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RUSSIAN BOUNTY ON US SOLDIERS: “The House Foreign Affairs Committee has invited Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to appear before a hearing on how the Trump administration responded to reports that U.S. intelligence was aware of Russia offering bounties to Taliban-backed fighters to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan.” https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/506001-pompeo-called-before-house-panel-over-russian-bounty-claims The Trump administration’s lack of urgency has caused some to question his allegiance. Once again Trump is in a compromising position with Putin. It has always been about Russia. https://www.businessinsider.com/susan-rice-on-trump-failures-russia-bounty-plot-2020-7 Let’s watch the hearing today and not let this egregious revelation be forgotten or distracted from.
PPP FUNDING RECEIVED BY BILLIONAIRES: “Following weeks of requests for transparency on who got funding, on Monday the Trump administration released the names of companies that received PPP loans of $150,000 or more. So far Forbes found at least 45 companies backed by 16 billionaires that received loans designed to help small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic. Borrowers include Kanye West’s apparel brand Yeezy, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s Greenbrier hotel and resort, and Florida-based auto dealership Braman Motorcars, owned by billionaire Norman Braman. “We cannot rely on shame and social pressure to make businesses do the right thing,” says Mehrsa Baradaran, a law professor at the University of California Irvine. “If Congress wanted to make the funds available to those who needed them most, they probably should have sent the funds to the small businesses directly. Instead, they allowed banks to choose the PPP recipients. This was a bad idea and this exact result was inevitable.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/denizcam/2020/07/06/kanye-west-west-virginias-governor-jim-justice-and-13-other-billionaires-businesses-got-ppp-loans/#6f8eab754f0d Let’s tell our MOC’s to be smarter about the distribution of funds. Billionaires don’t need our money; true small business owners do.
FEDERAL SCHOOL MONEY THREATENED: “President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are threatening to cut federal funding if schools don't fully physically reopen, increasing pressure on education leaders as the Trump administration intensifies its drive to get kids back in classrooms.” https://www.politico.com/news/2020/07/08/trump-schools-reopening-federal-funding-352311 If schools open, the perception is that all must be okay. The Trump administration needs to make desperate moves to make it all seem like things are just fine so that his base votes for him for his successful management of a crisis. Trump views this as a political problem rather than a public health crisis. Let’s remember that Cohen and Manafort were released from prison early due to COVID. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/early-release-cohen-manafort-shows-how-unfair-prison-system-experts-n1212001 If conditions are not good enough for them to return to prison, why are the lives of our children, teachers, and school staff less worthy? Let’s contact Trump, the Dept. of Ed., and our state education leaders letting them know that we want public health experts to drive this important decision, not politics.
TAKE ACTION TO STOP FAMILY SEPARATION OF DETAINED IMMIGRANTS: Never Again Action in conjunction with Proyecto Dilley, a partner in the Immigration Justice Campaign that focuses on the South Texas Family Detention Center in Dilley, is circulating a toolkit on steps we can take to insist that the detained children who have been ordered by a federal judge to be released by July 17th are freed with their families. Let’s check out this comprehensive list of actions which include signing petitions, advocating with our MoCs and hosting/attending events.
PRESSURE CONGRESS TO PROTECT DACA: Trump is expected to refile paperwork to end DACA this week, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/506018-trump-expected-to-refile-paperwork-to-end-daca-this-week and the Supreme Court has indicated an openness to re-review the case. This means we must get Congress to pass legislation to protect the Dreamers, many of whom have been working on the front lines as essential health care workers. Let’s tell our Senators that it’s time to pass H.R.6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, which would provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders who have built their lives in the U.S.
PROTECT INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS FROM NEW ICE RULE REQUIRING THEM TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY IF THEIR UNIVERSITY GOES ON-LINE: ICE’s new rule, requiring international students to leave if their university opts for going the safest route and offering only on-line instruction, or if they choose to protect their own health and only take on-line courses in a hybrid model (https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/07/06/888026874/ice-foreign-students-must-leave-the-u-s-if-their-colleges-go-online-only-this-fa) is an unnecessarily cruel response to the COVID-crisis, and puts the health of international students and the budgets of universities, who often depend on higher international student tuition, in danger. In fact, the bullying tactics of the Trump administration, which has threatened to cut funding to schools that don’t reopen, have shown once again that Trump and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, could care less about the health of faculty, students and staff at both the university and K-12 levels. https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2020/07/07/devos-rejects-part-time-reopening-for-schools-amid-pandemic/. Let’s reach out to our local school districts and to any universities where we have an affiliation and let them know we expect them to make policies centered on the health and safety of their school communities and urge them not to bow to political pressure from the White House. Let’s also call the White House and the Department of Education (1-800-872-5327; 202-401-3000; 400 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, D.C. 20202, email@example.com)
and tell them we are holding them responsible for all COVID-19 deaths caused by their reprehensible refusal to listen to scientifically based public health recommendations.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM: On Tuesday, the Movement For Black Lives' Electoral Justice Project introduced the Breathe Act to confront and transform the U.S.'s criminal justice system head on (https://bit.ly/2ZPyWIH, https://bit.ly/2Dg4LCQ). The legislation would divest from incarceration and policing, invest in new approaches to community safety, and hold officials accountable. Let's read through the summary here, become a community co-sponsor, then tell our MoC at the state and federal level that we support radical change to our criminal justice system through the Breathe Act. Let's also use this toolkit to learn how we can grow the grassroots movement on social media. We can use the sample tweets and Facebook and Instagram posts, and share graphics.
USE INTERACTIVE MAP TO TRACK AND COUNTER THE RISE OF HATE: Hatred and discrimination are on the rise and must be exposed and fought wherever they are found. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/09/white-voters-2020-biden-304804 To help us identify and counter the rise of hate, the ADL’s Center on Extremism maintains an interactive H.E.A.T. (Hate, Extremism, Anti-Semitism and Terrorism) map tracking incidents across the country — including over 5,000 incidents in just 2019 and 2020. We can check out the H.E.A.T. map here and learn more about acts of hate in our areas and around the country: https://www.adl.org/education-and-resources/resource-knowledge-base/adl-heat-map
Correction: EXTENDING ECONOMIC STIMULUS IN A PANDEMIC: Congress is on a 2-week recess, but at the end of July some decision has to be made quickly about whether to extend rental and food assistance, whether to institute a moratorium on evictions or increase aid for nursing homes, whether to continue to provide additional money to those receiving unemployment insurance—which Republicans believe disincentivizes the return to work while progressives hope might incentivize employers to offer long-overdue wage increases. Unlike most Democrats, Republicans insist that any new legislation must include liability protection for businesses, schools, and health care providers who might be sued if people get sick when they reopen: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/congress-recess-weeks-heres-leave-off-covid-19/story?id=71583167 Let’s urge our MoCs to remember that millions of people are out-of-work, food insecure, at risk of eviction, or forced to work in unsafe workplaces; they depend on the federal government to come to their aid.
Correction: DEFUND THE POLICE: If we are working with Black Lives Matter to defund our local police departments and replace them with a different scheme for public safety, it is worth our reading two different documents that try to go beyond the slogan; one is a 26-page "Defund Toolkit: Concrete Steps Toward Divestment from Policing & Investment in Community Safety" written by members of the Interrupting Criminalization initiative and the Movement for Black Lives: https://www.interruptingcriminalization.com/; the other is a "Draft Fact-Sheet" from Women for Genuine Security, full of specific facts about police budgets in various cities: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VubdLYA7asWfuQ6uElRuLfP65Wk-PohI/view?usp=sharing We can also learn about how police unions have influenced law enforcement policy and thwarted pushes for reform: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/23/police-unions-spending-policy-reform-chicago-new-york-la Let’s read these so that we can knowledgeably lend our support to local efforts to defund the police.
2020 ELECTION CALENDAR: This resource is searchable by date and state - https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2020-state-primary-election-dates.aspx
FLIP THE SENATE: POSTCARDS FOR NC SENATE RACE: Grandmothers for a Brighter Future www.grandmothersforabrighterfuture.com/ needs volunteers to write postcards to voters in North Carolina to elect Democrat Cal Cunningham to the US Senate. Let’s fill out the NC Postcard Request form and get writing: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf6Ze1jyXZmGftTEwb5Z-n8a640baC8Cq5c58z12wL255bIAQ/viewform
CALL TO FLIP THE SENATE: If Biden wins the fall, McConnell has vowed to block every piece of Democratic legislation. Let’s not give him the chance. We can join Jessica Craven of Chop Wood Carry Water https://www.facebook.com/ChopCarry/ this Friday to make Flip the Senate calls with Flip the West. There’s a short training first, to help us get ready. We can sign up to make Flip the Senate calls here:
KEEP ELECTIONS FAIR AND SAFE: SIGN UP TO BE A POLL WORKER: So much depends on November ‘s elections. With voter suppression at a significant high, we must do all we can to make sure that people can cast their votes. One way to ensure that elections are conducted fairly is to be a poll worker. Postcards for America’s new website has a page with all links and information to sign up to Be A Poll Worker in all 50 States. We can click here to learn how to become a poll worker and where to sign up in our states: https://www.postcardsforamerica.com/be-a-poll-worker.html
2020 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION: The 2020 Democratic National Convention will speak to more Americans than ever before: our ideas, our beliefs, our stories. We can submit our official 2020 Democratic Party Platform comment by sharing the issues and beliefs that tell the story of who we are as a party. Let’s add our voice: https://www.stories.demconvention.com/
GET OUT THE VOTE BY MAIL: Vote From Home 2020 is hosting a Get Out the Vote By Mail training on Monday, July 13, 2020 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM ET. We learn about helping swing state voters through the process of completing an application to vote by mail in the general election. They are targeting three states, MI, PA, and NC, which in 2016 had an average rate of 10.7% of absentee voting. We need to massively increase that number to ensure the general election is safe and accessible! We can sign up for the training here: https://www.votefromhome2020.org/join/july-13-training-get-out-the-vote-by-mail
FREE ACTIVISIM 101 WEBINAR: 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
Still Confused About Masks? Here’s the Science Behind How Face Masks Prevent Coronavirus - https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/06/417906/still-confused-about-masks-heres-science-behind-how-face-masks-prevent
Vindman to retire from military. His lawyer blames White House 'campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation' - https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/08/politics/vindman-retiring-alleged-white-house-retaliation/index.html
Warning of serious brain disorders in people with mild coronavirus symptoms - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/08/warning-of-serious-brain-disorders-in-people-with-mild-covid-symptoms
Explainer: Fraud is rare in U.S. mail-in voting. Here are the methods that prevent it - https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-vote-by-mail-explainer-idUSKBN2482SA
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