Issue #160, 2020 Week 30

Hey everyone,

We hope you all are remembering a little self care amidst all that is happening. 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

We’re riding another heat wave as I type this, and news plus heat is not any more fun the second time around. It’s rough right now, but I’ll be here, in a puddle in front of my air conditioner, if anybody needs anything.

Events to Know

Who Needs a Post Office, Anyway. We saw a further push against the post office, this time from its own postmaster, who issued a memorandum this week dramatically changing a number of procedures. The biggest immediate change for consumers will be that some letters will now get left at distribution centers, but the memorandum seems to indicate a sea change in general. Needless to say, an internal memorandum comparing the post office to private institutions that can go bankrupt is not normal, but for this administration it’s just Tuesday.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Postal Service Memos Detail ‘Difficult’ Changes, Including Slower Mail Delivery

Election Oddities (Again). This week’s weird election news is that Trump has canceled the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, which he insisted move to Jacksonville in the first place.  In true Trump fashion, he’s claiming “the timing wasn’t right,” but it’s presumably canceled because Jacksonville couldn’t make it safe to attend.  Unsurprisingly, the GOP is now fighting with itself, and it’s likely not a coincidence that Republican Senators also overwhelmingly voted for a bill provision Trump publicly hates.

Key links:

  1. NPR – President Trump Cancels Jacksonville Component Of Republican National Convention
  2. Politico – ‘We Can’t Pull It Off’: Florida Sheriff Says He Can’t Muster Security For GOP Convention
  3. Reuters – U.S. Senate Passes $740 Billion Defense Bill, Bucking Trump On Confederate Names

Immigration Updates.  We had a significant amount of bad immigration news this week.  Trump announced that he’s going to instruct the U.S. Census to stop counting undocumented people, which is both illegal and probably a bluff, because it’s unclear how he would even implement this with the census halfway done and no citizenship question.  (That said, it can and probably will have a chilling effect on immigrant populations completing the survey.)  The administration was also in the news for holding migrant kids in hotels and then deporting them, which is a pretty clear violation of the Flores agreement that requires them to matriculate unaccompanied minors through shelters and into sponsors’ homes.  Against that backdrop, it’s unsurprising that Canada concluded this week that their asylum treaty with us should be invalidated, because the U.S. is not a safe country for asylum seekers anymore.

Key links:

  1. NBC – Trump Signs Memo To Omit Undocumented Immigrants From Census Apportionment Count
  2. AZ Family – Migrant Kids Held In Phoenix Hampton Inn Hotels, Then Expelled
  3. NPR – U.S.-Canada Asylum Treaty Unconstitutional, Judge Finds, Citing ‘Cruel’ U.S. Behavior

Recent Resilience

Recent Racial Change Resilience.  On the more positive side, we have promising follow up on several stories from earlier newsletters.  The NFL team based in Washington has settled on–wait for it–the ‘Washington Football Team’ as their name for the next season.  (They say it’s temporary, but I hope they keep it forever, because this is hilarious.)  In Chicago, an official decision to temporarily remove statues of Christopher Columbus from two park locations was enacted without incident.  The House voted to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. capitol.  And in Philadelphia, the District Attorney publicly outlined his plan for arresting and charging any federal agents who engage in the abduction methods reported in Portland.  It’s not comprehensive, by any stretch, but progress is progress.

Key links:

  1. ESPN – Washington NFL Team To Use ‘Washington Football Team’ For 2020 Season
  2. ABC – Mayor Cites ‘Public Safety Concerns’ In Decision To Remove Columbus Statues In Grant Park, Little Italy
  3. New York Times – House Votes To Remove Confederate Statues From U.S. Capitol
  4. Bloomberg – Philadelphia’s Top Prosecutor Is Prepared To Arrest Federal Agents

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19. COVID news remains a mess on an impressive number of levels.  We continue to break records about daily infection rates, and death rates are rising again as well. At the time that I type this, over 4 million Americans have been infected and over 145,000 people have died–or at least, that’s our best understanding of the numbers, as data may still be having issues.  Unemployment rates are still rising, possibly because PPP money is running out.  And speaking of running out, a lot of workers are poised to run out of $600 unemployment supports on Friday, and the federal eviction moratorium is ending too. The Senate has not yet passed a final version of the Heroes Act, and Mitch McConnell says getting an agreement could take “weeks”–though his final version of the bill looks pretty sparse, so he might just be estimating how long they’ll be fighting over the difference between versions.  An ICE facility was in the news for having staggeringly high infection rates–more on the below–and major league baseball experienced disruption due to an outbreak among members of the Miami Marlins Studies were also published about the quick rate of antibody decay, prompting question about whether people can be infected twice or more–which in turn prompts further questions about what this means for vaccines.  (Antibody tests also suggest that rates of infection are much higher than reported, which is pretty disturbing given how high the report rates are.)  Oh, and 4,000 federal employees have contracted the virus at work, apparently including Trump’s own national security advisor.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – Coronavirus In The U.S.: Latest Map And Case Count
  2. CNN – This Is The Last Week Of $600 Unemployment Benefits
  3. Washington Post – Here Is What’s In The Senate GOP’s $1 Trillion ‘Heals Act’ Package
  4. Washington Post – Can You Get Coronavirus Twice? Doctors Are Unsure, Even As Anecdotal Reports Mount
  5. Bloomberg – Trump National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien Has Coronavirus

Portland Pressure Cooker. The situation in Portland continued to escalate for another week, and it doesn’t show signs of abating as I type this. Trump’s federal CBP agents teargassed the mayor, who was standing with protesters in an attempt to heal the city’s rift, prompting said mayor to call Trump’s response “flat-out urban warfare.” Now both CBP and Portland’s police are under independent investigation. Meanwhile, Trump is sending agents into more cities, such as Chicago and Kansas City, under a banner he’s calling “Operation Legend”. Unsurprisingly, this is increasing civil unrest in several more cities as well, such as Seattle and Oakland, even though the administration claims the push is crime-relatedSeveral cities declared riots to authorize further force against protesters, and one man was fatally shot in Austin. The weekend closed out with the U.N. calling us out and Trump sending even more troops to Portland.
Key links:

  1. BBC – Trump To Send ‘Surge’ Of Hundreds Of Federal Agents To Cities
  2. Washington Post – Department Watchdogs To Investigate Federal Law Enforcement Conduct At Protests
  3. Al Jazeera – Trump To Send Federal Officers To Us Cities To Tamp Down Unrest
  4. The Hill – Protests Erupt Nationwide In Solidarity With Portland Demonstrations
  5. Insider – Police Reveal Identity Of Man Killed At Black Lives Matter Protest In Austin, Texas
  6. Washington Post – U.N. Human Rights Office Calls On U.S. Police To Limit Use Of Force

Actions for Everyone

How are we doing? Hopefully healthy, staying safe, using masks and washing our hands! We got this! We are strong, even when we don’t feel like it. Please, remember to take time to process the times we are living in right now, take time for yourself, even if it’s a 5 minute sit-down, remember feeling scared and vulnerable and anxious is normal. I wish you all a great week! I’ve personally been using the app Relax Melodies, to help me fall asleep quicker.

Resistbot!: I wanted to share with you this amazing tool. It’s called Resistbot! Created after the outcome of the 2016 elections, ResistBot It’s a tool used to contact your representatives, local and federal, so you can voice your concerns and show your support for different pieces of legislation. It also helps with voter registration and education on different pressing and current topics .It will help you find your representatives and also deliver the message you want, all in one service. It is free but it runs on donations. Research shows representatives take written letters and emails into account more than phone calls.  Support this useful tool that helps our democracy.

You could use ResistBot this week to contact your representatives in the Senate to show support for the HEROES Act. At the moment, the Senate has introduced a lesser proposal, instead of passing the Heroes Act which already passed in the House in May. They have waited two months and are now trying to pass a bill that would leave out help for states, the USPS, no extra funds for SNAP Benefits when the unemployment rate is at its highest it has been since the Great Depression, lessen Unemployment assistance and more. Basically, trying to spend way less money during an international pandemic and the disastrous handling of it nationally.

Use ResistBot and let them know we deserve better.

The USPS is struggling. How else can you help?

  • Give your carriers PPE and hand sanitizers
  • Ask your carriers what you can do for them and be grateful
  • Buy extra stamps!

#JusticeforBreonnaTaylor: The organization UltraViolet has a campaign going to bring Justice for Breonna Taylor after she was murdered by police in March while she slept in her house. Protesting helps, calling your city if you live in Louisville, KY helps, signing petitions helps, keeping her name alive helps.

Less than 100 days to VOTE! – You still have time to register to vote. Do it ! Helps others do it too!

Things That Made Me Smile:

This video made me laugh for almost 10 minutes straight. Please enjoy!

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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