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

Democrats are reorganizing their caucuses. See if there’s one in your town: http://www.vtdemocrats.org/events

Recently, 1 million gallons of untreated sewage was dumped into the Otter and East creeks in Rutland.  https://vtdigger.org/2017/08/27/state-investigates-1-million-gallon-sewage-spill-in-rutland/#.WbQ1O7KGPIU To keep on top of incidents like this, you can sign up for alerts at https://anrweb.vt.gov/DEC/WWInventory/SewageOverflows.aspx

ACA Open Enrollment begins November 1. Advertising has been severely curtailed, so make sure you tell your friends and family! https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/dates-and-deadlines/ “Let’s share as widely as possible The Connector, https://connector.getcoveredamerica.org/en-us/widget  This online tool lets people find local, in-person assistance to help them sign up for health insurance.” http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

The personal information of 143 million Americans was hacked from Equifax. http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/07/pf/victim-equifax-hack-how-to-find-out/index.html?sr=twCNN090717victim-equifax-hack-how-to-find-out1103PMStory and http://gizmodo.com/lawmakers-say-equifaxs-help-for-breach-victims-may-only-1802770131

UPCOMING EVENTS

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    • Saturday Sept 16 at 10am-noon – TD Bank Rutland protests continue (we’re on the corner, at the apex of the streets – if you’re looking directly at the stand-alone booth or at the side of the building you may not see us) https://www.facebook.com/events/782080125284082/

     

    • September 16th, at 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Rutland Town Democratic Caucus at Rutland Town Offices, 181 Business Route 4, Center Rutland http://www.vtdemocrats.org/events

     

    • Thursday Sept 21 at 6 pm Vermont Climate Action Commission at Burr and Burton Academy 57 Seminary Ave, Manchester Center, Vermont “The Vermont Climate Action Commission will be hosting a series of public scoping sessions through the state in September and October to gather input and recommendations from Vermonters. The Commission hopes to hear people’s experiences in dealing with the effects of climate change, as well as their ideas for potential actions that the Commission could recommend to the Governor’s office. The Climate Action Commission was formed by Governor Phil Scott to unify Vermont’s ambitious climate and economic goals. It is chaired by Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary Peter Walke and co-chaired by Paul Costello, Executive Director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Other committee members come from a wide variety of fields in both the public and private sector, and represent business, energy, and environmental organizations.” https://www.facebook.com/events/1628941907117643/

     

    • Tuesday Sept 26 at 6 pm Castleton Indivisible at Castleton Community Center, the room above the fitness room in the red barn. https://castletoncsi.org/ Tabitha Pohl-Moore, President, The Rutland Area NAACP, will be speaking about implicit bias and how to be a good ally for people of color.

     

    • 27-29 Women’s Convention in Detroit – “The Women’s Convention will bring thousands of women, femmes and our allies of all backgrounds to Detroit from October 27 – 29, 2017, for a weekend of workshops, strategy sessions, inspiring forums and intersectional movement building to continue the preparation going into the 2018 midterm elections. Tapping into the power of women in leadership as the fundamental, grassroots force for change, the Women’s Convention will bring together first time activists and movement leaders, rising political stars that reflect our nation’s changing demographics, and thousands of women who’ve organized sister marches, huddles, rallies and resistance actions, large and small, since January 2017. Participants will leave inspired and motivated, with new connections, skills and strategies for working towards collective liberation for women of all races, ethnicities, ages, disabilities, sexual identities, gender expressions, immigration statuses, religious faiths, and economic statuses.” http://www.womensconvention.com/ Tickets aren’t cheap, but there is a scholarship program.

     

     

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 On Aug 28th, an 8 year old biracial boy was nearly lynched in Claremont, New Hampshire (allegedly) by teenagers spewing racial slurs. There has been very little press coverage, and alleged comments by the local police suggest that they might be dropping the ball in the investigation. http://www.vnews.com/Family-of-Boy-Says-Older-Teens-Deliberately-Hung-Him-Claremont-NH-12308069

  • Action: Contact local press outlets (Rutland Herald, Seven Days, NPR, Boston Globe, etc.) asking them to cover the issue
  • Action: Write letters to the editor arguing that this incident—happening so close to Vermont—proves that we aren’t safe from the dangers of racism in Vermont
  • Action: Contact the “the Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase (603-542-9538), Governor Christopher Sununu’s office ((603) 271-2121), and Sullivan County District Attorney’s office (603-863-7950), and ask that this incident be taken seriously and treated as a hate crime.” http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

2. 45 has effectively cancelled DACA, a program that provided a mechanism for undocumented immigrants to be lawfully present in the USA (but does not provide lawful status on these individuals). These individuals, known as Dreamers, entered the USA on average at the age of six. “DACA alone does not make recipients eligible for Social Security or most other federal benefits. But immigrants who have DACA are also eligible for work permits — therefore they are not barred from federal programs associated with working in the United States, such as Social Security and Medicare, where a portion of income goes toward funding the benefits. But it’s worth noting that DACA, which took effect in 2012, covered immigrants who came to the United States before their 16th birthday and who continuously lived here since June 15, 2007. So children and young adults who work generally wouldn’t be covered by Social Security for decades, after paying taxes and contributing to the Social Security Trust Funds.” Dreamers are good for our economy—at least half are employed and are paying taxes that are continuing to fund Social Security, which according to the (exaggerations of the) GOP is on the verge of collapse. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/sep/05/fact-checking-attorney-general-jeff-sessions-remar/ and https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/9/5/16255436/lies-jeff-sessions-daca?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=chorus&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter Previous newsletters asked you to contact Congress in support of legislation to support DACA (DREAM Act—more aggressive Democratic legislation and BRIDGE Act—less aggressive GOP-led legislation; HR 3591, the Hope Act, is another Democratic-led option that leaves the issue up to states). 45 has specified a six month deadline for Congress to pass legislation on this issue. At that point, if legislation is not passed to protect the Dreamers, deportation proceedings will begin, using personal data to identify Dreamers, who gave this information to the government with the assurance that we had their back. Article explaining why DACA recipients don’t become citizens (they can’t) http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/sd-me-citizen-path-20170407-story.html Articles about DACA in Vermont: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/vermont/2017/09/05/vermont-daca-students-find-support-local-colleges-and-universities/631251001/?cookies=&from=global and https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/09/06/vermont-daca-recipient-speaks-out-after-trump-rescinds-program?utm_content=buffer9bc69&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer and https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/a-uvm-student-talks-about-growing-up-undocumented/Content?oid=5823424

3 “Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.) introduced Senate and House versions of the Confederate Monument Removal Act, which would mandate the removal of all statues of those who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from the National Statuary Hall Collection within 120 days.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/09/07/democrats-are-offering-a-bill-to-remove-confederate-statues-from-the-capitol/?utm_term=.e4c294ce2a52 Meanwhile, Rep. Espaillat has introduced H.R.3660 – No Federal Funding for Confederate Symbols Act. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3660?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22Confederate+Monument+Removal+Act%22%5D%7D&r=1

  • 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 thank him for cosponsoring HR 3660, No Federal Funding for Confederate Symbols Act, and I’m asking him to cosponsor Cory Booker and Barbara Lee’s new Confederate Monument Removal Act, which would remove Confederate statues from the Capital. Thank you.

4 John McCain, whose vote was so crucial to saving the ACA, appears to have changed his mind and is supporting Graham and Cassidy in their last ditch effort to repeal the ACA before the September 30th deadline. “Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have proposed yet another ACA repeal bill that is even more disruptive than previous GOP plans. Graham and Cassidy claim the bill gives states local control of healthcare spending by converting much of ACA funding into a block grant to states. States could spend this money to provide insurance, fund high-risk pools, or otherwise cover medically complex care costs. While the ACA sets aside funding specifically for low-income consumers’ healthcare costs, the Cassidy-Graham bill does not earmark any money specifically for this vulnerable group. In fact, the bill would fund the block grant by eliminating the ACA’s tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies for middle- and low-income marketplace consumers and ending Medicaid expansion in 2020. The plan would reduce federal funding for expanded healthcare coverage by $26 billion immediately and by $83 billion by 2026. The plan would also end the individual insurance mandate while requiring insurers to cover everyone, a combination of policies that have historically resulted in astronomically high premiums. While the Congressional Budget Office has yet to score this plan, it is clear it would significantly reduce access to care by reducing federal funding to states to expand healthcare coverage. It would also disrupt the individual market. Congress must reject this latest ill-conceived attack on Americans’ healthcare access.” https://5calls.org/issue/recT4p3RFsud6rxuf and  http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/349462-mccain-backs-graham-cassidy-obamacare-repeal-effort#!

  • Action: We can count on Senators Leahy and Sanders to oppose this bill, but call them to express your gratitude for their efforts thus far and to encourage them to continue standing strong.
  • Action: Contact your friends and families with Republican Senators (particularly Maine and Alaska) to encourage them to contact their Senators opposing the Graham-Cassidy bill and opposing any sort of repeal.

5 Skepticism is already being expressed regarding Congress’ willingness to take meaningful action in response to the Equifax breach. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/congress-to-flog-equifax-more-with-words-than-legislation-2017-09-08 Given allegations regarding Russia’s role in hacking the emails of US citizens and the use of this information to influence the 2016 election (http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/13/politics/russia-us-election/) and allegations that China was behind the 2015 hack of personal information belonging to government employees (https://www.wired.com/2016/10/inside-cyberattack-shocked-us-government/), it is clear that protection of our personal data is crucial to the maintenance of the USA’s economic and national security.

  • Action: Contact your members of Congress asking them to take meaningful action in response to the Equifax hack, including investigation of security failures, the delay in notifying the public, questionable stock trading activity, and the follow-up to safeguard the victims.
  • Action: A previous newsletter discussed HJ111, which has passed in the House and been sent to the Senate. It “overturns the CFPB’s recent Arbitration Rule. As highlighted by the response to the recent Equifax security breach, allowing consumers to take group action against financial institutions is a necessary check against predatory, risky and illegal banking practices.” If you haven’t already contacted your Senators, do so now – or call again. https://5calls.org/issue/recVhelp4XiTKwwDC

6 The Sunlight Foundation—a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for open government globally and uses technology to make government more accountable to all—has pointed out the White House’s failure to respond to a petition calling on 45 to release his tax returns, the first petition in history with 1 million signatures. https://mobile.twitter.com/SunFoundation/status/901121357928439808 and

7 “Trump’s Council on Environmental Quality has no members at all” despite legal requirement.” https://thinkprogress.org/trump-environmental-council-no-members-9150716d23da/

8 According to the ACLU, “ICE is trying to make our clients’ lives so miserable that they voluntarily give up their immigration cases.” https://www.aclu.org/blog/immigrants-rights/immigrants-rights-and-detention/ice-abusing-aclus-clients-because-they-are According to the renowned Constitutional legal authority, “If this is going on, it’s grossly unconstitutional. If it’s going on with DHS approval, Elaine Duke could be impeached.” https://mobile.twitter.com/tribelaw/status/903745335863934976

9 The USA voted against a United Nations resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism (citing free speech concerns). https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-votes-against-anti-nazi-resolution-at-united-nations/

Action: Contact Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN, to express your concern https://usun.state.gov/contact

10 Representative Pramila Jayapal has called for hearings on 45’s pardon of Joe Arpaio. https://mobile.twitter.com/RepJayapal/status/902995081904267264/photo/1

11 “ICE Plans to Start Destroying Records of Immigrant Abuse, Including Sexual Assault and Deaths in Custody” https://www.aclu.org/blog/immigrants-rights/ice-and-border-patrol-abuses/ice-plans-start-destroying-records-immigrant

12 The Democratic National Committee is considering reorganization. One of the issues they’re considering is caucuses vs. primaries. (I personally prefer primaries because they’re more democratic https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/04/20/why-primaries-are-better-than-caucuses/?utm_term=.f0e12e49b250) (h/t @fawfulfan) (for an extremely partisan take: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/6/12/1671179/-Is-there-a-scheme-to-replace-closed-primaries-with-caucuses-afoot-in-Democratic-Unity-Commission)

13 “In a shameless speech at George Mason University on September 7th, Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that she will change how the Department of Education enforces Title IX (“9”) federal guidelines with respect to campus sexual assault. The 2011 guidelines, outlined in a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), defines schools’ responsibilities in building a safe and responsive campus, clarifies the requirement that schools must independently investigate reports of sexual violence between students (regardless of the existence of a criminal investigation), and defines “preponderance of the evidence” as the burden of proof necessary when adjudicating sexual assault cases on campus. Calling this “overreach” and “weaponizing” by the federal government, DeVos will now roll back these vital protections. Since 2011, many universities have overhauled their programs for reporting and investigating sexual assault, educating campuses on sex discrimination and providing support for victims of sexual violence. A rushed roll-back of these rules by the administration sends a terrible message to students and administrators and would undermine the protections universities, students and activists have worked so hard to implement. Earlier in the summer, twenty state Attorneys General wrote to Secretary DeVos to strongly oppose any roll-back of the Title IX protections and express concerns about the continuing role of Assistant Secretary Jackson. Call the US Department of Education to insist that the 2011 guidelines should remain unchanged. It is still a matter of decency that institutions of higher education continue to prioritize and address campus sexual assault.”

  • Action: Contact Department of Education 800-872-5327 Script: Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a concerned constituent from ___. I’m calling to urge Secretary DeVos to maintain the critical Title IX (Title 9) protections for survivors of campus sexual assault as guided by the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter. This is a serious and troubling epidemic, and it is vital that schools maintain strong policy guidelines to protect its vulnerable students. Thank you for your hard work answering the phones.” https://5calls.org/issue/recAGVSzNgudPPZwH

14 “The Senate Banking Committee has approved the nomination of Joseph Otting. His nomination now moves to the Senate floor for a final confirmation. The Trump administration has nominated Joseph Otting, former CEO of OneWest Bank, to be the Comptroller of the Currency. The Comptroller oversees federally chartered banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo and has been instrumental in protecting consumers against bad banking practices like Wells Fargo’s creation of unauthorized accounts. Otting’s history as CEO of OneWest raises major concerns about his potential role overseeing the largest banks in the nation. Under the leadership of Otting and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, OneWest was censured for its irresponsible lending practices and engaging in robo-signing (i.e. approving mortgage- and foreclosure-related documents without reviewing or verifying them). Just last month, a OneWest subsidiary agreed to pay $89 million to settle a complaint that it had defrauded the Federal Housing Administration. While comptrollers are typically attorneys with a history of government service, Otting is a businessman without an advanced degree–although he did recently admit to lying about having earned a degree from Dartmouth College. With Otting as Comptroller and congressional Republicans working to defang banking regulations, banks would have free rein to engage in irresponsible lending practices, paving the way for another recession driven by unbridled corporate greed.”

  • Action: Contact your Senators
    • 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/
    • Script: “Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from ___. I’m calling to urge the Senator to oppose Joseph Otting’s nomination to Comptroller of the Currency. It was under Otting’s leadership that OneWest Bank engaged in unethical lending practices like robo-signing documents. He clearly lacks the experience and integrity needed to regulate our largest financial institutions and prevent another disastrous recession. Thank you for your hard work answering the phones.” https://5calls.org/issue/recWB9FpCu0MS0bb8

15 “Republican lawmakers in the House and the Senate have proposed 2018 spending bills that will underfund our nation’s scientific institutions. Many of these cuts specifically target climate change research: under the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Act in the House (H.R.3267), funding for climate science at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would drop by 19%, the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) would disappear, and NASA’s earth science budget would shrink by 11%. In addition, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) funds would shrink by 4%, and the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) funds would be cut by over a hundred million dollars, with tight restrictions placed on the ability to redistribute funds towards novel research. The equivalent Senate appropriations bill (S.1662), though less extreme, also contains millions of dollars of cuts to programs at NASA, the NOAA, the NIST, and the NSF. Scientific funding, which makes up less than 2% of the federal budget, is an essential investment in our country’s future: technological innovation, especially in the renewable energy sector, will create American jobs and improve lives, while climate change research must remain a high priority if we are to preserve our country – and our world – for future generations. Cutting funds for the NOAA, ARPA-E, NASA, the NIST, or the NSF is not the way to address the problem of federal debt. Both H.R. 3267 and S. 1662 have passed in committee and move next to floor votes in the House and Senate, respectively.”

  • 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 urge Rep. Peter Welch to fight for a 2018 appropriations bill that fully funds our nation’s scientific institutions, including NOAA and the National Science Foundation, because energy and climate change research is an investment in our nation’s future. I ask that Rep. Peter Welch oppose any appropriations bills which would reduce funding for crucial scientific programs. Thank you for your time and attention.” https://5calls.org/issue/rec8p1kPTxaNJkSuA

16 “Jeffrey Bossert Clark has been nominated for Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice (DOJ) Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). If confirmed by the Senate, Clark would lead the DOJ’s enforcement of environmental laws and regulations and defend the Environmental Protection Agency against challenges over industrial regulation. As we have come to expect from Trump appointees, Clark has a long history of opposing environmental protections, prioritizing corporate interests over the environment, and attacking the government agencies he’s charged with leading and protecting. Clark is a climate change denier who has publicly condemned government regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. He helped lead industry challenges to the EPA’s “endangerment finding,” the conclusion that carbon emissions endanger public welfare that provided the scientific justification for government regulation of greenhouse gases. Clark’s track record of opposition to environmental regulation extends beyond climate issues; Clark represented BP in lawsuits over the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2011 (the largest marine oil spill in history). He worked with BP to contest the U.S. government’s requests for documents about the spill and to push back against Louisiana parishes’ settlement claims. Clark’s career of fighting environmental protections and his history of opposition to common sense environmental regulation demonstrate that he can’t be trusted to enforce and protect the DOJ’s environmental laws. The Senate must oppose his nomination.”

  • Action: Contact your Senators
    • 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/
    • Script: “Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from ___. I’m calling to urge the Senator to oppose Jeffrey Bossert Clark for Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ Environmental and Natural Resources Division. Clark is a climate change denier whose opposition to environmental regulations and protections makes him unsuitable for the role of enforcing America’s environmental laws. Thank you so much for your time.” https://5calls.org/issue/recziTWZmksknGIUb

17 “What Republicans are calling “tax reform” is not tax reform at all—it’s the Trump tax scam, AKA tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations paid for by taking away Medicaid, Medicare, and other basic services. Republicans will attempt to sell their tax plan in the vaguest possible terms. They know most people don’t know the ins and outs of the tax code and they think using vague terms like “tax cuts” will make people support their plan. Or—just as bad—that people won’t fight back against it. We can’t let that happen.”

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

18 Action: Oppose efforts to weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act. Call: Your 1 House rep (lookup). Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], and I am calling to express my concern about possible changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act. H.B. 620 would restrict litigation rights, allow businesses to delay accessibility compliance, and make disabled people responsible for reporting non-compliance. I want [name] to advocate for civil rights and vote no when this bill comes up for a vote in the House.

19 Action: Support victims of rape by advocating for better police training (hat tip). Write: Your chief of police (Google “chief of police [town, state]”). Script: I am a resident of [town] writing to advocate for victims of rape in our community. New research shows that rape victims’ memories are impaired by trauma, leading police to mistrust and discredit their accounts. Fortunately, training is available for law enforcement to conduct effective questioning that leads to justice. Certified courses are available at no cost from End Violence Against Women International. To better serve and protect, I would like your department to offer this training for the benefit of officers, rape victims, and our community. I look forward to your response on this important issue. Bonus: Edit and submit this message as a Letter to the Editor in your local paper.

20 Action: Advocate for the US Census to support fair representation and elections. Call or write the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:

  • Trey Gowdy (202) 225-6030 or 2418 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515
  • Elijah Cummings (202) 225-4741 or 2163 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515
  • Script: Hi, my name is [name], and I’m concerned about the lack of permanent leadership at the Census Bureau and inadequate testing in preparation for the 2020 Census. Can you tell me what [name] is doing to support census leadership and success in his role on the House Oversight Committee? (If not, ask for follow up.)

21 Thank Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) for refusing a blue slip to oppose the nomination of conservative Justice Stras to the 8th Circuit Court. This is a powerful procedural move and helps hold Republicans accountable. Thank you for your creative leadership! Address: 309 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

22 Thank 5 state governors for their bipartisan cooperation. I appreciate your calling on Congress to stabilize the health insurance exchanges and continue subsidies for poorer Americans. I admire your cooperation, leadership, and foresight. Addresses: Govs. Charlie Baker (R-MA), Bill Haslam (R-TN), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Steve Bullock (D-MT), and Gary Herbert (R-UT).

23 Thank Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), for their bipartisan message that gerrymandering is a threat to Democracy, expressing your appreciation for the Senators advocating for the US Supreme Court to uphold the lower Federal Court’s decision that redistricting in WI violated our Constitution.

  • Address (J.M.): 2201 E. Camelback Rd, Ste. 115, Phoenix, AZ 85016
  • Address: (S.W.): 170 Westminster St., Ste. 200, Providence, RI 02903

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

24 The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) has some great resources we can use to make sure our representatives oppose H.R. 620: ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017. The DREDF page has a helpful rundown of the bill, but to put it simply, H.R. 620 would weaken the American Disabilities Act by removing incentives for businesses to comply. Let’s check out the resources available at DREDF, including FAQ, postcards, and sample tweets with Twitter handles for MoC, then make sure we’re contacting our representatives and telling them to oppose H.R. 620 https://dredf.org/hr620/

25 Hurricane Irma is bearing down and wild fires are raging while epic clean-up from Hurricane Harvey continues. In spite of these issues, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has said that now is not the time to talk about climate change:http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/07/politics/scott-pruitt-hurricanes-climate-change-interview/index.html  Let’s ask Administrator Pruitt when the right time is:https://www.epa.gov/home/forms/contact-epa

26 This dangerous and destructive hurricane season is further evidence of the profound consequences for all of us if we do not aggressively act to address climate change (http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/08/549280066/hurricanes-are-sweeping-the-atlantic-whats-the-role-of-climate-change). While it’s unlikely we’ll see Donald Trump and the Republican Congress show the leadership we need on this issue, we need to start building momentum for action now – we don’t have time to waste. Let’s call our members of the House and tell them we’d like them to co-sponsor H.R. 3671, the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act.  (H/t Chop Wood Carry Water)

27 Donald Trump was elected in no small part thanks to voter suppression. Now, he’s highlighting the non-issue of in-person voter fraud to further undermine the integrity of our elections (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/07/19/democrats-civil-rights-group-aim-block-trump-election-commission/489949001/). Trump’s voter suppression commission is set for its second public meeting, and they have opened a forum for public comments. Let’s tell them we don’t want them to put up more barriers to the voting booth, especially on such false pretenses: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=GSA-GSA-2017-0002-0104. (H/t Chop Wood Carry Water)

28 Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office issued a report on Labor Day that documents how President Trump has broken his campaign promises to American workers. He has appointed anti-worker officials to the Department of Labor; signed into law legislation that erodes workplace safety, shields federal contractors from accountability for compliance with federal labor laws, and undercut worker access to retirement savings accounts; weakened federal protections for worker overtime pay and safety; and has proposed cutting the Department of Labor’s budget by 20%. https://www.warren.senate.gov/files/documents/Labor_Day_Report_2017.pdf Let’s thank Sen. Warren https://www.warren.senate.gov/EmailElizabeth/ , and let’s send the link to our MoCs with the message that we expect them to protect American workers.

29 In yet another protection roll-back, DeVos intends to overturn the Obama administration’s Title IX sexual assault guidelines.  Many colleges and universities do not agree with this have come out saying that they will continue to use the guidelines to protect the victims.  http://vanderbilthustler.com/featured/why-we-still-need-obama-era-sexual-assault-policy.html Let’s call any college or university close to us or with whom we have a relationship and ask them to continue using the guidelines even if/when DeVos stops them.

30 The Council on American-Islamic Relations – Georgia chapter has announced that a dozen mosques in the state of Georgia will be serving as temporary shelters for Georgia and Florida residents fleeing Hurricane Irma. The list can be found at the CAIR-GA website http://tinyurl.com/shelterGA For residents who need help locating the nearest available mosque, they can call 404-940-4430 or send an e-mail to info@alfarooqmasjid.org We can also send a “thank you!” to CAIR-GA for opening their doors to those seeking refuge: Council on American-Islamic Relations P.O. Box 942134 Atlanta, GA 30341 Phone: 404.419.6390 e-mail: info@ga.cair.com

31 In a humanitarian move, JetBlue changes cost for flights out of Florida to escape Irma to $99  http://www.businessinsider.com/hurricane-irma-evacuation-jetblue-discounts-flights-99-dollars-2017-9  Let’s thank JetBlue for putting people’s safety before corporate profit:  http://www.corporate-office-headquarters.com/jetblue-airways

32 Here’s a chance for us to stand up against Trump’s sham voting commission. For background about the “Commission on Election Integrity,” which is headed by Kris Kobach, see: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article149910457.html. Voter fraud, a favorite topic of Kobach’s, is not a real concern. Let’s use these simple instructions and script from Let America Vote to let Kobach know what we think of his commission. https://secure.letamericavote.org/page/content/170905EIC/

33 Last week, Eric Dreiband testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in his confirmation against civil rights protections, which we can find detailed here http://bit.ly/2gOpIJQ The NAACP has also spoken out against Dreiband’s nomination, stating “The evidence is clear. For the past 20 years, Dreiband has been on the wrong side of issues pertaining to housing, hate crimes and the many other critical areas that the Civil Rights Division oversees as part of its core mission,” http://bit.ly/2f7ATto Let’s call our senators and make sure that they plan on opposing Eric Dreiband as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

34 Mars, Inc. has made a $1 billion pledge to combat climate change issues across their supply chain: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/349410-chocolate-giant-mars-pledges-1-billion-to-fight-climate-change Postcards for Kate suggests writing the Mars CEO a thank you: Grant F. Reid, Mars, Inc., 6885 Elm St, McLean, VA 22101

35  Lawyers For Good Government are putting out a call for lawyers to help volunteer their time at DACA clinics across the country. The clinics will help DACA recipients with their renewal applications until the official deadline, October 5th. Individuals do not need to specialize in immigration to volunteer http://bit.ly/2vJXvXe

36 The head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Javier Palomarez, has resigned from Trump’s National Diversity Council due to the rescinding of DACA:http://www.abc15.com/news/national/hispanic-business-leader-ill-quit-wh-council-if-trump-ends-daca  You can read his own statement about his decision here:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/05/opinion/javier-palomarez-trump-diversity-coalition.html  Let’s take a moment to thank Palomarez for resigning:http://ushcc.com/contact-us/

37 The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops came out with a statement condemning the rescinding of DACA and calling on Congress to find a legislative solution: http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-157.cfm Let’s say thanks to them also:http://www.usccb.org/about/contact-us.cfm and then be in touch with our own MoC to demand action to secure the futures of DACA recipients.

38 The Center for American Progress has created a Dream Act Toolkit, which enables us to more easily contact swing vote MoC regarding the House and Senate Dream Acts. The toolkit includes each MoC’s phone number, as well as links we can use to tweet at each MoC. Let’s take advantage of the great tool and do what we can to get the Dream Act passed ASAP https://dreamacttoolkit.org/

39 Mind the kleptocracy. “[F]or the first time in US history, wealthy people with interests before the government have a chance for close and confidential access to the president as a result of payments that enrich him personally. It is a view of the president available to few other Americans.”  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/09/06/trump-gets-millions-golf-members-ceos-and-lobbyists-get-access-president/632505001/ As the swamp get swampier, let’s do the following:

  • Tell our MoCs to pass veto-proof, with-teeth legislation clarifying that the American Presidency is for the American people and not up for sale.
  • Blow the whistle on Trump using this form from the House Oversight Committee: https://oversight.house.gov/landing/blow-the-whistle/

40  “Lunch at New York City public schools will be available free of charge to all 1.1 million students beginning this school year, Carmen Fariña, the schools chancellor, said on Wednesday in the basement cafeteria of a Hell’s Kitchen elementary school. This move has been long sought by food-policy advocates and many members of the New York City Council, who said that some students would prefer to go hungry rather than admit they cannot afford to pay for lunch. Nationally, the practice of “lunch shaming” — holding children publicly accountable for unpaid school lunch bills — has garnered attention.  The vast majority of New York City public school students are poor: About 75 percent of them had already qualified for free or reduced-price lunches, officials said, and in New York City those who qualified for the lower cost received it for free, as well. Still, the new initiative will reach an additional 200,000 students and save their families about $300 per year. The full price for a school lunch is $1.75 per day.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/nyregion/free-lunch-new-york-city-schools.html  Let’s encourage all of our cities to feed the children in our poorer school districts. A full stomach leads to better focus, better education and no bullying or embarrassment.

41 In Houston, Superfund toxic waste sites are flooded and the EPA has yet to arrive on the scene.  We can read more at this AP article on USNews. “EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has called cleaning up Superfund sites a top priority, even as he has taken steps to roll back or delay rules aimed at preventing air and water pollution. Trump’s proposed 2018 budget seeks to cut money for the Superfund program by 30 percent…” Let’s tell our MoC’s that we want the cleanup of the Superfund sites to be funded fully.

42 Florida’s senators, Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson are both voicing opposition to Trump’s NASA nominee, Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R) saying, “a politician shouldn’t lead the nation’s space program.”  “It’s the one federal mission which has largely been free of politics and it’s at a critical juncture in its history,” Rubio said. “I would hate to see an administrator held up — on [grounds of] partisanship, political arguments, past votes, or statements made in the past — because the agency can’t afford it and it can’t afford the controversy.” (source: Politico article) Let’s tell our own senators to stand with the Florida senators in insisting that the senior NASA administrator be a scientist.

43 Reverend Robert Lee IV (a descendant of Robert E. Lee) has left his congregation due to their discomfort with how publicly he spoke out against confederate statues. His statement on his departure can be found here: http://auburnseminary.org/rev-robert-wright-lee-iv-statement-leaving-church-speaking-white-supremacy-mtv-video-music-awards/  Postcards for Kate has suggested writing to him to say thanks via a publication where he is a columnist: Rev. Robert Lee IV, c/o Statesville Record and Landmark, 222 E. Broad St, Statesville, NC, 28677  We can also let his former congregation know that an opportunity to live their mission has been missed: http://www.bethanyunitedchurchofchrist.net/home.html

44 Pruit wants to roll back EPA climate protections and fuel economy standards for cars. Some EPA alums have weighed in on this:  http://saveepaalums.info/resisting-the-trump-de-regulatory-agenda-talking-points/1322-2 more info:  https://www.epa.gov/regulations-emissions-vehicles-and-engines/midterm-evaluation-light-duty-vehicle-greenhouse-gas We can provide a written comment until 10/5. Here’s how:  http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1112344_heres-how-to-comment-on-epa-proposal-to-loosen-emission-limits-on-cars

45 “Several factors have conspired to make Hurricane Harvey so destructive in Texas, and warming temperatures are likely part of the problem.” And now, Irma is becoming a threat, too.  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/08/hurricane-harvey-climate-change-global-warming-weather/ Let’s let our MoCs know that it is time to start being serious about our approach to climate change again.

46 On September 25th, the period for public comment on the Department of Labor’s overtime pay rule will close. 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. We can share our thoughts on the current minimum salary threshold at the Federal Register: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=WHD-2017-0002-0001

47 Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin mentioned during an interview with CNBC that he would not commit to putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, as was previously planned: http://bit.ly/2emlULi It is well past time for African-American women to get fair representation, including on our currency. We can read more about the previous Treasury Secretary’s decision to place Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill http://read.bi/2vxD2ZC Let’s make sure that we let the Treasury Department and Steven Mnuchin know how we feel about withholding representation of black women and how this move contributes to the white supremacist theme in the White House. Via mail: Department of the Treasury, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20220 Phone: (202) 622-2000 or Twitter: @stevenmnuchin1

48 Let’s thank nurse Alex Wubbels for standing up for her patient’s rights even when physically intimidated by law enforcement.  http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/01/547840028/-somebody-help-me-utah-nurse-cried-as-police-detective-roughly-arrested-her We can write to her here:  University of Utah Hospital,  50 N Medical Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84112

PETITIONS/SURVEYS/ETC

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

 

GROUPS TO FOLLOW/SUPPORT (List of Vermont-based activism/political groups https://vtactivist.org/organizations/)

Recommended by http://roganslist.blogspot.com/  “As the details of DACA swirl around us, there is an opportunity to crowdfund DACA recipient’s renewal fees. If we can contribute, the link is here:”  https://www.youcaring.com/50dacarenewalapplications-930040

THINGS TO DO

Faces of Radical Abolition exhibit at Rokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh, VT http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2017/09/02/history-space-radical-abolition-vermont/105202042/

VIEWING

“How to resist Trump’s shock doctrine” https://theintercept.com/2017/06/13/video-how-to-resist-trumps-shock-doctrine/

READING

Important article on the false dichotomy between so-called Antifa and the peaceful efforts of MLK: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/01/opinion/civil-rights-protest-resistance.html?smid=fb-share (also see below for an article on how Alt-Right “fake” social media accounts have distorted our view of so-called Antifa)

“Vermont has the most restrictive laws in the country governing whether new health care facilities can start up and whether existing facilities can buy new equipment, according to researchers at George Mason University in Virginia. The laws are so restrictive that Vermonters are spending more on health care than they would spend without the laws, lowering Vermonters’ access to care, and lowering the quality of the care they do receive, the researchers say.” Article: https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/07/vermonts-laws-increase-health-care-costs-say-analysts/

Article on decreasing polarization, recommended by Mary Droege: https://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/02/17/the-seven-habits-of-highly-depolarizing-people/

“OpEd by @KiahMorrisVT on working to realize the vision for healthcare laid out in #Act48 next leg session” http://www.rutlandherald.com/articles/health-care-fight-continues/

“In what may be the first case of its kind, a federal judge in Virginia recently ruled that a politician violated the constitutional rights of a constituent by banning that constituent from his personal Facebook account.” http://nefac.org/suspicion-secrecy-public-officials-social-media/ This is of interest with regard to 45 blocking individuals on Twitter, and VT Governor Phil Scott temporarily (accidentally, he says) blocking a Twitter account that identifies itself as @IndivisibleVT. (See http://digital.vpr.net/post/governor-allowed-block-people-twitter#stream/0)

45 recently revoked Obama’s ban on the distribution of military equipment to the police.

  • This might make sense in the light of comments by the governor of Virginia, indicating that lack of equipment was one of the reasons that the police didn’t push back on the Charlottesville NeoNazis (the way that the police routinely push back on Black Lives Matter protesters, for instance). The NeoNazis were better armed than the police. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/aug/18/virginia-governors-claim-about-militia-weapons-and/
  • This is very concerning and would seem to justify providing the police with better arms. Except that it also undermines police justifications for attacking unarmed protesters.
  • The rollback of Obama’s ban is particularly worrisome in the light of the police using military equipment against peaceful demonstrators, like the water protectors involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. https://www.thenation.com/article/militarized-police-are-cracking-down-on-dakota-access-pipeline-protesters/
  • A recent article discusses how the rollback of this ban affects Vermont: https://www.rutlandherald.com/articles/vt-police-consider-trumps-order-on-using-military-gear/?cscache=1504131171sj229k4p88 Highlights of the article:
  • Prior to Obama’s ban, Vermont police agencies collected “more than a dozen Humvees, 150 assault rifles, night vision goggles, ballistic armor and more. Vermont State Police previously obtained a Mine- Resistant Ambush Protection vehicle, or MRAP, through that program.”
  • Representative Welch and Senator Leahy have expressed concern that the acquisition of this equipment undermines community trust, but Welch in particular doubts that legislation banning the acquisition can be passed.
  • “Rutland City Police Chief Brian Kilcullen said his department has received night vision goggles and weapons in the past. The department has not sought and will not now seek the equipment that Trump is now making available, he said…“I think in certain circumstances, some of that equipment can be appropriate and necessary,” he said. “I think some of the equipment that had been banned could serve a purpose in some law enforcement situations.””
  • “James Lyall, executive director of ACLU of Vermont, said his organization remains concerned about the militarization of local police forces, including through the 1033 Program. There is an “epidemic of police violence in this country” that is “disproportionately targeted at people of color,” he said.”

Article on the controversy surrounding Vermont author and (alleged) eugenicist Dorothy Canfield Fisher https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/vermonters-are-rethinking-dorothy-canfield-fishers-legacy/Content?oid=6353534#.WYXbAJlaqjo.gmail

Recommended by Rutland NAACP on civil rights in Vermont:

  • Stephen Wrinn Civil Rights in the Whitest State
  • Maudeen Neill Fiery Crosses in the Green Mountains: The Story of the KKK in Vermont

Article on Facebook 2016 election-related advertisements that were funded by Russia http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-41182519

Book review on new books about the power of social media in directing politics, etc. https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n16/john-lanchester/you-are-the-product

From http://roganslist.blogspot.com/ “Wondering how automated accounts (i.e. “Bots”) contribute to our perception of news circulating on Twitter? It’s quite subtle, and very frightening how propagandists can use this medium to make us feel about particular news items. To understand better how we can be manipulated — and how to better avoid it — let’s read Caroline Orr’s (aka @RVAWonk’s) fascinating case study “How Russian & Alt-Right Twitter Accounts Worked Together to Skew the Narrative About Berkeley”:”  https://arcdigital.media/how-russian-alt-right-twitter-accounts-worked-together-to-skew-the-narrative-about-berkeley-f03a3d04ac5d

Colber Putney No Entry “Prosper shows the relationship between power and potential by discussing topics such as the #BlackLivesMatter movement, discrimination on college campuses, the lack of women corporate executives, the stereotypes surrounding people with learning disabilities and much more.” https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-entry-mr-colber-prosper/1126383924

Charles Dew The Making of a Racist: A Southerner Reflects on Family, History, and the Slave Trade This book showcases how “one of slavery’s most passionate apologists, went on to reject his racist upbringing and become a scholar of the South and its deeply conflicted history.”  http://www.upress.virginia.edu/title/5016