Suggestions/additions welcome. Don’t see your issue, event or organization? Send it to me.
If you can’t afford a private jet, your taxes will probably be going up under Trump’s new tax plan. Kiss your healthcare goodbye and give up on going to college. https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/11/12/walters-a-roomful-of-angst-over-tax-reform?utm_content=buffer2d37c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer See the events scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday for rallies meant to spread the word. And ask your friends and family in red states to call their senators! “Our best bets among Republicans are Senators Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Susan Collins (ME), Dean Heller (NV), John McCain (AZ), Rob Portman (OH), Lamar Alexander (TN) and Lisa Murkowski (AK); all of these voted against the repeal of the ACA.” From http://roganslist.blogspot.com
ACA Open Enrollment will end 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
- “Consider making a Craigslist post on your local Craigslist’s Community, General Community page, Free Furniture page, or on any page we think many people will look, like this one: https://syracuse.craigslist.org/com/d/get-covered-for-health/6374774380.html” from http://roganslist.blogspot.com/
“With the holidays approaching, many of us will find ourselves with family members whose political and ideological beliefs are far different from our own. For those of us who wish to address these differences, or have meaningful conversations with those who do not agree with our principles, Organizing For Action is teaming up with Swing Left to host a five-part series on “Effective Conversations”. The series will discuss “how to be a better listener, communicate why something is important to you, and make the case for your argument. We’ll focus on talking to others about the health of our democracy and our future, and how we can use these effective conversations to get people involved in the issues that matter to them.” Let’s sign up for the series and learn to productively communicate with others: http://bit.ly/2hy5FQK” from http://roganslist.blogspot.com
- Tuesday November 21 at 5-6pm Trump Tax plan protest We are meeting in front of the Asa Bloomer building (450 Asa Bloomer Office Building, Rutland, VT 05701) but might be moving around downtown so if you are late look around for us – we might move over to around the Coop.
- Wednesday November 22 at 8-9am Trump Tax plan protest We are meeting in front of the Asa Bloomer building (450 Asa Bloomer Office Building, Rutland, VT 05701) but might be moving around downtown so if you are late look around for us – we might move over to around the Coop.
- Saturday November 25 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
- Sunday November 26 Book Club on Nonviolence at 2 pm at Northshire Bookstore, Manchester. “The first book we will delve into is Charles Eisenstein’s The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible. This is an amazing book that explores the current paradigm of Separation and the paramount need to shift to a paradigm of Interbeing – one of recognizing our interconnectedness — which is the essence of nonviolence. We will take a few months to read and discuss this book UNLESS we are interrupted by a need to demonstrate or vigil at the roundabout on that Sunday. Other books we will read in the future are Rivera Sun’s novels about nonviolent resistance. The Dandelion Insurrection for starts. Open to suggestions from others. This book group is being hosted by Jack’s Affinity Group. We need to train up the movement in the ways of nonviolence. All are welcome. The bookstore has some copies on hand. If they run out have them order one and ask for a discount.”
- Tuesday November 28 Castleton Indivisible at 6:30 pm
- Tuesday December 5 Rutland NAACP at 7 pm at Leahy Center, Rutland Regional Medical Center
- Sunday December 10 Rights and Democracy Annual Assembly 1-6 pm, free, at Lebanon High School, 195 Hanover Street, Lebanon, New Hampshire http://www.radvt.org/assembly2017
- Sunday December 17 Restoring Civil Discourse 10:30 am, UU Church, 117 West St, Rutland – Justin Classen, Rutland County Progressive Party Chair, will be talking about the need for a return to civil discourse
- Vermont’s Democratic Party has become the first in the country to vote for the unionization of its staff; On Saturday they went from a 2:1 ratio in male:female voting members to a majority of female voting members; Democrats have also organized more towns than ever before
- Vermont now has its first female Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorney http://www.vermontbiz.com/news/2017/november/10/us-senate-confirms-christina-nolan-vermont%E2%80%99s-next-us-attorney
- Over 10 companies, including the Vermont-based company Keurig, pulled their ads from Fox News broadcaster Sean Hannity’s program after Hannity made excuses for pedophilia, in response to allegations against Roy Moore, the GOP candidate in an Alabama race for the Senate https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/11/13/after-ad-is-pulled-sean-hannity-fans-bash-keurig-machines
- “1,478,250 people have signed up for Obamacare plans during the first 10 days of open enrollment, CMS says. That’s up about 470,000 from this time last year.” https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/930834112876826625 Keep up the good work in getting people signed up!
- Mattel has created a Barbie doll who wears a hijab, based on the Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad https://twitter.com/CNN/status/932073670356463618
- “Voters elect New Orleans’ first female mayor and the first Vietnamese-American to serve on City Council” https://twitter.com/AP_Politics/status/932272982906503168
- In Oklahoma, the Democrats flipped another special election https://twitter.com/DKElections/status/930813728186040322
- The RNC has stopped paying Trump’s legal bills in the Russia probe http://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN1DH2FR
- After a huge public outcry, Trump has put on hold plans to lift a ban on elephant-hunting https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/931685146415255552
- Homeland Security’s head of community outreach resigned after revelations that he had made offensive comments about blacks and Muslims http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/16/politics/kfile-jamie-johnson-resigns/index.html
- Twitter banned the NeoNazi “Baked Alaska,” suspended Roger Stone’s account (again), and removed Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler’s (organized the Charlottesville rally that led to Heather Heyer’s death) verification, thereby inhibiting the ability of NeoNazis to organize https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/white-nationalist-richard-spencer-others-lose-twitter-verification-n821316
- Articles of impeachment have been introduced against Trump https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/930813960244350976
- I’m petty enough to include this: the Pentagon “erroneously” retweeted a request that Trump resign https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/11/16/a-proud-resister-called-for-trump-franken-and-moore-to-resign-the-pentagon-retweeted-it/?utm_term=.92a61d741a14
- 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 “Too many people “[health]care due to high out of pocket costs, and as every primary care practitioner can attest, the health consequences can often be tragic. Over the next few weeks, our representatives and senators will meet to decide on their legislative priorities for the upcoming session.” From Vermont Healthcare for All, h/t Mary
- Action: Ask your legislators “to make Universal Primary Care (S53 for the Senate, and H248 for the House) a legislative priority. To send a letter to your State House representatives and senators, click here! It’s important to write your message in your own words, but click here if you would like some key points!”
2 With few exceptions, protesters have stood in front of TD Bank in Rutland City for nearly a year, protesting TD Bank’s support for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Well, the Keystone XL Pipeline has now spilled over 200,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/11/the-keystone-pipeline-spills-210000-gallons-of-oil-in-south-dakota/ Coincidentally, a woman who nearly lost her arm in the violent standoff at Standing Rock between militarized police and the water protectors protesting the DAPL. https://nypost.com/2017/11/18/pipeline-protestor-recalls-horror-of-nearly-losing-her-arm-in-clash-with-police/
- Action: Take your money out of TD Bank, and join us in Merchants Row to encourage others to divest.
- Action: Educate yourself about the attempt to put a pipeline through Vermont https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/07/14/state-regulators-to-investigate-vermont-gas-pipeline-depths and follow this space for news about an event in January to block the extension of the pipeline
3 The Vermont Working Group on Water Quality continues to disappoint. https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/11/15/walters-state-water-cleanup-panel-provides-few-answers?utm_content=buffer449fa&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer As mentioned in previous newsletters, they’ve dropped the ball in addressing water quality in Vermont. Meanwhile, “New Fee On All Land Parcels In Vermont Proposed To Fund Water Quality Projects” http://digital.vpr.net/post/new-fee-all-land-parcels-vermont-proposed-fund-water-quality-projects To make matters even more complicated, “Vermont’s new clean water law will require municipalities to take on costly upgrades to their roads that run near rivers and wetlands.” http://digital.vpr.net/post/vermont-towns-worry-about-cost-state-clean-water-regulations-roads#stream/0
- Action: Contact Governor Phil Scott 802 828-3333 or http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/message to demand accountability and action on water clean-up in Vermont.
- Action: Contact your local legislators to express your support for legislation addressing water clean-up without putting an undue burden on Vermonters who can’t afford it http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/ Demand imagination!
4 The Justice Department is threatening to withhold funding from Burlington in light of its designation as a “sanctuary city” https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/11/15/ag-sessions-threatens-burlington-state-over-immigration-policies?utm_content=bufferbe5f1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer and http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2017/11/15/justice-department-questions-vermont-burlington-immigration-policies/868812001/ In a twist that’s both heartening and a cause for concern, the Border Patrol is losing agents faster than it can hire new ones. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-border-patrol-agents-20171111-story.html This is good news insofar as it means that Americans are balking at implementation of discriminatory practices that are now targeting women and children (http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-trump-ice-courts-20170316-story.html), but it’s a cause for concern insofar as it means that our borders are less safe. Interestingly, last Thursday at the DACA/Dreamer panel at Castleton University former Vermont Democratic Party Chair, Faisal Gill questioned the value of identifying Burlington as a “sanctuary city,” saying that doing so put a target on these places for federal backlash without necessarily providing any concrete way of protecting its residents from racial profiling and deportation. He announced that legislation will be presented in Vermont this session to provide undocumented immigrants with legal counsel (as violators of civil code, not criminal code, they’re not automatically entitled to legal representation). I will be sharing details on this legislation as they become available. According to a recent article, “Amid Immigration Crackdown, Cities Step in With Free Legal Aid, “Detained immigrants with legal representation were 10.5 times more likely to succeed in immigration court if they had a lawyer representing their case. And 91 percent of immigrants seeking asylum without a lawyer end up having their cases denied. With representation, asylum seekers have a five times greater chance of winning their case.” h/t http://roganslist.blogspot.com
- Action: Sign a petition to protect Vermont communities from profiling, biased policing and unfair immigration practices https://www.change.org/p/protect-our-community-from-profiling-biased-policing-unfair-immigration-practices?recruiter=339877787&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition
- Action: Sign up to learn more about undocumented immigrants in Vermont, to volunteer, and to donate: https://migrantjustice.net
- Action: “For many of us, Thanksgiving is when we spend welcome time with friends and family. It is also a time when we are asked to think about what we’re thankful for. In a year when so many members of our communities are under constant attack and living in fear, all of us at Hand in Hand are dedicated to connecting our gratitude to efforts to create communities that are safe and welcoming for everyone…. Use this toolkit to support your conversations with friends and family this Thanksgiving. Let’s follow the lead of the Dreamers, boldly demanding the protections they deserve while refusing to negotiate away the rights of any other vulnerable communities. Let’s work our hearts out to pass a clean DREAM Act and get permanent protection for undocumented youth this year.” https://mysanctuaryhome.us/thanksgiving-toolkit” from http://roganslist.blogspot.com (Articles about DACA/Dreamers in Vermont: 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) Note: Dreamers (recipients of DACA) entered the USA on average at the age of six. “DACA alone does not make recipients eligible for Social Security or most other federal benefits. But immigrants who have DACA are also eligible for work permits — therefore they are not barred from federal programs associated with working in the United States, such as Social Security and Medicare, where a portion of income goes toward funding the benefits. But it’s worth noting that DACA, which took effect in 2012, covered immigrants who came to the United States before their 16th birthday and who continuously lived here since June 15, 2007. So children and young adults who work generally wouldn’t be covered by Social Security for decades, after paying taxes and contributing to the Social Security Trust Funds.” Dreamers are good for our economy—at least half are employed and are paying taxes that are continuing to fund Social Security, which according to the (exaggerations of the) GOP is on the verge of collapse. 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)
5 “Three members of the Hartford Committee on Racial Inequality resigned Tuesday night,” citing frustration with obstacles in their efforts to fight discrimination. http://www.vnews.com/Hartford-Racial-Inequality-Committee-13741807 This is particularly disconcerting in light of a recent report indicating that the number of hate crimes rose in Vermont in 2016 https://twitter.com/vprnet/status/930550166758682625
- Action: Reassess just how conscious you are of the ways in which you are participating in white supremacy https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-unlearn-racism-and-white-supremacy-as-a-white_us_59985a41e4b033e0fbdec479
- Action: Here’s a tip that I heard from a friend of the renowned activist Grace Lee Boggs at the Women’s Convention in Detroit a few weeks ago: Keep a journal of all of the things that you see/hear/do every day that contributes to white supremacy. If a day goes by without you writing something down, rethink it!
- Action: Join the Rutland NAACP https://naacprutland.org/
- Action: Check out these resources about fighting hate in your community https://mindsworth.blog/2016/11/23/concrete-ways-to-resist-trump/
6 In happier news, a New Hampshire high school just celebrated “Intersectionality Day.” “Intersectionality” refers to “the idea that different social identities can overlap to create a particular experience of discrimination” http://www.vnews.com/Intersectionality-Day-gives-Mascoma-High-School-students-chance-to-explore-social-issues-13621146 Not convinced that intersectionality and “identity politics” are the right way to go? See action item 10 below for the intersection of issues involving racism, environmentalism and security.
- Action: Learn more about intersectionality and teaching tolerance https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/summer-2016/teaching-at-the-intersections
- Action: Recommend that your kids’ schools have their own Intersectionality Day
Find out which schools will have their water tested for lead http://digital.vpr.net/post/after-health-department-request-16-vermont-schools-will-test-lead#stream/0
The latest appointment to the Green Mountain Care Board is raising questions https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/pondering-pelham-questions-raised-about-health-care-board-appointment/Content?oid=10219813
Keep scrolling in the above link for a discussion of the Essex Plan, a new carbon pricing proposal
If you saw one of the recently NAACP-hosted showings of 13th or watched the acclaimed film on Netflix, you’ll know why this is raising eyebrows: Fewer defendants in Vermont are actually going to trial. Most are taking plea deals. https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/the-juries-are-out-fewer-defendants-risk-going-to-trial/Content?oid=10219716 For background on this as part of a troubling trend in the rise of the prison-industrial complex, dark money and discriminatory practices in the criminal justice system, check out 13th or https://www.netflix.com/title/80091741
“After multiple reports of Vermont inmates who died of cancer after serving time in the state’s prison system, reporter @taylordobbs spoke with us about those cases and the limited transparency of health care provided to Vermont’s inmate population” https://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=564555917:564555919&utm_content=bufferdc76c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer and http://digital.vpr.net/post/slow-and-painful-prison-death-roger-brown#stream/0 and http://digital.vpr.net/post/they-killed-him-vermont-inmate-suffered-untreated-cancer-officials-delayed-care#stream/0 See previous newsletters for related articles and action items.
An article on Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan speaking to a Rutland High School class about the importance of civil discourse http://www.rutlandreader.com/donovan-rhs-class-keep-it-civil/
For details about Saturday’s Democratic Party State Meeting: https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2017/11/18/vermont-democrats-ok-staff-union-elect-new-leaders?utm_content=buffer3fc12&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Follow-up to the discussion in a previous newsletter about members of St. Michael’s men’s basketball team kneeling during the national anthem at the University of Vermont to bring awareness to police brutality and racial inequality http://www.mynbc5.com/article/community-weighing-in-weeks-after-student-athletes-take-a-knee/13762999?utm_campaign=WPTZ&utm_content=5a0d8c1104d3010468883d9d&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=trueAnthem:+New+Content
Article by a member of Rights and Democracy on the importance of organizing everywhere https://talkonmain.com/why-left-needs-organizing-everywhere
NATIONWIDE ISSUES Commonly used contacts can be found here: https://mindsworth.blog/2017/07/14/vermont-important-contacts/
7 From the March for Science:
- Summit (July 6-8, Chicago): The first summit call took place last week. If you’re interested in being on that planning team — which can involve anything from speaker selection to event planning to choosing a menu — please reach out to email@example.com and join the #summit channel on MFSNetworks Slack.
- Website Template: Our current website is built on wix. Amanda is working to make a clean copy of it available as a template for use by any satellites interested. If you’re interested, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pincause Pins: We have reached an arrangement with Pincause to make pins available to satellites for sale at cost locally or through a direct, city specific link on their website. To learn more, fill out this form. Please read the terms and conditions prior to submitting your information.
- Blogging: March for Science is looking for a few good writers and editors to contribute content to our blog, Science Not Silence, which will relaunch this month. Please reference this link for a call to bloggers and the writing guidelines. The blog will share stories about science and its impact in your everyday life.
The following items are taken verbatim or nearly verbatim from http://roganslist.blogspot.com (for which I’m a contributor).
8 The SECURE American Energy Act (H.R. 4239). poses too big a threat to the millions of people who live along our coasts, to marine life, and to our climate. Those lands and waters belong to the American people. The 19 Republicans who voted it out of committee have received millions of dollars from oil and gas interests. https://psmag.com/environment/house-committee-on-natural-resources-hands-the-public-lands-to-oil-and-gas-interests Let’s tell our MoCs that we do not agree with this and that the natural resources belong to all of us.
9 To pass their reverse Robin Hood tax scam, Republicans are counting on offsetting cuts for the rich with a billion dollars in revenue gained from selling oil-drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In addition to endangering our environment, data from past sales indicates this sale would bring in $850 million less than the GOP is claiming https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-31/arctic-refuge-oil-bonanza-more-likely-to-be-bust-for-gop-budget. Let’s contact our reps and let them know we see this for what it is – sleight of hand meant to give Big Oil and Trump’s billionaire buddies what they want at the expense of our hard-earned money and our children’s future – and we want them to oppose opening ANWR for drilling.
10 “The 654 miles of walls and fences already on the US-Mexico border have made a mess out of the environment there. They’ve cut off, isolated, and reduced populations of some of the rarest and most amazing animals in North America, like the jaguar and ocelot. They’ve led to the creation of miles of roads through pristine wilderness areas. They’ve even exacerbated flooding, becoming dams when rivers have overflowed. Now, DHS is eyeing unfenced areas in two Texas wildlife refuges that conservationists consider some of the most ecologically valuable areas on the border — home to armadillos and bobcats. If a wall were to slice through these ecosystems, it could cause irreversible damage to plants and animals already under serious threat.” Let’s read this article from Vox “The ecological disaster that is Trump’s border wall: a visual guide.” Let’s continue to tell all of our MoC’s: no funds for the border wall.
11 This article at EcoCycle gives us some of the ways we can remove our names from mailing lists and reduce our paper mail. Let’s do our part to reduce paper waste.
12 “French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that France would cover the amount the U.S. contributed for climate science research to a United Nations panel after President Trump signaled America would exit the Paris climate change pact. “They will not miss a single euro,” Macron said, according to Reuters, referring to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The U.S. has given the IPCC about 2 million euros a year in the past.”http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/360546-macron-france-will-cover-us-share-of-funding-for-uns-climate I’m embarrassed that trump is not allowing Americans to contribute our fair share for climate science research. We can send a thank you tweet to President Macron. @EmmanuelMacron. Copy and tweet this in French: merci de payer notre facture pour la recherche sur le climat. (English translation. Thank you for paying our bill for climate research.)
13 Senators John Cornyn and Chris Murphy have introduced bipartisan legislation which would focus on enhancing background checks for firearm purchases http://bit.ly/2hF2zub The bill would incentivize states to provide more detailed information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. It would also punish federal agencies who do not submit the required information. Let’s call our senators and ask that they support S. 2135: A bill to enforce current law regarding the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. We can also call Chairman Grassley ((202) 224-3744) and Ranking Member Feinstein ((202) 224-3841) of the Senate Judiciary Committee and ask that they make this legislation a priority.
14 Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced plans to allow states to implement work requirements in order for individuals to receive Medicaid services http://bit.ly/2iZoBEL Work requirements are unnecessary, and create an administrative hurdle which will prevent low-income families from getting the services that they desperately need. From the article, “According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), eight in 10 Medicaid recipients are in working families, while 59 percent of recipients are working themselves. Those not working say there’s a major impediment to doing so, according to KFF. Thirty-five percent cite an illness or disability that prevents them from work, while 28 percent say they are taking care of family, 18 percent say they’re in school, 8 percent say they’re looking for work and 8 percent are retired.” The Trump administration’s focus on tax cuts for the rich, and refusal of health services for the poor is absurd. Let’s contact CMS administrator Seema Verma to let her know how we feel about this work requirement. E-mail: Seema.Verma@cms.hhs.gov Mailing address: Ms. Seema Verma Administrator Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 7500 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21244-8013
15 The Dept. of Health and Human Services oversees the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, among other branches. Monday, Trump nominated Alex Azar to replace Tom Price as Secretary of HHS. Azar, a former executive at the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act, supports, among other things, converting Medicaid from an entitlement program covering everyone who is eligible into block grants. Rep. Elijah Cummings tweeted that putting Azar in charge of HHS is like asking the fox to guard the hen house. http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/360081-trump-nominating-azar-as-next-hhs-secretary Azar only needs 51 votes in the Senate for confirmation. Senators Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, John McCain of Arizona, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska all voted against the appeal of the ACA. We should call on them to once again act responsibly by voting against the confirmation of Azar.
16 “The so-called “Conscience Protection Act” (CPA), [House bill H.R.644 and Senate bill S.301], introduced back in January, could allow any health care provider—including doctors, insurance companies, medical training programs or hospitals—to refuse to perform, pay for, participate in or assist in abortion services. This bill would put providers’ beliefs above patient care, ultimately threatening the lives and health of patients. ” Let’s read more from the National Women’s Law Center.. House bill HR644 currently has 124 co-sponsors – 122 Republicans and 2 Democrats: 1) Daniel Lipinkski – IL3, 245 South Archer Avenue, Chicago, IL 60638, P (773) 948 – 6223. and 2) Collin Peterson – MN7, 714 Lake Avenue Suite 101, Detroit Lakes , MN 56501, Phone: 218-847-5056. Senate bill S301 has 26 Republican co-sponsors. If our MoCs are among the co-sponsors of either of these bills, let’s tell them that we object to this overt slap in the face to the separation of church and state and want them to remove themselves as co-sponsors. If our MoCs are not co-sponsors of these bills, let’s send emails and postcards to let them know we oppose HR644 and S301. Let’s all contact the two Democratic co-sponsors of House bill HR644, Lipinski and Peterson. Obviously, they made a mistake.
RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA
17 As reports emerge that 15% of US government agencies were utilizing the now banned software from the Russian-owned company, Kaspersky Labs, it’s nice to hear that something’s going right: The Department of Defense has teamed up with hackers to identify weaknesses in the Pentagon’s system, and has identified almost 3000 bugs to fix. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-official-15-percent-of-agencies-used-kaspersky-software/2017/11/14/32019dec-c994-11e7-b506-8a10ed11ecf5_story.html?utm_term=.f2c744f2b328 and https://twitter.com/SenAngusKing/status/930801246788816896 and http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/11/technology/hack-the-pentagon-synack-bug-bounty/index.html Let’s keep up the good work, and contact our Congressman asking him/her to support H.R.3393, the New Collar Jobs Act of 2017, to support and train cyber-security experts in the USA.
18 Top law enforcement officials, including multiple state attorneys general, secretly dined with Republican donors at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort last weekend. http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/top-gop-law-enforcement-chiefs-held-secret-weekend-event-mar-lago-2614608 Let’s contact our MoC to tell them that we haven’t forgotten that Trump is violating the emoluments clause and that we still care about conflicts of interest like this.
19 From Suit Up Maine: UNQUALIFIED AND EXTREMIST JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS: Demand Their Opposition – here’s how and why: https://www.facebook.com/notes/suit-up-maine/unqualified-and-extremist-judicial-appointments-demand-their-opposition/1534692176616627/
20 Brett Talley has been approved for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench by the Senate Judiciary Committee despite his extremist views and being found unqualified by the American Bar Association. Now, it turns out he failed to tell the committee about a significant potential conflict of interest: he’s married to a White House lawyer https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/13/trump-judicial-nominee-failed-disclose-conflict-hes-married-white-house-lawyer/859283001/) Let’s contact our senators and tell them enough is enough. We want them to publicly commit to opposing confirmation for Talley and ask the White House to pull his nomination.
SEX/GENDER-BASED DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT
21 In response to the rampant sexual harassment on Capitol Hill: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/female-lawmakers-allege-harassment-by-colleagues-in-house), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Jackie Speier have introduced legislation to reform the reporting process and require sexual harassment training for Congress http://thehill.com/homenews/house/360489-lawmakers-unveil-me-too-congress-bill-to-overhaul-sexual-harassment-policies Let’s call our MoC and ask them to cosponsor and support the Member and Employee Training and Oversight On Congress Act (ME TOO Congress) Act (not yet numbered).
22 Around the world, one in three women will report having experienced gender-based violence. This is an international human rights issue that the United States has the opportunity to act on, with bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Collins and Shaheen http://bit.ly/2ht8dvM S.2120 – A bill to prevent international violence against women, and for other purposes; also known as the International Violence Against Women Act, would work towards finding strategies to combat, prevent, and respond to gender-based violence, and is supported by over 50 organizations. Let’s call our senators and ask them to cosponsor and support this important legislation.
23 Three women from Windsor, Ontario, ages 67-75 who regularly volunteer as ushers at the Fisher Theatre across the river in Detroit, were detained at the border last weekend for three hours, fingerprinted, and sent home. They were told “that only religious and non-profit groups in the U.S. are allowed to use non-American volunteers.” http://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/local-seniors-volunteering-in-detroit-detained-at-border-fingerprinted-and-sent-home Let’s let the U.S. Border Patrol that we are pretty sure this is going a bit too far to protect us: https://www.cbp.gov/contact
24 The authoritarian tactics which are used within the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, are compounded by the agency’s lack of transparency and its secrecy in how it operates http://bit.ly/2htGOtx After ICE’s failure to comply with requests for information through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regarding the recent Operation Mega, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Mijente Support Committee, and Detention Watch Network are suing the agency http://bit.ly/2hFjMnj We can help add pressure by contacting Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke and telling her that we will not stand for the secret, unethical practices exhibited by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and that we expect transparency from both ICE and DHS. DHS comment line: 202-282-8495 Mailing address: The Honorable Elaine C. Duke, Secretary of Homeland Security Washington, D.C. 20528
25 Last week, a fourteen-year-old boy by the name of Jason Pero was shot by a deputy on the Chippewa reservation in Wisconsin. https://apnews.com/6b66a3e42ea3437da101dc9ce6e9c00c/Tribe:-Deputy-fatally-shoots-teen-on-Wisconsin-reservation According to the latest statistics from the Indian Health Service, the rate of death from assault for Native Americans is more than twice that of all ethnicities in the USA. https://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/factsheets/disparities/ Let’s contact the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office urging them to exercise all due diligence in following up on Jason’s death and making sure that their officers have all of the necessary training and support they need for deescalating confrontations (Office of the Sheriff, 1205 East Main Street, Ashland, Ohio 44805 or http://co.ashland.wi.us/sheriff or email@example.com or 419-289-1501). Let’s also check out the work being done by the National Indian Health Board and see what we can do to help.
26 Here is a list of approved ways that we can help the Doug Jones campaign in Alabama: https://docs.google.com/document/d/19aEec9d7Pw_ETLIIIgsyPIQcjlWxTPB_9LvxvTrfE8Y/edit
27 With all the recent attacks on our right to vote, it’s easy to forget our other national scourge: abysmal voter participation rates. According to Scientific American, proven strategies to “Get Out the Vote” encourage a person to self-identity as a voter, both as a civically engaged individual and as a member of a larger voting populace (the larger the better, according to research), as indicated here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-science-can-help-get-out-the-vote/. For us this starts with modeling voter behavior ourselves, so our families/friends/acquaintances see it happening, and continues with talking with them about the importance of voting and the logistics of doing so (both the when/where/how of actually casting a ballot, and the prior work of getting registered). Volunteering for organized GOTV efforts is important too, but let’s remember how much good we can do within our personal spheres, and long before election day!
28 The key to fixing our government is voting, of course, but since the Supreme Court crippled the Voting Rights Act in 2013, many attempts to suppress the vote have sprung up all over the country. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/groups-warn-voter-suppression-worse-171108191759132.html We can have the best candidates and platforms, but we must counter those attempts in order to win. Since 2015, bipartisan forces in Congress have tried to reinstate the lost protections with a bill called The Voting Rights Enhancement Act, which has been reintroduced in the current session as S.1419 (Senate) and H.R. 2978 (House). Let’s give our MoCs a call and tell them it’s their duty to support these bills, to put right what the Supreme Court got wrong.
29 The more we learn about voting hacks and other problems, the notion of going back to paper ballots is gaining attention. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) has introduced the SAVE Act (S. 2035) which is designed “to provide increased security for the voting systems of the United States, to protect against intrusion, theft, manipulation, and deletion of voter registration data and ballots, or votes cast, and to prevent cyberattacks from malicious computer hackers, and for other purposes.” https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/12/guardian-of-the-vote/544155/ The bill is stuck in the Rules and Administration Committee. Let’s ask our own senators to sign on as co-sponsors and let’s contact the members of the committee to help move it along in time to save the 2018 election. Committee members: https://www.rules.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=CommitteeMembers
30 There are many ways we can help our veterans. “Semper Fi Fund provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post 9/11 combat wounded, critically ill and catastrophically injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. We deliver the resources they need during recovery and transition back to their communities, working to ensure no one is left behind.” The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, with support from GoDaddy, will match our donation dollar-for-dollar, up to a total of $10 Million through December 31st. That’s a potential $20 Million to support their vital mission. Semper Fi Fund has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator: https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=11708 We can make our donation here: https://semperfifund.org/donate/
31 Congress resisted cutting the State Department budget by 30% as Trump wanted, but Rex Tillerson is inflicting the damage all by himself: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-diplomacy/top-ranks-of-career-u-s-diplomats-thin-under-tillerson-union-idUSKBN1D839F Tillerson is systematically hollowing out the State Department: the number of career ambassadors has fallen to two from five; the next rung down, “career ministers,” has shrunk to 19 from 33; and the next, “minister-counselor,” has gone from 431 to 369 and continues to decline. Barbara Stephenson, head of the American Foreign Service Association, has written to Tillerson expressing her alarm. “Intake into the Foreign Service at State will drop,” she writes, “from 366 in 2016 to around 100 new entry-level officers joining . . . in 2018.” Were the military faced with this kind of “decapitation of its leadership ranks,” Stephenson goes on, “I would expect a public outcry.” Let’s make one! We particularly need the diplomatic corps to stand between us and an ignorant, war-mongering president. Let’s contact the State Dept at 202-647-4000 or U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520, and let’s tell our MoCs that we expect them to ensure that the State Dept. is able to do its job.
32 Given Trump’s recent visit to Vietnam, it’s high time to ask if we’re going to uphold our responsibility to clean up the Agent Orange contamination that’s causing birth defects in Vietnam https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/will-u-s-stay-committed-to-toxic-agent-orange-cleanup-in-vietnam Let’s contact our MoC to urge them to follow up on this clean-up effort.
33 From Amy Siskind: The Koch brothers via Meredith just made a formal bid for Time Inc, which also includes many familiar brands like Sports Illustrated, People and Fortune. All soon to be in Koch hands. On top of the FCC news today which allow Sinclair to vastly increase their footprint, and rumors that Murdoch is trying to buy CNN, etc. Ugh. And while Trump continues his efforts to delegitimize our media. People are asking what we can do. The only thing I can come up with other than the resisting we are doing is to pay for subscriptions to media outlets you click on. I’m going to make an effort to do more of this. Their business model is either money from consumers and can remain profitable enough to be a public company, or a billionaire will pick them off to fit their agenda. Food for thought.
34 On Tuesday, partly in response to AG Sessions Hill testimony, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) introduced a National Shield Law (H.R. 4382) to keep reporters from going to jail who protect confidential sources. Although written before this election, the Columbia Journalism Review tells us why this is so important: https://www.cjr.org/united_states_project/journalists_privilege_shield_law_primer.php Let’s contact our representatives to let them know how crucial it is that our journalists, most of whom are making sure that truths come out, are protected.
35 Once again Shepard Smith set the record straight for Fox viewers yesterday when he took the time to lay “out the controversy surrounding the Obama-era deal, which involved the sale of a uranium company that did some mining in the United States to a Russian company.” In doing so, Smith showed why Trump’s repeated calls for the Justice Dept. to investigate. Also, yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions once again said there is no legal basis to appoint a special counsel. http://thehill.com/homenews/media/360371-fox-news-shepard-smith-hits-trump-for-inaccurate-claims-on-uranium-one-deal Let’s thank Smith for educating his viewers with the truth: @ShepNewsTeam or on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ShepardSmith/ or c/o Fox News, 1211 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10036
36 After numerous e-mails, Facebook Marketing VP Carolyn Everson has still not responded to inquiries over whether Breitbart violates Facebook’s Community Standards http://read.bi/2mfNNLY Meanwhile, Breitbart is still one of the websites where Facebook’s Audience Network advertises for various companies, thereby allowing Facebook to profit off of the website’s bigotry and hate speech. Sleeping Giants is asking that we e-mail Everson, with screen shots of content on Breitbart, to ask if she has reached a decision on whether Breitbart violates Facebook’s Community Standards. Vice President of Marketing Carolyn Everson e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgSample e-mail, via Sleeping Giants: “Hi Carolyn,
Have you had a chance to reconsider whether Breitbart is violating your monetization rules by demeaning or disparaging people, groups, or causes? If not, here are some examples to help you with your decision. Thanks, [Your Name]”
37 A new toolkit from Women’s March EMPOWER teaches high school and college students to become effective activists for progressive change in their communities. “The goal isn’t to reach one certain goal or fight back against one certain policy,” explains an article in Teen Vogue: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/womens-march-toolkit , “it’s to empower young people with knowledge and know-how to achieve their own social justice goals.” Let’s check out the toolkit and share it with our high school and college friends, neighbors, students, and children: https://www.womensmarch.com/empower .
PETITIONS/SURVEYS/ETC taken verbatim or nearly verbatim from http://roganslist.blogspot.com
- Hard to believe it, but we need to protect the Grand Canyon from drilling. Let’s join Credo Action in telling Trump not to allow destructive uranium mining there: https://act.credoaction.com/sign/save-grand-canyon
- Separation of church and state has always been a hallmark of our republic. A section of the current tax bill does not follow this and would weaken the Johnson Amendment which has worked so well for over 60 years to help keep this separation. Let’s sign this to keep church and state separate: http://action.adl.org/johnson-amendment/
- Let’s tell Congress to stop and not allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): https://petitions.signforgood.com/StopArcticDrilling
- DREAMers need our help. They trusted us and now their lives depend on us. Let’s tell Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act: https://action.unitedwedream.org/petitions/keep-the-deferred-action-for-childhood-arrivals-daca-program
- Let’s join the World Wildlife Fund in telling EPA head, Scott Pruitt to keep and enforce the Clean Power Plan: https://support.worldwildlife.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=961
- Credo Action want us to tell the Senate that “Kathleen Hartnett White is a dangerous right-wing climate change denier who holds extreme, anti-science views. Block and resist her nomination to lead the Council on Environmental Quality.” We can so do here: https://act.credoaction.com/sign/reject_hartnett_white
- Let’s stand with the Brady Campaign and ask Congress to expand Brady background checks on all gun sales: https://secure.everyaction.com/GSSMMmczX0q2k_9Ed4s5Og2
- Given what we learned in the Paradise Papers, let’s join Credo Action in telling Congress no tax legislation without an investigation into the off-shore tax-dodging schemes: https://act.credoaction.com/sign/paradise-papers
- Let’s join Sum of Us in fighting the genocide of Rohingya Muslims by signing a petition asking Cartier to stop sourcing gems from Myanmar https://actions.sumofus.org/a/tell-cartier-to-stop-using-gems-sourced-from-myanmar
- “Trump vowed to put America first. Instead, his climate-destruction and polluter-first energy policies are putting us dead last.” Let’s join the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in demanding that Trump restore America’s leadership on climate change: https://act.nrdc.org/sign/climate-action-restore-leadership/
READING/LISTENING/VIEWING recommended by http://roganslist.blogspot.com
“Two Philadelphia-area children are suing the President and two of his climate skeptic cabinet members, Energy Sec. Ricky Perry and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, to try to stop them from rolling back existing environmental protections including the Clean Power Plan. The plaintiffs, ages 7 and 11, are backed by the Clean Air Council, Philadelphia’s oldest environmental non-profit. The complaint alleges that the Trump administration’s reliance on “junk science” to undo climate regulations are a threat to the young plaintiffs and other U.S. citizens.” Let’s read more at EcoWatch. This lawsuit is in addition to the one previously filed on behalf of 21 children which is currently scheduled for a trial on Feb. 5, 2018. We can read more here. Let’s keep these young people in mind for inspiration as we execute our own environmental actions.
Linda Sarsour on how anyone can be an activist: https://www.gq.com/story/how-anyone-can-be-an-activist
15,372 scientists have signed what they call “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice” on the 25th anniversary of the original “Warning to Humanity,” which was signed by 1700 scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences. They call on us to “insist that [our] governments take immediate action” to arrest climate change and ask us to “re-examine and change our individual behaviors” by, among other things, “drastically diminishing our per capita consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and other resources.” We can read the entire “Warning” in BioScience at: http://scientists.forestry.oregonstate.edu/sites/sw/files/Ripple_et_al_warning_2017.pdf
For Veteran’s Day, the NBA’s Stephen Curry penned this article “The Noise” to discuss how we all need to use our platforms and voices to do better by our veterans.