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

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 #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
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 #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

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 #127, 2019 Week 48

Hey everyone,

Were here to help you stay on top the news so you can spend your time with family and friends.  Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!

As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

This past week’s public hearings were absolutely bonkers, and much of the created fallout was no less chaotic. The next few weeks are likely to be a wild ride that requires our careful attention–we’ll keep folks posted as new developments occur!

Events to Know

War Crime Pardon Press (cont). Trump’s sketchy war crimes pardon party from last week continues to pay miserable dividends, with Trump insisting that the Navy cannot remove SEAL qualification from one of the men who was pardoned.  Since the Navy isn’t especially noted for being chill about pictures with corpses, and they’re also supposed to be in charge of their own qualification system, they did not take kindly to this interference.  Eventually this standoff culminated in Secretary of Defense Mark Esper firing his own Navy Secretary because the man wouldn’t cede the call to Trump.

Key links:

  1. Reuters – Trump Pardons Army Officers, Restores Navy Seal’s Rank In War Crimes Cases
  2. New York Times – Navy Is Said To Proceed With Disciplinary Plans Against Edward Gallagher
  3. Axios – Navy Secretary Fired Over Handling Of Eddie Gallagher Case

Stopgap Bill Shuffle. Congress passed another stopgap bill via CR this week, funding our federal systems and staving off a government shutdown for now.  Since Trump signed the bill on Friday, that’s November sorted.  Unfortunately, the bill only lasts until 12/20, so we’ll be back here again this time next month.  If this year goes anything like last year, we’re not out of the woods just yet; I’ll keep folks posted on what happens when the next deadline rolls around.

Key links:

  1. The Hill – Senate Approves Stopgap Bill To Prevent Shutdown
  2. Defense and Security Monitor – Stopgap Spending Bill Keeps U.S. Government Running Through December 20

West Bank and Bibi Blues. Current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement this week saying that Israeli settlements in the West Bank somehow don’t violate international law, which reverses over four decades of official U.S. policy.  Several outlets are referring to this statement as “a gift to Netanyahu,” which is both accurate and particularly galling when Netanyahu became the first sitting Prime Minister to be indicted for corruption in the same week.  So essentially, we have a guy likely under investigation for corruption (more on that below) reversing four decades of established policy to give another guy under investigation for corruption the green light to violate an international treaty.   Regardless of your opinion of Palestinian occupation, this type of lawlessness erodes our institutions, and it’s not okay.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Pompeo Says Israeli West Bank Settlements Aren’t Illegal. What Does This Mean In Practice?
  2. Al-Monitor – Pompeo’s Gift To Netanyahu Might Bring About New Israeli Annexation
  3. Associated Press – Israel’s Netanyahu Indicted On Corruption Charges

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience. We had some awesome court cases this week, I’m happy to report.  The retrial of Scott Warren, who faced criminal charges for giving food and water to migrants at the southern border, ended in another not guilty verdict–gosh, can’t imagine why juries keep refusing to convict the guy for his humanitarian aid.  Meanwhile, a federal judge issued an emphatic opinion that White House attorney Don McGahn must be compelled to testify, noting that “absolute immunity . . . simply does not exist” and “Presidents are not Kings.”  (The House Oversight and Reform Committee has already filed a lawsuit using the McGahn case as precedent.)  And on the subpoena end, Rudy Giuliani’s firm is being investigated as part of a much broader corruption probe in Manhattan.

Key links:

  1. Intercept – Humanitarian Volunteer Scott Warren Reflects On The Borderlands And Two Years Of Government Persecution
  2. NPR – In Blow To White House, Federal Judge Rules That Don Mcgahn Must Testify
  3. Politico – Oversight Panel Sues William Barr, Wilbur Ross Over 2020 Census Documents
  4. CNBC- Rudy Giuliani Consulting Firm Eyed In Federal Subpoenas, Report Says

Things to Watch

Impeachment Updates.  By the end of last week, the impeachment inquiry had crystallized into an extremely strong case for several impeachable offenses, and the Intelligence panel has chosen to move forward with drafting the final report (despite stonewalling from several would-be witnesses).  Once the Intelligence Committee findings have been summarized, the resulting report will go to the House Judiciary Committee, which will begin drafting articles of impeachment.  (The latter has already announced that their first hearing will be next week.)  Meanwhile, chaos abounds as everybody tries to prep for the inevitable articles–in the Senate, both sides of the aisle are thinking about how to plan the trial, which has the White House weirdly jazzed because they hope to turn it into a kangaroo court and make Joe Biden testify.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post-  Schiff Says Democrats Will Press Forward Despite Lack Of Testimony From Key Impeachment Witnesses
  2. New York Times – The Impeachment Witnesses Not Heard
  3. CNN – Republican Senators Discuss With White House Would-be Parameters Of An Impeachment Trial
  4. Reuters – Trump Wants Senate Trial, Expects Joe Biden To Testify: White House

Nunes News and Pompeo Press. Giuliani associate and all-around sketchball Lev Parnas flipped to the side of impeachment this week. In the process, he disclosed that ranking Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes was apparently involved in the Ukraine scandal his committee’s been investigating–so that was a quick trip to an ethics investigation. As one Twitter user put it, “So through weeks of hearings, while Rep Nunes sat there getting increasingly sullen and cranky and sad sack in his public statements he in fact was part of the effort the committee was investigating.”  Meanwhile, an ethics group released documents further implicating Mike Pompeo, who apparently had repeated direct contact with Rudy Giuliani during the whole affair.
Key links:

  1. Vanity Fair – Spurned By Trump, Giuliani Crony Lev Parnas Flips On Impeachment
  2. CNN – Exclusive: Giuliani Associate Willing To Tell Congress Nunes Met With Ex-Ukrainian Official To Get Dirt On Biden
  3. NBC – Documents Released To Ethics Group Show Giuliani, Pompeo Contacts Before Ukraine Ambassador Ousted

2020 Election News. Well, 2020 election news remains chaotic and strange, but at least it makes good SNL fodder Wednesday’s debate came and went, with no obvious upsets afterwards (though of course that could change at any time).  Afterwards, Mike Bloomberg finally announced his candidacy, bringing us back up to 18 Democrat candidates–which we can probably all agree is way too many less than a year before the actual election.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – 5 Takeaways From the November Democratic Debate
  2. Washington Post – Mike Bloomberg enters Democratic campaign for president
  3. New York Times – Who’s Running for President in 2020?

                                                                                                                                                  

Actions for Everyone

I’ll give thanks this week for all the great activism work we’ve been doing together for the past three years! If you’re sharing a meal with a group of friends or family this year, please be sure to acknowledge the native land you’re on. I’m sending you all the strength to have hard conversations with certain family members this Thanksgiving – it might be the year we have a break through with Uncle Bob.

End Gun ViolenceAccording to Wikipedia, there have been 370 mass shootings so far in 2019. With that in mind, I want to share the group Moms Demand Action and Everytown. While both groups have initiatives worth reading up on, I especially want you to know that Moms Demand Action is organizing a rally on Monday, December 2nd in front of the Supreme Court of the United States in support of gun safety. Sign up for both groups to receive updates, and donate if you’re able.

Get Registered to Vote: It’s never too early to make sure you’re registered to vote. Have you moved? Get yourself a piece of mail, an ID with an updated addresses, or whatever your state’s regulations instruct you to do. 2020 is a biiiiiiig year and we need everyone who is elegible to vote to make it to the polls. Vote.Org promises it’ll take two minutes to register. If you know you’re already registered, make it a goal to get one unregistered person to over to Vote.Org or your registration process of choice.

Things that make me smile: I pinched a nerve in my neck, and needed a heating pad, but I don’t have a microwave to heat up the one I made. These simple directions for an oven-heated towel have been saving me. As has, Billy on The Street.

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 #126, 2019 Week 47

Hey everyone,

Overwhelmed by impeachment hearings?  Let us help with that and other news. 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

Impeachment public hearings draw to a close this week, and I could easily write ten pages of analysis just on those hearings alone–increasingly, it looks like Democrats are playing Battleship while Republicans are playing Deuces Wild. We’ll need to keep an eye on the next stages of the impeachment inquiry from here, and there are several other things to know this week as well.

Events to Know

Last Week’s Impeachment Updates. After we sent out the AN, there were a few more developments last week.  Marie Yovanovitch testified directly in Friday’s public hearing while the aide Taylor identified, David Holmes, was in a closed door deposition doing the same.  Holmes apparently gave credible enough testimony behind closed doors that he may be added to the public hearing roster, so we should keep an eye on that.  In the public hot seat, Yovanovitch described experiencing a smear campaign as Trump smeared her on Twitter in real time–highlighting the difficulties faced by career staffers under Trump and making Schiff mutter about witness intimidation.  All told, it was a day so bizarre and grueling for Yovanovitch that it ended with Congress applauding her when she stepped down.  Then Saturday was another closed deposition, but it featured the first budget official who actually showed up to testify, and he agreed that withholding aid from Ukraine sure seemed sketchy to him.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Key Takeaways From Marie Yovanovitch’s Hearing In The Impeachment Inquiry
  2. Cbs – Diplomats Detail Ukraine Pressure Campaign At First Open Impeachment Hearing
  3. Axios – Trump Attacks Yovanovitch As She Testifies At Impeachment Hearing
  4. Esquire – Remember The Applause That Followed Marie Yovanovitch Out Of That Hearing Room
  5. Washington Post – White House Budget Official Says Decision To Delay Aid To Ukraine Was Highly Irregular

Roger Stone Trial Wraps.  Roger Stone was found guilty of all seven counts at the end of his trial this week, with charges ranging from witness tampering to lying to Congress to obstruction of justice.  Stone makes the sixth Trump associate convicted of actions related to the Mueller investigation, and he faces up to 50 years in prison if the sentences are consecutive–let me tell you, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer oligarch.  Now that the Stone trial has rolled on by, the tea leaves are suggesting that the next Trump associate to be prosecuted will be Rudy Giuliani, and I’ll keep folks posted on that.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Roger Stone Guilty on All Counts: Lying to Congress, Obstruction, Witness Tampering
  2.  Forbes – Roger Stone Becomes 6th Trump Associate Convicted Under Mueller Probe
  3. Wall Street Journal – Federal Prosecutors Probe Giuliani’s Links to Ukrainian Energy Projects

War Crime Pardons. Despite everything else going on this week, Trump still found time to pardon two service men who were charged with murdering unarmed people and a third convicted of posing with a corpse.  The pardons went against the advice of the Pentagon, which wanted to maintain accountability and preserve chain of command–for some reason, they thought it was important to have ‘functional military tribunals’ with ‘predictable outcomes’ that ‘prevent rampant war crimes.’  All three of the men pardoned, incidentally, were white men originally charged with murdering people of color, and in other breaking news water is wet.

Key links:

  1. ABC – Trump Issues Pardons For 3 Service Members Accused Of War Crimes
  2. CNN – Trump Ignores Pentagon Advice And Intervenes In Military War Crimes Cases

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience. There were a fair number of good court cases again this week. A federal district court found that the U.S. violated the Fourth Amendment by searching people’s phones for no reason at U.S. ports of entry. The DC appeals court reiterated that Trump has to turn over his financial records to Congress, refusing to rehear the case, though Trump is appealing to SCOTUS on that one. Speaking of SCOTUS, they also refused to dismiss a case brought by Sandy Hook parents against gun manufacturers.

Key links:

  1. Ars Technica – US Violated Constitution By Searching Phones For No Good Reason, Judge Rules
  2. Washington Post – Trump Asks Supreme Court To Shield His Tax Returns From Prosecutors, Setting Up Historic Separation-of-powers Showdown 
  3. Reuters – U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Shield Gun Maker From Sandy Hook Lawsuit

2019 Election Aftermath (Again). In the final gubernatorial election of the season, Louisiana’s election went to the Democratic incumbent, who threw traditional Southern shade at Trump in his victory speech (saying “As for the President, God bless his heart”). Louisiana is the second red state this month to ignore Trump’s strong endorsement and elect a blue governor–officially, even, since Kentucky’s GOP candidate conceded this week. Some analysts are supposing that these victories will cause Republicans to stop mindlessly backing him during impeachment proceedings, and we can only hope.

Key links:

  1. WWLTV – Louisiana 2019 Runoff Election Results Recap
  2. Washington Post – Kentucky Gov Matt Bevin, a Trump Ally, Concedes Reelection Bid
  3. Washington Post – Another Warning for Republicans: Trump Can’t Win Your Election

Things to Watch

2020 Election Chaos (continued).  2020 election news continues, and continues to be weird.  Bloomberg still hasn’t officially entered the race as I type this, but he sure did just so happen to apologize for his extremely unpopular stop-and-frisk policies as mayor of New York in the early 2000s.  Meanwhile, Deval Patrick did formally announce he plans to run, and speaking as an MA resident who lived through the Patrick era, I cannot overstress how much this is the solution nobody needed.  Completing the bland candidate trifecta, and illustrating why neither of these rich dudes’ services are required, a poll in Iowa suggests Pete Buttigieg is now leading in the primary (and his performance at Wednesday’s debate likely reinforces this).
Key links:

  1. New York Times – Bloomberg Apologizes for Stop-and-Frisk at Just the Right Time
  2. Forbes – Deval Patrick’s Record As Massachusetts Governor Hints At The Policy Preferences He Would Bring To The White House
  3. Buttigeig Surges Ahead of His Democratic Primary Rivals in Iowa, New Poll Shows

Senate and School Shootings. In a stunning display of poor governing and worse timing, Senate Republicans stalled out a responsible gun law on Thursday as yet another school shooting in California killed two people and wounded four more.  The proposed legislation would have required universal background checks for private gun sales, and passed in the House earlier this year.  Needless to say, this remains an excellent time to call your reps and tell them to ask the Wizard for a heart and/or a brain.

Key links:

  1. Sacramento Bee – As Police Rush To School Shooting In California, The Senate Was Discussing Gun Control
  2. ABC – ‘Don’t Stay Silent’: Democrats Lash Out As Gop Blocks Gun Measure Amid School Shooting

This Week’s Impeachment Acceleration. This week’s public hearings were absolutely bonkers, and we need to talk about what that might mean for the inquiry.  Tuesday’s testimony was Alexander Vindman, Jennifer Williams, Kurt Volkerand Tim Morrison–and there were some important moments, but their testimony was overshadowed by Gordon Sondland implicating half the Trump administration on Wednesday, flat-out stating that Trump, Pence, and several other important officials were “in the loop” about a “quid pro quo” campaign Fiona Hill and David Holmes testified on Thursday, clearing up the timeline of events and providing further evidence that Trump was definitely in on all of this.  It’s hard to know what happens next, but this week the impeachment inquiry crystallized into an extremely strong case for impeachable offenses, and we all need to be watching this very carefully and calling reps as needed.

Key links:

  1. CNN – Impeachment Investigators Slate Open Hearings For 8 More Witnesses Next Week
  2. Washington Post – 7 takeaways from Tuesday’s impeachment hearings                                                                                            
  3. NBC News – Sondland testimony targets Trump, Pompeo and confirms deal with Ukraine
  4. New York Times – Key Moments From Hill and Holmes’s Testimony in the Impeachment Inquiry
  5. CNN Politics – Republican senators discuss with White House would-be parameters of an impeachment trial                                                                                                                                                  

Actions for Everyone

Possible government shutdown – The house passed a continuing resolution to keep the government running till December 20th. It is now in the hands of the Senate and it will be up to the President to sign or veto. There is a possibility that Trump will try to shutdown the government in order to halt the impeachment hearings, so we have to keep an eye out for what happens next.

Trump to sign Hong Kong bill – The House passed the Hong Kong Humanity and Democracy Act, last Wednesday. The bill requires regular reviews of the city’s special financial status  in the midst of the pro-democracy protests being cracked down by China.

Though Trump is expected to sign this bill into law, we can’t really expect Trump to do anything really so we have to keep an eye on this; hopefully he will follow through.

Impeachment bonanza – Public hearings are happening almost daily and we the evidence proving Trump is guilty keeps multiplying but the Republicans still won’t budge. If your representatives are from the GOP, give them a call, keep reminding them they shouldn’t be in the wrong side of history. You can go here to find your reps.

Venice under water – The Italian city of Venice is known for its canals and gondola rides but last couple of weeks the water has reached an all time high and it’s cause a lot of damage. Clearly, climate change is the culprit.

Here are a couple of organizations you can donate to help them come back from this catastrophe:

This GoFundMe helps specifically local businesses

The city’s official fund 

20th Trans Day of Remembrance – This past Wednesday 20th was Transgender Day of Remembrance. According to Trans Respect Versus Transphobia there have been 331 Trans and gender non-conforming persons killed internationally this past year. In the United States, the majority of trans people reported murdered are trans women of color and/or Native American trans women.

How can you help?This article has a good list of things you can do to help, from knowing the victims, listening to survivors and being a true ally.Also, you can donate to some of this organizations that work directly with trans folks:

The Human Rights Campaign

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

The National Center for Transgender Equality

The Trevor Project  

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 #125, 2019 Week 46

Hey everyone,

Snuggle up and grab a warm beverage of your choice, we have the latest news for your. 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

Somehow, it simultaneously feels like the impeachment inquiry has been going for ten years and five minutes–and so far we’ve only been climbing to the top of that first roller coaster drop. This week marks a turning point in the investigation nonetheless, as we transition from closed-door testimony to public hearings and start that wild free fall chaos. We’ll do our best to keep everybody hanging on, though I make no promises about how stomach-turning it’s about to become.

Events to Know

Climate Policy Polarization. Trump began the process this week of formally leaving the Paris climate accords, a move which is deeply frustrating even though the withdrawal won’t be finalized for at least a year (and a subsequent President could undo it fairly quickly).  The move feels particularly aggravating given a warning issued by over 11,000 scientists that our planet is facing a growing climate emergency.  The scientists cautioned that policy must reflect our changing global needs in order to stave off catastrophic results, suggesting positive changes to carbon emission, population stabilization, and ecosystem disruption.  So, basically, all the changes that this administration hates.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Trump, Lifelong New Yorker, Declares Himself a Resident of Florida

  2. Business Insider – ‘Good riddance’: New York’s governor responded to news that Trump, a lifelong New Yorker, declared himself a resident of Florida

  3. NBC News – Trump loses appeal in New York tax case, must hand over returns

Roger Stone Trial.  Roger Stone’s trial on whether he lied to Congress kicked off this week, marking the last legal moments of the Mueller era.  Though it has been flying somewhat under the radar amid all the impeachment hoopla, it doesn’t appear off to a great start for Stone–he got food poisoning during jury selection and asked to be excused.  Then Steve Bannon and beleaguered radio host Randy Credico testified, and Stone probably started missing the food poisoning.  Oh, and poor Judge Jackson, who has already had to deal with quite a lot on this case, had to order the jury not to watch the Godfather because Credico referenced it too many times.

Key links: 

  1. NBC – Prosecutor Says Roger Stone Lied Because ‘The Truth Looked Bad For Donald Trump’

  2. Lawfare – The Roger Stone Trial: What’s Left Of The Mueller Investigation

  3. Vanity Fair – “The Truth Looked Bad For Donald Trump”: The Roger Stone Trial Is Delivering Much Of What Mueller Didn’t

  4. Miami New Times – Florida Man Roger Stone’s Five Wildest Moments

Trump Court Cases. Speaking of court cases, 45 currently has enough lawsuits going on for 45 people, and we saw news on a bunch of them this week.  He announced his plan to appeal last week’s 2nd Circuit decision that requires him to cough up tax returns, because a case described by the ruling judge as “repugnant to the nation’s fundamental structure and constitutional values” is definitely worth the Supreme Court’s time and attention.  Of course, even as he announced this, a DC federal judge dismissed his lawsuit about how he didn’t wanna cough up said tax returns and told him to go file it in New York.  Meanwhile, he was personally fined $2.8M after admitting that he used Trump Foundation donations–which were supposed to go to veterans, I might add–to fund his 2016 political campaign.  And E Jean Caroll, who alleges that Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room, is now suing him for defamation due to the insults he lobbed while denying her allegations.

Key links: 

  1. NPR – Appeals Court Rules Trump’s Accountants Must Turn Over Tax Records

  2. CNN – Trump Can’t Sue New York State In Dc Federal Court To Stop Release Of Tax Returns, Judge Says

  3. NBC – Judge Orders Trump To Pay $2 Million For Misusing His Foundation

  4. Politico – E. Jean Carroll Suing Trump For Defamation

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience. A lot of this week’s federal court news somehow involved Trump, and thus has already been covered, but we did a few other highlights. Most notably, a federal judge blocked a ‘conscience rule’ that would have permitted medical discrimination for religious reasons–a significant victory for those of us who just want to get medical treatment in peace.  In the sports world, the U.S. women’s national soccer team was also granted class status in their gender discrimination lawsuit this week, which will significantly broaden the scope of the suit.  So that’s pretty exciting as well!

Key links:

  1. CNBC – Federal judge halts Alabama abortion law deemed the strictest in the nation

  2. Slate – North Carolina’s Congressional Gerrymander Is Dead

  3. Washington Post – Judge temporarily blocks Trump order requiring would-be immigrants to prove they have health insurance

  4. New York Times – Judge Voids Trump-Backed ‘Conscience Rule’ for Health Workers

Things to Watch

Impeachment Inquiry Updates. A number of transcripts of Congressional hearings became available over the past week, and they are about as damning as you might expect.  But the real news of the week was the first open impeachment hearing, when the House Intelligence Committee questioned Ambassador William Taylor and Ambassador George Kent.  The biggest news of the day was that Bill Taylor disclosed new information that directly tied Trump to politically pressuring Ukraine.  That said, George Kent also confirmed that Giuliani led a smear campaign against ousted ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and others reluctant to push for a Biden investigation, which is relevant as well.  There will be plenty to watch in the days to come, with up to fifteen total witnesses expected and the next hearing scheduled for Friday.  We’ll keep you posted on hearing progress!

Key links:

  1. Business Insider – Kurt Volker’s Testimony Shatters Trump’s Justification For Urging Ukraine To Investigate The Bidens

  2. CBS – Sondland Says He Now Recalls Ukraine Aid Being Linked To Public Anti-corruption Statement

  3. New York Times – Hill And Vindman Testimony: Key Excerpts From Impeachment Inquiry Transcripts

  4. Washington Post – Ukraine Expert Who Listened To Trump’s Call Says ‘there Was No Doubt’ The President Was Seeking Investigations Of Political Rivals

  5. Politico – Taylor’s bombshell and 12 more big impeachment hearing moments

  6. CNN – Impeachment investigators slate open hearings for 8 more witnesses next week

Administrative Anger Synopsis. As the House investigation pushes for more transparency, the GOP has mostly responded with varying levels of “you can’t make me.”  First there’s Lindsey Graham, who has decided to deal with the transcripts above by refusing to read them.  We also saw John Bolton semi-politely decline to show up for a deposition, reiterating that he’ll need a court to say it’s legal (or at least a subpoena).  Meanwhile, current chief of staff Mick Mulvaney chose to hide behind the lawsuit as well, dodging a subpoena and ticking off Bolton in the process.  Trump failed to talk his attorney general into holding a press conference to announce he broke no laws.  And Senate Republicans want to use the impeachment inquiry to investigate the Biden family and the whistleblower, because clearly that’s the real scandal here.

Key links:

  1. The Hill – Graham Says He Won’t Read The Trump Impeachment Transcripts

  2. Axios – Mulvaney Fails To Comply With House Subpoena

  3. New York Times – Attorney General Declined Trump Request to Declare Nothing Illegal in Ukraine Call

  4. NPR – The Whistleblower Complaint Has Largely Been Corroborated. Here’s How.

2020 Election Chaos. Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke dropped out of the 2020 election this week, conceding that he lacked momentum (and hopefully redirecting his energies towards another Senate bid).  Apparently former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg decided this meant there was a vacancy, because he’s now rumored to be planning to run.  Meanwhile, former Alabama senator Jeff Sessions is making a bid for his old seat, airing a Trump-friendly political ad that some pundits found painful after Sessions’s years of mistreatment as Attorney General.  (I would be remiss if I did not note that Jeff Sessions, who penned some extremely appalling policy during his tenure as AG, gets very little sympathy from me personally.)

Key links:

  1. KTSM – A Look At Why Beto O’Rourke Dropped Out Of Presidential Race

  2. Bloomberg – Michael Bloomberg Considers Run for President Against Trump

  3. CNN – Jeff Sessions Highlights His Lack Of Trump-bashing In Ad

  4. The Week – Jeff Sessions’ Singularly Strange Legacy

                                                                                                                                                  

Actions for Everyone

On Wednesday morning, I put on my long undies, warmest slippers, and streamed the impeachment hearings. I’m honestly not sure whether they ended well or not because it felt a little performative, but I’m happy to see them happening, happy to see the truth being shared publicly, and happy to have a great reason to stream the news indoors on a 25 degree day here in Wisconsin. Extreme temps to be address in the newsletter below.

Immigration updates: We knew the numbers had to be bad, but according to new government data, nearly 70,000 babies, children and teenagers held in U.S. government custody this year, which is a 42% increase over 2018. Immigrants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and their supporters organized a rally and march leading up until the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over it, which didn’t go well. Theodore B. Olson, a lawyer for the DACA recipients, said “The government’s termination of DACA triggered abrupt, tangible, adverse consequences and substantial disruptions in the lives of 700,000 individuals, their families, employers, communities and the armed forces. That decision required the government to provide an accurate, reasoned, rational and legally sound explanation. It utterly failed to do so.”

We all know from too many tweets that Trump has decided that those who are in the US because of DACA are dangerous criminals, and just generally there is a rise of white nationalism all over the world. Last weekend in Milwaukee, a US Citizen who immigrated from Peru was victim to a hate crime acted out by a local, white man.

This got me thinking that a bit of activism you can from the comforts of your own home, or at your next family gathering, office space, etc is stand up vocally or digitally against the ill-informed and ignorant. Reggie Jackson once told me that he believes 100% in the power of dialogue, and that telling your racist Uncle (or any other friend, family, acquaintances) that their comments upset you and then explaining why miiiiight just open a healthy conversation versus making an aggressive comment and then hard stop. I think I’ve posted this before, but just remember that even hard conversations are still just a conversation.

EPA Regulations: The New York Times got a whiff of a draft of a policy being working on through the EPA that limits science used to write public health regulations. In fact, that’s the title of the Times piece I read, “E.P.A. to Limit Science Used to Write Public Health Rules,” which at first didn’t seem alarming, because maybe not all science is good science, and maybe being extra sceptical of the research used is a good thing…? Ya know, I’m not a scientist, but it was a thought I had.

When I kept reading, I learned that the proposal could erase past scientific precedents, like the 1993 Harvard University project that definitively linked polluted air to premature deaths, and is currently the foundation of the nation’s air-quality laws. According to the Times, the proposal also “drew nearly 600,000 comments, the vast majority of them in opposition.”  Many of them are public health groups and scientific organizations like the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, The National Center for Science Education, The Medical Library Association, the Association of Academic Health Science Libraries, etc.

Ok, so with that in mind, the activism we need to do is to file public comments with the EPA as soon as that becomes available. As far as I can tell, it’s not public yet, but read up and get ready. Other EPA regulations on docket for public comment can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/dockets/view-dockets-open-public-comment-program-office

The climate crisis is taking many forms this season, extreme and unseasonsonably frigid temps here in Wisconsin, and the highest tides in Venice.

Things That Makes Me Smile: It’s not like very cheery, but it’s amazing and incredible and inspiring that Chilean protests have led to the government agreeing to rewrite their constitution. Even though it had casualties, it was hard fought and warms my heart to see a peoples’ movement win!

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

Issue #124, 2019 Week 45

Hey everyone,

So much news to get through.  Don’t know where to start?  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 was Halloween this week, and most of the news was appropriately scary to mark the occasion.  Also, like that one type of Halloween candy you hate, impeachment news is turning up on every corner.  (Seriously, there has been so much impeachment news that I had to triple-check to make sure I wasn’t somehow missing some regular news.  It’s impeachment turtles and decoy policies all the way down.)

Events to Know

Goodbye, New York. Trump went ahead and declared himself a resident of Florida this week, saying the quiet part out loud as he did so and insinuating that it was for tax reasons.  New York’s governor responded by publicly tweeting, “He’s all yours, Florida” and noting that it was “not like [Trump] paid taxes here anyway.”  As if to punctuate the point, the Second Circuit decided shortly after that yes, Trump does have to surrender tax documents to Manhattan’s District Attorney.  It will be interesting to see what Trump does from here.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Trump, Lifelong New Yorker, Declares Himself a Resident of Florida
  2. Business Insider – ‘Good riddance’: New York’s governor responded to news that Trump, a lifelong New Yorker, declared himself a resident of Florida
  3. NBC News – Trump loses appeal in New York tax case, must hand over returns

California Wildfires Rage. Trying to stay ahead of the dangerous dry season, California planned electricity shut-offs for a million of its residents.  Unfortunately, this didn’t prevent massive wildfires, which firefighters are struggling to contain particularly in the northern part of the state.  Throwing, well, gasoline on the fire, Trump is now threatening to cut federal aid to the state–because when there’s a natural disaster, you can definitely fix things by just refusing to do anything to fix it.  Not one to take that sitting down, California’s governor promptly replied: “You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.”  (Given that Trump just formally announced we’re withdrawing from the Paris Accords, I can’t say I blame the governor here.)

Key links:

  1. CNN – Millions of people in California are starting to lose power as PG&E tries to prevent more wildfires
  2. Los Angeles Times – PG&E warns it could cut power to more than 2 million people beginning Saturday night
  3. ABC News – Trump threatens to cut off federal funding for California wildfires
  4. Washington Post – Calif. governor hits back at Trump over wildfire criticism, threat to cut aid
  5. NPR – U.S. Formally Begins To Leave The Paris Climate Agreement

Election Aftermath. Tuesday brought elections many places on the local and state level, and we saw some pretty interesting results!  One of the biggest changes happened in Virginia, where Democrats now control all three state branches of government for the first time in over twenty years.  In state elections in general, suburbs went much more blue than is traditional in many parts of the country.  We also had two gubernatorial elections:  Kentucky elected a Democrat governor, though the current governor is refusing to concede, and Mississippi stuck with a Republican ticket for their own gubernatorial race.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – The Daily 202: Republicans get blown out in the suburbs – again – in off-year elections
  2. New York Times – Virginia Election: Democrats Take Full Control of State Government
  3. CNN – Kentucky Live Election Results

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience. It may have been a strange week, but it was a decent one for court cases. The ACLU successfully curtailed an Alabama law that would fully ban abortion this week, making the procedure again legal in all 50 states. (This is a mixed blessing, since the pro-life strategy at play involves getting the case before the Supreme Court, but it’s still better than leaving the law in effect.) Relatedly, a federal judge also blocked a ‘conscience rule’ that would have permitted medical discrimination for religous reasons.  A North Carolina court ruled that the gerrymandered maps cannot be used in the 2020 election, following the blueprint set by Justice Kagan in her SCOTUS dissent as they did so. And a federal court blocked the Trump rule that predicated visas on health insurance, forcing the administration to pause implementation of the new rule for at least a month.

Key links:

  1. CNBC – Federal judge halts Alabama abortion law deemed the strictest in the nation
  2. Slate – North Carolina’s Congressional Gerrymander Is Dead
  3. Washington Post – Judge temporarily blocks Trump order requiring would-be immigrants to prove they have health insurance
  4. New York Times – Judge Voids Trump-Backed ‘Conscience Rule’ for Health Workers

Things to Watch

Impeachment Inquiry Updates. The top of the week featured damning firsthand testimony by Alexander Vindman, a military official who was on the infamous Ukraine call–most notably, Vindman was adamant that the official ‘transcript’ left things out and added things, and that his attempts to correct it were unsuccessful.  We also received confirmation from him that the phone call was improperly moved to a highly restricted server.   Tim Morrison, who was a top Russia official of the National Security Council, stepped down ahead of his own testimony, which corroborated much of Taylor and Vindman’s.   On the same day that ambassador to the EU Gordan Sondham’s initial testimony became public, he also issued a “supplemental declaration” that reversed his earlier claim of no quid pro quo, asserting that the testimony of the others had “refreshed his recollection.”  And the House is also trying to get John Bolton to testify, but he indicated this week that he won’t do it without a subpoena.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Vindman offers a firsthand account of critical episodes in alleged quid pro quo
  2. The Hill – Vindman says White House lawyer moved Ukraine call to classified server: report
  3. CNN – Impeachment deposition: NSC official corroborates testimony linking Ukraine aid to investigations
  4. New York Times – Sondland Updates Impeachment Testimony, Describing Ukraine Quid Pro Quo
  5. NBC News – John Bolton invited to testify in House impeachment inquiry

Administrative Anger Synopsis. This week saw yet more poor behavior on the GOP side, and it’s getting hard to separate the misconduct of the administration from the bad behavior it causes in others.  The early lowlight was definitely a smear campaign against Vindman, which insinuated that he was a double-agent due to his familial ties to Ukraine.  But that got overshadowed quickly by bonkers Nunes news, which featured one of his aides feeding Trump Ukraine-related information without authorization, another aide trying to out the whistleblower, and Nunes himself calling reporters ‘assassins.’  Meanwhile, a canny aide to John Bolton filed a lawsuit asking the court to tell him whether to answer House subpoenas, and several more White House officials just straight-up refused to testify.  Then Trump accused Schiff of altering transcripts, and a number of Senate Republicans have started taking the demonstrably false stance that quid pro quo isn’t illegal.  That last bit probably happened, by the way, because Trump started bribing GOP senators with campaign funds contingent on their impeachment messaging.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – A new witness is about to damage Trump. Fox News is already smearing him.
  2. Politico – House could act on impeachment before suit over former Trump aide’s subpoena is resolved
  3. ABC News – White House officials skip impeachment depositions, as Democrats plan to press forward
  4. Independent – Trump ‘invents insane conspiracy theory’ in wild impeachment outburst
  5. News Week – TRUMP IS COMMITTING ‘FELONY BRIBERY’ BY GIVING FUNDRAISING CASH TO GOP SENATORS AHEAD OF IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: EX-BUSH ETHICS LAWYER

Adoption Discrimination Rule. The Trump administration released a proposed rule this week that would permit adoption agencies to refuse to serve LGBT families, effectively rolling back protections put in place by the Obama administration.  The proposal has already been implemented in South Carolina, who got a waiver granted back in the spring, and the ACLU filed a lawsuit around the same time.  (A federal judge tossed out a similar ‘conscience’ rule that protected doctors who discriminate only yesterday, by the way, so this lawsuit is worth watching.)  Since the proposed rule will be subject to a comment period once it officially publishes, which could be as early as next week, now seems a fine time to remind folks that anybody can submit public comments and we’ve seen them have a real effect on other policies in the past year.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – Adoption Groups Could Turn Away L.G.B.T. Families Under Proposed Rule
  2. Bloomberg – Trump Sued Over Plan to Let Adoption Agencies Reject Gay Couples
  3. Washington Post – Trump’s ‘conscience rule’ for health providers blocked by federal judge

Actions for Everyone

I hope everyone had a great Halloween, sadly, it’s still scary out there. But we the witches are powerful and mighty!

First things first: Impeachment.

The House voted last week in favor of the impeachment resolution, formalizing the inquiry and establishing the process.

Two Democrats voted against it; Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota . If you are part of their constituency, let them know you don’t agree with their move that sides with a corrupt President.

All of the GOP sided with Trump but we can’t stop nagging them. Impeachment is a long and tedious process and much more information will be made clear as investigation continues. We may start to see GOP members come to terms with the reality. Let’s be there to pressure them into coming to the other side. Let’s call them!

As Congress is, very rightly so, preoccupied with the Impeachment inquiry and its hearings, we can’t forget that the wheel keeps turning and there is much to be done.

Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act – This law, which provides funds to women’s shelters, advocacy groups and law enforcement, expired last February. The reauthorization bill passed in the House last April but the Senate has not acted on it. (Surprise! It’s Mitch McConell’s fault again.) I know he calls himself the “Grim Reaper” of bill but this bill is actually a law that could mean life or death for victims of abuse.

This law would also make it illegal for men who have been convicted of abuse to possess a firearm. The NRA opposes this bill.

We obviously need this bill to pass in the Senate, so call your representatives and also call Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell’s office. 

Paris Agreement – Last Monday our government officially announced the United State’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, leaving us as the only country that isn’t taking part of this accord. Even though the intentions to pull out were already mentioned before by the President in 2016, we couldn’t legally withdraw from it till last Sunday. The withdrawal won’t take effect until 2020 so we still have time to not look like complete idiots for going against the entire world, science and common sense. Come the 2020 elections, the President can apply again to be part of the Agreement.

So, what do we do?

VOTE. If Donald Trump stays in power, we are going to keep moving backwards.

Get involved in your local government, environmental organizations and contact your State representatives. Even though the US as a nation can withdraw from the accord, that doesn’t mean States can’t take the pledge to lower emissions, become less reliable in fossil fuels and fight climate change. Many States are already doing so!

Here are the Things That Made Me Smile this week:

This AMAZING post of an entomologist reviewing emoji ants.

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