Issue #169, 2020 Week 40

Hey everyone,

Well, that was a week. Trying to figure where to turn.  Let us help. Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

Apparently, we thought that week’s news cycle was particularly accelerated, which seems delightfully naive in retrospect.  Needless to say, we’ve all aged a hundred years since writing that, and news stories are flying incredibly fast. Daily summaries like WTFJHT remain particularly helpful as we all try to make sense of the chaos.

Events to Know

COVID in the White House. News broke at about 1:30AM Thursday night that Melania and Donald Trump had tested positive for COVID-19–apparently for the second time that day, though we didn’t learn this until much later. At first he was expected to remain at home, but he was eventually taken to Walter Reed hospital on Friday afternoon with fever and congestion, and we later learned he was given supplemental oxygen as well as an experimental antibody cocktail before the transfer. By the next day, he was being given Remdisivir and dexamethasone, both of which can potentially signal serious health complications. Now, you might be reading this and thinking, “That’s an awfully fast onset of severe symptoms,” which is certainly what I thought at the time, but it turns out the news has a response for that! First Chris Wallace admitted that Trump had dodged the on-site test at Tuesday’s debate, and then on Saturday Trump’s own doctor said that he was doing well “just 72 hours into his diagnosis” on Saturday–which, for those of you doing the home game, was definitely not 72 hours after early Friday morning. Though his doctor later insisted he misspoke, it appears increasingly likely that Trump had probably been COVID-positive by the time of the debate, whether he knew it or not, and it would also appear that he is seriously sick as I type this. Nonetheless, he took a trip around the hospital on Sunday, and was discharged from the hospital back to the White House on Monday night, even though many experts agree on the increased risk of the second week of infection. The administration is adamant that Pence will not be taking the reins anytime soon, despite the many difficulties of Trump governing while all of the above is happening, and White House staff remain at high risk of infection.

Key links:

  1. Wall Street Journal – Trump Didn’t Disclose First Positive Covid-19 Test While Awaiting A Second Test On Thursday
  2. NPR – Staying At Walter Reed Hospital, Trump Has Started Remdesivir Therapy
  3. Newsweek – Chris Wallace Says Donald Trump Wasn’t Tested For Covid Pre-Debate Because He Arrived Late
  4. HuffPost – Trump’s Doctors Raise Major New Questions About His Covid-19 Timeline
  5. Face The Nation – O’brien Says Trump Transfer Of Power “Not Something That’s On The Table”
  6. Washington Post – Concern Rises For White House Residence Staffers As Their Workplace Emerges As A Virus Hot Spot

GOP Superspreading. Trump was far from the only high-profile member of the GOP to test positive for COVID this week, and it’s looking increasingly likely that the Rose Garden event for Supreme Court nominee Amy Comey Barrett on Saturday was a superspreading event, although the White House refuses to use contact tracing for it. (Coney Barrett herself apparently had COVID this summer, and has not tested positive at this time.) At the time that I type this, twelve high-profile people who were present on Saturday have tested positive, and twenty people affiliated with the White House have contracted the virus overall. Among those on the list: 1) Top White House aide Stephen Miller; 2) former counselor Kellyanne Conway; 3) campaign manager Bill Stepien; 4) White House advisor Hope Hicks; 5) former NJ governor Chris Christie; 6) WI senator Ron Johnson; 7) Utah senator Mike Lee; 8) NC Senator Thom Tillis; and 9) White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnaney. Additionally, IA Senator Chuck Grassley was also present and refused to get tested, so he might be positive as well, and there were also several outbreaks at the Secret Service training center. Joe Biden is still testing negative at the time that I type this, though he could still be in an incubation period.

Key links:

  1. Politico – Where Trump Went (And Who He Was With) Leading Up To His Coronavirus Diagnosis
  2. New York Times – White House Is Not Tracing Contacts For ‘Super-Spreader’ Rose Garden Event
  3. New York Times – Trump’s Secret Service Has Struggled With Outbreak At Training Center
  4. Politico – Biden Still At Risk After Debating Trump At ‘Peak Of Contagion’

Election Oddities.  With everything going on, it’s easy to forget that the first Presidential debate on Tuesday was less than a week ago–and the entire country watched Trump fail to condemn white supremacy, instead telling the Proud Boys to “stand down and stand by.”  (The hate group, for their part, immediately made it clear that they’ll be taking these statements as a set of marching orders.)  There was also news about a massive Trump campaign strategy to deter Black Americans from voting in 2016, as well as news about a massive gubernatorial strategy now to make dropping off ballots in Texas increasingly difficult for marginalized voters.  On the debate front, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris did duke it out in person in Salt Lake City, and the general consensus is that both Kamala Harris and that fly that landed on Pence’s head for two minutes straight were the frontrunners of the day.  Trump announced that he won’t participate in virtual debates, despite literally being currently contagious with a deadly disease.  And, of course, people are starting to wonder what it will mean for the election if Trump isn’t able to run, given that voting has already begun in many states.

Key links:

  1. Politico – Trump’s Refusal To Condemn White Supremacists Launches An Online Furor
  2. Guardian – Trump 2016 Campaign ‘Targeted 3.5M Black Americans To Deter Them From Voting’
  3. NBC – ‘Racist Voter Suppression’: Texas Laws Keep Latinos From The Ballot Box, Groups Say
  4. Politico – The VP debate offers the nation a glimpse of a post-Trump future
  5. CNN – Trump’s rejection of virtual format puts future of debates in question
  6. Washington Post – We’re In The Final Stages Of The Presidential Election. What Happens If A Candidate Withdraws Or Dies?

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience.  There were a few bright spots from a court perspective this week, though much of the news was a hot mess.  The judge who blocked the administration’s attempts to curtail census counting has issued a clarifying judgement making it extra super-duper clear that yes, the census counting must continue until October 31 despite everything going on.  And in Florida, a movement in response to a recent court decision has donors supporting re-enfranchisement efforts for those convicted of crimes, including paying court fees so that people are eligible to vote.  It’s a coalition effort that is making a real difference for the collective re-enfranchisement of a very marginalized group–one that had been denied the right to vote for life for a long time before the right was granted by majority referendum.  Especially in 2020, it means a lot to see groups pushing back against court efforts to overrule that collective will.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – In A New Ruling, Judge Says Census Count Must Continue Through October
  2. New York Times – ‘Real Change’: A Race Is On To Register Ex-Felons In Florida

Things to Watch

COVID and Congress.  All of the COVID news above has implications for the legislative branch as well.  In relief news, the House passed a second COVID relief bill, with Nancy Pelosi meeting with Steven Mnuchin Trump was, uh, indisposed.  The FDA also unilaterally published its proposed rules for vaccine standards, leaving the White House more-or-less forced to sign on. When he got back to the White House, Trump retaliated by announcing that he would refuse to sign any COVID relief until after the election, which of course made the Dow plummet again, but he walked that back within a day or two and now says Americans should get stimulus payments again. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has postponed the Senate’s return by two weeks, calling everyone back on October 19–but he still wants to have confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett on October 12 as originally planned.  The astute of readers may note that two of the infected GOP senators are on the Senate Judiciary Committee, while four more were present at the Comey Barrett event on Saturday–and the whole committee is only nineteen members. If Democrats refuse to participate and any GOP members are still quarantining on Monday, the committee may not have quorum to proceed, and Mitch McConnell may learn it’s nice to want things.
Key links:

  1. The Hill – House Approves $2.2T Covid-19 Relief Bill As White House Talks Stall
  2. Wall Street Journal – White House Agrees To FDA’s Guidelines For Vetting Covid-19 Vaccines
  3. CNN – Dow Swings 600 Points After Trump Rejects Stimulus Plan
  4. Associated Press – GOP Seeks To Call Off Senate Work, But Not Barrett Hearings
  5. Chicago Tribune – With 2 Senators On Judiciary Committee Positive For Covid-19 And Others Exposed, Quick Supreme Court Confirmation Called Into Question
  6. Washington Post – White House, Congress continue pressing on economic relief package but Pelosi bristles over Trump approach

Black Lives Still Matter.  Information about the Breonna Taylor grand jury proceedings was released this week at a grand juror’s request, and unsurprisingly, the records show that homicide charges were not even presented as an option.  Meanwhile, protests continue in Portland, where a local police officer drove his motorcycle into a protester and the total arrest toll has crested 1,000 people.  Also, the Proud Boys did indeed show up in droves to join the fray, as discussed in last Tuesday’s debate–and speaking of Proud Boys, gay twitter co-opted their hashtag this week in glorious retaliation for the hate group’s recent everything.  In other positive news, California passed a law this week establishing a path towards reparations for Black Americans impacted by our history of slavery.
Key links:

  1. Time  – Released Grand Jury Records Reveal Conflicting Accounts Of The Moments Before Breonna Taylor Died
  2. Oregon – Portland Police Officer Drives Motorcycle Into Protester Blocking His Path At Friday Night Demonstration
  3. CNN – Gay Men Have Taken Over The Proud Boys Twitter Hashtag
  4. NBC – Historic California Law Establishes Path To Reparations For Black People, Descendants Of Slaves

Appalling Immigration Updates.  Despite Trump’s hospitalization, we still had an influx of impressively bad and occasionally weird immigration news.  The administration announced that only 15,000 people maximum would be admitted as refugees for Fiscal Year 2021, which for context is only slightly over one-tenth of the number admitted in Obama’s final year–definitely a historic low in every sense of the term.  We also started to hear about ICE raids planned in sanctuary jurisdictions yet again, though it’s unclear whether that will move forward with everything else going on.  The New York Times ran a story that somehow makes the zero tolerance practice sound even more heartless, including gems about U.S. attorneys getting in trouble for refusing to prosecute infants.  And just before she tested positive, tapes leaked of Melania Trump dropping f-bombs about both concern about migrant children during that period and, improbably, Christmas.
Key links:

  1. CBS – Trump Administration Sets Refugee Cap At 15,000, A New Record Low
  2. Washington Post – ICE Preparing Targeted Arrests In ‘Sanctuary Cities,’ Amplifying President’s Campaign Theme
  3. New York Times – ‘We Need To Take Away Children,’ No Matter How Young, Justice Dept. Officials Said
  4. Washington Post – Tapes Reveal Melania Trump Appearing To Downplay Child Separation Policy, Bemoaning Christmas Decorations

Actions for Everyone

Oh what a year this week has been! To top off the newscycle, last Wednesday we saw the first (and only) Vice-Presidential Debate. In it Mike Pence and Kamala Harris kept a semi-civil discourse, acting as cheerleaders for their respective running mates. I’d like to use said debate to talk about a couple of outstanding topics.

Why is Fracking important? – The topic of fracking came up and both candidates mentioned their respective administrations don’t have plans to ban it; which is a disheartening stance.

Fracking (other than my favorite curse word used in the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica) is the practice of hydraulic fracturing. This is when energy companies drill into the earth and pump a pressurized mix of water and chemicals in order to fracture rock and release trapped natural gas. Fracking is tremendously bad for our environment, even though it is usually green-washed into being an environmentally friendly practice. It can deplete water resources, poison drinking water, pollute the air and cause earthquakes. All of these problems have been experienced by communities that surround fracking areas, where they are now living in areas that are suddenly earthquake prone and their drinking water can literally be set on fire because of the chemicals that have leached into it.

For more info on fracking you can visit the National Resource Defense Council and you can also donate to their organization.

If you want to organize your community against fracking in your area, our neighbor’s to the north in Canada have created this handy toolkit to help.

Environment America also has lots of good information to read up on.

The vice-presidential candidates also discussed the new Supreme Court nomination and at least we can hope that this nomination will be met by Kamala Harris with top-notch prosecution.

SCOTUS nominee – and it’s possible outcomes. Because most of our government apparatus had to go into isolation due to the Covid-19 outbreak started by President Trump and friends, Congress will not be in session till after October 18th. But the Supreme Court confirmation hearings will still begin on October 12th. Judge Amy Coney Barret is very conservative, she is thought to be the final piece for the removal of the Affordable Care Act (leaving 20 million Americans without healthcare during a pandemic) and taking away a pregnant person’s right to choose by overturning Roe V. Wade.

Call your senators! Leave them voicemails. Annoy the hell out of them! Tell your friends and family to call them too! Especially if they are republicans. Remember, some republicans have come out against the nomination. You can follow this script for guidance.

After your call your senators, call your local state governments too! If Roe V. Wade is overturned, the right to an abortion will depend on each state. Ask them what stance they are taking to secure the right to choose.

VOTE! – Trump just announced he will not be attending the next Presidential debate because it is a virtual one. He literally has Coronavirus and is ok with exposing all of his staff plus all of Biden’s staff, Biden himself and the moderator to it just to have an audience. This and SO MANY INFURIATING REASONS more, is why we need to vote and encourage others to do the same. We have less than a month! November 3rd is just around the corner.

Use this sites to guide you:

Ballot Ready 

Better Know A Ballot 

Progressive Voters Guide

And here for some Things That Made Me Smile:

The fly that landed on Mike Pence.

We hope this newsletter left you feeling more informed and more energized to go out there and make a difference in whatever way you can.

We’d love to hear from you, not only for tips or suggestions (though they’re always welcome), but also to hear about how the activism has been going. Do you have any success stories? Did anything surprise you that you weren’t expecting? Let us know at activism@patrothfuss.com and hopefully we can use your stories to help encourage and educate others!

Best,
The Activism Team

Want to sign up for the list? You can do that right here.

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

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Stevens Point, WI 54481

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Issue #168, 2020 Week 39

Hey everyone,

Finding it hard to keep up?  You’re not alone. Let us help. Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

The news this week is ten pounds of chaos in a three-pound bag, and it can be hard to even keep track of everything happening. We’ve done our level best to give you a quick tour-de-force, but the news cycle is accelerated to a truly impressive level even by our modern standards, so who knows what will have changed by the time this roundup goes out. Daily summaries like WTFJHT may be particularly helpful right now!

Events to Know

Tax Return Tango. As I type this, everybody’s talking about the New York Times article summarizing Donald Trump’s taxes, which lo and behold are pretty terrible. The info dump involved was huge, and there’s a lot to unpack here, so the New York Times has also quite helpfully put out a summary. That said, there are some points that I think deserve particular discussion, so I’m going to spend a few minutes unpacking them here with the careful caveat that I am not, in fact, a tax attorney: 1) Trump’s massive debt as a sitting President is a really, really big deal because it’s a risk to national security, as Nancy Pelosi has already noted–that kind of debt creates leverage that can be used to influence behavior, which is why it traditionally is a reason to deny security clearance2) Ivanka’s “consultant” fees appear to be a pretty big deal too, because they illustrate yet more instances of Trump family double-dipping; and 3) Everybody’s yelling about the $750 paid in taxes during 2016 and 2017, and his tax avoidance is insulting, but the bigger story there is what gave him the legal means to do that–his history of constantly running a deficit.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Long-concealed Records Show Trump’s Chronic Losses And Years Of Tax Avoidance
  2. Associated Press – 5 takeaways from NY Times report on Trump’s tax returns
  3. CNBC – Trump’s reported massive debt load raises ‘a national security question,’ Pelosi says
  4. CNN Politics – Don’t miss the Ivanka Trump bombshell buried in the Times tax story
  5. Washington Post – Trump avoided paying taxes for years, largely because his business empire reported losing more money than it made, report says

Your Regularly-Scheduled Illegality. There sure was a lot of news about illegal government action other than Trump’s taxes this week, not that you’d know it given the last 24 hours. Among the laundry list: 1) Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is under investigation now for Hatch Act violations, which is practically a rite of passage in this administration; 2) An executive order was issued “combating sex and race stereotyping” that forbids diversity and inclusion training of any vendors that contract with the federal government3) Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf is accused of awarding $6M in contracts to his wife’s security firm, which would definitely be self-dealing (and he hasn’t even had his confirmation hearing yet); 4) The Department of Justice is refusing to let senior officials testify before Congress because they “scold[ed] and insult[ed]” William Barr back in July; and 5) A National Security Counsel member is claiming the White House made things up to block publication of John Bolton’s book because the facts reported in said book made them look bad.

Key links:

  1. Politico – DeVos under investigation for potentially violating Hatch Act because of Fox News interview
  2. NPR -Trump Expands Ban On Racial Sensitivity Training To Federal Contractors
  3. NBC News – DHS awarded $6 million in contracts to firm where Acting Secretary Wolf’s wife is executive
  4. New York Times – White House Accused of Improperly Politicizing Review of John Bolton’s Book

Black Lives Still Matter.  News continues to mount regarding the grand jury that handed down a single indictment that related to endangering neighbors by shooting the walls, rather than any charges related to Breonna Taylor’s murder.  After several days of major protests in Louisville, as well as the arrest of the city’s sole black female legislator, things do not appear closer to any resolution.  New body cam footage and increasingly contradictory case information have prompted a massive call for grand jury information to be released, which the Kentucky AG appears to be considering.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Kentucky’s only Black female legislator arrested on felony rioting charge at Breonna Taylor protest
  2. Vice – New Body-Cam Footage Raises Questions About Breonna Taylor Death Investigation
  3. The Hill – Kentucky AG says he will release grand jury recording in Breonna Taylor case

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience.  A federal court found this week that U.S. Census counting must continue through its original date, which would force the administration to continue until October 31–though the administration is already appealing the decision.  Meanwhile, 3,500 U.S. companies are suing Trump over his tariffs on Chinese goods, which probably were in fact arbitrary and capricious.  And finally, a New York state judge has ordered Eric Trump to testify in an ongoing fraud case no later than October 7th, which should prove interesting at the very least.

Key links:

  1. Associated Press – Judge says 2020 census must continue for another month
  2. Reuters – Some 3,500 U.S. companies sue over Trump-imposed Chinese tariffs
  3. New York  Times – Judge Orders Eric Trump to Testify in N.Y. Fraud Inquiry

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.  COVID news remains dispiritingly terrible for another week, and much of it is outright bizarre.  The U.S. passed the threshold of 200,000 deaths this week, and experts warn that that number might double as we move into winter; additionally, total instances of infection have surpassed 7 million.  Internationally, the virus has claimed over a million lives in the past ten months.  News also broke that the Pentagon diverted about a billion dollars of COVID relief fund, instead spending the money on jet parts and uniforms.  Meanwhile, several vaccines are beginning Stage 3 trials–which would be good news, except that Trump is already threatening to override the FDA if they are appropriately cautious about vaccine safety.  And speaking of vaccines, some media outlets are starting to pay attention to the low rate of child vaccination for other infections during the pandemic, which may in turn impact orders to reopen schools.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Experts warn U.S. covid-19 deaths could more than double by year’s end
  2. CNBC – Coronavirus updates: U.S. cases top 7 million; Florida lifts restaurant restrictions
  3. CNN Health – Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine is fourth to begin Phase 3 trials in the United States
  4. The Hill – Trump questions need for tougher FDA standards on coronavirus vaccine
  5. New York Times – Behind the White House Effort to Pressure the C.D.C. on School Openings

Supreme Court Nominee News. Trump announced his nomination on Saturday, and it was indeed Amy Coney Barrett, which remains extremely concerning. Additionally, it would appear that Mitch McConnell now has enough votes to put the matter on the Senate floor, and a hearing is now scheduled for October 12. Incredibly, some Republican voices (apparently including Mike Pence) want to skip the hearing entirely and just vote her in, which is utterly unprecedented. And as mentioned previously, Trump straight-up stated that he wants a nominee on the bench by the time the election happens because he expects the Supreme Court to decide the election. Needless to say, it remains extremely important that we call our Senators repeatedly to make our opinion of this Senate vote known, especially because it may inform the approach taken by Democrats in response.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – The Judiciary Committee will hold hearings starting Oct. 12. Here is what’s next.
  2. The Hill – Rush Limbaugh encourages Senate to skip hearings for Trump’s SCOTUS nominee
  3. Washington Post – Democrats debate whether to engage — or withdraw — in Supreme Court fight

Election Oddities (Again).  This was another nightmare week for election news. The Pentagon is beginning to plan for the possibility that he’ll try to deploy the military at some point during this election process.  Meanwhile, the head of the FBI indicated that they aren’t seeing instances of voter fraud by mail-in ballot (probably because spoiler, the data says they’re not), and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows started publicly attacking him for it and undermining the FBI’s credibility.  Folks, I know we’re all pretty inured to everything by this point, but I think it’s worth stepping back and thinking about that last point; the current White House chief of staff publicly stated that we can’t trust the current FBI’s investigation process because the head of the FBI said we can have safe free elections during a pandemic.  That’s just absolutely bananas, and it hurts the entire country. And of course, during the first Presidential debate on Tuesday, the entire country watched Trump fail to condemn white supremacy, instead telling the Proud Boys to “stand down and stand by.”  The hate group, for their part, immediately made it clear that they’ll be taking these statements as set of marching orders.
Key links:

  1. Axios – Christopher Wray: FBI has not seen evidence of national voter fraud effort by mail
  2. CBS News – White House chief of staff Mark Meadows contradicts FBI Director Christopher Wray on voter fraud
  3. Politico – Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists launches an online furor
  4. New York Times – Proud Boys celebrate Trump’s ‘stand by’ remark about them at the debate.

Actions for Everyone

Sending you a big wave of Love and Compassion today. Did you get it? I always come back to those human traits as the only way out of what feels like the unraveling of democracy and one huge trauma cycle on loop. Share the Love today to your friends, family, and neighbors. After last night’s debate, they need it today and I promise it feels good to give.

Countdown to GOTV: If you haven’t registered to vote, get serious about it. Please, pretty please make sure you’re registered to vote. In many states, you can register at your polling place, but because of COVID19, we want to encourage you to request an absentee ballot or even early vote to avoid being around large groups of people. As a country, voting isn’t as straightforward as many narratives we hear. We’re up against voter suppression, including being disenfranchised by a two party system, electoral college, etc.       

Imagine being 18-22 years old and having this being the first presidential election you’re eligible to vote in. Rise Free is an organization Rise builds student-led advocacy campaigns and programs that put higher education within reach for all. They’ve also made a Guide to Organizing, specifically for student’s, but everyone could use these resources. Share it far and wide!

Report “stand back, and stand by” rhetoric: Trump says a lot of dangerous things that have real life consequences, but the call to action for the Proud Boys seemed less like a dog whistle and more like a tornado siren. Although hate groups like the Proud Boys have been banned from Facebook and have been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, we also know they’re still active.

In the weeks ahead, I want to empower you to continue to report hate groups and hate speech on social media, and to report hate crimes to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Related, but unrelated, I also want to empower you to report businesses that aren’t enforcing mask mandates. So many systems so often fail us. As the protest chant goes, who protects us? We protect us. Protect individuals who are targeted by hate crimes.

BLM Resources: We shared this list of BLM resources last week, but if you looked at it last week, you’ll know that there are so, so, so many resources here and you should look at them again this week. I’d like to highlight a few specific links this week:

Louisville, KY:  Louisville Community Bail Fund and Fight for Breonna.

Rochester, NY: Bail and Supply Support by CashApp: $BLMRoc and by Venmo: @BLMRoc

Portland, OR: PDX Protest Bail Fund, Contact the Portland General Defense Committee (Tweet), Jail support through the GDC at pdxgdc@riseup.net or by 503-442-0866

Check out the whole list here → https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/13O7yipKHeIF2-QJ_K9IKIdLQAlN8NgEOF62qQjUjEVM/mobilebasic

Things That Made Me Smile: This Wierd Al music video makes the debate a little more digestable.

We hope this newsletter left you feeling more informed and more energized to go out there and make a difference in whatever way you can.

We’d love to hear from you, not only for tips or suggestions (though they’re always welcome), but also to hear about how the activism has been going. Do you have any success stories? Did anything surprise you that you weren’t expecting? Let us know at activism@patrothfuss.com and hopefully we can use your stories to help encourage and educate others!

Best,
The Activism Team

Want to sign up for the list? You can do that right here.

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

PO Box 186

Stevens Point, WI 54481

Add us to your address book

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Issue #167, 2020 Week 38

Hey everyone,

We know things are bad and it is hard to even look at the news. Let us help. Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

Okay, we know we said the news was going to keep getting worse as we head into the election season, but the news this week is Capital-B-Bad, y’all. Perhaps it’s repetitive to keep saying “We’re here if anybody needs anything,” but we are, and we have actions for you to help you feel like you’re making a difference. And we all have a lot of work to do.

Events to Know

Administrative Anarchy. First Attorney General William Barr signaled he wants to charge protesters who damage property with sedition, which is… a disturbing expansion of governmental power, to say the least. But I’m guessing it was intended to be an opening salvo, because he followed that up by declaring New York City, Portland, and Seattle “anarchist jurisdictions”–evidencing either further fascist tendencies or the fact that his house lacks a dictionary. Per the declaration itself, this is really just a fancy way of announcing that the administration is about to pull federal funding from those cities because people have been protesting there. Folks, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how illegal all of this; it runs counter to our First Amendment right to freedom of assembly, and a comparable attempt to punish cities that support immigrants in 2017 was enjoined as illegal by several courts because the move violates separation of powers. That said, a joint statement from the three mayors of impacted cities notes this declaration’s unconstitutionality as well.

Key links:

  1. CNN – Attorney General William Barr Suggests Charging Violent Protesters With Sedition
  2. Department Of Justice – Department Of Justice Identifies New York City, Portland And Seattle As Jurisdictions Permitting Violence And Destruction Of Property
  3. NBC New York – DOJ Designates New York City As An ‘Anarchist Jurisdiction’
  4. Portland City Government Press Release – Cities Targeted By President Trump Unite In Response

Your Regularly-Scheduled Illegality. Even before Barr made his announcements, this wasn’t a great week for governmental behavior. News broke that DC military police considered using a heat ray against protestors back in the summer when they cleared out a peaceful assembly so that Trump could take a photo in Lafayette Square. An HHS spokesperson accused CDC scientists of sedition because their work on COVID “undermines President Trump.” (Said spokesperson is now “taking a medical leave” to sit in a corner and think about what he’s done.) Trump called teaching about systemic racism “child abuse” and announced he would sign an executive order against the practice.

Key links:

  1. NPR- Military Confirms It Sought Information On Using ‘Heat Ray’ Against D.C. Protesters
  2. CNN – Top HHS Spokesman Apologizes To Staff For Accusing Government Scientists Of Sedition
  3. Politico – Top HHS Spokesperson Caputo To Take Medical Leave
  4. Axios – Trump Says He Will Sign Executive Order On “Patriotic Education” In Rebuke Of 1619 Project

Black Lives Still Matter.  The biggest piece of news to know on this front is that there was no justice for Breanna Taylor; the grand jury considering whether her shooters should be punished handed down a single indictment that related to endangering neighbors by shooting the walls, rather than any charges related to her murder.  Meanwhile, in Rochester, the Police Union President and Mayor are both arguing about which one of them should resign, while several officers and the Chief of Police have stepped down.  Meanwhile, a witness to the shooting says the suspect shot by police in Portland, Oregon was never arrested or even warned before he was fatally shot.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Breonna Taylor Live Updates: One Officer Charged With Endangering Neighbors
  2. ABC 13 WHAM – Mayor comes under increasing fire in fallout over Daniel Prude’s death
  3. Washington Post – Police shot Portland slaying suspect without warning or trying to arrest him first, witness says

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience.  We had a few promising court cases this week.  In Seattle, a federal judge blocked the current Postmaster General’s attempted operational changes to the mail system, calling them “a politically motivated attack.”  (This is particularly welcome news as a report was also issued this week estimating that the policies disrupted up to 7% of total first class mail.)  In unrelated but also positive news, an order scheduled to go into effect on Sunday that banned WeChat and Tiktok is already blocked by federal court, who noted that the ban would likely infringe on First Amendment rights.

Key links:

  1. Associated Press – US Judge Blocks Postal Service Changes That Slowed Mail
  2. Washington Post – Dejoy’s Postal Service Policies Delayed 7 Percent Of Nation’s First-class Mail, Senate Democrat’s Report Says
  3. Washington Post – Federal Court Issues Preliminary Injunction Halting Administration’s Ban Of Chinese App Wechat

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.  COVID news remains dispiritingly terrible for another week, and much of it is outright bizarre.  The U.S. passed the threshold of 200,000 deaths this week, and experts warn that that number might double as we move into winter.  News also broke that the Pentagon diverted about a billion dollars of COVID relief fund, instead spending the money on jet parts and uniforms. Meanwhile, DHHS Secretary Alex Azar declared himself in charge of FDA policy this week, indicating that new matters will require his approval and signature before they can be finalized.  His announcement comes on the heels of yet more shifts in the CDC’s posted rules; namely, information about aerosol transmission that was added on Friday was then removed on Monday as an “error.”  This change comes as more news trickles out about last month’s changes, also reversed this week, which removed recommendations for asymptomatic testing–apparently, that change was made without CDC scientists’ review and over their objection.  These developments, unsurprisingly, leave people worried about the CDC’s functionality as a scientific entity.  Many countries in Europe and South America are experiencing a surge in cases, making experts worry about another wave of outbreaks.  And in Oregon, wildfires have apparently exacerbated COVID infection.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – ‘It affects virtually nobody,’ Trump says, minimizing the effect of the coronavirus on young people as the U.S. death toll hits 200,000.
  2. Washington Post – Pentagon used taxpayer money meant for masks and swabs to make jet engine parts and body armor
  3. Politico – CDC Reverses Course On Testing For Asymptomatic People Who Had Covid-19 Contact
  4. STAT News – As Controversies Swirl, CDC Director Is Seen As Allowing Agency To Buckle To Political Influence

The Passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (cont).  Recently passed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in state at the Capitol building this week, and is the first woman ever to receive this honor.  Meanwhile, Trump plans to announce his nomination on Saturday, and it would appear that Mitch McConnell now has enough votes to put the matter on the Senate floor. (The nominee is very likely to be Amy Coney Barrett, by the way, which is definitely my nightmare fuel for the week.) Incredibly, Trump straight-up stated that he wants a nominee on the bench by the time the election happens because he expects the Supreme Court to decide the election–in other words, he wants to determine who gets to make a determination about whether he’s a valid PresidentNeedless to say, it remains extremely important that we call our Senators repeatedly to make our opinion of this Senate vote known, especially because it may inform the approach taken by Democrats in response.
Key links:

  1. NPR – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion Of Gender Equality, Dies At 87
  2. New York Times – Republican Senators Line Up To Back Trump On Court Fight
  3. Washington Post – Amy Coney Barrett, Potential Supreme Court Nominee, Wrote Influential Ruling On Campus Sexual Assault
  4. Bloomberg – Trump Talks Up Need for Full Court as He Casts Doubt on Election

Election Oddities (Again).  Needless to say, things keep taking further concerning turns and we’re still about forty days away from Election Day as I type this.   At a campaign rally, Trump threatened to sign an executive order that prevented Biden from being elected, because jokes about authoritarianism are hilarious, amirite? He also indicated he expects a winner declared on election night, despite states’ need to accommodate remote voting during a pandemic.  And as I noted above, if a winner is not declared on election night, he has indicated he plans to go to the Supreme Court about it.  Watchdogs and other experts are beginning to sound alarms about the state of this election, and have also started pressing media to detail how they will handle Election Night reporting–and in particular, what they will do if one party (read: Trump) simply declares himself the winner before counting is done.  We all definitely need to be watching this election very carefully and calling our representatives often about their planning.
Key links:

  1. Forbes – Trump Threatens To Issue Executive Order Preventing Biden From Being Elected President
  2. Huffpost – Trump: ‘We’re Counting’ On Federal Courts To Declare Election Night Winner
  3. Atlantic – The Election That Could Break America
  4. Slate – I’ve Never Been More Worried About American Democracy Than I Am Right Now
  5. Politico – Watchdogs Demand Election Night Clarity From The Media

Actions for Everyone

Every time I sit down to write, I feel the exhaustion of living in Trump’s America. Today, we found out the verdict for Breonna Taylor’s murderers. Two went free and one was indicted for endangering her neighbors, who were not hurt, proving once again that the State does not care about black lives. It’s a sad day for our nation. As many head out to protest this injustice, here are some resources for the protesters and the people who support the BLM movement.

BLM Resources – This Google Doc compiles many topics regarding the movement, from what organizations to donate to, bail funds, tips for protesters and more.

Justice in June – This website was created by two young women who saw the need to establish a “how to become a better ally to the black community” course. It’s a great tool for people who want to become better allies in the fight for social justice, people who don’t know much about the topic and want to learn and your friends and family who would rather read/watch stuff than listen to you. You can choose how many minutes you want to dedicate to this topic in a day (10,25 or 45) and it then creates a course with selected readings and videos for you.  It’s a great tool! Use it!

Louisville Bail Fund – The city of Louisville,KY is prepared for protests and possible rioting given the verdict. They have established a closed perimeter, the National Guard is there and police from other cities are there. There will probably be arrests. Please consider donating to this bail fund so that protesters don’t have to spend time in jail. I hope everyone that goes out to protest is safe.

Better Know a Ballot – The wonderful Stephen Colbert has created a website that explains voting registration, mail-in ballots and more (per individual state!) so that you and yours are informed of the important dates, how your mail in ballots look (some ballots are riddled with Trump propaganda and they look like ads) and more. You can go to his website to learn, get informed and PLEASE send it to your loved ones! You still have time to register and vote!

SCOTUS nomination –  The sad death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has left an open seat in the Supreme Court and Republicans are flying over it like vultures. They didn’t even show sufficient respect for her death to at least give SCOTUS nominations a day. It’s disgusting really. Her death wish was for her seat to be replaced after the elections, and they can’t even give her that. So word is out that Mitch McConell wants to start the nomination process around mid-October, with plans to confirm the nomination by end of the month. We must call our Senators, especially the Republicans one. This process needs to be elongated for enough time to reach elections. Another conservative Justice will put many of our rights at risk of being overturned, and specifically dismantling the Affordable Care Act, leaving around 20 million Americans without health insurance during a global pandemic. Call the Senate!

Here are some Things That Made Me Smile (and maybe cry a little, but happy tears) this week:

Black divers document slave shipwrecks 

28 extinctions prevented by conservationists

We hope this newsletter left you feeling more informed and more energized to go out there and make a difference in whatever way you can.

We’d love to hear from you, not only for tips or suggestions (though they’re always welcome), but also to hear about how the activism has been going. Do you have any success stories? Did anything surprise you that you weren’t expecting? Let us know at activism@patrothfuss.com and hopefully we can use your stories to help encourage and educate others!

Best,
The Activism Team

Want to sign up for the list? You can do that right here.

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

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Stevens Point, WI 54481

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Issue #166, 2020 Week 37

Hey everyone,

Life is changing quickly and you may not know where to turn. Let us help. Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

We’re in the middle of yet another apocalypse multipack as I type this, with much of the West Coast in crisis and the rest of us not exactly thriving either. It gets overwhelming very quickly, but we’re here if we can help. Your good friend Comfort Food is here also.

Events to Know

Your Regularly Scheduled Illegality.  Trump is now facing yet another sexual assault allegation from the 1990s, this time by model Amy Dorris, who joins over a dozen women to have made similar allegations.  Meanwhile, Attorney General William Barr has signaled he wants to charge protesters who damage property with sedition, which is… a disturbing expansion of governmental power, to say the least. And in sketchy election news, the administration has signaled it may host a campaign event at the White House on Election Day, which would be a very blatant violation of the Hatch Act as well. Of course, this is hardly surprising given the giant indoor campaign rally Trump held this week, addressing thousands of people in clear violation of Nevada law.  These constant, conspicuous violations of law are exhausting, but we need to pay attention to them anyway, because if we stop responding to them they will continue to get worse.

Key links:

  1. The Guardian – Donald Trump accused of sexual assault by former model Amy Dorris
  2. CNN – Attorney General William Barr suggests charging violent protesters with sedition
  3. NBC – Trump Campaign Weighing White House Event Around Election Day
  4. Associated Press – In Defiance Of Nevada Governor, Trump Holds Indoor Rally

Fire Crisis on the West Coast.  We’re experiencing an unprecedented rate and range of wildfire all along the American West coast, from Los Angeles to Seattle, and it’s only the beginning of fire season.  At the time that I type this, over five million acres have burned, and more than two dozen people have died.  In many places, the entire sky is orange, and air quality is dangerously poor along points on the entire coast. These unprecedented fires are not a coincidence; data shows that climate change is causing increasingly dangerous conditions–though of course, Trump is claiming the opposite.

Key links:

  1. CBS – Wildfire Burning In Northern California Is The State’s Largest On Record
  2. New York Times – As Wildfires Burn Out Of Control, The West Coast Faces The Unimaginable
  3. NBC – California, Oregon And Washington Wildfires Create Dangerous Air Quality Throughout West
  4. CNBC – ‘I Don’t Think Science K

The Passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Long-time Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Friday evening, apparently from complications due to pancreatic cancer.  Needless to say, the nation is devastated, and this has a lot of implications for the Supreme Court and our government.  NPR reports that a few days before her death, she informed her granddaughter, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”  Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to act immediately, despite his refusal to confirm Obama nominee Merrick Garland under less extreme circumstances.  Trump has also signaled he will nominate a new justice “without delay,” apparently meaning before the next Presidential debate (let alone the election).  It’s still an open question whether the Senate has the votes needed to confirm an unknown nominee, and it’s also possible the identity of the nominee will prove relevant.  It is extremely important that we call our Senators repeatedly to urge them to postpone a Senate vote until after the election, and ideally until the next Presidential term.

Key links:

  1. NPR – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion Of Gender Equality, Dies At 87
  2. Washington Post – Nine implications of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death – for 2020 and beyond
  3. New York Times – Trump Presses for New Justice ‘Without Delay’ as Election-Season Battle Looms

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience.  We had a few promising court cases this week.  A federal court refused to let the Trump administration drop undocumented people from the census (again), ruling that it would violate the Fourteenth Amendment and federal law.  In Seattle, a federal judge blocked the current Postmaster General’s attempted operational changes to the mail system, calling them “a politically motivated attack.” And a different federal judge blocked the U.S. Postal Service from sending voting disinformation to denizens of Colorado, finding that the state would suffer irreparable harm if the mailer went out.

Key links:

  1. Politico – Federal Judges Block Trump Census Order On Undocumented Immigrants
  2. Associated Press – US judge blocks Postal Service changes that slowed mail
  3. CNN – Colorado Secretary Of State Sues USPS Over Election Mailers She Says Misleads State’s Voters

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.  Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s laughably inadequate new COVID response bill was introduced in the Senate this week, where it promptly failed in a matter of days.  The situation at schools also remains messy, with many remote learners experiencing tech glitches and colleges struggling to quarantine infected students or sending them back to their hometowns.  Meanwhile, the administration’s obvious interference with the vaccine process has prompted many pharmacy CEOs to take a voluntary pledge that they will engage in safe practices.  And many countries are experiencing a surge in cases, making experts worry about another wave of outbreaks.
Key links:

  1. Politico – Senate Democrats Block Republican Covid Relief Proposal
  2. New York Times – College Quarantine Breakdowns Leave Some At Risk
  3. Washington Post – Vaccine CEOs Issue Safety Pledge Amid Trump’s Quest For Pre-Election Approval
  4. CNN – ‘Play It Down’: Trump Admits To Concealing The True Threat Of Coronavirus In New Woodward Book
  5. New York Times – Covid World Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak

Immigration Updates.  There’s a lot of immigration news to watch right now, and almost all of it is pretty dire.  The Ninth Circuit undid protections for people sheltering in the United States due to catastrophe in their home country, which throws the fate of nearly 400,000 people into limbo.  Meanwhile, the Second Circuit undid protections for people seeking lawful permanent status in its jurisdiction, permitting blanket denial of disabled and indigent applicants to be enforced across the country.  In Georgia, an ICE whistleblower alleges that an ICE medical vendor performed so many medically unnecessary hysterectomies on detainees they started calling him “the uterus collector.”  News also broke that the U.S. has expelled nearly 9,000 unaccompanied minor children since the pandemic began, which is an incredibly high number and strongly suggests that legal process has not been followed.  And finally, the Washington Post reported that high coronavirus numbers in ICE custody can be partially linked to failure to follow protocols about transporting patients, which were themselves brought about so that ICE agents could be deployed at protest sites.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – ICE Flew Detainees To Virginia So The Planes Could Transport Agents To D.C. Protests. A Huge Coronavirus Outbreak Followed.
  2. Politico – Appeals Court OKs Trump Plan To End Protected Immigration Status For 4 Countries
  3. Law And Crime – ‘Like An Experimental Concentration Camp’: Whistleblower Complaint Alleges Mass Hysterectomies At ICE Detention Center
  4. Reuters – U.S. Has Expelled 8,800 Migrant Children Under Coronavirus Rules
  5. NPR – Biden Pledges To Dismantle Trump’s Sweeping Immigration Changes — But Can He Do That?
  6. New York Times – 400,000 Immigrants Can Be Forced To Leave The U.S., Court Rules

Election Oddities (Again).  There was a significant amount of odd election news even discounting the sketchy Trump shenanigans listed above.  In Florida, a federal appeals court blocked the re-enfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of denizens with criminal records who cannot afford to pay court fines.  In slightly more positive Florida news, Mike Bloomberg also promised to spend at least $100M in the state to help Joe Biden’s campaign–and though he said he would support the campaign of whoever wins, this kind of donation from a former candidate has got to be an election first.  The Fourth Circuit is considering a North Carolina law that would require voters to show ID, which has been enjoined by state courts already and hopefully will remain enjoined through the November election. And of course, the news about Ruth Bader Ginsburg above creates a whole new spectre as we enter the final fifty days of the election process.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – Court Ruling Deals Blow To Ex-felons’ Voting Rights In Florida
  2. Washington Post – Mike Bloomberg To Spend At Least $100 Million In Florida To Benefit Joe Biden
  3. Washington Post – Court Examines North Carolina’s New Law That Requires Photo Ids For Voting

Actions for Everyone

Keep your face masks and respirators close. Who could have guessed they’d be preventing the spread of COVID19, helping breathing during facist teargas raids and also through wildfire smoke?

End ICE: As if DHS wasn’t the worst already (besides FEMA and the NWS, it’s the worst) news broke this week thanks to a whistleblower within an ICE facility alleging a lack of medical care and unsafe work practices that facilitated the spread of COVID-19. She also says that immigrant women received questionable hysterectomies, an allegation that lawmakers seized on in statements issued Tuesday.

Forced, or non-consensual sterilization has been a tactic the US has imposed on womxn of color before – even in the US. This 40-min documentary titled “La Operacion” explores the mass sterilization of Puerto Rican women during the 1950s and 1960s.

We need to be calling for an end to Immigration and Customs Enforcement! For starters, tell your public officials to call for ICE to keep people healthy and safe by releasing them quickly and preventing COVID19 outbreaks. American Friends Service Committee have an Action Center if you want to take further actions, check them out. 

Help Prevent Forest Fires: Fires across the West coast are still flaring, displacing thousands of West coasters as well as destroying millions of acres of habitat as they continue to blaze. The climate change denying administration isn’t helping, and with extreme drought creating wildfire conditions in California and beyond, we have to call for big changes and environmental justice.

For information on that, I went to the Environmental Defense Fund for 4 ways the right policies can help us confront wildfires. Beyond making sure that you are constantly checking and shrinking your environmental footprint, I think this action item is to read up on the right policies and then call your Senators about them. You can also get more involved with the Environmental Defense Fund through their Get Involved portal.

We hope this newsletter left you feeling more informed and more energized to go out there and make a difference in whatever way you can.

We’d love to hear from you, not only for tips or suggestions (though they’re always welcome), but also to hear about how the activism has been going. Do you have any success stories? Did anything surprise you that you weren’t expecting? Let us know at activism@patrothfuss.com and hopefully we can use your stories to help encourage and educate others!

Best,
The Activism Team

Want to sign up for the list? You can do that right here.

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

PO Box 186

Stevens Point, WI 54481

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Issue 165, 2020 Week 36

Hey everyone,

After a much needed break last week, we are back.  We know the news is a lot right now. Let us help. Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

We continue to scrape the bottom of the existential barrel, and this isn’t going to let up as we move towards November. It’s rough, but we’ll get through it.  My advice is to just go ahead and invest in ice cream now, y’all.

Events to Know

Your Regularly Scheduled Illegality.  By this point, the Trump administration blatantly breaks laws so often that the question isn’t whether they did anything illegal this week, it’s simply a matter of what. The first story of the week, unsurprisingly, involves Postmaster General Louis DeJoy yet again. This time, he’s in the news for pressuring workers at his former company to donate to GOP campaigns, which would then be ‘rewarded’ with reimbursement bonuses. (For those of you playing the home game, this is pretty obviously illegal even in a private context, as it appears to be a way around campaign contribution limits). Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is already calling for an investigation, which Trump doesn’t appear to be blocking. To be fair on that last point, though, Trump may be distracted by this week’s failed attempt to end the Census early, which is the second illegal activity of the week. I say “failed” because a federal judge ended up weighing in on this one, issuing a restraining order that keeps the administration from changing anything before a hearing can happen mid-September.  Finally, in a stunning show of “l’etat, c’est moi,” the Justice Department has intervened on 45’s personal defamation case against a woman who alleges he raped her.

Key links:

  1. CNN – Washington Post: DeJoy Reimbursed Former Employees For GOP Donations
  2. The Hill – Schumer Calls For Investigation Into Reports Of Campaign Finance Improprieties By Dejoy’s Former Company
  3. New York Times – Federal Judge Blocks, For Now, Further Winding Down Of The 2020 Census
  4. Washington Post – Justice Dept. Intervenes On Behalf Of Trump In Defamation Case Brought By Woman Who Accused Him Of Rape

Trump vs the Military. Trump managed to sink his relations with the American military even further this week, which is rather impressive all things considered. First the Atlantic ran a story that Trump referred to fallen soldiers as “losers” and “suckers” when refusing to visit an American military cemetery in Paris in 2018. An AP reporter confirmed the story, and so did the National Security correspondent at Fox News. Trump then responded by calling for the Fox News staffer to be fired. Folks, I know it’s 2020 and we get inured to a lot of nonsense, but I want to take a step back and really look at that last detail for a moment–a sitting U.S. President called for a journalist to be fired because she publicly confirmed sources on a story about him that she didn’t even write. (Needless to say, Fox supported its correspondent on this one.) The whole thing also made more people notice the administration’s attempt to cut funding to a military newspaper, the Stars and Stripes, which Trump announced would be walked back.

Key links:

  1. Atlantic – Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’
  2. Newsweek – Fox Reporter Hits Back After Trump Calls for Her Firing Over Atlantic Story
  3. The Hill – Trump Says He Won’t Cut Funding for Stars and Stripes

“Anti-American” Diversity Training. Because the first two paragraphs weren’t enough for one week, the Trump administration also announced by memorandum that federal employers may not conduct diversity trainings, which the memorandum refers to as “anti-American propaganda.” The memo also instructs federal agencies to come up with a list of all training contracts that include the terms “critical race theory” or “white privilege.” Needless to say, this is not a view shared by all Americans, especially given the tense race relations we’ve experienced over the past several months.

Key links:

  1. BBC – Trump Bans ‘Anti-American’ Diversity Training
  2. Washington Post – White House Directs Federal Agencies To Cancel Race-Related Training Sessions It Calls ‘Un-American Propaganda’

     Recent Resilience

No More ICE Academy (for now).  This week, ICE announced that it will be postponing its plans for a vigilante group in Chicago it was calling a “Citizens Academy.”  Though ICE is claiming the postponement was due to COVID, it seems equally likely that the sustained advocacy campaign against the project had something of an effect.  Either way, we now don’t have to worry about this particular form of threat until the spring, and I’ll take it.

Key links:

  1. Chicago Sun-times – ICE Postpones Controversial ‘Citizens Academy’ In Chicago

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.  COVID news is a bit more mixed than usual today, which might be attributed to the approaching election as well.  The CDC issued a nation-wide eviction moratorium, which will prevent nonpayment evictions until the end of the year.  And new studies confirm that steroids can help people who become severely ill due to COVID infection.  But Trump has refused to work with the WHO to develop and distribute a vaccine, and yet his CDC is telling states to prepare for its distribution as early as October–which, incidentally, is a good six months before the WHO thinks vaccines will be ready.  Meanwhile, FEMA is saying it will no longer fund cloth masks for schools, despite the increasing chaos at college campuses, and a newly-released tell-all book says Trump has known how deadly COVID would be since March despite leading the public to believe otherwise.  Finally, at least one federal official has started advocating for a herd immunity strategy, which is both ignorant and callous from a public health perspective–definitely not prevailing medical approach in the country or the world.  We’ll need to keep a close eye on this.
Key links:

  1. NPR – CDC Issues Sweeping Temporary Halt On Evictions Nationwide Amid Pandemic
  2. Associated Press – Steroids Confirmed To Help Severely Ill Coronavirus Patients
  3. Washington Post – U.S. Says It Won’t Join WHO-Linked Effort To Develop, Distribute Coronavirus Vaccine
  4. CNN – CDC Documents Say States Should Prepare To Distribute Covid-19 Vaccines As Soon As Late October
  5. New York Times – A New Front In America’s Pandemic: College Towns
  6. CNN – A Herd Immunity Strategy To Fight The Pandemic Can Be ‘Dangerous,’ Experts Say. Here’s Why

Black Lives Still Matter.  This was another rough week for brutality against Black Americans.  In Rochester, New York, a video was released from March that showed police fatally suffocating 41-year-old Daniel Prude with a “spit hood.”  Prude was apparently one of several Americans who have been injured or killed by this type of restraint, and he’s also one of many Americans killed by police while in mental health crisis.  Meanwhile, Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend is suing the Louisville police for misconduct.  And in Portland, police fatally shot a man suspected of shooting a conservative counterprotester, rather than apprehending him alive.  Needless to say, there’s a lot to watch here.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – 7 Police Officers Suspended as a Black Man’s Suffocation Roils Rochester
  2. Washington Post – Daniel Prude’s Death Highlights Dangers of ‘Spit Hoods’ and Calls for Regulation
  3. Mental Health America – Position Statement 59: Responding To Behavioral Health Crises
  4. CBS – Breonna Taylor’s Boyfriend Files Lawsuit Over His Arrest The Night She Was Killed By Police
  5. NBC – Suspect In Fatal Portland Shooting Is Killed By Law Enforcement During Arrest Attempt

Election Oddities (Again).  Other than a bright spot when Ed Markey won the Democratic primary here in Massachusetts, this week was a surreal nightmare on the election front.  Trump decided to fight mail-in voting by suggesting to his supporters that they should try to vote multiple times, presumably because there will definitely be evidence of voter fraud if his followers create it.  This left officials in multiple states scrambling to remind constituents that this is, in fact, illegal.  It is also closely related to the current Russian tactic for interfering with our election, shocking no one.  And speaking of Russia, a senior Department of Homeland Security alleged in a whistleblowing complaint this week that he was instructed to stop reporting on Russian interference, because it “made the President look bad.”
Key links:

  1. CNN – Sen. Ed Markey Defeats A Kennedy In Massachusetts
  2. The Hill – White House Seeks To Clarify Trump Remarks On Voting Twice
  3. CNBC – North Carolina Warns Voting Twice Is Illegal After Trump Urges People To Do So
  4. ABC – Russia Is ‘Amplifying’ Claims Of Mail-in Voter Fraud, Intel Bulletin Warns
  5. Washington Post – Senior DHS official alleges in whistleblower complaint that he was told to stop providing intelligence analysis on threat of Russian interference

Actions for Everyone

Last Monday we celebrated Labor Day, a day chosen to celebrate the working class.  We have a lot to thank the labor movement and worker’s unions. Because of union’s, some workers have benefits like healthcare, sick days, vacation days and protective gear in the workplace. Union’s helped establish a minimum wage, got the workday down to 8 hours and fought for our right to have a weekend. Yes, the weekend IS A RIGHT! You literally have a right to party.

Labor Day is a great day to reflect on the power of the working class. We still have a long way to go. We must keep on going to have wage equality, to raise the minimum wage, to establish universal healthcare, to fight against discrimination, to stand up for the enslaved prison-workers and to make the world a more just place for all. It’s easy to fall into the abyss of the media, the darkness that permeates our nation right now, but to keep looking onto the future, keeps our heads up high. Happy Labor Day to all the workers’ of the world.

Here is some more info on Labor Day. 

Prison Reform: A lot has been said about defunding and reforming the police, and the same can be said about the prison system. USA is #1 in the amount of imprisoned people. The rate of imprisonment has risen 500% in the last 40 years. There are around 2.2 million prisoners in the USA right now. That’s more than the entire population of New Mexico. Prison labor is basically modern slavery. Take for example California prisoners who are working as firefighters; these men who have risked their lives to extinguish wildfires are not eligible to become firefighters because they have a criminal record. There are more jails than colleges in the USA. Because of all of this and more, this country needs prison reform asap. What can you do to help?

Always talk to your representatives.

Check out The Sentencing Project and The Anarchist Black Cross

Talk about it. This is a topic a lot of people either don’t know about or choose to ignore.

Keep pestering the Senate: The Senate is back in session as of September 8th and they are probably counting to keep ignoring a Covid relief package and on how to help the hurt USPS. Don’t stop calling! Demand they vote on the Heroes act (They’ve had it since MAY!) and to pass the Delivering for America act.

Milwaukee Freedom Fund: The Milwaukee Freedom Fund was started by Black and Brown Milwaukee organizers who wanted to see residents supported as they asserted their rights to protest for justice. Since May, Milwaukee Freedom Fund has been collecting and distributing funds for bail, court-related costs, rides, food, water, and other needs of those who are asserting their rights to protest for justice.

Although it’s based in Milwaukee, it has recently extended to Kenosha to support the most recent uprising there. Please learn more about the Milwaukee Freedom Fund and donate to support those dedicated to protesting for justice.

Here are some Things That Made Me Smile!

Instant karma memes at the Trump Boat Parade

Celebrating National Mushroom Month and learning there is such a thing as the Mushroom Council

We hope this newsletter left you feeling more informed and more energized to go out there and make a difference in whatever way you can.

We’d love to hear from you, not only for tips or suggestions (though they’re always welcome), but also to hear about how the activism has been going. Do you have any success stories? Did anything surprise you that you weren’t expecting? Let us know at activism@patrothfuss.com and hopefully we can use your stories to help encourage and educate others!

Best,
The Activism Team

Want to sign up for the list? You can do that right here.

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

PO Box 186

Stevens Point, WI 54481

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Issue 164, 2020 Week 34

Hey everyone,

It has been a sad and difficult week to keep up with the news. Let us help. Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

The news remains tiring and heartbreaking for yet another week, but Election Day is coming.  Hang in there, friends.  As always, we’ll have suggestions for action below.

Events to Know

DeJoy Killjoy. Post Officer General Louis DeJoy testified before the House on Monday, and it went about as well as you probably expected.  DeJoy, notably, continues to say he will not restore any of the equipment removed in the last few weeks, which has a lot of capacity to mess with the 2020 election.  But as a dishonorable mention, I found it pretty dispiriting to note that he also told the House that he did not know how much a postcard stamp costs.  (The answer, by the way, is thirty-five cents.)  Meanwhile, Twitter determined that Trump’s tweets about mailboxes had violated election integrity rules of the platform, which is definitely the most 2020 sentence I am going to type this week.  And New Jersey and New York are suing DeJoy and the Trump administration in an effort to make them put the dang mail equipment back.

Key links:

  1. Forbes – Democrats Call On Dejoy To Testify At ‘Urgent’ Aug. 24 Hearing Over USPS Delays
  2. CNN – Financial Disclosures Reveal Postmaster General’s Business Entanglements And Likely Conflicts Of Interest, Experts Say
  3. Politico – House To Vote On $25B Infusion For Postal Service Amid Trump Attacks
  4. People’s Worker – Letter Carriers Union Files Nationwide Grievance Against Mail Slowdown Scheme
  5. Washington Post – Postal Service Warns 46 States Their Voters Could Be Disenfranchised By Delayed Mail-in Ballots

What Hatch Act? Though most of the RNC is not worth speaking of, it’s worth noting that we did see a blatant Hatch Act violation on Tuesday.  More specifically, sitting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called in to speak while on an official assignment in Jerusalem.  Unsurprisingly, the House is launching an investigation, though this may or may not result in anyway.  (I seriously cannot overstress that this speech was quite obviously illegal; the open question is simply whether there will be consequences.)

Key links:

  1. Politico – State Department Memo Warned Senate-approved Officials Against Appearing At Partisan Events
  2. NBC – Diplomats Aghast As Pompeo Set To Address GOP Convention From Jerusalem
  3. Axios – House Committee Launches Investigation Into Pompeo’s RNC Speech

Immigration Horrorshow.  This week has been a tour-de-force of leaked horrifying immigration policy suggestions, most of which were apparently shot down by then-Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielson.  The worst offender was definitely a proposal to use a device that creates microwave rays to make people feel like their skin is burning, which apparently offended Nielson so much that she told staff to never bring it up in front of her again.  But news also broke that Nielson balked at a much more aggressive form of Zero Tolerance that would have separated 25,000 more families, including those that legally presented themselves at a port of entry for asylum. These stories certainly contextualize why Nielson was forced out of the position.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Border Officials Weighed Deploying Migrant ‘Heat Ray’ Ahead of Midterms
  2. NBC News – Trump Cabinet officials voted in 2018 White House meeting to separate migrant children, say officials

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience.  We did get a bit of positive legal news this week. More specifically, the New York Attorney General, who is suing the Trump Organization, has asked the judge to compel Eric Trump to testify. Relatedly, a District Court judge has thrown out another of Trump’s attempts to block the subpoena of his tax records. It will be interesting to see where both of these cases ultimately go.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – N.Y. Attorney General Asks Judge to Order Eric Trump’s Testimony
  2. The Hill – Judge Throws Out Trump Effort To Block Subpoena For Tax Returns

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.  COVID news continues to jump the public health shark for another week.  The CDC has removed asymptomatic people from testing guidelines, which will have a lot of negative consequences for our ability to track spread long-term. Speaking of poor data management, the FDA had to apologize for“grossly misrepresenting” data about a new type of COVID treatment due to pressure from the Trump administration.  (Trump also made the baseless claim that “the deep state” was holding back COVID vaccine release, leaving his top experts to argue with him about vaccine development process.)  Meanwhile, multiple colleges have been forced to send attendees home due to COVID outbreaks.
Key links:

  1. New York Times  – C.D.C. Changes Testing Guidance To Exclude People Without Covid-19 Symptoms, Worrying Experts
  2. Politico – FDA Chief Issues Mea Culpa For His Plasma Treatment Claims
  3. Reuters – Exclusive: FDA Commissioner Disputes Trump, Says No ‘Deep State’ Thwarting Vaccine
  4. CBS – Notre Dame Coronavirus Cases Surge To 222 After Off-campus Parties

Black Lives Still Matter. This was an awful week for extrajudicial violence against Black Americans.  In Kenosha, WI, police shot Jacob Black, a 29-year-old unarmed Black man, in the back multiple times as his young children watched from the family’s car.  (Blake is, thankfully, expected to survive, though he is currently hospitalized.)  In Lafayette, LA, police fatally shot Trayford Pellerin, a 31-year-old Black man, as he was entering a convenience store.  And in Pasadena, CA, police fatally shot Anthony McClain after a routine traffic stop resulted in asking him to step out of the car for his arrest.  Unsurprisingly, protests remain in full force in many parts of the country.  In Kenosha, these protests were compounded by further death on Tuesday night when a seventeen-year-old with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire on three protesters, killing two of them.  In response to the ongoing violence, and in coordinated organization with their sister teams in the WNBAthe Milwaukee Bucks went on strike on Wednesday.  After the Bucks walked out, the NBA canceled all games, and the WNBA followed suit.  Several Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer teams have refused to play as well.
Key links:

  1. BBC – Kenosha Shooting: Protests Erupt After US Police Shoot Black Man
  2. CNN – Police Clash With Protesters In Lafayette, Louisiana After Police Fatally Shoot 31-year-old Black Man
  3. New York Times – Tracking the Suspect in the Fatal Kenosha Shootings
  4. Los Angeles Times – Police Shooting Death Of Black Man Prompts Protests In Pasadena
  5. Washington Post – Sports come to a halt: NBA, WNBA, MLB, MLS postpone games as players protest Jacob Blake shooting

Actions for Everyone

My heart goes out to everyone that has been affected by the terrible police shooting of Jacob Blake; him, his family and his community, and yesterday by the emboldened teenager who shot at protestors, killing 2 and injuring 1. My heart is heavy and broken.  It is painful to keep writing over and over about the same topic and to see people get shot over and over by the police. But we are on the right side of history.

May we only see better days.

What can we do?

Keep protesting.

Follow and support local organizations that are calling for defunding the police and bringing justice.

Donate to Black Lives Matter. 

Talk to your friends and family about systemic racism, even if it’s uncomfortable. This NPR article helps. 

Delivering for America Act – The story repeats itself yet again, with the House having passed a bill that would be beneficial to our country and then having the Senate ignore it or not act upon it. Yet again, here we are. The Delivering for America Act needs to be passed in the Senate and we need to call to make Mitch McConnell DO HIS JOB of serving the people. The act would “prohibit the Postal Service from implementing or approving any changes to the operations or service levels in effect on January 1, 2020, that would impede prompt, reliable, and efficient service.” We all know Trump and his friends want to interrupt the efficiency of our post office so we can’t do mail-in voting. Please call our representatives. You can follow this script to guide you!

This week:

August 29th is International Day Against Nuclear Tests – A day to increase awareness and educate about the negative effects of nuclear weapon’s testing and the global need of cessation and absolute elimination of nuclear weapons.

Some (very needed) Things That Made Me Smile:

This couple who found humor and beauty in their bad luck

Flying spiders

We hope this newsletter left you feeling more informed and more energized to go out there and make a difference in whatever way you can.

We’d love to hear from you, not only for tips or suggestions (though they’re always welcome), but also to hear about how the activism has been going. Do you have any success stories? Did anything surprise you that you weren’t expecting? Let us know at activism@patrothfuss.com and hopefully we can use your stories to help encourage and educate others!

Best,
The Activism Team

Want to sign up for the list? You can do that right here.

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

PO Box 186

Stevens Point, WI 54481

Add us to your address book

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Issue #163, 2020 Week 33

Hey everyone,

Tired of sifting through the news for 2020?  Let us help. Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

Let’s not mince words; this week was rough and disturbing even by our basement-level 2020 standards–though on the plus side, at least there aren’t that many stories. Someday the news will be less horrifying, but this week is not that week, and I’m here if anyone needs anything. 

Events to Know

Post Office Calling (Again).  The House Democrats are moving forward with their investigation of the postmaster general, and he’s now scheduled to testify before the Oversight Committee next Monday. The postmaster general is also now being independently investigated for the many sweeping changes he has been making, and the House has introduced legislation to undo said changes; Nancy Pelosi has called the whole House back from recess to vote on it this Saturday.  On the mail end of things, the Letter Carriers union has also filed a national grievance.  And in addition to all of that, news surfaced that 46 states received notice that their ballots may not be delivered on time back in July, despite the postmaster general’s promises otherwise.  Postmaster DeJoy said he would pause the changes in light of all of this, but mailboxes were still being dismantled as he made the announcement and it has since become clear that USPS has been instructed not to reassemble or return any equipment already removed.  The United States Postal Service is an essential government service, and we need it for so many reasons even without considering the November election.  But in the face of such a high-stakes election, this is a very, very big deal. and we need to continue calling our officials about it to keep the pressure up. 

Key links:

  1. Forbes – Democrats Call On Dejoy To Testify At ‘Urgent’ Aug. 24 Hearing Over USPS Delays
  2. CNN – Financial Disclosures Reveal Postmaster General’s Business Entanglements And Likely Conflicts Of Interest, Experts Say
  3. Politico – House To Vote On $25B Infusion For Postal Service Amid Trump Attacks
  4. People’s Worker – Letter Carriers Union Files Nationwide Grievance Against Mail Slowdown Scheme
  5. Washington Post – Postal Service Warns 46 States Their Voters Could Be Disenfranchised By Delayed Mail-in Ballots

Creaking Cabinet. There were also a couple of stories this week about West Wing dysfunction, though they’re flying a bit under the radar for obvious reason. Trump apparently is considering replacing his current Secretary of Defense, which would put us on our fourth Secretary of Defense this year alone. And on the Homeland Security side of things, the Government Accountability Office has found that the top two DHS officials, Chad Wolf and Ken Cucchinelli, are not eligible to serve these roles under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998. (To be fair, experts have been saying this for a while now, but now there’s an official memo for Congress to ignore.)  

Key links:

  1. Bloomberg – Trump Weighs Replacing Mark Esper At Pentagon After Election
  2. Politico – GAO Finds Chad Wolf, Ken Cuccinelli Are Ineligible To Serve In Their Top DHS Roles
  3. Government Accountability Office Decision

Election Oddities (Again).  In addition to the postal service news above, we did see a few other stories about the election.  The biggest piece of news, which I’m sure folks have already heard, is that Joe Biden has tapped Kamala Harris to be his pick for Vice President.  Harris formally accepted this week at the Democratic National Convention, which began on Monday and will be largely virtual this year.  Harris is also the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party, so of course 45 is already positing that she’s not a citizen, despite clear documentation that she was born in Oakland, California.  And despite the post office news above, the vast majority of states have authorized mail-in voting for this November’s election as I type this.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Kamala Harris Is Biden’s Choice For Vice President
  2. Washington Post – Democratic National Convention: What You Need To Know For Wednesday Night
  3. Washington Post – Kamala Harris Isn’t The First Black Woman To Run For VP. Meet Charlotta Bass
  4. New York Times – Where Americans Can Vote By Mail In The 2020 Elections

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience.  We did get a couple of decent court cases this week, in addition to the bummer from the Second Circuit discussed below.  A federal judge in New York reinstated protections for birds that the Trump administration had rolled back, which should result in a lot of wildlife protection.  And the Supreme Court declined to interfere with a new Rhode Island law that removed an old witness requirement for mail-in voting.  Progress!
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Quoting ‘to Kill A Mockingbird,’ Judge Strikes Down Trump Administration Rollback Of Historic Law Protecting Birds
  2. AP – High Court: Rhode Island Mail-in Voters Don’t Need Witnesses

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.  COVID news is still weird and awful for the millionth week in a row.  Death rates are continuing to rise, which might be in part because COVID is hitting nursing homes again, and Wednesday was our worst single day since early May in that regard.  Reports also suggest that our official rate is too low, based on the number of unattributed and outlying deaths in the country over the past several months.  Meanwhile, a Florida sheriff has banned his staff and visitors from wearing masks, and news broke that Trump is considering making a highly toxic plant extract a COVID medication.  The Senate has gone on recess until September without passing any kind of COVID relief legislation, and the White House has clarified that the executive order benefits are lower than Trump has previously claimed.  And just to cap everything else off, we’re conducting fewer tests and experts say we’re not doing enough as we move into the autumn months and greater health risk.  Against this backdrop, it’s not surprising that the CDC has reported that Americans are experiencing increased anxiety and depression during the COVID pandemic.  In a very mild silver lining, the CDC has also reported that people who have recovered from COVID will not need to be tested for about three months, which appears to be the window of the antibody.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – U.S. Reports Highest Number Of Covid-19 Deaths In One Day Since Mid-May
  2. New York Times – The True Coronavirus Toll In The US Has Already Surpassed 200,000
  3. Politico – Negotiators ‘Miles Apart’ On Covid Funding, With Little Hope For Deal Until September
  4. CNN – Rushing Reopening Could Have Devastating Consequences, Dr. Fauci Says
  5. US News & World Report – Coronavirus Pandemic Causing Anxiety, Depression In Americans, CDC Finds

Bannon Arrested.  Stephen Bannon was arrested for campaign fraud on Thursday alongside two other people, having apparently misappropriated over a million dollars that people gave him on his “We Build the Wall” hate campaign.  In a stroke of amusing irony, among those involved in Bannon’s apprehension were the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, who are in fact authorized to make arrests.  Bannon has already been indicted as I type this.  It’s worth noting, incidentally, that Bannon is the second campaign manager of Trump’s to be arrested for this exact issue.  Between that and the Trump Foundation misappropriation of funds, it’s starting to look like defrauding donors may be a systemic pattern of this administration–this story is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Key links:

  1. CNBC – Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon arrested on charges of defrauding donors in fundraising scheme
  2. Politico – Former Trump aide Bannon pleads not guilty to swindling donors in private border wall effort
  3. U.S. Attorney’s Office – Leaders Of ‘We Build The Wall’ Online Fundraising Campaign Charged With Defrauding Hundreds Of Thousands Of Donors

Immigration Updates.  It’s not on the forefront of the news, but we are still seeing negative immigration stories trickle out of the administration, and they’re worth revisiting.  This week’s latest is that Trump is considering closing the border to U.S. citizens and people with lawful permanent residence if CBP believes they may have COVID.  (It’s always hard to tell whether the administration is seriously considering these types of extreme measures or just leaks memos to scare people, but I’ll try to follow up if we hear anything else on this.)  Our short respite from the new public charge rule was also rolled back by the 2nd Circuit, and now only applies to Connecticut, New York, and Vermont.  And finally, news also broke that a private detention company is holding migrant children in hotels prior to deportation without guarantee of food or adequate child care, which is both illegal and disturbing on a lot of levels.  Apparently, this private detention company had previously detained kids in an abandoned office park in 2018, so I guess this is a step up, and that’s definitely the most messed-up sentence I’m going to type this week.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – White House Looks At Plan To Keep Out Citizens And Legal Residents Over
  2. VirusNew York Times – A Private Security Company Is Detaining Migrant Children At Hotels

Actions for Everyone

Here’s a link to Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief. Be careful not to search for anything else, cause it’s through Web MD, which has definitely incited some undue stress. Stick to the breathing.

Save the USPS: It’s a simple action suggestion – Buy Some Stamps! There are beauuuutiful stamps for sale from USPS.com I just bought a set of Ruth Asawa stamps, and I can’t wait to get them. We know they could use the funds right now, and I bet there’s a loved-one out there that would love a card from you. One fun community building thought is to start a letter writing chain on your block! Cause when was the last time you gave your neighbor a card? Alternatively, use this WikiHow to learn how to make a new PenPal from anywhere in the world!

Also, text USPS to 50409 and it will generate an email to your Senators and Representatives in support of the postal service. It only takes a minute, and my Senator responded very quickly, so I can confirm, it works.

Save the Arctic: Reading through this Trump Plans Arctic Drilling Rights Sale article you’ll find phrases like “potential for mammoth oil discoveries,” and “another outrageous move by an administration that ignores science,” and might feel a fiery hot rage, like I do as I type those absurd, disgusting, and very real sentences.

According to the article, under the 2017 Republican tax overhaul, the Interior Department must hold at least one auction of coastal plain oil leases before Dec. 22, 2021 and another by Dec. 22, 2024. Congress also required Interior to issue rights-of-way and easements necessary to support oil exploration and production.

The actions are:

  1. Call your Representatives! It’s a decision for Congress, so call them and tell them climate change is real, wildlife is important, and to listen to scientists.
  2. Know about the organizations trying to fight this. The Center for Biological Diversity and The Wilderness Society are two of them. Check out what they’re working on and see how you can support them or get involved.

GOTV: The Democratic National Convention took place in Milwaukee, WI this week. As someone who lives in Milwaukee I can tell you it was a ghost town, and truly disappointing for many who had been expecting 50,000 people and boatloads of money to make their way into Wisconsin. Alas, I also hope we all followed the pretty enjoyable digital version of the convention.

If you haven’t been engaged in Getting Out The Vote, never fear! The DNC signifies the perfect time to get involved. Momentum is building from now until elections in November and we have to get people to the ballot box – whether that’s safely in person, or through mail-in ballots. Confirm that you’re registered. Check out Rock The Vote to find out how to get involved in GOTV work in your state.

A thing that made me smile: Allan Lichtman has predicted every presidential win since 1984, https://www.wpr.org/historian-who-correctly-predicted-every-presidential-election-1984-makes-2020-pick

We hope this newsletter left you feeling more informed and more energized to go out there and make a difference in whatever way you can.

We’d love to hear from you, not only for tips or suggestions (though they’re always welcome), but also to hear about how the activism has been going. Do you have any success stories? Did anything surprise you that you weren’t expecting? Let us know at activism@patrothfuss.com and hopefully we can use your stories to help encourage and educate others!

Best,
The Activism Team

Want to sign up for the list? You can do that right here.

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

PO Box 186

Stevens PointWI 54481

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Issue #162, 2020 Week 32

Hey everyone,

We wish we had some better or at least different news for you.  Tired of trudging through? Let us help. Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

I know we’re all getting tired of same-y stories, but this week was another miserable Groundhog Day–right down to the heat wave happening as I type this. Come on, universe, you’re clearly running out of ideas. Just end the season and be done with it.

Events to Know

Messed Up Trump Response: COVID Edition. This sure was a week for Trump either spewing nonsense about COVID or using it to justify executive overreach. The week began with sources telling CNN that Trump “still doesn’t get” how bad COVID really is, which was certainly borne out by his statements in that infamous HBO interview on Monday. When Dr. Fauci acknowledged that the U.S. has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world–more on that below–Trump countered by claiming we would have a vaccine by the November election (spoiler: no we won’t). Numerous outlets report that the White House played a role in this week’s failure to reach a COVID relief deal, but that didn’t stop Trump from issuing a slew of executive actions that probably aren’t legal, don’t fully address constituents’ needs, and reflect a common pattern of executive overreach. (He also issued a bunch more orders that didn’t relate to COVID, but we’ll talk about that below.) And just to cap off the week, both Twitter and Facebook ended up removing Trump campaign content because it dangerously mischaracterized facts about spread of COVID-19. 

Key links:

  1. Rev – Donald Trump Interview Transcript With Jonathan Swan Of Axios On HBO
  2. Reuters – Trump Says Coronavirus Vaccine Possible Before Nov. 3
  3. Washington Post – New Trump Chief Of Staff Drew Hard Line During Relief Talks, Challenging Democrats’ Approach
  4. New York Times – Sidestepping Congress, Trump Signs Executive Measures For Pandemic Relief
  5. New York Times – Facebook Removes Trump Campaign’s Misleading Coronavirus Video

Executive Order Bonanza. Trump has issued or discussed a truly impressive number of executive actions over the past week. I already mentioned the four COVID-related actions above, which delay payroll tax collection, extend unemployment aid, authorize “considering” whether an eviction ban is merited, and defer federal student loans. Among the others: 1) A truly wild promise to create an insurance order that would mandate covering pre-existing conditions, which is in fact already mandated by the Affordable Care Act; 2) An order barring TikTok from doing business with U.S. companies; 3) an order that would extend telehealth in rural areas; and 4) an order that requires the government to buy ‘essential’ drugs from U.S. companies. Some of these orders are benign, or even reasonable, but it nonetheless is noteworthy that he has this many executive orders in the pipeline, particularly when Congress is stalled.

Key links:

  1. The Hill – ‘This Already Exists’: Democrats Seize On Potential Trump Executive Order On Preexisting Conditions
  2. Politico – TikTok Threatens Legal Action Against Trump Executive Order
  3. Politico – Trump Signs Order Aimed At Boosting Rural Health Care, Telehealth
  4. CNBC – Trump Signs Executive Order Requiring Government To Buy ‘Essential’ Drugs From U.S. Companies

Election Oddities (Again).  There was a lot of election news this week, even by our ordinary standards.  Some of it was even good: 1) Several states had primaries on Tuesday, which appeared to be relatively uneventful (hooray); 2) Iowa restored voting rights of people convicted of felonies, which means all 50 states now have at least some form of restored enfranchisement for that population; 3) the DNC will be fully virtual for the first time ever in light of the current pandemic; and 4) Joe Biden announced that he has selected Kamala Harris as his pick for Vice President in the 2020 election.  But unsurprisingly, we had some nonsense news from Trump as well: 1) He announced he’ll be accepting his nomination from the White House, which probably isn’t legal2) He insisted that only Florida can safely vote by mail; and 3) He is suing Nevada over their plan to make mail-in ballots widely available.  And all of this, of course, is on top of growing concern about whether mailed ballots will be delivered in a timely fashion–in fact, House Dems want to investigate the postmaster general because they believe he’s intentionally delaying the mail for political gain.

Key links:

  1. ABC – Arizona On Target To Have Record Turnout For Primary Election; Democrats Take The Lead Returning Ballots
  2. Associated Press – Iowa Governor Signs Order Restoring Felon Voting Rights
  3. NBC – Kamala Harris Named By Joe Biden As His VP Pick
  4. U.S. News & World Report – Trump Says He Will ‘Probably’ Deliver Convention Speech From White House
  5. Washington Post – Trump’s Nonsensical Answer About Why Florida And Apparently No Other State Can Vote By Mail Safely
  6. Politico – Postal Service Chief Denies Slowing Down Election Mail To Assist Trump

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience.  We saw some promising court cases this week.  The New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit to dissolve the National Rifle Association due to widespread fraud and self-dealing, which will be an interesting case to track on a lot of levels.  And a federal appeals court concluded that the House can sue to force former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify, which will keep the issue moving forward after SCOTUS semi-punted at the end of their season.  (He’s likely to stall further on other grounds, but at least it’s an indication that Congress does have that power.)  
Key links:

  1. NPR – New York Attorney General Moves To Dissolve The NRA After Fraud Investigation
  2. CNN – House Can Subpoena Former White House Counsel Don McGahn To Testify, Appeals Court Rules

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.  Even by our ordinary standards, the news regarding COVID-19 is… really bad. We’ve passed 5 million cases at the time that I type this, and continue to have about a quarter of the entire world’s infections.  About 162,000 people have died.  A new study indicates that nearly half of low-income areas in the country have no ICU beds, despite being more likely to have outbreaks.  The Senate, as noted above, failed to reach any kind of deal to assist the over 1 million people with unemployment claims, and governors are worried about trying to implement Trump’s executive orders.  Nonetheless, Trump wants schools to reopen, while polls show parents want to retain some virtual education and districts that have reopened continue to report COVID outbreaks.  But on the plus side, at least the IRS is finally fixing some stimulus check payment errors.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – U.S. Surpasses 5 Million Cases
  2. Stat – Nearly Half Of Low-Income Communities Have No ICU Beds In Their Area
  3. BBC – Coronavirus: Last-Ditch Talks On New Aid Package For Us Economy Fail
  4. Washington Post – Fearing Coronavirus And Missed Classes, Many Parents Prefer Mixing Online And In-person School, Poll Finds
  5. Forbes – Did You Get A Second Stimulus Check Today? Here’s Why

Mail Calling.  As more and more news comes out, it becomes increasingly clear that Trump is gutting the U.S. Postal Service so that voting by mail becomes impossible–so clear, in fact, that he literally told us this earlier today.  This certainly validates the House Dems’ announcement that they want to investigate the postmaster general because they believe he’s intentionally delaying the mail for political gain. It also contextualizes why the Senate never voted on the HEROES Act, which provides additional funding to USPS. The statement also highlights the many sweeping changes the current postmaster general has been making–some of which, such as removing mail sorters, are so obviously counter to the USPS mission that former top officials have spoken out against them.  The United States Postal Service is an essential government function, and we need it for so many reasons even without considering the November election.  But in the face of such a high-stakes election, this is a very, very big deal and we need to be calling our officials about it right now.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Trump says he’s blocking Postal Service funding because Democrats want to expand mail-in voting during pandemic
  2. CNN – Financial disclosures reveal postmaster general’s business entanglements and likely conflicts of interest, experts say
  3. NBC News – House Democrats demand Postal Service chief roll back changes ahead of Election Day
  4. Guardian – Postal service changes pose threat to voting, says former USPS deputy

Grab Bag to Watch. We had a pretty broad range of other suspicious government stories this week, and many of them are worth keeping an eye on as well: 1) A State Department watchdog resigned, only a few months after the previous inspector general was forced out2) Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf insinuated that troops are still on standby in Portland when testifying before the Senate; 3) New York prosecutors subpoenaed the President’s bank again as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into his business practices4) The Census Bureau announced it’s ending counting efforts a month early, on September 30, with no real explanation given for the change; and 5) Both Trump and his economic adviser made utterly wild statements aligning the Presidency with God, noting that Joe Biden would “hurt God” and that “The Lord and the Founding Fathers created executive orders,” respectively.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – State Department Watchdog Resigns In Another Shakeup At IG’s Office
  2. Washington Post – Chad Wolf Defends Trump Administration’s Portland Protest Response
  3. Reuters – New York Prosecutors Subpoenaed Deutsche Bank In Trump Probe: New York Times
  4. NPR – Census Cuts All Counting Efforts Short By A Month
  5. USA Today – ‘The Lord And The Founding Fathers Created Executive Orders,’ Says Peter Navarro In Defending Trump Move

Actions for Everyone

Helping Beirut – A giant explosion hit Beirut,Lebanon last Tuesday. It  has left around 140 dead, thousands injured and a destroyed city. Beirut has a huge job ahead of them to recover and they need our help to rise above this catastrophe. The explosion has triggered political unrest and government officials have resigned.

These are some of the organizations you can donate to help the people of Beirut:

Impact Lebanon 

Humanity and Inclusion

International Medical Corps

You can also find other organizations to donate to in this New York Times article.

Congress’ Covid-19 Inaction – Last week Trump signed various Executive Orders addressing several issues concerning Covid-19 aid, like supplemental unemployment aid, eviction moratoriums, Student loan moratoriums and more. It all sounds good but in reality, these orders aren’t really doing much and they may probably not even be carried out. What we actually need is Congress to pass a bill that will ensure real funds and real help, not just for show (like Trump did). Some congresspeople have actually deemed them unconstitutional. You can read more about the legal aspects of Trump’s orders here. 

We need our representatives to do their job and reach an agreement to fully fund and support the American people during this unprecedented time. The House passed the HEROES Act in May and the Republican run Senate is still fighting against it. This bill would also help the USPS, which is being attacked by the Trump administration, as they are trying to run it to the ground so that people can’t vote by mail next November. Trump’s Postmaster General has been slowing down mail and meddling with this important institution.

Call your representativesHere is a script you can follow to demand the HEROES Act be passed and to help the USPS.

Be part of the Census 2020! – Why is it important to fill the Census? The Census is used to gather up information in order to fund sooo many things in our government. Many social programs like Food Stamps, WIC, Medicaid and Medicare and more.  Infrastructure budgets and emergency relief budgets are also designated by the Census. So much more! You can learn more about how the Census is used to fund the people’s needs here.

Fill out the Census 2020 here! It’s really easy and fast.

Here are some Things That Made Me Smile this week:

This Cicada having a great time in it’s small house

Beat-Boxing Monk! 

We hope this newsletter left you feeling more informed and more energized to go out there and make a difference in whatever way you can.

We’d love to hear from you, not only for tips or suggestions (though they’re always welcome), but also to hear about how the activism has been going. Do you have any success stories? Did anything surprise you that you weren’t expecting? Let us know at activism@patrothfuss.com and hopefully we can use your stories to help encourage and educate others!

Best,
The Activism Team

Want to sign up for the list? You can do that right here.

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

PO Box 186

Stevens Point, WI 54481

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Issue #161, 2020 Week 31

Hey everyone,

We are here to support you and and appreciate your support and ideas. There is a lot to keep our eyes on and it works best to work together. If you need a break from sorting through the… let us help. Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

We have a number of unpleasant stories swirling around this week, and it feels like we’re somehow getting worse but staying stagnant at the same time. It’s a bit of a neat trick, and I would find it impressive, if I weren’t so busy being frustrated.

Events to Know

Barr Testimony. Attorney General William Barr testified before Congress on Tuesday, and it went about as well as you might expect. He defended administrative actions in Portland, calling the protests “an assault on government of the United States” and claiming Operation Legend had nothing to do with Portland but was rather just a completely normal mobilization of federal forces “to solve crimes and keep their communities safe.” He also covered the 2016 election, refusing to condemn solicitation of foreign assistance and calling the House investigation a “bogus ‘Russiagate’ scandal” that involved “grave abuses.” And finally, he covered the Stone case, claiming that his own prosecutors were “not [following] the rule of law” when recommending seven to nine years–which, I feel the need to note, was literally the federal sentencing guideline recommendation. I’m certainly not the biggest fan of federal sentencing guidelines, but Barr’s willingness to commit brazen perjury when literally discussing prosecution for perjury is pretty stunning. If nothing else, it definitely showcases an incredible disregard for governing norms.

Key links:

  1. NBC – Barr Defends Protest Response, Handling Of High-Profile Cases Amid Democrats’ Grilling
  2. New York Times – Barr Clashes With House Democrats, Defending Responses To Protests And Russia Inquiry

Trump’s Election Idea. There was a lot of election-related news this week, and it can be hard to keep track of it all. But I would be remiss if I didn’t include a paragraph here about Trump’s incredible tweet on Tuesday, which appeared to sincerely float the idea of postponing the November election. Needless to say, he lacks legal authority to do this, as that date is set by Congress (a fact which Mike Pompeo appears confused about as well). Unsurprisingly, nobody in Congress wanted to touch that suggestion, and ordinary citizens weren’t too happy either. After doubling down on the idea once, the administration did walk this one back. I’ve heard a lot of people speculate that the entire thing may have been intended to distract from economic news which broke the same day, but we should definitely keep an eye on this either way.

Key links:

  1. BBC – Donald Trump Suggests Delay To 2020 US Presidential Election
  2. NBC – ‘Constitutionally Impossible’: Experts Say Trump Can’t Postpone The November Election
  3. The Hill – Pompeo Defers To Justice On Question Of Trump Election Tweet
  4. Washington Post – White House Steps Back From Trump Suggestion About Delaying The Election

Immigration Updates.  We also had a weird, bad week on immigration news.  The White House announced they will not be accepting DACA applications, despite the recent SCOTUS decision finding the program wasn’t legally terminated, so we’re all sort of waiting to see what happens on that one.  Meanwhile ICE is unhappy about their Netflix series, which launched today and accurately depicts, y’know, how bad they are.  And rounding out the bad news, a new immigration application fee schedule goes into effect this week which dramatically increases the cost of many applications and imposes asylum fees for the first time ever.  On the plus side, we did get new federal injunctions on the new public charge rule, and USCIS has already announced they will comply with them–which will bring relief to a lot of people seeking lawful permanent residence.

Key links:

  1. Slate – Trump Is Now Openly Defying The Supreme Court
  2. Newsweek – ICE Agents Complain About Nazi Comparisons, Say They’re Only Enforcing The Laws
  3. CNN – US To Raise Naturalization Application Fees By $500
  4. Buzzfeed News – The Trump Administration Will Start Charging Immigrants Fees For Applying For Asylum
  5. National Immigration Law Center – Two Nationwide Injunctions Block “Public Charge” Rules Amid Pandemic

Recent Resilience

Recent Twitter Decency.  After many years of frustratingly tepid response, Twitter continues to take off the kid gloves when it comes to irresponsible or hate-based communications.  First they penalized Trump Jr for spreading COVID misinformation, creating twelve hours of “limited functionality.”  Then they permanently banned white supremacist David Duke, which they probably should have done eleven years ago, but it’s at least an important step in the right direction to take away the KKK guy’s platform.
Key links:

  1. The Guardian – Twitter Bans White Supremacist David Duke After 11 Years
  2. NPR – Twitter Restricts Donald Trump Jr.’s Account Over Covid-19 Misinformation

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.*   COVID news continues to spiral further and further out of whack for another week.  Kodak–yes, the camera company–saw a jump in trade activity ahead of an announcement that they were receiving a giant government loan to make COVID treatments like hydroxychloroquine.  (For those of you playing the home game, yes, that’s the same drug Trump loves that is widely discredited as causing heart problems.)  NPR also reported irregularities in the contract awarded to track COVID data.  Meanwhile, the body of data itself shows a devastating second wave, with experts noting more dissemination than in March and April, seven-day averages staying high at about 65,000 new cases, and multiple runs of over 1,000 deaths per day.  Additionally, new research suggests that children can be carriers of COVID-19, and one of the first school districts to reopen had to quarantine someone within hours of opening.
Key links:

  1. Wall Street Journal – Tweets and Articles Sent Kodak Shares Surging Before Official Announcement
  2. Los Angeles Times – Trump Taps Kodak (Yes, That Kodak) To Bring Stability To The Drug Market
  3. NPR – Irregularities In Covid Reporting Contract Award Process Raise New Questions
  4. CNN – Birx Warns Us Is ‘In A New Phase’ Of Coronavirus Pandemic With More Widespread Cases
  5. New York Times – A School Reopens, And The Coronavirus Creeps In

Economic News. Adding to frustration, reopening the country too quickly didn’t even stabilize our economy, which was ostensibly the whole reason to risk it.  Unemployment is still rising, and it doesn’t help anything that Congress couldn’t reach a deal before supplemental COVID unemployment supports expired on Friday.  But the real story is that our economy had its worst second-quarter GDP ever, dropping 32.9% on an annualized basis.  It’s not clear what will happen in the third quarter, but this news is very bad–so bad, in fact, that some people theorized Trump tweeted about election postponement to distract from it.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Public Health Experts Issue Urgent Call For Change Of Course As U.S. Economy Tanks
  2. CNBC – Coronavirus Relief Talks Sputter As $600 Weekly Unemployment Benefit Expires And Washington Plays Blame Game
  3. Politico – U.S. Suffered Worst Quarterly Contraction On Record As Virus Ravages Economy

Portland Pressure Persists. After an unnecessary amount of back-and-forth about it, Trump did withdraw federal troops from Portland towards the end of the past week. But after they left, news broke that DHS was compiling “intelligence reports” on journalists who reported on the conflict, and analyzed protester communications as well. The official in charge of that has since been reassigned–but, notably, not fired–and Trump was already threatening to send in the National Guard on the first day of the phase-out, so this may be a brief respite. Meanwhile, protests in Portland continue, but have refocused on local police activity.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Calm Returns To Portland As Federal Agents Withdraw
  2. Independent – Department Of Homeland Security Found To Be Gathering ‘Intelligence’ On Journalists Covering Oregon Protests
  3. Guardian – Trump Says Oregon Leaders Must Clean Out ‘Beehive Of Terrorists,’ Threatens To Send In National Guard
  4. New York Times – As Federal Agents Retreat In Portland, Protesters Return To Original Foe: Local Police

Actions for Everyone

It is so great to hear from you all with messages of appreciation and encouragement. We’ve also been getting emails with some great activism ideas! It takes everyone to change everything, and by participating in this newsletter – reading up on current events and taking action – we’re changing everything. I mean, keeping some good stuff, and changing the rest.

Write Postcards To Voters: This action came from an Activism Newsletter community member –  Postcards To Voters allows individuals to handwrite friendly, fun postcards to help get out the vote in close elections around the country. It’s pretty easy — when you sign up, you write a postcard, take a photo, send it in, and get it approved. After that, you can get new addresses (and participate in new races!) via text, Facebook, Slack, or email. There are lots of places where you can get blank postcards (or even index cards) to write on.

Right now, they’ve got a huge effort to write to registered Democrats in the state of Florida and urge them to enroll in Vote By Mail — obviously very important with the way covid cases are going. I’ve written with these folks for a few years, and I’ve really enjoyed being able to write in support of progressive candidates all the way from county council to US Senate. The down ballot races are hugely important! They follow special elections, too. https://postcardstovoters.org/

Understand 911: Whether you’re an abolitionist, you’re in the Defund camp, or you truly believe in reform, it’s important to understand the “who, what, where, and when” of how emergency responses started in the United States. This is a part of history that is doing cartwheels in my brain everyday – I can’t stop thinking about it.

I’m not talking about policing, which has its own complex history rooted in preserving property, when property included human beings. I’m talking about what happens when you pick up the phone and dial 911. I’m talking about how AT&T helped develop 911 and Texas, just as one example, adopted 911 as an emergency communications practice in 1987. Which is to say, if the 911 as the emergency response number were a person, they wouldn’t even be middle-aged yet! Certainly there’s room to grow and change. I like to keep that in mind whenever I’m talking with someone who doesn’t believe in defunding or abolishing the police.

To learn so much more, please listen to this podcast on the Freedom House Ambulance Service. https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/freedom-house-ambulance-service/

Donate to Independent Media: As I read about current events, and think about what to write about in the Actions for Everyone portion of the newsletter – Immigration, COVID updates, Elections, USPS, World News, etc – I often refer to Democracy Now! which is a viewer supported news outlet. There are countless media sources that rely on us for funding instead of the handful of media moguls that control most other news platforms. We. Cannot. Lose. Independent. Media. Please take a moment to donate any amount that makes sense for you, to a local or national independent media source of your choosing.

We hope this newsletter left you feeling more informed and more energized to go out there and make a difference in whatever way you can.

We’d love to hear from you, not only for tips or suggestions (though they’re always welcome), but also to hear about how the activism has been going. Do you have any success stories? Did anything surprise you that you weren’t expecting? Let us know at activism@patrothfuss.com and hopefully we can use your stories to help encourage and educate others!

Best,
The Activism Team

Want to sign up for the list? You can do that right here.

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

PO Box 186

Stevens Point, WI 54481

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Issue #160, 2020 Week 30

Hey everyone,

We hope you all are remembering a little self care amidst all that is happening. Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

We’re riding another heat wave as I type this, and news plus heat is not any more fun the second time around. It’s rough right now, but I’ll be here, in a puddle in front of my air conditioner, if anybody needs anything.

Events to Know

Who Needs a Post Office, Anyway. We saw a further push against the post office, this time from its own postmaster, who issued a memorandum this week dramatically changing a number of procedures. The biggest immediate change for consumers will be that some letters will now get left at distribution centers, but the memorandum seems to indicate a sea change in general. Needless to say, an internal memorandum comparing the post office to private institutions that can go bankrupt is not normal, but for this administration it’s just Tuesday.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Postal Service Memos Detail ‘Difficult’ Changes, Including Slower Mail Delivery

Election Oddities (Again). This week’s weird election news is that Trump has canceled the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, which he insisted move to Jacksonville in the first place.  In true Trump fashion, he’s claiming “the timing wasn’t right,” but it’s presumably canceled because Jacksonville couldn’t make it safe to attend.  Unsurprisingly, the GOP is now fighting with itself, and it’s likely not a coincidence that Republican Senators also overwhelmingly voted for a bill provision Trump publicly hates.

Key links:

  1. NPR – President Trump Cancels Jacksonville Component Of Republican National Convention
  2. Politico – ‘We Can’t Pull It Off’: Florida Sheriff Says He Can’t Muster Security For GOP Convention
  3. Reuters – U.S. Senate Passes $740 Billion Defense Bill, Bucking Trump On Confederate Names

Immigration Updates.  We had a significant amount of bad immigration news this week.  Trump announced that he’s going to instruct the U.S. Census to stop counting undocumented people, which is both illegal and probably a bluff, because it’s unclear how he would even implement this with the census halfway done and no citizenship question.  (That said, it can and probably will have a chilling effect on immigrant populations completing the survey.)  The administration was also in the news for holding migrant kids in hotels and then deporting them, which is a pretty clear violation of the Flores agreement that requires them to matriculate unaccompanied minors through shelters and into sponsors’ homes.  Against that backdrop, it’s unsurprising that Canada concluded this week that their asylum treaty with us should be invalidated, because the U.S. is not a safe country for asylum seekers anymore.

Key links:

  1. NBC – Trump Signs Memo To Omit Undocumented Immigrants From Census Apportionment Count
  2. AZ Family – Migrant Kids Held In Phoenix Hampton Inn Hotels, Then Expelled
  3. NPR – U.S.-Canada Asylum Treaty Unconstitutional, Judge Finds, Citing ‘Cruel’ U.S. Behavior

Recent Resilience

Recent Racial Change Resilience.  On the more positive side, we have promising follow up on several stories from earlier newsletters.  The NFL team based in Washington has settled on–wait for it–the ‘Washington Football Team’ as their name for the next season.  (They say it’s temporary, but I hope they keep it forever, because this is hilarious.)  In Chicago, an official decision to temporarily remove statues of Christopher Columbus from two park locations was enacted without incident.  The House voted to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. capitol.  And in Philadelphia, the District Attorney publicly outlined his plan for arresting and charging any federal agents who engage in the abduction methods reported in Portland.  It’s not comprehensive, by any stretch, but progress is progress.

Key links:

  1. ESPN – Washington NFL Team To Use ‘Washington Football Team’ For 2020 Season
  2. ABC – Mayor Cites ‘Public Safety Concerns’ In Decision To Remove Columbus Statues In Grant Park, Little Italy
  3. New York Times – House Votes To Remove Confederate Statues From U.S. Capitol
  4. Bloomberg – Philadelphia’s Top Prosecutor Is Prepared To Arrest Federal Agents

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19. COVID news remains a mess on an impressive number of levels.  We continue to break records about daily infection rates, and death rates are rising again as well. At the time that I type this, over 4 million Americans have been infected and over 145,000 people have died–or at least, that’s our best understanding of the numbers, as data may still be having issues.  Unemployment rates are still rising, possibly because PPP money is running out.  And speaking of running out, a lot of workers are poised to run out of $600 unemployment supports on Friday, and the federal eviction moratorium is ending too. The Senate has not yet passed a final version of the Heroes Act, and Mitch McConnell says getting an agreement could take “weeks”–though his final version of the bill looks pretty sparse, so he might just be estimating how long they’ll be fighting over the difference between versions.  An ICE facility was in the news for having staggeringly high infection rates–more on the below–and major league baseball experienced disruption due to an outbreak among members of the Miami Marlins Studies were also published about the quick rate of antibody decay, prompting question about whether people can be infected twice or more–which in turn prompts further questions about what this means for vaccines.  (Antibody tests also suggest that rates of infection are much higher than reported, which is pretty disturbing given how high the report rates are.)  Oh, and 4,000 federal employees have contracted the virus at work, apparently including Trump’s own national security advisor.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – Coronavirus In The U.S.: Latest Map And Case Count
  2. CNN – This Is The Last Week Of $600 Unemployment Benefits
  3. Washington Post – Here Is What’s In The Senate GOP’s $1 Trillion ‘Heals Act’ Package
  4. Washington Post – Can You Get Coronavirus Twice? Doctors Are Unsure, Even As Anecdotal Reports Mount
  5. Bloomberg – Trump National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien Has Coronavirus

Portland Pressure Cooker. The situation in Portland continued to escalate for another week, and it doesn’t show signs of abating as I type this. Trump’s federal CBP agents teargassed the mayor, who was standing with protesters in an attempt to heal the city’s rift, prompting said mayor to call Trump’s response “flat-out urban warfare.” Now both CBP and Portland’s police are under independent investigation. Meanwhile, Trump is sending agents into more cities, such as Chicago and Kansas City, under a banner he’s calling “Operation Legend”. Unsurprisingly, this is increasing civil unrest in several more cities as well, such as Seattle and Oakland, even though the administration claims the push is crime-relatedSeveral cities declared riots to authorize further force against protesters, and one man was fatally shot in Austin. The weekend closed out with the U.N. calling us out and Trump sending even more troops to Portland.
Key links:

  1. BBC – Trump To Send ‘Surge’ Of Hundreds Of Federal Agents To Cities
  2. Washington Post – Department Watchdogs To Investigate Federal Law Enforcement Conduct At Protests
  3. Al Jazeera – Trump To Send Federal Officers To Us Cities To Tamp Down Unrest
  4. The Hill – Protests Erupt Nationwide In Solidarity With Portland Demonstrations
  5. Insider – Police Reveal Identity Of Man Killed At Black Lives Matter Protest In Austin, Texas
  6. Washington Post – U.N. Human Rights Office Calls On U.S. Police To Limit Use Of Force

Actions for Everyone

How are we doing? Hopefully healthy, staying safe, using masks and washing our hands! We got this! We are strong, even when we don’t feel like it. Please, remember to take time to process the times we are living in right now, take time for yourself, even if it’s a 5 minute sit-down, remember feeling scared and vulnerable and anxious is normal. I wish you all a great week! I’ve personally been using the app Relax Melodies, to help me fall asleep quicker.

Resistbot!: I wanted to share with you this amazing tool. It’s called Resistbot! Created after the outcome of the 2016 elections, ResistBot It’s a tool used to contact your representatives, local and federal, so you can voice your concerns and show your support for different pieces of legislation. It also helps with voter registration and education on different pressing and current topics .It will help you find your representatives and also deliver the message you want, all in one service. It is free but it runs on donations. Research shows representatives take written letters and emails into account more than phone calls.  Support this useful tool that helps our democracy.

You could use ResistBot this week to contact your representatives in the Senate to show support for the HEROES Act. At the moment, the Senate has introduced a lesser proposal, instead of passing the Heroes Act which already passed in the House in May. They have waited two months and are now trying to pass a bill that would leave out help for states, the USPS, no extra funds for SNAP Benefits when the unemployment rate is at its highest it has been since the Great Depression, lessen Unemployment assistance and more. Basically, trying to spend way less money during an international pandemic and the disastrous handling of it nationally.

Use ResistBot and let them know we deserve better.

The USPS is struggling. How else can you help?

  • Give your carriers PPE and hand sanitizers
  • Ask your carriers what you can do for them and be grateful
  • Buy extra stamps!

#JusticeforBreonnaTaylor: The organization UltraViolet has a campaign going to bring Justice for Breonna Taylor after she was murdered by police in March while she slept in her house. Protesting helps, calling your city if you live in Louisville, KY helps, signing petitions helps, keeping her name alive helps.

Less than 100 days to VOTE! – You still have time to register to vote. Do it ! Helps others do it too!

Things That Made Me Smile:

This video made me laugh for almost 10 minutes straight. Please enjoy!

We hope this newsletter left you feeling more informed and more energized to go out there and make a difference in whatever way you can.

We’d love to hear from you, not only for tips or suggestions (though they’re always welcome), but also to hear about how the activism has been going. Do you have any success stories? Did anything surprise you that you weren’t expecting? Let us know at activism@patrothfuss.com and hopefully we can use your stories to help encourage and educate others!

Best,
The Activism Team

Want to sign up for the list? You can do that right here.

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

PO Box 186

Stevens Point, WI 54481

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list