Issue #157, 2020 Week 27

 

Hey everyone,

Do you feel like you are treading water (I know I do). 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

 

We’re back to the combination COVID crisis/civil unrest this week, assuming we ever left, and I would way rather be at a Taco Bell. Parts of the country are starting to close back up, but racial tensions are still very much 45’s bread and butter, and it’s a rough week to be an American.

 

Events to Know

Bounties for Russia (cont). News about Russian intelligence officers offering bounties to Taliban agents to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan just keeps on trickling in, and none of it makes any of this better. Former national security adviser John Bolton apparently had information on this as early as March 2019, in addition to the written briefing Trump received this past February, but none of these facts are stopping Trump from calling the whole thing a hoax.  Meanwhile, some of Congress has been briefed as of this week, but not all, even though the White House is still claiming it was unverified intelligence.  And for Putin, all of this is probably better than Sweeps Week.

Key links:

  1. CNN – White House Was Warned About Potential Russian Bounties For Killing U.S. Troops In Early 2019
     
  2. New York Times – Trump Got Written Briefing In February On Possible Russian Bounties, Officials Say
     
  3. NPR – Trump Calls Bounty Report A ‘Hoax’ Despite Administration’s Briefing Of Congress
     
  4. CBS – O’Brien Says Top CIA Official Decided Against Briefing Trump On Russia Bounty Intel

Messed Up Trump Response: COVID Edition. After saying his piece about race relations at Mount Rushmore, Trump moved on to messaging about COVID by Sunday, and it was about as inspiring as you might imagine. According to our current President, Americans “need to learn to live with” COVID because “99% of COVID cases are harmless.” This, of course, is not particularly effective camouflage for all of the crisis problems the administration has managed to exacerbate–namely, skyrocketing COVID-related drug overdoses, our highest single-day infection rate since March, a massively mismanaged COVID small business loan program, a worsening recession, an undercounted death toll, and increasing infection among White House staffers. And as of Tuesday, Trump is also officially moving forward with withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization, as well as putting pressure on schools to resume in person by, among other things, pulling the visas of students who are attending remotely.  

Key links

  1. ABC – Trump Makes False Coronavirus Claims
     
  2. Politico – Pandemic Unleashes A Spike In Overdose Deaths
     
  3. Washington Post – Treasury, Sba Data Show Small-business Loans Went To Private-equity Backed Chains, Members Of Congress
     
  4. CNBC – Official U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Is ‘a Substantial Undercount’ Of Actual Tally, Yale Study Finds
     
  5. NBC – Trump Administration Gives Formal Notice Of Withdrawal From Who
     
  6. NBC – U.S. Says Foreign Students May Have To Leave If Their School Goes Online-only

Confounding Court Cases. It continues to be SCOTUS season, and it’s hard to find a rhyme or reason out of the cases coming down–and several of them aren’t exactly great news for Team Awesome.  Among the head-scratching and concerning cases released: 1) a decision that Trump can fire the head of the Consumer Protection Bureau without cause; 2) multiple decisions to delay voting by mail authorizations in Alabama and Texas; 3) a decision authorizing speedy removal proceedings on asylum cases; 4) a unanimous decision that faithless elector laws are constitutional; 5) a decision to permit employers to opt out of the birth control mandate of the ACA due to religious objection; and 6) two decisions collectively saying that Trump has no executive immunity from subpoena but Congress can’t have his taxes before November due to “separation of powers” concerns.

Key links

  1. New York Times – Supreme Court Lifts Limits On Trump’s Power To Fire Consumer Watchdog
     
  2. CNN – Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Court Order That Cleared The Way For Expanded Vote By Mail In Alabama Due To Covid-19
     
  3. Guardian – Trump’s Power To Deport Asylum Seekers Boosted By Supreme Court Ruling
     
  4. NPR – Supreme Court Rules State ‘faithless Elector’ Laws Constitutional

Recent Resilience

Recent Court Resilience.  We had some solid court cases this week in addition to the less-solid cases above.  A federal district court judge struck down a law that makes asylum harder to claim in the United States, saying that the rule forcing applicants to apply in unsafe other countries first was arbitrary and capricious.  Another federal court ruled that the Dakota Access Pipeline must be closed down by early August for further environmental review.  And the Supreme Court held that large parts of  eastern Oklahoma are still reservation land that belongs to local tribes.
 

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Supreme Court Lifts Limits On Trump’s Power To Fire Consumer Watchdog
     
  2. CNN – Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Court Order That Cleared The Way For Expanded Vote By Mail In Alabama Due To Covid-19
     
  3. Guardian – Trump’s Power To Deport Asylum Seekers Boosted By Supreme Court Ruling
     
  4. NPR – Supreme Court Rules State ‘Faithless Elector’ Laws Constitutional
     
  5. Washington Post – Supreme Court says much of eastern Oklahoma remains Indian land

    Recent Racial Renaming. Increasingly, institutions with names that glorify racial violence are being pressured to change said names, and we saw movement on several fronts related to this last week. The NFL’s Washington team is reviewing their name as a first step towards changing it, and the Cleveland franchise doing the same. Meanwhile, students and faculty at Washington and Lee University are making a similar request, objecting to the glorification of a Confederate general in the school name. None of these steps are sufficient on their own, but it is progress in the correct direction. 

Key links:

  1. NPR – Washington Redskins And Cleveland Indians Are Rethinking Their Names
     
  2. Washington Post – Students And Faculty Ask Washington And Lee To Change Its Name
     

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19. As I alluded above, things are really not going swimmingly in the COVID department.   We’re currently experiencing an unprecedented rate of infection in the United States, with over 3 million recorded cases and over 133,000 recorded deaths –about one fifth of the entire world’s total cases to date.  Dr. Fauci estimates we may see rates of up to 100,000 new cases per day, and we’ve already scaled past 50,000 per day at the time that I type this; thirty-nine states are recording rising infection.  Against this backdrop, it’s hardly surprising that some states are closing back down. The infection rate remains particularly concerning in FloridaArizona, and Texas, where lax standards combined with high concentrations of people seem to be creating a perfect storm.  Texas is now requiring masks in every county with more than 20 positive tests, while bar owners are suing the state because they were ordered closed again.  Meanwhile, Arizona lines for testing are sometimes miles long, and the country is beginning to prepare for a massive surge in evictions as people stop being able to pay rent. 
 

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Coronavirus In The U.S.: Latest Map And Case Count
     
  2. ABC – Fauci Predicts Covid-19 Cases Could Top 100k Cases A Day: ‘It Puts The Entire Country At Risk’
     
  3. Reuters – Soaring U.S. Coronavirus Cases, Hospitalizations Overshadow July 4 Celebrations
     
  4. Washington Post – Where States Reopened And Cases Spiked After The U.S. Shutdown
     
  5. CNBC – As Coronavirus Cases Soar, Texas Issues Statewide Order Requiring Face Coverings
     
  6. Washington Post – Evictions Are Likely To Skyrocket This Summer As Jobs Remain Scarce. Black Renters Will Be Hard Hit.
     

Black Lives Matter News. We’re still seeing a lot of news about race relations and protests, particularly over the Fourth of July weekend In many locations, protests passed without major incidents.  But in Seattle, a protester was killed when a car drove onto the protest site, and Phoenix police surrounded and fatally shot a man sitting in a parked car. (Additionally, in Oregon tear gas was used on angry protesters.)  Meanwhile, Aurora police who killed autistic youth Elijah McCain last year were fired for taking photos mocking his death in response to his memorial this week. 
 

Key links:

  1. NPR – 1 Killed, 1 Injured After Driver Strikes Protesters In Seattle
     
  2. New York Times – Phoenix Police Kill Man In Parked Car, Igniting New Protests
     
  3. BBC – Elijah Mcclain: US Officers Fired For Pictures Mocking Man’s Death

Epstein Associate Apprehended. This week, long-time Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested this week for several years of helping Epstein groom teenage girls.  Since Epstein was arrested about a year ago, the charges are from the 1990s, and Maxwell doesn’t appear to have really gone anywhere, it’s not clear why she’s only being arrested now.  But presumably we’ll know more soon.  
 

Key links:

  1. CNN – Ghislaine Maxwell, Longtime Jeffrey Epstein Associate, Arrested For Recruiting And Abusing Girls In Sex-trafficking Ring
 

Actions for Everyone

Don’t forget about small wins. Have you registered to vote? Have you chosen to get all your ballots from now until forever mailed to you so that voter suppression can suck it (obviously there’s lots more to voter suppression, but I’m just saying). Have you decolonized your bookshelf and podcast selections? There’s plenty you can do that will help create progressive culture shifts. Got any ideas you want to share with us? Email activism@patrothfuss.com 


Black Lives Matter:
 Do you know when and where protests are happening in your respective towns and cities? Got a connection who is on on-the-ground giving FB Live updates? For disrupting dominant institutions, step one is showing up to do the disrupting. No Justice, No Peace. For those of you interested in marching, protesting, and showing up for the on-the-ground work, here are some tips:

  • Wear a mask: Wear a mask and bring hand sanitizer.
  • Bring a buddy: Not only is it safer to have someone with you, but also, getting a bigger turn out means it’s easier to reach a critical mass.  
  • Pack a bag: Water, electrolytes, and snack to help prevent heat exhaustion, as well as goggles and bandana to protect yourself incase the police decide your First Amendment rights don’t count and decide to send in teargas. Don’t forget a phone charger, incase you have to document it. 
  • Write down phone numbers: Have the ACLU on speed dial incase you need legal representation, and furthermore, make sure someone knows your plans so they can be on call incase you need some help. 

There are many organizations and institutions creating alternative solutions that deserve your support, including members of our own Congress. Congressmembers Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, who have introduced The BREATHE Act.  

This is basically an effort to defund police on a national level, and create a new vision of public safety. Call your electeds to show your support for The BREATHE Act. 

 
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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