Suggestions/additions welcome.

Tip for Vermonters trying to contact their local state reps: Call on Weekends and Mondays – from Martha of Castleton Indivisible

App for tracking how your representatives are voting: https://votespotter.com/ (recommended by http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

SUCCESSES/GOOD NEWS

 

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. Note: I’ve reorganized this to group calls/emails to representatives separately from petitions and similar items. Let me know if you prefer the old organization.

CONTACT YOUR HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL

1 We recommend that you contact your Representative (for me this is Peter Welch 802-652-2450 or https://welch.house.gov/contact/email) asking him/her to vote against the following legislation:

 

2 ACA In addition to the above calls, if you haven’t already called asking your Representative to vote against repeal of the ACA, do so ASAP. Word is that they’re voting on this on Wednesday.

Caller: Good morning/afternoon! Can you let me know the Congressman’s position on the Affordable Care Act?

OPTION 1: SUPPORTS ‘REPEAL AND REPLACE’ AND LACK OF TRANSPARENCY

Staffer:Thank you for calling! Congressman Bob believes that the ACA needs to be repealed in order to provide better coverage for all Americans. The Congressman is committed to repealing the ACA as soon as possible and replacing it with another plan that is better for Americans.

Caller: That’s terrible. No one has even seen this “plan” being pushed through the legislative process starting this week! How can you tell me it is better than the ACA if no one has seen it? There has not been a public score by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) so how can Congressman Bob assess its impact on the economy or on the future cost of my health insurance?

I want Congressman Bob to know that I think the secretive way in which the House Republicans are proceeding is irresponsible. As your constituent, I deserve to know about the potential impacts of a bill of this magnitude and so do all Americans. Any ACA repeal bill needs to be made available for us, external experts, and other MOCs to read and thoughtfully consider.

Staffer: The ACA was drafted behind closed doors and passed in secret. House Republican leadership is not acting any differently than leadership at that time.

Caller: That is not true. The ACA had a historic number of hours of debate and amendments during Committee development of the legislations. Specifically, the House held 79 public hearings on the health reform bill over the period of an entire year. House members spent nearly 100 hours in hearings, heard from 181 witnesses from both sides of the aisle, and considered 239 amendments from both Democratic and Republican MOCs.

I want Congressman Bob to commit to a transparent process for any potential Obamacare replacement bill. This includes having public hearings on options besides full repeal and allowing MOCs, the public, and nonpartisan agencies like the CBO to review the bill and allow enough time for congressional debate.

Will Congressman Bob commit, publicly, to opposing any congressional action on ANY ACA repeal bill without a transparent process, including a public CBO score?

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

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

OPTION 2: SUPPORTS ‘REPEAL AND REPLACE’ AND DODGES QUESTIONS ON TRANSPARENCY

Staffer: Thank you for calling! Congressperson Bob believes that the ACA needs to be repealed in order to provide better coverage for all Americans. The Congressman is committed to repealing the ACA as soon as possible and replacing it with another plan that is better for Americans.

Caller: That’s terrible. No one has even seen the “plan” being pushed through the legislative process starting this week! How can you tell me it’s better than the ACA if no one has seen it? There has not been a public score by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) so how can Congressman Bob assess its impact on the economy or on the future cost of my health insurance?

I want Congressman Bob to know that the secretive way in which the House Republicans are proceeding is irresponsible. As your constituent, I deserve to know about the potential impacts of a bill of this magnitude and so do all Americans. Any ACA repeal bill needs to be made available for us, external experts, and other MOCs to read and thoughtfully consider.

Staffer: We have a CBO score; we will release it once the bill comes out of committee. The ACA was drafted behind closed doors and passed in secret. House Republican leadership is not acting any differently than leadership at that time.

Caller: That is not true. The financing of the ACA’s coverage provisions was well known and debated. The CBO issued many reports on the Affordable Care Act’s cost and how it would impact Americans, including on how the individual mandate would ensure that Obamacare would be sustainable and paid for.

I want Congressman Bob to guarantee that any replacement plan will cover at LEAST as many people that would be covered under the ACA and that we understand the financial impact of any new plan. You cannot do that unless the bill has been analyzed by CBO.

Will Congressman Bob commit, to opposing any congressional action on ANY ACA repeal bill without releasing a CBO score publicly?

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

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

OPTION 3: ON RECORD DEFENDING THE ACA

Staffer: Thank you for calling! Congressperson Bob believes that the ACA is a historic piece of legislation that needs to be preserved and protected.

Caller: That’s great! I’m calling to say that if Congressman Bob truly believes, as I do, that it can be challenging to access affordable healthcare in this country, he should do everything he can to protect the historic gains of the Affordable Care Act. This includes doing everything in his power to prevent House Republicans from moving forward with an ACA repeal and replace bill that no one has seen and has not been publicly scored by CBO. This lack of transparency and the unknown impact on our economy is unacceptable.

Will Congressman Bob do everything he can to stop the Trump Administration and the Congress from dismantling the ACA? Will you commit, publicly, to opposing any congressional action on ANY ACA repeal bill without a transparent process, including a public CBO score?

Staffer: Yes, Congressman Bob is proud of his work ensuring that Americans can access and afford the healthcare they need. He’ll do whatever he can to ensure transparency in the Congressional process and to prevent further action on any ACA bill without a public CBO score.

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

 

CONTACT YOUR NATIONAL SENATORS

3 Creation of Military Force to be directed against US Citizens/Immigration Previous newsletters have discussed apparent violations of the rights of US citizens on the part of DHS/ICE/CBP officials (recall the detainment of Muhammad Ali’s son). “In a memo on new enforcement rules released in the past few days, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly gave his immigration officers total discretion to detain anyone without a warrant, who “in the judgment of an immigration officer … pose a risk to public safety or national security.” …a second DHS memo had to put in writing that American citizens and green card holders should be released if detained. So to be clear here – the U.S. government is anticipating that DHS immigration agents will be so aggressive that it will be common for U.S. citizens to be swept up and detained in the coming months… Neither native-born nor immigrant Americans typically walk around with their passport or birth certificate. This means that if a citizen is detained it is not easy to prove lawful presence here, and many citizens may end up being held for days. …. And as if this isn’t bad enough, the president wants to increase the number of Border and Immigration agents from 44,000 to 59,000…  The cruelty involved in these new efforts are hard to fathom, and taken together with the threats of martial action against other groups, feels like we are on the verge of tipping from a more benign form of white tribalism into the early stages of institutional racial oppression or even violence by the United States government against its own people.” https://www.usnews.com/opinion/op-ed/articles/2017-03-03/donald-trumps-new-immigration-policies-are-un-american-and-dangerous This is particularly disturbing considering the failure of many ICE/CBP applicants to pass the basic standards for hiring. http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/03/news/economy/hiring-immigration-agents-ice/

  • Actions: Contact Senators Leahy and Sanders asking them to take action to prevent the expansion of DHS/ICE/CBP powers
    • Sanders Local office 802-862-0697 https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/comment
    • Leahy: Local office 802-863-2525 https://www.leahy.senate.gov/contact/
    • Script: I’m one of the senator’s constituents in Vermont. I’m deeply concerned by efforts to expand the size and powers of DHS forces. This sounds like an attempt to create a military force to be used against US citizens. This violates democratic norms and traditions. I would like the senator to introduce or support legislation preventing the expansion of the DHS’ powers. American citizens or not the enemy. We shouldn’t be the target of our nation’s military.

 

4 AG Sessions’ lied under oath to Congress We now know that AG Sessions lied under oath to Congress about his contact with Russian officials http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-news/watch/rep-lieu-sessions-lied-under-oath-should-be-sent-to-prison-890242115696 Representative Welch and Senator Sanders have called for his resignation. https://welch.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-welchs-calls-attorney-general-sessions-resign and https://twitter.com/SenSanders/status/837348576518897664 Senator Leahy has called for Sessions to “appear in public before the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain why he twice gave misleading testimony under oath and why he failed to disclose such false testimony until prompted by news reports.” https://www.leahy.senate.gov/press/leahy-attorney-general-sessions-partial-recusal-does-not-go-far-enough

  • Action: Contact Senator Leahy Local office 802-863-2525 https://www.leahy.senate.gov/contact/ Script: I’m one of the Senator’s constituents in Vermont. I would like to thank him for asking Sessions to appear before Congress to explain why he lied under oath to them. I would like the Senator to go further and to call for Sessions to resign as AG. We can’t have a perjurer serving as the chief judicial authority in this country. Thank you.

 

5 45’s Russian ties Previous newsletters have mentioned the allegations of 45’s collusion with Russia during the election. Over the weekend, 45 accused Obama of illegally tapping Trump Tower and Trump during the campaign. The House Judiciary Democrats have sent a letter to White House Counsel McGahn regarding 1) McGahn’s efforts to gain access to information regarding applications for warrants to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (which would have been the basis for “tapping” 45) and 2) contacts between the White House and the Department of Justice and the FBI regarding a potential investigation into 45’s collusion with Russia. McGahn has been asked to provide the content of all contacts between the White House and the DoJ/FBI regarding this investigation. https://twitter.com/chrisgeidner/status/838536319924068352 Senator Sanders has called for the appointment of a special prosecutor https://twitter.com/SenSanders/status/837349381909196800 Senator Sasse has called for 45 to share his source of information for his allegations against Obama. http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/322379-gop-senator-demands-trump-give-more-information-behind

  • Action: Contact Senators Leahy and Sanders
    • Sanders Local office 802-862-0697 https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/comment
    • Leahy: Local office 802-863-2525 https://www.leahy.senate.gov/contact/
    • Script: I’m one of the senator’s constituents in Vermont. I am concerned about the president’s accusations regarding a wiretap and the White House’s efforts to interfere in an investigation of the president’s ties with Russia. I would like the senator to oppose the White House’s interference in this investigation, and to call for the president to provide evidence supporting his claim regarding the wiretap. If it is true that he was tapped, then a court must have been provided probable cause for Trump’s collusion with Russia and the public has a right to this information. If it is not true that Trump was tapped, then he owes Obama an apology. Thank you.
  • Action: For the highly motivated, here are other people you can contact:

 

6 Wildlife/Environment HJR 69, which would overturn “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska,” has passed the House. And SJRes15 has been proposed: It “would release 250 million acres of public lands for mining and oil digging. This Bill will gut a Bureau of Land Management rule that ensures the public is involved in decisions about drilling, mining and logging on our public lands. Votes on this bill that would give polluters power to dictate where drilling and mining happens on Americans’ land. This means permanent damage to our public lands and threats to our community health.”  https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/69 and https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-joint-resolution/15

 

CONTACT THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ABOUT IMMIGRATION

7 DHS is considering a proposal to “separate mothers and children if they illegally cross into the US.” http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-children-idUSKBN16A2ES

 

LOCAL VERMONT ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

8 VT governor Scott has rejected a tax plan to fund a clean-up for Lake Champlain https://vtdigger.org/2017/03/02/scott-administration-rejects-31-million-tax-plan-lake-champlain-clean/ The absence of a plan for funding this clean-up is especially troubling in light of threats to seriously reduce EPA spending on projects like this http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/27/politics/epa-cuts-25-percent/ Furthermore, legislation has been introduced in the House to eliminate the EPA (HR 861 – To terminate EPA https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/861). Among other things, 45 is threatening to cut EPA funding for Great Lake clean-up by 97%. Even though Vermont doesn’t border on the Great Leaks, we should be concerned, as the Great Lakes “contain 20% of the world’s fresh water and exhibit tremendous diversity.” (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/) Representative Welch and Senators Sanders and Leahy have indicated that they are going to fight to protect the environment https://twitter.com/PeterWelch/status/836668460247633921 and https://twitter.com/SenatorLeahy/status/837743300945788929 and https://twitter.com/SenSanders/status/836784903672971264

  • Action: Contact your local state representatives urging them to continue working on legislation to clean up Lake Champlain (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, or for Vermont see http://legislature.vermont.gov/)
  • Action: Contact Governor Scott to express your concern over the lack of a plan for future clean-up of Lake Champlain. Ask him to continue working on legislation to for this task. 802 828-3333 or http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/message

 

CONTACT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ABOUT PRIVATE PRISONS

9 AG Sessions has rolled back Obama’s efforts to move away from the privatization of prisons. Yet a recent DoJ study found that “private prisons were more dangerous than public ones. Per capita, private prisons reported 28% more inmate-on-inmate assaults and more than twice as many inmate-on-guard assaults than their government run counterparts did, as well as higher rates of sexual misconduct, drug use, and lockdowns. Disturbingly, BOP monitors did not verify whether inmates were receiving basic medical care, and at least two private prisons violated inmates’ civil rights by putting them in solitary confinement to deal with overcrowding.” https://5calls.org/#issue/recw7FWAST5dHU1bo Senators Sanders and Leahy have denounced Sessions’ decision, noting the especially troubling detail that GOP has received a great deal of funding from organizations that support the privatization of prisons. https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/sanders-statement-on-private-prisons and https://vtdigger.org/2017/02/27/leahy-comment-justice-departments-announcement-regarding-private-prisons/  Also see http://www.mynbc5.com/article/vermont-s-federal-private-prison-contract-set-to-expire/8593064

 

ANOTHER WAY TO SUPPORT WORKERS

10 One of the reasons that the Labor Secretary, Puzder, raises concerns is his support for automating the workforce and thereby cutting back on jobs. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-labor-secretary-pick-andy-puzder-talked-about-replacing-workers-with-robots-2016-12-08

 

PETITIONS/SURVEYS/ETC.

 

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

45 has announced a plan to create a taskforce devoted to dealing with and publicizing crime committed by immigrants (VOICE). This is especially concerning in light of a similar tactic of Hitler, who publicized the crimes of Jews in order to lay the groundwork for the Holocaust http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/28/politics/donald-trump-voice-victim-reporting/ and https://theintellectualist.co/in-move-reminiscent-of-adolph-hitler-trump-to-publish-weekly-list-of-crimes-allegedly-committed-by-immigrants/

 

HR 1236 PROTECT Immigration Act has been introduced “to discontinue the federal program that authorizes state and local law enforcement to investigate, apprehend, and detain aliens” (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/) Also see: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1236

 

HR 637 will amend “’the Clean Air Act to exclude carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride pollution from the scope of that act.’ It will undo decades of progress.” http://augustafreepress.com/kind-impact-will-trump-administration-environment/  (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

 

GROUPS TO FOLLOW/SUPPORT

Interested in supporting lawyers fighting for our civil rights – Lawyers for Good Government http://www.lawyersforgoodgovernment.org/

Concerned about increasing women’s participation in the electoral process – League of Women Voters of Vermont http://lwvofvt.org/ and She Should Run http://www.sheshouldrun.org/

Concerned about the fight for Standing Rock http://standwithstandingrock.net/donate/

Concerned about supporting minorities in your local community – Rutland NAACP https://docs.google.com/document/d/1I3o8w5zjF31BZItMkG0N1Z2GdCeFugix_oxg66O_nUA/edit and https://www.facebook.com/naacprutland/

Concerned supporting social and environmental justice – Rights and Democracy http://www.radvt.org/ – for the local group, contact rad-organizing-team—rutland@googlegroups.com

Want some postcards to use when mailing Congress? (h/t http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

 

READING

Interested in learning how to debate 45’s supporters – https://mindsworth.blog/2017/01/14/how-you-should-be-using-social-media-to-resist-trump/

  • Also follow the linguist George Lakoff, who talks about messaging. https://georgelakoff.com/blog/ For instance, when 45 recently referred to the press as an “enemy of the people,” social media immediately responded with arguments tagged “not the enemy.” Lakoff criticized this response: Using the tag “not the enemy” meant employing 45’s own language, meaning that 45 was being allowed to frame the debate and that it was be carried out in language that already accepted that it was a given in some circles that the press is an “enemy.” Instead, Lakoff recommended the tag “Protect the truth.” https://georgelakoff.com/2017/02/18/protectthetruth/

Concerned about offending people (employers?) with your comments in social media: Learn how to adjust privacy settings – https://mindsworth.blog/2017/01/14/how-you-should-be-using-social-media-to-resist-trump/

Want advice on writing letters to the editor https://www.ofa.us/get-involved/lte/?topic=immigration (h/t http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

Want to understand the far right’s references? (No, I don’t really want to be able to do this either – but it is useful) https://www.buzzfeed.com/katienotopoulos/a-normal-persons-guide-to-how-far-right-trolls-talk-to-each?utm_term=.rsKz1ELmZ#.pgxjJV30Q

Disappointed that Keith Ellison didn’t win his bid for DNC Chair? http://roganslist.blogspot.com/ recommends this article: http://us14.campaign-archive1.com/?u=542e52557cb249fb2535906ea&id=66c83abc96&e=4e77fc70f6