Issue #207, 2021 Week 40

A lot has happened in the past week, and as has become the protocol, most of it is pretty rough. Here’s hoping we have better things to report soon–but as always, we’ll have actions for everyone below.

Events to Know

Election Rejection Collection.  A newly-released Senate report details exactly how Trump was pressuring his Department of Justice to overturn the November election, and it appears to pretty much say what you expect.  Speaking of 45, he’s also still telling his former aides to refuse to answer House subpoenas about his January 6 misconduct, shocking absolutely no one. And Biden refused to assert executive privilege to block his own party from investigating Trump’s role in the January 6 insurrection, despite Trump saying pretty please, also shocking absolutely no one.  Meanwhile, redistricting attempts are foreseeably messy, and we should be keeping an eye on them.

Key links:

  1. NBC – Senate Report Details Trump’s Pressure Campaign At DOJ To Overturn The 2020 Election
  2. Politico – Trump Tells 4 Former Aides To Defy Jan. 6 Committee’s Subpoena
  3. NPR – The White House Authorizes The National Archives To Share Documents With Jan. 6 Panel
  4. Washington Post – The Imminent Impact Of Redistricting: Sharper Partisan Elbows, Less Compromise By Both Sides In The House

Student Loan News.  The nicest news this week is that the public service loan forgiveness program is getting a major reworking, and that reworking will be retrospective in nature.  It’s very exciting if you’re me, or any other of the thousands who have struggled to access the program since its creation in 2007.  The magic date to know, if you’re applying for the waiver to count prior payments, is October 31, 2022.  That said, since loan payments are paused in general until February 1, if you think you might qualify it probably makes sense to get your paperwork sorted before then.

Key links

  1. CNN – US Department Of Education Overhauls Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
  2. US Department Of Education – Fact Sheet: Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program Overhaul
  3. NPR – Troubled Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Will Get Overhaul

Black Lives Still Matter.  This was a fairly eventful week for police misconduct. Newly-released body cam footage from Minneapolis shows police officers firing rubber bullets on peaceful assemblies, while another officer can be heard commending them for “hunting people.” Meanwhile, Pro Publica ran a story about elementary-age black children in Tennessee being jailed because they didn’t successfully intervene during a school playground fight.  And, of course, there’s the FBI raid of NYC police union headquarters and the union leader’s subsequent resignation.

Key links

  1. CNN – Body Camera Footage Reveals Minneapolis Police Officers Talking About ‘Hunting’ Civilians During May 2020 Protests, ‘f**k These People’
  2. ProPublica – Black Children Were Jailed For A Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened To The Adults In Charge.
  3. NBC – New York City Police Union Leader Resigns After FBI Raid On Headquarters

Recent Resilience

Roe v What Is Wrong With You (Again). We had a glorious two-day period where the anti-abortion law in Texas was paused, because a federal district judge recognized that it’s obviously illegal. Unfortunately, this was immediately overturned by the 5th Circuit, which was kind of a horrorshow even in the Before Times. But the appeals court decision is temporary in nature, so we may see more changes soon. 

Key links:

  1. Texas Tribune – ​​appeals Court Allows Texas Abortion Law To Resume, Stopping Federal Judge’s Order To Block Its Enforcement
  2. NPR – Federal Appeals Court Temporarily Reinstates Texas’ 6-Week Abortion Ban

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.  COVID news is getting slightly better overall, but is still a mess.  While Border Patrol protests the federal vaccine mandate, and Los Angeles mandates vaccination for most indoor services, down in Texas the governor is banning vaccine mandates as a condition for employment or services.  Meanwhile, Pfizer put in an official request to authorize their pediatric vaccine, and Merck is seeking authorization for an antiviral pill that they say can reduce hospitalization by lessening symptoms.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Anger In U.S. Customs And Border Protection As Biden Administration’s Vaccine Mandate Looms
  2. NBC – Texas Gov. Abbott Issues Order Banning Covid Vaccination Mandates In Rebuke Of Biden
  3. Washington Post – Pfizer, Biontech Ask FDA To Authorize Coronavirus Vaccine For Children 5 To 11
  4. Associated Press – Merck Asks US FDA To Authorize Promising Anti-Covid Pill

Current Senate Dysfunction.  The conclusion of the debt ceiling saga from the previous week is as predictable as it is dispiriting.  Mitch McConnell, apparently realizing that rich people didn’t want a default on the debt ceiling any more than the Democrats do, caved and offered a short continuance on the whole thing, which Congress promptly passed along party lines. But the bill only fixes the problem until December, which not-coincidentally is after the election season.  And now Mitch McConnell is already announcing that we’ll do all this again in December.  It really shouldn’t be this hard to make people do the literal bare minimum of their job.

Key links:

  1. Washington Post – Why The Senate Blinked And Moved Back From The Brink Of A Federal Default Crisis
  2. Washington Post – Mcconnell Vows Republicans Will Not Help Raise Debt Ceiling In December

Actions for Everyone

Thinking outside the supply chain: Y’all have probably been paying attention about the problems affecting our supply chain. Because of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the entire globe is having issues with transporting goods! International ports have been shut down due to infections, as well as lots of factories; but another problem is that Americans are consuming more things in general! With people staying home, shopping online has skyrocketed. We’re buying so much stuff, our ports are being overwhelmed with cargo boats and there is a massive backlog. What can we do to move away from these bad spending habits we’ve adopted as a nation?

-Focus on buying local

-Find mutual aid groups online like Buy Nothing Groups

-Try to reuse or repair instead of throwing out and buying new

-Buy from a thrift store

-Start a garden to grow your own food or support local farmers by buying at farmer markets or at their farms

-Eat with the seasons

-Pick up hobbies that don’t depend on consuming stuff

These are all little micro things we can do to help the macro. Sometimes it feels like the things we do as individuals don’t have a bug effect on the world, but they do matter. Every little thing we do to help matters.

 Source:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/slate.com/business/2021/10/supply-chain-shortages-retail-united-states-explained.amp

Fighting misinformation: I don’t know about you, but I’m a big John Oliver fan. This past week his show touched on the subject of misinformation. I’ve personally touched on that subject various times in this newsletter since it’s become such a big problem, especially during Covid. His report specialized on how misinformation travels in immigrant groups by the use of apps like Facebook or Whatsapp. It was very on point! I’ve personally received crazy conspiracy theory forward messages from Whatsapp from my aunts and my mother in law who’s primary source of information is Facebook. It seems to be like immigrant groups and older folks, by not having the same media literacy and not being as tech savvy as younger and people with more access to education, are falling victim to misinformation, conspiracies and dangerous rhetoric. I think the piece on Last Week Tonight was really important and I feel everyone who is concerned about these topics should watch it. 

Here’s the episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5jtFqWq5iU

Some things that we may need to keep an eye on for future actions are:

The Texas Abortion Bill is being disputed 

Texas is also trying to censor books about racial topics 

Republicans opposing bills that would reduce climate change – https://www.npr.org/2021/10/16/1046778414/joe-manchins-objections-to-a-clean-energy-program-threaten-bidens-climate-promis

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