Really, A Gun Raffle?

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Your DGB for this weekend is to criticize Kansas congressional candidate Tyler Tannahill’s gun raffle.

In unsurprising news, GOP candidate Tyler Tannahill kicked off his campaign on February 13th with an AR-15 giveaway contest. The following day, the Parkland shooting took place, reigniting a national conversation about gun control. If you guessed Tannahill’s campaign pulled the contest in light of events, we regret to inform you of your misplaced faith in humanity. They are full speed ahead and see no issue with their actions.

Contact him through his Facebook campaign page, @TannahillTweets, or by phone or email. If you’re comfortable with it, also feel free to sign up to win the weapon. With any luck, we may be able to derail the entire giveaway with ineligible and uninterested entries clogging up the drawing process.

 

#DGB #TBT Don’t Let Congress Gut the ADA

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Your DGB for this Throwback Thursday is to contact your senators and tell them to vote no on H.R. 620, a bill that would gut the Americans with Disabilities Act.

We’ve written about H.R. 620 before. This legislation would allow businesses to ignore the needs of disabled Americans until and unless those Americans jump through a bunch of hoops and beg for accomodation. That runs contrary to the whole purpose of the ADA and is not how a civilized nation cares for its citizens. Last Thursday, this wretched bill passed the House and is now headed to the Senate.

We urge you to call, write, or use Resistbot to contact your senators and urge them in the strongest possible terms not to vote in favor of H.R. 620.

 

Resistbot to the Rescue

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Your DGB for today is to fire up Resistbot and get some information about your local reps.

Resistbot is here once again to help us grab back. If you text NRA to 50409 (Resistbot) it will return a message telling you how much blood money the NRA paid to support your local representatives. If they received gun funds, it will help you generate a Tweet asking them to donate the money. If you are a luddite like some of us here at DGB and still can’t handle the Twitter, just copy and paste the message into an email, a Facebook post, a Word document or copy it down in longhand using your quill pen.

Fair warning: the results may surprise you! Remember that Shame Bell we had you ring last week? Democrats are guilty of this too.

Let’s get murder money out of our democracy!

 

Contributing our Thoughts and Prayers

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Your DGB for today is to send campaign contributions to the politicians that  have received money from the NRA, in the amount of thoughts and prayers.

 

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We clearly can’t compete with the NRA’s contributions, but surely politicians like Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz must be running low on thoughts and prayers, so why not just send them some. You can follow our above sample letter, or make up your own. Be sure to add in the amount of donations they have received from the NRA which you can find here: https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=d000000082

We are tired of being held hostage by the NRA and our inept government. Hopefully these thoughts and prayers will give politicians the moral support they need to finally do the right thing, enact smart gun regulations and start protecting the children of this country. And if they don’t, we will be donating actual dollars to the people running against them in the coming elections.

 

 

Disarm Your Mutual Funds

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Your DGB for today is to check your mutual funds (should you own any) for their investment in gun manufacturing. 

Simply enter the name of the fund or its ticker symbol, and the site will tell you how many stocks in that fund are gun-related, and what percentage of the fund they comprise. A link to the fund’s SEC filings will tell you even more. Go a step further and enter the amount of money you have invested in the fund, and the site will calculate how much of your money is invested in gun or ammo manufacturing. Armed with this data, you can make an informed decision about how and where to invest your family’s dough.

This country’s sick obsession with guns has got to stop, and we must address it from every angle. Those of us in a position to do so need to invest wisely and ethically.

 

Shut Down White Supremacist Candidates

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Your DGB for today is to make note of these white supremacists running for office this year and support the candidate(s) running against them.

The article will be updated as the year goes on, so check back in. The list currently includes:

 

John Abarr is what nonsense looks like in human form. He appears to be running as a Democrat in Montana’s 21st house district after multiple failed political bids as a Republican.

 

Sean Donahue of Pennsylvania was convicted last year of making terrorist threats, although he is somehow not from any of the countries included in any incarnation of Trump’s travel ban.

 

Arthur Jones of Illinois will be the only Republican candidate on the ballot in the third congressional district, despite being a raving lunatic. Other candidates in the race can be found here.

 

Paul Nehlen of Wisconsin is running against Speaker Ryan for his house seat. Shockingly, out of all the Pauls running in this primary, Ryan is the lesser evil. Let that sink in.

 

Although these clowns’ runs are mostly considered long shot campaigns, we should never discount fringe candidates outright based on the unbelievability of their platform/behavior. We all know that can end badly. So badly.

 

#DGB #TBT Guns

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Your DGB for this Throwback Thursday is to see this Grab and this one and this one and also this one. Oh, and this one and this one and this one.

There have been eighteen school shootings in US schools in the seven weeks of 2018, eight of them resulting in injury or death. DGB has written about gun control activism many times, with blood donation thrown in for good measure because it’s not a matter of “if”, but rather when and where this will happen again. This is the worst kind of Throwback: a preventable nightmare that just keeps repeating itself in a macabre loop of thoughts and prayers and dead children.

DGB staff are all moms. Moms who woke up today and sent our children to school without knowing with absolute certainty if we’d see them again. We no longer know how to even write about this; our hearts and minds frozen in fear and desperation.

 

Obama Official Portraits

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Your DGB for today is to check out the artists of, and symbolism in, the Obamas’ recently unveiled official portraits.

Much like everything they do, the Obamas chose carefully and well when it came time to decide who would be painting their official portraits. They both selected Black artists with a body of work that included rich, colorful and interesting paintings of their chosen subjects. The Obamas’ portraits will stand out for a number of reasons notwithstanding their amazing subject matter.

President Obama’s portrait was created by Black contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley. You can find a biography, show schedule and an online gallery of his work, here. Michelle Obama also chose a Black contemporary artist in Amy Sherald. More about her and a gallery of her work, here.

Both paintings are rife with meaning and symbolism, important to both the Obama’s personally and Black Americans. Please honor that by learning more about those messages. You can start here and here.

Continue to recognize Black History Month by celebrating our favorite President and First Lady’s amazing portraits.

 

Betsy DeVos: Biggest Bully Around

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Your DGB for today is to contact the Department of Education and tell them to stop bullying transgender students.

In our daily dump of terrible news from the Trump administration, we learned today that the Department of Education is no longer going to investigate complaints against schools who refuse to allow transgender students to use the restroom of their choice.

We want you to contact Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education and tell them it is their job to prevent bullying in school, not to be the bullies. You can call or email them and find their contact information here: https://www2.ed.gov/about/contacts/gen/index.html. We are also big fans of public shaming, so spread the word on social media and let them know we won’t stand for this on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Teaching Hard History: Slavery

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Your DGB for today is to take this short quiz on the history of slavery in the United States. We’re just warning you - unless you had an extraordinary history teacher or went out of your way to learn about it outside of class, you’re unlikely to score well. American slavery is not a subject well-covered in most classrooms, and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Teaching Tolerance” project wants to change that. As they say, “[Most] students lack a basic knowledge of the important role it played in shaping the United States and the impact it continues to have on race relations in America.” We can’t really hope to dismantle white supremacy if we don’t fully understand our history.

After completing the quiz, you’ll be directed to resources for both students and teachers on how to fill in these knowledge gaps, including a report on the state of American education in this area and a suggested curriculum. We strongly encourage you to check out the section on primary sources from the era.

At DGB, we think it’s never too late to go back to school… unless it’s “mystery meat” day in the cafeteria. Okay, then - pack a brown bag lunch, sharpen your pencils, and open your test booklets to page one.

 

Things That Are Bad

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Your DGB for this weekend is to help the head of the EPA navigate the murky waters of facts.

Scott Pruitt, who we can safely assume did not obtain a degree in any sciences before he tripped and fell into politics, recently had this to say about Climate Change:

 

“I think there’s assumptions made that because the climate is warming, that that necessarily is a bad thing.”

 

And we all know what they say about assuming based on hypotheses proven by objective and verifiable observation, right? Those are facts.

Here are some examples of other empirically bad things you can Tweet at the EPA Administrator:

 

.@EPAScottPruitt I think there’s assumptions made that because cancer has spread, that that necessarily is a bad thing.

 

.@EPAScottPruitt I think there’s assumptions made that because a parachute doesn’t open, that that necessarily is a bad thing.

 

.@EPAScottPruitt I think there’s assumptions made that because you were hit by a car, that that necessarily is a bad thing.

 

 

Out With John Kelly

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Your DGB for today is to demand White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s resignation.

White House staffer Rob Porter resigned yesterday, after reports that he abused both of his ex wives surfaced Tuesday. He’s a piece of shit and no one is surprised, least of all Senior White House staff. They’ve known since LAST FALL. Not only that, but they both defended him and expanded his role since then.

John Kelly’s statement on the matter included this passage:

"Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can't say enough good things about him.”

And here’s a photo of what Porter did to wife Colbie Holderness in 2005:

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Kelly doesn’t get to stick around after this. Let @PressSec on Twitter know it’s time for him to resign.

 

Watch A Movie

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February is Black History Month in the U.S. and we would like you to break from white washing and white centering. Today we want you to watch a movie made by, for, about, and starring Black people. Luckily there are dozens of great options and most are available via a streaming service. So check out these lists to find one that intrigues you, pop up some popcorn and celebrate Black artistry.

 

From Huffington Post: 29 Classic Movies to Watch in Honor of Black History Month.

From NYT: 28 Days, 28 Films for Black History Month.

From Buzzfeed: 21 Movies You Need to Watch During Black History Month.

 

We Want a DACA Bill and We Want It Now

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Your DGB for today is to contact your Congressmen and Congresswomen and demand we pass a bill for DACA recipients asap.

Last week we asked you to share the stories of Dreamers with your friends and families and anyone in your social media circle. We hoped that this would break down some of the rhetoric that the right had been spewing when they started referring to Dreamers as “illegals.” This week, we need you to go a step further and demand a DACA. We wish we could demand a clean DACA bill, and we can definitely ask for one, but it’s not looking like we will get one. The current bill being tossed around by John McCain and Chris Coons doesn’t hit on Trump’s demands. He wants funding for his archaic wall and an end to family-based immigration, which is actually the reason Donald Trump is even here to begin with. Trump’s very own grandfather, Friedrich Trump, immigrated here in 1885 to join his sister. And that’s not even the only case of “chain migration” in his family. HIS MOM came to the U.S. in 1930, as an unskilled worker from Scotland, to live with her sister who was already here. If Trump were president back when his Opa were trying to come to America, neither his grandpa, nor his mother would have been able to make it. They would have been blocked because of Trump’s desire to ban “chain migration” and because they were both unskilled workers they wouldn’t have made it on the “merit-based immigration” Trump is looking for. Germany and Scotland didn’t send their best.

The bill isn’t perfect, but is does protect Dreamers and is a companion piece to a bill being shared in the House of Representatives that they think has the votes. This new bill also allows for a path to citizenship and we fully support that. And DACA expires in less than a month, so use Resistbot, call, snap, tweet, or drop on by your congress members office and tell them you support Dreamers, and so do the vast majority of Americans, we’re talking like 80+%. And could they pretty please hurry up and pass a bill so we don’t have to read stories of Dreamers’ families being torn apart. The daily news cycle is terrible enough already.  

 

Your Black Friend

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Your DGB for today is to check out this animated short about what it feels like to be a white person’s Black friend. If you’re white, perhaps it will make you more sensitive to your friends of color and what they go through on a daily basis. If you’re Black, hopefully it will make you feel seen and heard.

Upworthy both summarizes and expands upon the video here with “Seven Things Black People Want Their Well-Meaning White Friends to Know.” Like the short, it is aimed at white people who feel they are both friends and allies to Black people, but still have blind spots that need addressing. As the article says, “You’re going to have to get uncomfortable.”

Confronting your own racism and privilege is tough, but it’s not nearly as bad as what Your Black Friend puts up with. Tune in and learn how to be a better friend.

 

Articles About Articles of Impeachment

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Your DGB for this weekend is to share an impeachment piece with your circle.

We aren’t even getting into the original crimes Trump is trying to sweep under a very expensive rug. We’ll leave that to Mueller. There’s plenty of evidence publicly available to impeach on Obstruction of Justice alone.  Is talk of impeachment preliminary? Maybe. We’ve been daydreaming about it since the beginning of The Dark Time, but DGB staff consumes a lot of political media. Not everyone in your circle of family and friends has the time or the disregard for their own sanity necessary to keep up to date on political news. Some aren’t even exposed to any narratives beyond whatever Hillary probably just did. We need to plant the seed of removal from office because we will get there eventually and no one should be surprised when it happens. Depending upon your audience, they may be more receptive to either this New York Times piece or this Daily Caller article.

 

Russia Sanctions

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Your DGB for today is to contact your representatives about enforcement of the Russian sanctions bill.

It doesn’t take a stable genius to see that Russia helped Trump win the 2016 election in exchange for some form of leniency with regard to U.S. relations, but even DGB staff didn’t think the administration would be so brazen about their Russian sympathies.

Even after Congress passed a sanctions package that was signed into law by the President, the Department of Justice has just unilaterally decided not to enforce it. Read the confusing justification for this here.

On top of this, it’s now being reported that at least one Russian spy official subject to 2014 sanctions had recent conversations with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who again, warned afterward that Russia will continue to meddle in U.S. elections. But, hey, who needs sanctions, right?

There are a few ways Congress can handle the Executive Branch ignoring their will. Rolling over and taking this blatant disregard for their power as a branch of government, however, is not one of them.

Today, you’ll use Resistbot to pressure your members of Congress to take immediate action on this consolidation of power by Putin’s buddy.

 

Ring The Shame Bell

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Your DGB for today is to shame a Democratic Congressman.

This week, in an unadulterated pander to anti-choice elements, the GOP introduced a Senate bill that banned ALL abortions past 20 weeks of gestation. Knowing full well that the bill itself would be aborted more quickly than an illegitimate Trump fetus, the bill served to out Senators who are unwilling to take a stand against the restriction of abortion access. The vote fell mostly along party lines with Collins and Murkowski once again proving that they are the only Republican Senators that have a lick of sense. Three Democrats, however, decided to break ranks and vote for the ridiculous bill and one actually co-sponsored it. Today we are calling them out and want your help in ringing the shame bell. The party doesn’t need spineless DINOs that slither under the radar to stay in office.

Perpetrator 1: Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN). You can call him out Twitter, Facebook or contact him at his office. Keep in mind that DINO Joe also has an A rating from the NRA and only 30% from the Human Rights Commission. He is up for re-election in 2018 and we are wondering if we will even be able to tell the difference if a Republican unseats him this fall.

Perpetrator 2: Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). Tweet or Facebook him here, his contact information is here.

Perpetrator 3: Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). Pin him down at Twitter, Facebook or at this office. While you’re at it, tell him we saw him trying to give Trump a standing ovation during the SOTUA.

Perpetrator 4: House co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. Dan Lipinski. You can Tweet, Facebook or yell at him via phone at one of his offices available here. The best thing you can do for the country however is to support his opponent in the upcoming Democratic primary. Her name is Marie Newman and she’s a pro-choice progressive who is already getting endorsements from within the party.

 

Share Their Stories

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Your DGB for today is simple- we just want you to share the stories of Dreamers. We’ll tackle contacting congress to pass a clean DACA bill next week.

We have called recipients of DACA Dreamers since its inception in 2012, and many Americans abruptly stopped calling them Dreamers, oh… at about 7:30 in the morning on January 21st when Mitch McConnell tweeted this: https://twitter.com/SenateMajLdr/status/955098436138762240 and the GOP started using Dreamers as their pawns for the government shut down and many started calling them illegals. Some republicans have even been posting memes suggesting things, like we need to make a choice between taking care of our vets or taking care of “illegals,” completely ignoring the fact that there are Dreamers serving in the military.

We want you to share these stories. Share the stories of Zion Dirgantara, an immigrant from Indonesia, who missed his first day of school in America, at the age of 12, because of 9/11, and later “enrolled in a Pentagon program, Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI)— an initiative designed to exchange fast-tracked citizenship for crucial medical and language skills among foreign-born recruits,” because he “realized there was evil in this world, and you have to fight for what is right.” I mean… how much more patriotic do these republicans want Dreamers to be? Should he have been wearing a flag button up shirt while saying it?

By sharing the stories of DACA recipients, we can disprove the Trump administration’s ignorant and just goddamn ridiculous propaganda that these kids are dangerous members of MS13 gangs. You can find tons of stories here: https://www.fwd.us/dacastories Their site even has super easy buttons to just click and post directly to your facebook page so if you’ve been “blessed” with conservative family members who just don’t seem to get it, no matter how many times you talk to them about it, you can just post DACA stories on the hour, every hour, or have it coincide with every one of their MAGA posts. We don’t care what your posting strategy is, just do it. The fact of the matter is, these are people’s lives at stake here. Families are at risk of being torn apart and republicans have lost their ability to see the humanity in Dreamers, let alone themselves. Let’s flood our news feeds and twitter feeds with stories about America’s best and brightest and pray that one story will touch the cold, dark recesses of calcified hearts.

 

Accessible

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Your DGB for today is to choose the word “accessible” over “handicapped” when talking about parking spaces, bathrooms, etc.

There’s a meme making the rounds these days that DGB would like to signal-boost, titled “cool disability psa.” In it, the originator points out that the word “accessible” re-frames the discussion by “putting the focus on the accessibility of the environment” and not the supposed deficits of users, which we agree is a welcome change.

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This is a teeny tiny change we can all make to contribute to a kinder, gentler world for people with disabilities. Want to know what else you can do? Check out https://dredf.org/, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund. Their website has a ton of information, news, and a podcast, all related to disability justice.