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

If you commented in Disqus, at http://VPR.net  or any other site, from 2007-2012, your email address may have been exposed.” https://twitter.com/vprnet/status/918487892464414722  For more information https://blog.disqus.com/security-alert-user-info-breach

UPCOMING EVENTS

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

 

  • Tuesday Oct 17
    • Nel Noddings Talk at 4 pm, at Green Mountain College, East room of Withey Hall (The same building as the dining room) – Nel Noddings, an American feminist, educationalist, and philosopher, will be speaking at an event that is free and open to the public at Green Mountain College.
    • 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
    • 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.”

 

 

  • 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 – “The reorganization meeting is an especially important meeting to attend. It only happens once every two years, and we will elect our executive committee members, elect our representatives to the Vermont Democratic Party, and discuss where our party is headed in the coming months and years.
      For those of you who were recently elected as representatives or alternates at the town level, please come vote! Town organization is crucial because only organized towns can legally raise money, help fill elected official vacancies and send members to attend state and national conventions. Organized towns help build and cultivate leadership at the local level, which influences the core foundation for our success statewide and as a Party. We ask you to please take just a couple hours out of your day to help make these important decisions, and join us at the Leahy 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

 

  • Monday Oct 23 Earth Matters 350VT TD Bank Rally 11:30 am – 1 pm at TD Bank, Bonnet Street, Manchester Center, VT – “Between October 23rd – 25th, ninety-two of the world’s largest banks will meet in Brazil to discuss policies on the climate and Indigenous People’s rights. Please join Earth Matters on October 23rd, 11:30 – 1:00, outside TD Bank on Bonnet Street, Manchester to “Divest the Globe” and demand divestment from all funding of the fossil fuel industry.  Bring signs.  TD Bank is the one of the largest investors of the DAPL and Keystone XL pipelines, which carry environmentally damaging tar sands oil across the USA.” https://actionnetwork.org/events/earth-matters-350vt-td-bank-rally?referrer=anne-dolivo&source=direct_link

 

  • Tuesday Oct 24 from 5:30-7:30 pm Sex, Politics and Cocktails in Rutland at Southside Steakhouse, 170 South Main Street, Rutland – “Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund IE PAC’s annual fundraiser and celebration of state sexual and reproductive health care champions. Come together to honor our amazing Choice Champions and to support our important electoral work to protect access for the 19,000 Vermonters that depend upon Planned Parenthood’s expert, essential, and life-saving health services and education.” General tickets: $25, supporter: $100, host committee: $250. http://www.ppaction.org/site/Calendar?id=131931&view=Detail

 

  • Thursday Oct 26 Progressive Party Rutland County Meeting – at 7 pm at the Farmers Food Center at 152 West St, Rutland City – with Lt. Governor Zuckerman and Rep. Robin Chesnut-Tangerman

 

  • 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.

 

  • Saturday Oct 28
    • 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)
    • Halloween Parade – Rutland County Democrats invite everyone, regardless of party or politics, to join in a celebration of Freedom and Unity. Come with your posters and regalia celebrating inclusion and diversity, from your Women’s March pink hats to your Black Lives Matter t-shirts: from your climate and economic justice signs to your #NoBanNoWallNoRaids posters and your Progressive banners. This is about putting country over party, and celebrating the strength of a nation that’s built on diversity. Join us and show the power of our faith in Freedom and Unity!

 

  • Sunday Oct 29 at 3 pm Shrewsbury VT to San Salvador PR: A Concert to Help Rebuild in Puerto Rico with the Shrewsbury Singers, led by Licia Gambino-Hamilton; the Shrewsbury Community Blues Band, led by Marcos Levy; jazz pianist Eric Hangen and singer Heidi Vasquez-Garcia, and more. Tax-exempt donations will go to an organization with low overhead in PR called Pathstone; checks to COSS (Communidad Organized de San Salvador) will go directly to the target town, where we have contacts. Because the need for basic supplies remains acute, especially in rural areas, and because the U.S. government appears to minimize the situation, Shrewsbury community members have organized this effort, in cooperation with musician Eric Hangen and his wife Heidie Vasquez-Garcia, who has family (including her mother and two aunts) in Puerto Rico. Please call Joan Aleshire (802 492-3550) for information.

 

 

  • Thursday Nov 2 Women’s Summit 8 a.m.–3 p.m at Dudley H. Davis Center, University of Vermont.

 

 

  • Thursday Nov 2 – 13th film showing at 6 pm at Castleton University, 86 Seminary St., Castleton – “Join us for a showing of the film 13th, an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality. The film will be followed by a moderated discussion with light refreshments.” https://www.facebook.com/events/514763572249405/

 

  • Wednesday Nov 8 Rutland NAACP Meeting at 7 pm at Leahy Center, Rutland Regional Medical Center

 

  • 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

 

VERMONT-RELATED ITEMS (Commonly used contacts can be found here: https://mindsworth.blog/2017/07/14/vermont-important-contacts/; A list of Vermont-based activism/political groups can be found here: https://vtactivist.org/organizations/)

1 “The Department of Motor Vehicles is considering adding a third option for people when they choose a gender to appear on their driver’s license.” http://digital.vpr.net/post/should-vermont-add-third-gender-option-drivers-licenses#stream/0

  • Action: Contact Department of Motor Vehicle Commissioner Robert Ide expressing your support for the addition of a third option on the Vermont driver’s license for individuals who identify as non-binary: Department of Motor Vehicle Commissioner Robert Ide, 120 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05603-0001 or http://dmv.vermont.gov/contact or 802-828-2011

2 Vox reports that the death toll in Puerto Rico is actually much higher than is being reported. https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/10/11/16424356/puerto-rico-official-hurricane-maria-death-toll There are some things that Vermonters can do!

3 A previous newsletter questioned the suitability of Julie Moore for her current position as secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources in light of her refusal to implement clean-up projects despite the apparent availability of funds. Moore wrote a rebuttal to the VTDigger article that prompted these concerns: https://vtdigger.org/2017/10/05/julie-moore-vermont-not-wavering-clean-water/ However, Moore’s comments at a recent hearing raise questions as to her understanding of recent water quality problems. “Vermont’s degraded water quality was on display once again this year in late summer when significant blue-green algae blooms sprouted in Lake Champlain and Lake Carmi. Moore attributed those blooms to the weather. A cold, wet spring and an unusually warm late summer stirred phosphorus from long-existing sediment on the lake bottoms. James Ehlers, a water-quality advocate who is a Democratic gubernatorial candidate running against Scott in the 2018 election, was irked by those comments as he sat silently in the audience Tuesday night. Afterward, Ehlers said, “It’s absurd. The rain and snow don’t cause pollution. Bad industrial dairy practices do.”” https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/10/11/vermont-senators-press-natural-resources-head-on-lake-funding?utm_content=buffer129c9&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

  • Action: Share your concerns on Moore’s approach to water quality issues in Vermont: Julie Moore, Secretary of Agency of Natural Resources, 1 National Life Drive, Davis 2, Montpelier VT 05620-3901 or 802-828-1294 or moore@vermont.gov

4 The ACLU of Vermont and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Freedom on Information Committee are studying what it’s like to request, receive, fight for, and/or be denied access to public records in Vermont, because they want to know if and how these experiences can be improved.

  • Action: If you have requested or received public records in Vermont, contact Hilary Niles at h@nilesmedia.com or 802-798-2535 to discuss your experience.

5 A Seven Days article this week about a woman who was murdered by her husband included the shocking statistic that 49% of adult homicides in Vermont between 1994 and 2016 were related to domestic violence. https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/til-death-do-us-part-maidstones-grisly-murder-suicide-was-domestic-violence/Content?oid=8970899 This article comes on the heel of revelations about rampant sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood.     https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/us/harvey-weinstein-harassment-allegations.html  These revelation spurred a heated controversy over “who knew” and may have helped to cover for this behavior in Hollywood.   https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/oct/9/matt-damon-russell-crowe-lobbied-new-york-times-ki/  A disturbing off-shoot of this controversy involves blaming the victim—levying blame at the women who were victims and didn’t speak up. As the Weinstein incident shows, victims don’t speak up because they will be blamed and/or not believed and/or lose their job/friends/family. This is real. And it shouldn’t be. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/10/11/women-speak-up-harvey-weinstein_a_23239859/  What’s more, sexual assault/harassment and domestic violence isn’t gender-specific. Men can be victims too, and there’s no shame in admitting it. https://www.rainn.org/articles/sexual-assault-men-and-boys

6 “It’s been clear from the beginning the Trump administration has no intention of taking the action we need on climate change, and this week’s leak revealing they intend to destroy the Clean Power Plan confirms we can’t trust them (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/06/epa-clean-power-plan-repeal-243535). But this rule was designed to allow states to reduce emissions in the way that worked best for them, and the states can still follow through on it. Let’s contact our governors and let them know that we want them to work to reach the standards set by the Clean Power Plan even if Trump and Pruitt abandon it.” http://roganslist.blogspot.com

7 As mentioned above, AG Donovan has joined the lawsuit against 45’s administration over cancellation of ACA subsidies.

  • Action: Thank AG Donovan at 802 828-3171 or Vermont Attorney General’s Office, 109 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05609-1001

VERMONT-RELATED READING

Article on a Brattleboro resident, Mamadou Bah, who was living here after flight in 2002 from Guinea West Africa, where he was being held as a political prisoner. Mamadou was ordered to report to the US Customs and Immigration Services this past week, but has fled to Canada, where he has been granted asylum until June 2018. http://www.reformer.com/stories/community-rallies-to-protest-local-mans-deportation,521771

Article on how the Abenaki view Indigenous Peoples’ Day (same day as Columbus Day) https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/15/brook-plante-abenaki-tribal-statement-indigenous-peoples-day/#.WeD9qltSzIU

Article on maintaining our resilience as we resist, recommended by one of our own: http://www.reformer.com/stories/building-a-resilient-resistance,521189

VT Attorney General’s op-ed on what Vermont is doing to protect Vermonters whose data was exposed in the Equifax breach http://vermontbiz.com/news/2017/october/09/donovan-protecting-vermonters-after-equifax

Article about the Rutland County Women’s Network & Shelter  https://vtdigger.org/2017/10/06/rutland-group-seeks-newstory-violence/#.WeD-K1tSzIU

Articles about the impact in Vermont of:

“An activist vandalized a plaque associated with the large mural just off Burlington’s Church Street on Monday in protest of what he believes is a racist depiction of Vermont history that omits the existence of Native Americans.” http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2017/10/09/activist-says-vandalism-calls-out-racism-burlington-mural/747269001/

Article about the controversy surrounding the noise created by wind turbines https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/10/12/walters-legislative-panel-delays-wind-rules-again?utm_content=buffer532c2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Article about how Vermont’s food assistance organizations have been handling increased demand http://digital.vpr.net/post/empty-shelves-how-vermont-food-pantries-are-coping-increased-demand#stream/0

Follow-up to an article in last week’s newsletter, about a proposed student protest in Claremont, NH http://www.vnews.com/newedit-claremont-vn-101117-13033478

Article on looking for diversity in NH http://www.vnews.com/column-lange-vn-101117-13027615

 

NATIONWIDE ISSUES

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/)

8 “In late September, the Department of Homeland Security notified 21 states that their voting systems had been targets of Russian hackers during the 2016 election. While not every state’s system was breached, the brazen nature and scale of the onslaught serve as a warning that unless we learn to combat this type of cyber attack, Russia and other hostile powers will continue to hack our voting systems. With nearly daily revelations that Russia also used social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google to reach everyday Americans, more needs be done to understand the broader scope of Russian cyberwarfare tactics and develop effective countermeasures to protect the integrity of our elections. One such step is to establish a commission to develop recommendations for all levels of government to protect voting integrity. On September 14th, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a bill that would establish a 9/11-style commission to examine the cybersecurity vulnerabilities and threats encountered in the 2016 election as well as cyber intrusions in other countries. The commission would also report recommendations for action at the federal, state and local level to improve cybersecurity of our election infrastructure. While Donald Trump continues to show disinterest and denial in Russia’s attack on our election, the government must address this grave and real threat to our democracy. Members of Congress must support this proactive step to protect our elections and strength of our democracy.” https://5calls.org/issue/russia-election-cybersecurity

9 “On October 9th, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the agency will take steps to repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era policy aimed at reducing carbon emissions from power plants and combatting climate change. The Clean Power Plan is a set of policies and guidelines issued in 2015 under the Clean Air Act, the nation’s longstanding air pollution law. The plan sets carbon emission targets for coal, gas and other power plants, and gives each state the ability to design their own methods to achieve them. If fully implemented, the Clean Power Plan is projected to cut carbon emissions by 32% nationally (relative to 2005 levels), save the US $20 billion in climate-related costs, and add $14-$34 billion in added health benefits. The shift toward clean renewable energy sources will also save the average American family money due to their overall lower cost. There is no question that increased carbon emissions have led to climate change and the rise of more and more floods, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes that have put populations in the US and around the world in danger. It is irresponsible for the EPA to roll back policies that curb carbon emissions under false promises of reduced costs or a coal industry comeback. While a repeal of the Clean Power Plan is not expected to be immediately implemented (it will go through a formal rule-making process and will also face lawsuits), Congress can take action now by supporting measures that uphold the strategies of the Clean Power Plan and voting down those that undermine it.” https://5calls.org/issue/clean-power-plan

  • Action: Contact Peter Welch 802-652-2450 or https://welch.house.gov/contact/email Script: Hi, I’m a constituent from Vermont and I’m calling to express my concern about the EPA’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan. It is clear that carbon emissions have led to climate change and the increase of natural disasters devastating our country. I strongly urge Rep. Peter Welch to support measures that uphold the strategies of the Clean Power Plan and oppose those that undermine it. Thank you for your time and attention.

10 “The Trump administration is attempting to kill the Iran accord without getting its hands dirty by dumping it on Congress’ doorstep with little time to have an effective response. President Trump is widely expected to announce that his administration will decertify the Iran nuclear accord, punting the matter to Congress on October 12. By choosing not to certify the agreement, he forces Congress to craft legislation in 90 days. But he has delayed his official intent until late in the legislative calendar indicating that he doesn’t actually want a legislative solution. If Congress, which has continually failed to pass any major legislation this session, meets this objective then trump has signaled that he will not impose sanctions on Iran, thus saving the deal. But this action seems destined to fail by design, which would have a profound impact on national security, international alliances, and most dangerously, the escalating conflict with North Korea. Congress must work together to craft legislation within the 90 day review period or the Iran deal will likely lead to the resumption of American sanctions. This would be a personal win for Trump and a largely symbolic gesture that will run counter to all the other nations involved in the deal, and have little real effect other than making the United States less safe and diminish our standing even further. In addition, the Trump administration is also grappling with a nuclear crisis in North Korea and any actions we take with regard to Iran will have a ripple effect with North Korea, and the consequences could be catastrophic. Congress must act decisively, and in a bipartisan way keep the Iran deal in place. Demand that your representative pledge to work on a bipartisan solution to the Iran deal and force the Trump administration to find a better way to curb Iran’s behavior.” https://5calls.org/issue/iran-nuclear-deal

  • Action: Contact Peter Welch 802-652-2450 or https://welch.house.gov/contact/email Script: Hi, I’m a constituent from Vermont and I’m calling to ask the Congressman to work across the aisle to craft legislation that preserves the Iran deal and keeps America safe. The Iran deal is an important element of our national security plan, and by walking away now, we make our country more vulnerable to nuclear threats. Thank you.

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

11 With Puerto Ricans struggling to recover from the devastation of this hurricane season, President Trump is tweeting ominous threats about pulling back federal government support for relief efforts, nevertheless,  “the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved $36.5 billion in emergency relief for hurricane-hit Puerto Rico and other areas that have suffered recent disasters.”  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-puertorico-congress/u-s-house-approves-disaster-funds-as-trump-criticizes-puerto-rico-idUSKBN1CH1A7  Now we need to convince our senators to move on this bill quickly when they return next week. Puerto Ricans are American citizens who are desperate for help from this administration and it is severely failing them.  Would Trump be doing this if it were one of the 50 states?

12 If we are a Mary Engelbreit fan, she is offering a print made for Puerto Rico. “Proceeds from the sale of this print go to Unicef USA for hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico from today through the end of the month (October 31st).”  https://www.maryengelbreit.com/products/coconuts-for-puerto-rico-fine-print

13 We need to be doing a LOT better in Puerto Rico: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/11/puerto-rico-food-shortage-hurricane-maria Let’s contact FEMA to express our deep concern: Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street S.W., Washington, D.C. 20472 or Administrator Brock Long on Twitter @FEMA_Brock

14 Latinos Unite is working with Puerto Rico to match up families for “adoption” purposes: If we want to help in this way and are looking to ADOPT a family, please fill out this form: (http://bit.ly/WeWantToAdoptAFamily …) Likewise, if we know someone in Puerto Rico who needs help, please fill out this form: (http://bit.ly/AdoptThisFamily ) .

15       As Robert Mueller continues his investigation, it remains to be seen whether Trump will use his power to fire the special counsel http://trib.in/2yj3w0U Let’s make sure that Congress is doing all that it can to protect Mueller from the whims of Trump. We can ask our representatives and senators to cosponsor and support H.R. 3771/S. 1741: Special Counsel Integrity Act.

16 President Jimmy Carter has offered to go to North Korea to promote peace between that country and ours. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/10/jimmy-carter-offers-to-talk-peace-with-north-koreas-kim-says-academic  Let’s tell Trump that this would be a positive move toward peace.  Contact White House:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact   Let’s also thank Carter for his generous offer and his good works:  https://jimmycarter.info/about/contact-us/

17 With the North Korea situation looming, we need to remember that Trump alone is in control of using nuclear weapons. http://www.npr.org/2017/10/03/555266383/why-president-trump-has-exclusive-authority-to-order-a-nuclear-strike  Given Trump’s penchant for drama and ratings, coupled with his often irrational, vindictive persona, we are in a dangerous, uncharted time.  Fortunately, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) realized this in January and put up a bill in the House (H.R.669 – Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) put up a bill in the Senate (S. 200 – Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017)  to address this.  These bills are still sitting in committee.  The House bill is in the Committee on Foreign Affairs.  Let’s contact the members of that committee, as well as our reps, to get this bill moving for the sake of world safety.  Contact:  https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/subcommittee/full-committee/  The Senate bill is in the Committee on Foreign Relations.  Let’s contact the members of that committee as well as our senators to get this bill moving, too.  Contact: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/about/committee-membership

18 In what might be the back story for why Tillerson reportedly called Trump a “moron”, it has been revealed that Trump wanted to increase our nuclear arsenal ten-fold: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/354855-trump-wanted-a-massive-expansion-of-the-us-nuclear-arsenal-report This news is coming as Trump dials-up his engagement in demanding that NFL players stand for the national anthem:http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/354853-trump-it-is-about-time-goodell-demanded-players-stand-for-anthem An authoritarian leader with a liking for nuclear weapons is a perfect storm. Let’s be in touch with our MoC to ask what their plans are for removing our unfit president from office.

19 Treating our nation like a reality show in need of cliffhangers, Trump has ominously told reporters that this might be the “calm before the storm”, without a willingness to clarify, and has also tweeted out that “only one thing will work” with North Korea (and we can bet that one thing is not diplomacy):  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/07/donald-trump-nuclear-north-korea  The “adults in the room theory” does not seem to be slowing him down at all. Let’s let Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (https://www.defense.gov/Resources/Contact-DoD/), Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (https://register.state.gov/contactus/), and Chief of Staff General John Kelly (The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500) that although we admire their service to our nation, right now service involves saying with clarity that the emperor has no clothes.

20 Trump is taking his attacks on the press to brazen new heights by suggesting that NBC should have their license yanked: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/11/trump-nbc-broadcast-license-243667 This prompted Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska to ask Trump if he is recanting his oath of office  to preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment. http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/355060-gop-senator-to-trump-are-you-recanting-of-the-oath-of-office Let’s thank Sen. Sasse for speaking up: on Twitter @BenSasse and https://www.sasse.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-ben and then let’s ask our own MoC to stand up for the First Amendment.

21 The EPA has released a draft of its 4 year strategic plan and, surprise, surprise, climate change is NOT EVEN MENTIONED! The public comment period is open through October 31 – it will be sent to Congress for approval early next year. This is the link to the draft, where you can submit a comment. Please take a minute and urge Congress not to approve this plan, which would be disastrous for our environment!  https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0533

22 Enbridge is seeking approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for the Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project https://mn.gov/puc/line3/ The pipeline is set to expand through lakes, rivers, and wetlands, and affect the sovereignty of Objibwe tribes http://strib.mn/2wFSGi8 The Minnesota Commerce Department argues that there is no actual need for this pipeline expansion, stating “In light of the serious risks and effects on the natural and socioeconomic environments of the existing Line 3 and the limited benefit that the existing Line 3 provides to Minnesota refineries, it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built.” http://bit.ly/2y3Virs  http://bit.ly/2yClXL4 The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is seeking public comment through November 22nd. Let’s make sure we leave a comment, asking that they reject the request from Enbridge, and to not grant a permit for the Replacement Project https://mn.gov/puc/line3/participate/#3

23 Pope Francis has been outspoken in his call to care for the environment and fight climate change http://theatln.tc/2sBAjwENow, over forty Catholic institutions are following his lead, and divesting from fossil fuels http://bit.ly/2fHBgL3 While this is a great step forward, we still need the Vatican Bank to divest from investments in the fossil fuel industry. We can sign Go Fossil Free’s petition https://gofossilfree.org/pope-divest-the-vatican/ for the Divest the Vatican campaign. For those of us in Catholic organizations, we can also check out their divestment toolkit: https://gofossilfree.org/catholic-divestment-guide/

24 Money from the Volkswagen emissions cheating settlement is now available. That means it is time for state governors to apply for these funds so we can put them toward clean transportation programs (https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/09/28/arizona-teen-joins-capitol-push-to-replace-diesel-buses-with-electric/). We have a huge opportunity to use this money for new electric vehicle charging stations, electric transit and school buses, and other projects that will reduce air pollution and prioritize environmental justice, and it is all the more important that we do so with Trump and Pruitt rolling back environmental protection. But because the devil is in the details, exactly how governor chooses to use the money is key. Let us join the Sierra Club in contacting our governors to ask them to invest the settlement money in green infrastructure and underserved communities at this link: https://sierra.secure.force.com/actions/National?actionId=AR0091053.

25 EPA Administrator and climate change denier Scott Pruitt, has announced that he will sign the repeal of the Clean Power Plan on October 10th, thus beginning, in the words of Obama’s EPA administrator, “a wholesale retreat from EPA’s legal, scientific and moral obligation to address the threats of climate change.”  Environmental groups and several states plan to challenge the repeal proposal in federal courts, arguing against Mr. Pruitt’s move on both scientific and economic grounds.  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-trump-epa-clean-power-plan-20171009-story.html The EPA is required to gather public comment on this change, so until the formal opportunity is announced, we can tweet or write Pruitt and tell him we want to keep our clean air policies:  @EPAScottPruitt or Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 1101A, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20460.  We can remind our MoCs as well that they should weigh in on this issue for clean air for all of us.

26 Rather than viewing it as a positive way to start relying on renewable resources, EPA Director Pruitt wants to end tax incentives for solar and wind energy, which are set to end in 2022 and 2020 respectively, so that they instead compete with fossil fuel resources.  Perhaps he sees it as a way to promote and bring back coal. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-09/epa-chief-calls-for-ending-wind-tax-credits-to-help-coal-survive  Let’s let Pruitt and our MoCs know that we like these tax credits because they help us move into the next phase of energy.  We do not want to go backwards with fossil fuels for our health and that of the environment.  Contact Pruitt: https://www.epa.gov/home/forms/contact-epa

27 Last week, the Interior Department rejected 25 endangered species petitions, including one for the Pacific Walrus.  Fish and Wildlife “has declined to list the Pacific walrus as endangered after deciding that the huge tusked mammals may be able to adapt to the loss of the sea ice that they currently depend upon.” We can read the full article about the Pacific Walrus at the Guardian.  Here are two additional stories we can read on the entire list of 25 rejected species: 1)  Washington Post [subscription]  2) Article from Jessica Corbett at Common Dreams. Corbett points out 5 bills that are being considered that would gut the Endangered Species Act: Let’s check out the 5 bills with their links to Countable.us: 1) HR717 Listing Reform Act   2) HR1274 State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act 3) HR3131 Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act , 4)HR2603, the “SAVES” Act, would delist all nonnative species from the Endangered Species Act, meaning that animals which don’t naturally have a habitat in the U.S. wouldn’t be considered endangered or threatened and 5) HR424 Gray Wolf State Management Act. Let’s contact all of our Members of Congress to find out where they stand on the Endangered Species Act. Let’s tell our representatives to oppose HR717, HR1274, HR3131, HR2603, HR424.

28 Trump EPA nominee Michael Dourson refuses to recuse himself from cases involving chemical companies he worked for. Dourson worked for the EPA as a staff scientist until 1994 when he left “to found the Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA), a group that has produced reports minimizing concerns about the safety of chemicals produced by companies like DuPont, Dow, and Boeing. As head of the EPA’s chemical and pesticides office, he would oversee the agency’s regulation of industrial chemicals and pesticides — the same products manufactured by companies that funded much of Dourson’s private-sector work.” (source:Think Progress.)  USA Today’s article about Dourson  “EPA nominee Michael Dourson endorsed weak standard for chemical linked to tumors in industry-funded research” provides us additional information. “If Mike Dourson is confirmed, the environmental health of every child in the country will be tossed aside,” [says] Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, a research and policy organization that pushes for tougher environmental protections.” Let’s tell our Senators to protect our children and oppose Dourson for EPA.

29 House Democrats introduced resolution H.Res.555 demanding more transparency in the Interior department’s national monument review.  The resolution, if passed, would require the Trump administration to provide a final monument review and underlying documents per this article in the Salt Lake Tribune. Let’s check the list of co-sponsors for this bill.  Let’s thank our representative if they are already a co-sponsor.  If they are not, let’s tell them to support H.Res.555.  We deserve transparency on the national monument review.

30 Time and again, the Trump-Pruitt EPA has let us down and shirked their responsibility to protect our welfare, including failing to act to protect farm workers, their kids and rural families from the brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos (https://ww2.kqed.org/futureofyou/2017/10/09/farmworkers-want-common-pesticide-banned-in-calif-after-trump-epa-refuses/). But Democrats in Congress are stepping up where Polluting Pruitt has failed to act, introducing HR 3380 and S 1624 to ban this poison. Let’s join the United Farm Workers in contacting our reps and asking them to co-sponsor this legislation at this link: http://action.ufw.org/page/speakout/chlorpyrifos1017.

Representative Rob https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3990Bishop (R-UT) has introduced the National Monument Creation and Protection Act, HR3990, which would dismantle the Antiquities Act. We can read more at 1) The Hill and 2) this press release from the Center for Biological Diversity. “This legislation is an appalling, unprecedented attack on our national monuments and public lands,” said Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Zion and nearly every national monument created over the past hundred years wouldn’t have been possible under Bishop’s bill. Extreme doesn’t begin to describe how reprehensible his scheme is.” The bill already has 5 Republican co-sponsors.  Let’s tell our own representatives that we oppose HR3990.

31 As the Trump administration rescinds the Clean Power Plan, Michael Bloomberg’s charity donated $64 million to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign and other organizations with the goal of cutting the number of US coal-fired plants by two thirds by 2020.  https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-usa-coal-bloomberg/bloombergs-charity-donates-64-million-to-war-on-coal-idUKKBN1CG2M5  Let’s thank Bloomberg Philanthropies for helping to bring about this needed change:  25 E 78th St, New York, NY 10075

32 Vice President Pence’s stunt of walking out of an NFL game costs taxpayers an estimated quarter million dollars: https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/10/08/politics/pence-indianapolis-flights-cost/index.html The NFL Players Union is standing by their players thankfully: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/354489-nfl-players-association-backs-players-constitutional-rights?ampBut, as of Monday morning, Pence and Trump still seem more focused on peaceful protest of NFL players than the tiki-torch wielding white supremacists in Charlottesville. Let’s take a look at this cartoon on the subject: https://twitter.com/deray/status/917381192386793473 and then write directly to Pence to express our views on his affinity for both white supremacists and abuse of taxpayer funds: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500 or on Twitter @VP

33 Chanting, “the South will rise again” and “Russia is our friend”, white supremacists returned to Charlottesville Saturday night with their signature shirts and tiki torches: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/354415-white-nationalists-return-to-charlottesville?amp  Let’s keep an eye out for how this is covered and be in touch with media to keep the coverage honest vs. “fair and balanced”. The local NBC affiliate that had coverage initially referred to them as “white activists” and then corrected to “white nationalists” after an out-cry on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NBC29/status/916825811424108544

34 Bud Light’s brand parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev — one of the NFL’s biggest sponsors — is rethinking their NFL sponsorship, and they want your input.  So, the company set up a hotline for fans to call and give their thoughts about the protests and Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship of the NFL. The number for the hotline is: 1-800-342-5283.  Background info:  http://fortune.com/2017/10/04/budweiser-nfl-players-national-anthem-protests/

35 Numerous professional sports teams across the NBA, MLB, and NHL have all stopped staying at Trump properties since the start of his political career.  “The Post reached out to all 123 teams in the four major U.S. sports leagues to find out how many men’s teams are still Trump customers. A total of 105 responded. Not a single team confirmed its players stay at Trump properties.”  http://www.businessinsider.com/pro-sports-teams-stopped-using-trump-hotels-2017-10   Hitting Trump in his wallet is a good way to send a message to him. If we have a favorite team member on any of these teams you might send a thank you Tweet to them.

36 Foreign Policy this week obtained a 12-page FBI intelligence assessment, dated 5 days after white nationalists marched in Charlottesville, targeting “Black Identity Extremists,” describing them as “very likely” to perpetrate violence against the police:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/06/fbi-black-identity-extremists-racial-profiling  Remember COINTELPRO, the FBI’s attempt to discredit civil rights activists in the fifties and sixties.  We have seen this kind of racist suppression of black political activity before—and seen its results.  We must all do everything we can to stop this attempt to silence or intimidate any of us.  At the very least, we need to make our outrage known to our MoCs and to Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe at 202-324-3000 or FBI Headquarters, 935 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, DC 20535-0001.

37 From journalist and activist Shaun King: “We are increasing our reward to $50,000 for the identification of these two violent white supremacists who viciously attacked DeAndre Harris in Charlottesville. What are their names? All sources will remain anonymous.”  Let’s check out the photos to see if we can help and share this information with our friends (use the arrow “>” to scroll through the photos. )  There is now a warrant out for Harris’ arrest.  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/police-warrant-deandre-harris-man-beaten-at-charlottesville-rally/  Let’s help bring these perpetrators to justice!  We can email leads here:  news@shaunking.org

38 White nationalist Richard Spencer, no doubt one of Trump’s “very fine people,” is scheduled to speak at the University of Florida on Oct. 19th.  The University Police Department is attempting to restrict protest by issuing a “Richard Spencer Speaking Engagement Prohibited Items List” that includes items like bicycles, bike locks, cigarettes, umbrellas, purses, backpacks and water bottles or anything else the police “deem inappropriate.”  Florida Legal Services is has filed an objection:  http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/justiceonline/mailings/117/attachments/original/FloridaLegalServicesUFLSpencerLetter101017.pdf  Given that AG Jeff Sessions has involved the DOJ in “free speech” conflicts on campus:   https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/09/27/attorney-general-sessions-blasts-colleges-issues-free-speech) and Republicans in 18 states have proposed legislation restricting protest:   http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/24/politics/states-anti-protest-legislation/index.html, it’s time we, too, object:  President W. Kent Fuchs, 226 Tigert Hall, P.O. Box 113150, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 or (352) 392-1311 or president@ufl.edu

39 Over the weekend, the skincare product Dove launched a Facebook ad suggesting that their product could turn a brown-skinned woman white. This is not the only advertisement where Dove has suggested that their product ensures a transformation like this. Some of their product packaging is even labeled for “Normal to dark skin,” implying that there’s something abnormal about having dark skin. http://www.businessinsider.com/doves-racist-ad-10-9-2017-10   Dove has apologized for the most recent ad, but this pattern demonstrates a deep underlying problem. Let’s ask Dove to take concrete steps to address this issue, making sure that Dove understands that an apology isn’t enough. Online:  https://www.dove.com/us/en/secure/contactus.html or phone: 1-800-761-3683 (8:30 am – 6 pm Eastern time, Mon-Fri) or mail: Unilever US, 700 Sylvan Ave, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632.

40  Salt Lake City authorities have decided not to pursue a murder charge against police officers who killed Patrick Harmon, a black man, shooting him in the back as he fled the scene of an altercation. Community organizers are now calling for the resignation of Sim Gill, the Salt Lake City District Attorney responsible for dropping the case.  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/patrick-harmon-death-utah-police-shooting-captured-on-camera/    While we continue to pressure our legislators to resist the increasing militarization of the police, we can take steps on the ground. Let’s check out the NAACP’s tools for strengthening our community’s relationship with our local police force: http://www.naacp.org/issues/criminal-justice/. By working together with the police, we can foster the trust necessary for ensuring the safety of our community and those protecting it.

41 The protests in St. Louis are ongoing, following the September 15th verdict that found former police officer Jason Stockley not guilty in the killing of Anthony Lamar Smith http://bit.ly/2y2PM8A http://bit.ly/2y8Uy6r Protestors are asking for meaningful policy change in the police system, especially as the epidemic of police brutality, and a complete lack of accountability, continues across the U.S. For Missouri residents, we can ask for lawmakers to repeal Sec. 610.100 of Missouri Senate Bill 732, which keeps police recordings closed to the public http://bit.ly/29v8nTd We can also ask our state MoC to draft legislation which would require independent investigations into police killings http://bit.ly/2y5vOM5 At the federal level, let’s make some calls to remind our members of Congress that they have plenty of already-existing legislation that we expect them to cosponsor and support, which would help us make real change and help fix our current system: H.R. 1556: Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, H.R. 3060: Preventing Tragedies Between Police and Communities Act, H.R. 3799: Demanding Oversight From Justice Act, H.R. 1870/S.814: Police Training and Independent Review Act, and H.R. 2676/S. 1258: PRIDE Act.

42 From ACLU: Trump’s new rules threaten to gut the benefit ensuring that all insurance plans cover birth control at no cost – all under the guise of religious “liberty.” No one should have to pay for their bosses’ religious beliefs. That’s why the ACLU is suing the Trump administration – and why we need you to take action now.   Submit your public comment now and put your values on the record:  https://action.aclu.org/secure/birth-control-rule

43 Generation Progress is offering us the opportunity to share our stories, that they will then share with Congress, in their “Hands Off My Birth Control” tool found here:  http://action.genprogress.org/action/hands-my-birth-control

44 Congress could not repeal/replace the ACA so the Trump administration is dismantling it piece by piece with the hopes of destabilizing it and causing it to fail.  http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/354308-trump-sabotage-seen-on-obamacare    Trump’s Dept of Health & Human Services has cut the advertising and outreach budget for ACA enrollment from $100 million to $10 million; funding for “navigators”—groups that work to enroll those in states without their own insurance exchanges—has been seriously reduced; the open enrollment period has been slashed; the Childrens Health Insurance Program is in limbo, with Congress taking no action; the HHS has sharply limited the contraception coverage mandate of the ACA.  Now, Obama-era regional directors have written a letter to HHS protesting the fact that their replacements have been forbidden to participate in open enrollment events and urging HHS to reverse its directive: http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/354215-former-hhs-regional-directors-participation-in-obamacare-enrollment-is-key  We must make sure that the new acting head of HHS understands that we are furious at the unethical ploys his department is using to undermine the ACA, which is, whether they like it or not, still the law: Don Wright, Acting Secretary of Health & Human Services, 1-877-696-6775 or 200 Independence Ave., SW, DC 20201.  Let’s also tell our MoCs that we are counting on them to make sure that we the people are protected and kept healthy.

45 “A bill to reform the country’s immigration detention system was introduced [last] week in the House of Representatives. The measure, the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, was introduced by Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Adam Smith (D-WA), and is co-sponsored by more than three dozen other members of Congress.” per NBC News.  Let’s check the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, H.R.3923, co-sponsor list for our own representatives. Let’s send “thank yous” if they are co-sponsors already.  If they are not, let’s ask them to co-sponsor HR3923.

46 We might have guessed that Trump’s DACA “deal” with Schumer and Pelosi would have strings attached – in this case, border wall funding and crackdown on unaccompanied minors: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-exclusive/trump-seeks-border-wall-crackdown-on-unaccompanied-minors-for-dreamer-deal-idUSKBN1CD10LSchumer and Pelosi have responded with a hard no: https://twitter.com/benwikler/status/917213774695845891 Let’s keep up the drumbeat with our MoC about the need for a clean version of the DREAM Act.  The DREAMers should not have to pay for the wall.

47 It is interesting to look at the way in which people are using ICE’s Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) hotline to report on neighbors and family members. A report shows how citizens can be used to become informants, aiding the government in locating individuals who are suspected of illegally residing in the United States. It further discusses how ICE had the contact information for those informants publicly available until just recently.  http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news/ice-doxxed-philly-residents-who-called-new-snitching-hotline/article_e576c0be-aa18-11e7-8b92-7b4dbcffba4c.html   Let’s contact Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, and tell her that it is time for Homeland Security to de-activate the VOICE hotline. DHS comment line: 202-282-8495 Mailing address: The Honorable Elaine C. Duke, Secretary of Homeland Security Washington, D.C.  20528

48 Betsy DeVos has not divested from Neurocore , “a company that offers its [neurofeedback] therapy for, among other conditions, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, stress, anxiety — and autism. The notion is that people with autism can learn to recalibrate their aberrant brain rhythms. The therapy has been available for decades, but drew intense scrutiny this past year because Neurocore is financially backed by billionaire Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education. DeVos and her family have invested millions in the company, and she is a former member of the company’s board…There’s no solid evidence that neurofeedback works as a treatment for autism…In the U.S., at least two government agencies have regulatory authority over companies that offer neurofeedback. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) polices medical devices, although it exempts devices (including those used for neurofeedback, such as EEG machines) when they are used for relaxation training or other non-medical applications. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces rules that prohibit deceptive advertisements of treatments not covered by the FDA.” Let’s read more at Spectrum News whose mission is to be the leading source of news and expert opinion on autism research.  We can contact: 1) US Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Springs MD 20993 and 2) Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC 20580.  Let’s find out what they are doing to stop deceptive practices.

49 Another ACA benefit we can thank Obama for: improved access to healthcare reduces crime: https://thecrimereport.org/2017/10/06/medicaid-expansion-tied-to-reduction-in-crime/  The research estimates that significant drops in violent and nonviolent crime, attributable to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, saved almost $400 million. If we agree that this should be part of the cost/benefit debate swirling around the ACA, let’s fire up those social media accounts and spread the word about this study, and other reporting on the links between crime and healthcare access (e.g. https://www.vox.com/2014/8/13/5996191/obamacares-secret-crime-fighting-potential).

50 We’ve all been hearing about the ways our personal data get misappropriated, abused, and outright stolen (looking at you, Equifax), and there’s a growing awareness of our need to take back control of our data, as a matter of personal privacy https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/03/data-tech-giants-trail-digital-age  Let’s inform our federal representatives that we want comprehensive control over the use and distribution of our personal information, along the lines of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (http://www.eugdpr.org/). If those citizens can be protected, why can’t we?

51 The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is  targeting immigrants for intensified monitoring of their social media accounts… and that’s all immigrants, including green card holders and even American citizens https://gizmodo.com/us-homeland-security-will-start-collecting-social-media-1818777094  DHS’s new rule on recording — and sharing the social media activities of all immigrants and anyone who interacts with them online — with other federal agencies, seeks to further criminalize and frighten our friends and neighbors. Let’s join Presente Action in submitting a public comment to DHS telling them this policy needs to be changed ASAP at this link: http://act.presente.org/sign/dhssurveillance.

52 The Republicans, having already stolen a Supreme Court seat, are continuing to politicize the judiciary by undermining a long-time tradition that allows senators to stop extremist nominees from getting confirmed http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/354955-senators-battle-over-trumps-court-nominees  They’re laying the groundwork for abandoning blue slips and allowing Trump to stack the courts with reactionary judges. Let’s contact our senators and tell them this tradition is in place for a reason, and we do not want to see it changed.

53 The devastation caused by Saudi Arabia’s bombing of Yemen is heart-breaking. Millions have been pushed to the brink of famine, and hundreds of thousands have been infected with cholera. American supplies and intelligence are making this destruction possible, without authorization from Congress https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-10-09/us-lawmakers-want-stop-trump-supporting-saudi-arabias-war-yemen  A bipartisan coalition of representatives want to force a vote to make their fellow members take a stand. Let us join them in contacting our reps and asking them to co-sponsor H. Con. Res. 81. We can find a script from Just Foreign Policy here.

54 Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Marco Rubio (R-FL)introduced legislation to “enhance the transparency, improve the coordination, and intensify the impact of assistance to support access to primary and secondary education for displaced children and persons, including women and girls, and for other purposes,” http://bit.ly/2zesPQ1 This bill, S. 1580, would help ensure that children around the world get the schooling that they need. Let’s contact our senators and ask that they support S. 1580: Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act. We can also edit and send Save the Children’s form letter:  http://bit.ly/2wOt0Qk

55  An Economic Census was due to start last January, but it was delayed by six months because of a lack of funding. With the current administration cutting back on so much government spending right now (except, apparently, the use of golf carts and jets), it’s easy to lose sight of government agencies in charge of collecting statistics, especially with children’s healthcare (CHIP) and the Puerto Rican recovery effort at stake. But we need to be concerned about these agencies, because their data provides the hard numbers used to justify government spending. Without this data, we are forced to “trust” government leaders that they’re telling the truth about where the money’s needed and that it’s really doing what it’s supposed to be doing.  http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/10/11/federal-data-collection-in-crisis-000537  andhttps://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/11/us-census-bureau-budget-cuts-democracy Let’s contact our MoC to ask them to make sure that statistics-gathering agencies continue to receive the funding it needs to do their job so that the public can be confident that their tax dollars are going to the right places.

56  The Free Press Action Fund is collecting stories about why net neutrality is significant in our lives. Stories will be sent to policy makers, in the hopes that seeing how net neutrality affects us as individuals and businesses will encourage our MoC to draft and support legislation that protects net neutrality. Let’s take a moment and speak out: http://act.freepress.net/sign/internet_nn_story/

57  Let’s make a federal case out of our voting rights. Protect Democracy is seeking an order from the federal district court for the District of Columbia to stop Trump’s Orwellian “Election Integrity” Commission from collecting sensitive voter information, and to destroy any data the Commission does have, until it complies with the Paperwork Reduction Act. This law “imposes a framework for ensuring that the government explains its need for the requested data, minimizes unnecessary burdens, establishes adequate structures for maintaining data securely, protects privacy interests, and gives the public a meaningful opportunity to comment in advance of the government’s data collection.” https://protectdemocracy.org/update/protect-democracy-files-preliminary-injunction-trump-voter-commission-immediately-halt-activities/ Needless to say, the Commission has ignored the statute. Protect Democracy is asking for our help: Let’s spread the word about their lawsuit and sign up here  https://protectdemocracy.org/ so we’re ready to apply grassroots pressure when we’re needed.

58 With social media playing such a large role in politics these days, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the fight over vaccinations has spilled over here. But this is one area where we can’t the trolls win: our children’s lives are on the line.  https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/anti-vax-message-gets-meaner-social-media-n809166 Let’s check out these tips for talking to friends and family who are suspicious of vaccinations:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2016/03/01/want-to-change-someones-mind-about-vaccines-heres-a-start/#7d1e1eb05cc3. As uncomfortable as the conversations may be, our children are worth it!

59 We are finally starting to see some movement in both the House and Senate to extend CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program)  http://cnb.cx/2grTfpQ http://nyti.ms/2fTEnU7 Each chamber has introduced bipartisan bills, which are working through their respective committees. However, the issue of money is presenting a challenge in both bills, as Democrats and Republicans debate the best method to fund the program http://strib.mn/2wKpCWT Let’s check out the bills, then contact our MoC to ensure that they work together to pass legislation ASAP. S. 1827: KIDS Act: http://bit.ly/2ykY7rq H.R. 3921: HEALTHY KIDS Act: http://bit.ly/2yVjM5z

60 Congress allowed the CHIP program, which helps states provide inexpensive health insurance to children, to expire.  Hillary Clinton tweeted to remind everyone that in the 90s the parties worked together to provide this care for children.  http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/354638-clinton-urges-congress-to-reauthorize-childrens-health-care-program MomsRising.org has given us an easy way to send a letter to the editor of our local newspapers calling on Congress to extend the CHIP program:  http://action.momsrising.org/lte/CHIP_LTE_2017

61 The Veterans Administration is considering rolling back ethics rules that prevent their 330,000 employees from investing in for-profit colleges. The rules are meant to protect veterans from abuse by employees with a vested interest in recommending veterans seek out certain educational institutions, even when these are in these veterans’ best interests. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/29/business/veterans-affairs-ethics.html We have until October 16th to submit a comment objecting to the change: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/09/14/2017-19480/employees-whose-association-with-for-profit-educational-institutions-poses-no-detriment-to-veterans Let’s support our veterans and say no to a waiver on ethics rules.

62  Georgetown University has adopted a Socially Responsible Investing policy, to ensure that their investments align with the university’s “commitment to social justice, protection of human life and dignity, stewardship for the planet and promotion of the common good.” As part of their policy, Georgetown has announced that they will be divesting funds out of the private prison industry http://bit.ly/2kEmLwX The decision to divest came after recommendations from the university’s Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility (CISR)  https://publicaffairs.georgetown.edu/cisr For those of us who are attending universities, let’s follow Georgetown’s lead, and check to see if our colleges/universities are still invested in the private prison industry. If so, let’s recommend that our Boards not only divest funds, but also install a committee similar to Georgetown’s, to ensure that the university’s investments align with its mission. We can also send Georgetown’s president, as well as the Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility a “thank you” for their leadership and social justice work. President John J. DeGioia Office of the President 204 Healy Hall 37th & “O” Streets, NW Washington, DC 20057-1789 Phone: (202) 687-4134  Committee e-mail: cisr@georgetown.edu

63  Over the weekend, Trump’s war of Tweets with Sen. Bob Corker continued with Corker saying, among other things, “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”  http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/354486-corker-trump-is-setting-up-the-country-for-world-war-iii The Atlantic has a strong op-ed about what his next moves need to be:  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/10/corker-trump/542385/ Let’s be in touch with Senator Corker to thank him for speaking up and putting country in front of party and ask him to keep going forward to action: https://www.corker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/officelocations and @SenBobCorker on Twitter

64 IKEA has announced that it will be recycling all of its used mattresses, as part of its People and Planet Positive Sustainability strategy http://read.bi/2xe3bIV It has also created a community donation program, 5,000 Dreams, to help support newly-arrived refugee families. Let’s send IKEA a “thank you” for their work. We can reach them by phone or e-mail here: http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/customer_service/contact_us/email_request.html

65 “California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) on Friday filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s rollback of an Obama-era policy that required employers include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. “Donald Trump wants businesses and corporations to control family planning decisions rather than a woman in consultation with her doctor. These anti-women’s health regulations prove once again that the Trump administration is willing to trample on people’s rights,” Becerra said in a statement.    http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/354341-california-challenges-trumps-rollback-of-birth-control-mandate and http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/354266-aclu-promises-lawsuit-against-trump-elimination-of-birth-control-mandate  Let’s thank Atty General Becerra and the ACLU for filing lawsuits to challenge this order.  Contacts:  Atty General Becerra:  scroll down on this page:  https://oag.ca.gov/contact.  If your pocketbook can manage it, the ACLU could use your help with a donation for all the work they are doing on behalf of us. https://action.aclu.org/secure/protect-rights-freedoms-we-believe-8

66 The Weinstein Company board of directors has voted to let co-founder of the independent film company, Harvey Weinstein, go following the revelation of decades-long sexually harassment scandals. http://variety.com/2017/biz/news/harvey-weinstein-out-weinstein-company-1202583568/  Let’s thank the board for taking the high road and not minimizing this serious issue.  Address:   375 Greenwich St., New York, NY 10013

67 Last week, “the House approved a 2018 budget resolution that includes a provision calling for billions of dollars in new revenue from the sale of oil and gas leases—a veiled move to allow oil extraction in the Arctic refuge. Also … the Senate Budget Committee approved a budget that would open the way for drilling in the largely untouched northern wilderness; the full Senate will begin considering the proposed budget the week of October 16.” “This is the most dire threat the Arctic refuge has ever faced,” says Lydia Weiss, government relations director for the Wilderness Society. “This entire administration has made clear that they have one use for our shared public lands, and that is taking them from the people and giving them to their billionaire oil industry friends. “The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the few remaining wild places in the United States where biological processes continue much as they have for millennia. The vast sweep of mountains, tundra, and braided rivers flowing to the Arctic Ocean is home to grizzly bears, musk oxen, dall sheep, wolves and foxes, and the 110,000-member porcupine caribou herd that makes a massive migration through the refuge annually. In the summer, huge flocks of birds—including species that migrate over thousands of miles—congregate in the refuge.” Read the full story at the Sierra Club.  Environmental groups are working together to protect the Arctic refuge.  Let’s support their efforts, stay informed, and tell our Senators, “No drilling in the Arctic refuge.”

PETITIONS/SURVEYS/ETC

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

GROUPS TO FOLLOW/SUPPORT

Resource to help us completely restructure the economy, recommended by the Rutland Climate Coalition: https://buynothingproject.org/

To help flip Virginia in an important upcoming election: Postcards4va.com

From http://roganslist.blogspot.com

 

READING

For talking to young children about what’s happening to undocumented immigrant children: https://rewire.news/article/2017/10/11/rewire-exclusive-comic-journey-part-ii-captive/ This is a comic that narrates the experience from a child’s perspective. The article includes screen captures from the comic itself, so you can preview the content.

From http://roganslist.blogspot.com

·         “Now that the hard deadline to renew DACA status has passed (it was on October 5), those of us who are, or know, DACA recipients may have a lot of questions on what happens next. This FAQ page, offered by United We Dream, offers a lot of helpful and practical legal information:” http://weareheretostay.org/resources/frequently-asked-questions-on-daca-termination/

·         From http://roganslist.blogspot.com “Read about how the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency intentionally generates fake news about apprehended undocumented immigrants to depict them dangerous, hardened criminals.” https://theintercept.com/2017/10/04/ice-raids-trump-immigration-deportation/

·         “Whatever we think about it, it is crucial for us to know something about who is supporting which resistance group and why.  Sunday’s NYT gives us a glimpse of the big donors and the disagreements crucial to the future of our political efforts:”  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/07/us/politics/democrats-resistance-fundraising.html

·         “Mindful resistance” is the key to defeating Trump “ –  https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/10/2/16394320/mindful-resistance-key-defeating-trump-mindfulness