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

Top priority: A public hearing will be held in Montpelier at the State House on Thursday, July 20th at 9 am about Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s proposed 12.7% rate increase.

  • You can submit testimony about how the rate hikes will affect you: The Vermont Workers Center encourages you to submit testimony even if you don’t have Blue Cross/Blue Shield to express your concerns about the need for universal, affordable healthcare. (If you have Medicaid, for instance, you might mention that you are worried about being losing your coverage thanks to federal legislation and being unable to afford BC/BS.)
  • If you are interested in carpooling to the hearing, please let me know. I know this is inconvenient, being on a Thursday, but it would be great if we could get a good turnout.
  • Tomorrow from noon – 2 pm I will be at the Farmer’s Market trying to get the word out about the hearing and the push for universal healthcare in Vermont. Please join me if you’re free.


Top priority: TrumpCare is one Republican vote away from being stopped. The recent changes have only made the bill worse (for a summary see: A summary of the actions you can take can be found in the first action item. But the #1 thing you can do is call/email/Facebook message your friends/family in these states asking them to contact their senator to say ‘no’ to TrumpCare:

  • West Virginia – Shelley Capito 202-224-6472
  • Maine – Susan Collins – 202-224-2523
  • Alaska – Lisa Murkowski – 202-224-6665
  • Nevada – Dean Heller – 202-224-6244


A Rutland-area police officer and two members of the Vermont Fair and Impartial Policing Committee attended yesterday’s Rutland NAACP meeting. If you’re interested, a recap of the discussion can be found here:  (This might be particularly interesting given Wednesday’s screening of Waking the Sleeping Giant in the Paramount Theater.)


The VT Attorney General has set-up a way for you to be notified of new scams: Call 800-649-2424 to sign up for Scam Alerts.


The White House has published phone numbers, home addresses and email addresses of individuals who submitted comments asking the government NOT to collect/share personal data via an election commission. This is obviously a horrible breach of trust and an attempt to discourage us from contacting the government to comment on regulations, etc. We have to continue using our voices. But if you are concerned about this, you might consider making a phone call instead of filling out an online form.


UPCOMING EVENTS                                             

  • Saturday July 15
    • 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)
    • 10:30AMWorkshop: What Kind of Change-maker are You? (place TBA)
    • NoonPerformance: Break Free Cantastoria (Rutland Farmers Market)
    • Noon – 2 pm Blue Cross/Blue Shield Rate Increase/Universal Healthcare Public Outreach – Rutland Farmers Market
    • 1PMWorkshop: Electric bicycles demo (place TBA)


  • Thursday July 20 at 9 am Hearing on Proposed 12.7% Blue Cross Blue Shield Rate Hike Room 11, Vermont State House, 115 State Street, Montpelier


  • Thursday July 20 at 5:30 – 8 pm Vermont Farmers Food Center Community Meal $5 for entree, 251 West St., Rutland



  • Sunday July 30th at 1:30 pm Universal healthcare Rutland Vermont Workers Center coordinating meeting at UU Church in Rutland (go around back and turn left at the top of the stairs)






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. (Commonly used contacts can be found here:


1 Previous newsletters have discussed the steps that you can take to fight TrumpCare. These have been summarized by with the addition of a campaign that will help you reach out to voters in other states: “The Republican “health” “care” bill released on Thursday still kills all that’s good about the Affordable Care Act.  Let’s fight the repeal and replacement of Obamacare by doing one or more of the following:  A) Use this to contact our senators:, then 1) Tell your Democratic Senators to: a) Withhold consent on all Senate business until Republicans open the health care bill to public hearings and scrutiny, b) Filibuster by amendment, c)  Provide your Senators with your own amendment by filling out this form:, d) Consider your personal story of how the Affordable Care Act affected your life and what would happen to you and your family if it is repealed.  OR 2) Call your Republican Senators and tell them to a) vote against the bill, b) tell them your personal story of what will happen to you and your family if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. Then, 3) Participate in the ACA Defenders HubDialer campaign. This automated call system lets you reach out to voters in other states and connect them with their Republican members of Congress. They can then tell their stories and ask their reps to vote NO on repeal-and-replace. To get started, go to and follow the on-screen instructions. Enter the Campaign Login ID: 09329 and Passcode: 171717.”


2 Faisal Gill, the Vermont Democratic Party Chairman, has been the recipient of anti-Muslim hate messages.

  • Action: Contact Faisal Gill at or Faisal Gill c/o Vermont Democratic Party, P.O Box 1220, Montpelier, VT 05601 with your message of support


3 Rutland’s Mayor David Allaire is the only mayor of a major Vermont city not to sign onto the Climate Coalition. (below language from Vermont 350)

  • Action: Contact David Allaire Work #802-773-1800 PO Box 969 Rutland City, VT 05702 Script: Dear Mayor Allaire, As a citizen of Rutland, I believe cities like ours are essential in courageous and bold leadership Gov. Scott demonstrated through the U.S. Climate Alliance and Vermont Climate Coalition. I strongly urge you to join this coalition, joining our fellow Vermonters in addressing climate action. Sincerely,
  • Action: Contact Rutland Aldermen encouraging them to make a public statement in support of Rutland joining the Climate Coalition (h/t Brendan of TD Bank Divestment) (Note: The aldermen with the asterisks are thought to be more sympathetic to our cause:


4 The Rutland TD Bank protest has been going strong for over six months. (below language from Vermont 350)

  • Action: Contact TD Bank, 89 Merchants Row, Rutland, VT 05701 Script: Dear Management of TD Bank, I’m writing to explain why I am joining the protest against TD Bank. TD is one of the parties responsible for financing the Dakota Access Pipeline, fueling the climate crisis and risking the lives of future generations. I hope you will join me in taking a stand. Sincerely,


5 The July 13 Rutland NAACP meeting hosted a US Attorney tasked with prosecuting cases involving human trafficking. He made a good case for the link between human trafficking and the drug epidemic (with drug dealers exploiting addicts) and pointed out that the victims are sometimes being “put to work” in the same town where they have always lived. So we shouldn’t assume that just because we’ve watched a person grow up next to us that they aren’t a potential victim. Also, this is a crime that’s rarely reported. It’s discovered. This means that authorities need our help to identify potential victims so that they can be helped. (Here’s an article on human trafficking facilitated via the internet h/t

  • Action: If there’s sufficient interest, we can ask for an in-person training to help us identify the potential victims of human trafficking. If you are interested, let me know and I will see about setting this up.


6 The July 13 Rutland NAACP also hosted another US Attorney, this one tasked with overseeing cases involving civil rights violations.


7 As mentioned above, the White House has published phone numbers, home addresses and email addresses of individuals who submitted comments asking the government NOT to collect/share personal data via an election commission.

  • Contact: Your representatives:
    • Senator Sanders Local office 802-862-0697
    • Senator Leahy: Local office 802-863-2525
    • Congressman Welch 802-652-2450 or
    • Script: I’m one of [name’s] constituents in Vermont and I’m calling because I’m disturbed by the administration’s publication of the phone numbers, home addresses and email addresses of individuals who submitted comments asking the government NOT to collect/share personal data via an election commission. This may put individuals at risk in their communities or families, and they may be penalized by their employers simply for exercising their democratic rights. This is a horrible breach of trust and an attempt to discourage us from contacting our government to share our opinion. I would like [name] to public condemn this decision and to submit legislation preventing this sort of violation in the future. Thank you.


The following items are taken verbatim from

8 Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has put a call out to stakeholders, asking for input on tax reform, and we have until July 17th to respond Let’s contact Senator Hatch to tell him how we feel about the GOP’s plan to give tax breaks to the wealthiest among us, while cutting programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and SNAP. MomsRising has a form letter we can sign: We can also send an email to:


9 It’s the six-month anniversary of ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project to establish a national database that will give a picture of the nature and prevalence of hate, bias, and violence in America. Here’s their progress report: ProPublica says we can help by telling them our stories, , and by following the project on Facebook and Twitter


10 Our members of Congress aren’t taking Trump’s attempts at voter suppression lying down. ( Rep. Marc Veasey, co-chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, has introduced legislation to defund the Trump-Kobach commission that’s trying to undermine our right to vote. Let’s join our allies at Connecting Dots and call our members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 3029 and do whatever they can to move it forward.


11 Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department is working to fast-track drilling on public lands. Let’s tell all of our MoC’s that we are against drilling on public lands (even without the fast-tracking). We can also contact Ryan Zinke at: US Dept of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington DC 20240  or email:  or use the contact form on their website: (scroll down on the linked page for form) or phone:  Interior Dept: 202-208-3100.


12 Life After Hate, a group dedicated to deradicalizing neo-Nazis and stopping white extremism, was on tap to receive a grant to support their work, but the Trump administration has dropped them as a grantee.  Heidi Beirich , director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a statement to Newsweek: “The Trump administration doesn’t ’t take seriously the threat from the radical right.” .  Let’s let the White and Homeland Security know that WE do take this threat seriously.  White House: / Homeland Security:  Let’s let our MoCs know as well.


13 On Tuesday night, Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave a speech to the anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom. Because the event was closed to the press, we do not know what his talking points were. Meanwhile, the ADF is representing the Colorado baker who refused service to a same-sex couple and whose case will be heard by the Supreme Court DNC spokesman Joel Kasnetz stated “ADF has been previously designated a hate group and Sessions’ appearance at this event, as the top law enforcement official in the country, brings in to question whether the attorney general intends to protect all Americans.” Let’s call the Attorney General and ask him how we are to believe that he will stand up for equality if he is speaking at anti-LGBTQ events 202-353-1555 Let’s also give our MoC a call to make sure that they are holding the Attorney General accountable for his actions


14 “Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) formally introduced an article of impeachment against President Trump on Wednesday that accuses the president of obstructing justice during the federal investigation of Russia’s 2016 election interference.”  Let’s thank him and Rep. Al Green (D-TX) who is the sole supporter at this time, for taking this serious step.  Rep. Sherman:  and Rep. Green:


15 “The Department of State paid more than $15,000 for rooms at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver upon its opening in February”  Let’s let the State Department know that we don’t think that any sitting president should be making money off the government: or U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520, or 202-647-4000.  Let’s tell our MoCs the same thing.


16 Despite the Republican’s dire warnings, the annual report of the Social Security board of Trustees, to be released today (Thursday), will show that Social Security has a large surplus―$2.8 trillion today, rising to about $2.9 trillion by 2019, according to Social Security Works. The Center on Budget & Policy Priorities points out that repealing and replacing the ACA would speed the depletion of the Medicare trust fund and challenges the instability of SSDI spending claimed by Mick Mulvaney, OBM director:  Before Congressional Republicans move to gut Social Security, as they are clearly aching to do, we need to call our Congresspeople and make sure they know WE know that there is no basis for Social Security cuts.


17 On May 12, 2017, the US Department of Justice settled at $230 million money-laundering case for less than $6 million, with no admission of wrongdoing, just two days before the case was to go to trial. The defense attorney was Natalia Veselnitskaya—the same lawyer who on June 9, 2016, met with Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort on the promise that she would disclose “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. The Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have written a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressing their concern that there may be a connection between the settlement of this case and the meeting between Trump, Jr., et al., and Veselnitskaya. Let’s join them in asking Sessions why the case was settled for $6 million just two days before trial. The Honorable Jeff Sessions, Attorney General, US Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530; 202-353-1555; or


18 While Trump has long denied any Russian relationships or connections, the truth is slowly coming out.  Since the 1980s, Trump has been involved, even dependent on, Russian money and connections, not all that were on the up and up. Let’s contact all our MoCs and tell them that we think enough is enough.  Who is standing up for American values?


19 Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) has called for Jared Kushner’s resignation in light of recent revelations from the Don Trump Jr. email release:  Let’s join Sen. Murphy in this ask: Mr. Jared Kushner, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500


20 Many voters in Denver are withdrawing their voter registrations for fear that their privacy will be violated in response to the demands of Kris Kobach and Trump’s commission on voting fraud: If ever there were an argument for the grave danger this commission poses to voting rights, this is it: We should flood Kobach’s office with our dismay: 785-296-4564  or Kansas Secretary of State, Memorial Hall, 1st floor, 120 SW 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66612-1594


21 “At every turn, Betsy DeVos has refused to commit to enforcing Title IX. This reluctance is escalating into a full blown threat to future enforcement of Title IX. The administration already egregiously overturned2016 guidance that protected transgender students from Title IX violations. Now, the administration has signaled that it is seriously considering further dismantling protections for survivors of sexual violence by weakening the oversight and enforcement mechanisms of the federal government — enforcement that many vulnerable students and survivors need.” Let’s ask Betsy DeVos, along with these 114 sexual assault survivors, “Who are you here to serve?”


22 Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt have made it clear they don’t respect the EPA, starting with proposing budget cuts that would make it hard for the agency to keep the air we breathe and the water we drink safe. ( Congress is considering spending levels for the next fiscal year now. We need them to hear from us. Let’s tell them we want them to save the EPA, not go along with Trump and Pruitt’s agenda to destroy it. We can find scripts and numbers here:


23 The House Appropriations Committee has approved a 2018 spending bill which would no longer allow the IRS to enforce the ACA’s insurance mandate. The mandate is necessary to ensure that healthy individuals are also contributing to the insurance pool, resulting in reasonable prices for healthcare coverage, and preventing the insurance market from collapsing Let’s give our Representatives and the Appropriations Committee a call, letting them know we oppose this provision in the spending bill. 5calls has a call script available


24 If we had any illusions about Steve Bannon’s continuing role in the Trump White House, we should take heed.  Last Saturday, Bannon apparently persuaded Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who is engaged in a review of Afghanistan policy, to meet with Erik D. Prince, founder of the infamous private security firm Blackwater Worldwide (and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos) and Stephen A. Feinberg, owner of the military contractor DynCorp International.  Their proposal: privatize the war in Afghanistan by turning it over to for-profit contractors like themselves:   Luckily, Mattis is not (yet) persuaded, but we should be reminded just how dangerous Bannon is.  We can tweet Bannon himself ( or, maybe more important, let Mattis know that we don’t want an unaccountable, mercenary army wreaking havoc in Afghanistan or anywhere else: Dept of Defense, 1400 Defense Pentagon, Washington DC 20301-1400 or 703-571-3343


25 Let’s ask Congress to set up a better set of requirements and a more severe checking process for the issuance of security clearances for those in the White House who are charged with protecting our national security secrets.  We can see that the fault with letting the White House vet these decisions has left us with people in office that can get away with not disclosing the whole set of facts to the American People. We need a better vetting process.


26 MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough announced that he is leaving the Republican party:  Let’s thank him for standing up: MSNBC, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, NY, NY 10112


27 Democrats ​ scored two big wins in special elections for the Oklahoma state legislature on Tuesday, flipping a state House and a state Senate seat. ​Karen Gaddis won her State House seat by 95 votes, so our work writing postcards to turn people out in that race was extremely important. So let’s keep it up. Tony the Democrat is running another postcard Get Out the Vote campaign to help protect a state Senate seat in New Hampshire. We can sign up and get more details here:


28 Let’s join Credo Action and “tell the FBI and the National Background Investigations Bureau: Immediately take steps to suspend Jared Kushner’s security clearance until an independent Trump-Russia investigation is complete.”


29 “The Senate’s proposed health care plan would devastate rural America. With nearly 700 rural hospitals across the country already teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, this bill could very well push them over the edge, as it slashes hundreds of billions of dollars from the Medicaid program they depend on.”  Let’s sign and tell the Senate to protect rural healthcare:


30 David Frum, a conservative political commentator who was also a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, tweeted, “Why isn’t every GOP intel & foreign affairs committee chair House & Senate demanding removal of proven security risks from White House?” We think that is such a good question that we are all going to ask those chairs that very question.  Find them here:  1) Senate Intel Committee:, 2) Senate Foreign Relations Committee:, 3) House Intel Committee:, 4) House Foreign Affairs Committee:


31 Majority leader Mitch McConnell has fast-tracked the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 (S. 1460), bypassing committee consideration so that the bill can go straight to the Senate floor  While S. 1460 is considered bipartisan (introduced by republican senator Lisa Murkowski and cosponsored by democrat Maria Cantwell), there are numerous areas concern within the bill. It would allow test projects to bypass environmental impact studies, explicitly requires coal use to continue, and focuses research and development on fossil fuels, rather than clean energy solutions. Let’s call on our senators to reject this problematic energy bill.


32 We need to remember that the Trump administration refused the customary ethics training for his staff.   It is clear that ethics was never was a value in the Trump family given what is playing out now.  and We need to let our MoCs know that we DO believe in maintaining ethical standards and that we are measuring THEM by those standards.


33 From Postcards for America:  We do not want concealed carry reciprocity in all states.  We want reasonable gun controls, not more leeway.  Stanford study that shows states with right-to-carry concealed handgun laws experience increases in violent crimes  Let’s contact our reps to vote against HR 38.  To see NRA contributions to cosponsors of HR38 – the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, let’s click here:   Let’s see how to help:


34 Using the title of her 2014 book, Sen, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has a new website called Off the Sidelines which is her “call to action to encourage every woman and girl to make their voice heard on the issues they care about. Raising your voice truly can change the world.”  Let’s take a look at her website and sign up to part of the action:


35 Richard Painter, a law professor and a White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, tweeted, “When a Russian agent calls to offer dirt on a political opponent, a loyal American will call the FBI.”  As we know, Donald Trump, Jr. chose to meet with the Russian attorney instead.  We know that the Trump family has ethics issues, boundary issues, and privilege issues.  Let’s tell our MoCs that these are not the values our country was founded upon nor for which our soldiers have given their lives.  Let’s also share our concerns with the Government Ethics Office: or (202) 482-9300


36 “Organizers in Texas are engaged in a “Summer of Resistance,” asking other states and organizations for help in boycotting Texas’ anti-immigrant legislation. “  For more information and to see how we can help, let’s go here:


37 If we want to find a practical way to help undocumented immigrants, we can look into the work of Justice for Our Neighbors, which “supports a hospitality ministry that welcomes immigrants by providing free or low-cost, expert immigration legal services to low-income immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. We also engage in advocacy for immigrant justice, and offer education to communities of faith and to the public.” Let’s see where we can help:


PETITIONS – taken verbatim from

  • “The ACLU legal team filed a lawsuit demanding transparency and accountability from Trump’s Election Integrity Commission. The name of the case? ACLU v. Trump. This commission is a sham.”  Let’s sign here if we agree:
  • “The so-called “Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017” would increase fracking, allow the government to more easily approve dirty oil and gas pipelines and exacerbate the climate crisis even more. Mitch McConnell knows how unpopular this legislation is – so he’s fast-tracking the bill without a single public hearing.”  Let’s tell the Senate to reject it:
  • “The law behind the NSA’s sweeping Internet surveillance programs—Section 702, as enacted by the FISA Amendments Act—is set to expire at the end of 2017…Sen. Tom Cotton and a group of other Senate Republicans recently introduced a bill (S. 1297) that would not only reauthorize Section 702 without making much-needed changes, but it would also make the law permanent, effectively forfeiting lawmakers’ responsibility to periodically reexamine Section 702 and the impact it has on their constituents.” Let’s sign this petition to let Sen. Cotton know that we don’t think the NSA should be able to spy on our online communications without a warrant:
  • Let’s join the National Women’s Law Center, which advocates for women’s rights through litigation and policy initiatives,  in telling Congress to reject Trumps budget cuts:
  • Let’s offer our support to the 18 state attorneys general who are suing Betsy DeVos for rescinding federal protections that held abusive for-profit colleges accountable for cheating students and taxpayers out of billions of dollars in federal loans.  Here’s the petition being circulated by the National Education Association:


GROUPS TO FOLLOW/SUPPORT (List of Vermont-based activism/political groups )

Interested in meeting and talking to people on the “other side” – Better Angels (h/t Mary Droege of Castleton Indivisible)

Interested in the preservation and restoration of cold water fisheries and watersheds – Vermont Trout Unlimited Council



Podcast on what 45’s budget means for Vermont



“Produced by one of our own regular contributors, here’s a short video offering a Canadian perspective on Trump’s travel (i.e. Muslim ban). Residents and citizens of Vancouver, Canada share personal stories of how the ban has affected them in this short, 2-minute video. Please share it widely; it’s important that we all understand the negative consequences of Trump’s racist ban, and that the effects are felt in many places — not just in the US. A reminder, too, that part of the ban is currently in effect and that the Supreme Court will hear the case in the fall.” (from



“State regulators investigate Vermont Gas pipeline burial depth”


Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is looking for more people to join in his book club.  For this summer he’s “chosen Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, a book that I’ve recently picked up and can’t put back down because it deals with many issues—from poverty to bad housing conditions to economic injustice—that I confronted during my time in public office, starting nearly 20 years ago as a city councilman in Newark, New Jersey. The book focuses on Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but the heartbreaking stories of these families’ struggles following the 2008 financial crisis are stories that can be told in every American city.”  We can sign up here for updates:” (from