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Tiny Action: Trump's Latest Nomination Fails

It’s no secret that 45 has nominated a string of frightening candidates to join his administration. While his latest may not be getting top headlines, they are grossly unqualified and, unless Senate blocks them, could take on roles that could create long term damage.

This week, call your Senators and tell them to vote NO on Trump's latest nominees. 

1. Vote NO on the nominations of Brett Talley and Jeff Mateer to lifetime federal judgeships.

“My name is [NAME] and I vote in [state]. I’m calling because I strongly oppose the confirmation of Brett Talley to be a U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Alabama, and I hope that the Senator’s vote reflects the same.  This  lifetime judgeship position should be given to someone with the experience to do the job well, but Mr Talley has never even tried a case in court and was given a unanimous “unqualified” rating by the American Bar Association. This is not someone who has earned a lifetime appointment, and the fact that his vocal extremist ideology seems to be the driving factor in his nomination is very disconcerting.

I’m also calling to oppose the nomination of Jeff Mateer for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Mateer has said he discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation and that he does not believe in the constitutional mandate of separation of church and state. He is an appalling choice for a lifetime judgeship.”

Who are Brett Talley and Jeff Mateer: Of the many ways Talley isn’t qualified for the role, he’s only the fourth judicial nominee since 1989 to receive a unanimous “unqualified” rating by the American Bar Association and has never tried a case in court himself. Talley also pledged his allegiance to the NRA just weeks after Sandy Hook, maintains an array of other extreme conservative viewpoints, and failed to disclose that he’s married to an attorney on Trump’s payroll.  

Mateer, on the other hand, is an experienced constitutional lawyer who has repeatedly insisted that the separation of church and state should not exist. He compared the treatment of Christians in America to that of Jewish people in Nazi Germany. In 2015, he described transgender children as part of “Satan’s plan,” has likened same-sex marriage to people “marrying their pets,” and is an active proponent of dangerous conversion therapy.

Why it matters: Such judgeship appointments rarely make headlines, but it may be the one place the Trump administration has been (quietly) very productive. He’s outpacing Obama and has 145 vacancies to fill -- and he’s filling those seats with very young, very conservative judges. More here and here on how Trump is reshaping the judiciary, perhaps for decades to come.

As for Mateer, considering him for a lifetime judgeship is an attack on both the separation of church and state and on LGBT individuals who remain vulnerable to abuse and discrimination.  

2. Block the confirmation of Kathleen Hartnett White.

“My name is [name] and I vote in [state].  I’m calling to ask the Senator to block the nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White to lead the Council on Environmental Quality. She is a dangerous right-wing climate change denier sponsored by the fossil fuel industry; holds extreme, anti-science views that would lead to damaging environmental policy decisions; and has proven in her recent Senate hearing that she is incapable of discussing even the most basic issues related to climate change. She is absolutely wrong for the role of advising the president on climate-related issues and policy."

Who is KHW: Kathleen Hartnett White is an extreme right-wing climate-denier, senior fellow at the Koch brothers and Exxon-funded Texas Public Policy Foundation, believes carbon dioxide is harmless "plant food," equates belief in climate change to "paganism," and calls solar and wind power "unreliable and parasitic." She also claimed that coal use in the 1800s “dissolved the economic justification for slavery" in the US. She did not do well in her recent Senate hearing.

Why it matters: The role is essentially Trump’s lead advisor on directing environmental policy across agencies, even over EPA head Scott Pruitt. This uninformed, extreme climate-denier could have an oversized and dangerous influence over permit applications for fossil fuel infrastructure projects, like dirty oil pipelines or fracked natural gas export terminals.

3. Stop climate change denier Jim Bridenstine from taking over NASA.

“My name is [name] and I vote in [state].  I’m calling to ask the Senator to block the nomination of Jim Bridenstine to be the next Administrator of NASA. He lacks any qualifications in science and engineering and supports increased privatization of military space activities as well as civilian. Perhaps most alarming is his flat out rejection of the scientific consensus on climate change while criticizing NASA’s spending on climate science research. Bridenstine would be a dangerous lead for the organization  responsible for gathering and analyzing scientific data that is used to create new environmental regulations and related health standards."

Who is Jim Bridenstine: Currently representing Oklahoma’s 1st District, the former Navy pilot has a history of denying basic climate science, introduced legislation that would eliminate Earth science from NASA’s mission statement, supports LGBT discrimination, and defended Trump after the infamous “grab them by the…” recording.

At his recent Senate hearing, in addition to displaying a lack of understanding of what climate change is, Bridenstine said his science-denying, politically polarizing comments came with the job of being a Republican congressman and that he would be apolitical at NASA. There is no reason to believe his change of heart, and his “new views” of climate change remain in line with the harshly anti-science Trump administration -- unequivocally wrong.

Why it matters: Congressman Bridenstine would be the first NASA Administrator to come from a political, and not scientific, background -- a cause for concern from Florida’s Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson. This has been the most anti-science administration in American history, and it began with these same watered-down climate science denial position that Bridenstine took in his hearing. The Trump administration’s actions, combined with Bridenstine’s own history of climate science denial and opposition to NASA’s significant climate science research, should trigger alarm bells for all of us.

As always, our aim is to turn tiny actions into big results, so we hope we can continue to count on your help! Do you have suggestions for our next tiny action? Email info at democratsabroad dot org and let us know.

Tiny Action: GIVE TO WIN needs your help!

We are so grateful for advocacy work of our volunteers each week, standing together with Democrats Abroad to make a difference through our tiny actions.

We are a party of volunteers, all living abroad, and we are made strong by each other. But volunteers are only one part of what makes DA tick. The other, not so obvious bit, are the tools that we use for phone banking, answering questions, reporting on news, advocating issues you care about, and finding the millions of Americans in the billion people we live among. Those tools and outreach efforts are not free, nor are they paid for by anyone except us.

This week, help us GIVE TO WIN. 

Read more

Tiny Action: Help G-O-T-V for the team!

As Democrats, we believe that voting is a fundamental right in America, and that our democracy is stronger when more people participate in our elections, not fewer.

We also believe that each and every election matters -- perhaps now more than ever -- and that’s why we’re asking for all of you to help.  

This week, help us GOTV (get out the vote) among Virginia and New Jersey voters abroad, as well as those who vote in Utah and Alabama, to ensure we do everything we can to help get out the vote in upcoming November special elections (and December in Alabama).

1. Volunteer to call DA voters in key states. It’s easy, it’s scripted, and it is something you can do from home with a free 10 minutes at any time of day.

All you need is an internet connection and a headset/microphone to get started, and we need all the help we can get -- from both new and old phone bank volunteers. There are thousands of DA members who need to hear from us.

2. If you vote in NJ, VA, AL, or parts of UT -- your action is the most important of all because you have VERY IMPORTANT deadlines coming up VERY SOON! Details here.

Waiting until the last day only risks the chance that something will go wrong, so whether it’s time to request your absentee ballot, send it in, or even register to vote (Alabama voters only), PLEASE get moving this week. And be sure to tell us on social media that you’ve done your civic duty!

3. Vote elsewhere? Stay informed and spread the word.

Tell your friends, remind folks at home, and spread the facts about these critical elections and deadlines. And if you vote in any of these states, be sure to check your email -- you may have received an important recent reminder from us about local November elections. NH, MA, ME, MI, MO, MS, SC, WA, OK

As always, our aim is to turn tiny actions into big results, so we hope we can continue to count on your help! Do you have suggestions for our next tiny action? Email us and let us know.


Tiny Action: Women's Health is a Critical Necessity, October 19, 2017

Concerned about government spending, poverty, children’s health, equal pay and equal rights, or graduation rates in America? This week’s Tiny Action is for you, because women’s health and family planning have both a direct and indirect impact on all of the above.

This week, tell Congress that ALL women in America need access to the health care that they need. 


1. Call your Rep to express your outrage over the threat to rollback the contraceptive mandate in the ACA.

“My name is [NAME] and I vote in [zip code]. I’m calling because I am strongly against rolling back the contraceptive mandate in the ACA. Adding more exemptions will erode access to preventative health care for millions of Americans, leading to higher rates of abortions and negatively impacting the economy over the long term by not allowing women to plan for their futures. I demand Congress take immediate actions to ensure all women have affordable access to the healthcare they need, and I ask that you please support the Women’s Health Protection Act (S. 510/H.R.1322).”

What it is: Trump’s rollback of the ACA birth control mandate risks access to birth control coverage for millions of women. Certain organizations are already exempt for religious reasons, but the new rule allows even publicly-traded, for-profit companies to make this decision for employees on the basis of religion or “moral convictions.”

Why it matters: When young, unmarried women first got access to birth control, rates of college-educated women entering professional programs soared. Today, for every ONE public dollar spent on contraception, the government saves $5.68 to $7.09. This is one of the most effective areas of spending in the entire budget, something even conservatives can support.  


2. Call your Senators to oppose a federal 20-week abortion ban.

“My name is [name] and I vote in [zip code]. I'm calling to express my serious opposition to the ‘Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’ (S.1922/H.R. 36) and any similar proposals in the future. A federal 20-week abortion ban is unconstitutional, not based on science, and jeopardizes women's health and physicians' ability to care for patients. Please vote against this bill. These deeply personal and emotional decisions should be between a woman and her doctor and not involve politicians playing games with partisan agendas and junk science. This is why I also ask that you please support the Women’s Health Protection Act (S. 510/H.R. 1322).

What it is: The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would ban abortion after 20 weeks, with the exceptions of rape and incest if reported to authorities. A similar bill recently passed in the house before Lindsay Graham introduced the act in the Senate.

Why it matters: For starters, the claim that a fetus can feel pain that early is pure fiction, and simply taking this claim seriously will have a dangerous impact. This is a medical necessity, not an epidemic of careless women, as Graham and his  45 co-sponsors seem to think. Just 1.3% of abortions take place after 20 weeks and “late term abortions” (those after 24 weeks) are conducted by only four doctors in the entire country.


The truth is, women’s health in America is on the defense. With more than 2,500 pieces of legislation put forward since 2011 and steps that show they’re just getting started, we need your help before the entire country takes the lead of states like Texas: Within five years of slashing budgets and aggressively working to shut down Planned Parenthood, the state has seen steady increases in teen abortions and births, an increase in maternal health spending three times larger than the original budget cut, and the worst maternity mortality rate in the developed world. We must stop this trend before it becomes worse.

As always, our aim is to turn tiny actions into big results, so we hope we can continue to count on your help! Do you have suggestions for our next tiny action? Email info at democratsabroad dot org and let us know.

Tiny Action: Taxation Abroad, Oct 12 2017

For the first time since the 1980’s, Congress stands a chance of moving a comprehensive package of corporate and personal tax reforms to the floor. That’s why we’re proud to share our 2017 non-resident taxation research project and will focus this week’s activity on the issue of residency-based taxation.

Why does this matter? Because we deserve a fair system. Most Americans abroad aren’t millionaires, and staying compliant with US tax filing is costly, even if you don’t have to pay a dime.

This week, review our Tax Reform for Americans Abroad campaign in a box and use the following script to call your Senators and Members of Congress. We also encourage you to use the postcard/letter writing templates found in the campaign document.

My name is _________________ and I vote in your district/state.

I live in [name of country] and like other Americans living abroad I am required to file taxes both in the US and in [name of country]. The IRS forms for declaring foreign income are very complex and the risk of making an error makes preparing the forms very stressful. Many of us pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for help filing the forms that show there is no tax to pay.

Those of us saving for the future are paying tax on the same dollar of income to both the US and our country of residence. Every American abroad (and there are 9 million of us) would like to stop paying twice.

Please support adding a switch from our current system of citizenship-based taxation to residency-based taxation to the tax reform package. If the US had a system of residency-based taxation, like nearly every other nation, then I’d still be required to report my US-based income to the IRS, but not the income I make in and pay tax on to [name of country].

Can I send you a report that profiles the hardship that citizenship-based taxation is causing Americans abroad? I think it makes a very persuasive case that the time is right to change our system to residency-based taxation (**Write down the name, title and email address of the person you’ll send the report to**). Thank you very much for your time and for your support!

Tiny action: Gun Control, Oct 5, 2017

As we continue to closely watch the headlines of the aftermath in Las Vegas, it may come as no surprise that this week’s (not so tiny) Tiny Action focuses on gun control.

This is a complex issue with multiple ways to change policy. We’ve listed a few key actions below.

Call your Senators and tell them to:

  • Support Sen Feinstein’s Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act to ban bump stocks (details), which have already seen sales increase since the Las Vegas massacre.
  • Take this one step further and reinstate the Federal Assault Weapons Ban without a sunset date. Feinstein also led the charge to reinstate the ban, unsuccessfully, in 2013. The ban originally expired in 2004 (more here).
  • Vote NO on S 446, what they call "concealed carry reciprocity" (details).
  • Ensure that the CDC budget allocates funds specifically for research on gun-related deaths and gun violence prevention (here’s why that matters).
  • Consider pointing out the differences you’ve experienced and seen as an American overseas.

Call your Member of Congress and tell them to:

  • Vote NO on the SHARE act, which would make it silencers more accessible and lead to more deaths in mass shootings, legalize armor piercing bullets and force states to recognize concealed carry permits from other states (more from the Democrats Abroad team in Germany, here). This vote was already postponed because of the shooting of Rep Scalise at practice for the Congressional Baseball Game but we expect it is resurfacing soon.
  • Close the loophole that allows private gun sales (including at gun shows) without background checks.
  • Institute universal background checks for ammo and gun buyers, a measure 80% of gun owners support.
  • Remove the Dickey rider from the federal budget and finally allow the CDC to research gun violence prevention.
  • Consider pointing out the differences you’ve experienced and seen as an American overseas.

Tell your Governor to:

  • Ban 30 round mags and enact magazine restrictions, because states with magazine restrictions are associated with fewer mass shooting events (explanation of correlation here).
  • Consider pointing out the differences you’ve experienced and seen as an American overseas.

Fighting the naysayers? Here are 17 charts and graphs that may help.

Tell us your universal healthcare story - Tiny Action for September 27

The vast majority of Americans abroad support universal health care, because millions of us have experienced it first hand. Many of us have our own story to tell about our coverage. Do you?

Share your story on our site now.

(Or email and tell us why you support universal health care)

As an American abroad, your stories provide Senate Dems first-person evidence of what is possible for America’s health care system: quality healthcare that is affordable and available for everyone. 

We’ll share your stories with Congress to highlight the fact that quality health care can be affordable and available for everyone.

For anyone who has already shared your health care stories with us, thank you! Please ask your friends to share their story too.

Republicans believe the U.S. can't afford quality healthcare for every person. Democrats Abroad know we can't afford to live without it — because so many of us have seen the difference, first hand.

Tiny Action for the week of September 20

The Republican Senate is trying to push through a new health care bill spearheaded by Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, and they are moving FAST. A floor vote before September 30th would only require a simple majority.

We need to stop them in their tracks.

Call AND email your Senators and express your opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill. You can find their contact details at https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/.

If your Senators are Democrats, let them know how you feel, but also call the key Senators who have previously shown their opposition but may be wavering under incredible party pressure:

Organizations are also encouraging you to put pressure on: 

Talking Points:         

  • It is a cruel proposal that increases health care costs and decreases coverage.
  • It drastically cuts Medicaid funding (by one third) and since states will have block grant authority, it will leave millions high and dry.
  • It rolls back protections for people with pre-existing conditions, one of the most popular attributes of the Affordable Care Act.
  • It eliminates help for poor families to buy health insurance.
  • It is worse for women's health than all previous ACA repeal bills, defunding Planned Parenthood forever, allowing insurance companies to provide plans that don’t cover maternity care, and providing the federal government with a new way to restrict abortion access at the state level.
  • It allows insurance companies to charge older customers 5 times more than young customers.
  • It gives the wealthiest Americans a 1% tax cut.

After you've called, please post on your social media feed and ask your friends to call too.  

Looking to do more on this issue?

To have your health care story featured on our website and in a collection we'll be sharing with congress, go here.

To help call voters in critical states to encourage them to pressure their Senators, visit Indivisible's international volunteer page, here. Standard rates apply, so you'll want to use a VoIP service such as Skype. 

If you missed our tiny action last week, you'll notice a few changes from our earlier activity. Instead of sharing multiple actions once a month, we'll be posting ONE action, weekly. As always, our aim is to turn tiny actions into big results, so we hope we can continue to count on your help! Do you have suggestions for our next tiny action? Email us, info at democratsabroad dot org.

Tiny Action for the Week of September 13

Climate change isn't a political issue. It's a reality. And while climate change doesn't cause hurricanes, scientists say it makes the impact of these devastating storms much worse.

This week's Tiny Action: Tell Congress to support the EPA's biggest action ever on climate change – the Clean Power Plan. Template and tools to write directly to your MoC through the League of Conservation Voters, here: http://bit.ly/2h30Omi

Looking for more ways to stay informed and involved? Check out our recent webinar with Karla Raettig, Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters: https://www.facebook.com/DemsAbroad/videos/10155655894173899/

If you've followed our monthly tiny action updates, you'll notice a few changes. Starting today, instead of receiving multiple actions once a month, we'll be posting ONE action, weekly. As always, our aim is to turn tiny actions into big results, so we hope we can continue to count on your help! Do you have suggestions for our next tiny action? Email us, info at democratsabroad dot org.

Monthly Tiny Actions, August 2017

As the weeks go by, we continue to hit low after low after low, like some sort of speed limbo contest in which we are all losers:

  • Congress narrowly avoids cutting off 21 million people from access to affordable health insurance, yet has thrown the insurance market for next year into such disarray that millions will nevertheless be negatively affected;
  • the President threatens to exclude thousands of honorable trans* service members from the military;
  • special prosecutor Robert Mueller empanels a grand jury in the investigation on Russian collusion with the Trump campaign;
  • Guamanians are seen as little more than a bargaining chip in a nuclear race to the button with North Korea;
  • but perhaps the newest low was on display at this weekend’s rally in Charlottesville, VA, where the ugly face of white supremacy in modern America, wearing polo shirts and carrying automatic rifles and tiki torches, was given a gloss of respectability by the White House itself.

Do you shudder to think where we would be if there were no Presidential golf vacation or Congressional recess?! Take action, but then take a break! We resisters too need time to recharge for the onslaught that certainly faces us come the return to Washington desks in September. We’ve kept the suggestions short and sweet this month; here just five, five-minute ideas to support our efforts that you can do from home or your hotel room:

If you've got FIVE MINUTES:

  • Join our global vigil against hate. Make a sign, take a picture with the sign, share with us on social media or reply with your picture to this email. #DAresists #Charlottesville

  • Register for this week’s DA speaker series webinar with Tom Hicks of the Election Assistance Commission. Tom will speak with us about voter rights and suppression tactics facing US voters today.

  • Send your mayor, governor, Congress, or the President a postcard on protecting America’s Dreamers under DACA, on preserving funding for the EAC and the State Department, on maintaining the standards set in the Paris Climate Agreement, or to dis/approve of their votes on Trumpcare. You’ll find our postcard scripts on these and other urgent topics here.

  • Help us out with our upcoming social media campaigns -- take a photo (or six) with our Resistance Summer issue posters (download here) and send them by email to comms@democratsabroad.org.

  • Email your U.S. Representative and ask him/her to cosponsor H.R. 2710, the Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act. This non-controversial bill would have the federal government assess how U.S. laws impact the civilian community of Americans abroad. Find our email and calling scripts here.

We thank you in advance for your time and for reaching out to those around you to amplify your own efforts. As always, forward this message to anyone you think may like to join us.

To take back Congress, we’re gearing up for a full year of GOTV in 2018 and will be launching our popular global auction fundraiser this fall to aid our efforts. Do you have something you could donate to help us reach our funding target? One of the most popular items in the past has been time in a vacation home or a guest stay in [your] exotic location. If you have any questions about the auction, send them to Owen at dag-chair@democratsabroad.org.

And if you’re still too busy this month to help out, perhaps you’d consider sending a donation our way to cover the stamp on another member’s postcard to Congress? Every little bit helps.