Dept of Justice releases indictments against Russian and American individuals and several companies that interfered with US elections

Breaking news as of 2:30 PM, Friday, Feb 16.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein held a press conference on Friday afternoon to announce special counsel indictments of Russian firms and individuals who interfered in the 2016 election. Included in the indictment were the Internet Research Agency, also known as Glavset, an organization based in St. Petersburg that specializes in creating fake accounts on social media and generating false news stories supported by pop-up fake news sites.

According to the charges the defendants not only posed as U.S. citizens while operating social media pages and groups designed to impact the election, but some of them traveled to the United States in the process to collect information and …

Some defendants, posing as US persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign …

The indictments include a charge of “conducting information warfare against the United States” along with charges connected to a conspiracy.

The conspiracy had as its object impairing, destructing, and defeating the lawful governmental functions of the United States by dishonest means, in order to enable the Defendants to interfere with US political and electoral processes, including the 2016 presidential election.

Here is a link to the 37-page indictment.

We will post more information later.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to claim Russian meddling in our elections is “a hoax . . . a witch hunt.”

Action items for the week of February 4 – 11, 2018

FIRST ACTION ITEM:  Contact the FBI, tell them you support them, not Trump.

The attacks on the FBI by Congressional Republicans and by the Trump White House are just another in a series of attacks on our fundamental national institutions.  Anyone who cares about this nation should be appalled at these actions.

What can you do?  Try this.

FIRST.  Call and write your local FBI office, tell them you have faith in their professionalism and integrity.

Richmond VA FBI office:

Address:  111 Greencourt Rd, Richmond, VA 23228
Phone:  (804) 261-1044

SECOND.  Make a donation to the FBI Agents Association College Memorial Fund.

THIRD.  Contact your Congressional representative and demand that he/she denounce Rep. Nunes and the Trump White House for their attacks on the FBI.  Follow up by submitting your letter as a letter to the editor of your local paper.

 

Americans of Conscience Action Checklist

Week of February 4, 2018

A special request
Next week’s checklist will suggest sending valentines to show some love to specific people. If you have the time and resources, consider picking up (or making) 10-20 valentines for next Sunday. This might be a great activity for crafty kids and teens.
​​​​​​​

64 weeks down, 40 weeks to mid-term elections.


This checklist features clear, hype-free actions for Americans who value democracy, equality, voting, and decency. Additionally, we practice gratitude, self-care, and celebration to stay engaged. Urgent actions are highlighted in yellow.


This is the first week the Research Sous Chef volunteers contributed to the checklist. I’m so grateful for their time, patience, and diligent work. We—all of us—are stronger together.

I value equality.

Out of many, we are one. Stand with your rainbow of neighbors from every religion, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, age, and ability.


Action: Stand with people at risk of religion-based discrimination.


Call: Your 2 senators and 1 House rep.

Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling about the US Dept. of Health and Human Services new division that condones discrimination against our own citizens. The denial of medical treatment is unconscionable and risks our neighbors’ lives. I don’t want providers who discriminate to receive governmental compensation. Can you tell me what [name] is doing to address this?

Bonus: Donate to Lambda Legal which represents people affected by this new HHS policy.


Action: Stand with Dreamers who call America home.


Call: Your two senators and one House representative. A deal is near.

Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] about the president’s anti-immigrant agenda. People who immigrate to the U.S. from other countries bring new jobs, create new business, and enrich our communities. I want [name] to support the Dream Act (S.1615/H.R. 3440), family unification, and no funding for a wasteful wall or surplus border staffing. Thank you.


Action: Stand with at-risk pregnant women and young families to ensure health.


Call: Your 2 senators. (This bill already passed in the House.)

Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling to ask Sen. [name] to support S. 1829 and reauthorize funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. This voluntary, evidence-based program has shown strong returns on investment for individual families and society more broadly. Will s/he commit to restoring funding and supporting our vulnerable neighbors?


Action: Stand with Black Americans by advocating for slavery history education.


Write: Your local school board.

Script: Dear Board of Ed., For Black History Month this year, I would like the board to consider evaluating the current curriculum for America’s history of slavery. Recent research by the Southern Poverty Law Center showed that the average high school senior cannot answer basic questions about this painful period in our country’s history. Please review the SPLC’s report and consider the importance of preparing our students for leadership. Thank you. https://www.splcenter.org/teaching-hard-history-american-slavery


Action: Stand with Americans who are poor, disabled, and/or unable to work.


Find: Virginia’s Medicaid director’s address:

Department of Medical Assistance Services
Attn: Director’s Office
600 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Email:  Info@dmas.virginia.gov

Director:  Dr.  Jennifer Lee

Write: Dear [Name], I am deeply concerned about the CMS letter on 1/12/18 allowing states to deny medical care to vulnerable citizens. With a majority of Medicaid enrollees already working, in school, or medically unable to work, compliance enforcement is an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money. We must take care of our neighbors in need. This new policy penalizes people living in poverty and with disabilities, cutting them off from a powerful poverty-reducing program. I entreat you to continue providing Medicaid to all [Staters] who need it. Thank you for your consideration. Name, town.


I value secure, convenient voting and fair elections.

Democracy thrives when all citizens can freely elect those who represent their values.


Action: Oppose using the inaccurate, unsecure Crosscheck system in your state.

Search: Virginia uses the Crosscheck system .

Write:  Virginia State Electoral Board.

Washington Building
1100 Bank Street, First Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

Script: Dear [name], I am a resident of [town] and am writing to request that [State] become the 9th state to exit the Interstate Crosscheck System. Its history of purging legitimate voters, leaking citizens’ data–including social security numbers–and creating fraud false-positives jeopardizes an essential tenet of our democracy: the vote. Please serve your state by choosing a more secure, less-partisan option. Thank you.

Action: Get ready for the 2018 election. Make a note of your state’s next primary.

Search: Virginia will hold primary elections on June 12, 2018

Record: The primary date in your calendar, set a reminder, and add the national election too (Nov 6).


I value showing respect to all people, no matter where they were born.

People who immigrate to the US make our country stronger and build our economy. As our neighbors and as fellow human beings, they are entitled to basic respect and compassion.


Action: New action to stand with Salvadoran dads separated from their children by ICE and CBP.


Update: The work of Pueblo Sin Fronteras (Town Without Borders)  has led to a tiny ray of hope for reuniting asylum-seeking dads and their children. In collaboration with the legal advocacy group Al Otro Lado (To the Other Side), PSF is raising funds to post bond and reunite all four dads with their children.

We can help: Read their story, donate if you can, and share widely.


Action: Oppose an invasive new ICE program of tracking license plates.

Call: Your 2 senators and 1 House rep.

Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] to express my concern about ICE’s plans to install license plate readers to track and photograph US citizens and immigrants. I understand that [name] is limited in impacting this department’s practices, but this technology risks violating citizens’ privacy and increasing anxiety in our communities. This is not the direction I want for my country. What can [name] do to reign in ICE overreach?

Acts of Gratitude

Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.


Note: Next week, we’ll be sending valentines. If you have the time and means, purchase or make 10-20 valentines for next Sunday’s checklist.


Thank Sheriff Stacey A. Kincaid (D-VA) for terminating an agreement with ICE to hold inmates beyond the duration of their jail sentences to enable possible deportation. I am also grateful that ICE must now produce a court-issued criminal detainer to hold any person. I appreciate your decision to respect and protect the precious few rights of undocumented people. Name, State, Party

Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22030


Thank Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) for her commitment to bipartisanship and dialog. I’m especially grateful for your recent efforts to gather senators of both parties and find a solution to keep 800,000 Dreamers stateside. In times of increasing polarization, your leadership is even more remarkable. Thank you. Name, State, Party

Address: 68 Sewall Street, Room 507, Augusta, ME 04330


Thank Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) for continuing to advocate for funding community health centers across the US. I appreciate your commitment to supporting this vital resource and urging Congress to care for their neighbors. Name, State, Party

Address: 2000 Market Street, Suite 610, Philadelphia, PA 19103


Thank Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) for signing a petition to add a measure restoring voting rights to formerly-incarcerated people to the Florida ballot . Thank you for recognizing that the right to vote is not a partisan issue, and for working to enfranchise Floridians who have become contributing members of society. I’m grateful you believe in second chances. Name, State, Party

Address: 12851 SW 42nd Street, Suite 131, Miami, FL 33175


Thank Scott Pruitt (R) for choosing to protect the world’s largest salmon habitat in Bristol Bay, AK, to ensure the livelihood of the fishing industry, and to uphold the highest environmental standards in mining. I am deeply grateful. Name, State, Party

Address: ℅ EPA, Office of the Administrator 1101A, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20460


Thank Netherlands Ambassador Henne Schuwer for sharing information with the CIA and NSA about Russian interference in American elections. As an American who values the integrity of free and fair elections, I thank your government for its support of our citizens and revealing this information for investigation. Name, State

Address: Netherlands Embassy, 4200 Linnean Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

Recommended reading

Thought-provoking, in-depth reading that’s worth your time.

  • Calling out racism effectively, and why it’s good for your health (WaPo).
  • How wobbly is our democracy? (NY Times)

Good news

Decent people everywhere are speaking up, doing good, and working together.


National

States

  • Two Alabama Republicans introduce a law that would abolish civil forfeiture before criminal conviction, allowing citizens to keep their private property until proven guilty.
  • A Mississippi school bans corporal punishment.
  • The US Senate failed to take away women’s reproductive choices and criminalize health care providers.

Industry

Local

Heartwarming

Call the FBI

The attacks on the FBI by Congressional Republicans and by the Trump White House are just another in a series of attacks on our fundamental national institutions.

Anyone who cares about this nation should be appalled at these actions.

What can you do?  Try this.

FIRST.  Call and write your local FBI office, tell them you have faith in their professionalism and integrity.

Richmond VA FBI office:

Address:  111 Greencourt Rd, Richmond, VA 23228
Phone:  (804) 261-1044

SECOND.  Make a donation to the FBI Agents Association College Memorial Fund.

THIRD.  Contact your Congressional representative and demand that he/she denounce Rep. Nunes and the Trump White House for their attacks on the FBI.  Follow up by submitting your letter as a letter to the editor of your local paper.

February 1, 2018: Trump administration continues assault on our nation’s institutions

Another day, another onslaught of Trump attacks on the things that make America great — the rule of law, respect for native peoples and their land, experienced people in government service.  Trump is out to destroy each of these.

In the State Dept, top diplomats continue to resign in response to treatment by Trump administration

The U.S. State Department’s third-ranking official, Tom Shannon, is stepping down from his post, the department said on Thursday, becoming the latest senior diplomat to exit since President Donald Trump took office a year ago.

Shannon, who serves as under secretary of state for political affairs, is the top U.S. career diplomat and has been a fixture among the nation’s diplomatic ranks during more than 34 years of service. In a letter to department staff, Shannon, 60, said he was resigning for personal reasons.

His departure deprives the State Department of a seasoned veteran at a time of pressing diplomatic concerns including the threat posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea.

Tillerson in November said he was offended by claims that the State Department was being hollowed out under Trump, saying it was functioning well despite scathing criticism from former American diplomats including Nicholas Burns and Ryan Crocker.

The forcing out of many senior diplomats, the failure to nominate or to win Senate confirmation for officials to fill key agency roles, and a perception that Tillerson is inaccessible have eroded morale, according to current officials.

Trump to allow 19th century style land rush to destroy precious national monuments on Native American land

Despite protests from conservationists, local tribe leaders, Democratic lawmakers, and even the United Nations’ expert on indigenous rights, at 6am on Friday the Trump administration will allow citizens and companies to start staking claims on sections of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah so the new stakeholders can conduct hard rock mining on the formerly protected lands.

“It is outrageous to witness the dismantling of the Bears Ears national monument, in what constitutes a serious attack on indigenous peoples’ rights in the United States,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Tauli-Corpuz noted that the previous administration’s decision to create the monument “protected thousands of sacred sites which are central to the preservation of regional Native culture,” and warned President Donald Trump’s December decision to reduce Bears Ears’ area by about 85 percent “exposes thousands of acres of sacred lands and archaeological sites to the threats of desecration, contamination, and permanent destruction.”

This is just another example of Trump’s disdain for people who are not white and rich like him.

Trump admits the Nunes memo is an attempt to destroy the FBI

Sources are telling CNN that President Donald Trump is championing a controversial memo written by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) as a way to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“In phone calls last night and over the past days, Trump has told friends he believes the memo would expose bias within the agency’s top ranks and make it easier for him to argue the Russia investigations are prejudiced against him,” CNN writes, citing two sources.

CNN’s sources also claim that the president is plotting for ways to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel last year after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from handling the Russia probe.

“Another person said Trump is so frustrated with the Russia investigation and, in turn, Rosenstein that he may look for any opportunity to build a case for Rosenstein’s firing,” CNN reports. “He could argue that Rosenstein failed to scrutinize the information initially used to request the warrant and therefore didn’t do his due diligence.”

The FBI on Wednesday issued an extraordinary statement slamming the Nunes memo as based on cherry-picked intelligence and called its conclusions misleading. Despite this, the president is still expected to release the memo.

First District Democratic Candidates’ Forum

The four Democratic candidates for Virginia’s First District Congressional seat will appear at a candidates’ forum where they will address the audience and answer questions.

BE THERE!!!

First Congressional District Democratic Candidates’ Forum

Thursday, Feb 15

6-7:30 PM

St. Clare Walker Middle School

6814 General Puller Hwy

Locust Hill VA

Candidates:

  • Edwin Santana — Stafford County
  • Ryan Sawyers — Prince William County
  • John Suddarth — Hanover County
  • Vangie Williams — King George County

Moderator:  Sheila Crowley

Send questions for consideration to:  midpendems@gmail.com

Action items, Jan 28 – Feb 2

Follow this link to the Indivisible Page for action items for the week of Jan 28 – Feb 2.

Notice that Rob Wittman voted to deport DACA Dreamers.  We need to call, email, fax, and write Wittman with our disapproval.  Go to this page,  scroll down to the big yellow circle DREAM KILLERS, click on that, scroll down to U.S. HOUSE where you will find Rob Wittman.

Use the suggested script for calling his office.

Contact information for Wittman is here.

Indivisible National Strategic Planning Event, Houston, April 6-8, 2018

This is a reminder that early-bird registration is now active for attending the strategic planning event with other Indivisible leaders from across the country. In surveys, you shared that you want to come together across local and state lines to discuss and decide how to work better together to achieve our common goals. This is our chance to do just that.

To ensure that we cover the full costs of the venue, the early bird registration price is $69. We are hoping to reach our goal of 150 registrations – which is the number we need to fund the venue – by the end of this Monday so that we can secure the venue while it is still available. If we do not reach 150, we cannot put on the event and would then refund all registrations.

The event will be held in Houston on April 6-8, 2018. To register for the event now and help us secure the funds to book the venue, please click the link below and pay your registration fee:

Register for the Event Now!

 

If you want to attend the event but feel that you have challenges in making a commitment to be there, please feel free to reach out to me to see if we can help in any way.

For more information about the goals and plans for the event, please also watch the conference call and PowerPoint presentation that was held last year by clicking the link below.

Watch the Presentation

If you have further questions about the event after watching the presentation, including questions related to the issue of being able to afford attendance, you can also click the FAQs link below to see if your questions are answered there. Or you can send me an email with any questions that are not covered. I will be updating the FAQs as I receive new questions.

Email to:  indivisiblestrategy@gmail.com

See FAQs

To register, please click the link below to join your fellow Indivisible leaders for what will be an exciting, moving, and results-oriented event.

Register for the Event Now!

 

1st District Progressives Meeting: New location

1st Congressional District Progressive Meeting

Saturday, January 27, 12:00 Noon – 2:30 PM

Ashland Coffee and Tea; 100 N Railroad Avenue, Ashland VA

We need to come together as one district to learn about our candidates & find unified solutions to 2018 election challenges.

We request the attendance of progressive/liberal groups from all over the Virginia First Congressional District.

Ryan Sawyers, Edwin Santana, John Suddarth and Vangie Williams will be attending.
Format/Topics:
1) Introductions of groups & their current projects
2) Candidate introductions
3) Workshops covering topics such as:
– Growing progressive group size
– Improving participation
– Raising money
– Improving communication/collaboration.
– Improving voter turnout (specific to VACD1)
– Opportunities for marketing/advertising (crowdsourced ads?, etc).
4) Training:
– Advanced canvassing tips/strategies.
– Basics of MiniVan (bring your smartphone/tablet). WiFi available.

Upcoming meetings

Next meeting:

Sunday, January 21, 1 – 4 PM, Northumberland Public Library, Heathsville VA.

Lexi Coburn from the national organization is traveling to us from North Carolina to provide training.  Let’s honor her commitment of time with our attendance.

1st Congressional District Progressive Meeting

Saturday, January 27, 12:00 Noon – 2:30 PM

Mechanicsville Library; 7461 Sherwood Crossing Place, Mechanicsville VA 23111

We need to come together as one district to learn about our candidates & find unified solutions to 2018 election challenges.

We request the attendance of progressive/liberal groups from all over the Virginia First Congressional District.

Ryan Sawyers, Edwin Santana, John Suddarth and Vangie Williams will be attending.
Format/Topics:
1) Introductions of groups & their current projects
2) Candidate introductions
3) Workshops covering topics such as:
– Growing progressive group size
– Improving participation
– Raising money
– Improving communication/collaboration.
– Improving voter turnout (specific to VACD1)
– Opportunities for marketing/advertising (crowdsourced ads?, etc).
4) Training:
– Advanced canvassing tips/strategies.
– Basics of MiniVan (bring your smartphone/tablet). WiFi available.

Location: Mechanicsville Library Conference Hall @ 7416 Sherwood Crossing Place, Mechanicsville, VA 23111 (may change due to size of group).