Suggestions/additions welcome. Don’t see your issue, event or organization? Send it to me.
- 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
- Wednesday Oct 25 Benefit Concert for Quincy Merlin 6-9 pm at Grace Congregational Church, Rutland City – “In August, 8-year-old Quincy Merlin, a biracial boy from Claremont, NH, was the victim of an apparent attempted lynching. We’re holding this concert to raise funds for his family and to affirm the values of justice and diveristy that make Rutland strong. Featuring local bands Promised Land and Rick Redington & The Luv. $5/person or $20/family suggested donation.” https://www.facebook.com/events/1611242335592685/
- 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)
- Rutland City House Party 3-5 pm at Hop’n Moose, 41 Center Street, Rutland City – Fundraiser for Vermont Democratic Party for candidates with Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson, Treasurer Beth Pearce, Representatives Mary Howard, Steve Carr and David Potter – $25 for guests
- 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 Freedom and Unity!
- Sunday Oct 29 at 3 pm Shrewsbury VT to San Salvador PR: A Concert to Help Rebuild in Puerto Rico at Shrewsbury Church, Shrewsbury Center – 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 (cash and checks payable to SAGE, Shrewsbury Institute for Agricultural Education, Inc.) 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.
- Wed Nov 1 Secretary of State Jim Condos Transparency Tour 6-8 pm, Middlebury Ilsley Public Library, Community Room, 75 Main Street https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/25/secretary-state-jim-condos-announces-fourth-biennial-statewide-transparency-tour/#.WdoxN1tSzIU
- Thursday Nov 2 Women’s Summit 8 a.m.–3 p.m at Dudley H. Davis Center, University of Vermont.
- Thursday-Friday Nov 2-3 Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future at Putney School https://www.facebook.com/events/117618795634279/
- 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/
- Thursday Nov 9 Autumn Festival with Keith Ellison 6:30-8:30 pm at The Echo, Leahy Center, Burlington – with Congressman Keith Ellison, Senators Leahy and Sanders, and Congressman Welch – $50 if you buy your ticket in October, $75 starting Nov 1 https://www.facebook.com/events/708912205971984/
- Saturday Nov 11 Vermont Crossroads Conference 8 am – 5 pm at Champlain College in Burlington. “Frightened by the direction of the country? Worried that we’re been being torn apart? Want Vermont to fight back and move forward? Then join hundreds of your fellow Vermonters, thoughtful business leaders, and leading non-profits for the 2017 Vermont Crossroads Conference. Learn about the major campaigns that will lead Vermont forward, investigate the shared values between organizations and initiatives, and discover how we can succeed together…The conference is FREE and co-hosted by: ACLU, Main Street Alliance, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Rights & Democracy, Toxic Action Center, VNRC, VPIRG, and the Vermont-NEA.” http://www.vtcrossroadsconference.com/
- Thursday Nov 16 at 6:30 pm DACA/Dreamers Panel at Castleton University
- Vermont Governor Scott signed a bipartisan letter to Congress asking it to stabilize health insurance markets https://twitter.com/GovPhilScott/status/920838637587189760
- Vermont Attorney General joined “a coalition of 15 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief opposing the Trump Administration’s plans to ban open military service by transgender individuals” http://ago.vermont.gov/focus/news/donovan-supports-transgender-rights.php and a lawsuit to block 45’s effort to cut healthcare subsidies https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-healthcare/u-s-states-sue-to-block-trump-obamacare-subsidies-cut-idUSKBN1CI0E4
- This past week, a marker was erected on the Vermont Statehouse lawn to commemorate Vermont’s passage of marriage equality statutes http://digital.vpr.net/post/vermonts-role-marriage-equality-honored-statehouse-marker#stream/0
- 45’s latest travel ban was blocked by a judge in Hawaii https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-17/trump-s-third-try-at-travel-ban-is-blocked-by-u-s-judge?cmpid=socialflow-twitter-business&utm_content=business&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social
- Representative Tom Marino—who championed legislation last year that undermined the authority of the Drug Enforcement Agency and made it easier for drug companies to spill opioids on the street—has withdrawn his name as nominee for the position of 45’s drug czar https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/920268091329859585
- “A little good news in case we missed it: The Supreme Court denied a petition by private prison corporations seeking to block the release of government documents about their immigration detention practices. “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court has finally put an end to private prison contractors’ relentless attempts to keep their secrets buried. Private prison contractors have a long history of hiding profiteering schemes and covering up deadly abuses in immigration detentions. With this decision, the Supreme Court has signaled agreement that private prison contractors must not act with impunity and dictate government secrecy. This victory is especially important as we face a presidential administration committed to mass privatization as well as mass detention and deportation,” said Mary Small, policy director of Detention Watch Network.” – https://ccrjustice.org/home/press-center/press-releases/supreme-court-rules-favor-government-transparency-against-private” from http://roganslist.blogspot.com
- For more good news, see http://www.peaceisloud.org/small-victories/
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 In what appears to be a disturbing move against free speech and the democratic exercise of transparency, a government official recently brought armed law-enforcement officers to hearing about water quality in Lake Carmi, an issue that’s been mentioned in previous newsletters. http://digital.vpr.net/post/state-officials-bring-armed-officers-franklin-water-quality-meeting#stream/0 and https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/10/20/walters-tensions-high-at-lake-carmi-meeting?utm_content=buffer7f211&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer The Lake Carmi community is clearly—and for good reason—frustrated with the way things have been going. The introduction of armed law-enforcement officers isn’t going to facilitate the kind of conversation needed to address the community’s concerns.
- Action: Share your concerns with the person responsible for inviting the law enforcement officers to this hearing, Emily Boedecker, the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation: 802-828-1556
2 Vermont’s dairy industry is a main contributor to the cyanobacteria blooms that are seriously impacting Vermont’s water quality, and ultimately undermining Vermont’s tourism business. “State Treasurer Beth Pearce has estimated the cost of cleanup will be $2.3 billion over the next 20 years….There are funding sources for about $1.1 billion needed for cleanup. The state must find another $1.2 billion over the next 20 years.” Act 73, enacted this year, created a group to “’draft legislation to establish equitable and effective long-term funding methods to support clean water efforts in Vermont.’ Instead, the group released a report on Wednesday asserting that short-term funding isn’t needed…[C]lean water advocates say they’re disappointed by the working group’s draft report. “This was supposed to be a recommendation for long-term clean water funding and administration, and it’s clearly not,” he [one water policy advocate] said.” https://vtdigger.org/2017/10/20/scott-administration-finds-no-new-revenues-needed-lake-champlain-cleanup/#.WeuKt1tSzIV (I believe this article addresses the same issue: http://digital.vpr.net/post/lawmakers-skeptical-about-governors-new-plan-fund-lake-cleanup#stream/0)
- Action: Submit a public comment on the report (http://anr.vermont.gov/sites/anr/files/specialtopics/Act73WorkingGroup/2017-10-18-DRAFT-october-water-quality-funding-report.pdf) by October 31 expressing your dissatisfaction with the report, particularly its failure to fulfill the parameters of its mandate to identify long-term funding sources for water clean-up: email@example.com or Agency of Natural Resources, Secretary’s Office, 1 National Life Dr, Davis 2, Montpelier, VT 05602-3901
3 Several state Attorney Generals have filed “a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for failing to disclose records concerning the detention and deportation of immigrants.” https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-and-fellows-ags-file-suit-against-us-department-homeland-security-over
- Contact Vermont AG Donovan asking him to support this lawsuit: 802 828-3171 or Vermont Attorney General’s Office, 109 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05609-1001 or firstname.lastname@example.org (While you’re at it, thank Donovan for fighting the transgender military ban and the cut to healthcare subsidies)
4. 45’s decision to cut healthcare “subsidies will directly impact 13,000 low-income, sick Vermonters.” https://vtdigger.org/2017/10/13/trump-end-federal-insurance-subsidies-13000-vermonters/#.WeuZAFtSzIW and http://www.radvt.org/rights_democracy_opposes_trump_s_executive_orders As mentioned above, Governor Scott signed a letter to Congress asking it to stabilize health insurance markets.
- Action: Send your thanks to Governor Scott: 802 828-3333 or http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/message
5 “Migrant Justice is asking for records related to the arrests of several of their members by Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement….“As we’ve laid out in this lawsuit there have been a number of arrests of members and leaders of Migrant Justice who we believe have been targeted because of their involvement as human rights defenders in this state,” said Will Lambek, a staff member at Migrant Justice.” http://digital.vpr.net/post/migrant-justice-says-federal-agencies-target-its-members-now-its-seeking-records-court#stream/0 and http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2017/10/16/migrant-justice-sues-feds-information-claiming-harassment/769254001/
- Action: Join Migrant Justice to lend your support to their important work fighting not only for Vermont’s immigrants, but for our workers in the dairy industry and other important sectors of our economy https://migrantjustice.net/
6 The documentary “Divided by Diversity” was shown last night at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rutland City. The film is about racism experienced by students at Mount St. Joseph Academy in Rutland from 2010-2012. After the film, a question and answer session was held with some of the individuals who appeared in the film, including two former students of Mount St. Joseph Academy. Members of the panel referred to an article in the Vermont Digger, in which the current principal of Mount St. Joseph Academy refers to the film as “completely biased.” http://www.rutlandherald.com/articles/controversial-film-shown-in-rutland/ The panelists pointed out that no school administrators or teachers were willing to go on the record for the documentary, and that neither they nor the parents of the children protesting the presence of black students at the school were present at last night’s screening in order to “clear the air.” (Compare the response to the film of the current principal of Mount St. Joseph to the braver and more responsible response of BBA’s headmaster: http://www.manchesterjournal.com/stories/an-apology-and-a-teachable-moment-for-bba,506999)
- Action: Watch “Divided by Diversity” on PBS (it’s playing tomorrow night at 8:30 pm; a shorter version of the film can be streamed from http://www.pbs.org/video/divided-by-diversity-ejma6y/)
- Action: Express your disappointment in the response of Mount St. Joseph Academy’s current principal: Sarah Fourtier, Mount St. Joseph Academy, 127 Convent Ave, Rutland, VT 05701 or (802) 775-0151
- Action: Support the basketball program that was responsible for helping to place the New York students in Mount St. Joseph Academy – this program continues to help hundreds of students every year. Like the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WizKidsBasketball/ and check out their website http://wizkidsbooksb4ball.com/
7 Vermont has fallen one spot on the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)’s 2017 ranking of states with regard to energy efficiency http://aceee.org/sites/default/files/pdf/state-sheet/2017/vermont.pdf and http://aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard and https://www.ecowatch.com/state-energy-efficiency-scorecard-aceee-2491999456.html
- Action: Contact Governor Scott: 802 828-3333 or http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/message to tell him that we want to be #1. Vermont Strong all of the way!
8 “NH: Special Election next week—New Hampshire State House of Representatives, October 24, 2017. Democrat Casey Conley https://www.facebook.com/pg/conleyforhouse/about/?ref=page_internal is running against Republican Guy J. Eaton and Libertarian Brian Shields. Conley stands for, among other things, protecting NH’s Medicaid expansion, fighting for a $15 minimum wage, and making state colleges more affordable..” http://roganslist.blogspot.com
- Action: If we have friends or family in District Strafford 13, Dover ward 1, ask them to vote for Conley!
“The Vermont Supreme Court rules that public records on state employees’ personal accounts are subject to release” https://twitter.com/sevendaysvt/status/921678712487202817 For more information about transparency, please consider attending one of the Secretary of State’s Transparency Tour meetings, like the in Middlebury on November 1. You can also check out https://www.sec.state.vt.us/municipal/handbooks-guides/open-government-ethics.aspx
Listen to this short talk about Vermont’s role in the Underground Railroad: http://digital.vpr.net/post/teaser-whats-history-underground-railroad-vermont#stream/0
Listen to a talk about Vermont’s role in the fight for racial justice: http://digital.vpr.net/post/slayton-rokeby-museum-black-history-vermont#stream/0
Read an article about the fundraising efforts of Senators Sanders and Leahy and Congressman Welch https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/cash-in-sanders-leads-pack-in-fundraising/Content?oid=9213769&utm_content=buffer749bd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
The recent revelations regarding Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and rape of women in Hollywood has unleashed a media storm of women and men coming out with their stories of harassment and rape in Hollywood and beyond. As part of this, women who had been a victim of harassment or rape began tweeting #MeToo or setting their Facebook status to MeToo, a campaign that was actually started by a black woman ten years ago. Learn about that campaign https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-me-too-campaign-was-created-by-a-black-woman-10-years-ago_us_59e61a7fe4b02a215b336fee and listen to a Vermont report about the issue http://digital.vpr.net/post/me-too-now-what-discussion-about-sexual-assault-and-harassment?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter#stream/0 For tips about how to support survivors, check out last week’s newsletter.
Read an article on how healthcare providers envision healthcare reform: https://vtdigger.org/2017/10/16/health-care-providers-see-a-future-around-one-big-table/#.WeuYbltSzIV
I attended an event discussing racial justice last week in Rutland City. During the event, two whites used the n-word (by which I mean the actual word, which I will not even spell out here). They were quoting other people, and it was obvious that they thought of themselves as white allies to blacks. They clearly thought it was acceptable for them to use this word in that context, although they were both using it to describe incidents that they obviously considered to be racist. In fact, one of the individuals in question was using the word to complain that blacks use the word, a usage that seemed especially egregious (to her) when (according to her) the blacks using the word couldn’t (or wouldn’t) articulate their reasons for doing so to her. At the time, I wanted to say something, but held my tongue for reasons that, upon reflection, weren’t good enough. Instead of holding my tongue, I wish that I had said: I’m not comfortable with your usage of this word. It is never acceptable for whites to use the n-word, even when they are quoting someone, and even when they consider themselves allies. And it is never acceptable for whites to comment on the use of this word by blacks. It doesn’t matter if whites don’t understand why blacks use this word. It isn’t for us to comment on. It’s none of our business, but at the very least an argument could be made that they are re-appropriating it, and whites can’t participate in that re-appropriation. We just can’t. Full stop. This word doesn’t belong to us. It isn’t ours. Yes, it is taboo. And it should be. Whites should feel uncomfortable around it. This word should be ashes in our mouth. We should shut our mouths. (This last is addressed particularly to me: I should stop running my mouth so much, because my babbling was one of the reasons that I didn’t speak up at the time, for fear that I was already dominating the conversation. That’s an unacceptable excuse, but I’m going to try listening more and saving my comments for really important issues like this, because posting a comment on the subject several days later is lame.) If you’re not sure why whites cannot use this word and why whites can’t comment on black usage, here are some articles to read: https://everydayfeminism.com/2014/03/white-people-cant-use-the-n-word/ and https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-explaining-the-n-word-to-non-black-people-is-so-damn-exhausting_us_5910cb2de4b0d5d9049eef86 and http://www.theroot.com/what-to-say-when-your-white-friend-wants-to-use-the-n-w-1818664227 Yeah, the last one has some strong language – but it’s well-deserved.
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/)
9 “A new Quebec law, passed by the province’s National Assembly on Wednesday, essentially forces Muslim women and others to uncover their faces in order to receive public services or to work in the public sector. While the law does not explicitly single them out, it will particularly impact Muslim women who wear face coverings such as a burka or niqab. The ban on such coverings extends to public buses, libraries and hospitals.”
- Action: If you have friends or family living in Quebec, ask them to contact their legislators and write letters to the editor opposing this new law.
- Action: Learn more about the controversy over Muslim head coverings:
- Marnia Lazreg, Questioning the Veil: Open Letters to Muslim Women, Princeton University Press 2009.
- Hanna Ingber, “Muslim Women on the Veil,” The New York Times, May 27, 2015. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/28/world/muslim-women-on-the-veil.html?mcubz=3
- Dawn Lyon, “Unveiling The Headscarf Debate,” Feminist Legal Studies, January 2004, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 333–345.
- Annelies Moors, “NiqaBitch and Princess Hijab: Niqab Activism, Satire and Street Art,” Feminist Review, 98, Islam in Europe (2011), pp. 128-135
- Fadwa El Guindi, ed., Veil: Modesty, Privacy and Resistance, Oxford: Berg, 2003.
- Twitter thread on hijabs by Qasim Rashid, Esq.: https://twitter.com/muslimiq/status/846479319350345732
- Harriet Sinclair, “New York Teacher Fired after Allegedly Ripping Hijab off 8-year-old Girl’s Head,” Newsweek, 11May2017, http://www.newsweek.com/new-york-teacher-hijab-girl-fired-607254
- Jennifer Heath, The Veil: Women Writers on Its History, Lore, and Politics, London: University of California Press, 2008.
- Katherine Bullock, Rethinking Muslim Women and the Veil: Challenging Historical & Modern Stereotypes, International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2010.
- Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam, New Haven, 1992.
- Bahar Davary, “Miss Elsa and the Veil,” JFSR2 (2009), 47-66.
- Ayşe Saktanber and Gül Çorbacioğlu, “Veiling and Headscarf-Skepticism in Turkey,” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, Volume 15, Issue 4, 1 December 2008, 514–538.
10 “In a deliberate move to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Trump recently decided to stop payment of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies to insurers selling Healthcare.gov marketplace plans. These payments help insurers provide lower-cost health insurance plans on the exchanges. In anticipation of the lost CSR revenue, insurers have already increased their rates dramatically. For example, Pennsylvania’s UPMC Health Plan was planning to increase premiums by 8% in 2018 until Trump threatened to discontinue CSRs; now, the plan is increasing premiums by an average of 41% statewide. Some insurers may even exit the exchanges entirely, further jeopardizing health insurance access for the 18 million Americans who buy their insurance plans on the ACA individual market. However, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have announced a bipartisan bill to attempt to stabilize the ACA’s individual markets by reinstating CSRs for insurers for two more years. The bill would also create a low-cost catastrophic coverage exchange plan and reinstate $106 million in funding for ACA enrollment outreach, funding which the Trump administration has slashed in yet another attempt to undermine the ACA. In exchange, the bill would give states more flexibility to let insurers offer new types of insurance plans that are comparably affordable to existing ACA plans. Most importantly, the bill would preserve ACA standards for what exchange plans must cover preventing the erosion of protection for those with pre-existing conditions. As Sen. Alexander himself stated of the bill, “This agreement avoids chaos. I don’t know a Republican or Democrat who benefits from chaos.” Congress must act quickly to pass this bipartisan effort to undo Trump’s blatant sabotage of the ACA’s individual market and prevent the loss of affordable healthcare for millions of Americans.” https://5calls.org/issue/alexander-murray-aca-stabilization+
- Action: Contact your senators asking them to support the Alexander-Murray bill
11 “Attorney Thomas Farr has a long history of defending policies deliberately designed to disenfranchise black voters. He defended a voter-ID law in North Carolina that prevented an estimated 30,000 voters from participating on the 2014 election. A federal court ultimately ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it was designed “with almost surgical precision” to discourage black voters from voting. Farr also defended North Carolina’s gerrymandered political districts, districts which the Supreme Court concluded were drawn to dilute the impact of black voters. Now, Trump has nominated Farr for a lifetime appointment as a federal judge. To add insult to injury, Farr would fill the longest-running vacancy in the federal court system. This seat has remained open because Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) refused to approve President Obama’s nominees for this position (despite Burr having recommended one of the nominees to Obama himself). Once again, Republicans plan to fill a judgeship stolen from the Obama administration with an anti-civil rights, anti-voting rights attorney who would actively work to suppress black voters. The courts provide one of the few remaining checks on the Trump administration’s crusade against progressive policies and electoral fairness; the court rulings against the discriminatory policies Farr himself defended demonstrate the need for federal judges who are committed to protecting voting rights. On October 19th, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 along party lines to advance Farr for final confirmation. A full Senate vote is expected soon.” https://5calls.org/issue/oppose-thomas-farr-federal-judge
- Action: Contact your senators opposing Thomas Farr’s appointment for a federal judgeship based on his record of defending unconstitutional voter suppression and his inability to preside impartially over cases involving civil rights and voting rights
12 In light of discussion about banning bump stocks, the price of bump stock market stock prices has skyrocketed. “It’s true–after every mass shooting gun stocks prices rise because Americans buy more guns, and Las Vegas was no different. As John Hale, the Director of Sustainable Investing Researching at Morningstar reported, the stocks prices of all four of the publically traded gun manufacturers rose post-Vegas mass shooting: American Outdoor Brands Corp (AOBC), formerly Smith & Wesson +3.21%; Sturm Ruger & Co Inc (RGR) +3.48%; Vista Outdoor Inc (VSTO) +2.44%; Olin Corp (OLN), a chemical company that also owns Winchester rifles +6.63%. What you may not know is that you are probably investing in guns. That’s right, those of us who are saving for retirement or our kids’ college likely have gun stocks (which are highly lucrative) in our portfolios…some of the largest investors own considerable shares in these gun companies. While it’s not always easy to divest from guns, all-of-us must stop fueling mass shootings. Here’s how:
- Visit goodbyegunstocks to see whether your investment portfolio includes gun stocks.
- Share goodbyegunstocks with your financial advisor or person at your place of employment who is responsible for managing your retirement benefits. Ask them how you can change your portfolio to remove gun stocks. Talk to them about socially responsible “ESG” investment funds, which are growing rapidly and don’t include investments in guns.
- Share goodbyegunstocks on social media so that we can shine a light on the funds that support guns.” https://www.wallofus.org/posts/205/divest-from-guns
The following items were taken verbatim or nearly verbatim from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/
13 HalloweenCostumes.com “has removed an outfit depicting German-born diarist Anne Frank, a Jewish victim of the Holocaust, from its website after public outrage.” The CEO of the Anti-Defamation League responded to the incident by saying: “This should never have happened in the first place. It shows we still have a long way to go in terms of educating people about what happened during the Holocaust, and why this unique event in human history should never be trivialized.” http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/company-pulls-anne-frank-halloween-costume-website-amid/story?id=50533589 As we prepare for our Halloween festivities, let’s take a few minutes to educate ourselves about the implications of costumes like this, as well as costumes depicting cultures and ethnicities not our own: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/31/us/cultural-appropriation-halloween-costumes.html and http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114199552 Halloween is a time of celebration! We can be scary, funny, and edgy without being insensitive!
14 Two of the world’s largest insurance firms have partnered with the NRA to provide “NRA Carry Guard” insurance to gun owners who shoot someone and claim self-defense. This plan is specifically designed to protect “Stand Your Ground” shooters like George Zimmerman (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nras-carry-guard-comes-under-fire-as-murder-insurance/). Since our country is now led by a president who the NRA put their full weight behind, clearly we cannot look to the White House for moral leadership here, and we need to provide it ourselves. We can call on Chubb Insurance and Lockton Affinity to drop these policies at this website: https://stopmurderinsurance.org/.
15 The Senate passed the budget bill Thursday and it now needs to be reconciled with the already-passed House version. This process, including final voting, is projected to be done by the end of the month. The move will make the passage of the impending tax bill smoother. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-senate-budget-taxcuts-20171019-story.html Let’s contact all our Members of Congress and remind them that we do not want them to approve anything that will harm our young, old, or poor in terms of healthcare, food, housing, or education.
16 Four ambushed soldiers died in Niger, betrayed by faulty info, their rescue bungled by private contractors. Trump’s response was typical, grabbing and misdirecting attention, blaming the victim’s Gold Star family and Congressional supporter, sacrificing the dignity and reputation of a once respected figure, General Kelly, to defend his lies. So, the Trump administration is very reluctant to release info and may have to be subpoenaed to do so. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congress/pentagon-faces-demands-for-details-on-deadly-attack-in-niger/2017/10/19/89ff2684-b50a-11e7-9b93-b97043e57a22_story.html?utm_term=.3f34a72f3cac Let’s ask our representatives to call for an immediate investigation into this incident and demand an apology to this Gold Star family and their defenders.
17 According to Congresswoman, Frederica Wilson (D-FL), when Trump recently called the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, killed in Niger, he more than once told the widow: “’But you know he must’ve known what he signed up for.’” https://www.nbcnews.com/news/military/trump-told-widow-soldier-must-ve-known-what-he-signed-n811756 This sort of comment is yet another example of Trump’s callous disregard for the very real cost of service to soldiers and military families. This attitude is particularly disturbing given this administration’s obvious interest in escalating military aggressions, even as the prospects for returning soldiers remain precarious, with the Veterans Administration reporting disproportionately high suicide rates among veterans. https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2951 Let’s check out these tips and see what we can do to support soldiers and veterans in our community: http://www.military.com/memorial-day/support-troops-and-families.html
18 From Postcards for America: Given 45’s publicized comments regarding the recently fallen soldiers, one wonders about the families of the rest who have been killed in combat since he took office, so I have included them, too, in the PC2A. Let’s write to the families with our condolences on behalf of our country: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RI-IkqIlPaNdevEqhES9bWkkdc50lzjYxf-aychBZQY/edit
19 From Postcards for America: 114 Members of Congress have written a letter to Secretary of Defense Mattis asking for some sort of proof that 45 consulted with the military (as he claimed he did) prior to the announcement of the #transmilitaryban. Check and see if your Representative signed the letter (https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0k1qCMVpKZpRGtWckdCbE9oLXM ) and send them a thank you postcard. And then write General Mattis and ask him to provide the information they requested: Address: 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000. Note: Peter Welch signed! Send him your thanks!
20 Energy Secretary Rick Perry gave the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) just 60 days to consider a radical proposal that would give preferential treatment to coal power — potentially at the expense of natural gas, solar, wind and other alternatives — and despite higher costs for consumers and serious consequences for our health and climate. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/rick-perrys-proposal-would-upend-years-of-power-reform/article/2637365 There’s less than one week left to submit a public comment against this. Let’s do it here: https://nextgenamerica.org/act/reject-dirty-power-plan/
21 Trump has nominated David Zatezalo to run the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Per Propublica, “Records show the coal mining company formerly run by David Zatezalo retaliated against a foreman who complained of harassment and unsafe conditions.” On Wednesday, Oct. 18, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, by a 12-11 vote, approved the nomination of David Zatezalo as undersecretary of Labor, heading the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. Let’s contact our own Senators to let them know that we oppose Zatezalo’s nominated for mine safety because of Zatezalo’s own poor safety record.
22 FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is expected to circulate a rule and announce a vote on his plan to gut net neutrality within weeks, perhaps as soon as November 22nd (https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/10/ajit-pai-gets-new-term-on-fcc-despite-protest-of-anti-net-neutrality-plan/). Free and open Internet advocates at Fight for the Future are reporting that key lawmakers are sympathetic but are not hearing enough calls from their constituents to spur them to action. They’ve set up a new call tool to allow us to pressure our reps to stop the vote. Let’s join the fight here: https://www.battleforthenet.com/.
23 Following Trump’s tweet attacking freedom of the press by threatening NBC’s license, only the Democratic members of the FCC have spoken up, while Republican members and FCC Chair Ajit Pai have remained silent http://bit.ly/2yfLZVB While it does not actually issue licenses to broadcast networks, just individual stations, the FCC still has a responsibility to defend freedom of the press, and we need to know that the head of the FCC will do this. Even, and especially, when the attack is coming from the president. Let’s contact Pai and ask that he speak out against Trump’s attacks. E-mail: Ajit.Pai@fcc.govTwitter: https://twitter.com/AjitPaiFCC FCC phone number: 1-888-225-5322 Address: Federal Communications Commission 445 12th Street, SW Washington, DC 20554 We can also send the form letter from the Free Press Action Fund: http://act.freepress.net/sign/journ_fcc_press_attack
24 The Senate Judiciary Committee’s oversight hearing for the DOJ is putting Attorney General Jeff Sessions back in the spotlight http://trib.in/2gO7QvS Although Sessions has only held the position for eight months, he has already done so much damage. People for the American Way have created a timeline of all the ways Sessions has walked back civil rights and justice for all http://bit.ly/2kYupCt Let’s read through the timeline, then use it as motivation to call again for Sessions’ resignation. We can contact the Department of Justice by phone: 202-353-1555 or mail: US Dept. of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20530 Let’s also be sure to contact our Member of Congress and ask that they put pressure on Sessions to resign as well.
25 The proposed Health and Human Services Strategic Plan, which is updated every four years, contains some concerning elements. While it is no surprise that it is more conservative in nature than the current plan, this one states that it will protect lives from conception to natural death and has references to over 40 faith or faith-based organizations, compared to Obama’s three, obviously pandering to and using the language of the religious right. https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/10/13/16449724/trump-hhs-abortion-pro-life-conception While conservative Christians seemed largely pleased with the draft strategic plan of the Dept. of HHS, its religious thrust proved to be deeply troubling to medical professionals like Dr. Esther Choo, associate professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, who told [Snopes]: The strategic plan has a surprising amount of language around religion, working with religious groups, preserving religious freedom, and even assertion of fundamental beliefs that are religiously based such as the statement that life begins at conception, which concerns me as a potential starting point for denying women necessary health services. It is stunning as a document from a public health, health services, and science-focused organization. I am a scientist and public health advocate who also happens to be personally quite religious, but I found the plan as drafted to be both unusual and disturbing.” http://www.snopes.com/2017/10/11/hhs-says-life-begins-conception/ Concern #1: The document defines life as beginning at conception. This clause as part of the official Strategic Plan will make it easier for the government to limit or eliminate access to abortion, emergency contraception, and several types of infertility treatment. I was a volunteer at a rape crisis center and the relief on women’s faces when they heard about EC was unbelievable. Regarding infertility treatment, IVF includes creation of embryos in a lab (which would under this definition constitute “life”.). This guideline could lead to medically dangerous decisions (“Ms. X, you need to put in all 8 of those embryos and carry them all to term even though that’s medically disastrous,”) or perhaps, the eventual outlawing of this kind of infertility treatment altogether. For LGBT couples who rely on assistive reproductive technology to have a child that is genetically theirs, this kind of limitation would be devastating. It would also be devastating to straight individuals who want to have a child but need IVF assistance. Concern #2: The Strategic Plan includes extensive mention of faith (46 mentions… for comparison, the last Strategic Plan had 3 mentions) and appears to open the door further to faith based organizations receiving federal funds but discriminating against individuals they find objectionable (e.g. LGBT community, women who use birth control). For people who live in rural areas, this discrimination could spell limited access to healthcare.
- Public comments are being accepted by HHS until Oct. 27: 1) using the comment box shown at the bottom of each page of the draft strategic plan (https://www.hhs.gov/about/draft-strategic-plan), 2) emailing HHSPlan@hhs.gov, 3) faxing to (202) 690-5882, or 4) sending mail to: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Strategic Planning Team, Attn: Strategic Plan Comments, 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 415F, Washington, DC 20201.
- Our Members of Congress also need to know that we do not want this plan to be put into practice.
- This is yet another case of this administration treating religion as a license to discriminate against women and LGBTQ people, and an example of why it’s more important than ever to throw our full support behind the Do No Harm Act (H.R.3222). This bill would stop the misuse of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to ensure that protections of our First Amendment rights can’t be used as an excuse to attack Americans. Let’s contact our reps and tell them we want to see them supporting this measure. (We can also sign this petition from the ACLU: https://action.aclu.org/secure/DoNoHarmAct2017).
26 As Trump and the GOP continue their attacks on women’s rights, other members of Congress have introduced legislation to offer more protection http://bit.ly/2ggVlfl Back in January, Representative Barbara Lee introduced H.R. 771, or Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act of 2017. There are 125 cosponsors, which amounts to about 29% of the House! Let’s check to see if our representative has cosponsored this legislation (pro-tip: if you have a Republican rep, they didn’t), and thank them if they have https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/771/cosponsorsOtherwise, let’s call our reps and ask them to support women’s rights, and cosponsor H.R. 771. We can also become a citizen co-sponsor through Our Revolution: https://go.ourrevolution.com/page/s/each-woman-act
27 The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved Trump’s 7th Circuit judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett for a full Senate vote, in spite of her questions about the legitimacy of a woman’s right to choose and her ties to ultra-conservative groups like the Federalist Society https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/28/us/amy-coney-barrett-nominee-religion.html This is a lifetime appointment, and we can’t let it go to such an extremist without a fight. Let us contact our senators and let them know we expect them to oppose Barrett.
28 Trump signed an executive order, restricting the ACA’s birth control mandate
http://bit.ly/2ypferg For those of us who believe that our employers will choose to no longer provide contraception coverage, the National Women’s Law Center has created a hotline that we can call or e-mail to help us determine what steps we can take to get the coverage we need http://bit.ly/2yieT7I We can call them at 1-866-745-5487 or send an e-mail to CoverHer@nwlc.org or check out the information available here:
29 The ACA helps us in many ways, but one problem it doesn’t address is skyrocketing medical costs. Neither do any of the major proposals for a single-payer system, for which Americans would pay more than other country’s citizens, because healthcare costs more here (https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/16/16357790/health-care-prices-problem). Part of the problem is that many hospital fees are not public knowledge, so let’s help Vox Media strike a small first blow for transparency by sharing our recent emergency room bills (personal info may be redacted) with this Vox Media project: https://erbills.vox.com/.
30 With all of Trump’s work to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it’s time for us to stop calling it “Obamacare.” Whatever happens now, Trump and his regime own it. Let’s make a point of letting them know that by calling the healthcare that is available to us as “Trumpcare” from now on. The limited sign-up coming up is obviously a Trumpcare feature. Obamacare had a longer time-frame and better advertising. Rhetoric is important. Let’s make this change.
31 In effort to dismantle the ACA, the Trump administration has shortened this year’s enrollment period for the ACA, cut back dollars for advertising about the signup and helping those who want to sign up, and “HHS’s regional directors were told not to participate in enrollment events in their states.” http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/354215-former-hhs-regional-directors-participation-in-obamacare-enrollment-is-key Fortunately, the ACA Signup Project has a new website: https://www.acasignupproject.com that can help us. Let’s visit and learn how we can help spread the word so people can sign up for health care coverage.
32 Even though neither Congress nor the White House were fully aware of the bill’s import when Obama signed it into law, according to interviews with former senior administration officials, but the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of last session, made the opioid problem worse instead of better. Many are calling for its repeal: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/opioid-addiction-epidemic-capitol-hill-calls-for-change/ Let’s let our Members of Congress know that we support this repeal. Given the recent reports by the Washington Post and 60 Minutes, it’s clear that this bill weakens the fight against the opioid epidemic. Here’s an article on Peter Welch’s second thoughts about his support for the legislation that’s exacerbated the opioid problem: http://www.wcax.com/content/news/Welch-shocked-that-bill-he-supported-may-have-fueled-opioid-crisis–451674553.html
33 The Silent Sentinels spent over two years in silent protest until the 19th Amendment was passed to give women the right to vote. It is time to do the same for the Equal Rights Amendment. To that end, Equal Means Equal is partnering with Catharsis on the Mall to honor the Silent Sentinels by holding a 4-month at the feet of R-Evolution which will be placed in front of the Washington Monument and facing the White House and the Capitol Building. We can take part in this historic demonstration to fight for the ERA by signing up to be one of the Silent Sentinels. More info here: https://equalmeansequal.org/blog/equal-means-equal-partners-catharsis-mall-honor-silent-sentinels/
34 Democrats are working to stop Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from rescinding Obama-era guidance on how colleges should handle sexual assaults on campus. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) introduced legislation, HR4030, Title IX Protection Act, to codify into law guidance on sexual violence DeVos withdrew last month while the agency takes its first steps to write new guidance.” http://thehill.com/regulation/355179-dems-unveil-bill-to-write-campus-sexual-assault-guidance-into-law . Right now, the bill has 27 Democratic co-sponsors. Let’s check here to see if our Democratic representatives are among them. Let’s send thanks if they are; if not, let’s ask them to support HR4030. Note: Peter Welch is not yet a cosponsor! Ask him to join!
35 The National Chicken Council and Republican lawmakers are “lobbying to speed up poultry inspection lines.” Not only would this increase the risk of food contamination, but it would also put plant employees—often immigrants and refugees—at greater risk for on-the-job injury. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/another-obama-decision-reversed-now-it-s-about-food-safety-n810296 Let’s contact Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking him to refuse requests to speed up poultry inspection lines: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250
36 Wilbur Ross, the Commerce Secretary, has given contradictory reports about $2 billion that he left off of his financial disclosure report, raising questions about whether he “violated federal rules and whether his family owns billions in holdings that could create the appearance of conflicts of interest.”https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2017/10/16/the-mystery-of-wilbur-ross-missing-billions/#3a5e5f11c90a Let’s contact our Member of Congress as well as the US Office of Government Ethics (ContactOGE@oge.gov) to request an investigation into whether Ross lied on his financial disclosure report and whether he is really taking the appropriate steps to avoid conflicts of interest.
37 The Senate on Monday confirmed Callista Gingrich, the wife of former House Speaker and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, to serve as U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. The vote was 70-23, with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and several other Democrats joining all Republicans in favor. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/16/callista-gingrich-vatican-ambassador-243849 Let’s tell our Democratic Reps that they need to stop playing favorites with Congress family and friends. There are certainly many experienced people for this job that aren’t connected to congress. Note: Leahy and Sanders voted “no.” https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=1&vote=00217#state So let’s send them our thanks.
38 The US is withdrawing from UNESCO, which helps to “improve access to education, preserve cultural heritage, improve gender equality and promote scientific advances and freedom of expression,” around the world. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/10/12/u-s-withdraws-from-unesco-the-u-n-s-cultural-organization-citing-anti-israel-bias/ At a time when international landmarks are under increasing threat from extremists (see for instance, this article about ISIS’ destruction of the Temple of Bel in Palmyra https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/01/satellite-images-reveal-isis-destruction-of-palmyras-temple-of-bel) the USA should be increasing its support for UNESCO, not withdrawing it. Let’s contact Nikki Haley (https://usun.state.gov/contact) to express our displeasure with the decision to withdraw from UNESCO.
39 While Trump looks the other way, President Erdogan of Turkey has been taking increasingly aggressive moves towards the United States and Americans, from securing the lobbying services of Michael Flynn (Trump’s National Security Advisor) to ignoring an attack upon protesters in the USA by Erdogan’s security detail. Now a US consular official has been arrested in Turkey, in what may be an attempt to gain leverage against the US with regard to the trial of an accused money launderer later this month in New York. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/the-man-at-the-crux-the-of-us-turkey-dispute-is-about-to-go-on-trial/2017/10/12/92c4c7a2-af96-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html?utm_term=.ede64de09439 and https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/erdogan-is-risking-a-rupture-of-relations-with-the-united-states/2017/10/10/e1215d56-ad12-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.2d45ba758f93 The current US Ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, is departing from this position, so let’s take our concerns straight to the State Department: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
40 Congressional ethics investigators have indicated there is “substantial reason to believe” Rep. Chris Collins (R, NY)—the first Congressman to endorse Trump— “engaged in insider trading and either took or requested official actions to benefit a company in which he’s the largest shareholder…Those may violations of House rules, standards of conduct and federal law.” Unfortunately, the House Ethics Committee that is reviewing these charges is doing so “under a procedure that does not set deadlines for further public announcements and rarely results in punishment.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/12/ethics-investigators-suggest-rep-chris-collins-may-have-engaged-insider-trading/758304001/ We can’t let this sort of corruption be normalized! If our Congressmen are on this committee, let’s contact him/her directly, and if not, let’s contact the committee itself https://ethics.house.gov/contact-us to express our desire for a thorough investigation and the pursuit of appropriate disciplinary action.
41 Trump “has nominated former Texas environmental lobbyist and regulator Kathleen Hartnett White, a climate change skeptic, to head the Council on Environmental Quality, a federal office that coordinates efforts between agencies.” Per this Dallas News article, “White is a fellow at the right-leaning Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin, which receives funding from energy companies including Chevron and Exxon Mobil. White was also an economic adviser to Trump during his campaign and lobbied for the foundation until late last year.”…”The nomination of Kathleen Hartnett-White is the nightmare scenario for anyone who wants clean air and clean water,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement. “Her record makes clear she is completely ready and willing to sell out the health of our kids to corporate polluters.” Based on our experiences with this administration and the environment, we can safely stand with the Sierra Club on this one. Let’s tell our Senators to say “no” to science-denying polluter Kathleen Harnett White for Council on Environmental Quality. Let’s tell them that we care about environmental quality, now and in the future.
42 “The Endangered Species Act (ESA) itself is under attack. Since January, congressional Republicans have launched at least 46 legislative assaults on the legislation or a specific species, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Five bills to amend the legislation were advanced by the House Natural Resources Committee just this month.” Let’s read this article from Moyers&Co “Road Kill: Side-Swiping the Environmental Protection Act” which discusses the impact that the Republican regime has had so far on the Environmental Protection Act and the ESA as well as some of the intended next steps. If we are not already environmental activists, let’s commit to contacting our MoC’s once a week about wildlife and environmental issues. They need to hear from us to know that we care.
43 From Postcards for America: The Climate Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan group in the US House of Representatives which will explore policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate. The caucus was founded in February of 2016 by two south-Florida representatives Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) who will serve as co-chairs of the caucus. It has a “Noah’s Ark” rule where, if you are joining, you must bring a member of the other party with you. Let’s check to see if our representative belongs. If yes, let’s send a thanks, if not, let’s why, then ask them to do so: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NafXNOgK_YPJ2w6MA-j-o0IU5Pkngz6rREyWy-ks8r8/mobilebasic
44 Forests in the United States are being cut down in order to help fuel power plants in the UK. The limbs are turned into wood pellets, which are labeled “carbon-neutral” in the European Union, even though that is not entirely accurate http://bit.ly/2yzIsU2 Right now, the label is being considered in the United States as well, though critics argue that the label, in addition to being inaccurate, will also spur deforestation and a boost in carbon emissions. It is also feared the label will give the go-ahead to move to wood pellet as fuel for power plants, rather than looking to emissions-free options like wind and solar energy http://bit.ly/2igEiWn Meanwhile, there are concerns about wood pellet plants in the U.S., their impact on the environment, and issues with air quality http://bit.ly/2l2ekMk Let’s call on the EPA to make sure that they do not follow the EU’s lead; wood pellets should not be labeled “carbon-neutral.” Environmental Protection Agency Office of the Administrator 1101A 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20460 We can also contact the UK Secretary for Energy Policy, Greg Clark, and ask that he and the EU Energy Council reform their renewable energy policies https://act.nrdc.org/letter/forests-not-fuel-171017?
45 Last week, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 3990: National Monument Creation and Protection Act; another deceptively titled piece of legislation. This bill would essentially gut the Antiquities Act, and the Sierra Club has a very helpful rundown of how the language in the bill allows for this to happen: http://www.sierraclub.org/lay-of-the-land/2017/10/no-more-parks Let’s be sure to contact our representative and tell them to oppose H.R. 3990
46 Trump’s nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is Accuweather CEO and non-scientist Barry Myers. Jane Lubchenco, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University, was NOAA administrator from 2009 to 2013. She hopes Myers will pledge to continue providing peer-reviewed research, without a political filter, to the public. “Not only is that the right thing to do,” she says, “but NOAA is required by legal mandate from Congress to forecast, record, report, monitor, and distribute meteorological, hydrological, and climate data.” ..The elephant in the room for Myers will be climate change…Myers has rarely said much about global warming, and AccuWeather, unlike its rival The Weather Company, has not taken up the cause of climate change.” “I fear that he’ll do irreparable harm to an agency whose primary mission is to save lives,” said Daniel Sobien, the president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, which strongly opposes Myers’ nomination. “There seems to be a huge conflict of interest considering his business background and belief system.”Let’s read the full articles at 1) Science magazine and 2) Politico. Let’s tell our Senators that we oppose Myers for NOAA.
47 Many of us who work in higher education want to support Dreamers. We’ve seen firsthand how hard these young people are working for their futures. Here’s a form that lets us tell Congress that we’d like them to pass new legislation to protect the DACA program and its current recipients: https://www2.acenet.edu/protectdreamers/
48 Trump is planning an increase in immigration jails across the country to house the growing number of undocumented immigrants. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/10/17/trump-plans-massive-increase-federal-immigration-jails/771414001/ We’ve learned that most of these prisons are private and lucrative and seriously underserving these people. https://www.thenation.com/article/a-look-inside-our-abusive-immigrant-prisons/ Let’s make sure that legislators know that we disagree with this move and do not want our money spent that way and that we want other private prisons closed.
49 “The Trump administration is taking steps to impose “numeric performance standards” on federal immigration judges, drawing a sharp rebuke from judges who say production quotas or similar measures will threaten judicial independence, as well as their ability to decide life-or-death deportation cases”: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/immigration/ct-immigration-judges-quotas-20171012-story.html Not only will public trust in the immigration courts be compromised, but judges will be under tremendous pressure to act quickly, without the kind of deliberation these complex cases with their dramatic effects deserve. We must let AG Jeff Sessions that these changes will turn the immigration courts into a sham: 202-353-1555 or U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001
50 Supplies of certain medicines could be at risk because of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Per The Pharmaceutical Journal: “Devastation of infrastructure could result in critical shortages of common medicines, including Crestor and Humira, produced in Puerto Rico, one of the world’s biggest centres for pharmaceutical manufacturing…Puerto Rico is one of the world’s biggest centres for pharmaceutical manufacturing, hosting more than 500 medical product facilities, but damage to infrastructure has led the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action…The FDA identified more than 20 firms as producing medically important FDA-regulated products, and 40 high-priority drugs for which short-term disruption of production could lead to shortages which would have a substantial impact on public health.” Let’s remember that local issues can have far-reaching consequences and reach out to our Members of Congress to warn them of yet another reason Puerto Rico needs their help.
51 The USNS Comfort, a state-of-the art Navy hospital ship, is off shore of Puerto Rico with only 33 of its 250 beds filled while hundreds on the mainland need its services. The ship is waiting for patients, but there is a communication problem between FEMA, the Puerto Rico Dept. of Health, and the medical community regarding referrals. https://www.clickorlando.com/health/hospital-ship-mostly-empty-in-puerto-rico Let’s contact FEMA to express our deep concern and ask them to step in to fix this: Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street S.W., Washington, D.C. 20472 or Administrator Brock Long on Twitter @FEMA_Brock
51 Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) is calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to look into a report that residents of Puerto Rico are drinking water that may be contaminated. Thompson wrote a letter to acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke asking for an investigation, CNN reported per this article in The Hill. Let’s add our own voices to the call for an immediate investigation. We can call DHS at 1) Operator Number: 202-282-8000 and/or 2) Comment Line: 202-282-8495
53 Facebook and Google are responsible or 85% of all digital political ads, according to the NY Times, yet they claim they can’t—and certainly don’t—indicate who is paying for these ads, as we learned when Facebook was forced to turn over Russian-linked ads to a congressional committee investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Now they are lining up high-powered lawyers to fight the “Honest Ads Act” introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mark Warner (D-VA), and John McCain (R-AZ), which would force Facebook, Google and other internet companies to disclose who is purchasing online political advertising: https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/senators-demand-online-ad-disclosures-tech-giants-n812291 We should urge our senators to back this bill and let the Federal Election Commission know that we will not tolerate any longer exempting the internet from the rigorous regulations to which paid television, radio and print political advertising has been subject for years: 1-800-424-9530 or Federal Election Commission, 999 E St NW, Washington, DC 20463
54 There is a new “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey” from the Trump campaign folks. Let’s help them out (no need to donate or give identifying info): https://action.donaldjtrump.com/short-mainstream-media-accountability-survey/
55 Suit Up Maine has created a helpful piece on the dos and don’ts of engaging with trolls on social media: https://www.facebook.com/notes/suit-up-maine/do-this-not-that-how-to-effectively-resist-trump-on-social-media/1506840242735154/ Let’s read it and put some of this into action in our own social media practices.
56 Gainesville, Florida’s mayor, Lauren Poe, called Richard Spencer, a “terrorist leader.” Spencer spoke at the University of Florida’s Gainesville campus yesterday where he was met with protest both inside and outside of the hall in which he was speaking. http://thehill.com/homenews/news/356261-gainesville-mayor-richard-spencer-is-a-terrorist-leader Let’s thank Mayor Poe for his plain spoken description that so many others are reluctant to use: email: email@example.com or snail mail: Gainesville City Hall, 200 E University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601 or via a message on his Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/MayorLaurenPoe/
57 From Crooked Media (Pod Save America, Pod Save the People, and other informative, politically-relevant podcasts): “The Mercer family funds far-right hate groups like Breitbart. They make their money by charging hefty fees to institutional investors in their hedge fund. Those investors include schools like Columbia University and Michigan State. http://bit.ly/2yyNVKz If we don’t want our school, city, or pension fund helping the Mercer family fund hate, tell them to divest.”
58 While not always agreeing with his politics, George W. Bush never made us fear nuclear or civil war. His speech at yesterday’s George W. Bush Institute event in New York, the former President spoke up for true values in our country: http://thehill.com/homenews/news/356212-george-w-bush-bigotry-seems-emboldened-in-us (with full text here: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/19/full-text-george-w-bush-speech-trump-243947 ) Let’s thank President Bush for his words via The George W. Bush Presidential Center, 2943 SMU Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75205
59 “A.J. Burgess was born a month too soon without a working kidney, WGCL-TV reports, and his father Anthony Dickerson is a 110 percent match for an organ donation. But surgeons at Emory Hospital in Atlanta won’t perform the operation because Dickerson served time in prison for violating probation.” We can read the full article here. Parole violations or even imprisonment should not stop a matched-donor from making a donation, especially to his own 2-year-old. Emory Healthcare needs to here from us. Call: 404-778-7777.
60 Flip Virginia Blue! Join Today’s Action Together Network’s Twitterstorm for Democratic candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates. Virginia’s off year election results often predict how the next national midterm election will go, so their elections matter to us all. If Virginia has a strong Democratic showing, things look up for 2018 and we can make that happen. You’ll be tweeting for: 1) Joshua Cole: African-American and youngest candidate to ever win the Dem nomination for this seat, 2) Science teacher Cheryl Turpin: 362 votes shy of flipping a 30-year Red District Blue, and 3) Lee J. Carter: Former Marine and IT specialist. 2018 victories start here. Let’s make it work! Tweetstorm Link with instructions here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1943005329297657