TAKE ACTION: Hearings Begin for Cabinet Positions

The most important action we can take right now is to speak out against Mr. Trump’s dangerous nominees for cabinet positions.

I urge, no, I beg you to make two calls.

The first is to oppose Betsy DeVos for secretary of education.

Basically, DeVos advocates an education system that fosters two kinds of freedom: freedom for people like her, who have inherited wealth, built a tax structure that makes that wealth grow, and built lives that are “good”; and freedom for people of color and low incomes (or poverty) who, from the perspective of DeVos and her ilk, need to work harder to prove their worth. Remember: Freedom = Opportunity.

DeVos has never attended public school. She has never studied curriculum or pedagogy. Her background as a student is in religious schools. She and her family have spent millions of dollars in Michigan to install charter schools, which have worse results than already low results of “bad” public schools AND no way of being reviewed and closed.  She is a proponent of vouchers, which ultimately ensure that public monies pay for private schools of those who can afford private schools independent of public monies.

The second call is to oppose Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions. You’ll find more information below.

From Jen Hoffman’s newsletter:

How to act strategically

Which brings us to this week’s action checklist. As Americans of conscience, the most important issue for action is the senate’s cabinet confirmation hearings.

We must oppose djt’s many nominees who have unprecedented conflicts of interest that risk the integrity of our democracy. The good news? Speaking up might effect change since the senate needs 51 votes to confirm, and Republicans hold only 52 spots. Don’t assume your senators will make the right choice for our country. Be clear and unyielding.

Make calls

It works. Based on the advice of my own senator’s staff, make these calls before hearings begin on Jan 10. This means right now, for each cabinet appointee you feel is unfit to serve, there are two specific actions to take:

  1. Tell the Senate committee chair (Republican) you oppose the nominee.
  2. Tell the Senate ranking member (Democrat) you oppose the nominee.
  1. Optional: You can also call your own two senators to let them know.

Note: Do leave a message if you get voicemail or call after hours.

The following seven people are the Senate Democrats’ official “oppose” list. I’ll be suggesting more in next week’s email. Appointments with an asterisk* were major donors to djt campaign and/or PACs.

  1. Oppose Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson for ties to Exxon and Russia (source)

Committee: Foreign Relations Committee (more deets)

Call: Chair Bob Corker (R-TN) 202-224-3344

Call: Ranking member Ben Cardin (D-MD) 202-224-4524

Script: I am calling to oppose Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. His ties to Russia and Exxon are a risk to our nation’s integrity and security.

  1. Oppose Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions for racial bias and opposition to LGBT rights (source)

Committee: Senate Judiciary Committee (deets) hearings on Jan 10 and 11

Call: Chair Chuck Grassley 202-224-3744

Call: Incoming ranking member Dianne Feinstein 202-224-3841

Script: I am calling to oppose Jeff Sessions for Attorney General because I believe in the rights of gays and lesbians and people of color.

  1. Oppose Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Price for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). (source)

Committee: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (deets)

**Note: this is the same committee as for Betsy DeVos and Andy Puzder (below), so combine these calls if you wish.

Call: Chairman Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944

Call: Ranking member Patty Murray 202-224-2621

Script: I am calling to oppose Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human services. I believe we should be expanding health care coverage for Americans, not making it more difficult to access and afford.

  1. Oppose Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos* for her support of diverting tax dollars to private schools. (source)

Committee: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (deets)

Call: Chairman Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944

Call: Ranking member Patty Murray 202-224-2621

Script: I am calling to oppose Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. I believe my tax dollars should fund a robust and free primary education to all Americans. Her plans would leave public schools even more underfunded.

  1. Oppose Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder* for his opposition to workers rights and fair wages (source) (implications)

Committee: Hearing on Jan 12 (deets) Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

Call: Chairman Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944

Call: Ranking member Patty Murray 202-224-2621

Script: I am calling to oppose Andy Puzder for Labor Secretary. I value fair wages and worker’s rights, and Mr. Puzder seeks to weaken both.

  1. Oppose Mick Mulvaney’s appointment to Director of Management and Budget Office. (source) (opinion)

Committee 1: Senate Budget Committee (deets)

Call: Chairman Mike Enzi 202-224-3424

Call: Ranking member Bernie Sanders 202-224-5141

Committee 2: Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (deets)

Call: Chairman Ron Johnson 202-224-5323

Call: Incoming ranking member Claire McCaskill 202-224-6154

Script: I am calling to oppose Mick Mulvaney’s appointment. I believe in honoring our country’s financial obligations and supporting affordable healthcare.

  1. Oppose Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin for his history of predatory business practices (source)

Committee: Senate Finance Committee (deets)

Call: Chairman Orrin Hatch 202-224-5251

Call: Ranking member Ron Wyden 202-224-5244

Script: I am calling to oppose Steven Mnuchin (m’NOO-chin) for Treasury Secretary. I believe someone in this role needs to have a history of solid ethics and integrity.

Edit: I got an email from someone asking for clarification. Normally senators don’t want to hear from non-constituents. Here’s my reply:

Yes, that is absolutely 100% normally the case. However, we’re contacting them specifically in their role as leaders of the senate committee that will be vetting a cabinet member. Because of this, they absolutely need to hear from all constituents. It is also useful to contact one’s own senators about who you’re opposing, but for cabinet positions, we’ve got to tell the committee leaders how we feel and what we value.

Recommended reading

What we know so far about the Russian cyber attacks

Why Russian ties are bad for the West (prophetic article from July 2016)

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2016/07/vladimir_putin_has_a_plan_for_destroying_the_west_and_it_looks_a_lot_like.html

First reports on increased hate crimes since the election http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/28/opinion/the-scope-of-hate-in-2016.html?_r=0

The limits of the press with a president who tweets his policy http://pressthink.org/2016/12/winter-coming-prospects-american-press-trump/

How to prevent normalizing djt & co. (opinion)  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/14/democrats-donald-trump-presidency-normalize-administration

Priebus’ relationship with djt http://thehill.com/homenews/house/310827-priebus-flexes-muscle-in-trump-tower

A 20-year-old waiter from Appalachia said it best

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/12/20/i-make-2-35-an-hour-in-coal-country-i-dont-want-handouts-i-want-a-living-wage/?postshare=2101482276552209&tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.7f028e1e13cb#comments

From the Department of #NotNormal

It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to raise money by charging people to see him. A normal president isn’t for sale.

http://www.teenvogue.com/story/trump-mar-a-lago-conflict-of-interest

It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect and his staff to disregard the importance of free press. A normal president tolerates scrutiny and values many forms of communication.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/sean-spicer-donald-trump-media-press-conferences-233029

It is NOT NORMAL for a Secretary of State nominee to have an offshore tax haven for his Russia-connected business. A normal SoS avoids any and all conflicts of interest for the good of the country’s security and integrity.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/18/leak-rex-tillerson-director-bahamas-based-us-russian-oil-company?CMP=share_btn_tw

It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to assume the cause of an attack. A normal president is deliberate in their communication and avoids making unfounded accusations.

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/12/ankara-berlin-trump-obama/511202/?utm_source=atlfb

It is NOT NORMAL for a House Speaker to willingly violate constitutional rights. A normal Speaker prefers open sharing of the democratic process.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/paul-ryan-livestream-constitution-232994

It is NOT NORMAL. No words.

https://thinkprogress.org/under-political-pressure-kuwait-cancels-major-event-at-four-seasons-switches-to-trumps-d-c-1f204315d513#.fq7yh6z0p

It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to pass off foreign aggression. A normal president handles foreign aggression in a deliberate and considered manner.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/trump-no-computer-safe-from-hacking-233093

Good news

At last! I promised a whole slew of good news, so here is your reward for making all those phone calls. You did make those calls, right? 😉

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is fighting back with a plan against djt’s rigged cabinet appointments

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/trump-cabinet-confirmation-battle-232867

President Obama commutes sentences for nonviolent federal inmates

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/19/barack-obama-commutes-sentences-presidential-pardons

Generous Israelis help Syrians

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2016/1218/Surge-in-Israeli-donations-to-their-sworn-enemies-Syrians

Making peace with enemies

http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/trump-supporter-man-punched-hug-court-vow-heal-america-together/

Djt’s press criticism is helping the journalism industry

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/18/business/media/by-attacking-the-press-donald-trump-may-be-doing-it-a-favor.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1

New ebola vaccine at 100% effectiveness

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/22/health/ebola-vaccine.html?_r=0

NYPD allows sikhs to wear turbans on duty

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/12/30/applause-nypd-move-allow-turbans-sikhs-uniform/95988158/

China bans ivory trade

https://www.nrdc.org/experts/elly-pepper/china-announces-game-changer-elephants-will-ban-ivory-trade-end-2017?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=socialmedia

Washington Post is adding 5 dozen reporters (even if they won’t use the word ‘lies’)

http://www.politico.com/media/story/2016/12/the-profitable-washington-post-adding-more-than-five-dozen-journalists-004900

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http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

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