Suggestions/additions welcome.

“Word” has it that the country’s calls to Congress have fallen by two-thirds. We need to keep up the pressure if we want results! Keep calling! Then make follow-up calls to ask about progress, to thank the congressmen’s efforts, or to encourage him/her to keep up the pressure. For a list of Republicans who are vulnerable to persuasion (because they won by a small margin or were elected in a district that went to Hillary Clinton) see (you should be able to view this tweet even if you don’t have a twitter account).


  • Today:
    • Betsy DeVos Postcard Blitz – see below
    • 45 is giving a speech to the joint sessions of Congress – We know that he loves ratings, so don’t watch.
  • Wednesday March 1 at 9 am – 10 am Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) Listening Event at Rutland Economic Development Corp., 67 Merchants Row, 3rd Floor
  • Wednesday March 1 at 6 pm Castleton Indivisible meeting – Castleton University Library media viewing room which is on the first floor toward the back
  • Wednesday March 1 at 8 pm – 9:30 pm National Call regarding Standing Rock and other pipeline fights. To register: For more information:
  • Wednesday March 1 at 7 pm the Rutland City mayoral candidates will gather at College of St. Joseph’s Tuttle Hall Theater to discuss their ideas about economic development. The event is free and open to the public. PEGTV will broadcast the forum onChannel 21. Members of the public can submit questions to the Chamber at or (see
  • Thursday March 2 at 6-8 pm – Rights and Democracy meeting –
    Leahy Education Center at the Rutland Regional Medical Center (160 Allen St, Rutland, VT)
  • Friday March 3 at 5:30 – 6:30 Rep. Peter Welch holding a Town Hall at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, 5 South Main Street. Please RSVP by Thursday, March 2nd to
  • Saturday Feb 4 at 10am-noon – TD Bank Rutland protests continue (we’re on the corner, at the apex of the streets – if you’re looking directly at the stand-alone booth or at the side of the building you may not see us)
  • This weekend, if you are interested in canvassing for Mayor Louras, please email
  • Sunday March 4-6 pm Sanctuary Sessions – 44 Main St., 2nd and 3rd floors, Montpelier – open Irish session for ALL instruments, singers, dancers, and listeners. Musicians and listeners are encouraged to bring cash or checks to make donations to ACLU
  • Monday, March 6 noon – Peter Welch Town Hall – Northshire Bookstore• 4869 Main Street, Manchester, VT 05251
  • Tuesday March 7 – ELECTION DAY IN RUTLAND – We all need to vote. At the recent meeting of the local Democratic party, a representative for the current mayor of Rutland expressed serious concerns that this election would represent a referendum on the issue of refugee resettlement. Whatever your position on this issue, we should all push for a large voter turnout. Do you know anyone who needs a ride to the poll? Volunteer to give them a ride.
  • Wednesday March 8 Day without Women
    • “Women take the day off work — whether you are paid or unpaid.
    • Refrain from shopping for the day — or if you must shop, choose small, women- and minority-owned businesses.
    • Wear red in solidarity with those participating in and supporting the strike.
    • Alternatively, participate by donating to International Women’s Strike USA or simply by refusing gender roles and stereotypes in your day-to-day life”
    • Note: My deepest apologies for my oversight in not putting the Day without Immigrants in the newsletter two weeks ago. I did not learn of the strike until the day of it.
  • Saturday March 11 at 5 pm ACLU is holding an online Resistance Training. “This event will launch People Power, the ACLU’s new effort to engage grassroots volunteers across the country and take the fight against Donald Trump’s policies not just into the courts, but into the streets.” Sign up here:
  • Wednesday March 15 – The Ides of Trump – mail a postcard to 45 expressing your displeasure with his administration
  • Saturday April 10 am – 3 pm People’s Climate March 93 State St, Montpelier


NEW ITEMS REQUIRING ACTION in no particular order – there are a lot, but that’s because I know that people are interested in different things. Pick the issue that you’re most concerned about, and take action.

1. URGENT: Despite the Senate’s support, Vermont’s House is split over the bill (S.79) supported by Governor Scott to “prohibit government officials from helping to create a registry, including one based on religion, and to require the governor’s approval for state and local law enforcement officials to participate in certain federal immigration enforcement actions.” and

2. Betsy DeVos failed to prevent the DoJ from rescinding the guidance protecting transgender students and she has threatened to undermine public education.

  • Action: DeVos Postcard blitz – send a postcard today to DeVos with a positive message of support to show that public education is a civil right. “NO threats, profanity, or any other derogatory language! Some examples include: Don’t leave it to the states! Education is a civil right for ALL children!Or #DefendPublicEducation Or I have an IDEA: Public Education is a CIVIL RIGHT! Or Children are the future: Education is a civil right that REQUIRES federal oversight! Or PROTECT VULNERABLE STUDENTS. Education is a civil right.
    • Address: Betsy DeVos, S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202

3. Legislation (S.77 and H.243) has been proposed in Vermont’s State Congress that would require that presidential nominees submit their tax returns for the past five years in order to be listed on a Vermont ballot.

  • Action: Call your local representatives to voice your support (lookup or Text your zip code to 520-200-2223 and you will receive a text with the phone numbers of your federal and local government legislators)

4. Anti-immigrant measures continue to wreak havoc on the well-being of our population and our reputation abroad. As reported in previous newsletters, women and children (the most vulnerable population) are being intentionally targeted for deportation. The victims include a woman who was in the hospital for surgery on a brain tumor. Fortunately, our federal representatives have expressed their support for immigrants, as reported in previous newsletters, and Representative Welch will be bringing an Iraqi immigrant to 45’s address to Congress today. and

  • Action: Support Amnesty International’s effort to free the woman mentioned above
    • Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
      • Contact below official by 7 April, 2017: ICE Field Office Director, Simona Flores, Field Office Director at ICE ERO, US Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Dallas Field Office, Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX, 75247, USA or Email:  or Twitter: @ICEgov
      • Script: Salutation: Dear Ms. Flores
        • Urge the authorities to release Sara Beltran Hernandez (A#: 208-548-384) on parole, pending the resolution of her asylum claim;
        • Call on them to ensure she is urgently provided necessary medical attention, in accordance with her wishes;
        • Urge them to ensure that while in detention, she is provided regular contact with her family members and lawyers of her choosing.
    • Afterwards, let Amnesty International know that you took action. They record the number and types of actions taken—letters, emails, calls and tweets—on each case and use that information in their advocacy.  Either email with “UA 54/17” in the subject line or click this link.
  • Action: Sign a petition opposing Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue’s proposed Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, a bill that would crack down on legal immigration by restricting green cards, barring immigrants from reuniting with families and ending the diversity visa lottery.
  • Action: Support the Bridge Act. “The BRIDGE Act (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act, also known as S.128 and H.R. 496) is a bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), that would protect DREAMers by continuing to provide them with temporary stays of deportation and work permits, even if DACA is discontinued. According to Senator Graham, the BRIDGE Act has broad support from the faith, business, higher-education, civil rights, and immigrant communities. The BRIDGE Act, unlike DACA, is a proposed law. If it is passed, President Trump will no longer be able to deport America’s DREAMers.”
    • Senators Sanders Local office 802-862-0697
    • Leahy 802-863-2525
    • Script: Hello, my name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [CITY, ZIP]. I’m calling to urge [Sen/Rep’s Name] to support the BRIDGE Act (S.128 if Senate, H.R. 496 if House). The BRIDGE Act will protect undocumented students and veterans from deportation, and it will allow them to continue contributing to our American communities. [Optional: include a brief story about someone you know who has been or will be affected by DACA/BRIDGE Act.] Thank you for your hard work answering the phones.
  • Action: Sign a petition to stand up for immigrants
  • Action: Contact your local Sheriff/Chief of Police’s asking him/her to take a stand against anti-immigrant policies. To find your Sheriff/Chief of Police: For Rutland, the Chief of Police is Anthony Bossi, 52 Washington St., Rutland, Vermont 05701, Phone: (802)773-1816. Script (from
    • Hello, I am calling to see what Chief of Police [______]’s position is on supporting the Trump Administration’s policies targeting lawful undocumented immigrants. Who can I speak to in your office to ensure the Chief of Police receives my message?
    • [make sure you get to the right person]
    • Is the Chief of Police voluntarily making the decision to enforce Trumps new policy of targeting lawful undocumented immigrants? I wanted to make sure that the Chief of Police is aware that local law enforcement is not legally required to assist the federal government in enforcing  federal law. In fact, the principle of Separation of Powers in the US Constitution makes it clear that the Chief of Police can decide whether or not to enforce federal law and policy. What is the Chief of Police’s position on this?
    • If planning to cooperate with enforcement of Trump’s new policy say this: I oppose my local taxes being used to enforce federal immigration law. The enforcement of immigration law should be left to the federal government and not transferred to local law enforcement. The costs are a drain on local resources and divert funding from more effective safety and crime prevention methods. By eroding trust and cooperation between local law enforcement and immigrant communities, public safety is also undermined.
    • If planning not to enforce Trumps new policy say this: Thank you, for making the decision to not enforce Trump’s policies. Many members of our community support your decision.
    • After your call:  If your sheriff/chief of police is cooperating with Trump and thereby putting his agenda above the safety of the community, post this on social media: “Sheriff/Chief of Police _____ @[add their handle], deportation is Trump’s priority, not our community’s. Focus on safety and prevention, not deportation. #WallofUs”

5. Border patrol agents are overstepping their powers and wasting resources with crackdowns that racially profile and target travellers, with Muhammad Ali’s son being only one recent victim of their abuse, targeted not for his country of origin (he was born in the USA), but because of the color of his skin, his name and his religion. A renowned French scholar on WWII and a beloved Australian author of children’s books were also targeted. The tourism industry is already taking a hit as a result of these practices. and and and

6. “The End Racial and Religious Profiling Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Ben Cardin (MD) (S. 411) and 27 of his Senate colleagues on February 16, 2017. Companion legislation, the End Racial Profiling Act, will be introduced in the U.S. House in early March, 2017, by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI). The End Racial and Religious Profiling Act in the Senate and the End Racial Profiling Act in the House comprehensively address the insidious practice of biased treatment by law enforcement on our nation’s streets, highways, walkways, and in our airports because of who you are, which God you worship, or who you are perceived to be. Specifically, the legislation addresses bias policing on five levels: first, it clearly defines the discriminatory practice of racial and religious profiling by law enforcement at all levels; second, it creates a federal prohibition against profiling; thirdly, it mandates data collection so we can fully assess the extent of the problem; fourth, it provides funding for the training and retraining of law enforcement officials on how to discontinue and prevent the use of profiling; and fifth, it holds law enforcement agencies that continue to use profiling accountable.”

  • Action: Contact
    • Senators Sanders Local office 802-862-0697
    • Leahy 802-863-2525
    • Script: I am one of the Senator’s constituents. I am asking him to support Cardin’s End Racial and Religious Profiling Act (S.411). I am horrified by the rash of reports regarding the rise of racial profiling. It is difficult for our faith in the American judicial system not to be challenged when we cannot walk down the street, drive down an interstate, or go through an airport, without being stopped merely because of who we are, which God we chose to worship (if any), or who we are perceived to be. I would like the Senator to take a stand against discrimination by supporting S.411. Thank you.

7. White Nationalist (read: Neo-Nazi) Charles Murray is scheduled to speak at Middlebury College on Thursday, March 2nd, at 4:30pm in Dana Auditorium. “Charles Murray is the co-author of the discredited racist 1994 book “The Bell Curve,” which served to buttress the white supremacist agenda with a “scientific” veneer of genetic determinism.” and and

8. A previous newsletter referred to Representative Lieu’s proposed legislation to “require a congressional declaration of war in order to use nuclear weapons, except in response to an incoming nuclear attack”

9. Attorney General Sessions has rescinded the guidance stating that Title IX’s protections apply to transgender students. As mentioned above, Vermont’s AG has already taken a stand to protect the rights of transgender children even in the absence of this guidance. Representative Welch and Senator Sanders have already condemned 45’s administration for rolling back protections on transgender rights. and “To date, zero people in America have been attacked by transgender individuals, or people pretending to be transgender in bathrooms. However, discriminating against transgender people, especially children, does come with risk. Here are some statistics from GLAAD on violence against trans youth: According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 55% of all reported LGBT homicide victims were transgender women, and 50% were transgender women of color. Furthermore, in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 78% transgender/gender non-conforming students in grades K-12 experienced harassment, while 35% experienced physical assault and 12% experienced sexual violence. Transgender people in our country face numerous obstacles — higher risk of poverty, suicide, assault, housing and workplace discrimination, and barriers to obtaining healthcare. Allowing people who are transgender or gender nonconforming to use the bathroom of their choice doesn’t cause crime. Can we really risk putting our nation’s transgender children in even greater danger?”

10. The leaked Republican plan to replace the ACA is pretty much awful.

11. Several off-year elections are coming up that we need to win in order to take back the majority in Congress. We just won the race in Delaware (see above), and there’s one coming up in Georgia. Jon Ossoff is running for Congress in Georgia’s 6th District. Even though we don’t live in GA, we can support his efforts.

12. Last week’s newsletter discussed threats to Net neutrality. “Ending net neutrality would restrict the open exchange of information, and undermine fair competition. This could open the door for oligarchies and higher prices, hurting small businesses and leaving working families behind.” Net neutrality “is an extension of the founding principles of our democracy. Net neutrality is the idea that all internet access should be treated “equally.” Republican Senator John Thune (SD) plans to create legislation to enshrine some aspects of net neutrality into law. Even though this sounds like a progressive policy, Thune wants to create this law in order to roll back key powers the FCC has to regulate internet service provision–all but ending a number of consumer protections on internet access. This would make it easier to deprive poor people of internet access, while limiting the range of options available to consumers to the benefit of a handful of powerful corporations.”

  • Action: Contact Representative Peter Welch 802-652-2450 or Script: My name is [your name], and I’m one of [representative’s] constituents. [If you’re leaving a message, include your address and ZIP code.] I’m calling to ask that [representative] stand up for net neutrality. Consumer protection and the democratic ideal of equality for all are at stake. Protecting net neutrality can help ensure that everyone has fair access to the incredible opportunities the internet provides. Will you please share my message with [representative]?

13. A proposal has been submitted to open a sulfide-ore copper mine on federal lands right next to and draining into the Boundary Waters.

14. Last week, “the White House banned reporters from major news outlets that have criticized Donald Trump from a press briefing. The move was petty, stupid, and dangerous: free press is critical to our democracy, and dismantling press freedom is a frequent move of dictators (a fact that even Sean Spicer knows).”

15. “The Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017 is currently under consideration in both the House (H.R.371) and the Senate (S.65) and would require the President to divest financial assets which create a conflict of interest, such as interests in Energy Transfer Partners (ETC), the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline and Phillips 66, its parent. Trump has claimed, without any proof, that he divested his interest in ETP and declined to answer whether he has divested Phillips 66 stock.  Unlike all previous presidents, President Trump has declined to divest financial assets which create a conflict of interest and instead has created a revocable trust in favor of his sons to run his business, an arrangement deemed inadequate by ethics experts. The legislation would require disclosure and divestiture of such assets.”

16. “Senator Joe Manchin (D-VA) has consistently voted against Democratic values, yet he continues to hold a leadership position in the Democratic Caucus.” from

17. Amazon is still advertising on Breitbart. from

18. “Sen. Sanders has introduced Senate Bill 427: “A bill to enhance Social Security benefits and ensure the long-term solvency of the Social Security program” which would help fund Social Security. While the article below mentions that it is highly unlikely for it to advance through the Senate, it’s still important to call your senators and let them know that you support progressive bills like this. You can also call the Finance Committee to let them know you support this bill:   Follow its progress here:” from

19. “Dept. of Health & Human Services has proposed new rules around the ACA. There is a public comment period until March 7th on rules that will increase premiums, reduce benefits, reduce networks, and increase deductibles.”

20. Previous newsletters have commented on efforts to roll back the federal collection of the statistics needed to guide good policy.

21. “The Michigan Breastfeeding Network has drafted a letter to the U.S. House and Senate, asking them to keep the protections for breastfeeding mothers in place. Under the ACA, insurance providers are required to cover lactation consultants and breast pumps. The ACA also mandates break time for nursing mothers.”

22. “NPR station KUT (Austin, TX) is conducting a study to see where people get their news from and what they consider to be trustworthy sources. The survey is short and takes less than 5 minutes to complete.”

23. 45 “has nominated Seema Verma to lead the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (abbreviated “CMS,” with only one “M”). This critical agency manages federal health insurance programs and healthcare regulations, including Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Affordable Care Act. Verma holds extreme positions on healthcare that would raise insurance costs for women and cap Medicaid benefits. Aside from Verma’s extreme political positions, she lacks the experience to run CMS, an agency that accounts for one-quarter of the federal government’s entire budget. Verma is unfit to run such an important organization overseeing health coverage for well over 100 million people.”

  • Action: Verma is appearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday. If she is approved, she will move on to a full Senate vote. Neither Sanders nor Leahy are on the Senate Finance Committee. Although you aren’t a constituent, you can call the committee members: Script (from ):
    • Caller: Good morning! Can you tell me the Senator’s position on the nomination of Seema Verma for CMS Administrator?
    • Staffer:Thank you for calling! Senator Janet opposes Seema Verma’s nomination.
      Caller: That’s great! I’m calling to say that if Senator Janet truly believes, as I do, that we must protect the historic gains made by the Affordable Care Act, she should do everything she can to encourage her colleagues to vote no on Verma’s nomination. Will Senator Janet do everything she can to stop the Trump Administration, his healthcare leadership, and the Congress from dismantling the ACA? Will the Senator stand firm against so-called“replacement” packages that do not meet the standards for coverage, comprehensiveness, and protection that were in place prior to the seating of the current Congress?Staffer: Yes, Senator Janet is proud of her work ensuring that Americans can access and afford the healthcare they need. She’ll vote against any “Repeal and Replace” bills that come before the Senate.

      Caller:  This is extremely important to me and I will be watching closely.  Thank you for your time.

    • Staffer:Thank you for calling! Senator Janet will be supporting Seema Verma’s nomination.Caller: That’s terrible. What that means is Senator Janet is choosing to make healthcare more expensive for women [like me], older Americans [like me], and middle class Americans [like me]. Verma is primarily known for being the architect of the “Healthy Indiana” plan, which requires the use of Health Savings Accounts, a special account that helps rich people avoid paying taxes but does very little for low- and moderate-income Americans who struggle to save up for rent, never mind healthcare. Verma supports capping Medicaid funding for states, which would make massive cuts to the program and reduce coverage for millions of Americans. Verma even said she didn’t think basic maternity care should be required in insurance plans. Instead, she supports allowing plans to charge women more to add on maternity care.

      Staffer: Obamacare is too expensive, and Senator Janet’s constituents want it overturned.

      Caller: That’s wrong. It’s clear that Senator Janet isn’t listening to constituents like me. Many of us in [our state] know that if the Affordable Care Act is overturned, it will take us back to the days when women and those with pre-existing conditions had to pay more for care – or not get insurance at all. In some places, you could not even get a plan that covered maternity care, no matter how much money you had. Even if we disagree on healthcare, Verma is not experienced enough to run CMS. Verma has no experience with Medicare, for example, which covers 55 million older Americans. Verma also has no experience running a large organization, while CMS has thousands of employees and controls programs that account for one-quarter of the entire federal budget.

    • Staffer:Thank you for calling! I have no idea what the Senator’s position on this is, but I’m happy to take down your concerns.Caller: That’s disappointing to hear – CMS oversees the coverage of well over 100 million people and I would expect Senator Janet to have a clear position on person nominated to head it. If Verma is confirmed, she will spearhead the effort to make healthcare more expensive for women [like me], older Americans [like me], and middle class Americans [like me]. Verma is primarily known for being the architect of the “Healthy Indiana” plan, which requires the use of Health Savings Accounts, a special account that helps rich people avoid paying taxes but does very little for low- and moderate-income Americans who struggle to save up for rent, never mind healthcare. Verma supports capping Medicaid funding for states, which would make massive cuts to the program and reduce coverage for millions of Americans. Verma even said she didn’t think basic maternity care should be required in insurance plans. Instead, she supports allowing plans to charge women more to add on maternity care.

      Staffer: I didn’t know that, but I’m happy to take down your concerns.

      Caller: Here’s my concern: even if we disagree on healthcare, Verma is not experienced enough to run CMS. Verma has no experience with Medicare, for example, which covers 55 million older Americans. Verma also has no experience running a large organization, while CMS has thousands of employees and controls programs that account for one-quarter of the entire federal budget. I expect Senator Janet to commit to opposing Seema Verma’s nomination.

      Will Senator Janet protect her constituents by opposing Verma?

      Staffer: I will certainly pass on your concerns to the Senator.

      Caller: Please do, and please take down my contact information to let me know when the Senator has made up her mind. I’m eager to hear what she decides.

24. “Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s (84th) birthday is March 15.  Let’s send her birthday postcards thanking her for her service and her willingness to continue.”

25. The Supreme Court is scheduled to discuss a case to nullify the election on March 15th, but the media isn’t covering it.

26. “In one month, the Trump administration has spent on travel a little less than what the Obama administration spent in a year. The new POTUS has been out of the office practically every weekend he’s been on the job and American tax payers are footing the $10 million billThose are your federal tax dollars.” For more terrifying numbers see

THINGS TO KEEP AN EYE ON – If you have a suggestion regarding an action we can take right now, please let me know

Legislation (H.R.610) has been introduced to “distribute Federal funds for elementary and secondary education in the form of vouchers for eligible students and to repeal a certain rule relating to nutrition standards in schools.”

45 has proposed the elimination of PBS, NEA and AmeriCorps. Peter Welch has already sworn to fight this.

Previous newsletters have reported 45’s egregious violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, along with other offenses. Last week, Richmond, CA passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of 45. Following Rutland’s election on March 7, I will add an action to the newsletter for encouraging Rutland to pass a resolution calling for Congress to investigate 45’s business holdings and his possible violation of the Constitution.

Another Jewish cemetery has been vandalized and a rising number of Jewish Community Centers and schools are being targeted with bomb threats. Fortunately, the GoFundMe page to repair the damage to the cemetery has already exceeded its goal of $10,000 by raising $17,000. Although none of the violence or threats have harmed any people as of yet, they certainly have a potentially devastating effect to Jewish life, as people begin avoiding these centers for fear of violence. and and


Concerned about protecting gender rights –  ,, , ,, or the groups listed here:

Concerned about the ICE overstepping its powers and targeting vulnerable populations and

Amy Siskind, an expert in authoritarianism, has argued that it is essential for us to keep track of everything that’s changing each week so that we don’t lose our sense of what’s really normal. She has been keeping a weekly list of this since the election. You can view the lists here

Want to learn more about Islam or Muslims? See (Note: I minored in Middle Eastern studies when getting my doctorate. I would also be happy to answer questions and recommend reading, especially on early Islam.)

Concerned about threats to undermine the media’s ability to report on the news?

  • “Share this guide to covering the Trump administration with friends and family who work in media, and start a conversation about how their organization is fighting back against Trump’s attacks on press freedom”

Concerned about fair treatment under the law, regardless of ethnicity, gender or religion –

Catholics interested in social justice –