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

TrumpCare vote is this week: See the Upcoming Events for Tuesday’s protest and see the first Action Item below for what you can do. If the Graham-Cassidy Amendment passes, 87,000 Vermonters will lose their healthcare. https://twitter.com/PeterWelch/status/910578590265364480 and https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/19/senate-republicans-make-another-bid-obamacare-repeal/#.WceAZltSzIU

The Vermont Secretary of State has confirmed that Vermont was not among the 21 states targeted by Russian hackers in 2016 https://twitter.com/VermontSOS/status/911392226550386689

MoveOn Manchester is gearing up for their Oct 19th panel on the minority experience in Vermont. “Anyone interested in potentially sharing any of their experiences as a minority resident in the area should contact Jon at standuptohate16@gmail.com or Tabitha at naacprutland@gmail.com.”

Reminder: ACA Open Enrollment begins November 1. Note: The enrollment website will be closed every single Sunday between midnight and noon (ET) except December 10. https://twitter.com/philgalewitz/status/911305725154140163

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Tuesday Sept 26 TrumpCare Protest 7:30 am – 9 am at the corner of Route 7 (Main) and West Street, Rutland City – Signs will be ready and waiting for you to hold. Come for a few minutes or the whole time. Thanks!

 

  • 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.

 

 

 

  • Saturday Sept 30 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/

 

  • Sunday Oct 1
    • Healthcare Forum at 4:30 pm at the Brandon Town Hall with Lt. Gov. Zuckerman
    • Harvest Festival at 4 pm VFFC’s Farmer Hall, Rutland City, tickets $40, cash bar, dinner buffet, silent and live auctions, music, recognition of VFFC Person of the Year, recognition of Harvest Festival Sponsors http://www.vermontfarmersfoodcenter.org/

 

  • Tuesday Oct 3 at 4-5 pm Elizabeth Warren’s OTC Hearing Aid Bill: What Patients and Consumers Need to Know Presented by: Stephanie O’Flaherty, AuD, Manchester Community Library Join Dr. O’Flaherty of Rutland Regional Medical Center for the final installment of this series of talks on hearing loss and hearing health. For more information or to register for this free seminar, visithttp://bit.ly/RRMCAud3

 

  • Wednesday Oct 4 at 7 pm Rutland NAACP Meeting at Leahy Center Rutland Regional Medical Center

 

 

  • 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!

 

 

  • Sunday Oct 8 Reproductive Justice 5K 10:00am Registration, Run 10:30am
    Axinn Center, Middlebury College – “Come run, walk, or even skip your way through 5km and inform yourself about reproductive health and justice issues along the way! The event is FREE and open to all—Middlebury students, faculty, staff, and community members. There will be snacks offered at the finish, as well as the opportunity to tie-dye T-Shirts (while supplies last) and a raffle with over $450 in prizes from local businesses including Curve Appeal, Wonderland, and Green Mountain Adventures! Go to middlebury.edu/stepsform/ to register!”

 

 

 

  • Saturday Oct 14
    • Translating Identity Conference at 9 am – 6 pm at Dudley H. Davis Center, University of Vermont, Free “Opening its doors to the public once more, the Translating Identity Conference (TIC) explores a wide array of topics in discourses regarding gender and transgender identities, expressions, communities, and intersections. The largest conference of its kind in New England, TIC is a free, student organized, non-profit conference that seeks to reach not only the University of Vermont & the Burlington community, but the nation as a whole. A one-day event, TIC has numerous sessions to choose from at any time, ranging from healthcare to law to education, that are directed towards people at all levels of inclusion in the trans and allied communities. This conference is a safe space for everyone to come, learn, and enjoy themselves! This conference is open to the national public, but space is limited. Please register as soon as possible to guarantee your spot.” https://www.uvm.edu/translatingidentity
    • Rights and Democracy Movement Politics Training in Manchester – “9:30 am to 4:30 pm at location TBD: Join a powerful daylong skills-based training on how to build our base, organize to elect candidates, the nuts and bolts of planning and executing a campaign, messaging and media, fundraising, operating a field campaign and more. Trainers include Isaac Grimm (political director, Rights and Democracy VT), Shay Totten (communications director, RAD VT), Mari Cordes (RAD), State Rep. Kiah Morris and former State Rep. Steve Berry. The training costs $50, or you can sign up as a $10/month RAD sustainer, or Isaac will work with you on a fee you can afford. Hosted by RAD and the Political Impact Committee of MoveOn Manchester. To learn more, click here. RSVPs required! Please email response to Isaac Grimm: isaac@radvt.org or call him at 802.767.7479.”

 

  • Sunday Oct 15 at 1 pm Liberty Union Party Meeting at Food Co-op in Brattleboro

 

  • Tuesday Oct 17 Film: Wonder Woman at 6 pm at Castleton University, Campus Center Room 1787 with discussion of the history of comic book superheroes, emergence of female comic book superheroes, and the biography of Wonder Woman’s creator and his interest in BDSM

 

  • Thursday Oct 19 The Minority Experience in Southern Vermont at 6:30-8:30 pm at Riley Center, Burr and Burton Academy, Manchester, VT: “MoveOn Manchester, in conjunction with the Rutland Area NAACP, will be hosting a Forum on Race in Southern Vermont on Thursday, October 19th at Burr & Burton Academy. If you are a member of a racial minority who has a story to tell, ie. who has experienced racism first hand in your time here- or if you know of someone in the area who has- we are seeking to share your stories with the community. We want to begin a conversation about race in the area by giving voice to those who have been affected by racism, educating the larger community about the realities of being a minority resident in Vermont, and ultimately looking at ways that schools, towns and states can begin to improve policies and practices to address the effects of racism on our citizens.” https://allevents.in/bennington%20county/the-minority-experience-in-southern-vermont/119172625494327

 

  • Saturday Oct 21
    • Divided by Diversity showing and panel at 7 pm, at Unitarian Universalist Church, 117 West St., Rutland City, hosted by Rutland NAACP – “Join us for a free screening of “Divided by Diversity,” followed by a Q&A discussion with a panel of film participants to include coaches, players and a host parent. In 2010, five student athletes from the Bronx, NY were accepted to attend a private Catholic school in Vermont. A school in desperate need of students and five teens in search of an opportunity to escape one of the worst crime areas in New York should have been a perfect match. Instead, the youths were met with resistance and conjecture that they had been recruited to prop up a failing basketball program. Feelings of entitlement and resentment, fueled by social media and helicopter parenting, grew to a xenophobic frenzy. “Divided by Diversity” tells the story of how these young men, along with their coaches, teammates and supporters, endured physical and verbal attacks as well as covert attempts to have them returned to New York. It also reveals many of the modern elements that are contributing to racial tension nationwide. View the trailer here: http://www.carltonefilms.com/divided-by-diversity.html This event is open and free to the public.” https://www.facebook.com/events/1921908431404745/
    • Vermont ACLU Annual Meeting at 1:30-7 pm, Alumni Hall, Vermont College of Fine Arts Campus, Montpelier – panel, reports, awards, cash bar, appetizers and music

 

  • Fri-Sun Oct. 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.

 

 

  • Wed-Thur Nov 8-9 Vermont Creative Network Summit in Montpelier, “Mark your calendar for the upcoming Vermont Creative Network Summit – a gathering of those working to advance Vermont’s creative sector. The Summit theme: Connect to Advance. The agenda for this year’s convening will focus on efforts to finalize key creative sector policy issues to forward to the governor and the legislature in January. Opportunities for networking, observing case studies, and skills building will all be included and are designed to sharpen awareness of the power of Vermont’s creative economy as a vital part of the state’s overall economy.” http://vermontcreativenetwork.org/about/conferences/2017-summit/

 

SUCCESSES/GOOD NEWS

 

ACTION ITEMS 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 Don’t listen to pundits claiming that TrumpCare is dead. McConnell and 45 are working behind the scenes to twist arms. We need to keep fighting down to the wire to ensure that it’s really dead!

  • Action: Submit public testimony for Monday’s Graham-Cassidy hearing by 1pm EST/10am PST Monday 9/25. Email: GCHcomments@finance.senate.gov. Script: I/my family rely/relies on quality, affordable healthcare. Because of this, I oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill. My story with [Medicaid, pre-existing conditions, disabilities, affordability, etc.] is… I would like to see a bipartisan Congressional effort to improve the ACA, not repeal it. Sincerely, [name] [town, state] (From https://twitter.com/inspiredjen/status/911721149037395968)
  • Action: For those of us who shy away from calling strangers, texting is a good compromise! From http://roganslist.blogspot.com/:NextGen America is running a texting campaign to protect health care starting today to fight back. We can join them in opposing Obamacare repeal by signing up here:” https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSezxPFYpCPN-VRPi8YQa3wZvoJcLiye47RkWOYW3RNBLJ6PVw/viewform.
  • Action: Participate in Indivisible’s phone tree to make sure that people are contacting their legislators in other states:
  • Click here to sign up to make phone calls from our peer-to-peer dialing tool. You’ll get an email confirmation with a login, password, and URL to sign into our system. Once signed in, you can start making calls immediately — and we’ll give you a script to make it as easy as possible!
  • Next, you’ll call a voter in a key state with a swing Republican Senator. These folks are your friends—they attended the Women’s March, they’re standing up to #DefendDACA, and/or fight for progressive causes.
  • You explain how they have power now. You’ll remind them why the continued fight against TrumpCare is so important—and why they have particular power in this moment.
  • You ask them to use their power. You’ll ask them to call their senator in opposition to the bill, and to share their own reasons for opposing it.
  • The tool connects them to their Senator’s office. The call tool will allow you to automatically patch them through to the Senators’ district offices.”
  • Action: If you are on Twitter, participate in Indivisible’s Healthcare tweet storm http://www.factpower.org/healthcare-tweetstorm.html
  • Action: Governor Phil Scott 802 828-3333 or http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/message to thank him for signing a letter calling for bipartisan healthcare reform https://twitter.com/GovPhilScott/status/910588700748283904

2 Vermont Governor Phil Scott has asked departments and agencies to level funding in 2019, including pay increases, in anticipation of no increase in funds from the federal government. Budget plans are due October 16th. https://twitter.com/nealgoswami/status/911229572103929856

3 “The Vermont Department of Health has posted “high alert” warnings in several locations across Lake Champlain, Shelburne Pond and Lake Carmi — because of widespread outbreaks of cyanobacteria.” “State leaders said people and pets should avoid the bacteria outbreak and refrain from drawing water from the lake for washing or showers.” http://www.mynbc5.com/article/cyanobacteria-outbreak-fouls-vermonts-lake-carmi-homeowners-fuming/12238790 and http://www.mynbc5.com/article/state-environmental-leaders-tour-lake-carmi-as-cyanobacteria-outbreak-worsens/12245359

4 From Rutland NAACP in reference to a 2016 post by the Shelburne Police Chief repeating “All Lives Matter” rhetoric. https://www.facebook.com/naacprutland/ (If you’re not sure why this rhetoric is problematic, please read: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jesse-damiani/every-time-you-say-all-li_1_b_11004780.html)

  • Action: “Consider encouraging the Shelburne PD command staff to meet with NAACP and BLM to discuss the implications of such rhetoric and the impact of such beliefs on Vermonters. Though this post is from 2016, I am afraid the attitude and beliefs behind it indicate a pervasive and ill-informed idea of what groups like BLM and NAACP are about. Also, I am concerned, as one poster mentioned, that there is no admonishment of actual hate groups like the KKK. That leaves me and other Vermonters of color quite concerned about what the Shelburne PD stands for and who is considered a threat. As president of the Rutland Area NAACP, I would like to invite the Shelburne Police Command Staff into a dialogue about this post. I am curious and disheartened, but also hopeful that we will address this matter respectfully.”

5 ““Over the last decade,” UVM forestry professor and report co-author Bill Keeton said, “Vermont lost about 1 percent of its forest cover due mostly to suburban and rural residential sprawl, reversing a 150-year trend of forest recovery and expansion.” The report listed several threats to New England’s forests: “The New England landscape faces the increasing loss of forest and farmland to residential and commercial development; ongoing parcelization and fragmentation of land; declines in state and federal land-protection funding; deterioration of iconic tree species—chestnut, beech, hemlock, ash, and elm—from introduced pests and pathogens; unsustainable forest and farm management in some areas; and, the challenge of maintaining public support for land protection and traditional uses of land (e.g., forest harvesting and animal grazing) amidst competing socioeconomic demands.” The new report urges New England states to triple the rate at which new lands are conserved in order to meet a conservation goal the same research team set in a 2010 report. That goal was to conserve 30 million acres of forest and another 2.8 million acres of farmland in the region by 2060.” https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/20/harvard-uvm-study-vermont-forests-shrinking-1500-acres-annually/#.Wcd-UltSzIU

  • Action: Governor Phil Scott 802 828-3333 or http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/message to express your concern about increasing deforestation in Vermont and asking him to increase conservation efforts. Consider citing the importance of Vermont’s forests to the tourism industry and include personal stories about the importance of this habitat to your own life.

6 The Vermont Digger recently did a series of articles about the PFOA contamination in Bennington Vermont. https://vtdigger.org/2017/08/30/state-officials-call-national-pfoa-health-effects-study/#.Wcd9O1tSzIU

7 Betsy DeVos’ rollback of an Obama-era guidance on campus sexual assault will undermine investigations and follow-up of sexual assaults on college campuses. Even with this guidance in place, evidence shows that victims are overwhelming unlikely to come forward and report the assaults. The removal of this guidance will make it all the more unlikely that victims will be protected and future assaults prevented. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/betsy-devos-scraps-obama-era-guidance-on-campus-sexual-assault/ and https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/01/why-the-prevalence-of-campus-sexual-assault-is-so-hard-to-quantify/427002/ and https://twitter.com/UltraViolet/status/911260921292402688

  • Action: Contact the president of your alma mater, your children’s schools, and local schools to ask him/her to continue to enforce the guidance of his/her own will. Include facts and figures about underreporting, etc. to strengthen your argument.

8 “The author of a new study showing slow but consistent progress in the experiences of LGBTQ students on college campuses over the past 70 years is concerned that for the first time since 1944, that trend may be reversing…. recent policies by President Donald Trump, coupled with a rise in anti-LGBTQ state-level proposals, are negatively impacting the overall climate for LGBTQ people on – and off – college campuses.” http://www.uvm.edu/~uvmpr/?Page=news&storyID=24914&utm_source=Twitter.com&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=UVM_Twitter_general

  • Action: Contact the president of your alma mater, your children’s schools, and local schools to ask him/her to express your wish that the LGBTQA+ community on campus be provided with the support it needs to feel safe and welcome. This issue should concern all of us regardless of our sexual orientation.

9 “Earlier this summer, Trump unexpectedly announced that the US military will no longer allow transgender troops to serve, claiming that these men and women “burden” the military. However, a Pentagon-commissioned, non-partisan study found that providing gender confirmation treatment to transgender service people would have a minimal effect on the military’s combat readiness. The White House has given Defense Secretary Mattis 6 months to implement the ban, and despite media reports that Mattis has frozen implementation, Trump’s initial order has continued. All current trans service members will be removed from the military and denied coverage for transition-related surgeries starting March 23, 2018.

In an effort to more formally block the ban, Senators Gillibrand (D-NY), Collins (R-ME), Reed (D-RI) and McCain (R-AZ) introduced bipartisan legislation, S. 1820, that would prohibit the Pentagon from denying re-enlistment of currently serving transgender troops on the basis of their gender identity. It would also require Sec. Mattis to complete his previously announced study on the recruitment and training of transgender troops by the end of the year, a faster timeline than was given by the White House. In his statement of support, McCain said, “Any member of the military who meets the medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serve — including those who are transgender.” Congress must now act to protect these brave men and women who serve to protect our country.”

  • Action: Call this office: Senate Committee on Armed Services 202-224-3871 Script: Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from ___. I’m calling to ask that the committee schedule a hearing on S. 1820, the bipartisan legislation to protect transgender service members of the military. Any qualified individual who is willing to risk their life to protect our country should be able to do so with dignity and respect. Thank you for your time and attention. https://5calls.org/issue/recCkRiuMUukwsAtt

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

10 Trump and the Republicans are in such a rush to take health care away from millions of Americans that they are once again trying to pass a bill before it can be fully assessed by the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO will not be able to provide estimates on the effects of the new Trumpcare on the deficit, health insurance coverage or premiums for at least several weeks, and the Republicans want a vote before September 30th (http://www.businessinsider.com/cbo-score-graham-cassidy-bill-coverage-losses-2017-9). Let’s call our senators and tell them it would be irresponsible to vote on this bill before they receive this information. And let’s contact our House members and tell them to support H. Res. 441, which would change the rules of the House to prohibit the consideration of any bill until a CBO cost estimate has been made available.

11 Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, needs to be reconfirmed by the Senate by the end of the year in order to maintain his current position http://bit.ly/2yqtjSR Pai has spearheaded efforts to do away with net neutrality http://bit.ly/2umR8eN Let’s call our senators to make sure that they vote to oppose his re-confirmation. We can also send a letter through the Free Press Action Fund, an organization dedicated to preserving free and open internet: http://act.freepress.net/sign/internet_fire_pai

12 The Senate will be voting on Trump’s nominee for the EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, Bill Wehrum. Wehrum has a history of defending coal and gas industries as an attorney, and led efforts to weaken clean air efforts in his previous role with the EPA http://bit.ly/2wVzSwj Currently, Wehrum is defending industry groups in court, against Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) silica dust rule http://bit.ly/2yfZm6Y Let’s call our senators and ask them to oppose Bill Wehrum as Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. We can also edit and send the National Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) letter to our senators https://act.nrdc.org/letter/af-wehrum-nom-170919

13 As Senate Republicans continue their campaign to garner enough votes to pass a last minute repeal of Obamacare, one of the key holdouts, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), just made a telling move. The Maine Senator has teamed up with a Florida Democrat, Senator Bill Nelson, to introduce legislation to stabilize existing ACA insurance markets. On CNN, Collins said that the Graham-Cassidy bill contains “many of the same flaws of the bill we rejected previously and in fact, it has some additional flaws.” As such, political experts are placing her in the “no” column for the upcoming vote.”   http://newyorkjournals.com/trumpcare-holdout-senator-collins-just-left-republicans-stunned-bold-move/  Let’s send her a thank you tweet for her bipartisanship and her efforts to save healthcare for Americans.  @SenatorCollins  or https://www.collins.senate.gov/contact

14 After an inane and untruthful reply from Sen. Bill Cassidy, Jimmy Kimmel went at it again in his Wednesday night monologue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB5Hek7Z2b8Let’s let this fuel us to keep reaching our MoC and to contact friends and family in key states like Arizona and Alaska to ask them to make themselves heard. We can also take a moment to thank Kimmel: Mr. Jimmy Kimmel, El Capitan Entertainment Center,6840 Hollywood Blvd, LA, CA 90028

15 First Lady Melania Trump spoke at the UN on Wednesday:  http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/20/melania-trump-un-lunch-bullying-242920With no apparent sense of irony, she said, “No child should ever feel hungry, stalked, frightened, terrorized, bullied, isolated or afraid, with nowhere to turn… We need to step up, come together, and ensure that our children’s future is bright.” Let’s remind First Lady Trump that POTUS’s actions against DACA recipients, Muslims, LGTBQ+ people and many other groups do not meet this standard: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500

16 “A new analysis shared exclusively with the Guardian has found that 80% of nominations for top jobs in the Trump administration have gone to men – putting Donald Trump on track to assemble the most male-dominated federal government in nearly a quarter-century. Without a significant shift, men will outnumber women four-to-one in top positions of the Trump administration. “If you’re not intentional about it [diversity], it won’t happen,” said Don Gips, who served as the White House personnel director for the first six months of Obama’s presidency.”  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/21/trump-is-assembling-the-most-male-dominated-government-in-decades Let’s ask the White House for diversity:  more women, and people of color. The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500

17 Trump’s pick for a federal judgeship in Texas has said gay marriage will lead to bestiality, has advocated for gay conversion therapy and has suggested transgender children are evidence “of Satan’s plan.” Let’s check out this Newsweek article about Jeff Mateer then contact our Senators to tell them to oppose this inappropriate nominee.

18 Wright-Patterson Air Force Base chaplain Captain Sonny Hernandez is asserting that Christians in the U.S. Armed Forces “serve Satan” and are “grossly in error” if they support service members’ right to practice other faiths per this Newsweek article.  The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has filed multiple requests that Hernandez be investigated by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) inspector general. Let’s join them by writing to the DoD inspector general asking for an investigation of this obviously-compromised chaplain. Write to: Glenn A. Fine, Acting Inspector General, Office of the Inspector General, 4800 Mark Center Dr, Alexandria VA 22350-1500.

19 The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is set to expire on Sept. 30.  A bipartisan bill to continue it has come out of the Senate Finance Committee.  It starts out with federal matching rate of 23% as now directed by the ACA, but with a dwindling rate over the five-year span of the bill. http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/senate-finance-committee-extends-chip-funding-5-years  If the CHIP program is not continued, millions of lives will be at risk:  https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/09/18/failure-to-finalize-childrens-health-insurance-bill-could-leave-millions-at-risk/  Let’s let our senators know that we want this successful program to continue for the sake of our children. The US Climate Alliance, an alliance of 14 state governors committed to upholding the Paris climate accords by instituting state policies to fight global warming, unveiled a study produced by the Rhodium research group saying they were on track to meet their share of the Obama administration’s promise under the accord: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-20/despite-trump-states-still-on-pace-to-reach-paris-climate-goals  We still badly need federal action on climate change, but while the deniers are in power, we should urge our states to join the alliance.  The current members are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington; plus Puerto Rico.  If our state is not yet among these, let’s let our governors know we want them to join.

20 Even with the costs of climate change becoming more and more apparent, Trump and the Republicans are focusing on even more giveaways to the oil and gas industry at the expense of our planet. Their 2018 budget plan relies on revenue from opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to new oil and gas drilling (http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/342566-house-budget-could-lead-to-alaska-refuge-drilling). Let’s join the Sierra Club in contacting Congress and demanding they protect ANWR and reject this budget at this link: https://sierra.secure.force.com/actions/National?actionId=AR0089071

21 From Postcards for America: Senators and Reps have sent a letter to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) urging the agency to consider new rules that would prevent foreign nationals from using online advertising platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, to influence U.S. elections. Following the revelation that Russia purchased Facebook advertisements during the 2016 election to attempt to influence American voters, there has been increasing concern about the lack of transparency in political ads in online advertising platforms.  In the letter they expressed their concern that no guidelines exist for advertising platforms to better prevent foreign nationals from illicitly spending in future U.S. elections.  Apparently, the Republican FEC commissioners will only agree to hold a hearing if they “receive enough substantive written comments.”  Let’s use the guidelines in this doc and provide those necessary written comments:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fCeTUabXYcc6nEZuRkNnlpOhmnDu1jQwGbLGQoVDt9Q/edit

22 Three blatantly anti-union, anti-worker bills are currently before the House:  H.R. 986 would take away workers’ rights if they work at tribal casinos or on any part of tribal land, no matter their job; H.R. 2776 would give employers the right to set the date for union representation elections, enabling them to postpone these votes for months at a time; H.R. 2775 would cut off workers’ access to key information before an election, denying workers the opportunity to make an informed decision about joining a union. The Communication Workers of America has created a tool enabling us to easily tell our Reps what we think about these politically-motivated attacks on workers’ rights: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-your-member-of-congress-to-stop-the-attack-on-workers

23 “In a sharp departure from his predecessors, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price last week took private jets on five separate flights for official business, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial travel. Price, a frequent critic of federal spending who has been developing a plan for departmentwide cost savings, declined to comment.” This breaks with the tradition of previous secretaries who flew commercially in the USA.  http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/19/tom-price-chartered-planes-flights-242908 Let’s let Secretary Price know that we see his hypocrisy:https://www.hhs.gov/about/contact-us/index.html

24 Because it does not fit their nationalist agenda, The White House is rejecting the findings of a government study that refugees have a positive effect on our economy:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/18/us/politics/refugees-revenue-cost-report-trump.html Let’s let Stephen Miller know that he does not get to pick and choose which evidence he believes: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington DC 20500

25 Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Tuesday defended his use of a personal email address to conduct business in his role as vice chairman of President Trump’s voter fraud commission, saying that using his Kansas state email would be a “waste of state resources.” Because Kobach is using a personal email instead of a government account, the emails are not subject to public records requests unless copied or sent to a government account. According to ProPublica, in order for members of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to comply with federal records retention laws, they must either use government email accounts, copy a government account on messages sent from a private account or send messages from their private accounts to a government account within 20 days.”  http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/351414-kobach-defends-use-of-private-email-for-voter-fraud-commission  Contact Kobach tweet @KrisKobach1787, write to Kansas Secretary of State, Memorial Hall, 1st Floor, 120 SW 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66612-1594 or call (785) 296-4561.  Let’s contact the White House, too: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington DC 20500

26 Trump is using money donated to his re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee to pay for his lawyers in the probe of alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.”  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-lawyers-exclusive/trump-using-campaign-rnc-funds-to-pay-legal-bills-from-russia-probe-sources-idUSKCN1BU2OS  Let’s contact the Office of Government Ethics and ask them to issue a statement about this: https://www.oge.gov/web/oge.nsf/Organization/Contact%20Us  Let’s also contact the Federal Election Commission and ask them to do the same: https://www.fec.gov/contact-us/

27 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that President Trump called him last week to apologize for the bloody fight between Erdoğan’s security and protestors in D.C in May. A grand jury indicted 19 defendants last month in the brawl that took place outside the Turkish embassy, including 15 Turkish security guards. Sixteen of those indicted were charged in June on criminal complaints.” The White House spokesperson back tracked on it saying it was discussed but no apology. This is just another example of talking out of both sides of the mouth at the White House. They tell Heads of States one thing and us another thing. http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/351461-erdogan-trump-apologized-to-me-over-turkish-bodyguards-attacking Share your thoughts with Trump on his apology: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington DC 20500

28 “Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/18/us/politics/refugees-revenue-cost-report-trump.html  By jiggering the metric, HHS gave the administration a final version of this study more to Trump’s liking, citing only the per capita refugee costs for major HHS programs.  The White House apparently believed that the draft report was “delivered by someone with an ideological agenda”—unlike the White House: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/351289-trump-administration-officials-rejects-report-on-refugees   Since we can’t trust the account of this administration, let’s urge HHS to make ALL their findings available to the public: Secretary of Health & Human Services Tom Price 202-690-7000 or 200 Independence Ave. SW, DC 20201

29 The Pentagon is going to release a decision on transgender troops by February per this article on Military.com.  Additionally, this article in the Washington Post identifies the individuals that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has tasked with a recommendation: Gen. Paul Selva, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (VCJCS), and Patrick Shanahan, Deputy Defense Secretary.  Mattis is looking for evidence-based recommendations on the way forward. Let’s write to Selva and Shanahan to provide evidence that we care about this issue and that we believe that all individuals who wish to serve their country should be able to do so. 1) Gen. Paul Selva, VCJCS, 9999 Joint Staff Pentagon, Washington DC 20318-9999.  2) Patrick Shanahan, 1400 Defense Pentagon, Washington DC 20301-1000.

30 Three Democratic congressmen were arrested Tuesday outside Trump Tower in New York as part of a protest of President Trump’s decision to end legal protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants. Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) and Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ.) were among at least 10 people arrested, according to a Gutiérrez spokesman. Those arrested also included New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is Puerto Rican and widely considered among New York political observers to be a future mayoral or congressional candidate. The protest Tuesday outside Trump’s home was organized by Make The Road New York, a progressive, immigrants’ rights group.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/09/19/democratic-lawmakers-arrested-outside-trump-tower/?utm_term=.ba9181f544ee&wpisrc=nl_politics-pm&wpmm=1  Let’s tweet a quick thank you to Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) @RepEspaillat, Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL.) @RepGutierrez, Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) @RepRaulGrijalva and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito @MMViverito.

31 “The scientist nominated to head the federal government’s chemical regulatory program has spent much of his career helping businesses fight restrictions on the use of potentially toxic compounds in consumer goods. That record is expected to figure prominently in a Senate confirmation hearing for the scientist, Michael L. Dourson, who critics say is too closely tied to the chemical industry to be its chief regulator. Mr. Dourson has a popular sideline as a writer of books that combine Bible stories with his views on science. His series, “Evidence of Faith,” is an examination of the intersection of evolution and bible history. At a time when the E.P.A. is in the early stages of putting in place Congress’s 2016 overhaul of the law governing toxic chemicals, Mr. Dourson’s nomination to become the agency’s assistant administrator for chemical safety has alarmed Democrats and some former E.P.A. officials.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/science/epa-chemical-industry-dourson.html  Call your senators and ask them to ask the tough questions and then VOTE NO on his appointment.

32 Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has announced a plan to pay for all Rhode Island DREAMers’ DACA renewal fees, so that they can meet the Department of Homeland Security’s October 5th deadline http://bit.ly/2w4IuiV We’ve sent Governor Raimondo thank you’s in the past for ending conversion therapy in her state, protecting scientific and academic researchers, and for joining the United States Climate Alliance to declare her state’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. Let’s thank the Governor again, for standing up for Rhode Island’s DREAMers: on her website contact form or by mail:  Office of the Governor 82 Smith Street Providence, RI 02903 Phone: (401) 222-2080

33 Details from Secretary Zinke’s final report on our national monuments have now leaked to the press. He wants to shrink four and open up six more to mining, drilling, logging and commercial fishing (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41313104). Fortunately, Congress can put a stop to these proposed roolbacks. Let’s join the Sierra Club in telling our members of Congress to deny approval to these changes and protect our public lands. We can send them a message at this link: https://sierra.secure.force.com/actions/National?actionId=AR0089003.

34  “…the unfortunate truth is that nobody connected with the events in Charlottesville will be charged with committing acts of domestic terrorism under current federal law.”  Current US law does not attach any penalties to “domestic terrorism”, so it is not a federal crime.  http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/judicial/350569-it-is-time-to-make-domestic-terrorism-a-federal-crime  It is time to encourage our MoCs to create and support legislation that corrects this.  Perhaps it could be called the Heather Heyer Act.

35 The Pence-Kobach voter fraud commission is using private e-mails to conduct public business, which experts argue breaks federal law http://bit.ly/2h8ChfE According to the Presidential Records Act of 1978, private e-mail addresses can be used, but the e-mails must also be copied or forwarded to a government account. Meanwhile, co-chair of the commission Kris Kobach argues that this would be a “waste of resources.” Let’s be sure we point out to co-chairs Chris Kobach and Mike Pence that we expect transparency and for all communications to be preserved by complying with the Presidential Records Act. Vice President Mike Pence: 202-456-1111 The White House Office of the Vice President 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20500  Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach: (785) 296-4564 Kansas Secretary of State Memorial Hall, 1st Floor, 120 SW 10th Avenue Topeka, KS 66612-1594

36 On the eve of the UN meetings this week, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, told CNN “We have pretty much exhausted all the things that we can do at the Security Council,” suggesting that the US might have to turn the matter of North Korea over to the Pentagon. “If North Korea keeps on with this reckless behavior,” she added, “….North Korea will be destroyed.”: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/17/politics/nikki-haley-north-korea-un-cnntv/index.html  A diplomat, even if Trump’s appointment, threatening to “destroy” another country??  We need to make it crystal clear to Haley that she does not speak for us: US Mission to the UN, 212-415-4000 or 799 UN Plaza, NY, NY 20017

37″The Disability Integration Act of 2017 (DIA), S910, aims to ensure that all states provide long-term services and support (LTSS) to individuals with disabilities in community-based settings, such as the individual’s own home.” per United Cerebral Palsy (UCP). The bill currently has 14 cosponsors. Senators Sanders and Leahy are among these cosponsors – thank them.

38 EcoWatch in cooperation with other environmental and wildlife groups has sent a letter to the House Natural Resource committee in opposition to 5 anti-environmental bills.  The letter carefully lays out the reasons for opposition to: 1)  HR 424 (“Gray Wolf State Management Act”) which would block federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes states and Wyoming. Specifically, this bill — which would be more aptly named the “War on Wolves Act” — would overturn a federal district court decision and remove existing Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.   2) HR 717 (“Listing Reform Act”) which would put a price on species conservation by enabling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine that a species that would normally be listed as threatened would not receive those protections if there are economic impacts.  3) HR 1274 (“State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act”) which would subvert the Endangered Species Act’s science-based listing process by allowing any information provided by states, tribes, or counties to constitute “best available science.” By automatically assuming such a broad swath of information to be defined as such without any scientific input or review, the bill contradicts the meaning of “best available science.”  4) HR 2603 (“Saving America’s Endangered Species Act”) which would strip Endangered Species Act protections for non-native species within the United States.  5) HR 3131 (“Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act”) threatens to undercut citizen engagement and enforcement of the Endangered Species Act by impeding upon citizens’ ability to obtain counsel and challenge illegal government actions.  Let’s tell our representatives, especially if they are on the House Natural Resources Committee,  to protect the Endangered Species Act, our nation’s most effective and important law for species conservation, by voting “no” on HR 424, HR 717, HR 1274, HR 2603, and HR 3131.

39 “Lakes are warming at different rates but almost one hundred percent of them are warming.” Our freshwater lakes are warming all over the country.  https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2017/09/lake-tahoe-is-losing-its-famous-clarity/ Remind your senators that climate change is real and affects us in many ways including the decline of our beautiful lakes across this country.

40 Eric Dreiband testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in his confirmation against civil rights protections.  The NAACP has spoken out against Dreiband’s nomination, stating “The evidence is clear. http://bit.ly/2f7ATto and http://bit.ly/2gOpIJQ  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,”  Let’s let the committee members know that this is not a good fit for our country:   https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/members, then, let’s tell our senators the same thing.

41 For unknown reasons, the Emmy Awards decided to give Sean Spicer a redemptive moment of humor at Sunday night’s awards by inviting his presence for an on-stage gag: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/emmys-2017-sean-spicer-appearance-celebrities-reaction-backlash-melissa-mcarthy-a7952521.html andhttp://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/351109-spicer-makes-surprise-appearance-at-emmys  Let’s let the Emmys know that rewarding someone who lied to the American people constantly was a sad move: https://www.emmys.com/contact

42 Part of fighting back against racism, xenophobia, and bigotry is making sure we are discussing these issues with our children. It does no good to promote a “colorblind” philosophy, rather, we should acknowledge and embrace our differences, then work together to create a more equitable system. Books can be a great way to get the conversation started. Let’s check out this book list from the Conscious Kid Library to help empower our children to speak up and speak out http://bit.ly/2xfN2pX

43 “Donald Trump’s inaugural committee raised an unprecedented $107 million for a ceremony that officials promised would be “workmanlike,” and the committee pledged to give leftover funds to charity. Nearly eight months later, the group has helped pay for redecorating at the White House and the vice president’s residence in Washington. But nothing has yet gone to charity.”  https://apnews.com/0756ba7480444895b4fabc9a2f0909b3  Where is that money, how was it spent and why hasn’t he kept his promise to donate the remainder to charities? Since it is a private fund we can’t request an accounting. So why should we care, it shows us another unplanned mess from an unprepared White House that chooses people who don’t have the proper experience even for planning a party!

PETITIONS/SURVEYS/ETC

  • From Rutland NAACP: “If you know anyone in Massachusetts, please copy and paste this link to their timeline and ask them to sign the petition calling for the removal of Paul Sagan from his position as Chairman of the Board of the MA Department of Elementary Education. Mr. Sagan was appointed by the governor. It was recently discovered that he secretly donated $500,000 toward the campaign for charter schools. The MA governor called initial concerns raised by the NAACP and other groups about Mr. Sagan’s support of charter schools a “nothing sandwich”. Charter schools take money from public schools and have been shown to discriminate against students of color and students with disabilities in their practices. How can someone in the most powerful office in education act in the best interest of students in public education when he so clearly favors the privatization and discrimination inherent in charter schools? He cannot. Please encourage your friends in Massachusetts to sign the petition for his removal. Copy and paste this message and link and #staywokehttps://massedjustice.org/meja-news/paul-sagan-petition
  • “Pass the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act and block Donald Trump’s attempt to militarize local police.” https://act.credoaction.com/sign/No_Police_Militarization
  • Petition to call for action to stop the genocide of Rohingya Muslim victims in Myanmar https://actions.sumofus.org/a/stop-ethnic-cleansing-rohingya-muslims-in-myanmar

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

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

Help fund the Indivisible TrumpCare calling tool” “We got a bargain price (13 cents per minute, per phone call) from the calling tool vendor, but in order to fund the hundreds of thousands of phone calls we need to make, it’s going to cost a lot of money. We’re trying to raise $30,000 to fund these calls targeted to residents in six key states: Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia, where the most persuadable Senate Republicans are. If you can chip in just $26, you will fund 40 five-minute conversations between blue states to constituents in these six target states to emphasize the devastating impact TrumpCare would have and ask them to call their Senator on the spot. The last time we used this tool, it worked. We decided today to pull out all the stops once again and your support will allow us to fund thousands more constituents to pressure their Senators.”

For ways to help the people of Puerto Rico (who are American citizens and have been utterly devastated by hurricane Maria): http://jezebel.com/heres-how-to-help-people-in-puerto-rico-right-now-1818658131

From wall-of-us: Support immigrants by helping to elect them: https://www.wallofus.org/posts/191/stop-hateful-immigration-policy-by-electing-more-immigrants-support-kathy-tran

From http://roganslist.blogspot.com/: “  United We Dream has created a DACA Renewal Fund to help cover the fees for qualified DREAMers who need to renew their DACA status by the October 5th deadline http://bit.ly/2wHs2Vq The renewal fee is $495 per person, and there are approximately 154,000 individuals who qualify. For those of us with the means, let’s consider contributing to this cause: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/renewalfund/

From http://roganslist.blogspot.com/: “”In a very pointed message, international charity Oxfam invited four refugees from three countries to spend the day at the Queens, N.Y., home where Trump spent his earliest years.” as reported by NPR. “The Airbnb listing has since been removed from the website for unknown reasons.”  We appreciate Oxfam’s symbolic action. Let’s check out Oxfam’s website and follow their activities on Facebook if we are not already.  If we are able, let’s donate to their causes.”

From http://roganslist.blogspot.com/: “When we are buying our Halloween candy this year, let’s support Mars (Snickers, Twix, M&Ms, Milky Way).  The company has pledged to invest $1 billion over the next few years to fight climate change.  http://fortune.com/2017/09/06/mars-pledge-one-billion-fight-climate-change/

READING

Article about the International Peace Day march in Manchester VT last Thursday: http://www.paceebene.org/2017/09/22/manchester-vt-peace-march/

A Vermont substitute teacher working in Georgia was fired for apparently training her students in performing a Nazi salute: https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/09/22/school-georgia-teacher-fired-for-demonstrating-nazi-salute-to-third-graders

Opinion piece from a local calling the media out for its shocking failure to the use of the word “lynch” in reference to an obvious attempt to lynch an 8 year old boy in New Hampshire, as reported in previous newsletters. “The first step to diagnosing a disease is to identify its symptoms. The first step to healing a disease is to name it.” https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/19/judith-levine-use-word-lynched/#.Wcd_hltSzIV

The prior Vermont governor recently gave a speech explaining why he didn’t implement Act 48, which he signed into law to provide universal healthcare in Vermont. Read an article about his explanation, the Vermont Workers Center refutation of his explanation, and an opinion piece about single payer in Vermont:

3 articles about tactics for talking to (or ignoring) racists, recommended by Barbara Hoffman:

From http://roganslist.blogspot.com/: “”Doxing is the violent Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting private or identifiable information about an individual or organization in order to harass and traumatize activists from organizing activity.” Hopefully most of us will not need this, but if we are a target of right-wing harassment online, here’s a best practices guide to protect ourselves and our personal information:” https://medium.com/@EqualityLabs/anti-doxing-guide-for-activists-facing-attacks-from-the-alt-right-ec6c290f543c

From http://roganslist.blogspot.com/: “”Fake news” may be a real problem, but there are more fundamental issues at play: “many Americans lack fundamental civics knowledge, according to the recent Constitution Day Civics Survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and therefore cannot understand current events.”http://www.newsweek.com/trumps-america-americans-basic-knowledge-understand-current-events-667106 If we are to succeed long-term in building a better society, education must come first.”