Issue #184, 2021 Week 7

Hey everyone,

Trying to keep up? 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

The second impeachment proceedings of Donald Trump occurred this week, and it’s pretty stunning just how stark they are.  If you haven’t yet watched the opening video introduced by the impeachment managers–which shows a lot of new footage from January 6–the video does a great job of summing up how we got here and what we’re discussing.  The rest is window dressing.

Events to Know

Impeachment Update.  Needless to say, the biggest story of the bunch is the impeachment trial that started on Tuesday and likely will conclude on Saturday. The process technically began with an entire day’s debate about whether the whole thing was constitutional before the Senate deciding that it was by 56-44 vote. The impeachment managers’ arguments, as previously mentioned, kicked off with truly stunning riot footage and continued with the notion that Trump’s speeches were singularly responsible for the insurrection attempt. They then concluded on Thursday by noting the horrifying standard of Presidential misconduct created if Trump is not convicted. In contrast, Trump’s lawyers took a hot minute on Friday to reprise a truly impressive array of nonsense defenses from their 78-page brief–everything from claiming incitement is free speech (spoiler: it isn’t) to claiming the Senate doesn’t have constitutional authority to hold a trial (spoiler: it does).  And in a striking and unusual open letter, over 370 Congressional aides described the attack on their workplace that led to the impeachment charges and asked Senators to convict Trump so that he could never hold office again.
Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Senate Sets Stage For Rapid Trump Impeachment Trial
  2. Associated Press – Trump Trial Gets Go-ahead After Emotional, Graphic First Day
  3. Politico – Impeachment managers unveil dramatic footage of Capitol attack
  4. NPR – Impeachment Managers Argue Trump Is ‘Singularly Responsible’ For Capitol Attack
  5. New York Times – Trump’s team concludes incendiary defense, seeking to rewrite the narrative of his actions on Jan. 6.

MTG Tapped Out. The past couple of weeks have involved a lot of discussion of resident QAnon Congressperson Marjorie Taylor Greene, largely because people spent a lot of time arguing that she shouldn’t get to sit in Congress after supporting death threats to the current Speaker when there was a credible threat to the Speaker’s life only a few weeks ago. QAnon Congressperson was also in the news this week for, among other things, calling Cori Bush and the Black Lives Matter movement terrorists and saying fires in California were caused by Jewish space lasers. (I feel like this is a good time to remind people that Violent QAnon Lady comes from a state that created its own KKK movement and also hosted the most famous lynching of a Jewish person in American history, so, y’know, probably not a coincidence that those fictional lasers were Jewish.) House Democrats warned that they were planning to bring the issue to the House floor if the GOP minority leader didn’t remove QAnon Lady Marjorie Taylor Greene from several committees.  As the week dragged on, despite significant pressure on the issue and some choice words from Mitch McConnell, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy proved unwilling to censure her.  So as was foretold by prophecy, the House put it to a vote.  Greene ended up removed from her committee appointments by a 230-199 vote, with 11 fellow Republicans voting to remove her.

 

Key links: 

  1. Politico – Rep. Jimmy Gomez Drafts Resolution To Oust Marjorie Taylor Greene From Congress
  2. CNN- Marjorie Taylor Greene Indicated Support For Executing Prominent Democrats In 2018 And 2019 Before Running For Congress
  3. Media Matters – Marjorie Taylor Greene Penned Conspiracy Theory That A Laser Beam From Space Started Deadly 2018 California Wildfire
  4. CNN – House Republicans Weigh Stripping Greene From Committee Assignments As Gop Senators Repudiate Her Views
  5. CNBC – House Votes To Strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Of Committee Assignments

Confirmation Tango (Reprise). We saw a few more noteworthy confirmations this week. Notably, Alejandro Mayorkas was confirmed as the first-ever Latino Secretary of Homeland Security, and it will be interesting to see what he has planned for immigration policy. Meanwhile, Mayo Pete Buttigieg was confirmed as the first openly-gay Secretary of Transportation, and though I’m still not clear on how leading South Bend made him qualified for this, he’ll probably still be better than Elaine Chao. Buttigieg and Mayorkas join Antony Blinken, who was confirmed as Secretary of State the previous week.

 

Key links: 

  1. NPR – Senate Makes Alejandro Mayorkas First Latino Head Of Homeland Security
  2. Washington Post – From Mayor Pete To Secretary Buttigieg: Appearances Hint At Expansive Role For Next Transportation Chief
  3. Associated Press – Senate Confirms Antony Blinken As 71st Secretary Of State

Recent Resilience

Vaccination and Transmission News.  Not all of this week’s COVID news is bad, and some of it is pretty promising.  As I mentioned above, case, death, and hospitalization rates have been going down at the national level.  Early studies suggest the Oxford/AstraZenca vaccine is about 67% effective, which is about on par with the Johnson and Johnson findings–and incidentally, Johnson and Johnson is now seeking FDA approval, which means we might soon have a single-dose vaccine.  In the meantime, Moderna is working with the Biden administration to increase vaccine access at pharmacies. Additionally, a new study suggests that recovered COVID patients are likely protected for at least six months after infection.

Key links:

  1. Guardian – Single Dose Of AstraZeneca Vaccine Could Cut Transmission By 67%
  2. Guardian – Johnson & Johnson Asks FDA To Approve World’s First Single-dose Covid Vaccine
  3. NPR- Biden Administration Will Ship Covid-19 Vaccines Directly To Pharmacies
  4. Reuters – Recovered Covid Patients Likely Protected For At Least Six Months, Study Finds

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.  COVID news has some silver linings this week, which I will talk more about below, but there were some low points as well. Testing is apparently declining, which is baffling experts, and the Supreme Court removed restrictions on indoor, in-person worship that were put in place due to severe outbreaks in California.  Experts are also concerned that the Super Bowl may create superspreader events, particularly in the hosting city of Tampa, which is particularly dispiriting when transmission rates had finally been going down nationally.  The first U.S. Congressperson has died of COVID infection.  And finally, the FDA is expected to release guidance on how to deal with new variants.  The move is particularly timely, as the U.K variant is spreading rapidly in the U.S. and South Africa just halted use of one of its vaccines because it did not work on the new local variant.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – As U.S. Vaccinations Ramp Up, Some Recipients Struggle To Secure A Second Dose
  2. Washington Post – Supreme Court Says California Worship Restrictions Violate Religious Rights
  3. CNN – To Safely Enjoy The Super Bowl, Watch At Home With People With Whom You Live, CDC Says
  4. Washington Post – Rep. Ron Wright Has Died After Battle With Covid-19
  5. Washington Post – FDA Will Propose Guidelines To Deal With New Variants
  6. Los Angeles Times – South Africa Suspends AstraZeneca Vaccine Drive After Study Shows Minimal Protection [against local variant]

Insurrection Attempt Updates.  There was a bit more news about insurrection charges this week. With the latest set of arrests, we’re now up to 198 people charged, and the charges remain very varied. The FBI is also alleging in its documents that the Proud Boys were trying to retaliate against police because they were angry about response to an earlier stabbing incident. It’s still an open question whether anyone will be charged with murder.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Arrested In Capitol Riot: Organized Militants And A Horde Of Radicals
  2. Washington Post – Proud Boys May Have Planned Capitol Breach To Retaliate Against Police For Member Stabbed At Earlier March, FBI Alleges
  3. New York Times – People Died At The Capitol. Will Rioters Be Charged With Murder?

Dismantling the Deportation Machine. I mentioned last week that I want to pay particular attention to how we’re mopping up in the aftermath of the Zero Tolerance policy, and we’ve had further updates on that. President Biden passed several more immigration executive orders on the topic last week, including one that created the anticipated task force to address family separation and two others that order studies of immigration processes. He’s expected to continue to make further changes to enforcement this week such as returning to priority enforcement, and we’re also rejoining the UN Human Rights Council. However, ICE deportations are continuing despite Biden’s order to stop them, and a few outlets noted that ICE contract agreements made by Trump may limit how much Biden can do in the short-term.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – A Visual Breakdown Of Biden’s Barrage Of Executive Actions In His First Weeks
  2. NBC – Biden Signs Immigration Executive Orders To Address ‘Moral Failing’ Of Trump’s Policies
  3. NBC – Biden Administration To Rejoin U.N. Human Rights Council In Another Reversal Of Trump
  4. Guardian – New Claims Of Migrant Abuse As ICE Defies Biden To Continue Deportations
  5. The Hill – ICE Union Contract Prompts Fear Of Resistance To Biden

Actions for Everyone

Things are slowly getting better. Around 10% of the population has now received at least 1 dose of the Covid vaccine. Our numbers are slowly going down. We all need each other to make it. Don’t forget to check on your loved ones, even if they seem ok.

Black History Month –  All of February is Black History Month and here are some nice ways you can still observe the month within pandemic restrictions.

CW: Suicide/Mental Illness

It’s February and my mind/body knows- For a lot of us, we’re currently going through winter and it’s R O U G H T. I thought it would be a good idea to make one of our actions this week to try to keep the winter blues at bay.

What can you do to help yourself fight Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Up your dose of Vitamin D! – Try to get as much sun as you can and if that’s hard for you, consider talking to your physician to see if you can start taking Vitamin D supplements.

Try to stay active! – It’s always natural to want to settle down a little more during the cold months but if you add Covid into the mix, lots of us are not going out or walking anywhere. Try to add some type of exercise; be it yoga, walking, dancing, stretching, doing some spring cleaning. Anything helps! Just try to move a little to help your brain.

Consider getting a SAD lamp- These lamps are made to mimic the sunrise and sunlight and will help you battle the sad away.

Reach out – 

Text 741741 for a free crisis text line

Call 1-800-662-HELP, the National helpline for substance abuse or emotional distress

Call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Go to Open Path Collective to find an accessible and affordable online therapist

The USPS is not out of the weeds yet – The USPS has been under attack for a while now, specially all throughout 2020 with the appointing of Trump follower Louis DeJoy and the campaigns of mistrust regarding the role of the postal service in the elections. Currently, DeJoy is trying to make the mail more expensive and also slower by installing new measures. The USPS is an extremely important institution and it must be protected.

Call your House representatives to voice your opinion against these attacks. There will be a House Oversight Committee hearing on February 24th.

Push on Biden to fill the seats left of the postal Board of Governors that could overturn the Postmaster General’s decisions and ultimately replace him.

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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