Issue #194, 2021 Week 20

Hey everyone,

Some things still need some work. 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

Another week, another holding pattern, dear readers.  As I type this, things are coming closer and closer to a head on regarding S. 1, the For the People Act; there was a mark-up on the Senate floor on Tuesday and discussion is ongoing.  It remains a great idea to reach out to your senators, whether you live in a progressive area or not–less progressive senators can use the nudge and more progressive senators can use the numbers in negotiation!  And as I’ll get to below, the state push for voter suppression is intense, and federal legislation can make a real difference for folks living in those states.

Events to Know

Voter Suppression Law Redux (Florida Edition). This week, it’s Florida passing the crappy law designed to suppress voting, and as you might imagine from the Florida Man State, it’s pretty bad. Among other things, it limits mail-in voting and drop boxes, it restricts distribution of food and water to people in line, and it encourages bipartisan ‘observers’ with a lengthy history of use for voter intimidation. Florida is particularly noteworthy because it’s the first swing state where Trump won and they’re passing a law like this anyway. Meanwhile, the state voter suppression fight is moving to Texas, which didn’t flip in the 2020 election either. And all the while, the bonkers Arizona recount that is somehow moving forward in May 2021 has garnered significant attention, mostly because it might be a civil rights violation.

Key links:

  1. NPR – Florida Legislature Oks Bill That Limits Voting By Mail, Ballot Drop Boxes
  2. New York Times – Florida Republicans Pass Voting Limits In Broad Elections Bill
  3. Washington Post – Florida ran a nearly flawless election in 2020. Republicans decided to change the voting rules anyway. Here’s how.
  4. New York Times – Inside Democrats’ Scramble to Repel the G.O.P. Voting Push
  5. The Hill – DOJ: Arizona Recount Could Violate Civil Rights Laws

Russia Investigation Rerun. We also had more 45 in the spotlight this week than in other recent weeks (for a variety of reasons). There was a messed-up story about 45’s Justice Department obtaining journalists’ phone records as they investigated collusion with Russia, which definitely does not sound like an abuse of power at all. And speaking of the Russia investigation, Judge Amy Berman Jackson–whom you may remember as the judge who had to deal with the neverending flood of Roger Stone trial nonsense–issued an irate opinion which ordered the release of Mueller’s full memorandum summarizing the Russia investigation findings. The order also had many choice words to say about then-Attorney General William Barr’s decision to withhold it; my favorite is the part where she notes that the ethics watchdog organization that filed the suit “had never laid eyes on the document [in question, but] its summary was considerably more accurate than the one supplied by [Trump’s administration].”

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Trump Justice Department Secretly Obtained Post Reporters’ Phone Records
  2. New York Times – Judge Says Barr Misled On How His Justice Dept. Viewed Trump’s Actions

Dismantling the Deportation Machine?  Immigration news remains a bit mixed, though mixed is a step up from previous updates. Both Biden and Harris appear to be struggling to grapple with immigration policy tasks, but there was very modest progress in reuniting families separated at the border. Additionally, Biden did officially raise the refugee cap to 62,000 people by executive order this week. On that last point, I would be remiss if I didn’t do some unpacking, so I want to give you a bit more context. While 62,000 is obviously much better than the historically low 15,000 that Trump set in his final year, and was Biden’s original goal, outside of Trump’s unconscionable numbers it is the lowest cap in thirty years–even the Dubbya years generally had a cap of 70,000 people per year. (Trump does deserve the lion’s share of the blame for this, as he had only admitted 1,000 refugees in the first fiscal quarter of 2021, but I want to make sure folks reading this understand that 62,000 is not a high number–it just seems comparably high because Trump’s cap was in the sub-basement.)

Key links: 

  1. NBC – Biden Lays Border Crisis On Trump Admin’s Refusal To Cooperate
  2. Washington Post – Biden Says He Will Raise Refugee Cap From 15,000 To 62,500, After Widespread Criticism For Extending Trump-Era Levels
  3. Migration Policy Institute – U.S. Annual Refugee Resettlement Ceilings And Number Of Refugees Admitted, 1980-present

Recent Resilience

Transgender Health Updates.  The Biden administration announced this week that it is reinstating protections for transgender patients in healthcare settings, shielding individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  The decision is being framed as implementing a recent Supreme Court decision that states that both are protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  However, it can also reasonably be viewed as a rejection of conservative policy regarding the “freedom” of providers to refuse to treat people because they don’t like them. Frankly–and here I speak as a health professional–I think that it’s incredibly important to reject that line of thought, so I’m really pleased to see the Biden Administration take these steps.

Key links:

  1. Associated Press – US Restores Transgender Health Protections Denied By Trump
  2. NBC – Biden Administration Announces Reversal Of Trump-era Limits On Protections For Transgender People In Health Care

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.   On the one hand, vaccine redistribution has become necessary, in part because some states have too much vaccine hesitancy to need additional doses, though vaccine hesitancy among populations of color has lessened somewhat as rollout continued.  Additionally, a federal judge struck down the CDC eviction moratorium despite the sluggish job growth mentioned above, reasoning that the moratorium was beyond the scope of the CDC’s authority.   (I personally don’t agree with the reasoning of the opinion at all, and am unsurprised that the Justice Department is already appealing this decision.)  But on the other hand, the Biden administration agreed to support a WTO push to waive patents for COVID-19 vaccines, making it easier to distribute to countries that badly need support. President Biden believes the country can reach 70% adult vaccination by July, despite the vaccine hesitancy in some parts of the country, and is planning his next stages accordingly.  Europe is on track to reach roughly 70% vaccination in July as well.  And Pfizer is officially authorized to vaccinate adolescents aged 12 and older as of today, which is a huge relief for many families in the United States.
Key links:

  1. NBC – White House To Shift How Vaccines Are Allocated To States As Biden Sets New Inoculation Goals
  2. New York Times – Federal Judge Strikes Down Moratorium On Evicting Renters
  3. NPR – Biden Backs Waiving International Patent Protections For Covid-19 Vaccines
  4. Associated Press – Biden Aims To Vaccinate 70% Of American Adults By July 4
  5. Washington Post – Europe’s Vaccine Campaign Is Accelerating. It Expects To Match The U.S. By July.

American Violence Updates. This was a truly horrific week for police brutality and American violence in general.  In Arkansas, new DNA evidence has been released that potentially exonerates an inmate already executed in 2017.  In Atlanta, the police officer that shot Rayshard Brooks has been reinstated to his job.  In Chicago, a man intentionally drove his car into a group of picnickers while yelling anti-Asian slurs.  And there were a stunning ten mass shootings over the weekend, though the most attention is being directed towards Colorado, where a man killed six people at a birthday party before shooting himself as well. It’s hard for many of us to make sense of this ongoing violence, but it remains a stark reminder that our country still has so much work to do.

Key links:

  1. NBC – After death row inmate is executed, attorneys find DNA that belongs to someone else
  2. ABC – Atlanta police officer fired after fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks has been reinstated
  3. Washington Post – He yelled at ‘yuppies’ in a park. Then he drove his truck into a crowd of picnickers, police said
  4. CNN – There were at least 11 mass shootings across the US this weekend
  5. New York Times – 7 Dead in Shooting at Birthday Party in Colorado, Police Say

Congressional Updates Again. As the Senate moves closer to deciding whether to protect voting rights, the House is bizarrely preoccupied with ejecting Liz Cheney from her role as House Republican Conference Chair due to her apparently unacceptable adherence to objective reality regarding the 2020 election.  (After even House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy started to back away slowly, it became clear that her time was nigh, and she was indeed removed from her position this afternoon.)  Meanwhile, in response to a sluggish economy and, presumably, Biden’s relief plans, Republican governors in a few states are cutting COVID federal unemployment benefits to try to force workers to return.

Key links:

  1. CBS – Senate Committee To Hold Markup On Controversial Voting Bill
  2. NBC News – Cheney defiant as Republicans oust her from leadership for rebuking Trump
  3. Washington Post – GOP Governors Slash Jobless Aid To Try To Force More Americans To Return To Work

Actions for Everyone

Asian American-Pacific Islander Heritage Month: May is Asian American-Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI Heritage Month) in the US, a month devoted to celebrating the rich history and culture of the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have contributed to America’s diversity and success. Since the Covid-19 pandemic started there has been a rise in Asian hate crimes and discrimination; celebrating AAPI Heritage Month is a way to raise awareness and raise the voices of those who need it right now. Check out this website for daily online events,  articles, art exhibits and more.

Here are some good organizations you can contribute to this month:

Stop AAPI hate: Started in March 2020 as a response to the pandemic, this organization tracks and responds to incidents of hate and xenophobia.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice: Their mission is to advance civil and human rights for Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all.

Hate is a Virus: They are aiming to give back to not just national community organizations but local organizations with programs that serve various short-term and long-term goals of the community, including mental health services, improving safety & care for the elderly and efforts that build solidarity and consider the effects on other BIPOC communities.

Get trained against harassment: I was recently made aware of this amazing organization called Hollaback! Their mission is to help stop harassment. They have been around since 2005 and they specialize in training people on how to respond, intervene and heal from harassment. Anyone can join their training (they are online) and they are free (but they run on donations!). I personally just joined a police violence and anti-black racism bystander intervention workshop for next week.  I work in customer service and have to deal with many different issues on the daily, but there are instances of racism and hate that I have encountered and haven’t had the skills to know how to de-escalate and handle the situation correctly. I think these training sessions would benefit everyone! They also train groups in work settings. Check them out.

Supporting the vaccine patent waiver: About 40% of Americans are vaccinated and now kids from 12-16 can get it too; but it hasn’t been the same for most of the global south. The rest of the world needs vaccines desperately. President Biden and his administration have publicly acknowledged that they support a waiver on the patents for the Covid vaccine so that the rest of the world is granted access and some equity is reached regarding global vaccinations. This week they released a statement that says they will actively participate in World Trade Organizations to free the patent.   A waiver on patents was established in 1996 regarding AIDS/HIV medications and treatment, which resulted in a global turning point of that pandemic. We always talk about calling your elected officials when you disagree with their actions but it also helps to call when you support them too!

Call your elected representatives and let them know you support this decision, it is the right thing to do.

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 #192, 2021 Week 17

Hey everyone,

Are you trying to stay on top the news but are finding it difficult?  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’m frustrated that the same intro remains relevant for two weeks in a row, but frankly, this past week was really rough and we’re all really weary.  Suffice to say, we still have so much work to do, and we’ll have suggestions below accordingly.  We’re here if anyone needs anything.
 

Events to Know

New Voting Suppression Laws (cont). This week was a painful mix of white supremacist rhetoric and action, and several forms involved voting. In the House, several problem children founded a new bigot caucus to “promote Anglo-Saxon political traditions” such as–hang on, let me check my notes here–European architecture and Bitcoin. (I swear I kill brain cells every time I read something these people write.) In state news, Arkansas passed comprehensive voter suppression legislation that mirrors Georgia’s in scope. Meanwhile, in January 6 news, a founding member of the Oathkeepers has flipped, and will be cooperating with federal prosecutors in exchange for a lenient sentence.

Key links:

  1. The Hill – Pro-Trump Lawmakers Form Caucus Promoting ‘Anglo-Saxon Political Traditions’
     
  2. Arkansas Times – Giving Snacks, Water To Arkansas Voters Outlawed Under Bill Now Headed For Final Approval
     
  3. Washington Post – Founding Member Of Oath Keepers Enters First Guilty Plea In Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

 

Dismantling the Deportation Machine?  As I mentioned last week, President Biden never finished dismantling the Trump-era 15,000 person refugee cap, which was putting us on track for the lowest number of refugee resettlements in American history. This gained more national attention after inside sources claimed Biden was leaving the cap in place because he didn’t want the political optics of changing it, and Biden doubled down on leaving the cap in place. Finally, after disgust from basically every Democrat and even a few Republicans, the White House walked that back and agreed to raise the cap again, though this has not yet happened. Against this backdrop, it’s hard to get all that excited about his memo to ICE telling them to stop saying the i-word.

 

Key links: 

  1. CNN – Biden Resists Raising Refugee Cap Over Political Optics, Sources Say
     
  2. NBC – White House Says Biden Will Allow More Refugees After Democrats Blasted Announcement Of Sharp Limits
     
  3. Talking Points Memo – Biden Admin Orders Ice, Cbp To Halt Usage Of Immigration Terms Embraced In Trump Era

 

Congressional Updates Again. With Congress back in session, there was a lot of movement this week.  I’ll talk in more detail about a few particularly promising developments below, but there were also a number of other beginnings to track:  1) An increasing number of Congresspeople are calling to create a USPS postal banking pilot program; 2) Progressive Democrats introduced a bill to expand the Supreme Court; and 3) There’s a modest bipartisan effort in the Senate to increase the minimum wage, which doesn’t make it up to the $15 per hour we frankly need but would nonetheless be better than the truly embarrassing $7.25 per hour that we’ve had for over ten years.

 

Key links: 

  1. WGRZ – Sen. Gillibrand Calls On Congress To Initiate A Postal Banking Pilot Program
     
  2. NBC – Democrats To Introduce Bill To Expand Supreme Court From 9 To 13 Justices
     
  3. CBS – Romney And Sinema Teaming Up On Proposal To Raise The Minimum Wage

 

Recent Resilience

Recent Congressional Resilience. We did see some promising movement on several groundbreaking bills. A COVID-19 hate crime bill easily overcame a threat of filibuster with unusually broad bipartisan support, though it’s unclear when a final vote will occur. A bill granting DC statehood has made it out of committee, and will likely have a floor vote relatively soon. And the House has advanced a bill to create a committee to study reparations for descendents of enslaved people. 

 

Key links:

  1. NPR – ‘Enough Is Enough’: Democrats Push For GOP Support On Asian American Hate Crimes Bill
     
  2. Washington Post – House Committee Approves D.C. Statehood, Setting Up Likely Passage In The Full Chamber
     
  3. CBS – House Committees Hold Votes On Bills On D.C. Statehood And Reparations

 

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19. COVID news is still mixed, shocking no one.  The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is officially paused after it was discovered to cause dangerous blood clots in a very small number of cases, and the pause will likely remain in place for most of the week.  This has equity implications, as its single dose and lack of refrigeration made this vaccine easier to distribute in more remote locations.  Hospitalizations are also increasing again nationwide (though that may or may not be related to the pause).  But in more positive news, as of Monday, all adults are eligible for the vaccine and over 50% of adults have received at least one immunization shot.
 

Key links:

  1. STAT – U.S. Urges Pause On Use Of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine After Rare Blood Clotting Cases
     
  2. Washington Post – Underserved Communities Bear Brunt Of Paused Johnson & Johnson Rollout
     
  3. Washington Post – Spring Wave Of Coronavirus Crashes Across 38 States As Hospitalizations Increase
     
  4. ABC – Half Of Americans Over 18 Have Received At Least 1 Vaccine Shot: CDC

 

Black Lives Still Matter.   Just like last week, this was a brutal, painful week for violence against Black Americans and gun violence in general.  The officer in Minnesota who fatally shot a Black man last week is being charged with secondary manslaughter, which in my opinion is a lesser charge than the situation deserves.  Meanwhile, in Chicago, a newly-released video shows police fatally shooting an unarmed 13-year-old boy. Understandably, protests are ongoing in Minnesota and Illinois as I type this.  In Austin, an ex-officer shot three people, including his own wife and daughter.  The Chauvin trial also wrapped this week, and the jury returned a guilty verdict on all three charges–including second degree murder–within ten hours.  But even as the verdict was being returned, police killed a sixteen-year-old girl in Columbus, Ohio who called them for help during an altercation with two other girls

 

Key links:

  1. Reuters – Minnesota Officer Faces Manslaughter Charge Over Shooting Of Black Man
     
  2. CNN – Chicago Police Say Bodycam Footage Shows Less Than A Second Passes From When 13-year-old Is Seen Holding A Handgun And Is Shot By Officer
     
  3. Associated Press – Suspect On The Run In Fatal Shooting Of 3 In Texas
     
  4. NBC – Derek Chauvin Guilty Of Murder In George Floyd’s Death
     
  5.  WBNS – Bodycam Footage Shows Fatal Police Shooting Of 16-year-old Girl In Southeast Columbus

Gun Violence Updates.  There were also several more civilian mass shootings in the past week.  In Indianapolis, eight FedEx employees were fatally shot, and several more were wounded; it’s possible this was another hate crime, as several deceased were members of the local Sikh community.  Additionally, there was a bar shooting in Kenosha and a shooting at a gun violence vigil, also in Columbus.  All in all, that brings us to at least fifty mass shootings in the last month, which is a sickening and globally anomalous rate of violence.

 

Key links:

  1. NPR – Indianapolis Sikh Community Mourns 4 Of Its Members Killed In Shooting
     
  2. Washington Post – Person of interest located in Kenosha shooting that left 3 dead, 3 injured
     
  3. CNN – The US Has Reported At Least 50 Mass Shootings Since The Atlanta Spa Shootings
 

Actions for Everyone

I’ve always believed in energy. The bodies of dinosaurs and other organic materials, as well as the sun, creates an electrical grid that brews our coffee, turns the lights on so we can see, powers the alarm clock so we wake up, or if we’re being honest, it charges our cell phones which are now alarm clocks. Apart from the grid, energy exists in the basic elements of human and non-human existence. Water, air, and fire create energy, plants create energy in our bodies, and even our bodies are made of energy that has been recycled for thousands and thousands of years. 

 

Whatever you believe, if you pray, if you give good vibes, if you pay it forward, if you believe in the power of the people, please give your best energy to yourself and others today and everyday until we know Justice. This week, this year has been heavy, but I’m so thankful you’re here so we can do this work together.   

 

Abolish The Police: It took nearly a year of marching, organizing rallies, destruction of buildings and property, hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets, thousands of arrested activists, and lots of civil disobedience to get a guilty charge for Derek Chauvin. I want to uplift the Floyd family, community organizers, and activists right now – it’s been a hard fought win without a doubt. One year of millions of people laboring across the country after George Floyd was murdered so that one person would be held accountable. I also want to be real when I say, we don’t even know what his sentencing will be yet, and even decades in jail won’t turn back time. 

 

We. Must. Abolish. The. Police. If you haven’t read Mariame Kaba’s article in the New York Times from a YEAR ago, do that now. Also learn from Mariame Kaba and other abolitionists. This work is as relevant now as ever before. While the Chauvin verdict was being read in Minneapolis, MN, 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was shot to death by police after calling them to help her in Columbus, OH. 

 

There’s lots of work that needs to be done in order to abolish the police, and I’d like to provide a sliding scale of actions you can take to help make it happen, but it starts with wrapping your head around the fact that it’s necessary. No reform. No reimagining. Abolition. Say it with me, “abolition.” 

 

There are many amazing organizations working to introduce urgent policy solutions, including Campaign Zero. Please visit their website and see how you can get involved. Deray at Campaign Zero needs volunteers to find and code police union contracts. Deray shared his phone number so you can text him at (410) 204-2013, and he’ll tell you how to help him process this data. 

 

Legalize Weed: Someone tell me why marijuana isn’t already legal across the Nation? (It’s rhetorical, no need to answer that. We know the answers are always puritanism, capitalism, patriarchy and white supremacy.)  These United States aren’t united on the weed front. It’s ridiculous to me that I can legally buy weed in Illinois and Michigan (my neighboring states), but that marijuana is only decriminalized in my City, and fully illegal in the state of Wisconsin. It’s illogical that people are fined or sent to jail for having THC in their system when anyone could drive to several different states and buy it legally. If weed were legalized, we could finally stop arresting people on possession charges today, AND we could release people with possession charges from past decades. Even as I’m typing this, it’s hard to fathom there are people who have been in jail for decades because of marijuana possession, but there are. In addition to the legal ramifications, legalizing weed would bring in $millions$ in tax revenue to every state, and save $millions$ from going into keeping people in jail.  

 

You know who is stopping weed from being legal in the United States right now? SENATE DEMOCRATS! If we can’t even get democrats on board, our chances with republicans must be low. Call and write to your representatives this week. If you want language to write or a script to read, here are tips from drugpolicy.org on how to contact your electeds

 

 

Earth Week: Today is Earth Day! This week is Earth Week! I’m so happy we’re out of the era of the presidential predecessor, so at least this updates can be celebratory. You know we fold in environmental actions into this newsletter all the time, but there is something special about Earth Day. Read about its history. This weekend, I promise there is a neighborhood trash pick up near you, or invasive species clean up along a river bank, and if there isn’t, here’s how you organize one:

 

  1. Buy gloves or those trash picker-uppers
  2. Get garbage bags
  3. Knock on your neighbors’ doors and tell them to meet you outside or by the river to clean up from Noon-4 pm

 

Perhaps your neighborhood is in pristine environmental shape, and then what can you do? Check out this Earth Day calendar to find an Earth Day celebration near you. Earth Day Live is happening on Thursday 4/22 at 12 PM ET on earthday.org – I’ll be tuning in!

 
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 #191, 2021 Week 16

Hey everyone,

There is so much going on these days and reminders that just because the people in office are different doesn’t mean everything got fixed.  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

This week was A Lot, and I think we’re all pretty weary. Suffice to say, a new government is not a perfect government, and we have work to do. I’m here if anyone needs anything.

Events to Know

New Voting Suppression Laws (cont). Outlets are beginning to report that the corporate backlash in Georgia created by the state’s oppressive voting law is shaping the discourse in several other key states around the country. As we’ve discussed before, these laws are part of a concerted, organized attempt to curtail voter turnout in subsequent elections. Now companies in other states are counter-organizing, eager to avoid the profit loss created by responses like the sudden departure of Major League Baseball, and it should make for a more complicated fight on this front overall.

Key links:

  1. CBS – Georgia Has Changed Its Voting Laws. Which States Will Be Next?
  2. Washington Post – More Than 100 Corporate Executives Hold Call To Discuss Halting Donations And Investments To Fight Controversial Voting Bills

Dismantling the Deportation Machine? Immigration is an area where the executive branch does have a lot of power, and unfortunately, this was another bad week for immigration news. At the time that I type this, there are still 445 kids separated from their parents due to the Trump zero tolerance policy; there was also a story about a deported unaccompanied minor getting kidnapped that is highlighting the unique risks of mass deportation of minors. Nonetheless, the number of unaccompanied minors keeps increasing, and hit record numbers last month–though March 2021 was also the highest number of border detentions in two decades in general. President Biden also never finished dismantling the 15,000 person refugee cap, which is putting us on track to have the lowest number of refugee resettlements in American history, and inside sources say this is purely because he doesn’t want the political optics of changing it. And Biden also reportedly is considering the Tuscon police chief to head CBP.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – A Court Filing Says Parents Of 445 Separated Migrant Children Still Have Not Been Found
  2. Washington Post – Migrant Boy Found Wandering Alone In Texas Had Been Deported And Kidnapped
  3. Politico – Biden Administration: Child Arrivals At Southern Border Hit Record Number In March
  4. International Rescue Committee – President Biden Could Admit The Lowest Number Of Refugees In History
  5. Biden Picks Tucson Police Chief To Run U.S. Customs And Border Protection

Infrastructure Week (cont). Almost immediately after unveiling his infrastructure plan last week, President Biden signaled that he would be open to reducing its scope, presumably because Joe Manchin is being a Joe Manchin about both the infrastructure bill and, more broadly, the idea of removing the filibuster. Since a new Senate ruling creates a workaround on the filibuster issue, Biden is stuck working with Manchin on the filibuster issue.

Key links: 

  1. New York Times – Biden Says He’s Willing To Compromise On His Infrastructure Plan, But Will Not Tolerate ‘Doing Nothing.’
  2. Washington Post – Manchin Says There Is ‘No Circumstance’ Where He Would Vote To Get Rid Of Or ‘weaken’ The Filibuster In Blow To Biden Agenda
  3. New York Times – Senate Ruling Gives Democrats A Back Door Around The Filibuster

Recent Resilience

Recent State Resilience. Though there are some scary pieces of legislation brewing in statehouses right now, we actually saw a couple of cool laws this week that deserve their own mention. In Kentucky, legislators voted to expand voting rights, making some of the state’s COVID-related changes more permanent. Meanwhile, Maryland voted to expand police accountability considerably, which is a welcome step in the correct direction especially given the police shooting news below.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Why Kentucky Just Became The Only Red State To Expand Voting Rights
  2. Washington Post – Maryland Enacts Landmark Police Overhaul, First State To Repeal Police Bill Of Rights

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.   COVID news remains a mix for yet another week.  On the negative side: 1) Johnson and Johnson is only releasing 700,000 doses next week, and won’t make their April goal, and had to pause administration anyway because the vaccine can cause blood clots as a rare side effect; 2) Vaccines are still not reaching all demographics equally, and immigrants are facing particular barriers3) The Supreme Court has struck down another pandemic restriction on in-person services; 4) News broke that Trump officials were definitely changing CDC guidelines for political reasons last year; and 5) the more virulent UK strain is now the dominant COVID strain in the U.S., creating a plateau on viral containment.  But on the more positive side: 1) All adults in the U.S. will be eligible for vaccination on April 19; 2) We vaccinated a record number of people today; and 3) The Biden administration is creating a new fund that will cover burial costs for families.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – The Wealthy Are Getting More Vaccinations, Even In Poorer Neighborhoods
  2. Washington Post – Supreme Court Strikes Another Pandemic-related Restriction On Religious Service
  3. CNN – Trump Appointee ‘bragged’ About Influencing CDC Reports On Covid-19, House Committee Says
  4. NPR – CDC Says More Virulent British Strain Of Coronavirus Now Dominant In U.S.
  5. Associated Press – Biden Makes All Adults Eligible For A Vaccine On April 19
  6. Washington Post – Biden Administration To Launch Massive Funeral Assistance Program For Covid Victims

Gun Violence Updates.  The Biden Administration also tackled responsible gun rules this past week, passing six executive orders on the subject and calling our current legal structure “an international embarrassment.” Though it’s a good start, the orders also highlight the ways in which his jurisdiction is limited on this issue; though the President can do things like limiting ghost guns, it’s really up to Congress to pass meaningful reform.

Key links:

  1. Politico – Biden Lays Out Executive Orders To Curb ‘International Embarrassment’ Of Gun Violence
  2. Associated Press – Biden Orders Gun Control Actions — But They Show His Limits
  3. Vox- Senate Democrats Need GOP Help To Pass Sweeping Gun Reform; They Are Unlikely To Get It

Black Lives Still Matter.  This was another terrible, painful week regarding police violence against Black Americans. The ongoing Chauvin trial increasingly highlights police aggression, though I think a unique low point was hit when Chauvin’s defense team claimed that saying “I can’t breathe” is a form of resisting arrest. But even as the Chauvin trial continues, we saw another fatal police shooting in Minneapolis this week during a routine traffic stop, this time with the police officer claiming that she meant to tase the decedent instead of shooting him. And in Chicago, a newly-released video shows police fatally shooting an unarmed 13-year-old boy. Understandably, protests are ongoing in Minnesota and Illinois as I type this. As Rev Jacqui Lewis put it, “We can’t even finish trying one police officer before another murder.” Then, just to punctuate the other two stories, the Biden administration put its proposed police oversight commission on hold yesterday.

Key links:

  1. Boston Globe – Defense Claims George Floyd Saying, ‘I Can’t Breathe,’ Was A Form Of Resisting Arrest
  2. Washington Post – Police fatally shoot man, 20, in suburban Minneapolis, sparking protests
  3. ABC 13 News – Police: Minnesota officer meant to draw Taser, not handgun
  4. Politico – Biden White House Puts Its Police Oversight Commission On Ice

Actions for Everyone

This nation can stand real heavy on your shoulders sometimes. I feel like I don’t have enough words left to express the sadness of losing more black and brown people by the hands of the ones that are supposed to protect us. Rest In peace and power, you lovely souls. I can only hope and dream of a better future for others like us/you.

Shame – Jonathan Mattingly; one of the policemen that shot and killed Breonna Taylor in Kentucky just landed a book deal. It’s disgusting and tragic. He is trying to benefit from the death of an innocent black woman. He is trying to publish his side of the story. This is shameful. It’s shameful for the whole situation to be actually happening and it’s shameful that a publishing company is giving this man a book deal.

What can we do? Email the publishing company Simon & Schuster.I. ’m sure they will like to hear your thoughts.

This is their corporate email: Corporate.Communications@simonandschuster.com

COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act – In an overwhelming bipartisan move, the Senate has voted in favor of moving forward with the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. According to U.S. News, “the bill would require Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a Department of Justice official to expedite a review of reported hate crimes during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill would also direct Garland to provide guidance for state and local law enforcement agencies for establishing online reporting, “culturally appropriate” public education campaigns and data collection.”  Only 6 senators voted against the measure, all republicans.

These are the senators that voted against the bill:

Cotton (R-AR)

Cruz (R-TX)

Hawley (R-MO)

Marshall (R-KS)

Paul (R-KY)

Tuberville (R-AL)

We should start calling the Senate to voice our support of this bill being passed and if your live in Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky or Alabama; ask your senators why they voted against this bill.

This is the number to call: Senate Switchboard (202)-224-3121

Changes to the Supreme Court – Congress introduced a bill this week that proposes changes to the Supreme Court adding 4 new justices. This bill could help control the damage done by the four years of a Trump administration where three conservative Justices were appointed to the court. This bill was just introduced and it will probably be a long time till it is ready for a final vote but we must keep an eye on this important and transformative legislation. You can read more about it here.

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 #190, 2021 Week 15

Hey everyone,

Spring seems to be bringing us warm weather and news. Want to keep up? 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

This is the first roller coaster week I think we’ve had in a little while; it had a lot of notable dips but we also had some exciting advances. (Though I would prefer an abjectly good week, I’ll take the wins where I can!)

Events to Know

New Voting Suppression Laws. When it became apparent that no voter fraud evidence was forthcoming, a lot of states began a coordinated push to restrict voter access, and some of those toxic plans are starting to bear fetid fruit. At the time that I type this, over 250 voter suppression bills have been introduced in 45 different states. Though there have been a few earlier bills passed, we need to talk about the bill that passed in Georgia this week specifically, and there are a few different reasons for that: 1) It is particularly comprehensive, imposing limitations on early voting, runoff elections, dropoff boxes, voter transportation, and voter identification methods; 2) It is particularly onerous, including draconic provisions such as criminal consequences for giving voters food and water while they wait in line; and 3) A Black legislator was arrested for attempting to witness the bill’s signature.  Needless to say, there has also been a lot of pushback.  First Major League Baseball announced that it was taking its ball and leaving Atlanta, or at least, wouldn’t host its annual All Star Game there, and made it very clear that this was motivated by the new law. After facing boycotts as well as public statements from Black business leaders, several prominent Georgia-based companies also issued statements against the law, and by the time that I type this we’re up to almost 200 companies issuing statements in support of free elections. This is, of course, in addition to the three lawsuits that have already been filed against the Georgia law.

Key links:

  1. ACLU – Amidst A Wave Of Voter Suppression Bills, Some States Expand Access To The Ballot
  2. NBC – Georgia Governor Signs Sweeping Election Regulations Into Law. There Are Even Restrictions On Snacks
  3. Mother Jones – Georgia State Rep. Arrested While Protesting A Restrictive Voting Law, Video Shows
  4. Associated Press – Georgia Governor Vows A Fight After MLB Yanks All-star Game
  5. New York Times – Black Executives Call On Corporations To Fight Restrictive Voting Laws
  6. Reuters – Georgia Sued For Third Time Over Voting Restrictions As Delta, Coke Face Boycott Calls

Dismantling the Deportation Machine? President Biden made the decision this week to name former prosecutor Kamala Harris the point person at the border, noting that she will be working with Northern Triangle countries to address root causes of destabilization. I can’t say I’m thrilled about having a former prosecutor in charge of this, but he also authorized border agents to begin releasing detainees without court dates and moving unaccompanied minors out of CBP centers, so it remains pretty hard to see a pattern in this administration’s approach.

 Key links: 

  1. Politico – Biden Makes Harris The Point Person On Immigration Issues Amid Border Surge
  2. NBC – Amid Surge, Border Agents In Rio Grande Valley Are Releasing Migrants Without Court Dates
  3. CNN – Pentagon Approves Hhs Request To House Migrant Children At 2 Military Bases

Confirmation Tango (Still)We had a few more interesting appointments this week. On the labor end of things, former Boston mayor Marty Walsh was confirmed as the next Secretary of Labor, which in this Bostonian’s opinion is mostly interesting because it cleared the way for Kim Janey to serve as Boston’s first-ever Black or female mayor. And Rachel Levine was confirmed as Assistant Health Secretary, making her the first openly transgender person to ever hold a Cabinet level position.

 Key links: 

  1. NPR – Marty Walsh, Boston Mayor With Union Roots, Confirmed As Labor Secretary At Key Time
  2. WBUR – Kim Janey Sworn In As First Woman, First Black Mayor Of Boston
  3. CNN – Senate Confirms First Out Transgender Federal Official, Rachel Levine, As Assistant Health Secretary

Recent Resilience

Recent Racial Equity Resilience.  Though it was a bad week for transgender rights, we did see some promising racial equity developments.  In Illinois, a city named Evanston became the first city in the U.S. to offer reparations to its Black residents.  And a recent Supreme Court case expanded citizens ability to sue police for use of excessive force, which has a lot of positive implications for moving away from qualified immunity doctrine in that context.  The timing is good, because we’re also witnessing Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd, which has proven re-traumatizing for many Americans.

Key links:

  1. Associated Press – Illinois City 1st In US To Offer Black Residents Reparations
  2. Reuters – U.S. Supreme Court Widens Ability To Sue Police For Excessive Force
  3. New York Times – What To Know About The Trial Of Derek Chauvin

Recent Trans Equity Resilience.  We also saw some small progress in trans right this week.  During Trans Day of Visibility, President Biden announced he was rescinding a Trump era policy that banned transgender individuals from serving in the military.  And in a move I honestly did not see coming, an awful transgender discrimination bill in Arkansas–which would have banned access to gender-affirming care for all minors–was vetoed by Governor Hutchinson.  The bill could still be passed by override, but it’s nonetheless really noteworthy that the Governor refused to sign it.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Arkansas governor vetoes bill banning medical treatments for transgender youths

Recent Medical Advances. In other “I can’t believe I’m typing this” news–of the good kind, not the Trump kind–an early study shows 97% effectiveness of a novel HIV vaccine. We definitely need to do more research, but it’s tentatively looking like breakthroughs that resulted in COVID vaccines may have implications for HIV infection as well.

Key links:

  1. European Pharmaceutical Review — Novel HIV Vaccine Approach Shows Promise In “Landmark” First-in-human Trial

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.   COVID news has been a mixed bag of late.  On the one hand:  1) Infection rates are rising again, likely because we’re reopening too quickly and testing less despite most locations having less than 25% total vaccination rate, and experts disagree about what this means; 2) AstraZeneca was in the news for sketchiness regarding its efficacy study; 3) there was a manufacturing error in Maryland that ruined 15 million Johnson and Johnson doses, though the company says it’s still on track to produce 100 million doses by late May; 4) Dr. Deborah Binx let us know just how many deaths were preventable in the last year; and 5) The CDC has announced that vaccinated Americans are low-risk while traveling, which would be good except that discussion of “vaccine passports” that has already prompted backlash (and in Florida, an executive order banning them).  But on the other hand: 1) Studies are beginning to test vaccine efficacy in children, and some early research suggests that Pfizer may be effective for adolescents, though further study is still needed; 2) Moderna and Pfizer are both found 90% effective in real-life conditions; and 3) the Biden administration estimates that 200 million doses will become available by April 30; and 4) Experts are beginning to discuss travel and documentation protocols for vaccinated people.
Key links:

  1. Politico – Internal CDC Data Shows Virus Regaining Foothold As Biden Urges States To Pause Reopening
  2. Washington Post – AstraZeneca Used ‘Outdated And Potentially Misleading Data’ That Overstated The Effectiveness Of Its Vaccine, Independent Panel Says
  3. CNN – Birx Shares Her Chilling Conclusion As America Arrives At A Moment Of Introspection On The Coronavirus
  4. Stat – Pfizer And BioNTech To Begin Testing Covid-19 Vaccine In Children
  5. Washington Post – Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines Are 90% Effective After Two Doses In Study Of Real-life Conditions, Cdc Confirms
  6. Washington Post – More Americans To Become Eligible For Vaccines And FEMA Sites To Open

Gun Violence Updates. It truly pains me to say this, but gun violence remains highly relevant for yet another week.  There was yet another mass shooting in Boulder last Tuesday, which resulted in ten dead and occurred immediately on the heels of a judge tossing out responsible gun legislation in the state.  This was followed within four days by a mass shooting on Virginia Beach, which brings us to three mass shootings in a two-week period.  Then in Orange, California, an assailant fatally shot at least four people, including a nine-year old boy.  Finally, there was also a vehicular assault on Capitol Hill which has resulted in the death of yet another Capitol Police officer as well as fatal shooting of the assailant.  News articles are beginning to emerge about the Capitol Police struggling to maintain staffing during this period of unprecedented strain, and apparently two officers are suing over the January 6 riots.

Key links:

  1. ABC – 10 Killed In Boulder Shooting: Victims Identified, Suspect Charged
  2. Associated Press – Judge Rules Colorado Cities Unable To Enact Gun Restrictions
  3. New York Times – The Shooting Occurred Less Than A Week After Eight People Were Killed In Atlanta.
  4. Washington Post – Suspect In Southern California Shooting Had A Relationship With Victims, Police Say
  5. CNBC – One Capitol Police Officer, Suspect Dead After Car Rammed Into Two Officers
  6. New York Times – Two Capitol Police Officers Sue Trump Over January Riot

Infrastructure Updates.  Right now, the most important federal legislation to track is probably the comprehensive infrastructure package the Biden administration revealed this past week. The plan is extremely ambitious in scope, and includes a lot of things not traditionally considered infrastructure purview. On the more-traditional side, it would rebuild roads, expand train track infrastructure, repair bridges, eliminate lead pipes from our water supplies, and modernize the electric grid. But it would also make several less-traditional infrastructure changes, such as funding electric vehicle charging stations along highways, building new schools, and broadening access to broadband Internet. And, of course, there’s always the fact that the whole thing is funded by corporate tax increases. Unsurprisingly, this plan is less than popular with many Republicans, who have spent the last four years railing against things like “corporate tax increases” and “clean water” and “education.”

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Biden Details $2 Trillion Plan To Rebuild Infrastructure And Reshape The Economy
  2. Associated Press – Biden announces huge infrastructure plan to ‘win the future’
  3. Washington Post – 5 Key Takeaways From Biden’s $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
  4. New York Times – Biden Wants To Pay For Infrastructure Plan With 15 Years Of Corporate Taxes

Actions for Everyone

2020 did something to unravel time, right? The days are flying by. The spring thaw seems to have created even more action nation-wide. Suffice to say, there’s been a lot going on. Read on to learn more about some of it.

Celebrate Trans Day of Visibility: Though the week has come and gone, I hope everyone was able to celebrate! There are more people who are able to transition now than ever before, and although the legislative blow in Alabama happened a few weeks ago @thequeeradvocate posted so much helpful information that I want to share here. Click the link to learn about Trans

  • Books
  • Film, TV, Webseries
  • Fictional Characters
  • Organizations
  • Instagrams

To dismantle the binary, it’s important to diversify your media and environment. In addition to uplifting the trans men, women, and people in your lives, diversify your books, podcasts, movies, TV shows and other art. Art and media help create shifts in your awareness and culture. Trans Awareness Month will be November 2021.

Derek Chauvin Trial: For those who haven’t been watching, this trial is incredibly painful to witness. Please consider this when sharing videos and images on your social media platforms that are traumatic. Violence against Black people being shared across the internet forces folks to relive that trauma over and over. Please be considerate of that. If you feel that you have to share information because it will be helpful for your followers, be sure to mark them with Content Warnings (CW) with a brief summary of what people will find if they keep watching.

The death anniversary of George Floyd’s death is coming soon, May 25th. What will you be doing in your community? I’ve heard that there are caravans driving to Minneapolis, MN to be there with the City. Mark the date now, and start making plans if you haven’t already.

End Voter Suppression: Voter suppression is active, everyday, everywhere. Our nation’s history and daily actions are riddled with oppression. During November election season, I got so frustrated hearing “That’s why you young people need to get out and vote!” Because it’s like, yeah, of course please do go vote, but also recognize how complicated that seemingly simple action is.

Stacy Abrams et. al. have their work cut out for them in Georgia. The voter suppression laws that passed there recently have been hit with their first lawsuit. What can you do about it? Be informed about State Senate hearings in your state – senators usually have hearings on bills before they pass. My state’s website is clunky and sterile and it’s hard to find information, so another thing you can do is go through the work of finding out when your State Senate hearings are, pull them out, and make a cool design to share on your socials. Also, do voter empowerment work around every election that works for your community.

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

Issue #189, 2021 Week 13

Hey everyone,

There are still things that need fixing.  Want to be part of the change. 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

This past week was a rough reminder that racial equity still has so far to go in this country. We’ll do our best to summarize, and as always, we’ll include ways to help in the Actions for Everyone section below.

Events to Know

Dismantling the Deportation Machine?  Much like last week, the administration is still struggling to meet the needs of unaccompanied minors and holding them longer than is legally permissible. I am not unsympathetic to the uniquely difficult position faced by the administration when unaccompanied children arrive in unprecedented numbers, and I do appreciate that Biden is negotiating supports for Guatemala and Mexico. But the fact remains that between confusing messaging and legally questionable detention practices, the administration appears to be floundering right now, and I’m not encouraged by today’s decision to make former prosecutor Kamala Harris the point person at the border. Legislation like the bills outlined below help somewhat, but they’re ultimately a bandaid on a deep cultural wound–we need more comprehensive reform if we’re to build a better system.

Key links:

  1. The Hill – Border Crisis Creates New Risks For Biden
  2. New York Times – Surge In Migrants Defies Easy Or Quick Solutions For Biden
  3. ABC – White House Officials To Visit Mexico, Guatemala To Address Root Cause Of Migrant Surge
  4. Axios – Ice Securing Hotel Rooms To Hold Growing Number Of Migrant Families
  5. New York Times – House Passes Bills To Create Path To Citizenship For Some Undocumented Immigrants

Congressional Updates. Congress this week is… a mixed bag, shall we say.  We did have several promising developments: 1) the Senate began deliberation on the For the People Act (which we’ll talk more about below); 2) the House passed two bills that create paths to citizenship for Dreamers and farm workers; and 3) DC statehood is being seriously considered on Capitol Hill. But some victories are nonetheless concerning; the House barely gathered the votes to renew the previously-uncontroversial Violence Against Women Act and twelve Republicans voted against the movement to honor Capitol police that protected them two months ago. That last one, by the way, is because they objected to the word “insurrectionists” being used to describe the people who violently stormed the capitol and literally erected a gallows on-site for Mike Pence. (Remind me why these people are allowed to govern again?) And Congress is likely to consider more gun legislation at President Biden’s urging after yet another mass shooting in Boulder brings us to seven mass shootings in one week–but more on that below.

 

Key links: 

  1. CNBC – Schumer Says ‘everything Is On The Table’ To Pass Voting Rights Legislation In Senate
  2. Politico – House Passes Scaled-back Immigration Measures As GOP Support Wanes
  3. NBC – Democrats, Republicans Clash Over D.C. Statehood Effort
  4. Roll Call – House Votes To Reauthorize, Expand Violence Against Women Act
  5. Stars And Stripes – A Dozen Republicans Voted Against Congressional Gold Medals For Police Who Protected Them On Jan. 6
  6. NPR – Biden Urges Immediate Action From Senate On Gun Bills After Colorado Shooting

Racial Violence in the United States.  This was a painful week for racial violence in America.  On Tuesday evening, an armed white man hit three different massage parlors in Georgia, ultimately fatally shooting eight people–six of whom were women of Asian descent.  The incident highlights violence against Americans of Asian descent that has been on the rise all year, stoked repeatedly by Trump first while he was in office and again as recently as the night of the attack.  This incident is also inextricably tied to violence against women and fetishization of women of Asian descent.  As I type this, groups all over the country are organizing town halls, vigils, bystander intervention trainings, donation efforts, and other forms of support for our AAPI; there are many things we can be doing to help. Actions are particularly needed because official response to the incident has been itself appallingly mismanaged.  First, a local police official stated the crime wasn’t racially motivated despite overwhelming evidence otherwise, claiming that the perpetrator was “tempted” by sex work and was having “a really bad day.”  (Unsurprisingly, it took about five seconds for news outlets to begin noting that this police officer shared racist memes on his social media account.)  More recently, news outlets began reporting that the Latino husband of one of the deceased was held in police custody as a suspect for hours without even being told what had happened to his wife.  But perhaps it is unsurprising that the incidents were mishandled this badly, because the New York Times also reported this week on a bevy of comprehensive reports which outlined exactly how badly police forces mismanaged situations during Black Lives Matter protests all over the country from an administrative perspective.

 

Key links: 

  1. New York Times – Suspect In Atlanta Spa Attacks Is Charged With 8 Counts Of Murder
  2. NBC – Anti-asian Hate Crimes Increased By Nearly 150% In 2020, Mostly In N.Y. And L.A., New Report Says
  3. Guardian – Georgia Officer Condemned For Saying Atlanta Shooter Was ‘Having A Bad Day’
  4. Washington Post – An Atlanta victim’s husband survived the attack, but police detained and handcuffed him for hours
  5. New York Times – In City After City, Police Mishandled Black Lives Matter Protests
  6. Hollaback – Bystander Intervention Training To Stop Anti-Asian/American And Xenophobic Harassment

Recent Resilience

Recent COVID Resilience. We did see some good COVID news this week. President Biden noted this week that the U.S. is on track to surpass 100 million administered doses by Friday. Our vaccine supply rate remains so high that although AstraZeneca was found to be effective by Phase III study, the U.S. might not need any doses. And early research suggests that vaccinated pregnant women may pass antibodies onto their babies.

Key links:

  1. Politico – Biden On Track To Pass 100m Vaccinations, With Time To Spare
  2. NPR- Astrazeneca Vaccine Can Prevent Covid-19, Late-stage Study Says
  3. Washington Post – Vaccinated Mothers Pass Covid Antibodies To Babies In Utero And Through Breastmilk, Early Studies Show

Things to Watch

Filibuster Fighting.  The For the People Act hitting the Senate is forcing a showdown on changing the filibuster, and this promises to be a fascinating fight.  Mitch McConnell has been hitting the ground running, promising A Scorched Earth Senate if anybody else uses the nuclear option that was literally last used by him in 2017.  Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer is calling him out in response.  At this point, even President Biden has come out in favor of reforming the rule, though that might just be his way of telling Mitch McConnell where to take his opinions.
Key links:

  1. Axios – Senate To Introduce Comprehensive Voting Reform, Anti-Corruption Bill
  2. CNN – Mitch Mcconnell Warns Democrats That Overhauling Filibuster Rules Will Lead To ‘Completely Scorched Earth Senate’
  3. ABC – Biden Says He Supports Reforming Senate Filibuster In ABC News Exclusive Interview
  4. Washington Post – ‘Shame, shame, shame:’ Sens. Schumer, McConnell spar over GOP efforts to roll back voting access

State of the COVID-19.  The CDC is changing its suggested social distance practices in education, recommending three feet between students instead of six–which apparently is making some teachers’ unions nervous. Nonetheless, four in ten healthcare workers are not vaccinated, despite their early access. Taxes are now due in May to help people struggling financially during the pandemic. And this week’s “I can’t even make this up” award goes to the Republicans suing over the stimulus bill because it can’t be used to fund state tax cuts.

Key links:

  1. Associated Press – CDC Changes School Guidance, Allowing Desks To Be Closer
  2. Washington Post – More Than 4 In 10 Health-care Workers Have Not Been Vaccinated, Post-KFF Poll Finds
  3. New York Times – I.R.S. Pushes Tax Deadline Back One Month
  4. The New York Times – Republican Attorneys General Press Biden Over Restrictions On State Aid In Stimulus Plan

Actions for Everyone

This week finds us hurting as a nation once more, after another mass shooting occurred in Boulder, Colorado. It’s never easy to write about these events that have become part of the fabric of our society. When will we see change coming from our elected officials? The people who have the power to make the right decisions have constantly failed us.

Gun Safety and race-based violence: I wrote about these bills a few weeks ago but they are still up for a vote in the Senate. The House already passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021. These bills would expand the cases in which a background check is needed to get a firearm, closing the “Gun Show Loophole” and also close what is known as the “Charleston Loophole”;a gap in federal law that lets gun sales proceed without a completed background check if three businesses days have passed. Congress must address the obvious problem this country has with firearms. You know what to do, call your senators! 

And while you’re at it, tell them your support and expect them to vote in favor of the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, which would increase oversight of Coronavirus related hate-crimes, provide support for state and local agencies and provide information about hate crimes to the Asian American community. President Biden supports it.

PBS recently made their series Asian Americans available for free streaming online, you can watch it here.

Covid-19 Vaccine!: It’s increasingly hard to get a Covid vaccine appointment so I thought I could list a couple of resources to even your odds. Vaccine roll outs are happening at a faster rate than the Biden administration anticipated and this is a great thing, but it can get frustrating and after a year of quarantine, our patience is low. But we’re getting there! Slowly but surely. Having vaccine doubts? Check out this cool article by Scientific American.

Vaccine Spotter:  This website has a list of every state and it updates every minute.

CDC Vaccine Finder: Search engine for vaccines near you.

Do you know how to code? This article may be helpful to you.

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 #188, 2021 Week 12

Hey everyone,

This is from last week.  We are getting back on track, thank you for your patience.  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’m probably jinxing myself by typing this, but as I draft this paragraph on Monday afternoon we appear to have sighted that mythical beast known as a slow news week. I haven’t really seen these in the last four years, so I’m throwing an impromptu desk party over here. The light switch rave is off the chain.

Events to Know

Dismantling the Deportation Machine?  The Biden Administration has officially ended a Trump-era rule that penalized legal applicants for being low income, and they also will stop deporting people who step forward as sponsors for unaccompanied minors.  However, the administration is still struggling to meet the needs of unaccompanied minors, who are coming to the U.S. in unprecedented numbers, and is holding them longer than legally permissible. Outlets are reporting that the administration will begin housing unaccompanied boys in the Dallas convention center, and FEMA has been sent to the border to respond to the large number of people emigrating. They also made it clear that they are not ending family detention, and several application process issues remain as well.

Key links:

  1. CNBC – Biden Justice Department Stops Defending Trump Rule That Limits Benefits For Immigrants
  2. NBC – Biden Admin To End Trump Policy That Let DHS Deport Caregivers For Migrant Children
  3. CNN –  Unaccompanied Migrant Children Staying In Border Patrol Facilities An Average Of 107 Hours, Internal Records Show
  4. NPR – DHS Directs FEMA To Help With Surge Of Migrant Children At Southern Border
  5. NBC – Despite Court Filings And Public Rhetoric, Official Says Biden Administration Is ‘Not Ending Family Detention’
  6. Politico – Biden Yet To Act On Overturning Some Trump Immigration Policies

Congressional UpdatesThe biggest Congressional update of the week is the good news below, but we also saw some other interesting bills.  A group of bipartisan senators have proposed a bill called the Sunshine Protection Bill of 2021, which proposes permanent daylight saving time.  The Senate began deliberation on the For the People Act, which is very likely to ultimately force a showdown on changing the filibuster.  And the House passed new responsible gun ownership laws which restructure background checks to make them more comprehensive.

 

Key links: 

  1. CBS – Group Of Bipartisan Senators Pushes For Permanent Daylight Saving Time
  2. NPR – House Passes Bills To Strengthen Gun Laws, Including Expanding Background Checks

Insurrection Redux.  The Justice Department has signaled they are still planning to charge many more people, including many members of the militia-style organization known as the Oath Keepers organization, which has also slowed down their proceedings. In the meantime, however, they have charged two individuals who fatally assaulted a police officer with chemical weapons. And in related news, outlets began reporting new information about additional pressuring phone calls Trump placed to Georgia officials, trying to make them find voter fraud so that he could justify challenging the election results. Against this backdrop, it’s not really surprising that his acting Secretary of Defense publicly opined that Trump caused the insurrection, even if he wasn’t sure if Trump was aware of it.

 

Key links: 

  1. ABC – At Least 100 More To Be Charged In Capitol Attack Investigation, DOJ Expects
  2. NPR – U.S. Arrests 2 Men, Saying They Sprayed Sicknick And Others With Chemical At Capitol
  3. CNN – Officials Located December Recording Of Trump Call In A Trash Folder On Georgia Investigator’s Device
  4. Politico – Former Defense Secretary Miller Blames Trump’s Speech For Jan. 6 Insurrection

Recent Resilience

Recent Legislative Resilience. We finally have an American Rescue Act as I type this! The final version in the Senate passed last Saturday in a 51-50 vote entirely along party lines, and it passed in the House on Wednesday. Then it was signed into law by President Biden on Thursday afternoon. In addition to the much-covered provisions about stimulus payments, unemployment supports, small business supports, and education and child supports, the final version includes a provision expanding the Affordable Care Act market as well as some increased taxes for businesses.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Senate Passes Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill After Voting Overnight On Amendments, Sends Measure Back To House
  2. New York Times – With House Passage, Congress Clears The Nearly $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan For President Biden’s Signature.
  3. CNN – Here’s What’s In The Covid Relief Package

Things to Watch

Confirmation Tango (cont).  This week, Michael Regan confirmed as new head of the Environmental Protection Agency.  Additionally, Deb Haaland was confirmed as the first Native American Secretary of Interior, and Xavier Becerra was confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services.  We’ll likely see some more confirmations in the next few weeks, although the Senate is currently prepping a showdown over the filibuster, so we may see other Congressional news first.
Key links:

  1. Axios – Senate Confirms Michael Regan As EPA Administrator
  2. NPR – Deb Haaland Confirmed As 1st Native American Interior Secretary
  3. CNN – Mitch Mcconnell Warns Democrats That Overhauling Filibuster Rules Will Lead To ‘Completely Scorched Earth Senate’

State of the COVID-19. We have a surprising amount of positive COVID-related news this week. President Biden gave a prime-time address last Thursday to discuss his planning.  Some of the highlights: 1) Urging all states to make the vaccine available to all adults by May 1; 2) Aiming for July 4th celebrations in person; and 3) Streamlining vaccination processes in several different ways, including centralized registration, more vaccination sites, and expanding pharmacy vaccination.  He also announced plans for the U.S. to purchase another 100 million doses of the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which presumably will help achieve Thursday’s stated goals, and he noted this week that the U.S. is on track to surpass 100 million administered doses by Friday.  In related vaccine eligibility news, Alaska has made its doses available to adolescents age 16 and older, and teachers are now eligible in all 50 states Case numbers also continue to drop nationally.

Key links:

  1. Politico – Texas, Mississippi To Lift Mask Mandates, Let All Businesses Reopen At Full Capacity
  2. New York Times – Coronavirus In The U.S.: Latest Map And Case Count
  3. Stat – Biden Promises Enough Covid-19 Vaccines To Inoculate All Adult Americans By The End Of May
  4. Washington Post – Merck Will Help Make Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccine As Rivals Team Up To Help Biden Accelerate Shots
  5. CBS – Some Roman Catholic Leaders In U.S. Call Johnson & Johnson Vaccine “Morally Compromised”
  6. New York Times – Vaccinated Americans May Gather Indoors In Small Groups But Should Still Wear Masks In Public, The C.D.C. Said.

Actions for Everyone

White supremacy, puritanism, and patriarchy keep hate crimes alive and well everyday. In parallel with #StopAsianHate we must also #EndWhiteSupremecy and say that #SexWorkIsWork, and also put in real work to make those hashtags happen.

#StopAsianHate: Anti-Asian hate crimes aren’t new, although there has been a rise since COVID19. There are amazing organizations working on uplifting, organizing, and protecting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including Stop AAPI Hate. On their website, you can report a hate crime, learn more, and ACT. Here are a few organizations you should know about and support:

Like week’s past, I also want to reiterate that sex work, is work. Sex workers, are workers, and are not disposable because someone is “having a bad day.” Please read Open Society’s 10 Reasons to Decriminalize Sex Work, check out the International Union of Sex Workers, contact your elected officials calling for an end to criminal prosecution of sex work.

8CantWait: This week I was reading up on Wisconsin State Senate Bills having to do with policing and public safety, so I wanted to write and remind everyone about 8CantWaitResearch shows more restrictive use of force policies can reduce killings by police and save lives. Tell your city to adopt all eight of these policies:

  1. A ban on chokeholds and strangleholds.
  2. Require de-escalation
  3. Require warning before shooting
  4. Require exhaust all alternatives before shooting
  5. Ban shooting at moving vehicles
  6. Duty to intervene
  7. Require use of force continuum
  8. Require comprehensive reporting

8CantWait has some great resources including a comprehensive use of force database. In Milwaukee, we really want to develop an app so people can police the police, or rather participate in holding them accountable for their actions. If you do app stuff, hit me up.

Work toward Arts Equity: It feels indisputable that the loss of art – galleries, films, concerts, etc – has been felt worldwide during the pandemic. If there was ever a question as to what art or artists are worth to us and to our culture, the answer is either priceless or bajillions of dollars because it keeps us living and keeps culture shifting. Thinking about equity within the arts is necessary, so I wanted to tag in an organization aptly called artEquity. The mission of artEquity is to provide tools, resources, and training at the intersection of art and activism. artEquity is building a broad base of individuals and organizations who are strategically poised to create and sustain a culture of equity, inclusion, and justice through arts and culture. If you’re an artist, and organizer, or an activist (which you probably are if you’re reading this) please check out their amazing resources and consider donating

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 187, 2021 Week 11

The Activism Newsletter
View this email in your browser
Hey everyone,

Do you want to know what is going on and how you can 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 biggest news of the week technically hasn’t happened yet, which makes drafting interesting to say the least. Think of it as a holiday gift, along with that extra hour of sunlight we’re getting back on Sunday–sure, Monday will be extra sleep-deprived, but it’s also the Ides of March, so we’re getting off light. (See what I did there?)

Events to Know

Dismantling the Deportation Machine?  We did get some positive news on immigration fronts this week. The Biden Administration is converting family detention centers back into 72-hour processing facilities per their original legal purpose. It also announced it is creating a temporary protected status for displaced Venezuelans, which we should have set up years ago, and it has officially ended a Trump-era rule that penalized legal applicants for being low income.  However, the administration is still struggling to meet the needs of unaccompanied minors, who are coming to the U.S. in unprecedented numbers, and is holding them longer than legally permissible.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Texas Family Detention Centers Expected To Transform Into Rapid-processing Hubs
  2. Axios – Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden’s child migrant dilemma
  3. Washington Post – Biden Administration Declares Up To 320,000 Venezuelans Eligible For Temporary Protected Status
  4. CNBC – Biden Justice Department stops defending Trump rule that limits benefits for immigrants
  5. New York Times – Biden Seeks Help On Border From Mexican President
  6. CNN – Exclusive: Unaccompanied migrant children staying in Border Patrol facilities an average of 107 hours, internal records show

Insurrection ReduxThose who followed the immediate insurrection aftermath may recall that QAnon started naming March 4th as another date of attack pretty quickly, latching onto the fact that it used to be the date of inauguration. And as it would happen, March 4th was also last Thursday. As the date approached, officials increasingly expressed concern that there may be further insurrection planned at the Capitol building complex–so much so that the House shifted its work schedule and canceled Thursday’s floor plans. After the date, it was announced that the National Guard will remain in place for the next two months.

 

Key links: 

  1. Associated Press – Police Uncover ‘Possible Plot’ By Militia To Breach Capitol
  2. CNBC – Police Preparing For Possible Militia ‘Plot To Breach The Capitol’ In Washington On Thursday
  3. Politico – House Scraps Work Schedule Amid Security Threat
  4. Washington Post – Pentagon chief approves request to extend National Guard protection of Capitol

Confirmation Tango (continued).  Although Tom Cotton delayed Merrick Garland’s final vote, he was confirmed this week anyway by 70-30 vote. Additionally, the Senate confirmed Marcia Fudge as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; she will be the first Black woman to lead the department in over 40 years.


Key links: 

  1. Forbes – Sen. Tom Cotton Reveals He’s Holding Up Merrick Garland’s Confirmation Vote
  2. NPR – Garland Confirmed As Attorney General 5 Years After Thwarted Supreme Court Bid
  3. Washington Post – Marcia Fudge confirmed as first Black woman to lead HUD in more than 40 years

Recent Resilience

Recent Legislative Resilience. In addition to the stimulus bill mentioned above, the House passed a couple of other promising pieces of legislation in the past week. First on the roster was the For the People Act, which is a very comprehensive voting rights act bill passed in response to coordinated state efforts to expand voter suppression and a pending Supreme Court case. (If this bill passed in the Senate, this could potentially curtail Supreme Court damage, but it’s unlikely to succeed unless the filibuster is removed or altered.) The House also passed The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which is a policing overhaul bill first passed in 2020. The new version was passed just as the trial began of George Floyd’s killer, highlighting the strong need for reform–which this bill does not comprehensively do, but it would be a start.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – House Democrats Pass Sweeping Elections Bill As GOP Legislatures Push To Restrict Voting
  2. New York Times – A Supreme Court Test For What’s Left Of The Voting Rights Act
  3. New York Times – The Filibuster Fight
  4. NPR – House Approves Police Reform Bill Named After George Floyd
  5. Washington Post – Chauvin Murder Trial: What To Know As The First Officer Is Tried In George Floyd’s Death

Things to Watch

Stimulus News.  Democrats continued to fight about the $15 minimum wage provision in the $1.9T stimulus package after the package itself passed in the House last Friday, and eventually the Senate parliamentarian decided that it couldn’t be included in the Senate version for procedural reasons. In a move to keep the Democrats united enough to pass something, President Biden ended up limiting who qualifies for the stimulus and keeping employment benefits at $300 per week. (He did, however, add an expansion of the Affordable Care Act.) The final version in the Senate passed on Saturday in a 51-50 vote entirely along party lines, and it passed in the House on Wednesday. It’s now headed to President Biden’s desk for signature, which is likely to happen on Friday.
Key links:

  1. NPR – Senate Can’t Vote On $15 Minimum Wage, Parliamentarian Rules
  2. NBC – Biden, Senate Democrats Agree To Limit Eligibility For $1,400 Checks
  3. Washington Post – Senate Passes Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill After Voting Overnight On Amendments, Sends Measure Back To House
  4. New York Times – With House passage, Congress clears the nearly $1.9 trillion stimulus plan for President Biden’s signature.

State of the COVID-19. Both Texas and Mississippi decided to end mask mandates for all businesses this week, which as health experts note is a pretty garbage way to apologize for utility failures.  This is particularly true as infection rates rise worldwide, although they are still going down in the U.S. for now. Meanwhile, in vaccine news, Biden is hoping to have enough doses to vaccinate all adults by the end of May, in part because Merck is helping Johnson and Johnson produce their single-dose vaccine.  But vaccine rollouts are still having a lot of issues, particularly regarding equitable distribution. Adding to the pile, several American Catholic officials have forbidden or discouraged parishioners from receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine because something something stem cells.  (It is worth noting, however, that this is not the Vatican’s position.) Finally, the CDC issued new guidance today for people already vaccinated, clarifying what are and are not considered best practices.

Key links:

  1. Politico – Texas, Mississippi To Lift Mask Mandates, Let All Businesses Reopen At Full Capacity
  2. New York Times – Coronavirus In The U.S.: Latest Map And Case Count
  3. Stat – Biden Promises Enough Covid-19 Vaccines To Inoculate All Adult Americans By The End Of May
  4. Washington Post – Merck Will Help Make Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccine As Rivals Team Up To Help Biden Accelerate Shots
  5. CBS – Some Roman Catholic Leaders In U.S. Call Johnson & Johnson Vaccine “Morally Compromised”
  6. New York Times – Vaccinated Americans May Gather Indoors In Small Groups But Should Still Wear Masks In Public, The C.D.C. Said.

Actions for Everyone

The pandemic seems to be reaching some type of plateau, a stimulus bill was passed (not the best but it’s better than what we had), more people are getting vaccinated everyday and our days are slightly brighter as spring approaches. Lets keep the momentum up!

Make some seed bombs! – It’s the perfect time to make some seed bombs with your friends/family and go around spreading the joy; please make sure to use native seeds to ensure biodiversity and conservation. Here is a little tutorial.

Women’s History Month and voting rights – This year is a continuation of last year’s theme, which was interrupted by the pandemic declaration: Valiant Women of the Vote. 2020 marked the centennial of women’s right to vote in the US, even though it left BIPOC women out of their voting rights till mid-century.  You can read more about this year’s theme here. 

Congress is currently starting a debate to pass the For The People Act; that focuses on voting accessibility, election security, cuts down on partisan gerrymandering and more; all measures that will promote the vote for BIPOC communities. The Republicans are opposed to these changes and they will be fighting against these changes, so we must keep our eyes peeled for when the bill is up for a vote in the Senate; since it already passed in the House.

Gun Safety bill: The House recently passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act; a bill that requires “a background check on every gun sale or transfer, with carefully defined exceptions for gifts to family members, and temporary transfers for hunting, target shooting, and self-defense. It would require unlicensed gun sellers to use the same National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS), which is managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), that licensed dealers use” according to the gun safety group Giffords.

It’s now up to the Senate to pass the bill’s companion legislation; the Background Checks  Expansion Act. A similar legislation was proposed before but was shut down by the Senate lead by Mitch McConnell; but the new leadership and new Democrat administration could change the outcome of this bill that is supported by the majority of Americans. So lets call those Senators!

You can text UNIVERSAL to 34131 to call your senators and tell them to support universal background checks.

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 #186, 2021 Week 10

Hey everyone,

Want to know what’s happening and how you can 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

This week was a bit sobering; we’re seeing a lot of reminders that the alt-right is still present and a lot of reminders that fixing the last four years will be tough. Some weeks will be like this, but the Activism Newsletter has your back–as always, we’ll have suggestions for ways to help below.

Events to Know

CPAC MachineThe Conservative Political Action Conference happened this past week, and it would have been a golden opportunity to distance the party from the January insurrection attempt–but since this is the modern GOP, the only golden thing to materialize was a literal Trump idol. Between a Nazi stage design, repeated messaging which insisted the election was stolen, and attendee refusals to wear masks, the single biggest takeaways appear to be that the GOP will change nothing about its broken and treasonous party, and Donald Trump is still in charge. A 2024 Trump election campaign remains a very credible threat, and officials are also concerned that there may be further insurrection planned at the Capitol building complex–so much so that the House is shifting its work schedule and the National Guard will remain in place for the next two months.

Key links:

  1. The Guardian – Golden Trump Statue Turning Heads At CPAC Was Made In … Mexico
  2. Daily Kos – The Nazi Stage At CPAC Is The Odal Rune
  3. CNN – Fact Checking CPAC: Speakers Make False Claims About The Election, The Capitol Attack, Immigration, Covid, And The Muppets
  4. Reuters – Trump Targets Disloyal Republicans, Repeats Election Lies And Hints At 2024 Run
  5. Associated Press – Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol
  6. Politico – House scraps work schedule amid security threat

Confirmation Tango (Again). This was quite a week for Senate confirmation process. Early in the week, Tom Vilsack was confirmed again for a reprise of his role as Secretary of Agriculture; shortly after, Jennifer Granholm was confirmed as Secretary of Energy. Meanwhile, Xavier Becerra began his hearing for Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Deb Haaland began hers for Secretary of Interior. Voting on Neera Tanden for the Office of Management and Budget got postponed amid growing opposition and eventually her candidacy was withdrawn. Merrick Garland advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee after several days of hearing; he will face a floor vote early next week. Finally, Miguel Cardona was confirmed as Secretary of Education.

 

Key links: 

  1. Washington Post – Tom Vilsack Confirmed For A Second Stint As Agriculture Secretary With Strong Republican Support
  2. The Hill – Senate Confirms Former Michigan Governor Granholm As Energy Secretary
  3. NBC – Biden Health Secretary Pick Xavier Becerra Faces Contentious Senate Hearings
  4. The Hill – Haaland Courts Moderates During Tense Confirmation Hearing
  5. Politico – Bipartisan Escape Hatch Emerges As Tanden Totters
  6. CBS – Merrick Garland Assures Senators He’s “Not The President’s Lawyer” In Hearing To Lead Justice Department

Post Office Updates. In more positive news, President Biden nominated three people to the U.S.P.S. Board of Governors, several of whom are uniquely qualified for the role. The move comes as Postmaster General Dejoy faces questioning about mail delays and other systemic issues, which is an edifying juxtaposition as well as a hopeful sign.

 

Key links: 

  1. Washington Post – Biden Nominates Three To USPS Board Of Governors As DeJoy Testifies On Mail Crises
  2. New York Times – Biden Seeks More Control Over Postal Service With New Appointments
  3. Washington Post – Biden administration is supplying emergency generators to Texas, White House says
  4. Texas Mutual Aid Directory
  5. Vanity Fair – Ted Cruz Blames Cancún Getaway On His Daughters

Recent Resilience

Recent State Resilience. We did see a smattering of positive state news from various places this week. New Jersey decriminalized marijuana, making it the fourteenth state in the country to adopt such regulations. A federal judge protected California’s net neutrality law, which clears the way for the state to begin implementing it in the near future. And the Manhattan District Attorney now officially has Trump’s tax returns, which will hopefully result in criminal charges further down the line.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Marijuana Is Legal In New Jersey, But Sales Are Months Away
  2. Washington Post – Net Neutrality Law To Take Effect In California After Judge Deals Blow To Telecom Industry
  3. Washington Post – Trump’s Tax Returns Have Been Turned Over To Manhattan District Attorney

Things to Watch

Congressional Updates.  Democrats continue to fight about the $15 minimum wage provision in the $1.9T stimulus package after the package itself passed in the House on Friday by a mere seven votes.  The Senate parliamentarian has decided that it cannot be included in the Senate version for procedural reasons, and in a move to keep the Democrats united enough to pass something, President Biden also limited who qualifies for the stimulus.  House Democrats also passed several other forms of promising legislation: 1) The Equality Act, which is an LGBT protections bill that was first passed by the House in 2019; 2) The For the People Act, which is a very comprehensive voting rights act bill; and 3) The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which is a policing overhaul bill first passed in 2020.
Key links:

  1. The Hill – Democrats In Standoff Over $15 Minimum Wage
  2. NPR – Senate Can’t Vote On $15 Minimum Wage, Parliamentarian Rules
  3. Washington Post – House Democrats pass sweeping elections bill as GOP legislatures push to restrict voting
  4. New York Times – House Passes Sweeping Gay And Transgender Equality Legislation
  5. NPR – House Approves Police Reform Bill Named After George Floyd

State of the COVID-19. As mentioned above, the House passed the $1.9T COVID relief package, though it has already seen some changes on its way through the senate.  Additionally, early studies of vaccination in the U.K. and Israel, two countries with a high per capita vaccination rate, are showing that hospitalizations drop dramatically as vaccinated populations rise.  Here in the United States, the CDC is recommending the Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccination, which could be implemented as soon as this week–though its use may have health equity implications, as it’s slightly less effective than the dual-dose vaccines.  Speaking of health equity, Texas was also in the news for denying vaccination to undocumented populations and ending its mask mandate in the same week, both of which are counter to public health common sense.  We also saw a slowing of case drops nationally, and both New York and California are reporting new variants.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Vaccines Sharply Cut Coronavirus Hospitalization, U.K. Studies Show
  2. CNBC – FDA Panel Unanimously Recommends Third Covid Vaccine As J&J Wins Key Vote In Path To Emergency Use
  3. Washington Post – Texas Vaccination Site Turned Away Undocumented Immigrants Over Their Status, Against State Policy
  4. Politico – Texas, Mississippi to lift mask mandates, let all businesses reopen at full capacity
  5. New York Times – Coronavirus In The U.S.: Latest Map And Case Count

Dismantling the Deportation Machine? The administration did reverse several Trump-era policies which froze immigration visas and blamed it on the pandemic. Additionally, the administration announced it will permit families separated under the Zero Tolerance policy to reunite in the United States, and is converting family detention centers back into 72-hour processing facilities per their original legal purpose. But it also reopened tent city facilities where the Trump administration housed unaccompanied minors, which may be illegal under the Flores settlement agreement and definitely isn’t a best practice. This move was also compounded by another injunction on the 100-day deportation ban. All told, not a great week on the immigration front, but I’m hoping we’ll see more progress in the near future.

Key links:

  1. NPR – Biden Reopens Gateway For Green Cards Reversing Trump COVID-19 Freeze
  2. NBC- Biden Administration Will Let Migrant Families Separated Under Trump Reunite Inside U.S.
  3. Politico – Biden To Allow Migrant Families Separated Under Trump To Reunite In The U.S.
  4. Politico – Federal Judge Deals Biden Another Blow On 100-day Deportation Ban

Actions for Everyone

Maybe it’s the Women’s History Month, or perhaps the Mardi Gras in me, but this week’s issue is about stuff that’s stigmatized but needs to be normalized, and furthermore, needs infrastructural support from our society and government.

Decriminalize Sex Work: The pandemic has damaged so many industries, and the unemployment rate is climbing again, but can you imagine an industry more effected than sex work? Sex work is work. It’s up close and personal, and if in person and not virtual, it’s really dangerous in a pandemic. The odds are already stacked against the industry because paying for sex is illegal in the United States, and so, there are few safety standards for sex workers. On top of that, there is a virtual crack down on sex worker’s rights.

What can you do to further this conversation into action during this pandemic, so that when it’s safe for people to be close, we can have a safer sex work industry? Read up on Open Society’s 10 Reasons to Decriminalize Sex Work, check out the International Union of Sex Workers, contact your elected officials calling for an end to criminal prosecution of sex work.

Women’s History Month: Yo! International Women’s Day is Monday, March 8th. It has a storied history with the labor movement, and the suffrage movement. In 1917, an International Women’s Day March became revolutionary as the crowds in St. Petersburg marched to the Czar’s palace and sparked the Russian Revolution (there’s a lot more to that obvs, but also that really happened).

I’m co-facilitating an effort called #PortraitsOfFemme, which you can follow on social media. I also love She Shreds all the time, but especially during Black History Month and Women’s History Month as they share edu-taining music history.

What are you doing to uplift and celebrate women this month? Whatever it is, make sure it’s intersectional. Trans women are women, thems can be femmes, and you can and should still celebrate this month while not excluding or harming others. The women’s rights movement has a past (and present, remember those pink pussy hats?) of white supremacy and transphobia. So, please celebrate joyously and inclusively this Women’s History Month.

End ICE: The Biden Administration is making strides toward undoing the predecessor’s violent policies, but real talk, Immigration and Customs Enforcement still has a long way to go – reformation unto dismantling. Here are some of the more recent changes as of a few days ago. We have to keep putting pressure on a centrist administration to end ICE. Here are a few organization doing just that:

This week, take a look at one or more of these groups, and decide how to get involved. Join a newsletter? Donate? Making phone calls? Dealers choice, but we’ve got to put pressure on if we want to see progress.

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 #185, 2021 Week 8

 
 

Hey everyone,

Want to know what is going on? 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

 

Between the impeachment conclusion and the crisis in Texas, we’re really getting a front-row seat to just how busted our government still currently is.  There’s a lot to unpack, and we need to be talking about next steps from here as well.  As always, we’ll have suggestions for actions below

 

Events to Know

Confusing Impeachment Conclusion. Against the general impeachment backdrop, Saturday was a confusing and disappointing day. Based on potential testimony from a Republican lawmaker–one of several eyewitnesses who could potentially have testified–the Senate voted to call witnesses by a 55-45 vote. But later that day, the impeachment managers made the baffling decision to skip witness testimony even though it had been cleared by the Senate. Ultimately, the Senate voted 57-43 in favor of Trump’s guilt, which was not enough votes to reach a constitutional conviction. It’s worth noting that this was nonetheless the most bipartisan impeachment vote in history, because these numbers include seven Republican senators as well as all 50 Democrats–Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Mitt Romney (UT), Ben Sasse (NE), Richard Burr (NC), Bill Cassidy (LA) and Patrick J. Toomey (PA) all voted to convict. Adding to the chaos, Mitch McConnell gave an elaborate speech about how incredibly guilty Trump was right after voting to acquit him, saying that the trial was unconstitutional once Trump had stepped down even though McConnell was the one who delayed the trial

 

Key links:

  1. NPR – Senate Vote To Call Witnesses Temporarily Throws Trial Into Uncertainty
     
  2. Washington Post – Late-night Talks And A Moment Of Chaos: Inside The Democrats’ Eleventh-hour Decision To Forgo Impeachment Witnesses
     
  3. NBC – Feb. 13 Highlights: Trump Acquitted In Senate Impeachment Trial For Second Time
     
  4. NPR – Trump Acquitted, Denounced In Historic Impeachment Trial

 

Dismantling the Deportation Machine (cont). We did see a bit more movement on this front in the past week, as President Biden officially rescinded the emergency order that authorized building a wall at the U.S. southern border. It’s a continuation of earlier efforts to halt construction, and though it’s certainly not comprehensive on its own, it’s another piece of rebuilding a responsible and humanitarian immigration policy. He also sponsored an immigration bill in Congress that facilitates family-based immigration and creates new pathways to citizenship. Many advocates (including myself) think that the proposed changes fall short of protecting immigrant health during the pandemic, but it is hopefully the beginning of a much longer conversation.

 

Key links: 

  1. The Hill – Biden Terminates Trump Emergency Order Used To Construct Border Wall
     
  2. Associated Press – Biden Halts Border Wall Building After Trump’s Final Surge
     
  3. NBC News – Democrats introduce an immigration overhaul bill. Here’s what would change.
     
  4. NILC – National Immigration Law Center Responds to Introduction of U.S. Citizenship Act

 

Crisis in Texas As an unprecedented cold snap swept through the middle of the country this week, physical and political conditions in Texas created cascading failures in public utilities. On Monday, millions of homes lost power and heat throughout the state, and over 100,000 households across Texas are still without power as I type this on Friday afternoon.  Meanwhile, millions of homes went under boil water notice as pipes began having issues as well–and several of those homes had no power with which to boil their water.  At this point, several people have died due to the extreme conditions.  President Biden declared a state of emergency earlier in the week, mobilizing FEMA and sending emergency generators as well.  Mutual aid has been providing a lot of support in the short-term, and several politicians and public figures are fundraising to help.  Note, however, that this group of politicians does not include Ted Cruz, who instead fled to Cancun and threw his daughters and his dog under the bus on his way there.

 

Key links: 

  1. Houston Chronicle – What went wrong with the Texas power grid?
     
  2. Axios – The status and politics of the Texas power crisis
     
  3. CBS News – Live Updates: Texans face drinking water shortage as power grid returns to normal
     
  4. Washington Post – Biden administration is supplying emergency generators to Texas, White House says
     
  5. Texas Mutual Aid Directory
     
  6. Vanity Fair – Ted Cruz Blames Cancún Getaway On His Daughters

 

Recent Resilience

Vaccination and Transmission News. Just like last week, case, death, and hospitalization rates have all been going down at the national level as well as worldwide. That said, testing rates are also going down, so the drop may be more modest than it looks, and we also need another week to see if Superbowl Sunday created any superspreader events. But even if these gains are modest, President Biden has indicated that he has secured more vaccination doses and the country has enough to vaccinate 300 million people by July.  

 

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Four Reasons Experts Say Coronavirus Cases Are Dropping In The United States
     
  2. New York Times – Superspreader Sunday?
     
  3. Washington Post – Biden Says U.S. Will Have Enough Vaccine For 300 Million People By End Of July

 

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.   COVID was a mixed bag for another week.  Several states had embarrassing management moments, as Governor Cuomo’s aide admitted that New York hid nursing home data and Massachusetts landed in the news for accidentally incentivizing elder-bribing for vaccine access.  Meanwhile, new research suggests that the virus may mutate more in patients with autoimmune deficiencies, suggesting that vaccination for these individuals should be a high priority.  The World Health Organization concluded that it was unlikely COVID came from a lab leak in Wuhan, which hopefully will help decrease attacks on Asian-Americans that have been spiking in recent weeks.  The CDC has issued new guidance for safety protocols during schools’ reopen processes, as debates about how much to reopen schools rage on.  And a new CDC study suggests that masks can be made more effective by creating a closer seal, either by wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask or by improving a cloth mask’s fit
 

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Cuomo Aide Melissa Derosa Admits They Hid Nursing Home Data So Feds Wouldn’t Find Out
     
  2. Masslive – How Some Seek To Take Advantage Of The New Massachusetts Policy Allowing Companions Of Seniors To Get The Covid Vaccine
     
  3. NPR – Extraordinary Patient Offers Surprising Clues To Origins Of Coronavirus Variants
     
  4. CNBC – Who Says Covid ‘Most Likely’ Originated In Animals And Spread To Humans, Dismisses Lab Leak Theory

 

Impeachment Aftermath. News broke this week that Georgia is criminally investigating Trump because of his election interference.  Not coincidentally, when the impeachment process created a very clear account of January 6, the House chair of Homeland Security immediately brought a civil suit against Trump for his role in the insurrection.  It’s not yet clear whether these materials will also be used to criminally charge Trump for his role in the insurrection, but it’s certainly a strong possibility–especially because President Biden has signaled that he would be open to creating a commission to investigate.  We need to keep watching this space, and it might not be a bad idea to call your rep about criminal charges.

 

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Georgia Prosecutors Open Criminal Inquiry Into Trump’s Efforts To Subvert Election
     
  2. CNN – Leading House Democrat Sues Donald Trump Under A Post-Civil War Law For Conspiracy To Incite Us Capitol Riot
     
  3. Washington Post – Once Impeachment Is Over, The Threat To Trump Shifts To Real Courtrooms
     
  4. NBC – Pelosi Calls For ‘9/11-type’ Commission On Capitol Attack

Other Congressional Updates.  Though Congress went on recess this week, we did see some movement worth noting.  Bernie Sanders signaled that he’s trying to preserve the $15 minimum wage provision in the stimulus bill, and House Democrats have been working to finalize a version of said bill, which might be ready as soon as next week.  Meanwhile, Democrats are urging President Biden to replace the USPS board of governors, or at least get rid of malicious disaster man Louis DeJoy.  And several lawmakers introduced a bill to address Black maternal health, which is an issue gaining increasing attention as racial health inequities take center stage due to the pandemic. 

 

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – CBO Report Finds $15 Minimum Wage Would Cost Jobs But Lower Poverty Levels
     
  2. New York Times – Where $10k Per American In Covid Relief Has Gone, And What Might Come Next
     
  3. Independent – ‘A Disaster’: Biden Urged To Replace Entire Usps Board As Dejoy Plans Slower Mail And Postage Hikes
     
  4. The Hill – Black Maternal Health Omnibus Package Introduced By Democratic Lawmakers
 

Actions for Everyone

The President came to Milwaukee on Wednesday for a Town Hall, and it got me thinking, with a platform like the Presidency, not only do you get the highest level of decision making powers – see “17 executive orders in the first afternoon in office” – but you also get to shape the kind of discussion happening in the country. Centrism just isn’t cutting it folks, and honestly it’s a shame to see such an opportunity to expand the spectrum of dialogue go to waste. Anyway, here are some things that are more in your control than the Biden Administration. 

 

 

Help Texas: It’s been in the news so much lately. Between Ted Cruz being the worst,  #Texit, and that pro-Trump governor who is currently lying and saying the emergency in Texas is being caused by solar energy, it has been bad down there but now it’s worse. The storms that have been crossing the nation, hit Texas hard and the Texas power grid (why does it have its own power grid) these storms have knocked out power for days.

 

It is urgent that we support community driven efforts to help Texans get clean water and warm places to stay. Here are some Venmo’s that you can send money to:

 

@austinmutualaidhotels

@feedthepeopledallas

@mutualaidhou

@dawaheals

 

There are several other ways to help listed here. 

 

 

Plan Your Garden: Did you know you can start dreaming of your garden, NOW? Even though it’s very, very much still Winter it’s not too early to order seeds and plan future food! I always look to Seed Savers first, but there are many organic heirloom companies you can visit. 

As you’re planning, which I do on 8.5 x 11 paper with a pencil, make sure you’re thinking of companion planning, https://www.farmersalmanac.com/companion-planting-guide. Companion planting helps to make sure your plants and your soil stay healthy. While you’re planning, listen to Erykah Badu’s, “Green Eyes.”

 

Do Primary Elections: It’s happening. There IS a world post the presidential election and the time is nigh. Wisconsin just saw its first primary election of the new administration, so this is just a reminder that there will be a Spring election. Have you moved since November? Re-register. Can you request an absentee ballot for the rest of 2021? Do it. 

 

Also, can we all take a page from the Stacey Abrams book by supporting and promoting all the organizing of people doing GOTV work around Spring elections – in a lot of ways, these more local elections will affect you much more directly than the presidential ones. Also, start thinking about who you want to see running for elected positions in two years and/or four years and start supporting them now!

 

 
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 #184, 2021 Week 7

Hey everyone,

Trying to keep up? 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 second impeachment proceedings of Donald Trump occurred this week, and it’s pretty stunning just how stark they are.  If you haven’t yet watched the opening video introduced by the impeachment managers–which shows a lot of new footage from January 6–the video does a great job of summing up how we got here and what we’re discussing.  The rest is window dressing.

Events to Know

Impeachment Update.  Needless to say, the biggest story of the bunch is the impeachment trial that started on Tuesday and likely will conclude on Saturday. The process technically began with an entire day’s debate about whether the whole thing was constitutional before the Senate deciding that it was by 56-44 vote. The impeachment managers’ arguments, as previously mentioned, kicked off with truly stunning riot footage and continued with the notion that Trump’s speeches were singularly responsible for the insurrection attempt. They then concluded on Thursday by noting the horrifying standard of Presidential misconduct created if Trump is not convicted. In contrast, Trump’s lawyers took a hot minute on Friday to reprise a truly impressive array of nonsense defenses from their 78-page brief–everything from claiming incitement is free speech (spoiler: it isn’t) to claiming the Senate doesn’t have constitutional authority to hold a trial (spoiler: it does).  And in a striking and unusual open letter, over 370 Congressional aides described the attack on their workplace that led to the impeachment charges and asked Senators to convict Trump so that he could never hold office again.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Senate Sets Stage For Rapid Trump Impeachment Trial
  2. Associated Press – Trump Trial Gets Go-ahead After Emotional, Graphic First Day
  3. Politico – Impeachment managers unveil dramatic footage of Capitol attack
  4. NPR – Impeachment Managers Argue Trump Is ‘Singularly Responsible’ For Capitol Attack
  5. New York Times – Trump’s team concludes incendiary defense, seeking to rewrite the narrative of his actions on Jan. 6.

MTG Tapped Out. The past couple of weeks have involved a lot of discussion of resident QAnon Congressperson Marjorie Taylor Greene, largely because people spent a lot of time arguing that she shouldn’t get to sit in Congress after supporting death threats to the current Speaker when there was a credible threat to the Speaker’s life only a few weeks ago. QAnon Congressperson was also in the news this week for, among other things, calling Cori Bush and the Black Lives Matter movement terrorists and saying fires in California were caused by Jewish space lasers. (I feel like this is a good time to remind people that Violent QAnon Lady comes from a state that created its own KKK movement and also hosted the most famous lynching of a Jewish person in American history, so, y’know, probably not a coincidence that those fictional lasers were Jewish.) House Democrats warned that they were planning to bring the issue to the House floor if the GOP minority leader didn’t remove QAnon Lady Marjorie Taylor Greene from several committees.  As the week dragged on, despite significant pressure on the issue and some choice words from Mitch McConnell, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy proved unwilling to censure her.  So as was foretold by prophecy, the House put it to a vote.  Greene ended up removed from her committee appointments by a 230-199 vote, with 11 fellow Republicans voting to remove her.

 

Key links: 

  1. Politico – Rep. Jimmy Gomez Drafts Resolution To Oust Marjorie Taylor Greene From Congress
  2. CNN- Marjorie Taylor Greene Indicated Support For Executing Prominent Democrats In 2018 And 2019 Before Running For Congress
  3. Media Matters – Marjorie Taylor Greene Penned Conspiracy Theory That A Laser Beam From Space Started Deadly 2018 California Wildfire
  4. CNN – House Republicans Weigh Stripping Greene From Committee Assignments As Gop Senators Repudiate Her Views
  5. CNBC – House Votes To Strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Of Committee Assignments

Confirmation Tango (Reprise). We saw a few more noteworthy confirmations this week. Notably, Alejandro Mayorkas was confirmed as the first-ever Latino Secretary of Homeland Security, and it will be interesting to see what he has planned for immigration policy. Meanwhile, Mayo Pete Buttigieg was confirmed as the first openly-gay Secretary of Transportation, and though I’m still not clear on how leading South Bend made him qualified for this, he’ll probably still be better than Elaine Chao. Buttigieg and Mayorkas join Antony Blinken, who was confirmed as Secretary of State the previous week.

 

Key links: 

  1. NPR – Senate Makes Alejandro Mayorkas First Latino Head Of Homeland Security
  2. Washington Post – From Mayor Pete To Secretary Buttigieg: Appearances Hint At Expansive Role For Next Transportation Chief
  3. Associated Press – Senate Confirms Antony Blinken As 71st Secretary Of State

Recent Resilience

Vaccination and Transmission News.  Not all of this week’s COVID news is bad, and some of it is pretty promising.  As I mentioned above, case, death, and hospitalization rates have been going down at the national level.  Early studies suggest the Oxford/AstraZenca vaccine is about 67% effective, which is about on par with the Johnson and Johnson findings–and incidentally, Johnson and Johnson is now seeking FDA approval, which means we might soon have a single-dose vaccine.  In the meantime, Moderna is working with the Biden administration to increase vaccine access at pharmacies. Additionally, a new study suggests that recovered COVID patients are likely protected for at least six months after infection.

Key links:

  1. Guardian – Single Dose Of AstraZeneca Vaccine Could Cut Transmission By 67%
  2. Guardian – Johnson & Johnson Asks FDA To Approve World’s First Single-dose Covid Vaccine
  3. NPR- Biden Administration Will Ship Covid-19 Vaccines Directly To Pharmacies
  4. Reuters – Recovered Covid Patients Likely Protected For At Least Six Months, Study Finds

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.  COVID news has some silver linings this week, which I will talk more about below, but there were some low points as well. Testing is apparently declining, which is baffling experts, and the Supreme Court removed restrictions on indoor, in-person worship that were put in place due to severe outbreaks in California.  Experts are also concerned that the Super Bowl may create superspreader events, particularly in the hosting city of Tampa, which is particularly dispiriting when transmission rates had finally been going down nationally.  The first U.S. Congressperson has died of COVID infection.  And finally, the FDA is expected to release guidance on how to deal with new variants.  The move is particularly timely, as the U.K variant is spreading rapidly in the U.S. and South Africa just halted use of one of its vaccines because it did not work on the new local variant.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – As U.S. Vaccinations Ramp Up, Some Recipients Struggle To Secure A Second Dose
  2. Washington Post – Supreme Court Says California Worship Restrictions Violate Religious Rights
  3. CNN – To Safely Enjoy The Super Bowl, Watch At Home With People With Whom You Live, CDC Says
  4. Washington Post – Rep. Ron Wright Has Died After Battle With Covid-19
  5. Washington Post – FDA Will Propose Guidelines To Deal With New Variants
  6. Los Angeles Times – South Africa Suspends AstraZeneca Vaccine Drive After Study Shows Minimal Protection [against local variant]

Insurrection Attempt Updates.  There was a bit more news about insurrection charges this week. With the latest set of arrests, we’re now up to 198 people charged, and the charges remain very varied. The FBI is also alleging in its documents that the Proud Boys were trying to retaliate against police because they were angry about response to an earlier stabbing incident. It’s still an open question whether anyone will be charged with murder.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Arrested In Capitol Riot: Organized Militants And A Horde Of Radicals
  2. Washington Post – Proud Boys May Have Planned Capitol Breach To Retaliate Against Police For Member Stabbed At Earlier March, FBI Alleges
  3. New York Times – People Died At The Capitol. Will Rioters Be Charged With Murder?

Dismantling the Deportation Machine. I mentioned last week that I want to pay particular attention to how we’re mopping up in the aftermath of the Zero Tolerance policy, and we’ve had further updates on that. President Biden passed several more immigration executive orders on the topic last week, including one that created the anticipated task force to address family separation and two others that order studies of immigration processes. He’s expected to continue to make further changes to enforcement this week such as returning to priority enforcement, and we’re also rejoining the UN Human Rights Council. However, ICE deportations are continuing despite Biden’s order to stop them, and a few outlets noted that ICE contract agreements made by Trump may limit how much Biden can do in the short-term.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – A Visual Breakdown Of Biden’s Barrage Of Executive Actions In His First Weeks
  2. NBC – Biden Signs Immigration Executive Orders To Address ‘Moral Failing’ Of Trump’s Policies
  3. NBC – Biden Administration To Rejoin U.N. Human Rights Council In Another Reversal Of Trump
  4. Guardian – New Claims Of Migrant Abuse As ICE Defies Biden To Continue Deportations
  5. The Hill – ICE Union Contract Prompts Fear Of Resistance To Biden

Actions for Everyone

Things are slowly getting better. Around 10% of the population has now received at least 1 dose of the Covid vaccine. Our numbers are slowly going down. We all need each other to make it. Don’t forget to check on your loved ones, even if they seem ok.

Black History Month –  All of February is Black History Month and here are some nice ways you can still observe the month within pandemic restrictions.

CW: Suicide/Mental Illness

It’s February and my mind/body knows- For a lot of us, we’re currently going through winter and it’s R O U G H T. I thought it would be a good idea to make one of our actions this week to try to keep the winter blues at bay.

What can you do to help yourself fight Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Up your dose of Vitamin D! – Try to get as much sun as you can and if that’s hard for you, consider talking to your physician to see if you can start taking Vitamin D supplements.

Try to stay active! – It’s always natural to want to settle down a little more during the cold months but if you add Covid into the mix, lots of us are not going out or walking anywhere. Try to add some type of exercise; be it yoga, walking, dancing, stretching, doing some spring cleaning. Anything helps! Just try to move a little to help your brain.

Consider getting a SAD lamp- These lamps are made to mimic the sunrise and sunlight and will help you battle the sad away.

Reach out – 

Text 741741 for a free crisis text line

Call 1-800-662-HELP, the National helpline for substance abuse or emotional distress

Call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Go to Open Path Collective to find an accessible and affordable online therapist

The USPS is not out of the weeds yet – The USPS has been under attack for a while now, specially all throughout 2020 with the appointing of Trump follower Louis DeJoy and the campaigns of mistrust regarding the role of the postal service in the elections. Currently, DeJoy is trying to make the mail more expensive and also slower by installing new measures. The USPS is an extremely important institution and it must be protected.

Call your House representatives to voice your opinion against these attacks. There will be a House Oversight Committee hearing on February 24th.

Push on Biden to fill the seats left of the postal Board of Governors that could overturn the Postmaster General’s decisions and ultimately replace him.

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