mawasmuth

23 posts

Actions 12/11 and 12/12

Monday

Keep on calling to demand that the FCC maintain net neutrality. The FCC will vote December 14 on the proposal by Chairman Ajit Pai, former chief counsel for Verizon, to abolish net neutrality regulations. Net neutrality allows all users to have equal access to everything available on the Internet. Abolishing it would give Internet Service Providers like Verizon and Comcast a lot more control over what we can and do online. Among other things, they could create faster or slower speeds for sites, charge premium prices for upgraded access, and engage in censorship by throttling websites, apps, and online services.

It would be a devastating blow to the free and open Internet we rely on for streaming videos, communicating with our networks – and yes, reading critical news stories about the state of our democracy. Without net neutrality, small businesses, low-income individuals, and much of rural America would lose access to affordable, reasonably fast internet service.

A strong push from Congress might make Chairman Pai reconsider his proposal. Let’s call Senators Markey (202-224-2742) and Warren (202-224-4543) and our representatives and urge them to contact the chairman and demand that he drop his plan. Already made the call? Great! How about calling again? The volume of comments makes a difference.

SCRIPT: Hi, my name is [NAME] and I'm a concerned customer from [CITY].

I'm calling to express my support for net neutrality and a fair and open Internet. I strongly belief that the free flow of information on the Internet is critical to a healthy democracy. I'm asking [SENATOR’S OR REP’S NAME] to contact FCC Chairman Pai and demand he abandon his current plan to dismantle net neutrality.

[OPTIONAL: add a personal story or experience to give your message more weight]

Thank you for your time and attention.

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied.]


Tuesday

Stop the confiscation of tips from restaurant workers. The Department of Labor has proposed a rule, championed by the National Restaurant Association, to permit restaurant owners (including for restaurants owned by giant corporations) to dispose of server tips as they choose, which means they can also keep the tips for themselves. The rule applies to employers that pay federal minimum wage and don’t deduct tip amounts from wages.

Servers in restaurants are among the lowest-paid workers in our economy, struggling to survive on a median hourly wage that was less than $10 per hour in 2015. They should not be expected to subsidize the profits of their owners and corporations. Let’s tell Trump's Department of Labor what we think.

We can comment on the proposed regulation here until January 4, 2018.

SCRIPT: I strongly oppose the proposed “Tip Regulations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)” regulation (RIN: 1235-AA21). By allowing employers to take control of their employees' tips, this rule would overturn decades of federal and state law and precedent safeguarding tips as the property of workers, going back to 1974, when the Fair Labor Standards Act was amended to clarify that tips are to be retained by the employee except when a valid tip pooling arrangement is in place.

The proposed rule essentially authorizes wage theft on the part of the employer. If restaurant owners pocket employee tips as the regulation allows them to do, a vulnerable workforce will be forced further into poverty, economic instability, and increased danger of harassment and assault.

[OPTIONAL: add a story or experience of your own or of someone you care about to give your message more weight]

The Good News

Two weeks' worth.

Both Massachusetts senators stood up for Dreamers last week when they opposed the continuing resolution because it didn't include a clean Dream Act. Senator Warren committed to this some time ago. We called (and called and called...) Senator Markey, and on the day of the vote, he came through, too! Massachusetts is the only state with two senators on the Dream Hero list.


People protested outside 700 Verizon stores around the country (including in Boston) to defend net neutrality.


Nearly 200 Dreamers and their allies were arrested on Capitol Hill as protests across the country called for a Clean Dream Act.


Raise Up Massachusetts—a coalition of labor, religious, and community organizations—collected 274,652 signatures on petitions for its two Mass ballot questions, 139,055 for the $15 minimum wage and 135,597 for paid family and medical leave, far more than the 64,750 required for each.


Meanwhile, abortion opponents collected only 57,400 of the requisite 64,750 for their (failed) petition to eliminate state funding for Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide abortion services.


Former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the deadly shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed African-American man. Shaun King: “For the first time in any national case of police brutality in this generation, a police officer is being held responsible for his violence and corruption.”


In Salt Lake City, thousands protested Trump's decision to shrink two national monuments in Utah two days before his visit to the state, and thousands more protesters greeted him when he arrived.


The day Trump made his announcement about the monuments, Patagonia’s website read, “The President Stole Your Land. In an illegal move, the president just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history.” The company joined a coalition of environmental, archaeological, and Native American groups in suing the Trump administration to protect the monuments.


Thousands of Alabamians have seen their voting rights restored thanks to an incredible volunteer effort.


German pilots grounded more than 220 flights that were to be used to deport failed asylum seekers.


David Ermold, the gay man whom Kim Davis denied a marriage license two years ago, visited her in her office again, this time to file to run against her for county clerk.


"I am throwing in with the Democratic Party." Kurt Bardella, a rising Republican star, detailed in a brutal op-ed the reasons he's leaving the Republican Party.


Public outcry forced the VA to reverse course on their plan to drastically cut a $460 million program that helps provide housing to homeless veterans—just a week after they announced the cuts.


The Silence Breakers are Time’s Person of the Year in tribute to the “Me-too” movement of women and men speaking out about sexual harassment.


A judge found the NYPD in contempt of court for failing to turn over undercover surveillance footage of Black Lives Matter activists.


The Washington Post exposed a Project Veritas sting attempt involving a woman who falsely claimed to the newspaper that Roy Moore impregnated her as a teenager.


New York State may revoke Project Veritas’s fundraising license because it didn’t disclose that its founder, James O’Keefe, had a criminal record.


Young voters in Virginia came out in historic numbers and overwhelmingly cast their ballots for the Democratic candidate for governor, Ralph Northam, 69% versus 30%, with a turnout rate of 34%, double the youth turnout in 2009.


Jen Jordan flipped a Republican seat in a special election for the Georgia state senate, ending the Republican two-thirds supermajority in that body. Lots of women flipping seats this year!


Obama had three of the top 10 most retweeted posts of 2017. None of Trump’s tweets made the top 10.


A federal appeals court ruled that judges cannot deny bail to immigrants in criminal cases solely because they are living in the country unlawfully and could be deported before trial.


A federal judge in Northern California ruled that immigration judges must release teens who don't pose a danger, saying, "They can't just arrest someone, ship them across the country and lock them up based on nothing more than suspicion."


The only man who can actually fire Robert Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein, says he's satisfied with the special counsel’s work.


In the financial records he filed with the Office of Government Ethics, Jared Kushner didn’t disclose his role as co-director of the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation from 2006 to 2015, when the group funded an Israeli settlement considered to be illegal under international law.


Prosecutors working for Robert Mueller are pushing for Paul Manafort to remain confined to his home on GPS monitoring because he enlisted a longtime colleague “assessed to have ties” to Russian intelligence to help him ghostwrite an op-ed to justify his political consulting in Ukraine.


Zeroing in on Trump’s business dealings with Deutsche Bank, Robert Mueller issued a subpoena that forced the bank to submit documents on its relationship with Trump and his family.


Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Trump Jr. asked her for evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation during their Trump Tower meeting—and when she told him she didn't have information about the Clintons, he lost interest and the meeting fizzled out.


The federal court that partially blocked Trump’s transgender policy in an earlier ruling issued a clarification saying the military must accept transgender service members by January 1.


The Supreme Court declined to review a Maryland law banning the sale of semiautomatic guns with certain military-style features, similar to weapons used in recent mass shootings. Several other states (including Massachusetts) and many cities and towns have similar laws.


The Supreme Court also refused to take up a challenge to a Florida law that bars people from openly carrying firearms in public.


The House of Representatives unanimously approved the SAFE Act increasing the maximum penalty for female genital mutilation.


Maura Healey joined 18 other state prosecutors in an amicus brief backing Pennsylvania's suit against the federal government over new administration rules that roll back contraceptive coverage.


The Office of Special Counsel opened a case file into whether Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act when she assailed Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones.


Subpoenas were sent to 23 Trump businesses requiring them to preserve records for a lawsuit accusing him of profiting from his office through continued ownership of his businesses.


The Treasury's inspector general is investigating whether Steve Mnuchin hid a Treasury Department analysis of the Republican tax bill, or if the department even did one. Mnuchin had said their analysis proved economic growth from the tax cuts would offset lost revenue, but no report was ever released.


The New York City council voted to ban paid LGBTQ conversion therapy for kids and adults.


Billy Bush said that seven additional people heard Trump brag about grabbing women by their genitalia. Trump has been questioning the authenticity of the Access Hollywood video.


Austria’s supreme court ruled that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry starting in 2019, saying a law to the contrary violated the principle of non-discrimination.


Iceland elected a 41-year-old Democratic Socialist, environmentalist, and feminist as their new prime minister.


The transit authority in Cairo hired its first female bus driver after introducing a female-only bus service to protect women from sexual harassment.


The school board in Portland, Maine, voted to enact a new policy protecting transgender students.


More than 50 mayors signed a formal agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their cities and agreed to meet goals similar to those in the Paris climate accord.


Volunteers for the group Postcards to Voters handwrote postcards to every registered Democrat in Alabama, urging them to vote for Doug Jones in Tuesday’s election.


Deval Patrick, Cory Booker, and John Lewis are campaigning in Alabama this weekend for senatorial candidate Doug Jones; Lewis cancelled his appearance Saturday for the opening of the Civil Rights Museum after it was announced that Trump would attend.


Lawrence MA pushed back against a warning by Jeff Sessions that he will cut off its federal public safety grants unless the city reconsiders its Trust Act.


Tobacco companies have been ordered to run ads admitting they lied about the dangers of smoking while at the same time making cigarettes more addictive.


Owners of the Trump International Hotel in Panama are pushing to remove Trump's name from the building as the tower attempts to revive its business.


Nike is closing the Niketown location housed in a property managed by the Trump Organization. It's the organization's biggest tenant in a single space, estimated to be worth $235 million.


And—oh yeah—Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia's ambassador and disclosed that he is cooperating with the special counsel's office.

Actions for 12/6

Wednesday

The tax scam’s not law yet. It’s headed to a House/Senate conference committee, which will try to iron out the many differences between the House and Senate bills. Let’s keep up the pressure against the bill by calling Senators Markey (202-224-2742) and Warren (202-224-4543) and our representatives and letting them know we appreciate their support and urge them to continue to oppose the Republican plan. Here’s our tax scam script. If you happen to know anyone with a Republican Representative in the high-tax states of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, or California, ask them to tell their Reps not to raise taxes on their own constituents.

And here’s a thought. How about alternating calls about this and about a clean DREAM Act until the two issues are resolved? The media's been reporting that the opposition is losing steam. Keeping the congressional phone lines busy is one way to show we’re fighting as hard as ever. Showing up at rallies is another way. There’s a National Day of Action for Immigrant Rights rally at 3:30 today at Faneuil Hall, and on Sunday the Boston Tea Party Dump the GOP Tax Bill rally will take place on the Common at noon.

Actions for 12/4

With recess looming, carrying with it deadlines for some critical issues, we’re frontloading this week’s actions. Yes, they’re repeats. That means we still have a chance to affect outcomes.

Monday

Let’s make sure our members of Congress fight hard for a clean DREAM Act. The continuing resolution to fund the federal budget, which comes up this week, is our best chance for a clean Dream Act before Trump’s March deadline.

Elizabeth Warren already took the Dreamer Pledge, a commitment to vote against the continuing budget resolution unless it contains a clean DREAM Act, and Jim McGovern is among 25 House Democrats who made a similar pledge. Let’s call Senator Markey (202-224-2742) and our representatives (except for Jim McGovern) right now and get them to commit to the Dreamer Pledge.

Script: Hello! My name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [CITY] to urge the [SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE] to fight for a clean DREAM Act to provide relief from deportation for the 800,000 Dreamers who came to the United States as children. Here in Massachusetts, 9030 DACA recipients contribute $24,261,000 each year in state and local taxes.

I’m asking him/her to join [FOR MARKEY: Senator Warren in taking] [FOR REPRESENTATIVE: Representative McGovern in taking] the Dreamer Pledge and committing to hold up the December continuing budget resolution if it doesn’t include a clean Dream Act. It’s our best chance to ensure a safe and secure future for Dreamers in the country they call home. Will the [SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE] make that commitment?

Thank you for your time.

Got contacts in other states? Use the Dream Act Toolkit to find out which lawmakers are key swing votes.


Demand that the FCC maintain net neutrality. The FCC will vote December 14 on the proposal by Chairman Ajit Pai, once chief counsel for Verizon, to abolish net neutrality regulations. Net neutrality allows all users to have equal access to everything available on the Internet. Abolishing it would give Internet Service Providers like Verizon and Comcast a lot more control over what we can see and do online. Among other things, they could create faster or slower speeds for sites, charge premium prices for upgraded access, and engage in censorship by throttling websites, apps, and online services.

It would be a devastating blow to the free and open Internet we rely on for streaming videos, communicating with our networks – and yes, reading critical news stories about the state of our democracy. Without net neutrality, small businesses, low-income individuals, and much of rural America would lose access to affordable, reasonably fast internet service.

A strong outcry from Congress might make Chairman Pai reconsider his proposal. If you haven’t already done so, please call Senators Markey (202-224-2742) and Warren (202-224-4543) and our representatives and urge them to contact the chairman and demand that he drop his plan.

And you can show your support in person December 7 at a Defend Net Neutrality rally at Verizon.

SCRIPT: Hi, my name is [NAME] and I'm a concerned customer from [CITY].

I'm calling to express my support for net neutrality and a fair and open Internet. I strongly belief that the free flow of information on the Internet is critical to a healthy democracy. I'm asking [SENATOR’S OR REP’S NAME] to contact FCC Chairman Pai and demand he abandon his current plan to dismantle net neutrality.

[OPTIONAL: add a personal story or experience to give your message more weight]

Thank you for your time and attention.

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied.]

Actions for 11/29 and 11/30

Wednesday

Let’s tell our members of Congress to fight for a clean DREAM Act. When Trump rescinded DACA in September, over 800,000 undocumented young people were confronted with an uncertain future. Every day the Dream Act isn’t enacted means another day their lives are at great risk.

The bipartisan DREAM Act enjoys massive public support, but Republicans are trying to delay and dilute it with punitive conditions. We can fight back by persuading our members of Congress to take the Dreamer Pledge, a commitment to vote against the continuing budget resolution unless it contains a clean DREAM Act. Senator Warren took the pledge, and Representative Jim McGovern is among the 25 House Democrats who made a similar commitment.

Now we need to call Senator Markey (202-224-2742) and our representatives (except for Jim McGovern) and urge them to take the Dreamer Pledge.

Script: Hello! My name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [CITY] to urge the [SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE] to fight for a clean DREAM Act to provide relief from deportation for the 800,000 Dreamers who came to the United States as children.

Specifically, I’d like him/her to [MARKEY: join Senator Warren in taking] [REPRESENTATIVE: join Representative McGovern in taking] the Dreamer Pledge. The pledge is a commitment to do everything he/she can to pass the DREAM Act as soon as possible, and to insist that it be included in the December government spending bill if it hasn’t passed by then. It’s the best approach to making sure that our 800,000 Dreamers have a safe and secure future in the country they call home.

Thank you for your time.


Thursday

Get the word out about ACA open enrollment. Americans have been enrolling in record numbers, but the Trump administration has cut the enrollment period in half for states on the federal exchange; they have only until December 15 to sign up. Other states, including Massachusetts, have later deadlines. Since Trump also slashed the advertising budget by 90%, it’s up to us to make sure everyone knows how soon they need to sign up.

Please tweet, post on Facebook, and distribute every way you can this graphic, which lists the deadlines for every state.

Or use this graphic for a Massachusetts-only audience.