Letter writing

Who are my US legislators and how do I contact them?
Who are my Massachusetts legislators and how do I contact them?
Who represents you in Massachusetts?

Letter writing is a regular third-Sunday event at MtToby, with a topic and “talking points” arranged by the Peace and Social Concerns Committee. This website area will make it feasible for people who missed the letter-writing table on the second Sunday to participate. Some of our Congress people prefer to get letters by fax (Roger faxes in the letters from the session to them) avoiding the anthrax-filtering delay; others prefer that you make an entry in a form on their website. These forms’ web addresses are listed here.  You can either type your message directly into the form, or write offline, then copy and paste it into the form.

(For P&SC Committee members: info on how to administer letter writing is here.)

Another way to send your message is through the FCNL website.  Click on the “Action” tab, then on “act online” and then on “see more action alerts, votes, and bills.”

You can find out more about the letter writing topics and (usually) talking points by clicking on links in this index: However, this list was not updated for two years.

The German government’s announcement this week that it could cope with as many as half a million refugees a year for the next “several years” has understandably made headlines — and set a high bar for other nations, including the United States.

The announcement came in response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis taking place across the Mediterranean, as European nations grapple with the largest number of refugees the region has seen since World War II. Indeed, the U.N. refugee agency has said the number of refugees in the world has reached an all-time high.

All this has raised the question of whether other countries are doing enough in response. Certainly, the countries of first asylum for refugees from Syria and Iraq — Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan — are already overwhelmed, having taken in nearly 4 million refugees between them. Turkey has taken in 1.9 million. Lebanon, 1.1 million, a 25% increase in its 4.4 million population! Jordan, 629,000.

The United States should accommodate more. The United States has taken in about 1,500 Syrian refugees through its resettlement program, and granted asylum to about that many more. Shouldn’t it be doing more in the face of this humanitarian crisis? Obama suggests that we take in 10,000 Syrian refugees next year. Others have suggested 65,000 is a more realistic share. We took in almost a million Indochinese after Vietnam.

We suggest that you write to President Obama and our Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren supporting a generous US settlement of Syrian refugees.

On January 13, 2013 the topic was gun control, a current topic due to the recent school massacre in Connecticut.

For December 9 the topic was the lethal drones employed by the US to assassinate people.  Here is a Call from the Faith document which will be relevant.  Our P&SC Committee agreed to endorse it and to forward it to the December 9 Meeting for Business for consideration of endorsement.  The Meeting did endorse it.  You can read this Call from the Faith-Based Community to Stop Drone Killings, here.

For November 11 the topic was Climate Change. Here are the talking points:
CLIMATE CHANGE Talking Points/Fact Sheet

Climate Change is bi-partisan. It affects us all. Republican Governor Christie and Independent Mayor Bloomberg witnessed the devastation wrought by “extreme weather.”

Climate change is international: desertification, flooding, historic storms and temperatures…. June broke or tied 3,215 high temperature records across U.S. following warmest May on record in this hemisphere. 327th consecutive month in which temperature of entire globe exceeded 20th century average. Maldives Islands (and other low-lying states) are disappearing into the Indian Ocean. This year Kenyan farmers suffered withering corn crops from unprecedented drought. Sandra destroyed estimated 70% of crops in Haiti, and this year between Hurricane Isaac and Sandy 90% of crops were destroyed…. Famine, massive poverty, migration & increased ethnic strife, wars…

Last year $32 billion in losses due to “natural” catastrophes in U.S. This year Sandy’s losses, yet to be fully tallied, are approaching $100 billion alone.

U.S. and China responsible for 40% of carbon emissions. Proven coal, oil, and gas reserves will increase carbon emission five-fold if burned. Since 2000 five biggest oil companies’ profits exceed $1 trillion yet we allow them to dump their main waste—carbon dioxide—for free. We have the technology to slow disaster (Germany, for example, gets 1/2 its electricity from solar panels) but do we have the will?

Increased carbon emissions warm the planet. One-third of the summer Artic ice is gone. Our oceans are 30% more acidic. The air over the oceans is warmer meaning they hold more water vapor leading to increased flooding

Statistics from Bill McKibben and New York Times
Adele Smith-Penniman