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

 

UPCOMING EVENTS                                             

  • Sunday May 22 Movie: Alice’s Ordinary People at 7 pm at Maclure Library in Pittsford – Come see this documentary about the Chicago Freedom Movement “about ordinary people effecting extraordinary change for human rights”
  • Wednesday May 24 Castleton Indivisible meeting 6-8 pm in the Poultney Town Library. Joining us to discuss political organizing and strategies isFaisal Gill the Vermont Democratic Party Chairman!
  • Saturday May 27 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) https://www.facebook.com/events/782080125284082/
  • Thursday, June 1 Rights and Democracy meeting Leahy Center of Rutland Regional Medical Center
  • Saturday, June 3 March for Truth (to demand investigation into 45-Russia collusion) in Montpellier at State House 2 – 4 pm https://www.facebook.com/events/168368090358333/ and https://www.marchfortruth.info/find-a-local-march/
  • Sunday June 11 LGBTQA+ March on DC – Please let me know if you hear of something local
  • July 1 Rise up 5K – Please let me know if you hear of something local

 

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 The White House is trying to find ways to thwart the efforts of the special prosecutor. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/reuters-trump-mueller And even if the special prosecutor is able to continue his investigation without obstruction, we still need a bipartisan, independent commission to ensure that the findings be made public. http://shareblue.com/watch-intel-dem-brilliantly-explains-why-we-need-an-independent-commission/

 

2 The House Finance Committee is collecting comments on the need to dismantle the ACA. https://twitter.com/topherspiro/status/865664030542659584

 

3 S.338 Scientific Integrity Act will ensure that scientists have the freedom to share their findings with the public. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/02/us-senate-bill-aims-make-sure-federal-scientists-aren-t-muzzled

  • Action: Contact the chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to express your support for this bill, Senator John Thune (202) 224-2321

 

4 Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity Act, HR 1987, would investigate whether the president is fit to perform the duties of the office http://thehill.com/homenews/house/333193-house-dem-seeks-to-create-commission-on-presidential-capacity and https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1987

  • Action: Contact US House Representative Peter Welch 802-652-2450 https://welch.house.gov/contact/email Script: I’m one of the Congressmen’s constituents in Vermont and I am asking him to support the Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity Act, HR 1987. Thank you.

 

5 “The U.S. Department of the Interior is conducting a review of certain National Monuments designated or expanded since 1996 under the Antiquities Act of 1906 in order to implement Executive Order 13792 of April 26, 2017. The Secretary of the Interior will use the review to determine whether each designation or expansion conforms to the policy stated in the Executive Order and to formulate recommendations for Presidential actions, legislative proposals, or other appropriate actions to carry out that policy. This Notice identifies twenty-seven National Monuments under review and invites comments to inform the review.” h/t Mary Droge of Castleton Indivisible

 

6 Chaos in the Census department bodes ill for redistricting and raises red flags as 45 launches his commission for to ensure voting “integrity.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/us-census-director-resigns-amid-turmoil-over-funding-of-2020-count/2017/05/09/8f8657c6-34ea-11e7-b412-62beef8121f7_story.html?tid=ss_fb-bottom&utm_term=.a8d4fecdb3f1 and https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/05/18/trump-voter-fraud-commission-gets-it-wrong-column/101713614/

 

7 A Vermont bill related to the freedom of student journalists is currently in front of the governor http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2017/05/10/local-student-journalists-push-press-freedom/101505452/?hootPostID=c5339e7aee77e7271a9c8757223a6e65 and  http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2018/S.18

 

8 VT teachers are protesting the governor’s “proposal to negotiate their health care contracts at the state level. They called Scott’s plan, which he has said could lower property taxes by $26 million, a political ploy to violate their collective bargaining rights. They accused Scott of union busting.” https://vtdigger.org/2017/05/17/hundreds-teachers-allies-protest-scotts-health-care-plan/

 

9 Express your thanks:

 

10 More acts of gratitude recommended by  http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

  • Thank Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for suggesting penalties for Russia’s aggression. Address: 290 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
  • Thank Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for calling for an independent commission or special prosecutor. Address (LM): 522 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510 and Address (AK): 2245 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515
  • Thank Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) for defending Americans’ rights to free speech and protest, and calling for swift response to violence by a foreign leader’s aggression. Address: 2310 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
  • Thank Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA) for his bipartisanship in suggesting the White House get its act together and to appoint a Democrat to lead the FBI. Address: 248 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
  • Thank Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) for putting country ahead of party by signing the discharge petition in support of releasing 45’s tax returns. I appreciate your integrity and leadership. Address: 2333 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515

 

11 “Each of us is personally changing the climate. No guilt. Just truth. Since climate policy is glacial, here are some impactful things you can stop the cycle.” http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

 

12 “An ideological—or at least a pragmatic—consensus on the need for an overhaul of mandatory minimum sentencing laws, involving liberal Center for American Progress, consevative FreedomWorks, and Koch Industries, was reached prior to the 2016 elections.  Bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate in favor of reducing mandatory minimum sentences were thwarted by then-Senator Jeff Sessions, Tom Cotton (AK) and David Perdue (GA) among others: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/14/us/politics/jeff-sessions-criminal-sentencing.htmlhttp://roganslist.blogspot.com Now Attorney General Sessions is imposing policies to impose expensive, ineffective penalties on low-level drug offenders. http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2016/03/criminal-justice and http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

 

13 “ICE’s first 100 days under the Trump administration have been a disaster for families and communities all across the country.” https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_dqp7MdN0HnrcwPB0bZd_lonftrQsaYW30hjfimVdO4/edit

 

14 “DeVos’ voucher system uses your tax dollars to fund religious education, gut public schools, and abandon kids. Stop using the phrase “school choice” if you want to change the direction of education.”  (from http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/)

  1. That no taxpayer money funds any religious education.
  2. That we honor all agreements to students working off loans in service programs.
  3. And that we increase funding to high-poverty schools and after-school programs. Thanks!

 

15 “THE RAA: THE WORST BILL YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF It’s called the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 (RAA), and it’s an extremely dangerous bill that the Senate will soon vote on. The RAA will impact nearly every American under the guise of a “harmless” procedural change. Introduced by Senators Portman (R-OH) and Heitkamp (D-ND), the bill changes long-standing rules on how federal agencies regulate everything from food safety to toxic chemicals to equipment failure at nuclear power plants—things that keep us all safe. Republicans are quietly ramming this bill through Congress and we have to act quickly to stop them. THE RAA WOULD IMPOSE NEARLY INSURMOUNTABLE BARRIERS BEFORE ANY NEW PUBLIC SAFEGUARD. The RAA would drastically change how government agencies issue federal regulations. Republicans like to complain about regulations, but the truth is that many of these regulations are why we have clean air to breathe, can be protected against financial malfeasance, and are fighting the spread of communicable diseases. The RAA would prioritize corporate profits over public protections and paralyze the regulatory process, making it even harder for the government to keep American consumers and workers safe. In essence, the RAA would:

  • Require agencies across the board to adopt the cheapest regulations for corporations, not the regulations that maximize benefits to the American public.
  • Drown agency regulators with 53 new rulemaking requirements before putting new rules in place: it would require agencies to do a complex analysis of ANY alternative proposal, allowing special interests to delay regulations by proposing impractical options that then must be rigorously analyzed.
  • Instruct agencies to prioritize industry special interests above protecting the health and safety of consumers and workers, rather than creating strong and effective regulatory safeguards that maximize benefits for the American public.
  • Force federal agencies to hold trial-like hearings for new regulations. These “adversarial hearings”—a discredited form of rulemaking that allows corporations to cross-examine ‘witnesses’—have led to enormous regulatory delay and dysfunction. Regulatory experts have recommended that “Congress never require trial-type procedures” for regulations.
  • Impose a gag order for proposed regulations so agencies can’t make any public statement about the proposed rules, even against wildly inaccurate claims; a
  • Politicize currently independent commissions by subjecting them to White House interference.

ISN’T IT GOOD TO MAKE SURE PROPOSED REGULATIONS GO THROUGH A STREAMLINED BUT THOROUGH VETTING PROCESS? Despite what its supporters say, the RAA adds layers of complications to creating any new rule, no matter how important to public health or safety. RAA could lead to massive attacks on consumer protections in every area of life, by forcing major rules to go through trial-like hearings every few years. Not only would this jeopardize health and environmental protections, but would also put at risk critical civil rights regulations and disability accommodations. And many, many more important consumer and civil rights protections. TELL YOUR SENATOR YOU OPPOSE A BURDENSOME REGULATION PROCESS THAT PUTS AMERICANS AT RISK FOR PUBLIC SAFETY HAZARDS.” https://www.indivisibleguide.com/resource/raa-worst-bill-youve-never-heard/

 

16 “The discharge petition for the Protecting Our Democracy Now Act of 2017 (H.R. 356) has been filed https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/356 The bill would call for an independent commission to investigate Russia’s ties with the 2016 U.S. election and the Trump campaign. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/house-democrats-circulate-petition-to-force-vote-to-create-an-independent-commission/ The petition will need 218 signatures to move the bill out of Committee, and on to the House floor for a vote. As of Thursday, May 18th, the bill had 191 signatures.” see http://roganslist.blogspot.com/ Vermont’s Representative Peter Welch has already signed.

 

17 “The GOP has used the Congressional Review Act of 1996 to repeal 14 ​Obama-era protections for our health, safety, pocketbook and environment. Now, Democrats are fighting back with the Sunset the CRA and Restore American Protections, or SCRAP, Act – which could stop further attacks on these protections and help us get these safeguards back in place. (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-congress-regulation-exclusive-idUSKCN18C1T5) So far, only four members of Congress have signed on.” http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

 

18 “Joe Lieberman is way too close to the trump team to be appointed as head of the FBI. He comes from the law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres and Friedman, which Trump uses. “The firm has represented Trump in matters for years. Last October, Marc Kasowitz, a partner at the firm, threatened The New York Times with legal action after the newspaper published pages from Trump’s 1995 income tax return. Later that month, Kasowitz wrote a letter to Times demanding the retraction of an article about two women who claimed Trump had “touched them inappropriately.” The Times did not retract the article.”  http://www.newsweek.com/fbi-director-joe-lieberman-trump-kasowitz-611182http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

 

19 “Reporter John Donnelly was physically handled at the FCC when trying to ask a question: http://www.press.org/news-multimedia/news/club-leaders-protest-report-reporter-manhandled-fcc-guards-because-he-asked-queand http://time.com/4785484/john-donnelly-fcc-security-press-freedom/

 

20 “The Trump administration is asking us which government agencies we’d like them to get rid of—including the National Park Service and other caretakers of our lands and waters.”

 

21 “ExxonMobil and Chevron will both hold their annual shareholder meetings on May 31, the first in Dallas and the second in Midland, TX.  Both have opposed every climate-related resolution put forward by shareholders. http://www.ecowatch.com/exxon-chevron-climate-change-2409787084.htmlThe Union of Concerned Scientists is urging us to make it clear to these corporate purveyors of climate change disinformation that we hold them accountable.” (from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/)

 

22 “The undue haste, sloppiness, and lack of information that characterizes much of the action of our president extend, it seems, to his appointees. So much so that on Wednesday, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wrote to Energy Secretary Rick Perry objecting that his department’s “hastily developed” study of the reliability of the national electric grid “appears to predetermine that variable, renewable resources . . . have undermined grid reliability” and will not be “viewed as credible, relevant, or worthy of valuable taxpayer resources.” http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-energy-renewables-idUSKCN18D2UG

 

The following issues were taken verbatim from http://roganslist.blogspot.com

23 “While Trump has said nothing, Senators Diane Feinstein and John McCain have spoken out together about the brawl outside the home of the Turkish Ambassador to the US, Serdar Kiliç, and they wrote a joint letter to the President Erdogan asking that the guards at the ambassador’s home be held accountable for their actions: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/334103-senators-to-turkey-hold-guards-accountable-on-dc-brawl  Please take a moment to write to Ambassador Kiliç to express that violence against protestors is not acceptable in the United States: 2525 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20008”

24 “We should seize on the few formal opportunities we have to comment on the less visible but no less important actions of Trump’s appointees. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice created the National Commission on Forensic Science, comprised of scientists, judges, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, and other stakeholders who have an interest maintaining strict, professional, and quality scientific standards for forensic sciences. The Commission’s objective was to provide advice and recommendations to the DOJ.  Last month, AG Jeff Sessions announced that the NCFS would not be renewed, but public comments will be accepted until June 9th.  Rise Stronger provides all the information we need to post a comment:https://risestronger.org/newsroom/renew-the-national-commission-on-forensic-science

25 “The US Federal Communications Commission has voted to overturn rules that force ISPs to treat all data traffic as equal…The vote by the FCC commissioners is the first stage in the process of dismantling the net neutrality regulations.  The agency is now inviting public comment on whether it should indeed dismantle the rules. Americans have until mid-August to share their views with the FCC.” http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39973787 FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, the only one of the three commissioners who defended the rules, has said “Net neutrality is doomed if we’re silent.”  https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/16/fcc-commissioner-net-neutrality-is-doomed-if-were-silent  Let’s let Ajit Pai, head of the FCC, know we want #netneutrality preserved, by filing a comment:https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express. The “proceedings” number is 17-108.”

26 “Texas Congressman Al Green (D-TX) has called for Trump’s impeachment: http://time.com/4782225/al-green-congress-donald-trump-impeachment/ Please take a moment to thank him for speaking up: http://algreen.house.gov or 2347 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515”

27 ““500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the United States alone. That’s 175 Billion a year filtering into landfills (environment) and littering our waterways and oceans”.  We can be better stewards.  Let’s join The Last Plastic Straw and help eliminate plastic drinking straws from our landfills, our streams, our oceans, and our beaches. Simply request “no straw” at bars & restaurants and share your commitment with others. Encourage your favorite restaurant or bar to only provide straws on request from the customer and to use compostable or reusable options to the plastic straw. We can follow them on Facebook, too:  https://www.facebook.com/TheLastPlasticStraw and on Twitter:  ‎@NoPlasticStraws

28 “Let’s join these many partners in telling Congress to pass the “Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act” to lower drug prices and rein in abuses by pharmaceutical corporations:”  https://www.signherenow.org/petition/rx-drugs/o/

29 “In the meantime, Flint, MI still does not have clean water.  To make matters worse, “Over 8,000 people in Flint currently risk foreclosure on their homes. The city recently issued a number of notices warning that officials would pursue tax liens if Flint residents did not pay their overdue water bills.”  These people may well lose their homes for not having drinkable water.  http://www.care2.com/causes/8000-flint-residents-face-foreclosure-for-failing-to-pay-for-poisoned-water.html  There is a bill sitting on Gov. Snyder’s desk that would send $100 million to Flint, but he has yet to sign it.  Let’s tell him to get it signed to help these folks, not take their homes and let’s tell Flint officials as well:”  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/396/079/048/TAP=1007&cid=causes_petition_postinfo/

30 “The FCC votes on Net Neutrality today.  Let’s join the ACLU in asking the FCC not to reverse the 2015 rules that keep the Internet open, free, and democratic for all.”  https://action.aclu.org/secure/keep-internet-free

31 “National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are carrying water for Trump by denying the Washington Post report before Trump admitted to what is stipulated in the news: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/05/16/mcmaster-and-tillerson-are-complicit-in-trumps-dishonesty-so-must-they-resign/?utm_term=.57ee8002d67f  Let’s ask Lieutenant General McMaster and Secretary Tillerson to stand up for our country, not our president: (McMaster) The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500 and (Tillerson) U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20520”

32 “As of February, 18 states had introduced or voted on legislation to curb mass protest. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/02/24/republican-lawmakers-introduce-bills-to-curb-protesting-in-at-least-17-states/  Now, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) has found a way of targeting activists more subtly. He added a handwritten footnote to a fundraising letter sent, on his campaign stationery, to a board member of a NJ’s Lakeland Bank, warning him that a “ringleader” of NJ 11th for Change, a group formed after the presidential election, was employed by the bank.  A senior VP and assistant general counsel, Saily Avelena was not fired, but the letter, by her account, “did cause some issues at work that were difficult to overcome”; she resigned.  http://www.wnyc.org/story/frelinghuysen-targets-activsts-letter-boss/  We have seen the damage done by these McCarthyist smear tactics in the past; let’s nip them in the bud. Frelinghuysen can be reached at 202-225-5034 in DC or at 973-984-0711 in NJ. Let’s also tell the bank that we’re not happy how this turned out”. https://www.lakelandbank.com/about/contact/

33 “While we know that gun violence in our country is at historic proportions, Congress has successfully blocked the CDC from researching the subject.  http://abcnews.go.com/Health/cdc-launched-comprehensive-gun-study-15-years/story?id=39873289  Accurate information is a great basis for public policy on guns. Let’s contact our MoCs and ask them to support HR1832/S834—a bill that will fund $10 million for the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence prevention and firearm safety for the next five years.” http://www.stophandgunviolence.org/sen-markey-bill-research/

34 “Some Democratic senators have written a letter to the Inspector General calling for an investigation into Sessions role in the Russia investigation and the firing of Comey, and the Russian political interference. http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2017/05/12/peters-probe-possible-prying-fbi-russia-inquiry/101599566/  Let’s follow their lead and contact the Inspector General ourselves asking for a full investigation. Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz, 950 Pennsylvania Ava NW, Washington DC 20530-0001  (phone: 202-514-3435)”

35 “Trump’s nominee for a top USDA science position is not a scientist! The 2008 Farm Bill mandates a scientist for the USDA undersecretary position to which Sam Clovis has been nominated.  https://www.propublica.org/article/trumps-expected-pick-for-top-usda-scientist-is-not-a-scientist Let’s tell our MoC’s that we oppose Sam Clovis for USDA because he is not qualified.”

 

PETITIONS/SURVEYS/ETC.

The following suggestions were taken verbatim from http://roganslist.blogspot.com

  

THINGS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

HR 2114 SWAMP act would force 45 to reimburse the government for travel to his own properties (so he can’t use profit off of his presidency). http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/democrat-proposes-swamp-act-to-make-trump-reimburse-travel-costs/article/2623258

“About 55.7% of the U.S. voting-age population cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election, according to newly released Census Bureau figures…”  http://www.finchannel.com/world/america/64881-u-s-trails-most-developed-countries-in-voter-turnout  Let’s help make sure more people are registered to vote by organizing voter registration drives.  AAUW and Rock the Vote offer guides on how to get started:  http://www.aauw.org/resource/organize-a-voter-registration-drive/  and https://www.rockthevote.com/assets/publications/field/voter-registration-how-to.pdfhttp://roganslist.blogspot.com/

 The Center for American Progress ( https://www.americanprogress.org/ ) has created The Moscow Project, which works towards discovering, vetting, and publishing each of Trump’s ties to Russia. The Moscow Project crowd sources their research; each person who wishes to participate can submit credible sources which help to support or disprove various pieces of information from the Steele Dossier. We can also use the Moscow Project as a tool to better understand the timeline of Trump’s relations with Russia, as well as to see who is involved: https://www.themoscowproject.org/index.html” from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

 

GROUPS TO FOLLOW/SUPPORT

Support David Yankovich in running against Paul Ryan https://www.crowdpac.com/campaigns/236355/david-yankovich-will-beat-paul-ryan-in-2018

Support the Loyal Opposition and get a 45-Russia deck of cards https://www.theloyalopposition.net/

“We all know by now that Trump’s first foreign trips will be to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Belgium and Italy. But what you might not know about are the hundreds resisting overseas, who are working together to protest these visits in Israel (22 May), Italy (23 May), and Belgium (24 May). If you are in these three countries join the marches! If not, click here: https://americansresistingoverseas.com/2017/05/15/act-now-join-italy-israel-and-belgium-in-shouting-trump-not-welcome/ to find out ways you can support them from afar!” http://roganslist.blogspot.com

 

READING

“In October 2016, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published a document called The Kremlin Playbook. This publication was the result of a 16-month study on the nature of Russian influence in five case countries: Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Latvia, and Serbia. It is now being read by some of our legislators and was referred to in a Senate hearing.  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/09/trump-flynn-and-the-russians-a-paperback-thriller-if-it-wasnt-so-serious  Its significance is not overrated.  Perhaps it is time we read it, too:  https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/160928_Conley_KremlinPlaybook_Web.pdf” from http://roganslist.blogspot.com