Issue #151, 2020 Week 20

Hey everyone,

Thank you for hanging in with us while we were delayed last week! Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

The Activism Team


The news remains strange and a bit hard to fully process this week, in part because America feels like it’s on two different tracks at once. We’re still not in the clear, COVID-wise, but now we have a bunch of other Trump-era nonsense to contend with as well. It’s exhausting, and a part of “normalcy” that I would have happily left behind, but here we are.  


Events to Know

Retaliatory Firing (Yes, Again). The biggest story this week is that Trump unceremoniously fired yet another inspector general on Friday evening, this time from the State Department–which makes three watchdogs fired since the COVID crisis began, and that’s a completely unprecedented number. To make matters worse, said inspector was investigating Mike Pompeo for potential misconduct at the time he was fired, and it would appear that Pompeo was the one to suggest the firing. It’s noteworthy that this inspector general had nothing to do with COVID response, unlike the two before him–it’s a clear indication that the administration has returned to combating entities that combat corruption. Unsurprisingly, House Democrats have opened an investigation into the matter, and the story just keeps getting worse the more they dig–it turns out the misconduct being investigated involves arms sales in the Middle East.

Key links:

  1. Vox – Inspectors general, explained by a former inspector general
  2. New York Times – Trump Ousted State Dept. Watchdog At Pompeo’s Urging; Democrats Open Inquiry
  3. Washington Post – State Department Inspector General Steve Linick Fired, Top Democrats Launch Investigation
  4. Politico – Fired State Department watchdog was probing protocol office

Trump’s Messed Up COVID Response. In case anyone was worried, Trump is continuing to be, well, Trump. He opined that the country should reopen “vaccine or no vaccine,” (no it shouldn’t) but said we’ll have a vaccine by January (no we won’t). Then he said even if we don’t have a vaccine, coronavirus will just go away (what). For an encore, he called testing ‘overrated’ and also threatened to “hold up” federal funds for states that expand mail-in voting–but only the Democrat-controlled ones.   He also announced he apparently is taking hydroxychloroquine as a COVID prophylactic, which is a bad idea on a truly impressive number of levels–but more on that below.  

Key links

  1. BBC – Coronavirus: Trump Says Us Reopening, ‘Vaccine Or No Vaccine’
  2. Politico – Trump Names Team To Develop Coronavirus Vaccine At ‘Warp Speed’
  3. The Hill – Trump Says Testing May Be ‘Frankly Overrated’
  4. NBC – Trump Says He Takes Hydroxychloroquine To Prevent Coronavirus Infection Even Though It’s An Unproven Treatment
  5. STAT – Utah Went All-in On An Unproven Covid-19 Treatment, Then Scrambled To Course-Correct


Election Oddities (Again). Election news is a study in contrasts this week.  Despite everything else going on, the RNC is expecting 50,000 people to attend their convention in Charlotte in a few months.  Democrats, conversely, are looking into remote voting for theirs, though who knows if Trump’s tantrum about absentee ballots will change any minds.  And in libertarian news, Justin Amash announced he isn’t running after all, so we’re down to just Trump and Biden again as we head into June.  

Key links

  1. NPR – GOP Officials Say They’re Expecting 50,000 In Charlotte For Republican Convention
  2. NPR – Democrats Developing Contingency Plans For Remote Convention
  3. Washington Post – Rep. Justin Amash says he won’t run for president


Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience.  There were a lot of promising court actions in the past week. The Supreme Court heard arguments about whether Congress can subpoena Trump’s taxes this week, though a final decision likely won’t be out for some time.  The FBI obtained a search warrant and seized Senator Richard Burr’s phone to investigate his handling of stock trading ahead of the COVID crisis, forcing him to step down from his role as Intelligence Committee Chair.  The Fourth Circuit more-or-less revived the emoluments case about Trump’s D.C. hotel, which is particularly timely given news about 45 making the secret service pay for golf carts this summer (yes, really).  And the judge on Flynn’s case has invited other parties to weigh in, and has appointed someone to argue against dropping charges.  So all of those things are promising!  


Key links:

  1. NPR – Supreme Court Hears Cases Involving Trump’s Taxes, Financial Records
  2. The Hill – FBI Serves Search Warrant On Sen. Richard Burr Amid Stock Trading Controversy: Report
  3. Associated Press – Appeals Court Reinstates Lawsuit Over Trump’s Hotel Profits
  4. Washington Post – Secret Service Signs $179,000 Contract To Rent Golf Carts In Bedminster, N.J. This Summer
  5. New York Times – Judge Appoints Outsider To Take On Justice Dept. In Flynn Case

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.  At the time that I type this, over 90,000 people in this country have passed away from COVID-19 and over 1.5 million people have been infected. The CDC has finally issued some brief guidance after a lengthy fight with the White House about them, and it was one tenth the length of their original guidance.  Top health official Anthony Fauci testified before the Senate about the dangers of reopening the country too quickly, and ousted vaccine official Rick Bright’s testimony was similarly dire.  Trump, for his part, called Fauci’s testimony “not an acceptable answer.”  And hydrochloroquine was in the news as potentially killing people with COVID, which makes 45’s life choices interesting to say the least. 

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Coronavirus In The U.S.: Latest Map And Case Count
  2. ABC – After Delay, CDC Releases New Guidance On How States Can Safely Reopen
  3. Politico – Colleagues Paint A Mixed Picture Of Ousted Vaccine Chief
  4. NBC – Trump Criticizes Fauci’s Senate Testimony: ‘Not An Acceptable Answer’
  5. Washington Post – Drug Promoted By Trump As Coronavirus ‘Game Changer’ Increasingly Linked To Death

Reopening Rodeo.  Reopening continues to be an unsafe hot mess for a third week, despite how many states have started the process. In Texas, and Florida, cases are already rising, and that’s without full data even available. (Georgia was looking more promising, but then news broke that they were doctoring their numbers.) In Wisconsin, a state supreme court decision that struck down the governor’s order has created chaos across the state. And scary protests are continuing in Michigan, one of the few states that isn’t reopening–hinting at dangers that exist either way.  Many states lack benchmarks for progressing forward with the opening process, and it seems like something of a free-for-all. I agree with this columnist’s take that we seem to be moving to a harm reduction model of operations.   

Key links:

  1. Atlantic – The Horror Of The Coronavirus Data Lag
  2. NY Post – Georgia Department of Health slammed for misleading coronavirus data
  3. Associated Press – Wisconsin High Court Tosses Out Governor’s Stay-Home Order
  4. Washington Post – We’re Retreating To A New Strategy On Covid-19. Let’s Call It What It Is.

Market Mess Continues.  Market news is a lot of ups and downs.  House Democrats unveiled and subsequently passed a $3T proposal for coronavirus response, but Trump is threatening to veto it.  Unemployment rates appear to be slowing somewhat, but three million new people still filed this week.  The Dow is riding high after vaccine news made people optimistic, but several news outlets are suing the Small Business Administration over its messy loan practices.  So it’s all kind of a mixed bag. 

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – House Democrats Pass $3 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill Despite Trump’s Veto Threat
  2. New York Times – America’s Employment Losses Might Be Slowing: Job Tracker
  3. Washington Post – The Post Among Five News Organizations Suing Small Business Administration For Access To Loan Data

Actions for Everyone

Protecting Workers: The Covid-19 Pandemic has made it very clear that society works because of its workers. With the added adjective “essential” many service workers, which are usually paid low wages, are in the frontlines of this crisis. Our nurses, our food industry, our postal workers, our clerks. These are the people society needs to protect and support the most in these trying times. 


The House of Representatives just passed the HEROES Act which includes a $3 Trillion stimulus relief package that would allow to allocate benefits to healthcare workers, first responders, police, firefighters and more. It includes funds to help essential workers with child and adult care and even help with helping health workers pay student loans (I personally think they should just be pardoned, for everyone!). This bill also proposes another stimulus check! Trump says he foresees another round of checks but he isn’t considering it as part of this bill.  


The Senate is saying they will halt this bill as soon as it hits the floor, because Mitch McConell hates everyone, but we need to support it and we need to call our representatives. Call your reps in the Senate and ask them to support this bill. 


While you’re at it, ask them how they are planning to help workers in meat plants who are forced to work under Trump’s directions and also if Congress has any plans on how to deal with the animals that may be put down because of shutdowns in plants because of Corona virus outbreaks.  Many animals may die in vain because of this. 


They are set to discuss it after Memorial Day weekend. 


Let’s talk bugs! – Summer is here and so are bugs. I love bugs, they are my favorite critters. Lately, news outlets have been feeding the public some scary stories about them and I’m here to dismantle this. Let’s stop the disinformation! 


So, cicadas! Every year, we have Annual Cicadas, which are our screaming buddies who are green and scream on the treetops every summer, and then we have Periodical Cicadas who emerge from the ground every 13 or 17 years (it varies) to mate. It’s millions of them at the same time coming up from the ground, doing their metamorphosis, screaming for a while, mating and then dying, not before laying eggs for the next generation that will emerge in the next 13 to 17 years in the future. It’s truly fascinating! 


But, I’ve seen many articles around warning people about this as if it is another threat that 2020 is imposing on humanity (like the Giant Asian Hornet ordeal). I’m here to say, it is not! AT ALL! Periodical Cicadas emerge almost every year in different parts of the country and nothing bad happens. If anything, you’ll get to witness an amazing natural wonder. You can learn more about Periodical Cicadas here!


And here are some Things That Made Me Smile this week:


Coyote Peterson showing up for Wolves! <3 (CW: Gruesome images of wolves eating deer)

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 and hopefully we can use your stories to help encourage and educate others!

The Activism Team

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