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HELP FIRE RAVAGED WEST COAST AREAS: As wildfires rage along the West Coast, we look for ways to help. Here are some places where we can start. Some helping organizations that we can support are listed here: https://www.thecut.com/amp/2020/09/how-to-help-california-oregon-and-washington-fire-victims.html On a more local level, Its Going Down lists “autonomous groups organizing mutual aid disaster relief across the west coast in communities impacted by the ongoing fires. It will be regularly updated. We can check out local groups to support here:https://itsgoingdown.org/mutual-aid-fire-relief/Let’s find a way to help.
GOVERNOR NEWSOM OF CA MEETS WITH TRUMP ON FOREST FIRES: He thanked the president for a new commitment to “double our vegetation management and forest management” over the next 20 years. But Newsom then leaned into Trump with statistics that reflect the federal government’s responsibility for the recent wildfires. We can agree to disagree on the politics,” said Newsom, “but one thing is fundamental: 57% of the land in this state is federal and 3% is state forests.” The governor’s statistics are, indeed, correct according to U.S. Forest Service data. What’s more, 21 of the fires currently burning are on federal land, including the largest fire ever recorded in California. That raises questions about Trump’s repeated claims that the state is not doing enough on brush clearance. “Please respect the difference of opinion,” he asked Trump, “fundamentally, on this issue of climate change. The science is in…that climate change is real,” said Newsom, echoing his more forceful comments on Friday” https://deadline.com/2020/09/california-governor-gavin-newsom-confronts-donald-trump-california-wildfires-1234576479/Our federal forests need better management by the USDA especially while we are beginning to see the weather complications from climate change that caused these fires. Let’s ask Vicki Christiansen, Forest Service Chief what her plan is for reducing fires on federal lands: https://www.fs.usda.gov/about-agency/contact-us
CALL OUT ICE FOR SPREADING OF COVID IN ORDER TO QUELL PROTESTS: ICE unnecessarily risked public health by flying COVID-positive detainees to Virginia, so that they could transfer agents to the DC area to quell protests this summer, since agents are only allowed to move from one area to another if they are transferring detainees. Not only was ICE’s presence in DC unwelcome, they instigated a massive outbreak of COVID in the Farmville, VA prison, as a result.
https://thehill.com/latino/516035-report-ice-flew-detainees-to-virginia-so-agents-could-quell-dc-protests. ICE claimed it was transferring the detainees to spread out risk and maximize social distancing, but at the time, the facilities they were transferring inmates from were only 35% and 57% full. Let’s ask our MoCs to investigate ICE’s continuous efforts to flout policy and lie about their actions, and remind them during these budget-setting times that they must be defunded.
CALL OUT THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN FOR PUTTING INNOCENT PEOPLE AT RISK OF COVID: It’s hard to believe Trump’s rebuttal to journalist Bob Woodward’s assertion that he knew the severity of the virus and deliberately downplayed it in order not to cause panic, while he is continuing to ignore common-sense COVID protocols and hold huge indoor rallies with no requirements for masks or social distancing. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/reckless-selfish-nevada-gov-sisolak-slams-trump-holding-big-indoor-n1240001. Trump also disregarded the state’s rules limiting social gatherings to 50 people, claiming this didn’t apply to him. Let’s remind our fellow voters through letters to the editor and posts on social media that Trump is willing to risk the health of innocent Americans, including his own supporters, for his own political gain and call out the campaign for enabling the spread of the virus at a time when we are looking to his leadership to contain it
NATIVE AMERICAN VOTING RIGHTS: Native Americans are in a uniquely difficult position as they attempt to exercise their right to vote. While voting by mail options have expanded accessibility for many citizens in the U.S., requiring a physical address makes it nearly impossible for many Native Americans to take advantage of this option. Unreliable broadband access, plus voter systems that do not accept tribal IDs, present additional roadblocks. Let’s read more about the voter suppression taking place. Then, let’s join the Lakota People’s Law project and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and encourage our MoC to pass the Native American Voting Rights Act (NAVRA) (H.R. 1694/S. 739) to expand and protect voting rights. We can use the form available here, or contact our MoC directly.
SELF-CARE: The news has been unrelenting for weeks now and with 49 days until the election, we might be feeling our energy running low. Let’s take a moment to think about how we can both dial up our self-care and engage others in our tasks (like Postcards to Voters) to expand our reach without burning out in the homestretch.
CDC UNDER PRESSURE TO FUDGE COVID-19 DATA: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is under increasing pressure to hew to Trump’s line on the coronavirus, whether accurate or not; the latest effort was acknowledged in an interview on Saturday with Michael Caputo, the top HHS spokesman, who admitted that he and his advisor Paul Alexander have sought scrutiny of the CDC’s weekly scientific dispatches, known as the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, for at least the past 3 ½ months:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/09/12/trump-control-over-cdc-reports/ or https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/14/democrats-investigating-trump-officials-meddling-with-cdc-coronavirus-reports.html or https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/11/exclusive-trump-officials-interfered-with-cdc-reports-on-covid-19-412809It’s not clear whether or to what extent the CDC has complied, but it is clear that we should let them know that we depend on them to report the scientific facts, even if Trump doesn’t like it: 800-232-4636 or CDC, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta GA 30329. And we must encourage our MoCs to thoroughly investigate.
COVID DISNFORMATION: We know that the information on COVID coming out of the Trump administration is questionable, at best, and deadly at the worst. Even our governors were caught off guard when they learned of Trump’s withheld knowledge of the global pandemic. https://www.wxyz.com/news/coronavirus/whitmer-biggest-enemy-of-the-state-is-misinformation-coming-from-president-trump Through it all Dr. Anthony Fouci has remained the truth-teller and bravely speaks out when needed to offset Trump’s misinformation: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-fauci/fauci-disagrees-with-trump-on-coronavirus-cites-disturbing-u-s-statistics-idUSKBN2622PRLet’s continue to follow Dr. Fauci and stay safe using his information.
ELECTION – GET OUT THE VOTE (GOTV)
POSTCARDS FOR VIRGINIA; Volunteers have already completed an initial round of cards to Virginia voters hosted by Postcards for Virginia. A new campaign: Vote Early Win! is now available. We can help no matter where we live. Let’s request a few addresses today to support this effort: https://addresses.postcards4va.com/getting_started
VOTE FORWARD: Vote Forwardis planning to send 10 million letters in early October reminding infrequent voters to cast their ballot. So far, volunteers have prepared 6.2 million letters for sending. We have only a few weeks to prepare another 3.8 million letters. We can sign up, then download and fill out the letters on our own time. Let’s check this out and join the effort here.
ELECTION – SUPPORT CANDIDATES
POSTCARD FOR ALASKA SENATE RACE TO FLIP THE SENATE BLUE: The Princeton Election Consortium call the Alaska Senate Race one of the most important ones this year, since Alaska is a “Moneyball” state where influencing just a small group of voters could help flip the Senate. https://election.princeton.edu/2020/08/09/whats-more-important-than-a-presidential-probability/ Dr. Al Gross, running against an unpopular incumbent, Dan Sullivan needs our help reaching Democratic voters across the state. Flip the West tells us that Gross, an Independent running as the candidate of both the state Independent and Democratic parties, could win, since 55% of Alaska voters are registered Independents. The problem is that he is not well known across the state. When voters do know of him, they favor him over Sullivan. So Flip the West has organized a postcard campaign, with addresses and scripts ready for us to spread the word. We can sign up here to write postcards to help elect Alaska Democratic nominee Al Gross and flip the Senate: https://www.mobilize.us/flipthewest/event/270046/
SPANISH SPEAKERS URGENTLY NEEDED TO TEXT FOR BIDEN: Spanish speaking volunteers who can text or call in Spanish are urgently needed to drive up Hispanic support for Biden in Florida. Right now, the Florida race is extremely close, and Trump has gained strength among Cubans and other Latinos who believe Biden is a communist or socialist. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/09/trump-florida-latinos-cubans-communism-socialism.html We need to drive out the Democratic Latino vote, and we need your help NOW because we could lose Florida if this continues. Upcoming Texting times are : Tue, Sep 15, 5:00pm–7:00pm EDT, Sat, Sep 19, 11:00am–12:00pm EDT Tue, Sep 22, 5:00pm–6:00pm EDT. We can find out more and signup here to text Spanish speaking voters in Florida. If we cannot make the dates listed, new ones will be added, so we can keep checking back. If we know Spanish speakers who can help we can share this info with them: https://www.mobilize.us/fl2020victory/event/320226/](https://www.mobilize.us/fl2020victory/event/320226/
ELECTION – REGISTERING VOTERS
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY TO ASSIST BLIND VOTERS: EBe My Eyes is a simple, free tool to connect blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers for help with daily tasks. The platform will be training volunteers to help users register to vote with Vote.org tools and is looking for more volunteers to participate. There is no minimum time commitment and it’s super flexible — you can choose when to answer a support call. They are hosting a training Tuesday, September 15th at 9:30am PT. It will be recorded, but they strongly recommend that you join live if you’re able. We can sign up for the training here.
ELECTION – OTHER
ELECTION HELP NEEDED IN MI AND WI: Democratic party officials in Wisconsin and Michigan are asking for help to ensure that everybody gets to vote and every vote gets counted. They need poll watchers and observers, staff for their voter protection hotlines, and phone bankers to recruit more volunteers. Learn more and sign up here for Michigan, here for Wisconsin. (h/t)
HELP FLORIDA FORMER PRISONERS PAY FINES TO RESTORE THEIR VOTING RIGHTS: Florida is one of the states that may decide the election and with the close race there tightening, voter suppression is in full swing. The latest target is former prisoners, who recently fought a hard-won battle to get their voting rights restored, only to be required to pay fines and fees before they can vote.
https://www.staugustine.com/story/opinion/editorials/2020/09/13/court-blocks-votes-ex-felons-floridians-can-stop-poll-tax/5785176002/ We Got the Vote https://wegotthevote.org/ is collecting money to help pay these fees and restore lost these voting rights. If we are able to donate, we can learn more and donate here. Whether we donate or not, we can also help spread the word on social media. Especially now, especially in Florida, every vote counts: https://wegotthevote.org/finesandfees/
ELECTION SECURITY IN FL, MI, and WI:
Jennifer Cohn has been warning us about election security for quite some time. https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/12/17/how-new-voting-machines-could-hack-our-democracy/“One of the first things that grabbed my attention about election security was the glaring difference between the official testimony provided on the issue and what esteemed election-security experts said on the subject. I made a video about it. There’s still time to #RemoveTheModems
from precinct ballot scanners before November. We should demand that officials in WI, MI, and FL do that. Before it’s too late.” https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.cohn.54/posts/10224594945247013Let’s watch the video: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.cohn.54/videos/10224594896805802 and sign this petition: https://org2.salsalabs.com/o/7003/p/dia/action4/common/public/index.sjs If we live in these states, let’s also contact our state MoCs.
MI: ELECTION LEGISLATION: From MI Resistance: When our Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, goes on national TV to warn that we could have election “week” instead of election night, you know we need to do something to expedite the absentee vote counting process. In a rare hint of bi-partisanship, Mike Shirkey and the GOP seem ready to vote on a bill that will help. SB757 allows certain absentee ballot pre-processing such as opening envelopes one day before election day. [Let’s] call these 4 GOP Senators and urge them to pass SB757 to help our clerks and election workers deliver accurate and timely results: Mike Shirkey (517) 373-5932, Peter MacGregor (517) 373-0797, Jim Runestad (517) 373-1758, and Michael MacDonald (517) 373-7315.
FREE VIRTUAL RELATIONAL ORGANIZING VOTER OUTREACH TRAINING ON TUESDAY: The most important part of campaigning is connecting with voters, but how we can do that when the pandemic stops us from meeting in person? The National Democratic Training Committee(NDTC) is here to help with a free virtual training this Tuesday, September 15 from 8-9pm ET. “How Relational Organizing Can Help Your Campaign.” Whether we’re running for office, working on a campaign, or building our local party’s or organization’s infrastructure, we can learn to understand the impact of relational organizing, recognize key components to build a program, and evaluate a value based conversation flow.We can click here to learn more and sign up for a free virtual Relational Organizing training: https://traindemocrats.org/event/how-relational-organizing-can-help-your-campaign-09-15-2020/
PERSEVERENCE WEBINAR: “When you are engaged in creating change…
- Is it depleting or exhausting?
- Does it increase cynical feelings or hopelessness?
- Do your stress levels rise more than a few hours?
If any of your answers are yes, this is a sign that you’re approaching a breaking point. The solution isn’t to abandon the project of justice and equality.” We can sustain action without burnout. Let’s join Jen Hofmann, of Americans of Conscience Checklist, in a series of four 45-minute calls starting on Wednesday, September 16 to “explore tools and strategies that help you find inspiration and get back on the path when things are overwhelming.” Let’s learn more and sign up: https://jenniferhofmann.com/the-art-of-perseverance/
TOWNHALL WITH BIDEN CAMPAIGN ON COVID RESPONSE AND HOW TO BUILD BACK BETTER: We’ll learn from the Biden-Harris Campaign about their plan to stop COVID-19, build back better, and prevent the pandemics of the future. Let’s register now to join the Town Hall Meeting, which will be held on Saturday, September 19, 4-5pm ET (1-2pm PT) here.
Jeffrey Goldberg’s interview with Alexander Vindman in The Atlantic – https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/09/alexander-vindman-trump-putin-useful-idiot/616341/
Myths About Overseas Voting –https://www.theamerican.co.uk/pr/pol-Myths-about-Overseas-Voting
The Case for Dumping the Electoral College– https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/09/21/the-case-for-dumping-the-electoral-college
‘They’re Not Actually Getting Better,’ Says Founder Of COVID-19 Long-Haulers Support Group – https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2020/09/10/covid-19-survivor-corps
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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Would you please make links for the appropriate items under Native American Voting Rights. They’re not linked. Thank you. I’d like to include this article in our Indivisible Newsletter St Johns County.