Issue #188, 2021 Week 12

Hey everyone,

This is from last week.  We are getting back on track, thank you for your patience.  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

I’m probably jinxing myself by typing this, but as I draft this paragraph on Monday afternoon we appear to have sighted that mythical beast known as a slow news week. I haven’t really seen these in the last four years, so I’m throwing an impromptu desk party over here. The light switch rave is off the chain.

Events to Know

Dismantling the Deportation Machine?  The Biden Administration has officially ended a Trump-era rule that penalized legal applicants for being low income, and they also will stop deporting people who step forward as sponsors for unaccompanied minors.  However, the administration is still struggling to meet the needs of unaccompanied minors, who are coming to the U.S. in unprecedented numbers, and is holding them longer than legally permissible. Outlets are reporting that the administration will begin housing unaccompanied boys in the Dallas convention center, and FEMA has been sent to the border to respond to the large number of people emigrating. They also made it clear that they are not ending family detention, and several application process issues remain as well.

Key links:

  1. CNBC – Biden Justice Department Stops Defending Trump Rule That Limits Benefits For Immigrants
  2. NBC – Biden Admin To End Trump Policy That Let DHS Deport Caregivers For Migrant Children
  3. CNN –  Unaccompanied Migrant Children Staying In Border Patrol Facilities An Average Of 107 Hours, Internal Records Show
  4. NPR – DHS Directs FEMA To Help With Surge Of Migrant Children At Southern Border
  5. NBC – Despite Court Filings And Public Rhetoric, Official Says Biden Administration Is ‘Not Ending Family Detention’
  6. Politico – Biden Yet To Act On Overturning Some Trump Immigration Policies

Congressional UpdatesThe biggest Congressional update of the week is the good news below, but we also saw some other interesting bills.  A group of bipartisan senators have proposed a bill called the Sunshine Protection Bill of 2021, which proposes permanent daylight saving time.  The Senate began deliberation on the For the People Act, which is very likely to ultimately force a showdown on changing the filibuster.  And the House passed new responsible gun ownership laws which restructure background checks to make them more comprehensive.

 

Key links: 

  1. CBS – Group Of Bipartisan Senators Pushes For Permanent Daylight Saving Time
  2. NPR – House Passes Bills To Strengthen Gun Laws, Including Expanding Background Checks

Insurrection Redux.  The Justice Department has signaled they are still planning to charge many more people, including many members of the militia-style organization known as the Oath Keepers organization, which has also slowed down their proceedings. In the meantime, however, they have charged two individuals who fatally assaulted a police officer with chemical weapons. And in related news, outlets began reporting new information about additional pressuring phone calls Trump placed to Georgia officials, trying to make them find voter fraud so that he could justify challenging the election results. Against this backdrop, it’s not really surprising that his acting Secretary of Defense publicly opined that Trump caused the insurrection, even if he wasn’t sure if Trump was aware of it.

 

Key links: 

  1. ABC – At Least 100 More To Be Charged In Capitol Attack Investigation, DOJ Expects
  2. NPR – U.S. Arrests 2 Men, Saying They Sprayed Sicknick And Others With Chemical At Capitol
  3. CNN – Officials Located December Recording Of Trump Call In A Trash Folder On Georgia Investigator’s Device
  4. Politico – Former Defense Secretary Miller Blames Trump’s Speech For Jan. 6 Insurrection

Recent Resilience

Recent Legislative Resilience. We finally have an American Rescue Act as I type this! The final version in the Senate passed last Saturday in a 51-50 vote entirely along party lines, and it passed in the House on Wednesday. Then it was signed into law by President Biden on Thursday afternoon. In addition to the much-covered provisions about stimulus payments, unemployment supports, small business supports, and education and child supports, the final version includes a provision expanding the Affordable Care Act market as well as some increased taxes for businesses.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Senate Passes Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill After Voting Overnight On Amendments, Sends Measure Back To House
  2. New York Times – With House Passage, Congress Clears The Nearly $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan For President Biden’s Signature.
  3. CNN – Here’s What’s In The Covid Relief Package

Things to Watch

Confirmation Tango (cont).  This week, Michael Regan confirmed as new head of the Environmental Protection Agency.  Additionally, Deb Haaland was confirmed as the first Native American Secretary of Interior, and Xavier Becerra was confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services.  We’ll likely see some more confirmations in the next few weeks, although the Senate is currently prepping a showdown over the filibuster, so we may see other Congressional news first.
Key links:

  1. Axios – Senate Confirms Michael Regan As EPA Administrator
  2. NPR – Deb Haaland Confirmed As 1st Native American Interior Secretary
  3. CNN – Mitch Mcconnell Warns Democrats That Overhauling Filibuster Rules Will Lead To ‘Completely Scorched Earth Senate’

State of the COVID-19. We have a surprising amount of positive COVID-related news this week. President Biden gave a prime-time address last Thursday to discuss his planning.  Some of the highlights: 1) Urging all states to make the vaccine available to all adults by May 1; 2) Aiming for July 4th celebrations in person; and 3) Streamlining vaccination processes in several different ways, including centralized registration, more vaccination sites, and expanding pharmacy vaccination.  He also announced plans for the U.S. to purchase another 100 million doses of the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which presumably will help achieve Thursday’s stated goals, and he noted this week that the U.S. is on track to surpass 100 million administered doses by Friday.  In related vaccine eligibility news, Alaska has made its doses available to adolescents age 16 and older, and teachers are now eligible in all 50 states Case numbers also continue to drop nationally.

Key links:

  1. Politico – Texas, Mississippi To Lift Mask Mandates, Let All Businesses Reopen At Full Capacity
  2. New York Times – Coronavirus In The U.S.: Latest Map And Case Count
  3. Stat – Biden Promises Enough Covid-19 Vaccines To Inoculate All Adult Americans By The End Of May
  4. Washington Post – Merck Will Help Make Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccine As Rivals Team Up To Help Biden Accelerate Shots
  5. CBS – Some Roman Catholic Leaders In U.S. Call Johnson & Johnson Vaccine “Morally Compromised”
  6. New York Times – Vaccinated Americans May Gather Indoors In Small Groups But Should Still Wear Masks In Public, The C.D.C. Said.

Actions for Everyone

White supremacy, puritanism, and patriarchy keep hate crimes alive and well everyday. In parallel with #StopAsianHate we must also #EndWhiteSupremecy and say that #SexWorkIsWork, and also put in real work to make those hashtags happen.

#StopAsianHate: Anti-Asian hate crimes aren’t new, although there has been a rise since COVID19. There are amazing organizations working on uplifting, organizing, and protecting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including Stop AAPI Hate. On their website, you can report a hate crime, learn more, and ACT. Here are a few organizations you should know about and support:

Like week’s past, I also want to reiterate that sex work, is work. Sex workers, are workers, and are not disposable because someone is “having a bad day.” Please read Open Society’s 10 Reasons to Decriminalize Sex Work, check out the International Union of Sex Workers, contact your elected officials calling for an end to criminal prosecution of sex work.

8CantWait: This week I was reading up on Wisconsin State Senate Bills having to do with policing and public safety, so I wanted to write and remind everyone about 8CantWaitResearch shows more restrictive use of force policies can reduce killings by police and save lives. Tell your city to adopt all eight of these policies:

  1. A ban on chokeholds and strangleholds.
  2. Require de-escalation
  3. Require warning before shooting
  4. Require exhaust all alternatives before shooting
  5. Ban shooting at moving vehicles
  6. Duty to intervene
  7. Require use of force continuum
  8. Require comprehensive reporting

8CantWait has some great resources including a comprehensive use of force database. In Milwaukee, we really want to develop an app so people can police the police, or rather participate in holding them accountable for their actions. If you do app stuff, hit me up.

Work toward Arts Equity: It feels indisputable that the loss of art – galleries, films, concerts, etc – has been felt worldwide during the pandemic. If there was ever a question as to what art or artists are worth to us and to our culture, the answer is either priceless or bajillions of dollars because it keeps us living and keeps culture shifting. Thinking about equity within the arts is necessary, so I wanted to tag in an organization aptly called artEquity. The mission of artEquity is to provide tools, resources, and training at the intersection of art and activism. artEquity is building a broad base of individuals and organizations who are strategically poised to create and sustain a culture of equity, inclusion, and justice through arts and culture. If you’re an artist, and organizer, or an activist (which you probably are if you’re reading this) please check out their amazing resources and consider donating

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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