Resistance In The Press

The opinion page of local press is one of the most effective tools we have for making ourselves heard.  Resistance members in the Morongo Basin have been making full use of this opportunity!

Following on the events in Charlottesville, the Hi-Desert Star published an editorial on August 24 calling racism repugnant and stating “the area’s partisan political groups, its service organizations and its clergy should be forming a united front to condemn racism.”  The editorial notes “a new political group, Indivisible Morongo Basin, has joined in the effort to stand up for values of unity and justice”, but that the “brunt of the responsibility for ending white-supremacist racism should not be borne by its victims, or by a small group of churches or activists”; rather, “it’s a journey all of us in the Morongo Basin should be taking together.”

Rebecca Unger responds in a letter to the editor, and in another letter Wendy Hadley demands Rep. Paul Cook take a moral stand and censure President Trump’s statements on Charlottesville. You will find more voices from your community in the local press here.

Keep those letters coming, Indivisibles!  Get tips on how and where to write on our Use the Press page.  And remember, you can extend your impact by sending letters to newspapers throughout Congressional District 8 – find the links here.

ADDENDUM:  In response to the Hi-Desert Star’s August 24 editorial, the Lincoln Club of the Morongo Basin submitted a letter to the editor which states “We gladly go on record as joining other Morongo Basin groups and organizations in opposing racism of any kind.”

And since that time the Morongo Basin Democratic Club has approved a resolution against racism and also submitted a letter to the Star calling on fellow residents of the Basin to take down their Confederate flags.

Environment

There are numerous environmental issues that we are providing information and advocating action on. Detailed information can be found via the following links:

Cadiz Issues

EPA Issues

Monuments Issues


Call to support S.1400, The Safeguarding of Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act

Efforts to repatriate tribal property are hitting roadblocks within the Trump administration.

The Trump administration is refusing to take a position on a new cultural protection bill that expands on the legislation calling for the return of tribal items to their rightful place.

“These cultural items are continuing to leave and go across the seas to be sold”, says Governor Kurt Riley, a tribal leader, of the Pueblo of Acoma. Members of the Trump administration want to wait for the results of further study as tribal leaders are calling for immediate action. Given the ongoing sales of sacred cultural items in international markets, Governor Riley could think of no good reason to wait for the Government Accountability Office study, a process that could take many months to complete.

At the same time, Secretary Zinke has put a hold on a key advisory panel that was established by Congress to ensure compliance with the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act. The NAGPRA review committee is in limbo while the Interior department conducts their own review.

But Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) said the freeze in hindering efforts to return sacred items to their rightful place. Without clear U.S. law or policy, officials in France, where tribal items are regularly picked up for auction, have refused to return such items.

In hopes of addressing impasses at the international level, Udall and other lawmakers are pushing for passage of S.1400, the Safeguarding Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act. The bill bars the export of items that are otherwise covered in the U.S. by NAGPRA and other cultural protection laws.

Repatriation is extremely personal for tribes and their citizens. They are able to utilize NAGPRA to reclaim ancestors that were removed — sometimes inadvertently but in many cases, not — from their resting places. Items used in ceremonies and other practices can also be repatriated under the 1990 law. But once any items leave the U.S., it’s virtually impossible to get them back.

The STOP Act enjoys bipartisan support — six of the nine co-sponsors are Republicans. While the Trump administration’s silence on the bill might not hinder passage, it isn’t helping either, advocates argue.

Script:

Call our Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris and call Representative Cook and say,

Hi my name is (NAME) and I am a constituent from (city,zip) I’m calling today to ask (SENATOR OR CONGRESSMAN) to support S.1400-The Safeguarding of Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act. The bill bars the export of items that are otherwise covered by NAGPRA and other cultural protection laws.

 

I am concerned that the Trump administration is refusing to take a position on this bill and that Native American cultural items are continuing to leave the U.S and go across the seas to be sold.


November 12, 2017

Call Rep. Paul Cook regarding fee increase in National Parks (with sample script):

The Trump administration just proposed massive fee increases in 17 national parks — increases that could see entrance fees jump from $25 to $70. And they’re only giving the public 30 days to comment.

The administration claims this fee hike will help address the $11.3 billion maintenance backlog in national parks, but Interior Secretary Zinke estimates that the new fees could raise around $70 million annually. That’s just a tiny fraction of the maintenance backlog!  The solution to the parks’ repair needs should fall to Congress, and cannot and should not be shouldered by its visitors. There is a bill, the National Park Service Legacy Act (S. 751 and HR 2584), pending in Congress that addresses the National Park Service maintenance backlog and it deserves the Department of the Interior’s support. This bipartisan legislation would provide a more substantial — and sustainable — investment in our parks.  They could also use revenue from oil, gas, coal and other mining revenues and/or extend the Land and Water Conservation Fund to allow off shore oil and gases lease revenue to help maintain public lands.

Finally, the Administration is also considering to reduce NPS annual budget from $400 million to $300 million, which will further reduce America’s commitment to our precious National Park System.

SCRIPT
Call Representatives and say, “Hi, my name is (NAME) and I’m calling to express my opposition the Administration’s proposal to raise fees at 17 National Parks.  I live in a gateway community that depends on the Park and I know that this will reduce many American’s opportunities to visit National Parks as well as negatively affect the communities that rely on revenue generated by Park visitors.  I am also concerned about how fee increases might affect average American’s ability to take advantage of our precious National Parks

At the very least, the comment period for fee increases should be increased well beyond 30 days so that American citizens have an adequate opportunity to respond to the proposal.  We should also explore other ways to address the backlog, including the National Park Service Legacy Act (S. 751 & H.R. 2584) or using oil, gas, coal or other mining revenues. 

 Congress needs to come up with stable, sensible, long-term solutions to address the maintenance backlog — not put the burden on park visitors.


Call Rep. Paul Cook regarding Mojave Trails and Castle Mountains National Monuments (with sample script):    

On June 8 Rep. Paul Cook sent a letter to Secretary Ryan Zinke to eliminate the southern portion of the Mojave Trails National Monument, cutting its overall size by about 1/3. The eliminated portion includes the Cadiz dunes and surrounding desert. He reasoned that the monument ended up larger than its original intention and requires the exclusion of multiple private holdings. Many conservationists are convinced that this proposal’s true intention is to aid Cadiz Incorporated’s plan to pump groundwater on land adjacent to the monument and sell it to cities. Cadiz Inc. plans to pump as much as 16.3 billion gallons of groundwater, transporting via a 43 mile pipeline along an existing railroad line, part of which would also be removed from the monument.

Though Cook denies this allegation, he was among 18 members of Congress who wrote to Zinke in March, urging him to support the Cadiz project and ignore restrictions to the potential uses of railroad lands. The appointment of David Bernhardt, partner and shareholder in the law firm that owns shares in Cadiz, as Deputy Interior Secretary is also of concern to conservation groups. Scott Slater, Cadiz Inc. president and CEO has stated that whether or not the lands bordering his project are removed makes no difference to the project.

Cook also recommended that Zinke look at shrinking Castle Mountains National Monument, which was not on the list of monuments slated for review due to its small size. Cook argues that it was created only to prevent the reopening of Castle Mountain Mine.

Whether Cook’s proposal to shrink the size of Mojave Trails National Monument is linked to the Cadiz project or not, it is clear that Cook did not consult or inform local constituents or environmental groups before making his recommendations. His proposal was made before the public comment deadline and he ignored thousands of local letters of support gathered by environmental groups.

Call Script: 

Representative Cook, you have ignored your constituents by refusing to hold town hall meetings. Your proposal to reduce the size of Mojave Trails and Castle Mountains National Monuments even before the public comment period was closed is just another example of your unwillingness to represent us or explain your actions. This is unacceptable and I firmly oppose your support of this Administration in its efforts to shrink lawfully created National Monuments.


CADIZ WATER PROJECT:  There will be an Informational Meeting on the Cadiz Water Project at the Pioneertown Mountains Preserve on Tuesday, August 29, at 6:30.  Reservations required; call (760) 369-7105 to save a spot.  Bring a folding chair for comfortable seating!


Español

Desert Defenders from the Hi-Desert Mark and Matt (Joshua Tree Huggers), Marge (Democratic Club), and Yolanda (Indivisible Morongo Basin) attended the Monuments For All Rally in Indio. Yolanda reports:

On April 26, 2017, an executive order was signed by 45 to review the designation of national monuments under the Antiquities Act. This action directly affects two California desert national monuments: Sand to Snow and Mojave Trails.

On Friday, June 16, 2017 the Mojave Desert Land Trust, in partnership with National Parks Conservation Association, Audubon California, Sierra Club San Gorgonio Chapter, and COFEM, held a rally in Indio from 5-7p.m. at Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Indio. Representatives voiced the reasons about why the Mojave Monuments are important to them and why they choose to fight. Mark Evans and Marge Doyle received an opportunity to voice their support when they were interviewed by Channel 3.

http://www.kesq.com/news/rally-to-support-monument-designation-for-sand-to-snow-mojave-trail/546429707

The rally was led by MDLT’s executive director Danielle Segura. She reminded the attendees of the importance of submitting a public comment to the Department of the Interior to let them know the public supports our national monuments. If you haven’t submitted your public comment, please do so at https://www.mdlt.org/desert-defenders/

Remember, when our desert is under attack, we fight back! Become a desert defender by spreading the word and urging everyone you know to submit their public comment loud and clear in support of our national monuments. #desertdefenders


OUR MOJAVE MONUMENTS:  Your comment will count!

On April 26, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order instructing the Department of the Interior (DOI) to review the designation of national monuments under the Antiquities Act. This action directly attacks two California desert national monuments designated in 2016: Sand to Snow and Mojave Trails.

The Department of the Interior has announced a public comment period to see whether the public supports our national monuments.  The Mojave Desert Land Trust has designed a way to make it easy to let the DOI know we support Sand to Snow and Mojave Trails National Monuments and why they are important to us. 

Here’s what you do:  Go to www.mdlt.org/desert-defenders and provide your comments. It is a simple on-line form for your name, your email and your comments. They provide an example comment, or you can craft your own. The Mojave Desert Land Trust will collect all comments submitted through this process and will make sure your comments get counted in the public comment process.

Take action today and support our California desert national monuments!


ACTION CALL AND POSTCARD:  Do Not Support the Cadiz Water Export Project! Posted April 17, 2017

The Indivisible MB Environmental Issues Team is taking focused action on the Cadiz Water Project this month.  Support this action with calls and postcards to your congressman and senators!  Sample scripts below.

Cadiz Inc, located in Cadiz, San Bernardino County, is a private company that plans to exploit a natural desert aquifer and destroy pristine public lands for profit.

Cadiz plans to pump ancient groundwater from below the Mojave Desert and sell it to urban areas in Southern California, transporting it in a 43-mile pipeline.

This project would potentially draw down the Mojave Desert aquifer, which could in turn open the area up to increased environmental risks. The National Park Service and US Geological Survey argue that Cadiz would withdraw more water – 50,000 acre feet for year – than nature will be able to recharge the desert aquifer.

The new Administration has put Cadiz on a list of priority infrastructure and has quietly pushed the Federal Bureau of Land Management to rescind an earlier directive that required Cadiz to obtain a federal right of way permit, which would include comprehensive environmental review before being allowed to proceed to build the pipeline.

This project puts corporate profits ahead of the public’s interest.

Cadiz Phone Call Script (Cook)

Hello my name is________________ and my zip code is ___________________.

I know that Congressman Cook was one of a group of Congressmen who wrote a letter expressing support for the Cadiz water export project in the Mojave Desert, and that the BLM guidelines that were blocking this project were recently removed by the Administration, paving the way for this project to move forward.

I am concerned that the Cadiz project developers and their scientists greatly underestimate the environmental impacts of this project and that their estimates of natural recharge of water are exaggerated. This project is about selling our precious desert water resources for corporate profit, and will result in the loss of one more ancient aquifer. It does not help our communities.

I am urging Congressman Cook to not allow this project to move forward. We need him to protect our water resources.

Cadiz Phone Call Script (Feinstein and Harris)

Hello my name is________________ and my zip code is ___________________.

I know that BLM guidelines preventing the Cadiz water export project in the Mojave Desert have recently been removed by the Administration, paving the way for this project to move forward.

I am concerned that the Cadiz project developers and their scientists greatly underestimate the environmental impacts of this project and that their estimates of natural recharge of water are exaggerated. This project is about selling our precious desert water resources for corporate profit, and will result in the loss of one more ancient aquifer.

I am urging the Senator to not allow this project to move forward. We need her to protect our water resources.

Sample Post Card Script:

Dear Rep Cook, Sen. Feinstein or Sen. Harris,

Please do not allow the Cadiz Water project to proceed. Cadiz will sell our precious desert water resources for corporate profit. No corporate profits ahead of our public interest!

Sincerely,

Name

Town, Zip code


ACTION CALL AND POSTCARD:  Defend the Environmental Protection Agency
Posted Thursday, April 13, 2017

Any attempt to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or slash its budget, would irreparably harm our health and communities.  We depend on the EPA to protect our air, water and climate from harm.  Without proper resources they will have difficulty enforcing basic rules to protect our communities, which include…

  • Monitoring air quality in our communities
  • Ensuring our water is safe to drink
  • Enforcing protections from industrial discharge of toxic water pollution
  • Protecting our air from increased emissions of mercury, arsenic, lead, soot, and the pollution that causes smog
  • Cracking down on toxic pesticides that are wiping out our pollinating bees and threaten our food supply
  • Holding corporate polluters accountable
  • The Clean Power Plan, which limits climate-change-causing emissions and carbon pollution
  • Protection of our cherished public lands

The EPA is an essential part of our government that was founded with bipartisan support and remains popular across the country.

Oppose any action that undermines the EPA’s ability to protect the public health.  Defend our planet and communities!  We need a fully funded EPA to defend the health and safety of the American people.

I stand behind the EPA and find it intolerable to cut the EPA budget!

EPA Phone Script:

Hi, My name is (Name) and I am a constituent from (City, Zip).

I am calling because I am concerned about the Administration’s proposal to cut the funding and staff resources of the EPA. I do not support any cuts to the EPA’s budget.

Will (Rep Cook, Senator Feinstein, Senator Harris) fight cuts to the EPA?

If the person says yes: That is really wonderful to know. Thank you for your work answering calls and please thank (Cook, Feinstein, Harris) for supporting the EPA.

If the person says no: That is terrible. I am very disappointed. I hope (Cook, Feinstein, Harris) know that the majority of constituents believe the EPA is critical to protecting our environment and our citizens and they should not have their resources cut. I hope that he/she will reconsider.

If the person says they don’t know: That’s disappointing. I expect my Senator/Representative to have clear positions on issues that affect constituents. Please ask him/her about their position on this matter and ask them to share that information with our constituents.  I will call again to get the answer to my question. Thank you for the work you do answering calls and responding to questions.

EPA Post Card Script:

Dear Rep Cook, Sen. Feinstein or Sen. Harris,

Defend our planet and communities! We need a fully funded EPA to defend the health and safety of the American people. No cuts to the EPA! Thank you.

Sincerely,

Name
Town, Zip code

 

Congressman Cook, stand up for your country and make Trump’s tax returns public!

Is Trump colluding with Russia or enriching himself off the presidency? There’s one easy way to find out.  Every president since Carter has released their tax returns for a simple reason: it demonstrates that they don’t have conflicts of interests. But Trump has refused to release his tax returns. This would be unacceptable for any president, and it’s particularly shocking given the global reach of Trump’s businesses, including those tied to Russia.

Until we see Trump’s tax returns, we cannot be certain that foreign governments don’t have leverage over Trump that can be used to influence American policy. And we can’t be certain that he’s acting in the best interests of Americans. The integrity of American democracy is at stake here, and Congress needs to defend it.

Congress has power to get his returns…but they’re sitting on their hands. Trump isn’t a king—he can’t simply mandate that his tax returns remain hidden. Congress has the power to get his tax returns. But they’re refusing to use this power, largely because Republicans in the House and Senate are blocking efforts to do so.

This is simply unacceptable. Members of Congress are standing up for Trump instead of standing up for their country and their constituents. Given the importance to our democracy and to national security, Congress should step in and make Trump’s returns public. This is why our founders established our system of checks and balances in the first place—to ensure that no single branch of government gets away with abuses of power.

THE PRESIDENTIAL TAX TRANSPARENCY ACT

This simple bill would require President Trump and future major party presidential nominees to release the three most recent years of their tax returns, with only minor redactions for privacy. If they refuse, the Treasury would provide the returns to the Office of Government Ethics or Federal Election Commission.

This is a bipartisan bill in the House, with support on both sides of the aisle.

We demand that Congressman Paul Cook take a stand and protect our democracy by co-sponsoring the Presidential Tax Transparency Act, or H.R. 305.  

— Adapted from indivisibleguide.com.

This Is The Long Game

The following was sent from the Indivisible Guide team:

“A note for all of us who feel defeated after Sessions from the Indivisible Team: This is the long game. We are going to lose a lot. We are going to get good at losing. We are going to lose cabinet votes for terrible nominees. We are going to lose bills that are offensive and appalling. But while we are losing, something else is going to happen. We are going to keep raising our voices and slowly our representatives are going to start listening to us. We’ve seen it happen.

“It won’t happen because of next week’s call to action. It’ll happen over months, where you keep showing up, regularly. Then, we are going to start winning. It’ll sneak up on us. We won’t understand why we are winning. But it starts with losing in a particular way- where we raise our voices and call it out when we aren’t listened to, where we get close but not quite there.

“The first 100 days of a President’s term are the honeymoon period, the moment when he’s most likely to get his agenda enacted. Trump is spending his first 100 days mired in controversy, scandal, and backbiting – and that’s because you haven’t for a moment let anyone in Washington forget just how unpopular he is.

“Every time we change the narrative, every time we delay, every time there’s a newspaper story about a member of Congress avoiding his or her constituents, that’s a win. And it matters.

“You have already made history. You’ve delayed the confirmation of Trump’s cabinet picks longer than any time in recent history. You stopped the gutting on the congressional ethics office. You’ve made Republicans so nervous about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act that it’s been pushed further and further down the road. You caused an uproar of historic proportions over Trump’s Muslim ban and saved lives and reunited families in the process. You’ve inspired people who have never before taken action to make their voices heard and learn how to do things like check how their members of Congress voted and call them out for it.

“We’ll never even know about some of the victories – because those will be the fights that this Administration considered starting and then realized it couldn’t win.

“We’re in this together. Every visit. Every call. Every loss. Every win. That’s just what friends do. #StandIndivisible

“In solidarity,
“The Indivisible Team”

How To Take Action

Submitting an Action Proposal to Indivisible Morongo Basin

Have a proposal for an action to be taken on by Indivisible Morongo Basin?  Get it to us with this form.

Action Guides

Indivisible Guide

Resistance Manual

Taking Action

Know Your Rights: Demonstrations and Protests – ACLU

Get a daily text message on an action you can take at Daily Action

Today We Organize

On Friday, Trump was sworn in as president.  On Saturday, millions of women and their allies marched, around the world and right here in Yucca Valley, in opposition to what he stands for.

Today, we organize.

We’re not going to win with just one march.  The effort must be sustained and committed.  Already, there are small nodes of organizing starting in the Morongo Basin.  We want to help them grow and find one another.  If you feel something must be done, think about inviting people you know to start working together, or look for other efforts that have started.  We will support these efforts however we can.  Below, we’ve pasted an organizing toolkit sent out by the folks at indivisible.org, to follow up on their Indivisible Guide.  You can do it!  WE can do it!

FROM INDIVISIBLEGUIDE.COM:

Some of you may be busy planning for your first group meeting, while others are trying to fit a discussion of the Indivisible guide into a packed agenda for your hundredth meeting. But regardless of how long you’ve been doing this or how many people are in your group, you’re not just a leader in that group – you’re an organizer.

So: what is an organizer? An organizer is someone who brings people together and inspires them to take action. Organizers motivate and mobilize people; they build relationships with the people around them and they build a plan to act. They are leaders who lead from behind, always thinking about how they can get other people to do more.

The most important thing you can do right now is spread the word: talk to people about your group, invite them to your meeting, ask them to commit to join you, and follow up beforehand to make sure they are there. Then what? This toolkit includes materials to help you take the next step in your organizing journey, whether it’s your first step or just the most recent one:

1. A sample agenda for your first organizing meeting to help your group divide up the work, make a bold plan, and put it into action.

2. Ideas for keeping your meeting on track, so that you can make a great plan and help your group mobilize to execute it.

3. A sign-in sheet for your meeting: organizing is all about relationships, and relationships are all about communication.

4. A potential first action plan so you and your group can start talking to your Members of Congress about standing up to Trump right away.

5. Tricks of the trade for getting press coverage and spreading the word about your actions on social media, so that what your group does has as big an impact as possible.

6. And information on watching out for right-wing tricks.

March To Support Standing Rock And Resistance To The Dakota Access Pipeline

Anyone who supports the resistance at Standing Rock is invited to join a march in Yucca Valley this Saturday, January 28.  The action is part of a Global Prayer Action focusing on banks that fund the Dakota Access Pipeline.

This week Trump signed executive orders advancing both DAPL and the Keystone XL pipeline.  Congressman Paul Cook has supported Keystone in the past and issued a statement on Tuesday in support of Trump’s latest action on Keystone (a statement that has now curiously disappeared from his .gov and Facebook pages).

The march will gather on the frontage road outside Bank of America at the corner of Dumosa and the Highway at noon for a prayer and at 12:30 will march down the block to Wells Fargo and Citibank.  According to the United We Rise website, local organizers are the Joshua Tree-Huggers and 350 Joshua Tree.

Today, We Organize

On Friday, Trump was sworn in as president.  On Saturday, millions of women and their allies marched, around the world and right here in Yucca Valley, in opposition to what he stands for.

Today, we organize.

We’re not going to win with just one march.  The effort must be sustained and committed.  Already, there are small nodes of organizing starting in the Morongo Basin.  We want to help them grow and find one another.  If you feel something must be done, think about inviting people you know to start working together, or look for other efforts that have started.  We will support these efforts however we can.  Below, we’ve pasted an organizing toolkit sent out by the folks at indivisible.org, to follow up on their Indivisible Guide.  You can do it!  WE can do it!

FROM INDIVISIBLEGUIDE.COM:

Some of you may be busy planning for your first group meeting, while others are trying to fit a discussion of the Indivisible guide into a packed agenda for your hundredth meeting. But regardless of how long you’ve been doing this or how many people are in your group, you’re not just a leader in that group – you’re an organizer.

So: what is an organizer? An organizer is someone who brings people together and inspires them to take action. Organizers motivate and mobilize people; they build relationships with the people around them and they build a plan to act. They are leaders who lead from behind, always thinking about how they can get other people to do more.

The most important thing you can do right now is spread the word: talk to people about your group, invite them to your meeting, ask them to commit to join you, and follow up beforehand to make sure they are there. Then what? This toolkit includes materials to help you take the next step in your organizing journey, whether it’s your first step or just the most recent one:

1. A sample agenda for your first organizing meeting to help your group divide up the work, make a bold plan, and put it into action.

2. Ideas for keeping your meeting on track, so that you can make a great plan and help your group mobilize to execute it.

3. A sign-in sheet for your meeting: organizing is all about relationships, and relationships are all about communication.

4. A potential first action plan so you and your group can start talking to your Members of Congress about standing up to Trump right away.

5. Tricks of the trade for getting press coverage and spreading the word about your actions on social media, so that what your group does has as big an impact as possible.

6. And information on watching out for right-wing tricks.