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Actions For Democrats, Independents, And Republicans Of Conscience

The Weekly Action Checklist is an excellent resource because it will help you focus on a weekly action,  but also, you will get important information about how to help yourself feel better in these trying times. If you choose to subscribe, you will only get one email a week on Monday.

What to Do This Week of Jan 15, 2017

Actions for Democrats, Independents, & Republicans of Conscience

The intention of this weekly document is to make clear suggestions for action backed with well-considered research. Although these actions are intended to be helpful, they are still subject to human error. Please do your own research!

If you’d like to subscribe to this weekly action list, please go here:

http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

Hi there!

Every Sunday for the last eight weeks, I’ve sent out a weekly message that includes activism ideas for people of conscience to oppose the president-elect and the incoming leadership.

The 7,100 subscribers to this list have worked your tail off signing things, boycotting, donating, making calls, and probably have been doing a fair amount of fretting on top of it all. This week’s list is deliberately lighter than usual. We all need a reprieve eventually (more on that in a moment).

This week!

  1. Use your feet

In case you haven’t heard, there are rallies, protests, and marches happening all over the country on and around Inauguration Day. Joining others who care about the integrity and goodness of our country could be an incredible experience.

  • Go here for a list of women’s marches.
  • Or Google your closest city and “protest” or “rally” or “march” to find out what‘s happening near you.
  1. Change tack

When the wind changes direction, a sailboat must take a different tack to keep moving forward. Same thing for us this week. The man who has been our POETUS will soon be our POTUS. It’s time to change strategy for the journey ahead.

During the inauguration, I propose doing the following:

  1. Leave your TV on a station NOT airing the inauguration as a ratings protest.
  2. Spend that time reading the Indivisible Guide. Everyone says, “Oh yeah, I downloaded that!” But it’s time to actually read it. With your thinking cap on. It’ll take you 20-30 minutes.
  3. Choose one action based on what you read in this document. Seriously.

The Indivisible Guide is the single best resource I’ve seen for making a difference using proven, time-tested strategies.

  1. Consider this important issue

We need you here for the next four (or–God forbid–eight) years. We need you sane and resourceful. We need you focused, not swallowed by anxiety and despair. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will burn out.

As important as it is to take action right now, it is also vitally important to do things not even remotely related to politics. That’s why this week’s list is short.

You need sleep, fresh air, heart connections, and good chocolate. Maybe your thing is walking in the woods or playing with your pets. Whatever it is, make time for it in spite of everything. One, this will nourish you from the inside. Two, it will help you remember that not everything is craptastic. Babies are still laughing. The moon is still glowing. Ben and Jerry’s still tastes amazing.

On a brief personal note, I just returned from a week at a mountain retreat center with no wifi or cell phone reception (the other reason this week’s message is short). I meditated, journaled, and even colored just for fun. When it snowed, I marvelled at how snowflakes sparkle and how the ice-covered trees glinted at dawn. In short, I felt like a human again for the first time in almost three months.

I needed that. And you do too (or you may eventually). Self care is a profoundly radical act. Be courageous this week, and do something that nourishes you. We need you in this for the long haul.

If you’re not sure what nourishes you, read this wonderful list of ideas by a faith leader I really admire.

Next week

Next week, my regular What To Do This Week checklist will be back, full of well-researched actions, good news, and the best reading I’ve found this week. In the meantime, take good care of yourself.

Housekeeping

  • If you’d like to subscribe for this weekly message, please visit this link.
  • To see archives of past What To Do checklists, click here (and scroll to the bottom)
  • If you’d like to contribute, click here.

We’re stronger together!

Rep. Loebsack: MLK Day A Day Of Service And Remembrance


A message about service from Iowa’s only Democrat in congress, Rep. Dave Loebsack on MLK day:

Dear Friend,

Today, we commemorate the great life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by doing our part to make a positive contribution in our communities through service and civic engagement. Dr. King created a legacy of empowering folks to unite and work toward a better, brighter tomorrow. In order to honor Dr. King, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Day of Service in 1994 as the first and only federal holiday that is observed as a national day of service.

I have always believed that Iowans are some of the most civic minded individuals I have met. That is why I have been proud to expand and strengthen volunteer programs across the State of Iowa and nationwide through my Volunteer Generation Fund, which passed into law over seven years ago.

Today, as we honor Dr. King’s legacy, Iowans unite to volunteer and continue the valued tradition of serving others and their communities on this day. If you are interested in participating in a service opportunity near you, click here.

I hope to see you out serving your community today!

Sincerely,


Dave Loebsack

Crazy Iowa Republicans Want Permitless Carry For Literally Everyone

On MLK Day, it seems appropriate to post an action alert by Iowans For Gun Safety.

Contact the members of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee that will hold an open public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 11:30 am on SJR 2, the bill that calls for an amendment to the state constitution allowing the carrying of guns without the need for a permit or a payment.

This bill is called Constitutional Carry or permitless carry. It is the type of bill defined by “strict scrutiny.” That means that no other consideration should be taken into account. It means an  absolute unqualified right to carry a gun, regardless of mental condition, criminal record, demonstrated ability to handle a firearm, age, or any other limitation.

This would be disastrous for public safety and health. It will also be a long process, requiring a vote again in two years, and then a vote by the public.

Please contact these Senators:

Dan Dawson (R) from Council Bluffs: dan.dawson@legis.iowa.gov;

Julian Garrett (R) from Indianola: julian.garrett@legis.iowa.gov;

and

Nate Boulton (D) from Des Moines/Pleasant Hill; nate.boulton@legis.iowa.gov.

Regardless of which district you are in, they need a flood of mail from Iowans, to get the message.

Also contact other members of the Judiciary Committee. The email format is the same for all.

The following is the full list.

Brad Zaun (R, District 20), Chair
Dan Dawson (R, District 8), Vice Chair
Rich Taylor (D, District 42), Ranking Member
Tony Bisignano (D, District 17)
Nate Boulton (D, District 16)
Jeff Edler (R, District 36)
Julian B. Garrett (R, District 13)
Kevin Kinney (D, District 39)
Janet Petersen (D, District 18)
Charles Schneider (R, District 22)
Jason Schultz (R, District 9)
Tom Shipley (R, District 11)
Amy Sinclair (R, District 14)

If you can attend the subcommittee hearing in person, let me know at drjjbrigham@gmail.com or at 319-382-0893. If you can make a statement for yourself or an organization, that would be super!

Top 10 Iowa Legislative Threats from the Extreme Right

January 9th, 2017 Posted By: Progress Iowa

Iowa’s legislative session convened today, and Republicans have control of the state Senate, House, and the Governor’s office for the first time in 20 years. Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Speaker Linda Upmeyer, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Dixhave made clear they will implement sweeping far-right reforms that threaten to turn Iowa into the next Kansas or Wisconsin.

What are the biggest threats to everyday Iowans on the agenda? Here are ten policies that Progress Iowa believes Republicans will target:

1. Gut worker’s rights – Republican leaders would like nothing more than to weaken the negotiating rights of public workers. That means our teachers, correction officers, police, firefighters, and many other public workers would have lower wages and fewer health benefits. http://iowastartingline.com/2017/01/09/collective-bargaining-bargain-iowa-taxpayers/

2. Defund Planned Parenthood – Senator Dix singled out defunding Planned Parenthood as one of the Senate Republicans’ top four priorities. This would mean reduced access to healthcare for women and the Iowans who need it most.

3. Private School Vouchers – They might call it ‘education savings accounts’ but don’t be mistaken – these are vouchers meant to divert resources away from public schools. Apparently it’s not enough that business tax cuts have grown nearly 6 times as fast as funding for public schools. Now the legislature wants to do even more damage to our children’s future.

4. Lower Iowans’ Wages – That’s right, instead of growing our state’s wages, Republicans appear to be set on decreasing the minimum wage. They plan on passing a “pre-emption” measure, which would remove the local Iowa communities’ minimum wage increases (passed in four counties already). That would mean workers who just got a raise thanks to local municipal changes will have their wages lowered.

5. Voter Suppression Legislation – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has proposed new voter suppression legislation that would require restrictive voter identification and signature verification. That will keep many students, lower-income residents and seniors who don’t drive anymore away from the ballot box.

6. Undermining Water Quality Efforts – Rather than fund the water quality improvement effort that voters approved years ago, Republicans look to stall meaningful investment until 2029. Their plan is to extend a 1-cent sales tax starting in that year and pull money away from public schools to pay for water quality efforts at that point. Meanwhile, thousands of Iowans have their drinking water at risk from lead contamination.

7. Legalizing Discrimination Against LGBTQ Iowans – Republicans may try to undercut Iowa’s anti-discrimination laws and make it legal for employers to fire employees simply because they’re gay. They may also go after the gender identity protections in the Iowa Civil Rights Act to hurt transgender Iowans. This legislation has been passed in other states, under the guise of so-called “religious freedom” proposals.

8. Wild West Gun Laws – Iowa may follow many other states and implement “Stand Your Ground” laws, or allow guns on college campuses.

9. Rising Tuition At Iowa Public Colleges – With a $100 million budget shortfall, Republicans could take aim at funding for Iowa’s three regent universities. Even keeping funding at their current levels could mean college is that less affordable for Iowa students.

10. Weaken Iowans’ Legal Rights – One of Majority Leader Dix’s top priorities is to pass a “Loser pays” bill which forces victims to pay more legal fees if they lose a case. That could deter many people from suing companies for fraud and abuse, an important legal right for all Iowans.

Iowa Capitol

Sunday Funday: Ironically Ironic Edition

unfortunately I lost the attribution of the poster of this cartoon on twitter

For those of us who have endured many trips around the sun, we find an interesting ironic situation that the party that built itself as the party that would stand up to the Russians now is the party whose leader is more than happy to crawl in bed with Russia. There is that old saying ‘whatever goes around, comes around.’ I have never really understood what that meant, but I think it describes this situation.

What is really odd is that had Bernie Sanders been the Democratic nominee the main thrust of the Republican attack machine would have been his socialism (it’s like communism they would say) and he visited Russia once!

BTW – I don’t find it strange that a filthy rich man who likes to surround himself with gold wouldn’t like a golden shower every now and then. Maybe I am missing something?

Were you paying attention?

1) The new president once more seems to be flaunting nepotism laws by naming who as a senior advisor?

2) Which extreme right wing fake news darling was caught trying to pay liberals to disrupt the inauguration so the left could be blamed for the disruption?

3) What actress used her acceptance speech time at the Golden Globes to denounce Trump’s mockery of a disabled man?

4) Trump appointee Monica Crowley has had her book “What The Bleep Just Happened” pulled by the publisher for what reason?

5) Trump cabinet nominees haves begun their Senate consent hearings. What nominee stated that water boarding is “absolutely” prohibited by law?

6) In a really strange move, the incoming administration dismissed the two people in charge of what strategic and sensitive stockpile without replacements as of noon Jan. 20?

7) What US auto company refuted claims by Donald Trump that he was instrumental in billion dollar expansion?

8) President Obama surprised what honoree with the Presidential Medal of Freedom Thursday?

9) Scientists at MIT revealed a 3D structural material that is 10X stronger than steel with 5% of the density. What is the major component of this structural material?

10) The Netherlands announce Monday that all of their trains were now being powered by what renewable energy?

11) The division I college championship game was played Monday night. Who won?

12) President Obama delivered his farewell speech to a crowd of 18,000 at what Chicago venue?

13) The last rejection of a cabinet nominee was John Tower as Secretary of Defense for what president?

14) In a bizarre news conference Donald Trump refused to take a question from a reporter from what company?

15) The midwest is expecting what major weather event today?

16) What cabinet nominee received a waiver so he could be confirmed for his cabinet post?

17) In a first, what sitting senator gave testimony in a cabinet confirmation hearing against another sitting senator?

18) What is the top priority of Republicans in the Iowa legislature this session?

19) What cable public affairs station had its feed taken over by Russian TV Thursday?

20) In another incident, legislators in what state were greeted with a screen in Russian when they attempted to change their passwords?

Repeat after me: Russia can not hack our elections!

Answers:

1) son-in-law Jared Kirschner who may have severe ethics problems of his own.

2) James O’Keefe

3) Meryl Streep

4) over 50 incidents of plagiarism in the book. Considering Melania’s convention speech, Crowley should fit right in.

5) Jefferson Beauregard Sessions for AG

6) the nuclear arsenal – this is scary, folks

7) Fiat Chrysler

8) VP Joe Biden

9) Graphene

10) wind generated electricity. Must be nice

11) Clemson

12) McCormick Place

13) George HW Bush in 1989

14) CNN claiming CNN was fake news

15) an ice storm!

16) Mad Dog Mattis for Defense. He has not legally been out of the military long enough

17) Corey Booker of New Jersey testified against Sen. Sessions of Alabama for AG

18) cutting taxes of course – they want us to be like Kansas

19) CSPAN

20) Arizona

Repeat after me: Russia can not hack our elections

City Council Votes Unanimously To Remove Muscatine Mayor

Muscatine City Council with Mayor Broderson

In what seems to be a party power trip in Muscatine, Thursday night the city council of Muscatine voted to begin the process of removing the mayor from office.

For a slightly outsider this looks to be power politics on a small scale that makes those exercising this power grab look foolish and certainly makes the city look moronic.

Based on the report and video that accompanies WQAD’s report Thursday night, the council as yet seems to have no actual reason for the removal.

Or perhaps they are recreating “Animal House” and using “super-secret probation.”

Again as an outsider but someone who lives in the same county it sure looks as if the 7 male members of the council are in a snit about three things:

First, the mayor is not a male. Strike one

Secondly, the mayor seems to be a democrat which it appears the council is not. Strike two

Third, the mayor wanted to open boards and commissions to under-represented members of the community such as women and Latinos. This apparently caused the original council power grab in which the mayor was stripped of her powers to make appointments to boards and commissions. this had been a power Muscatine mayors had had forever. Most likely that reaction was caused by points 1 and 2.

This looks like the same crap that the North Carolina legislature is trying to do on a much smaller scale. Think of how foolish they look.

If the council removes the mayor for what seems to be weak or no cause, they will really damage the image of a city which is really in need of some image enhancement.

Can’t wait to hear the councilors reasons for this silliness. Perhaps I will be the one who looks foolish once the councilors can come up with the reasons they are taking this action. But from out here it looks like the opposite of what America stands for.

Ernst, Grassley Vote To Begin Repeal Of The ACA

Returning some money on the Koch investment?

In what can best be described as a blitzkrieg by the new radical Republican congress, the senate is trying to fulfill the wet dreams of their wealthy donors in a lightning attack on our way of life. No doubt this is in hopes that by the time we realize what hit us our way of life will be in a shambles ready for them to rebuild to their liking.

Cabinet heads who despise what their departments stand for and ready to dismantle their effectiveness immediately. Repealing laws which have been passed and improved over time which have helped generations of American families weather some of the worst that life can throw at them because as Americans we look out for each other.

And of course at the center is an egomaniac who is much more worried about people laughing at him than about the good of 300 million citizens.

One of the most serious concerns of many Americans right now is what will happen to their health care and how quickly will it happen. Threats to end any form of public health care have emanated from the Republican Party back to prior to the passage of Medicare. Do you remember the Ronald Reagan videos warning of how public health care will collapse the system?


There is a guy that could lie with a straight face. You may be hearing some of this old crap again soon.

As many have done the last couple of weeks I called my senators to express my opinion. Grassley’s office simply took my name, claimed they recorded my opinion and that was that. When I asked what Grassley’s stance was on repealing the ACA they said they did not know and that was that.

We actually met with an Ernst staffer. He did answer some questions. When I asked if Ernst favored repeal the staffer told me that the staff had been advised that she would not vote for repeal until they had a replacement. The staffer also said that the senator said a replacement must have the provisions of keeping children on the parents policy until they are 26 and the provision not allowing pre-existing conditions.

As sometimes happens, life steps in to illustrate things. Wednesday night into Thursday morning the radical senate Republicans continued their blitzkrieg on health care. In order to repeal the ACA, they had to set it up so it is part of what is known as the budget reconciliation process. In other words this was the very first vote in the process to repeal the ACA.

There was no replacement. Thus there were no provisions for children up to age 26 staying on the parents policy and no provision striking down pre-existing conditions. That is to say Ernst’s conditions for her vote were not met. Based on what her staffer claims she said she should have voted NO. Instead she voted YES, thus betraying herself.
From an article on common dreams.org:

“Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the only Republican to join all Democrats in voting no.”

Ernst, despite her self-imposed criteria, still voted to repeal.

No one should be surprised. Ernst was one of the prize trophies for Charles and David Koch in 2014. Thinking that she would defy them on one of their most precious desires is almost unfathomable, despite what she may claim. The real crux of the vote is this: repealing the ACA will be a huge tax cut for the wealthy. From dailykos comes this analysis:

“Urged on by Trump, the Senate overnight adopted a budget resolution that clears a path for eliminating the tax-and-spending provisions of the Affordable Care Act by simple majority vote — no Democratic cooperation required. That means repeal of two provisions targeted at high-income households: a 0.9 percent hospital insurance tax on earnings above $250,000 for couples and a 3.8 percent tax on capital gains, dividends and other nonlabor income above that same threshold.

That would provide a tax cut averaging $7 million for each of the 400 highest-earning taxpayers, according to new calculations by the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities using Internal Revenue Service data. That cut, the center estimated, would amount to $2.8 billion annually overall — or approximately the value of Obamacare subsidies for those with modest incomes in the 20 smallest states and the District of Columbia.

Overall, eliminating those two levies would represent a tax cut of roughly $346 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Households with million-dollar-plus incomes — a much larger group than the top 400 — would receive an average tax cut of $49,000 a year, the center says.”

Of course you know how Grassley will vote. He has been one of the the extreme right’s most loyal votes for decades. He seldom misses a chance to inflict some pain into the lives of the poor.

Once the ACA is repealed the replacement will be a long time a-coming. Most likely with the next Democratic congress and president. And guess who will be hurt most by the repeal of the ACA? Those who voted for Trump. Nothing like kicking your constituents right in the face.

Oh and a note to you who voted for radical Republicans to get rid of Obamacare, thinking you would have a fallback position of the ACA. Are you feeling a little – uh – surprised to find out they are the same thing?

January 15th Action Alert

Action Alert

Donald Trump hasn’t even taken office yet and Republicans are already winding up to dismantle life-saving health care access for Millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iowans.

That is why National Congressional Democratic Leaders, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Bernie Sanders have called for a national day of action to stand up against Republican attacks to privatize Medicare, cut Medicaid and dismantle health care across the country.

Supporters will gather across the state to speak out in defense of Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Iowans will provide personal stories and testimonials to let our representatives know that we won’t stand for privatized Medicaid and the dismantling of health care options that would kick hundreds of thousands of Iowans off their health care coverage. Hear from members of the community as they talk about their health care options and why it is so important we don’t destroy the health care that is depended on by our neighbors.

Sign up below to join an event near you!

Des Moines
https://www.facebook.com/events/280104389071627/

Cedar Rapids
https://www.facebook.com/events/402019976804205/

Council Bluffs
https://www.facebook.com/events/726944724147767/

Sioux City
https://www.facebook.com/events/752608351555818/

Fort Dodge:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1840158792866550/

Manchester:
https://www.facebook.com/events/391124577900500/

Thanks,

Iowa Democrats

Ernst, Grassley Vote To Repeal The Affordable Care Act

Pope/Getty Images

Dave Bradley and I met with a Joni Ernst staffer Wednesday. We expressed our concerns about what the senator was going to do as far as her vote on repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). We shared our concerns and fears about Trump in general and about what happens to people who will lose their health care.

He was a nice, intelligent young man. You could have mistaken him for an Iowa City liberal. He was very sympathetic and agreed with us that we are living in a terrifying time; he said everyone he knows is also terrified.  But that didn’t stop him from relying on easy Republican cliches that weren’t exactly true, to put us off.

He said that we needed to understand that what we hear in the news is just polarizing politics, and that when Senator Ernst actually votes on actual policies that Senator Ernst will rely on a reasoned process. (Dave and I shared a sidelong glance here).

Politely pointing out that based on everything we’ve seen so far, reason seems to have a very small place in the process, we expressed our skepticism that all would be well, no need to worry.

The nice young man assured us that the Ernst team gets it, that they understand all of the complex issues.  It would all be taken into consideration before she decides how to vote.

We said something like, well you sure could’ve fooled us, and Dave asked the staffer to ask Senator Ernst if she might make a public statement as to her intentions as far as voting to repeal ACA, raising the Medicare eligibility age, or cuts to Social Security.

He claimed that “no one” really knows what is going to happen or what the alleged replacement Obamacare bill was going to have in it, so she couldn’t really make a public statement.

Nevertheless, if as he claims, we had nothing to worry about,  a public statement from Senator Ernst as to what her current thoughts are about Social Security, Medicare, and Obamacare could certainly be helpful, we suggested. So he scribbled a note in a tiny notebook and said he would pass it on.

He was a Nice Young Man just doing his job, explaining to us How Things Work.  He was practiced enough at handling constituents that I did start to wonder if we really knew what we were talking about.

Part of the answer came just hours after we met with the senator’s representative.

Senator Joni Ernst joined Grassley and their Republican colleagues Wednesday night in voting to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with no replacement on the horizon.  See Midnight Health Care Massacre

How Did Donald Trump Become President? The Truth The Media Dare Not Utter

Les Moonves – even kind of looks like Trump. Photo by Matt Furman/Redux

You must forgive your fellow lefties.

In the heat of the campaign and aftermath of the election, hard feelings prevail within our party and it is easy to blame fellow Democrats, progressives, lefties, Greens, for everything that went wrong.  I’ve done my share of it.

This video reminded me what really caused this.

Fact: The Corporate Media caused Donald Trump to become President.

Thom Hartmann is the only political analyst I know of who is saying this.

The directors and managers and producers of a small handful of immensely powerful and profitable media corporations made the decision a year and a half ago that the Donald Trump Show was more important to put on TV every day and every night than any actual news because the Doald Trump Show brought ratings, and ratings are the variable that determine what they can charge for advertising, which in turn determines their profitability. Les Moonves, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation, said to a group of CBS stockholders in an investor phone call, “Donald Trump may be terrible for America but he’s great for CBS.” The estimates are between 2 and 3 billion dollars that Donald Trump got in 2016 that helped him win the Republican primary first and then helped him win the White House. Literally billions of dollars in free media that was not given to Hillary, Bernie, Stein, or Trump’s primary opponents. Just Trump.

There’s much more. It will make you angry and it will make you forgive your fellow lefties no matter who they supported.