Issue #185, 2021 Week 8

 
 

Hey everyone,

Want to know what is going on? 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

 

Between the impeachment conclusion and the crisis in Texas, we’re really getting a front-row seat to just how busted our government still currently is.  There’s a lot to unpack, and we need to be talking about next steps from here as well.  As always, we’ll have suggestions for actions below

 

Events to Know

Confusing Impeachment Conclusion. Against the general impeachment backdrop, Saturday was a confusing and disappointing day. Based on potential testimony from a Republican lawmaker–one of several eyewitnesses who could potentially have testified–the Senate voted to call witnesses by a 55-45 vote. But later that day, the impeachment managers made the baffling decision to skip witness testimony even though it had been cleared by the Senate. Ultimately, the Senate voted 57-43 in favor of Trump’s guilt, which was not enough votes to reach a constitutional conviction. It’s worth noting that this was nonetheless the most bipartisan impeachment vote in history, because these numbers include seven Republican senators as well as all 50 Democrats–Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Mitt Romney (UT), Ben Sasse (NE), Richard Burr (NC), Bill Cassidy (LA) and Patrick J. Toomey (PA) all voted to convict. Adding to the chaos, Mitch McConnell gave an elaborate speech about how incredibly guilty Trump was right after voting to acquit him, saying that the trial was unconstitutional once Trump had stepped down even though McConnell was the one who delayed the trial

 

Key links:

  1. NPR – Senate Vote To Call Witnesses Temporarily Throws Trial Into Uncertainty
     
  2. Washington Post – Late-night Talks And A Moment Of Chaos: Inside The Democrats’ Eleventh-hour Decision To Forgo Impeachment Witnesses
     
  3. NBC – Feb. 13 Highlights: Trump Acquitted In Senate Impeachment Trial For Second Time
     
  4. NPR – Trump Acquitted, Denounced In Historic Impeachment Trial

 

Dismantling the Deportation Machine (cont). We did see a bit more movement on this front in the past week, as President Biden officially rescinded the emergency order that authorized building a wall at the U.S. southern border. It’s a continuation of earlier efforts to halt construction, and though it’s certainly not comprehensive on its own, it’s another piece of rebuilding a responsible and humanitarian immigration policy. He also sponsored an immigration bill in Congress that facilitates family-based immigration and creates new pathways to citizenship. Many advocates (including myself) think that the proposed changes fall short of protecting immigrant health during the pandemic, but it is hopefully the beginning of a much longer conversation.

 

Key links: 

  1. The Hill – Biden Terminates Trump Emergency Order Used To Construct Border Wall
     
  2. Associated Press – Biden Halts Border Wall Building After Trump’s Final Surge
     
  3. NBC News – Democrats introduce an immigration overhaul bill. Here’s what would change.
     
  4. NILC – National Immigration Law Center Responds to Introduction of U.S. Citizenship Act

 

Crisis in Texas As an unprecedented cold snap swept through the middle of the country this week, physical and political conditions in Texas created cascading failures in public utilities. On Monday, millions of homes lost power and heat throughout the state, and over 100,000 households across Texas are still without power as I type this on Friday afternoon.  Meanwhile, millions of homes went under boil water notice as pipes began having issues as well–and several of those homes had no power with which to boil their water.  At this point, several people have died due to the extreme conditions.  President Biden declared a state of emergency earlier in the week, mobilizing FEMA and sending emergency generators as well.  Mutual aid has been providing a lot of support in the short-term, and several politicians and public figures are fundraising to help.  Note, however, that this group of politicians does not include Ted Cruz, who instead fled to Cancun and threw his daughters and his dog under the bus on his way there.

 

Key links: 

  1. Houston Chronicle – What went wrong with the Texas power grid?
     
  2. Axios – The status and politics of the Texas power crisis
     
  3. CBS News – Live Updates: Texans face drinking water shortage as power grid returns to normal
     
  4. Washington Post – Biden administration is supplying emergency generators to Texas, White House says
     
  5. Texas Mutual Aid Directory
     
  6. Vanity Fair – Ted Cruz Blames Cancún Getaway On His Daughters

 

Recent Resilience

Vaccination and Transmission News. Just like last week, case, death, and hospitalization rates have all been going down at the national level as well as worldwide. That said, testing rates are also going down, so the drop may be more modest than it looks, and we also need another week to see if Superbowl Sunday created any superspreader events. But even if these gains are modest, President Biden has indicated that he has secured more vaccination doses and the country has enough to vaccinate 300 million people by July.  

 

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Four Reasons Experts Say Coronavirus Cases Are Dropping In The United States
     
  2. New York Times – Superspreader Sunday?
     
  3. Washington Post – Biden Says U.S. Will Have Enough Vaccine For 300 Million People By End Of July

 

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.   COVID was a mixed bag for another week.  Several states had embarrassing management moments, as Governor Cuomo’s aide admitted that New York hid nursing home data and Massachusetts landed in the news for accidentally incentivizing elder-bribing for vaccine access.  Meanwhile, new research suggests that the virus may mutate more in patients with autoimmune deficiencies, suggesting that vaccination for these individuals should be a high priority.  The World Health Organization concluded that it was unlikely COVID came from a lab leak in Wuhan, which hopefully will help decrease attacks on Asian-Americans that have been spiking in recent weeks.  The CDC has issued new guidance for safety protocols during schools’ reopen processes, as debates about how much to reopen schools rage on.  And a new CDC study suggests that masks can be made more effective by creating a closer seal, either by wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask or by improving a cloth mask’s fit
 

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Cuomo Aide Melissa Derosa Admits They Hid Nursing Home Data So Feds Wouldn’t Find Out
     
  2. Masslive – How Some Seek To Take Advantage Of The New Massachusetts Policy Allowing Companions Of Seniors To Get The Covid Vaccine
     
  3. NPR – Extraordinary Patient Offers Surprising Clues To Origins Of Coronavirus Variants
     
  4. CNBC – Who Says Covid ‘Most Likely’ Originated In Animals And Spread To Humans, Dismisses Lab Leak Theory

 

Impeachment Aftermath. News broke this week that Georgia is criminally investigating Trump because of his election interference.  Not coincidentally, when the impeachment process created a very clear account of January 6, the House chair of Homeland Security immediately brought a civil suit against Trump for his role in the insurrection.  It’s not yet clear whether these materials will also be used to criminally charge Trump for his role in the insurrection, but it’s certainly a strong possibility–especially because President Biden has signaled that he would be open to creating a commission to investigate.  We need to keep watching this space, and it might not be a bad idea to call your rep about criminal charges.

 

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Georgia Prosecutors Open Criminal Inquiry Into Trump’s Efforts To Subvert Election
     
  2. CNN – Leading House Democrat Sues Donald Trump Under A Post-Civil War Law For Conspiracy To Incite Us Capitol Riot
     
  3. Washington Post – Once Impeachment Is Over, The Threat To Trump Shifts To Real Courtrooms
     
  4. NBC – Pelosi Calls For ‘9/11-type’ Commission On Capitol Attack

Other Congressional Updates.  Though Congress went on recess this week, we did see some movement worth noting.  Bernie Sanders signaled that he’s trying to preserve the $15 minimum wage provision in the stimulus bill, and House Democrats have been working to finalize a version of said bill, which might be ready as soon as next week.  Meanwhile, Democrats are urging President Biden to replace the USPS board of governors, or at least get rid of malicious disaster man Louis DeJoy.  And several lawmakers introduced a bill to address Black maternal health, which is an issue gaining increasing attention as racial health inequities take center stage due to the pandemic. 

 

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – CBO Report Finds $15 Minimum Wage Would Cost Jobs But Lower Poverty Levels
     
  2. New York Times – Where $10k Per American In Covid Relief Has Gone, And What Might Come Next
     
  3. Independent – ‘A Disaster’: Biden Urged To Replace Entire Usps Board As Dejoy Plans Slower Mail And Postage Hikes
     
  4. The Hill – Black Maternal Health Omnibus Package Introduced By Democratic Lawmakers
 

Actions for Everyone

The President came to Milwaukee on Wednesday for a Town Hall, and it got me thinking, with a platform like the Presidency, not only do you get the highest level of decision making powers – see “17 executive orders in the first afternoon in office” – but you also get to shape the kind of discussion happening in the country. Centrism just isn’t cutting it folks, and honestly it’s a shame to see such an opportunity to expand the spectrum of dialogue go to waste. Anyway, here are some things that are more in your control than the Biden Administration. 

 

 

Help Texas: It’s been in the news so much lately. Between Ted Cruz being the worst,  #Texit, and that pro-Trump governor who is currently lying and saying the emergency in Texas is being caused by solar energy, it has been bad down there but now it’s worse. The storms that have been crossing the nation, hit Texas hard and the Texas power grid (why does it have its own power grid) these storms have knocked out power for days.

 

It is urgent that we support community driven efforts to help Texans get clean water and warm places to stay. Here are some Venmo’s that you can send money to:

 

@austinmutualaidhotels

@feedthepeopledallas

@mutualaidhou

@dawaheals

 

There are several other ways to help listed here. 

 

 

Plan Your Garden: Did you know you can start dreaming of your garden, NOW? Even though it’s very, very much still Winter it’s not too early to order seeds and plan future food! I always look to Seed Savers first, but there are many organic heirloom companies you can visit. 

As you’re planning, which I do on 8.5 x 11 paper with a pencil, make sure you’re thinking of companion planning, https://www.farmersalmanac.com/companion-planting-guide. Companion planting helps to make sure your plants and your soil stay healthy. While you’re planning, listen to Erykah Badu’s, “Green Eyes.”

 

Do Primary Elections: It’s happening. There IS a world post the presidential election and the time is nigh. Wisconsin just saw its first primary election of the new administration, so this is just a reminder that there will be a Spring election. Have you moved since November? Re-register. Can you request an absentee ballot for the rest of 2021? Do it. 

 

Also, can we all take a page from the Stacey Abrams book by supporting and promoting all the organizing of people doing GOTV work around Spring elections – in a lot of ways, these more local elections will affect you much more directly than the presidential ones. Also, start thinking about who you want to see running for elected positions in two years and/or four years and start supporting them now!

 

 
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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