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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.)

If you read this group and haven't joined it, please consider joining! It'll encourage other AN members to be more politically active.

Members: 11
Latest Activity: 1 hour ago

Discussion Forum

Letter to Rep and Senators Regarding New Congressional Freethought Caucus

Started by Loren Miller. Last reply by Loren Miller 1 hour ago. 3 Replies

The following letter has just been posted to the following Congresspersons:Congresswoman Marcia FudgeSenator Sherrod BrownSenator Rob Portmanand will be shortly followed by hard-copy letters sent by US Mail:As you well know, the United States was…Continue

Examine your state legislators

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jan 1. 2 Replies

The Center for Public Integrity presents a data base of state level legislative conflicts of interest. Find your state legislators' financial interests…Continue

Tags: state political corruption

Robert Mercer's psyops behind the extremist takeover

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Bertold Brautigan Aug 17, 2017. 6 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

Action alerts and talking points

Started by Grinning Cat. Last reply by Grinning Cat Jun 13, 2017. 4 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

How are we doing ? As of February 17, 2017

Started by Joan Denoo Feb 17, 2017. 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 kathy: ky Feb 16, 2017. 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, 2017. 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

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Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on June 8, 2017 at 10:10pm

Letter for Republican Congressman, page 2:

If you haven’t yet signed on to the lawsuit against Trump for breaking the law by refusing to relinquish ownership of his sprawling real-estate empire while it continues to profit from business with foreign governments, I urge you to do so.

It now looks as if Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia last month was a war council, in which Trump allied the United States with the Sunnis in their war on the Shiites. Has Trump aligned the United States with Saudi’s theocratic monarchy and its ISIS Sunni foot soldiers, without consulting congress? The militants of ISIS are Wahhabists, devotees of a Saudi fundamentalist tradition, which abhors Shiism, democracy and women’s rights. ISIS loathes the heretics of Iran even more than it despises the infidels of the West. Earlier this year ISIS promised to strike in Iran for the first time. Now ISIS has made good on its threats, and Trump rebukes these "radical Islamic terrorists," with only a vague statement that "states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote." Did Trump fail to criticize ISIS by name because they’re Saudi allies? Oblivious to the region's complex realities, Trump fanned the flames of war by taking credit for Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf nations’ severance of diplomatic ties and air travel with Qatar. The largest U.S. military base in the region, Al-Udeid airbase in Qatar, is now hosted by a government that Trump treats like an enemy. Was Trump unaware his actions would raise the threat level facing U.S. forces or did he intend to put U.S. forces on war footing? Before Trump came to office, the U.S.-led coalition focused on ISIS and didn’t initiate fighting with Iranian militias also fighting ISIS.  On Tuesday, U.S. military attacked allies of the Syrian regime, including Iranian militias, for the second time in three weeks after they ignored warnings to move away from the U.S. base El Tanf in Syria on the Syrian-Iraq border. American commanders there want to prevent the Iranian militias from using the road to El Tanf to supply their Shiite allies in Iraq. What vital U.S. interest is served by taking sides in a religious civil war waged thousands of miles from American territory? Why do we now appear to side with those sponsoring "radical Islamic terrorists"? Why is Congress standing by as the commander-in-chief shoots the US in the foot?

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on June 8, 2017 at 10:09pm

Letter for Republican Congressman, page 1:

I urge you to oppose the Senate-passed legislation to make firing employees easier in the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA Secretary David Shulkin’s plan to redesign the current Veterans Choice Program as the Veterans’ Coordinated Access Rewarding Experience (CARE) Program sounds like a move toward elimination of VA care in favor of forcing vets into private medical care. The department needs legislation to make significant changes to the Choice Program, but Trump pressures congress to act hastily by recently signing legislation authorizing VA to spend the remaining funds it has in the Choice Program coffers until it runs out, likely by the end of 2017. According to Sen. Patty Murray, the department’s plan suggests a series of pilot programs that, from her perspective, sound like the proposals outlined in the VA Commission on CARE’s 2016 “strawman” document, which constituted a push to privatize the department. I urge you to strongly oppose privatizing veterans’ health care.

I urge you to turn the GOP away from recruiting militant White Nationalists to “step up and run for local offices”, as James Buchal, chair of the Multnomah County Republican party has done. Buchal shared a platform at the so-called free speech event with Kyle Chapman aka “Based Stickman”, who became a cult figure in the far right movement after a video of him viciously beating female anti-fascist protester in Berkeley. Neo-Nazi recruitment events surely don’t reflect the political values that inspired you to join the GOP.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on June 7, 2017 at 10:16pm

Today's Senate letter:

I urge you to support S. 534, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act. It requires U.S. amateur athletic organizations and their members to establish policies, mechanisms, and training programs to ensure that sexual abuse is reported, thereby preventing institutional cover-ups.

I urge you to oppose Jeffrey Bossert Clark as top Department of Justice environment attorney. He has a long history of opposing climate action for corporate and ideological clients. Clark was prominently involved in industry challenges to the EPA's "endangerment finding" that set the scientific basis for all subsequent attempts to regulate greenhouse gases, including from autos and industrial sources, and he represented BP in lawsuits stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

I urge you to oppose all aspects of Trump’s budget that make us more vulnerable to climate change related disasters. To counter growing climate destabilization effects, we need to have local protections. The budget would cut the federal share of FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund in most disasters from 75-100% down to 25%. It cuts the Small Business Association’s Disaster Loans Program. NOAA's advancing weather forecasting and modeling programs, as well as new satellite data gathering will be gone or heavily downgraded. Many local programs, like research and help for coastal communities guarding against storm surge and rising seas, would be eliminated entirely. Solar energy loans, requirements for climate impact statements on federal projects, most EPA programs to fight the effects of warming, and dozens of federal initiatives to tackle here-and-now threats would be cut or eliminated.

The Russian attacks on the election systems were broader and targeted more states than those detailed in the intelligence report leaked by Reality Leigh Winner. Our nation’s outdated voting equipment has in part led to the Department of Homeland Security designating our voting systems as “critical infrastructure” in January 2017. In the 2016 election, 42 states used voting machines that were at least a decade-old. Outdated equipment is especially vulnerable to hacking. To guard against future cyberattacks on our statewide voter registration databases and voting machines, I urge you to introduce legislation to fund a complete overhaul. There is ample precedent for Congress to help state and local governments update their election equipment, such as the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Election administration should be made transparent and resilient. There should be a paper record for every vote cast. Election officials should conduct manual post-election audits – a necessary check on the election process. Voters should not be casting ballots by email or through Internet portals, because the Internet is by its nature vulnerable to hacking. While the 2015 report by the Brennan Center for Justice estimated that the initial national cost of replacing older voting and election equipment could exceed $1 billion over several years, preventing foreign interference would go beyond that initial plan, costing more.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on June 7, 2017 at 10:16pm

Letter to Republican Rep.:

I urge you to support the efforts of the 18 Democratic members of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee to get the documents from the executive branch by invoking the 1928 law which authorizes minority-party lawmakers to conduct oversight without the approval of congressional leaders. The Justice Department’s legal opinion claiming that individual members of the House and Senate don't have a special right to obtain executive branch information beyond the way members of the public can through Freedom of Information Act requests is nonsense. It’s the law that the GSA must comply with requests submitted under the statutory Seven Member Rule. In addition, as the primary investigative body in the House, the Committee also has the broad authority “at any time” to “conduct investigations” of “any matter”.

I urge you to oppose any federal support for the coal industry in favor of its total replacement by solar power. As U.S. politicians continue to debate whether to save the declining American coal industry, new peer-reviewed research is making a case for letting it die. A new analysis from Michigan Technological University, published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, asserts that swapping out all U.S. coal energy for solar-powered energy could save approximately 52,000 lives every year. That’s more people than work in the American coal industry today: 51,000. This new research only analyzes the health benefits of replacing all U.S. coal-powered electricity with solar-powered electricity. Merely eliminating coal and replacing it with, say, natural gas would not save the same number of lives. We can retrain coal workers but not being back people from the dead.

I urge you to combat the escalating Nazi-like verbal violence from members of your party, the GOP, who appear to define almost everyone else as an enemy of real America. The Global Peace Index 2017, issued annually by the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP), ranks countries based on levels of corruption, violent crime, racism and respect for human rights. It shows the U.S declining 11 places in the global rankings to 114th out of 163 surveyed nations. While they see a political fracture in the U.S. as “both sides of the political divide seeing the other as a danger to the nation,” what I see is Democrats disparaging Republican climate denial, rejection of ethics rules, rejection of “politically correct language”. But Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins called for those merely suspected of terrorism to be summarily executed, “Kill them all.” Eric Trump said Democrats who support the probe into his father's campaign and Russia are "not even people." In short Democrats pass judgment on Republican values and policies, while Republicans demonize others and justify killing them. Trump-led US ranks below Haiti and Liberia, while South America and Asia are improving.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on June 6, 2017 at 4:14pm

Senate letter:

I urge you to support a complete overhaul of our voter security, in light of the VR systems Russian hack and the fact that voter touchscreen use was associated with a statistically significant bias toward Trump in the last election. The only secure voting systems use paper ballots, which can be quickly scanned by machine, but which can also be recounted by hand if necessary.

I urge you to oppose Trump’s proposal to split air traffic control away from the Federal Aviation Administration and place it under a private, non-governmental entity. His original proposal for a $1 trillion infrastructure jobs plan sounded good in principle. In reality, Trump’s jobs agenda is a sham that does not involve a trillion dollars, won't do much for the country's infrastructure and won’t create many jobs. The infrastructure initiative he launched with a fake signing ceremony bears all the marks of a large-scale bait and switch sales pitch like the one Trump perfected in selling fraudulent enterprises like the now-defunct Trump University to unsuspecting consumers.

The "cheaper, faster and safer travel" promised by Trump at the White House fake signing event didn’t mention that Trump’s 2018 budget seeks to cut $175 million from the Essential Air Services program, which subsidizes air travel to remote areas, so that all regions of the country are guaranteed air access, even Hawaii and Alaska. If approved, Trump’s budget proposal would actually dismantle one feature of the current air travel infrastructure that serves rural Americans. Trump’s air traffic privatization scheme is less concerned with creating jobs than with selling the idea of “public-private partnerships” as the way to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.  The New York Times notes that the Trump approach calls on "states, cities and corporations to shoulder most of the cost of rebuilding roads, bridges, railways and waterways." Trump has swapped out serious ideas for a jobs program with a scheme to turn over public infrastructure assets to private interests, which would be able to extract profits under the flimsiest of supervision.

Texas just rejected a similar public-private partnership because of public opposition to the new highway tolls it would impose.

Comment by Grinning Cat on June 6, 2017 at 4:13pm

H.R. 10, the bill that would repeal key Dodd-Frank consumer protections, and risk a repeat of the 2008 recession for the sake of increased big bank profits, is coming before the House for a vote this week.

I called my (Democratic) congressman about it today; all of our Representatives need to hear from us!

Congressional switchboard: 202-224-3121 (or call your Rep's local and DC offices directly! and/or leave a message at their website. Snail mail won't arrive in time.)

Some background and a suggested script posted this morning by Tony Stark at Twitter:

SAY NO TO THE CHOICE ACT AND DEFEND DODD-FRANK REGULATIONS / House Republicans have introduced legislation known as the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 (H.R. 10) that would repeal the Volcker rule and strip the CFPB of key enforcement powers, including the ability to find institutions for unfair lending practices (which the CFPB recently used to fine Wells Fargo $100 million for opening 2 million accounts that their customers didn't know about). The repeal of the Volcker rule alone would increase big banks' profits by hundreds of millions of dollars a year while putting the American public at risk for another recession driven by irresponsible banking practices. / (a suggested script for phone calls) Hi, my name is [Name] and I'm a constituent from ______. I'm calling to express my opposition to H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, which would undermine the crucial consumer protections provided by the Dodd-Frank Act. As the 2008 recession illustrated, the banking industry must be carefully regulated to protect consumers from risky lending practices and corporate greed. Thank you for your hard work answering the phones. [IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied] #TheResistance #HeroesResist AES

(click to enlarge; copy-and-paste into Notepad etc. for plain text)

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on June 6, 2017 at 4:13pm

House letter:

I urge you to oppose H.R. 2213, the Boots on the Border Act, to meet Trump’s demand for an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents, especially eliminating the polygraph testing requirement for applicants who are already law enforcement officers or are transitioning members of the US Armed Forces (including veterans). Currently, 60% of Border Patrol applicants fail the polygraph screening. One analysis of 1,000 exams showed that the failures were largely due to criminal behavior, including smuggling and other felonies. Importantly, some applicants actually worked for criminal organizations and were seeking to infiltrate the Border Patrol. Without the polygraph screening, these applicants all would have passed the standard criminal background check.

I urge you to support a complete overhaul of our voter security, in light of the VR systems Russian hack and the fact that voter touchscreen use was associated with a statistically significant bias toward Trump in the last election.

I urge you to oppose Trump’s proposal to split air traffic control away from the Federal Aviation Administration and place it under a private, non-governmental entity. His original proposal for a $1 trillion infrastructure jobs plan sounded good in principle. In reality, Trump’s jobs agenda is a sham that does not involve a trillion dollars, won't do much for the country's infrastructure and won’t create many jobs. The infrastructure initiative he launched with a fake signing ceremony bears all the marks of a large-scale bait and switch sales pitch like the one Trump perfected in selling fraudulent enterprises like the now-defunct Trump University to unsuspecting consumers.

Trump’s 2018 budget seeks to cut $175 million from the Essential Air Services program, which subsidizes air travel to remote areas, so that all regions of the country are guaranteed air access, even Hawaii and Alaska. If approved, Trump’s budget proposal would actually dismantle one feature of the current air travel infrastructure that serves rural Americans. Trump’s air traffic privatization scheme is less concerned with creating jobs than with selling the idea of “public-private partnerships” as the way to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.  The New York Times notes that the Trump approach calls on "states, cities and corporations to shoulder most of the cost of rebuilding roads, bridges, railways and waterways." Trump has swapped out serious ideas for a jobs program with a scheme to turn over public infrastructure assets to private interests, which would be able to extract profits under the flimsiest of supervision. Texas just rejected a similar public-private partnership because of public opposition to the new highway tolls it would impose.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on June 5, 2017 at 4:15pm

Letter to Republican legislator:

We’re on an unsustainable path toward civilization collapse. According to findings of Safa Motesharrei, a systems scientist at the University of Maryland, who uses computer models to understand the mechanisms that can lead to local or global collapse, there are two factors that matter: ecological strain and economic stratification. GOP policy intentionally causes both.

One flagrant example of directly widening inequality in America is the House Republicans' AHCA. It gives a new $880 billion tax cut to health care corporations and wealthy investors. By taking from the needy and giving to the rich, this one bill would further widen economic disparity in our country by nearly $1.8 trillion. Another way to ensure economic inequality by taking from the needy and giving to the rich is so called trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement. A recently-leaked copy of Trump’s NAFTA renegotiation plan shows it gives even more power to multinational corporations. The plan includes new "investor incentives" to offshore thousands more of our middle-class jobs.

Texas illustrates what the GOP has in mind for poverty nationwide. Nearly one in four kids live below the poverty line. Single-mother households are 42 percent of Texas families living in poverty. Texas has highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world.  As the Republican-led Texas legislature slashed funding to reproductive healthcare clinics, the maternal mortality rate doubled over just a two-year period.

Unless nations around the world boost carbon taxes to as much as $100 per metric ton, the world risks global warming at “catastrophic” levels within 13 years warned a new report by leading economists from the High Level Commission on Carbon Prices (backed by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank).  The catastrophic consequences of climate change won’t just happen in 13 years in a time-limited event. We face ever-increasing global catastrophe on a radically changed planet. How old will your children and grandchildren be when the Earth turns permanently nasty?

By embracing inequality and climate denial, the GOP renders its own demise. No gerrymandering, no media echo-chamber, no destruction of constitutional rights, no billion-dollar attack ad campaign, no Cambridge Analytica manipulations will prevent the party’s collapse when inequality soars while the Earth itself turns on us. No fake news will keep the Trump base from tasting their betrayal. The international community responded with contempt to our abandonment of the Paris Accords and our empowering climate deniers in our government. Contempt for the GOP will become universal.

I urge you to fight the GOP priorities of greater inequality and climate denial with everything you’ve got!

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on June 5, 2017 at 4:13pm

Letter to Democratic legislator:

I urge you to communicate to colleagues and the public the extreme hazard of the GOP policies of accelerating inequality and climate change.

We’re on an unsustainable path toward civilization collapse. According to findings of Safa Motesharrei, a systems scientist at the University of Maryland, who uses computer models to understand the mechanisms that can lead to local or global collapse, there are two factors that matter: ecological strain and economic stratification. GOP policy intentionally causes both.

One flagrant example of directly widening inequality in America is the House Republicans' AHCA. It gives a new $880 billion tax cut to health care corporations and wealthy investors. By taking from the needy and giving to the rich, this one bill would further widen economic disparity in our country by nearly $1.8 trillion. Another way to ensure economic inequality by taking from the needy and giving to the rich is so called trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement. A recently-leaked copy of Trump’s NAFTA renegotiation plan shows it gives even more power to multinational corporations. The plan includes new "investor incentives" to offshore thousands more of our middle-class jobs.

Texas illustrates what the GOP has in mind for poverty nationwide. Nearly one in four kids live below the poverty line. Single-mother households are 42 percent of Texas families living in poverty. Texas has highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world.  As the Republican-led Texas legislature slashed funding to reproductive healthcare clinics, the maternal mortality rate doubled over just a two-year period.

Unless nations around the world boost carbon taxes to as much as $100 per metric ton, the world risks global warming at “catastrophic” levels within 13 years warned a new report by leading economists from the High Level Commission on Carbon Prices (backed by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank).  The catastrophic consequences of climate change won’t just happen in 13 years in a time-limited event. We face ever-increasing global catastrophe on a radically changed planet. How old will your children and grandchildren be when the Earth turns permanently nasty?

By embracing inequality and climate denial, the GOP renders its own demise. No gerrymandering, no media echo-chamber, no destruction of constitutional rights, no billion-dollar attack ad campaign, no Cambridge Analytica manipulations will prevent the party’s collapse when inequality soars while the Earth itself turns on us. No fake news will keep the Trump base from tasting their betrayal. The international community responded with contempt to our abandonment of the Paris Accords and our empowering climate deniers in our government. Contempt for the GOP will become universal.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on June 4, 2017 at 10:53pm

Today's Senate letter:

I urge you to call for a second Special Prosecutor to get to the bottom of the Trump administration's growing conflict of interest scandals. Trump and his close associates have turned their backs on ethical norms and the anti-corruption protections written into the US Constitution and federal law in a way we haven’t seen in modern times. Congress needs to insist on the appointment of another special counsel to handle a whole host of White House corruption issues. The same grounds for Sessions’ recusal from Russiagate (which he brazenly ignored) and the appointment of Mueller as special counsel apply to how DOJ handles political profiteering in the White House. As a close friend and key adviser to Trump, Sessions must recuse himself from all legal investigations involving the president and his inner circle under the Department of Justice’s own rules. DOJ regulations require recusal when an employee has a “personal or political relationship” with “any person or organization” that is either “the subject of an investigation or prosecution” or “has a specific and substantial interest that would be directly affected by the outcome of the investigation or prosecution.” Sessions’ personal and political relationship with the president is well established at this point, and it is clear that an indictment of a member of the president’s family, a close adviser or even a Cabinet-level appointee would have a significant adverse impact on the president’s public image, political fortunes and ability to conduct government business. I urge you to call for a second special prosecutor to investigate political profiteering in the White House and demand that Sessions recuse himself from these investigations.

Trump's budget director Mick Mulvaney rejected Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's call for a clean debt ceiling hike. Mulvaney doesn’t think any future budgets could balance without what he calls “reforms” to Medicare and Social Security. I call on you to object to framing the destruction of Medicare and Social Security as “reforms”! Oppose any budget that isn’t “clean”.

I urge you to object to the new questionnaire for U.S. visa applicants worldwide that asks for social media handles for the last five years and biographical information going back 15 years. The new questions, part of an effort to tighten vetting of would-be visitors to the United States, was approved on May 23 by the Office of Management and Budget. Immigration lawyers and advocates say the request for 15 years of detailed biographical information, as well as the expectation that applicants remember all their social media handles, is likely to catch applicants who make innocent mistakes or do not remember all the information requested. The new questions grant "arbitrary power" to consular officials to determine who gets a visa with no effective check on their decisions. What about the golden rule? Should other countries to pass laws imposing such unfair and onerous demands on US citizens seeking visas?

 

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