Political Corruption Activism Opportunities

  • Become a “Media Activist” via @FAIRmediawatch

    fair.jpgAs Trump continues his assault on the press, some have suggested that there might be a silver lining: maybe the mainstream corporate media will work harder, do real reporting and as a result become a better resource for citizens. Maybe...

    It’s still too early to tell and the corporate overlord influence may be too strong for real change to happen, but no matter how things turn out, we must always be active news consumers. That means calling out inaccuracies and bias when you see it and communicating directly with journalists to demand more responsible reporting. In the age of Trump, this has never been more important.  

    So we’d like to bring your attention to the non-profit organization FAIR, which stands for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. FAIR is the progressive organization behind the show CounterSpin, which you’ve probably heard clips from here on Best of the Left. This national media watch group has been offering well-documented criticism of the media for more than 30 years. FAIR’s mission includes fighting for greater diversity in the press, pushing for minority and dissenting viewpoints, scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, exposing neglected news stories, and defending working journalists when they are muzzled. They also believe that structural reform is ultimately needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong non-profit sources of information. Basically, they are total bad-asses.

    Now, here is where you come in. FAIR encourages the public to contact media with their concerns to become what they call “media activists,” rather than passive consumers, and provides the resources to do just that. Go to FAIR.org and check out the “Take Action” page, where the organization has a continuously updated lists of Action Alerts about issues in the media and the direct contact information you need to share your concerns with the outlet or journalists involved. You can also sign up to receive these action alerts via email so that you are always in the know. 

    FAIR also provides a Media Activism Kit that provides “how-to” guides for identifying, documenting and challenging unfair or inaccurate news coverage, along with information about something that is certainly close to my heart - how to promote independent media. There is a link to the kit on the Take Action page of the site. 

    Again, we want to ask that you help us in our work to amplify the most effective activism. If you have come across an action or a new organization that is doing great work getting people engaged to resist the Trump agenda, please share it with us by emailing Amanda@bestoftheleft.com.  

    So, if having an accurate, fair and free press is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about becoming a “media activist” via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too. 

    The press is critical to our democracy, but we must hold them to extraordinarily high expectations. Otherwise, as Orwell once said, it’s all just public relations.  

     

     

    TAKE ACTION

    Go to FAIR.org to get Action Alerts and become a “media activist”

    Check out FAIR’s Media Activism Kit 

    Subscribe to FAIR’s CounterSpin podcast

    Member of the media? Check out FAIR’s Media Advisories

    EDUCATE YOURSELF

    NYT’s False Choice for Democrats: Move to the Right or Divide by Race (FAIR)

    Jessica Gonzalez on FCC Chair Ajit Pai (FAIR's CounterSpin)

    Scrutiny for Supreme Court Pick Fails to Focus on Rights of Disabled (FAIR)

    ACTION ALERT: WaPo’s Post Live Series Is a Love Letter to Corporate Conflicts of Interest (FAIR)

    Trump’s Inauguration and the Legitimacy Fetish (FAIR)

    Daily Kos Founder Gleefully Celebrates Coal Miners Losing Health Insurance (FAIR)

     

    Posted Feb. 17, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman. 

     

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1080: Corporate media’s fight for legitimacy in the age of Trump

  • Tell the Electoral College to #StopTrump & Vote with the People via @DemSpring and directelection.org

    Save_democracy.jpgWe are not here to give you false hope. It is, by all accounts, very unlikely that enough electoral college electors will change their vote and keep Trump from becoming our next president. However, just because something is unlikely or unprecedented doesn’t mean it can’t happen….Just look at the results of our election.

    Regardless of the outcome, what we do between now and inauguration day matters. We need to show Trump, his cronies, the Republicans backing him, the mainstream media and the rest of the dumbfounded world that the majority of this country rejects Trump and everything he stands for. We need to show them that he does not have a mandate. How do we do that? We get in the streets and let our voices be heard.  

    So in the early morning of Monday, December 19th - the day the electoral college will cast their votes and truly end this election - make sure you’re at your state capitol building to join Democracy Spring and millions of your fellow Americans. Democracy Spring, of get-money-out-of-politics fame, is organizing rallies at the state capitol buildings in all 50 states on the 19th to call on the electors to vote their conscience and protect our democracy. Tell everyone you know and bring everyone you know. The size of these crowds matters. Head over to savedemocracy.org to get the details on the Democracy Spring December 19th action at a state capitol building near you and RSVP today.

    But wait, there’s more…

    There’s not much time left, but before December 19th you can actually write directly to the electors themselves. Directelection.org is a website put together by a guy from New York who, like millions of others, is terrified of a Trump presidency. The website gives you all of the tools you need to send polite, persuasive, actual mail to 273 Trump-pledged electors - or as many as you can afford the postage for.

    This well organized site has everything you need to make this a simple process. It has ready-to-print, customizable mail-merge documents in Microsoft Word and a set of ready-to-print Avery Standard fifty-one sixty labels for envelopes. All you have to do is download, add your name and address, and customize the letters further if you want. Then just print, sign, put them in envelopes, address the envelopes, apply stamps, and mail.

    The standard letter is respectful, but clearly points out the duty of the Electoral College - yes, it quotes Hamilton - and why Trump is unfit for office and will likely be impeached. Materials and cost of postage are on you - and you will probably need to pay extra for rush service to make sure the letters get there in time - but everything else is at your fingertips for free. 

    So if doing everything you can to protect democracy and reject a Trump presidency is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about telling the Electoral College to #StopTrump and vote with the people via social media so that others in your network can take action too.

    Stand up. Fight back. There is absolutely no time to lose.

     

     

    TAKE ACTION

    RSVP for the Democracy Spring December 19th rally at a state capitol building near you at savedemocracy.org

    ASAP ONLY! Download everything you need to print and mail letters to the 273 Electoral College members pledged to vote for Trump at directelection.org

    EDUCATE YOURSELF 

    Posted December 13, 2016, written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.
     
    Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1064: Desperate times, desperate measures
  • Demand Modernized Elections and Restore the VRA via @BrennanCenter

    It turns out FDR was wrong when he said “nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except themselves.” This year, 16 states will have new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election that disproportionately impact seniors, people of color, young people, and low-income individuals.

    16 million registered voters in the US don’t have the current government-issued ID needed to vote. In Texas alone, more than 600,000 registered voters won’t be able to cast a ballot. In just a few years, we’ve cut more than 5% of the US population out of our democratic process, and the vast impact of these new voter suppression laws are probably why 69% of Americans are actually against voter ID laws.

    We’re even making things difficult for those who actually can vote. Our antiquated election system causes long, discouraging wait times, and 43 states have voting machines more than a decade old - practically relics in the tech years. 

    To remedy our broken democracy, the Brennan Center for Justice outlines 8 detailed actions to fix our system, including overturning Citizens United, establishing small donor public financing, ending partisan gerrymandering and restoring the right to vote for those with past criminal convictions. We know you’re already working on those things, so here is today’s activism focus: 

    1. Restore the Voting Rights Act by telling your legislators to pass the Rights Amendment Act and the Voting Rights Advancement Act, both currently in front of them, to stop voter suppression laws and redistricting.
    2. Tell your legislators that you demand a modern election system.

    A modernized election system would include allowing automatic and secure voter registration for every eligible voter when they interact with state government agencies (with an option to decline), offering online voter registration, allowing people to register or update their information at the polls, replacing outdated voting machines, and expanding early voting. This isn’t earth shaking stuff. In fact, bills that will launch automatic voter registration just passed in West Virginia and Vermont, and Illinois and Maryland are considering voter reform proposals right now. 

    So, if making sure America is actually a democracy is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about how to Demand Modernized Elections and Restoring the Voting Rights Act via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

    Let’s fight like our right to vote depends on it, because sadly it does. 

     

    TAKE ACTION!

    Contact your legislators to demand modernized elections and urge them to vote for the Rights Amendment Act and the Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore the Voting Rights Act. 

    Sign the Brennan Center for Justice’s change.org petition “Tell Congress it’s time to Automatically Register Every American to Vote.”

    Follow @BrennanCenter on Twitter for the latest updates on public policy and issues of democracy and justice.

    Sources/Further Reading: 

    The Brennan Center for Justice Election 2016 (via the Brennan Center)

    Restore the Voting Rights Act (via the Brennan Center)

    Wanted: 21st Century Elections (via the Brennan Center)

    Modernize Voter Registrations (via the Brennan Center)

    Why is it so hard to vote in America? And what can we do to fix it? (via the Brennan Center)

    Voting Laws Roundup 2016 (via the Brennan Center)

    Hear the Segment in Context: 

    Episode #1009: "Battle for the Ballot" (Voting Rights)

    Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.

  • The Call for a Voting Renaissance and Mass Non-violent Mobilization to Stand Up to Trump via @MoveOn

    First we thought it was a publicity stunt or maybe an art project. Then we told ourselves no one would vote for him and laughed at his absurdity. But then one day we woke up to find that he is the clear front runner for the Republican Presidential Nomination.

    Donald Trump - the crass, loud-mouth, reality TV show star/fascist - now has a real shot at becoming the next president of the United States, and it’s not funny anymore. From the moment he began his campaign, Trump’s hateful rhetoric has stoked the embers of racism, bigotry, violence, fascism, misogyny, and xenophobia in our country and brought a full fledged fire of hatred roaring back to life.

    This week, MoveOn.org, in collaboration with other progressive organizations, published an open letter to the American public on medium.com calling for a movement of citizens to unite in standing up to Trump’s hateful and dangerous rhetoric, saying…

    “We cannot afford to underestimate him until it’s too late, as many Republicans now regret having done during the primaries. If we wait to see how things shake out to make our plans, it’ll be too late and November will come sooner than anyone thinks.”

    MoveOn is calling for three types of local and personal actions to stop Trump:

    1) Non-violent mobilization and organizing against his hate rhetoric in your city streets, on social media, or in letters to the editor.

    2) Asking every media outlet, corporation, and office-holder — from the school board on up to Congress and from your local news up to cable news — to condemn Trump’s racism, misogyny and xenophobia that was born out of an environment they helped create.

    3) A voting renaissance to stop Trump and build an even more powerful progressive majority, an effort that requires massive volunteer power to door-knock, phone bank and have real conversations with all types of voters.  

    The open letter concludes by saying, “If we stand together in this moment across movements and build together we will not only stop Trump, but continue to create a country that protects and respects the dignity and humanity of all people and allows us all to prosper and thrive.”

    The segment notes include all the links to the letter and related information, as well as additional resources, and, as always, this and every activism segment we produce is archived and organized under the activism tab at Best of the Left dot com. So, if standing up to fascism is of at least a passing interest to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about this campaign’s call to action via social media so that others in your network can get involved too. 

    If we stand-up together we have the power to make Donald Trump the thing he hates the most — a loser. Now that would really be “terrific.”

      

      

    TAKE ACTION:

    Read, sign and share MoveOn.org's open letter.

    Follow @MoveOn on Twitter for the latest updates on the campaign and other actions to stand up to Trump's dangerous rhetoric.

    Use the hashtags #LoveTrumpsHate and #STOPTRUMP on social media. 

    Donate to the MoveOn.org "Stand Up to Trump" campaign to support their efforts. 

    Sources/further reading:

    Democrats Sound Alarm Against Trump (via Politico)

    Liberal Groups to Launch Campaign to Defeat Donald Trump (via USA Today)

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #999 http://www.bestoftheleft.com/_999_fascism

    Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman.

  • Democracy Awakening - Nationwide Mobilization to Protect the Vote via @DemAwakening

    For the better part of the 20th century we saw barriers to citizens’ voting rights knocked down, but so far the 21st century has been all about putting them back up. This country is now blatantly suppressing the voting rights of people of color, seniors, students, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, and low-income Americans, and has stripped any remaining power from those who actually can exercise their vote thanks to big money. 

    If we want to change the course of this century, then we have to demand action now.  

    This April 16th to 18th, join Democracy Awakening 2016 - a nationwide movement that will converge on state capitals and Washington, D.C. for an array of actions, including demonstrations, teach-ins, direct action trainings, music, a Rally for Democracy, and pressing for a Congress of Conscience through non-violent direct action and advocacy.

    Watch and share the official Democracy Awakening video:

    Democracy Awakening is mobilizing to demand a nation where voting rights are protected and the integrity of the vote is not undermined by big money. Your actions will support reform measures to restore previously struck-down protections against voting discrimination, update the Voting Rights Act of 1965, modernize voter registration, and prevent deceptive practices keeping people from voting, just to name a few. You will also be fighting for “The Democracy for all Amendment”  - a constitutional amendment to overturn Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United and allow elected representatives to set commonsense limits on money in elections. 

    Sign up to take part in and/or volunteer for this nationwide mobilization at democracyawakening.org.

    Fighting for every voice to be heard and every vote to be counted is as American as apple pie, so don’t get complacent - get angry and get your voice back. Remember, it’s only a democracy if it works for everyone.

      

    TAKE ACTION:

    Visit democracyawakening.org to sign up as a volunteer to help organize this event or to participate in April. 

    Follow @DemAwakening on Twitter and on Facebook for the latest updates on the campaign. 

    Engage with the movement to restore the Voting Rights Act via #RestoretheVRA on social media.

    Sources/further reading:

    "Voting Rights - and Wrongs: We're in the midst of the biggest rollback of the rights to vote since Jim Crow" (via Sojourners)

    "North Carolina Exemplifies National Battles Over Voting Laws" (via The New York Times)

    "Six Pieces of a Real Democracy Movement We've Never Had Before" (via HuffPost Politics)

    DemocracyAwakening.org

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #998 http://www.bestoftheleft.com/_998_voting_rights

    Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman.