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

Want to help encourage voting? Non-Democrats and Democrats alike are eagerly encouraged to join a research team being formed by the Rutland Democratic Party. We haven’t confirmed our plan-of-action yet, but we’re tentatively proposing to poll the public about whether or not they vote, why they don’t vote, and what would get them to vote. We haven’t worked out our methodology yet. Please contact me if you’re interested in participating. No experience needed.

I highly recommend that you check out Castleton Indivisible’s new project: Everyone is taking a piece of 45’s proposed budget cuts, researching the impact in Vermont, contacting local agencies to see what they think, and coming up with an action plan for countering the proposal.

Also recommended: Check out the cool idea from Countable under Petitions…: Submit YOUR idea for new federal legislation (get the children involved too!).

“The EPA has only gotten 5000 or so comments so far about why we need environmental regulations. http://www.natlawreview.com/article/epa-requests-comments-regulatory-rollbacks Considering the stakes, there should be many, many more. Please take a moment to make a statement about why regulations matter to you here:  https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190-0042.  If you’ve already done so, then your job today is to post this link on social media, send it out as a tweet, email your greener friends…whatever it takes. We need thousands more comments, because believe me, the corporate opposition is loudly proclaiming any regulations to be unnecessary and burdensome. And if you need to fuel your ire a bit read this gem about Dow’s cozy relationship with Trump and Pruitt.” http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/04/dow-chemical-endangered-species#intcid=dt-recirc-cral_top1_2 from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

“I’m preaching to the choir here about the virtues of postcard writing but have you considered sharing postcards with reluctant friends and family?? I noticed that mom, outraged but inactive, wasn’t calling or engaging but when I gave her a stack of postcards preaddressed to her MoC and stamped she started writing. That inspired and effort that has led to a friend and I sending 1842 postcards to 44 districts in 15 states. It started with a simple fb post asking my friends if there was anything on their mind to share with legislators and an offer to send preaddressed and stamped postcards. We add slogans to the cards but the back is blank for their message. Folks have been posting and sharing their card writing efforts online…all good for the cause!”   https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0k1qCMVpKZpNGpMbXE2Wi1hZ1dJWWFubGZVczlBdGtyUHRR from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

Finally, I heartily believe in working across the aisle. Please let me know of any events/candidates/issues that you think deserve promotion, regardless of party.

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.

  1. 45 is planning to propose a new healthcare plan that’s even worse than the last. In conjunction with this, he’s planning to propose continuation of funding for healthcare if, for every dollar spent on healthcare, Congress approves a dollar spent on his border wall. He’s threatening a government shutdown if he doesn’t get his way. We apparently have until Wednesday to let Congress know how we feel about this. https://twitter.com/costareports/status/855087428348063744 and https://twitter.com/sarahnferris/status/855497861655605253 and http://www.newyorker.com/news/ryan-lizza/the-white-house-seems-excited-to-shut-down-the-government On the new Trumpcare plan: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/04/20/the-gop-has-a-new-plan-to-destroy-obamacare-its-even-crueler-than-the-last-one/?utm_term=.4627e20ed06d and http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/20/playbook-health-care-changes-237387 Would you be willing to take a government shutdown to save healthcare? Do you think throwing money away on a useless wall is an acceptable compromise? My answers are: Yes and no (unless we have absolutely no other choice).

 

2 The March for Science is calling for a week of action.

  • Action: Participate in the March for Science’s Week of Action:
    • Sunday #KEEPMARCHING:
    • Monday #EVERYKIDSASCIENTIST:
      • Donate science supplies to a local school.
      • Science Game night: learn about science with friends or family via evidence- and science-based games
    • Tuesday #EVERYDAYSCIENCE:
      • Write or call your federal, state & local legislators to express support for basic research funding
      • Learn an easy science-based strategy or skill that can serve someone’s life or make a difference in yours (e.g. CPR, gardening)
    • Wednesday #STEAM and #SIY (Science it yourself):
    • Thursday #SCICOMM and #SHAREYOURSCIENCE:
      • Write or call your local representatives about importance of publicly communicated science & its role in advancing knowledge & scientific integrity
      • Join The People’s Science’s “The Field”: scientists share their work & the public engages with new research http://thepeoplesscience.org/#home
    • Friday #FUTUREOFSCIENCE and #MARGINSCI:
    • Saturday #SCIENCEINACTION:
      • Participate in the People’s Climate March (see Events above)
      • Support your local science community: go to a science institution, community garden, or meeting of a local science-related group (e.g. groups focused on food, conservation, stargazing, clean-up, etc.)

 

3 A Vermont ICE office in Williston business park is being described as the “nerve center” of the national deportation effort. Among other things, they provide “data about people’s immigration status to federal agents and local cops, which can lead to arrests.” http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/ices-national-nerve-center-keeps-a-low-profile-in-lefty-vermont/Content?oid=5062335&utm_content=buffere9689&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer  This is especially concerning given recent evidence, mentioned in previous newsletters, that the local DMV and police departments are ignoring Vermont legislation and the Attorney General’s Guidance limiting the assistance given to federal ICE officials. And despite 45’s promise to focus on criminals, the arrest of non-criminals has doubled. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration-arrests-of-noncriminals-double-under-trump/2017/04/16/98a2f1e2-2096-11e7-be2a-3a1fb24d4671_story.html?utm_term=.e6ed7ee7d306  With officials focusing on non-criminals, our safety is put at risk.

 

4 “President Trump is populating the White House and federal agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who in many cases are helping to craft new policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck…In at least two cases, the appointments may have already led to violations of the administration’s own ethics rules. But evaluating if and when such violations have occurred has become almost impossible because the Trump administration is secretly issuing waivers to the rules.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/15/us/politics/trump-appointees-potential-conflicts.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

 

5 “Bird population in Vermont forests drop 14.2 percent over 25 years…To protect the birds, the scientists recommend a combination of land conservation and forest management practices.” http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/study-bird-population-vermont-forests-drop-142-percent-46818365?cid=social_twitter_abcn

 

6 Vermont is considering H.333, legislation to make single-use bathrooms gender free. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Vermont-considers-making-single-use-bathrooms-11064534.php and http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2018/H.333

 

7 “In a final attempt this legislative session to reduce taxpayer liability for public schools, Gov. Phil Scott proposed that the state negotiate teachers’ health insurance benefits, starting this year.” According to the Vermont NEA:  “the Scott administration’s ‘assault on collective bargaining is straight out of the Donald Trump and Scott Walker anti-union playbook.’ …This year, the state teachers health care system is moving from so-called “Cadillac” insurance plans to lower cost insurance programs with higher co-pays because of a mandate under the Affordable Care Act. And so, for the first time, the health care component of teacher contracts is being negotiated in the same year by all 60 local supervisory unions. Under four different medical insurance plans developed by the Vermont Education Health Initiative, teachers are held harmless for additional costs associated with higher premiums and copays. Teachers are hoping to make up the difference in the lower actuarial value of the plans with higher salaries. The value of current teacher insurance plans is 9 percent higher than the platinum plan offered through Vermont Health Connect. As Fannon put it, “a lot of the exposure has to be accounted for in bargaining with employers now.” Fannon objects to Scott’s proposal because teachers would no longer negotiate with their employers — local school boards — but instead would be forced to bargain with the Scott administration. The union prefers to continue to negotiate district by district. And moving the health benefit to a statewide contract would take a bargaining chip away from teachers. “If you take that one big item it magnifies the other issues left to negotiate, and then you’re bargaining with two entities — one being your employer and the other is not your employer,” Fannon said….Scott wants the savings to go to lower the statewide property tax — not to higher teacher salaries — and he proposed that the state scoop up the savings in his January inaugural address.” The response by Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson has been muted.” According to Ashe, “was a “real departure” from current collective bargaining practice and “even if it was a wonderful idea,” the timing was challenging. Johnson said there is little evidence that a centralized negotiations would yield better results than negotiations district by district. Johnson opposes the idea of the shifting the savings to the Education Fund. It’s appropriate that savings with the new insurance program, she said, be handled at the local level. She criticized the governor for not proposing the contract so late in the session.” https://twitter.com/vtdigger/status/855416745733087232 and https://vtdigger.org/2017/04/21/vermont-nea-scotts-statewide-health-contract-trumps-anti-union-playbook/

 

8 Vermont’s legislature is considering S.8, an ethics reform bill. Critics of this legislation complain that “The state ethics commission it envisions would have scant resources, no enforcement powers and only a single part-time staffer…the commission would be an ethical black box — its deliberations and decisions shielded from public view, save for an annual report stripped of all pertinent information.” Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham) has defended the legislation: “First, the commission has to maximize confidentiality because it’s merely a “funnel” that simply forwards ethics complaints to six different enforcement bodies…. “You have all kinds of complaints,” she says, “witch hunt complaints, people who are angry for whatever reason. I don’t think they should be made public until there’s some validity to them.”… “If we expanded and made it fully funded with subpoena powers and investigatory powers, they would want to justify their existence even if there aren’t a lot of complaints,” says White.” Critics respond that the commission shouldn’t be a “funnel.” It should have actual powers. Moreover, ensuring that complaints are private does nothing to prevent complainers from going public. “Advocates of ethics reform are backing S.8 despite its weaknesses, calling it a good first step.” Critics fear “It may prove to be an ethical dead end.” The bill is now being considered by the House Government Operations Committee. http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/the-black-box-of-ethics-proposed-panel-would-operate-in-secret/Content?oid=5173353

 

9 “Trump’s position in Russia has been an isolationist/interventionist “flip-flop” that will flop in the end. That’s because (as evidenced by Sean Spicer’s press conference in which he feasted on his foot again) this administration has no coherent policy in Syria. No matter what your views are on Trump’s military attack on Syria, it is disingenuous to launch missiles because you care about “beautiful children” and then sign one of the ugliest Executive Orders preventing those very children from gaining refuge. While Trump’s lies have become the only consistent thing about his presidency, many lawmakers are following him down this road to nowhere. Think Progress recently reported that at least 139 lawmakers are praising Trump for attacking Syria, while standing with him on the Muslim Ban: “There’s also Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who tweeted Friday morning, “The United States sent a clear message that we will not tolerate the slaughter of innocent citizens by the Assad regime.” While defending the Muslim ban on CNN in January, he specifically called it the “Syria ban.”” https://www.wall-of-us.org/weekly-acts-of-resistance/2017/4/15/action-1-expose-the-hypocrisy-of-bombing-and-banning-syrians and https://thinkprogress.org/lawmakers-who-support-both-refugee-ban-and-airstrikes-30873f0954f2

 

10 “In a disturbing development, Mary McCord, the woman leading the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia, announced she is leaving the Justice Department. In that role, she oversaw the FBI investigation and was responsible for obtaining FISA warrants, subpoenas and developing cases to prosecute based on the FBI evidence. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the investigation after lying to Congress about his own campaign contacts with the Russian ambassador. Trump was reportedly furious that Sessions recused himself. This turn of events raises serious issues as to whether Sessions is indirectly trying to cripple the investigation even as there is a growing body of evidence of Trump campaign associate contacts with Russian government and intelligence officials. Recent revelations include a secret meeting by Erik Prince with Russian officials in the Seychelles to create a communications “back channel” and a previously undisclosed meeting by Jared Kushner with “Putin’s banker.” Given the legitimate fear that the Trump administration will try to derail the Russia investigation, it is imperative that a special prosecutor be appointed. Americans deserve a thorough investigation they can trust.”  https://www.theloyalopposition.net/

  • Action: Contact your congressmen and share your thoughts on this issue

 

11 The Russia Sanctions Review Act (H.R.1059/S.341) has been proposed in Congress. “As a penalty for Russia illegally annexing Ukrainian territory in Crimea, starting in 2014, President Obama issued a series of executive orders imposing increasingly heavy sanctions. The sanctions have had a crippling impact on the Russian economy and getting them lifted is a high priority for Putin. Prior to the Inauguration, Trump expressed an openness to lifting the sanctions and we now know that during that period, General Michael Flynn, then on the Trump transition team, discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador (and lied about doing so). Concerned by this and Trump’s very friendly attitude towards Putin, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced legislation to hamstring the Administration’s ability to act without the consent of Congress. A week later, the House followed suit with it’s own corresponding bill. We now know the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia are subject to an ongoing FBI investigation that started last July. It was reported yesterday that Exxon Mobil, formerly led by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, is trying to get approval for an exemption from the sanctions to proceed with what could be a $500 Billion project with a Russian state-owned oil company which would greatly benefit Russia. Congress needs to stay on top of Russia sanctions and pass this legislation, especially while there are ongoing investigations into what may be a quid pro quo deal between Trump and Russia trading election help for lifting of the sanctions.” https://www.theloyalopposition.net/

  • Action: Contact your congressmen and share your thoughts on this issue
    • 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: This is [NAME] and I’m a constituent in [ZIP]. I’m calling because I want [Rep/Sen____] to support (H.R.1059/S.341), the Russia Sanctions Review Act. I’m very concerned that the administration may attempt to strike a deal to do business with Russia despite numerous investigations into Russian meddling in our election and I want Congress to stay on top of the issue by passing this bipartisan legislation. Thanks for taking my call!

 

12 Low voter participation is a problem. Vermont practices automatic voter registration, which is good, but we should push for voting by mail.

  • Action: Contact Vermont Secretary of State, Jim Condos, 800-439-8683 Script: I’m a resident of _STATE_ and want to know what my Secretary of State is doing to increase voter participation. (pause) I would like to see our state copy Oregon’s model of voting by mail. At the very least, I want better options for mail-in voting, more polling stations, and increased hours. What will it take for this to be on his agenda?

 

13 “The Rohingya are a Muslim-minority group in Myanmar undergoing horrific state-sponsored persecution, including ethnic cleansing via mass rape and mass murder.”

 

14 Acts of gratitude recommended by from https://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

  • Thank Nancy Pelosi for publicly encouraging 45 to release his taxes. Address: 233 Cannon H.O.B., Washington, DC 20515
  • Thank NY mayor, Bill de Blasio, for tweeting his own taxes to show 45 how it’s done. Address: Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Hall, New York, NY 10007
  • Thank Rep Stephanie Murphy (R-FL) for joining the bi-partisan Problem Solvers Caucus and her sane approach to leadership. Address: 1237 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC 20515

 

15 New federal legislation, HR1118, the Working Families Flexibility Act, “would allow employers to delay paying any wages for overtime work for as long as 13 months.” http://www.thenightowlactivist.com/  and https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1180/text

 

16 “Attorney General Jeff Sessions managed to insult the state of Hawaii, the birthplace of our 44th President, and a federal judge in one fell swoop:” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/04/20/jeff-sessions-doesnt-think-a-judge-in-hawaii-a-k-a-an-island-in-the-pacific-should-overrule-trump/?utm_term=.be7bb36ec56c

  • Action: Write to Sessions to remind him that Hawaii is a state and that federal judges do have the jurisdiction to block Trump’s travel ban: U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20530 (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

 

17 “Chlorpyrifos is a neurotoxic pesticide that was banned by the Obama EPA. Scott Pruitt’s EPA has reversed that.  Corporate pressure is big:  Dow Chemical is pushing Trump administration to ignore studies of toxic pesticide:  http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-dow-pesticides-trump-20170420-story.html  Let’s make the people’s voice big, too  Let’s unite and apply consumer pressure by contacting the largest food corporations to tell them that we don’t want chlorpyrifos used on the products they sell us.” (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

  • Action: Contact:  1) Conagra, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago IL 60654    phone:800-252-0672 2) General Mills, PO Box 1113, Minneapolis MN 55440   phone: 800-328-1144, 3) Kellogg Company, PO Box CAMB, Battlecreek MI 49016  phone: 800-62-1413, 4) KraftHeinz, 3 Lakes Dr, Northfield IL 60093  phone: 800-431-1001, and 5) Nestle USA, 800 Brand Ave, Glendale CA 91203  phone:800-225-2270

 

18 New federal legislation, S.681: The Deborah Sampson Act, has been introduced to “expand support services and make healthcare access more equitable for female military vets.” http://nhpr.org/post/deborah-sampson-act-aims-provide-equitable-care-woman-veterans-va-hospitals#stream/0 and https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/681 and http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

 

 

19 “Whatever could have been the circumstances that would cause the Trump administration to announce to the world that an armada was headed toward North Korea when it was clearly not true?   South Korea believed him. The world believed him. Who would not be truthful about this?  This dangerous behavior could have serious consequences worldwide.” http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/04/where_is_the_uss_vinson_the_military_chain_of_command_under_trump_is_dangerously.html (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

 

20 “Even as states are beginning to legalize marijuana, Jeff Sessions has said that he intends to enforce federal law against its use. http://www.businessinsider.com/sessions-says-he-will-enforce-federal-weed-laws-2017-3 To combat this discrepancy, bipartisan legislation has been introduced to the House: Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, or H.R.975.” http://roganslist.blogspot.com/ and https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/975 and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/desirae-hoover/4-reasons-why-legalizing-_b_11870030.html

  • Action: Contact US House Representative Peter Welch 802-652-2450 https://welch.house.gov/contact/email Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [CITY, ZIP]. I’m calling in support of the bipartisan bill H.R.975, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act. The government should be focused on fighting the opiate epidemic, not cracking down on marijuana. Thank you for your hard work answering the phones. [IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]

 

21 “Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN) has proposed draft legislation to put the burden of the cost of health insurance premiums on military members by deducting money from their paychecks. “Congress must stop nickeling and diming America’s service members and veterans.”” From http://roganslist.blogspot.com/ and http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/gi-bill-benefits-new-fees-future-enlistees-house-lawmakers

 

22 “Candice Jackson, the new deputy assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights once criticized liberals for placing too much emphasis on helping women and people of color. She also wrote that sexual harassment laws and policies ignore “the reality that unwanted sexual advances are difficult to define.”:  http://www.teenvogue.com/story/betsy-devos-hired-candice-jackson-who-once-called-trumps-sexual-assault-accusers-fake-victims   (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

 

23 “In yet another move for transparency, some Democratic senators are considering suing Trump over his businesses” http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/04/18/senate-democrats-consider-suing-trump-administration-over-businesses/ (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

 

24 Rolex is sponsoring the USGA Golf tournament.

  • Action: Contact the head of Rolex’s Public Relations 212-758-7700. ext. 1318 and “ask them to please move this celebrated event to a non-Trump owned course. Remind them that he is a sexual assaulter and a racist. Be polite.” (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

 

25 House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz may not be seeking reelection, but he still has a job to do. Since he’s the Chair, we can contact him even though he’s not from Vermont.

  • Action: Contact Jason Chaffetz 202-225-7751 to ask him to investigate 45’s administration for ethics violations (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com)

 

26 “In yet another attempt to seek Trump’s taxes, the privacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center has sued the IRS for failing to release his tax returns.  Earlier, the group had filed a FOIA request for them.”  http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/epic-sues-irs-trump-tax-returns-237256

 

PETITIONS/SURVEYS/ETC.

 

THINGS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

 

GROUPS TO SUPPORT

 

READING/VIEWING

For more reading on the next steps for the March for Science see https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2017/04/19/scientists-marching-just-start/99998806/

“10 reasons why you shouldn’t throw away your old clothes, and 5 things you can do instead” https://twitter.com/Greenpeace/status/854623123878141952

An article on effective protesting recommended by Castleton Indivisible: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/opinion/how-to-stand-up-to-trump-and-win.html

“Debbie Dooley, one of the founders of the Tea Party movement and a Donald Trump supporter, has some advice for talking to conservatives about climate change: https://www.facebook.com/Vox/videos/682787028575569/ Let’s try her ideas!” (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

“Technology helps people with disabilities, the elderly and the disenfranchised vote by arranging rideshares to voting centers.  http://www.cio.com/article/3190207/application-development/souls-to-the-polls-technology-coordinates-rideshares-to-the-polls-for-marginalized-voters.html  Let’s check this out and see how we can help our neighbors!” (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

“Some of us have engaged in phone banking for various candidates and some of us are not quite sure how to do it.  Phone banking is an essential part of campaigns. Whether we phone in groups or individually, we can improve our skills with this short video to better educate supporters. Recruit volunteers. Obtain donations. Increase turnout.”  https://youtu.be/Z-Y8kn0G1yg (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)