One Ringy-Dingy…

Let’s talk about how amazing this movement is, shall we?

Calling all callers!

Guess how many calls came into the Senate this week. (Not including district and local offices.) Seriously – how many calls per day do you think it takes to jam those phone lines and overload switchboards?

1.5 Million Calls Per Day. 

WHOA! Congratulations, friend! That’s you. And that’s me. And that’s us making a difference. Together, our actions are making a serious impression. Consider that a staffer for Diane Feinstein blamed the Indivisible movement for breaking his blackberry and almost killing his desktop. (He doesn’t seem bothered by it either.)

Can you imagine what it feels like to have the phones constantly ringing? As Kris Miler, researcher of politics and government at the University of Maryland, notes “If your phone’s ringing off the hook all day long, that’s pretty memorable.” And Miler should know – considering she literally wrote the book on how legislators communicate with constituents. (The book is Constituency Representation in Congress.) Miler has also seen “Congressional debates center on the phone onslaught in a representative’s office, and [has] found that a legislator’s understanding of their district was remarkably linked to who they’d talked to recently.”

So, unglamorous and intangible though they may be, phone calls are still the gold standard for activism. If you can’t get through in D.C., call the local district offices – often it’s easier to get through to the local offices. But if you really want to, you can get creative and try to send a pizza-gram. I wonder, do you think sending frozen pizzas (Supreme, of course) to protest the GOP Senators “freezing out” Merrick Garland’s nomination would be too cheeky? Yeah. I think so, too.

More great news: I can shop at Nordstrom again!

Boycotts work. So far, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus have dropped Ivanka’s products – and when journalists searched Bergdorf Goodman’s website they were unable to find her brand.

And although the stores claim that the changes are simply due to decreased demand, Nordstrom’s three presidents joined other companies that took pains to explain that they did not agree with the Muslim ban, and that they would support their employees. Honestly, the list is impressive, and includes the likes of NikeMicrosoftAppleGoogleGeneral ElectricTrip AdvisorNetflix, Facebook, EBay’s founder, and Amazon. That list is not exhaustive, but it’s an example of just how far out on a limb Trump has gone with his executive orders and just how many business leaders are being clear that they do not stand with him.

On that same note, let’s review a little Superbowl awesomeness:

This year, companies put their Super Bowl advertising dollars where their mouths were and it’s freaking amazing. 84 Lumber‘s video has (as of this posting) already received over 3 million views. It’s breathtakingly moving. A must see. AirBnB’s “We accept” video is also a great message of acceptance and unity. Google Home‘s commercial integrates its message of inclusion throughout – with rainbow flags, a mezuzah, shots of happy families of various cultures… and a cake at the end that’s clearly a call-back to the Clinton campaign (a HRC blue background, with white icing in the campaign’s font, sporting a red airplane that just happens to be flying over the “H”? not a coincidence IMO). Busch produced an amazing story of their founder’s journey to the United States, and a slightly fictionalized account of his meeting with his eventual business partner. It’s been viewed over 20 million times, so you’ve probably seen it – but if not, it’s worth watching! (An aside that its message incorporates moral framing that will likely influence more persuadable members of the GOP.) And finally, Audi produced a wonderful piece about the value of women. It’s gotten a lot of blowback from meninists, so give them some love for believing that progress is for everyone.

Actions

Now that we’ve covered the awesome news, let’s get down to business. I’m switching things up a bit, and setting out actions in categories: Nominations, Bills, Meetings, and Missouri-specific stuff. Let me know if it’s helpful!

Nominations:
  1. This one is time sensitive. Call your Senators about Betsy DeVos right now. Senate convenes at 12:00 (EST) on Monday, February 6, and they will likely try to muscle her through as soon as possible (maybe even Monday). So call now! Here’s a link to the Senate page where you can find your Senators’ telephone numbers.
    • Also, for MO voters, Betsy DeVos contributed over $30,000 to Roy Blunt’s campaign, and has a long history of contributing even more to support his family’s political aspirations. But an enterprising Missourian has started a GoFundMe page to “Buy Roy Blunt’s Vote.” As the sponsor puts it, “[i]f his vote is for sale, let’s negotiate!” If you are so inclined, toss in a few bucks.
  2.  Steve Mnuchin – Treasury: same drill. Foreclosure king, and failed to disclose around $100 million in assets on his financial disclosure form before his hearing. Drain the swamp indeed.
  3. Jeff Sessions – Attorney General: again, same drill. Acted unethically when the Attorney General of Alabama, has a history of racial insensitivity (and that’s mild), and has a poor record of supporting voter rights. The ACLU’s testimony on his record is here.
  4. Tom Price – HHS: same drill. He’s been accused of insider trading and would work hard to dismantle the ACA.
Bills: Call on any or all
  1. Senate Bill 26: Presidential Tax Transparency Act
    • About: This bill has 16 co-sponsors (and note the identical House Bill 305, which is in the House Committee on Oversight). Would require POTUS to release tax returns, which is supported by 74% of Americans.
    • Currently in Senate Rules Committee. Richard Shelby appears to be the current chair (as of 1/20 – a change from the previous Resolution 7 – but his chairmanship hasn’t yet been codified). Committee chairs help create the calendar, so if you are a constituent in Alabama call him and ask him to move the legislation along.
    • Call: the committee at 202.224.6352.
    • Call: Your own senator to support the bill and/or ask them to become a co-sponsor.
  2. Senate Bill 27: Independent Commission re: Russian Interference.
    • About: This bill has 17 co-sponsers, and would create a bipartisan commission to investigate and report on the Russian interference in the election. An 8 member panel (4 GOP, 4 D – all non-governmental) would prepare a report within 18 months.
    • Currently in Senate Rules Committee. See link for membership. Shelby (AL) is the chair, and committee chairs help create the calendar, so if you are an Alabama constituent call him and ask him to move the legislation along.
    • Call: the committee at 202.224.6352.
    • Call: Your own senator to support the bill and/or ask them to become a co-sponsor.
  3. Senate Bill 65: Presidential Conflits of Interest Act
    • About: requires divestment of the President’s conflicts of interest. This bill has 23 co-sponsors.
    • Currently in the Homeland Security Committee. (Membership in hyperlink.) Claire McCaskill (MO) is the ranking democrat on that committee, so call her and let her know that you support this bill and want her to do what she can to push it through the committee.
    • Call: the committee (202) 224-4751 to express support for the bill.
    • Call: Your own senator to support them becoming a co-sponsor.
  4. Senate Bill 200: Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act.
    1. I can’t believe this is where we are, but this is where we are. It notes that the Constitution gives Congress the sole authority to declare war, and the first use of nuclear weapons would be a “major act of war” – essentially meaning that POTUS would by his actions be declaring war and violating the Constitution.  Sponsored by Markey (MA), with no co-sponsors. (Note identical bill House of Representatives bill HR669 which has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Relations.)
    2. Currently in Foreign Relations Committee. (Note that Markey, who drafted the bill, is a minority member of that committee.)
    3. Call your Senator to support the bill and/or ask them to become a cosponsor.

 

Meetings/Protests:

Huddle. Maybe you haven’t yet found a group – like Indivisible, or any number of other great local organizations (like Grassroots Groupings) that have popped up across the nation. The Womens’ March 100 Actions page has a cool “huddle” feature, and is encouraging groups to form and get together. Here’s the link to their page, where you can enter your zip code and find a group near you. Here is the Indivisible Guide page, where you can also find groups (just enter your zip code). Hey, we’re on there so maybe that’s how you found us! Woot!

Indivisible is also launching a nifty new tool that publicizes local meetings and actions. You can check it out here, and post your own meetings or action items. You should probably bookmark their page, because I think it’s going to become a hub of activity in the months to come.

Planned Parenthood: On February 11, anti-choice protests will be happening across the country at various Planned Parenthood locations. So, counter-protests supporting PP will also be happening. Check your local PP office to see if they are supporting any protests near you – and whether they want counter-protesters to come to their location or protest somewhere else. Here’s a link to information from Planned Parenthood of Great Plains about some protests in Columbia, MO; Little Rock, AR; Oklahoma City, OK,;Overland Park, KS, and Wichita, KS. In Saint Louis, you can attend a protest at ThriVe St. Louis (the St. Louis PP is asking that counter-protesters not counter-protest at their location).

Missouri-specific State Actions/Meetings

Greitens’ budget was submitted on Friday, and includes cuts to Medicaid; experts say that if the cuts are made, 20,000 people will be eliminated from the program because of enhanced eligibility requirements. Go to Missouri Health Care for All to get excellent health care bill summaries and actions that are specific to Missouri.

Senate Bill 28 would create a block grant program for Missouri. In the most general of terms, a block grant program gives a chunk of money to states that then use the funds for their medicaid programs. That chunk of money would not be subject to increase if there’s a health care crisis (an emergency, or a flu epidemic, etc.), a recession making more people eligible for medicaid, or a hike in drug prices that make care more expensive. You can read more about block grants here. Call your state senator and oppose that bill. Find your state senator here.

What’s On My Reading List?

Leaders are readers. Here are a few books that I’m reading right now.

  • Rules for Radicals (A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals) by Saul Alinsky
  • Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations that Accelerate Change by Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon.

What’s on your bookshelf these days? Tell us in the comments so we can all check it out.

Sharing is Caring!

The more the merrier! Share the site, sign up for the newsletter, and keep the momentum going. 

 

We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.

–Dr. Martin Luther King

Let’s Get to Work.

 

 

 

 

 

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