Issue #149, 2020 Week 18

Hey everyone,

Are you ready to throw in the towel trying to keep up with all the information?  You are not alone. Let us help. Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

This week definitely didn’t hit the low water mark set by suggestions to inject bleach at a press conference, but that’s not saying much–it was still pretty rough. We’re here if anyone needs anything, and always we’ll have suggestions for action below.

Events to Know

Trump’s Messed Up COVID-19 Response. Trump’s grasp of leadership didn’t get any better this week, which makes it even more unsettling that he officially is ending his social distancing advisory. His new thing is theorizing that China unleashed COVID from a lab (spoiler: no they didn’t, not that this is provable), but he also dismissed another watchdog employee, this time someone who found that hospitals had massive testing and PPE shortages. His top officials say we’re likely to experience a more severe second round if we reopen too early, and even Trump is upping his death estimates, though he’s also complaining he’s treated worse than Abraham Lincoln while he does it and pushing to shield businesses from liability for COVID-related deaths caused by reopening. The cliff is plainly visible ahead, so it would be great if somebody could wrest the wheel from this guy before we all sail over the edge.

Key links:

  1. Associated Press – Trump Says He Won’t Extend Social Distancing Guidelines
  2. New York Times – Trump Moves To Replace Watchdog Who Identified Critical Medical Shortages
  3. CNN – Us Could Be In For ‘a Bad Fall And A Bad Winter’ If It’s Unprepared For A Second Wave Of Coronavirus, Fauci Warns
  4. Washington Post – White House And Congress Clash Over Liability Protections For Businesses As Firms Cautiously Weigh Virus Reopening Plans

Reopening Rodeo. About half the country’s states are beginning the process of resuming business, with the two original state consortia on the East and West coasts making up the bulk of states staying closed. The rush comes in part due to the White House releasing blueprints for reopening process, which appear to mostly involve holding collective breath and saying a quick prayer. The entire process has been divisive, with some owners in reopening states refusing to resume business and some municipal governments in closed states refusing to enforce stay-at-home orders. And even in states that are already open, COVID numbers are still rising at alarming rates. Nonetheless, Trump has already moved on to instructing governors to “seriously consider reopening schools.”

Key links:

  1. New York Times – See Which States Are Reopening And Which Are Still Shut Down
  2. NBC – Trump Lays Out New Coronavirus Testing ‘blueprint’ As States Weigh Reopening
  3. The Hill – More Than 120 Atlanta Restaurants Refuse To Open Despite Georgia Gov Kemp Lifting Stay-at-home Orders
  4. Washington Post – In Some States, Local Jurisdictions Defy Governors’ Orders
  5. Business Insider – Georgia Reported Over 1,000 New Coronavirus Cases On The Same Day Its Governor Lifted The Stay-at-home Order For Most Residents
  6. CNN – Trump Tells Governors To ‘Seriously Consider And Maybe Get Going’ On Opening Schools

Other COVID Misconduct.  The overall COVID news this week is not exactly uplifting.  At the time that I type this, over 60,000 people in this country have lost their lives to the virus, and over one million people have been infected.  The FDA has cautioned against hydroxychloroquine use to treat COVID, noting that it has been linked to heart rhythm problems and there is increasing indication that the virus impacts the blood.  New York is also reporting high fatality rates among patients on ventilators, derailing medical expectations about treatment methods.  Nurses are starting to organize in response to inadequate workplace protections, bringing three lawsuits against the state of New York and multiple hospitals.  Major players in the food industry warn that the supply chain may be breaking, which prompted Trump to sign an executive order forcing meat plants to remain open.  And the United States is not participating in a WHO global initiative to develop a COVID vaccine, which may reflect growing antagonism towards the global organization as our administration seeks a scapegoat.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Coronavirus Map: Tracking The Global Outbreak
  2. STAT – FDA Warns Against Widespread Use Of Hydroxychloroquine, Drug Touted By Trump
  3. Washington Post – “We’re Beyond Angered” – Fed-up Nurses File Lawsuits, Plan Protest At White House Over Lack Of Coronavirus Protections
  4. Reuters – U.S. Says Will Not Take Part In Who Global Drugs, Vaccine Initiative Launch

Recent Resilience

Recent Michigan Resilience.  Most of us didn’t have a great week, but it was apparently a good time for Michigan education.  The Sixth Circuit found that Detroit students have a constitutional right to literacy under the Fourteenth Amendment, which is a pretty significant form of new constitutional precedent.  And independently, Michigan’s governor announced a new tuition-free educational program for the state’s essential workers, which would permit those workers to complete a variety of types of programs.  The announcement comes after a particularly rough week of protests in the state, with many armed constituents marching on the capitol as the governor signed a new stay-at-home order, so it’s nice to be able to offer some positive news from the state as well.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Detroit Students Have a Constitutional Right to Literacy, Court Rules
  2. CNN – Michigan governor announces tuition-free educational program for essential workers

Things to Watch

Election Oddities (Again).   This was a strangely active week in election news.  Given everything going on, New York has taken the unprecedented step of canceling its primary election for a Democratic candidate.  The governor of the state was quoted as saying it would be “unnecessary and frivolous” to hold an election when Joe Biden is already the presumptive nominee, but Bernie Sanders’s campaign was not happy.   Meanwhile, Justin Amash more-or-less announced that he’s running for President on the Libertarian ticket by forming an exploratory committee Joe Biden formally responded to credible allegations of sexual assault brought by former staffer Tara Reade, retaining the support of several prominant Democrats.  And Trump reportedly lost it at his campaign team because polling in several swing states supports Biden.
Key links:

  1. CNN – U.S. Monitoring Intelligence That North Korean Leader Is In Grave Danger After Surgery
  2. New York Times – South Korea Confident That Rumors Of Kim Jong-un Illness Are Wrong
  3. ABC – How Reports Of Kim Jong Un’s Health Spread And What They Tell Us About What Comes Next For North Korea
  4. New York Times – U.K. Coronavirus Briefings Offer A More Genteel Spin Than Trump’s

State of the COVID-19.*  Despite (because of?) the paragraphs above, COVID news is very bleak.   At the time that I type this, almost 70,000 people in this country have lost their lives to the virus, and over one million people have been infected.  The administration blocked its top advisor from testifying to a House committee about COVID response in much the same fashion as during impeachment proceedings.  Many states still don’t have enough testing, and the Capitol’s physician says he doesn’t have enough tests for all the senators who are returning this week under McConnell’s orders.  COVID model projections are now estimating many more deaths, which may be related to news that the CDC believes deaths have been underreported Major players in the food industry warn that the supply chain may be breaking, which prompted Trump to sign an executive order forcing meat plants to remain open.   And the push for a vaccine or at least functional treatment is causing the administration to barrel ahead with another potentially faulty drug, but at least this one has actual studies in its favor.  (Unsurprisingly, vaccine efforts are going better abroad than they are here.)
Key links:

  1. New York Times – Coronavirus Map: Tracking The Global Outbreak
  2. NBC – White House Blocking Fauci From Testifying Before Congress About Coronavirus Response
  3. CNN – Coronavirus Model Projects 134,000 Deaths In Us, Nearly Double Its Last Estimate
  4. The Hill – Trump Uses Defense Production Act To Order Meat Processing Plants To Stay Open
  5. Time – Leaked Data From A Key Remdesivir Study Suggest The Potential Coronavirus Drug Is Not Effective
  6. New York Times – In Race For A Coronavirus Vaccine, An Oxford Group Leaps Ahead

Market Mess Continues.   There’s scant good news on the market front too.  Though the small business program restarted after bill 3.5 was passed, it was also in the news for giving $1B to publicly traded large companies instead of small businesses per its mission.  Another 3.8 million people filed for unemployment, bringing us to 30 million total since the pandemic began.  Some states have begun threatening to end unemployment benefits upon reopening so that workers are forced to return.  Nonetheless, we’re starting to see more sectors impacted, and the first major retail bankruptcy was filed this week as well.  Several labor groups at seven different corporations also organized protests on May Day, drawing attention to unsafe working conditions during the pandemic.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Small Business Administration Funds To Public Companies Top $1 Billion 
  2. CNBC – Us Weekly Jobless Claims Hit 3.84 Million, Topping 30 Million Over The Last 6 Weeks
  3. New York Times – J. Crew Files For Bankruptcy In Virus’s First Big Retail Casualty
  4. Washington Post – Republican-led States Signal They Could Strip Workers’ Unemployment Benefits If They Don’t Return To Work, Sparking Fresh Safety Fear
  5. Fast Company – Amazon, Walmart, Target Mega-strike: Here’s What To Know About The Sprawling Protest

Actions for Everyone

I hope this week finds you in good health, physically and mentally. And that we will all continue to stay safe and keep protocols to finalize this Covid disaster, even if our government isn’t doing anything right. We have a supermoon tonight! Go out and see it and feel its energy, it’s the last one in 2020!

The USPS needs help – Steps haven’t been taken by Congress to ensure the USPS can survive this pandemic. The Postmaster General has asked for financial relief yet our elected officials haven’t addressed it. (You see my weak mail-related pun?). We need to keep the USPS afloat, they are extremely essential and we can’t let the government forget about this.

What can we do?

Call your elected officials. You can follow THIS script written by Celeste Pewter, a great political writer, to help you in your requests.

Keep using the mail.

Buy stamps, even if you don’t need them right now.

Covid-19 Task Force to supposedly wind down – Our government has had a horrible response on how to deal with this pandemic, especially the executive branch. I am actually elated to see states taking matters into their own hands because we really can’t trust the President and his goons right now. Yesterday, Trump mentioned the Task Force created to deal with Covid-19 may start to wind down, when we’re still in the middle of it and the number of daily predicted deaths for june has actually risen instead of lowering. When you call your elected representatives to talk about helping the USPS, mention that the Task Force must stay together, we’re not out of this yet and we need to see our government step up and just “Be Best” like Melania says.

2020 Census- Why is it important to fill the 2020 Census in the middle of a pandemic? The date gathered from the census is used to “distribute federal money — currently about $675 billion a year — to states and communities for schools, hospitals and roads, as well as Medicaid, welfare, school lunches, food stamps, college grant money for low-income students and dozens of other programs for those in need.  Census data are also used to determine how many seats in Congress a state receives, and they inform how congressional and state legislative districts are drawn. Businesses use the information to find good places to open up shop.”

Covid-19 is making the usual outreach in under-represented communities to have less impact which could end up affecting very much these disenfranchised communities in the long run. How can you help?

Take the 2020 Census if you haven’t.

Tell everyone you know to do it! IRL and social media.

Even though the Census Bureau moved the deadline to finish the Census count for October instead of July, we also need Congress to delay the deadline for state population counts, as well as the deadline for the data used for state redistricting. Ask them about it when you give them a call!

Visit https://2020census.gov to learn more and also find community outreach material.

Here are some Things That Made Me Smile this week:

Body Positive workouts at home

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

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

Best,
The Activism Team

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