Suggestions/additions welcome. Don’t see your issue, event or organization? Send it to me.
Wednesday Oct 5 Announcement: Thursday’s National Day of Action with Migrant Justice’s Milk with Dignity protest at Ben & Jerry’s (in collaboration with Rights and Democracy) has been cancelled. Ben & Jerry’s signed the Milk with Dignity contract in a great victory for dairy workers! https://migrantjustice.net/victory If you were planning to come to the rally, please still join Rights and Democracy at 6 pm on Thursday at the Leah Center at Rutland Regional Medical Center.
High priority: Advocate for water protectors’ right to legal representation by Oct 2nd. Email: email@example.com. Script: Visit Water Protector Legal for scripts. Your email can help. (from http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/ )
New Department of Homeland Security regulations require a passport/passport card to board a domestic flight for the residents of states where driver’s licenses do not meet certain requirements. Vermont is in compliance with the new requirements, so residents with a driver’s license will not require a passport/passport card to board a domestic flight. http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/september-passport-awareness-month
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
- Advertising has been severely curtailed, so make sure you tell your friends and family! https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/dates-and-deadlines/
- Share on Facebook: Use this link in English and this link in Spanish.
- Share on Twitter: Retweet this image.
- “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/
- 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
- Thursday Oct 5 at 6 pm Rights and Democracy meeting at Leahy Center at Rutland Regional Medical Center
- Saturday Oct 7
- 350VT “Building Ground” Leadership Workshop “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!
- Tentatively 10am-noon – TD Bank Rutland protests will tentatively take place, pending how many people are available (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/
- Lunafest Women’s Film Festival Main Street Landing Film House, Burlington. 6:30-10 p.m. http://www.lunafest.org/burlington0923
- 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!”
- Wed – Sun Oct 11-15 Independent Television Festival Manchester http://www.itvfest.com/
- Wed Oct 11 at 8 pm Celebrate National Coming Out Day with “transgender comedienne” Julia Scotti, Castleton University, Campus Center Room 1787 http://www.castleton.edu/calendars/event/comedian-julia-scotti/2017-10-11/
- Saturday Oct 14
- Rights and Democracy Movement Politics Training in Manchester – “9:30 am to 4:30 pm at location TBD: “To move from protest to power we need to get serious about impacting elections, either by running for office ourselves or supporting campaigns run by our allies in the movement. Join RAD Political Director Isaac Grimm, RAD Comms Director Shay Totten, Bennington Representative Kiah Morris & former Manchester Steve Berry for a training on how to build powerful grassroots electoral campaigns. If you’d like to join our day long movement politics training, fill out this application form. We will then follow up with a phone interview before accepting applicants. Training starts with a grounding in how we got to our current political situation, our long-term agenda, and a power analysis, and then delves how to build our base, the nuts & bolts of planning & executing a campaign, messaging & media, fundraising, and operating a field campaign.The training costs $50, or signing up as a $10/month sustainer (though we will of course accommodate for those who cannot afford that).”
- 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
- Sunday Oct 15 at 1 pm Liberty Union Party Meeting at Food Co-op in Brattleboro
- Tuesday Oct 17
- Making of a Racist – at 7pm at College of St. Joseph Library – Join the Rutland NAACP “in a discussion of the book The Making of a Racist by Charles B. Dew, professor of American History at Williams College in Massachusetts.”
- 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
- 10:30 am Democratic Party Rutland County Reorganization at Leahy Center at Rutland Regional Medical Center
- 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/
- 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
- Thursday Oct 26 Progressive Party Meeting – if you know the location/time for this, please let me know so I can add it
- 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.
- Thursday-Friday Nov 2-3 Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future at Putney School https://www.facebook.com/events/117618795634279/
- 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/
- The 8 year-old boy who was nearly lynched in Claremont, NH was surprised by “biker and motor enthusiasts from all around New England” for a birthday party http://www.mynbc5.com/article/oj-simpson-freed-from-nevada-prison-after-9-years-1506858714/12666991
- The latest effort to decimate healthcare failed! https://www.vox.com/2017/9/26/16368708/graham-cassidy-vote-canceled
- Tom Price, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, resigned over revelations that he had spent over a million dollars of taxpayer money since May in luxury travel https://www.axios.com/prices-private-military-flights-total-over-1-million-2490743675.html
- Democrats flipped some seats in Florida and New Hampshire (the latter in a district that 45 won by 23 points)! “Dems have won 8 (!) of the 27 legislative specials held in GOP-held seats this year. GOP has won none of the 12 held in Dem-held districts.” https://twitter.com/gdebenedetti/status/912853072271085568 and https://twitter.com/TheDLCC/status/912857797842305024 and https://twitter.com/Taniel/status/912850652858142721
- For more good news, see http://www.peaceisloud.org/small-victories/
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 Students at the University of Vermont have challenged the university to do a better job addressing issues of diversity. Complaints include lack of an adequate response to a student who took down a Black Lives Matter flag, the apparent commemoration of a prior UVM professor involved with eugenics, inadequate education regarding diversity and an overall failure to ensure the wellbeing of minority students. https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/09/29/uvm-responds-to-student-demands-on-race-diversity-issues?utm_content=bufferfc409&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
- Action: Read the students’ demands in the above article, and the response. Especially if you are white, think about decentering yourself to appreciate the situation from the position of the students in question and think about the best way to show that you are an ally. Consider the issues in light of these reading suggestions: Peggy McIntosh’s “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” http://code.ucsd.edu/pcosman/Backpack.pdf and Malcolm Gladwell’s Consider contacting UVM’s president to express your support for ensuring the wellbeing of minority students: Thomas Sullivan – Telephone: 802-656-3186, or mailing address: University of Vermont, Office of the President, 85 South Prospect Street, 344-353 Waterman Building, Burlington, VT 05405
2 The Vermont GOP has announced that it supports 45’s tax reform plan https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/29/vermont-gop-national-tax-reform-plan-help-vermont/#.WdEPRVtSzIV. This plan will not only cause Vermont to lose 80 millions dollars in government funding, it will raise the taxes for one third of people making between $50,000 and $150,000 while lowering taxes on the richest. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/29/gop-tax-plan-wealthy-middle-class-pay-more-243310 and https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/28/republican-tax-plan-cost-vermont-80-million/#.WdEPwFtSzIU
- Action: Contact Governor Phil Scott at 802 828-3333 or http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/message asking him to publicly denounce 45’s proposed tax reform plan.
3 “The top environmental official in Gov. Phil Scott’s administration is calling for the state to spend less money on phosphorus reduction efforts for Lake Champlain. Julie Moore, the secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, wants to significantly reduce the amount the state originally planned to spend on cleanup efforts over the next several years. That’s because Moore says the agencies responsible for mitigating phosphorus pollution do not have a plan for the money…. Environmental groups are critical of Moore’s approach. Meanwhile, business and municipal leaders are calling for the establishment of a clean water authority to expedite abatement programs. The EPA has mandated that the state significantly limit phosphorus runoff…[According to Moore:] “We acknowledge that costs go up over time, but at the same time it doesn’t do any of us any good to be making unwise and inefficient investments,” Moore said. Moore’s recent push to delay funding for cleanup comes as Lake Carmi enters its fourth week of “high alert” conditions caused by toxic blue green algae blooms. The state has closed beaches and issued a ban on swimming. The secretary’s decision to delay spending on mitigation efforts alarmed some environmental advocates who say state agencies have been studying for years how to treat Lake Champlain’s phosphorus problem….While Moore says there hasn’t been enough planning, Rebecca Ellis, the deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, says the department has developed a database of shovel-ready projects that the state could begin spending money on immediately. Meanwhile, a working group, made up of Scott administration officials, business leaders and others, is seeking to find a long-term funding source for phosphorus abatement. Several years ago, lawmakers placed a surcharge on the property transfer tax that raises about $5 million per year, but have not settled on a long-term funding mechanism. On Friday, however, a member of the working group, St. Albans City Manager Dominic Cloud, suggested an alternate approach. A state clean water authority could be put in place, Cloud said, that would raise and administer the money needed to reduce Lake Champlain’s phosphorus pollution. Tom Torti, the president of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, and former ANR deputy secretary Trey Martin support Cloud’s proposal. Cloud said the authority would be politically independent. Because its sole focus would be on water quality, the effort would be less likely to get scuttled by a state agency that must choose between competing priorities. The authority would be governed by a board of as many as nine appointees put in place by the governor, the Senate president pro tem, and the House speaker, according to written material Cloud supplied with his proposal. The authority would be financed with a statewide parcel fee and would put existing pollution-control plans, called Tactical Basin Plans, into effect with some sense of urgency, Cloud said. Residents expect to see improvement in the lake’s water quality, Cloud said, and “right now Vermonters aren’t seeing that.” https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/24/anr-chief-wants-slow-lake-cleanup-spending/#.WdEVTltSzIU
- Action: Contact Governor Phil Scott at 802 828-3333 or http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/message asking him to implement the shovel-ready projects that Vermont can start spending money on immediately to clean Vermont waters, to consider creating a clean water authority to raise and administer the money needed to clean Lake Champlain, and perhaps even to consider looking into Julie Moore fitness as secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources given her lack of commitment to implement known solutions to the problems at hand despite apparent availability of funds.
4 Shulkin (Secretary of Veterans Affairs), Zinke (Secretary of the Interior), Mnuchin (Treasury Secretary) and Pruitt (EPA Administrator) have all taken high-priced trips on the taxpayer dime.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41446590 and http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trumps-flyboys-who-is-in-trouble-over-private-or-military-aircraft-use-and-who-might-be-next/article/2636048 and https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/va-chief-took-in-wimbledon-river-cruise-on-european-work-trip/2017/09/29/c1f17046-a458-11e7-8c37-e1d99ad6aa22_story.html?utm_term=.1f4fd3c4089f
- Action: Contact Peter Welch 802-652-2450 or https://welch.house.gov/contact/email asking him to support the Swamp Flyer Act http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/352913-democrats-unveil-bills-to-ban-cabinet-members-private-jet-travel
5 “The Justice Department is demanding that Facebook turn over information from three accounts that could provide access to the personal details of thousands of activists who expressed interest in anti-Trump rallies. The department obtained search warrants targeting three Facebook accounts that were used to organize Inauguration Day protests against Donald Trump, the ACLU said late Thursday. But accessing those accounts would provide information on thousands of other users who “liked” an anti-Trump Facebook page, the group explained. The ACLU’s Washington, D.C., office said in a statement it would fight the enforcement of the search warrants.” https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/feds-demand-facebook-share-information-anti-trump-protesters-n805801?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma
- Action: Contact Attorney General Jeff Sessions to express your concern over this step 202-353-1555 or U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001
6 With Congress struggling with budget cuts, it’s important to fight for the things that matter to us.
- Action: Tweet your member of Congress to urge him/her to fight these cuts.
- tweet a photo of yourself in the field or in the lab doing science;
- tweet about the public health benefits of federal research; or
- tweet a picture of a local landmark that would be impacted by budget cuts
- If you aren’t on Twitter, you can still send a Tweet using the form set up by the Union of Concerned Scientists: https://secure.ucsusa.org/onlineactions/aJZWFEj-Y0quGSB2YnhI6A2?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=twads&ms=twitter_sn_0917_fundus .
7 “Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the rest of the Caribbean have been devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Since Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, the island lost 100% of its power and electricity (authorities say it could take half a year to restore it), and residents are quickly running out of food and clean water. Lines to get gasoline have stretched for miles, hospitals are destroyed, and cell reception has been unreliable as people try to locate their loved ones. Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and farms have sustained unprecedented damage. Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González remarked, “The devastation has set us back nearly 20 to 30 years.” The recent hurricanes have killed at least 10 people in Puerto Rico and 31 across the Caribbean, and the death toll is expected to rise as lines of communication slowly reopen. While some federal aid has begun to reach Puerto Rico, residents and officials worry that it will only provide short-term relief inadequate for the decades of recovery that it will need. Although Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are US territories, the White House has signaled that it will not request relief funding from Congress until the first or second week of October— a notably slower timeline than the relief process for Texas and Florida. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are home to over 3.5 million US citizens, but these territories’ citizens lack voting representation in Congress and a voice in our government. Congress must act now to pass a robust relief package to protect the lives of these Americans in the midst of a dire humanitarian crisis.” https://5calls.org/issue/recAScXAMMJ3ngb7F
- Action: Contact Peter Welch 802-652-2450 or https://welch.house.gov/contact/email Script: “Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from __. I’m calling to urge Rep. Peter Welch to immediately pass a hurricane relief package for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. It is inexcusable for the federal government to not take swift protective action when millions of Americans are in the midst of a dire humanitarian crisis. Thank you for your time and attention.”
8 It was no secret that hurricane Maria was going to devastate Puerto Rico. Forecasters predicted it. Afterwards, Puerto Rico literally disappeared from satellite photos because there was practically no power on the island. It was obvious that an immediate and large response was needed. But 45 went golfing instead. Now that the press has been able to access the island and reveal just how devastated they are, 45 has begun to get into gear sending help. Unfortunately, his effort is still inadequate, being far less than the efforts made to help Florida and Texas after the recent hurricanes, as well as the efforts made to help Haiti following a recent earthquake. A three star general has confirmed that the resources are inadequate to meet the challenge. In response, 45 has attacked the Puerto Ricans, essentially blaming the victim and suggesting that he might withhold help, a step that would make it that much easier for corporations to continue the economic colonialism that has basically bankrupted the island (including 45’s own bankrupt golf course, which cost Puerto Rico 33 million). (Note: States with more debt than Puerto Rico include both Texas and Florida – but no reference to this was brought up when aid was considered.) Some Congressional Democrats have begun to call for a hearing of 45’s response to the hurricane. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/09/house-democrats-call-for-investigation-of-trumps-puerto-rico-response/ and http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-trump-response-to-puerto-rico-crisis-20170929-story.html and https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/us-responded-to-haiti-quake-more-forcefully-than-to-puerto-rico-disaster/2017/09/28/74fe9c02-a465-11e7-8cfe-d5b912fabc99_story.html?utm_term=.069545df605b and https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/09/28/aid-trickling-into-puerto-rico-but-thousands-supplies-still-stuck-port/711894001/ and http://www.snopes.com/trump-puerto-rico-golf-course/ and https://www.democraticunderground.com/10029656942
- Action: Contact your legislators
- Sanders Local office 802-862-0697 https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/comment
- Leahy: Local office 802-863-2525 https://www.leahy.senate.gov/contact/
- Peter Welch 802-652-2450 or https://welch.house.gov/contact/email
- Script: I am a constituent of the Senator/Representative in Vermont and I’m calling to ask him to support an investigation into the mismanagement in Trump’s response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Puerto Rico. Lives would have been saved if he had acted more quickly and with resources commensurate to other disaster responses. Trump’s response is especially troubling in light of his comments regarding the mayor of San Juan. Compared to his response to the disasters in Texas and Florida, I can’t help but think that his racism is influencing his apathy towards the Puerto Ricans. I would like the Senator/Representative to look into this and to do whatever he can to help Puerto Rico and prevent incidents in the future. Thank you.
9 “The Department of Homeland Security has moved to collect social media information on all immigrants, including permanent residents and naturalized citizens.” https://twitter.com/DHStokyo/status/913299221041704961
- Action: Make a comment protesting this horrible proposed policy: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/09/18/2017-19365/privacy-act-of-1974-system-of-records
10 “Trump has waived The Jones Act for Puerto Rico for only a 10-day period. Puerto Rico is pleading for a 1-year suspension so they can get adequately import supplies and materials for their long recovery. Puerto Rico has been devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The island’s 1.6 million residents have lost power and electricity and are quickly running out of food and clean water. Lines for gasoline stretch for miles, hospitals are destroyed, and cell reception is unreliable. It will take Puerto Rico years to recover from this disaster. Hampering Puerto Rico’s recovery is a 1920s shipping restriction, “The Jones Act,” which requires all goods shipped between ports in the United States are carried by vessels built, owned and operated by Americans. In practice this means those in import-dependent Puerto Rico pay more than twice what neighboring islands pay for goods from the US mainland, including for food, clean water, and energy. Economists estimate that these restrictions cost the Puerto Rican economy hundreds of millions of dollars per year — while these figures are heavy in normal times, they are crippling during disasters and disaster recovery. Senator John McCain has requested the suspension of The Jones Act, stating, “It is unacceptable to force the people of Puerto Rico to pay at least twice as much for food, clean drinking water, supplies and infrastructure due to The Jones Act requirements as they work to recover from this disaster.” Jones Act relief would immediately reduce food and water costs, extend availability of affordable medication, and grant access to international oil markets necessary for restoring the island’s power grid. This is not the time to disadvantage the people of Puerto Rico in service of a WW1 era shipping regulation; if DHS won’t act, Congress should.” https://5calls.org/issue/recdyEYnDUraSOkzA
- Action: Contact your Senator
- Sanders Local office 802-862-0697 https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/comment
- Leahy: Local office 802-863-2525 https://www.leahy.senate.gov/contact/
- Script: “Hello, my name is [NAME], I’m a constituent from __. I’m calling to ask the Senator to support suspending the Jones Act for Puerto Rico for a 1-year period. Trump’s 10-day suspension is not adequate enough time for Puerto Rico to import all of the needed food, supplies, and fuel required to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Thank you for your time.”
11 “Brian Benczkowski has been nominated to lead the Department of Justice Criminal Division, which is responsible for enforcement of all federal criminal law. His nomination is highly concerning given his history with Alfa Bank, the Russian bank under investigation by the FBI for potential connections to the Trump organization. In March of this year, Benczkowski agreed to represent Alfa Bank during the investigation into ties between Alfa Bank servers and the Trump organization. A month later, the Trump administration asked him about his interest in leading the DOJ Criminal Division. Rather than immediately recuse himself from representing Alfa Bank, he continued working with them until June 6, the day he was officially nominated. Benczkowski’s decision to take on, and keep representing, a controversial client with a potential conflict of interest against the American people, casts serious doubt on his judgment. In addition, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee responsible for his approval, asked him if he would recuse himself from current / future cases involving Alfa Bank, as well as the related investigations underway by Special Counsel Mueller. He refused. The Senate will ultimately decide on Benczkowski’s appointment, and Senators needs to hear from their constituents about their opposition to this highly problematic candidate.
- Action: Contact your Senator
- Sanders Local office 802-862-0697 https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/comment
- Leahy: Local office 802-863-2525 https://www.leahy.senate.gov/contact/
- Script: “Hello, my name is [NAME], I’m a constituent from __. I’m calling to express my concern about DOJ Criminal Division nominee Brian Benczkowski, who has a troubling association with Russian bank Alfa Bank. I ask that the vote against his confirmation. We need someone with a demonstrated history of good judgment and lack of conflicts of interests for this crucial position. Thank you for your hard work answering the phones.” Note: Leahy did a great job holding Benczkowski’s feet to the fire during the committee hearing, so consider thanking him for that.
The following items are taken verbatim or nearly verbatim from http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/
11 Action: Advocate for a clear, swift rebuke of the president’s comments regarding San Juan’s mayor. Call: Or email all 3 MoCs (lookup). Script: The president’s bullying of San Juan’s mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, on twitter is insensitive, antagonistic, and disgraceful, especially in light of the climbing death toll. I would like [name] to make a public statement condemning the president’s words and expressing support for our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico.
12 Action: Oppose industry’s practice of influencing environmental policy. (hat tip) Call: Your 2 senators (lookup). Script: Hi I’m from [ZIP]. I was sorry to see the House pass a pro-lobbyist bill, the EPA Science Reform Act, which has now been sent to the Senate. The Union of Concerned Scientists opposes this bill. I know [name] doesn’t want to empower lobbyists and let big money shape environmental policy. Can you tell me whether [name] plans to vote against this bill? Thank you.
13 Thank Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) for supporting an amendment to continue funding the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. I especially appreciate your bipartisan collaboration and advocacy for our planet and its people. Name, state, party. Address (JM): 313 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510 Address (SC): 413 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510 Address (LA): 455 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
14 Action: Advocate for the economic rights of our poorest neighbors. Call: Or write your 2 senators (lookup). Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling about the Republican tax plan. I want to advocate for poor, hardworking Americans who need cuts more than corporations and people earning over $200,000 per year. Advantages like pass-throughs, estate tax breaks, and write-offs for charitable giving only benefit the most affluent. Please let [name] know I expect to see him/her support an ethical, fiscally-responsible tax plan that helps our struggling neighbors, not Trump Tower cronies. Thank you.
15 Action: Oppose House bill reducing access to abortion to 20 weeks. Call: Your 1 House rep (red or blue) this week. Two Dems support it. Script: Hi. I’m calling because I oppose H.R. 36. Despite Republicans’ vision of a small federal government, this bill that invades the doctor-patient relationship, restricts women’s decisions, and violates Roe v. Wade. I would like [name] to vote no on H.R. 36 when it comes up for a vote this week. Thank you.
16 Action: Advocate for existing protections against the discharge of pesticides in waterways (h/t). Call: Your 2 senators (lookup). Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] about the H.R. 953, already passed in the House and now in the Senate for approval. Protecting waterways from the discharge of toxic materials is essential for pristine habitat, healthy oceans, and clean drinking water. It is not a regulatory burden. I would like [name] to vote no H.R. 953. Thank you.
17 Action: Oppose DHS’ proposed social media monitoring of immigrants and citizens. Call: Or email your 3 MoCs (lookup). Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling to express deep concern about the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed policy of monitoring social media of immigrants, their legal guardians, green-card holders, and naturalized citizens. This intrusive, anti-immigrant policy gives carte-blanche access to data that violates citizens’ 4th and 1st amendment rights. Evidence shows that it will not make our country safer. How is [name] opposing this overreach by DHS?
18 Action: Oppose border wall funding tied to Republican DACA fix. Call: Your 2 senators this week. Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling to oppose the Republican SUCCEED Act (S. 1852). I do not—nor will I ever—support any bill that includes funding for a border wall with Mexico. I would like [name] to co-sponsor and vote for the Dream Act (S. 1615) instead. Thanks.
19 Thank Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) for urging the president to stop dragging his feet and to enforce sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Thank you for your bipartisan cooperation and leadership on this important issue. Address (JM): 2201 East Camelback Road, Suite 115, Phoenix, AZ 85016 Address (BC): 100 S. Charles Street, Tower 1, Suite 1710, Baltimore, MD 21201
20 Thank Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) for continuing to work collaboratively on a bipartisan solution to shore up ACA. I appreciate your creativity, cooperation, and collegiality in finding solutions that work for Americans. Address (PM): 402 E. Yakima Ave, Suite 420, Yakima, Washington 98901 Address (LA): 3322 West End Avenue, #120, Nashville, TN 37203
21 Thank Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA) for holding Jared Kushner’s feet to the fire on his undisclosed email account. I appreciate your thoroughness and persistence in getting to the bottom of what happened in the 2016 elections, including the role the president’s son may have played. Address (RB): 151 Patton Avenue, Suite 204, Asheville, NC 28801 Address (MW): 919 E. Main Street, Suite 630, Richmond, VA 23219
22 Thank OMB Dir. Mick Mulvaney for his memo reminding senior officials to honor their fiscal responsibility to taxpayers by choosing commercial travel over private charters—even when approved and within the law. I appreciate your respect for hardworking Americans. Address: Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20503
The following items are taken verbatim or almost verbatim from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/
23 Since its creation by a bipartisan coalition under the Clinton administration, CHIP has been crucial for the health and well-being of millions of American children, their families and their communities. The benefits for families and communities of CHIP are many. For one, CHIP is crucial in providing financial security and prevents families from suffering catastrophic losses. As a block grant, CHIP requires periodic appropriation of funding to maintain the program. The most recent extension, the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act, funded the program through September 2017. Without additional funding, states will run out of money over the next few months. Moreover, without a quick congressional action, states will be confronted with daunting administrative and planning challenges on how to possibly maintain or phase out the program.http://fortune.com/2017/09/27/chip-kids-health-insurance/ Let’s remind our reps to quickly fund CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) to protect the insurance for these children and their families. If we tweet, we can also use this tweetsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1yShbWOXoBeH1hluOxy8IuJtZTtft4EgpDWkzQxTHBmk/edit#gid=0
24 On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Makan Delrahim, Trump’s nominee, to head the Justice Department’s antitrust division https://bloom.bg/2wZqwmm This is especially significant, as the antitrust division is deciding whether to allow an AT&T and Time Warner merger; something that would give AT&T a staggering amount of power. John Oliver addressed this in Last Week Tonight, focusing on corporate consolidation and the dangers it presents http://bit.ly/2wlF3o4 Let’s check it out, then tell the Justice Department not to allow this merger. We can contact the antitrust division directly through e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on the Department of Justice comment line: 202-353-1555
25 Trump has nominated Jeff Mateer to federal court. Mateer, Texas’s First Assistant Attorney General, has described gay marriage as “disgusting,” and referred to transgender individuals as being part of ‘Satan’s plan” http://cnn.it/2wxzKWZhttp://bit.ly/2faeZVW This is not somebody who should be serving in any leadership role, much less that of a district judge. Let’s make sure our Senators oppose Mateer’s confirmation. We can also call Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office to voice our concerns that someone who is so clearly homophobic and bigoted is serving as the First Assistant Attorney General: (800) 252-8011 Office of the Attorney General PO Box 12548 Austin, TX 78711-2548 Or we can call Mateer’s office directly: (512) 463-2191
26 Representative Joe Kennedy, III, along with 77 cosponsors, introduced the Do No Harm Act (H.R. 3222), “To amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to protect civil rights and otherwise prevent meaningful harm to third parties, and for other purposes” http://bit.ly/2xIsYN2 Let’s call the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, and ask that they pass this out of committee. Chairman Steve King: 202.225.4426 Ranking Member Steve Cohen: (202) 225-3265 Let’s also make sure that our Representatives are cosponsoring and supporting this important legislation. Note: Peter Welch is indeed a cosponsor.
27 Even though Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russia investigation, that did not stop him from commenting on the investigation’s coverage by the media http://bit.ly/2wZcU64 Let’s remind Sessions not to overstep the bounds of his recusal, nor use his position to influence the investigation: 202-353-1555 U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001
28 Perhaps showing us their true colors, the Senate quietly passed the CHRONIC Care Act (S. 870) by a voice vote the same day they abandoned the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal/replace the ACA. “The bill’s provisions include expanding a program created by ObamaCare that provides care for seniors in their homes; giving new tools to groups of doctors that come together to coordinate care for a patient, known as Accountable Care Organizations; and expanding the use of telehealth, where doctors use technology to communicate with patients far away.” http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/352637-senate-passes-bipartisan-medicare-reform-bill Let’s thank our senators for working together for the common good and remind them that is why we elected them and that we’d like to see more of this.
29 Before we find ourselves thoroughly enmired in “tax reform,” we must take heed of Trump’s next, more immediate, move. “President Trump failed again this week to fulfill his promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act . . . . Now he is taking aim at President Obama’s central environmental legacy, the Clean Power Plan. The administration has made clear its desire to repeal the Obama energy plan. But what would take its place it remains a mystery.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/28/climate/clean-power-plan.html Let’s remind Scott Pruitt and the EPA in no uncertain terms that their job is to regulate greenhouse gases and protect our health, not cater to industry lobbyists or the president: https://twitter.com/EPAScottPruitt/
30 Ajit Pai is up for reconfirmation to run the Federal Communications Commission, and he needs to lose. His record on the FCC is one of rolling back policies designed to protect internet users, communities of color and poor people. If he remains in his position, he will champion unwinding net neutrality protections and losing loopholes to expand the reach of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, aka Trump TV. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/09/fire-fcc-chairman-ajit-pai-petition-tells-us-senators/ . The net neutrality advocacy group Free Press is organizing people to call their senators and urge them to vote against Pai’s reconfirmation. We can find talking points and be connected to our senators at this link: http://act.freepress.net/call/internet_nn_pai_fire .
31 Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen has caused the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe, and their campaign relies on American-made weapons and refueling provided by the American military. Now, we have an opportunity to put a stop to it. A bipartisan coalition of members of Congress has introduced legislation that would halt American support for the Saudi-led coalition, and under the War Powers Resolution, this measure is guaranteed a vote http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/09/28/lawmakers-demand-u-s-withdrawal-from-saudi-led-war-in-yemen/ Let’s join Win Without War in e-mailing our members of Congress and asking them to support House Resolution 81 and help stop the killing at this link: http://act.winwithoutwar.org/letter/tell-congress-stop-fueling-war-yemen
32 Some of us sports’ fan Rogan’s listers are already boycotting the NFL (for supporting systemic racism and not hiring Kaepernick among other issues like concussions and domestic abuse) and now we are seeing another NCAA basketball scandal with the University of Louisville. Maybe we need a change. Let’s take the time to check out the WNBA. Not only has the league been scandal-free, they have also been on the front lines of activism. In For the Win, WNBA president Lisa Borders says, “Our players have been working in our communities, not just this year or last year. This has been an ongoing effort by the WNBA since our inception. Our players I’m sure will continue this, as will I and all of us that are working at the league.” WBNA finals are currently in progress so now is a great time for us to check out the game with some of their best players. Let’s make an effort to watch and support the WNBA. Game 3 of the Finals tips on Friday (tonight!) in L.A. (9 PM ET, ESPN2) Minnesota Lynx vs Los Angeles Sparks. The series is even at 1-1. Let’s make a plan to follow the WNBA next year, pick “our own” team (local or not), and consider purchasing a season ticket or going to a game or two if they play near us. Note: Now that the right is now calling for boycotts of the NFL, I’m personally unsure about the best way to show my support for Kaepernick and the efforts to push for fair and impartial policing.
33 Audubon Florida reports “Audubon scientists are saddened to report all of the 44 active nests of the endangered Everglade Snail Kite on Lake Okeechobee were lost due to Hurricane Irma’s high winds and high rainfall. Lake Okeechobee, Florida’s largest lake, is a stronghold for the species found only in the Sunshine State. Post-Irma assessments of the Lake indicate that many adults and juveniles in the area rode out the storm and survived, but sadly, nests with eggs or flightless babies perished.” If we can, let’s help Florida Audubon by donating to help birds and Florida’s special places recover from Hurricane Irma.
34 The Director of the Michigan State Police said in a Facebook post that those who kneel during the National Anthem are “degenerates”: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2017/09/26/nfl-anthem-protest-michigan-state-police/705511001/ Let’s let Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue know that speaking out about police violence against African Americans does not make one a degenerate: Michigan State Police Headquarters, P.O. Box 30634 Lansing, Michigan 48909.
35 “Royal Caribbean is using a cruise ship to help evacuate people from Puerto Rico and deliver needed supplies to Caribbean islands. The cruise line announced on Tuesday that it is canceling its September 30 Adventure of the Seas trip so it can use the ship to help victims of Hurricane Maria.” http://ktla.com/2017/09/27/royal-caribbean-sends-cruise-ship-to-help-puerto-rico/ Let’s thank these generous people: Royal Caribbean, Miami Corporate Offices, 1050, 1080 & 1040 Caribbean Way, Miami, FL 33132
36 “Twitter said Thursday it had shut down 201 accounts that were tied to the same Russian operatives who posted thousands of political ads on Facebook, but the effort frustrated lawmakers who said the problem is far broader than the company appeared to know.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/twitter-finds-hundreds-of-accounts-tied-to-russian-operatives/2017/09/28/6cf26f7e-a484-11e7-ade1-76d061d56efa_story.html?utm_term=.6f26f3ddaf7a This on the heels of Facebook which, “Bowing to pressure from lawmakers and the public, the company said it will provide the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency to congressional investigators, while also pledging to make political advertising on its platform more “transparent.”” http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/facebook-release-russia-ads-congress-amid-pressure-50010940 Let’s contact both Twitter and Facebook to let them know how much we value their service and that expect them to maintain integrity. Facebook: 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025, and Twitter: 1355 Market St #900, San Francisco, CA 94103
37 “In the United States, outdoor burning and detonation is still the military’s leading method for dealing with munitions and the associated hazardous waste….[There are at least] 51 active sites across the country where the Department of Defense or its contractors are today burning or detonating munitions or raw explosives in the open air, often in close proximity to schools, homes, and water supplies….[T]he military’s open burn program not only results in extensive contamination, but ‘staggering’ cleanup costs that can reach more than half a billion dollars in a single site.” https://www.propublica.org/article/military-pollution-open-burns-radford-virginia Let’s tell our MoCs that it’s long past time for the US to join its Western allies in destroying aging weaponry without emitting toxic waste.
38 The Elder Abuse Protection and Prosecution Act, bipartisan legislation to protect seniors from neglect and financial exploitation has passed the Senate as part of the Court-Appointed Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act that would help crack down on elder abuse by strengthening oversight and accountability for guardians and conservators. https://www.klobuchar.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2017/8/klobuchar-cornyn-bipartisan-bill-to-protect-seniors-from-abuse-and-financial-exploitation-passes-senate Let’s contact our representative asking support of S178 as it heads to the House for a vote. Note: Leahy is a cosponsor, but not Sanders.
39 As the world sees an extraordinary number of refugees—especially from war-torn areas like Iraq and Syria—Trump intends to set the ceiling for refugees to the US at 45,000, the lowest number since the signing of the 1980 US Refugee Act. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-refugees/trump-expected-to-set-u-s-refugee-cap-at-45000-sources-idUSKCN1C12RB He will not relent on the Oct. 5th deadline for applying for DACA renewal, and he has added Chad, North Korea, and government officials from Venezuela to his now-indefinite travel ban, in hopes that we will be fooled into thinking that it is not directed at Muslims: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/24/politics/trump-travel-restrictions/index.html Let’s let the White House and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson what we think of these attacks on immigrants: 202-647-4000 or U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520
40 Now more than ever, we are in need of broad-based change to our political institutions, from campaign finance reform to redistricting reform to automatic voter registration to formally requiring the President to put their assets in a blind trust. That’s why Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representative David Price (D-NC) have joined together with reform organizations to introduce the We The People Democracy Reform Act, which takes a comprehensive approach to the systemic issues we face (https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-09-27/political-reformers-have-a-new-asset-trump). Let’s show Congress that this is what Americans demand, not more attempts to take away our health care, and ask them to co-sponsor and publicly declare their support for this legislation. (see https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3537?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22we+the+people+democracy+reform+act%22%5D%7D&r=2)
41 Trump has nominated Eric Dreiband, who has a long history of protecting companies from being held accountable for violating civil rights, to be the assistant attorney general in charge of enforcing our civil rights laws (http://www.npr.org/2017/09/06/548985268/civil-rights-division-nominee-eric-dreiband-appears-before-senate-panel). The Trump Administration may not be committed to civil rights, but our country is, and our senators need to know that before they vote on this nomination. Let’s tell them to oppose Dreiband’s confirmation and to ask the White House to send them a nominee who we can trust with the Civil Rights Division.
42 While Mueller is conducting his investigation we all know that more is needed. He is bound by special counsel regulations. “That is why we need a bipartisan commission to investigate the matter and produce a comprehensive public report.” http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/352289-mueller-isnt-all-powerful-we-need-a-bipartisan-election-interference Let’s use this guide from Postcards for America to understand the need so we can contact all our federal legislators and ask for such a commission. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sHuQJGvbSwdOrweIk7m8dMoUsbS6fdIbpAi_8PLARik/edit
43 “Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban lent the team plane to point guard J.J. Barea to fly food, water, and supplies to Puerto Rico, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. Barea, who is from Puerto Rico, set up a relief fund for Hurricane Maria victims with his wife, Puerto Rican actress and model Viviana Ortiz. They have raised over $140,000, according to MacMahon. Barea reportedly left Monday after communicating with his parents for the first time Sunday and learning where help was most needed. He’ll reportedly return on the team plane Tuesday night. ” http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-cuban-mavericks-plane-jj-barea-puerto-rico-relief-2017-9 Let’s thank Mark Cuban via Twitter @mcuban or a message on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/markcuban/ or write to him in care of Dallas Mavericks, The Pavilion, 2909 Taylor Street, Dallas, TX 75226. We can also thank J.J Barea via Twitter @jjbareapr or at the Dallas Maverick’s address.
44 Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said that 1/3 of employees at the Department of the Interior are “not loyal” to Trump or the flag: https://apnews.com/570c910d21be41869f76d45a2c55c359/Zinke:-One-third-of-Interior-employees-not-loyal-to-Trump Let’s remind Zinke that disagreeing with his abhorrent efforts does not mean they lack loyalty to this country: https://www.doi.gov/contact-us
45 Instead of taking real action to keep us safe from terrorism, Trump is continuing to double down on bigotry and fear-mongering by expanding his Islamophobic travel ban (http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/24/politics/trump-travel-restrictions/index.html). With all that’s going on right now, it’s important to make sure Congress gets the message that we’ve noticed and we want it stopped, not expanded. Let’s contact our reps and tell them that this is un-American and we don’t want a penny of our tax dollars spent on it. We’re calling on them to defund enforcement of this ban in the appropriations process.
Big Oil is renewing its push to destroy the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with Trump’s active assistance. We need to make it clear to Congress that we want this option off the table now and for good (http://www.alaskapublic.org/2017/09/15/trump-administration-moves-to-lift-ban-on-oil-assessment-in-anwr/). Let’s contact our reps and ask them to oppose any bill that would allow the administration to drill in ANWR and to support H.R. 1889, which would block drilling permanently by designating ANWR as protected wilderness. And let’s tell our senators to support the ban on drilling ANWR in S. 820. (H/t Chop Wood Carry Water)
46 Propaganda watch. Sinclair Broadcast Group, the giant pro-Trump right-wing media organization, is waiting for approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media Company. https://www.exposedbycmd.org/2017/09/25/trump-ally-sinclair-moves-consolidate-tv-empire/ If the merger goes through, Sinclair will reach 72% of American households nationwide. https://savelocalmedia.com/ According to the Coalition to Save Local Media, “Sinclair has a record of picking political winners and losers at their national headquarters and promoting them instead of allowing their local stations to be fair and balanced. Their expanded power and reach will cause them to become more engaged in political news stories and even play favorites in Republican primaries.” https://savelocalmedia.com/facts/Let’s tell our MoCs that Congress must reject the Sinclair-Tribune merger by using this form: https://savelocalmedia.com/take-action/
47 Citizens have been engaged in protests in St. Louis since a September 15th verdict which acquitted a former St. Louis police officer of murder. While the case was considered by many to be a straightforward case of murder, with premeditation, the judge stated that the prosecution had not met their burden of proof, especially in proving that the victim did not have a firearm, and noted “”The Court observes, based on its nearly thirty years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly.” Since the verdict, there have been protests, met with militarized police response, which has been compared to the events of Ferguson http://rol.st/2xyK9kj Protesters are now asking for interim St. Louis police chief Larry O’Toole’s resignation, after his handling of the protests, as well as the possible cover up of a black officer who was shot by a white officer, as well as an incident in which an undercover black officer who was arrested during the protests http://bit.ly/2wQQSad Meanwhile, the St. Louis mayor is standing behind O’Toole’s inflammatory remarks regarding the protests http://bit.ly/2xxTQxp Let’s stand behind the citizens of St. Louis as they fight for racial justice. We can call or mail St. Louis mayor Lyda Krewson at her office to ask for Chief O’Toole’s resignation: (314) 622-3201 1200 Market City Hall, Room 200 We can also consider donating to the St. Louis Legal Fund, to contribute towards the activists’ court and legal costs. http://bit.ly/2wU0Oe9
48 Steve Kerr, coach of the NBA Golden State Warriors, responded to Trump’s withdrawal of the Warriors’ invitation to the White House. We can read his response at Sports Illustrated. Let’s stand behind Kerr’s message to Trump of “Don’t divide us. Bring us together.” Let’s tell the White House on their website contact form. We can thank Steve Kerr for his words at: Steve Kerr, c/o Golden State Warriors, 1011 Broadway, Oakland CA 94607.
49 Department of Justice is looking into ADA violations for those in Adult Guardianships. The moment a judge signs or upholds an involuntary guardianship they have designated your loved one “disabled”. These individuals are protected by the ordering court as well as the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1993 and the Olmstead Act provision enacted in 1999 to further protect the disabled unlawfully institutionalized or isolated. Most adult guardianship courts completely ignore these obligations. If we know someone who fits one of these profiles, we can file a complaint with the DOJ: 1) Victims who are living and have been INVOLUNTARILY placed in a professional, public or private, guardianship, especially when advance directives or state law designate a family member or friend to serve, or, 2) Victims, living or deceased, who were removed from their residences, INSTITUTIONALIZED AND ISOLATED from legitimate family or friends by the guardian. (Olmstead Act Violations). We can use this form to file suspected violations: https://www.ada.gov/complaint/form.php
50 Last Sunday night, the Trump administration announced a new travel ban that seems designed to not be able to bear up under the moniker of “Muslim ban” because of the addition of North Korea and some smaller carve-outs in Venezuela: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/352179-trump-imposes-new-travel-restrictions-on-8-countries However, it remains a chaotic wolf in wolf clothing. Please express your concerns to your MoC about this Travel Ban 3.0.
51 Thomas Farr was blocked twice by the Senate when G.W. Bush nominated him to a judicial post. “Based on his outspoken history and aggressive litigious style of opposing African Americans and the rights of the vulnerable, African Americans have no trust or faith that Thomas Farr can be independent, fair, and impartial in serving as a member of the esteemed federal judiciary.” Let’s let the Senate Judiciary Committee know that we want Farr blocked again: https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/members
52 The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act (H.R. 3668) was passed out of committee and now heads to the House floor for a vote. The NRA-supported measure would allow hunting and sports shooting on federal lands, such as water developments, national monuments and wilderness areas, would require national parks to allow “volunteer” shooters to assist in wildlife management, and would have manufacturers, rather than the Attorney General, decide exactly what Armor Piercing Bullets are. In addition to these alarming provisions that weaken federal gun laws, the SHARE Act includes one of the NRA’s top legislative priorities, the Hearing Protection Act, which would exempt silencers from current firearms restrictions and require the government to destroy all records on silencer owners. According to Americans for Responsible Solutions, silencers disguise the sound of gunfire, hide the shooter’s location, threaten the safety of law enforcement, diminish the effectiveness of gunshot detection technology, and make it difficult for people to know whether to drop down or run. Everytown for Gun Safety says, “The gun silencers provision of the SHARE Act would make it easier for felons, domestic abusers and people with dangerous mental illnesses to buy gun silencers.” http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/13/gun-silencers-congress-republicans-242673 Let’s contact our representative to oppose this bill.
53 Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, who seems to be angling for the “let them eat cake” award this year, has asserted that NFL players can “do free speech on their own time”: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/24/nfl-players-mnuchin-trump-free-speech-243065 Let’s encourage Secretary Mnuchin to spend some quality time reading the Constitution and remind him that NFL players are private citizens: https://www.treasury.gov/connect/Pages/contact-us.aspx
54 “U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) filed legislation (S1834) to create a national advisory committee to look for ways to better prepare and care for our nation’s seniors during a disaster, such as Hurricane Irma, which led to the deaths of eight seniors in a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida. The bipartisan bill – cosponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA) – would require the secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a National Advisory Committee on Seniors and Disasters.” Read the full story and Nelson’s press release at the Tampa Bay Times. Let’s tell our own Senators we want them to co-sponsor S1834. Let’s protect our vulnerable senior citizens.
55 “A [Boston Globe] Spotlight Team investigation has found that lax oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration, over decades, has made it easy for drug dealers, corrupt politicians, and even people with links to terrorism to register private planes and conceal their identities.” http://apps.bostonglobe.com/spotlight/secrets-in-the-sky/series/part-one/ and http://apps.bostonglobe.com/spotlight/secrets-in-the-sky/series/part-two/ . Let’s do the following:
- Tell our MoCs that we want them to pass legislation that will force the FAA to clean up its act.
- Tell staffers for the US House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee to fix this problem. Matt Sturges, Staff Director, 202-225-9446 and Aviation Staff Director Holly Woodruff Lyons, 202-226-3220https://transportation.house.gov/contact/staff-contact-list.htm
- Call the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation and demand the same. 202-224-1251(Majority), 202-224-0411 (Minority)
56 Let’s also thank Colin Kaepernick himself for standing up for what he believes in and donating to causes that support his values. Let’s also thank his mom, Teresa Kaepernick, for her tweet back to Trump. http://www.businessinsider.com/colin-kaepernick-mom-responds-to-trump-2017-9 We can write to both of them here: c/o Jeff Nalley, Select Sports Group, 2700 Post Oak Blvd, Suite 1450, Houston, TX 77056
57 “NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Monday quoted John F. Kennedy on “violent revolution” after President Trump attacked National Football League (NFL) players who kneel during the national anthem. “All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests,” he tweeted Monday. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK.” Several NASCAR team owners said Sunday they wouldn’t condone drivers protesting during the national anthem.,” Petty, a NASCAR team owner said he’d fire anyone who protested. http://thehill.com/homenews/news/352202-dale-earnhardt-jr-quotes-jfk-on-violent-revolution-after-trump-attacks-on-nfl Let’s send a thank you tweet to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for his free right to protest tweet. Contact: @DaleJr on Twitter, comment on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DaleJr, or email him in care of his booking agent: email@example.com
58 “The Trump administration has come under attack from critics who say that it is intentionally undermining the Affordable Care Act, through regulatory actions. It shortened the enrollment period, withdrew money for advertising and cut the budget for navigator groups, which help people shop for plans. And now HHS is closing the site for a substantial portion of each weekend — for maintenance, officials said. That is the same time that many working patients — the prime target group for ACA insurance — could be shopping for their insurance, critics noted.” http://khn.org/news/hhs-to-close-insurance-exchange-for-12-hours-on-sundays-during-enrollment/ Let’s make sure to spread the news to our family, friends and on our FB pages so people know about the enrollment period and maintenance. Then, let’s register our dislike with the Dept. of Health and Human Services: https://www.hhs.gov/about/contact-us
59 The Saudi military campaign in Yemen has led to thousands of civilian deaths directly and helped spark a famine that is putting countless lives at risk. Yet the United States continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and even helps refuel their jets (http://www.newsweek.com/us-made-bomb-killed-children-yemen-so-trump-might-be-complicit-war-crimes-669240). Let’s contact our reps and ask them to co-sponsor of the Khanna-Jones-Pocan resolution to stop refueling the Saudis in Yemen. We cannot allow ourselves to remain complicit in these war crimes.
60 In May 2017 “Congressmen Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) introduced the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act (H.R. 2670). The bill would close three potentially fatal loopholes in the federal law that allow convicted stalkers and those under temporary restraining orders to buy firearms, while also expanding the definition of “intimate partner” to provide protections to those subjected to physical abuse by current or former dating partners. his bill was recently introduced and is co-sponsored by 48 other Representatives.” https://anthonybrown.house.gov/media/press-releases/congressman-brown-introduces-bill-close-loopholes-domestic-violence-and Let’s tell our reps that we support to this bill to protect women.
61 Trump had a busy week inflaming racial tensions and reasserting that he is a white supremacist by jumping into the fray with professional athletes like Colin Kaepernick and Stephen Curry. Here is a recap: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-sports/trump-clashes-with-sports-world-over-player-protests-invitation-idUSKCN1BY0SX and a powerful op-ed in The New Yorker about his racial demagoguery: https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-racial-demagoguery-of-trumps-assaults-on-colin-kaepernick-and-steph-curry/amp If we are a football fan, please be in touch with our favorite team to let them know that we are “taking a knee” with Kaepernick. And then let’s send postcards to Trump to let him know that he cannot fire us and that we will not quit: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500
62 From Postcards for Voters: There is a new and easier way to keep up with the various campaigns around the country that need postcards written to voters. “Amplify will make it even easier for you to stay plugged in to which candidate needs postcards on any given day. You can also cheer on other volunteer writers, be reminded of ways to help Postcards to Voters grow, and keep track of your weekly streaks of activism with us. From your phone, visit https://getamplify.org/install to install the free Amplify app on your phone. When asked, use the Postcards to Voters invitation code: 051-716-000”
63 Resistors who are employed at a traditional workplace: Gather together with your fellow co-workers and ask your CEO/President to publicly commit to diversity and inclusion at your company/institution of learning/non-profit/ by signing on to the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion collaborative. https://www.ceoaction.com Alternatively, create grassroots employee-driven change by pushing for one of the many actions in their inclusivity database. https://www.ceoaction.com/actions/
64 Participant Media, Open Road Films, and First Look Media helped bring the Academy Award-winning investigative journalism drama “Spotlight” to cinemas. They also created the Spotlight Investigative Journalism Fellowship, whose first fellows completed their work this year and second fellowships are underway. https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/09/23/out-spotlight-movie-comes-spotlight-fellowship/MRHvYglajXOLNZL6SPrzvI/story.html In this time when quality journalism is under attack at the highest levels of our government, let’s thank them for their support of long-term, in-depth investigative journalism. 1) Participant Media: https://www.participantmedia.com/contact, 2) Open Road Films: Media Contact Liz Biber: firstname.lastname@example.org, and 3) First Look Media: https://www.firstlook.media/contact
- Tell the Senate: Do not confirm Trump’s FCC chairman https://act.credoaction.com/sign/fire-pai
- Petition to stand with Sen. Warren: Demand freedom from Equifax exploitation https://act.credoaction.com/sign/equifax
- Being relatively new to Vermont, I’m not sure how independent this agency is, or how much they’re really devoted to climate justice, but Efficiency Vermont is looking for feedback if you’re interested/familiar with them: HTTP://PORCH.LY/EVTSURVEYTHRUOCT12/2718/
- Join Common Cause in calling for a stop to the monopolistic Sinclair merger which is spreading right wing propaganda unchecked across the country https://secure2.convio.net/comcau/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=00000000.app205b?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=2221&s_src=2221&s_subsrc=moveon&NONCE_TOKEN=3F4A0433F2738E6FA81FA88324B12264
- “Help the people of Puerto Rico immediately by moving FEMA into meaningful action, cancelling Puerto Rico’s massive debt, and permanently ending the Jones Act.” https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/puerto-rico-is-my-home?source=homepage
The following suggestions are taken verbatim from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/
- Fox 2 Now St. Louis wants to know what we think about NFL players kneeling during the anthem: http://fox2now.com/2017/09/25/poll-how-do-you-feel-about-nfl-players-kneeling-during-the-national-anthem/
- “Pope Francis has been a vocal supporter of the need for climate action, making him a respected leader to Catholics and people of other faiths alike. We know the Pope believes in the need to phase-out fossil fuels, so this week we’re joiningorg in calling on him to divest. Taking the Vatican’s assets out of any coal, oil or gas investments would be consistent with Pope Francis’s call.” Let’s join Years of Living Dangerously and National Geographic Channel in calling on Pope Francis to divest the Vatican of fossil fuels by signing their petition.
- Let’s join Save the Children and urge Congress to publicly oppose the Refugee Resettlement Cap: https://action.savethechildrenactionnetwork.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=23329
- “One of our proudest legacies as Americans is welcoming those who need refuge. For decades, we’ve safely given refuge to families who fear for their lives and have nowhere else to turn.” Trump’s new travel ban, supported by some in Congress, ignores all those who have been fleeing danger and living in camps. Let’s join Oxfam and tell Trump and Congress that welcoming refugees is an American value! https://secure3.oxfamamerica.org/page/speakout/americans-welcome-refugees
- Trump’s NAFTA renegotiation plan would make it easier for multinational fossil fuel companies to harm public health while making even bigger profits. This corporate power grab is formally called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). Let’s add our name to demand that any North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation removes the corporate power grab known as ISDS: https://petitions.signforgood.com/EndISDS
- “ACT for America is the country’s largest anti-Muslim hate group, and they work tirelessly to undermine Muslim communities and our allies. They support a broad racist, anti-Muslim, and White Nationalist agenda—not just the Muslim Ban, but a wall on the US-Mexico border, and the ending of DACA, too. At their last national event back in June, ACT for America was joined by members of Identity Evropa and Vanguard America—the same groups involved in the deadly neo-Nazi riot in Charlottesville.1 Now, ACT is planning their annual conference next weekend (October 2nd and 3rd)—at the Marriott in Arlington, VA.” Let’s ask Marriot hotels not to host this hate group for meetings of any kind: https://act.mpowerchange.org/sign/marriott-act-petition
- “The Myanmar military and militia groups are deliberately and systematically targeting the Rohingya Muslim population — attempting to kill, injure, and remove an entire population. This is ethnic cleansing” Let’s sign the petition by SumOfUscalling for other governments to stop providing arms to Myanmar while this continues: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/stop-ethnic-cleansing-rohingya-muslims-in-myanmar
- Sinclair Broadcasting Group is “the most dangerous company most Americans haven’t heard of,” in the words of former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. “No one company should have such power over the news and information that citizens must have.” But that’s exactly what will happen if Sinclair’s bid to purchase Tribune Media is allowed to go through. Sinclair already owns 173 local TV stations – more than any other company in the United States. If allowed to buy Tribune Media, Sinclair will have access to 72% of the American local TV news market – a veritable monopoly. Here’s what Bill Moyer’s team thinks about the merger: http://billmoyers.com/story/sinclair-tribune-merger-rotten-deal/ Let’s join Demand Progress in asking the Dept. of Justice to stop this merger: http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/tell-department-justice-block-sinclair-tribune-merger
GROUPS TO FOLLOW/SUPPORT (List of Vermont-based activism/political groups https://vtactivist.org/organizations/)
The focus on special elections in red states has yielded some great wins for the Democrats, but they’re having trouble paying their bills in Vermont. The Vermont party Chairman, Faisal Gill, has pointed out that people want to see more for their money. So he’s been trying to move towards more outreach. Instead of just focusing on getting people elected, he and other representatives of the party have been meeting local groups, like Castleton Indivisible, and holding forums, like the Healthcare Forum in Rutland City a few weeks ago. But right now, the party is facing problems paying their staff as well as their regular bills. To help, please make a donation to https://vtdemocrats.ngpvanhost.com/donate
From Front Porch Forum: “As our neighbors to the south respond and begin to recover from the effects of recent hurricanes, many of us are thinking about how we can best prepare for emergencies that might come our way here in Vermont. You can help your community prepare for and respond to emergencies by joining your local Vermont Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) unit. MRC units are community-based groups of volunteers who supplement local emergency and public health resources with their existing skills. Volunteers can be deployed locally in the event of an emergency, like Tropical Storm Irene, support first aid stations at state and local events, educate community members on preparedness, and more. MRC volunteers can also take advantage of training and educational opportunities that happen throughout the year. Hear one volunteer’s story: https://youtu.be/-Fibe1I9Oas Learn more & join: http://www.oncallforvt.org/medical-reserve-corps/ ”
Recommended by Jen Hofmann: Support any of these agencies bringing urgent assistance to Puerto Rico.
- Puerto Rico Relief Fund
- Hurricane Maria Community Recovery and Relief Fund
- United for Puerto Rico (PR first lady’s fund)
From http://roganslist.blogspot.com: “Many of us are wondering how we can help the people of Mexico who are recovering from the earthquake. Oxfam is a reputable organization and “100% of funds designated for the earthquake in Mexico will be used for support services and relief and recovery efforts for affected areas.” Let’s donate here: https://secure2.oxfamamerica.org/page/content/emergency_mexico/”
An article on the financial situation for the Vermont Democratic Party and Rights and Democracy (RAD): https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/dems-depleted-vermont-democrats-facing-financial-woes/Content?oid=8501907 Note: A representative of RAD has said to me that this article is being somewhat unfair with regard to the question of RAD’s transparency on financial contributions. Admittedly, I’m biased – I go to RAD meetings, support their platform, and appreciate their assistance in organizing local events. They even have a campaign to get big money out of politics! For these reasons, I don’t care very much where their money comes from. But this is an issue – Faisal Gill told Castleton Indivisible that he too would like to get big money out of politics, but that right now it’s just not feasible to elect candidates without it. I think it’s worth discussing these issues, and some of you may have seen this article already. So I’ve included it here with the hope that you’ll consider coming to a RAD meeting and/or a Democratic meeting (whether or not you’re a Democrat) to discuss these issues further.
Article about what it will take to clean-up Vermont’s waters: https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/26/forum-addresses-clean-water-challenges/#.WdEQ_ltSzIU
Compelling opinion piece from a local about the controversy over kneeling during the National Anthem: http://www.rutlandherald.com/articles/taking-a-knee/
An article on the near-lynching of an 8 year-old child in Claremont, NH – with some insight from a Southern Poverty Law Center expert on the dangerous role of social media as a contributing factor in the radicalization of children who don’t have the maturity to judge what they’re seeing/hearing in a responsible manner. I’m not an expert in these issues, but I disagree with the recommendations of the article. I want the youths responsible for this act to see court. The author of the article is more confident than I am that alternatives to a traditional court trial can be found. He provides evidence as to their effectiveness, but I think this sends a bad message to the public, is a disservice to the victim, and will be ineffective in redressing the wrongdoers’ behavior. I’m open to the possibility that I’m wrong, especially if a court trial isn’t in the best interests of the victim’s recovery. Whatever happens, I think that we need to continue following this case to ensure that the victim gets what he needs and cases like this are averted in the future. http://www.vnews.com/How-Claremont-Should-Deal-With-Boys-in-Alleged-Racial-Incident-12720017 For the New England Conference of the NAACP’s statement on this incident, see https://naacprutland.org/