Update: Today was our first virtual Call to Action meeting via Zoom. We had the usual suspects and the usual entertaining interaction. Everyone had to make their own coffee, but it went very well. We encourage you to continue to find ways to interact with each other as we go through these plague times. In the end we will win!
URGENT: Act Now to Nationalize the Healthcare Supply Chain during COVID Crisis
Many hospitals and healthcare workers are about to run out of protective masks and gowns that make it possible to care for infected patients. Even though FEMA is in charge of shipping emergency supplies, states are still competing against each other in a free for all for access. Some medical supply companies are demanding cash payment, which many hospitals cannot afford as they turn away all elective surgeries and are short of cash. New York State in particular is about to run out of needed supplies to protect their workers. Military veterans know how crucial it was to be sent into the field with the equipment and supplies they needed to face danger. Our doctors, nurses, caregivers, first responders need these critical supplies to let them keep doing their jobs. This interview with a New York ER Doctor will show you how urgent our action is needed.
ACTION: Call our MOCs
Script: I am calling to ask _________to exercise their leadership in acting now to nationalize the healthcare supply chain during the Corona Virus crisis to ensure that healthcare workers have critical protective gear and patients have access to life saving equipment they will need to survive this pandemic. Although FEMA is in charge of distributing supplies, states are having to compete against one another for access, while many suppliers are demanding cash payment for supplies when hospitals are short of cash. It is urgent that our country step in now.
Senator Patty Murray: 202-224-2621
Senator Maria Cantwell: (202) 224-3441
Congressman Denny Heck: 360-459-8514
COVID-19 Workers First Legislation
Two pieces of legislation have already passed Congress and signed by the President bringing much needed aid from the world wide Corvid 19 pandemic. Fortunately, Congress has already started working on a third coronavirus response package intended to tackle the looming consequences of the outbreak. While negotiations are ongoing, there are several areas Congress must consider while crafting this legislation:
In keeping with these principles, we think that any effective response to this crisis must include the following three policies (and you can read more about what should go into the coronavirus response bill in our full resource here):
Release Vulnerable People from the Northwest Detention Center
Governor Jay Inslee’s Office expressed concern about the devastating potential for an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Northwest Detention Center. While the Governor’s Office is working closely with the Department of Health and detention center staff, more needs to be done. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to force officials to release a group of immigrants who are at high risk and critically vulnerable to COVID-19. Public health experts recommend releasing those who are at risk, including the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. Attorneys who have represented clients at the Northwest Detention Center report that they believe an outbreak of COVID-19 is inevitable. Now is the time to act to protect the most vulnerable detainees. Governor Inslee can use his emergency powers to release the most vulnerable detainees at the Northwest Detention Center.
ACTION: Call Governor Jay Inslee to ask him to use his emergency powers to release vulnerable people from the Northwest Detention Center. This will substantially reduce their risk of being exposed to COVID-19.
Governor Jay Inslee (360) 902-4111
Script: My Name is _______________, and I am a member of Olympia Indivisible. I am calling to ask the Governor to use his emergency powers to release vulnerable people from the Northwest Detention Center. The elderly and those with underlying medical conditions should be released to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Please act before there is a major outbreak at the Northwest Detention Center. Thank you.
Demand that Congress investigate Members who engaged in insider trading in earliest days of the Pandemic
According to ProPublica as many as four senators, dumped millions of dollars of stock ahead of the recent coronavirus-induced market panic. Now calls are mounting for an investigation into Republican Senators Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler for potential violations of the 2012 STOCK Act—a law Burr voted against when it cleared the Senate eight years ago. The 2012 STOCK Act prohibits insider trading by members of Congress and requires that certain investment transactions—such as those involving the trade of stocks, bonds and commodities futures—be reported to the secretary of the Senate or the clerk of the House of Representatives.
“Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, sold off a significant percentage of his stocks, unloading between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings on Feb. 13 in 33 separate transactions…. A week after Burr’s sales, the stock market began a sharp decline and has lost about 30% since.”
“Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) reported the first sale of stock jointly owned by her and her husband [the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange] on Jan. 24, the very day that her committee, the Senate Health Committee, hosted a private, all-senators briefing from administration officials….It was the first of 29 stock transactions that Loeffler and her husband made through mid-February, all but two of which were sales.”
“Two other senators, Diane Feinstein, a Democrat, and Jim Inhofe, a Republican, also reported similar sales of stocks. Both have said that they do not make decisions about their investments, and Feinstein said those transactions involved her husband's portfolio. Inhofe and Feinstein have said they were not at the coronavirus briefing.”
As Alexandria Ocasio Cortez noted, “Members of Congress should not be allowed to own individual stock.
We are here to serve the public, not to profiteer. It’s shocking that it’s even been allowed up to this point.”
ACTION: Call Senator Maria Cantwell (253)572-2281
Senator Patty Murray (253)572-3636 Representative Denny Heck (360) 459-8514
Script: Let’s end the corruption. First, call our MoCs and demand an independent ethics investigation of these senators and their actions. Second, ask our MoCs to introduce legislation prohibiting the ownership of individual stock by Members of Congress and their spouses, all Cabinet officials and spouses, all members of the Supreme Court and spouses and the President and Vice President and their spouses. Also, all tax returns for 10 years prior to year in office must be published. These government officials could still make investments, such as in mutual funds and equity funds allowing their money to grow, without the ability to unfairly use their powerful positions to profit personally by owning individual stock.
Winning in the Plague Times
Some of you may have a relative that has been exposed to Corona Virus and is in home quarantine. We received an Active Screening of Residents.pdf document this week that has methods for doing a daily check for symptoms and recommend use if appropriate. It is attached.
Trump and Barr propose to reduce civil liberties due to coronavirus pandemic – Say NO!
Recent Department of Justice proposals to modify Federal Court procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic contain several elements that would erode or terminate some of the civil liberties that we take for granted. Politico reported yesterday that one of the proposals would allow chief judges to detain people indefinitely during emergencies. This would essentially terminate ‘habeas corpus’, the right to a speedy hearing in court following arrest and detainment, one of our most basic civil liberties. The proposals also include holding videoconference hearings without the individual’s consent and pausing the statute of limitations for many crimes during emergencies.
In a recent Washington Post Op-ed on this action, Caroline Fredrickson who is a Senior Fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, said:
Now, Trump’s Justice Department is seizing on the pandemic as an excuse to push for a major rollback in civil liberties. President Trump has shown an admiration for autocrats around the world from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is a classic move of such leaders to use a crisis to advance policies they have long supported. Indeed, Trump has already instituted tighter border restrictions because of covid-19 and further limited asylum applications.
Even if Congress does not agree to the new detention policy, Trump is endowed, as president, with other authorities he can use now that must be closely scrutinized. Even a president admired for his leadership during crisis, Franklin D. Roosevelt, ordered people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast to be put in internment camps. After 9/11, Congress gave the Bush administration almost everything it asked for, resulting in flawed legislation with vast civil liberties violations. We must demand Congress not forget those lessons.
Her conclusion is part of this week’s call to action.
ACTION: Call or email our Members of Congress, and demand that they take a public stand now in opposition to the Trump administration’s attempt to use this crisis as a pretext to erode civil liberties in this country.
My name is _______, and I am a member of Olympia Indivisible. I understand that the Justice Department has asked Congress to rewrite several laws that currently safeguard some of our most basic civil rights. During emergencies, they are proposing to suspend habeas corpus, force people to appear in videoconferences rather than in-person hearings, and extend the statute of limitations for many crimes. Using a crisis to suspend civil liberties is the hallmark of an autocrat and a dictator, Trump must not be allowed to succeed at this attempt to weaken our civil liberties. How will Representative Heck/Senator Murray/Senator Cantwell ensure that these tyrannical proposals do not become law? I demand that MOC speak up forcefully and immediately in opposition to these terrible proposals. Too many people are still unaware that these proposals even exist, our MOCs must speak out and expose them to the light of day.
Senator Maria Cantwell (253)572-2281 Senator Patty Murray (253)572-3636
Representative Denny Heck (360) 459-8514
The Internet Is Not A Luxury
If there is one thing that the coronavirus pandemic has made abundantly clear, it is that the internet is not a luxury.
Millions of Americans who live in rural and underserved areas are cut off from their employers and their schools as everyday life has been transferred online. Internet is now just as critical as water or electricity.
But the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality stopped the internet from being considered a public utility and allowed Big Cable to throw us into internet slow lanes.
The good news is that a federal court has ordered a new public opinion period about whether the FCC should stop Big Cable from throwing us into internet slow lanes. But FCC chair Ajit Pai is trying to hide it from us with an obscurely-worded announcement notice, and so far, only a few thousand people have weighed in.
We need to let the FCC know we want a return to net neutrality rules.
ACTION: Follow the link below and type "17-108" in the "proceeding" box. And in the "comment" box, you can write:
I believe that we need a return to the 2015 Open Internet Rule. Net neutrality is critical to closing the digital divide and bringing internet access for all.
Click here to send a comment to the FCC asking for a return to net neutrality.
Arizona Postcard Writing
Lisa and Tom have created an informative video telling you how you can write postcards to new Dem voters in Arizona and help swing that election to the left.
Watch it here!
Still need something to do?
Remote Phone Banking with Grassroots Democrats HQ and Swing Left. There are new opportunities each week. Go to https://academy.swingleft.org/virtual-phone-banking and watch their short video, then sign up to phone bank at the bottom of that page. You may also want to watch other YouTube videos on phone banking. Here's another. (You can find several more by searching YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-Y8kn0G1yg
Once you sign up, you'll receive an instruction sheet which you can view in advance here:
Olympia Indivisible Members TGIF Gathering canceled until further notice.