Today's Daily Action is to call the House Judiciary Committee at (844) 241-1141 and tell them to do their job by hauling in Attorney General Jeff Sessions to testify about his outrageous sentencing guidelines. By ordering federal prosecutors to always seek the most aggressive charges possible and reinstating mandatory minimums, Sessions is flying in the face of plenty of evidence - as well as a truly bipartisan understanding - that this approach to crime reduction does not wo...rk but does destroy many disproportionately black and brown lives, families and communities in the process. The Sessions memo issued last week has nothing to do with being smart or tough on crime - and it jeopardizes progress that has been made all over the country. (The linked article shows the successes in San Diego that are now at stake - but this is one example of many.)
Congressional oversight is needed not only when the executive branch is doing something illegal -- if they are doing something that is entirely legal but stupid, dangerous and immoral, that's a good time for Congress to act. We certainly need updated sentencing laws on the books - but we don't need to wait for new laws in order to restore our common sense.
So call the Judiciary committee and tell them two things:
First, they need to bring Sessions in to testify - if he has data to support his decision, he should bring it into the light of day. And experts in the field should be invited to testify as well.
Second, they need to put support bipartisan legislation that prevents these excessive mandatory minimums and restores judges' and prosecutors' ability to seek lesser charges and sentences in contexts where it makes sense.
There's already so much inequity and injustice in the criminal justice system that needs to be addressed - the last thing we need is for Jeff Sessions to take America backwards. How far back does he want to go? We don't want to find out ... but let him get away with this, and there's sure to be more that follows.
Get Smart - Budget and Veterans
We have two "Get Smart" videos coming up as part of our collaboration with the policy experts from the Center for American Progress. We have questions and they have answers.
So post questions in the comments field below - on the budget which is in the news now that the Trump Administration has just released their details - and on veterans' issues, ahead of Memorial Day on Monday.
We'll package these up later today / early tomorrow and send t...hem over to CAP and then we'll look out for their videos later in the week / weekend.
Timothy Snyder joins us for the 4th installment of our Book Club. He will be discussing On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, which you can buy here: http://www.mcnallyjackson.com/book/9780804190114
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL
Today's Daily Action is to call your Member of Congress at (844) 241-1141 and raise the alarm about Trump's budget proposal.
While Trump is in the Middle East getting gold medallions and taking weird pictures with a glowing orb, his budget team has been busy finalizing some absolutely brutal cuts to our safety net: Food stamps, Children's Health Insurance, SSDI (Disability insurance). It is immoral. The official numbers are coming out tomorrow - bef...ore that we need to tell Congress that we are already paying attention and that we already reject what we are hearing.
A budget that takes away from those who are already suffering, in order to give more tax cuts to people who are already so rich that their quality of life will not be even slightly improved, will not stand.
To receive Daily Action Alerts, text DAILY to 228466.
WEEKLY STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP: 5/15 - 5/19
We had another busy week this week, what with Trump's inability to run his mouth for more than 30 seconds without incriminating himself and even more revelations about leaks to Russia and the Comey firing. Yet we were equally busy at the state and local level, as we sought to tip the balance in several important battles.
1) We urged Montanans via text to recruit friends and family to vote in next Thursday's special election, when De...mocrats will hopefully snag a seat from the red column to begin a 2018 takeover. ***If you or anyone you know lives in Montana, MAKE SURE you all have a plan to vote on Thursday! https://americanvoterguide.org/montana/***
2) On Tuesday, we pushed DC actioneers to protest Jeff Sessions' atrocious expansion of the War on Drugs, an effort that, if successful, would lead to black and brown people being locked up for even longer terms and a complete erosion of what limits remain on the use of force by law enforcement (more on this next week!). https://www.facebook.com/YourDailyAct…/posts/433340263697960
3) The battle against anti-choice lies continues in Texas, where we lit up Governor Abbot's switchboard on Wednesday to let him know we won't let him peddle lies and deceit to strip women of their human rights: https://www.facebook.com/YourDailyAct…/posts/433807036984616
4) California's Proposition 13 has left schools and public schools underfunded ever since it was passed in 1978 while granting huge property tax breaks for big corporations who have owned their properties for decades. Our callers told the State Senate the time has long since passed to reform this law and ensure California's public services aren't vulnerable to cuts during economic downturns: https://www.facebook.com/YourDailyAct…/posts/434223003609686
5) Today, our New York callers took a stand against corruption by telling Governor Cuomo and the Independent Democratic Caucus that their so-called "Lulu payments" arrangement has no place in the legislature at a time when progressives must be resisting the Republican agenda at every turn: https://www.facebook.com/YourDailyAct…/posts/434749850223668
We'll have many more state and local actions for you next week, in addition to a heavy slate of main actions that will include the aforementioned efforts by AG Sessions. The Special Counsel was a welcome development, but the battle on the Russia/Comey front will be a long one (we'll also need an independent commission), so hang in there and enjoy the weekend!
We’ve got lots of new Daily Actioneers who have joined in the last few weeks. Welcome!!
The BEST way to make sure you’re seeing the daily alerts every morning is to subscribe to our text-based service by texting DAILY to 228466 (ACTION)....
The Facebook group is great because we post deeper background on the daily action, share a script and share intel with each other on what we are hearing from different offices as we call. Plus it's a much easier way to share a Daily Action with people you know will be interested. So think of the text list and the Facebook group as a "both / and" not an "either / or."
The text-based list is important for a few other reasons: It's the only way that we can track the calls and make sure that we’re reaching every Senator / Member of Congress. That’s important because it tells us where we need to grow our list and where we’re strong. It's also important logistically because it drives whether we continue a call for a second or third day.
The cumulative statistics of who we have called and how many times we've called will be useful in 2018, when we hold specific incumbents accountable for their deeds. Here's a totally hypothetical example:
Senator Heller: I had no idea that Betsy DeVos was going to try to wreck the public education system and harm both rural and urban Nevada schools.
viral Daily Action web ad: Over the last two years, constituents from every single county in Nevada have made over [5,000] individual calls warning Senator Heller and urging him to take action. How did he have no idea?
Hope this helps!
SPREAD THE WORD WITH SWAG
With a special election in Montana next week, two in Georgia and South Carolina next month, and countless legislative battles ahead, it's important that we spread the word and enlist as many Americans as possible into our efforts. While we're grateful for all the excellent work you people have done spreading the word online, the old adage remains true; all politics is local!
To that end, nothing starts conversations better than a nice piece of swag!... We at Daily Action are offering exclusive tote bags and t-shirts through this Monday, 5/22, which you can grab here: https://vacord.com/dailyaction
We hope you'll all wear these around your community and spread the resistance to every corner of the U.S. We'll need it!
If you've already purchased one of these items and are still in a calling mood, the (844) 241-1141 number will still connect you to the House, where you can reiterate your support for Rep. Swalwell's HR 356, which calls for an independent commission to investigate the full extent of Russian interference into the election and ongoing ties to the Trump administration.
Next week we will tackle Jeff Sessions' attempts to ramp up the Drug War, deregulation efforts, and much, much more.
To receive Daily Action alerts, text DAILY to 228466.
Upcoming Daily Actions in the days and weeks ahead:
Drug law enforcement, the deportations of people with no criminal record, the deregulatory agenda and more -- we are going to pivot quickly to these issues (starting tomorrow) and are identifying the best daily actions to leverage our numbers at the point of maximum political impact.
The Special Prosecutor is not a complete solution but enough of a solution for now that we can use the days ahead to focus on many of the smal...ler-but-still-breathtakingly-large "dumpster fires" that some of the extreme elements in this Administration have been lighting.
The naming of a Special Prosecutor is a victory - for the fundamental principle that no one is above the law - but we are on a long and winding road and for significant stretches of it, there's a criminal investigation proceeding.
Part of getting out of this mess (and in truth, we are still closer to the beginning than we are to the end - after all, we still don't even know how large of a mess we are in), is figuring out how it was possible for all of this to happen in the first place and then doing the much harder work of making sure it never happens again. An Independent Commission is still the best way to make sure this happens and while we aren't going to re-issue that call tomorrow, we are certainly going to come back to it and we will eventually secure it. We will need a public assessment of how we got here, practical recommendations for preventing it from happening again, and then the political will to push those recommendations into law.
If we are going to leave this country to future generations in a better condition than we found it, then we have a lot of work to do. The good news is that it even though we can only do this work one day at a time, it's work that we know how to and we are getting better at it every day.
Get Smart #5: Deregulation!
Here's the latest Get Smart video from the policy experts at the Center for American Progress. Sabrina De Santiago explains what's at stake. Look out for a Daily Action on this piece of legislation - the Regulatory Accountability Act - very soon. Thanks!
What is the Regulatory Accountability Act anyway? In the 5th installment of our Get Smart series with Daily Action, Sabrina De Santiago explains the GOP's lates...t attempt to undue all the protections that keep us safe and allow big businesses to take over. Share this video—don't give Trump a #LicenseToKill!
ONE STEP CLOSER
Today's Daily Action is to call your Senators at (844) 241-1141 and thank them if they listened to us and joined the call for a special prosecutor at some point before yesterday's announcement.
If they didn't, then call them up and tell them it's a disappointment that they didn't stand up for what was right when it mattered - and that you'll remember their lack of courage when they're next up for reelection....
To get your Daily Action t-shirt or tote bag, buy here! https://vacord.com/dailyaction
VICTORY: Special Counsel named by the Justice Department. This is why we call and keep calling. This is still a democracy and our voice, when we use it, is still powerful. Many thanks to everyone who has joined this call for months.
EDIT: We've made 78,425 calls to Congress demanding a Special Prosecutor - starting back on February 24th. #Persist
As always, stay vigilant and recruit your friends. Text DAILY to 228466 (ACTION) for daily text-based alerts.
Today's Daily Action is to call your Representative at (844) 241-1141 and urge them to support HR 356, which calls for an independent commission on Russia's interference in our election. Representative Eric Swalwell is leading the bill and already has two Republican co-sponsors, so today is the day to push hard and let your Representative know that you're watching.
They're scrambling, they're desperate, and Republicans are finally starting to feel the heat. Kee...p it up!
We hope you enjoyed our third book club discussion with Rebecca Solnit! You can view the video at any time under our "Videos" tab, or on Youtube here: https://youtu.be/i7omKwTh4cE
We are also thrilled to announce that next month's title will be "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century" by Timothy Snyder: http://www.mcnallyjackson.com/book/9780804190114
The author will be joining us on Monday, June 12th, at 7pm EDT. Snyder is the Levin Professor of History at Ya...le University. He is the author of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin and Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning. Snyder is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and a permanent fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.
As with Hope in the Dark, there are many important lessons for today's activists in this book. We will see you all next month!
To receive Book Club text alerts, text CLUB to 228466.
To receive Daily Action text alerts, text DAILY to 228466.
For the third installment of the Daily Action Book Club, our own Benjamin Moser chats with Rebecca Solnit, author of "Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities." The discussion features questions from Book Club readers as Solnit recounts important lessons from her own history of activism and from unlikely acts of resistance that paved the way for greater social change.
You can buy the book from McNally Jackson Books here: http://www.mcnallyjackson.com/book/97816...08465767
To sign up for Book Club updates, text CLUB to 228466.
To receive Daily Action alerts, text DAILY to 228466.
FIX IT FAST!
Today's Daily Action is to call the Senate Intelligence Committee at (844) 241-1141 and urge them to quickly get to the bottom of yesterday's allegations against the President. The Washington Post reported yesterday - with unnamed sources confirmed by several additional news outlets - that Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador during their Oval Office meeting last week. The concern is that this could ...put lives at risk, hinder counter-ISIS operations and jeopardize our relationship with the country that shared this very sensitive information with us in the first place.
Usually our Daily Action is very discrete and focused on a specific bill or nomination. Today's Action is different because we are simply asking this Senate Committee to find out what happened as quickly as possible and report back to the American people on they have confirmed. At that point, as informed citizens, we can responsibly consider what steps, if any, need to be taken.
The White House and State Department have issued multiple but somewhat incomplete denials of what was reported by the Washington Post and corroborated by Reuters and The New York Times. Trump has tweeted in defense of his own right as President to disclose classified information to the Russians - but that isn't really the point.
We are all in uncharted waters here but Congress has a Constitutional obligation to provide oversight of the White House. Today is yet another one of those days when we have to our job of telling them to do theirs: Take this seriously, find out exactly what happened, and report back to the American people.
Due to a last-second technical issue, we will be posting our interview with Rebecca Solnit tomorrow night at 7pm EDT instead of tonight. Rest assured, however, that it was a fantastic conversation from which you will all be able to draw hope, inspiration, and resolve for the fights ahead!
We will see you all tomorrow, when we will also be taking action in response to 45's complete inability to keep intelligence from foreign dignitaries who flatter him. Stay tuned!