There’s no such thing as a vote that doesn’t matter. ― Barack Obama
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STOP TRUMP FROM GUTTING THE CIVIL SERVICE:We must remain alert not only to the “big” stories, like McConnell’s frantic effort to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, but also to the smaller but perhaps no less consequential ones; invoking “performance standards,” Trump claims it necessary to create “an exception to the competitive hiring rules and examinations for career positions in the Federal service of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character” and signed an Executive Order to that effect last week: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-creating-schedule-f-excepted-service/ The merit-based civil service system, in place since 1883, provided one of the few routes to upward mobility for many; the creation of new “Schedule F” employees allows the easy appointment of loyal political cronies (and the easy firing of the “disloyal”) and, importantly, shields political appointees from an incoming administration by protecting them from firing on the basis of political affiliation: https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/522339-trump-order-strips-workplace-protections-from-civil-servants and https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-federal-civil-service/2020/10/23/02fbf05c-1549-11eb-ba42-ec6a580836ed_story.html and https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/trump-executive-order-civil-service-biden-election-schedule-f-b1255692.html Whatever the outcome of November’s election, Trump will remain in power until January and will, undoubtedly, do as much damage as he can; we must monitor what he does in this interregnum. Let’s raise this issue with our MoCs and ask what they can do to stop this latest assault on our democracy. To protest this change in the civil service, let’s contact the Office of Personnel Management: 1-800-877-8339 or 1900 E St, NW, Washington DC 20415.
USPS BOARD REJECTS REPORT ON DEJOY: Last week, at the behest of Congress, an inspector general at the United States Postal Service issued a report examining the effects of Trump loyalist and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s changes to the postal service; the report concluded that these changes had resulted in “significant negative service impacts across the country,”: https://www.uspsoig.gov/sites/default/files/document-library-files/2020/20-292-R21.pdf Undaunted, the USPS Board of Governors, composed of Trump appointees, rejected the report’s conclusions: https://billmoyers.com/story/scramble-at-the-white-house/ DeJoy has committed to halt these changes but only until after the election. Looks like we need, once again, to contact the USPS Board of Governors and demand a permanent end to DeJoy’s effort to destroy the postal service: USPS Board of Governors Robert Duncan: email@example.com; John Barger: firstname.lastname@example.org; Ron Bloom: email@example.com; Roman Martinez: firstname.lastname@example.org; Donald Moak: email@example.com; Wiliam Zollers: firstname.lastname@example.org
CALL OUT MIKE PENCE FOR PUTTING THE NATION’S HEALTH AT RISK BY REFUSING TO OBSERVE CDC PROTOCOLS: “At least five people in Vice President Mike Pence’s orbit have tested positive for coronavirus in recent days, including chief of staff Marc Short, close aide Zach Bauer and outside adviser Marty Obst, sources told CNN. There are concerns that more people within Pence’s inner circle will test positive in the coming days, a source said. “They’re scared,” the source said of staffers in the vice president’s office” https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/10/24/politics/mac-short-coronavirus-positive-test/index.html Pence, the head of the Covid team has at least 5 of his team sick yet he is still on the campaign trail. They have done a terrible job of keeping themselves and us well. Let’s publicly call out Pence for putting his own political gain ahead of the nation’s health by commenting on his Twitter (@Mike_Pence) and Facebookpages. Let’s also encourage all our friends to wear a mask, wash hands, social distance and VOTE THEM OUT.
DARK MONEY AND THE FEDERAL COURTS: In these videos, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) explains how dark money is influencing which judges get appointed to our federal courts and the Supreme Court, and also how they rule: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjcXVKg43qY and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5-Snk_thAs . This is corruption, pure and simple. In this law review article, https://harvardjol.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2020/05/Sen.-Whitehouse_Dark-Money.pdf, Senator Whitehouse explains the problem further and offers legislative and policy remedies. Let’s share his article with our Senators, with the Chair of the Committee on Codes of Conduct for the federal courts, and with Chief Justice Roberts. Let’s tell them all that we expect impartial judges and basic fairness in our federal courts, including the Supreme Court, and we want them to implement Senator Whitehouse’s commonsense policies: 1) Supreme Court (Chief Justice Roberts): https://www.supremecourt.gov/contact/contactus.aspx, 2) our US Senators, and 3) Federal Courts: Chair, Committee on Codes of Conduct, c/o General Counsel, Administrative Office of the United States Court, Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, One Columbus Circle, NE, Washington, DC 20544
MOTIONAL SUPPORT FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS IMPACTED BY THE PANDEMIC: As COVID cases rise, stress among healthcare workers is rising as well. The Emotional PPE Project offers free mental health assistance to healthcare workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Experienced, licensed therapists are volunteering their time and expertise. Let’s look into this for ourselves and others who may need it: https://emotionalppe.org/
FIGHT BACK AGAINST GOP COURT STACKING: As Amy Barrett’s confirmation is rushed through the Senate, cementing a conservative Supreme Court majority, Mc Connell boasts we “won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come”. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/gop-bets-democrats-won-t-expand-supreme-court-progressives-say-n1244721 We still have a chance to prove him wrong by restructuring our judicial systems and institutions to more fairly reflect the will of the people. In “Off-Balance: Five Strategies for a Judiciary that Supports Democracy”, Roosevelt Fellow Todd N. Tucker explores a menu of options for policymakers, including: 1) Adding justices to the bench through Court expansion; 2) Removing justices through impeachment; 3) Changing the jurisdiction of the Court; 4) Ignoring or overriding Court decisions; and 5) Rewriting the Constitution to allow term limits, elect justices, or eliminate judicial review. We can find the highlights of this judicial reform strategy here: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1320781530764136449.htmland read the full report here: https://rooseveltinstitute.org/publications/off-balance-strategies-for-judiciary-that-supports-democracy/ then demand our MoCs make judicial reform a priority in the next session of Congress.
TEXTILE CRAFTERS: Tiny Pricks is a public art project created and curated by Diana Weymar. Contributors from around the world are stitching Donald Trump’s words into textiles, creating the material record of his presidency and of the movement against it. It is not too late for us to create a piece and take part: https://www.tinypricksproject.com/participate/
POSTCARDING OPPORTUNITIES: From one of our own: Here are this week’s postcarding write-ups. Please use/share/distribute widely! Keep speaking out and holding those in power accountable—and make sure that you, and those around you who can, VOTE! Let’s check this out: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ke2J18eH2_sJdY0bcJ0eMugtNfRxz0h93gmWlkMuQHc/edit?usp=sharing
ELECTION – GET OUT THE VOTE (GOTV)
POSTCARDERS: LAST CALL! If we volunteer to write postcards to get out the vote, Wednesday is the last day we can mail them and hope for their arrival before Election Day. Let’s count up our remaining postcards and stamps and request that number of addresses from Postcards To Voters right now.
CALL/TEXT VOTERS. We still have opportunities to reach voters via phone and text. We can check with our state and local campaigns to see if they need our help. Additionally we can check: a) Southern Poverty Law Center; and b) Sister District Project. Let’s work together to reach as many voters as we can.
MOBILIZE THE LATINO VOTE: “There are only nine days until Election Day, and we still need to mobilize millions of Latinx voters all across the country. With your help we’ve registered more than 560,000 voters this election cycle — thank you!” To help Voto Latino reach their goal of mobilizing 3.7 million Latino voters, we can donate here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/vl-millions
NATIONAL VOTER ASSISTANCE HOTLINE IS SEEKING NON-ENGLISH-SPEAKING VOLUNTEERS: If we, or someone we know, speaks fluent Apache, Arabic, Cantonese, Creole, French, Hindi, Hmong, Korean, Mandarin, Navajo, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, or Vietnamese, the Biden campaign is asking for our help assisting voters. We can sign up here: https://go.joebiden.com/page/s/Voter-Protection-National-Hotline
VOTER PROTECTION PHONE BANK: The NC Dems Voter Protection Team is phone banking to make critical voter protection calls twice a day every day. We can learn more and join them here: https://www.mobilize.us/nc2020victory/event/314753/
SWING LEFT PHONE BANKING: Swing Left is still making calls and we can join them. We can find more info here: https://swingleft.org/p/phone-bank
PHONEBANKING WITH CHICAGO INDIVISIBLE: Indivisible Chicago is offering one last “Phonebanking 101” class (Wednesday, October 28, 2020 5:15 PM – 6:00 PM CT) for folks who need to be walked through the WHOLE process. It’s a step-by-step tutorial for the well-intentioned but introverted and/or not politically active. It will be followed by a working phone bank. We can sign up here. (h/t)
TEXT WITH THE POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN: The Poor People’s Campaign is hosting We Must Do M.O.R.E text bank training to learn how to text poor and low-income infrequent voters in key states where their vote can have the greatest impact. Let’s click her to sign up: https://vote.poorpeoplescampaign.org/#phone_bank
RIDES FOR NAVAHO VOTERS: Navajo voters in the southwest have been tragically underserved by our federal government. Many Navajo voters live 50 miles or more from their polling places. Vote America is organizing rides to the polls for Navajo voters. To do this, we need to raise $26,000 to pay for transportation, food & water. Let’s help if we are able: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/voteamerica-2020-twitterrezrideap10.25.20
HELP BOOST LOW FLORIDA TURNOUT: Florida is a key state this election, but turnout in both Broward and Miami Dade counties is NOT where we need it to be. We can join with Swing Left Greater Boston to turn things around when we sign up for their two efforts 1) FL GOTV & BALLOT CHASE PHONE BANKS – We will call Dems who haven’t returned their ballots yet. We can check out this calendar for the most up-to-date English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole phone banks: https://swingleftboston.org/calendar/category/activity-type/phone-calls/month/?tribe-bar-search=Florida and 2) FL BALLOT CURE – We can help Dem voters fix their rejected ballots and get their vote counted. Spanish and Haitian Creole-speaking volunteers are especially needed! We can sign up here: Mondays, 5-8 pm, https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftboston/event/327645/, Tuesdays, 5-8 pm, https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftboston/event/318422/, and Thursdays, 5-8 pm, https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftboston/event/311083
ELECTION – SUPPORT CANDIDATES
POSTCARDS TO VOTERS: At press time, Postcards To Voters continues to write for great campaigns like Jaime Harrison for Senate in SC, Hillary Scholten for Congress in MI (Justin Amash’ seat), and Abby Finkenauer for Congress in IA (postcardstovoters.org) Let’s push as hard as we can in these last few days of being able to write and mail postcards for the November 3rd election. If our post office is out of pre-stamped postcards, we can cut cardstock into 4×6 cards and can use whatever postage we have that adds up to at least 35 cents per card.
READY-MADE TWEETS FOR ALL DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES: Postcards for America have created ready-made Tweets & Facebook Posts to share for every single Democratic Candidate! Each includes a Postcard w/ their photo, website link, Twitter & where to donate. Let’s check this out and use it: https://www.postcardsforamerica.com/all-dem-candidates-postcards-tweets–posts.html
DEFEAT SUSAN COLLINS AND TRUMP BY GETTING OUT THE MAINE VOTE: As we look for the best places to put our final efforts, we can consider Maine. First, Sen. Susan Collins could have swayed the vote on two unqualified extremist Supreme Court Justices. It is time for her to go. Also, Maine may give Biden to Electoral College votes he needs to wins. We can check out Swing Left Boston for several ways we can help turn Maine Blue, and defeat Collins and Trump together: https://swingleftboston.org/calendar/category/super_state/maine-events/and https://swingleftboston.org/calendar/online-middlesex-and-worcester-district-virtual-phone-bank-11/
ELECTION – REGISTERING VOTERS
VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINES: Voting guidelines vary by state. In many states the deadline to register to vote has passed, but not all. Let’s check here to see if we can still register and help others register, too: https://www.vote.org/voter-registration-deadlines/
ELECTION – OTHER
ATTENTION OVERSEAS VOTERS:“If you voted in the 2020 General Election, Democrats Abroad would like to hear from you about your voting experience. Please participate in this quick survey as it will help us understand voting issues and trends we need to work on for you.” We can fill out the survey here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfi24-16JmPXL1nqBlX_-kAjyC7L4vV3oHTmgfOTaNSGLzzZA/viewform
TAKE OR ANALYZE PHOTOS OF PRECINCT RESULTS TO PROTECT THE VOTE: With so much at stake in the next election, many of our votes need protection from hacking and interference with voting equipment. If we are looking for ways to help defend election integrity, we can check out the Protect Our Votes (POV) https://www.protectourvotes.com/ Photo Finish project, which will publish and compare election night precinct tallies with the final results. At the end of election days, precincts print their results on poll tapes and post them on doors or windows for all to see. To help preserve the integrity of these results, we can take their photos, then post them on POV website. If we don’t take photos, we can still help by comparing these pictures with the final counts. POV will publish this info and any significant differences on their Photo Finish Results page. This kind of transparency will help shine a bright light on possible tampering. We can sign up to photograph poll tapes or to compare them to the final results here, then share this information with our friends on social media: https://www.protectourvotes.com/photo-finish/
LEARN TO SAFELY INTERVENE WHEN VOTERS ARE HARASSED AT THE POLLS: As Trump stirs up his followers to intimidate voters on Election Day, there is something we can do to help make sure that people can vote safely. Hollaback has resources to help us intervene safely and effectively when we witness harassment at the polls. We can check out their materials and then, if we choose, signup for their free online Bystander Intervention Training Workshop, to show us how to safely intervene when we see voter harassment at the polls. We’ll learn about voter rights, the 5 C’s of bystander intervention: distract, delegate, document, delay, and direct, and staying safe while intervening. After that, we will get time to practice. If we cannot attend the workshop, we can learn more about these strategies. We can learn more, find additional resources for voter protection, and sign up here: https://www.ihollaback.org/bystander-intervention-to-stop-voter-harassment-at-the-polls
FL: PROBLEM BALLOTS: Florida is voting by mail for the first time due to COVID. It is being reported that Miami Dade County may have up to 23% of early ballots being REJECTED for missing signatures! Other counties are experiencing similar problems. Let’s click here to check on our ballot and fix it if was rejected: http://miamidadedems.org/cure
NY: NYC VOTER SUPPRESSION?: The NY Times has published the latest appalling account of nepotism, patronage, and incompetence at the NYC Board of Elections, a last vestige of the City’s machine politics: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/26/nyregion/nyc-voting-election-board.html In 2018, the Board “mistakenly” purged hundred of thousands of Brooklyn voters; in September, we saw the Board send out 100,000 unusable, inaccurate ballots, printed by an upstate graphics firm with a no-bid contract—and apparently, a no-oversight one as well: https://www.npr.org/2020/09/29/918382378/nyc-to-send-new-ballots-to-nearly-100-000-voters-after-printing-error The Daily News points out that the “Board of Elections is fighting nepotism with a memo,” which the Board apparently sees as a sufficient response: https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/city-board-elections-fights-nepotism-note-workers-article-1.1974768?barcprox=true&cid=bitly Those of us who live in NYC need to tell our City Councilors that we have had it with an inefficient and corrupt Board of Elections: https://council.nyc.gov/districts/
U.S. sees highest number of new COVID-19 cases in past two days – https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-idUSKBN27A0JK
Don’t even think about intimidating voters. State laws and penalties – https://thedemlabs.org/2020/10/26/dont-even-think-about-intimidating-voters-laws-and-penalties-by-state/
Fairytale – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QGat1WxC14
The Love – Black Eyed Peas and Jennifer Hudson – https://youtu.be/Jk7LPpY8pXM
We can stay up to date on Congress by checking out their schedules. a) The Housepublishes a weekly schedule at The Weekly Leader (published and dated Friday) as well as daily schedules at The Daily Leader. b) The Senate updates their schedule daily at the Senate Floor Schedule
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