Missouri should be treated as a war zone.

“Missouri lawmakers vote against banning children from carrying guns in public.”

“We have 14-year-olds walking down the middle of the street in the city of St. Louis carrying AR-15s. What has happened to us?” -Rep. Donna Baringer (D-St. Louis)

In 2007, the Missouri legislature removed permits-to-purchase requirements and in 2016, they repealed the law requiring safety training and permits to carry a concealed weapon, while decreasing the standards for self defense. Now, as a result of a recent vote against an amendment to a public safety bill that would have banned children from participating in this wild west free-for-all, the state has no minimum age requirement for carrying a gun in public.

All this firepower hasn’t made Missouri safer. The state’s gun violence rates have risen with each new law – they now have the 5th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US and firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens.

Listen to an apologist for this situation here! No matter what he says, armed children in the street is what war zones look like.

What can stop this progression to chaos?: Deaths? So far, no. Hard costs? Hasn’t slowed them down. All this carnage costs the state $17.6 billion each year, of which $455.3 million is paid by taxpayers. Jobs and income? Maybe…Tourism provides more than 304,000 tourism-related jobs and generates nearly $18 billion in tourism-related spending. According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the state plans “to invest more than $50 million in the Show-Me State’s tourism industry, which was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Missouri tourism is a powerful economic driver, and we’re committed to ensuring local tourism organizations, entertainment venues, and other attractions have the resources they need to stay open and thrive.

Are they committed enough to tell their legislators that Missouri may not offer enough for visitors to risk encounters with armed teenagers? Maybe if their state gets on advisory and travel restriction lists, they will.

Action #1: Write to Joe

Continue reading “Missouri should be treated as a war zone.”

Celebrate this upcoming Earth Day with an end to drilling off our west coast!

Tell your legislators to pass the West Coast Ocean Protection Act!

“In 1969, a massive oil spill occurred in Santa Barbara. A U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, visited the spill site and was inspired to establish the first national Earth Day on April 22, 1970. The first Earth Day saw 20 million Americans take to the streets and parks to express support for the environment. Public support for efforts to improve the environment led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.  Read more here.

Two Democratic members of Congress from California – Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Jared Huffman – have introduced H.R.470/S.22West Coast Ocean Protection Act, legislation intended to permanently ban oil and gas drilling in federal waters off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington.

Why do we need this?In 1994, California passed the California Coastal Sanctuary Act, which prohibited new leasing for offshore oil drilling in state waters. In 2018, however, the Trump administration released a five-year offshore leasing plan that proposed opening up the entire West Coast to new drilling. That proposal was blocked by the courts, but the threat of drilling will remain, said Senator Feinstein in a statement, until a permanent ban is enacted. The West Coast Ocean Protection Act, if passed, would provide that permanent ban.

Minimal script for cosponsoring legislators: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to thank Rep./Sen. [___] for supporting the passage of [Rep. – H.R.470/ Sen. – S.22] the West Coast Ocean Protection Act. It’s been 54 years since the oil spill disaster that started Earth Day. It’s long past time to get this done.

Minimal script for NON-cosponsoring legislators: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to Rep./Sen. [___] to cosponsor and support the passage of [Rep. – H.R.470/ Sen. – S.22] – West Coast Ocean Protection Act to permanently ban oil and gas drilling off the western coast of the United States. Not only are these wells risking another environmental disaster that endangers local economies and healthy marine ecosystems, but the companies that own them are wasting millions of our taxpayer dollars, as Rep. Katie Porter called out in 2021 in the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Continue reading “Celebrate this upcoming Earth Day with an end to drilling off our west coast!”

The deficit – “How will we pay for it?” is the wrong question and a “kitchen table budget” is the wrong analogy.

House Republicans are refusing a clean debt limit increase, regardless of the consequences of the U.S. defaulting on its debt. In fact, their new rules package deliberately removed a rule that automatically increased the debt limit to pay what we already owe. They also made rules to protect their rich and corporate donors from paying their fair share in taxes.

Biden, in his State of the Union address, tricked them into backing off of Social Security and Medicare for the moment, but they will demand the sacrifice of other vital programs with their pledge to cut appropriations to 2022 levels. This equals a possible 24% cut to non-defense programs, including “a wide array of public services that the federal government provides and that people and communities depend on, including public health; food safety inspections; air traffic control operations; the administration of Medicare and Social Security; housing and other assistance for families with low incomes; education and job training; and scientific and medical research, to name just a few.”

Ignore any GOP (or Sen. Manchin’s) “kitchen table” comparisons between a nation’s deficit and that of a family’s budget, unless you know someone down the block who mints their own money. Whatever homespun euphemisms they use to hide their historical hatred of anything beyond rapacious capitalism, know that research proves that their proposed solution – austerity measures – are proven dangers to economic recovery.

Action #1: Contact your legislators!

Continue reading “The deficit – “How will we pay for it?” is the wrong question and a “kitchen table budget” is the wrong analogy.”

Tyre Nichols’ mom is praying for a “greater good.” Let’s start with systemic change – pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“The race of a police office isn’t the determining factor of whether they’re going to commit excessive use of force, but the race of the victim.” – Ben Crump.

The 2021 bill – George Floyd Justice in Policing Act – addressed a wide range of law enforcement policies and issues including:

  • Lowering the criminal intent standard—from willful to knowing or reckless—to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution, 
  • Limiting qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer,
  • Granting administrative subpoena power to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in pattern-or-practice investigations.
  • Restricting the use of no-knock warrants, chokeholds, and carotid holds.
  • Creating a National Police Misconduct Registry—to compile data on complaints and records of police misconduct
  • Creating uniform accreditation standards for law enforcement agencies and requires officers to complete training on:
    • racial profiling,
    • implicit bias
    • the duty to intervene when another officer uses excessive force.

What that bill was missing: Its scope was limited to law enforcement officers. Plenty of other government officials, such as prison guards, can and do violate the rights of citizens, including their right to continue living. A separate bill – the Ending Qualified Immunity Act was proposed to close this loophole.

Let’s put them both together this time!

Action: Tell your representative and senators we want systemic change – Re-start and improve the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Continue reading “Tyre Nichols’ mom is praying for a “greater good.” Let’s start with systemic change – pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”

The GOP’s first bill is its most important – “It’s a giant tax cut for rich tax cheats,” while adding to the deficit.

The GOP are masters at protecting the interests of their real base – the wealthy and corporations.

Call/email action – Tell your senators – Make the wealthy tax cheats pay their fair share!

Continue reading “The GOP’s first bill is its most important – “It’s a giant tax cut for rich tax cheats,” while adding to the deficit.”

The GOP clown-car-to-nowhere wants to remove the brakes.

“Today’s Republican Party is rife with ethical transgressions,” says Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist with Public Citizen. “And it is now trying to make it much harder to hold members of Congress accountable to the standards of decency we expect.”

Action: Call your legislators, and get your friends and family in red states to call theirs!

Continue reading “The GOP clown-car-to-nowhere wants to remove the brakes.”

EMERGENCY! Wall Street’s privatization of Medicare at our expense is starting now!

The GOP is threatening to hold debt ceiling legislation hostage in order to savage Social Security, Medicare and other safety-net programs. However, the destruction of Medicare is already taking place, off-stage, with corporate entities lining up at the trough with the poisonous ACO-REACH program. Tell Biden to executive order this out of existence and make sure your legislators know you are wise to this threat, or in 7 years, Medicare will be no more.

“The ACO REACH program is Medicare privatization, hidden in layers of bureaucracy. Essentially, seniors are put into this program, which allows a profit-seeking third party like a health insurer or private equity-backed firm to step in and get paid by Medicare to manage the care that they get. Taking for themselves the profit that is whatever they don’t want to spend on the patient.” – U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) 

Dr. Corinne Frugoni explains how commercial insurance companies have been chipping away at our crucial public health programs for decades and the unconscionable profits they realize from Medicare Advantage. Now, the ACO/REACH program will allow third-party middlemen, including the same private equity pirates who wreaked havoc on wheelchair, air ambulance and retail industries, to pocket up to 40% of Medicare dollars in overhead and profit that should be dedicated to patient care, with a goal of completely replacing Traditional Medicare by 2030.

Our voices can change this!

“I learned the hard way. If Wall Street firms are allowed to make decisions about your health care, their profits will always come first.” – Rick Timmins

Continue reading “EMERGENCY! Wall Street’s privatization of Medicare at our expense is starting now!”

Tell Congress to stop the real steal before the House goes red! Corporations are robbing BILLIONS from their employees and now they want a tax break too!

At Ventura County’s monthly social justice fair, volunteer employment lawyers are kept busy talking to residents about wage theft. One attorney noted that despite all the GOP handwringing over street crime and demands for more street-level policing, wage theft by employers far outstrips other common forms of thievery

America’s corporations steal $50 billion a year from their workers. The GOP, who, despite their ludicrous claims to be the “party of workers,” protects these criminals with friendly legislation: reducing the power of unions, forced arbitration, redefinition of overtime eligibility and low fines for those caught. Trump’s Supreme Court piled on by making it harder for employees to bring collective action lawsuits to redress wage theft. This combines to make wage theft standard operating procedure for America’s largest companies.

And it’s not just workers who suffer. Wage theft also robs federal and state treasuries of many billions of dollars in taxes, and puts employers who play by the rules at a serious competitive disadvantage.

Before we let our legislators go home for the year, demand that after they raise or eliminate the debt ceiling, they pass H.R.7701/S.474 – Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act so that Americans get paid a fair day’s wage for a day’s work. And instead of rewarding these grifting corporations with a tax cut (and the GOP legislators who serve them), demand that they start paying their fair share. (See original post on this here.)

Call/email action – Stop rewarding corporate thieves and price-gougers

Continue reading “Tell Congress to stop the real steal before the House goes red! Corporations are robbing BILLIONS from their employees and now they want a tax break too!”

(3) Energy actions: Local, state and federal.

Three news items we noticed within the last two days…

  1. 600,000 gallons of Canadian tar sands crude just spilled out of the Keystone pipeline into a Kansas river. This type of oil is the hardest to remediate, as the sticky gunk sinks to the bottom. (Who profits?) (CA’s oil is even dirtier!)
  2. Firmageddon‘: Researchers find 1.1 million acres of dead trees in Oregon as the climate change heats up the earth.
  3. (Politico) “Even though Big Oil CEOs admitted to my Committee that their products are causing a climate emergency, today’s documents reveal that the industry has no real plans to clean up its act and is barreling ahead with plans to pump more dirty fuels for decades to come,” Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

Action #1: LOCAL – #DeclineToSign! Watch out for paid signature-gatherers trying to reverse SB 1137 – humane setbacks from oil wells. (Deadline Dec. 15)

This video posted below is from 2017. SB1137, just signed by Gov. Newsom, would create a 3200 foot margin between people and oil production…unless it’s stopped by the oil industry’s multi-million dollar referendum, now in the signature-gathering stage!

Continue reading “(3) Energy actions: Local, state and federal.”

Legislators! Raise or eliminate the debt ceiling, then put up guardrails to protect our democracy!

Tell Democratic legislators to stay in session for the rest of the year so we can minimize the harm Republicans are planning to do after regaining power in the House. The FIRST thing Democrats must do before they lose their House majority is raise or eliminate the debt ceiling to protect our social safety net programs. Make sure your legislators hear you by calling daily!

Then they must pass bills to secure the democratic processes that we took for granted before Trump’s administration. This includes a bill to prevent Trump, or a similar GOP tyrant, from replacing a merit-based professional civil service with a “spoils” system started under Andrew Jackson that American history refers to as a”vast public evil.” His executive order lays in waiting, dormant, unless we take action now. The Electoral Count Reform Act would prevent electoral vote fiddling by clarifying the vice-president’s role along with a number of other ambiguous or chaotic rules.

Action #1: Call/email your senators.

Minimal script to your senators: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Sen. [___] to stay in DC and spend every minute of available time working to RAISE or ELIMINATE THE DEBT CEILING NOW through budget reconciliation. Then, I want [him/her/them] to push through bills to protect the democratic processes that we took for granted before Trump’s administration, including S.4573Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act Act and S.4702 Preventing a Patronage System (PPSA) Act of 2022

(PPSA Act prevents another would-be dictator from firing civil servants who stand in the way of corruption. It passed in the HOUSE. (H.R.302) Read more about it here.)

Continue reading “Legislators! Raise or eliminate the debt ceiling, then put up guardrails to protect our democracy!”