Suggestions/additions welcome. Don’t see your issue, event or organization? Send it to me.
ACA Open Enrollment has begun. It will close on December 15th http://info.healthconnect.vermont.gov/Get_Started
- The enrollment period is abbreviated and advertising has been curtailed, so please help to get the word out to your friends and family! https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/dates-and-deadlines/ Note: It appears that the enrollment website will be closed every single Sunday between midnight and noon (ET) except December 10. https://twitter.com/philgalewitz/status/911305725154140163
- “We know that the budget for navigators (helpers) for the ACA was cut way back, but they are still out there. If we, or someone we know, needs assistance, here’s a tool we can use and share to find the help:” https://connector.getcoveredamerica.org/en-us/widget/ From http://roganslist.blogspot.com
- “org is inviting us to become #ACAdefenders to help spread the word about this shortened ACA enrollment period. Let’s help: http://action.momsrising.org/signup/acadefender-2017 Once we sign up, we will get a link to an online toolkit that will have updates!” From http://roganslist.blogspot.com
Note: “Marches being planned for November 4 are organized by Refuse Fascism. These rallies aren’t planned or endorsed by any of the major, organized Resistance groups like Women’s March, MoveOn, etc. Instead, it is an outgrowth of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Do not be mislead.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/01/far-right-conspiracy-theory-us-civil-war From http://roganslist.blogspot.com
- Sunday Nov 5 Science Pub with Rich Clark, director of the Castleton Polling Institute and professor of political science, at 4 pm at Fair Haven Inn, 5 Adams St., Fair Haven – “Clark will discuss the science of political polling, its limits and its future.” For more information: 802-468-5574. http://manchesternewspapers.com/event/science-pub/
- Tuesday Nov 7 Vermont Rural Caucus from 5 pm – 7 pm at the State House. “The Vermont House of Representatives Rural Development Caucus will hold a Public Hearing…to hear from municipal, business, education, and non-profit interests in rural Vermont about what the most pressing issues are for rural Vermont. We are helping to organize a hearing for the Vermont Rural Caucus – a nonpartisan group of Vermont State Representatives. As the legislative session nears, the Caucus is seeking input about what Vermonters feel are the most pressing issues for Vermont. Come share your testimony. Or if you are unable to attend, you may submit testimony via email to caucus member Representative Charlie Kimbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
- Wednesday Nov 8
- Saving Our Waters at 6:30 pm at Paramount Theatre Rutland. Free screening & discussion about water quality issues facing VT. Info & RSVP: horg/water
- 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
- Race, Gender & Access in Sports: Title IX at 45 at 12:30-1:45 pm in the Herrick Auditorium, Stafford Academic Center, Castleton University – with Diana Nearhos, Sports Reporter Knoxville News Sentinel; Marybeth Lennox, Professor of Sports Management; and Dr. Adam Chill, Professor of History
- Public hearing to gather public testimony on the impact of the Equifax breach and other data-security issues at 12:30 p.m. at the Springfield Town Offices and at 5:30 p.m. in the Barton Village Office https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/11/02/walters-legislative-leaders-ag-promise-action-on-data-security?utm_content=buffer7b5a5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
- 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
- TD Bank Rutland protests 10am-noon – 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
- Vermont Workers Center Membership Assembly from 11:30am – 5pm on Saturday, November 11th at the Old Labor Hall, 46 Granite St, in Barre. “The Membership Assembly is open to all members in good standing. This is our annual statewide assembly where members come together to build relationships, hear updates from the different OCs, elect members to the Coordinating Committee, and discuss the year to come. Click here to register for the 2017 Membership Assembly. For additional questions, contact Griffin at (828) 450-2590.”
- Scottish Club dinner, reading “In Flanders’ Fields” at 6 pm at the Hotel Coolidge in White River Jct., VT – This is part of the World Beyond War global movement to end all wars. Cost is $49 per person. Anyone interested may contact Nancy Dean, (802-649-1324) or at email@example.com.
- 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/
- Tuesday, November 14th
- 6pm Rights and Democracy Meeting Location TBD
- Public hearing to gather public testimony on the impact of the Equifax breach and other data-security issues at 12:30 p.m. in the Manchester Community Library and at 6:00 p.m. in Burlington at the Department of Health offices, 108 Cherry St. https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/11/02/walters-legislative-leaders-ag-promise-action-on-data-security?utm_content=buffer7b5a5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
- Thursday Nov 16 at 7 pm DACA/Dreamers Panel at Castleton University. Curious about Dreamers and undocumented immigrants? Join us for a free discussion about the history and future of immigration policy in the United States. With Faisal Gill, Chair, Vermont Democratic Party; Eloisa Romero, UVM Student and DACA Recipient; and Dr. Scott Wong, Professor of History, Williams College. Sponsored by Women and Gender Studies Castleton University. Limited Seating for this FREE Event. Please RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.facebook.com/events/152539548820887/
- Friday-Saturday November 17-18 Vermont Humanities Fall Conference: The Double-Edged Sword of Technology at Dudley H. Davis Center, University of Vermont https://www.vermonthumanities.org/programs/public-programs/annual-fall-conference/fall-conference-2017/
- It’s my understanding that the Progressives in Rutland County have gone from one organized town to seven! Congratulations!
- Sam Clovis, 45’s “comically bad nominee” for the Agriculture Department (to quote Senator Leahy), has withdrawn following new revelations in the Russia scandal http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/patrick-leahy-comically-bad-nominee-sam-clovis-dropped-out-over-russia-scandal/article/2639416
- 45’s former campaign manager has been indicted http://www.npr.org/2017/10/30/560786546/grand-jury-approves-first-charges-in-muellers-russia-investigation
- “U.S. court bars Trump from changing military policy on service by transgender people.” https://twitter.com/AP_Politics/status/925041767010926592
- “Puerto Rico Energy Power Authority chief announces cancellation of controversial $300 million Whitefish Energy contract” https://twitter.com/ABC/status/924728012523950080 For details on this super troubling business deal: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/10/27/560422492/heres-what-s-in-that-300-million-whitefish-contract
- “In follow-up to recent news story, an update: the school district in Biloxi, Mississippi was going to be striking To Kill a Mockingbird from their curriculum because it makes some people uncomfortable. Now, following public outcry, it will remain in the curriculum but with permission slips from parents and alternative options: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/28/mississippi-to-kill-a-mockingbird-harper-lee” from http://roganslist.blogspot.com
- 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 We know that our members of Congress support the Dreamers. But we need our neighbors to put the pressure on their friends and family in other states, so that they can put the pressure on their members of Congress.
- Action: Invite your friends and family to the November 16th panel on immigration at Castleton University.
- Add the event to Front Porch Forum in your communities.
- Share the event on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/152539548820887/
- Post up this sign in your community: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8-leE0VmVUNdkowbDFkeHUtMlU/view?usp=sharing
- For more information about Dreamers (who are associated with DACA) and undocumented immigrants, see http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/vermont/2017/09/05/vermont-daca-students-find-support-local-colleges-and-universities/631251001/?cookies=&from=global and https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/09/06/vermont-daca-recipient-speaks-out-after-trump-rescinds-program?utm_content=buffer9bc69&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer and https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/a-uvm-student-talks-about-growing-up-undocumented/Content?oid=5823424 and http://www.thedailybeast.com/dreamers-lobby-against-a-trump-border-wall-dealeven-one-that-would-save-them and http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/sep/05/fact-checking-attorney-general-jeff-sessions-remar/ and https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/9/5/16255436/lies-jeff-sessions-daca?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=chorus&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter and http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/sd-me-citizen-path-20170407-story.html
2 On January 20, 2018, youths across America will be marching in the March for Our Future. Here’s their mission statement: “[W]e will elevate youth and raise our voices. We will march for human rights, dignity, and equality for all. We will march for our future. America’s diverse youth and their allies will march to protect the future of this country. While facing issues like climate change and discrimination we recognize that youth are the most vulnerable to violations of human rights, yet our voices have not been heard. We recognize that young people are our future. We recognize that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. We recognize and call for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for immigrant, undocumented, black, brown, LGBTQIA, and youth of all faiths, ethnicities, races, classes, ages, and abilities. The March For Our Future stands for progress, not regression, on the issues that affect young people and our planet. Our voices need to be heard and our actions need to be realized. This generation is alive now, and we are taking action to create a better future.” http://www.marchforourfuture.com/
- Action: Promote the Vermont march in your community, encouraging youths to attend and to sign up with the March for Our Future organizers to recruit their friends: https://m.facebook.com/March-For-Our-Future-Vermont-346795722457758/
3 “Gov. Phil Scott is backing the decision by a high-ranking administration official to have armed personnel attend a public hearing to help maintain order.” https://vtdigger.org/2017/10/26/governor-supports-armed-guards-meeting/#.WfzkZ1tSzIW (This hearing was discussed in a previous newsletter.)
- Action: Contact Gov. Phil Scott to make sure he knows that we don’t support these extremist measures: 802 828-3333 or http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/message
4 “Vermont is in the midst of an opiate addiction crisis, yet its correctional facilities routinely deny inmates treatment — a practice many say drives addicts back to street drugs and crime. “It is literally killing people,” said Tom Dalton, executive director of Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform….But no Vermont jail offers treatment for more than 90 days, and it’s only available to inmates with existing prescriptions; other incarcerated addicts go into immediate withdrawal.” https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/how-drug-treatment-policies-in-vermont-prisons-contribute-to-the-opiate-crisis/Content?oid=9714430 This is especially disconcerting given Vermont’s success in other aspects of the fight against the opioid crisis article about Vermont’s efforts to avert the opioid crisis https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/30/16339672/opioid-epidemic-vermont-hub-spoke And for those at the showing of 13th at Castleton University last week (if you haven’t seen it, you can find it on Netflix), the connection between the prison-system and the war on drugs will come as no surprise.
- Action: “Governor Phil Scott is working on a plan to address the opioid crisis in Vermont. Please help us make sure full access to MAT in all Vermont correctional facilities is a part of that plan. Please contact the Governor’s office right now (please see contact info below) and let him know that Vermont inmates need full access to MAT treatment for addiction without arbitrary restrictions or time limits. Let him know that this is a matter of life or death. We have to get this right!” from https://vcjr.salsalabs.org/matindocemail1/index.html Contact Governor Scott: (802) 828-3333 or http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/message or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GovPhilScott/ or Twitter: @GovPhilScott
- Action: Support https://www.vermontersforcriminaljusticereform.org/
- Sign two petitions: https://www.vermontersforcriminaljusticereform.org/get-involved/sign-our-petitions
- Check out the concrete suggestions at: https://www.vermontersforcriminaljusticereform.org/get-involved/be-the-change, including:
- “Notice the language used in news reports. Is someone in prison referred to as an “embezzler,” “murderer” or “sex offender” or as a person convicted of a certain crime? Is a formerly incarcerated person called an “ex-con” or again, labeled by his/her crime?”
- “Do you have opportunities to hire staff or rent an apartment or room? Examine how you screen applicants and what weight you give to past behavior, specifically a criminal conviction. Are you willing to look past a former crime and give someone another chance?”
- Sign up for email updates https://www.vermontersforcriminaljusticereform.org/get-involved/sign-up-for-email-updates
- Donate https://www.vermontersforcriminaljusticereform.org/get-involved/fund-the-work
- Action: From http://roganslist.blogspot.com “Let’s read this article on the use of inmates for free labor from Talk Poverty “Last week, a Louisiana sheriff gave a press conference railing against a new prisoner release program because it cost him free labor from “some good [inmates] that we use every day to wash cars, to change oil in the cars, to cook in the kitchen.” Two days later, news broke that up to 40 percent of the firefighters battling California’s outbreak of forest fires are prison inmates working for $2 an hour. Practices like these are disturbingly common: Military gear, ground meat, Starbucks holiday products, and McDonald’s uniforms have all been made (or are still made) with low-wage prison labor. Inmates are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires that workers are paid at least the federal minimum wage. That makes it completely legal for states to exploit inmates for free or cheap labor. More than half of the 5 million people in state and federal prisons work while incarcerated, and the vast majority only make a few cents per hour.” Let’s be aware of how inmates are being used as slave labor. We can check out this list at Caged Bird magazine of 50 companies currently supporting this form of slavery. We can write to these companies to let them know we do not approve and think inmates should make at least minimum wage.”
- Action: From https://www.wallofus.org/posts/210/support-the-dignity-for-incarcerated-women-act “Have you heard of the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act? Neither had we and shame on all-of-us, given that the United States has less than 5% of the world’s population but 30% of the world’s incarcerated women. The Dignity Act was introduced on July 11th by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Richard Durbin (D-IL). The goal of the act is “to improve the treatment of Federal prisoners who are primary caretaker parents.” The Dignity Act includes provisions such as more visitation rights for incarcerated mothers and preventing shackling pregnant women (which we do, even during birth). Prisons will also be required to provide women with feminine products and basic gynecological care (which we don’t currently provide). The Dignity Act is effectively being ignored, with no hearings or votes scheduled. Alicia Keys is attempting to change that through the We Are Here Movement. All-of-us must raise our voices in support of incarcerated women too. Here’s how:
- Watch this video and join the We Are Here Movement.
- Share the video on Facebook and Twitter.
- Sign this petition calling on Senator Grassley to hold a hearing on the issue of incarcerated women!”
5 “A big portion of Fairbanks Scales’ local workforce walked out Tuesday afternoon and were picketing Wednesday morning after negotiations for a new contract broke down with management…The local union members constitute a little over half of Fairbanks’ St. Johnsbury workforce and are the only unionized workforce within Fairbanks’ national organization.” http://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/manufacturing-staff-on-strike-at-fairbanks-scales-in-st-johnsbury/article_ef8705bd-8b05-57b0-89f8-acbc85de222c.html According to the United Electrical Union, Fairbank Scales “halted negotiations, returning just ten minutes before the deadline with no new proposals, and no response to the union’s proposals. “They came downstairs and just said ‘we’re done’,” according to Local 234 President Polly Scott. “This company does not respect this union.” Scott says that the company is demanding huge increases in what workers pay for health insurance and concessions on holidays and time off, and is refusing to offer a fair wage increase. The company’s proposal would immediately more than double what workers pay for health insurance, with even more increases in subsequent years….while Fairbanks Scales denies it, the local has verified that the company been farming out work. The local will be maintaining the pickets lines 24 hours a day.” Note: The Union was very active in pressuring Governor Shumlin to fund universal healthcare in Vermont a few years ago. https://www.ueunion.org/ue-news/2017/local-234-on-strike
- Action: “Organize delegations to the picket lines: The most important times to be there are weekdays between 3-5pm. That’s when the bosses are leaving the plant and big crowds/visibility is most important.” Address: 2176 Portland Street, St Johnsbury, Vermont.
- Action: “Reach out to your unions: Are you a member of a union or other organization? Let them what’s going on and ask them to send delegations to the picket lines.”
- Action: “Write letters to the editor in support of the workers. Especially if you or anyone you know lives in or near the Northeast Kingdom. Let me know if you need support on talking points.”
6 On Sunday, the Vermont GOP tweeted out a link for a petition protesting a carbon tax. https://twitter.com/VTGOP/status/925068399880949760 According to Energy Independent Vermont, “By charging oil and gas companies for the pollution they create, we can finally afford to make substantial cuts to other taxes Vermonters currently pay. And even if oil and gas companies try to pass on the costs by raising prices, Vermonters and local businesses come out on top. In fact, carbon pricing would spur Vermonters’ incomes to rise by a whopping $100 million in 10 years.” https://www.energyindependentvt.org/our-plan/ Also see http://digital.vpr.net/post/business-group-builds-case-carbon-tax-vermont#stream/0
- Action: Learn about Energy Independent Vermont’s plan and sign their petition to put a price on carbon pollution https://www.energyindependentvt.org/
7 The Vermont legislature has promised “action in light of data breaches such as the one revealed this summer by credit rating agency Equifax. The officials said they are in the process of gathering information about data security issues, possible legislative remedies, and the lines between state and federal authority. The goal, said House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero) is to draft legislation for “immediate action in January.”“ https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/11/02/walters-legislative-leaders-ag-promise-action-on-data-security?utm_content=buffer7b5a5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
- Action: Attend one of the public hearings: “On Thursday, November 9, there will be a hearing at 12:30 p.m. at the Springfield Town Offices and at 5:30 p.m. in the Barton Village Office. Then on Tuesday, November 14, hearings are set for 12:30 p.m. in the Manchester Community Library and at 6:00 p.m. in Burlington at the Department of Health offices, 108 Cherry St.”
- Action: Contact your local legislators to express your support for legislation protecting our data http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/
8 Don Chioffi, “a longtime resident of Rutland Town and a former two-term state lawmaker,” has been named Citizen Activist of the Year by “ACT for America, a national organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center considers an anti-Muslim hate group.” Chioffi no doubt received the award in honor of his work as “one of the organizers of Rutland First, the group that loudly opposed a plan to settle Syrian refugees in the city of Rutland.” Discussing the award with a reporter, Chioffi said: “”I’m not anti-Muslim, not Islamophobic, just concerned about the program,” he insists. “I don’t have any antagonism against anybody, but I don’t want my friends getting cut up or shot.”” Really? https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/the-thin-red-white-and-blue-line-vermonter-wins-prize-of-arguable-merit/Content?oid=9714695&utm_content=buffere688f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer To make matters even worse, Chioffi’s work is being celebrated as a model for how to win: “If they can do this in Vermont, surely you can do it where you live!” https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/tag/vermont/ Is this the kind of example you want your state setting?
- Action: Check out http://www.rutlandwelcomes.org/ for facts about refugees, and ways to support resettlement, including donations
- Action: Check out https://www.cair.com/, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to learn about the issues and ways to support diversity
- Action: Read this article about Vermont local who has gone from a Laos refugee camp to city hall: https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/phet-keomanyvanhs-journey-from-refugee-camp-to-city-hall/Content?oid=9443573
9 The GOP is floating talk of firing Mueller. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/01/opinion/trump-mueller-fire.html
- Action: Protests are already set up in three towns in Vermont, with more towns in neighboring states. Find the one closest to you and sign up to keep in touch so that you’re ready to hit the streets if 45 makes the mistake of going after Mueller. https://www.trumpisnotabovethelaw.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response/search/
10 In August, the Vermont State Treasurer announced that the state would no longer be using TD Bank. The announcement doesn’t mention TD Bank’s funding for the Dakota Access Pipeline (which I’ve been protesting on Merchant’s Row in Rutland every Saturday for about ten months), but I think it’s worth letting the Treasurer know that we care about this issue. http://www.vermonttreasurer.gov/press-releases/treasurer%E2%80%99s-office-announces-new-banking-services-contract-people%E2%80%99s-united-bank and https://www.ran.org/energy_transfer_refinance
- Action: Contact the Treasurer Office@vermont.gov to express your gratitude for the decision to move away from TD Bank, and make sure you mention that you’re interested in this because of TD Bank’s support of DAPL
An article on the “I am Vermont too” project, racism and microaggressions http://digital.vpr.net/post/i-am-vermont-too-project-exposes-microaggressions#stream/0
An article about police guidelines on sharing information with the public https://www.cjr.org/united_states_project/police-media-policy-vermont.php
An article about the Vermont Secretary of Education’s decision to disregard a new omnibus education bill, arguing that she didn’t have the staff to implement it https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/just-saying-no-vermont-education-secretary-defies-lawmakers/Content?oid=9707853
An article about pro-Bernie Sanders ads placed on social media by Russian “bots” during the 2016 presidential election https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/11/01/walters-bolshie-bots-boost-buff-bernie?utm_content=buffer7e463&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
An article on Vermont’s history of labor unions http://digital.vpr.net/post/vermonts-labor-history-and-unions-today?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter#stream/0
A discussion on Vermont Health Connect http://digital.vpr.net/post/checkup-vermont-health-connect-0#stream/0
An article about a controversy that broke out in Cambridge over an event intended to encourage inclusivity and diversity, starting with the young https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/drag-queens-turn-pages-and-heads-in-tiny-cambridge/Content?oid=9446880&utm_content=buffer6394f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
An article about the struggle to stay afloat on minimum wage in Vermont http://www.timesargus.com/articles/the-right-thing-to-do/
“”Roots to Resistance,” a public art installation of 12 eight-foot portraits of women activists from across the globe, intended to make a connection for the viewer to the pathways of social change” has opened in Brattleboro, and will run until January 31st. https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/denise-beaudet/Event?oid=9187596 Gallery in the Woods 145 Main St. Brattleboro/Okemo Valley 802-257-4777 galleryinthewoods.com
NATIONWIDE ISSUES taken verbatim or nearly verbatim from http://roganslist.blogspot.com (Commonly used contacts can be found here: https://mindsworth.blog/2017/07/14/vermont-important-contacts/)
11 Rep. Bob Goodlatte, leading roadblock to restoring the Voting Rights Act and leader of the attack on the Office of Congressional Ethics, is championing a bill that would undermine wages and working conditions for agricultural workers across the country. His legislation would allow employers to pay farm workers less than the minimum wage, and to replace any farm worker not willing to work for $8.34 or their state minimum wage… and it’s headed for a full House vote http://www.thefencepost.com/news/goodlatte-defends-ag-guestworker-bill-conyers-ufw-oppose-it/Let’s join the United Farm Workers and a broad coalition of almost 150 groups in contacting our members of Congress to ask them to oppose this bill and pass the Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2017 to stabilize the industry and provide farm workers laboring in the U.S. with a path to lawful permanent residency and eventual citizenship at this link: http://action.ufw.org/page/speakout/h2a1117.
12 The Republican regime has chosen large companies over small farmers again: “The Trump administration is rescinding an Obama-era rule that would have made it easier for independent farmers to bring lawsuits against big food companies they raise chicken and other livestock for. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyard Administration last week withdrew an interim final rule a day before it was set to take effect. The rule aimed to make it easier for farmers to bring companies like Tyson Foods, Pilgrim Pride and Perdue to court over what they say are unfair, deceptive and retaliatory practices.” We can read more at The Hill. Be informed about and discussing ways this administration is hurting farmers is one way we may be able to find common ground with our conservative friends and family. Let’s make sure they know about this.
13 “Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggested Thursday that expanding the use of fossil fuels could help prevent sexual assault. But also from the standpoint of sexual assault,” Perry said. “When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will on those types of acts. Perry said that using fossil fuel to push power into remote villages in Africa is necessary and will have a “positive role” in peoples’ lives. President Trump has called for expanding domestic production of fossil fuels for export.” http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/358386-rick-perry-fossil-fuels-will-help-prevent-sexual-assault Yes, he actually made that ridiculously stupid sexist comment while pushing fossil fuels on underdeveloped countries to help his buddies sell dirty energy to them. Let’s tell Perry that his comment is sexist and disgusting; and we don’t want to send dirty energy to Africa to pollute our neighbors and the world. Contact: https://www.energy.gov/contact-us or tweet @SecretaryPerry
14 We hear about the issue of ocean plastic a lot, but these new photographs demonstrate just how pervasive the pollution is. Roatán-based photographer Caroline Power shared these pictures taken near the Caribbean island belonging to Honduras, revealing what she calls a “sea of plastic and Styrofoam”. Power said, “This has to stop.” Power wants people to think about their own consumption of single-use plastic. She writes, “Think about your daily lives. How did you take your food to go last time you ate out? How was your last street food served? Chances are it was styrofoam and served with a plastic fork and then put in a plastic bag. Do you still use plastic garbage bags? Plastic soda bottles? Ziplock bags? Plastic wrap on your food? Do you buy toilet paper that comes wrapped in plastic instead of paper? Do you put your fruit and veggies in produce bags at the grocery?” Let’s become more aware of the ways we use single-use plastic and commit to replacing one of uses with something eco-friendlier. Ideas: Bring your own grocery bag for shopping, bring your own containers to restaurants for your take-out, say “no” to straws in restaurants (Yes, there is an anti-straw movement! Let’s read about it at strawfree.org)
15 The Department of Interior has announced a proposal to drastically increase entry fees into seventeen national parks http://n.pr/2zQu0FQ While it currently costs $25-$30 per vehicle year-round, the new fees would increase to $75 per vehicle, during a five-month peak season making our national parks less accessible to many of us. Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s proposed budget for 2018 would cut $296.6 million from the National Park Service (NPS) https://on.doi.gov/2z8W224 We have until November 23 to submit public comments protesting this rate hike. National parks should be accessible (and affordable) for everyone! Let’s submit comments to https://parkplanning.nps.gov/proposedpeakseasonfeerates or1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.
16 From one of our own: I wrote NPS earlier in the week to ask them not to increase the admission price to national parks, but we should also write Michael T. Reynolds, Acting Director of the US National Park Service, National Park Service, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240 to reinstate the grant for documenting the Black Panther Party’s legacy. They were on the forefront of providing meals and education to their communities and pointing out structural issues. http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/10/27/amid-uproar-national-park-service-yanks-98000-grant-for-black-panther-party-legacy-project/ [and https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/national-park-service-drops-funding-for-black-panther-party-project ]
17 The Trump-Pruitt EPA has bowed to chemical industry pressure and reversed the ban on chlorpyrifos, a pesticide toxic enough to cause brain damage in infants in utero https://ww2.kqed.org/futureofyou/2017/10/09/farmworkers-want-common-pesticide-banned-in-calif-after-trump-epa-refuses/ Democrats in Congress are trying to step up where Polluting Pruitt is letting us down, proposing legislative bans through S. 1624 and H.R. 3380. Activists on the ground in California are also looking to their state government to stop use of this poison. Let’s make sure our elected officials know where we stand. Let’s contact our reps and let them know we want them to co-sponsor proposed legislation to bar chlorpyrifos, and let’s reach out to our state legislators and ask them to step up where the federal government is set to let us down on this issue. (H/T Jessica Craven)
18 We have appealed unsuccessfully to Scott Pruitt and the EPA not to yield to chemical industry lobbyists and change (or refuse to implement) rules governing the use of pesticides, including the dangerous chlorpyrifos marketed by Dow Chemical, the infamous producer of napalm B and (with Monsanto) of Agent Orange for the U.S. military. (A brief but horrifying account of the effects of chlorpyrifos, especially on children, is here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/28/opinion/sunday/chlorpyrifos-dow-environmental-protection-agency.html) Dow has a long history of ignoring the impact of its products on human beings as long as they remain profitable. Maybe it is time to barrage Dow with phone calls, faxes, letters, postcards (with copies to the EPA) demanding that they stop flooding the country (and the world) with dangerous chemicals: 1-989-636-1000 or FAX 1-989-832-1456 or Andrew N. Liveris, CEO, Dow Chemical, 627-693 Washington St., Midland, MI 48640
19 Scott Pruitt’s EPA has launched a full out assault on the very Environment it is meant to protect. Fortunately, we now have help fighting back. Former EPA Staffers have written a guide to the EPA, similar to Indivisible’s, to help us resist Trump’s rollback of environmental protections. It tells us how regulations are made, the required public input process and how it can be used to resist the damage proposed by Pruitt, and how to use other effective strategies. Check it out here and start resisting the EPA’s attacks on the Environment. http://saveepaalums.info/a-practical-guide-for-resisting-the-trump-de-regulatory-agenda/
20 The organization “314 Action is a nonprofit 501(c)4 that was founded by members of the STEM community, grassroots supporters and political activists who believe in science. We are committed to electing more STEM candidates to office, advocating for evidence-based policy solutions to issues like climate change, and fighting the Trump administration’s attacks on science.” 314 Action has put together a list of candidates that they endorse that reflect this mission. Let’s check out these 314 Action endorsed candidates. Let’s stand with them on the side of science and give these candidates our votes on Nov. 7.
21 Trump has nominated the head of a Kentucky engineering firm to run the federal agency that regulates reclamation of surface mines. Steve Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Lexington consulting and engineering firm ECSI, has been nominated for the top job at the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. Environmental groups vowed to oppose Gardner’s confirmation, arguing that Gardner is the wrong person to ride herd on the coal industry’s reclamation practices because he has been such an ardent supporter of the industry. We can read more at the Lexington-Herald Leader. Let’s send emails and postcards to our Senators letting them know that we have concerns about someone (Gardner) with such close ties to the mining industry regulating it.
22 With so many environmental regulations being slated for deletion, some former EPA staffers are helping us know how to address these: How to Public Comment on Federal Environmental Regulations and thereby Save the Planet: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kqFdVb0avt1GpGOX8daC-5SMlDOmiKKoeJ3KI5ZVEXE/edit
23 Paul Ryan, whose own reported net worth is between $2 and 7.8 million, seems to think that a $1182 tax break will make all the difference for the “average” family of four who earn, according to Ryan, $59,000 a year: http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/02/politics/tax-reform-republican-plan/index.html Remember when Rudy Giuliani had no idea of the cost of gallon of milk or a loaf of bread or George H.W. Bush was amazed at a supermarket scanner. Apparently, the Republicans have not made progress on this front. The House tax “reform” bill lowers the caps both on the mortgage deduction and on the deduction for state and local taxes while lowering the corporate tax rate from a statutory (and rarely paid) 35% to 20%. According to the Washington Post, “In total, the plan contains $1 trillion in total tax cuts over 10 years for businesses and $300 billion for individuals and families, as well as $200 billion in tax cuts — almost all of which will accrue among the wealthiest families — by repealing the estate tax, according to estimates from the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/republican-tax-plan-to-lower-cap-on-mortgage-interest-deduction-to-500000-loans/2017/11/02/c0f594d6-bfd5-11e7-8444-a0d4f04b89eb_story.html?utm_term=.361e27855259 As we did with the ACA “repeal and replace,” we need to call our Representatives and make it clear to them what it will cost them with voters if they pass this plan: US capital switchboard 202-224-3121 We can also use this Trump Tax Toolkit: https://trumptaxtoolkit.org/ Word is out that the number of calls on the tax bill are much lower than that on the healthcare one. Let’s fix that.
24 “Before Rep. Pat Tiberi takes a lucrative job heading a major Ohio business organization, he will spend a couple of months helping revamp the federal tax code in ways that likely will directly affect his future private-sector employer. They say that by agreeing to take a job at the Ohio Business Roundtable, an organization representing some of the most powerful business leaders in the state, Tiberi, a senior member of the House tax-writing committee, appears beholden to his new bosses as he begins the hard work of rewriting the tax code. Tiberi will begin his job at the roundtable sometime around Jan. 31, 2018 — after the new tax bill is scheduled to be finished. The reality here is that there is an enormous focus in this tax bill on how it will treat and benefit corporations and other business interests,” said Fred Wertheimer of the watchdog group Democracy 21. He said Tiberi “is a lame duck member of Congress. He has made the decision to leave Congress and go out and function in the private sector. … He should not be reaching decisions that would benefit them at the expense of all taxpayers.” http://www.dispatch.com/news/20171030/ethics-problem-tiberi-helping-change-tax-laws-that-could-affect-future-employer Tiberi should not be revamping the tax code with this huge conflict. Let’s call our Reps and ask he be removed from crafting the tax plan due to his conflict.
25 Since the Supreme Court chose to designate corporations as people and equate money with speech, we badly need new legislation to undo those regrettable decisions. Back in 2013, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) proposed a constitutional amendment as S.J. Resolution 19 (https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-joint-resolution/19), and at a mere 3 sentences, it is a model of clarity and brevity. Let’s read/text/email it to our MoCs today to remind them that this is what we want, so that maybe we won’t have to spend so much time fighting ridiculous attempts to enact tax cuts for the 1%.
DOMESTIC TERRORISM AND THE “LAW AND ORDER” PRESIDENT
26 NIH officials decided earlier this year not to renew funding for its firearm violence research program http://bit.ly/2lJ2oz8 While the 1996 Dickey Amendment has been interpreted in such a way as to prevent the CDC from gun research, 27 senators argued in a letter to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins that the amendment only prohibits research on gun control; not research into gun violence prevention. We can check out the letter in full http://bit.ly/2gc9Lx9 Then, let’s join these senators in calling on Dr. Francis to renew funding for this essential program: Phone: 301-496-2433 Mail: Dr. Francis S. Collins Director National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20892 E-mail: email@example.com
27 In the wake of the tragic terror attack in Manhattan, reckless politicians are again exploiting the violence to erode our constitutional values with policies that undermine our freedoms and do nothing to make our country safe. Congress will soon vote on H.R. 398, which would allow the Trump administration to continue spying on Americans without a warrant (http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/356968-senate-intel-votes-to-advance-surveillance-reform-proposal). Let’s let our reps know we need strong surveillance reform, not more enabling of the abuses of the past. We can find talking points and a petition to sign at this link from Win Without War: https://dontlettrumpspyonus.com
28 With a president who has demonstrated open contempt for our constitutional values in the White House, surveillance reform is more important than ever. It’s time to put an end to warrantless spying on Americans and let the notorious “Section 702” expire. Yet Congress is preparing to extend this power until the end of 2025 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cyber-surveillance-congress/senate-diverges-over-renewal-of-internet-spying-law-idUSKBN1CT18J Let’s contact our reps and tell them we need to renew our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, and they should oppose any efforts to keep Section 702 in place.
29 On Wednesday, Trump referred to our judicial system as a “joke” and a “laughingstock” and then hours later Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied that he had done so: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/358275-trump-us-justice-system-a-laughing-stock-joke On the same day, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein insisted in a speech that Trump is committed to the rule of law: https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/01/rosenstein-justice-trump-law-244443 Let’s let Huckabee Sanders know that we are tired of her lies: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500 or on Twitter @PressSec and let’s express our disagreement with Rosenstein’s assessment of Trump: U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001
30 Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX) has called for the resignation of the Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, saying that “She lacks any credibility, outright lies to the American people.” This was in response to Sanders’ claim that Monday’s indictments had “nothing to do with the president” and “everything to do with the Clinton campaign.” https://twitter.com/JoaquinCastrotx/status/925062007900004352 and https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2017/10/30/trumps-texas-allies-mum-indictments-democrats-claim-vindication Let’s contact our MoCs to ask that they second Castro’s demand for Sanders’ resignation.
31 Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has affirmed the White House position that all of Trump’s sixteen accusers regarding sexual assault and harassment are lying:https://amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/27/donald-trump-sexual-harassment-claims-women-lying-white-house Let’s be in touch with Huckabee Sanders to ask how she has such confidence: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20500 or on Twitter @PressSec We can consider listing the numbers 1-16 on our communications.
32 On Tuesday, Senator Mazie Hirono (D, HI) tweeted that she is beginning “immunotherapy to fight my cancer, and don’t expect it will keep me from the fight.” https://twitter.com/maziehirono/status/925482512608059397 During the fight for our healthcare, Senator Hirono was on the frontlines, reminding her fellow senators about their efforts to support her during her cancer fight (on government-sponsored healthcare), and asking them why they weren’t doing the same thing for their fellow Americans. https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/national/hirono-to-gop-senators-where-is-the-care-that-you-showed-me-when-i-was-diagnosed-with-my-illness/2017/07/28/4c82d4f2-7349-11e7-8c17-533c52b2f014_video.html?utm_term=.818899b8cd45 We need more MoC like Senator Hirono. Let’s send her our well wishes: (202) 224-6361 or 730 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20510 or 300 Ala Moana Blvd. Rm. 3-106, Honolulu, HI 96850.
33 The University of Notre Dame has just announced its intention to drop insurance coverage of birth control for all of its students, faculty, and staff: https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/10/31/16584026/notre-dame-birth-control This, from an institution that received over $72 million in federal funding (i.e. our tax dollars) last year (https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/education/annual-research-funding-at-notre-dame-tops-million/article_00bc0119-64ef-589e-af74-1f13b12f0a6e.html). If we are Notre Dame Alumni or fans, let’s contact Notre Dame to let them know that we will not be contributing to them, purchasing their merchandise or watching their games while they hurt their students and employees. The Notre Dame President is Rev. John Jenkins, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Call: 574-631-5000. Let’s let Notre Dame know what we think of their decision to cut off this basic service from thousands of people, many of whom use it for more than pregnancy prevention.
34 In response to Trump’s rolling back of the contraceptive coverage mandate, Senator Patty Murray and Representative Diana DeGette have introduced legislation in the Senate and the House, which would repeal religious exemption rules in the ACA. Protect Access to Birth Control Act (S1985 and HR 4082) has 37 cosponsors in the Senate, and 74 in the House. Welch, Leahy and Sanders are cosponsors – let’s send them our gratitude.
35 The Heartbeat Protection Act (H.R. 490), introduced back in January, would ban abortions once a pregnancy reaches six weeks, or when a heartbeat is detectable. While the legislation went months with no action, the House has now scheduled a hearing with the Judiciary Committee for Wednesday, November 1st to discuss the bill https://www.teenvogue.com/story/six-week-abortion-ban We can contact Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte ((202) 225-5431) and Ranking Member John Conyers ((202) 225-5126) and ask that they oppose this incredibly dangerous legislation. Let’s also be sure to call our own representative to make sure that they oppose H.R. 490
36 Although the Healthcare Marketplace 2018 plans are now online (https://www.healthcare.gov/see-plans ), enrollment does not start until tomorrow. Due to Trump’s removal of subsidies, costs are predicted to sky-rocket in many places as we can see here: https://www.kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/how-the-loss-of-cost-sharing-subsidy-payments-is-affecting-2018-premiums/ The Murray-Alexander healthcare bill is a 2-year fix that will address issues and keep people covered. http://www.king5.com/news/politics/bipartisan-murray-alexander-bill-gains-support-in-senate/484703534 We need to keep on our MoCs to get this bill brought to the floor for a vote.
RUSSIA, MUELLER AND SOCIAL MEDIA
37 With all the talk and concern of Russian bots on Twitter, two college students decided to do something about it. “ This week, the duo launched a Google Chrome browser extension that inserts a button onto every Twitter profile and tweet that reads, snappily, “Botcheck.me.” Click it, and you get a diagnosis of whether the account appears to be run by a person or by some sort of automation…” https://www.wired.com/story/the-college-kids-doing-what-twitter-wont/ Let’s try it and see if it helps us stay safe.
38 Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google testified before Congress on Tuesday. They admitted to “their role in Russia’s influence on the presidential campaign, but offered little more than promises to do better.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/31/us/politics/facebook-twitter-google-hearings-congress.html Their complacency shows that we need legislation to safeguard our democracy. Senator Klobuchar (D, MN) has proposed legislation that would require “social media networks to maintain a public archive of campaign ads published on their platforms by purchasers who spend more than $500,” allowing us to track efforts to influence public opinion. This bill was introduced in mid-October, but there are still only two-cosponsors! (Warner (D, VA), and McCain (R, AZ)) https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-10-19/warner-klobuchar-mccain-propose-honest-ads-act Let’s call our MoC to urge them to cosponsor S.1989, the Honest Ads Act.
39 “Facebook accounts run by Russian trolls repeatedly called for violence against different social and political groups in the U.S., including police officers, Black Lives Matter activists and undocumented immigrants.” http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/31/media/russia-facebook-violence/index.html Add this to what was learned yesterday about Facebook ads purchased by Russians to sway the election: https://www.cbsnews.com/live-news/facebook-russia-ads-investigation-twitter-google-testimony-senate-judiciary-committee-2017-10-31/ We need to let Facebook know that we users do not want to use a social media platform that cannot be better monitored from such interference with our democracy: Facebook Headquarters, 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025
40 During the Senate hearings with representatives from social media, two senators were concerned enough to formulate a bill to address election security. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) have introduced the Securing America’s Voting Equipment (SAVE) Act (S. 2035) http://nmpoliticalreport.com/714603/heinrich-joins-forces-with-collins-over-russia-interference-and-election-security/ Let’s make sure our senators know that we approve of this bipartisan effort to protect our elections. If they have not co-sponsored this bill, let’s ask them why. Note: Neither Leahy nor Sanders are cosponsoring this yet.
41 While bipartisan legislation was introduced earlier this year to help protect Special Counsel Mueller from arbitrary firing from Trump, Senate Republicans are now saying that legislation to protect Mueller is unnecessary http://politi.co/2gQMIF2 Rather, they seem to be of the mind that Trump would not fire Mueller because, as Senator Hatch put it, “he knows that’d be a stupid move.” One of the most important roles of Congress is to play their part in our system of checks and balances. This system does not simply function on trust, but rather by taking legislative action to ensure the everyone is kept in check. Let’s keep calling our MoC to ensure that they support the Special Counsel Integrity Act in both the House (H.R. 3771) and Senate (S. 1741). Welch, Sanders and Leahy aren’t cosponsoring these yet!
42 Always a bastion of conversation thought, The Wall Street Journal has taken a much-darker turn this week with their anti-Mueller editorials: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/11/the-wall-street-journal-editorial-board-coverage-of-mueller/amp Our democracy needs intellectually honest and ethical journalism on both sides of the political spectrum, so let’s help “the loyal opposition” by telling the Journal (firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-800-568-7625) that we object to this betrayal of its commitment to championing truth in media, Let’s also let WSJ editor Gerard Baker know that we expect better: The Wall Street Journal, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036
43 Amid the Mueller/Russia news, it can be too easy to forget that the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico continues to unfold following Hurricane Maria. The Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations Human Rights division released a statement expressing concern about mounting human rights issues in the face of inadequate response: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22326&LangID=E The experts cited in the report said, ““We call on the United States and Puerto Rican authorities to remove regulatory and financial barriers to reconstruction and recovery. All reconstruction efforts should be guided by international human rights standards, ensuring that people can rebuild where they have lived and close to their communities. Reconstruction should aim to increase the resilience of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, housing and hospitals against future natural disasters.” Let’s remain in touch with our MoC to make it clear we know this is a crisis in dire need of focused attention in both the near-term and longer-term.
44 We have been watching the federal government’s inadequate response to the Puerto Rican disaster, but we must now pay attention to the voracious for-profit companies that are about to make a fortune from somewhat dubious contracts to “fix,” for example, the power grid: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/26/16533512/puerto-rico-power-contracts As Elizabeth Yeampierre & Naomi Klein point out, the “Disaster capitalists” are “circling Puerto Rico, but this time they may not get their prey. . . . Puerto Ricans — both on the island and the mainland — are fighting back in real time. Under the banner of a “just recovery” for Puerto Rico, thousands have come together to design a bold and holistic plan for the island to be rebuilt as a beacon for a safe, resilient, and thriving society in the era of accelerating climate chaos, spiraling economic inequality, and rising white nationalism.” https://theintercept.com/2017/10/20/puerto-rico-hurricane-debt-relief/ Groups like the Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica de Puerto Rico (https://www.facebook.com/organizacionboricua/) and Resilient Power Puerto Rico (http://resilientpowerpr.org/resilientpr/) are working to save PR from the “disaster capitalists” who want only to profit from the misery of Puerto Ricans. We should lend them our support.
CIVIL RIGHTS AND COURT NOMNATIONS
45 On Wednesday, the Senate voted to confirm Joan Larsen as U.S. Circuit Judge for the 6th District. Larsen’s nomination was opposed by 27 LGBT groups, yet twelve Democrats still voted in favor of Larsen. Let’s read through the joint letter from the Lambda Legal and other LGBT rights groups on why Larsen was a questionable choice for this lifetime appointment to the Court of Appeals http://bit.ly/2hxitn5 Then, let’s be sure to hold our senators accountable for their votes on her confirmation http://bit.ly/2ioAfZC Leahy and Sanders voted no – let’s send them our gratitude!
46 On Oct. 19, over the objections of Democrats, black lawmakers and some civil rights groups, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 to recommend the nomination of Thomas Farr to the full Senate. If confirmed, he’ll serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina for a lifetime appointment. We can read the full story at WUNC. Farr is one of the judicial nominees that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may try to push through. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States wrote a letter to the Senate detailing their opposition to Farr: “Mr. Farr has devoted much of his 38-year legal career to restricting voting rights and defending employment discrimination. As the Congressional Black Caucus wrote in a letter last month opposing Mr. Farr’s nomination: “It is no exaggeration to say that had the White House deliberately sought to identify an attorney in North Carolina with a more hostile record on African-American voting rights and workers’ rights than Thomas Farr, it could hardly have done so.” NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) also wrote a letter of opposition to the Senate. Let’s call our Senators to tell them to oppose discriminatory Thomas Farr for US District Court.
47 The cruelty of Trump’s deportation machine has been laid bare again by the case of Rosa Maria Hernandez. Rosa Maria is 10 years old and living with cerebral palsy. She and her adult cousin, a U.S. citizen, had to go through an interior Border Patrol checkpoint to get her to a hospital for emergency gallbladder surgery. Armed agents then followed them to the hospital and detained her after she came out of the operating room. She is currently being held in an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelter with no access to her parents and no clear path to release. As Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) stated, “A small child who just had surgery is not a threat to Texans’ safety or our national security.” http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/26/health/undocumented-child-federal-custody-surgery-trnd/index.html This Time article has more information about Rosa’s situation: http://amp.timeinc.net/time/4998940/girl-detained-cerebral-palsy-texas/?source=dam
- Let’s call the ORR at 202-401-9246 to demand she be let go, and join the ACLU in tweeting with the hashtag #FreeRosa to help the issue trend on Twitter. (H/t Jessica Craven).
- Let’s call our reps no matter where you live and ask them to pressure ICE to release this little girl. We do not agree with separating children from loving families.
- This ACLU resource page helps us call the Office of Refugee Resettlement to demand release of Rosa Maria Hernandez (10 year old with cerebral palsy taken into ICE custody after surgery): https://www.aclu.org/issues/release-rosa-maria-hernandez?redirect=ReleaseRosaTW&ms=TW_171027_immigrantrights_rosamaria
48 Last week, Trump declared the opioid problem a national emergency and said that the border wall would help curtail the access to the drugs. http://time.com/4999244/opioid-crisis-donald-trump-criminals-drug-companies-mexico-china/ Politifact checked the accuracy of that and found that Trump’s own Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis did not recommend a wall. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/oct/26/will-border-wall-stop-drugs-coming-united-states/ Let’s make sure our MoCs know here’s another reason we don’t need the wall.
49 It seems that there is a former Afghan interpreter for the US, who has the correct visa to come to the states, who is being detained in Iceland. His destination is Rochester, NY. The Trump administration is stopping refugees by not allowing them to board their connecting flight to the US. Khan needs help in terms of a place to stay temporarily while he is in Reykjavik, but also people who may be willing to advocate for him. More details listed here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1wB37odnEVXrMWyNFT_lMIBFJXzEpiNLgq8lSDA9fadk If we, or someone we know can help, let’s help! The rest of us can call our MoCs to let them know this is happening and ask for them to help. We can also contact media sources in hopes of getting attention to this case that may be one of many.
50 The Virginia election next Tuesday affects us all. Many are saying that Virginia 2017 will be the test of the #resistance. Let’s watch this short clip and see why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ0xJEioIyg&feature=youtu.be Then, let’s check here to see how we can help no matter where we live: http://whyvamatters2017.com/vam-action-volunteer.php We can sign up to text Virginia voters with NextGen America this weekend at this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSehwCdTQK6ze1DH-cqeDlnSmrbJRj2EYFnu-tnReVkIfV9pxw/viewform.
51 Postcards to Voters campaign 32 in support of Doug Jones running for U.S. Senate from Alabama! This Special Election on December 12 will be for the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Republican candidate is Roy Moore who is known for his racist, extremist views but the GOP is standing behind him anyway. On Oct. 31, Moore called for the impeachment of the federal judge who partially blocked President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. (full article: The Hill) If we’ve been thinking about writing with Postcards to Voters, now is the time to join and write 5 cards. Email: JOIN@TonyTheDemocrat.org If we are returning Postcarders: text HELLO to (484) ASK-ABBY which is (484) 275-2229. Remember, Abby the Address Bot will also email us the same instructions and addresses as a courtesy. We need everyone on board to defeat extremist Roy Moore and send a message to the GOP. (Most of us are familiar with Postcards For America, but here is another postcarding group we can join, Postcard Avalanche: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PostcardAvalanche/)
52 Postcards to Voters launched Campaign #27 for Kelly DeLucia, Virginia House of Delegates. Voters in Virginia’s 96th House District will have their first chance to vote for a Democrat to the House of Delegates since 2007. Returning writers may text KELLY to (484) ASK-ABBY which is (484) 275-2229 and get addresses right away, 24/7 with an emailed courtesy copy for added convenience. If we are new, we can send an email to: JOIN@TonyTheDemocrat.org We can also check out the new Postcards to Voters website at https://postcardstovoters.org/ for more information about the organization and the people involved
53 ACLU’s People Power has launched the Let the People Vote campaign. The campaign focuses efforts on voting rights, as well as ensuring that each state is implementing key modernizations to voting, such as automatic voter registration, online registration, no-reason absentee voting, and more. People Power has constructed an action plan for each state. Let’s sign up with People Power and learn about how we can pressure our state legislators to expand voting rights https://vote.peoplepower.org/getinvolved
54 November elections are almost here and whole country will be watching to see if the tide is finally turning. With Trump’s approval down to 33%, this can be our big chance to send a message and to make change. To encourage voters and raise awareness, Action Together Network is sponsoring a three-day Twitter Blizzard, from Friday, November 3 to Sunday, November 5. Each Day has a different focus: A) Friday: General Candidates, B) Saturday: Virginia Candidates , and C) Sunday: Get Out the Vote, Participating is simple: Click on this link for prewritten tweets: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1P-pB5FuZfsR1D0guGQhvaPPHpDPksKagm0e1TN815Q8/edit#gid=2137189468 Then click on the tweet and it will tweet from your account. All storms start at 8pm Eastern Standard Time. Let’s get the #BlueWave going and turn #VABlue!
55 “Young people have the power to make a difference. An important way to achieve this is to make their voices heard at the polls on Election Day.” In 2012, the Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN) launched Campus Vote Project (CVP) to focus and expand its work around student voting issues. CVP works with universities, community colleges, faculty, students and election officials to reduce barriers to student voting. CVP’s goal is to help campuses institutionalize reforms that empower students with the information they need to register and vote…One of the biggest barriers for students to register and vote is the lack understanding of registration deadlines, where to register (their home or school address), ID requirements, and other information on voting. CVP has developed state-specific guides to help students understand their rights and how to register and cast a ballot in their school or home community. If we are college students, let’s find the student information for our state here.
56 We all know that the number of registered voters is very low in the U.S. as is the number of people who actually go out and vote. There are a growing number of “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) initiatives, but let’s try to beef up the number of registered voters by following these guidelines from the American Association of University Women (AAUW): https://www.aauw.org/resource/organize-a-voter-registration-drive/
NURTURING THE NEXT GENERATION
57 One of the Obama Foundation’s biggest priorities is helping to develop our next generation of civic leaders (https://www.obama.org/mission/). Grownups are fighting hard to preserve our democracy, but it will be the young who must carry it forward, and organizations like this one are developing the tools and training to help those future leaders. Many cities and towns have grassroots efforts in this vein as well, so let’s pick one or two to support with our time, expertise, and/or money.
DISTORTIONS OF HISTORY
58 If, out of deference to his service, we were attempting to give White House Chief of Staff John Kelly third, fourth, and fifth chances, it seems that we can now be done. On Monday night, Kelly gave an interview to Fox News in which he doubled down on not owing Rep. Frederica Wilson an apology after lying about her, praised Robert E. Lee as “honorable”, and said that the Civil War was caused by an inability to compromise: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/31/john-kelly-says-us-civil-war-was-prompted-by-inability-to-compromise Let’s let Kelly know that we do not need his brand of patriotism in the White House: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500 We can also tweet him: @GenJohnKelly
59 On Tuesday, the Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Kelly’s suggestion that slavery was a subject on which there could be an acceptable compromise. Reporter April Ryan responded by asking “Does this administration think that slavery is wrong?” Sanders left without answering, but Ryan’s question demonstrated her ongoing commitment to hold this administration accountable. http://thehill.com/homenews/media/358086-april-ryan-to-huckabee-sanders-does-administration-think-slavery-is-wrong and http://www.newsweek.com/april-ryan-angela-rye-donald-trump-white-house-black-women-reporter-america-645702 Let’s send Ryan our appreciation: @AprilDRyan or email@example.com.
60 Here’s another example of a journalist being attacked for doing their job. “Shareblue Media reporter Mike Stark has been harassed, ejected from public events, and prevented from covering Republican Ed Gillespie’s campaign for governor of Virginia. Then he was thrown to the ground and handcuffed by six police officers.” https://shareblue.com/shareblue-media-reporter-violently-arrested-while-covering-gop-nominee-for-virginia-governor This is inexcusable. We can contact Ed Gillespie and ask him what he’s going to do about this case, here: (804) 340-6154; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org We can also contact the Chief of Police in Fairfax County Mason District , Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., to let him know that police should be protecting freedom of press, not attacking it: 703-246-2195 or online: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/contact/MailForm.aspx?agId=100742
61 Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that they oppose replacing the current Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which technically permits using force only against those responsible for the 9/11 attacks; if it is replaced, as Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) have proposed, they want no time constraints or geographical limits on the government’s war powers: http://thehill.com/policy/defense/357899-mattis-tillerson-describe-conditions-of-support-for-new-war-authorization The Flake-Kaine replacement AUMF would limit the authorization to five years, at which time it would have to be renewed by Congress. Given the past 16 years of unchecked and often secret US military intervention around the globe without any declaration of war by Congress as the Constitution requires, some constraints would seem necessary. Let’s tell the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker (R-TN) and of MoCs that we don’t want endless, illegal war waged in our name: Sen. Bob Corker, 202-224-3344 or Dirksen Senate Office Bldg., SD-425, DC 20510.
62 As part of his aggressive new strategy to confront Iran, Trump announced recently that he would no longer certify Iran’s compliance with Iran agreement, as required every 90 days. Trump’s action shifted the fate of the agreement to Congress, which may now reimpose sanctions on Iran. Now, 90 American experts in atomic sciences, including a designer of the hydrogen bomb, all three 2017 Nobel Prize winners in Physics, a former director of Los Alamos, and a 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, have sent a letter to Congress urging that the Iran nuclear agreement be preserved: http://allthingsnuclear.org/lgronlund/scientists-letter-on-iran We could let our MoCs that we agree.
63 Representatives Ro Khanna and Walter Jones’ bipartisan legislation to withdraw the United States Armed Forces from Yemen is slowly proceeding in in the House, but it still needs to be passed by the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Let’s familiarize ourselves with the bill: http://nyti.ms/2yWyeu2 , then contact the chairman and ranking member and ask them to support H.Con.Res. 81: Directing the President pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution to remove United States Armed Forces from unauthorized hostilities in the Republic of Yemen. Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce: (202) 225-4111 Ranking Member Eliot Engel: (202) 225-2464
64 The resolution to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen may be voted on as soon as this week. Our assistance has enabled the coalition to continue a conflict that has led to thousands of civilian deaths, famine and epidemic: http://www.businessinsider.com/lawmakers-want-the-us-to-stop-helping-saudi-arabia-in-its-war-on-yemen-2017-10 Let’s contact our reps and let them know that if H. Con. Res. 81 does come up, we want them to support it, along with other measures to take away Trump’s blank check to make war.
65 Representative Frederica Wilson recently called out Trump for his mistreatment of a soldier’s widow. In response, Los Angeles’ KFI morning radio host Bill Handel called Representative Frederica Wilson, who has been outspoken against Trump, a “cheap, sleazy, Democrat whore” http://bit.ly/2yZ3Pi4 Since then, Handel has only offered a defensive clarification, saying that he should have referred to Representative Wilson as a “media whore” http://bit.ly/2yXTEsh Meanwhile, as Trump continues his own attacks on Representative Wilson, she has been receiving multiple death threats http://bit.ly/2id9SWp It is clear that Handel’s words do real damage, and the lack of action from KFI and iHeartMedia Inc. is unacceptable. Let’s join Color of Change in asking that iHeartMedia fire Bill Handel immediately. We can contact iHeartMedia by phone: (210) 822-2828 mail: 6222 W Interstate 10, San Antonio, Texas 78209 or send KFI a message: https://kfiam640.iheart.com/contact/ We can also sign Color of Change’s petition http://bit.ly/2iIctLP
66 “Vice President Pence on Wednesday said that President Trump has instructed the State Department to stop funding certain “ineffective” United Nations relief efforts and to instead provide humanitarian assistance directly through USAID and “faith-based groups.”” http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/357224-pence-says-us-to-stop-funding-ineffective-un-relief-efforts This sounds like yet another disturbing step towards blurring the line between church and state. Let’s ask our MoC to work towards legislation that will block this sort of measure, and contact the State Department (https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform) asking it not to implement Trump’s instructions.
67 “The WNBA and NBA Board of Governors have unanimously approved the relocation of the San Antonio Stars to Las Vegas, WNBA President Lisa Borders announced last week. MGM Resorts International will own and operate the team, which will begin play in Las Vegas in the 2018 season. The team’s home arena will be the Mandalay Bay Events Center. In addition, MGM Resorts International has named Bill Laimbeer as the team’s President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach. A two-time WNBA Coach of the Year and three-time WNBA champion, Laimbeer played 14 NBA seasons and won back-to-back titles with the Detroit Pistons in 1989 and 1990. Season ticket holder deposits will be accepted beginning in early November.” If we are in or near Las Vegas and want to follow a scandal-free sport, let’s consider getting tickets and supporting the Stars. We can follow @LasVegasWNBA and visit wnba.com/lasvegas for additional information.
68 “The NAACP is warning travelers — in particular, African-Americans — that their safety could be compromised if they fly American Airlines, citing a series of “troublesome conduct” by employees.” per this article from NBC News…In a memo Wednesday to American Airlines employees, CEO Doug Parker said he was “disappointed” and said the air carrier shares the same mission as the NAACP. “We do not and we will not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” Parker said. “We have reached out to the NAACP and are eager to meet with them to listen to their issues and concerns.” We are glad to hear that American Airlines is reaching out to the NAACP. Let’s write anyway to let them know we stand against discrimination in all forms and want to know what they are doing to combat this systemic problem in their organization. Let’s tell them that we will not be flying their airline until the NAACP rescinds their warning. American Airlines, Attn: Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO, PO Box 619616, DFW Airport TX 75261-9616 or we can call 817-963-1234.
69 From Indivisible Ventura: “Let’s talk about this 11 year-old girl who’s been worried about the Flint water situation since she’s been 9. Along with playing piano, swimming, fencing and taking dance lessons, she has invented the cheapest, most effective test for lead in water and won “America’s Top Young Scientist”. God, what was I doing when I was 11?” Let’s send her congratulations through her school: STEM School and Academy, 8773 S Ridgeline Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129
PETITIONS The following items are taken verbatim or nearly verbatim from http://roganslist.blogspot.com
- Let’s join MomsRising and “sign this petition today to tell the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission it must move forward on developing a revised equal pay data collection system that will increase transparency around pay and ensure race and gender wage gaps can’t be swept under the rug.” http://action.momsrising.org/sign/LatinaEqualPay2017/
- The tax bill has cuts to many elements of healthcare, let’s tell Congress to keep their hands off our Medicare: https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/congress-hands-off-our
- Let’s join Oxfam in telling Trump and Congress that welcoming refugees is an American value: https://secure3.oxfamamerica.org/page/s/americans-welcome-refugees
- Richard Spencer, the white supremacist who spoke at the University of Florida last month, has requested to speak at the University of Michigan. Let’s sign this petition to the president of U of M and to the school’s regents asking them not to give this movement an opportunity to share hate: https://www.change.org/p/president-mark-schlissel-refuse-richard-spencer-s-request-to-speak-at-the-university-of-michigan
- When a parent is a match for a child’s much-needed transplant it is an easy call, right? Emory University Hospital has refused because the father broke parole. Following the denial, the child, a 2-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital with an infection; http://www.ajc.com/news/local/boy-rushed-emergency-room-after-kidney-transplant-from-father-denied/epgsckxxpVgDjXOe5eha0M/ Let’s join this Color of Change petition asking the hospital to let this father save his son’s life: https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/emory-do-the-surgery
- Now that we know that Russians hacked social media to influence the election, the “FEC should require online campaign ads to include disclaimers as to who is paying for them — just like is done for television and print advertisements.” https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/fec-require-political
- “The National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) is discriminating against women and violating its legal obligations by blocking star wrestler Marina Goocher from competing because of her gender. The courts have consistently struck down policies excluding women athletes based on gender stereotypes. Judges have held that women should be given equal opportunity to participate in athletics, including contact sports like wrestling, even if there are no women’s teams.” Let’s join the ACLU in asking the NCWA to let wrestler Marina Goocher complete by signing this petition. We can also write to the NCWA , Attn: Jim Giunta, Executive Director, 13111 North Central Expwy, Fifth Floor, Dallas, TX 75243. Phone: 214-378-9900.
- Let’s join MomsRising and sign this petition concerning the special-needs child ICE targeted, separating her from her family and the special medical care she needs! As soon as she was discharged from emergency surgery, this beautiful young girl with cerebral palsy was taken away from her family, her doctors and community, and placed in a facility over 150 miles away. Let’s tell ICE to return Rosa Maria Home to Her Family NOW: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/Rosa_Maria
- Barack Obama is on a MISSION to get more Democrats out to vote! Let’s sign up to help him: http://go.turnoutpac.org/page/s/stand-with-president-obama
- Stop Trump from putting a campaign donor’s interests ahead of the people of Puerto Rico: https://us.e-activist.com/page/3732/action/1
- Let’s join in this petition to change the definition of racism in dictionaries to reflect that it is a system of power, not just bigotry: https://www.change.org/p/merriam-webster-change-the-definition-of-racism-in-dictionaries-to-reflect-that-it-is-a-system-of-power
- Let’s tell Michigan State University to divest from Renaissance Technologies whose CEO funds Breitbart: https://www.change.org/p/michigan-state-university-msu-divest-from-renaissance-technologies-whose-ceo-funds-breitbart
READING/LISTENING/VIEWING recommended by http://roganslist.blogspot.com
“Both Campaigns Sought Russian Dirt. Clinton’s Way Was Legal” — https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-10-30/both-campaigns-sought-russian-dirt-clinton-s-way-was-legal
What is going on with this whole Steele dossier thing? Who’s to blame for what? What is really going on with HRC and uranium? It can be hard to keep straight. This piece by David Corn, who was the first to report on the Steele memos in October 16, explains: “Republicans are asserting the Steele memos should be dismissed because they are a dastardly Democratic oppo concoction and saying this somehow undermines the whole Trump-Russia scandal. Yet at the same time, they are demanding an investigation of the fake Clinton-uranium scandal that was based on a debunked story subsidized and promoted by a big-money conservative donor and Trump backer.” We can read the whole article here: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/10/how-republicans-are-jumping-on-the-new-steele-scoop-to-distract-from-the-trump-russia-scandal/
“Inside the Most Popular Panel at the Women’s Convention: “Confronting White Womanhood”” — http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a13113728/womens-convention-confronting-white-womanhood-panel/
“How I Can Offer Reparations in Direct Proportion to My White Privilege” – http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/just-transition/how-i-can-offer-reparations-in-direct-proportion-to-my-white-privilege-20171025
SPLC President Richard Cohen testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about the responsibility of universities to uphold the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the First Amendment – https://www.splcenter.org/news/2017/10/26/splc-senate-colleges-must-uphold-free-speech-can-denounce-racist-speakers