Phyllis Ball

2 state seats, and other good news

We want to launch you into the weekend with some good news. On Tues, Dems flipped not one but two state seats in special elections, both in deep red territory. In NY, the Democrat beat 58-42 in a district Trump won 60-37 in Nov. That swing is both astounding and encouraging. In New Hampshire, the Dem won 52-48, despite Trump’s 51-44 victory last fall. While these are the first two seats to actually change hands since Trump’s election, Dems have consistently outperformed the 2016 presidential results in special elections across the country.

In more good news, this week the Supreme Court struck down North Carolina’s racial gerrymandering. They ruled that NC used race to draw two districts to advantage Republicans, and the two districts must now be redrawn before the 2018 election. In a state where 47% of the electorate voted for a Democratic Congressperson, but only 23% are represented by one, this is great news for our movement.

And yet another Federal appeals court ruled against Trump’s travel ban.

Finally, we don’t want to neglect scandal news! This week two more U.S. Intelligence agency directors stepped forward to say Trump also asked them to deny evidence of collusion.

In other big news items this week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its score on the House healthcare bill. This is the bill House Republicans passed before even bothering to look at the impact. The CBO analysis is just as bad as their report on the earlier version of the bill. The lowlights:

  • It would leave 14M more people uninsured next year and 23M more in 10 years.
  • In states that choose to opt out of current mandates, insurance costs could soar for those who are sick or have pre-existing conditions, while premiums would fall for the healthy.
  • Net premiums (after tax credits) would be much higher for older folks with limited income. A typical 64- yr-old who makes $26,500 would pay $16,000/yr, compared with $1,700 today. Almost a 10-fold increase!
  • At the same time, the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation said that the House bill would cut taxes for high-income people by $230B over 10 years.

Senators Harris and Feinstein have both been very vocal about this immoral bill.

And speaking of immoral, Trump also released his first full budget proposal. (more info: 1, 2, 3, 4) While it seems generally accepted that the math is phony, the priorities are clear:

  • Over 10 years: Cuts Medicaid by $800 billion on top of TrumpCare’s $800B in Medicaid cuts. Cuts $72B from Social Security Disability Insurance, which covers over 10M people, and cuts $464B from food stamps and other core programs for working families.
  • Eliminates loan programs that subsidize college for the poor
  • Eliminates any federal health funding for entities that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood
  • Cuts $3.1B (18%) from energy research programs developing technologies like better batteries for electric vehicles or carbon capture for coal and gas plants to reduce emissions and combat global warming.
  • Calls for $1.6B to begin work on a wall on the border with Mexico (full cost estimated to be $22B-70B)

One big consolation is that Trump does not set the budget, Congress does. Trump’s budget is just a proposal. The House and Senate are each working on their own budget resolutions, which will likely be considered by the House in June, and later this summer by the Senate.

One final note: we had a fun and lively time at our social event tonight! Keep your eyes peeled for the next social event, we’d love to have you come!

Stand Up SF Actions through this weekend

Call all 3 Members of Congress about budget priorities (script)

Support Sen Feinstein’s request to sign these petitions:
#1 urges the Senate to vote no on Trumpcare
#2 demands that women should be part of the group of 13 Senators (all men) revising the healthcare bill

LOCAL ACTION for the environment: Call Sen. Scott Wiener and ask him to support AB 705: Script: “Hi, I live in California and I am a constituent. I’m calling to ask Senator Wiener to support Senate Bill 705, to phase out Styrofoam from food packaging in restaurants.”

Laura Shapiro

Our movement is growing

I am writing to you still coasting from the high of our meeting this afternoon. What a great feeling to see so many new faces, hear so many thoughtful voices, and learn about what’s getting and keeping you all motivated for this fight.

Indivisible now counts almost 6,000 active groups nationwide, and that’s not even counting all the chapters of Sister District, ACLU’s People Power, and the dozens of other organizations that have sprung up since November. I heard loud and clear from our members, as well as representatives of other local groups who joined us today, that it’s time to start building coalitions, to unify and strengthen our movement.

You spoke with common sense and passion about the need for Stand Up San Francisco to continue focusing on what it does best — direct interactions with our Members of Congress to resist the Trump administration’s reprehensible legislation and nominees — while partnering with other organizations who are focusing on strategies for the 2018 midterm elections. We also heard a lot of good ideas about what it might look like to expand the definition of our actions with MoCs, to attempt to influence the Democratic Party’s platform and more. You’ve given us a lot to think about, and we’ll keep you posted as our plans develop.

We are so grateful to Action Leaders Sarah and Patrick for reporting on recent actions that they have led at Senator Feinstein’s and Congresswoman Pelosi’s offices. If you missed today’s meeting, you can check out their action reports in the MoC Office Action Reports folder of our Public Library. As a reminder, talking points we bring to those actions, as well as the action report summaries and our MoC tracker documents, can all be found in the Public Library.

We also heard from Mary Beth, one of our intrepid Policy Writers, about the experience she brings to the team who research and write the talking points for our actions. Sarah, Patrick, and Mary Beth are just a few of the terrific volunteers who make it possible for our group to do what we do. But we’re looking for more! We especially need help with recruitment, so if you have a few minutes this week, download our flyers and either print and post them around your neighborhood, distribute them at events, or post them on social media. Word of mouth really helps bring in new folks, as you saw today!

I was glad to remind everyone of the ground rules for our meetings, but one thing I didn’t mention was that Phyllis recently completed the Stand Up San Francisco Code of Conduct, which outlines the standards of behavior we expect our members to follow. Please familiarize yourself with it, and let anyone in leadership know if you have any questions.

This week’s Stand Up SF actions

  • Save Our Democracy: A special counsel was an important step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. We need an independent commission. Call Congresswoman Pelosi and thank her for demanding one. Then call Senator Feinstein and tell her we need an independent commission, and we need it now. (background)
  • #HandsOff: Trump’s disaster-of-a-budget proposal should arrive Tuesday. While it won’t become law, it will kick off the budget negotiations. Don’t let Republicans cut vital programs for poor and working class Americans to pay for Trump’s wall. Tell all three MoCs #HandsOff programs for the elderly, school lunches for kids, food stamps, etc. If you are enraged by bloated military spending, this is your chance to call for cutting that, too. (details)
  • DEADLINE TOMORROW, MAY 22: SB 562, the Healthy California Act, is a single-payer health plan that would cover all Californians. It will be voted on by the Appropriations Committee on May 22. Please call Scott Wiener and let him know you support SB 562 and single-payer for California, or send a letter of support! (call script and letter template)
  • Act Locally: CA Senator Scott Wiener is holding open office hours on Saturday, June 3! If you’re interested in local action on behalf of Stand Up SF, contact Paul to discuss talking points. RSVP to Jeff Sparks to book time with Senator Wiener.
  • Extra credit: Trump is trying to deport 50,000 Haitian immigrants. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has until May 23 to decide whether or not to extend Haitians’ temporary protected status (TPS). If he terminates this protection, tens of thousands of Haitians who have lived, worked, and gone to school in the United States for over a decade will be deported. Contact Secretary Kelly and tell him to extend TPS for Haitians now.

Actions with other groups

  • Tue 5/23: Join MoveOn and local groups for a “die-in” to save the ACA at Senator Feinstein’s office. Learn more and register here.
  • Tue 5/23: Noe Valley Democratic Club is hosting a panel about local resistance groups, including ours! Paul will be appearing along with members of Action SF and others. 6pm, Noe Valley Ministry
  • Wed 5/24: ACLU hosts a Tele-Town Hall with key staff members to answer questions about their work on viting rights, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, immigrants’ rights, and more. RSVP now.
Phyllis Ball

A tsunami of scandal news

Hey, how about that tidal wave of scandal news this week? Here is a quick round-up:

  • Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russians. (WaPo) (To make matters worse, this is the meeting where he barred the US press but not Russia’s)
  • In June House leadership discussed how Putin was financing Trump, swore each other to secrecy while at the same time showing outrage about Hillary’s emails. (WaPo)
  • Trump team knew about the investigation of Mr. Flynn far earlier than was previously reported, before he came to the White House. (NYT)
  • Flynn vetoed a U.S. military operation against ISIS that Turkey opposed, while working as an unregistered agent for Turkey. (McClatchy)
  • The Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians. (Reuters)

The good news is that a special counsel has been appointed to run the FBI’s Russia investigation, as we demanded after last week’s set of Trump scandals.

We cannot say this better than Senator Kamala Harris:

The special counsel, Robert Mueller, is independent in that he can choose whether or not to consult with or inform the Justice Dept about his investigation. And he is empowered to press criminal charges. His order is to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,” as well as other matters that “may arise directly from the investigation.”

On the choice of Mueller for the position, the New York times said:

While this is good news, we still also need an independent commission made up of citizens who do the investigating, not government employees who are subject to a chain of command under Trump. This is especially important since it is Trump and Sessions who will pick the new FBI director. The independent commission proposed by HR 356 would have 12 members, citizens with national recognition from relevant fields, selected by the top leaders of each party in both chambers. The commission would choose a chair and vice chair representing each party. Unfortunately we need GOP votes for this bill to pass.

We hope you will be joining us at our meeting on Sunday! Our Action Leaders will tell us what went on in their Member of Congress meetings this past month. We’ll discuss topics important to the future of Stand Up SF, like how to get involved (or not!) in 2018 mid-term elections and State legislation. And much more!

Stand Up SF Actions through this weekend
Support Sen Harris and sign her petition to Denounce Trump for sharing classified information with Russia.

Trump has nominated climate denier and oil industry shill David Bernhardt to be Number 2 at the Department of the Interior. Call and ask Sen Feinstein to vote NO (script).

Despite the fact that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigation into the Russian government’s interference in our 2016 election, he recommended that Director Comey be fired, and is now involved in selecting Comey’s replacement. Call and ask Senator Feinstein to publicly demand that AG Sessions resign.