Weekly Resistance: How to Take Action December 10-16

Greetings from our nation’s lovely capital, gentle readers! While I enjoy the lovely hospitality of the D.C. Metro, I’m thinking about how few of us get an opportunity to see where the proverbial sausage gets made — veggie sausage, that is.

It can create a real sense of distance when you never actually meet the people you vote for, see where they work or watch Congress in session in person — not just on C-SPAN.

If you sometimes wonder if you’re leaving voicemail at the bottom of an abyss, believe me, staffers actually do listen. But if you’re still feeling isolated and remote, this is a great time to connect with friends and set up a recurring date to talk about the issues you care about. Many hands make light work, and you’re surrounded by caring people — so reach out and make some connections!

You can find information on how to contact your officials at all levels of government here. As always, if you haven’t had a chance yet, sign up for our newsletter, and stay up-to-date on the latest!

1. North Carolina’s Election Cannot Stand

Turns out that Republicans are right when they warn about the perils of voter fraud, and you know what they say: They who smelt it, dealt it!

Suspicious activity with absentee ballots in North Carolina has political scientists ringing the fraud alarm. Instead of being certified, the results are under investigation. The state’s GOP says it is open to a new election – though North Carolina Republicans aren’t exactly progressive, so we’ll see what happens.

If you don’t live in North Carolina, and specifically in the 9th district, you don’t have elected officials to hold personally accountable with calls for an investigation. But with states setting up the protocols and systems that will be used in the 2020 election, this is a very good time to remind your state lawmakers that you’re opposed to voter suppression tactics like requiring ID and limiting voting hours. It’s also a good time to call for polling place accessibility and other measures to improve voter turnout.

2. Sound Off for Whales

The Trump administration has approved the use of seismic blasting in the North Atlantic by oil and gas companies. Blasting is tremendously harmful for marine life, including some of my favorite animals: whales.

Historically, officials have nixed proposals like this on the grounds that they posed too great a risk of harm. Now, NOAA is reversing course and claiming that it’s fine as long as whales aren’t within 56 miles — even though evidence suggests these underwater blasts travel much, much further. The process also kills the tiny organisms that whales rely on for food.

With NOAA approval, the opportunity for public comment on proposed action is over — but that doesn’t mean whales are out of options. You can contact your members of Congress and ask them to take action on this issue. In addition, you can call for them to be more proactive about protecting vulnerable ecological resources from exploitation. There’s a reason President Obama wanted to make the North Atlantic a protected area.

3. Fair Pay for Congressional Interns

Pay for Congressional staff — including interns — made headlines last week, as incoming Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shamed lawmakers for their low wages. Internships and other staff jobs can be important springboards for people pursuing careers in politics, including people who are invested in making policy behind the scenes as key staffers — not just lawmakers. Low wages create a barrier to participation for those who aren’t independently wealthy.

Ocasio-Cortez says her interns will make $15 hourly, putting her in the ranks of only a few lawmakers. This is a good time for you to call your lawmakers and find out whether they pay interns an hourly wage or a stipend. Ask for hard numbers, especially in light of the fact that Congress is appropriating more money for this specific purpose. Note that paying people increases diversity and representation, which is good for everyone in Washington and back home.

4. Don’t Let Trump Roll Back Conservation

NOAA wasn’t the only federal agency laying out the red carpet for fossil fuel companies. The EPA wants to roll back rules on carbon emissions, even though pretty much everyone agrees the coal industry is on its way out.

In a fawning press release about Trump’s “energy dominance agenda,” the agency indicated that it would soon be publishing the proposal in the Federal Register to give the public a chance to comment.

The Trump administration also wants to gut habitat protections for the adorably weird sage grouse, because the birds are interfering with oil and gas companies who want to exploit resources in the affected region. The Department of the Interior is only too happy to roll back hard-fought conservation protections that were implemented during the Obama administration. The public will be able to comment via the Federal Register soon.

While you wait for proposals to be published, contact your federal legislators. The Trump administration is trying to do an end-run on the American people by reversing administrative actions, like rules that protect the environment. Congress needs to flex its muscles as part of the checks and balances of government and proactively defend wildlife — because we can’t wait for the next president to decide conservation is a priority.

5. Tell the Pentagon: Check Please!

The Pentagon sometimes seems like a budgetary black box: Congress appropriates billions for this agency every year with surprisingly little oversight — and when people question it, they get waved off with mutterings about “national security.” Well, unsurprisingly, when you give people a lot of money and don’t pay very much attention to what happens next, you end up with trillions of dollars in waste — as we discovered after the agency’s first full audit.

Now, let’s be clear: Audits of large entities, no matter how flawlessly they’re run, will inevitably turn up accounting errors and other issues. After all, the goal of the audit is to identify and correct these problems while laying groundwork for preventing future repeats. But the results of this audit are particularly bad.

Congress needs to know that the American people are not impressed. We want better oversight and accountability for this massive government agency and its operations, for the good of national security and our economic health. Contact your legislators to ask them what they plan to do about these audit results.

Take Action Right Now

Join Care2 members signing petitions about issues that matter.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.

 

Photo credit: Thorsten Schnier/Creative Commons

36 comments

Olivia M
Past Member 3 months ago

thank you

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Lisa M
Lisa M3 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M3 months ago

Thanks.

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Lesa D
Past Member 3 months ago

*PERSIST ~ RESIST ~ REPEAT*

thank you s.e. ...

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Peggy B
Peggy B3 months ago

TYFS

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Emma L
Emma L3 months ago

Thanks

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Ruth S
Ruth S3 months ago

Thanks.

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Ruth S
Ruth S3 months ago

Thanks.

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Marty P
Marty P3 months ago

2...Siesmic blasting in the North Atlantic that threatens already endangered Right Whales and could kill thousands of other marine mammals including dolphins is just another unnecessary and reckless attack on our wildlife by this brain dead administration.

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Paul B
Paul B3 months ago

1. if that is so, then the Orange county election CANNOT STAND. Talk about suspicious.
5. I would support an audit of the entire government. Hillary lost $6B during her term as SoS over just 4 years. The poor accounting exists everywhere. Waste, Fraud, Corruption exist everywhere, regardless of which party is in office, or controls Congress. It is a DC disease and has grown WAY TOO LARGE to be properly controlled.
It surprises me that Dems want to expand the size of an entity that is so poorly managed and filled with bad apples.

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