VoteAnyway Bumper Sticker Campaign

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#VoteAnyway is the Coffee Party USA campaign to encourage all citizens to vote, even in the face of many who would say it does not matter. If you agree and would like to share this message while you support our cause, check out the #VoteAnyway bumper sticker.

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During the month of September, we will send you a free bumper sticker if you:


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President's Column

#VoteAnyway

It is fair to say that the political events of the last year have left many of us feeling adrift. There is so much vitriol, so much mischief, so much spin everywhere, that giving up on it all might seem like a valid solution to the swirl. We must not surrender.

#VoteAnyway is the Coffee Party USA campaign to encourage all citizens to vote, even in the face of many who would say it does not matter. We believe nothing could matter more. We believe the change you seek begins with your vote. Your support is essential to others who have risked themselves to represent you from local to state to federal offices. Your voice and your vote matters.

We are also asking you to help us get the vote out!  Please share this information, use the hashtag #voteanyway and point people to our website, discuss voting with your friends and family, help people get to the polls, in other words....do what you can where you are to ensure that everyone's voice is heard!

We feel disenchanted.
Disenchantment is not disenfranchisement.

The road to reclaiming our government for us, the people, to be MORE involved. Not less. Truth and love will prevail.  

Mahatma GandhiWhen I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.   ― Mahatma Gandhi

If you need help getting registered to vote, check out the interactive map on our website as well as other useful information.


Coffee Party USA welcomes our new BOD Member & Newsroom Chair

Charlotte Vaughan Coyle is one of Coffee Party’s newest Board members, recently appointed Secretary for a two-year term. She also has taken responsibility for the Join the Coffee Party Movement Newsroom – the term we use for the group of editors who post articles, blogs and original writings to our Facebook page.


Hi. This is Charlotte reporting from the Newsroom. Ever since the beginnings of the Coffee Party Facebook page, there has been a commitment to circulate solid information and responsible commentary in order to help inform, educate and motivate. Around these articles on the important issues of our day, Coffee Party provides a venue for conversation, debate and intellectual discussion.

Civil conversation is rare on the Internet. In a time when trolls and cyberspace bullies are doing real damage, Join the Coffee Party Movement remains committed to bring people together and foster intelligent conversation. Our moderation guidelines and our dedicated volunteers do an excellent job of helping us keep our promise to “incite civility.”

Join the Coffee Party Movement editors are a jambalaya of backgrounds, interests, personalities and opinions. We don’t always agree but we work hard to model the respect we ask of our readers and commenters. Agreeing to disagree and finding common ground are important principles we try to embody within our diverse and creative team.

Watch for some updates on the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page coming soon. We would love to have our members give us feedback on how we can continue to use our Facebook page to inform, educate, motivate and “incite civility.”


Get Involved with Coffee Party Campaigns

The Coffee Party recently kicked off two activities where you can easily get involved in bringing more civility and reason to our political dialogue -- "Coffee Party Talks" and our "Hashtag" campaign.

Coffee Party Talks

Coffee Party Talks offers you an opportunity to host one or more small group discussions on various political topics.  You choose where and when to meet and who to invite.  If you want to open it to the public (which is up to you!), you can list it on the Coffee Party's website.

We give you all the material to get you going!  You can download guides on facilitating conversations and discussion topics on a number of timely political subjects.  We have partnered with the folks at Living Room Conversations to offer questions designed to generate lively but respectful conversation on a number of topics --- from "Media and Polarization", "The American We Want to Be" and more.

For more information and a full list of the topics, go to this page: 

http://www.coffeepartyusa.com/coffee_party_talks 

Be sure to sign up on the page so we can keep you informed on new information and provide you instructions on how to participate in our free brief Coffee Party Talks training conference call on July 25.

We Appreciate Your Civility Hashtag Campaign

We all know that what we give attention to is what we grow in our lives. Our Hashtag Campaign offers you an easy process to expand our experience of civil dialogue online.  The idea is simple!

All you need to do is to pay attention to when others online are being respectful in their political interactions ---- then comment on their sharing by thanking them and using our special  hashtags of #incitecivility and #coffeepartyon.  Be sure to provide a link, if possible, back to the Coffee Party USA website!  If you need some ideas on some positive comments that you can use or more information about the campaign, go to this website:

http://www.coffeepartyusa.com/hashtag_campaign 

Remember that higher levels of civility in the world starts within our own lives and our sphere of influence.  Each of us can make a difference!  Won't you join us in these campaigns!  Thank you!

Mark Gilbert

Coffee Party USA

Chair, Campaigns and Actions


Press Release

For Immediate Release

August 29th, 2016 
Contact: Bobby Rodrigo
Phone: 301.259.1869
Email: bobby@coffeepartyusa.com
Web: coffeepartyusa.com


Coffee Party USA Opposes REG 134417–13

Coffee Party USA officially opposes and encourages its one million social media followers to vigorously oppose REG 134417–13. The rule, originally written to apply to 501(c)4 social welfare organizations, was later suggested by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen could be applied across the board to all categories of non-profit organizations, including labor unions, educational institutions, and charities. This is a clumsy attempt to close the loophole which allows dark money to influence our elections.

Enforcement of this regulation by the IRS would result in free speech for PACs and SuperPACs but disallow 501(c)4 organizations from reporting on voting records of elected officials, interviewing candidates or holding debates.  This infringement on education, information and free speech would be a consequence of this overboard regulation.

The only organizations advocating public interests and citizen engagement with our government are non-profit organizations.  These issue-advocacy organizations must not be silenced by this proposed regulation that will silence their advocacy and education efforts.

SuperPACs, candidates, private interests and for-profit organizations should not be the only voices in elections.  The Coffee Party USA is a 501(c)4 and this rule would negatively impact our ability to fulfill our mission which supports civil discourse and encourages citizen engagement with elections.  REG 134417-13 is contrary to these beliefs and the implementation of it must be opposed.


Volunteer of the Month: Robin Thompson

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 Volunteer of the Month: Robin Thompson

by Janet Bass

This month’s Coffee Party Volunteer of the Month is Robin Thompson.  As an American living in Calgary, Canada, Robin has a unique perspective on American politics  Watching both the news from the U.S. and Canada makes it easier for her to compare and contrast what is happening in the United States with what is happening in Canada.

Robin first learned of the Coffee Party when friends posted articles and links from the Coffee Party on her Facebook feed.  She liked what she saw and started sharing the posts with her friends.  About six  months ago, Robin started looking into the Coffee Party, liked what she saw and quickly found out that they needed volunteers.  Raised with the belief that one should always volunteer where needed, she got in touch with Leah Spitzer, our Volunteer Coordinator.   Robin has been volunteering whenever and wherever anyone needs her in the Newsroom Group ever since.  Usually a local community volunteer, volunteering in the Coffee Party is an opportunity for her to make a difference nationally.

Most of Robin’s work with the Newsroom Group of Coffee Party involves finding news for posting on the Coffee Party Facebook page.  Robin actively looks for news that speaks to the Coffee Party End State Goals.  She also writes blogs for the Coffee Party regarding issues which she feels need attention.  Robin will soon begin training as a moderator for the Coffee Party Facebook Page.

Robin gives three answers when talking about her favorite aspects of the Coffee Party. First, she loves actively analyzing what is going on in the United States with an eye toward civility and discourse.  Second, she is excited about being able to take part in the Coffee Party Movement which she feels is making a difference in the U.S.  Lastly, Robin has met some very interesting people and fostered friendships through the Coffee Party and through the Facebook pages.

In her own words, “This is such an important year to promote civil discourse in politics.  It could not be a more important time, with the rise of the Trump and the Cruz followers, and the active propagation of hate as a tool to attract voters.”

When she is not volunteering for the Coffee Party Newsroom Group, Robin has her own company as a writer, editor and graphic design.  She is also active in her own community in Calgary and in Democrats Abroad, which has a small local presence.  Right now her main outlet for volunteering is the with the Coffee Party, and impacting Living Room Conversations.

Robin especially enjoys gardening, and thanks to global warming (note the sarcasm), her growing zone has changed to a warmer climate so she is able to plant many types of flowers this year that she would not have been able to grow previously and hopes to spend as much time outside in the garden as possible this year.


Coffee Party USA joins with Stamp Stampede to stamp money out of politics

 

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Vince Lamb, Coffee Party Director of Partnerships

Campaign finance reform and corporate reform are serious issues, but that doesn't mean that members and supporters of the Coffee Party can't have fun while working to "pass campaign finance laws that limit the impact of special interest groups such as corporations, major political parties, and lobbyists" and affirm that "Corporations are not people, but consist of people" as the Coffee Party's own goals declare. To that end, Coffee Party USA is partnering with Stamp Stampede to "stamp money out of politics."

Simply order the Coffee Party USA custom stamp from our partners at Stamp Stampede by clicking on the link. When your stamp arrives, start stamping your dollar bills. As Stamp Stampede says on its website, "Every dollar you stamp will reach 875 people, if you stamp 5 dollars a day for a year, that's over a million. Together, we can create a stampede that Congress can't ignore."

This is all perfectly legal. As our partners at Stamp Stampede have written, "it's illegal to destroy paper currency or deface it so much that it's no longer recognizable and has to be taken out of circulation. But that's definitely not what we're up to... Because we all want these bills to stay in circulation and we're stamping to send a message about an issue that's important to us, it's legal!"

What do our partners at Stamp Stampede expect once the people get the attention of Congress? They want "a constitutional amendment declaring that: 1) Money is not speech; [and] 2) Corporations are not people." Coffee Party USA supports these goals and asks that you, our members and supporters, get the message out through stamping your money. The results will be a lot more concrete and enduring than sharing one of our posts on Facebook, which we still want you to do, too.

Once we limit the power of special interest groups to influence our elections, we can work on making the rest of our vision true, that of "building, nurturing and connecting communities to reclaim our government for the people" and making America "a nation of diverse communities sharing a culture of informed public engagement where our sacred right to vote is the only currency of our representative democracy." So get your stamp and start stamping!


55,000 People Have a Conversation

Debilyn Molineaux, Coffee Party USA President

To be precise, there were over 3500 conversations, involving 55,000 people.  All on one day, in and around Chicago.  Wow.

I was an invited guest...along with another 60 or so people from around the country.  Our mission?  To witness the event and learn how it was done. It got me thinking...what if the entire country could be invited to have a conversation about what matters most to them?  

Pop Quiz!  

What is a conversation?

  1. Two people speaking at the same time

  2. People talking while another person is present, but not really listening

  3. Preparing to respond before the other person finishes speaking

  4. Arguing, even if no one is shouting

  5. All of the above

  6. None of the above

I prefer to think of conversations as mini-dialogs. One person speaks at a time.  Other people listen (and I mean really hear them), and the conversation adds to each person’s understanding of each other, a situation, a belief, etc.  From Wikipedia: Conversation is a form of interactive, spontaneous communication between two or more people. Typically, it occurs in spoken communication.

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With our busy lives today, we are less likely to have spontaneous conversations with people. So where have all the conversations gone?  (I suspect we now spend time online, but that’s not really a conversation.)  What was great about On the Table is the creation of a shared experience. 55,000 people took time to have a conversation with each other, about topics they care about in and around Chicago.  It’s time we did this as a country.

Here’s my dream* (and nascent plan):

  • Coordinate with organizations and people around the country who will HOST one or more conversations.

  • Invite the media to host their own conversations, with their readers/audiences and report on them.

  • Offer online and phone support for hosts to customize each event.  An online toolkit is a given.

  • Partner with one or more research universities and firms to gather what was talked about, who talked and look for patterns.

  • Offer awards for good ideas that need a little money to get off the ground. (Not every idea costs money, but sometimes it helps.)

Are you in?  What topics do you care most about?  Safe Communities? Taxes?  Healthcare?  Personal and/or National Debt?  Education?  

Whatever you care most about, wouldn’t it be great to dedicate at least one day each year (more is better),  to gather with friends, neighbors and family...or even complete strangers, to take a deep dive into that topic?  And if we did, how would our country improve?  This is where I get excited.

So much of our disconnect, our “living in different narratives” is a direct result of neglected or absent relationships. We the People can do something.

When we wake up on November 9, 2016, at least half of our country will feel like they “lost” the Presidential election. Some will breathe a sigh of relief that they didn’t lose more, but are less than satisfied.  And a few will feel like they “won.”  

Instead of crying, being depressed or gloating the day after the election, what if we started planning to all host our friends for National Conversation Day?  Say on February 2nd?  Yes, this is Groundhog Day.  And like the Bill Murray movie of the same name, we can change what we do, every day, until we get it right.** We can restore our communities and our country through our own relationships.  

*The Chicago Community Trust shared their plans for On the Table, and it looks a lot like this. OK, I stole it. With permission. ;)

**Idea adopted from John Oliver’s rant on May 22, 2016


I turned a lemon into lemonade

Jeanene Louden

Jeanene Louden, Coffee Party USA Director & Treasurer

After months of planning to attend Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening, life handed me a lemon and I was unable to attend. Thinking I would make lemonade by using social media to share anything and everything I could find about the events I set out to collect, vet, and share.

Life handed me another lemon called “the media blackout”. It did not take long to figure out that the corporate media was not going to share much about The People at the capital. Perhaps you share my frustration.

Never fear. The “other” media is alive and well and reporting, editorializing, and discussing the next steps in these actions by and for the people.

Coffee Party USA will be sharing everything credible we can find, but here are a few great links you might want to browse.


If you come across things you think are worth sharing and have not seen on Join the Coffee Party Movement, send them to me in an email and I’ll be sure to pass them on!


Volunteer of the Month (March 2016)

Volunteer of the Month


Ellen Fuller

Ellen Fuller Strategy and Implementation Work Group

Our volunteer of the month is Ellen Fuller.  Ellen is from Corvallis, Oregon  and is the Work Group Chair for the Accounting/Legal Work Group.

Ellen has been volunteering for the Coffee Party for about three years.  She became interested in the Coffee Party listening to Jeanene Louden’s show on Blog Talk Radio.  Jeanene and Ellen have been friends for many years.  Ellen really enjoys the Blog Talk Radio shows as they increase her knowledge of politics.  She is drawn to the Coffee Party by our Civility Pledge and would love to see our current elections abide by our pledge.

When Jeanene Louden took over as Treasurer, she asked Ellen for help.  Working in the Accounting/Legal group, Ellen makes sure things are properly entered in the ledger and that banks statements are reconciled.  Ellen’s favorite project was an in-house review and subsequent organization of everything from Coffee Party day one.   Ellen enjoys looking at procedures and policies and improving upon them as necessary in order to provide accurate and complete financial statements for the Board of Directors.

In general, Ellen enjoys the aspect of giving back as a volunteer and has a long history of volunteering including 15 years in 4-H leadership and 23 years serving on the Board of her son’s childcare.

Ellen has been involved in the financial side of business for most of her career.  She currently works part-time as a bookkeeper for the local art center in Corvallis.  Ellen has owned a full cycle bookkeeping business for 17 years, serving the private sector specializing in government contracting.  

Her past experience in the field is extensive and interesting.  Ellen worked with the EPA for 19 years in various positions ranging from bench technician to contract administration.  

One of her most interesting jobs was as a site manager for a business incubator that provided facilities and services for start-up businesses.  It also networked with other services to help tutor new business owners. Ellen enjoyed watching people develop and grow their ideas as they learned about running a business.

When not working, Ellen likes photography, travel, DIY projects, reading and spending time with family and friends.  Ellen loved traveling through Europe, but one of her most memorable trips was driving with her son’s fiance from Vancouver Island, BC Alaska to meet up with her son in the Coast Guard.  It really gave her a perspective on what Mother Nature is all about and how, especially when it’s cold, it can be unforgiving if you take it for granted.


(To find out more about the Coffee Party Volunteer program, go to www.coffeepartyusa.com/volunteer)



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