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Writing to Congress

Many of us are angry and despairing at the political landscape, especially with the recent unprecedented threats to democracy itself in the United States.

Let's pool our brains and amplify our influence! Letters and phone calls to our elected officials make an impact, even if they don't always do what we ask, since they're ultimately concerned about "reelection, reelection, reelection".

Especially with help from our friends, it's not difficult to write letters calling for specific actions and telling powerful stories. We can share talking points, drafts, and letters we've sent, as well as problems we encounter and replies we get.

(The title refers to the U.S. system, but you're welcome to share how you're communicating with your elected officials in any country.)

Members: 10
Latest Activity: 4 hours ago

Discussion Forum

Robert Mercer's psyops behind the extremist takeover

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Apr 12. 4 Replies

Two hundred years ago the founding fathers created three branches of government, assuming that one party wouldn't dominate all three at once, and assuming that the legislative and executive branch actually wanted to govern the country as a…Continue

Tags: changing beliefs, white supremacist takeover, data analytics, psychological warfare, bio-psycho-social profiling

How are we doing ? As of February 17, 2017

Started by Joan Denoo Feb 17. 0 Replies

block H.R.958 elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency - Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act of 2017, 115th Congress (2017-2018) | (Became law)block Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court (Hearing is set for March 20)cosponsor and support S200,…Continue

Tags: support, confirmation, oppose, campaign, writing

How To Write Letter to Congressional Representative.

Started by Daniel W. Last reply by k.h. ky Feb 16. 3 Replies

This is a little different, but not much, from how to write letter to Senator.  Again, this info is from wikihow.  There is overlap with the Senator letter writing concept.…Continue

Guide to how to write letter to your senator

Started by Daniel W. Last reply by Daniel W Feb 16. 7 Replies

If we write letters, but don't do it correctly, we might undermine our well-meaning efforts. Here is a simple guideline from wikihow.  Briefly from…Continue

Action alerts and talking points

Started by Grinning Cat. Last reply by Grinning Cat Feb 14. 3 Replies

Where do you find useful information on issues to communicate with your legislators about, or talking points you might not have thought about for calling or writing them?Continue

Tags: representatives, legislators, congresscritters, senators, political actions

Finding addresses/phones for your Senators and Representative

Started by Grinning Cat. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Feb 8. 3 Replies

A few places where you can easily find where to write or call your members of Congress:Official starting points:www.senate.gov - "Find Your Senators" in the upper right (choose your state)…Continue

Tags: phone numbers, legislation, tracking legislation, phones, addresses

Comment Wall

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Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on Saturday

Today's senate letter. House is the seam, excepting the bill number is HR 1880.

On this Science March Day, don’t forget that robustly funded and publicly communicated science is a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. You must be aware that the profession of science is under attack, particularly in the areas of climate change, teaching evolution, and public health. Trump’s war on facts and money-driven politics put your constituents at risk. I urge you to protect all science funding in the upcoming budget.

On the heels of a $15.8 million Trump Park Avenue penthouse purchase by Angela Chen, a woman with ties to important members of the Chinese ruling elite and to an organization considered a front group for Chinese military intelligence, we learn that 63 members of the “Russian elite” have bought nearly $100 million worth of property in Trump branded luxury towers in Florida. I urge you to join the calls by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), for greater disclosure of Trump’s finances. Is collusion with Russians Trump’s main reason for refusing to release his tax returns?

Congressional Republicans are baldly enticing donors with the promise of meetings with senior legislative staff, effectively placing access to congressional employees up for sale to professional influence peddlers and deep pocket interests. This flouts ethics rules that prohibit campaigns from using House and Senate resources in any way. I urge you to recommend ethics committee investigation.

I urge you to support S 806, the College for All Act. This bill would alleviate the economic and social burden of student debt and give everyone access to an affordable college education. The College for All Act would provide free public university tuition for families earning up to $125,000 per year, covering about 80% of all US college students, and eliminate tuitions and fees at two-year community colleges. 

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 20, 2017 at 4:10pm

Same text to senate and house:

I urge you to oppose the recent attacks on basic liberties from both the Department of Justice and the CIA. Jeff Session’s hyperbole of cities and suburbs as immigrant-afflicted “war zones” is fascist-like demonization. The crackdown he justifies focuses overwhelmingly on nonviolent offenses. Immigrant unauthorized entry and associated document fraud doesn’t make them brutal criminals or a threat to public security. Similar hostile distortion by Trump’s CIA Director Pompeo, Targeting WikiLeaks, explicitly threatens your constituents’ speech and press freedoms.

It’s a dangerous precedent for the CIA Director to demonize Wikileaks as a hostile intelligence service actively recruiting agents to steal American secrets with the sole intent of destroying the American way of life.  Proclaiming that WikiLeaks has no free press rights because Assange is a foreigner is wrong and dangerous. Pompeo implied that the constitution sanctions U.S. Government shut down of any news service employing noncitizens on the ground that it has no constitutional protections. The CIA has no authority to decide who is and is not a “real journalist.” It’s ironic to vilify WikiLeaks and “its ilk” as “making common cause with dictators” considering how strongly U.S. Government embraces dictatorships it considers allies. While many are willing to overlook free speech repression of unpopular targets, doing so removes those basic freedoms for all.

I urge you to oppose the waiver requested by Exxon from the U.S. Treasury Department to bypass U.S. sanctions against Russia and to resume offshore drilling in the Black Sea with the Russian oil company Rosneft. Congressman Mike Quigley, of the House Intelligence Committee, said that "The Russians laundered money to avoid (U.S.) sanctions.” and, “Sanctions are the possible motives for collusion." It’s quite possible Trump was laundering money for Putin and/or the Russian Government, and until the House Investigation clears him of this, sanction lifting is suspect.  If the Trump administration allows Exxon to move forward with extreme offshore oil drilling in Russia despite sanctions, the United States Congress is ethically bound to resist. Otherwise Congress encourages Russia to intervene in any country, including the United States, with no consequences.

Donald Trump is proposing a 14.1 percent cut in the IRS’s budget next year. I urge you to oppose any cut because it worsens the budget deficit. Every dollar spent by the IRS to collect unpaid taxes generates $4 in revenue. It worsens the federal budget deficit. The current estimate of unpaid taxes per year is almost as large as the federal government’s annual budget deficit. Since most IRS audits are of high-income people, the real beneficiaries of Trump’s move are the wealthy, more of whom will now be able to skirt their duty to pay taxes. The IRS is already understaffed. The number of audits fell last year to its lowest level since 2004, and enforcement levels were already down by nearly 30 percent from 2010.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 19, 2017 at 5:20pm

Today's House letter:

Two longtime experts in war studies and missile systems, Theodore Postol and Phyllis Bennis, say that the  April 11th National Security Council report, justifying the Syrian missile attack after the fact, was a fraudulent intelligence report, a mere political document. The report could not possibly be the official position of intelligence agencies themselves as it claims to be. It does not provide anything close to proof, or even evidence, of the who, the what or the how of the chemical attack. This suggests that President Trump is ordering military action without any intelligence confirmation beforehand. There needs to be a full investigation of how this fraudulent report was produced. Who was involved, and who ordered it? I urge you to open inquiries into a White House that is ordering military attacks without intelligence input, or issuing orders without a systematic check on its battle plans and targets, and subsequently fabricating intelligence reports for propagandistic media and public consumption.

Based on his own statements it seems as if the president has farmed out his responsibilities as commander-in-chief, and much of his foreign policy, to the generals and ex-generals with whom he has surrounded himself. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires the President to get authorization from Congress for any new use of military force. President Trump refuses to comply with this law. He refuses to consult with Congress, and he had no authorization for what he did. Days later we’re told the Syrian and Afghanistan attacks along with repeated threats were intended to intimidate North Korea. Are we to believe that the United States attacked two nations merely to intimidate a third country for a couple of days and then crow about it to humiliate them? Is this what counts as actual foreign policy or is it reality-TV-like “policy” for daily ratings?

Impulse, emotional distress, and retaliation have been the driving forces for the President's decisions, not strategy or policy.

I urge you to call upon Congress to enact emergency measures granting the Secretary of State a mandatory consultation role, with the authority to override, for any Presidential decision to use nuclear military weapons when there is a question of his mental instability. Also, call upon Congress to require Presidential compliance with the War Powers Resolution requirement for congressional authorization of military actions.

I urge you to push for congressional approval before any military engagement takes place in Syria, North Korea, or elsewhere, and to vote against any request to do so.

Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte has recently filed a bill that would make the Copyright Office its own separate entity. I urge you to oppose H.R 1695, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017. Don’t sell us out to big business. Keep the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress. Privatization would only make it “accountable” to large corporations.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 19, 2017 at 5:19pm

Today's Senate letter:

I urge you to oppose Scott Garrett for president of the Export-Import Bank, which he tried to kill two years ago. Garrett disparaged the government bank, whose mission is to boost American exports, as a “corporate welfare program.”

I urge you to oppose Mark Green as the new Army Secretary of the United States. As a Tennessee state senator, he has dedicated his political career to fostering inequality and bigotry based on religious ideology. Sen. Green has built his political career on pushing ultra-conservative legislation to legitimize discrimination against LGBTQ people and women. He wants physicians to have the right to with­hold contraceptives and the morning-after-pill from women, and educators to be allowed to teach religious “alternative facts” about evolution or climate change in the classroom, if their religion conflicts with science. Our military personnel deserve better than a bigoted, right-wing extremist committed to discrimination. 

Two longtime experts in war studies and missile systems, Theodore Postol and Phyllis Bennis, say that the  April 11th National Security Council report, justifying the Syrian missile attack after the fact, was a fraudulent intelligence report, a mere political document. The report could not possibly be the official position of intelligence agencies themselves as it claims to be. It does not provide anything close to proof, or even evidence, of the who, the what or the how of the chemical attack. This suggests that President Trump is ordering military action without any intelligence confirmation beforehand. There needs to be a full investigation of how this fraudulent report was produced. Who was involved, and who ordered it? I urge you to open inquiries into a White House that is ordering military attacks without intelligence input, or issuing orders without a systematic check on its battle plans and targets, and subsequently fabricating intelligence reports for propagandistic media and public consumption.

Based on his own statements it seems as if the president has farmed out his responsibilities as commander-in-chief, and much of his foreign policy, to the generals and ex-generals with whom he has surrounded himself. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires the President to get authorization from Congress for any new use of military force. President Trump refuses to comply with this law. He refuses to consult with Congress, and he had no authorization for what he did. Days later we’re told the Syrian and Afghanistan attacks along with repeated threats were intended to intimidate North Korea. Are we to believe that the United States attacked two nations merely to intimidate a third country for a couple of days and then crow about it to humiliate them? Is this what counts as actual foreign policy or is it reality-TV-like “policy” for daily ratings?

Impulse, emotional distress, and retaliation have been the driving forces for the President's decisions, not strategy or policy.

I urge you to call upon Congress to enact emergency measures granting the Secretary of State a mandatory consultation role, with the authority to override, for any Presidential decision to use nuclear military weapons when there is a question of his mental instability. Also, call upon Congress to require Presidential compliance with the War Powers Resolution requirement for congressional authorization of military actions.

I urge you to push for congressional approval before any military engagement takes place in Syria, North Korea, or elsewhere, and to vote against any request to do so.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 16, 2017 at 4:09pm

Today's senate letter. For the house I deleted the paragraph about  SB 739.

During his previous life as a real estate developer and casino magnate, Donald Trump reportedly had ties to prominent members of the Mafia, including Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno and Paul Castellano. Trump uses Mafia-like “negotiation” tactics such as poison pill amendments in the budget proposal. His threat to hold back key federal subsidy payments to health insurers offering insurance to low-income Americans, which would wreak havoc on the private health insurance market, is also a classic Mafioso maneuver.

“Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn’t get that money,” Trump said. “I haven’t made my viewpoint clear yet. I don’t want people to get hurt.”

Before Trump can cut off Obamacare subsidy payments, I urge you to do as House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Oregon suggests and sponsor a government funding resolution immediately, so Congress can appropriate more funding for Obamacare payments by passing it before the end of the month.

The Secret Service refuses to provide visitor log information despite FOIA requests. The administration claimed this move was taken as a security measure and also to save the country $70,000 over the next four years. As it costs taxpayers more than $3 million in additional security costs every time Trump goes to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend, the meager savings from keeping the records of his meetings secret is only 2 percent of the cost of one of his weekend trips. I urge you to support the "Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness Act" — or MAR-A-LAGO Act — which would require the administration to disclose the names of anyone who visits the White House or "any other location at which the President or the Vice President regularly conducts official business."

I urge you to oppose SB 739, the Protecting Kids from Candy-Flavored Drugs Act of 2017, which is both unnecessary and more likely to be used against real-life sellers of legal marijuana edibles than mythical dealers of strawberry-flavored meth.

National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster emphasized Trump’s preference for unannounced military action, such as the airstrikes in Syria and dropping the MOAB in Afghanistan.  By threatening force against North Korea, Trump creates a situation in which all parties could easily get locked into an escalating series of actions. Trump’s fondness for using U.S. military aggression for positive media coverage endangers your constituents. I urge you to decry and reign in Trump’s military aggression-for-ratings foreign “policy”.

The carried interest loophole is just tax evasion for private equity partners and hedge fund moguls such as top appointees in the Trump administration. I urge you to reject any budget bill if this is included.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 13, 2017 at 4:20pm

Today's senate letter, the budget portion (deleted) is the same as the House letter:

I urge you to oppose Alexander Acosta for Secretary of Labor. While Acosta led the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, actions taken violated Justice Department policy and federal law. Political and ideological affiliations were used by some of his deputies as a litmus test to evaluate job candidates and career attorneys. A 2008 report issued by the Office of Inspector General found that, despite the special litigation section chief informing Acosta of the wrongdoing, Acosta failed to take sufficient action to address the illegal and unprofessional actions.  While employees identified in the Inspector General report, particularly Acosta’s Principal Deputy, Bradley Schlozman, were directly responsible for the politicization of the Civil Rights Division’s work, Acosta was at the helm of the Division.

I urge you to support S. 823, “a bill to ensure the digital contents of electronic equipment and online accounts belonging to or in the possession of United States persons entering or exiting the United States are adequately protected at the border, and for other purposes.”

I urge you to join your voice in calls for more information from Senate Democrats who see potential for conflicts of interest for Jerry Falwell Jr, as head of a task force on higher education, reportedly at the insistence of Steve Bannon. Mr. Falwell’s personal and financial interests on issues affecting student loan debt, recruitment, and distance education are extensive, and his Liberty University was the third-largest recipient of federal student loans in 2016. Falwell has shown an interest in the task force weakening federal regulation in areas such as college accreditation and federal loan cancellation for defrauded students. Reports indicate that he wants to curb rules that require schools to investigate campus sexual assault under Title IX. Falwell Jr. has encouraged students to carry concealed weapons on campus in order to “end those Muslims.”  Liberty University also offers insight into Falwell Jr.’s leadership and priorities as the school is closely tied to anti-LGBTQ hate group Liberty Counsel.

I urge you to support the U.S. Government Accountability Office review of Donald Trump’s presidential transition, focusing on funding, ethics and communications with foreign governments, by defending the GAO from political interference.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 13, 2017 at 4:19pm

Today's House letter:

I urge you to oppose The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 (H.R. 1180). The bill does not give working families more flexibility; it simply lets employers delay paying any wages for overtime work for as long as 13 months.

I urge you to support H.R. 1899, the Protecting Data at the Border Act. To ensure the digital contents of electronic equipment and online accounts belonging to or in the possession of United States persons entering or exiting the United States are adequately protected at the border, and for other purposes.

On the budget proposal, for decades the Republican Party has single-mindedly pursued the goal of maximizing economic inequality, while calling it reducing out-of-control deficits, or reducing out-of-control surpluses, or promoting economic growth. Donald Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney publicly admitted that what he cares about is reducing transfers from the rich to the poor, or “wealth-transfer payments”. I urge you to oppose all budget items which would result in cuts to your regular constituents or increases for the wealthy and corporations.

Trump’s budget proposal for the 2017 Fiscal Year designates $1.5 billion for an expansion of the infrastructure needed to increase deportations. Trump's budget lays the groundwork for the systemic persecution of immigrant communities. Congress holds the purse strings and I urge you to stop this in its tracks.

Trump’s budget proposal allocates over $2.6 billion to construct a southern border wall and hire 20 attorneys to assist in taking property from Americans who own land along the border. An internal Homeland Security memo has estimated total cost of the project to be at least $21.6 billion to complete over 3.5 years. Experts agree that this wall will not solve the nation's failed immigration policies. Oppose this government-by-publicity-stunt expenditure.

The budget released last month ends subsidies for Amtrak’s long-distance train service. The cut will have a heavy impact on Amtrak's North East Corridor (NEC) commuter services and state-supported systems. The fixed costs of operating and maintaining physical infrastructure, such as stations and tracks formerly shared with the LD services, will shift entirely to the NEC and state services, and connecting service revenues will be lost. It will be a challenge to keep remaining services running, including commuter trains using Amtrak-owned tracks, greatly reducing all passenger rail services in affected states. The budget also gets rid of popular federal transportation programs like “Tiger” grants that provide money to cities and states to repair and expand highways, bridges and transit systems. Many of the programs Mr. Trump would cut were authorized by Congress with large bipartisan majorities. Support rail service and transport maintenance for your constituents, and oppose cuts.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is supported by a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ― a department that Trump wants to cut by nearly 18 percent. According to a statement provided by the hotline, if its budget were reduced by 10 percent, more than 180,000 contacts from victims, friends, family members and abusers would go unanswered each year. If it lost 20 percent of its funding, that number would rise to more than 220,000. I urge you to oppose any cuts to this critical program.

Comment by Grinning Cat on April 12, 2017 at 2:27pm

I'm calling my congresscritters about cosponsoring and supporting Ron Wyden and Rand Paul's "Protecting Data at the Border Act" S. 823 and the corresponding House bill H.R. 1899.

From DemandProgress's email:

"NBC News reports show that skyrocketing numbers of U.S. citizens are being forced by border agents to give up their passwords, cell phones, and laptops to be searched at the border – all without a warrant. Refuse and you could be detained indefinitely.

A bipartisan bill introduced by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and GOP Sen. Rand Paul would put an end to this outrage.

The “Protecting Data at the Border Act” would prohibit border agents from searching your phone or laptop unless they got a warrant first. And it would strictly forbid them from collecting American citizens’ social media passwords.

... In all of 2015 there were 5,000 of these searches. This year, there were 5,000 in the month of February alone.

The Trump Administration and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly are stonewalling congressional inquiries about the program, so it’s hard to know if there is widespread racial or religious profiling at play.

... In 2014 the [Supreme Court] ruled cellphones and laptops can’t be searched during an arrest. It’s time for Congress to protect Americans’ 4th Amendment rights at the border.

... Here’s the last part: Spending time snooping through innocent Americans’ private information doesn’t even make us safer.

Like Sen. Wyden says, “this bill makes sure that border agents are focused on criminals and terrorists instead of wasting their time thumbing through innocent Americans’ personal photos.”"

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 10, 2017 at 3:10pm

I sent this to senators and my representative:

I implore you to protect your constituents by asserting the constitutional authority of congress alone to declare war. Trump has sent the Carl Vinson strike group to the Korean peninsula and his mouthpieces are talking about deploying nukes 50 miles from North Korea and about making a preemptive strike because diplomacy has failed. If you don’t stop Trump’s reckless Korean and Mideast warmaking, nuclear war could overtake your two week recess! I urge you to call an emergency session, by skype if necessary.

When Trump ordered a missile strike in Syria on “impulse” without a strategy or plan to what happens next, the news media applauded. Trump learned how effective war is as a distraction from treason investigations, a dysfunctional White House, and political failure. Senator Ludlam pointed out that Trump is also using his missile strike for a fundraiser.

NBC reported that the Trump regime is considering plans presented by the National Security Council to redeploy nuclear weapons in South Korea and attempting to assassinate Kim Jong-un as a means of countering North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Under consideration is placing U.S. nuclear weapons in South Korea, likely at Osan Air Base, less than 50 miles south of their capital - a flagrantly provocative move.

Retired Gen. Jack Keane, “Trump’s first choice for Secretary of Defense,” told FoxNews that “We’re rapidly and dangerously heading towards the reality that the military option is the only one left …” and, “… if [Trump imagined that] an ICBM attack was imminent the president would have to conduct a preemptive strike.”

Earlier last month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said diplomacy had “failed” and stated the U.S. was done negotiating with North Korea. Tillerson warned that “all options are on the table”. All options, that is, except diplomacy.

During the presidential campaign, on the subject of a president having but not using nuclear weapons, Trump protested, “Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?” To put it bluntly, nukes are burning a hole in Trump’s pocket.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 8, 2017 at 8:25pm

Letter to my Democratic senator:

I urge you to call for complete cutoff of funding for U.S. military actions in Syria.  The US public got a ninety million dollar distraction to deflect attention from the Russian story and change the narrative of Trump’s dysfunctional administration. The attacked Syrian airfield was operational quickly, and Syrian warplanes took off from there to strike the Homs countryside. Each Tomahawk cruise missile, made by Raytheon Co., costs about $1.4 million. The missile attack threatens to make the Syrian conflict even more deadly.

I urge you to stand firm against Republican shutdown threats. Spending decisions should be made through the normal course of congressional business – not by risking shutdown or default. Under President Obama, Republicans tried to use must-pass budget bills to push priorities they knew he would veto. Now, even though they control both houses of Congress and the presidency, they want to use must-pass bills in order to overcome factions within their own ranks. They want to force Americans to accept deeply unpopular ideas like cutting women’s health to pay for a border wall by making them a bargaining chip for keeping the government open. Once again GOP political leaders prey upon public fears to coercively bypass the normal function of democracy and to maintain their grip on power. Weaponizing the threat of national default against your constituents makes GOP behavior anti-American and immoral. Shame them!

I urge you to support a companion bill to the Social Security 2100 Act of 2017 (H.R. 1902), which modestly expands Social Security and raises taxes on the top 0.4% of wage earners to pay for it. It’s important to extend the lifespan of the trust fund by 75 years. The American people are with us―they believe that the very rich should pay more and that benefits should be expanded, not cut.

 

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