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

The fight for healthcare isn’t over. See this article about three things that are already being done to kill the ACA: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/19/us/what-trump-can-do-to-let-obamacare-fail.html?smid=tw-share Here’s information from Indivisible about what’s next: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/resource/whats-next-health-care/

 

The last newsletter mentioned that the White House had shared the personal information of individuals who had provided comments (via the internet) protesting the collection of personal voter information. “If you were among those doxxed by the WH & are now being threatened & harassed, please share that with the media or contact the authorities.” https://mobile.twitter.com/BeauWillimon/status/886421163056009216

The August Congressional recess will provide an opportunity for Town Halls. Indivisible has provided this information about Environmental issues we should tackle during these events, including sample questions and what we need to watch out for in upcoming Congressional fights. https://www.indivisibleguide.com/resource/resisting-trumps-attacks-environment-august-recess/

Here’s Indivisible’s guide to where we stand in the Impeachment process and what we can do: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/resource/truth-or-trump/

Here’s a great suggestion from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/ “I know that the last few months have contained too much political drama for many of us and we are feeling somewhat dispirited.  So I have a plan! How about this:  on August 10th send out at least 5 postcards to people you know and admire that have been sources of encouragement these last dismal months.  Send out more if you wish.  Let’s spread some good cheer and give folks something to smile about.  Thanks.”

 

UPCOMING EVENTS                                             

  • Wednesday Aug 2nd
    • 1 – 6 pm Canvassing with teachers union in Burlington – “The Vermont Workers Center has been invited to join teachers union in Burlington to canvass the community in support of their upcoming contract for which healthcare is a big issue.  They’ve asked us to recruit a few canvassers with experience to go out from 1-6pm next Wednesday Aug 2nd. It’s a great opportunity to make the connection between the need for universal healthcare and what the teachers are going through on their contract and build relationships with teachers union members.” If you’re interested in joining, please email kate@workerscenter.org
    • 7 pm Rutland NAACP meeting Fox Room Rutland Free Library

 

  • Thursday Aug 3rd Rights and Democracy meeting 6-7:30 pm at Leahy Education Center room CR-B at Rutland Regional Medical Center

 

  • Saturday Aug 5 from 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/

 

  • Monday Aug 7th 6pm Democratic Party of Rutland County Meeting Fox Room, Rutland Free Library

 

  • Sunday Aug 13th 10-1 Black Lives Matter Fundraiser Brunch at Northfield VT (3962 Stony Brook Rd.) “The brunch will feature fresh local foods and will be served at a sliding scale ($5-25 per person) along with live music and a raffle. Proceeds from the brunch and raffle will go directly towards the Vermont Black Lives Matter chapter and help provide funding for the up-coming  I Am My Sister’s Keeper Conferencethat BLMVT is hosting on August 31st. (Mark it on your calendars!) This brunch is being hosted by the Central Vermont Showing Up for Racial Justice chapter. Bring your kids and whole family! PS-If you would like to donate anything to the brunch or help out with food prep, set-up or clean-up: please email sharrow32@yahoo.com

 

 

  • Sunday Aug 29th 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)

 

 

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. (Commonly used contacts can be found here: https://mindsworth.blog/2017/07/14/vermont-important-contacts/)

1 Previous newsletters have mentioned the proposed 12.7% Blue Cross/Blue Shield rate hike. Around 30 “protesters” attended the hearing in order to provide testimony/solidarity in opposing the increase. Here’s an article about a public advocate who challenged the amount of the increase at the July 20 hearing: https://vtdigger.org/2017/07/20/public-advocates-take-aim-blue-cross-rate-hike-request/

 

2 “You can send comments to the FCC to urge it to protect Net Neutrality through August 16, 2017. “The Federal Communications Commission has opened a public proceeding to roll back network neutrality protections instituted in 2015. Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) must enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source and without favoring or blocking specific services or websites.” (from the American Library Association). Here’s some background information on net neutrality:

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/telecom/netneutrality Here’s some advice on what to say in your comments (lihttps://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/07/saving-net-neutrality-tips-for-writing-persuasive-comments-to-the-fcc/), but if you are in a hurry, you can just follow the instructions below that and write something brief to speak up about the importance of net neutrality.” (from Charlotte Gerstein of Castleton Indivisible). Here’s an article on the importance of this issue to Vermonters: https://vtdigger.org/2017/07/12/stephen-barraclough-burlington-telecom-supports-net-neutrality/

 

3 The fight to save/improve healthcare isn’t over. “The “skinny” bill got a big fat NO thanks to the trail blazed by two moderate Republican senators, but it’s not over yet. White House aides have made it clear that Trump is prepared to eliminate cost-sharing reduction payments in order to bully senators into passing a health care bill (not a good bill … ANY bill). Kellyanne Conway says that the President will decide this week whether or not to continue Obamacare payments to insurers. Your senators need to be reminded that they work for you, not for POTUS. Tell them to join Senator Susan Collins as she once again stands up and speaks out against the administration’s attempt to play politics with hardworking Americans’ access to care. Before You Call Take a moment to learn more about what cost-sharing reduction payments are and why they’re important. This article from the LA Times explains how they work and what would happen if they stopped. The abridged version: CSRs help low-income Americans afford insurance premiums. The government pays a portion of their costs directly to insurers. If these payments stop, insurers won’t get financial assistance for the costs they’re incurring, which is likely to result in a) insurers pulling out of the market or b) raising premiums to recoup costs.” http://thesixtyfive.org/home

  • Action: Contact your representatives
    • 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/
    • Congressman Peter Welch 802-652-2450 or https://welch.house.gov/contact/email
    • Script: “I’m a constituent from [CITY, ZIP] calling about health care. I’m calling to thank Senator [NAME] for voting NO on the repeal and replace bill; I am so relieved to have a senator who supports affordable access to health care. I’m very concerned about the President’s threats to end cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers in order to sabotage the ACA. Trump’s ultimatums underscore the need for Congress to pass legislation that ensures funding for these payments. I’m counting on Senator [NAME] to do whatever it takes legislatively and publicly to get this done as well as publicly commit to bipartisan reform efforts! Thanks so much for taking my call. You can follow up with me at [CONTACT INFO].”

 

4 Preparations appear to be in progress for 45 to fire Mueller from his position as the Special Counsel.

 

5 The March for Science has announced a new project:

 

6 At a recent hacker convention, one US voting system after another was hacked in minutes. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/30/hackers-voting-machines-las-vegas-241130

  • Action: Contact your representatives

 

7 The EPA is accepting comments on its proposal to reverse the Clean Water Rule. “It would reverse the 2015 rule, which extended federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act to small bodies of water like headwaters, wetlands and some ponds.” http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/343898-epa-to-seek-comments-on-obama-water-rule-repeal

 

8 As mentioned above, Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan signed a letter opposing 45’s ban on the military service of transgender individuals. https://mobile.twitter.com/dominicholden/status/890959829442998276

  • Action: Thank the AG for doing this at 802 828-3171, or Attorney General TJ Donovan, Vermont Attorney General’s Office, 109 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05609-1001, orcivilrights@vermont.gov

9 HJ Res 113 would overturn Citizens United (and take big money out of politics). https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/113/cosponsors?pageSort=lastToFirst

  • Action: Contact Congressman Peter Welch 802-652-2450 or https://welch.house.gov/contact/email Script: Hello, I’m one of the Congressman’s constituents in Vermont. I’m calling to ask him to cosponsor House Judicial Resolution 113 which would overturn Citizens United and take big money out of politics. Thank you.

 

10 Russia is in talks with the US to create a joint-cybersecurity unit (despite 45’s assurance that his proposal for this unit would never see the light of day). http://www.reuters.com/article/russia-us-cyber-idUSL1N1KB14V

  • Action: Contact your representatives
    • 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/
    • Congressman Peter Welch 802-652-2450 or https://welch.house.gov/contact/email
    • Script: Hello, I’m one of the Senator/Congressman’s constituents in Vermont. I’m calling because I’m concerned about the proposal to work with Russia on cybersecurity. We should not be collaborating with a hostile country that interfered with our last presidential election. I would like the Senator/Congressman to support legislation to protect our cybersecurity from all threats, foreign and domestic. Thank you.

 

11 As mentioned above, 45 has announced a ban on the participation of transgender individuals in the military. “This administration’s ludicrous attempt to block the participation of transgender individuals in the military is an assault on the very principles on which this country is founded. It is a retrograde waste of time, an outrage, and a measure based on pure discrimination. Thousands of transgender individuals are already protecting our country. Trump’s ostensible justifications are pathetic excuses: the president of the American Medical Association responded that there is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military serviceThe military spends FIVE TIMES AS MUCH ON VIAGRA as on medical care for gender transition related treatment.” See the following recommended actions from http://mailchi.mp/2hoursaweek/action-187-five-things-to-oppose-trumps-transgender-military-ban

  • “BLOCK THE BAN THROUGH APPROPRIATIONS Politico is reporting a rumor that Democrats are going to try to attach language to the “Securitybus” spending bill to overturn Trump’s ban. Call your members of Congress and tell them you want them to support this effort: https://callyourrep.co.
  • SUPPORT TRANS VETERANS’ GROUPS Donate to the Transgender American Veterans Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting trans veterans receive the care and benefits they deserve: http://transveteran.org.(H/T Gaby Ortiz Flores)
  • STAND UP FOR TRANS RIGHTS IN YOUR STATE Important to remember that this isn’t just Trump. Republicans across the country are trying to continue and worsen discrimination against the transgender community. Check out the National Center for Transgender Equality’s Action Center to see what’s going on in your state and sign up to be alerted to take action: http://www.transequality.org/action-center. (For Massachusetts folks especially: #TransLawMAis under threat of repeal at the ballot box next fall. You can sign up for the Freedom for All Massachusetts action team to stand with transgender people in our state and keep in place protections against discrimination in public spaces: http://action.freedomma.org/page/s/act)
  • STAND UP FOR TRANS RIGHTS NATIONWIDE You can start right now by volunteering to phone bank with the National Equality Action Team. They’re a grassroots field program that mobilizes supporters of equality and allows anyone, no matter where they live, to play a role in historic campaigns: http://volunteer.theneat.org/events
  • PROMOTE TRANS AWARENESSthrough the excellent documentary series We’ve Been Around that celebrates the lives of just a few transgender pioneers in history.”

 

These items are taken almost verbatim from http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/:

12 Action: Advocate for our 12,800 transgender service people. Write: Sec. Jim Mattis, 1400 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1400 Script: I support our transgender troops. All military servicepeople who want to serve our country deserve respect, not delays.

13 Action: Advocate for women’s equality in military service. Call or write: Your three MoCs (lookup or leave message). Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and support equality for women in military service. Is [name] aware that women in the US Merchant Marine Academy do not get Title IX (nine) protections? With numerous sexual assault scandals in recent years, I want [name] to support women’s rights by co-sponsoring S. 1506 (Senate) / H.R. 3157 (House). Thanks.

14 Action: Oppose DeVos’ attempt to dismantle protections for campus rape victims. Write or Call: Your three MoCs at a local office (lookup or leave message). Script: Hi, I’m from [ZIP], and I’m concerned Betsy DeVos is considering dismantling Title IX (nine) and protections for survivors of sexual violence. Where does [name] stand on Title IX and campus sexual violence? (pause) Can I count on his/her support of S. 856 (Senate) / H.R. 1949 (House)? Thank you.

15 Action: Speak truth to power about dishonest leadership. Call: Or write your three MoCs (lookup or leave message). Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and am deeply concerned about the secrecy of our president, his advisors, and cabinet. Even if nothing technically illegal has happened, public trust has been violated by repeated lies. Can you tell me what [name] is doing about this? (pause) I would like him/her to support S. 27 /  H.R. 356 for an independent commission to investigate our administration. Thanks. Note: Leahy is cosponsoring S27 but not Sanders. Welch is cosponsoring HR356 so you can thank him.

16 Thank Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Mayor, for posting the EPA’s deleted climate science data and forcing the current administration to face climate facts. I appreciate your leadership. Address: City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60602

17 Thank Brigitte Macron. Mme. Macron, Je suis desolé que notre président soit brut et dégoûtant. Je n’ai pas voté pour lui. Merci pour votre hospitalité et grâce. (I am sorry our president is rude and gross. I didn’t vote for him. Thank you for your hospitality and grace.) Address: 55, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, France International mail requires $1.15 in stamps.

 

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

18 After years of work by the Obama administration to craft new protections for our children against methane pollution, the Trump-Pruitt EPA has lost no time trying to cater to corporate polluters instead. They’re proposing a two-year delay to a rule that would keep us safe from toxic methane pollution, jeopardizing the health and safety of our families for corporate profits. (https://morningconsult.com/2017/07/10/advocates-methane-rule-dominate-epa-hearing/) The EPA is accepting public comment on this change until August 9th. Let’s join NextGen and make it clear we want them to put ordinary people first, not their billionaire buddies: https://nextgenamerica.org/act/methane-pollution-kids/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=action&utm_campaign=170713_NAT_DFP_Methane_Public_Comment.

19 Trump has nominated beleaguered Kansas governor Sam Brownback for International Religious Freedom Ambassador.  Brownback is one of the country’s least popular governors and Kansas is in bad shape because of his policies. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/26/brownback-religious-freedom-trump-241007 This position was previously held by Rabbi David Saperstein, former direct of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center.  Let’s tell our Senators to oppose Brownback for Religious Freedom Ambassador.

20 In June, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and James Langford (R-OK) introduced a bipartisan bill that would end federal subsidies for sports stadiums. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/senators-to-introduce-bill-seeking-to-stop-tax-funds-from-financing-new-stadiums/  Let’s tell our own Senators that we support S1342, the Eliminating Federal Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act.

21 We know that Trump wants Sessions out of the AG position and he could have his golden opportunity while the Senate is on recess in August because if the Senate is not in session for ten days in a row, Trump could make a replacement that does not require confirmation.  However, before they leave, the Senate could invoke a procedural option called “pro forma sessions,” during which they are on recess only three days at time thereby requiring a Senate confirmation for any appointment.  http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/343643-senate-dems-warn-they-will-block-recess-appointments Let’s contact our senators and ask them to do just this.

22 On Monday, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) introduced two (2) amendments to the Make America Safe Appropriations Act (H.R. 3219) that would help protect state secrets and limit funds going from the Defense budget to Trump-owned properties http://thehill.com/homenews/house/343468-dem-amendments-target-kushner-trump-businesses Let’s tell our reps that we support Lieu’s amendments.

23 Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke picked up the phone to call Alaska Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski to threaten financial retribution to their state because of Murkowski’s health care votes: https://www.adn.com/politics/2017/07/26/trump-administration-signals-that-murkowskis-health-care-vote-could-have-energy-repercussions-for-alaska/?outputType=amp-type Let’s let Zinke know that this is not a Banana Republic and that his actions are out of bounds: https://www.doi.gov/contact-us and https://twitter.com/SecretaryZinke

24 Kudos to the Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/2017/07/22/Bipartisan-in-deed-Bravo-for-Problem-Solvers-Caucus-in-U-S-House/stories/201707220027 as they work on health care ideas:  http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/28/house-group-obamacare-repeal-meeting-241083  This is what democracy looks like.  Let’s ask if our MoCs are part of this group and thank them if they are, and tell them to get on it, if they are not.

25 Donald Trump and his Republican allies are continuing their assault on the separation of church and state during the appropriations process. They added a measure to a government spending bill that prevent the IRS from enforcing a law prohibiting houses of worship from endorsing political candidates (http://thehill.com/policy/finance/340284-gop-spending-bill-would-ease-enforcement-of-political-activity-by-churches).  Let’s join Americans United for Separation of Church and State, contact our members of Congress and ask them to push for this provision to be removed: http://p2a.co/G8XZ7Le.

26 Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) are working together on bi-partisan legislation to protect special counsels such as Robert Mueller.  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/07/27/sen-lindsey-graham-introduce-bill-protect-special-counsels-such-robert-mueller/517098001/  While this legislation has not yet been filed and does not yet have a number, let’s go ahead and let both of our own Senators know that we support protecting special counsels.

27 Everytown for Gun Safety, a movement of Americans fighting for common-sense reforms to reduce gun violence, invites us to write a postcard to our MoCs about not gutting our gun safety laws.  They will deliver the postcards for us. http://act.everytown.org/sign/postcards-dont-gut-our-gun-laws/

28 So far this year, the Department of Education has not accepted any applications for student loan forgiveness for those who have been defrauded by their schools. Under the Borrower Defense Rule, students can apply to have loans forgiven in cases where the school used illegal measures to push students to borrow more money http://bit.ly/2v7P22Q Let’s tell Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that this delay of federal student loan relief is unacceptable and that she needs to process these applications ASAP https://twitter.com/BetsyDeVosED

29 Representative Labrador (R-ID) has introduced the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act of 2017 (H.R. 2826) which would place additional, unnecessary, restrictions on refugees attempting to enter the United States. The security screening and vetting process is already incredibly rigorous and effective, and is detailed in this helpful pdf from the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants: http://bit.ly/2w81Seu Let’s tell our Representatives to oppose H.R. 2826. 5calls has helpful background information and a call script https://5calls.org/issue/recOjzFukqfi0c3Dd

30 The House passed the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2017 (H.R. 3219), which included $1.6 billion for Trump’s border wall http://bit.ly/2w4fur2 Congressman Peter Welch voted against this.  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/115-2017/h435   Contact him to express thanks.

31 “On Friday [yesterday], Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) introduced the American Hope Act of 2017, a bill to give those with DACA and others who arrived in the United States as children a path to permanent legal status and eventual citizenship.”  There were over 110 cosponsors at the time the bill was introduced.  https://gutierrez.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/american-hope-act-introduced-protect-immigrant-youth-and-those-daca The bill has not yet been numbered, but let’s keep an eye out for this one to make sure our rep know we support this.

32 In a speech in New York regarding gang-related deaths, Trump told the attending law enforcement officers that is was okay not to be too nice to their arrestees.  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-tells-l-i-cops-dont-be-too-nice-when-dealing-with-gangs/ Immediately, the local police department came out with a statement refuting that advice saying that they “ do not and will not tolerate roughing up prisoners.”  Let’s thank the Suffolk County Police Department for their quick and proper response:  John L. Barry Police Headquarters, 30 Yaphank Avenue, Yaphank, New York 11980.  The International Association of Chiefs of Police also felt the need to address the situation:  https://theiacpblog.org/2017/07/28/statement-from-the-international-association-of-chief-of-police-on-police-use-of-force/ Let’s thank them, too:  44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314

33 On the same day that Trump dismissed transgendered persons from serving in the military, his Dept. of Justice filed an amicus brief in a federal court case arguing that civil rights protections for LGBT citizens is not covered by federal law by saying that Title VII doesn’t cover employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/07/27/trump-administration-intervening-in-major-lgbt-case-says-job-bias-law-does-not-cover-sexual-orientation/?utm_term=.3ad77c6142c9  Time to contact all our legislators to tell them that the definition of “sex” needs to be updated in the federal law to include language to protect ALL our brothers and sisters.

34 Trump’s proposed 2018 budget is a vicious attack on critical programs in almost every corner of the federal budget… and yet he found $23 billion of our tax dollars to put into the boots, walls, and detention facilities that make up his out-of-control deportation machine, and so far Congressional Republicans are giving him most of what he wants. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-11/house-republicans-1-6-billion-border-wall-plan-sets-up-fight) Let’s join Indivisible in calling our members of Congress and telling them to oppose funding for Trump’s deportation agenda. We can get more information here.

35 Donald Trump is proposing deep cuts to federal aid for affordable housing… except, of course, for a program that would benefit him personally. (http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/338701-trump-budget-calls-for-cuts-to-housing-aid-except-for-subsidy-that) Affordable housing advocates are fighting back as part of a week of action, and we can help. Let’s join CarsonWatch and the No Cuts Coalition in writing to our members of Congress and asking them to fully fund housing aid. We can find a sample letter here.

36 In addition, “Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) on Wednesday defended President Trump’s criticism of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) as fair, saying someone needs to go to the Senate and “snatch a knot in their ass.” http://thehill.com/homenews/house/343970-gop-rep-responds-to-female-senators-vote-against-repeal-snatch-a-knot-in-their  Since when is it ok for a president to bully Senators or for a representative to support the president’s behavior with such a crude comment because you don’t like the way they (she) voted. Let’s contact Sen. Murkowski and let her know we support her. Contact:  https://www.murkowski.senate.gov/contact.  Then, let’s tell Rep. Carter that we think his crude comments are disgusting and inappropriate.  Contact:  https://buddycarter.house.gov/contact/ (scroll down for local offices)

37 From Grandmothers in Action:  The so-called Election Integrity Commission is a disgrace.  Its first act was to request of all Secretaries of State not only their voter rolls, but each voter’s party registration, voting history and the last four numbers of the Social Security number.   Luckily, most Secretaries have refused. The Commission’s purpose is perfectly clear: to restrict as much as possible the votes of minorities and the poor.  Let’s make sure it gets disbanded before it can do more harm.  A number of House and Senate Democrats have introduced the Anti-Voter Suppression Act, S. 1547, to eliminate the Commission.   The bill has been referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration, chaired by Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama and where Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is the Democratic ranking member. We urge you to contact your Congressional delegation about the importance of this bill and urge them to pass the bill out of committee before the Commission further destroys our voting system.   And we hope you will urge your friends and relatives to make these calls too.

38 The House Appropriations Committee passed the House budget plan along with the Andy Harris Amendment, which prohibits the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from collecting data related to employees’ wages and hours worked http://bit.ly/2vbFkNI http://bit.ly/2w3Iyz2 With this amendment in place, funding is removed from a program which would have expanded wage transparency; something which is sorely needed as equal pay is still a huge issue in our country. Let’s be sure to call our reps, to let them know that we do not support this amendment. We can also be vocal on Twitter on Monday, July 31st for #BlackWomensEqualPay Day; via MomsRising: ” Black women have to work ALL of 2016 + an extra 212 days in 2017 to earn what White men earned in 2016 alone. This is because Black women are typically paid just 63¢ for each $1 paid to White men.” http://bit.ly/2vMMB3z We can find more actionable ideas at the Equal Pay Today website: http://www.equalpaytoday.org/black-womens-equal-pay-day/

39 Tom Udall (D-NM) has introduced a bill, S1624, to protect us from the toxic chloropyrifos pesticides that were recently ok’d by the Trump regime.  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-environment-pesticide-bill-idUSKBN1AA1QD  Let’s ask our Senators to support S1624.  We can thank Senator Udall at: Tom Udall, 400 Gold Ave SW Ste 300, Albuquerque NM 87102-3253.

40 The head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit in charge of deportations has directed his officers to take action against EVERY undocumented immigrant they cross paths with, including those with zero criminal history. Congress has traditionally used its annual spending bill to instruct the Secretary of Homeland Security to prioritize the deportation of convicted immigrants based on the severity of their crimes… but that language was left out of the omnibus spending bill for the current fiscal year, paving the way for broader enforcement. https://www.propublica.org/article/ice-officers-told-to-take-action-against-all-undocumented-immigrants But we’re about to enter a new fiscal year, and congressional Republicans are busily trying to finalize the language for new spending bills. Let’s contact our members of Congress and ask them to restore this instruction, so that our friends and neighbors will be a little less vulnerable to Trump’s deportation machine.

41 From Indivisible: There are many things to deplore in Trump’s proposed budget, but here’s one item that stands out because of the funding splurge he wants. “Call your MoCs today and let them know that no budget that includes increases to Trump’s deportation force or any funding for Trump’s mass deportation agenda should get their support, even if that means withholding the votes needed to avert a government shutdown. Tell them you want a federal budget that invests in families, not fear.” Here’s more information on this part of Trump’s budget request: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/resource/defund-trumps-mass-deportation-machine/

42 The Trump administration is working on undoing an overtime pay rule which was initially set to go into effect December 2016 http://reut.rs/2tZfWFX Under the new rule, the maximum salary one could receive in order to qualify for legally mandated overtime pay would have increased to $47,000, double the current threshold. The current salary limit for mandated overtime pay is simply not sufficient; it does not account for different costs of living across the country, and has not been adjusted for inflation since the threshold was set, in 2004. The Labor Department has just put out a Request For Information, where we can share our thoughts on the current minimum salary threshold; all comments will be due by September 25th. Let’s be sure to read through the Department of Labor’s eleven concerns with a very critical eye, then share our thoughts by leaving a comment https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=WHD-2017-0002-0001

43 Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) is recovering from her second surgery for stage 4 kidney cancer. She went to the senate on Tuesday, July 25th and voted NO to protect the health insurance of 20+ million people. She did not get a standing ovation or time to make a speech with Television coverage.  She made a speech against the health care bill on June 27 before her own cancer surgery.  https://www.attn.com/stories/18493/other-senator-fighting-cancer-who-voted-against-tuesdays-motion  Let’s send a note of thanks and/or a card to wish her well in her battle c/o her Hawaii Office300 Ala Moana Blvd. Rm. 3-106, Honolulu, HI 96850

44 Here’s yet another way we can help the #resistance:   Rapid Resist is a non-profit stopping Trump’s agenda by helping organizers in conservative areas by text-banking.  We can sign up here and be assigned to a group. Every time that group has a live target, you’ll get a notification to start texting people to recruit!  We can sign up here:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfZeZzukCxzvvDTDALdPk_NGqkbn5c1JLuFnC31f9tOSq7UpA/viewform

45 Last week, the Department of Homeland Security sent private contractors to the National Butterfly Center (NBC), where they began to survey the land and to clear trees to build Trump’s border wall–all without the permission of the NBC, which is located on privately-owned property. Trump’s border wall threatens 30 million square feet of vegetation along a 38-mile swath of land that includes the National Butterfly Center, the 2,000+-acre Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, and the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. Support the National Butterfly Center’s legal defense fund by following the link below and making a donation. No donation is too small to help protect the wildlife that calls this land home https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/stop-trump-s-border-wall

46 Republican US Congressman Blake Farenthold of Texas managed to get three strikes at once with his un-democratic, sexist, violent comment about the female US Senators from the “North East” (Maine, West Virginia, and Alaska!) whose efforts to impede the progress of repeal and replace are “repugnant”. He went on to say that if they were men, he would challenge them to a duel: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40711882  Let’s let him know that his comments have no place in 2017: https://farenthold.house.gov/contact/  or 2331 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515

47 American air strikes have significantly increased under the Trump presidency, increasing civilian casualties from approximately 80 per month when Obama was president, to about 360 per month currently http://bit.ly/2uUtsiy Trump has made it clear that he will not listen to reason. Let’s give our MoC a call and ask them to put a stop to these deadly attacks.

48 The Trump administration has okayed arctic offshore drilling.  http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/341833-trump-admin-approves-oil-companys-arctic-drilling-plan We can use this tool from the National Resources Defense Council for a quick and easy way to send letters to our MoC’s asking them to oppose arctic drilling. http://on.nrdc.org/2p6OgMz

49 Three Democrats introduced a bill on Tuesday to boost the cyber-security workforce. The “New Collar Jobs Act” would establish tax breaks for employers offering cyber-security training, increase funding for a cyber scholarship program and establish a student debt relief program for cyber-security job takers. http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/343635-dems-introduce-cyber-workforce-bill  Let’s tell our own representative to support the New Collar Jobs Act.

50 Republicans control the Washington state senate by exactly one seat – and they’ve used it to obstruct a progressive agenda led by Democratic Governor Jay Inslee. This November, we’ve got a real shot at flipping control and creating another Democratic trifecta thanks to a special election in the 45th Senate district. Hillary Clinton won this area by more than two-to-one, and it’s represented by two Democrats in the state house. Our help can push Manka Dhingra, a prosecutor who has fought for therapeutic courts for the mentally ill and an activist against domestic violence, over the top. (http://nwnewsnetwork.org/post/national-spotlight-shines-battle-control-washington-senate) Let’s join Code Blue in phone banking for Manka. We can find a virtual phone bank link here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ccwYsPZ-4tRyc18ROcQZcpeuDL2yfKXv8yFS9ByYFt8/edit. And find more information and answers to our questions about virtual phone banking at this link.

 

PETITIONS

These petition recommendations were taken verbatim from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

 

GROUPS TO FOLLOW/SUPPORT (List of Vermont-based activism/political groups https://mindsworth.blog/2017/07/14/vermont-activismpolitical-groups/ )

Help to fund the My Sister’s Keeper Conference at Stoweflake Resort on August 31st https://www.gofundme.com/mskcwomensconference

Recommended by Kathleen Krevetski: Rutland, VT: Regenerate Our Food, Health, Climate, and Politics “The Regeneration Movement is a grassroots-powered movement that aims to connect the dots between all of our burning single issues, and bring together people and movements into a united and powerful force capable of transforming the marketplace through consumer campaigns, and of reclaiming our democracy by electing new city, county and state officials. The Regeneration Movement is not a partisan left or right, democratic, republican, independent, green party or libertarian movement. This Resist & Regenerate meetup, one of hundreds across the country, is open to everyone who wants to learn more about regenerative food, farming and natural health, and how these issues also relate to climate, and social and economic justice.” https://www.meetup.com/Resist-and-Regenerate-Rutland-VT/

 

READING

Ensure that your well water is free of contaminants http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/sponsor-story/vermont-department-of-health/2017/07/24/vermonters-should-protect-their-wells-keep-drinking-water-safely/103825176/?hootPostID=016f6a2eb06cd8e45af7d86ebce0a5ce and http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/sponsor-story/vermont-department-of-health/2017/07/17/radiation-could-contaminater-vermonters-well-water/103657684/?hootPostID=5577708374d39430e56027bff39d88a3

 

Article on issue that we should be very concerned about: Potential Constitutional amendment to allow Congressional representatives to be selected by state governors and legislatures http://progressnownm.org/2017/07/20/alec-unveils-const-amendment-to-let-govs-legislatures-pick-us-senators-devos-kochs-and-others-to-discuss-at-alec-conference-this-week/

 

We need to keep tabs on the spread of racist messages in our state:

 

Save EPA, a volunteer organization of former Environmental Protection Agency staffers, has recently published a guide for activists working against the Trump administration’s rolling back public protections issued by any federal agency. http://www.hillheat.com/files/GuidetoresistingEPADereg.2017.pdf Let’s use this guide to help direct our environmental efforts.” Recommended by http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

 

“If we’ve been wondering what the Magnitsky Act and Russian adoptions have to do with the current state of affairs with Russia (and Trump’s campaign) here is financier Bill Browder’s written testimony for his Wednesday appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee and he walks through the history (and his personal connection to Magnitsky) of how we got to today and who the players are in the Don Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort meeting in Trump Tower:” https://www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/534864/ from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/