Let's Do This Now !
Who to call or write this week
Note: This site can also be accessed by entering FeathersOfHope.net in your browser window
For new readers, here are links to somr previous posts that will bring you up to date on what the Feathers of Hope network has been doing :
Wait, Exactly How Will We Do This? — (January 28)
Replacing McCarthy - A Progress Report — (February 16)
Moderate Republicans? Really? — (March 2)
You’ve Got To Be Kidding, Kevin! — (April 26)
Escape From MAGA World — (May 3)
Is There A Crack In The Wall? — (June 29)
More Sand In The Gears — (July 21)
Feathers of Hope is a network of ordinary citizens committed to advocating for the removal and replacement of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House, thereby diminishing the power and influence of MAGA extremists in the chamber.
We have been urging moderate Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives to form a temporary bipartisan majority voting bloc for the purpose of passing a motion to “vacate the chair” and elect a new Republican Speaker who owes nothing to the minority MAGA group.
“If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.”
This famous tagline was repeated every day with passion and conviction by Wes “Scoop” Nisker, at the end of his broadcasts on San Francisco’s legendary freeform rock station KSAN, back in the late nineteen-sixties and early seventies. Scoop himself died a few weeks ago, but his words live on.
Equal parts challenge and inspiration, the line will always serve as perfect rejoinder to those tiresome folks who can’t stop talking about how messed up everything is, and what “someone” ought to do about it. With his slyly ironic wit, Scoop reminds us that in the end, the news is as much about what We do or don’t do as it is about what “they” are doing . Bon voyage, Scoop.
Now is the moment to make some news of our own.
Congress’ summer recess is coming to an end. For some that means a last chance to relax before the beginning of what’s expected to be an intense power struggle in the House of Representatives. But for us, it’s an outstanding opportunity to shift the national conversation away from the coming spectacle of disruption and chaos towards the potential of solution and progress.
A couple hundred phone calls and emails dropped in the right places over the next several days can make all the difference.
Here’s what we know:
When the House re-convenes on September 12, the main event will be funding our government. A series of appropriation bills must be passed to keep the government operating in the new fiscal year, which starts October 1.
To that end, when Congress adjourned last month, twelve “must pass” appropriation bills had been voted out of committee in the Senate. All conform to the the Fiscal Responsibility Act — the debt ceiling agreement reached last Spring between President Biden and congressional Republicans. All have bipartisan support in the Senate and can become law.
But in the House, only one appropriation bill is out of committee and its provisions are wildly outside the parameters of the agreement. There’s no chance this bill, or any of the other eleven still in committee, would pass in the Democratic Senate or be signed by President Biden. Nonetheless, the stage is set for a pointless round of posturing and chest-thumping as the bills come to the floor for meaningless votes.
And as the hours tick by with no chance of resolution, the prospect of a government shutdown is expected to grow from likely to certain.
It’s a familiar scenario, just like the “debt crisis” a few months ago. And since it’s so utterly predictable, we can expect opinion writers and cable TV hosts to churn out more of the same commentary, once again bemoaning the tactics of MAGA/Freedom Caucus extremists as though nothing can be done about it.
Here’s what we can do.
First, read this essay in the August 14 edition of the Washington Post by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Steven Pearlstein: "How Congress Can Shut Down The Bullies." (Yes, that’s a link you can click on to access the piece. No subscription required.) Mr. Pearlstein is one of the few prominent writers who, like members of the Feathers Of Hope network, is calling for what amounts to a pre-emptive strike by a cross-party alliance of moderate Republicans and Democrats. While this is not quite a call for removing and replacing Speaker Kevin McCarthy, it is the first step toward what we've been advocating here for several months.
Since early Spring we’ve mostly been contacting the offices of Representatives themselves, urging them to “vacate the chair” and elect a new Speaker. And in two weeks, we’ll be doing so again. But right now it’s time to turn our attention to the media.
Over the next two weeks, we need to elevate the idea of removing and replacing Speaker Kevin McCarthy from the margins of our political discourse into the mainstream. The sooner that happens, the sooner normal order will return to the House of Representatives.
Our task at this time is to encourage political opinion writers and broadcast journalists to focus less on the antics of the perpetrators of chaos, and more on the potential response of problem solvers.
What we are asking of them is to simply initiate conversations about the formarion of a cross-party alliance in the House, a bipartisan majority, to confront MAGA extremists right away rather than waiting until we’re again on the brink of crisis.
This is a relatively benign request. There’s no need for us to argue strenuously for our preferred outcome. Merely discussing the subject will naturally lead to consideration of Kevin McCarthy’s compromised Speakership as the source of dysfunction in the chamber.
Media contact information is below. It has also been added to our updated e-mail and phone contact list.
Welcome, new members !
This week, thanks to an endorsement and recommendation by Robert Hubbell in his outstanding Daily Edition Newsletter, there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of members of our Feathers of Hope network. Thank you, Robert! And welcome to all you new members. Thanks for joining us. I invite you to browse earlier posts in the archive section of our home page. There are about fifty to choose from, dating back to shortly before the election of the current Speaker back in January.
Substack’s Feathers of Hope descriptive caption is "A meeting place for activists and their supporters.” This site is not intended to be a showplace for one writer's work. Nor is it meant to stoke outrage or elicit sympathy. It's purpose is to facilitate doing something rather than just talking about it.
With that in mind, I encourage you to make some phone calls, write some emails or letters, and help us persuade Representatives of both parties to disempower the minority faction of MAGA extremists. But if you count yourself as more supporter than activist, please cheer us on in the comment section. Thanks, it helps — a lot.
Media Contact Information
It is more difficult than one would expect to contact specific columnists at major newspapers or cable news stations hosts. In researching this, we found that the format for contacting individuals at the corporate level is typically first name or initial, dot, last name @ nytimes.com or washpost.com, or wsj.com, etc. We’ve used this formula in the past when writing to columnists, and the emails were not bounced back, but it’s not known whether they were delivered to their intended recipients.
If anyone has better information, please let us know in the comments section, or by emailing me directly: JerryWeiss@Substack.com
Another option is to write a Letter to the Editor and specify “Attn: (Columnist Name)” Also, don’t overlook columnists at your local newspaper, many of whom are syndicated.
New York Times:
Letters to Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can try using this format for these columnists: email@example.com
David Brooks, Gail Collins, Ross Douthat, Bret Stephens, David French, Michelle Goldberg, Nicholas Kristof, Jamelle Bouie, Thomas Edsall, Ezra Klein, Charles Blow
Letters to Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can try using this format for these columnists: email@example.com
Jennifer Rubin, Greg Sargent, Danielle Allen, Max Boot, E.J. Dionne (ej.dionne), Mitch Daniels, David Ignatius, Ruth Marcus, Eugene Robinson, Paul Waldman, Fareed Zakaria, Karen Tumulty, Helaine Olen, Dana Milbank, Michelle Norris
Wall Street Journal:
Opinion/Editorial page: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters to Editor: email@example.com
You can try using this format for these columnists: firstname.lastname@example.org
William Galston, Daniel Henninger, Peggy Noonan, Jason Riley, Kimberley Strassel, Adam O’Neal, Allysia Finley, Sadanand Dhume, Kate Odell
Robert Reich (email@example.com), John Kasich (firstname.lastname@example.org), Charlie Sykes (email@example.com), Mona Charen (firstname.lastname@example.org), Chris Cilliza (email@example.com), Jay Kuo (firstname.lastname@example.org), Steven Beschloss (email@example.com) , Jill Lawrence (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MSNBCTVinfo@nbcuni.com, Rachel Maddow (email@example.com)
Rachel Maddow is the only MSNBC host whose email address is easily found — don’t know why. But the format suggests that perhaps Joy Reid, Chris Hayes and others can be reached by using joy@msnbc, chris@msnbc, etc. Just guessing here.
CNN website does not provide any contact information. If anyone can find out more, please let us know in the comment section or by emailing me directly at JerryWeiss@Substack.com.
In Other News . . .
On Friday and over the weekend Donald Trump’s mugshot was everywhere — on the cover of newspapers, on every TV newscast, at the top of countless online blogs, newsletters and social media posts. Everyone saw it, everyone had an opinion. As one observer remarked, the image is a national Rorschach test: an exercise that tells us more about the perceptions of the person seeing it than about the objective reality of the subject.
Many have commented on how studied the pose is and how revealing it is of the evil residing in this man. My guess is that the pose came naturally to him; he is a professional poser. And he may be evil, but he’s an evil genius. What's truly notable is his strategy to use the mugshot as an asset, a visual prop that would dominate the news and have people talking about him as a celebrity rather than a criminal. Sadly, it’s working.
We need to recognize that this is a media fight. It's not only about policies and achievements. Democrats should flood media with this photo of President Biden to showcase in unmistakeable terms the contrasting futures at stake in 2024. As we all know, one picture is worth a thousand words
Regular readers will recognize the photo from our May 30 post Joe Biden Knows How To Negotiate And Win. At the time he had just out-witted and out-negotiated Kevin McCarthy on the debt ceiling issue. To highlight that victory, I wanted to choose a picture that would imply his experience and confidence, but most importantly convey the sense of him being a winner. This one has it all.
Here’s the easiest action you can take this week: Let’s get this photo of President Biden into the media mainstream. I’m sending an email with the photo attached to all Feathers of Hope subscribers, subject line: “Forward This E-mail”. All you have to do is forward it to your contacts, your local newspaper and TV stations, your county Democratic committee and anyone else you can think of. No need to add any more comment (unless you want to). There’s a brief description and credit included, but the picture speaks for itself.
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