PEG 12th Congressional District Newsletter 278
Disinformation Explained and What To Do: Learn how to spot and counter manipulation.
Week 1 of 5: What is What About-ism?
When criticized, just say that someone else is worse. It’s a simple way to shrug off criticism or even responsibility for any wrongdoings.
“Not only does it…deflect [the] original argument but it also throws you off balance. You’re expecting to be in a civilized argument that doesn’t use cheap tricks like that. You are playing chess and your opponent … just punches you on the nose.” – Washington Post
Any grade-schooler can master the “yeah-well-you[they]-suck-too-so-there” defense. – NPR
- Trump baselessly suggested former President Obama had mishandled presidential records after leaving office by, Trump claimed, keeping more than 30 million documents, many of them classified, and taking them to Chicago. (The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) issued a statement explaining it has “exclusive legal and physical custody” of the Obama-era records. – Letters From An American
- When asked [about] Putin “kill[ing] journalists that don’t agree with him,” Trump replied: “Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too.” – Foreign Policy Magazine
Countering What About-ism
“Whatabouts have an air of “truthiness” and can seem convincing at face value. The way whatabouts dominate our public discourse in an endless drumbeat of fake news and propaganda means that even well-meaning people are getting thrown off base. Many of those propagating extremist right wing views might actually be parroting something they heard on Fox News.
What About-ism muddies an argument. A discussion about the blatant financial corruption of the administration is expanded into a general statement that all politicians steal, so it doesn’t matter. Point out they’re not actually addressing what you said, adding “that’s an interesting point, we can discuss that later but let’s talk about just this right now.” Keep things focused on the issue at hand. Once you are through talking about specific examples of Trump’s corruption, you can then compare it to their opinion that all politicians steal, and show that even though many politicians are corrupt, in comparison Trump displays a truly unique level of corruption.” – Occupy
Events and Classifieds
Work with Voters Not Politicians (VNP) to Defeat the Election Deniers!
Voters Not Politicians (VNP), whose 2018 initiative successfully established the independent redistricting commission, has been a friend of Protector of Equality in Government since its inception. Scroll down to PEG’s videos of the week to find out how the Facebook Post from 27-year-old Katie Fahey began what is now known as Voters Not Politicians.
Now, VNP is focused on the issues related to the protection of voting rights as delineated in the Promote the Vote constitutional amendent ballot initiative. Passage of the proposal will codify numerous items, including: expanding and insuring the fundamental right to vote in safe, secure and fair elections, improved accessibility and convenience, nine days of early in-person voting, and the modernization of the administration of elections to ensure every vote counts.
VNP has formed a Super Pac to defeat “election deniers” in November. According to Bridge Magazine, the PAC aims to help elect “pro-voter” candidates who support election integrity and “the freedom to vote” in the state, the press release states. It is an independent group which is not allowed to communicate with or give money to a candidate. However, the Super PAC is permitted to endorse candidates. In that effort, the campaign has sent out questionnaires
to state legislative candidates, and Voters Not Politicians will endorse “pro-voter” candidates based on their answers, regardless of their party affiliations.
VNP has further organized itself with several subgroups to tackle a variety of issues. They include:
- The Nights and Weekends campaign is to increase access to voting, especially in areas of light turnout. They collaborate with local clerks and municipalities to increase the hours and locations voters can register to vote, obtain an absentee ballot, and vote. This is a municipality-by-municipality project that relies on hundreds of VNP volunteer teams to meet with and support their local clerk.
- Voter Outreach Project focuses heavily on high impact communities across southeast Michigan this year including Detroit, Pontiac Melvindale, Ecorse, River Rouge, Inkster and Flint. Their goal is to mobilize voters who voted in the 2020 election but do not have a voting history in midterm elections. Keep a lookout on “mobilize” on their events page.
- “Dial for Democracy” – Volunteers receive exclusive alerts when it’s time to call lawmakers on legislation or decisions that impact Michigan’s democracy.
- Bridge Magazine reports that VNP indicates it has 5,000 “organized, highly trained” volunteers to boost voter turnout with “canvassing, texting, phones and paid media.”They will focus on knocking 300,000 doors to engage voters and mail and digital ads are “on the table.”
Washtenaw County Democratic Party wants your help!
With so much at stake—reproductive rights, voting rights, racial justice, fair economy, our environment, gun safety—there’s a lot work to do. Democratic voting falls off for midterm elections, something we can’t allow to happen in this crucial one. Here are the opportunities to get involved, from now to Election Day.
- Encouraging our voters to get on the Permanent Absentee Voter (PAV) list, August 3–September 4: We’ve prepared a hangtag to distribute to the doors of Democratic- and Democratic-leaning voters who are not on the PAV list encouraging them and providing instructions on how to sign up. This will be a door-to-door no-knock activity: just hang the literature and go on to the next door.
- Voter Guide distribution, September 15–30: This is the all-hands-on-deck effort. We’ll be distributing 70,000 guides in two weeks. The guides are important, because there will be many ways to vote our Democratic Party values apart from candidates with “Democratic” next to their names. People welcome the guide, particularly in races where they might otherwise lack information. This is also a door-to-door no-knock activity.
- Ballot chase/Get Out the Vote, September 30–November 8: We’ll be using text, phone, and e-mail to encourage people who’ve received but not yet cast their ballots to vote. We’ll also make sure that they get an electronic version of the voter guide.
- eVoter Guide, November 1–November 8: We’ll use text, phone, and e-mail to make sure that our voters who are not on the PAV list have the Voter Guide soon before they head to the polls.
- Distributing information at polls, November 8.
Additional info is available on the WCDP website. Please indicate which volunteer opportunities you might be able to help out with by completing their Volunteer Interest Form. It’s not a binding commitment, but it would be great to know who is thinking about which activities. (And remember: Voter Guide distribution is an all-hands-on!)
Visit the PEG website for the full list and details of Upcoming Events
PEG’s Videos of the Week
Check out this new recurring section each week to see our favorite trending videos online. We encourage you to click and share the links to these fun and informative short form videos (and two longer form videos) on your favorite social media platforms!
More things to do, read, watch, and listen to
The Inflation Reduction Act: Health Care, Climate and Taxes
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), passed by the House on Friday and signed by President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on August 16, 2022, is a substantial piece of legislation, H.R. 5376, that will make significant investments in the environment and health care, and increase taxes on some key groups.MSN summarizes that this landmark legislation will lower the costs of prescription drugs and health care, fight climate change, lower energy costs, and reduce the deficit without raising taxes on families making less than $400,000. The bill accomplishes that by ensuring massive corporations pay their fair share by implementing a 15 percent minimum tax on the largest 150 companies that make more than $1 billion in profits. This bill is also the most significant investment in the climate crisis ever and may help reduce carbon emissions in the US by 40% in the next decade.
How might some of the IRA provisions help me and the planet?
- Caps “out-of-pocket” drug costs at $2,000 per year for Medicare enrollees, it creates an average cost reduction per enrollee of $800 per year by allowing the government to negotiate prices for 100 drugs, and sets a cap of $35 per month for insulin supplies
- Doubles tax credits for small businesses engaged in research and development, thereby incentivizing innovation.
- Creates US jobs by specifying that tax credits for electric vehicles apply only to autos assembled in the United States.
- Increases staffing for the IRS with additional agents, while being ordered “not to increase audits of households making less than $400,000 per year”—ensuring that middle-class wage earners will not be affected by the enhanced revenue collection efforts of the IRS.
- Imposes a minimum 15% tax on corporations generating more than $1 billion per year. That provision aligns the US with 136 other countries that have adopted a similar minimum corporate tax.
- Our challenge is to spread the good news of the IRA to Americans who are not yet aware of the many ways in which it will improve their lives. Fight the myths.
- The IRA will:Significantly increase a crucial small business tax creditIncrease funding for the IRS although it will not be used to target small businesses or working familiesMake prescription drugs more affordable without hurting innovationThe IRA will NOT:Raise taxes on most small business or working families. It invests in them.Increase gas prices, but will move us towards energy independenceThe Inflation Reduction Act is projected to reduce deficits by roughly $275 billion over 10 years.
ActionHub connects you to 100+ local groups who share our Democratic values. We are better together. Take action today. From the Washtenaw Dems.Plus, there are many important ballot initiatives that need signatures and many ways to help. Catch up on what you can do from home, events in our area, and connections with allied organizations at the WCDP Mobilize dashboard.
Election Season At a Glance:
The Washtenaw County Clerk’s webpage enumerates in detail the elections, proposals and candidates to date. A few of the important remaining dates are listed below.
What are the remaining election dates in 2022?
To vote absentee, a request must be received no later than 5 pm the Friday before the election. The ballot must then be returned by 8 pm on Election Day.
- November 8 – State General Election
What are the voter registration deadlines?
Visit MichiganGov/Vote to register
- October 24: Last day to register in any manner other than in-person with the local clerk for the November general election. (168.497)
- October 25 through 8 pm on November 8: In-person registration with local clerk with proof of residency. (168.497)
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