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

Tonight: “Castleton Indivisible is hosting an event as part of Indivisible Guide’s “Stand in Solidarity with Charlottesville” campaign.  It’s at Main Street Castleton next to the Federated Church on the town green on Main Street. (Castleton) in Castleton, VT on Sunday, August 13 at 7 PM. Please bring posters and candles or flashlights. RSVP here http://act.indivisibleguide.com/event/attend-event-charlottesville/5386/?source=taf” (h/t Mary Droege)

At yesterday’s forum on healthcare at the Rutland Free Library presented by the Democratic Party, discussion focused on legislation currently in committee in the Vermont Senate to provide for universal primary care, funded by payroll taxes. Discussion also touched upon the need for flexibility in bargaining with pharmaceutical companies and moving towards a model that funds healthcare professionals based on their commitment to keeping whole communities well, instead of paying them based on services (the latter being an issue insofar as it encourages the medical community to push unneeded treatments).

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

  • Tonight 7 pm Stand in Solidarity with Charlottesville
  • Monday August 14 at 6 pm Rutland NAACP Solidarity Vigil “Stand with Charlottesville, stand against hate. Monday, August 14th at 6 PM, the Rutland Area Branch of the NAACP will organize a solidarity rally and vigil to protest the hate groups that infiltrated UVA this weekend. The planned location is the Main Street Park in Rutland City, pending approval from the Rutland Recreation Department (whose personnel have been quite helpful). So far, the event at UVA has left one dead and 19 injured, and many more scared for their lives and general safety, including many of us in Vermont. We will overcome, love will win, and bigotry will not be tolerated. Please join us.” https://www.facebook.com/naacprutland/
  • Saturday Aug 19th
    • 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/
    • 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, music featuring Gypsy Reel, door prizes, and children’s activities. This is going to be a fun, social occasion meant to help us take our efforts to the next level and to solicit your feedback on the best ways to do so. 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.”

 

  • Wednesday Aug 23rd at 6 – 8 pm Castleton Indivisible meeting

 

  • 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 The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s Climate Action Commission is co-chaired by Kevin Jones, professor at Vermont Law School, and Annette Smith, “founder of Vermonters for a Clean Environment and a vociferous critic of large-scale wind turbines.” Smith’s participation in the TAG “has caused at least three prospective TAG members to decline to serve — and prompted a statement of concern from the commission’s sole representative of the environmental community. Vermont Natural Resources Council energy and climate program director Johanna Miller, a member of the commission, said that naming the two as co-chairs “calls into question the independence, transparency and, ultimately, the integrity of the commission.” She called the move “disappointing and disturbing” and called on the administration to revisit “this preemptive decision at the first commission meeting.” That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 15. Ben Edgerly Walsh, climate and energy program director for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, said he rejected an invitation to join TAG because of Smith’s leading role. Walsh’s colleague, VPIRG Energy Independent Vermont campaign director Tom Hughes, also declined. So did Jon Erickson, a University of Vermont professor of ecological economics and, it should be noted, the David Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy. (Blittersdorf is a prominent developer of renewable energy, including large-scale wind.) “I don’t think Annette Smith as cochair would be evenhanded given her public record,” Erickson said. “Her advocacy has been against renewable energy.” Erickson served on a technical advisory committee to a state commission on Lake Champlain, and he noted that such a group should consist of experts, not advocates. “[Smith] is antithetical to what a technical advisory group should be. ‘Technical’ implies objectivity. I’d feel the same way if they appointed Paul Burns,” Erickson said, referring to the VPIRG executive director, who is an advocate for large-scale wind.  Miller and Erickson appear to make valid points. The governor’s executive order creating the CAC charges it with naming “a Technical Advisory Group to provide additional expertise and analysis of technical issues that may be required to fulfill the Commission Charge.” Smith and Jones were chosen by Peter Walke, the Climate Action Commission’s co-chair and the Agency of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary. When Walke was asked “why he picked Smith despite her notoriety in pro-renewable circles, he repeatedly ducked the question… “The goal is to bring everybody to the table,” Walke replied… “It’s important to know that all voices are being heard. We could have picked anyone.” … “I would not have agreed to chair this for the governor if I thought we were not going to get to tangible results. The governor gave me the commission to lead, and all decisions were mine. I asked Annette and Kevin to be cochairs.”” The other co-chair of the Climate Action Commission is Paul Costello (who is also executive director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development). “I’m not really privy to it,” said Costello of the Smith appointment. “As cochair, I’ve talked to the chair about membership, but I haven’t had input into the nominations.” Smith rejects the idea that she’s not an expert. “My areas of expertise are vast,” she said. Perhaps because of the blowback, Walke is trying to minimize TAG’s importance. “The goal of the TAG is to be accessible to the commission,” he said. “The only role of the cochairs is to seek out experts when the commission cannot. It’s informal by nature.” That isn’t what the executive order said, nor is it in line with Erickson’s experience of a technical advisory group as consisting of technical advisors. Or Smith’s expectations, for that matter. “It’s an extremely limited role,” she said. “I had a thought, based on the executive order, that the group would have some responsibilities. But Kevin and I were told that we’re invited to [commission] meetings and that’s about all.” At this point, Walke is anxious to put this unfortunate prologue behind him. “We need to get through the first meeting. We need to refocus,” he said. Part of that refocusing will be earning the trust of environmental advocates, including the one who’s serving on the commission itself.” https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/08/10/walters-environmentalists-object-to-scott-climate-panel-choice?utm_content=bufferab36f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

  • Action: Share your thoughts with

 

2 EPA wants to change the definition of “waters of the United States” to only apply to waterways that affect commerce….The revised rule omits definitions of tributaries, wetlands and, importantly because of a SCOTUS ruling “significant nexus”. The revised rule also uses geography rather than hydrology to define “adjacent” waters.” https://twitter.com/altUSEPA/status/895207628430757888 This would weaken safeguards meant to prevent pollution of American waterways.

 

3 “This morning (8/11), Trump suggested maybe his infamous “fire and fury” statement wasn’t enough and doubled down on threats to North Korea. That’s no way to de-escalate a dangerous situation with a hostile, unpredictable, and rogue foreign power. We can’t let our own unpredictable (not to mention inexperienced) “leader” make military decisions alone. Today, be clear with Congress. Tell them: don’t sit by while the POTUS unilaterally decides to use military force.” http://thesixtyfive.org/home

  • Action: Contact your legislators
    • Sanders Local office 802-862-0697 https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/comment
    • Leahy: Local office 802-863-2525 https://www.leahy.senate.gov/contact/
    • Contact Congressman Peter Welch 802-652-2450 or https://welch.house.gov/contact/email
    • Script: “Hi, I’m [NAME], a constituent from [CITY, ZIP]. I’m terrified about escalating threats from North Korea, and I’m concerned that the President is making a bad situation worse. I’m calling to ask [Senator or Representative’s NAME] to make a public statement urging Trump to get congressional approval for any military action in North Korea. I don’t think President Trump should make decisions about this matter unilaterally, and I think it’s unwise for the President to publicly threaten a hostile, rogue foreign power. Please urge [Senator or Representative’s NAME] to speak up for checks and balances and a government that works together to make important decisions about how and when to use military force, and urge the President to approach escalating threats strategically and with the advice of experts. Thanks for taking my call.” http://thesixtyfive.org/home

 

The following items are taken verbatim or nearly verbatim from http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

4 Action: Think 2018. Advocate for elections that are free of foreign hacking. Call: Your 1 representative (lookup or leave message). Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and concerned about a second foreign hacking in the next election cycle. I would like [name] to co-sponsor H.R. 1562, the SAFE Act, which makes elections more secure. Can I count on his/her support for this bill?

  • Bonus: Tweet committee chairs and ranking members: Visualize our 2018 #midterms free of Russian hacking. Keep H.R. 1562 moving, @BarbaraComstock @RepLipinski @GreggHarper @RepBrady.

5 Thank Mayor Rahm Emanuel for preventing Chicago police from serving in immigration enforcement and for filing suit against threats to withhold public safety grants from sanctuary cities. Thank you for your leadership and for making Chicago a city that welcomes all people. Address: City Hall, 121 N.La Salle St., Chicago, IL 60602

6 Thank Mayor Toni Harp for affirming that New Haven respects people no matter where they come from — and for offering sanctuary to asylum seekers like Marco Reyes Alvarez. Your courage and leadership help your city live up to its name. Thank you. Address: 165 Church Street, New Haven, CT, 06510

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

7 Sixty-two (62) US representatives are asking Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to encourage restraint with respect to North Korea (http://thehill.com/policy/defense/346096-dems-to-tillerson-do-everything-in-your-power-to-rein-in-trump-on-north-korea). Let’s thank our representatives if they signed this letter.  If they are not on the list, let’s contact them to let them know we want them to join their colleagues in applying pressure to Rex Tillerson and the State Department. – Peter Welch did sign. So please thank him!

8 Trump had an earful for reporters on Thursday while vacationing (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/10/trump-vacation-press-241509). His rants included thanking Putin for expelling U.S. diplomats because it will save on payroll (which it won’t); saying that perhaps his “fire and fury” tweet about North Korea might not have been strong enough; and continuing to do battle with the GOP. We clearly need the supposed “adults in the room” to start making their voices heard if they have any power to get things under control. Let’s reach out to them to share our deep concerns: A) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, US Dept of State, 2201 C St NW, Washington DC 20520; B) Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense, 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000; C) General John F. Kelly, Chief of Staff, The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC 20500; D) Lt. General HR McMaster, Nat. Security Advisor, The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC 20500; and E) Vice President Mike Pence, The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC 20500.

9 Trump’s multi-billion dollar budget will not only fund the wall, it will fund more deportations and expanded detention camps that extremists hope to use against over 800,000 immigrant youth who will be in vulnerable for deportation if Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are repealed (http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2017/05/23/trump-justice-department-immigration-238738). Let’s make sure our members of Congress know we want them to #DefundHate and vote against the budget unless funding for the wall for Trump’s deportation machine is eliminated.

10 Under President Obama, the Department of Transportation issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) which proposed screening truck drivers and train engineers for obstructive sleep apnea. While it may seem fairly straightforward that we would want those who are operating highway and rail transportation to not also suffer from sleep disorders, the Department of Transportation under Trump has withdrawn the ANPRM as part of his ongoing effort to eliminate critical protections (http://theatln.tc/2hIg6Ak). Let’s contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration to let them know how we feel about that: 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590,  (202) 366-4000.

11 Attorney General Jeff Sessions is determined to accelerate civil forfeiture efforts where citizen are relieved of their property when they are merely suspected of a crime, without due process.  Nebraska and New Mexico have already ended civil forfeiture (http://journalstar.com/legislature/a-positive-step-forward-both-sides-find-good-in-nebraska/article_0185c306-4211-5b42-b372-98364b98b8ae.html). Let’s work this issue at a state level and contact our state legislators to them know that we want them to follow the models set by Nebraska and New Mexico: www.openstates.org/find_your_legislator.

12 Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue introduced the RAISE Act back in February, and received Trump’s endorsement earlier this month (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, wealthiest individuals gain priority (http://bit.ly/2u0XTjb). Time Magazine has created a tool based off of the points-based system to allow us to see if we would qualify for legal immigration to the United States here:http://time.com/4887574/trump-raise-act-immigration/. Let’s check it out, then give our senators a call to tell them our results and ask that they oppose the RAISE Act (S. 354). (You can also share your results on Twitter – be sure to @ your senators and tag #RogansHeroes!)

13 Anticipating that this or any future president might try to pardon himself, Representative Al Green (D-TX) has introduced H.J. Res 115 prohibiting presidential self-pardons (http://www.houstonpress.com/news/rep-al-green-wants-to-outlaw-presidential-self-pardons-9648732).  Let’s tell our representatives to support H.J. Res 115.  We can thank Congressman Green for his leadership on this issue: Al Green, 2347 Rayburn HOB, Washington DC 20515.

14 Trump’s Justice Department has made it clear they are not on the side of those purged from the Ohio voter rolls for failing to vote or verify their address. They are reversing the Obama administration’s position that Ohio’s voter purge is illegal (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/trump-administration-sides-ohio-purging-voter-rolls/. We must let Jeff Sessions know we are appalled at his department’s decision to turn the right to vote into a political game: 202-353-1555 or U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001.

15 Private prisons are plagued by security breaches, overcrowding, mistreatment of prisoners and misuse of funds. They account for 20 percent of our federal prison and detention population—but they manage to escape the same level of transparency and accountability as government-run prisons because they claim to be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.  Let’s contact our MoCs and tell them to support S. 1728, The Private Prison Information Act of 2017. Introduced this week by Senator Ben Cardin (http://correctionalnews.com/2017/07/27/criminal-justice-groups-support-private-prison-information-act/), the bill would subject private prisons to the same FOIA requirements as prisons run by the federal government.

16 Trump’s Labor Department is attempting to undercut the overtime pay rule put in place by the Obama administration, a protection that benefits 12.5 million American workers (http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/27/534597018/labor-department-rethinking-obama-era-overtime-pay-rule). Let’s join People for the American Way, Democracy for America and other progressive groups in letting Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta know that he should be looking out for us, not big corporations. We can send a message at this link:https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-dept-of-labor-protect-overtime-pay-for-millions-of-working-people-2?source=Overtime_201707_PFAW.

17 From Postcards from Kate: The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against the Interior Department’s decision to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/08/02/appeals-court-upholds-endangered-species-protection-great-lakes-gray-wolves/534783001/). This is a small victory, and more battles loom, but let’s thank Ralph Henry, the Humane Society’s director of litigation, who argued the case and won this round. Ralph E. Henry, Jr., Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University, 600 New Jersey Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20001.

18 It’s temporarily out of the headlines, but the Trump administration’s voter suppression commission is still moving forward. Democrats in both houses of Congress have introduced the Anti-Voter Suppression Act (S. 1547/H.R. 3214) to nullify Trump’s executive order establishing the commission and to prohibit any of our money from being used to investigate the non-issue of voter fraud (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/07/12/democrats-aim-block-funding-trumps-election-commission/474045001/). Let’s check out the House and Senate versions of the bill to see if our members of Congress are co-sponsoring it, and contact them to thank them if they are and ask them to get on board if they are not. – Leahy is co-sponsoring – so we should thank him. Sanders and Welch are not – so we should contact them!

19 Congress needs to put safeguards in place to ensure that all citizens who are willing and able to serve in our military have legal protections to do so, regardless of gender identity. Congress could make this happen by including an amendment specifically protecting our transgender troops in the National Defense Authorization Act. Let’s contact Senator John McCain ((202) 224-2235), Chairman of the Armed Services Committee and Ranking Member Senator Jack Reed ((202) 224-4642), along with our own senators, and ask that they support adding language to the NDAA prohibiting bans against transgender service members. We can also sign CREDO Action’s petition to Senator McCain: http://bit.ly/2vNXvZh.

20 Ten state attorneys general demanded in June that the administration end the DACA program by September 5th or face litigation (http://cnn.it/2vERiiN). The deadline is less than a month away. Congress has introduced legislation to help preserve the program and protect DREAMers, yet both of those bills are stuck in committee (http://cnn.it/2vesIT7). Let’s call the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (202-224-3744) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein ((202) 224-3841) and ask them to help move forward the DREAM Act of 2017 (S.1615). We can also call the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security Chairman Raul Labrador ((202) 225 – 6611) and Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren ((202) 225-3072) and ask that they move forward the bipartisan BRIDGE Act (H.R. 496). Let’s also make sure that our members of Congress are supporting both pieces of legislation. Finally, let’s read through and sign MomsRising’s letter to Congress in support of the DREAM Act: (http://action.momsrising.org/sign/Protect_Dreamers/).

21 Across the country, kids as young as four years old are being humiliated and going hungry due to unpaid student lunch debts. The Department of Agriculture is requiring districts to adopt policies for addressing meal debts and to inform parents of them at the start of the academic year, and New Mexico has passed a law banning school meal shaming (https://apnews.com/affc45f314114094b01f1e649811c4ad). As Ashley Ford says, “we have enough money in this country to feed kids. We absolutely do. Every day we don’t is another day we fail our humanity.” So let’s contact our reps and ask them to sign on to the bipartisan congressional effort to curb the worst of these shaming practices, the Anti-Lunch Shaming Act of 2017. (You can see if they’re already on board here.). And if we haven’t already, let’s contact our local school boards to ask how student lunch debt is being handled in our communities, and if it’s not being handled right insist that these policies be changed, and call our state legislators (https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/) and encourage them to follow New Mexico’s lead and make school meal shaming a thing of the past.

22 Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have launched an investigation into how our tax monies are being used to enrich Trump: “The committee’s 18 minority members sent letters on Tuesday to the 15 cabinet departments and nine independent executive branch agencies, requesting documents on their spending at ‘businesses owned by or affiliated with the Trump Organization'” (http://www.npr.org/2017/08/08/542296258/hill-democrats-launch-investigation-of-federal-spending-at-trump-businesses). If we are constituents of the Republican members of this committee, especially Trey Gowdy (R-SC), let’s let them know that we’d really like their participation to give this investigation some bipartisan clout. All members of the committee are listed here: https://oversight.house.gov/subcommittee/full-committee/. Let’s help get to the bottom of this! – See if any of your family/friends live in states with members and encourage them to contact their legislators.

23 To ensure that any presidential pardons are disclosed publicly, Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) introduced the Presidential Pardon Transparency Act, HR3498, on July 27 (http://thehill.com/homenews/house/344024-dem-rep-to-introduce-measure-requiring-white-house-to-disclose-pardons). This bill currently has 24 Democratic co-sponsors (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr3489/details).  Let’s thank our representatives if they are among the co-sponsors.  Let’s contact our representatives who are not on the list to ask them to support the Presidential Pardon Transparency Act – this does not need to be a partisan issue. We can send thank you’s to Representative Krishnamoorthi for introducing the bill to: Raja Krishnamoorthi, 515 Cannon HOB, Washington DC 20515 or via Twitter athttps://twitter.com/CongressmanRaja. (Be sure to tag #RogansHeroes if you thank him by tweet!) – Welch is indeed cosponsoring.

24 Our collective effort to remove Bill O’Reilly from Fox News by targeting his advertisers was successful.  It is now time to do the same with Sean Hannity, who continues to use his platform to bash Democrats and help perpetuate false stories (http://www.newsweek.com/fire-hannity-effort-intensifies-646090). Let’s contact Hannity’s advertisers to tell them to stop funding the lies.  We want real journalism with real news, not spin.  Let’s use this to help us know who to contact:  http://firehannity.org/.

25 “Team Internet is a decentralized group of volunteers who are working together toward a shared goal of maintaining Title II Net Neutrality. We’re combining people power with technology to build a volunteer network of bold activists who can hold their leaders accountable!”  We can sign up here:  http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/sign-up-text-team-internet/.

26 Climate-change mitigation begins at home! For little or no cost, you can have your home assessed for energy efficiency and receive energy-saving benefits and services. In return, you’ll lower your carbon footprint and save money on utilities. Use this Google doc to find a program in your state: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1v1j8p8MWZVW6Z0uCWhcYQvQdbwRWt3ES5BkYqhkaZqw/edit?usp=sharing.

27 Thirty one (31) Senators are asking the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Seema Verma to reconsider the Trump administration’s decision to end Obama-era rules allowing us to sue nursing homes for mistreatment (http://thehill.com/regulation/pending-regs/345642-senate-dems-push-cms-to-protect-nursing-home-residents-right-to-sue). If our Senators are among the 31, let’s thank them and let them know they have our support.  If they are not, let’s contact them to let them know we want them to join their colleagues in pressing CMS to reconsider its position.  We can also write to CMS ourselves: US Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Attn: Seema Verma, 7500 Security Blvd, Baltimore MD 21244.  Let’s work together to protect our senior citizens now and in the future.

28 Representative Jim Himes (D-CT) introduced the Free Press Act (HR3228) which would mandate bi-weekly on-camera White House press briefings (http://thehill.com/homenews/media/342022-democratic-rep-introduces-bill-requiring-two-on-camera-wh-press-briefings-per). To push back against the regime’s attacks on the press, let’s tell our own representatives to support the Free Press Act.  We can also thank Representative Himes for his leadership on this issue: Jim Himes, 1227 Longworth HOB, Washington DC 20515.

29 Staffers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been told to avoid using the words “climate change”: https://qz.com/1048037/us-department-of-agriculture-employees-were-told-to-stop-using-terms-like-climate-change-and-greenhouse-gases/. Let’s remind them that sticking our heads in the sand will not improve anything, and we want them to work on addressing climate change instead of ignoring it: https://www.usda.gov/contact-us.

30 We’re in uncharted waters after the Russian interference in our elections in 2016, and we need to start taking concrete action to respond. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA director John Brennan recently endorsed the creation of a law requiring regular disclosures to Congress of foreign cyber intrusions before U.S. elections (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/21/spy-chiefs-rip-trump-240828). Let’s call our members of Congress and ask them to support such a law.

31 Twenty-one million Americans cannot vote because they lack a government-issued ID, according to the organization Spread the Vote. Spread the Vote is working to get every citizen the ID they need to vote. Let’s help this important cause! We can (1) “like” their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SpreadTheVoteUS/), (2) volunteer (https://www.spreadthevote.org/volunteer), or (3) donate (https://www.spreadthevote.org/donate). If we live in Virginia or Georgia, let’s see how we can help the special campaigns going on in those states:https://www.spreadthevote.org/virginia/ andhttps://www.spreadthevote.org/georgia/.

32 Attorney General Jeff Sessions has hit back hard at Chicago after the city filed a lawsuit that argues the Trump administration’s bid to withhold public safety grants from sanctuary cities is illegal (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-donald-trump-lawsuit-met-0808-2-20170807-story.html).  Let’s send a note of thanks to Chicago’s mayor for tackling this issue with Sessions:​ Mayor Rahm Emanuel, 121 N LaSalle Street, Chicago City Hall 4th Floor, Chicago, IL 60602. And let’s​ also support sanctuary cities by encouraging others to join Chicago in this effort. ​​You can find a map of the areas Sessions has threatened with funding losses here:http://www.newsweek.com/here-sanctuary-cities-2017-map-sessions-threatened-funding-574861.

33 Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) has introduced bills to bar the deportation of veterans convicted of non-violent offenses and to create a path to citizenship through military service (http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/345242-dem-senator-introduces-legislation-aimed-at-halting-veteran-deportations). Let’s tell our two senators to support Senate bills S1704 and S1725. We can thank Senator Duckworth for introducing these bills at: Tammy Duckworth, 524 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510.

34 We’re headed towards another unnecessary debt ceiling crisis, and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) is taking action. He announced yesterday that he will introduce legislation that would abolish the debt ceiling for good, so that it is no longer a question whether or not the United States will pay its bills (http://thehill.com/policy/finance/345667-top-dem-seeks-to-abolish-debt-ceiling). Let’s call our members of Congress and tell them we want them to support efforts to abandon the debt ceiling – and that in the meantime we want them to vote for a clean debt ceiling hike and not risk a global economic meltdown.

35 Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has continued to deny visas to the visa lottery program winners from six countries since the Supreme Court ruled on the limited travel ban in June (http://bit.ly/2veyhRB). If the winners do not have their visas by September 30th, six days after the ban ends, then the visas will expire and they will lose any realistic chance of acquiring a visa to the U.S. Last week, the ACLU sued Tillerson for his refusal to issue the visas. Let’s send the ACLU a big “thank you” for their continued efforts in defending immigrants’ rights: 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York NY 10004, 212-549-2500. For those of us with the means, we can also send a donation: https://action.aclu.org/donate-aclu?ms=web_horiz_nav_hp. We can also let Tillerson know how we feel about his refusal to issue visas:  U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520.

 

PETITIONS/SURVEYS/ETC

 

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

@danpfeiffer: Verified @gofundme account for the Minnesota mosque bombed last week: https://www.gofundme.com/support-dar-al-farooq-center (on the bombing see http://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN1AM0T1)

@SaraJBenincasa: “I think it would be cool if tons of folks donated to good Charlottesville-based nonprofits those Nazi jerks would really hate.

 

READING

Review of Elise Guyette’s Discovering Black Vermont https://vtdigger.org/2017/08/04/tyler-resch-tales-early-blacks-vermont/

An article on the danger that pro-labor legislation will encourage companies to switch from regular employees to contract laborers not protected by this legislation: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/opinion/2017/08/08/rampell-when-labor-protections-backfire/548307001/?hootPostID=46924b5b84811304140613f9bfe5ad2f

A Montpellier panel will consider the impact of raising the minimum wage: https://www.rutlandherald.com/articles/legislators-to-study-impact-of-raising-minimum-wage/

From Rutland NAACP: “We had a brief but interesting discussion at the last meeting about the recent controversy surrounding the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award. Member Caroline Marotti shared several articles on the subject. From an article from VT Digger, “Author under scrutiny for long-ago ties to eugenics“: “Fisher’s reputation has been questioned in recent weeks, as Essex educator and artist Judy Dow has led the fight for the removal of Fisher’s name from the award. Dow, who has both French Canadian and Abenaki roots, claims that Fisher not only stereotyped French Canadians and Native Americans in her extensive works, but played an active role in the eugenics movement…She was a progressive, but it was the progressive party that was running the eugenics program,” said Dow. “She was a product of the time, and the product of the time was eugenics.” We invite you to learn more about this issue. It doesn’t appear that the Board of Libraries is taking public comment at this time, but we’ll keep you appraised. More resources:”

“Student, staff, or faculty at a college or university? The Southern Poverty Law Center released an excellent new guide yesterday “on how to respond when speakers associated with the growing white nationalist, or “alt-right,” movement, appear on campus”: https://www.splcenter.org/news/2017/08/10/splc-releases-campus-guide-countering-%E2%80%98alt-right%E2%80%99. We can download the detailed and helpful guide here: https://www.splcenter.org/20170810/alt-right-campus-what-students-need-know. Here’s a good sample: “Denying an alt-right speaker of… spectacle is the worst insult they can endure. While there’s nothing wrong with peaceful student protests against a hateful ideology, it’s best to draw attention to hope instead. Hold an alternative event – away from the alt-right event – to highlight your cam­pus’ commitment to inclusion and our nation’s democratic values.” In other words: when they go low, we go high and protect *everyone’s* 1st Amendment right to free speech.” http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

“This is an excellent op-ed in the New York Times about the interconnections of Trump’s policies and “the politics of white resentment”:”  https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/08/05/opinion/sunday/white-resentment-affirmative-action.html?smid=tw-nytopinion&smtyp=cur&referer=https://t.co/myKGxYJo9r?amp=1. h/t http://roganslist.blogspot.com/