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10/25/17                                                                                     http://roganslist.blogspot.com/

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Many newspapers, including New York Times and Washington Post require subscriptions, but without one we can see a few articles each month.  We can also check with our local libraries to find out how to get online access through them.

1.      House votes tomorrow on Senate's FY2018 budget resolution to lay groundwork for tax cuts for the rich. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/the-senate-budget-stinks-but-house-republicans-will-pass-it-anyway/article/2638400  Thanks to Indivisible and CAP Action for compiling these resources:  info, actions, and resources, including scripts for republicans, democrats, state info, and op-ed tools: https://www.trumptaxscam.org, a Tweet thread here:   https://twitter.com/benwikler/status/922533456189509633 and a Toolkit for calls and tweets: https://trumptaxtoolkit.org

2.      Whitefish Energy has won the biggest contract awarded so far in the Puerto Rico effort, to “repair and reconstruct large portions of the island’s electrical infrastructure.” But Whitefish Energy is only two years old, had “just two full-time employees on the day Hurricane Maria made landfall,” and did not go through a formal bidding process to secure the contract, which under normal circumstances would have gone to another utility through a “mutual aid” arrangement. This has prompted questions about whether the chief executive of Whitefish Energy secured the contract by leveraging his personal connections to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose son worked on one of the chief executive’s construction sites. Right now, the House Committee on Natural Resources is examining Whitefish Energy’s role in Puerto Rico. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/small-montana-firm-lands-puerto-ricos-biggest-contract-to-get-the-power-back-on/2017/10/23/31cccc3e-b4d6-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.9e75673d3a1e To ensure that Puerto Rico gets all of the help it needs, we need to ensure that proper steps are being taken to hand out contracts, that the awardees are competent, and that they’re fulfilling the terms of their contracts. Let’s contact our MoC about these issues, especially if they’re on the House Committee on Natural Resources https://naturalresources.house.gov/about/members.htm  

3.      From The Loyal Opposition:  Bipartisan legislation, the Honest Ads bill, has been introduced in the House and Senate to force social media companies to have greater transparency as to who has paid for political ads, and to retain records as to how they are targeted. Passing this legislation is urgent as all evidence points to continued interference in our elections and targeting of 2018.  Call your three members of Congress and ask them to support the Honest Ads bill, which requires social media platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter to take steps to block foreign political ads and provide greater transparency about who pays for political ads and how they are targeted. More info:  https://www.theloyalopposition.net/daily-ctas/daily-call-to-action-october-24th-2017/

4.      News footage of Houston in the days following Hurricane Harvey focused on how neighbors were helping neighbors. But now that recovery efforts are under way, differences are appearing, and economic problems are driving a wedge into the city. Poorer residents are in danger of becoming homeless as short-term assistance is running out, while more wealthy residents are already rebuilding.https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/hurricane-harvey/hurricane-deepens-divide-between-houston-s-haves-have-nots-n811896 Let’s contact our MoC and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street S.W., Washington, DC 20410 or Telephone: (202) 708-1112) to ensure that long-term assistance is expedited so that Houston’s low and middle class residents can get back on their feet now and don’t have to wait months or even years for the money to trickle down through local agencies.

5.      Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to allow Thomas Farr's nomination to be District Judge of the Eastern District of Northern Virginia to proceed to a full Senate vote http://bit.ly/2gyupEr Farr has a history of working against civil rights, and cannot be trusted to be impartial http://bit.ly/2xIAST9 Let's contact our senators and ask them to oppose the lifetime appointment of Farr to federal judgeship: https://5calls.org/issue/oppose-thomas-farr-federal-judge

6.      Following the Las Vegas mass shooting, members of Congress acted quickly to introduce legislation which would ban bump stocks, or other devices which modify semi-automatic firearms to act as fully-automatic http://bit.ly/2xl7fYU In the weeks since then, however, the momentum has slowed, and the bills that had been introduced have both stalled. We can read more about why Republicans in the Senate, and many in the House refuse to take action http://wapo.st/2ixGr4V Let's make our voices heard, and build the momentum back up. We can ask our representative in the House to support the bipartisan H.R. 3999, and our senators to support S. 1916.

7.      Nicaragua has signed the Paris Climate Accord which leaves the US and Syria is the only non-signers or, in our case, withdrawers: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/356809-nicaragua-signs-paris-climate-deal-leaving-us-syria-as-only It is of note that Nicaragua had not signed in the first round because of concerns that the accord did not go far enough. A government study has shown that climate change is costing the US billions:https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/amp/extreme-weather-climate-change-costing-taxpayers-billions-n813431  We can use this information to contact our MoC in the GOP to press for our engagement in this truly international effort. Perhaps appealing to the bottom line will be more effective than using science and logic.

8.      "To ensure that people from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have access to treatments and services, Congress and the Trump Administration should quickly take steps to make Medicaid and marketplace coverage available to those who need it." The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research and policy institute, offers lawmakers excellent advice in this article. Based on their knowledge of past disaster responses, they argue that the WH and Congress should act quickly to: 1) "enact legislation to temporarily increase Puerto Rico’s and the Virgin Islands’ Medicaid block grants, temporarily increase their federal match rates, and eventually uncap their federal Medicaid funding, as well as grant Medicaid coverage to evacuees in other states; 2) take administrative actions to streamline Medicaid access, such as a simplified application process, delayed eligibility redeterminations, and standardized disaster relief waivers; and 3) improve access to marketplace coverage through outreach and application assistance to consumers." https://www.cbpp.org/research/health/history-shows-what-steps-trump-administration-and-congress-can-take-to-ensure-access  Let's share this article in its entirely with our MoCs, especially for its clear, detailed, and itemized list of "What Congress and the Trump Administration Should Do." People are suffering.

9.      The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting public comments until Dec. 15 about their proposal to eliminate the Clean Power Plan. "In August 2015, EPA issued the final Clean Power Plan (CPP) to reduce climate changing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing coal- and gas-fired electric power plants.  CO2 is the most prevalent of the greenhouse gases that are the primary cause of climate change, threatening the lives, health, and well-being of Americans and people around the globe." We can read more details and talking points at Save EPA. Let's submit our public comments at  https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355. Let's be sure to share this information with our friends and family so they can comment too.

10.  Two years ago, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) requested that the Government Accountability Office, the Congress’s auditing agency, to investigate the cost over time of climate change to the US economy.  The October 14 GAO report outlines many years' worth of government shortcomings with respect to addressing the climate change threat and urges the Trump administration to take climate change risks seriously and begin formulating a response: https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-720  Although Cantwell and Collins note that the White House Office of Management and Budget has calculated that extreme weather events over the past decade cost the federal government $350 billion, there seems to be little hope that the GAO report will get the attention of Trump or the Republicans in Congress: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/23/politics/gao-report-climate-change/index.html  But maybe we can get their attention.  Let’s send this report and a note saying we expect our representatives to read it to all our MoCs and to the White House.

State Actions

1.      WA:  Huge budget cuts crippled outreach that lets people know when,  how and where to sign up for the ACA, so Indivisible ACA Signup Project is spreading the word through social media. They have only 7 days to get 72 more supporters.  Help them reach their goal by November 1   to set off a Thunderclap, a social media flash mob message blast. Please click, add your social media support on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.  THEN cut, paste and share  https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/63565-open-enrollment-2018
Find out more about how Thunderclap helps grassroots organizing here:

2.      NH:  Huge budget cuts crippled outreach that lets people know when,  how and where to sign up for the ACA, so Indivisible ACA Signup Project is spreading the word through social media.  They have only 8 days to get 32 more supporters.  Help them reach their goal by November 2 to set off a Thunderclap, a social media flash mob message blast. Please click, add your social media support on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.  THEN cut, paste and share  https://www.thunderclap.it//projects/62807 
Find out more about how Thunderclap helps grassroots organizing here:

3.      ALL:  The Iowa ACLU has filed a lawsuit for several groups challenging the constitutionality of what’s known as the “ag gag” law.  ACLU legal director Ritta Bettis, says the law passed in 2012 threatens jail time for those individuals, news media, and advocacy groups who use undercover means to document, or even in some cases report on, questionable activities in agricultural animal facilities.  We can read more at KIWA radio (Sheldon,Iowa). "Ag-gags" are not just an Iowan issue. Let's check out this ASPCA article that explains ag-gags in greater detail and shows rules by state. Let's check out our own state.  If we don't like the current status of ag-gags in our states, let's contact our state representative and state senator to let them know we are opposed to ag-gag rules.

4.      PA: "Pennsylvania lawmakers this week are considering a discriminatory and harmful amendment to the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), HR1388, reauthorization legislation that would deny lower-income Pennsylvania transgender youth access to any transition-related health care services, including counseling." Let's read the full story at Lambda Legal then, if we are Pennsylvanians, let's contact our state legislators to let them know we want our transgender youth to have access to the care they need. 

5.      NY: Brooklyn - City Council member Stephen Levin of Brooklyn has introduced legislation to change the name of the Williamsburg Bridge to honor musician Sonny Rollins. "The legendary jazz saxophonist lived on the Lower East Side from 1959-1961. During that time, Rollins walked up onto the Williamsburg Bridge every day to play the sax, and in the process, experienced a creative revival. The experience came to be known as Rollins’ “sabbatical.” Read more at The Lo-Down and this site designed specifically for this project SonnyRollinsBridge.net. In addition to City Council approval, the State Legislature would also need to sign off on changing the name of the bridge. If we are Brooklyn residents, let's tell the City Council that we support the Sonny Rollins Bridge.  If we are New Yorkers, let's contact our state legislators (State Assembly and NY State Senate) to sponsor a state bill for the name change.  In a world of bad news, let's take on this positive action.

Other Actions

1.      Been arguing with family members and friends who think Confederate statues need to be preserved because of their historical context? Well, new ones are being erected:
http://www.newsweek.com/new-confederate-monuments-are-quietly-going-across-us-690798 Let’s use this information as we engage with those we disagree with and also keep an eye out for what is being constructed and held up in our own communities.

2.      This is an ACLU update about Jane Doe in Texas who is awaiting an abortion but being blocked from getting one:https://www.aclu.org/blog/immigrants-rights/immigrants-rights-and-detention/jane-doe-wants-abortion-government-hell-bent There is concern that HHS officials will drag their feet until she is past the 20-week mark and Texas has a ban past 20 weeks. Let’s stay attentive to this story if further action items emerge and let’s support the work of the ACLU as we are able: https://action.aclu.org/donate-aclu?ms=web_horiz_nav_hp

3.      Many of us already know about the boycott list Grab Your Wallet (http://grab-your-wallet.com/boycott/retailers), but let's (re)commit to finding at least 2 businesses that we use, or have recently used, and sending them the message that our continued business depends on their severing all ties to the Trump family's businesses, products, and name.

4.      Senator Jeff Flake’s retirement confirms that his seat will be in play in 2018, but it will be a tough race and one that could easily be won by a Trump-style Republican like Kelli Ward (http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/24/politics/jeff-flake-retirement-arizona/index.html). Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is the leading Democratic candidate in this race, and we need to show her our support. Let’s donate to her campaign at http://kyrstensinema.com/, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

5.      From Chop Wood/Carry Water:  From a friend: "I heard and read about the awful, racist phone calls coming in to Rep Frederica Wilson and picked up the phone to give her my support today. The guy who answered the phone sounded really overwhelmed. He said it’s mostly hate mail and phone calls from all over the country, but a few people have called in support.  If you have a minute, pick up the phone and let them know it’s not all racists and Trump supporters out there. Sounds like Wilson’s staff needs a hug. 202-225-4506"

6.      We’re coming down to the wire in crucial legislative races in Virginia. This election will be a test of our ability to turn out our voters up and down the ballot in the Trump era (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/23/virginia-election-northam-gillespie-democrats-244046). Every Voice, a campaign finance reform organization, is organizing folks to text voters TOMORROW on behalf of its endorsed candidates so we can elect officials we can trust to fight big money. We can sign up to join them at this link: 

7.      “Republicans in the House and Senate introduced bills to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new rule to ban forced arbitration clauses -- which allow Wall Street banks and predatory financial institutions to block consumers from joining together in a class action lawsuit. The Senate passed this bill last evening.  Let’s use this form to contact our representatives to tell them that we do not want this passed because we should be able to have our day in court against these corporations:  http://p2a.co/m2ePGlS

8.      Numerous Puerto Ricans still do not have safe drinking water http://bit.ly/2zM33Df As we wait for the House to pass relief aid, organizations like the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are taking the initiative to get Puerto Ricans the help that they need. AFT, Asociacion de Maestros de Puerto Rico, AFSCME, the Hispanic Federation, and Operation Blessing have launched Operation Agua, which will use relief funds to purchase water purification systems for families and communities in Puerto Rico https://www.aft.org/operation-agua For those of us who are able, let's consider contributing to this important cause.

9.      Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore said on a podcast that the legalization of gay marriage was worse than the pro-slavery Dred Scott case in the 1850’s:  
http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/356844-roy-moore-scotus-gay-marriage-decision-even-worse-than-1857-pro-slavery This special election is December 12th to fill Jeff Sessions’ seat and polls show that Doug Jones (Democratic candidate) is in striking distance of Moore which was unexpected in that environment. Let’s support Mr. Jones in whatever ways we can to ensure that Moore does not reach the US Senate: https://dougjonesforsenate.com

10.  An 11-year-old Colorado boy (Ames)was reportedly kicked out of his Cub Scout den for asking a Republican state senator pointed questions about her views on gun control. During his research on Marble's website, Ames noticed many of her videos were on gun control, The Washington Post reported. “Given that the Las Vegas shooting happened, I felt that it should be a reasonable thing to ask," Ames told a Denver Fox affiliate. "I don't feel like I did anything wrong." https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-10-20/cub-scout-reportedly-kicked-out-of-den-for-asking-about-gun-control I love that this young man is so politically aware. After all the school shootings, many kids want answers. The Denver Area Council for the boy Scouts is reviewing the matter. Let’s support this young man and send a note asking that he be reinstated, and the troop leader replaced. You can contact them here: 

11.  Larry Harmon was stricken off the voter list in Ohio because he chose not to vote in a 2012 election; his case--testing whether Ohio can cull its voter rolls if it gives notice of its intent even though laws prohibit removing voters “by reason of the person’s failure to vote”--will be heard by the Supreme Court on November 8th:
 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/us/politics/supreme-court-ohio-voter-purge.html Andrea Anthony’s vote was not counted in Milwaukee because she’d lost her driver’s license, even though she presented an expired Wisconsin state ID as well as proof of residency and a poll worker confirmed that she was registered to vote at her current address:   http://billmoyers.com/story/rigged-voter-suppression-wisconsin/  The League of United Latin American Citizens (lulac.org), the League of Women Voters (lwv.org), and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (lawyerscommitee.org) are training poll watchers; Drive2Vote (drive2vote.org) and Women Votes (womenvoteproject.org) are driving people to the polls; Vote Riders (voteriders.org) provides voter ID information and has made wallet-sized cards for every state listing acceptable forms of ID; and the Movement for Black Lives has launched the Electoral Justice Project (ejp.m4bl.org).  Given the persistence of the myth of voter fraud and the proliferation of stories of voter disenfranchisement, we should lend our time, energy, and money (if we can) to these and other efforts to defend our voting rights.

Petitions

1.      Let’s join The Story of Stuff and ask Congress to eliminate plastic water bottles from our National Parks:  http://action.storyofstuff.org/letter/ask-congress-eliminate-water-bottles-national-parks

2.      Despite what he says, Trump’s tax plan is going to benefit the already-rich and big corporations.  The promises to the middle class are not born out with facts.  Sen. Patty Murray wants us to join her in telling Congress that “we need a tax plan that truly helps workers and the middle class””  https://murraysenate.bsd.net/page/s/oppose-trump-and-the-gop-s-tax-plan

Marches/events/teleconferences/Twitterstorms to attend/organize

Reading/Watching

1.      Bill Browder’s name has been in the news a bit over the last few days.  He has been one of Putin’s biggest critics and earlier this week the US revoked his visa, but later restored it.  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/william-browder-british-financier-cleared-for-us-travel-dhs/  Let’s listen to what Browder told us last summer when he spoke before the Senate Judiciary Committee:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o45fwPSYzRw&t=1s  and/or read the full text of his remarks:  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/bill-browders-testimony-to-the-senate-judiciary-committee/534864

2.      “Neil deGrasse Tyson's new viral video is straight-up scientific fire” -  http://www.upworthy.com/neil-degrasse-tysons-new-viral-video-is-straight-up-scientific-fire

3.      “Full text: Jeff Flake's speech on the Senate floor announcing his retirement” - http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/24/jeff-flake-full-text-senate-speech-transcript-244116










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