Just Say No

Your DGB for today is to contact your senators and tell them to vote NO on the health care bill.

After weeks of subterfuge and clandestine meetings, the GOP Factory of Terrible Ideas Made Even Worse finally produced their promised health care bill. We probably don’t have to tell you that it means bad things for practically every human being living in the United States, but we are going to anyway. If this bill passes (and it very much is still in play) the Congressional Budget Office predicts:

Huge increases in premiums for low income and older people

Deep cuts to Medicaid spending

20 million people losing insurance altogether over the next 10 years

If that’s not enough to inspire you to pick up a phone or fire up Resistbot, did you know that it also eliminates Essential Health Benefits and prohibits private insurance companies from covering abortion?

The U.S. Capital Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 can direct you to your Senators’ office or dial them up directly using this handy link: https://www.senate.gov/general/resources/pdf/senators_phone_list.pdf

Mitch McConnell has now delayed a vote until after the July 4th recess, so we also recommend calling them at their local office in addition to using email, web contact pages, and of course Resistbot or IssueVoter. Here's a phone script if you need one:

 

"Hi my name is ____ and I am one of the Senators’ constituents. My ZIP code is ____. I am calling to voice my disapproval of the Senate healthcare bill and asking that they vote No. Thank you! "

 

Boycott the Press Briefings

Your DGB for today is to tell your favorite news source to either boycott the White House press briefings, or record video despite the gag order.

The current White House has placed a block on video and live audio recordings of White House press briefings. Rumors have been flying about the reason why, some as ridiculous as Steve Bannon’s comment that Spicer “got fatter” and some more serious such as the beginning of the end of freedom of speech. Regardless of the reason, it is ridiculous and infringes on our rights as American citizens. It leaves one questioning, what exactly are they going to limit next?

So what can we do about it? We can call or email our favorite news source which has a representative in the press corps, and tell them to boycott the damn things. What exactly is the point of the press briefing if we are getting outright lied to, important questions are being avoided, or we can’t even see their faces telling us the lies? Honestly, there’s no point. So today we are asking you to call the White House Press Corps, CNN, WaPo, New York Times, MSNBC or your favorite White House press corps member and asking them to either boycott the press briefings, or break the rules and videotape them. This is our government and we have every right to know what is being said and done. After all, we do pay their salaries. So call, tweet, e-mail… whatever your preferred contact method is and DEMAND better. Tell them that enough is enough. Either we see the full press briefings, in all all their dishonest glory, or we make the news up all by ourselves. After all, we are pretty damn creative and can go a long way with the dossier stories.

 

 

Issue Voter

Your DGB for today is to check out and utilize IssueVoter.

IssueVoter is an innovative non-partisan platform that gives everyone a voice in our democracy by making civic engagement accessible, efficient, and impactful.” It connects you directly to your Member of Congress and allows you to pick the issues that are most important to you. IssueVoter sends email alerts with a summary of the bill your Congress Member will vote on, as well as the option to click “Support” or “Oppose” and your view goes directly to your Congressman. IssueVoter also keeps track of how your representative has voted so you can easily see if their values align with yours.

Sign up with IssueVoter and connect with your representative and spread the word (or publicly shame your rep) through social media when an issue that is important to you is up for vote. We are in the resistance for the long haul and we need to utilize all the tools in our resistance tool belt to keep fighting. Become an informed voter AND make your voice heard.

 

Hate Has No Home Here

Your DGB for today is to look into options for proclaiming your home or business a safe space.

Since the election, neighborhoods have come together to protest hatred and bigotry with different exterior displays. One popular way of demonstrating inclusiveness is the rainbow peace flag, which you can find on Amazon.

Another option is the Hate Has No Home Here sign.

We at DGB understand that the American flag theme and colors don’t necessarily represent all of us, and we recognize that the Hate Has No Home Here signs aren’t perfect. Recently, there has been some recognition that the traditional rainbow flag also leaves people of color underrepresented, which prompted a modified version to be released. You can find downloadable artwork on the More Color More Pride site, which means you can even create your very own extra gay, extra inclusive super yard sign.

On a personal note, those of us at DGB who are minorities find these neighborhood signs comforting. Better still, our children recognize them as signifying safe places and love spotting them on car rides.

 

Flippable

Your DGB for today is to sign up at Flippable and get involved in turning state legislatures and governorships blue.

While many folks are focused on the big race in 2020, mid-terms in 2018, or special elections, Flippable’s aim is to get Democrats elected at the state level - in state legislatures and in governor’s mansions across the country. One of the primary reasons this is so critical to an overall political strategy is that things like voter ID and registration laws, as well as redistricting happen in state government. Right now, the GOP controls 32 (!) of our 50 states’ legislatures and of those states, 25 also have Republican governors. This situation has led to widespread gerrymandering and voter suppression, which is a social justice issue in addition to being a practical barrier to Democratic wins. These states also tend to enact other legislation that makes us tear our hair out, such as anti-choice bills and transphobic “bathroom bills.”

If this doesn’t motivate you, remember that in order to successfully impeach the current Oval Office squatter, we need to flip the House of Representatives, and one path to that is to flip states controlled by the GOP.  When you find yourself in the Upside-Down, people, you gotta FLIP.

 

 

Women in the Arts

Your DGB for today is to support women in the arts.

For centuries, women have fought against the idea that they aren’t as creative or as artistic as men. They had to use aliases when writing books, otherwise they wouldn’t get published. The question “Why have there been no great women artists?” has been asked countless times, and has been used as an incorrect basis for the belief that women just can’t produce good art. To quote Linda Nochlin from her essay titled after this question, “(b)ut in actuality, as we all know, things as they are and as they have been, in the arts as in a hundred other areas, are stultifying, oppressive, and discouraging to all those, women among them, who did not have the good fortune to be born white, preferably middle class and, above all, male. The fault lies not in our stars, our hormones, our menstrual cycles, or our empty internal spaces, but in our institutions and our education…”

So what can we do to help women that want to create art? How can we support them? The very first and easiest thing you can do is to buy their art. There’s tons of ways to support women in the arts like seeing the new Wonder Woman movie, which was directed by a women, or purchasing a book, album, or original piece of art. The next thing you can do is to attend local art shows featuring women’s art. You can also check out the National Museum of Women in the Arts for more ideas on how to advocate, and to donate to women in the arts.

Women are 51% of the world’s population, but their art is underrepresented. If you have seen Wonder Woman, which we highly recommend, you may have found yourself crying at moments that wouldn’t normally have brought tears to your eyes. Representation matters and you can show that by supporting women in all their artistic endeavors.

 

 

Grabbing Back in your Community Over the Summer

Your DGB for today is to make a list of ways you can grab back weekly, in your local community.

DGB is all about building up our local communities. You can spend hours every day trying to fix Washington, but we all know what stands at the heart of real change happens in local communities. Washington can pass all the laws and bills they want, but it won’t change a things if we aren’t changing minds and hearts at the local level.

So today we are asking you to look at your community and find a need that you and your friends and family can fill. We encourage you to try and do something once a week for the entire summer. Many of the actions you take can be as short as five minutes, with a big community pay off.

 

Some suggestions from DGB are:

Clean up your local park or your neighborhood. This is as simple as taking a walk and carrying a trash bag with you.

Volunteer at a local animal shelter. Animal shelters need volunteers to feed and walk the animals. Added bonus is you get all the puppy and kitty loves, without having to clean up their accidents on your new rug. Alternatively, if you do enjoy cleaning, it’s kitten season, and shelters need foster homes.

Put together care packages to drop off at your local homeless shelter, or to keep in your car if you see someone in need. Reusable water bottles are extra nice for these hot summer days.

Contact a local senior center and go play games with the residents. Beware: Bingo is not for the faint of heart.

 

Need more ideas? Check out Volunteer Match to search for local needs that fit your schedule. Whatever you choose to do, spend some time grabbing back this summer. Even if your efforts go unnoticed, it feels great to know you are doing your part to help your community and grow your circle.

 

The Kids are Alright - Activism and Children

Your DGB for today is to get the kids in your life interested and involved in activism.

Maybe your grandkids have noticed you dashing off postcards to the White House lately, or hosting an Indivisible meeting in your living room. Maybe you, like many of us at DGB, took your kids to the Women’s March in January. Or maybe you’ve been toting your niece to social justice rallies since she was in Pampers. Whatever their exposure to and participation in activism has been, there are ways to encourage the children in your life to get off the sidelines. 

The first step is to talk about the issues that are important to you with the kids you know - in age-appropriate terms. The next step is to listen. Older kids in particular may have their own set of issues that resonate with them. You can introduce them to the idea of activism with some well-chosen books.

Finally, support them with follow-through. Help your children to get involved now and they will be on their way to a lifetime of grabbing back. In the immortal words of Ms. Whitney Houston, “I believe the children are our future/ Teach them well and let them lead the way.”

 

Saving Student Aid

Your DGB for today is to help save student aid.

Have you ever wondered why countries like Singapore have such good economies despite having virtually no natural resources at their disposal? Well the answer is simple: they consider the human brain a resource and invest in it accordingly. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Trump administration and Congress treated the brains of their constituents with as much respect and importance as they do a gallon of oil or a pound of coal?

We are sure that this is hardly the first time you’ve heard this, but college is really, really expensive. So expensive, in fact, that the poor and middle class are increasingly priced out and/or burdened with outrageous debt loads. If you have wondered about this phenomenon but need more information please take the time to view this short video that gives a quick and easy breakdown of the situation.

One of the vitally important ways that we can provide assistance to those that want to get higher education (keep in mind that these funds cover all kinds of secondary education, including trade school) is through Federal financial aid programs. According to the Student Aid Alliance these programs will suffer a heavy hit under Trump’s proposed budget. There is still time to make our voice heard and help stop this direct assault on the future. The Student Aid Alliance has set up a page where you can message your senator or representative (please do both if you can) and tell them why it is so important to preserve these programs. It can be found at this link: https://studentaidalliance.org/write-your-legislator/?vvsrc=%2fcampaigns%2f51900%2frespond

They are also leading a Twitter campaign and we suggest you check it out and join in.

 

Clean the World, One Tiny Shampoo Bottle at a Time

Your DGB for today is to support the Clean the World Foundation.

Communicable disease is still a huge problem that kills millions of people,  mostly children, every year. While dirty water contributes to the issue, did you know that another problem is lack of access to soap? Clean the World is looking to solve that problem while also giving hotels the chance to lessen their environmental impact. This organization collects slightly used soap bars and bottles from individual hotels and hotel chains and recycles it into new soap. It then distributes it to communities in need.

 

Clean the World also provides:

Emergency Relief and Humanitarian Aid

Outcome-Based Hygiene Education Programs

Microloans

Local Hygiene Promotion Programs

Community Engagement

 

Please go to the Clean the World Health Statistics web page and check out this information: https://cleantheworld.org/need-and-impacthealth-statistics/

If you want to go a step further you can also volunteer or organize a volunteer event at one of their recycling locations. Those are currently in Orlando, Las Vegas and Hong Kong. They also appreciate donations as little as $1.

And you thought those tiny little bottles of shampoo were silly. Hotel toiletries might not save the world, but they could go a surprisingly long way towards saving lives.

 

He for She

Your DGB for today is to stand up and be counted as a person committed to creating a gender equal world.

By adding your name to the UN Women’s project “He for She” (and posting about it on social media), you’re amplifying their mission to improve women’s lives all over the globe. The United Nations formed UN Women in 2010 as the U.N.’s “Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.” In doing so, the United Nations has endorsed the principle exemplified by Hillary Clinton’s 1995 speech to the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women: “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.” Kofi Annan, who served as the United Nations’ Secretary-General for nine years, went on to say that “...study after study has taught us that there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, or to reduce infant and maternal mortality. No other policy is as sure to improve nutrition and promote health -- including the prevention of HIV/AIDS. No other policy is as powerful in increasing the chances of education for the next generation. And I would also venture that no policy is more important in preventing conflict, or in achieving reconciliation after a conflict has ended.”

After you’ve channeled your inner Wonder Woman and committed to world-wide female empowerment, check out the ideas the UN offers for how to get involved in the areas that interest you most.

 

Living the American Dream

Your DGB for today is to discover your American Dream Score.

Are you a bootstrapper? Graduate of the School of Hard Knocks? Born with a silver spoon in your mouth? Maybe you’ve always considered yourself an Average Joe/Joan. When pursuing the American Dream, which is loosely defined as moving up the socioeconomic ladder, but also might mean maintaining the rung you were born on, we often underestimate the role that luck plays in our success or failure. Yes, luck. Fate, destiny, foreshadowing - here in America we like to brand ourselves as rugged individuals in complete control of our future through a series of carefully made choices. But that is simply not the case. Pure, dumb circumstances of birth, health, and timing play significant roles in determining how well we do as individuals.

The progressive agenda seeks to help balance those impacts to assist every human in realizing their potential. In order to understand this, it’s important to see how our own life has been impacted by chance. Please use a few minutes to take this quiz from Moving Up USA to get your American Dream score: https://movingupusa.com

There is nothing inherently wrong with being born with privilege. But if we want a fair and just society we need to recognize where it exists, and where it doesn’t.

 

 

Beach Bodies

Your DGB for today is super simple: don’t stare. That’s it! It’s summer and with the warm weather, we’re a lot more likely to see a lot more of our fellow humans, at the beach or elsewhere. Not everyone is going to look like a supermodel… and that is okay. Don’t judge, and don’t stare. 

There are quite a few memes and thought-pieces on the theme of body positivity. Most of them view the matter through the lens of size-acceptance, which is a powerful and important movement we support wholeheartedly. But fat bodies are not the only bodies you may see at the beach.

You may see people born with limb differences, people who have survived a fire, veterans who have been injured, people with neurological differences who hold their bodies differently, people whose skin bears birthmarks or stretch marks or unusual pigmentation, and/or people who use prostheses or other assistance devices. These people may even be you. We want to affirm that *every* person at the beach has a “beach body” and every person deserves to occupy that body at the beach without ridicule, whispers, or being stared at.

So don’t stare. And if you see someone staring at you, remember that you have every right to be out in the world and they can go pound sand. Take back the beach - for everyone!

 

Kill the AHCA Before It Kills Us

Your DGB for today is to call, yes call, your senators and their staffers and demand they vote no on Trumpcare.

Trumpcare, or AHCA, is moving it’s way through the Senate and almost no one has seen it. What we do know is that it’s just as awful as the House Bill and will kick millions of people off of their insurance plans and make it harder for many to get and afford insurance. It is expected to be sent to get it’s CBO score any day now, which takes about two weeks. The Senate is trying it’s best to get a vote before they close for recess on July 4th, all while not allowing any hearings on it. At all.

Today we are totally ripping off the advice from our crush and former Obama speechwriter, Jon Favreau. On his podcast “Pod Save America” he suggested that we call the health care staffers of Republican Senators who are moderate republicans and might vote no. You can find the list on his twitter feed. Give your heartfelt appeal for them to vote no and ask them if they know what they bill is even about. Jon also wants you to go even further though and to call your own Senator, even if they are a democrat, and ask them what they are going to do to stop this bill. Obviously they are voting no, but what else? Are they going to filibuster? Stop Senate business? There’s a lot more they can do besides just voting no and it is imperative that this bill is stopped. You can find your Senator here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/ .

Trumpcare is one of the many things that 45 is pushing to try to erase everything Obama did. He’s a petty man, with a petty grudge, and unfortunately his grudge could kill people. Call your senators and demand they stop this bill and let you know how they plan to do so.

 

 

Don’t Be a Handmaid

Your DGB for today is to check out Nurx and see if their app will work for you and your birth control needs.

We all know that this current administration hates women. Whether Trump is bragging about sexually assaulting women, commenting on their size, or not having equal representation in his cabinet for 50% of the population of the United States, it’s clear that, to them, we are objects to which they can do whatever they want. This has become increasingly obvious when it comes to their attempts at getting rid of Obamacare. We learned a couple of weeks ago that the new AHCA bill will likely allow ANY health care subscriber to opt out of birth control coverage for any reason. Being able to control our own reproductive health and when we have babies is crucial, not only for our own autonomy, but also because it improves the economy and the future economy. Studies have shown that children of women who have access to birth control and family planning have a 20-30% increase in their incomes over their lifetime. We really don’t see any reason why anyone would want to restrict birth control for women, unless they’re just insanely bitter that they aren’t getting any.

So what can you do about the fact you may have limited access to birth control in the very near future? You can get an IUD if it works for you and your needs. IUD demand has risen by 900% since Trump won the election in November. Yes, you read that right. Nine. Hundred. Percent.

You can purchase Plan B like we suggested back in January.

Or you can check out Nurx, which offers birth control at as low as $15 a month without insurance (for free if you have it) delivered directly to your door. You don’t even need to go to a doctor to get it. Nurx was kind enough to give us two promo codes for our grabbers. If you live in Texas, you can use the coupon code TEXAS to get two months of free birth control. If you live anywhere else their service is offered, you can use the coupon code TRUMPCARE and get up to two months of free birth control. That coupon ends on June 30, 2017.

So watch the new series The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu (dare we say it’s even better than the book) and take a deep, dark look into our possible future. Now arm yourself with whatever type of birth control works best for you and your body. “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”

 

Megyn Kelly: a Platform for Hate

Your DGB for today is to contact NBC and tell them we’re not okay with the network giving conspiracy-theorist Alex Jones air time. You can call the network at (212) 664-2333, write to them at NBC News, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10112, or tweet your views @NBCNews, and/or @MegynKelly.

Newly-minted NBC news anchor Megyn Kelly prompted us to give her the side-eye when her first big interview on the network was with the authoritarian leader, who probably has his grubby meathooks in our government, Vladimir Putin. But this next interview is beyond the pale. Next Sunday, Kelly is slated to sit down with Alex Jones, the man who creates and spreads fake news through his radio show and his website, Infowars. Jones has been behind a lot of looney-tunes conspiracy theories, but none quite as despicable, as his claim that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax. Infowars has already been validated (sorta) by being issued White House press credentials, courtesy of our favorite administration. Jones should not be further rewarded for this cruel nonsense by being legitimized on a network that ought to know better.

Without fake news, we probably wouldn’t have Trump in the White House. This is not the time to let NBC amplify the voices of fake news purveyors, like Jones, without hearing from us.

 

Enough.

Your DGB for today is to contact your Representatives and ask them to provide funding to end the backlog of rape kits.

Did you know that there are almost 200,000 untested rape kits in the United States? Rape kit tests are invasive and often make the victim feel victimized all over again, but they are a vital part of finding and convicting the perpetrator. So why have so many gone untested, leaving thousands of rapists on the street? The main reason is funding. Most police departments just do not have the funding to send in all their kits. Some states have started allocating more money for rape kits, but not all. Some states are getting creative with it, like Texas, who sent a bill to their Governor's desk, allowing crowdfunding to cover costs for rape kit tests.

We want you to check out the website http://www.endthebacklog.org/. It’s run by the Joyful Heart Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by DGB’s personal shero, Mariska Hargitay from Law & Order: SVU. The website has more stats and info about rape kit backlogs and also provides a script for contacting your representatives. You can also donate to their efforts and help them get the word out.

We have a long way to go in ending rape culture and preventing sexual assault. Ending this backlog is one big step. Maybe next we can tackle the ridiculous statute of limitations for reporting rape.

 

Are Men Talking Too Much? (Short Answer: Probably)

Your DGB for today is to fire up this website next time you’re in a meeting, watching tv, or at an event with male and female speakers and keep track of whose voices you hear.

Why do we need to measure such a thing? Because it’s still news to people.  Despite stereotypes, proverbs, and dad jokes that have been around since the Dark Ages, women AREN’T the ones dominating conversations in mixed gender groups. In fact, women are less likely to speak and more likely to be interrupted. Why does the myth persist? As with many things, the answer is, sexism. In “Our Feminized Society,” Sady Doyle says, “Men tend to perceive equality when women are vastly outnumbered and underrepresented; it follows that, as we approach actual parity, men… will increasingly believe that we are entering an era of female domination.” God forbid we should actually take up our fair share of time and space. 

Next time someone claims women are dominating the conversation, open up this handy web site and fact-check. We’ll bet there’s more manterruption and mansplaining than you can shake a stick at.

 

 

Vice Crook

Your DGB for today is to share this story about Mike Pence’s governing abilities across social media. If you’re like us, you may be looking into our country’s post-Trump future and emotionally eating over the thought of President Pence. Well, we can look to Pence’s governorship of Indiana as an indication of his style of leadership, which is not all that different than his boss’. You see, Mike has a habit of promising people money he doesn’t have, screwing them over, and leaving failed ventures behind. In short, Pence celebrated Indiana’s bicentennial by getting the ball rolling on nearly 60 million dollars worth of fancy plazas and various other commemorative construction plans, promising creative budgeting to fund the projects. The money never showed up, and Indiana lawmakers are now bailing out the former Governor on the taxpayers’ dime. Great job, Mike.  Today being our 200th Grab, we at DGB looked into constructing our own bicentennial plaza, but, like most people who can’t afford something, we didn’t spend money we don’t have.

Your DGB for today is to share this story about Mike Pence’s governing abilities across social media.

If you’re like us, you may be looking into our country’s post-Trump future and emotionally eating over the thought of President Pence. Well, we can look to Pence’s governorship of Indiana as an indication of his style of leadership, which is not all that different than his boss’. You see, Mike has a habit of promising people money he doesn’t have, screwing them over, and leaving failed ventures behind. In short, Pence celebrated Indiana’s bicentennial by getting the ball rolling on nearly 60 million dollars worth of fancy plazas and various other commemorative construction plans, promising creative budgeting to fund the projects. The money never showed up, and Indiana lawmakers are now bailing out the former Governor on the taxpayers’ dime. Great job, Mike.

 Today being our 200th Grab, we at DGB looked into constructing our own bicentennial plaza, but, like most people who can’t afford something, we didn’t spend money we don’t have.

LGBTQ Suicide Prevention

Your DGB for today is to donate a dollar or two - whatever you can spare - to a suicide prevention card project so that Stop-Homophobia.com can get cards with hotline info into the hands of LGBTQ folks all over the world.

The current crew in the White House is the most aggressively anti-LGBTQ administration we’ve ever seen. Suicide among LGBTQ youth is already tragically high and we could well see an uptick since the 2016 election.

We’d like to celebrate Pride month by doing everything we can to save lives. Stop-Homophobia has set its own aggressive goal of printing and distributing two million cards globally, each of which list major suicide hotlines for youth (and adults) at risk. A full list of suicide hotlines can be found here on their website. (Some people feel more comfortable using peer helplines as an alternative to organized suicide prevention hotlines. Look for ones in your area.)

If you would like a box of these cards to distribute at your event or through your organization, send your information to info@stop-homophobia.com All of us together can help hurting people know there are other options than suicide.