Minutes of July 25, 2021 meeting

I pointed people towards work by sociologist Brooke Harrington on how to reach people who have fallen for conspiracy theories. What’s most effective is finding people who were similarly conned, to help the marks cope with loss of face (“social death”). Sending facts doesn’t help; at some level the mark knows he has been conned and does not plan to admit it.

See separate post for upcoming Activate America (=Flip the West) event.

We intend to raise $5000 for Virginia Assembly candidates. Send the link to our ActBlue page to your friends.

We have fresh Virginia postcards, featuring Bruce’s design. We also have another 100 Dr. Ben Moses (HD-59) addresses. Both will be available in packs of 25 on our porch.

N.B. The Virginia postcards are to be mailed mid-September, to coincide with the start of early voting, which you can reference in the text. Virginia requires a disclaimer “Paid for by [Someone], not authorized by any candidate” on each card. I have printed small sticky labels with my name that you can use, which will be with the cards. Please return the cards to us after you write them, and we will stamp them. That keeps everything straight for the campaign finance rules.

I have slightly modified my sample postcard for Ben Moses in accordance with the campaign instructions, but as usual they wanted to cram in more than anyone will look at.

This election we have a chance to make Dr. Ben Moses a Delegate in District 59. He’s an Army vet, ICU doctor, and wants to invest in Rural Virginia and Health Care for All. Early voting has started. Vote by November 2 for Dr. Moses and the Democratic ticket.

Sample postcard

Vote Forward is also conducting a letter campaign for Virginia. They claim 325 thousand written already!

Bill Marthinsen is your contact if you want to canvass in Virginia. Note that because of the expanded (excessive?) Early Voting window, campaigns are not sure when the optimal canvass campaign would be. So, no dates yet.

In our next two meetings we will discuss the Newsom recall attempt, because we don’t want any accidents.

You, too, can post to this site. If stuck, ask me.

Minutes from July 11, 2021

  • When (not if) TJ Cox calls, discourage him from running. Bryan Osorio seems like a stronger candidate.
  • Keep up the pressure on Sen. Feinstein to not forget her support for S.B.1. (Even Sen. Manchin is now on board, reluctantly.) Her D.C. fax is (202) 228-3954.
  • Postcards for Virginia has added multiple new campaigns. All of our VA campaigns—Alex Askew, Nancy Guy, and Dr Ben Moses—are now available from their site. I also have Moses addresses; I will ask how to be sure we don’t duplicate efforts. (I have a larger list than Postcards4VA.)
  • Activate America (formerly Flip the West) is running postcard campaigns for the seven California districts that we flipped in 2018, four of which were lost in 2020. They supply a script, which sight unseen I will bet won’t fit on a card, and are especially looking for people willing to write in Spanish.
  • Speaking of long scripts, the Moses campaign sent a mere page-and-a-half script. My sample postcards had a cut-down version, with bullet points emphasizing his veteran status, his work as an ICU doctor, his support of health care for all, and his desire to develop rural Virginia. I wanted to go off-message and add that his opponent is a drunk and a poacher, but was persuaded some voters may see those as positives.

Reminder, no meeting this holiday weekend

Vote Forward has a letter-writing campaign.

Postcards for Virginia have added campaigns. Ben Moses has been added to their list, but you can also get Moses addresses directly from me!

We have not raised that much for the EBAA Intern (Fellow) Program. Reminder, for this it’s best to send us a check (or checks) made out to Friends of Alex Askew, Guy for Delegate, or both.

The indictment of the Trump Organization reminded me of a cartoon I saw at least fifty years ago. The Internet doesn’t forget! Found it! As David Frum puts it, the scale of the Trump Organization frauds is more befitting a crooked dry-cleaner than a purported Real Estate Tycoon.

Minutes from the June 20, 2021 meeting

Bruce Jackson approved, on our behalf, a letter sent by numerous progressive California organizations to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. You can find the text in his post below. The letter has gotten quite a bit of press, as seen in Bruce’s post.

Unfortunately, we continue to see stories that suggest Sen. Feinstein has memory issues. ACTION ITEM: It is worthwhile to FAX Feinstein and/or Padilla a short letter urging them to support voting rights including S.1 and the John Lewis Act.

There is an election this June 29, only in Assembly District 18 (parts of Oakland). This is a special election to fill the seat Rob Bonta vacated when he was appointed State Attorney General. You can sign up to be a poll worker here. Younger workers are especially useful. If they can’t work on June 29th, encourage them to sign up for the next election, which will be in November.

I talked for some time about the Manchin Kabuki Theater. Manchin’s Voting Rights Bill has been pared down to essentials that can be opposed only on totally dishonest grounds. (That isn’t so true of H.R.1/S.1.) Seeing how Republicans are still refusing to accept it is a learning experience. Which way he goes is hard to say; there are not any clues. Today, unfortunately, his partner in waffling, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, wrote a ridiculous pro-filibuster piece in the Washington Post (no link on purpose). As far as anyone can tell, there is literally no agenda she finds more important than approval from the Republican Party. If we can go +2 in the 2022 Senate elections, Sinema and Manchin lose all their leverage.

Sally and I talked about Bryan Osorio’s Zoom call. Osorio has declared for CA-21. He is young and earnest. (He also, surprisingly, does not speak good Spanish: his parents thought it was important for his future to use English at home.) Demographically, he may be a better fit than ex-Rep. TJ Cox. The district is extremely close. We will, of course, be working for whoever is the candidate. It will help if he develops some gravitas in the meantime. We will include Osorio in our fund-raising starting in a month.

Bill Marthinsen talked about the revised East Bay Activist Alliance Fellow program, who, unlike interns, will receive a stipend. The best way to do this is through the campaigns themselves, sending them checks marked for “EBAA Fellow”. The candidates, as in the last cycles, are Alex Askew [checks payable to Friends of Alex Askew] and Nancy Guy [Guy for Delegate]. To support the Fellows, send your checks to us and we will forward. (We will add Askew and Guy to our thermometer, but money donated directly at ActBlue will not count towards the Fellowships.)


Write a Giving Circle email. Here is an example, based on one from Jody Lerner.

Dear Friends and Family,

I am asking you to join me in supporting Alex Askew and Nancy Guy, Delegates in Virginia, who are up for re-election this year. Perhaps you’re tired of election stuff. I know I am. I hate to be a downer, but our democracy is in jeopardy, and that’s not hyperbole. We don’t have the luxury of ignoring the incessant attacks on our electoral process.

With gratitude for all you do, (Your name)

Minutes for June 6, 2021

Soon after we began, we had a virtual visit from Dr. Ben Moses, VA-HD-59. He is a very impressive candidate—ICU doctor and Army veteran—who can connect to his rural district over health care. He seems clear in understanding that he needs amazing turnout from the 2020 Biden voters to have a chance. Normally these odd-year elections have a big drop-off, for both sides.

Our ActBlue page is up for Ben, and Naomi and I will match up to $500 given over the next two weeks.

Our friends at EBAA are supporting Alex Askew (VA-HD-85) and Nancy Guy (VA-HD-83), both repeats from 2019. Bill, who was out of town, says that EBAA is raising $1800 (each) for an intern, now called a Fellow. We postponed making any commitment to these races, but we can reconsider. Biden won both of their districts, Guy’s with 56% and Askew’s with 55%, although Guy had much the closer 2019 race. Trump won Moses’ district: it is a much steeper hill to climb.

We have Virginia postcards. I am working on getting addresses from the Moses campaign; alternatively, you can write for other Virginia Delegate seats through Postcards4VA.

We also had a poor result in the Texas Special Election for mayor of McAllen. Not only did the Republicans win in a county that is 85% Hispanic, turnout was apparently 7%. That’s a level of disinterest we can’t overcome long distance. Let’s look for grassroots groups than can fix this. There are also two Congressional special elections in November for Ohio. OH-11 is a lock, the only question is the Democratic Primary. Bernie adviser Nina Turner is so much better than the alternatives she is also getting mainstream support. OH-15 is a tough district for us. Our candidate, Allison Russo, holds a Ph.D. in. public health, so getting support from STEM groups. If we lose by single digits, it would be a positive indicator for 2022.

Closer to home, we are looking at CA-21. A new, young Democrat is running: Bryan Osorio. We have received an invitation to a Zoom fundraiser, Saturday, June 19th at 2pm. There’s no sign defeated ex-Rep. TJ Cox is trying again, which is probably for the better. Osorio is a 2018 graduate of Cal, the son of Mexican immigrants, and first-generation college graduate.

The rest of the meeting discussed how to handle Joe Manchin’s thumbs-down on S.1., the “For the People Act”. The best way forward, Bruce suggested (I agree), is to rally Democrats behind the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which has no provisions that are controversial among Democrats, or among the general public. Manchin even wants a strong version restoring pre-clearance. (All the provisions are, I suppose, controversial among Republicans, as they involve allowing people to vote.) We will contact Feinstein’s and Padilla’s offices to suggest they get behind this plan. (We will keep it separate from our suggestions that Feinstein, who is senile, should retire.)

We suggest communicating by fax.
Windows users: You can create a “printer” that is actually a virtual fax machine. This is part of the Windows system itself.
Mac users: If you have a multifunction printer connected to a phone line, you will probably be able to fax from that. If not, this web site allows you to send five faxes (max three pages each) per day. I have used it successfully while traveling. Ignore all of the sign-up ads and offers for expensive fax services. Just use the free option.
As usual, tech support available from Yours Truly.

NM–01 Special Election results

Given the Blue nature of the district I don’t think it is a reason to throw a party, but I can safely say Team Red (or is that Team Brown, the color of fascism?) can not be pleased with the New Mexico results. Democrat Melanie Stansbury is ahead by over 25, likely to outpace even the big wins Biden and now-Sec’y of the Interior Deb Haaland racked up in November.