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

If you have been contacted by the Vermont Secretary of State about donating for a little girl’s surgery, it is a scam.

With Cyber Monday coming, check out Vermont’s Agency of Digital Services for tips on maintaining your security (h/t


  • Tuesday November 28 Castleton Indivisible at 6:30 pm, in the Castleton University Library Media Room.


  • Saturday December 2 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


  • 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


  • 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-RELATED ITEMS (Commonly used contacts can be found here:; A list of Vermont-based activism/political groups can be found here:

1 “A few years ago, Vermont enacted a law that tries to give the general public a bigger role in the budget writing process, but one legislator says the Scott administration isn’t following the spirit of the statute. Instead of holding public hearings, as was done in the past, the Scott administration has chosen to seek public input on the budget through digital platforms this year. Washington County Sen. Anthony Pollina says the online survey being used to collect that input doesn’t offer a meaningful mechanism for residents to weigh in.”


2 “The Department of Homeland Security announced on Monday that it will not renew the TPS that has allowed tens of thousands of Haitians to live in the U.S. with provisional legal residency for nearly eight years. The program expires in July 2019, so Haitians who have been granted this protected status must leave the U.S. within in the next 18 months, or face deportation.” This includes our neighbors, like a Haitian family living in Lebanon, NH.


3 “Green Mountain Care Board chairman Kevin Mullin is calling on Congress to keep the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act”

  • Action: Send Kevin Mullin your appreciation for taking a stand on this issue and going against his own party to fight for Vermonters health care


4 And don’t forget, ACA Open Enrollment will end December 15th


5 If you can’t afford a private jet, your taxes will probably be going up under Trump’s new tax plan. For just a taste of how bad this bill will be for Vermont:


6 Despite Vermont having one of the highest percentages in the country of female representation in the statehouse (only Arizona and Nevada have a higher percentage), reports have begun emerging of sexual harassment


7 The FCC has announced plans to roll back Net Neutrality. Burlington Telecom recommends this explainer about what that means: But to cut a long story short, rolling back Net Neutrality means that you can be charged for every website you use, including your email account. It will drastically undercut small businesses who use websites to sell their business and will seriously endanger our access to information. (For instance, you might have to pay to see the website where I post this newsletter.) The proposal to roll back Net Neutrality is expected to be approved on December 14th in a 3-to-2 party line vote from the agency’s five commissioners:


8 As of November 20th, twenty-three transgender people had been murdered in the USA in 2017. Nearly all of these victims have been people of color.


A letter to the editor about the problems and lack of transparency in the treatment of Vermonters who are housed in out-of-state prisons

Finally some good news about the water clean-up project in Vermont

Review of a new book by environmentalist Bill McKibben

Article recommended by Mary D., about how grassroots organizers made such a difference in the recent elections in Virginia

In light of Vermont’s participation in carbon trading, it’s worth taking a look at a recent report questioning the degree to which this actually helps to undermine the pollution (also see


An article about Somali refugees sharing their first Thanksgiving in Lowell

An article about the experience of Thanksgiving for a Muslim in Vermont

An article on the rising costs for people who are trying to switch from opioids to marijuana for pain management

An article on identifying fake news

NATIONWIDE ISSUES Commonly used contacts can be found here: The following items are taken verbatim or nearly verbatim from (for which I’m a contributor).


9 As we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, let’s take a moment to consider the plight of a bird other than the turkey: the greater sage-grouse. The Interior Department is set on changing up an Obama-era plan to protect greater sage grouse. That’s given stakeholders in the high-desert Northwest a lot to reconsider. For more than 10 years, ranchers, conservationists and government agencies worked on a plan to keep the greater sage grouse off the endangered species list. That hard-fought compromise led to what many hoped would be a new way to protect species on the brink. But Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to take another look at the plans, with an eye toward more mining and drilling on public lands. Many in Oregon who have worked hard to save the birds are worried that any roll back of the Obama-era plans could threaten the work that’s been done so far — and lead to the birds’ ultimate landing on the endangered species list. That could mean more land-use restrictions that many ranchers and industry groups involved in the original plans had hoped to avoid. Let’s read the full story at Oregon Public Broadcasting ( Let’s send emails and postcards to our MoC’s in support of the greater sage grouse and their habitat.

10 “One month before the Trump administration sparked outrage by reversing a ban on trophies from threatened African elephants, federal officials quietly loosened restrictions on the importation of heads and hides of lions shot for sport.” Let’s contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  to urge them to re-impose bans on the import of trophies from lions killed for sport: or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20240.

11 The Center for Biological Diversity is among 3 conservation groups suing to prevent fracking and drilling on 23 square miles of public land in central Utah that is greater sage-grouse habitat.  The Bureau of Land Management spent nearly $1 million last year to restore habitat for the Sheeprocks population and is now leasing that critical sage grouse habitat for pennies on the dollar. It’s the latest attack on greater sage grouse under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who wants to scale back protections to allow more fossil fuel development. We can read more here.  We can follow the Center for Biological Diversity on Facebook which currently features a graphic of a polar bear with the words, “Ignite Change” and the banner headline “Kick the Resistance into High Gear.”  Let’s follow the work they are doing to protect our environment and consider donating if we can.

12 Nebraska regulators have approved a route for Keystone XL, but threw up a road block by denying the company’s first choice for the path of the pipeline. It’s unclear if the company behind the pipeline, TransCanada, is still going to proceed. Let’s join the Sierra Club in urging Wells Fargo to pull its funding from the pipeline

13 In late October, U.S. Steel accidentally dumped 56.7 pounds of chromium into Lake Michigan, then asked the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for “’confidential treatment’ of the incident.” We only know about the dump because law students happened to stumble upon the incriminating letter. Neither the EPA nor state officials had informed the public about the incident, though authorities tested the water and closed some beaches. Recent water quality tests show that Chicago drinking water contains hexavalent chromium levels that are 11 times the health goal set in California in 2009. And studies show that chromium can cause cancer, kidney and liver damage, and reproductive problems. But national water standards have yet to be established. Let’s contact our Members of Congress asking them to implement nationwide water quality standards and if we live in one of the states bordering on Lake Michigan, let’s ask our state officials why we weren’t notified of the contamination right away.


14 “The FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017—legislation meant to extend government surveillance powers—squanders several opportunities for meaningful reform and, astonishingly, manages to push civil liberties backwards. The bill is a gift to the intelligence community, restricting surveillance reforms, not surveillance itself.” This bill should really be called “Let’s Keep Letting the Government Spy on our Personal Communications without a Warrant Act.” Let’s let our Senators know that it’s a NO on this bill, S. 2010. We want section 702 of the FISA Act, which allows warrantless government surveillance various forms of communications, to expire — we don’t want it reauthorized. We’d rather have meaningful reform of surveillance practices.

15 JPMorgan, BlackRock and Wells Fargo are investing in construction of the border wall, despite the CEOs’ criticism of anti-immigration policies and rhetoric in the Trump administration. Let’s tell these companies that we do not support their investment in an ineffective and environmentally harmful border wall that will waste tax dollars. BlackRock on Twitter @BlackRock or BlackRock, Inc., 55 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10055. JPMorgan on Twitter at @JPMorgan or JPMorgan, 270 Park Avenue, New York City, NY 10055. Wells Fargo on Twitter @WellsFargo or Wells Fargo, 420 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94104.

16 Charles Clymer has written a helpful piece for NBC News titled “I’m an Army Veteran and gun owner. The ‘good guy with a gun’ theory is a myth.”: Let’s write to our Members of Congress to say that we have not forgotten Las Vegas; we have not forgotten Sutherland Springs; we have not forgotten Rancho Tehama Reserve; and we expect more than relying on a faulty theory about how to stop the carnage.


17 Trump has nominated Alex Azar, former president of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Co., to be Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS); a position which would put him in charge of regulating drug prices While Azar no longer works for Eli Lilly, the money he has made from his time there calls into question his ability to make unbiased decisions as HHS Secretary The Senate Finance Committee still needs to hold a hearing and vote on his nomination. Let’s call Chairman Hatch ((202) 224-5251) and Ranking Member Wyden ((202) 224-5244) and ask that they oppose Alex Azar as Secretary of Health and Human Services.


18 Let’s read Ryan Lizza’s very strong New Yorker piece about how differently we are reacting to the Russia news because it is reaching us as a ‘drip drip drip’ than if it reached us en masse as one story: And then, let’s let our Members of Congress know that we remain very concerned about what all this news means about the health of our republic.

19 California Representative Ted Lieu responded swiftly and appropriately to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ poor attempts at humor about Russia late last week: Let’s take a moment to join Rep. Lieu to let Sessions know that there is nothing funny about what is emerging about the Trump campaign and Russia:


20 Money bail and mass incarceration remain a huge problem in the U.S., but there is a growing movement for reform at both the state and federal level summer, Senators Kamala Harris and Rand Paul introduced legislation to incentivize states to reform or replace their money bail system Let’s be sure that our Members of Congress support and cosponsor the Pretrial and Safety Integrity Act of 2017 (S. 1593/H.R. 4019)


21 Our government has paid over $15 million in hush money for “payouts [that] not only includes sexual harassment claims but also racial, religious and disability related discrimination claims.”  In this era of #metoo, our MoCs need to know that we do not find this an acceptable way to use our tax dollars and we want this use of this money identified and explained.


22 Earlier this month, ICE took a single mother and Occupy Boston activist named Siham Byah into custody. They’re planning on deporting her to Morocco… leaving behind her eight-year-old son, a U.S. citizen  Let’s join immigration activists and help pressure the local ICE office to #FreeSiham and release her back to the community. You can find details on how to call and a feedback form where you can help track the results of this effort at this link:


23 Doug Jones may be ahead in the polls right now, but we cannot rest easy. Republicans will try every trick in the book, smear campaigns, voter suppression to defeat him, so we MUST make sure the turnout is strong. We can aso write postcards to Alabama Democrats, reminding and encouraging them to Vote. For addresses, we can text HELLO to (484) ASK-ABBY which is (484) 275-2229.  Remember, Abby the Address Bot will also email you the same instructions and addresses as a courtesy. If we do not have a smartphone or prefer not to text, email:

24 “The Stampede is a mass, sustained demonstration against big money in politics and voter suppression. With already over 75,000 people all across the country stamping their cash with the Stampede, this people-powered grassroots campaign is a striking visual display of the growing demand in this country for change with how our elections are funded and how big moneyed groups influence government policies at the expense of “We the People.””  We can learn how to become part of this here:


25 Puerto Ricans are still largely without power, and many also do not have access to clean water At the same time, Seth Klarman, who heads up the hedge fund Baupost Group, is asking Puerto Rico to repay its debt of approximately $911 million and is pushing back against calls to forgive Puerto Rico’s debt The issue of hedge fund groups preying on countries in debt crises is not confined to Puerto Rico, nor is Baupost Group the only culprit. Hedge Clippers is a collaborative of numerous labor unions and community and activist organizations, which focuses on exposing how billionaires use money to influence government. They have created a comprehensive explainer of the hedge funds’ strategy in Puerto Rico Let’s add our voices to those who are already asking that Seth Klarman and the Baupost Group forgive Puerto Rico’s debt. We can contact the Baupost Group via mail The Baupost Group, L.L.C. 10 Saint James Avenue, Suite 1700 Boston, MA 02116 or phone 617-210-8300. We can also continue to send aid to the Hurricane Maria Community Recovery Fund UNIDOS

26 As we make our Thanksgiving preparations, let’s not forget that 50% of our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico are still without power: In lieu of cranberry sauce and stuffing, let’s consider a virtual food drive with a donation:

27 If you are looking for that perfect holiday gift for the resister, re-sister, or political junkie, look no more!  Take a peek at The Covfefe Coloring Book!  Pre-orders being taken now:  Even better, $1 for each book sold will be donated to non-profits involved in the hurricane relief effort in Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands.


28 U.S. State Department officials have accused Secretary of State Tillerson of violating a federal law (the Child Soldiers Prevention Act) which is meant to prevent the use of child soldiers. Going against recommendations, Tillerson excluded Afghanistan, Myanmar and Iraq from a list of countries that enlist child soldiers, and thus made it easier for the U.S. to provide these countries with military aid.  This is deeply troubling, and so far, Tillerson has not given an adequate response as to why he ignored his own department.  After we share our concerns with the Secretary of State (, let’s contact our members of Congress and ask them to request a hearing in the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees to investigate this serious charge and get real answers from Tillerson as to why he’s letting these countries off the hook.

29 “More U.S. troops have died in war zones this year than in 2016 — the first time in six years that the number of service members killed overseas has increased over the previous year.” Let’s ask our Members of Congress what they are doing to ensure our soldiers’ safety.

30 US officials have decided not to recertify the office of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the main Palestinian negotiating body. These officials have promised to reopen the office in 90 days if it’s decided that the Palestinians “have entered into “direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel.’” In response to the closure of this office, the PLO is threatening to “put on hold all communications with the U.S. administration.” Let’s contact our Members of Congress to make sure that they’re keeping tabs on this situation and that they will stop tensions from escalating. We need to keep the lines of communication open if peace is going to be negotiated in the Middle East.


31 The FCC, under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, has initiated a series of rollbacks aimed at deregulating media ownership and broadcast rules: Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is seeking approval for a merger with Tribune Media, stands to benefit from these moves, and if their approval goes through, will have the ability to corner 72% of the market   Democrats in both the House and Senate has written letter to the FCC Inspector General, David Hunt, asking that he launch an investigation into Chairman Pai’s actions, to determine whether they uphold the FCC’s stance on impartiality and independence from political partisanship Senate Democrats have also written to Pai, asking that he recuse himself from voting on matters related to Sinclair Broadcast Group. Let’s contact Inspector General Hunt, and tell him we support an investigation into Pai’s actions: David Hunt Inspector General Federal Communications Commission 445 12th Street, SW Washington D.C., 20554 We can also contact Chairman Pai, and ask that he recuse himself from decisions relating to Sinclair: Let’s also be sure to contact our Members of Congress and ask them to speak out in support of an investigation, and in support of Pai’s recusal.

32 At the final White House press conference before Thanksgiving, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders asked reporters to say what they are thankful for before asking their questions: ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega answered, “The First Amendment”. Let’s join Ms. Vega and let Ms. Huckabee Sanders know what we are thankful for this Thanksgiving: on Twitter @PressSec or at The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500

33 The advertising boycott of Trump propagandist Sean Hannity is getting good results, but there are still far too many companies sending him their ad dollars. Let’s turbocharge this boycott with some simple consumer activism. We can easily check the updated list: , then pick 1 or 2 companies whose products we use, then let them know that our continued loyalty depends on their refusal to support Hannity’s harmful lies. We can use this from #Grab Your Wallet for contact info for the companies:


34 We have the opportunity to help choose Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year”.  Voting on the reader’s choice poll ends Dec. 3.

35 The tax bill just signed by the House includes language allowing churches to campaign for political candidates. Let’s use this tool from the Secular Coalition for America to contact our Senators to tell them to preserve the separation between Church and state

36 Common Cause New York has published a report worth our reading wherever we are: “The Count Starts Now: Taking Action to Avoid a Census 2020 Crisis”:   This report details how the national census works and, as importantly, how it is used in electoral districting.  We should all know this, and we should demand that the census be adequately funded, which it is not now.  We need to insist that our MoCs ensure that whatever funding the Census Bureau requires is forthcoming. Statistical agencies like the Bureau are what makes evidence-based policymaking possible.

37 From Americans United for the Separation of Church and State: Not All Evangelicals Agree With Jerry Falwell Jr. And Liberty University– And They’re Speaking Up. Secularists, non-Christians and progressive Christians have long been critics of Religious Right leader Jerry Falwell Jr. But lately Falwell has had to deal with flak from an unexpected source: fellow evangelicals who are angry over his support for President Donald J. Trump and his blend of nationalist and fundamentalist rhetoric.  “When he uses his platform to praise and defend Trump, Falwell makes it seem as though Liberty as an institution agrees with him,” Liberty student Dustin Wahl, who organized an anti-Trump petition, told ThinkProgress. “In reality, most Liberty students have very different priorities than their president.”  We can also follow Americans United on Facebook to keep up with the latest on the separation of church and state.  If we are, or know someone who is, a member of the clergy who wants to get involved in protecting true religious freedom, join Faith Leaders United, a theologically diverse network of religious leaders that Americans United formed to ensure that religion is not being used to harm people or take away their rights.

38 “Cards of Hope is Empower and Help’s social good project started by our founders. We started this project in the summer of 2017 where we invite children from all over the country to make cards for children at refugee camps, schools across Africa and local underprivileged communities within USA. These cards are received by us and mailed to these children as a message of peace, love, care and more. They provide these children with HOPE for better tomorrow and bring smiles on innocent faces. Through Cards of Hope we are providing a message to these children that You are always in our thoughts and prayers.” Let’s see how we can be part of this important work:

39 Each year, Amnesty International commemorates Human Rights Day, December 10th, by hosting Write for Rights. The campaign consists of writing letters to government officials to request that they release prisoners of conscience, as well as to commute sentences for victims of human rights abuses. Not only is everyone welcome to participate, but we can also host letter writing events in our local communities, to help increase the impact of our words. We can learn more about Write for Rights at Amnesty International Then, we can read up on this year’s cases and sign up to write letters in support of these individuals:

PETITIONS/SURVEYS/ETC taken verbatim or nearly verbatim from


“Your Uncle Said What? How to Talk About Social Justice With Your Family During the Holidays” –

As we head into the holiday season, let’s check out these great tips for engaging in productive conversations with our family and friends