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

VPR wants to hear our thoughts about 45’s first 100 days. Write to share@vpr.net or use the built-in Voice Memo feature on a smartphone to record your message and send the file to share@vpr.net. Include a note about whether or not they can use your name. http://www.vpr.net/apps/vermont-100/

Top tip for mood boost: “Do something cool for another person and don’t get found out.” https://twitter.com/xeni/status/852904329212084225

Make sure you take action on the first item under Petitions. The EPA is calling for public comments about their plan to roll-back environmental protections.

Question: Is anyone familiar with Campaign for Vermont or S.8, legislation for creating an independent ethics commission in Vermont? Campaign for Vermont supports this legislation and wants help getting it moved forward. On the surface, this makes sense, but I’m worried that there’s something I’m not getting. Your input would be greatly appreciated. http://www.campaignforvermont.org/ethicsroadblock and http://www.campaignforvermont.org/housegovopsapr6_2017 and http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2018/S.8

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Tuesday, April 18 Castleton Indivisible 6 pm Fox Room, Rutland Library
    • Tentative Agenda: We’ll be making posters for upcoming resistance 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.

1 Previous newsletters have mentioned the new federal legislation allowing internet providers to sell your browsing history. The Vermont legislature is currently considering S.147, which “seeks to force Internet service providers to ask their customers’ permission before selling their personal information, such as their search history, to third parties, among other things” https://vtdigger.org/2017/04/10/committee-looks-bill-restore-internet-privacy-protections/ and http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2018/S.147

 

2 “The Trump administration has failed to fill crucial public health positions across the government, leaving the nation ill-prepared to face one of its greatest potential threats: a pandemic outbreak of a deadly infectious disease, according to experts in health and national security.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-trump-administration-is-ill-prepared-for-a-global-pandemic/2017/04/08/59605bc6-1a49-11e7-9887-1a5314b56a08_story.html?utm_term=.da7246154931

 

3 Jon Feere and Julie Kirchner have been appointed to high-level advisory jobs at federal immigration agencies in the Department of Homeland Security. “Jon Feere, a former legal policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies, or CIS, has been hired as an adviser to Thomas D. Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement…Julie Kirchner, the former executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, has been hired as an adviser to Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan…CIS and FAIR are think tanks based in Washington that advocate restricting legal and illegal immigration. The two organizations were founded by John Tanton, a retired Michigan ophthalmologist who has openly embraced eugenics, the science of improving the genetic quality of the human population by encouraging selective breeding and at times, advocating for the sterilization of genetically undesirable groups.” http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/11/politics/trump-administration-immigration-advisers/index.html

  • 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 ask the Congressman to look into the appointment of Jon Feere and Julie Kirchner to high-level advisory jobs in the Department of Homeland Security. Both individuals have ties to groups advocating for eugenics and they have no place in our government. Thank you.

 

4 “If lawmakers fail to pass a new spending bill before April 28th, our government will shut down. Yet Republicans are waiting until the last minute to make their plan public. 45’s 2018 budget proposal guts spending for Meals on Wheels, cancer research and education, and many other essential programs. Congress can reject his proposal for next year by passing a clean spending bill for the rest of this year. “ http://www.thenightowlactivist.com/  “Trump’s budget proposal for the 2017 Fiscal Year designates $1.5 billion for an expansion of the infrastructure needed to increase deportations. The money would be used to build more detention centers, hire hundreds more ICE agents and border patrol officers, and expand efforts to remove undocumented immigrants. In 2016, a daily average of about 31,000-34,000 people were detained because of their immigration status; an internal Homeland Security memo aims to increase the detention system’s capacity to at least 80,000 people per day. Often compared to internment camps, detention centers operate under even fewer regulations than US prisons. Abuse, sexual assault, freezing conditions and medical neglect have been widely documented throughout the system. By building out the detention system and hiring hundreds of new border patrol and immigration agents, Trump’s budget lays the groundwork for the systemic persecution of immigrant communities. While Trump may have grand visions, Congress holds the purse strings. Our representatives must be held accountable to stop this in its tracks.” https://5calls.org/issue/reck4iANy2Sj6dz2R

  • 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 asking the Congressman to reject any budget that guts protections for endangered species, funds 45’s border wall, expands oil and gas drilling, gives away control of public lands, takes funds from scientific research, takes funds from education, or takes funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities. I don’t want money to be taken from these areas to increase spending on the already-overfunded military, or a useless and environmentally devastating Mexican border wall, or a dangerous immigration crackdown.

 

5 “The Constitution gives the power to authorize military action to Congress. However, in recent decades, Congress has often failed to fully assert its prerogative and has acquiesced to the executive taking various military actions with flimsy Congressional authority. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Congress authorized the President to take military action against any entity that committed or aided the attacks, or harbored perpetrators, in order to prevent future attacks (the 2001 AUMF). All use of US military force since then, including the Syrian missile strike, have relied on the 2001 AUMF. By any measure, the 2001 AUMF has been stretched far beyond its original intent and there is currently disagreement as to whether President Trump’s missile attack on the Syrian air base is legal and authorized by  Congress. Many in Congress in both parties want Congress to play a more explicit role in authorizing military action in Syria and elsewhere. By dropping a MOAB in Afghanistan and threatening North Korea, Trump appears to be escalating military action, quite possibly as a distraction from the Russia news. With an unpredictable and ill-informed president risking nuclear attack or retaliation, it is imperative that Congress perform its Constitutional duty and reassert its obligation to approve or disapprove of military force before it occurs.”

 

6 “Thanks to Postcards for America:  Rep. DeFazio (D-OR) has introduced H J. 75, the War Powers Resolution Act to give the ability to declare war to Congress rather than the President.  http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/syrian-air-strikes-prompt-demands-for-new-war-powers-legislation/article/2619625 This is currently in two committees and needs to be nudged out and moved along.” “This also allows for Congress members to sue the President if they believe the Commander-in-Chief ordered bombing or deployment without Congressional approval.” http://roganslist.blogspot.com/ and https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/75

  • Action: Call the Chairman of the House Rules Committee Pete Sessions 202-225-2231 Script: Hello, I am calling to express my support for House Judicial Resolution 75, the War Powers Resolution Act, which is currently in Chairman Sessions’ House Committee. Thank you.

 

7 “The census has to be able to count everyone so that in redistricting every vote will count:” http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/04/trumps-threat-to-the-2020-census-000404

 

8 “On April 12th, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued a memorandum rescinding Obama-era regulations protecting those who receive student loans. Directed at the Federal Student Aid Office, which oversees $1.1 trillion in government student loans, these regulations were enacted to safeguard borrowers by simplifying the repayment process, assisting borrowers with debt management, and providing more oversight of the loan-servicing contractors. The rules were also established to slow the increase in student loan defaults, which had grown to nearly 8.7 million loans. The DeVos memo comes after recent lobbying efforts by the student loan industry claiming the Obama regulations were “too expensive” to implement. According to Former Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raski, the rollback “effectively means that the Trump administration is placing the welfare of loan contractors above those of student debtors.” With the Obama regulations no longer in place, student loan defaults are also expected to increase in the coming years.”

  • Action: Call Betsy DeVos at 202-401-3000 Script: Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [CITY, ZIP]. I’m calling Secretary DeVos to express my outrage over her April 12th memo to roll back Obama era student loan regulations. Secretary DeVos is putting the welfare of loan industry contractors over that of our students. Please pass my comments along to Secretary DeVos and ask her to reconsider her position. [IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied] https://5calls.org/issue/rec5bUzQuyLoG2YWA

 

9 “Since 2009, the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program has given Afghans who aided US troops in Afghanistan an avenue to seek refuge in the United States. The program has provided life-saving access to visas for Afghans who face violence, intimidation, and death in their home country because of their collaboration with the US military. However, the program does not have enough visas to accommodate the thousands of Afghan allies and their families who are seeking refuge from oppression. In March, a bipartisan team of Senators and Representatives introduced the Keeping Our Promises to Our Afghan Allies Act, a bill that would expand the SIV program to add 2,500 additional visas. Co-sponsor Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) urged her colleagues to pass the bill quickly, stating: “This is a matter of life and death for interpreters and other support staff. As we speak, many of them are being hunted down by the Taliban and other terrorists. We have a moral obligation to protect the thousands of Afghans who put themselves, and their families, at risk to help our soldiers and diplomats.” Despite our Afghan collaborators’ dire need for escape, the House and Senate versions of the bill remain in committee.” https://5calls.org/issue/recCLKCS8HJVJdmye and  http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/324393-protect-lives-us-credibility-pass-the-keeping-our

  • Action: Call Senate Judiciary Committee at 202-224-5225 Script: Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [CITY, ZIP]. I’m calling to support the speedy passage of The Keeping Our Promise to Our Afghan Allies Act, HR 1544/S 630. While this bill languishes in committee, Afghans who risked their lives to support our troops are at risk of violence and death. Please do everything you can to pass this bill and honor our commitments to our allies. Thank you for your time and attention. [IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied] https://5calls.org/issue/recCLKCS8HJVJdmye

 

10 “The Paycheck Fairness Act now has almost 200 cosponsors! Most recently, it has been referred to the House Education and Workforce Committee.” http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/workplace-fairness/fair-pay/the-paycheck-fairness-act.pdf

 

11 “Most people who need hearing aids find the cost of them, even with insurance, prohibitive.  There is a bipartisan bill introduced by Sen. Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Grassley (R-IA) that would make hearing more affordable for more people.”  http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2017/04/10/bipartisan-bill-would-make-hearing-aids-cheaper-and-more-accessible-but-some-doctors-object/17H4hx5qSPsPAITu2s997L/story.html and https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/670/text  from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

  • Action: Contact your congressmen

 

12 “Trump has nominated Sen. Mark Green (R-TN) as Secretary of the Army. Senator Green has a long history of LGBTQ discrimination.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/us/politics/mark-green-army-secretary-nominee-lgbt-criticism.html Call your senators and ask that they oppose Green as Secretary of the Army.

  • 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 ask the Congressman to oppose the appointment of Senator Mark Green as Secretary of the Army. Green has a long history of LGBTQ discrimination and doesn’t belong in a position of authority over the Army. Thank you.”

 

13 “Maribel Trujillo-Diaz, a mother of four who fled Mexico and had legal papers to remain here while her asylum case is pending was detained by ICE and is scheduled for deportation.  More details here:”  http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2017/04/10/fairfield-mom-appears-headed-toward-deportation/100286850/

  • Action: Call Assistant ICE Director Mark Hamilton313-568-6037 or ICE Field Director Adducci at 313-568-6036  Script:  “Hi, my name is [name], and I’m calling in support of Maribel Trujillo-Diaz. She has a pending asylum case, has no criminal record in the U.S., has a US work permit, and is caring for her four children, one of whom suffers from seizures. Deporting her will do nothing to make our country safer, but it will cause irreparable damage to her and her family. Please suspend her deportation, and stop tearing families apart.” from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

 

14 Acts of Gratitude recommended by http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

  • Thank Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Mike Lee (R-UT) for defending Americans’ constitutional right to free speech.
    • Address: (CG) 354 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
    • Address: (ML) 361A Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
  • Thank Rep. Maxine Waters for her inspiring leadership and for speaking up for democracy. Address: 10124 S Broadway #1, Los Angeles, CA 90003
  • Thank Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) for supporting food assistance to Sudan and opposing Trump’s foreign aid cuts.
    • Address: (BC) Dirksen Senate Office Building, SD-425, Washington, DC 20510
    • Address: (CC) 127A Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510

 

PETITIONS/SURVEYS/ETC.

 

THINGS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

 

GROUPS TO SUPPORT

 

READING/VIEWING

To keep up to date on latest environment-related news: http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/

“How to Navigate Political Talk at Work”: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/talk-politics-at-work/

On your rights as airline travelers: https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/fly-rights