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Community Action, Ideas & Like-Minded Events

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Here are some ongoing actions. For more frequent updates please join the mailing list

 

Public Lands: Here are some quick actions on public lands at risk:

  • Protect Teshekpuk Lake, a globally-significant wetlands complex and a place of refuge for geese, shorebirds, loons, caribou, and other Arctic wildlife. The Interior Department is laying the groundwork to open Teshekpuk to development. If you haven't already, join Audubon Alaska in telling the Interior Department that Teshekpuk Lake and its surrounding wetlands deserve to be protected.

  • Sign up for the Alaska Wilderness League's VIP newsletter by filling out this survey. You will get the inside scoop on the League’s work standing up for public lands and waters, updates on goings-on in Washington, D.C., and ideas on how to help protect Alaska's treasured wild places.

  • Tell your friends in the Lower 48 to urge their members of Congress to vote against the 2018 budget resolution to protect the Arctic Refuge. A simple plea is fine: Please vote against the fiscal 2018 budget bill, which would pave the way to opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development. I support preserving the Arctic Refuge and developing clean energy technology instead. For background and talking points, go here

  • Urge the Alaska delegation to recommend that the Trump administration reject Secretary Zinke's proposals to shrink national monuments and open them to new development because the vast majority of Americans want national monuments preserved as they are.

  • Gov. Walker: Review this disheartening list compiled by Rick Steiner of Gov. Walker's record on the environment. Write the governor and tell him you are among the growing number of Alaskans who want responsible stewardship of Alaska's environment and wildlife. Mention several actions or inactions that are of particular concern to you.

Senator Lisa Murkowski
www.murkowski.senate.gov/home
Washington Phone: 202-224-6665
Anchorage Phone: 907-271-3735

Senator Dan Sullivan
www.sullivan.senate.gov
Washington Phone: 202-224-3004
Anchorage Phone: 907-271-5915

Congressman Don Young
www.donyoung.house.gov
Washington Phone: 202-225-5765
Anchorage Phone: 907-271-5978

Full voice mail? Use this app and your message will be delivered later: http://takeastance.us/

Fax or mail. You can use your phone to send a fax or letter: https://resistbot.io/

Refugees: 34 senators -- all Democrats except for John McCain and Lisa Murkowksi -- wrote Trump to urge him to increase the current 50,000 cap for refugees. The senators called the refugee program "a critical pillar of our national security and our foreign policy." Trump ignored this plea and announced his intent to reduce the 2018 cap to 45,000.The top Democrat and the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee quickly blasted Trump for setting the cap without consulting Congress as the law requires. Action: Ask the Alaska delegation to urge Trump to (1) increase the refugee cap for 2018 to at least 75,000 and (2) consult with Congress on the appropriate cap as required by law. The United States has a moral duty to help with the worldwide refugee crisis and higher refugee admissions benefit U.S. security and economic interests. (Don't forget to thank Sen. Murkowksi for signing the letter urging Trump to increase refugee admissions.) If you want to donate, here is a partial list of aid groups working to ease the current humanitarian crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Tax reform: The GOP leadership in Congress is taking the same partisan approach to tax reform that it used for its failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. As Paul Krugman observes, there are reasons to think tax reform will fail just as spectacularly ... but who knows. The tax cut push is expected to stretch into 2018, so there is time to demand answers to hard questions. Action: Ask the Alaska delegation this: The 2018 budget resolution would allow the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees to increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade in order to advance the administration's tax proposal. After years of advocating fiscal responsibility, how do you [Senator or Congressman] justify voting for a budget that would add this much to the federal deficit? Make sure you ask for responses in writing.

Puerto Rico. The Jones Act, has been hindering disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico. The Jones Act is a law that requires goods shipped between points in theUnited States to be carried by vessels built, owned, and mostly operated by Americans. Any foreign registry vessel that enters Puerto Rico must pay punitive tariffs, fees and taxes, or reroute to Florida where all the goods are transferred to an American vessel and then shipped back to Puerto Rico. The law increases the cost of goods in Puerto Rico and it is hampering relief efforts there, but Trump has dragged his feet on lifting the restrictions and, under pressure, waived them for only 10 days. Action: Take these Wall-of-Us actions: (1) urge the Alaska delegation to support repeal of the Jones act or at a minimum an extension of the 10-day waiver; (2) sign this petition calling for longer-term solutions to the U.S. relationship with Puerto Rico; (3) donate to relief efforts: United for Puerto Rico or Unicef are two good options.


Social media political adsFacebook revealed to the House and Senate Intelligence committees that Russian entities spent $100,000 in political advertising to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Americans have the right to know who’s paying for political material posted on social media feeds. The FEC has voted to re-open the written comment period on what sorts of disclaimers Internet advertising ought to have, but the FEC’s Republican commissioners have agreed to hold a hearing only if they receive enough substantive written comments. Action: Write the FEC at info@fec.gov. Tell the FEC the future of our Democracy depends on robust rules regulating disclosure of the source of political ads on social media, and ask the FEC where and when you can submit your formal written comments. Also, urge the Alaska delegation to call for hearings on how Russia used social media to influence to 2016 election and on how to prevent this type of manipulation in future elections.

DACA. Quick action is needed to protect DACA recipients in Alaska and nationally. ActionWrite the White House and tell Trump you support the bipartisan DREAM Act (S. 1615); ask him to stick by his agreement with Schumer and Pelosi to support the bill. If you haven't already, thank Sen. Murkowski for cosponsoring the Dream Act and urge her and Sen. Sullivan to insist on legislation that provides DACA recipients with a path to citizenship. Urge Rep. Young to support the American Hope Act (H.R. 3591).


Transgender rights. GOP Sen. John McCain threw his support behind bipartisan legislation to block Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military. “Any member of the military who meets the medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serve — including those who are transgender," McCain said. GOP Sen. Susan Collins is also supporting the bill. Action: Urge our senators to join Sens. McCain and Collins in supporting this bill, which which would prohibit the Pentagon from involuntarily separating or denying the re-enlistment of currently serving transgender troops solely on the basis of gender identity and would express the sense of Congress that individuals who are qualified to serve in the military should be eligible to serve.  

Chemical disaster rule. Collapsed chemical tank roofs, machinery malfunctions and other accidents in the Houston area as a result of Hurricane Harvey sent more than 1,000 tons of dangerous chemicals into the air, according to POLITICO. There is a rule on the books, the "chemical disaster rule," which would require about 12,500 chemical facilities across the country that use or store highly toxic or flammable chemicals to strengthen preparation by the facility, first responders, and affected communities in the event of accidents and emergencies. This rule had been scheduled to take effect on June 9 but EPA Administrator Pruitt ordered a 20-month delay. Action: Urge the Alaska delegation to support immediate implementation of the chemical disaster rule. Tell them recent experience in Houston provides compelling evidence of the harm that will be caused by Pruitt's unjustified delay in a rule that would help protect communities and the environment from the release of dangerous chemicals during natural disasters and other emergencies.

Gun silencers. The House Natural Resources Committee approved the gun silencer bill. Action: Urge Don Young to reconsider his support of H.R. 367, which would make it easier to buy silencers for guns. Gun-control advocates believe the bill would make silencer use more prevalent and lead to deadlier mass shootings because potential victims won’t hear gunfire. 

 

EPA is facing devastating budget cuts. Here are talking points from Alaska Community Action on Toxics on the Alaska programs at risk. Action: Urge the Alaska delegation to: (1) vote to fully fund EPA programs that promote clean air and water and protect jobs in Alaska, including research programs that provide the scientific basis for protecting air, water and health and grants that fund state and local air quality monitoring; (2) demand that the EPA award grants in Alaska and nationwide based on science, not politics; and (3) acknowledge the urgency of climate change by voting to fully fund climate science and climate change mitigation programs. Also, sign this petition.

Predator control. Thanks to Don Young, the House's eight-bill fiscal 2018 spending package (H.R. 3354) now includes an amendment barring the Interior Department from funding a 2015 predator control regulation prohibiting cruel methods of hunting and trapping on National Park Service lands in Alaska. Action: Ask your friends and family in the Lower 48 to urge their representatives to vote to strip this predator control amendment from the House spending package. 

Climate change. Hurricane Harvey presents another opportunity to urge the Alaska delegation to renounce climate change denial. Climate scientists are in agreement that climate change is making storms worse and melting permafrost and sea ice will only worsen the trend. Action: Ask the Alaska delegation to: (1) declare that continued climate change denial is irresponsible and immoral; (2) urge the administration to rejoin the Paris climate accord; (3) oppose the White House's proposed cuts to climate science programs; and (4) demand that the Harvey disaster relief bill reverse Trump's decision to scrap Obama-era rules designed to reduce flooding by setting new construction standards for roads, housing and other infrastructure projects that receive federal dollars. 

What Trump has undone. Bookmark this page: it is a sobering running list of Trump's war on regulation. Even the oil and gas industry is worried deregulation is moving too fast and going too far.

Resist hate. Here is a summary of the Southern Poverty Law Center's 10 Ways to Fight Hate in your community.

Russia investigation: Perhaps the best hope for bipartisan action this fall is on legislation to require judicial review of any decision to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. Two bipartisan bills have been introduced in the Senate but staff are hoping to reach consensus on a single bill over the recess. Expect the legislation to be amended to reflect some of the concerns raised in this opinion piece. Action: Urge the Alaska delegation to support legislation requiring judicial review of any decision by Trump or his administration to fire special counsel Mueller.

Immigration.Trump is backing legislation called the RAISE Act that would cut legal immigration almost in half. The Senate bill would end the practice of prioritizing green cards for adult children and extended family of people already in the U.S., discontinue an immigration lottery program, and limit the number of refugees to 50,000. Instead, the bill would prioritize immigrants who speak English and have education and job skills. Although the bill is being touted as a move toward the type of merit-based immigration system employed in Australia and Canada, both of those countries allow legal immigrants at far higher rates relative to their populations than the United States does. Aside from humanitarian concerns, critics (including some Republicans in Congress) say the bill would hurt the U.S. economy by slowing growth and leading to shortages of workers. Alternatives. Sens. McCain and Schumer are reportedly talking about reviving bipartisan immigration reform legislation that would include a path to citizenship (admittedly a heavy lift with Trump in the White House). Bipartisan action is more likely on legislation to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, a program Obama created to allow immigrants who arrive as minors to legally work and live in the United States. Action: Tell the Alaska delegation that you oppose the RAISE Act because it is inconsistent with American values and would hurt the U.S. economy. Ask them to support comprehensive and bipartisan immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. Also, thank Murkowski for supporting the DACA program, and urge Sullivan and Young to do so as well.

Sanctuary cities. The Senate is expected to vote on the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which has already passed the House. It would bar “sanctuary cities” that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement from receiving federal grants and leave those cities vulnerable to liability lawsuits from victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants. Action: Urge Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan to vote against the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which would hurt public safety by interfering with local law enforcement. Point out that even the director of ICE has refused to endorse Trump's debunked narrative that immigrants commit more crimes than native-born Americans.

Izembek road. The House has passed legislation to build a road through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. The wetlands at Izembek are internationally recognized and support globally significant populations of Pacific Brant and Emperor Geese. The real fight over this road will be in the Senate. Action: Our senators support the road but you can start spreading the word to your friends by sharing this Facebook post and Twitter post. Read this background here.


Wolves. The State has announced it will end one of its most significant wolf kill programs, the Upper Yukon-Tanana program. This program was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of wolves; it decimated the wolf population of the Yukon-Charley River National Preserve; it killed so many park wolves that a twenty-plus year National Park Service research program was destroyed; and it upended the predator-prey dynamics of the Preserve. It was also costly, inhumane, and didn't achieve the state's objectives. Here is a letter/petition sent to the governor a year ago, and Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten's responseAction: Inexplicably, the state is planning to end the program in a year instead of immediately. Urge Commissioner Cotten (sam.cotten@alaska.gov) and Division of Wildlife Conservation Director Bruce Dale (bruce.dale@alaska.gov) to change that decision and end the program now. Also write Sen. Lisa Murkowski and ask her to support a National Academies of Sciences review of the Alaska predator control program; it's been twenty years since the last NAS review, and Commissioner Cotten says he would welcome a new review. Here is a story on the decision to end this program and here is background on the program's effects on the Preserve. Here is a petition to sign.

Civility. Civility in public discourse reached a new low when Trump tweeted some of his most offensive personal insults yet, the NRA released an ad promoting violence against liberals, and Trump escalated his attacks on the news media, including tweeting a video showing himself beating up a CNN avatar. Don't be shy in expressing your concern to the Alaska delegation about Trump's fitness to be president and his continued assaults on civil discourse, democracy, and common decency. (After Trump's tweets last week, four more House Democrats signed on to a bill that seeks to remove Trump under the 25th Amendment.)


Climate change. Governor Walker wrote Trump a letter highlighting the "very real and significant impacts of climate change" in Alaska. But the governor stopped short of outlining any specific steps his administration would take to combat climate change or mitigate its effects. Action: Tell Gov. Walker you appreciate his letter acknowledging the seriousness of climate change but that you believe the letter is short on commitments and solutions. Here are talking points suggested by Rick Steiner. Here are observations by Tim Bradner in the Alaska Economic Report. If you want, ask Walker to join the United States Climate Alliance, an alliance of states committed to upholding the objectives of the Paris climate agreement by achieving the U.S. goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions 26–28% from 2005 levels by 2025. And consider adding your name to this MoveOn petition.

Governor Bill Walker
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 11001
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0001
Email
907-465-3500

 

The wrecking ball. Trump continues his campaign to dismantle President Obama's legacy. Last week Trump canceled important elements of Obama's diplomatic opening to Cuba and the FDA postponed indefinitely new rules championed by Michelle Obama that would have modified food nutrition labels to more clearly convey sugar and calorie content. Homeland Security Secretary Kelly rescinded an Obama-era memo that would have shielded millions of parents of U.S. citizens and others from deportation. The Energy Department closed the Office of International Climate and Technology, which since 2010 has worked with other countries to develop clean energy technology. The Interior Department recommended shrinking Bears Ears national monument to the smallest area possible under the Antiquities Act, and the Department of Education is formally reconsidering — and may dismantle — two rules that were a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s crackdown on predatory for-profit colleges. If you want to see the whole sobering story of Trump's efforts to rollback "everything Obama," check out this graphic.
 

Here are some other suggested actions in response to Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord:

Call or write Mayor Berkowitz. Thank Mayor Berkowitz for signing on to the Climate Mayors Agreement last week, and ask him what you personally can do to get involved and make Anchorage part of the solution. Also, sign this Alaska Climate & Energy Action petition.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz
632 W. 6th Ave., Suite 840
Anchorage, AK 99501
Email
907-343-7100

Call and write the Alaska delegation. Senator Murkowski stated after Trump withdrew from the climate accord that the United States has an obligation to address climate change. Most Republicans in Congress understand the dangers of climate change -- it's money and politics that keeps them so unforgivingly silent. Action: Tell our delegation that it is more important now than ever to protect climate-related research and technology innovation in the budgets for NOAA, EPA, the Energy Department, and NASA. Ask them, in the wake of Trump's misinformed rejection of the Green Climate Fund, to support climate-related assistance to developing countries. Remind them that not long ago there was bipartisan agreement on the need to fund these programs.

Ask the CEOs to take a stand. Two of the CEOs on Trump's Business Advisory Council stepped down after Trump withdrew from the Paris climate accord (the CEOs of Tesla and Disney). Other council members expressed support for the Paris accord but have nevertheless stayed put (so far). Action: Wall-of-us has made it easy to contact these CEOs to ask them to step down from the council in protest. Tell them the times we are in call for more principled action.

Commit your PFD to saving the planet, whether by donating to an environmental or related human rights organization, supporting a green candidate, replacing incandescent bulbs, or adding insulation to your home.

Need guidance? Here is Indivisible's guide to calling Congress, and a training video based on that guide. Read in the NYT why you should make phone calls not email.  And read this quick summary by a former staffer on how to get your members of Congress to listen to you.

Thank you for taking action!

Now is the time to counter lies with facts, repeatedly and unflaggingly, while also proclaiming the greater truths: of our equal humanity, of decency, of compassion. Every precious ideal must be reiterated, every obvious argument made, because an ugly idea left unchallenged begins to turn the color of normal. 

 -- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

EVENT

TAKING PLACE
Feb. 12, 2018
Writer's Block
3956 Spenard Road
Anchorage

5:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Please join 49 Moons for our next new moon event: Voting with Our Hearts on April 3, an event focused on getting out the vote in Anchorage and sending a message across the state and the nation that our city wants no part of the politics of division and fear.  Please RSVP!

 
 
State government watch

The  Alaska legislature is back in session! Text your zip code to 520-200-2223 to get phone numbers for your senator and representative. Here is information on committee membership. Go here to track a bill.

Ethics. H.B. 44 would prohibit legislators from voting on legislation when they have a substantial financial interest.  Here is the sponsor statement and a letter in support from AKPIRG. Send a letter to your representative and to State Affairs Committee Chairman Jonathan Kreiss.  If you have time, write the committee members too: Rep. DeLena Johnson; Rep. Gary Knopp; Rep. Chris Birch; Rep. Adam Wool; Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux; Rep. Chris Tuck

 

Safe trails.  H.B. 40 would make it a misdemeanor to set traps within 200 feet of designated campsites, trails, and other public areas.  Send a letter to your representative and to the House Resources CommitteeComments should focus on public and pet safety and enjoyment of trails, not the larger issue of trapping.  Here are sample comments; a letter; and testimony.  Here are instructions on how to release a pet from a trap.

Denali wolf buffer. H.B. 105, introduced by Rep. Andy Josephson, would establish a buffer to protect Denali wolves.  Send a letter to the House Resources Committee and your state representative.  Here are talking points.

Muslim registry. Rep. Andy Josephson has introduced H.B. 13, which would prevent the state from cooperating with any efforts by the federal government to register Alaskans based on their race or religion. The bill was referred to the State Affairs Committee on January 18.

Birth control. HB 25 and SB 53 would require insurance companies to cover one year of birth control at a time, instead of month-to-month. Planned Parenthood supports the legislation; read their talking points here.  Write a letter to your representative and send a copy to the House and Senate committees.

 

Climate Change Response Fund.  Here is a HB 173, a bill introduced by Rep. Andy Josephson to support climate change mitigation.

 
keep the pressure on

Support Consumer Protection.  Call our delegation and urge them to oppose Senate Bill 370 and House Bill 1031, companion bills that would eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Read in the NYT how this bureau has helped consumers and made enemies in the financial industry.

Support Journalists.  Consider making a donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists; Trump's abandonment of U.S. support for the press risks the lives of journalists worldwide.

 

Muslim ban.  Join the national campaign to pressure the members of Trump's Business Advisory Council to take a public stand against the Muslim ban.  (Nearly 100 Silicon Valley tech companies have already supported litigation challenging the ban: read here.) Tell members of the Advisory Council to get on board.  If you tweet go here; find email addresses here

Dakota Access pipeline.  Call the Alaska delegation and tell them what you think about Trump abandoning environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline and moving forward on construction without regard for the views of Native peoples.  Also, consider joining Seattle and divesting from Wells Fargo.  Background and talking points here.  Read this article in the New Yorker.  Donate to the Standing Rock Sioux or the Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund.

Tax returns.  We still haven't seen Donald Trump's tax returns.  Call the Alaska delegation and remind them you are still waiting. Also, sign this White House petition; it has more than 1 million signatures.

Join 49 Moons's phone campaign -- just one phone call by each of us before a key vote will keep the phones ringing and ensure that our progressive voices are heard: join here. (Phone calls work if you "barrage your [members of Congress] at an opportune moment and on a specific issue.")

 
more ways to get involved

act nationally

War on science.  Go to these links for information on the war on science and the earth: PEER (laws affecting public agency and university scientists, including whistleblower and related laws); NRDC's Trump Watch; Columbia Law School's climate deregulation tracker; and climate central, an organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting  on the changing climate and its impact. 

 

Indivisible. Read this: a step-by-step guide to resisting the Trump agenda by influencing your members of Congress, written by Indivisible, a group of former congressional staffers.

Daily action. Sign up for daily action alerts by text.

Weekly action. Subscribe to wall-of-us or MomsRising for emails of concrete actions to take each week.

Letter templates. This website provides sample letters addressed to our delegation on key issues. to your members of Congress.

Grab your wallet. Here is a list of retailers that carry Trump family products.  Also, support companies that have pulled their ads from Breitbart.  Read this on consumer activism.

Electoral politics.  Consider joining this group for notice of actions you can take to help flip the House, Senate and Presidency into democratic hands.  Don't just protest, run for office!

act locally

 

Support immigrants.  The Alaska Institute for Justice has a crowdfunding campaign, encouraging donations of any amount via credit card. The fundraising goal is $100,000. 

 

Support tolerance. Support these businesses that have posted signs of solidarity in their windows standing up for respect and unity in our community.  Read about this in ADN: "Community organizers aim to make Anchorage friendlier with welcome signs."

Support diversity. Join Welcoming Anchorage. Read about this group in ADN.

Support the earth. Email pegt@gci.net to get on the mailing list for What's Up, a natural resource/environment calendar of events, deadlines and job opportunities compiled weekly for Alaska Center and Alaska Women’s Environmental Network. And check out the Buy Nothing Project: it's good for the community and the planet. The local Facebook group is looking for a South Anchorage organizer.

Be a warrior for compassion.  Join a local group working for change; there's one for everybody!