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

Healthcare is under threat again! The proposed Graham-Cassidy amendment is worse than a full repeal of the ACA. See the first action item below for suggestions about what you can do.

Last week’s newsletter discussed the Equifax breach. Beware con artists who “may try to take advantage of the #Equifax breach by contacting you, claiming to be Equifax or your bank.” Beware phone calls asking for information and phishing emails asking you to select a link. https://twitter.com/AGSchneiderman/status/907340696767614977

Reminder: 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/

Warning: I am extremely suspicious of the website VermontAntifa.org. If I’m mistaken about this, please let me know, but their twitter account tweets extremely suspicious messages, suggesting that this is actually a far right account that is trying to smear the left.

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Tuesday Sept 19 at 4:30 pm Human Rights Can’t Wait with Migrant Justice at Middlebury, VT. Middlebury College Axinn Center 229

 

 

  • Wednesday Sept 20 Rights and Democracy meeting at 6 pm Leahy Center Rutland Regional Medical Center

 

 

  • Wednesday Sept 20 at 7 pm Shrewsbury Progressive Caucus w/ Rep. Robin Chesnut-Tangerman Shrewsbury Library, 98 Town Hill Rd
    Cuttingsville, Contact person: Barbara Hoffman 802-492-3532 barbarajean2468@gmail.com; Click here to RSVP on the event Facebook Page
  • Thursday, September 21 International Peace Day at 6:30 pm at Manchester Town Green: “Jack’s Group, a local affiliate of Campaign Nonviolence, invites people to take action on the International Day of Peace. Gather at 6:30 pm for a silent candlelight procession to mourn what has been lost since the 2016 election, followed by a joyful celebration of thanks for all that is good. The silent procession will begin at Adams Park and proceed along Main Street to Factory Point Park; each person will carry a sign or symbol conveying their most deeply felt loss. After a brief ceremony, the return procession to the Green will be a joyful celebration of gratitude. Campaign Nonviolence is a long-term grassroots movement building a world culture that is free from war, poverty, racism, environmental destruction, and the epidemic of violence. Questions: Glenn Cratty (paceglenn@mail.com)”

 

  • 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/

 

  • Saturday Sept 23 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/

 

  • 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.

 

 

  • Friday Oct 6 – Sunday Oct 8 350VT “Building Ground” Leadership Workshop starting at 4 pm at Smokey House, Danby: “Registration is open for this important weekend-long training hosted by 350VT. Learn, deepen and build the skills necessary to undertake powerful climate justice work within our communities. The training specifically focuses on sharing fundamental frameworks about climate justice and building the relationships that empower effective leaders. Cost $50 to $175 based on ability to pay.” To apply and learn more more, click here!

 

  • 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 “The “Graham-Cassidy” bill destroys Medicaid as we know it, hurts people with pre-existing conditions, and takes away funding that helps people afford insurance. It then creates “block grants” to give states far less money than they need and has no accountability that the money will actually help people get affordable health care. And to top off this monstrous bill? Every. Last. Dollar. Disappears. After. 2026. Graham-Cassidy TrumpCare bill has already been sent to the Congressional Budget Office for a score — step one in moving the bill forward (check out our explainer). And last Thursday, over turkey sandwiches at their caucus lunch, Republicans developed a plan for passing this zombie TrumpCare bill. Leader McConnell is whipping votes and rearranging the Senate calendar to make room for one final push.” https://www.indivisibleguide.com/blog/weeks-indivisible-actions-september-18-24/ “Democrats aren’t in control, but they can still resist. They need to slow down Senate business in order to run out the clock on TrumpCare. Here’s how: Resist through procedure. Your Democratic Senator can slow down Senate business through a combination of filibustering and  “withholding consent.” The rules of the Senate are so complicated that Senators have to regularly consent to waiving some of them so that they can actually get work done. That includes shortening time for debates, expediting consideration of amendments, and scheduling committees. Your Senator can slow the Senate down to a crawl and focus attention to TrumpCare by withholding his or her consent on legislative business. Your Senator might act like they can’t do this out of some unspoken rule of Senate courtesy. But this is no ordinary time in the Senate—we have to pull out all the stops to stop TrumpCare.” https://www.trumpcareten.org/other For more information on the Graham-Cassidy amendment see https://twitter.com/TopherSpiro/status/909386771271704576 and https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/1/16074746/cassidy-graham-obamacare-repeal

  • Action: Contact your friends and family in other key states asking them to contact their senators to protest the amendment https://trumpcaretoolkit.org/
    • West Virginia – Shelley Moore Capito 202-224-6472
    • Arizona – Jeff Flake 202-224-4521
    • Arizona – John McCain 202-224-2235
    • Ohio – Rob Portman 202-224-3353
    • Nevada – Dean Heller 202-224-6244
    • Tennessee – Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944
    • Maine – Susan Collins 202-224-2523
    • Alaska – Lisa Murkowski 202-224-6665
    • Colorado – Cory Gardner 202-224-5941
    • Kansas – Jerry Moran 202-224-6521
    • Iowa – Joni Ernst 202-224-3254
    • Arkansas – Tom Cotton 202-224-2353
    • North Carolina – Thom Tillis 202-224-6342
    • South Dakota – Mike Rounds 202-224-5842
    • Louisiana – John Kennedy 202-224-4623
    • North Dakota – John Hoeven 202-224-2551
    • Wisconsin – Ron Johnson 202-224-5323
  • 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:
      • Caller: Hello! My name is [name] and I’m calling from [place in state]. Am I correct that [Senator] opposes TrumpCare, the American Health Care Act?
      • Staffer: Yes! [Senator] is totally opposed.
      • Caller: I’m glad to hear that. Can you tell me what [Senator] has done so far to oppose it?
      • Staffer: [Senator] gave a speech on the floor recently that talked about the bill’s impact in our state. She’s listened to many constituents and heard their personal stories. She’s encouraged her colleagues to let us read the bill or have hearings on it. And yesterday she did an epic tweet storm.
      • Caller: I’m afraid it’s going to take more than talk and tweet storms to stop this terrible bill. We have to slow this process way down and call attention to the terrible bill Republicans are trying to jam through in total darkness. We have to use every tool available. Does [Senator] intend to withhold her consent on all Senate business until this bill dead?
      • Staffer: Withholding consent doesn’t actually buy us that much time. It would only delay things by 30 hours.
      • Caller: I’m not just talking about refusing to agree on shortening debate time on TrumpCare or other bills. I’m talking about withholding consent on amendments, placing holds on nominations, and objecting to all unanimous consent requests until the reconciliation instructions expire?. Will the [Senator] do that?
      • Staffer: Well, [Senator] thinks that could backfire. We’re trying to work together with Republicans on other important issues, like investigating Russian interference in our democracy. Withholding consent could make that more difficult.
      • Caller: Of course we want to know more about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. But millions of Americans’ healthcare, including [coverage loss in state, find here] is important too. That’s what’s at stake. This is the most important thing right now and the issue the Senator needs to be focusing on. I don’t think anything else is worth healthcare getting ripped away from millions of Americans.
      • Staffer: I’ll let [Senator] know your thoughts.
      • Caller: Please do. I expect her to use every tool she has. That also includes offering as many amendments as it takes to draw out Senate debate on this bill during vote-a-rama.

2 “Key Vermont lawmakers learned Thursday that a federal program that provides many lower-income Vermonters with primary health care is in jeopardy while a separate program that assists with heating fuel bills is in better shape than originally feared. Almost two-thirds of the funding for the Federal Qualified Health Centers is scheduled to run out at the end of September and no deal has been struck to continue the allocations, according to Kathryn Becker Van Haste, who is the director of health policy for Sen. Bernie Sanders. She told legislators who serve on the Joint Fiscal Committee that one in four Vermonters receive their primary health and dental care at an FQHC. If the funding is cut, Van Haste said nine of the almost 60 FQHCs in Vermont could be affected. Vermont has the highest rate of use per capita of FQHCs in the country, she said. The loss to Vermont would be $11 million.”  https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/15/vt-lawmakers-told-health-center-funding-jeopardy/#.Wb_4tdVSy00

3 “Sen. Lindsey Graham is proposing an amendment to the military budget that would let the Secretary of Homeland Security revoke Americans’ citizenship with no due process.” https://shareblue.com/gop-senator-plots-to-give-trump-unlimited-power-to-strip-americans-of-their-citizenship/

4 “Conservationists Unhappy After Scott Questions Wildlife Refuge Expansion” https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/09/11/conservationists-unhappy-after-scott-questions-wildlife-refuge-expansion

5 The case of the New Hampshire boy who was almost lynched in late August (see the last newsletter) is receiving national attention and the state Attorney General is looking into the incident, suggesting that this case will not slip through the cracks. However, Mark Chase, the local police chief, said of the boys responsible for the attempted lynching, “These people need to be protected…..Mistakes they make as a young child should not have to follow them for the rest of their life.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/13/us/biracial-boy-lynched-new-hampshire.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur and  https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/new-hampshire-officials-investigating-attack-boy-possible-hate-crime-n801326?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma and http://www.theroot.com/interview-mother-of-8-year-old-nearly-hung-in-nh-speak-1805654536?utm_medium=sharefromsite&utm_source=The_Root_twitter and http://www.vnews.com/Claremont-NH-gathering-for-8-year-old-biracial-boy-12424796 and http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/09/12/claremont-planning-community-response-hatred-after-incident-involving-racial-boy/g3sA0q0UCrtLJLlVDLsIMI/story.html?s_campaign=bostonglobe%3Asocialflow%3Atwitter

6 This is “Thank a Scientist” week. The following suggestions are taken almost verbatim from the March for Science: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_8XoT9vt_6lwEJMqDci9wuvwn3MG5AESlUj59ZsYriQ/edit?ts=59baf3c1#

  • Action: Identify a list of 5-15 scientists (this would be a great opportunity to highlight scientists/researchers in your area) and their work you want to showcase on twitter.
  • Host a live chat featuring a local scientist using the hashtag. Tap into your promote the live chat leading up to the day to build anticipation. Your live chat can be an interview of the scientist and their work or an “Ask me anything” format where you answer questions in real time.
  • Follow other scientists and organizations using the hashtag, interact with them and use this as an opportunity to build partnerships with your local MFS satellite group.
  • Share content from other organizations and individuals participating.
  • Share articles highlighting recent scientific research developments (tag the scientist/s involved if you know their twitter handles)
  • Follow @apascience to keep abreast of news
  • Hashtags and Handles
    1. @APA is the twitter handle of the American Psychological Association.
    2. @APAScience is the Science Directorate of the American Psychological Association. This is the account that will be running the official #ThankAScientist campaign.
    3. #ThankAScientist is the only hashtag being used for this campaign.
  • Sample tweets
    1. Join us this week saying “Thank You” to researchers who work to make the world a better place! #ThankAScientist
    2. Want to share a scientist and their amazing work with us? RT this with their name and contribution to science! #ThankAScientist
    3. We salute those scientists working everyday to advance our knowledge and improve our world. #ThankAScientist
    4. We thank the ______ for their efforts to ___________ (keep in mind, tweets are limited to 140 characters.) An example of how you can use this format in a tweet is: Thank you @ENERGY scientists for reducing nuclear risks and demonstrating the momentum of clean energy. #ThankAScientist
    5. Follow _______ to keep up with their research on ________. An example of how you can use this format in a tweet is: Follow @TaniaLombrozo’s educational practice research that could improve the general public’s understanding of science. #ThankAScientist
  • Action: Send emails to advertise the campaign: Subject: How will You #ThankAScientist?; Science touches all aspects of our lives. And while most of us are aware of its positive impact, we often don’t have the time to express our appreciation to those advancing it. This week is the perfect time to reflect and pay the thanks forward. From Sept. 18-22, the American Psychological Association (APA), along with other scientific organizations, will encourage Twitter users to say “thank you” to scientists.
  • Action: Consider joining Twitter so you can follow these scientists, all of whom are active Twitter users, and say “thank you” to them directly.
  • Gary Bennett (Duke University)
  • Anne Cleary (Colorado State University)
  • Joan Cook (Yale School of Medicine)
  • Pim Cuijpers (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
  • Matthew Johnson (Binghamton University)
  • Tania Lombrozo (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Kimberly Noble (Columbia University)
  • Michael Proulx (University of Bath)
  • Erlanger Turner (University of Houston Downtown)
  • Brendesha Tynes (University of Southern California)
  • Action: Not on twitter? No problem! Whether it is someone you know personally, or someone you admire from afar, take a moment and thank a scientist via whatever platform works for you.
  • Action: Help advertise the campaign by printing and posting up some of the graphics found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_8XoT9vt_6lwEJMqDci9wuvwn3MG5AESlUj59ZsYriQ/edit?ts=59baf3c1#

7 “@SenGillibrand & @LindseyGrahamSC announced legislation Friday to establish a National Commission on Cybersecurity of US Election Systems.” https://twitter.com/MarchForTruth17/status/909102126311321601 and https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1821

8 “CDC wants employees to stop helping press with data requests” https://www.axios.com/vitals-2484160722.html?rebelltitem=4&utm_medium=linkshare&utm_campaign=organic#rebelltitem4

9 “The American justice system is built on the maxim of innocent until proven guilty, but every day in America 450,000 people are in jail not because they have been convicted of a crime, but because they are awaiting trial and cannot afford to post bail. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution prohibits “punishing a person for his poverty,” but requiring cash bail means that who ends up in jail is determined not by risk to society or likelihood of skipping court, but by ability to pay. Pretrial jail time has devastating effects; after just a day, jobs and housing can be lost or custody of children can be taken away. In July, Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act of 2017 (S.1593) to incentivize states to reform or replace their bail systems. The money allocated by the program ($10 million over three years) will allow states to research and evaluate bail reform, and to implement best practices for pretrial analysis and services (for example, personalized risk analyses or programs for pretrial monitoring). The bill encourages improved data collection on pretrial programs allowing for better analysis of outcomes, and requires states receiving funds to report on progress and results. The bail system is not only broken for those within the criminal justice system, but it is also ineffective at making America safer and is extremely expensive for taxpayers. Studies have shown that that in some jurisdictions, half of “high risk” defendants are released simply because they are able to post bail, while unnecessary jail time for low risk defendants actually decreases their likelihood of eventually appearing in court and increases their likelihood of future offenses. Jail space for the largely nonviolent pretrial population costs American taxpayers $14 billion dollars a year and that number is growing; pretrial defendants accounted for 95% of the growth in jail population between 2001 and 2014. The Pretrial Justice Institute has estimated that bail reform could save Americans up to $78 billion per year. The Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act, a bipartisan bill, is a modest and encouraging step towards addressing America’s discriminatory, expensive, ineffective bail system.” https://5calls.org/issue/recSBjBtFHIUL7VxX

  • Action: Call Senate Judiciary Committee 202-224-5225 Script: Hello, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from ___. I’m calling to request that the committee hold a hearing on S. 1593, the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act of 2017. States need to reform their discriminatory, ineffective, and expensive bail systems, and this bipartisan legislature could help to achieve that. Thank you so much for your time.

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

10 Action: Object to CBS’ 60 Minutes giving airtime to white supremacy. Write: 60 Minutes, 555 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019-2985 (or email). Script: Regardless of his place in history, I oppose your decision to give airtime to white supremacist, Steve Bannon. I consume media that value lives over views.

11 Action: Advocate for two bills protecting the special counsel. Call: Your 2 senators (lookup).  Script: Hi. I am calling because I approve of the special counsel investigation into Russia ties, and would like [name] to support two pieces of legislation that protect Robert Mueller from presidential dismissal. S. 1735 (sponsored by Sen. Graham) and S. 1741 (by Sen. Tillis). Will [name] use his/her influence to spark action on these stalled bills?

12 Action: Kick Russian bots and fake news off Facebook (it’s easy). Follow this step-by-step tutorial. Bonus: Zap more bots. Share the link above on Facebook. #StrongerTogether Note: I’ve gotten pushback about this action and its source. Here’s a link to better, more reputable reporting.

13 Action: Insist on addressing Russian use of social media to create chaos. Call: Your 3 MoCs (lookup).  Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling to express my concern about Russia’s successful efforts to create chaos through social media platforms like Facebook. This strategy affected the 2016 election, but also endangers midterms in 2018. Can you tell me what [name] is doing to address this foreign aggression?

14 Express condolences to the Mexican president. As your neighbors, we grieve with you for the precious lives lost in the tragic earthquake. We are sorry our president didn’t show appropriate sympathy. Please know that we in the US are praying for your people, the souls of those lost, and for recovery in your beautiful country. Address: Presidente Enrique Peña Nieto, Los Pinos, Mexico City, Mexico

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

15 A US Air Force Reserve Chaplain, Sonny Hernandez, has asserted that Christians in the military “serve Satan” if they tolerate other religions:  http://www.newsweek.com/chaplain-urges-service-members-reject-religious-tolerance-665614 Let’s remind the Air Force that this nation was founded on religious freedom and that the plurality of the military is a feature of its strength: http://www.af.mil/Contact-Us/

16 Senator John McCain is backing a bill to support the presence of transgendered people in the military (by blocking Trump’s ban): http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/350919-mccain-backs-bill-to-block-transgender-troops-ban?amp Knowing that many in the Senate look to McCain for his leadership on military issues, let’s say thanks to Senator McCain for taking this important stand:  https://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/office-locations or on Twitter at @SenJohnMcCain

17 Last Thursday, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Bob Casey (D-PA), and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act in order to make quality child care for affordable, and to make it an entitlement similar to Social Security or Medicare http://bit.ly/2w2IQXc http://bit.ly/2xdsez3 The legislation would also increase compensation for child care providers, support inclusivity for children with disabilities, and expand availability for those with non-traditional schedules. Let’s call our MoC and make sure that they cosponsor and support the Child Care for Working Families Act. We can also use the form letter over at MomsRising to help get our message across:   http://action.momsrising.org/sign/MurrayScott

18 One of the longest-lasting legacies of the Trump administration will be the judges he puts on the federal courts. Senate Republican are trying to make it easier for him to stack the judiciary with right-wing extremists by eliminating a long-standing rule that gives senators from the minority party more power to block inappropriate nominations (http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/350956-gop-eying-rule-change-to-help-trump-fill-the-courts). Let’s contact our senators and tell them that they need to let the blue slip rule stay in place, stop undermining the integrity of the judiciary and press Trump to appoint judges who will be able to win support across the aisle.

19 While Trump bemoans “the utter weakness and incompetence” of the United Nations (which he will address on Tuesday), Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is decimating the US diplomatic corps.  He has named C-FAM, the Center for Family and Human Rights, identified for the past 5 years as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, to attend the UN Commission on the Status of Women–
https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/us-sends-anti-gay-hate-group-un-fueling-fears-over-n734441   And apparently totally ignorant of the importance of international diplomacy, he has eliminated entirely the delegations addressing democracy and human rights, human trafficking, oceans and the environment, cyberissues, military issues, and foreign assistance.  Moreover, he has dramatically cut those from the bureaus on Africa and South and Central Asia: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/15/us/politics/tillerson-state-department-united-nations-general-assembly.html  We must inform Tillerson (202-647-4000 or State Dept, 2201 C Street NW, DC 20520) and the White House that this utter diplomatic failure does not represent the will of the people, nor does it serve the national interest.

20 Franklin Township (in Ohio) volunteer firefighter Tyler Roysdon has been suspended for making very racist remarks on Facebook about how he would rather save one dog than “a million n******”:http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2017/09/13/volunteer-franklin-township-firefighter-suspended-racist-remarks-posted-facebook/664664001/ Franklin Township officials plan to meet with Roysdon behind closed doors on September 27th. Let’s be in touch with them before then to say that there is no place for this kind of hatred and racism among people we trust with our lives: http://www.franklintownshipohio.us/contacts.html

21 The State Department has announced that it will be ending the Central American Minors program, which allows children from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to legally enter the U.S. to be with their parents http://bit.ly/2h5fSzS This means that children who wish to reunite with their parents and families will now have to either attempt to gain asylum as they cross the border, or resort to smuggling or trafficking to enter the U.S. Let’s make sure we let the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration know how we feel about this cruel move to keep vulnerable children away from their families. We can tweet @StatePRM or contact the State Department via mail: U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520

22 Ivanka Trump said that liberals have “unrealistic expectations” of her: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/14/ivanka-trump-father-donald-presidency She then went on to say, “To voice dissent publicly would mean I’m not part of the team. When you’re part of a team, you’re part of a team.” Let’s ask her which team she is really on because the one she seems committed to is causing a lot of suffering: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500

23 On Thursday, Trump doubled down on his “both sides” argument about Charlottesville: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/350727-trump-on-white-supremacists-we-have-some-pretty-bad-dudes-on-the Although the media likes to ride each little uptick he manages in the direction of anything resembling decency, he always finds his way back to the gutter and makes his white supremacy clear. Let’s take a moment to remind him that we do not think there is any place for a white supremacist in the White House: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500

24 This week, the House passed anti-immigrant bill HR3697. “Under this bill, people–including children–who have never committed or supported a single criminal act could be deported simply because of where they live or with whom they spend their time. The bill as written is so extreme that it will have a chilling effect on fundamental freedoms of association. H.R. 3697 was unquestionably drafted to target young Central American men and women for deportation, without regard to whether such deportation will return them to persecution or death.”  The National Immigration Justice Center provides more information on this bill and its impacts.  The name attached to HR3697 is the “Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act” reminding us that we always need to look into what a bill actually says and not be fooled by a name. Let’s tell our Senators to oppose HR3697.

25 Recovery from a natural disaster is most difficult for populations that were already vulnerable. While there’s been plenty of attention to the wealthy in the Florida Keys and what they’ve suffered as a result of Hurricane Irma, the plight of farm workers in rural areas is slipping under the radar (http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-irma-immokalee-20170912-story.html). Let’s join the United Farm Workers in contacting FEMA and urging them to get relief to these communities. We can e-mail them at this link: http://action.ufw.org/page/speakout/fema.

26 For 16 years, the President of the United States has had a virtual blank check to wage war in the form of the 2001 authorization for use of military force. Momentum is continuing to grow to rip up that check, with 36 senators voting in support of Rand Paul’s amendment to repeal the AUMF (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/13/war-powers-aumf-rand-paul-senate-242662). Let’s check out how our senators voted at this link (nay votes were for repealing the AUMF, yea votes were against). Sanders and Leahy voted nay – so contact them to thank them.

27 The Rohingya people are being massacred by the military in Burma, and the Trump administration is showing little sign of leadership against these horrors (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/us-pressure-amid-talk-ethnic-cleansing-myanmar-49719027). But some members of Congress, including Senator John McCain and Richard Durbin, are trying to take action. Let’s call our MoCs and tell them to support the McCain-Durbin resolution condemning the violence and calling on Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi to live up to her human rights ideals and address this humanitarian tragedy, and to slash our spending on military-to-military cooperation with Burma. We cannot be rewarding a military force that is actively engaged in ethnic cleansing.

28 One day Trump says that Harvey and Irma are the biggest storms of their kind, then the next day he backtracks. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/09/14/trump-weighs-in-on-climate-change-hey-there-have-been-big-hurricanes-before/?utm_term=.cc2dc9d2988f NASA has proven what is warming the earth.   https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/  Let’s tell our MoCs to read this and get some protection bills going.

29 The House Judiciary Committee has passed the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620), which 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 http://bit.ly/2xktAbS  It also removes incentives for those businesses to comply with the ADA. Now, the legislation is heading to the House floor for a vote http://nosmag.org/anti-ada-legislation-advances-in-house/ Let’s contact our representatives and make sure that they oppose this harmful piece of legislation.

30 Representatives John Katko and Elijah Cummings have introduced bipartisan legislation which would require Harriet Tubman to be included on the $20 bill http://bit.ly/2wYCSKQ Let’s contact our reps and ask that they cosponsor and support the Harriet Tubman Tribute Act of 2017 (H.R. 3714 — https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3714  ) and put her on the bill as planned.

31 Having the White House Press Secretary refer to ESPN’s Jemele Hill’s comments about Trump being a white supremacist as a “fireable offense” should give us all chills:http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/350509-white-house-espn-anchor-that-called-trump-racist-should-be-fired?amp  The White House is suggesting that someone who spoke out (with the truth) against the president should lose her job because of it. It is clear that Sarah Huckabee Sanders has taken a horrible shine to filling Sean Spicer’s shoes. Let’s share our concerns with her: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20500

32 Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado spoke out about climate change after Hurricane Irma saying, “If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is.”  http://amp.miamiherald.com/news/weather/hurricane/article172080587.html Let’s thanks Regalado for speaking up within his own Republican party about this vital issue:http://www.miamigov.com/mayor/contactUs.html and let’s quote him when we contact EPA Adminstrator Scott Pruitt (https://www.epa.gov/home/forms/contact-epa) and President Trump (https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact) about their head-in-the-sand denial approach to climate change.

33 We are learning again how little respect Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has for taxpayers as he sought a $25,000 an hour government jet for his honeymoon:  http://abcnews.go.com/amp/Politics/treasury-secretary-mnuchin-requested-government-jet-european-honeymoon/story?id=49777076 Let’s remind him that he works for us, not the other way around: https://www.treasury.gov/connect/Pages/contact-us.aspx

34 Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has introduced the Marijuana Effective Drug Study (MEDS) Act to expand medical marijuana research as reported in this Fortune article.  Let’s ask our own Senators to join Senator Hatch by co-sponsoring this bill. We can thank Senator Hatch for his leadership on this issue and let him know that we think he’s doing the right thing at: Senator Orrin Hatch, 51 S University Ave Ste 320, Provo UT 84601-4491.

35 “The House on a 211-198 vote Thursday passed a mammoth fiscal 2018 spending bill that reflects Republican priorities but stands no chance of making it through the Senate in its current form.”  The cuts to environmental, womens’ health, and Title X programs, the blocking of the implementation of the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Endangered Species Acts, the new funding for coal while cutting funding for climate change research, the rollbacks of Dodd-Frank protections are just part of what this bill includes.  http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/14/house-spending-bill-2017-242716 Let’s our senators and tell them NOT vote for this.

36 Another school shooting has resulted in the death of a student and others injured.  http://abc7.com/1-killed-3-hurt-in-washington-school-shooting/2412517/ Since 2013 there have been 239 school shootings.  https://everytownresearch.org/school-shootings/ Let’s join Everytown and help build awareness of the causes of gun violence in America:  http://act.everytown.org/signup/everytown-c3-join/  Let’s then tell our legislators, federal and state, that we want them to enact legislation to keep our students safe in school and guns out of the hands of those who should not have them.

37 It may not come as any surprise to us that the government has way too much access to our personal information, but in this age of activism, we should be aware of what we can do about it. Watching this TED Talk by Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, is a good way to start. “Only rules are stopping the government from abusing this information….but the law has fallen down on the job and we do not have the rules in place that we need.” She offers some ways to resist “the golden age of surveillance,” and what we should be aware of. In particular she argues for the renewal and reform of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which holds the government accountable in their collection of personal information. She says we should pressure our MoCs to implement important reforms to this law. “We need transparency, and we need to know what the government is doing.”  https://www.ted.com/talks/jennifer_granick_how_the_us_government_spies_on_people_who_protest_including_you#t-851540

38 Let’s look at this list of the 29 things Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is doing to hurt public education. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/09/06/democrats-list-29-ways-they-say-betsy-devos-is-hurting-public-education/?utm_term=.3f8505a1f798 Then, let’s remind DeVos—and Congress—that it’s the Department of Education’s job to support students in our public schools. Specifically, let’s tell our Congressional Representatives that we expect them to support HR 3740, the Homeless and Foster Youth Act. This bipartisan bill, introduced by Katherine Clark (D-MA), will cut the red tape that often keeps homeless or foster youth from enrolling in higher education, and will support programs that help homeless and foster youth to attend and succeed in college. http://katherineclark.house.gov/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=23FC13D4-DECD-4016-92CC-73AFC93F88A9

39 Despite Texas’s recent losing streak in federal court over its discriminatory districting practices, it has just won a victory in the Supreme Court, which ruled 5 to 4 that Texas need not immediately redraw electoral districts found by the lower courts to diminish the influence of minority voters: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/09/12/supreme-court-puts-redrawing-texas-political-maps-hold/ This will likely upend efforts to redraw voting districts before the 2018 elections.  Let’s insist that the Pence-Kobach Commission on Electoral Integrity—before whom 12 white men and no women or minorities testified on Tuesday—take up Texas’s compromise of electoral integrity by gerrymandering: VP Pence 202-456-1414 or 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, DC 20500 and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach 785-296-4564 or  Memorial Hall, 1st Floor, 120 SW 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66612-1594.

40 ESPN host Jemele Hill has had her hand slapped by ESPN for speaking out and calling Trump a white supremacist: http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/350308-espn-host-calls-trump-a-white-supremacist Let’s thank her for speaking up (Twitter: @jemelehill) and let ESPN know that evidence points strongly to the truth in her statement: (Twitter: @ESPN) or http://www.espn.com/espn/news/story?page=contact-index

41 Our understanding of how Facebook was used by Russians to interfere in our election is deepening as it was revealed that the ads placed on Facebook promoted not only ideas but also events, a fact that Facebook left out of their initial conversations with the Senate Intelligence Committee: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-propaganda/facebook-says-some-russian-ads-during-u-s-election-promoted-live-events-idUSKCN1BN2VG Let’s let Facebook know that we expect a whole lot more from them at this critical time: (Twitter: @Facebook) or contact them within the Facebook application.

42 It seems that Motel 6 is now sending guest lists to ICE/Homeland Security to check for undocumented persons.  It is not known how widespread this tactic is, but reports say that at least 20 people have been arrested over a period of several months in Arizona.  “Due to a 2015 Supreme Court decision, law enforcement officials can’t force hotels to turn over information about guests. This means these Motel 6 hotels are voluntarily offering the information with the full knowledge guests could possibly end up arrested or deported.”  http://www.newsweek.com/motel-6-reporting-undocumented-guests-ice-664551  Let’s let Motel 6 corporate headquarters know how we feel about this:  G6 Hospitality, 4001 International Parkway, Carrollton, Texas 75007 / 972-360-9000.  Let’s also contact Motel 6 spokesperson, Tom Bodett and his ad agency:  Tom Bodett, PO Box 268, Putney, VT 05346 (tbodett@gmail.com) and Steven Arcieri, Arcieri & Assoc., 305 Madison Ave, New York NY 10165 / 212-286-1700 (steven@arcieritalent.com ).  No one should fear this when they check into a motel/hotel.

43 Although the No Hate Act of 2017 has over fifty cosponsors, it is currently stalled in committee https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr1566 This legislation would help us fight back against hate crimes at both the state and federal levels, and should be a straightforward, nonpartisan issue. Let’s make sure our MoC understand this. We can use this simple tool from the NAACP to contact our MoC via e-mail and/or Twitter http://p2a.co/hFEnFAS

44 In the latest effort to discredit—and repeal—the Affordable Care Act, Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson joined his conservative colleagues by calling on Health and Human Services to “investigate” the apparent correlation between Medicaid expansion and the opioid “epidemic.” No one much disputes the correlation (barring, notably, those academics who have done careful county by county studies), but blaming the rise in opioid addiction on Medicaid expansion ignores a few important things, as is typical of the current regime: the striking correlation between Medicaid expansion and the treatment of drug addiction (http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/07/07/535840902/medicaid-expansion-has-delivered-access-to-addiction-treatment-report-finds); the fact that Medicaid recipients are much more likely to be prescribed opioids—and represent a much sicker population than average   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/12/upshot/blaming-medicaid-for-the-opioid-crisis-how-the-easy-answer-can-be-wrong.html): http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/medicaid-fueling-opioid-epidemic-theory-challenged-49540513  We must scotch this false, self-serving Republican narrative—by circulating the facts in whatever ways we can—and by letting Johnson ((202) 224-5323) and Health & Human Services (877-696-6775 or 200 Independence Ave. NW, Washington DC 20201) know that we aren’t buying their story.

45 “President Trump’s family business reportedly hired a construction company owned by the Chinese government to work on a project even though Trump promised it would not work with any foreign entities while he was in the White House.  A $32 million contract was awarded for a new Trump golf course in Dubai, to the Middle East subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation by DAMAC Properties, the Trump Organization’s partner, according to McClatchy.  Meredith McGehee, chief of policy, programs and strategy at Issue One, a nonprofit working to reduce the role of money in politics, warned of conflicts of interests while in office.” This man does not keep his promises and continues to use foreign companies for his own personal purposes. http://thehill.com/homenews/news/350026-trump-company-hires-chinese-government-owned-firm-despite-promise-report  Let’s remind Trump that this does not create jobs for Americans and that he needs to keep his promises.

46 Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 425 endorsing organizations, is sponsoring Congressional call-in days through Sept. 15 so we can voice our opinions on the impending tax bill.  “Vote NO on the House budget that cuts funding for Medicare, Medicaid, and education. Not one penny in tax cuts should be given to the wealthy and corporations.”  Let’s see how we can do it here:  http://stoptrumptaxcuts.org/call-in/

47 Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee seems, momentarily at least, to have regained its senses: it approved a bipartisan bill last week calling for an increase in the National Institutes of Health budget, contrary to Trump’s desire for an NIH budget cut, and, moreover, limited the Trump administration’s ability to change the rules for federal grants to family planning clinics.  While less generous, the House Appropriations Committee followed suit. And both committees likewise rejected Trump’s proposal to slash the payments for the “indirect costs” of university research funded by the NIH: https://www.statnews.com/2017/05/01/nih-funding-congress-trump/  Perhaps we should let Sen. Roy Blount (202-224-5721or 260 Russell Senate Office Bldg, DC 20510) and Rep. Tom Cole (202-225-6165 or 2467 Rayburn HOB, DC 20515), heads of the health subcommittees, that we approve!

48 Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade wore his ignorance loud and proud when he likened 9/11 memorials to current confederate statues being taken down. He was interviewing Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke at the time: http://thehill.com/homenews/media/350032-fox-news-compares-9-11-memorial-to-confederate-statues  Let’s let Mr. Kilmeade know why his question draws a false equivalence: friends@foxnews.com orFox News Channel, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036

49 Our public libraries are trusted resources for information and community gathering. Might they be willing to help get the word out about the ACA enrollment period? Remember: Trump has decimated the ACA advertising and outreach budget, so it’s up to us and anyone we can think of to get the word out. Let’s ask our public libraries to designate November 1-Dec 15—the enrollment period—as a time for themes, resources, and programming around health and wellness, with an emphasis on information about the ACA enrollment period and where to find help enrolling. Let’s contact:  1)  Mary Ghikas, Executive Director (Interim) of the American Library Association, 800-545-2433, or mghikas@ala.org , and ask if the ALA will take this on and engage its member libraries,  and 2) contact our own local public libraries and ask the same thing

50 Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering having all of the National Security Council undergo a lie-detector test: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/350016-sessions-mulling-lie-detector-test-for-entire-nsc-staff-report   Since it is pretty clear that he perjured himself during a Congressional hearing, let’s ask him to go first: https://www.justice.gov/contact-us

51 Astonishingly, Donald Trump is trying to take advantage of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma by rushing through tax cuts for the wealthy and powerful (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-tax/trump-calls-for-a-tax-reform-speed-up-in-light-of-hurricane-irma-idUSKCN1BK0XK). Let’s call our reps and remind them that natural disasters are a reminder that we need to strengthen critical public services, not weaken them to line the pockets of Trump’s billionaire buddies. (We can also sign this letter to Congress from MomsRising.com at this link.)

52 As Hurricane Irma continues further North, we are re-sharing the link for the One America appeal as put together by the five living former US presidents to raise money for those dealing with the effects of Harvey and Irma: https://www.oneamericaappeal.org

53 Trump administration is sabotaging the ACA by refusing to conduct public outreach about the enrollment period (Nov 1-Dec 15, 2017). This will do damage to the ACA markets if not enough people sign up, and will hurt people who need health care coverage but don’t know when or how to enroll. A group has formed to spread the word and get people the help they need: the Indivisible ACA Signup Project, https://www.facebook.com/groups/153329925218556/ . Let’s check them out and join them to help in whatever ways we can.

54 From American Resisting Overseas (ARO):  ARO is a platform, founded in January 2017, to support Americans overseas in exercising active citizenship through mobilizing, learning and sharing actions with others from outside the USA. With the support of previous leadership committee members we have shared over 100 inspiring stories of how Americans have mobilized in over 50 countries around the world.  Committee members work with ARO to collect and share stories from American activists around the world, help sustain international networks and manage social media. The committee involves a minimum commitment of 5 hours a week of online organizing. You can be any age living in any country outside the USA. A minimum four-month commitment is required. It is a fulfilling and a great way to make a difference and stay involved from outside the USA. If you are interested please send an email to americansresistingoverseas@gmail.com. Or if you know someone who is interested please share! www.americansresistingoverseas.com

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/)

Support the Democratic Coalition’s campaign to advertise for the ACA sign-ups (to replace the advertising that 45 has cancelled in an effort to sabotage the ACA) so that people know about important deadlines https://secure.actblue.com/donate/keep-ACA-running5

Recommended by http://roganslist.blogspot.com

READING

Story about the Move On Defend DACA/Dreamers protest in Manchester a week ago: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/activists-protest-daca-repeal-in-manchester,518982

Racist graffiti was spray painted on Andersonville Farm, in Glover, Vermont. It was discovered on September 8. Apparently related incidents include racist and sexually explicit messages put up in the area, and the theft of some Black Lives Matter signs. “The Vermont State Police is investigating the incident as an unlawful mischief case. According to Orleans County State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett, Vermont law allows for a charge to be elevated to a hate crime only if it specifically targets a person in a protected class.” http://digital.vpr.net/post/racist-graffiti-glover-galvanizes-community-members-against-intolerance#stream/0

“Couple detained at Vermont border crossing sue government over warrantless phone search” http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2017/09/13/couple-detained-vermont-border-crossing-sue-government-over-warrantless-phone-search/654673001/

“Lawyers for an African-American man who filed a civil rights suit over a traffic stop and arrest in Bennington are pressing to reinstate claims that a federal judge dismissed in May. Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont seek to restore allegations against Police Chief Paul Doucette and the town police department that were dismissed, although other elements of the suit were allowed to continue… But the motion should be allowed, the attorneys wrote, because “a new study was published documenting patterns of racial disparities in policing in many agencies across the state of Vermont,” including the Bennington Police Department.” https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/10/lawyers-study-policing-gives-new-grounds-bias-suit/#.Wb__f9VSy03

“The Vermont Human Rights Commission says the state discriminated against a woman in psychiatric crisis when she was placed in the solitary confinement at a correctional facility instead of a psychiatric hospital. The commission ruled on Aug. 24 that the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Corrections, and their umbrella Agency of Human Services, all discriminated against the woman. Disability rights advocates say this is the latest case in an ongoing, well-documented problem in which Vermonters in psychiatric crisis wait days in emergency rooms or other inappropriate settings before they receive inpatient psychiatric care.” https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/17/vermont-agencies-discriminated-psychiatric-patient-commission-says/#.Wb_2KNVSy00

A previous newsletter asked you to contact Congress asking them to save CHIP, a program that provides healthcare for children. Here’s an article on the impact on Vermont if this program isn’t funded: https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/18/federal-childrens-health-insurance-program-expire-month/#.Wb_5GtVSy00

Article on raising the wage in Vermont: https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/05/hilaire-mitchell-families-need-liveable-wage/#.WcAEi9VSy01

Two articles about debunking misinformation – specifically the controversy about whether or not repeating the claim that you’re trying to falsify is a bad idea: https://skepticalscience.com/repeat-or-not-repeat-myth-during-debunking.html and http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/lewandowskyDBH.html and https://www.poynter.org/news/repetition-boosts-lies-could-help-fact-checkers-too

Recommended by http://roganslist.blogspot.com/: “Bilingual: Speaking both Liberal and Conservative” — http://charlottevaughancoyle.com/2017/07/bilingual-speaking-both-liberal-and-conservative/

From Chop Wood Carry Water via http://roganslist.blogspot.com:  “With all the doom and gloom happening climatewise right now, I found it incredibly soothing to stumble upon this list from the Climate Reality Project of 99 reasons to be hopeful. Yes, hope! Remember that? Please check it out–it made me feel soooo much better. And remember, what we focus on grows!”