Rights and responsibilities

12 mins read

Projected Victory in Ohio: Issue 1 Defeated!

The votes are still rolling in, but it is looking like Ohio voters resoundingly defeated the anti-democratic Issue 1. Issue 1 was an attempt by Ohio Republicans to prevent Ohio voters from amending their constitution this November to protect abortion rights. Thank you to all of you who phone-banked and postcarded to get the vote out!

Take this moment to celebrate and to breathe. We’ll likely be doing another round of GOTV in a couple months when early voting on the abortion issue itself starts this October.

United States of America v. Donald J. Trump, August 1, 2023

On August 1, 2023, Special Counsel Jack Smith unsealed his second indictment of Donald J. Trump, charging him with three criminal conspiracies exposed last year by the House Special Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack.  

Mr. Smith’s announcement included these sentences: “The attack on our nation’s capital on January 6, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy. As described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies. Lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government, the nation’s process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election.”  Republicans immediately took these sentences out of context to accuse Mr. Smith of “persecution of free speech” and they have been running with that line of attack ever since.

The indictment itself makes it quite clear that he is not being indicted for his speech, nor for legally challenging the election outcome, but for starting an insurrection, among other unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting election results. The indictment affirms Trump’s right to lie freely (in its third paragraph) and to contest the results (if you recall, the Trump team lost over sixty court challenges by December 15, 2020).

The indictment describes three criminal conspiracies perpetrated by the Defendant: 
1. A conspiracy to defraud the United States by using dishonesty, fraud, and deceit to impair, obstruct, and defeat the lawful federal government function by which the results of the presidential election are collected, counted, and certified by the federal government, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371;
2. A conspiracy to corruptly obstruct and impede the January 6 congressional proceeding at which the collected results of the presidential election are counted and certified (“the certification proceeding”), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(k); and
3. A conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 241.

We’ve prepared an Explainer for readers who want to follow Trump’s prosecution for his attempted coup d’etat at the end of his presidency. Per the Guardian reporter Hugo Lowell: The Magistrate judge has set Monday, August 28, 2023 as the first hearing date for Trump before US district court judge Tanya Chutkan.

Protect free speech online—Stop KOSA

We’ve enjoyed decades of online life with strong protections for freedom of speech. It’s a complicated subject of rights and responsibilities, just as life—online and off—is complicated. But while the current state of things is not perfect and there may still be room for improvement, it’s a pretty good balance on the whole.

A bill introduced in the previous Congress and reintroduced in this year threatens to upset that balance. As is so often the case, the proposal is ostensibly “for the children;” the new bill is called the Kids Online Safety Act. It would force messaging services like iMessage, Signal, and WhatsApp, along with social media services like Twitter, Facebook, and Mastodon, to gatekeep who can participate in online life and to monitor what we say.

This is a dangerous, poorly-thought-out bill with a dangerously high number of bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate. We must stop this bill from becoming law.

Contact your Senators and tell them: Stop KOSA!

Let your voice be heard on expanding driverless cars in the City

Last month, we told you about a matter that was before the California Public Utilities Commission regarding a proposed expansion of driverless vehicles across the City—Cruise going citywide, and Waymo rolling out its own fully-driverless cars for the first time.

That got some pushback, and the CPUC at the last minute punted it to the August meeting, which is tomorrow.

Join the public CPUC Voting meeting here tomorrow, August 10, at 11 AM. You can attend in person at 505 Van Ness or call in with your public comment.

Tell the CPUC: We don’t need more driverless cars causing trouble on our streets!

Keep fresh affordable food accessible in the Tenderloin: Oppose moving the Civic Center farmer’s market

The Heart of the City Farmers Market in Civic Center is in jeopardy. Rec and Park is directing the farmers market to move locations (a smaller parking lot nearby) to make way for a skate park at UN Plaza. The move puts the whole market at risk of collapse due to the smaller space of the relocation. As there is no grocery store in the Tenderloin, residents depend on this market for fresh affordable foods. The move also comes at a time when people are really feeling the cuts of pandemic EBT.

To further put this issue into perspective: 20,672 customers used their CalFresh at the market in the last 12 months. During that same period, the market’s Market Match program distributed $2,037,232 in free produce. It is essential that the market stay—any possibility of losing the market is just too great of a risk. Please help get the word out.

Contact San Francisco Recreation and Parks and the mayor’s office to voice your concern about the move.

Economic Storm Warning: Government Shutdown 2023

By now we’re familiar with the script. MAGA extremists in Congress refuse to pass appropriation bills unless they’re allowed to inject racist, misogynist, bigoted, and anti-democratic “poison pill” provisions that they could never enact through the normal legislative process. From October through January, lack of appropriations create a running series of government shutdown crises that are staved off by temporary Continuing Resolutions (CRs) into which the MAGA fanatics try to jam their cruel and vicious provisions.

This year, Republicans are already threatening shutdowns to force further restrictions on women’s human-rights to control their own bodies, to further enrich the fossil fuel industry by gutting environmental regulation and canceling measures to reduce global warming, to inflict further pain and suffering on those at the bottom of the economic pyramid by slashing SNAP and other safety net programs, to demonize and persecute nonwhite immigrants, to cripple Justice Department enforcement of civil and voting rights, and so much more.

At the moment it looks likely that the CR-omnibus strategy may again be able to prevent a shutdown this year. But, thanks to the influence of the MAGA extremists pulling House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s strings,  the chances of that approach failing are much greater now than in recent years, and it’s possible that a long shutdown might occur. 

Starting this Fall, we in Indivisible will be mobilizing to demand that our Representatives and Senators hold fast in defending democracy and resisting MAGA poison pills.

Read more on our blog.

If you’re interested in participating in activities like drafting letters to our Members of Congress and developing our strategy for influencing them, the Indivisible SF Federal Working Group is where it happens.

Indivisible SF Federal Working Group: Thursday, September 14, 7:30–9 PM. Planning meeting where we discuss strategy to influence our Members of Congress and the Biden administration to enact a progressive agenda. Meeting starts promptly at 7:30 PM. All are welcome. Register here!

TODAY: Affordable Housing: A Right or a Privilege? Panel with State Senator Scott Wiener: Wednesday, August 9, 6–7:30 PM at Southeast Community Center (1550 Evans Ave). Join the discussion on Mayor Breed’s “Housing for All” initiative. $10 donation for tickets is requested. Get tickets here.

CPUC Voting Meeting: Thursday, August 10, 11 AM: Cruise and Waymo are asking the CPUC to consider allowing them to expand their driverless car operations within the City. Cruise wants to operate cars with no driver at all hours, and Waymo wants to begin sending out cars with no driver. You’ll have an opportunity to give public comment at the meeting. Meeting details here.

Indivisible South Bay LA welcomes Rep. Ruben Gallego in Conversation with Rep. Ted Lieu: Wednesday, August 16, 7:30–9 PM. Join ISBLA for a lively conversation between Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-36) and the five-term progressive congressman seeking the Democratic Senate nomination to replace Kyrsten Sinema. RSVP here.

SFPUC Power Webinar: Keeping the Lights On, Thursday, August 24, 10–11 AM. Intense summer heatwaves are can cause spikes in energy use that can put stress on the electricity grid. In this one-hour webinar, you will learn what is being done to improve overall grid resilience and reliability in the face of climate change. RSVP here.

About this week’s photo

Today’s graphic is a screen grab of a video tweeted by Natalie Fahmy, Ohio Statehouse Bureau correspondent for NBC4 (Columbus), showing a line of voters waiting to cast their ballots on Issue 1 in Franklin County, Ohio.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Since the January 2017, more than 4,000 San Franciscans have united as Indivisible SF to march in the Women's Marches, protest the Muslim Ban, meet regularly with our Members of Congress, and make thousands of phone calls to their offices to pressure them to do everything in their power to counter the policies and politics of Trumpism. There is much work in progress and many actions to come.

Members of Indivisible SF are defined by our action and find solidarity in our shared opposition to Trump and Trumpism. Each of us explicitly reserves our individual stances on specific issues for other forums as we believe resisting Trump is more important than any single issue. We adhere to a Code of Conduct that welcomes and respects everybody.

Members of Indivisible SF come from all kinds of backgrounds and political persuasions. Some of us are first-time activists and others have been at this for decades. We are citizens and non-citizens. Most importantly, we are all patriots that want the best for our country and are willing to work for it.

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