Letter From the President

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Coffee Party Campaigns, Volunteers, White Papers and Election Fatigue

Campaigns:  #VoteAnyway will conclude on election day.  And regardless of the outcome of the election, we are committed to #StayInvolved with our elected representatives and local political party. By infusing our dysfunctional political with support and energy (i.e. new volunteers), we can restore...and reclaim... our democratic ideals.

Volunteers:  Coffee Party is a volunteer led and volunteer run organization. By working together, we keep the lights on, the posts fresh and have a lot of fun doing it.  We hope you will consider volunteering. Our entrepreneurial culture is open to self-starters with ideas who want to #StayInvolved.

White Papers:  We are in need of new white papers that outline the Coffee Party positions based on our End State Goals.  Following the election, we’ll be recruiting 4-5 people to work on Electoral Reform positions. If we have more volunteers, we can expand to work on Corruption Law Reform, too!  If you are interested, please go to www.CoffeePartyUSA.com/volunteer

Election Fatigue:  In the weeks leading up to the election, how are you taking care of yourself?  I’m intentionally picking up the headlines and avoiding the point-scoring, blow-by-blow coverage. I’ll be spending time researching ballot issues (in Oregon) as well as down ballot candidates.  The coverage is so overwhelmingly focused on the presidential race, I feel a little blind about the rest of my civic duty. Another symptom of Election Fatigue. Sheesh!   

 


Board Development Update

by Leah Spitzer

The Coffee Party is already looking to our future.  While we are focused on the upcoming Presidential elections, we are also looking forward to 2017 at the Coffee Party.  How do we fit in after the elections?  What will we be doing to continue working towards our goals?

Coffee Party volunteers actively participate in the planning, but we are lead by our energetic and active Board of Directors.  Our board members are committed to volunteering at least 5 hours a week.  They roll up their sleeves, dive in, and actively lead as well as participate in the work.  That’s one of the things that makes the Coffee Party so much fun.  

In April of 2017, we will again be accepting applications for our Board of Directors.  Serving on the Board of Directors not only helps the Coffee Party reach our goals, it can be Invigorating, stimulating, and even challenging. It can also improve leadership skills and introduce you to new connections.

In order to submit an application, you must be a dues paying member by January 1, 2017 and be actively participating as a volunteer.  To see what else is required to become a board member, click here .

If you do not want to be a board member, but would like to be eligible to vote in our Coffee Party elections, you must be a dues paying member by March 1, 2017.  To become a member, click here.

We can always use more volunteers.  So even if you don’t wish to become a member, or a board member, please consider becoming a volunteer. Volunteers are vital to our organization.  Volunteers produce our Facebook page, help with strategic planning, create and implement campaigns and events, and  so much more.   We are a community working together online to promote civility and move closer to our goals.  Bring your ideas - we want to hear them.   All of our work is done via conference calls and Facebook, so we are not location specific. To find out more, click here. 

 


Volunteer of the Month: Heather Prabish


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Photo of Heather Prabish

By Leah Spitzer

This month, we’d like to feature one of our most active volunteers, Heather Prabish.  Heather volunteers in Campaigns and Actions, Partnerships and Strategy and Implementation.  Heather has also participated in our Coffee Party Panelists Team, and has helped out in several foundation projects such as Coffee Party Talks, Panelist guidelines and member surveys.

Heather was born and raised in Nebraska and has lived most of her adult life in Chicago suburbs where she now resides.  Heather is the mother of six children between the ages of 6 and 15 years. Heather is the Director of Support and Training for a software company and works with automated reporting inside the market research industry.

Heather has been volunteering with the Coffee Party since March.   She was drawn to the Coffee Party through friends and followed our Facebook page before signing up as a volunteer. She was surprised by the Primary election results and that encouraged her to become active. Heather really likes our commitment to being reasonable and civil and keeping that engagement during difficult conversations.  She wanted to do something to help the country and the community to make sure it is the type of place she’d like to live.  

Heather first signed up in Campaigns and Actions and Strategy and Implementation.  She likes that Strategy and Implementation looks forward for the Coffee Party to help determine the next steps we need to take.   In other words, it has the general concerns and health of the organization in mind.  Campaigns and Actions works to engage people and promote our ideals and find things that people can do and be involved with.  It is very action oriented.  

Heather then received an invitation to Partnerships.  This group looks at other organizations and evaluates them against our goals to see if they have potential for collaboration.  Heather mentioned a need for more volunteers in Partnerships.  One good thing about this group is that if she occasionally misses a call, she can still continue her research and post her thoughts on their private Facebook page or via email.

Heather’s favorite thing about volunteering with the Coffee Party is that she can hear ideas from all points of view. Heather tends to lean more conservatively than many of our volunteers, so it’s interesting to hear those different perspectives.  People are whole people and ideas are just ideas.  

Heather’s favorite project so far was hosting the Coffee Party Talks.  Heather has done two Coffee Party Talks.  The first one was with family members (mandatory for her 4 older children).  It was interesting listening to their views and hearing the optimism and hope in their voices and inspiring them to engage civilly.   The  second Talk was with some non family participants drawn from her book club and running club. They were excited to be a part of it. Heather has a lot of friends that are Trump supporters and the CP Talk provided a space where they could talk without being attacked and that appealed to them.   There was a level of trust  that they would remain friends anyway so they were able to freely discuss why they were voting a certain way.  

When not volunteering, Heather enjoys reading and being involved with her children’s activities.  She enjoys watching them progress and grow.  Heather really likes the conversations she has with her children especially after dancing or swimming.

Thank you, Heather for all your contributions to the Coffee Party.  

(Would you like to volunteer?  Go to www.coffeepartyusa.com/volunteer)  


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!



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