“I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever, but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement.” —Angela Davis
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VP DEBATE: The vice-presidential debate is scheduled for tomorrow evening. We all know that Mike Pence has been in contact with people who have tested positive for COVID and he should be in a 14-day quarantine period. https://www.cnet.com/how-to/vice-presidential-debate-2020-how-to-watch-pence-vs-harris-debate-live/ Let’s tell the Commission on Presidential Debates that they should accommodate any and all requests by Kamala Harris on the basis of public health. Let’s contact the commission by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone (202) 872- 1020, or Twitter: @debates
RE-OPEN THE MEXICO BORDER AND ALLOW THE ASYLUM-SEEKERS DUE PROCESS: Vice President Mike Pence overruled CDC scientists last March, who said there would be no increased risk of COVID transmission and gave the order to close the Mexico border, suspending the asylum process and expelling 150,000 people including nearly 9,000 unaccompanied children. https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-pandemics-public-health-new-york-health-4ef0c6c5263815a26f8aa17f6ea490ae. Ironically, what the CDC said could slow the rate of COVID was a national mask mandate, social distancing, and increased contact tracing, but these were not part of the administration’s political agenda. Let’s share this story widely and ask our MoCs to demand that a COVID-safe protocol for asylum-seekers. Let’s also write to the CDC and demand that they stop kow-towing to Trump, which is putting their credibility in more and more jeopardy.
KEEP SPREADING THE WORD ABOUT TRUMP’S TAXES: With Trump’s COVID diagnosis dominating the headlines, let’s not forget the bombshell that broke only a week ago, revealing that Trump paid only $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017, and may very well have committed financial fraud. Even worse, Trump’s debts, if they are to foreign entities could be a national security issue. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/09/30/trump-taxes-conflicts-of-interest-national-security-threats-column/3578359001/. Let’s keep putting pressure on our MoCs to investigate the ties between Trump’s finances and our country’s security, and let’s keep this issue active on social media so it doesn’t get dominated by the COVID crisis.
TRUMP’S “SURPRISE” PUTS OTHERS AT RISK: Trump demanded to be driven to wave at the small group of supporters gathered across from Walter Reed hospital, regardless of the health of the Secret Service employees who would have to accompany him: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-covid-19-walter-reed-wave/2020/10/04/12dbe38c-064f-11eb-a166-dc429b380d10_story.html and https://www.npr.org/sections/latest-updates-trump-covid-19-results/2020/10/04/920181116/in-brief-drive-by-trump-waves-to-supporters-outside-of-walter-reed Doctors objected: “Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity,” said one; and another, “By taking a joy ride outside Walter Reed the president is placing his Secret Service detail at grave risk. This is the height of irresponsibility.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/04/us/politics/trump-virus.html and https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/05/technology/far-right-sees-miracle-in-trumps-outing-medical-experts-see-recklessness.html and https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2020/10/05/walter-reed-attending-physician-calls-president-trump-coronavirus-drive-by-political-theater-and-insanity/What negligence and disregard for what is now standard protocol. It is not about rights, it is a public health emergency. Pursuing the illusion of normal will get people killed. Let’s let the White House know just how repellent we find this political stunt then let’s tell our MoCs we want them to censure Trump for putting these lives at risk, and for policies that have exacerbated the deaths of over 200,000 Americans.
TRUMP HAS BEST HEALTHCARE, WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US: President Donald Trump is in a unique position to recover from the coronavirus. His role as one of the most powerful people in the country means he’ll have access to the best possible care, and his race and wealthiness increase his odds of survival. Trump does face a relatively high risk of developing serious symptoms because he is over 70, clinically obese, and male. But, as a white person, he’s less likely to die of COVID-19 compared to non-white Americans, who are subjected to more health-affecting hardships. As a VIP patient, the president had the privilege of getting tested often, leading to an early diagnosis. He and the First Lady will have access to around-the-clock medical care and can easily afford the latest experimental treatments. https://www.businessinsider.com/trumps-wealth-race-access-to-care-good-odds-against-covid-2020-10. Trump gets the best medical care despite being careless and spreading misinformation about COVID, creating super spreader events and suppressing the real COVID experts. Let’s tell the GOP to pressure trump to drop the Supreme Court case against preconditions in the ACA. If he gets excellent health care, the citizens of this country should have access to that same healthcare.
WHITE HOUSE NOT TRACING ITS OWN COVID SPREAD: Local public health departments generally are responsible for contact tracing COVID, but the White House has chosen to take this on. However, “In the days immediately preceding President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, he and his aides travelled to five states, holding several rallies and crowded indoor events with large groups of people. But there’s no clear indication that the White House is playing its stated role as the coordinator of a critical contact tracing effort that could help stem the spread of the virus, according to local and state health officials.” https://time.com/5896064/white-house-contact-tracing/ The White House is a super spreader and must contain and trace the spread. Let’s ask Congress and the CDC (800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) and ask for the Clinician On-Call Center) to pressure the White House to do contract tracing and quarantine those who attended the event. They should be leading by example.
MCCONNELL CLOSES SENATE BUT NOT SCOTUS HEARINGS: Now that Trump has produced what looks like a “super spreader” event in the Rose Garden, Mitch McConnell plans to call off floor proceedings in the Senate—including coronavirus relief discussions, presumably—until Oct. 19th but not to cancel Barrett’s hearings, slated for Oct. 12: https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-donald-trump-confirmation-hearings-mitch-mcconnell-amy-coney-barrett-895466e80b67302a83e2abadafe585df or https://www.wnyc.org/story/mcconnell-closes-senate-floor-proceeds-with-barrett-hearings. This, despite two confirmed cases among Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, three senators infected, and others under voluntary quarantine while awaiting the results of their exposure: https://www.npr.org/sections/latest-updates-trump-covid-19-results/2020/10/03/919878189/ron-johnson-joins-list-of-gop-senators-testing-positive-for-coronavirus or https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/03/ron-johnson-tests-positive-for-coronavirus-425829 Some say saying that if the COVID threat is too great for Senate sessions, Barrett’s confirmation is equally perilous and that questioning of a lifetime appointee by video is wildly inadequate. We must push McConnell to delay these hearings: 202-224-2541 or 317 Russell Senate Office Bldg, Washington DC 20510 or https://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=ContactForm Then let’s tell our Senators we are tired of this sham, remind them that Trump shouldn’t even be making this appointment in the first place, since in 2016 they insisted the voters should decide, and demand that they delay this hearing until after the election and after the Senate is no longer at risk of contracting COVID.
POLITICAL PURGE AT VOICE OF AMERICA: Political appointees, including Trump’s contentious pick, Michael Pack, who is CEO of Voice of America’s parent agency, the U.S. Agency for Global Media (https://www.wbaa.org/post/voice-america-journalists-protest-trump-appointees-actions#stream/0 ), have continued their purge of the VOA by launching an investigation into its White House bureau chief Steve Herman, citing “conflict of interest” because of his tweets and “likes” on social media and because, like almost every other news outlet, VOA revealed that Pence had not worn a mask inside the Mayo Clinic, despite his office’s advance knowledge of the hospital’s masking policy; moreover, Herman filed a first-person dispatch about being barred from Joe Biden’s campaign plane over COVID concerns last week, despite having traveled on Air Force One the day before. This investigation appears to violate the laws and regulations intended to protect the federally funded news outlet from political interference or influence: https://www.wnyc.org/story/political-aides-investigate-voa-white-house-reporter-for-anti-trump-bias and https://www.voanews.com/usa/pack-expands-purge-us-global-news-agency Let’s make sure that Pack understands that our voice in the world must not now be–and was never meant to be–politicized in this way: @usagmceo or 202-203-4000 or 330 Independence Ave SW, Washington DC 220237
POSTCARDING OPPORTUNITIES: From one of our own: Here are this week’s postcarding write-ups—a short list since we’re all working on get out the vote drives right now (we are, aren’t we?). Please use/share/distribute as you see fit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gS5OE95qeAeBVSFowZO5zKtmhu2d4KxmitQtvLmEcMY/edit?usp=sharing
TRACK THE REGULATION TRACKERS: Track the Trackers is a list of different websites tracking deregulation in the era of the Trump administration. Of Federal sites, their regulatory agenda which lists “regulatory reform” and what stage the revision is at – notice, proposed rule, rule, or not published yet. Individual federal agencies also often, though not always, post proposed regulations and/or actions on their website. Click here to check the regulation trackers: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Z-0C4ntd4uMrJMubCa3JyKVwotiNV_Vj/view?usp=sharing
BALANCING NEWS AND ACTION: There is no end to the news at this time. We could watch 24 hours a day and still not feel “caught up” and there’s not much to be done besides keeping our shoulder at the wheel with getting out the vote and helping campaigns forge ahead. Let’s cut some deals with ourselves to not get paralyzed by the news like “15 minutes of news then 15 Postcards To Voters“ or another option below.
ELECTION – GET OUT THE VOTE (GOTV)
SPLC VIRTUAL PHONE BANK. Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is organizing another Power Hour for Thursday, Oct. 8, from 3-4pm. Eastern. Volunteers will be calling voters in Georgia to inform them about their state’s new online absentee ballot request portal. We can sign up at SPLC.
GET ENVIRONMENTALISTS TO THE POLLS: The Environmental Voters Project needs phonebankers to contact 2 million environmentalists in 12 states who have never voted before. We can sign up for shifts here: https://www.environmentalvoter.org/blog/sign-gotv-shifts-0#.X3tghayUQ-I.facebook
POSTCARDS TO FIRST-TIME VOTERS: The Civics Center needs volunteers to mail postcards to recent high school graduates who are new to voting. Let’s get our postcards and start writing: https://thecivicscenter.org/volunteer
BILLBOARDS AND RIDES TO THE POLLS: Reclaim Our Vote is raising $150,000 to reach voters of color in the rural South via informative highway billboards, and to fund covid-safe rides to the polls. Let’s chip in $10 or as much as we’re able: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/billboard-campaign
ELECTION – SUPPORT CANDIDATES
TEXT FOR BIDEN/HARRIS: Let’s spend 4 minutes reading: https://politicalcharge.org/2020/10/01/lets-make-sure-joe-biden-wins-in-november/ and then 1 hour learning how to text for Biden/Harris and remind people to vote. Sign up for training at https://www.mobilize.us/2020victory/event/293967/
OHIO SUPREME COURT. Postcards to Voters‘ Campaign 216 is for the two Democratic candidates running for Ohio Supreme Court, John O’Donnell and Jennifer Brunner. The Ohio ballots do not list a party for these candidates so we are working to inform voters how they can vote blue. Let’s request 5 addresses today.
FLIP SENATE BLUE: Women’s March Action is hosting a national textbanking on Saturday, Oct. 17, in honor of RBG. They are texting voters in all 15 of the states with Senate races that could make a difference in this election and are seeking helpers. Let’s sign up here: https://www.mobilize.us/womensmarchaction/event/329779/
NATIONAL VOTER EDUCATION WEEK—”National Voter Education Week is a nonpartisan digital voter education campaign that equips voters with the tools, information, and confidence they need to cast their ballots.” https://votereducationweek.org/our-mission/ Let’s get ourselves and others ready to vote by participating in these Days of Action: https://votereducationweek.org/
PHONEBANK TO FLIP THE SENATE: Biden and Harris will need a strong Senate Majority to get our country back on track, and Grassroots Democrats are hitting the phone to give them the support they need. We can join them in making phone calls to swing states, and getting the vote out to turn the Senate Blue. After we sign up, we will get a Zoom link to join the phone bank. If we are new to phone banking, we can receive a full training and all of us will get the support we need to make it work. Shifts are available Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through Election Eve. We can find out more and then sign up to phonebank Swing States and turn the Senate Blue: https://www.mobilize.us/grassrootsdemocratslahq/event/319923/?
ELECTION – REGISTERING VOTERS
VOTER REGISTRATION ENDING FOR MANY: Voter registration deadlines are looming in many states. Let’s check ours and help anyone get registered who is not: https://www.eac.gov/voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state
ELECTION – OTHER
VEEP REUNION TO SUPPORT WISCONSIN DEMS: The Wisconsin Democratic Party is at it again! This time, they’ve gathered the cast of Veep for a live cast reunion on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 6 pm CT. According to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the event will include a discussion of the show and politics, a fan Q&A, and special skits. Anything we donate, over $1.00, will be used to support the Wisconsin Dems’ effort to defeat Trump. Chip in any amount at: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/veep-cast-reunion to get the link to tune in.
THE TOP FIVE MISTAKES THAT DISQUALIFY MAIL BALLOTS: After all this work, we want to make sure that all mail-in-ballots are counted. Let’s read them and avoid those mistakes so our mail-in ballots are counted: https://www.businessinsider.com/mistakes-that-can-disqualify-your-mail-absentee-ballot-2020-9
#VOTEPROCHOICE’s 2020 VOTER GUIDE: For each election #VOTERPROCHOICE creates a voting guide for us. Not only can we check our own ballot here: https://www.voteprochoice.us/voter-guidebut, we can also use their toolkit to share the news: https://www.voteprochoice.us/partner-toolkitLet’s use and share this to help inform our choices on the ballot.
USE STATE-SPECIFIC FACT SHEETS TO PROTECT POLLS AGAINST ARMED VOTER INTIMIDATION: With Trump stirring up his violent supporters and urging them to show up at the polls to intimidate voters https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/05/how-trumps-remark-about-poll-watchers-threatens-another-election-norm/ it’s a good time to know our rights and protections. Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection has put together a series of fact sheets for every state explaining the laws protecting us from militia groups and armed individuals and telling what to do if we experience voter intimidation. We can find out more about our rights and protections against voter intimidation at the polls here: https://www.law.georgetown.edu/icap/our-work/addressing-the-rise-of-unlawful-private-paramilitaries/state-fact-sheets/
ELECTION PROTECTION: BECOME AN ELECTION PROTECTION HOTLINE CAPTAIN: The National Bar Association, our nation’s oldest and largest network of mainly African American lawyers and judges, is looking for Hotline Captains for Election Day. If we are lawyers licensed in any state, we can receive training, then lead teams of 5-6 legal support staff for the Election Protection Hotline. If we know any lawyers who might be interested, we can pass this information on to them as well. We can click this link to find out more, including other legal volunteer opportunities, and then, if we wish, sign up. We can also share this info on social media to help recruit more volunteers: https://buff.ly/3jkN5Gh
MAKE SURE OUR MAIL-IN BALLOTS GET COUNTED—Some half a million mail-in ballots were tossed during the primaries—far too many due to voter error! The organization Spread the Vote has a fun new website called Read the F*ing Directions, where we can look up the rules for filling out and returning our mail-in ballots in every state. Let’s consult it, and let’s share with others: https://readthefingdirections.com/?lang=en
MI – GOVERNOR LED COVID PROTECTION GONE: Last week the MI Supreme Court overruled Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID emergency powers. https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/10/03/919891538/michigan-supreme-court-rules-against-governors-emergency-powers Michigan has been performing very well under Gov. Whitmer’s guidance, however the Republican lead state legislature has not thought they have enough say in the past and now Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey ® said, “We need to now transition from a public health emergency to managing and learning to live with this virus,” https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/gop-leader-no-mask-mandates-michigan-needs-learn-live-coronavirus Whitmer is attempting to appeal the decision, but we in Michigan need to call Sen. Shirkey and Speaker Chatfield and demand they protect Michiganders during this pandemic! With the MI Supreme Ct. ruling that went against Gov. Whitmer our safety will be in the hands of Republicans in the house and senate. If we flood their offices with calls we can make a difference. We need to let them know WE ARE WATCHING THEM AND DEMAND THEY PROTECT US by not opening up the state in a reckless manner. Let’s contact them: 1) Sen. Mike Shirkey: 517-373-5932, or 855-347-8016 or email: email@example.com, and 2) Rep. Lee Chatfield: 517-373-2629 or 855-737-4107 or email: LeeChatfield@house.mi.gov
ATTEND WEBINAR TODAY ON COMBATTING FACEBOOK DISINFORMATION: Despite its claims of reforms, Facebook remains a major source of disinformation and inflammatory material. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/10/1/21497453/facebook-democrats-2020-election-misinformation With an election happening in less than a month, it may seem like there is little we can do to stem this tide, but there are some strategies we can check out, including government regulation, legal efforts, changes to company policies, and pro-democracy activism. Corey Hill of the Protest Facebook coalition will be moderating a panel of experts ready to share these ideas with us. Featuring the former Global Head of Elections Integrity Operations for political advertising at Faceboo, Yaël Eisenstat, now a public advocate for transparency and accountability in tech, this webinar will be held TODAY, October 6that 11:30am Pacific, 2:30pm Eastern. We can learn more and then sign up to attend here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_JvG0M4kQQJijhdjur5POCg
ACTIVISM 101 WEBINAR: Jess Craven, of Chop Wood Carry Water, is continuing her Activism 101 sessions! Activism 101 is a free, one-hour (ish) webinar for folks who have very little to no experience with activism and/or political action. It’s a survey course with one goal: to give those who are furious and sickened by the state of our, bite-sized actions they can take to help vote Trump out, flip the Senate, win a bunch of down-ballot races, and basically make good things happen in November and beyond. Workshop will be led by Jessica Craven who is a mom, veteran activist, elected member of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party Central Committee, legislative chair of her Moms Demand Action chapter, and the author of daily actions email “Chop Wood, Carry Water.” Let’s grab a few friends and inquire about times: firstname.lastname@example.org
Revealed: Trump campaign strategy to deter millions of Black Americans from voting in 2016 – https://www.channel4.com/news/revealed-trump-campaign-strategy-to-deter-millions-of-black-americans-from-voting-in-2016
White House pressured CDC on reopening schools, officials say – https://www.cbsnews.com/news/white-house-pressured-cdc-reopening-schools/
What Happened with Merrick Garland and Why It Matters Now – https://www.npr.org/2018/06/29/624467256/what-happened-with-merrick-garland-in-2016-and-why-it-matters-now
The Supreme Court: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkpfFuiZkcs
Trump criticized by medical experts after leaving hospital to drive by supporters – https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-criticized-medical-experts-after-leaving-hospital-drive-supporters-n1242081
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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