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

I am collecting political/resistance themed gifts for the door prizes at the August 10th Town Hall. If you would like to donate an item, please let me know (or just bring it to the event).

Do you wish that you could participate in more events/activities, but you’re prevented from doing so because of timing, need for child care, lack of transportation, lack of awareness because you’re not on email/Facebook/etc., or another reason? Or do you know someone else who is in this situation? Please let me know what obstacles you/your friends are facing: https://mindsworth.blog/contact/. I will send the feedback anonymously (I’ll remove names) to Castleton Indivisible, Rutland Climate Coalition, Rutland NAACP, Vermont Workers Center, Rights and Democracy and any other organizations that (per your suggestion) might benefit from the information. Between all of us, we can work around these obstacles. Thanks!

Here’s Indivisible’s list of sample questions regarding the budget, immigration, and tax cuts for Town Halls during the August recess: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/resources/

UPCOMING EVENTS

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

 

  • Thursday August 10th
    • Send Postcard/email/Facebook message to thank fellow resisters – “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.” from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/
    • 7-9 pm Vermont 350 Workshop: Cantastoria and Art Build (with Jabari Saeed Jones) at Tutorial Center (3511 Richville Rd., Manchester) “Stories are powerful, and stories that contain political or moral arguments have the power to move people. We will learn how to create a ‘cantastoria’ (an Italian word meaning ‘sung story’), a form of storytelling that is found on every continent and has been around for hundreds of years. A picture or series of pictures on banners or panels is accompanied by a narrator, and sometimes musicians or singers, dancers, puppets, and much more. The possibilities are endless! Using paper and markers, we’ll make a first draft of a cantastoria that can be performed on the streets or almost anywhere to disseminate information and connect people to people and issues. In a manner of hours, we’ll choreograph a performance!”

 

  • 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 Conference that 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

 

  • Saturday Aug 19th 12 – 2 pm – Rights and Democracy Democracy Summer Town Hall at Grace Church 8 Court St, Rutland, with a panel discussion on economic and social justice, also featuring Gypsy Reel: website: http://www.radvt.org/rutland_democracy_summer_town_hall. Facebook event is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1796370993940772/ “The spring 2017 legislative session in Vermont lacked both a rejection of the Trump agenda and a bold vision for the state we seek to build. As grassroots leaders, starting with RAD’s People’s Agenda Rally on January 4, we have seen and participated in many rallies and marches in opposition to toxic legislation and in support of legislation that would support us and our communities. But, it is time to take our work to the next level.”

 

  • 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)

 

 

 

  • Thursday Sept 7 at 6pm Rights and Democracy Meeting at Leahy Center at Rutland Regional Hospital room CR B – RAD in a Box (w/ new folks)/Runaway inequality training

 

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 Last Tuesday, Border Patrol agents boarded a Greyhound bus in White River Junction and asked to see identification from non-white/accented passengers. https://vtdigger.org/2017/08/03/gregg-border-patrol-checks-ids-bus-passengers-white-river-junction/ Regardless of your thoughts on undocumented immigration, this is blatant racial profiling and as such it violates Vermont’s own guidelines.

 

2 The Nurses’ Union at Porter Medical Center in Middlebury is renegotiating its contract. One easy way we can show our support is to “Like” their Facebook page.

 

3 Apparently, some people received messages from healthcare.gov telling them that their coverage was going away. Dan Diamond of Politico wants to hear from these people.

  • Action: Contact Dan Diamond on Twitter (you can DM him) @ddiamond (If you’re not on Twitter, I would be happy to send a message on your behalf with your contact details so that he can speak to you)

 

4 The government is collecting comments on a proposal to open up marine sanctuaries and monuments to oil and gas drilling. http://abc7news.com/politics/video-presidential-order-could-open-part-of-norcal-coast-to-drilling/2267276/

 

5 The Guardian is collecting stories about what it means to be an American. With so many of our institutions under attack (and our very lives put at stake), I think it’s important that we work on defining (or redefining) American identity to uphold our ideals rather our fears/hate.

 

The following items are taken verbatim or nearly verbatim from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

7 Deadline Aug 9: 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.

8 Deadline Aug 11: The deadline for public comments regarding mining in the protected Minnesota Boundary Waters is Aug. 11. http://wilderness.org/blog/time-running-out-keep-minnesotas-boundary-waters-clean%E2%80%94speak-today This is a federal review, not state, so we can all use the link (where it says “Take Action”) on the Wilderness.org link to submit our comments. If we are Minnesota residents, let’s also contact our representatives to let them know this is important to us.

9 Among their other attempts to push our friends and neighbors out of the United States, former Homeland Security Secretary and new chief of staff John Kelly indicated the Trump Administration will likely soon end temporary protected status for people from Haiti and other countries. These are folks who fled violence and natural disaster, and would be in danger if forced to leave the U.S. (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article161030769.html). Let’s join Centro Presente in urging Acting Secretary Elaine Duke to continue TPS instead. We can send a message at this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd_n7h8CxYP-vi-eGor3Q-kUUyTO5oaTLNh6uqQHZds5ZUA0Q/viewform. And then let’s call our members of Congress to encourage them to create real pathways to permanent resident visas for all those are waiting on this decision.

10 Republicans recklessly pushed Wealthcare through the House without even getting a nonpartisan sense of what it would do from the Congressional Budget Office. (https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/cbo-interview-ahca-effects/525420/) We managed to stop the damage, but we should not allow them to act so irresponsibly again. Two Democratic representatives have proposed a change to House rules that would prohibit a vote on budget-impacting legislation until CBO cost estimates are made publicly available. Let’s call our representatives and tell them this should be something both parties can agree on, and we want them to support H. Res. 441, the Require a Score Before the Floor Bill.

11 The Democrats aren’t just standing by and watching the Republicans fail. They’re preparing to do the work to make our health care system work better. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has just introduced legislation to provide an option for Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 to buy into Medicare, giving them more options for insurance, along with cheaper deductibles and lower premiums. (http://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2017/08/03/debbie-stabenow-medicare/537774001/) Let’s call our senators and ask them to sign on to Senator Stabenow’s bill and other efforts to improve health care access in this country.

12 After Trump tweeted about rejecting transgender people for military service, Austin Mayor Steve Adler tweeted his support for transgender personnel in the Austin police department saying “If you’re qualified to keep our country safe you’re qualified to keep Austin safe. Transgender Americans are welcome on our police force.” (http://www.statesman.com/news/local-govt–politics/mayor-adler-transgender-and-kicked-out-military-join-austin-police-force/4ui84DqaOLyiHyAQpgK78I/). Let’s send thank you’s to Mayor Adler at: Mayor Steve Adler, PO Box 1088, Austin TX 78767-1088 or we can use his email web form at: http://www.austintexas.gov/email/steveadler.

13 After Trump’s anti-transgender tweets, the King County, Washington Sheriff responded “if any transgender former or active duty members of our armed forces want a supportive boss, apply here…” (http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/local-sheriff-transgender-service-members-come-work-us-n787666). We can send “thank you’s” to Sheriff Urquhart at: Sheriff John Urquhart, King County Courthouse, 516 Third Ave Rm W-150, Seattle WA 98104.

14 Special Counsel Robert Mueller is uncovering damning materials in his probe into Russia’s interference in our 2016 presidential election, and Trump doesn’t like it. In response to the possibility that Trump may try to fire Mueller in an effort to obstruct the investigation, Thom Tillis (R) and Chris Coons (D) introduced legislation yesterday to make it more difficult for a president to remove a special counsel without legitimate cause. The Special Counsel Integrity Act is retroactive to the date that Mueller was hired, and would allow for a court hearing in the event of termination. (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/bipartisan-senate-bill-aims-protect-special-counsels-job-49001867) Let’s call our MoCs to ask them to support this important, bipartisan bill. If they won’t say yes, let’s ask them why.

15 Trump hit Twitter again and blames Congress for our challenging relationship with Russia: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/345111-trump-you-can-thank-congress-for-us-russia-relationship-at-all-time. Let’s let Trump know that we want to hold Russia accountable for their interference in our election: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500. And let’s let our MoCs know we’re not falling for Trump’s nonsense and we support them keeping up the pressure on Russia.

16 The Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, which would delay clean air regulations and undermine the Clean Air Act, has passed the House. (http://bit.ly/2eO41bS) The bill is on its way to the Senate, where their own version of the bill was introduced in February. Let’s make sure our senators are opposed to the Ozone Standards Implementation Act (H.R. 806 and S. 263). We can check on the status of both bills on GovTrack here:https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr806 and https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s263.

17 A bipartisan bill has just been reintroduced in the Senate, which would work towards ending preventable maternal and child deaths worldwide (http://bit.ly/2vu3fXL). We can call our senators and ask that they cosponsor and support the Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2017 (also titled “A bill to implement policies to end preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths globally” or S. 1730).

18 The Senate blocked President Trump from being able to make recess appointments on Thursday as lawmakers leave Washington for their summer break. Now Trump will have to go through the normal confirmation process instead of sneaking through any appointments. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), doing wrap up for the entire Senate, locked in nine “pro-forma” sessions — brief meetings that normally last roughly a minute. Let’s be sure to thank her for her efforts on this issue as well as her efforts in blocking the repeal and replace (http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/345261-senate-blocks-trump-from-making-recess-appointments-over-break). Contact: Senator Murkowski: 522 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

19 Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, S1689, that would legalize marijuana nationally. (http://www.politico.com/states/new-jersey/story/2017/08/01/booker-seeks-federal-marijuana-legalization-113716) While we know this particular bill has no chance under the current regime, let’s help build momentum for the future. Let’s send letters, emails and postcards asking our Democratic senators to co-sponsor the Marijuana Justice Act. In states with legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana, let’s also ask our Republican senators to co-sponsor S1689.

20 The Trump administration and two Republican senators have unveiled a plan to cut LEGAL immigration in half (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/02/trump-legal-immigration-reduction-bill-241249). Let’s send our MoCs a copy of Emma Lazarus’ New Colossus (the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty, text here:https://www.nps.gov/stli/learn/historyculture/colossus.htm) and let them know what this country stands for. While we’re at it, let’s send a copy to Stephen Miller, the White House aide who said during a press conference that the poem is not an original part of the statue and discounted its meaning (https://apnews.com/4480009609c644bca851cb69a04f0fd2/Trump-aide-dismisses-Statue-of-Liberty-%27huddled-masses’-poem). The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500

21 The fundamental importance of science in our daily lives, the agencies and departments that promote and utilize science are under attack by the current administration. (https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-public/trump-proposed-budget-science-research-funding) So Rise Stronger, the Union of Concerned Scientists and other groups are calling on us to speak up for science by writing op-eds in our local newspapers in support of government funding for science, technology, and the programs that enrich and improve our society and local communities. Those of us who are interested can find topic suggestions, background information, and a team ready to edit and publicize our op-eds at this link: https://risestronger.org/newsroom/op-ed-fy18-budget-science.

22 Congress has heard our voices, and is proposing cutting far less from the EPA budget than Trump wants. (http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/341507-house-bill-would-cut-epa-funding-by-528m) But they’re still Republicans, and they’re still planning on a 7% reduction in EPA funding… on top of the 20 percent they’ve cut since 2010. And this is just the beginning of the unacceptable environmental policies included in the FY2018 Interior & Environmental Appropriations bill. Let’s call our members of Congress and tell them we want them to vote no on this unless there are NO cuts to the EPA.

23 Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue received Trump’s endorsement of their RAISE Act on Wednesday. (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/02/trump-legal-immigration-reduction-bill-241249) This legislation would significantly reduce the number of refugees admitted to the United States each year, and would overhaul the immigration process, converting it to a points-based system where the most educated individuals gain priority. http://bit.ly/2u0XTjb Let’s give our senators a call to see where they stand on the RAISE Act, and to ask that they oppose this legislation.

24 On Tuesday, it was reported that the Department of Justice is seeking lawyers to investigate discrimination against white students via affirmative action admission policies. http://bit.ly/2u0xYIuThis attack on civil rights is unacceptable, as affirmative action is a key tool in fighting back against discrimination, creating more equitable conditions. 5calls has more information, as well as a phone number and call script we can use to call the Department of Justice and voice our opposition: https://5calls.org/issue/recxdBa3iAqAKHMBU

25 The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is planning to waive environmental laws in constructing the border wall. (http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/01/540892890/homeland-security-to-waive-environmental-rules-on-border-wall-projects) We need to be aware of ways our government is circumventing the rules. Let’s write to the acting DHS secretary so they will know that we are watching and we do not approve: Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.

26 The President of the National Federation of the Blind has written a piece on The Hill, calling on cosponsors of H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, to withdraw their support http://bit.ly/2tJqD4d H.R. 620 would create unnecessary challenges in the litigation process for those with disabilities who wish to file a complaint against a business not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Let’s make sure our representatives are not a cosponsor of this bill, and if they are ask them to withdraw their support https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/620/cosponsors We can also make sure our representatives, even if they are not a cosponsor, know that we oppose this bill.

27 Yet another EPA official has resigned, citing budget cuts and the repeal of environmental regulations in her exit letter http://bit.ly/2u1Eymg Elizabeth Southerland, Director of Science and Technology in the Office of Water, closed her letter stating “I am confident that Congress and the courts will eventually restore all the environmental protections repealed by this administration because the majority of the American people recognize that this protection of public health and safety is right and it is just.” http://bit.ly/2uhqCQl Let’s make sure our members of Congress know that we agree with Southerland that we must maintain environmental regulations to ensure public safety, and that we must also provide federal funding for scientific research and development.

28 Senator Tom Udall has introduced a bill which would ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide which has been shown to cause brain damage http://reut.rs/2vq98X3 This comes at a time when the current leadership of the EPA has decided against banning the dangerous pesticide http://n.pr/2nkcBPb Let’s make sure our senators are cosponsoring and supporting the Protect Children, Farmers, and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act of 2017 (S. 1624). We can also call chairman Pat Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and tell them we support this bill. Pat Roberts: (202) 224-4774 Debbie Stabenow: (202) 224-4822

29 Republicans in Congress with radical agendas are trying to slip through a bill that would clear-cut our cherished national forests and silence our voice. H.R. 2936 is a massive giveaway to corporate interests at our expense. (https://psmag.com/environment/flush-with-timber-money-congressman-works-to-loosen-forest-protections) It leaves millions of acres of protected areas vulnerable, shifts funding from environmental restoration to the timber industry and makes it tougher for us to hold the government accountable in court. Let’s join EarthJustice and contact our members of Congress to tell them to stand with us and not big business:https://secure.earthjustice.org/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=00000000.app314b?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1980&utm_source=crm&utm_content=ResponsiveSideBarLink&autologin=true&NONCE_TOKEN=0D1DA437F6B5C7195C333D81F1A1D334#start.

30 Following Trump’s tweet, announcing that he would be banning transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military, Coast Guard officials have contacted openly-serving transgender service members to offer their support http://bit.ly/2u1ifgc As Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft stated, “We have made an investment in you and you have made an investment in the Coast Guard and I will not break faith.” Let’s thank Adm. Zukunft for these heartfelt words: https://www.facebook.com/ADMZukunft/ https://twitter.com/ADMZukunft Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft, US Coast Guard, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE, Washington DC 20593-7000.

31 Let’s also take some time to say thanks to another government leader who is speaking up about Trump’s words and actions: Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, who spoke out about Trump’s condoning police violence: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/344776-dea-chief-trump-condoned-police-misconduct. 700 Army Navy Dr, Arlington, VA 22202

32 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.

The following items are taken verbatim from https://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist

33 Action: Advocate for equal access to housing for LGBTQ Americans. Write: Or call your 1 representative (lookup or leave message). Script: I am from [ZIP] and calling to ask [name] to support H.R. 1447. While it is currently legal in the US to deny housing to LGBTQ Americans, this discrimination is wrong and should be remedied. Can I count on [name] to co-sponsor this bill and stand up against housing discrimination?

34 Action: Oppose new legislation that restricts access to abortion. Write: Or call your 2 senators (lookup or leave message). Script: I am calling from [ZIP] to express concern about two anti-abortion bills. H.R. 7 has just passed in the House and moves to the Senate to pull all funding for legal abortion in the US. Secondly, S. 231 would modify the 14th Amendment and define life as beginning at conception. I strongly oppose both of these bills and want [name] to do the same.

35 Action: Support a bill that intends to stop Arctic drilling. Call: Your 1 representative (lookup or leave message). Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling to express my support for H.R. 1784. The climate crisis is fueled by petroleum and drilling in the Arctic is a step in the wrong direction. I would like [name] to support creative, sustainable energy. Can I count on [name] to co-sponsor H.R. 1874 and prevent drilling in the Arctic?

36 Action: Advocate for daily press briefings. Script: The American people want to know what is happening at the White House. We are tired of leaks, tweets, and rumors. If this president wants respect, we must see transparency in daily press briefings. Name, state. Write: A postcard to Chief of Staff John Kelly 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500 and Atty. General Jeff Sessions 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001 Bonus: Ask your 1 rep to support H.R.3228 for bi-weekly press briefings.

37 Thank Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for opposing the president’s efforts to restrict immigration and diversity of skills. Address: 130 South Main Street, 7th Floor, Greenville, SC 29601

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

Please support the work of 350VT with a donation to our Pop-Up appeal. They need to raise $800 more to meet their $10,000 match! Thank you!

READING

Here’s an article about the Vermonters who went down to DC to save our healthcare. Thank you! https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/heroism-20-vermonters-on-the-front-lines-of-health-care-debate/Content?oid=7107140&utm_content=bufferc3d87&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

For those of us interested in social media and discourse, here’s an interesting article on a white supremacist Reddit forum that was hijacked and turned into a coffee/laundry discussion. http://www.rawstory.com/2017/08/white-supremacist-forums-brilliantly-hijacked-and-transformed-into-chats-about-coffee-and-laundry/?platform=hootsuite

Here’s an inspirational story about a 9 year old who launched a nonprofit to fight 45’s efforts to privatize national monuments http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kids-speak-for-parks-trump-monument-review_us_5978c5ffe4b0a8a40e84aef0

The Vermont Humanities Council has chosen Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming as their Vermont Reads book for 2017. “This beautiful memoir of the author’s childhood, written in verse, tells the story of a young person finding her voice and examines the strength of family bonds.” They are still accepting applications from organizations that want to participate. But the below organizations are already signed up for Rutland County, so you can get your hands on the book by going through them. For more information see https://www.vermonthumanities.org/vermont-reads/vermont-reads-2017/

  • Castleton Free Library
  • Gilbert Hart Library (Wallingford)
  • Maclure Library (Pittsford)
  • Middletown Springs Public Library
  • Otter Valley Union High School (Brandon)
  • Shrewsbury Library (Cuttingsville)
  • Tinmouth Library

“While some may argue that Trump has not accomplished anything significant during his presidency thus far, it’s important to look at the administration as a whole and take stock of the changes that are being made in various departments. From border to security to judicial appointment to civil rights to police reform, The Atlantic takes a look at the damage being done, noting that “these less heralded, less noticed and sometimes obscure changes to federal policy are more fragile than major legislation… but their effects are no less real, and in many cases they’re drastic”: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/what-trump-is-actually-accomplishing/535458/” from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/