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REJECT GOP SENATE RELIEF BILL AND PASS THE HEROES ACT: The COVID relief bill proposed by the GOP-led Senate, the HEALS Act (not yet numbered), cuts unemployment, doesn’t protect renters from evictions, has no money for state and local governments, and does not have enough funds for schools to re-open. While there’s no extra money for food stamps either, the bill does include a tax credit to expense business lunches and limits business liability from lawsuits that could relate from unsafe COVID practices and contains fund schools, fund cities and towns. In short, it’s a disaster. https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/509300-gop-relief-bill-hits-wall-in-talks-with-schumer-pelosi. Here are some ways the House and Senate bills differ: https://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/tax-compliance/news/21148145/comparing-the-senate-and-house-covid-stimulus-bills Let’s tell our Senators that we want them to pass the HEROES ACT (H.R. 6800), which was already passed by the House in May, and that we’re tired of an agenda that focuses on businesses rather than on workers and consumers. Let’s also insist that any COVID relief bill include funding for COVID-safe voting, so that people don’t have to risk their lives to exercise their Constitutional right to vote.
DANGERS IN SENATE COVID RELIEF BILL: Not only does the Senate HEALS Act not support those directly affected by COVID, there are additional questionable parts of the bill that do not seem in the spirit of helping our citizens. For example, the bill “proposes billions of dollars for the military, including hundreds of millions to restore funding shifted from the Defense Department to pay for President Donald Trump’s Mexican border wall.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-defense/u-s-coronavirus-relief-bill-would-restore-defense-funds-taken-for-trump-wall-idUSKCN24T2ROand https://apnews.com/f14ef99ec7939f44860e6026624be38f?fbclid=IwAR3z9q1gRyjolrfR0bowIfhNZ34Z33lsSOXQm19DVOZZp9sOHv1CErgC2IsIt also includes money for a new FBI building. https://www.npr.org/2020/07/28/896372953/senate-gop-balks-at-white-house-push-for-new-fbi-hq-in-covid-relief-bill It also includes a plan to “fix” Social Security that may not be really helpful to those who rely on it. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/29/heals-act-may-include-controversial-plan-to-fix-social-security-funds.htmlIn addition, there is a nasty provision that provides businesses immunity from lawsuits from employees who are sent back to work as it “could take away a recourse for workers who return to an unsafe workplace as the pandemic spreads around the country.” https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/28/coronavirus-stimulus-updates-mcconnell-defends-liability-protections.html . This is not the time to be kowtowing to special and corporate interests. The next bill needs to help improves lives of regular citizens. Let’s tell our senators that we want a COVID-relief bill that will provide relief to people who have taken the biggest hits.
U.S. TROOPS LEAVING GERMANY: “Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Wednesday that the United States would pull nearly 12,000 troops out of Germany, starting in the coming weeks, ostensibly to beef up U.S. deterrence against Russia. Immediately after, Esper was undercut by U.S. President Donald Trump, who described the troop withdrawal as a reprisal against Germany for not meeting its defense-spending targets.” “Behind the scenes, however, the decision has frustrated some U.S. and European officials who see the move as harmful to U.S. interests in Europe and fear it will undercut NATO’s activities aimed at deterring Russia from the alliance’s eastern flank. They also said the decision was made in haste, without a proper interagency review, and without sufficient consultations with European allies.” https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/07/29/pentagon-trump-troop-withdrawal-germany-punishment/ This is being viewed as a “gift to Russia”. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/07/29/us-troops-leave-germany-following-trump-demands-costly-move/5534462002/Let’s tell Secretary Esper that we do not think this is a good move at this time: https://www.usa.gov/federal-agencies/u-s-department-of-defense, then let’s tell our MoCs the same thing.
ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: On Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr testified before the House Judiciary Committee and made clear that it is not his intention to work on behalf of the people of the United States:https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/barr-testimony-live-updates-ag-faces-questions-2020/story?id=72029139 Let’s take a moment to call for his resignation (1-202-514-2000 then press 4 to leave voicemail at Department of Justice) or https://www.justice.gov/contact-us and then let’s ask our Congressperson to seek his impeachment.
TELL CONGRESS: DON’T APPROPRIATE MONEY FOR DHS WHILE FEDERAL TROOPS ARE INVADING CITIES: While there is hopeful news that Federal troops may be starting to leave Portland, the situation is far from over, and both Trump and DHS Director Chad Wolf are continuing to take an aggressive stance in asserting their right to intervene in protests. https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/509566-oregon-governor-says-federal-officers-are-leaving-portland. The feds’ actions, which have included tear-gassing the mayor and kidnapping protesters without due process and shoving them into unmarked bans have exacerbated violence, which was minimal before they arrived, and much of which, across the country, has been committed by White Supremacist organizations trying to incite violence to discredit the movement, not by members of Black Lives Matter and their allies. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53579099. Trump is also still threatening to send the feds to other cities. Let’s tell our MoCs this is completely illegal and unacceptable, and they must completely eliminate funding for DHS during this year’s appropriations process until there are safeguards that the agency is not making war against its own citizens.
TEACHER “SAFETY STRIKES”? On Tuesday, Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, announced a resolution saying the AFT would back its members if they went on strike to oppose unsafe school openings; the president of the nation’s largest union, the National Education Association, Lily Eskelsen García, likewise declared that educators are ready to do “whatever it takes” to ensure safe schools and are “not ready to take any options off the table”: https://apnews.com/4e8a446186df3c1962137dbe9faf7f38 or https://www.politico.com/news/2020/07/28/aft-strikes-school-reopening-384133 or https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/07/28/teachers-may-walk-out-safety-strikes-if-forced-into-unsafe-schools-union-leader/ The Republican version of the latest coronavirus relief bill includes vastly insufficient aid to help schools open safely, as the Council of Chief State School Officers laments in its letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander: https://ccsso.org/sites/default/files/2020-06/HELPLetterFinal.pdf (Millions, nonetheless, are included for Trump’s long-sought replacement of FBI headquarters: https://www.npr.org/2020/07/28/896372953/senate-gop-balks-at-white-house-push-for-new-fbi-hq-in-covid-relief-bill) Meanwhile, the White House and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos continue to insist that federal funds are contingent on opening in-person schools, regardless of which viral hot spot they might be in. It is incumbent on us to make it clear to both Trump and DeVos (firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-401-3000 or 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202) that we are unwilling to put children, teachers, staff, and families at risk for their political aims–and to offer our support to teachers if they strike.
SCHOOLS AND CORONAVIRUS RELIEF: The National Education Association (NEA), with its 3 million members is urgently asking us to contact our senators and reiterate their demands for the next coronavirus relief package: 1) At least $175 billion to help public schools reopen safely and equitably (regardless of if instruction is online, in-person, or a hybrid); 2) No conditions on reopening to access funds; 3) No vouchers or carveouts for private schools; and 4) No liability shields. If safe and responsible school reopening is our priority, let’s join them: https://educationvotes.nea.org/covid-call/
JOIN LOCAL REFUSE TO RETURN GROUP TO DEMAND SAFE SCHOOL REOPENING: The virus rages uncontrolled and the next few weeks could make it even worse as the school year is about to begin. We have just seen in Israel, which went from only 10 new cases a day to a 499% increase of infected citizens, that schools can be primary mega infectors. https://www.yahoo.com/news/second-wave-covid-hits-israel-162129002.html Despite this and other evidence of the dangers of in person instruction, many districts are planning to reopen, even though teachers, parents and students have grave concerns. Now educators are fighting back. Refuse to Return, a group of safety-minded educators, refuses to return until schools are safe with no new COVID-19 cases in their communities for 14 consecutive days. New chapters springing up all over the country. If we are teachers, parents or concerned community members, we can click here to see if there is a local group for us to check out: https://www.facebook.com/101898574927837/posts/128571202260574/They also have templates of letters about this to send to local officials here:https://www.facebook.com/101898574927837/posts/119036329880728/ and other supportive actions on their Facebook page as well: https://www.facebook.com/refusetoreturn/
PPE NEED IN THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY: In response to PPE shortages for health care workers, National Nurses United(NNU) is calling for Senators to support a relief bill with two essential clauses. First, the government must uphold an OSHA emergency temporary standard to protect workers. Second, Congress needs to support the creation of a comprehensive and transparent medical supply chain system that includes the full use of the Defense Production Act to scale up domestic production of PPE. We can support the demands of National Nurses United by calling our Senators about these two measures. Both of these demands are included in the HEROES Act (which has now been on Senator Mitch McConnell’s desk for over 70 days!). NNU has developed a script for you to use while on the phone with your Senators. Read the script and start dialing! (h/t)
“FLOOD ICE” BY SUBMITTING A FAKE APPLICATION TO ATTEND ICE’S CITIZENS TRAINING ACADEMY: Never Again Action is organizing people to submit fake applications for ICE’s upcoming citizen training academy in Chicago, which is a propaganda program to teach “awareness and appreciation” for ICE’s deportation work, and train them on “firearms familiarization and targeted arrests.” This toolkit will take us through the steps, which includes writing a statement of disgust about ICE’s human rights abuses, posting our message as an application, and then sharing on social media. ICE will then need to download all these “applications” and perhaps might have less time to round up hard-working undocumented residents of our country. Let’s consider doing this by their requested deadline, which is today, July 30.
DACA UNDER ATTACK, AGAIN: Never one to admit defeat, legal or otherwise, Trump and his lackeys are yet again going after DACA; DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf—himself holding office illegally well past his 210-day limit under the Federal Vacancies Act—acted in violation of a Maryland court order that required the Trump administration restore DACA to its status in September 2017; Wolf and the White House claimed his memo refusing new DACA applications and limiting renewal to one, not the customary two, years is an “intervening action” that makes the Maryland decision moot: https://www.npr.org/2020/07/28/896334928/trump-administration-will-reject-new-daca-applications-administration-official-s The Supreme Court ruling is, apparently, not worth even noting. Let’s tell DHS what we think of flouting the decisions of two courts: Chad F. Wolf, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528 or 202-282-8495.
HELP REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is a non-profit “that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees.” In other words, much of what they do is the hard, on the groundwork of trying to help immigrants/refugees being detained by ICE and DHS. For those of us who would like to help, there are now more options than donating. Let’s check out their “Take Action” website, which has options for us whether we have just a few minutes, a bit more time, or whether we’re “up for everything!” https://www.raicestexas.org/take-action
REPORT DISINFORMATION ABOUT BLACK LIVES MATTER: As support swells for Black Lives Matter, it has become an even bigger target for disinformation, and not enough has been done to stem the tide of false accusations. https://time.com/5863026/facebook-groups-criticize-black-lives-matter/ Now, Black Lives Matter has asked us to step up and help. We can click here to report suspicious websites, stories, ads, social media accounts and posts about Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatter.com/help-us-fight-disinformation/
2020 ELECTION CALENDAR: This resource is searchable by date and state
VOTER TURNOUT: Indivisible has launched the Windivisible campaign, which focuses on electing Joe Biden, flipping the Senate, and keeping the House blue. The campaign uses peer-to-peer contact through phone calls, text messages, and letters, to encourage voter turnout this November. We can participate by signing up here, or if we have not phonebanked or textbanked before, or if we just want to brush up on our skills, we can sign up to attend the 2020 Bootcamp training on August 8: https://indivisible.org/2020-bootcamp-registration
DEMAND PEACEFUL TRANSITION OF POWER: Trump has suggested that he won’t accept the results of the 2020 election if he loses: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/trump-ready-commit-election-results-loses-71872508 . Jennifer Rubin, an opinion writer at the Washington Post, has written a column called “How to Minimize 2020 Election Chaos,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/26/how-we-minimize-2020-election-chaos Let’s act on some of her suggestions:
- Check our voter registration status, and, if necessary, register to vote or update our voter registration at https://turbovote.org/
- Learn how we can vote by mail in our state, https://www.aclu.org/voter/
- Ask our governor https://www.usa.gov/state-governor , secretary of state https://www.nass.org/membership , and state legislators https://www.congress.gov/state-legislature-websites to pledge to publicly respect the results of the election and refuse to delay certification of the vote based on spurious accusations.
- Send a link to Rubin’s column to our newspaper editors and news networks (use a search engine for contact info) and tell them that we expect them to report election results responsibly. That includes informing the public that it may take several weeks to get final accurate vote counts in the 2020 election. It also includes explicit skepticism when reporting Trump’s claims of fraud.
STUDENTS AGAINST VOTER SUPPRESSION NIGHT OF ACTION: “If you are a high school or college student passionate about fighting voter suppression in this year’s US Senate races and enacting structural change, join young Reclaim Our Vote activists from all around the country to call young voters of color in six states who are at risk of having their right to vote suppressed.” There is a Night of Action every Thursday night from 6PM to 7PM ET from now until election day. Let’s sign up and spread the word: https://actionnetwork.org/campaigns/students-against-voter-suppression-action-nights
GET ENVIRONMENTAL VOTERS TO THE POLLS—The Environmental Voter Project is looking for volunteers to textbank and phonebank to get voters who care about environmental issues to the polls in key swing states. Let’s get trained, and then, let’s get to work: https://www.environmentalvoter.org/events
MAKE A PLAN TO VOTE—The safest way to vote during the coronavirus pandemic is to vote by mail. The Voter Participation Center offers us a way to check whether we can vote by mail in our state. Let’s use it so that we can know whether we will be voting by mail, early voting, or voting on Election Day in November: https://www.voterparticipation.org/vote-by-mail/
MI: RACIAL JUSTICE/DISABILITY RIGHTS: A Michigan child, Grace, has been incarcerated since May because she did not complete her online school work (https://bit.ly/2X9cg5H, https://bit.ly/3feuqch). Grace has ADHD and an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), a legally protected learning plan for students with disabilities. Judge Mary Ellen Brennan ruled that Grace had violated her probation by not submitting school work, and has denied a motion for early release, defending her decision to continue incarcerating Grace as a means of having the child complete a “treatment program.” Activists have been rallying to #FreeGrace, which has moved Oakland County officials and some members of Congress to get involved. Let’s reach out to our state legislators and ask them to do everything they can to get Grace back home immediately. We can also contact Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter and tell him that Judge Brennan’s decision was unconscionable, rooted in racism and a profound misunderstanding of disability, and should not stand: Phone: 248-858-0480, Mailing Address: 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Building 41W, Waterford, MI 48328
JOIN ANTI-RACIST, FEMINIST WEBINAR: UltraViolet, partnering with Women’s March, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, MomsRising, Supermajority, and the United State of Women (USOW) is offering a webinar series on anti-racist feminism. Today, July 30, at 5 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. PT, speakers will cover a brief history of how white people became white, where white feminism diverged from Black feminist practice, and the bright spots of white women organizing, such as poor women, Southern organizing, Jewish organizing, and LGTBQ+ organizing. We can find out more and sign up for the webinar here:
LEARN DIGITAL ORGANIZING BASICS: The Campaign Workshop is offering a series of free workshops this summer, starting with Let’s Get Digital w/ Sophie Thurber today, July 30. In this workshop, we will learn digital fundamentals and find creative ways to engage with our targeted groups, using different platforms, creating a strong online presence and integrating digital communications into our strategies. We can learn more and sign up for the Campaign Workshop’s Digital Organizing webinar here:https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYofu-orj4iG9A9jb5WvV4Dov9Il39Ys1E8
BALLOTS OVER BROADWAY: If we love music and/or want to help register thousands of Democratic voters by November and/or want to support incredible Black women running for office, we can join this amazing event next Friday night, Aug. 7! It’s a night of incredible music and fun featuring Tony winners, Broadway legends, American Idol and Voice finalists, and shero Representative Katie Porter, all to benefit Field Team 6 and Higher Heights for America. Saving our country doesn’t get much easier than watching an amazing show from your couch. Tickets start at just $25. Join us and please spread the word!!! We can get tickets here: ft6.us/broadway
TRAINING TO WIN 2020: “Got Covid Blues? Ready to pivot to virus free, online electoral action? Training to Win 2020 has got you covered. We’re here to help you navigate pandemic-induced challenges in traditional grassroots and field organizing, to boost the total number of voters reached and volunteers recruited in 2020.” We can learn more and sign up for this August 1st (10:00am to 1:00pm PDT) free virtual training here: https://www.mobilize.us/training2win2020/event/287118/
John Lewis:Love in Action– https://onbeing.org/programs/john-lewis-love-in-action/
How to Spot Misinformation Online – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE9dFM4Bs0k
Anti-fascists linked to zero murders in the US in 25 years –
‘It’s a tax on being Black in this country’ — 5 ways racism is embedded in the housing industry – https://www.marketwatch.com/story/its-a-tax-on-being-black-in-this-country-5-ways-racism-is-embedded-in-the-housing-industry-2020-07-24
We Are Tracking What Happens to Police After They Use Force on Protestors – https://projects.propublica.org/protest-police-videos/
The $600 unemployment bonuses did not lead to people working less, Yale study shows –
We can stay up to date on Congress by checking out their schedules. a) The House publishes a weekly schedule at The Weekly Leader (published and dated Friday) as well as daily schedules at The Daily Leader. b) The Senate updates their schedule daily at the Senate Floor Schedule
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