a huge tax break while working families get screwed over.

This is an all hands on deck moment. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to pass this mean-spirited, heartless bill by July 4. In order to defeat it, every Republican lawmaker, starting in the Senate, will need to meet massive resistance every single day. Will you call your senators and let them know that this bill is unacceptable to their constituents, and that no minor tweaks will make it better?

Call your senators and demand that they reject the Republican health care repeal.

Sen. John McCain : (202) 224-2235

Sen. Jeff Flake : (202) 224-4521

“The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.”(1)

He’s right -- the Senate health care bill is a travesty. It would make health care more expensive, reduce coverage, limit women's access to health services by defunding Planned Parenthood, and end Medicaid as we know it -- robbing countless poor and disabled Americans of access to quality care.

Mitch McConnell says that his bill won’t allow people with pre-existing conditions to be denied coverage. But under the GOP proposal, states can eliminate the requirement that health insurance plans include certain key benefits. That means health insurance companies couldn’t deny coverage to cancer patients, but it could sell them a plan that doesn’t cover their treatment. That’s just immoral.(2)

The Senate Republican bill is full of cynical trickery like this. Another example: the bill subsidizes health insurance payments for poorer Americans for seven years -- just long enough to make sure that no Republican who votes for this will have to face a tough reelection campaign until years after the subsidies disappear. After that, poorer people will be left to fend for themselves.(3)

Of course, the most reactionary Republicans are opposed to any extension of subsidies. So McConnell tried to woo them by cutting Medicaid even more deeply than the House bill does. The elderly, the poor, the disabled, and children will all see cuts to essential benefits that give them a shot at a decent life on a level playing field.(4)

Tell your senators to reject Mitch McConnell’s cynical vision of America by voting against the Senate health care repeal. SCRIPT HERE.

The health care repeal will move quickly -- and that’s why we need you to speak up now. McConnell wants this to be voted on by July 4, but if more than two Republican senators oppose the bill it won't be viable. Republican senators like Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine have all expressed misgivings about the bill, and are important targets.(5) At the same time, reactionary Republican senators like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson are opposing the bill because they don’t think it goes far enough to guarantee misery for millions of people. There’s a real path to stopping this cruel bill from becoming law.(6)

If the repeal bill does pass the Senate, House Republicans will move quickly to try to pass the Senate bill -- giving us another opportunity to stop the health care repeal from becoming law.

In order to stop this bill, we’ll need to demonstrate massive public opposition every step along the way, every single day. Will you call your senators today and ask your friends and family to do the same?

- the Courage team

Your senators need to hear from you today, no matter how you do it. If you can’t make a phone call, try using a text message to send them a fax using Resistbot.

3. See reference 2.


The number of monarch butterflies has declined by more than 80% in the last 20 years. What's to blame? Big Ag's use of potent glyphosate-based herbicides like Monsanto's Roundup is killing off native milkweed plants that monarchs need to survive. Milkweed is the only food source for monarch caterpillars. So no milkweed means no monarchs.

Demand that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt adopt tough restrictions on the toxic herbicides imperiling monarchs.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! Your personal comment will be added to this.

Your message will be sent to:
Administrator E. Scott 'Scott' Pruitt

Subject line:

Adopt new herbicide restrictions to save monarchs

Dear Administrator Pruitt,

(Consider adding your own thoughts -- personalized messages are especially effective.)

I am calling on you to undertake swift action to limit the use of glyphosate and other weed killers in light of the critical threat they pose to monarch butterflies. Since the EPA last approved glyphosate in 1993, use of this potent herbicide has skyrocketed across the United States, destroying native milkweed monarch caterpillars need to survive. In fact, the number of monarch butterflies has declined by more than 80% in the last 20 years.

Please help increase the monarch's chance of survival by reducing the overuse of glyphosate and other herbicides. Without strong EPA action, glyphosate will continue to wreak more destruction on monarchs -- and we could lose their awe-inspiring migration forever. Please act now to save these majestic butterflies.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Joyful moment dampened by news of the Republican healthcare plan

This should be a lovely day for me. Looking forward to our first mesquite flour milling this afternoon. And 345 people just saw our blog about harvesting that mesquite. After carefully tending our struggling little moringa tree - that I planted for future generations - it is finally spouting some leaves. But I won't be blogging about the joy of making things grow or drought tolerant, edible trees. Instead I'm blogging about the devastating healthcare bill that the Republican senate just proposed.

Trump said the healthcare bill that the Republican house passed was "mean," and I hear this one is worse. They are paying for tax cuts to the rich with human lives! Senator Elizabeth Warren called it "blood money."  They are proposing devastating cuts to medicaid. Medicaid pays for nursing homes for the elderly and home healthcare for the handicapped and elderly. What do they want us to do with our parents and grandparents?! How can Republicans claim that they are for "pro-life" when they want to cut coverage for maternity care and even caring for premature babies! This bill will negatively affect the quality of life for average Americans. 

Please, take a moment contact your senators now and tell them to reject this ruthless bill. I just did.

Sen. John McCain : (202) 224-2235
Local Offices
Phoenix, AZ: tel: 602-952-2410 fax: 855-952-8702
Prescott, AZ: tel: 928-445-0833 fax: 928-445-8594
Tucson, AZ: tel: 520-670-6334 fax: 520-670-6637

Sen. Jeff Flake : (202) 224-4521
Local Offices
Phoenix, AZ: tel: 602-840-1891 fax: 602-840-4092
Tucson, AZ: tel: 520-575-8633 fax: 520-797-3232

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

With the Republican assault on the enviroment, we will all be needing good healthcare.

Yesterday, a friend-of-a-friend commented that he didn't have healthcare and didn't need it - so why should he pay for healthcare for everyone else? Providing affordable healthcare for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions (like being a human being!) is not only compassionate, but it is self-serving. Eventually we will all need that care.

Congress recently passed a law allowing corporations to dump toxic waste in our waterways. Trump's rallying call is Frack! Frack! Frack! Drill, baby, drill. All that toxic waste and smoke will go into our water and air. I believe there will be an unprecedented increase in people with cancer. It could be any of us! With the Republican healthcare bill, millions will suffer and die unnecessarily.

Please, call your members of Congress today and tell them to vote NO on any bill that takes healthcare away from those with pre-existing conditions, children, or the elderly. If you have a personal story about cancer, share it.

Sen. John McCain : (202) 224-2235
Local Offices
Phoenix, AZ: tel: 602-952-2410 fax: 855-952-8702
Prescott, AZ: tel: 928-445-0833 fax: 928-445-8594
Tucson, AZ: tel: 520-670-6334 fax: 520-670-6637

Sen. Jeff Flake : (202) 224-4521
Local Offices
Phoenix, AZ: tel: 602-840-1891 fax: 602-840-4092
Tucson, AZ: tel: 520-575-8633 fax: 520-797-3232

Teens' petition to limit Nestle’s Michigan Water Withdrawals

Our names are Yousef Emara and Nathan Koh. We are eighth graders in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Our class completes a Sustainability Action Project (SAP) by choosing a cause in which we can make a positive impact.  We have chosen to raise awareness of Nestle’s water pumping practices in Michigan and petition the state legislature and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to reject an increase in Nestle’s pumping rates in White Pine Springs, Osceola County, Michigan.
Why This Issue Matters 
In many countries, including the United States, there is little limitation on the rate at which water can be pumped out of aquifers (underground water reserves).  Water bottling companies have been pumping billions of gallons of water out of aquifers and impacting the watershed and surrounding environment and selling water bottles for 3000 to 5000 times more than they pay for it.  One such pumping site is Nestle’s well field in White Pine Springs, Osceola County, Michigan, which is part of the Muskegon River watershed.  
What This Means for Michigan 
Nestle runs a plant for its two water bottle brands, Ice Mountain and Pure Life, in Stanwood, Michigan.  The company operates three well fields with a total of seven wells, all within the Muskegon River watershed.  According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Nestle pumped more than 3.4 billion gallons of water from its three Michigan well fields between 2005 and 2015.  In 2015, Nestle was given approval by the MDEQ to pump 250 gallons per minute at White Pine Springs Well in Osceola County.  The company now wants to increase the amount of water it pumps from this well to 400 gallons per minute. Nestle would pay the state of Michigan $200 per year for this increase.
According to a test conducted in August 2000 by Malcolm Pirnie Inc., Nestle’s White Pine Springs Well pumps water from an underground aquifer that is connected to the aboveground water system through a permeable layer of Earth, called a leaky aquitard.  Pumping water from the aquifer can drain significant amounts of water from above. This indicates that the wetlands and wildlife above the ground are at high risk of being harmed by Nestle’s pumping.  Residents, like Rhonda Huff, as reported by the MLive newspaper on April 9, 2017, noticed that water levels in Osceola County’s Chippewa Creek, which flows into the Muskegon River watershed, have significantly dropped in recent years, affecting trout populations.  
Nestle needs a permit from the MDEQ in order to increase the rate at which it pumps water.  The MDEQ requires the use of a Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool to determine the impact of proposed water withdrawals on fish and wildlife in the area.  Nestle’s proposed water withdrawal increase to 400 gallons per minute failed to pass MDEQ’s Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool. However, the MDEQ can and did overrule the failing grade determined by the Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool.
Nestle’s plan to increase the amount of water withdrawn to 400 gallons per minute would undo an agreement with environmentalists reached more than seven years ago for a well field in Sanctuary Springs, which is also part of the Muskegon River watershed.  In 2001, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation sued Nestle over potential damage to the system of lakes, rivers, and streams that its water withdrawal would cause.  An agreement was reached in 2009, limiting the amount of water the company could pump.
What You Can Do To Help
Please sign our petition!  Help us in reaching our goal of 10,000 signatures to present to the state legislature and the MDEQ. Thank you for taking the time to protect our most precious resource – water.
- Yousef Emara and Nathan Koh.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

196 members of Congress have filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump for violating the Constitution. Tell your members of Congress to join them.

Trump conducts business meetings during his golf trips at his resort. 
196 members of Congress have filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump for violating the Constitution. That’s a big deal! Never before has so much of Congress sued a sitting president.

That’s because we’ve never had a sitting president so openly disregard the Constitution. The Trump Organization's profits still flow to Trump, letting foreign governments funnel money to Trump through his properties in the U.S. and business dealings in over 20 different countries1 – all in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Congress members who represent you in Washington, Representative Martha McSally and Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, have not yet joined the lawsuit.

Call your reps and tell them to join the lawsuit and hold Trump accountable to the Constitution. Here are the numbers to call:

Rep. McSally - (202) 225-2542
Sen. McCain - (202) 224-2235
Sen. Flake - (202) 224-4521

The Constitution clearly states in the Foreign Emoluments Clause, that no public official can accept “emoluments:” gifts, payments, or profits from a foreign government without the consent of Congress. And that hasn’t happened.

Instead of divesting from Trump Organization, Donald Trump merely handing the reigns over to his sons, while still collecting and getting regular updates on profits.1

Some of your members of Congress haven’t joined this lawsuit yet. It’s time they hear from you. Tell them to join the lawsuit against Donald Trump for violating the Constitution. Hear are their numbers:

- Rootstrikers, a project of Demand Progress

Source: NPR “Democratic Lawmakers Sue Trump, Handing The President Another Legal Challenge” June 14, 2017

Call your members of Congress NOW and tell them to vote "No" on this disastrous tax plan.

Paul Ryan just gave a passionate call to cut taxes of on the wealthy and corporations. I watched his press conference and left these responses. 

Easy tax forms would be GREAT. But that doesn't mean not taxing corporations and the richest people the planet has ever known. How do you think they got that way? They don't pay their workers a living wage and they don't pay their taxes .

Our country will never recover from the trillion dollar tax cut they are giving to the rich. That is part of their plan. Then they can sell off our services to their rich friends. They will privatize our highways and bridges - so we will pay for them twice (with the incentives to the banks and continuing tolls.) How do you think Ryan got as rich as he is? He is working for them, not us.

In the fifties corporations and the rich paid more taxes and our economy thrived. That is also true of the states that tax the rich more. The rich don't want to pay anything. They get subsidies and they use up our resources and they use our services - but they don't want to pay for that. Why do you think our infrastructure (which they use for their businesses) is crumbing. They take out, they don't put enough in. And now they want to be taxed even less!

Repealing the estate tax will only benefit the richest families in America. They will not invest that money in the economy. They aren't now. They are hording it and buying our politicians with it. Less than one percent of the population has more money than 90% of Americans combined. This tax plan will just increase that divide.

In order to give these tax cuts to the rich, Trump's budget cuts important services and healthcare for the American people. Working Americans will continue to pay taxes, and not get the services we need.

Please call your members of Congress NOW and tell them to vote "No" on this disastrous tax plan.

Sen. John McCain : (202) 224-2235
Local Offices
Phoenix, AZ: tel: 602-952-2410 fax: 855-952-8702
Prescott, AZ: tel: 928-445-0833 fax: 928-445-8594
Tucson, AZ: tel: 520-670-6334 fax: 520-670-6637

Sen. Jeff Flake : (202) 224-4521
Local Offices
Phoenix, AZ: tel: 602-840-1891 fax: 602-840-4092
Tucson, AZ: tel: 520-575-8633 fax: 520-797-3232

Monday, June 19, 2017

Media access is important and shouldn’t be restrained -- ask your elected officials to support a free press.

Freedom of the press is a foundational American value. The media functions as an important watchdog to hold our leaders and elected officials accountable to the people they serve. Attacks on the media in the Trump era are a threat to our democratic system.

It’s crucial to make sure the media is protected so that we have mechanisms to hold our elected officials accountable.

Please ask your members of congress and elected officials to uphold freedom of the press today!

Last week, lawmakers attempted to crack down on media access in the Capitol, declaring that reporters were not allowed to film or record audio in the Senate hallways without special permission, even though this has been done for years. This apparent attempt to prevent the public from knowing what is going on in the Capitol is one more shocking event in a string of recent anti-media incidents.

President Donald Trump’s disdain for the media and its information could shape attitudes across the country—how electorates evaluate claims during campaign cycles, how students are taught in school to ferret out facts, and how political and corporate officials deal with the media and the public.

Just this past month, a number of incidents threatening journalists’ rights occurred:

* a Congressional candidate from Montana assaulted a Guardian reporter who was trying to ask him a question on the eve of their special election

* a newspaper in Lexington, Kentucky had its windows shot out

* a journalist was arrested in West Virginia while posing healthcare questions to the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price

*an award-winning journalist with CQ Roll Call was stalked and manhandled by security guards at Federal Communications Commission headquarters when posing questions to a FCC Commissioner

* a CNN reporter was threatened by a U.S. State Department press official demanding to know who her sources were.

The watchdog role of the media, an informed citizenry, and the vigilance of public discourse in exposing lies and wrongdoing have separated the United States from kleptocracies, oligarchies, and cronyist regimes all over the world. Those precepts may now be in jeopardy.

Sign the petition to elected officials in Washington and across the country to uphold and defend our constitutional right to a free press.

- Katie O’Connell, People for the American Way

Friday, June 16, 2017

URGENT: Reports from Capitol Hill make it clear that the Senate could vote on Trumpcare at any moment

URGENT: If you live in a state represented in the U.S. Senate by a Republican, your voice matters more than ever before. Reports from Capitol Hill make it clear that the Senate could vote on Trumpcare at any moment. We need to stop it.

Trumpcare is incredibly unpopular -- but Mitch McConnell is working with Donald Trump, under unprecedented secrecy, to pass Trumpcare in the Senate. If it passes, all Republicans have to do is reconcile the bill with the House and it will become law with Trump's signature.

Your call can make the difference between Trumpcare passing or collapsing. Please call your Senator NOW and tell them to vote NO on Republicans' disastrous health care proposal.

Call and say:

Hello, my name is _____________ and I'm calling from Tucson, AZ.

I'm calling to tell Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake to vote NO on the awful plan to pass Trumpcare and destroy the Affordable Care Act. This plan would drive up premiums and cause thousands of people in Arizona to lose their coverage. That is unacceptable. We need to expand access to affordable health care -- not give a huge tax cut to the rich at the expense of our families.

Thank you.

Local Offices

Last week, Senate Republican leadership used an obscure rule, known as Rule 14, to let them bypass public hearings and rush through legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

This is on top of the fact that negotiations about the bill have been held largely in secret and the public and the press have yet to even get a glimpse of the legislation.

This is outrageous. If the Senate bill is anything like the House-passed American Health Care Act, it will likely gut the Medicaid program and undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions. It would effectively strip care from millions of Americans who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act and leave the most vulnerable among us totally defenseless.

When asked why they're not releasing a draft of the bill, a Senate GOP aide actually said, "We're not stupid." 
Time to speak out.