I’m just back from our monthly general meeting, always an energizing experience. I’m humbled by the integrity and thoughtfulness of our members. This month, Shannon and I tried an experiment. We ran the meeting as a working session to come up with talking points for the next round of Member of Congress actions.
Our policy team – Mary Beth, Patrick and Paul – has accomplished extraordinary things over the last two years and change. We’re eternally indebted to them for their contributions. As their attention turns to other priorities, we’re delighted to welcome new policy team members Aina and Katherine.
And we are delighted to welcome you. Talking Points should represent the concerns of Stand Up San Francisco as a group. We’re encouraged by the results of today’s working session, and we’ll continue this experiment. If you can’t make it to a general meeting, please don’t hesitate to email us your suggestions for Talking Points.
Now for the rest of today’s good news:
- “Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld is the first Republican to announce he will challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential race.” Weld’s challenge will force the president to defend his base.
- “The latest sign that even Christian colleges are not safe spaces for Pence came last week, when Taylor University, an evangelical school in rural Indiana, announced that Pence would speak at the commencement ceremony on May 18. A Change.org petition asking the school to rescind the invitation had garnered nearly 5,000 signatures by early Thursday, with copious commentary appended. Appeals to university leadership have been plastered across social media. Some are pledging to withhold donations. “Not my Taylor. Not my Jesus,” one signer wrote.“
- “House Democrats have subpoenaed nine large banks as part of an inquiry into President Trump’s financial interests, according to people familiar with the matter, including six U.S. firms and three foreign lenders.” Yes, Deutsche Bank is on the list.
- “Marc Owens, who served for ten years as the head of the Internal Revenue Service division that oversees tax-exempt enterprises, recently reviewed documents obtained by the New Yorker detailing the finances of the NRA. “The litany of red flags is just extraordinary,” he said. “The materials reflect one of the broadest arrays of likely transgressions that I’ve ever seen. There is a tremendous range of what appears to be the misuse of assets for the benefit of certain venders and people in control.” Owens added, “Those facts, if confirmed, could lead to the revocation of the NRA’s tax-exempt status”—without which the organization could likely not survive.”
- The president’s threat to send migrants to sanctuary cities fell predictably flat. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said: “What President Trump fails to understand is that America is a sanctuary country.” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf tweeted: “It’s time to stop fanning hate and division @realDonaldTrump — I’ve been consistent and clear: #Oakland welcomes all, no matter where you came from or how you got here.” And Democratic Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, a presidential candidate, summed it up on “Meet the Press” this weekend: “You can’t threaten somebody with something they’re not afraid of. And we are not afraid of diversity in the state of Washington.”
- Inslee has also signed a measure that duplicates protections created by Obamacare, including rules that insurers can’t block patients with pre-existing conditions from purchasing their plans, and can’t retroactively deny coverage except for fraud or misrepresentation.
- Mayor Pete Buttigieg ceremonially announced his campaign in the rain in South Bend, Indiana. At the end of his speech he and his husband Chasten Buttigieg kissed.
- Batteries have been getting smaller and cheaper so much faster than expected that “the crossover point when electric vehicles will be cheaper upfront than a combustion vehicle” will be 2022 — just three years away.
- “A fundraising effort to support three historically black Louisiana churches burned down in recent arson attacks has seen a tremendous surge in support in the wake of a fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral, raising more than $1.9 million in donations as of Friday afternoon.”
- Thanks to the meticulous work of Vassar art historian Andrew Tallon, every exquisite detail and mysterious clue to the building’s 13th-century construction was recorded in a digital archive in 2015 using laser imaging. These records have revolutionized our understanding of how the spectacular building was built — and could provide a template for how Paris could rebuild.
ONE THING YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW
Call Speaker Pelosi and thank her for calling on Robert Mueller to testify in front of Congress. Televised Congressional hearings are more likely than any other channel to get the truth in front of the American public.