Issue #137, 2020 Week 6

Hey everyone,

Trying to keep up with the news? Let us help. Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

This week, ho boy–after the end of the impeachment affair, this administration became emboldened, and that has a lot of secondary consequences.  The news is a rough ride this week, but as always we’ll have suggestions for how you can respond below.

Events to Know

Friday Night Massacre. The single biggest (and most obvious) abuse of power since impeachment ended has been Trump’s version of the Saturday Night Massacre, which happened this Friday.  In one day, he removed both Lt Col Alexander and Lt Col Yevgeny Vindman from the National Security Council and recalled Gordon Sondland from his role as EU Ambassador.  Then he immediately tweeted about Vindman’s testimony, in case we were all confused about why the man was fired–though to be fair, the other Lt Col Vindman hadn’t testified at all, so some confusion would be understandable.  Needless to say, this type of retaliation is super illegal, and Chuck Schumer is already trying to get inspectors general involved.  But Kellyanne Conway has signaled nonetheless signaled that there may be more retaliatory firings to come, and Trump has started trying to get Vindman publicly disciplined.

Key links:

  1. Bloomberg – Trump Ousts Impeachment Witnesses Sondland And Vindman
  2. Independent – Trump Publicly Admits He Fired White House Official As Retaliation For Impeachment Testimony: ‘He Was Very Insubordinate’
  3. CNN – Schumer Calls On 74 Inspectors General To Investigate Witness Retaliation After Vindman Ouster
  4. Politico – Kellyanne Conway Says More Officials May Be Ousted After Trump’s Senate Acquittal
  5. The Hill – Trump Suggests Military Should Consider Additional Discipline For Vindman

New Hampshire Primary. After a relatively uneventful but nicely parodied Democratic primary debate on Friday night, the immediate lead-up to the New Hampshire vote featured white guys taking swipes at each other and local polled voters saying they’d take a meteor crash over four more years of Trump. But it was nonetheless a straightforward and successful primary, especially compared to the Iowa adventures; it even had a clear winner–Bernie Sanders, by a margin of about 1.3%Pete Buttigieg was a close second, and Amy Klobuchar brought up third, so both of them gained delegates for the upcoming race. Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden both lagged behind, at least for now, but it seems likely that both of them will have stronger performances in other states.

Key links:

  1. NPR – 5 Takeaways From The Last Democratic Debate Before The New Hampshire Primary
  2. Time – Majority of New Hampshire Democrats Would Prefer a Meteor Extinguish ‘All Human Life’ Than Trump Get Re-Elected: Poll
  3. New York Times – How Amy Klobuchar Pulled Off the Big Surprise of the New Hampshire Primary
  4. Washington Post – New Hampshire primary updates: Candidates turn attention to Nevada, South Carolina

Emolument Setbacks. We saw some emoluments news this week too, and none of it was good. The Washington Post ran a story about the exorbitant rates the secret service is charged every time he travels to Mar-A-Lago and other Trump properties, causing taxpayer money to flow into the Trump empire. They likely ran this story in response to an appeals court decision this week to reject the emoluments case brought by Congressional Democrats on the theory that they lack standing. This decision, and I cannot stress this enough, does not touch the merits of the case; it was made on a procedural technicality and is not a comment on whether Trump is violating the Emoluments clause of the Constitution (which, in my opinion, he super is).

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Secret Service Spending At Trump Hotels: Rooms For Agents Cost Up To $650 A Night
  2. Politico – Appeals Court Rejects Democrats’ Emoluments Suit Against Trump
  3. Washington Post – Individual Members Of Congress Barred From Suing President Trump Over Business Dealings

Recent Resilience

Clearing the Playing Field. In the wake of the New Hampshire results, we have a new crop of 2020 hopefuls with low numbers who have decided to drop out. It’s bittersweet for the strongest of the contenders (you had a good run, Andrew Yang), but less so for candidates like Michael Bennet and Deval Patrick, who never broke 1% in the early primaries. And whatever your opinion, it furthers consolidation and coalition-building at a time when we really need it. So it’s certainly far from terrible to have a smaller playing field as we head into the Nevada caucuses on February 22.

Key links:

  1. Politico – Andrew Yang Drops Out
  2. AP News – Bennet ends 2020 bid after poor showing in New Hampshire
  3. The Hill – Deval Patrick drops out of 2020 race

Things to Watch

William Barr’s Growing Empire. We need to be sounding the alarms about what’s happening in our Justice Department.  First on the list, the Justice Department announced that they’ll go ahead and review sketchy malpractice man Rudy Giuliani’s intel on the Bidens. For bonus authoritarianism, Attorney General Barr also announced this week that nobody in the FBI is allowed to conduct investigations on 2020 Presidential election candidates now unless they get his permission, even though he’s literally conducting a backdoor investigation on a Presidential candidate while he announces that. This also happened in the same week that all of the prosecutors on Roger Stone’s criminal case asked to be reassigned or straight-up quit because Barr was forcing them to change their sentencing recommendations. Eventually Barr just announced he was taking control of the Stone sentence and oh yeah, every other matter of legal interest to Trump too. Needless to say, this is unprecedented and a very scary thing to watch our Justice Department do, because it suggests the department is now definitely Trump’s personal legal service.

Key links:

  1. NPR – Barr: ‘Door Is Open’ To Giuliani Tips On Ukraine, Though They’d Be Scrutinized
  2. The Hill – Barr Directs FBI To Get His Approval Before Investigating 2020 Presidential Candidates: Report
  3. Politico – Rand Paul Reads Alleged Whistleblower’s Name And Republicans ‘Fine’ With It
  4. New York Times – Prosecutors Quit Roger Stone Case After Justice Dept. Intervenes on Sentencing
  5. NBC News – Barr takes control of legal matters of interest to Trump, including Stone sentencing

Coronavirus Creep. The coronavirus situation is still worsening, with the death toll now over a thousand people, surpassing the SARS mortality rate in the early 2000s.  We’ve also seen the first death of a U.S. citizen (though that person died in Wuhan), and the whistleblowing doctor who first tried to report the new coronavirus passed away this week as well.  This epidemic remains primarily centered in China, and it’s still true that the flu is a much more serious virus in the U.S. at this time–and we should be thinking carefully about whether our responses are borne of racism rather than true public health concern.  But we still might see transmission in the U.S. increase, and I will continue to track this epidemic.

Key links:

  1. STAT News – ‘We Need Everyone For This’: U.S. Hospitals Harnessing Resources To Brace For Any Spike In Coronavirus Cases
  2. New York Times – A New Martyr Puts A Face On China’s Deepening Coronavirus Crisis
  3. NPR – On Social Media, Racist Responses To Coronavirus Can Have Their Own Contagion
  4. STAT – WHO Cautions That Transmission Of The New Coronavirus Outside Of China Could Increase

Immigration Updates. Unsurprisingly, we saw bad immigration news start to ramp up again as soon as the impeachment inquiry was over.  CBP was in the news, first because a new policy will shield them from FOIA requests moving forward.  Then they were in the news again because a 32-year-old who was a U.S. citizen has died in their custody this week, and there are so many different things wrong with that sentence that I don’t even know where to start.  Similarly, ICE was in the news for shooting a man in the face as he tried to intervene in an arrest.  And the Trump administration announced they are blocking New York residents from the Global Entry airport program because they are mad about a new policy called the Green Light Law which precludes sharing license databases with ICE.  Unsurprisingly, New York is already suing over the policy.
Key links:

  1. The Nation –  Customs And Border Protection Gains An Extra Layer Of Secrecy
  2. CNN – US Citizen Arrested By Border Patrol Dies In Custody
  3. Washington Post – ICE Officers Shot A Man In The Face As He Tried To Intervene In An Arrest
  4. Vox – New York Sues The Trump Administration Over Denying Residents Access To Global Entry                                                                                                                                                

Actions for Everyone

We can’t let the sad news coming from the Senate’s acquittal of Trump’s impeachment let us down. Let’s use it to fuel our fire within, make us more militant, more involved, charge our spirit to thrive for change. We only have a couple of months to go! For now, let us focus on the present. February is Black History Month!

A Little History Class! – Black History Month began in the 1920’s where Harvard historian Carter G. Woodson proposed to dedicate a week to the importance of Black History and named it “Negro History Week”. It was the second week of February because it celebrated both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays. Later in the 70’s black educators and academic institutions started to extend it for the entire month and it soon became a staple. We observe Black History Month in order to recognize the central role African American’s have had in this country, to pay tribute and to acknowledge the importance of educating on the history of marginalized people.

This year’s Black History Month’s theme is African Americans and the Vote.  You can learn more about this year’s theme here. 

This list of things you can do to celebrate Black History Month by the NAACP is great! Share it with your friends.

Also, if you have the ability to allocate money into a Black centered organization, that would be awesome too.

Here are some good ones:

Thurgood Marshall College Fund – The only organization that focuses strictly on historically Black colleges and institutions. “Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also a source for top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.”

Black AIDS Institute –  Their mission is to stop the AIDS epidemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black institutions and individuals in efforts to confront HIV.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) – The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

Download apps tha map and promote Black Owned Businesses – You can download Official Black Wall Street to see places around your area that are black owned and you can get Black Nation to look for black owned businesses and services!

And since the theme for 2020’s Black History Month is the vote…

REGISTER TO VOTE: Go to Vote.Org to find out if you’re registered to vote in 2020 or to register online. You can also get an absentee ballot, as well as several other convenient online options. Since we’ve been talking so much about this, you’ve already gone to register to vote, OR at least made an election day plan, right? Next, are you ready for the ballot? Take a few minutes to check out your state’s sample ballot to make sure you know how you’re gonna vote. AND if you want, here’s a link to sign up for a text reminder to make a vote plan.

Some Things That Made Me Laugh this week:

I joined the group Wild Green Memes for Ecological Fiends on Facebook and I am never going back.

The main topic this week was how Olives and Dolphins seem to have the same texture and the memes were SO good.

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

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Issue #136, 2020 Week 5

Hey everyone,

So much happened we needed an extra day (or 2). 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 set of messed-up impeachment proceedings. On the plus side, the rest of this week’s news looks a bit less dire than last week’s, so that’s something at least!  As always, we’ll keep you posted on the developments and ways to respond to them.

Events to Know

Impeachment Q&A. After two short days of opening statements from the President’s team, we moved into a question-and-answer phase on Wednesday–and it was, to use a technical term, a hot mess.  Alan Dershowitz created new nightmare fuel by claiming that if Trump “does something he believes will get him elected in the public’s interest,” then “that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”  His colleague whom he cited, unsurprisingly, did not agree with his analysis.  But many GOP Senators found it exactly the kind of cover they needed; by the end of the week they were arguing that Trump’s actions were bad but not impeachable. This in turn prompted the New York Times to run a thinkpiece entitled “L’Etat, C’est Trump,” and also prompted Democratic senator Joe Manchin to begin calling for a censure, since the GOP did concede the overall not-awesomeness of Trump’s actions.

Key links:

  1. PBS – Here’s A Spreadsheet Of Every Question Asked During The Senate Impeachment Trial
  2. Washington Post – The 7 Most Interesting Q&As From The Senate Impeachment Trial
  3. Business Insider – Harvard Professor Slams Trump’s Lawyer For Incorrectly Citing Him Numerous Times During Trump’s Impeachment Trial: ‘It’s A Joke’
  4. Washington Post – House Managers Argue That Senators Have A ‘Duty’ To Remove Trump From Office; Sen. Manchin Calls For Censure

Witnesses Fall Through. By far, the most disappointing point of this past week’s proceedings was the witness vote on Friday.  The week started out with Mitch McConnell indicating that he didn’t have the votes to block Bolton’s testimony, and at least one Republican senator also asked for the manuscript of John Bolton’s book.  But then more moderate GOP Senator Lamar Alexander indicated that he would not vote for witnesses, possibly in response to public pressure from Trump, and Lisa Murkowski followed suit.  And that was all she wrote–we needed four Republicans, and we only got two.  The final vote was 49-51, which means no witnesses will be called in this trial despite the high likely value of John Bolton’s testimony–in fact, all four of the Democrat’s amendments failed along party lines.

Key links:

  1. The Hill – Gop Senator Says Senate Should Get Copy Of Bolton Manuscript
  2. Wall Street Journal – Gop Senators Appear Likely To Reject Witnesses In Impeachment Trial
  3. New York Times – Republicans Block Impeachment Witnesses, Clearing Path For Trump Acquittal
  4. NBC – Trump Impeachment Trial: Senate Passes Impeachment Trial Endgame
  5. Washington Post – Senate To Vote Wednesday On Whether To Remove Or Acquit Trump On Impeachment Charges

Confounding Policy Updates. We saw a number of odd policy changes this week, some of which are standard issue Trumpian poor policy and one of which is odd simply because I’m suspicious of how non-terrible it appears.  First up, Trump undid Obama’s restrictions on land mine use, increasing the likelihood of killing civilians accidentally.  And in health news, we have the Medicaid funding overhaul proposed this week, which takes a major step towards a block grant structure for the entitlement program.  It’s a move that experts and even Congress pretty uniformly regard to be demonstrably bad policy–the weird thing here is that we’re still stuck in this ACA repeal Groundhog Day after literally years of failed attempts.  In immigration news, in addition to the public charge changes outlined last week–which we now know go into effect on February 24, by the way–the administration added six new countries to their travel ban list this week. So folks from Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar now have restricted travel as well, particularly when it comes to getting visas issued for temporary travel.  Finally, there’s a new process for public loan forgiveness that is designed to make it simpler to apply–and on its face, appears to actually do the thing it sets out to do!  Nobody check whether Betsy DeVos is now a pod person, please, because we could all use a break this week.

Key links:

  1. ABC – Trump Administration Eases Obama-era Restrictions On Use Of Landmines
  2. Center On Budget And Policy Priorities – The Problems With Block-Granting Entitlement Programs
  3. US Citizenship And Immigration Services – USCIS Announces Public Charge Rule Implementation Following Supreme Court Stay Of Nationwide Injunctions
  4. CNN – Trump Administration Expands Travel Ban To Include Six New Countries
  5. NPR – Education Dept. Unveils Fix For Student Loan Program’s ‘Bureaucratic Nightmare’

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience. A federal judge found this week that the criminal conviction of four humanitarian workers in Arizona with the humanitarian group No More Deaths should be overturned. The decision was made pursuant to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, with the court finding that it was an expression of their sincerely-held religious beliefs to help prevent deaths in the desert despite the administration’s “deterrence by death” policy. The decision cites the Hobby Lobby case of 2017 while articulating its reasoning, which is legally noteworthy but also just kind of edifying.

Key links:

  1. Tucson Sentinel – Judge Reverses Convictions Of 4 No More Deaths Volunteers
  2. The Intercept – Federal Judge Reverses Conviction Of Border Volunteers, Challenging Government’s “Gruesome Logic”

Border Wall Bluster.  In schadenfreude news, parts of the border wall keep getting blown over by wind, requiring large storm gates to be kept open indefinitely.  Needless to say, this somewhat limits the effectiveness of said barrier, since it will have giant gaping holes in it for the foreseeable future.  Gosh, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer wall.

Key links:

  1. BBC – Trump’s Wall: Winds Blow Over Section Of US-Mexico Border Fence
  2. The Hill – Trump’s Border Wall Requires Open Storm Gates To Avoid Flash Floods In Certain Areas: Report

Recent State Resilience. We have an odd array of good news on the state level this week, but I’m certainly not complaining! Virginia has repealed a law requiring mandatory ultrasounds for abortions which has been on the books for several years, and along with two other states also brought a lawsuit demanding the Equal Rights Act be added to the constitution. (It’s a good week to be Virginian, apparently!) And in New York, a state park in Brooklyn is being named after famous trans activist Marsha Johnson, which is an exciting milestone for LGBTQ representation in New York and elsewhere.

Key links:

  1. Vox – How Abortion In Virginia Went From A Trump Talking Point To A Winning Issue For Democrats
  2. Washington Post – Herring, Other State Ag File Lawsuit Demanding Addition Of ERA To Constitution
  3. LGBTQ Nation – Marsha P. Johnson Is Getting A State Park In Brooklyn Named After Her

Things to Watch

Impeachment Aftermath.  At the tail end of the impeachment roller coaster, there’s a conclusion but not a lot of answers.  The first article of impeachment, abuse of power, failed by 48-52 vote, with every Republican but Mitt Romney voting to acquit.  The second article of impeachment, obstruction of justice, failed entirely along party lines by 47-53 vote.  This sets a very concerning precedent about checks and balances, even though the outcome was predicted, which Trump celebrated with an hour-long speech the next day.  The silver lining is that every single Democrat in the Senate voted to impeach on both counts, highlighting a level of party unity that was definitely not a given at the beginning of the week.
Key links:

  1. NPR – ‘Not Guilty’: Trump Acquitted On 2 Articles Of Impeachment As Historic Trial Closes
  2. New York Times – Romney, Defying the Party He Once Personified, Votes to Convict Trump

Coronavirus Creep. The coronavirus situation continues to get worse, with the death toll in China now up to 425 and approximately 20,000 people diagnosed globally.  We’ve also seen the first death outside of China and the first person-to-person transmission in the U.S.  The World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency, and airlines all around the country are suspending flights to China.  Experts note that the flu is a much more serious virus in the U.S. at this time, and that’s definitely true–and we should be thinking carefully about whether our responses are borne of racism rather than true public health concern.  That said, we are underprepared for any pandemic in this country, and this is worth tracking.
Key links:

  1. CBS – China Admits “Shortcomings” As Global Efforts To Stop Deadly Coronavirus Ramp Up
  2. CNN – World Health Organization Declares Coronavirus A Public Health Emergency Of International Concern
  3. Business Insider – The Wuhan Coronavirus Is Causing Increased Reports Of Racism And Xenophobia Against Asian People At College, Work, And Supermarkets
  4. Washington Post – The Next Pandemic Is Coming. We’re Not Prepared For It

Primary Election Brouhaha. All eyes were on the Iowa caucus on Monday–which has an imperfect record, but nonetheless usually represents the first real primary results we’ll see this season.  This might turn out to be the first year that isn’t true–the process is always a bit complicated, but it was confounded this year by an issue with a new app used to tally votes which caused voter inconsistencies.  At the time that I type this on Tuesday night, partial results have been released, but only about 62% of precincts have reported in, and it’s not clear what we’ll do from here.  (On the plus side, Nevada has said it now won’t use the app in its own primary election.)  Candidates are moving on to New Hampshire, which will see its own votes this time next week; let’s hope it’s smoother sailing over there!
Key links:

  1. ABC – Examining The Iowa Caucus Track Record On Predicting Presidents
  2. CBS – Confusion And Embarrassment In Iowa: What Went Wrong, And What Happens Next?
  3. New York Times – Iowa Results: What We Know So Far
  4. Fivethirtyeight – Iowa Might Have Screwed Up The Whole Nomination Process
  5. Nevada Democrats Won’t Use App That Caused Iowa Caucus Fiasco                                                                                                                                              

Actions for Everyone

February in the Midwest means we’ve gotta be taking vitamin D and C and drinking tea and soaking up little drops of sunlight, and creating Hygge (that’s the first time I’ve actually used this word). Anywho, take great care of yourselves out there. Here are some Activism suggestions until next time.
Wash your Hands, and Don’t Spread Xenophobia: The coronavirus is certainly a scary reality for a number of reasons, including that it’s highly contagious and has already proved its fatal capabilities, just to name a few. There’s lots of media coverage following this outbreak, which I can only assume is to help prevent the spread of the virus, but it’s also creating space for xenophobia to rear its ugly head. “We should not let by fear or panic guide our actions,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, during a Friday press call. “We should not assume because someone is of Asian descent that they have the new coronavirus.”

So, this is a reminder to take all the precautions you would any and every flu season,  as well as a step-by-step wiki tutorial on how to dismantle xenophobia.

Black History Month: We’re still in the very beginning of Black History Month. What are you doing this month to celebrate or learn something new or be braver? There are a lot of events happening in my hometown, including a panel discussion on How to Have Better Conversations About Race, and simply the existence of America’s Black Holocaust Museum is incredible (I really hope you check out that link). I wanted to make some space to acknowledge black queer history, too. Here’s a great write up celebrating LGBTQIA+ black excellence – Happy Black History Month!

Get Ready for the Primary Vote: Iowa got us a bumpy start to the democratic process this week, and every other state’s primary is coming up over the next few months (see 2020 Presidential Election Calendar). Since we’ve been talking so much about this, you’ve already gone to register to vote, OR at least made an election day plan, right? Next, are you ready for the ballot? Take a few minutes to check out your state’s sample ballot to make sure you know how you’re gonna vote. AND if you want, here’s a link to sign up for a text reminder to make a vote plan.

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

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

Best,
The Activism Team

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

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

PO Box 186

Stevens Point, WI 54481

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Issue #135, 2020 Week 4

Hey everyone,

Trying to find the facts?  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 week was mostly taken up by Senate trial proceedings, though there was some other pretty painful news as well. At this point, honestly, I’m starting to think we’d be better off being governed by the group of monkeys that accidentally wrote Hamlet.

Events to Know

The House’s Opening Arguments. Adam Schiff’s opening arguments on behalf of the House started out along tried-and-true lines, pointing to highlights in the existing body of evidence to argue that Trump was trying to cheat in the 2020 election.  But as the House’s three days of opening argument progressed, they got increasingly colorful and creative, folding in video clips to bring in ‘testimony’ and eventually referencing apparent threats to GOP Senators who strayed from the party line.  Unsurprisingly, Republicans grew increasingly contemptuous–with more than a third leaving the room at some points, andfidget spinners apparently distributed for use during the remarks.  (The Senate’s more moderate Republicans, incidentally, criticized Schiff for referencing apparent threat to them, but it remains to be seen whether their votes will reflect their displeasure.)

Key links:

  1. PBS – Democrats Push Familiar Case On First Day Of Oral Arguments

  2. New York Times –  Branding Trump a Danger, Democrats Cap the Case For His Removal

  3. Law & Crime – ’21 Empty Seats’: More Than One-Third Of GOP Senators Reportedly Left Room During Schiff’s Speech

The President’s Opening Arguments. The President’s opening statements also ran their course this week after a brief preview on Saturday, and they were as full of credibility and integrity as you might expect–which is to say, not much at all.  Among the highlights: 1) Kennith Starr, who was instrumental in advancing the Clinton impeachment, complaining that ‘we live in the age of impeachment’ without a trace of apparent irony; 2) Lengthy diversions into the Bidens and Burisma to distract from the actual trial subject; 3) Calling Giuliani a ‘colorful distraction’; and 4) Scrambling to handle the Bolton bombshell that we’ll talk more about below.  We move into a question-and-answer phase today, and there will be a vote on witnesses Friday–so there’s still plenty to watch on the impeachment front.

Key links:

  1. Newsweek – Ken Starr, The Investigator Who Pushed For Clinton’s Removal, Laments ‘Age Of Impeachment’ During Trump Trial

  2. NBC – Trump’s Senate Impeachment Trial: What Happened On Day 6

  3. New York Times – Impeachment Trial Highlights: Trump’s Lawyers Avoid Bolton, Giuliani Surfaces And A History Lesson

  4. CNN – Senate Impeachment Trial: Trump’s Defense Soldiers Past Bolton Revelations

Immigration Update. Immigration communities got an unpleasant jolt when the Supreme Court suddenly released an opinion on public charge in the middle of impeachment proceedings.  The decision lifts an injunction put in place by district courts, reaffirmed only a few weeks ago by the Second Circuit, and allows the administration to go forward with a plan to dramatically reshape how they grant permission to immigrate. A lot of outlets are calling this a ‘wealth test,’ which is an accurate if incomplete summary; though on its face, the policy is supposed to be about public benefits, it’s really just a back-door way to implement ‘merit-based immigration’ that looks at applicants’ age, wealth, and able-bodiedness (among other things).  It also leaves applicants afraid to access things they need to be healthy such as nutritional supports and health insurance.  As if to punctuate the point, the decision was issued onInternational Holocaust Remembrance Day, highlighting that most survivors would be systemically blocked from entry under enforcement of this policy.

Key links: 

  1. CNN – 5-4 Supreme Court Allows Rule To Take Effect That Could Reshape Legal Immigration
  2. Migration Policy Institute – “Merit-Based” Immigration: Trump Proposal Would Dramatically Revamp Immigrant Selection Criteria, But with Modest Effects on Numbers
  3. Protecting Immigrant Families — Analysis and Research: Public Charge

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience. This one is only borderline good, but it’s what I’ve got, so let’s roll with it:  The Supreme Court declined to fast-track a challenge to the Affordable Care Act this week, meaning that the challenge will remain in place throughout the upcoming year until a decision is reached next term.  This, of course, means that the question will still be unresolved during the 2020 election, but it also means the ACA won’t get immediately gutted by the Supreme Court–which would have been a possible outcome if they heard the case now.  So frankly, I’ll take it.

Key links:

  1. The Hill – Supreme Court Denies Blue States’ Effort To Expedite Obamacare Challenge

Things to Watch

John Bolton Testimony? As John Bolton began his promotional tour of his new book, “The Room Where It Happened,” a leaked manuscript revealed that it undercuts a major pillar of Trump’s impeachment defense strategy, because the book claims that Trump told Bolton personally not to release funds to Ukraine until the Bidens were investigated. Incredibly, the White House was sent a copy of the book for review in December, which means that the team had notice that Bolton was about to say this publicly when they crafted their defense (which says more-or-less the exact opposite of Bolton’s book). Naturally, Democrats are clamoring for his testimony again upon learning this, and today Mitch McConnell indicated he doesn’t have the votes to block Bolton’s testimony.  That means this is a great time to call our senators to press for witnesses to be heard!

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Trump Tied Ukraine Aid To Inquiries He Sought, Bolton Book Says 

  2. Politico – Trump’s Legal Team Launches Attack On Dem Case — And Schiff

  3. Washington Post – Democrats Call For Bolton To Testify In Trump Impeachment Trial After New Report On Aid To Ukraine

Mike Pompeo Erupts. After NPR interviewer Mary Louise Kelly aired an interview with Mike Pompeo that asked him about Ukraine, she disclosed thathe launched into a profanity-laced tirade immediately after taping, at one pointdemanding that she point to Ukraine on a map. Secretary Pompeo responded to Kelly’s assertion by calling her ‘unhinged,’ and Trump asked why NPR exists–which in our current atmosphere, can definitely be read as a threat.  As if to punctuate that point, the administration also started limiting NPR journalists’ access to State Department affairs immediately after this happened. We’ll need to keep an eye on this, because it could easily signal another uptick in attacks on the press.

Key links:

  1. NPR – Pompeo Won’t Say Whether He Owes Yovanovitch An Apology. ‘I’ve Done What’s Right’

  2. The Hill – Trump Questions Why NPR Exists After Pompeo Clashes With Reporter

  3. Washington Examiner – State Department Removes Npr Reporter From Pompeo Travel Pool After Feud With Outlet

Bonkers Parnas Evidence (Again). While all of the above was going on, even more damning news about the Ukraine affair managed to come out through unrelated means, which is kind of a neat trick by this point. More specifically,video surfaced of Donald Trump at a state dinner with Lev Parna telling staff to‘get rid’ of then-ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Outlets are assuming he was ordering underlings to fire her, but it’s a bit ambiguous, because he concludes by saying “Take her out. Okay? Do it.” Having seen the text messages from last week, which more-or-less document stalking her, I think they have a fascinating view of what is required to fire someone–but more to the point, every time Lev Parnas drops more evidence, the chance of some of it winding up in the Senate proceedings gets a bit higher.  That means it’s still valuable to keep an eye on the Parnas news as well.

Key links:

  1. Reuters – ‘Take Her Out’ – Recording Appears To Have Trump Calling For Ambassador’s Ouster: Abc News
  2. New York Times – Lev Parnas Says He Has Recording Of Trump Calling For Ambassador’s Firing 
  3. CNN – New Impeachment Documents Show More Texts About Possible Surveillance Of Former Us Ambassador To Ukraine                                                                                                           

Actions for Everyone

CW: Suicide

Trump hates the environment – This statement may seem harsh but all the actions taken by the current administration seem to prove its validity. Since 2017 we’ve seen numerous rollbacks in Obama-era environmental policies and they keep coming.

Weakening protection for small bodies of water – Rolling back Federal protections puts States in charge of regulating lakes, streams and wetlands but many places don’t have State laws regarding water protection and depend on Federal laws.  The removal of said protections comes as a request from industry and farm groups. You can learn more about it here.

Limiting penalties for bird deaths – A change in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act now allows for “for the incidental taking or killing of migratory birds, as long as that was not the intent of the action.” This opens up the opportunity for companies to move eggs, nests or the birds themselves as long as they can prove their reason for doing so wasn’t the willful act of killing them.

Logging biggest wild forest in America – Since last year the administration is proposing to open up 180,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. It’s still not official but the intention is there to do so. In the name of industry and the economy, they will do anything.

What can we do? Get involved in local politics, see what your State is doing to protect the environment and write/call your representatives to see what they are doing to challenge these acts against the planet.

Puerto Rico is still in crisis after earthquakes – The southern coast of Puerto Rico still has thousands of families living in outdoor tent cities (that are now currently flooding because of intense rains the past weed). The government is not doing its job taking care of its citizens, prompting mass manifestations where citizens carried a guillotine to the governor’s mansion (badass), and it’s ongoing. There have been 23 suicides in the last 28 days in the areas that have been affected. The people still need help.

You can donate here:

Brigada Solidaria del Oeste – Community based, grassroots group that came together after Hurricane Maria and are now helping communities affected by the earthquakes. You can donate directly to their Paypal. 

Register to Vote: You got a few minutes? Go to Vote.Org to find out if you’re registered to vote in 2020 or to register online. You can also get an absentee ballot, as well as several other convenient online options.

This are some Things That Made Me Laugh this week:

Penguin Dogs

Accidental Wes Anderson

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 #134, 2020 Week 3

Hey everyone,

Too much happening to feel like you’re keeping 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 week marks the pomp and circumstance leading into the Senate trial and the beginning of the Senate trial itself. I’m still not sure what kind of ride we will see, but we’re watching the GOP set up a circus and the House set up a courtroom, so there’s bound to be some clashing genres and a whole lot of inanity.

Events to Know

Iran Updates. Iran news is dying down, but we did get a few updates.  Namely, the White House story shifted yet again, with Attorney General William Barr saying that the DOJ declared Soleimani a legitimate target when consulted before the bombing, and that said bombing was part of a larger strategy of ‘deterrence’.  Unsurprisingly, we also heard news that as many as ten GOP Senators may vote to limit this administration’s war powers with regards to Iran, because even they agree that the White House has abused the privilege.

Key links:

  1. CNN – Barr And Pompeo Shift Justification For Iran Strike From ‘Imminent’ Threat To Deterrence
  2. The Hill – Up To 10 Gop Senators Consider Bucking Trump On War Powers

Administration Policy Updates. The administration did do some actual governing this week, for whatever that is worth. The biggest news as I type this is that Trump signed a partial trade deal with China, which doesn’t do everything he wanted but he’s calling it “a monumental step” anyway because the man literally lies fifteen times a day.  (It does relax some sanctions, though several remain in place, and hopefully it will provide some relief for farmers and the manufacturing sector over time.)  The administration also proposed relaxing rules about nutrition in school menus, Michelle Obama’s most significant achievement, so that fewer vegetables were required and more fast food was permitted.  They did this on this past Friday, which just so happens to also be Michelle Obama’s birthday, because apparently we’re being governed by middle schoolers.

Key links:

  1. NPR – Trump Signs ‘Phase 1’ China Trade Deal, But Most Tariffs Remain In Place
  2. Washington Post – More Pizza, Fewer Vegetables: Trump Administration Further Undercuts Obama School-Lunch Rules

Gun Rally Rodeo. Virginia was in the news this week for a pro-gun rally to protest recently-proposed gun reform laws that caused a lot of fear and chaos before it even began.  In the week leading up to the rally, the governor declared a state of emergency and the FBI arrested several men with ties to white supremacist militias who were planning to attend (some of whom were coming in from outside the country).  The rally itself drew 22,000 people, many of whom were armed despite the governor’s instructions, though only one twenty-one-year-old unarmed woman was arrested.

Key links:

  1. CNN – FBI Official Expresses ‘Fair Sense Of Worry’ Over Monday’s Pro-gun Rally In Richmond
  2. NPR – FBI Arrests 3 Alleged Members Of White Supremacist Group Ahead Of Richmond Rally
  3. New York Times – Amid Tight Security, Virginia Gun Rally Draws Thousands of Supporters

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience. The Fifth Circuit declined to hear a case that would have reopened the question of whether fifteen-week abortions are legal in the state of Mississippi, which means the decision to strike down the law in the lower courts stands (at least for now). It’s not clear why the court declined to hear the case, but the outcome is a win, so I’m counting it nonetheless.

Key links:

  1. Bloomberg – Full 5th Cir. Denies Rehearing on 15-Week Abortion Ban

Equal Rights Amendment Resilience. Virginia ratified the Equal Rights Amendment this week, making it the thirty-eighth state to ratify since the legislation was passed in 1972. In fact, since the original proposal was so long ago, experts aren’t certain what happens next–we’ve reached the magic number for ratification, but there’s some disagreement about whether there was a time limit and this administration is trying to block it. We should definitely continue to watch this, but even just reaching the number for ratification is very exciting.

Key links:

  1. USA Today – Virginia Becomes 38th State To Pass ERA For Women, Likely Setting Up Issue For Courts
  2. Atlantic – Did Virginia Just Amend the Constitution?
  3. Washington Post – U.S. Justice Department says Virginia action would come too late to ratify ERA

Things to Watch

Senate Trial News. After Nancy Pelosi picked House managers to prosecute–all legislators with legal experience, as her metric was “comfort in the courtroom”–Trump picked his team as well, and it was… pretty weird.  Among the confusing picks: Kennith Starr, who famously prosecuted Clinton’s impeachment so hard that people compared him to Javert, and Alan Dershowitz, who was probably just ecstatic that someone believes he’s still relevant.  The Senate then took oaths of impartiality, even though several GOP Senators have informed us that they have zero intent to remain impartial, and appears to have agreed to Kamala Harris’s call for a halt in judicial review while the impeachment is pending.  Then Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell released his proposed trial rules, which can more-or-less be summarized as “Who needs evidence, witnesses, or time to respond to motions?”  Needless to say, Senate Democrats were not impressed, and they got him to grant a bit more time and admit the original House record by the time final ground rules were issued–but the GOP held firm about refusing to subpoena the White House for documents. And all of this is particularly galling when you consider that the Government Accountability Office also released a report this week stating that the White House definitely broke federal laws when it withheld funds from Ukraine for a policy reason.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Pelosi Taps Diverse Team of Impeachment Managers With Legal Credentials
  2. NBC – Trump Impeachment Defense Team Expected To Include Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz
  3. Business Insider – The Oath Senators Just Took At The Start Of The Impeachment Trial Is Essentially Meaningless
  4. The Hill – Harris Calls For Judicial Nominee Freeze During Impeachment Trial
  5. Politico – McConnell Rams Through Trump Trial Rules
  6. Washington Post – White House Hold On Ukraine Aid Violated Federal Law, Congressional Watchdog Says

2020 Election Weirdness. After Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were in the news for an apparent rift about the electability of women in 2020, there was much to-do about how this played out on Tuesday’s debate–specifically, over a declined handshake that everybody yelled about for way too long, given that Sanders is researching whether he could give Warren multiple positions in his hypothetical administration.  In more actual news, the Iowa caucuses are coming upon us, which is probably why the New York Times issued an endorsement today.  Unusually, they endorsed both Klobuchar and Warren, which is a move that has drawn a wide range of reactions.
Key links:

  1. Intercept – The Sanders Campaign Researched Whether Warren Could Be Both Vice President And Treasury Secretary At Once
  2. New York Times – The Democrats’ Best Choices For President

Bonkers Parnas Evidence. As implied above, the House released a bunch more information gleaned from Lev Parnas this week in waves, and most of it is incredibly damning–the documents hint at everything from stalking Ambassador Yovanovitch to the involvement of Devin Nunes. Rachel Maddow also had a completely bonkers interview with Parnas where he reiterated that “everybody was in the loop” (including Trump, Pence and William Barr) about all of the above.  And information also leaked that Giuliani had requested a private meeting with President Zelensky, using Parnas as a broker.  Between all of the above, it’s not surprising that Ukraine has opened a criminal investigation into the whole thing.
Key links:

  1. Talking Points Memo –  House Intel Releases Parnas Docs For Trump Impeachment
  2. NBC – Key Things We Learned From Lev Parnas’ Revealing MSNBC Interview
  3. Politico – Ukraine Probes Possible Surveillance Of Us Ambassador                                                                                                                                                  

Actions for Everyone

Wednesday, January 22nd, marks the beginning of Trump’s impeachment trial in the senate. Keep your eyes peeled on the hearings – which you can stream here on PBS. New trial rules are being introduced, precedents are changing, 12 + hour days of deliberations are happening, and as long as this hullabaloo is happening, I’m starting to prep myself for the DNC in Milwaukee, WI. I doubt it’ll be as dramatic as these impeachment hearings, though I wonder if it’ll keep up with…other highly televised stuff.

Reform in Richmond: It gives me hope to see Virginia elected officials passing three gun reform bills so far in 2020. The three bills include requiring background checks on all firearm sales, limiting gun purchases to one in a 30-day period, and allowing localities (i.e. communities) to ban guns from public events. This is amazing! Although some states already require background checks, I hope that other states take heed and/or that we call our elected officials and tell them we want them to pass similar legislation. 

Also, because democracy and justice, I’m glad to see there was a peaceful protest outside the VA capitol building and that three white nationalists who planned to incite violence at said rally were arrested. F*ck white nationalism, but you go peaceful gun-rights advocates! There were an estimated 22,000 rally attendees, and a lot of them were carrying weapons, so a non-violent rally seems like an incredible feat. I happen to believe that background checks, limiting gun purchases, and allowing communities to ban guns from public events is in no way an infringement on the second amendment, but in this case, to each their own.

Check out Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence to learn more about statistics, resources, and how you can take action. Listen to this episode of More Perfect to learn more about the Second Amendment.

Register to Vote: You got a few minutes? Go to Vote.Org to find out if you’re registered to vote in 2020 or to register online. You can also get an absentee ballot, as well as several other convenient online options.

Black History Month: We’re only about a week away from February which means Black History Month! I wanted to make sure this is on your radar now so you can research what discussions, lectures, films, books, and other media or community events are happening near you. Here are a few links to get you started planning your month:

Those are just a few resources for ya, but please send us other resources you know of for February to activism@patrothfuss.com

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

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

Best,
The Activism Team

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

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

PO Box 186

Stevens Point, WI 54481

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Issue #133, 2020 Week 2

Hey everyone,

2020 looks like it’s going to be a wild ride!  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

Well, this week started out calmer, but at the time that I type this it’s back to being pretty bonkers.  We’ll keep you posted on developments as always!

Events to Know

Iran Updates. We just kept getting news about the bad actions of both parties after last week’s stressful events.  Iran was eventually forced to admit that it shot down a Ukrainian plane by mistake, resulting in the deaths of 176 people aboard.  Meanwhile, Trump’s claim that he was stopping an ‘imminent attack’ lacked so much credibility that it stayed a moving target for the rest of the week–first he claimed that Iran was was going to attack four embassies.  Then when Mark Esper made him walk that one back too, Trump graduated to saying that “it doesn’t really matter” whether there was an imminent threat or not.  And to cap off the week, he talked about selling troops on Fox News and tweeted an image of Nancy Pelosi in a hijab.

Key links:

  1. CBS – Protests Continue Into Second Day In Tehran After Iran Admits It Mistakenly Shot Down Plane
  2. BBC – Qasem Soleimani: Iran Was Targeting Four Us Embassies, Says Trump
  3. Washington Post – Trump Says ‘It Doesn’t Really Matter’ If Iranian General Posed An Imminent Threat
  4. Rolling Stone – Trump Brags About Serving Up American Troops To Saudi Arabia For Nothing More Than Cash

But Her Emails (Weren’t Noteworthy). The Justice Department is winding down its investigation into Hillary Clinton, having concluded for the zillionth time that there was no scandal there to prosecute. In other news, water is wet.

Key links:

  1. CNN – Justice Inquiry Into Hillary Clinton’s Business Dealings Languishes

Bad Immigration News. There are rumors this week that the administration plans to expand its travel ban to include seven more countries, presumably to capture that good old fashioned Islamophobia in the lead-up to November.  I’m generally reluctant to share things at the rumor stage, but given our last few weeks with Iran I think this one is more likely to have legs, and I want to keep an eye on it.  Meanwhile, Texas also became the first state to refuse refugees under Trump’s fall executive order, which gave states tacit permission to refuse resettlement.  Thankfully, 42 states have already given permission for resettlement, so there’s a limit to how many states can follow suit.

Key links:

  1. Associated Press – White House Considering Dramatic Expansion Of Travel Ban
  2. Washington Post – Texas Is Rejecting New Refugees Under Trump Executive Order

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience. We did see some good court cases this week. The Second Circuit refused to set aside an injunction on the proposed new public charge rule this week, ensuring that immigrants can continue to safely access benefits without jeopardizing their applications for permanent residency. And another federal judge refused to dismiss E. Jean Caroll’s defamation suit, allowing it to continue forward in New York even though that’s annoying for a President who lives in D.C.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – U.S. Court Blocks Trump From Enforcing ‘Public Charge’ Immigration Rule
  2. Bloomberg – Trump Must Face Rape Accuser Carroll’s Defamation Lawsuit

House Pushback. Given Trump’s obviously cavalier attitude about Iran, it’s comforting to report that the House advanced a war powers resolution this week that limits his official power to attack Iran further unilaterally. Multiple Republican senators, who are disgusted with the way he handled his briefing, are expected to vote for the resolution when it hits the Senate floor as well–so I’m cautiously optimistic on this front for now.

Key links:

  1. CNN – House Votes To Limit Trump’s Military Action Against Iran Without Congressional Approval
  2. The Hill – Rand Paul, Mike Lee Rip Administration Over ‘Insulting And Demeaning’ Iran Briefing

Things to Watch

Congressional Tug-O-War Ramp-Up. Mitch McConnell made it clear this week that he was moving forward with an impeachment trial pretty much no matter what else was going on, prompting Nancy Pelosi to flinch first and signal that she’ll send the articles along this week.  Given the larger mess here, the House won’t have much time to prepare for said trial, which might be why Adam Schiff doesn’t want to call John Bolton despite the latter’s offer to testify if subpoenaed.  Then again, it might also be because Trump said he would block Bolton’s testimony.  We’ll see whether we end up with any witnesses at all; since the motion for that only requires a simple majority, there may be truth to the rumor that Senate Democrats are pulling together the numbers to force the issue.  Meanwhile, the House voted to send along the articles of impeachment on Wednesday, and Nancy Pelosi picked House managers to prosecute–but not before releasing a bunch more information gleaned from Lev Parnas that is incredibly damning.
Key links:

  1. NPR – McConnell Will Move Ahead With Impeachment Trial Rules Without Democrats’ Support
  2. Washington Post – Schiff, Nadler lead group of House managers to prosecute Trump in Senate impeachment trial
  3. New York Times – House Votes to Send Impeachment Charges to Senate, Approving Managers
  4. Guardian – John Bolton Impeachment Testimony Will Be Blocked, Donald Trump Says
  5. CBS – White House Expects Gop Defections On Calling Witnesses In Senate Impeachment Trial
  6. Talking Points Memo – House Intel Releases Parnas Docs For Trump Impeachment

2020 Election Weirdness. This week saw multiple people drop out of the 2020 Presidential race. First to go was Marianne Williamson, and the only surprise there was that she apparently was still in the race at all. But Cory Booker dropping out made more waves, because he was the third qualified candidate of color to drop out. (The sole remaining diversity comes from having two female candidates, who as Elizabeth Warren pointed out both have the most successful campaign histories of the six contenders.) And speaking of Elizabeth Warren, she and Bernie Sanders were in the news for an apparent rift about the electability of women in 2020, though Warren is treating this like a non-story and I genuinely hope that it is. On the plus side, billionaire candidate Michael Bloomberg did say this week that he would fund whoever wins the primary in the fight against 45, even if it’s not him. So that’s something I guess.
Key links:

  1. ABC – Marianne Williamson Announces She Is Suspending Her Presidential Campaign
  2. Washington Post – Sen. Cory Booker Exits The Democratic Presidential Primary, Making The Field Less Diverse
  3. Axios – Elizabeth Warren: Bernie Sanders Said A Woman Couldn’t Win In 2020
  4. NBC – Bloomberg To Fund Sizable Campaign Effort Through November Even If He Loses Democratic Nomination

Actions for Everyone

How to respond to the earthquakes in Puerto Rico – Since December 28th, 2019 Puerto Rico has had thousands of earthquakes. It sounds like a lot, because it is. Last January 7th, a bigger seismic event happened with a 6.4 quake, followed by a 6.0 quake that has left many of the southern municipalities in the island in crisis. The island lost all of its electric power, and much of it has been re-established but thousands of families are having to live in tents because they either have lost their homes, their homes aren’t safe to live in or are too scared to go back inside. The local government as well as the Federal government has done very little to help; the people learned after Hurricane Maria in 2017 and are taking matters into their own hands. If you can, these are some trusted and verified organizations that are accepting donations to help restore quality of life to the ones affected.

Brigada Solidaria del Oeste – Community based, grassroots group that came together after Hurricane Maria and are now helping communities affected by the earthquakes. You can donate directly to their Paypal. 

Espicy Nipples – Yes, their name is hilarious, but this badass group of LGBTQ individuals is working directly with the communities and going to the areas that need the most help. You can donate directly to their Paypal: espicynipples@gmail.com

Campamento de la Comunidad Arenas, Guánica – A group of neighbors that organized to help after the quakes. This community has been especially hit hard because they are in the epicenter of most of the seismic activity. You can donate to Paypal: isarodriguezsoto@gmail.com or Venmo: @Isa-Soto

Stop ICE from meddling in Academia – Most of us agree we should abolish ICE, but in the meantime, we need to stop them from going into our schools. Last thursday, MIT notified their faculty and international students to “expect ICE” to be checking on their visa status. ICE has no place in badgering students and faculty about their immigration status and we should let our institutions know they must be a safe space for all students and faculty. Call your current or former schools and institutions and let them know what you think.

You can use this Script by Celeste Pewter for help.

Trump’s Secret Service spending – Trump (and his entire family) waste SO much money on Secret Service. Every time he wants to go play golf ( which is at least once a week according to reports) the government goes up in debt. According to The Guardian, the Secret Service has spent $588,000 since 2017 just on golf carts to follow him around while he is playing. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is pushing to keep Trump’s spending on the down low until after the 2020 elections. Yes it’s ridiculous, but it’s true. So, go on and call your representatives and let them know a thing of two of how the people NEED to know the wasterful amount of money that is being spent on the President’s golf escapades. You can find your reps here. 

And now for some Things That Made Me Laugh this week:

This guided meditation that is literally named “F*ck That”. DO IT!

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 #132, 2020 Week 1

Hey everyone,

The year is off to a really rough start, but we are here for you.  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

On a scale of one to ten, I give the first week of 2020 a negative three–the news is pretty awful. We will get through this, and we at the AN are here if anyone needs anything.

Events to Know

Congressional Tug-o-War. At the time that I write this, we’re still firmly embroiled in Congressional back-and-forth, to the extent anybody is thinking about impeachment anymore at all.  Nancy Pelosi isn’t sending along the articles of impeachment, which frankly seems pretty understandable given the week we’ve had, and Mitch McConnell has made it clear that he won’t proceed without them.  But he also won’t call witnesses, even as John Bolton offers to testify.  Meanwhile, the federal case about, among other things, whether officials can be forced to testify is the one thing that is moving forward, so we’ll want to keep an eye on that for sure.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Schumer Says Senate No Closer To Setting Rules For Trial; Mcconnell Says Chamber Will Continue With ‘Ordinary Business’
  2. Speaker.gov – Pelosi Statement On Urgency For Fair Senate Trial
  3. Politico – Judges Spar With Democrats, DOJ In Impeachment Doubleheader

Aggression Against Iran. Bear with me, because this one isn’t remotely my area, but it’s important so I’m going to try to unpack it. In the day or two leading up to New Year’s, unrest grew around the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, with pro-Iran protesters setting fire to the reception building on the compound and trying to overtake it. Trump blamed Iran for the whole thing, and by Thursday evening had ordered an air strike on the Baghdad airport, intentionally causing the death of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and at least 25 others. This attack was a really big deal, because attacking a sitting general can be considered an act of war, and Nancy Pelosi says that Trump didn’t give any notice to Congress ahead of time. (He did provide a notification after, for whatever that is worth.)

Key links:

  1. NBC – Iraqi Protesters Withdraw From Perimeter Of U.S. Embassy, Building Now Secured
  2. Associated Press – US Kills Iran’s Most Powerful General In Baghdad Airstrike            
  3. Washington Post – Why Soleimani’s Killing Is Different From Other Targeted Attacks By U.S.
  4. New York Times – White House Notifies Congress Of Suleimani Strike Under War Powers Act

Congress and SCOTUS. Two different Congressional groups approached the Supreme Court this week, and both of them are a bit nerve-wracking. A group of Democrats have decided to cut to the chase and ask for a quicker ruling on the Affordable Care Act, creating a more certain scenario by the close of the term.  This actually makes total sense in context–it would be worse to leave the insurance market uncertain indefinitely, and SCOTUS would weigh in eventually either way–but I’m pretty anxious about it anyway. Meanwhile, a GOP group filed an amicus brief on the case to overturn Roe v Wade, which will be heard in March; it’s a move both unnecessary and frankly terrifying, because they know as much about reproductive health as potatoes know about yoyos.  

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Democrats Ask Supreme Court for Quick Decision of Healthcare
  2. Axios – 39 GOP Senators Sign Brief Asking Supreme Court To Revisit Roe V. Wade

Recent Resilience

Cease-Fire in Afghanistan. The Taliban agreed to a temporary cease-fire in Afghanistan this week, which is a relief against the larger backdrop of this week’s foreign policy news. If it’s finalized, this would be the first step towards a more permanent peace in Afghanistan, and though that’s certainly not my area of expertise it seems pretty good to me.

Key links:

  1. Associated Press – Taliban Council Agrees To Cease-fire In Afghanistan

Things to Watch

Fire in Australia. Australia is currently fighting a totally unprecedented set of bush fires, which have already claimed 24 lives and set over 63 thousand square miles ablaze.  Experts agree that the disturbing conditions are worsening because of climate change, particularly because the fires happen as a new study concludes that climate change is changing weather patterns everywhere.  This type of devastation is hard to watch, and it has global implications. We’ll have suggestions for how to help below.
Key links:

  1. CBS – Australia Fires: Pictures From The Deadly Wildfires
  2. NBC – Fire Clouds And Ember Attacks: How Australia’s Fires Are Creating Rare Weather Phenomena
  3. Nature – Climate Change Now Detectable From Any Single Day Of Weather At Global Scale

Tensions High with Iran. The subsequent attempts at deescalation went about as well as you might expect from an administration that pretty much hates diplomacy, has half a State department, and thinks Twitter counts as a form of Congressional notice.  Iran announced it would end its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal. Then Trump threatened to bomb 52 Iranian sites, including cultural centers, which would be a violation of international law and a war crime.  Though Secretary of Defense Mark Esper thankfully walked that back, on Tuesday, Iran fired missiles at two U.S. bases in Iraq from inside Iran’s borders.  Trump was surprisingly sanguine in response, likely because it’s believed there were no U.S. casualties, and hasn’t taken any retaliatory action yet.  So we seem to be paused for now, but we should all definitely keep watching this situation.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Flouting War Powers Act, Trump Claims His Tweets are Sufficient Notice to Congress That U.S. May Strike Iran
  2. Politico – Iran Abandons Nuclear Deal Over Slaying Of General
  3. New York Times – Pentagon Rules Out Striking Iranian Cultural Sites, Contradicting Trump
  4. New York Times – Iran ‘Concludes’ Attacks, Foreign Minister Says
  5. CNBC – Trump responds to Iranian attacks: ‘All is well!’

Earthquake in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico suffered a severe earthquake on Tuesday–the second in two days–and the island was still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria when it happened.  In the immediate earthquake aftermath, over 300,000 homes and businesses are left without water.  Folks over there are in a bad way, and know from their previous experiences that their crisis won’t be appropriately handled by this administration.  We’ll have suggestions for how to help below.
Key links:

  1. NBC – 6.4-magnitude Quake Strikes Puerto Rico, Killing At Least 1 Amid Heavy Seismic Activity
  2. CNN – A Deadly Earthquake Has Most Of Puerto Rico With No Power, No Water And Residents Fear Tremors Will Bring More Destruction

Actions for Everyone

There is always so much happening in our country and our world that feels outside of our control, and that’s usually because it is. However, between personal behavioral changes that slow down Climate Change, or turning your focus towards your community, there is always work to be done. Good luck out there!

Register to Vote: Since it’s an election year, and states are pulling all sorts of crazy moves that might have negative effects on whether you’re still registered to vote, it’s time to check now. Like, right now. You got a few minutes? Go to Vote.Org to find out if you’re registered, to register online, to get an absentee ballot, as well as several other convenient options. We’ll be posting a reminder to register every issue from now until the Presidential election.

Support Safe Working Conditions for Sex Workers (and internet freedom): Somehow in the fog of impeachment (that still hasn’t lifted) as well as the buzz of the holidays, theres been some movement around SESTA/FOSTA. A group of Democrats on the Hill introduced The SAFE SEX Workers Study Act, which calls for the government to conduct a wide-ranging study into the experiences of sex workers, emerges in response to evidence that a sex trafficking bill signed into law last year has dismantled vital online ecosystems for people engaged in consensual and often life-sustaining work in the sex industry. This study is a good thing. The passing of SESTA/FOSTA in 2018 came with an amendment to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which minimized the autonomy we have as individual internet users, making websites and social media platforms accountable if third parties post ads for prostitution, including consensual sex work.

This all might be okay if we had a culture that supported sex workers and offered them health care and safe working conditions, but instead SESTA/FOSTA buries sex work to the dark reaches of the web, instead of bringing it to light.

So, call your senators, and tell them that you support the new SAFE SEX Workers Study Act and hope it sheds light on the fallibility of SESTA/FOSTA.

Iran Action: Given the current activity in the House, this is a time when it really is helpful to call your representatives. As always, Celeste Pewter has helpful insights as well as scripts, and Indivisible has a page that helps connect you to your rep if you need it. You can also check out the work of groups like Win Without War and the Indivisible National Day of Action on Thursday, January 9.

Help During Natural Disasters: Not two years after Hurricane Maria and the US’s horribly misconducted recovery plan for the island, Puerto Rico is being plagued by earthquakes and warnings of tsunamis. Australia needs help with their giant fires as well.  For both of these issues, donations really help, though please note that donating cash is more helpful than donating supplies at this time. CNet has a good list of places you can donate for Australia if you live outside of the outback, with lots of in-depth information about who is doing what and why; several other outlets have lists as well.  The Hispanic Federation is taking donations for Puerto Rico, and the Chefs for Puerto Rico team run by World Central Kitchen can use help getting people fed as well.  If you live in Australia, WIRES also has good information about wildlife rescue on the ground in the area, and the NSW Office of Emergency Management has information about community recovery assistance opportunities.  I’m hoping to have even more information for you all soon on how you can help, and in the meanwhile, wanted to tell you about Peace Corps Response. It’s a three – 12 month program, which is a significantly shorter commitment than the 2 year Peace Corps service, and might better fit in your current life. Check it out!

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

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

Best,
The Activism Team

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

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

PO Box 186

Stevens Point, WI 54481

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Issue #131, 2019 Week 52

Hey everyone,

Rounding out the year on a quiter note!  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

 

 

It’s a quieter news week this time, especially compared to last week’s impeachment news. Frankly, I think we all needed a quiet moment, so I’m not sad about the calm–hopefully it’s not heralding a bigger storm.
 

Events to Know

Trump Twitter Tampering. If the House Democrats were hoping for more obstruction of justice evidence, Christmas came more-on-less on time for them in the form of Trump’s twitter account.  Over the week, his account featured everything from asking why the House was ‘allowed’ to impeach him to insulting Nancy Pelosi to retweeting a bot account sharing a December 3 Washington Examiner article claiming to out the whistleblower’s identity.  (I will not be sharing any publications that include the article, by the way, because outing a whistleblower is not the AN way.)

Key links:

  1. Hill Reporter – Trump Questions Why The House Should ‘Be Allowed’ To Impeach Him In Christmas Night Tweets                                                                                                                            
  2. The Hill – Trump Goes After Pelosi In Early Morning Tweets Complaining About Impeachment                                                                                              
  3. Associated Press – Trump Retweets Post Naming Alleged Whistleblower

Antisemitic Violence. Five people were stabbed in a rabbi’s home on Saturday in what appears to be a hate crime, the latest in a really rough time in the area for antisemitic violence.  It has been a difficult year for antisemitic sentiment in general, in fact, with national incidents rising at an alarming rate since the Tree of Life shooting in late 2018.  That said, I would be remiss if I did not address a statement issued by a Department of Homeland Security official, who complained that the perpetrator is “the U.S. citizen son of an illegal alien.”  While violence generally has absolutely nothing to do with immigration status, and immigrants in fact commit crimes at lower rates than citizens, this type of statement connecting antisemitism to people of color and especially high-profile immigrants of color has seen a lot of use from the far right in the past few months–even in instances where the speaker is stating simple facts.  It is compounded by recent high-profile antisemitic crimes involving perpetrators of color, which emboldens unfair targeting of other populations.  The threat of violence against Jewish people is real, but using it to target immigrants of color is not acceptable, and we need to condemn that practice.

Key links

  1. New York Times – 5 Wounded In Stabbing At Rabbi’s Home In N.Y. Suburb                                                                                                                  
  2. USA Today – We’ve Already Seen 780 Anti-semitic Incidents This Year And It’s ‘Horrifying,’ Group Says                                                                             
  3. Cato Institute – Illegal Immigrants And Crime – Assessing The Evidence            
  4. Daily Beast – What’s Behind The New Wave Of Anti-semitic Hate?

Immigration Updates. Despite being a relatively slow news week, we still saw immigration news. News broke that ICE is already reopening Dreamer deportation cases, despite the fact that the Supreme Court only heard the DACA case last month and probably won’t issue a decision for another six months.  This is horrifying, because DACA is still in effect while the opinion is pending, and literally the entire point of DACA is a promise of no deportation for its recipients.  CNN also reports that a record number of immigration judges are quitting because the administration keeps trying to force them to enact bad policies.  Given the rate this administration is going, those judges probably can’t expect a new approach anytime soon.

Key links

  1. CNN – Ice Reopening Long-closed Deportation Cases Against Dreamers                
  2. CNN – Immigration Judges Quit In Response To Administration Policies

 

Recent Resilience

Recent School Resilience. A district in Virginia became the first school district in the nation to give students one day off per year for civic engagement, which given our current political environment is likely very appreciated. The process involves filling out a form two days ahead of time, to discourage random skiving, and was inspired by student action after the Parkland shooting and the international climate change walkout. If done responsibly, it’s an excellent learning opportunity, and I hope more districts consider adopting it!

Key links:

  1. NPR – Virginia School District To Give Students One Day Off Per Year For ‘Civic Engagement’

Things to Watch

Democrat Planning Sessions. As the cold war between Pelosi and McConnell stretches out another week, Democrats are coming up with contingency plans, and some of them are more out there than others.  On the more traditional side, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer took one look at the giant pile of incriminating emails released last weekend and announced that he wants more of the House records released–and given how much obstruction we’ve seen already, it’s reasonable to assume he might not get witnesses.  Meanwhile, counsel for the House in the Don McGahn case is raising the specter of a second impeachment, saying we might do this all over again if the case creates more incriminating evidence of obstruction of justice.  (Presumably this is also a general Plan B if Mitch McConnell successfully kills the Senate trial, but honestly we’re so far off the rails already that it’s hard to even know.)
 

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Officials Discussed Hold on Ukraine Aid After Trump Spoke With Country’s Leader                                                                               
  2. Politico – House Counsel Suggests Trump Could Be Impeached Again
     

California Privacy Tango. You may have seen several websites email you about new privacy policies this week and wondered what was up–when I got the same email from Groupon, Spotify, Patreon, Paypal, and Mailchimp, I certainly did. It turns out that there’s a new privacy law in California that goes into effect January 1, which ostensibly will let consumers see what data is collected and stop companies from selling it. But since it’s basically the first law of its type and also has been amended several times, nobody’s quite sure what it requires. So we may see some growing pains in nation-wide companies on this issue.  
 

Key links:

  1. Slate – The Big Change Coming to Just About Every Website on New Year’s Day                                                                                                          
  2. New York Times – What Does California’s New Data Privacy Law Mean? Nobody Agrees
     

GOP Unease. As the week went on, we saw some interesting murmurings from the GOP side side of the aisle.  GOP senator Lisa Murkowski went on the record as “disturbed” by Mitch McConnell’s cavalier coordination with the White House on the White House’s own impeachment.  Some pundits and at least one Senate Democrat seem to think that where there’s disgruntled smoke, there’s concealed fires of discontent.  And even Lindsey Graham appeared to walk back some of his deep-throated support of the White House in the past week, looking at recent articles about Rudy Giuliani’s sketchy back channels and publicly worrying that his information might be “Russian propaganda.”  But it’s a giant jump to go from that to the idea that some GOP Senators would defect if they were allowed to vote in secret, particularly when Trump still wields so much power in the GOP itself.  The GOP are like jockeys racing a rabid horse because the rabies makes it go faster–in the stable they may say, “This horse has a contagious disease and keeps trying to eat the stone floor,” but on the racetrack all we get is “Excuse me, how dare you inquire about Mouth Foam.”
 

Key links:

  1. BBC – Trump Impeachment: Lisa Murkowski ‘Disturbed’ Over Co-Ordination                                                                                                             
  2. Daily Kos – Senate Democrat: Five To 10 Republicans Have ‘Severe Misgivings’ About Mcconnell’s Impeachment Plans                                                
  3. Atlantic – The Senate Impeachment Trial Could Use A Little Secrecy                 
  4. New York Times – Fear And Loyalty: How Donald Trump Took Over The Republican Party                                                                                                                                                 
 

Actions for Everyone

 

We made it! New decade (o not?), new year, more chances to change the world for the better and keep fighting the good fight. You have any resolutions this year? One of mine is to become more daring and politically active. There are two issues that are keeping my fire burning, the inhumane treatment of immigrants in detention camps and the fight against climate change. Make this year one filled with resilience, action and victories. Happy New Year ya’ll!  

 

Help Australia – Australia is currently on fire. Summer has started over in Australia and the heat wave, drought and strong winds have created a tragic situation. Around 12 million acres have burned, with 15 known deaths, 17 missing persons and an estimated half a billion wildlife deaths, Australia needs the world’s help. How can you help?

Donate to:

The Red Cross: They have a special emergency fund for bush fire victims.

Koalas In Care: Lots of wildlife has been affected by the fires, including the already endangered koalas.  This non-profit helps to safe and rehabilitate affected koalas. 

NSW Rural Fire Service: Donate to the Rural Fire Service, the government cut their budget (ironic) and they need help to be able to fight these fires and stay safe.

You can read this LifeHacker article for more info and other donating options. 

Supreme Court could be revisiting abortion laws – Earlier on Thursday morning, Todd Ruger, a reporter tweeted about a possible revisiting of the two main abortion laws, Casey and Roe v. Wade. This story is still developing but he did share a list of representatives that support the revision. 

 

Check if your representatives are here and call them to let them know we will fight for our right to choose.

 
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 #130, 2019 Week 51

Hey everyone,

Big news for the holidays!  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

Welp, another week of bonkers impeachment stuff, with some bonus other bizarre news while we’re at it.  I would say the news is getting repetitive, but to be honest it remains so larger-than-life bizarre that it’s still kind of fascinating to watch.  (Here’s hoping next week is quieter.)

Events to Know

Impeachment Finalized. After two articles of impeachment were issued, the Judiciary Committee began an extraordinary multi-day feud that showcased a staggering amount of GOP bad faith and some nasty ad hominem diversions on both sides, but ultimately resulted in the committee passing both articles of impeachment along party lines.  By Monday morning, apparently spurred by the repeated GOP arguments that Trump had committed no crimes and therefore couldn’t be impeached, the Judiciary Committee heads released a 658-page impeachment report for House review ahead of the floor debate. Then on Wednesday evening, the House voted to impeach Trump on both articles almost entirely along party lines.  There were, however, a few exceptions to the general voting trends–notably, Democratic 2020 Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard voted ‘present,’ former GOP rep Justin Amash voted ‘yea,’ and two Democrats (Collin Peterson and Jeff Van Drew) voted ‘nay.’

Key links:

  1. New York Times – House Panel Debates Impeachment Articles in Bid to Complete Charges Against Trump 
  2. NPR – House Judiciary Committee Approves 2 Articles Of Impeachment Against Trump
  3. NBC – House Judiciary Committee Publishes Full Impeachment Report
  4. Politico – Judiciary Committee impeachment report alleges Trump committed ‘multiple federal crimes’
  5. Washington Post – 4 takeaways from the impeachment of President Trump

Boris Johnson Borealis. The UK had an upset (and upsetting) election this past week, with Boris Johnson’s conservative Tory party celebrating a clear majority while Jeremy Corbyn’s more progressive Labour party suffered major losses. This is disturbing, particularly given Johnson’s recent incompetency and uncertain Brexit plans–but it can be partially contextualized by a first-past-the-post election structure, gains within the Scottish National Party and Green party, and growing dissent about Corbyn’s leadership. Unsurprisingly, Jeremy Corbyn is stepping down, and we may be looking at another bid for Scottish independence. Since the original Brexit vote was viewed as a bellwether for U.S. politics, it’s a disturbing and noteworthy development.

Key links:

  1. NBC – Boris Johnson Set To Win A Clear Majority In U.K. Election, Exit Poll Suggests
  2. New York Times – The U.K. Election Explained, In One Number
  3. Guardian – Election Results 2019: Boris Johnson Returned As Pm With All Constituencies Declared
  4. NBC – Socialist Jeremy Corbyn To Step Down As Leader Of Labour Party After Defeat In U.K. Election

Disturbing Court Cases. There were several court cases that gained news attention this week for being, well, legally weird and disturbing (to use a technical term). The ACLU is trying to get the Supreme Court to hear a case involving a police officer in Louisiana who successfully sued the head of the Black Lives Matter movement–not for incitement or direct violence, but because the 5th Circuit decided merely being in charge of the movement meant he should be held liable for somebody else throwing a rock. This is pretty bizzonkers from a legal perspective, and I doubt it’s a coincidence that one of the three judges was a Trump appointee. Meanwhile, Wisconsin was in the news because a judge ordered the purge of over 200,000 voters because they didn’t respond to unsolicited and targeted mail asking them to reverify their address. (I’m not a voting rights expert, but that strikes me as pretty egregious.) And the Supreme Court made a lot of people nervous, including me, by agreeing to hear arguments on Donald Trump’s taxes in the upcoming year.

Key links:

  1. American Civil Liberties Union – ACLU, Deray Mckesson Urge Supreme Court To Defend First Amendment Right To Protest
  2. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Judge Orders State To Purge More Than 200,000 Wisconsin Voters From The Rolls
  3. CNBC -supreme Court Will Hear Three Cases Over Trump’s Financial Records

Recent Resilience

Recent Legislative Resilience. There was some decent legislative news this week. Kentucky reinstated voting rights to people who have completed nonviolent felony sentences, leaving us with only one remaining state in the country that enforces lifetime disenfranchisement for this issue. Congress appears to have finalized an actual spending deal, with the House passing the bill on Tuesday–and the final legislation includes $25M in gun research, which is an issue that hasn’t seen funding in over 20 years. Nothing is final until the signed version is on Trump’s desk, so there’s still plenty of time for this to go awry, but we look to be in much better shape than we were this time last year.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Kentucky Gives Voting Rights to Some 140,000 Former Felons
  2. Bloomberg – House Passes $1.4 Trillion Spending Plan With Tax Provisions
  3. ABC News – Congress Agrees On Historic Deal To Fund $25 Million In Gun Violence Research

Things to Watch

Impeachment Next Steps. Now that Trump has officially been impeached, it’s surprisingly unclear what happens next.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are already getting embroiled in a Senate clash of wills–McConnell is promising “total coordination” with the guy they’re supposed to be have on trial, which quite understandably has Democrats pretty uneasy; meanwhile, Schumer is creating a witness wish list which McConnell has already rejected.  And Trump is apparently warming to the idea of a long trial, probably because he knows McConnell and the rest of the Senate GOP will allow him a full dog-and-pony show.  Nancy Pelosi, watching all of this unfold, is starting to consider holding onto the impeachment articles until the Senate can guarantee something resembling an actual trial.  So basically, where we go from here is anybody’s guess.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – 4 takeaways from the impeachment of President Trump
  2. The Hill – Trump: ‘I wouldn’t mind’ a long Senate impeachment process
  3. CNN – Nancy Pelosi won’t commit to sending articles of impeachment to Senate

Immigration Updates. We haven’t covered immigration issues in the roundup for a while, and there’s a fair amount to track, so I think it’s a good time to remind folks of some ongoing stories.  The administration’s latest attack on indigent immigration, which attempts to price lawful permanent residents out of citizenship among other other major problems, is still pending–and the comment period has been extended to December 30th.  If you believe this is unjust, I really encourage you to tell the government about it; there are some great click-to-comment resources out there that you can use if you’re unsure where to start!  Border Patrol was also in the news for refusing to let doctors in to administer flu vaccines after several children died of flu in custody, which resulted in a three-day mass protest and four doctors’ arrests.  And Buzzfeed ran an article about rampant medical negligence in ICE custody.      
Key links:

  1. Jewish Exponent – The Fee Hikes In The Works For Immigrants Are Dangerous
  2.  Take Action To Oppose A Fee For Asylum!
  3. Guardian – Us Immigration Officials Bar Doctors From Giving Flu Shots To Detained Kids
  4. Associated Press – Doctors End Protest To Demand Flu Vaccines For Migrants
  5. Buzzfeed – A Child’s Forehead Partially Removed, Four Deaths, The Wrong Medicine — A Secret Report Exposes Health Care For Jailed Immigrants

Americans Lack Running Water. The Washington Post ran a story this week on the two million Americans who still don’t have running water, basing its reporting on a data analysis issued last month by the U.S. Water Alliance.  It’s a civic planning issue that disproportionately impacts Native American people, who are nineteen times more likely to lack access than the general population, though Puerto Rico still has major infrastructure problems also.  Though the report was issued last month, it’s encouraging to see it making its way to large outlets like the Washington Post, as it’s an issue that really should receive more attention.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Two Million Americans Don’t Have Running Water in their Homes, According to DigDeep Report
  2. U.S. Water Alliance – Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States
  3. NPR – Many Native Americans Can’t Get Clean Water, Report Finds
  4. Huffington Post – Puerto Rico’s Next Big Crisis Is Water                                                                                                                                                  

Actions for Everyone

Turn on Sufjan Stevens Songs for Xmas and relish in the impeachment vote, but then get ready to jump back into action when this moves to the Senate.

Call your Senators: It’s happening! On Wednesday the House of Representatives voted to pass two articles of impeachment. Now, the article which charge Trump with obstruction of justice and abuse of power, will (most likely) head to the Senate and that means we need to contact our Senators! You can find your Senators contact information here – call, write a letter, or send an email and let them know that you want them to vote yes. Getting past Senate will surely be a struggle, so we should contact them now and often until the trial begins. That trial is slated to begin in early January.

Also, I want to urge you to sign up for Celeste Pewter’s newsletter #icalledmyreps to get scripts for this and so much more moving forward.

Shop Local: When I was in college, there was this cool new website where I could order all my textbooks for way cheaper than any bookstore, which was great because I was living on like $200/month and a lot of that (not that much) money went towards eating. That up & coming online bookstore was called Amazon, which now provides the web services that host the database ICE uses to detain and deport people, is a huuuge contributor to carbon emissions that create climate change, and because of the fast-paced consumer culture it continues to produce and support, it’s dangerous to be an employee in the warehouse.

In the spirit of holiday giving, just make sure to shop locally. Don’t support Amazon, support your local economy.

Things That Makes Me Smile: Everything that Trevor Noah says and does on The Daily Show.

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

Issue #129, 2019 Week 50

 

Hey everyone,

Impeachment updates, policy changes and more!  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

 

As predicted, this week was ten pounds of misinformation in a five-pound bag–the NNR will be a bit longer than normal to unpack it all. There’s a fair amount outside impeachment, though impeachment is definitely moving forward as well, and a lot of it is no fun at all to read. As always, I’m here if anybody needs anything. 

Events to Know

Timeline of Impeachment Launch. So much happened so quickly this week that it can be helpful just to have a timeline!  Kicking off the week, the Intelligence Committee released their official report on Tuesday afternoon (as well as a completely bananas and unofficial Republican version, but I’m giving that one the consideration it deserves).  The report focused on both the Ukraine scandal itself and the administration’s attempts to stall the impeachment investigation.  This was quickly followed by the first Judicial Committee hearing on Wednesday, an official instruction by Nancy Pelosi on Thursday to draft impeachment articles, and a final Judicial Committee hearing on Monday.  At the time that I type this on Tuesday evening, the Judiciary Committee has officially released their articles of impeachment–nine pages on ‘abuse of power‘ and ‘obstruction of Congress’ that follow the same basic format as the House Intelligence Committee report.

Key links:

  1. NPR – Read: Impeachment Inquiry Report By House Intelligence Committee                                                                                                          
  2. New York Times – Key Takeaways From House Intelligence Committee’s Impeachment Report                                                                                          
  3. Washington Post – The Articles Of Impeachment Against President Trump, Annotated

Judiciary Kangaroo Court. The Wednesday and Monday hearings were, simply put, pretty nuts–so it’s not surprising that Judiciary Committee head Jerry Nadler only put up with two sessions before he stuck a fork in his own arm and called the whole thing done.  The important big picture highlights:  a) Three out of four legal experts (and later by letter, another 500 more) agreed that Trump had committed impeachable offenses; and b) Democrats provided a large bevy of evidence to support this conclusion.  Among the GOP’s bad faith parade: a) Insisting nobody let Trump launch a defense, despite the administration’s refusal to do exactly that–twice; b) A completely made-up controversy that accused one of the legal experts of attacking Barron Trump because she said that Trump was allowed to name his son ‘Barron’ but not make him nobility under the Constitution; c) Repeated statements that there was no evidence despite the giant pile of evidence presented on Monday; and d) some of said evidence involving Devin Nunes, who was among those conducting the investigation on the House Intelligence Committee.  It’s not a coincidence, by the way, that the nonsense in this paragraph is way longer than the actual hearing summary–the committees have a very clear-cut case and this laundry list of distraction is how the GOP is choosing to counter that. 


Key links

  1. Washington Post – More Than 500 Law Professors Say Trump Committed ‘Impeachable Conduct’                                                                                        
  2. New York Times – Impeachment Hearing Takeaways: Democrats Allege ‘Brazen’ Trump Scheme While Republicans Lament ‘Unfair’ Process                   
  3. Reuters – White House Says It Will Not Participate In Wednesday’s Trump Impeachment Hearing                                                                                        
  4. The Guardian – Impeachment Hearing Joke Referencing Barron Trump Draws Angry Response – Video                                                                           
  5. NPR – In Impeachment Hearing, Democrats Argue Trump Actions Are ‘Clear And Present Danger’                                                                                   
  6. Politico – Impeachment Investigators Will Present Evidence At Judiciary Hearing Next Week

Fake Spying Claims Aftermath. As predicted, a Department of Justice inspector general report was issued this week finding that the FBI properly opened an investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia without evidence of political bias.  (That said, the report also found a lot of procedural missteps that were apolitical in nature, resulting in a call for more FISA oversight.)  A lot of people, myself included, were prepared to declare this report the new “water is wet” and call it a day.  But the report has spawned an ongoing misinformation campaign that is truly staggering.  First William Barr discredited his own IG before the report even dropped, and doubled down on that criticism once we finally had a report.  White House lawyers started literally claiming the report said the opposite of what it actually said.  And then Barr graduated to accusing the FBI of ‘bad faith’ and ‘gross abuses’ (again, despite a lengthy report saying the exact opposite) around the same time that Trump started started attacking the head of the FBI, going so far as to call him ‘the current Director’ (which is not exactly a great sign for Wray’s political health).  This type of attacking people for accurately reporting obvious facts is disconcerting, and it appears to be the current GOP strategy for just about everything.


Key links

  1. Washington Post – 4 Takeaways From The Horowitz Report On The Russia Investigation                                                                                             
  2. Politico – Watchdog Report Rips FBI Handling Of Russia Probe                                              
  3. NBC – AG Barr Condemns IG Report’s Finding That FBI Probe of Trump Campaign Was Justified                                                                                       
  4. CBS – Bill Barr Blasts FBI For “Inexplicable Behavior” And Claims Russia Probe Based On “Bogus Narrative”                                                                      
  5. CNN – Trump Lashes Out At FBI Chief Wray For Embracing Watchdog Report

Recent Resilience


Recent Congressional Resilience. We had some significant Congressional resilience in both the House and the Senate this week, and they were developments entirely separate from the impeachment circus. The Democratic-controlled House passed a bill that would restore several components of the Voting Rights Act and preserve racial integrity in voting. And on the Senate side, we passed a bill to fund historically black colleges and universities.

Key links:

  1. AP – House Passes Bill To Restore Key Parts Of Voting Rights Act
  2. CNN – Senate Passes Bill To Permanently Fund Historically Black Colleges And Universities

Things to Watch

Impeachment Next Steps. Now that we have existing articles of impeachment, the Judiciary Committee will vote whether to release them to the House for a final floor vote–which may happen before Christmas.  We also may or may not see them make adjustments, such as folding in official response to Giuliani’s trip to Ukraine, which inexplicably happened this week while all of this was going on.  Either way, next week is likely to be another whirlwind of activity, as Congress scrambles to get this locked down before the break.  After that, the articles go to the Senate, where Mitch McConnell wants a rocket-fast trial but Trump wants a full dog-and-pony show.  It’s kind of anybody’s guess what happens from there.  
 

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Trump ‘Ignored and Injured’ the National Interest, Democrats Charge in Impeachment Articles                                                     
  2. Washington Post – As Impeachment Tide Swirls Around Trump, Giuliani Drops Anchor in Ukraine                                                                                            
  3. CNN – Growing Divide Between Trump And Mcconnell Over Impeachment Trial
     

Painful Policy Updates. The Trump administration announced this week that it is finalizing changes to our national food security benefits, properly called ‘SNAP benefits’ but commonly known as ‘food stamps,’ to eliminate access for about 700,000 current recipients.  The proposed change, which will go into effect on April 1, would require able-bodied adult recipients to work 20 hours per week in any state that has lower than 6% unemployment, rather than allowing states to seek waivers (as is the current rule).  Then, as if to punctuate the point, the Supreme Court followed up by declining to hear arguments on a Kentucky law that requires women to get an ultrasound and listen to their fetus’s heartbeat before permitting an abortion.  Both of these are part of much larger-picture issues, so it’s worth keeping an eye on them–they won’t be the last word in either conversation.
 

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Hundreds of Thousands Are Losing Access to Food Stamps                                                                                                                   
  2. NPR – Nearly 700,000 SNAP Recipients Could Lose Benefits Under New Trump Rule                                                                                                          
  3. NBC – Supreme Court Leaves In Place Kentucky Abortion Law Mandating Ultrasounds
     

2020 Election Updates. Election news is trending weird/bad this week, but there’s still a lot of it: 1) Kamala Harris dropped out of the 2020 race, leaving no candidates of color qualifying for the December debates; 2) Joe Biden called a member of the crowd a “damn liar” and challenged the man to an IQ test on his own campaign trail in Iowa; 3) Mike Bloomberg had to apologize for calling fellow 2020 candidate Cory Booker “well-spoken”; 4) Pete Buttigieg turned out to have worked for three years for the McKinsey group, a conservative consulting firm recently in the news for helping engineer current deportation policy; and 5) Joe Biden telling Republican voters to ‘stay a Republican,” because “no party should have too much power,” which is a truly startling thing for a member of the Democratic Senate minority to say in 2019. 
 

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Kamala Harris Roared Into The Presidential Race With An Electrifying Rally. She Didn’t Make It To The First Vote.                                
  2. The Hill – Biden Gets In Testy Exchange In Iowa: ‘you’re A Damn Liar’                   
  3. CBS – Mike Bloomberg Apologizes For Calling Cory Booker “Well Spoken”                                                                                                                
  4. CNN – Buttigieg Releases Descriptions Of Mckinsey Projects In Face Of Criticism                                                                                                                           
  5.  Rolling Stone – Biden, Ignoring Three-quarters Of His Vice-presidential Tenure, Says Sharing Power With Republicans Is A Good Thing
                                                                                                                                                  
 

Actions for Everyone

I love the smell of impeachment in the morning. It’s the Holidays gift we all wanted. But in other news…

Content Warning: sexual assault and rape

Environmental Review Policy under attack – The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a 50 year old law that requires the federal government to consider the environmental impacts of its actions could be facing changes that would significantly weaken it. Last November, a letter representing over 30 industry groups was sent to the White House, calling for changes in the NEPA that would expedite the review process for projects like pipelines, road expansions and other infrastructure. 

“By targeting this law, Trump and his team will likely weaken these regulations—allowing his cabinet and corporate pals to unilaterally sidestep communities, public health, worker safety, and environmental protections. In addition to damaging Americans’ access to clean air and water, these proposed changes have the potential to be the most significant action the Trump administration takes to limit the government’s response to climate change.” You can read the full article here. 

Since these news are still in development, let’s keep our eyes and ears open, so we can act accordingly when changes are brought forth. 

SNAP benefits taken away to 3.1 million recipients – Last week, the USDA decided that it will tighten the eligibility of able-bodied adults to receive Food Stamps (Officially known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Even though Congress went against this decision and didn’t include it in the 2018 Farm Bill, the administration decided to go with it anyway against the people’s will. 

Call your reps and let them know you are against this decision. If the country has trillions of dollars to spend on war and imprisoning migrant children, then they have money to feed the few who need help get food on their plates. 

Helping survivors of sexual assault – I recently came upon a social media post that explains the process a survivor of sexual assault or rape has to go through when they go into the hospital to assess their wellbeing and also gather up evidence. Most people have to give up their underwear and some even all of their clothing. Some of the survivors have to leave the hospital without their clothing, in hospital gowns. If you want to help, you can donate clothing and specially new underwear to your local Forensic Nursing team, rape crisis center, or domestic violence shelter.

You can use this website to find where to donate. 

Here are the Things That Made Me Smile this week: All of these animals that were endangered and are now thriving! 

Mexican Wolf 

Bukhara Deer

Humpback Whale

 

 
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
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Issue #128, 2019 Week 49

Hey everyone,

Did it seem like a quiet week?  Were here to 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 had unusually little active news, comparatively speaking, and it makes me nervous even though we had a holiday. Given the upcoming impeachment schedule, it seems safe to conclude this is the calm before the storm–we should enjoy it while we can, y’all.

Events to Know

Existing Impeachment Updates. Despite the slow week during the holiday, things are starting to pick up as I type this on Wednesday morning.  Notably, the New York Times reminded us that Trump knew about the whistleblower complaint before his administration released aid to Ukraine.  This is important because it implies that he already knew what he was being accused of when he had his “no quid pro quo” phone call, which was his main defense to the allegations.  (Of course, Trump denies this fact, but since he literally lies twelves times per day, that isn’t exactly persuasive.)  There were also deposition transcripts released that point a major finger at the Office of Management and Budget, where two officials apparently resigned because the office was withholding aid to Ukraine and there were all kinds of structural shenanigans in play.  And the Intelligence Committee report was released on Tuesday afternoon, focusing on both the Ukraine scandal itself and the administration’s attempts to stall the impeachment investigation.

Key links:

  1. The Hill – Trump was briefed on whistleblower complaint before releasing Ukraine aid: report
  2. New York Times – Read Mark Sandy’s Closed-Door Deposition
  3. Washington Post – Two OMB Officials Resigned Over Ukraine Aid Hold
  4. Intelligence Committee Report
  5. Politico – Trump abused power of presidency, Dems conclude in impeachment report

Trump Oddities. We had a lot of off-the-wall behavior from Trump and Co this week that wasn’t quite constitutional crisis territory but was plenty obnoxious.  First there were Trump Jr’s instructions to the GOP base that they should pick fights with liberals at the Thanksgiving table, which wasn’t a thing in our house but my condolences if it showed up in yours. Then there was Trump’s strange trip to Afghanistan over Thanksgiving, where he claimed to be reopening talks with the Taliban and posed for selfies with stationed troops.  Finally, more Stephen Miller emails got leaked, reminding people that we should maybe not have a white supremacist setting immigration policy.

Key links:

  1. Business Insider – Donald Trump Jr. Challenged His Supporters To ‘trigger’ Their Liberal Relatives Over Thanksgiving Dinner, Offering Prizes For The Best One Caught On Camera
  2. Reuters – No Phones, Scripted Tweets: How Trump’s Afghanistan Trip Was Kept Under Wraps
  3. NPR – Leaked Emails Fuel Calls For Stephen Miller To Leave White House

2020 Campaign Weirdness. There was a lot of campaign strangeness this week, but for once, it was mostly Republican candidates in the news: 1) The Texas GOP accidentally sent the Democrats their talking points (which, embarrassingly, is not even the first time this year this has happened); 2) Trump intimated he wants his pardoned war criminals to campaign with him, apparently seeking that “I’m not just the President, I’m also a client” vibe; 3) Ilhan Omar’s GOP opponent got banned from Twitter for suggesting that Omar should be hanged4) Trump has announced he won’t let Bloomberg News into his events because Mike Bloomberg announced he’s running in 2020; and 5) Kamala Harris dropped out of the 2020 Presidential election, leaving only six candidates in the December debate.

Key links:

  1. Newsweek – Texas Republicans Mistakenly Email 2020 Strategy To Democrats, Seek To Reduce ‘polarizing Nature’ Of Trump
  2. Business Insider – Trump Wants Convicted Or Charged War Criminals On The Campaign Trail With Him, Report Says
  3. Vox – Twitter Bans Ilhan Omar’s Gop Rival For Tweeting About Hanging The Congresswoman
  4. Bloomberg – Trump Campaign To Blacklist Bloomberg News
  5. Washington Post – Kamala Harris Roared Into The Presidential Race With An Electrifying Rally. She Didn’t Make It To The First Vote.

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience. Despite the bad news above, we did have a couple of good cases this week.  The House Oversight and Reform Committee is suing William Barr and Wilbur Ross over their 2020 census shenanigans, trying to get the subpoenas for information enforced.  If this seems delayed to you, that’s because it is–the committee is using the lack of absolute immunity determined by the recent case brought by Don McGahn as a new basis for suit.  And a federal appeals court held that Deutsche Bank has to turn over Trump’s financial documents to Congress, backing up the district court’s call.

Key links:

  1. CNBC – House Democrats File Lawsuit Against William Barr And Wilbur Ross For Refusing To Hand Over Census Docs
  2. NPR – In Blow To White House, Federal Judge Rules That Don Mcgahn Must Testify
  3. Axios – Appeals Court Orders Trump’s Banks To Turn Financial Records Over To Congress

Things to Watch

Impeachment Next Steps. This past week may have been a bit quiet, but there’s a lot to watch in the upcoming week as we enter a more public phase of investigation.  The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold its first impeachment hearing on Wednesday, now that the Intelligence Committee report has circulated.  The Judiciary Committee is giving the administration until December 6 to decide whether they want to present defending evidence.  Since an appeals court has agreed to stay enforcement of the executive immunity case, it’s not surprising that the administration has already declined to participate in the most obnoxious way possible by the time I write this, a full six days before the deadline.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – What Is The Impeachment Process? A Step-by-Step Guide
  2. Politico – Intelligence Committee To Begin Circulating Draft Ukraine Report Monday
  3. Reuters – U.S. Panel Sets Deadline For Trump To Decide Participation In Impeachment Hearings
  4. CNN – White House Will Not Participate In Judiciary Committee Hearing

Fake Spying Claims. It’s not due out for another week, but news outlets are reporting that a forthcoming Department of Justice inspector general report is expected to find that the FBI never spied on Trump during his campaign.  This, of course, does raise the question of why current Attorney General William Barr testified otherwise to Congress, if it never happened.  Needless to say, this doesn’t inspire confidence in Barr, as last time I checked it is in fact against the rules of professional conduct to straight-up lie to tribunals.  It’s unsurprising that Barr is already trying to discredit the report.
Key links:

  1. NBC – DOJ Inspector General Draft Report Says FBI Didn’t Spy On Trump Campaign
  2. Newsweek – Bill Barr Peddled ‘made Up’ Theories In Front Of Congress To Help Trump, Says Ex-prosecutor
  3. New York Times – Barr Is Said To Doubt Inspector General’s Finding On Russia Inquiry

                                                                                                                                              

Actions for Everyone

A reminder that while impeachment hearing are happening, and we’re seeing pictures and videos of Trump everywhere, there’s this plug-in to turn his face into a kitten so it’s easier to stomach all the news – Make America Kittens Again.

Climate Change: Protests, rallies, sit-ins, and strikes have been organized across the country this week to demand political action on climate change. Get involved with an organization of your choice and follow along to find out when the next meets, rallies, etc will be happening near you. Here are a few groups to start your search:

Believe Women: I really feel like I write the same blurbs each week, and I guess I will until something changes cause damn it, things need to change. Uber says there were more than 3,000 sexual assaults reported in the US last year. In addition to the many links we’ve posted about #MeToo, and other current campaigns to end sexual violence, here’s a link to a site called Teach Consent. Teach your kids, and honestly, share this site with actual grown ups too – let’s end sexual violence now!

Things that Make me Smile: All of Francis Bebey’s music, but especially The Coffee Cola Song. Try not to fall in love with this song, I dare you. Also Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s tshirt line, Impeach the MF.

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

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

Best,
The Activism Team

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

Our mailing address is:

The Activism Team

PO Box 186

Stevens Point, WI 54481

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