Suggestions/additions welcome. Don’t see your issue, event or organization? Send it to me.

For those concerned about the new legislation allowing internet providers to sell your browsing history, Brandon Lalor of Castleton Indivisible, Divest TD Bank Rutland, and Fossil Free VSC recommends that you get a VPN to protect your privacy. He uses privateinternetaccess.com, “whose head of privacy is the founder of the Swedish Pirate Party.” He recommends that you shop around and let us know if find a better VPN. How to set up a VPN: https://medium.freecodecamp.com/how-to-set-up-a-vpn-in-5-minutes-for-free-and-why-you-urgently-need-one-d5cdba361907 On the issues: http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/25/15056290/vpn-isp-internet-privacy-security-fcc-repeal

Interested in training to run for office? See https://www.nationalcandidatetraining.com/

Here’s a website tracking Congressmen’s support for 45’s efforts: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/congress-trump-score/

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Monday April 3 at 6 pm Rutland Democrats in Rutland library

 

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.

1 Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates was recently prevented from testifying before Congress regarding Russia’s interference in the recent election. “Urge your members of Congress to press for the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to call former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to testify in an open hearing of the Committee’s Russia probe. Yates was scheduled to testify in an open hearing of the House Committee on Tuesday. The Washington Post reports that the White House tried to block Yates testimony with a claim of executive privilege. Per Wapo’s report, Yates’ attorneys informed the White House on Friday that Yates intended to testify about her conversations with the White House because the White House had waived privilege by its public comments on the matters involved. On the same day, Chairman Devin Nunes [R-CA] cancelled the hearing. Representative Adam Schiff [D-CA], Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee, said that Yates had been expected to provide potentially explosive testimony at the cancelled hearing, involving her discussions with the White House about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Schiff urged that an open hearing be rescheduled as soon as possible. However, it is not clear that Chairman Nunes will be willing to reschedule the hearing, whether open or closed. Senator Mark Warner [D-VA], Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, stated Tuesday that Yates would be called to testify before the Senate panel. However, Warner will need the cooperation of the Committee’s Chairman, Senator Richard Burr [R-NC]. There is a strong appearance the White House is trying to prevent Yates from publicly testifying and that at least Nunes is working with the White House. It is important to keep public pressure on Congress to allow open hearings so the American people can be confident that they have the facts on Russia’s meddling in our election and the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian officials.”

  • Action: Contact your congressmen
    • US Senator Sanders Local office 802-862-0697 https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/comment
    • Senator Leahy: Local office 802-863-2525 https://www.leahy.senate.gov/contact/
    • US House Representative Peter Welch 802-652-2450 https://welch.house.gov/contact/email
    • Script: I am one of the Congressman’s constituents in Vermont. I am calling to urge the Congressman to push for public hearings into Russia’s interference into the election and for the public testimony of Sally Yates. There is a strong appearance the White House is trying to prevent Yates from publicly testifying. It is crucial that the public have access to this testimony. Thank you.

 

2 Last weekend, hundreds were arrested at anti-corruption protests in Russia. http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/26/world/russia-corruption-protests/ The US State Department has condemned these arrests https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/03/27/the-state-department-speaks-up-against-russia/?utm_term=.2fda322e78e1

  • Action: Contact your congressmen
    • US Senator Sanders Local office 802-862-0697 https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/comment
    • Senator Leahy: Local office 802-863-2525 https://www.leahy.senate.gov/contact/
    • US House Representative Peter Welch 802-652-2450 https://welch.house.gov/contact/email
    • Script: I am one of the Congressman’s constituents in Vermont. I am calling to urge the Congressman to push for stronger economic sanctions against Russia. Vladimir Putin has displayed a pattern of blatant disregard for the rights and well-being of his people and the sovereignty of other nations. Russia regularly interferes in the operations of foreign governments, including the US presidential election, deploys troops to foreign nations to consolidate power, and silences political opposition through the arrest of protestors and political rivals. It is past time for the US government to stand up to this dictator and prove that the US is still a world power dedicated to protecting the freedom of all people. Thank you. (from https://twitter.com/jkkowalski/status/846367362794377216)

 

3 “On Wednesday, the House passed the HONEST Act (HR 1430). The HONEST Act is intentionally oblique legislation which requires that, when developing rules, the EPA only utilize scientific studies whose data, code, and other materials are all publicly available online. It also requires that all results be independently reproducible. These requirements deviate from the established norms of the scientific community and are designed to cripple scientific research at the EPA. It allows industry lobbyists and EPA-opposed politicians to delay or block credible peer-reviewed studies. For example, the requirement that all scientific results be reproducible is often infeasible (such as when studying one-off events like the Deepwater Horizon disaster or Hurricane Katrina), or prohibitively expensive (such as decades-long public health studies involving thousands of participants). Similarly, the requirement that all data be publicly available can be prohibitive; redacting personally identifiable information from public health studies can require thousands of hours of labor, and other findings may depend on tightly guarded industry or trade secrets.” http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/326380-house-votes-to-restrict-epas-use-of-science and https://5calls.org/issue/rec1xzyWmbiGgyxNK and https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/115-2017/h206

  • Action: Contact your US House Representative: Peter Welch 802-652-2450 https://welch.house.gov/contact/email Script: I am one of the Congressman’s constituents in Vermont. I am calling to express opposition to H.R. 1430, the HONEST Act. The EPA works to keep America clean, beautiful and safe, and I expect [REP NAME] to vote against this attempt to undermine the scientific research that the EPA depends on. Thank you. (from https://5calls.org/issue/rec1xzyWmbiGgyxNK)

 

4 “Congress is pushing the private school “choice” agenda by extending the SOAR Reauthorization Act. Reauthorization would fund and expand, with your federal tax dollars, the District of Columbia’s private school voucher program. This program operates with little transparency or accountability, Congress refuses to add protections against discrimination, and every dollar the federal government spends on private school vouchers is less money available to invest in strengthening our public schools. 45’s new budget proposal would slash Department of Education funding and call for adding billions to private schools.” http://www.thenightowlactivist.com/ and https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1387

  • Action: Contact your US House Representative: Peter Welch 802-652-2450 https://welch.house.gov/contact/email Script: I am one of the Congressman’s constituents in Vermont. I am calling to ask Representative (name) to vote against HR 1387, the SOAR Reauthorization Act. I do not want my federal tax dollars used to pay for vouchers to private schools, especially those that are free to discriminate. I support public schools, and I am opposed to this bill and other efforts to privatize our schools. Our public schools, not voucher schools, deserve taxpayer support. (from https://npeaction.org/2017/03/24/tell-congress-stop-funding-vouchers/)

 

  1. S338, the Scientific Integrity Act, has been proposed. This “would ensure federal agencies that conduct and fund science, develop and implement scientific integrity policies. In addition, the legislation clarifies that federal scientist are allowed to communicate and discuss scientific findings, conclusions, and data with the public, the press, and Congress.”http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/02/us-senate-bill-aims-make-sure-federal-scientists-aren-t-muzzled and https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/338 and roganslist.blogspot.com
  • Action: Contact your congressmen
    • US Senator Sanders Local office 802-862-0697 https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/comment
    • Senator Leahy: Local office 802-863-2525 https://www.leahy.senate.gov/contact/
    • Script: I am one of the Congressman’s constituents in Vermont. I am calling to urge the Congressman to support S338, the Scientific Integrity Act. It’s important to me that federal agencies be able to freely communicate with the public, the press, and Congress. Thank you.

 

6 The Vermont Senate has passed a journalist shield law. It is now in the House. The passage of this legislation is crucial to the preservation of freedom of speech and public access to information. http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/why-vermont-journalists-want-a-shield-law/Content?oid=4833008&utm_content=buffer239ff&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer and http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2018/S.96

  • Action: Contact your local Vermont House Representative asking him/her to support S.96, an act related to a news media privilege

 

7 Vermont lawmakers are hitting a wall when it comes to finding ways to fund clean-up of Lake Champlain. https://vtdigger.org/2017/03/30/advocates-state-action-needed-now-fund-lake-champlain-clean/

  • Action: Contact Governor Phil Scott 802 828-3333 or http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/message and your local Senators to express your support for the clean-up of Lake Champlain, and ask them to find a way to fund it (even if it means raising taxes)

 

8 Previous newsletters have discussed the arrest of three leaders in the undocumented immigrants community in Vermont. Migrant Justice is now encouraging us to put pressure on Ben & Jerry’s to follow up on its promise to ensure the rights of the farmworkers in its supply chain. https://migrantjustice.net/news/farmworker-rights-leaders-enrique-%E2%80%9Ckike%E2%80%9D-balcazar-and-zully-palacio-released-from-ice-custody

  • Action: Contact Ben & Jerry’s and urge them to follow up on its promise to ensure the rights of the farmworkers in its supply chain: Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., 30 Community Drive, South Burlington, VT 05403-6828

 

9 As noted above, Governor Scott signed legislation prohibiting local law enforcement “from participating in some federal immigration enforcement efforts” https://vtdigger.org/2017/03/28/scott-signs-bill-not-establishing-a-sanctuary-state/

 

10 Secretary of Education DeVos recently “said that picking a school should be like choosing among Uber, Lyft or a taxi.” This was “just another poor analogy that shows just how out of touch this administration is with so many of its constituents.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/03/29/devos-picking-a-school-should-be-like-choosing-among-uber-lyft-or-a-taxi/

  • Action: Send DeVos postcards asking her “What about the folks who take mass transit or walk?” Department of Education Building, 400 Maryland Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20202 (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

 

11 “Sen. Collins (R-ME)  and Sen. Murkowski (R-AK) voted against their party, but voted for women in the  H.J. Res 43/ Title X vote this week.”

 

12 Despite studies showing the dangers of a particular insecticide, the Director of the EPA ignored the recommendation of his own agency and chose not to ban it. See https://www.mailman.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/prenatal-exposure-insecticide-chlorpyrifos-linked-alterations-brain-structure and  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/29/us/politics/epa-insecticide-chlorpyrifos.html?_r=0

 

13 “Embridge Line 5, which carries fuel from western Canada to eastern Canada via the Great Lakes states including going under the Great Lakes and the Mackinac Bridge, is well past its intended lifespan and needs to be shut down. http://www.oilandwaterdontmix.org/problem Line 5 could, potentially, cease operations and be decommissioned if the permit allowing an easement through this area is not renewed.

 

14 “In another party before country move, the House Ways & Means Committee Republicans voted against H.Res.186 to request Trump’s tax returns so it will not advance to the House for a vote.”

 

15 Fox broadcaster Bill O’Reilly made an offensive comment regarding Rep. Waters’ hair. His apology for this comment isn’t sufficient. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-entertainment-news-updates-march-bill-o-reilly-uses-bully-pulpit-to-mock-1490728898-htmlstory.html

 

16 Roger Severino, who is openly anti-LGBT, has been appointed to lead the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights.  https://www.propublica.org/article/heritage-foundation-critical-transgender-rights-HHS-civil-rights-office

  • Action: Contact the Dept. of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to share your concerns with this appointment:   of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, 950 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC 2053 (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

 

17 “Equal Pay Day 2017 will be observed on Tuesday, April 4. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to bring home what men earned in 2016. While that’s not exactly cause for celebration, observing Equal Pay Day (EPD) with events, press, and calls-to-action can be an effective way to raise awareness about the gender pay gap in your community.”

 

PETITIONS/SURVEYS/ETC.

 

READING/VIEWING

For those interested in understanding 45’s supporters – Arlie Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land (recommended by Castleton Indivisible)

“A Holocaust survivor confronts Trump’s ICE Director about the horrors of targeting people based on their race, ethnicity, and religion. “History is not on your side” he warns.”  https://www.facebook.com/CREDO/videos/10155972829575968/ (recommended by roganslist.blogspot.com)

“If You’re Going To Be One Of Those People Who Argues Politics On Facebook, Here’s How To Go About It Effectively”  http://digg.com/video/political-persuasion

“Take the Next Step: Self-Esteem, Self-Expression, and Self-Love for Activists” – explores “the concept of radical self-love and why it’s critical for activists. If you missed it, you can watch a recording of it here: http://reproaction.org/2017/03/14/reproaction-act-and-learn-webinar-321-self-esteem-self-expression-and-self-love-for-activists/” (recommended by http://www.thenightowlactivist.com/)