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PEG 6th Congressional District Newsletter 355

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Michigan Presidential Primaries: Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Biden handily wins the South Carolina Primary

President Joe Biden easily won South Carolina's Democratic primary with an overwhelming majority of South Carolina Democrats. He won with more than 96% of the votes, with 80 percent of the vote counted. The win included every county. His campaign focused on mobilizing Black voters, crucial to Democratic success. With its racially diverse population, South Carolina offered a test for Biden's reelection strategy. Biden's victory reflects his deep ties to the state, aided by endorsements from figures like Rep. Jim Clyburn. 


Despite concerns about age, voters supported Biden over Trump, citing concerns about democracy and leadership. Others voiced support during the early voting period, citing reasons such as his defense of abortion rights, commitment to appointing Black and minority judges, and concerns about Trump's threat to democracy fueled by his unfounded claims of election fraud in 2020.


"We can't live with a leader that will make this into a dictatorship. We can't live in a place that is not a democracy. That will be a fall for America," said LaJoia Broughton, a 42-year-old small business owner in Columbia. "So my vote is with Biden. It has been with Biden and will continue to be with Biden." Read more

Anti-Asian Hate Crimes and Hopes for the "Year of the Dragon"

February 10 marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year — the Year of the Dragon, an auspicious symbol of “power, wisdom and good fortune.” Its celebration serves as a reminder of the importance of recognizing and celebrating the diversity of this country.

 

However, it also reminds us that, according to a Pew Research Center survey released in November, almost 60% of Asian Americans reported they have faced discrimination, and 63% said they felt not enough attention was given to anti-Asian discrimination. Anti-Asian hate crimes skyrocketed during Covid 19.

 

Fortunately, in May 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law a bipartisan anti-Asian hate crimes bill that made the reporting of hate crimes more accessible at the local and state levels. It also directed the DOJ to have a point person to review hate crimes and authorized grants to state and local governments “to conduct crime-reduction programs to prevent and respond to hate crimes.”

 

ABC News reported at the time that while some advocates criticized the bill for not being strong enough, Democrats suggested that “the legislation will help prevent attacks by facilitating better reporting of the incidents. It passed in the Senate with only one “no” vote (Sen. Josh Hawley) and in the House by a margin of 364 to 62. (The no votes were all Republicans.)


Good news: CNN reported that anti-Asian hate crimes decreased by 33% in 2022, following a rise in such incidents in previous years. The data, released this month as part of the FBI’s annual hate crime statistics report, shows there were 499 reported incidents involving anti-Asian bias in 2022, compared to 746 in 2021.


While the start of the new year brings remembrances of the tragic results of anti-Asian hate crimes of past years, it also brings hope for the future. AsAm news suggests that, “while January brings remembrances of lives lost to violence, the efforts of Asian Americans and others also show how healing can come when people act together in solidarity to build a beloved community of equity and justice, where violence and hate towards any people has no place.” NPR News

Planet on Fire: Climate Change

Warmer air holds more moisture and so, as the climate warms, hurricanes are increasing, sea levels are rising, coasts eroding. At least one-fifth of Americans and one-tenth of the world’s coastal population are in danger.


We can and must prepare for catastrophic flooding. In their excellent online report, the think tank Urban Ocean Lab (UOL) lays out the problem of the deterioration of ocean and Great Lakes coasts and wetlands, particularly by urban areas. They note that the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Job Act provide 21.7 billion federal dollars to protect our coasts. They recommend that 30% of US coastal areas be protected from what they term “climate change, pollution, development, and extraction” by the year 2030.


In addition to detailing the problem, the UOL outlines preventive measures and solutions. They argue that coastal cities and communities are at the nexus of prevention, “from transitioning to renewable energy to building more climate-resistant infrastructure.” For example, they highlight the enormous potential of offshore wind energy, which could produce 4,200 GW, over three times “the current demand of the entire electric grid.” Above all, they see these communities as bearing the onus of protecting their own coastlines from the onslaught of destructive development and pollution.

Events and Opportunities

ALL HANDS ON DECK: Some ideas on how you can help

Empower Young Voters with NextGen America                                                             

Primary season is upon us! Join NextGen America as we contact young voters in preparation for the 2024 primary elections. We know that building the power of the youth vote is crucial to our democracy, and that starts by providing youth with the information they need to get out and vote. 

  • Text young voters this week, and others in future weeks. Sign up here. Many days through February 22 from 1-3 EST
  • Or join the social media team! Sign up here. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays through February 29 from 3—4 pm 
  • If you’ve never texted with Nextgen or want a refresher, sign up for this week’s text training. February 14 from 4—5 pm

Follow Jessica Craven 

On Chop Wood and Carry Water, her wealth of ideas on how to help will keep you as busy as you want to be.


Field Team 6

  • Thursday March 14, 9 am ET - 5 pm ET Join Field Team 6. Register Democrats Summit 2024 Register here
  • Saturday, March 23, 7–8:30 pm Join Field Team 6. "This meeting of like-minded folks will leave you feeling refreshed, regenerated, and with the tools you need to get back to full strength... so you can get back out there, and kick some a$$ from a place of joy as we head into the 2024 election cycle!" Register here and with the Democratic National Committee.
  • Check out a lot more opportunities with Field Team 6. Click here


Help with the Special Election for Tom Suozzi (NY-3)!

"With the February 13 Special Election fast approaching, we need all hands on deck to get the word out and let folks know how important it is to vote in this special election!"

  • To phone bank through February 13, Register here.
  • Join volunteers from Indivisible Illinois, Statewide Indivisible Michigan (SWIM), Swing Left Milwaukee, and more, showing up for our friends in New York. Tue, February 13, 1:00 pm–2:30 pm ET. Register here.


Ballot Cure Phone Bank: Help voters correct their Mail Ballots - Make their votes count                

Virtual Phone Bank Now through March 1, Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. In Michigan, when a voter's returned absentee ballot is rejected, the voter has until the end of the day on election day to correct any errors or vote a new ballot. Contact voters to help correct their mistakes. Make their vote count. Register here


Write Register to Vote Postcards to likely Michigan Dems                             

Virtual Meetings Sundays 6-8 pm March 2 - October 13 Register here.


Phone Bank with Training in Primary States!                                

Sundays – Saturdays throughout February connect to voters in primary states across the country to build Democratic momentum and turn out voters. Register here.

Tuesday, February 13. More for New York’s Special Election

Join volunteers from Indivisible Illinois, Statewide Indivisible Michigan (SWIM), Swing Left Milwaukee, and more, showing up for our friends in New York. Register here. 1—2:30 PM on February 13.


Through Tuesday, February 13. Phone Bank for Tom Suozzi (NY-3)! Special Election for George Santos’s seat

“With the February 13 Special Election fast approaching, we need all hands on deck to get the word out and let folks know how important it is to vote in this special election!” Register here for various two-hour shifts.


Saturday, March 23. “Jumpstart for 2024: Tips for Joyful, Sustainable Activism” Virtual Workshop

Join Field Team 6 (“Register Democrats. Save the world.”) for this “meeting of like-minded folks that will leave you feeling refreshed, regenerated, and with the tools you need to get back to full strength... so you can get back out there, and kick some a$$ from a place of joy as we head into the 2024 election cycle.” Register here. 7—8:30 pm


Various dates and times. More options! 

Check out many more opportunities with Field Team 6 and with the Democratic National Committee.

Wednesdays at 8 pm. America at a Crossroads Virtual Series

  • MONDAY, February 12. Sister Simone Campbell and Andrew Seidel with Patt Morrison: “God and Country: Dictators, Democracy, and Christian Nationalism” Register here.
  • February 14. Susan Glasser with Warren Olney: “What Will 2024 Bring to Our Nation and the World?” Register here.
  • February 21. Rick Hasen, a professor of law at UCLA Law and the Director of its Safeguarding Democracy Project, with Larry Mantle: “A Real Right to Vote: How a Constitutional Amendment Can Safeguard American Democracy” Register here.
  • March 27. Yaroslav Trofimov with Max Boot: “Russia’s War on Ukraine: An Update from Two Leading Journalists” Register here.

Tuesday, February 13. Women’s Heart Health

More than 60 million women in the United States are living with some form of heart disease, including arrhythmia, heart failure and coronary artery disease. Join Washington Post Live during American Heart Month for conversations with public officials and health experts about cardiovascular risk factors for women, the disproportionate impact on women of color and how lifestyle changes can improve heart health. Register here. 9 AM

Tuesday, February 13. The Exchange: Public Health Approaches to Ending Gun Violence 


The University of Michigan School of Public Health, in collaboration with the Institute of Firearm Injury Prevention, is proud to present a trio of events on February 13 to explore solutions to this public health crisis. Save your seat for these critical conversations. Join all of the events or just one. This event is both online and in person at the School of Public Health, 1415 Washington Hts, Ann Arbor. RSVP here. Keynote Speaker, Brandon Wolf, starts at 10 am ET

Big Tent USA Talk Series


Tuesday, February 13. Election Security with MI Sec. of State, Jocelyn Benson

Big Tent is thrilled to host distinguished guest speaker, Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s 43rd Secretary of State. A celebrated figure in the realm of electoral integrity and accessibility, Secretary Benson has emerged as one of the nation’s foremost authorities in conducting secure and inclusive elections. This event will provide an unparalleled opportunity to hear directly from Secretary Benson about her groundbreaking work in overseeing Michigan’s 2020 and 2022 general elections. RSVP here. Noon


Tuesday, March 19. Protecting the Right to Vote: One ID at a Time with Lauren Kunis

VoteRiders is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with a mission to ensure that all citizens are able to exercise their freedom to vote. VoteRiders informs and helps citizens to secure their voter ID as well as inspires and supports organizations, local volunteers, and communities to sustain voter ID education and assistance efforts. Join in to hear from Lauren Kunis, CEO VoteRiders. RSVP today. Noon


Wednesday, March 27. Unmasking the Christian Right

BigTent is pleased to host investigative journalist Kathryn Joyce and author Jeff Sharlet. Both are long-time observers and experts on the American right-wing and conservative movement. They write on the central role of the Christian right in the rise of Trumpism and neofascism, and the types of institutions that the right-wing has built to create and sustain their movement to end democracy. RSVP here. 7 pm

Sunday, March 10. FREE Ann Arbor Climate Teach-in


The annual A2 Climate Teach-in provides an easy and meaningful entry point for those who want to get more involved in climate action. You will have the chance to build your own Climate Action Toolkit. Various workshops and discussions throughout the day culminate in the keynote address, “What We Can Do Together for Climate Action,” delivered by United States Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Michigan’s 6th District. Genesis of Ann Arbor, 2309 Packard St, Ann Arbor. Register here. 1:30—5:15 pm

Visit the PEG Events Page for more upcoming events at www.equalityingov.org/events!

More things to do, read, watch, and listen to

ACTION: Sign on to support payday loan legislation 

In November 2023, Senator Sarah Anthony (D-21) and Representative Abraham Aiyash (D-9) introduced legislation (SB 632 and HB 5290) that would cap annual interest rates on payday loans at 36%, inclusive of fees. Currently, fees on these loans reach an average APR of 370%, forcing a majority of borrowers into taking out additional loans and trapping Michiganders in a cycle of debt. The Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) 

is seeking organizational allies for a letter supporting the bill. Find the letter and learn more here.

What’s in a Name?: Famed Movie Director Norman Jewison , a non-Jew, was subjected to Antisemitism from Childhood


As a young child he was bullied as “Jewy” and “Jew Boy” and is in fact not Jewish. Based on his name and the iconic Jewish film Fiddler on the Roof he learned about antisemitism and injustice first-hand.“The whole thing of carrying this name that starts out with the letters J-E-W — it affected me deeply,” Jewison once said. “One thing that really sets me off is any kind of racial prejudice or intolerance,” he added, according to a biography written by Ira Wells. “I am deeply offended by that.”⁠

 

Jewison, who recently died at age 97, was born to a Protestant family in Canada and was subjected of discrimination rampant in Toronto in the 1920’sand 30’s.  Antisemitic vitriol was considered acceptable, and he was banned from golf clubs and other places. His sensitivity to antisemitism and racial injustice grew from the hatred he endured from childhood on.

 

When Jewison was approached to direct Fiddler on the Roof, he thought about why he was given the chance. "I've got a strange name," he said in his 2011 NPR interview. "Jewison. If you look at it closely, it kind of looks like I'm the son of a Jew..” And I thought, “Oh, my God. They think I'm Jewish. What am I going to do? Because how can you direct Fiddler on the Roof if you're not Jewish? So, I guess I have to tell them.”

Trump not Immune from Prosecution in his 2020 Election Interference Case

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously rejected Trump's claim of immunity from charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. The judges emphasized that no president, whether in office or out, is above the law and immune from prosecution. They also dismissed Trump's argument that his indictment would have a chilling effect on future presidents, stating that such actions would neutralize the fundamental check on executive power. The strongly written opinion can be read here.


The Case and Decision


Trump faces four counts from the case, including conspiring to defraud the United States and to obstruct an official proceeding, and he has pleaded not guilty.


The court stated that for this criminal case, “former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”  


Robert Hubbell does an excellent job of detailing the court's responses to each of the defenses raised by Trump’s attorneys. A few noteworthy quotes from the decision are below.

  •  "We cannot accept former President Trump’s claim that a President has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power — the recognition and implementation of election results. Nor can we sanction his apparent contention that the Executive has carte blanche to violate the rights of individual citizens to vote and to have their votes count." 
  • “Presidential immunity against federal indictment would mean that, as to the president, the Congress could not legislate, the executive could not prosecute and the Judiciary could not review,” the panel said. “We cannot accept that the office of the Presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter.” The appellate panel said that Trump’s argument “would collapse our system of separated powers by placing the president beyond the reach of all three branches,” adding that neither a sitting nor former president has immunity from prosecution.
  • "It would be a striking paradox if the President, who alone is vested with the constitutional duty to 'take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,' were the sole officer capable of defying those laws with impunity," their decision said.


Next Steps


Trump’s team vowed to appeal, which could postpone the case by weeks or months. It is unclear whether Trump will ask the full D.C. Circuit or the Supreme Court to review the panel's decision. The judges gave Trump until February 12 to ask the Supreme Court to pause its decision before it takes effect. But the panel imposed a rule designed to discourage Mr. Trump from making an intermediate challenge to the full court of appeals. It said that if Mr. Trump took that route, the underlying case would not remain on hold as the full court mulled whether to hear the case and issued its own order pausing it.


If Mr. Trump appeals its decision to the Supreme Court, the underlying case, which was put on hold by the trial judge in December, would remain suspended until the justices decide to hear the case themselves and issue their own order. The Supreme Court Justices will first have to determine whether to accept the case or to reject it and allow the appeals court’s ruling against Mr. Trump to stand. If they decline to hear the issue, the case will be sent directly back to the trial judge, Tanya S. Chutkan, who scrapped her initial March 4 date for the trial last week.


If, however, the Supreme Court does accept the case, the crucial question will become how quickly the justices act in asking for briefs and scheduling arguments. Should they move rapidly to hear the case and issue a decision, there remains the chance that a trial on the election charges will occur before the general election in November. However, if the justices take their time, it is possible a trial could be put off until after the election. If this were to happen and Mr. Trump was to win, he would be in a position to ask his Justice Department to dismiss the case or even seek to pardon himself.


References


Opinion


Robert Hubbell, The Constitution Abides, February 7, 2024

The New York Times article The Trump Election Immunity Ruling Annotated and the Opinion

The New York Times article, Federal Appeals Court Rejects Trump’s Claim of Absolute Immunity. In addition to its analysis, it provides links to keep you updated on the issues.

CNN article, Court Rules Trump Does not have Immunity from 2020 Election Subversion Prosecution

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A special thanks to our Newsletter contributors: 

PEG Graphic of the Week

Lisa Kamil, Bette Cotzin, Bernie Banet, Linda Bennett, Kayla Conrad, Ellen Halter, Leslie McGraw, Leslie Kamil, Molly Boren, and Chuck Newman for their contributions and help preparing our newsletters. Special shout out to Mieko Preston for her dazzling designs. Follow us on IG, FB, & X!

Write us at equalityingovinfo@gmail.com if you would like help create our weekly newsletter OR if you would like to be a guest contributor! It’s fun and no ongoing commitment is required.

Visit EqualityInGov.org

PEG is a (somewhat) non-partisan volunteer organization whose mission is to assure that our government will treat all Americans with equality and acceptance. PEG's work is primarily done by recruiting, educating and nurturing supporters for worthy organizations, actions and events that reflect our beliefs. The weekly PEG Newsletter typically goes out each Thursday. To subscribe to this free newsletter, go to our sign up form by clicking here.


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