Act of Resistance 6-6-2018

Today my letters to my representatives were virtually the same as last week other than I added in a part about how appalling it is the number of people who died in Puerto Rico after the Hurricane Maria. America failed to take care of her citizens and we should be ashamed.

For scripts and information go to I Called My Reps. Another site to keep up on what’s going on is What the Fuck Just Happened Today.

Now to get back to writing a super feminist book that Trumpers would just hate! See you next week!

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Act of Resistance 5-30-2018

I’ve decided to change the headings to my blog posts to Act Of Resistance instead of Letters to My Representatives. Though most of the time these posts will in fact be letters to my reps, they aren’t the only acts of resistance I participate in, so I decided a heading change was in order.

This week’s post will encompass the last three weeks, as I didn’t post the last two.

On May 16th I wrote Postcards to Voters. This time it was for Jesse Salinas, running for Yolo County Clerk-Recorder/Assessor in California. Please consider visiting their site and getting involved. It’s an easy way to help increase voter participation. Here’s my tweet thread on how it works.

Postcards to voters

Last week I sadly didn’t do anything specific besides sharing information on Twitter and Facebook. It’s not enough, but some weeks that’s all you have to give and we need to allow ourselves a break now and then.

But we also need to understand that even small acts of resistance are needed right now. People tweeting about Roseanne Barr’s comments about Valerie Jarret forced Disney and ABC to cancel her show. Maybe they would have done it anyway, but I doubt it. If everyone had just ignored the racist and disgusting comments Barr made, ABC would have ignored them too. It’s not like they didn’t know who Barr was from the beginning. They hired her to do a reboot of the show even knowing pictures like this were out there:

Barr

This week I wrote to my representatives and the letters will be below. As always, the scripts came from I Called My Reps and you can find more info and scripts on their website. If you are so inclined, I know they are just a couple of people keeping that site up and it’s a lot of work, so visit their Ko-Fi and show them a little monetary support so they can keep this up!

Dear Senator Stabenow,

I ask that you vote against the Ronald Mortensen nomination to the State Department. Mortensen has been nominated to a position he knows very little about – he has little to no knowledge of refugees. Additionally, his demonstrated record of being anti-illegal immigrant, could very well influence how he chooses to tackle refugee related-subjects.

I ask that you condemn Secretary Nielsen’s comments about separating families at the border, during her 05/16 testimony in front of Senate Homeland Security. I also demand that you vehemently oppose the Trump Administration’s decision to expand on the existing policy to separate families at the border. I am also concerned and would like an open investigation into ICE’s practices of abusing young kids and teens in their care. This has been going on for several years, and Congress needs to stop overlooking their practices.

I ask that you condemn the Trump Administration’s decision to pull out of the Iran Nuclear deal based on false pretenses.  According to the IAEA and the Trump Administration’s own intelligence officials, there is no evidence of a nuclear program in Iran since 2009. They are in compliance with the terms of the 2015 deal, and Trump has been unable to clarify what he means by saying Iran is in violation of the “spirit” of the deal. This decision was a dangerous, carelessly thought-out decision by the Trump Administration made on false pretenses. It will absolutely create further chaos in the Middle East, and I expect you to condemn the decision AND any further military action that may occur in the area.

I ask that you demand Scott Pruitt’s resignation. The scandals that keep coming out of the EPA are absolutely unacceptable. Not only is he repeatedly committing ethics violations, he clearly doesn’t spend enough time doing his job, verses defending his job. Of course he’s not very effective at doing his job either.

I demand that you take action on the gun control legislation stalled in the Senate, including Feinstein’s Act 21 changing the purchase age for assault weapons, and Senator Murphy’s S. 2009 /background check expansion act. The continued epidemic of mass shootings is a clear indication that action needs to be taken now! I also ask that you publicly declare that you will not support Concealed Carry Reciprocity as it is rumored that the Senate plans to take up this legislation this summer.

I object strongly to Trump’s aims to target abortion education.

Please support the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act to protect Robert Mueller, as introduced by Senators Tillis, Boons, Booker, and Graham. I fear Trump will attempt to end the investigation. The investigation has support from not only Democrats, but also prominent members of the GOP and we need to ensure that Mueller is allowed to do his work.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

 

Dear Representative Moolenaar,

I ask that you condemn Secretary Nielsen’s comments about separating families at the border, during her 05/16 testimony in front of Senate Homeland Security. I also demand that you vehemently oppose the Trump Administration’s decision to expand on the existing policy to separate families at the border. I am also concerned and would like an open investigation into ICE’s practices of abusing young kids and teens in their care. This has been going on for several years, and Congress needs to stop overlooking their practices.

I ask that you condemn the Trump Administration’s decision to pull out of the Iran Nuclear deal based on false pretenses.  According to the IAEA and the Trump Administration’s own intelligence officials, there is no evidence of a nuclear program in Iran since 2009. They are in compliance with the terms of the 2015 deal, and Trump has been unable to clarify what he means by saying Iran is in violation of the “spirit” of the deal. This decision was a dangerous, carelessly thought-out decision by the Trump Administration made on false pretenses. It will absolutely create further chaos in the Middle East, and I expect you to condemn the decision AND any further military action that may occur in the area.

I ask that you demand Scott Pruitt’s resignation. The scandals that keep coming out of the EPA are absolutely unacceptable. Not only is he repeatedly committing ethics violations, he clearly doesn’t spend enough time doing his job, verses defending his job. Of course he’s not very effective at doing his job either.

I demand that you take action on the gun control legislation stalled in the Senate, including Feinstein’s Act 21 changing the purchase age for assault weapons, and Senator Murphy’s S. 2009 /background check expansion act. The continued epidemic of mass shootings is a clear indication that action needs to be taken now! I also ask that you publicly declare that you will not support Concealed Carry Reciprocity as it is rumored that the Senate plans to take up this legislation this summer.

I object strongly to Trump’s aims to target abortion education.

Please support the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act to protect Robert Mueller, as introduced by Senators Tillis, Boons, Booker, and Graham. I fear Trump will attempt to end the investigation. The investigation has support from not only Democrats, but also prominent members of the GOP and we need to ensure that Mueller is allowed to do his work.

I want you to support Senator Markey’s Net Neutrality petition, and to also encourage House leadership to take up and support the petition. 60-80% of Americans do not support the roll back of Net Neutrality regulations, and I am one of those constituents. I expect you to take a stand for the rights of their constituents.

Please support the DACA discharge petition. An overwhelming number of Americans support a permanent solution for DACA recipients, with 9 in 10 Americans polled in January 2018 in favor of legal protections for said recipients. Now is the time to act and I support the discharge petition. I expect you to do the same.

I hope you and the House are working on the much needed Farm Bill, but be assured if it contains anything regarding work requirements for SNAP or increased production on forest lands I will not support it.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

Letter to My School Superintendent Concerning School Walkouts

As many of you are aware there are several events in the near future planned to address the epidemic of gun violence that is devastating our schools. Here is the letter I wrote to my school superintendent concerning these events. Let’s hope I get a positive response.

I encourage all of you to address these issues with your own schools, but if you attend Midland Public Schools, I’ll make it easy for you. Here is the email address of the superintendent:

sharrowme@midlandps.org (Michael E. Sharrow)

And here are two more email addresses of the associate superintendents:

brutynbr@midlandps.org (Brian R. Brutyn)

cooperrg@midlandps.org (Robert G. Cooper)

 

Dear Mr. Sharrow,

As I am sure you are aware there are various nationwide events planned to draw attention to the epidemic of gun violence and our schools. On March 14th the Women’s March is sponsoring a school walkout, on March 24th the kids of MSD are sponsoring March for Our Lives (nationwide marches), and on April 20th a student from Connecticut is organizing another school walkout on the anniversary of the Columbine shooting. I would like to know what the school plans to do to facilitate the students in their right to participate in these walkouts. I know that high school, and even middle school kids, are quite capable of participating with or without the approval of the school, and I think after the students at MSD have proven, we will never underestimate our teenagers again. But I would like to be clear that I support theses students without repercussions to their decision and will be greatly displeased if any are perpetrated against them.

I also would like to ask if the school has given any thought in how the elementary age students could participate, or better yet, their parents. I have elementary age kids at Woodcrest and if the school devises a way to allow them to participate I will gladly help in that endeavor, but I do have hesitation about using our children to make a point when some may be too young to understand. I know my 4th grader would understand the concepts, but I have twin kindergarteners and I worry about how a protest of this nature (walking out during class silently) might affect them, though I would find a way to explain it to them if the walkout is possible. As an alternative I think allowing parents to gather outside the school at the time of the walkouts in solidarity for concerns of what needs to be done to prevent further tragedies would be a great way to still participate in this needed movement while not involving children too young. Having said that, I still think it might be a good idea to give the older kids an opportunity to participate if they so choose. If this issue is handled properly ahead of time, parents will have the opportunity to discuss the issues with their children so they can decide if they wish to participate.

In closing, I would like to say, if our children must participate in lockdown or active shooter drills to potentially save their lives one day, I think they should be able to participate in events that draw attention to the very problem that causes those drills.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

Letters to My Representatives 7-13-2017

So it’s been FOUR weeks since my last letter! I’m a little angry at myself (and disappointed), but between Sandler’s graduation party and moving, there just wasn’t time. Even now I’m sitting in the new house surrounded by boxes and eking out the time to write a few letters. So, before I go work on the new book, here’s my last letter to Representative Paul Mitchell:

Dear Representative Mitchell,

I’m sorry it’s been almost four weeks since my last letter. I’m sure you missed them. But due to my son graduating high school and a big move, I was unable to set aside the time to write to you. The good news for you, is that this will be my last letter to you. I am now living in the 4th District and will be represented by John Moolenaar. But I had a few last parting words.

I just want to remind you that I will make every effort to remind 10th District Constituents that you voted for the AHCA and what that will mean for their healthcare come the 2018 election. That’s of course not the only issue I will keep fresh in their minds as they contemplate who to vote for in 2018, but it is probably the biggest. And though I don’t know who your opponent will be, I’ll be sure to campaign for them as well. I realize that the GOP has a strong hold on the 10th District, and I don’t expect to break it, but I will do my part to make it more difficult for you or any other Republican to hold office. There was a time I thought that to be Republican was just a slightly different view on spending money, but now I know it is a drastically different view on who deserves to live and who doesn’t. So I’m just going to make sure your constituents know that.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Austin

Here is my first letter to Representative John Moolenaar, Republican from the 4th District:

Dear Representative Moolenaar,

Hello. I am a new constituent. Until recently, Representative Paul Mitchell has had the pleasure of receiving my weekly emails. Now it’s your turn.

First, I’d like to talk about Net Neutrality. I am concerned about Chairman Pai’s recent announcement regarding his intention to change pre-existing net neutrality rules. I am asking for you to take a stand against this change.

Net neutrality helps ensure that there is an even playing ground for all consumers. Without net neutrality, telecom and cable companies could very well influence internet searches, news and how we access the internet as a whole. This would influence the ability for individuals to create and communicate openly and freely on the internet. Without net neutrality, telecom and cable companies could also negatively influence services, to their advantage.

Moreover, this uneven playing field would also disadvantage entrepreneurs. Small businesses wouldn’t necessarily have the financial clout of larger companies, to pay into this uneven playing field.

Please do whatever you can to help keep current rules in place.

I would also like to encourage you to use whatever resources you have available to investigate (or call for the investigation) into Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Trump’s denial of the meeting and then lies about the purpose of the meeting (countered by the email from Rod Goldstein) indicate collusion. This is something that must be taken seriously and investigated. Please push for the truth.

I would like to protest the Pentagon’s decision to delay the lifting of the ban for transgender individuals to enlist. Mattis’s decision harms the progress that we’ve made in the military and we shouldn’t go back. Please call on the Pentagon to lift the six month delay and lift the ban now.

I would also like to express my deepest concern over the White House’s decision to continuously block reporters from recording or broadcasting the daily White House press briefing. Denying the American public the right to hear what is being discussed by our government is anti-transparency and not what a democratic government is supposed to do. Please speak out on this practice and challenge the White House on this stance.

I would like to express my concern over Interior Secretary Zink’s recommendation for the Bear’s Ear monument in Utah to be scaled back and for Congress to step in management for some sections. The monument is considered sacred by many Nations (Native American Nations, if you were unsure about my use of the word Nations) and is also home to over 100,000 cultural and archaeological sites. Co-management or separating the sites (as proposed by Zink) simply will not work. Please speak out against any attempts to scale back Bear’s Ear, or any of the other 26 monuments.

Lastly, I want to express my support for a continued investigation, including a specialized commission, to investigate Donald Trump and all of his associates and their ties with Russia. The American people deserve to know if, how, when Trump and/or his associates colluded with Russian officials to win the 2016 election. A special prosecutor is a great start, but I want to see a full independent commission working on this.

Thank you for your time. You can definitely look forward to hearing from me next week, and since I missed a few weeks due to our move, I may just email you every day for awhile.

Oh, and I almost forgot! As I have told Representative Paul Mitchell repeatedly, I want to let you know that I will be sure to remind your constituents during the 2018 election that you voted for the AHCA and what that means for their healthcare. I wouldn’t want them to forget how you sold them out for petty vengeance against “Obama’s legacy” and towing the party line. Or that the Republicans have had 8-odd years to fix the problems with the ACA but would rather fritter people’s lives away rather than do something that’s good for the country if it means giving any credit to a Democrat.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Austin

As always, many of my words come from scripts written on It’s Time to Fight site. Please feel free to use my letter and/or visit It’s Time to Fight for more information. Good luck and keep Resisting!!

Letters to My Representatives 6-16-2017

I almost didn’t get my letter in this week. Between our upcoming move and a graduation party in 7 days, I’ve been scrambling for time. So I called my Senators on Tuesday (and I’ll call again in a few minutes) to ask them to vote NO on the AHCA, to demand public disclosure and hearings on the bill, and to fight against it with all they have. Here are some scripts from ItsTimetoFight.com to help you in your own calls:

I know it seems pointless to call, but really, it’s a few minutes out of your day. And here are some good reasons to call:

  • Democratic Senators use the call/email volumes to better argue against the bill; if we call, they can report those numbers to their GOP colleagues to help convince them to vote NO
  • Republican Senators who will vote YES still need to hear that we are displeased. They need to know they may be facing election loss if they do this.
  • Republican Senators who are undecided or on the fence NEED to know how their constituents feel about this issue. The more calls, the more likely we can sway them to vote NO.

Here is the letter I wrote to Representative Mitchell today. It doesn’t highlight any particular issues, but rather my crumbling view of the GOP. Will it do any good? Maybe not, but it is cathartic for me, so I guess there’s the good.

Dear Representative Mitchell,

I was prepared today to send you my usual weekly letter listing all the issues that concern me and how I want you to vote, respond or proceed on them, which you would then ignore and continue with your own party-line agenda. But I decided to go another route today and explain a few things to you.

First, I’d like to say that I have voted for Republicans before. I tend to lean left, but have generally remained centered, giving due consideration to both a conservative and liberal view point. I have even, on occasion, taken the conservative side of an issue. I do believe that both conservatives and liberals have something to add to the discussion and compromises can be reached on many issues to better serve all Americans.

I used to believe that the Republican Party stood for family values and tradition. I believed they upheld Christian ideals and that even though I didn’t agree with 90% of what they stood for, there was still something of value there.

I no longer believe this.

This isn’t a conclusion I have come to simply because of one election. It has been progressing over years and years, though I stubbornly hung onto the hope that there was something good and benevolent left in the GOP. That hope has since been dashed. The GOP, and this includes Trump, though he is by no means the sole perpetrator, have become the villains in American politics. I know you of course don’t see it that way, but I believe you have a very narrow view of what will help America. You are focused solely on what white middle class Christian America “needs” not seeing that by raising the lesser among us, we bring all of us up.

Between cuts to healthcare funding, repealing the ACA, imposing the heinous AHCA on us, proposed cuts to everything from Medicare to NEA to PBS. Pulling out of the Paris Accord, destroying climate change data, and proceeding with the DAPL, the GOP, and especially Trump, have created lasting damage to the fabric of our society that will take generations to correct, if we are able to. They have also demonstrated ignorance concerning matters of science and hypocrisy to Christian teachings. In fact, the blatant hypocrisy displayed has caused me to question my own beliefs, because how can I possibly belong to a religion that doesn’t understand nor follow the teachings of Jesus on such a large scale? It makes me sick.

And the fact that you have stood by and not said one word while Trump spoke dangerously on the campaign trail, inciting violence that continues to plague us, or done anything about the EO Travel Ban discriminating against Muslims, or condemned his inappropriate talk about multitudes of people from the Kahns to Comey to Mueller, or spoke out against his inappropriate remarks about women just goes to show that you wish to go down with his sinking ship. You neither have the moral fortitude nor the courage to denounce this dangerous man who is damaging our country. You didn’t speak out against him during the campaign, you have done nothing about him now, and history will remember those that fought against this degradation of America’s democratic system. They will not remember those who stood quietly by and allowed the erosion of our democracy. History will not remember you, sir.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Austin

Letters to My Representatives 6-7-2017

Here is today’s letter to my representatives. Senators Stabenow and Peters received this letter as is, but Representative Mitchell received his weekly reminder that I will be sure to remind his constituents that he voted for the AHCA. Let’s hope it bites him in the ass in 2018.

Remember to check out ItsTimetoFight.com for more information and scripts. It’s where I get much of what I use. Just click on the current issues tab and then select Call List.

Dear Senator Stabenow,

First I’d like to thank you for your continued support of the ACA. It is heinous that Trump and the Republicans want to kill this bill, and cause so many Americans to suffer. Thank you for standing with what is not only morally right, but was is best for this country. Please do not support any attempts to repeal the ACA, especially through AHCA. Please work to convince some of your GOP counterparts not to support this bill. I understand that the Senate is still writing the bill, but I want to voice my opposition to any bill that will repeal the ACA, especially without replacement. And the CBO score estimating that 23 million Americans will lose their healthcare coverage is unacceptable, and the potential for state waivers will negatively affect those with pre-existing conditions.

I am extremely angry and disgusted at Trump’s shortsighted and disastrous decision to pull out of the Paris Accord. I am hopeful that so many individual citizens, corporations and local and state governments have pledged to abide by the accord regardless of Trump’s decision. Please do whatever you can to support those that chose to put the planet’s welfare ahead of Trump’s ignorance.

I ask that you do not vote for the Financial Choice Act of 2017. Many of these safeguards were put into place after the recession of 2008 and helped our economy recover.

I would like to express my supreme concern and anger over the proposed Trump budget. The cuts to entitlement programs are destructive to society, and cuts to Medicaid in particular are catastrophic to many people. I ask that you condemn the budget and oppose it any form.

I ask that you speak out against the Trump Administration’s planned attempts to rollback contraception mandate for healthcare coverage. Women’s healthcare should be considered a private matter, and contraception use is used for many areas outside of birth control. Please defend a women’s right to make their own healthcare choices.

I ask for an independent commission to be formed to investigate Trump, Kushner, Manafort, Flynn, Sessions and the rest of the Trump campaign and administration and their ties to Russia during the campaign. A special prosecutor is a good first step, but the American people deserve a full independent investigation.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Austin

Letters to My Representatives 5-31-2017

Here is today’s letter to my representative. I used ItsTimetoFight.com for scripts and info. All three letters were the same except Representative Mitchell’s (R) has a paragraph about me reminding his constituents that he voted for the AHCA coming into the 2018 election and removing the paragraph about judiciary confirmations as that is a Senate issue and the House doesn’t vote on those.

I swear these letters keep getting longer and longer, but that’s because there are always new things to write about, yet the old ones never go away. It may seem redundant to send them the same concerns over and over again, but that;s kind of the point. We need to be squeaky wheels. Very loud, obnoxious, repetitive, relentless squeaky wheels. They may not listen. But we have to let them know we aren’t going away. We will just keep coming back for more and more.

Dear Senator Stabenow,

I want to thank you for your continued support of the ACA and ask that you oppose any efforts to repeal the ACA, especially without replacement measures. The AHCA is a terrible bill and I ask that you oppose it in any form and work with your GOP colleagues to encourage them to vote NO on the bill as well. The CBO score estimating that 23 million Americans will lose their coverage is unacceptable and the potential for state waivers will affect those with pre-existing conditions.

I ask that you vote NO for the Financial Choice Act of 2017. Many of these safeguards were put into place after the recession on 2008 and helped our economy recover. The financial welfare of this country will be in danger if this passes.

I am very concerned at the Trump budget proposal. The cuts to entitlement programs will be destructive to the most vulnerable in this country. Without Medicaid paying for the birth of my first child I would have been mired in debt. It helped me make a strong recovery from an unexpected situation at a young age, and I was able to go to college while caring for a young child, ultimately getting a good paying job so I could not only support myself and my child, but pay taxes to benefit all of our society. It may not seem like a lot, but programs like Medicaid and WIC not only ensured that my child had a healthy start in life, but allowed me to become a productive member of society.

I ask that you condemn Trump’s budget and vote against it in any form.

I ask that you speak out against Trump’s proposed plan to roll back contraception mandate for health coverage. Contraception is not only used for birth control, for one thing, but it is ludicrous that health insurance would not cover something that creates the ability for women to choose when to become pregnant and drops the rates of abortion. It is also ridiculous to me the attitude I have heard from many male lawmakers that they should not be responsible for women’s healthcare, i.e. prenatal, maternity, birth control. Too many men are simultaneously saying ‘we need to make choices for you on your healthcare, but we shouldn’t have to pay for it either’. Please defend a woman’s right to make her own choices about birth control.

I ask that you condemn Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. I realize there is little that Congress can do, but we need to be very vocal about this. Ignoring the ramifications of global warming will be permanently damaging to our nation and counter to what all of our science agencies are advising.

I ask that you push for further investigation into Jared Kushner’s apparent attempts to establish a ‘back channel’ communication with the Russians during the campaign, and push to have his security clearance revoked if necessary. Kushner’s actions merit investigation, especially when taken with the many, many suspicious activities of other Trump associates, Trump administration, and Russia. Please push for the truth.

I ask that you take a stand against the change in net neutrality rules. A change in rules will take away our freedom on the internet, and negatively impact individual constituents and small businesses alike. Please speak out against the change in these rules.

I would like to express my concern that Trump revealed classified intelligence to Ambassador Kiyslak and Foreign Minister Lavrov in their Oval Office meeting. I understand it is within his duties to make that decision, but this information was obviously revealed without coordination with our intelligence community. I ask that you push for a release of the transcript and and take any other relevant action.

I would also like to express my concern over the news that Trump asked Comey to end the investigation into Michael Flynn. If this is true, it is a clear obstruction of justice and interfering into an ongoing federal investigation. That is criminal. I will ask again for an independent commission to investigate all of these apparent ties to Russia from Trump, his associates, and his campaign. A special prosecutor is a good first step, but we need an independent commission.

I want to express my profound concern at the appointment of Sheriff David Clarke to the DHS. Clarke has many questionable obstacles on his record and is not in the best interest of the DHS. I understand his appointment doesn’t require confirmation, but I ask you to speak out against this nonetheless.

 

Please fight for funding for the census and push Trump to appoint a non-partisan person to head the department.

I would like to express my concern at Sessions recent rule changes to mandatory minimums. He is reverting back to a time of excessive incarceration, funded by our tax dollars, and with long term detrimental impacts on families and communities. Please speak out and stand against such policies that will have long standing ramifications.

I ask that you block Trump’s judicial nominees for the 129 vacancies currently in the US. I ask that you make every attempt to block him placing partisan judges in those positions that will affect the country for many, many years to come. Now is not the time for Senate courtesy. We are fighting for their very soul of our Democracy and we can’t give an inch.

Please stand against Trump’s Religious Liberties EO. We need to stop the idea that people can discriminate against others and use their religion as an excuse. This isn’t about religious freedom, it’s about freedom to discriminate.

I am writing to not support any attempts to pass legislation that may help revoke monument status on any of our nation’s already-designated monuments. While the Trump Administration has claimed that the purpose of this review is to stop federal government overreach and return power to the states, we can’t overlook the fact that a lot of the monuments under review are natural monuments that could potentially be negatively impacted, without their national monument status.  Please consider the long-term impact of removing national monument status from an invaluable resource to our state.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin