June 24, 2020
Action Alert Digest
TAKE ACTION: Cut $350 Billion in Wasteful Pentagon Spending

Representative Barbara Lee (D-13-CA) has just released H. Res. 1003 – a bill that cuts $350 billion in unnecessary and wasteful Pentagon spending to free up funds that address the true threats to our security – the global COVID-19 pandemic and catastrophic climate change.  Peace Action urges us to tell Congress to cut unnecessary money from the Pentagon to fund better healthcare, disease control, addressing climate change, and more.  TAKE ACTION
Teach Police Nonviolence, Scholars Say, and How to Work with Local Residents

Outside the United States, many countries use less aggressive policing, avoiding the use of force, injuries, and deaths that American police seem to treat as unavoidable. Disciplined nonviolence training would allow the public to expect as much of highly trained police officers as they do of peaceful protesters. MORE
The Pentagon’s Hand-Me-Downs Helped Militarize Police. Here’s How

Created in 1997, a controversial Pentagon program allows the Department of Defense to get rid of excess equipment by passing it off to local authorities, who only have to pay for the cost of shipping. Much of that inventory is perfectly ordinary: office equipment, clothing, tools, radios, and so on. But the haul also includes heavier equipment—rifles, armored vehicles, and so on—that have helped create a spectacle of disproportion.  MORE
What a New Cold War with China Means for You

Tensions between the US and China have risen steadily, part of a growing competition that many see as a burgeoning cold war between the two powers. A cold war is characterized by competition short of armed combat, but a look at the original Cold War shows we'll all pay a price for intensifying hostility toward China, writes Michael T. Klare, the five-college professor emeritus of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College.   MORE
US-Russia Nuclear Envoys Make Guarded Comments as Talks Begin in Vienna

The US and Russia have restarted talks about their nuclear arsenals after a break of more than a year and uncertainty over whether Donald Trump is interested in salvaging arms control in the last four months before elections. Trump’s new US arms control envoy, Marshall Billingslea, is leading a delegation meeting the Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, in Vienna.  MORE
TAKE ACTION: Protect Dreamers from Future Risk of Deportation

The House successfully passed the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R.6) more than a year ago, but neither H.R.6 nor the Dream Act (S.874) has received a Senate vote yet. Now the Senate needs to pass protections for Dreamers. The Franciscan Action Network has developed an action alert to engage our Senators urging they provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship.    TAKE ACTION
Trump Suspends Visas Allowing Hundreds of Thousands of Foreigners to Work in the U.S.

President Trump this week temporarily suspended new work visas and barred hundreds of thousands of foreigners from seeking employment in the United States. The order will affect skilled workers as well as seasonal workers in the hospitality industry, students on work-study programs, and au pairs. Officials said the ban, combined with new restrictions on green cards, will keep as many as 525,000 foreign workers out of the country for the rest of the year.  MORE
The Supreme Court Rules Against the Trump Administration in DACA Case  

Last week, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s attempt to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was unlawful. The Supreme Court reversed the termination of DACA and found that the way it was done was “arbitrary and capricious.” This preserves the right of DACA recipients to remain and keep working, contributing to our society, and living with their families in the country they consider home.  MORE   
A Siberian Town Hit 100 Degrees, Setting a New Record for the Arctic Circle

The remote Siberian town of Verkhoyansk is known for its extreme cold: Winter temperatures often dip below –58° F. But on June 20, temperatures in the town soared to a high of 100.4° F. If confirmed by the World Meteorological Association, that marks the hottest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic Circle. The new benchmark highlights how the Arctic region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. MORE
Iowa Farmers Join Initiatives that Pay Them to Reduce Carbon Emissions

An increasing number of Iowa farmers have begun growing cover crops to help reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change. Carbon farming involves growing cover crops, like cereal rye, alongside crops like soybeans and refraining from tilling fields. These practices increase the level of nutrients in the soil, help prevent erosion, and can help sequester carbon. While not hugely profitable now, many farmers are getting paid to participate in these initiatives.  MORE
TAKE ACTION: End Slavery in the U.S. Prison and Detention Industry

Forced labor is rife in the U.S. prison and immigration detention industry. Under the 13 th Amendment, involuntary servitude remains legal as punishment for a crime. However, even those who are not convicted of crimes have allegedly been subjected to forced labor behind bars. Freedom United invites us to call on all sectors to divest and cut contracts with abusive facilities and reform contracting so that prisoners and detainees are paid fair wages.   TAKE ACTION
Website Promoting Prostitution, Sex Trafficking Shut Down in Texas

The U.S. Attorney's Office shut down a website described as "a leading source of online advertisements for prostitution and sex trafficking." The owner of CityXGuide.com, Wilhan Martono, was charged in a 28-count federal indictment. Users had described the website as "taking over from where Backpage left off." According to the indictment, Martono allegedly made over $21 million off a suite of illicit websites promoting prostitution and sex trafficking.  MORE
For Many Black Survivors, Reporting Raises Complicated Issues

According to Department of Justice statistics, Black girls and women 12 years and older experienced higher rates of rape and sexual assault than white, Asian, and Latina girls and women from 2005-2010. Not only do members of the Black community experience higher rates of sexual violence, but they often feel they have few options for seeking justice and help due to several widespread institutional and historical factors. MORE
Nevada Domestic Violence Services Expect to Lose $2 Million in Funding Because of Drop In Marriages

Once overflowing with weddings and newlyweds, Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada has had a near silence of wedding bells since the start of the pandemic. The decrease in marriages comes with an unexpected $2 million cost to domestic violence service providers statewide. Since 1982, Nevada has dedicated a portion of marriage-related documents and services to funding domestic violence programs. But across the state, marriage licenses issued have fallen 87 percent.   MORE
Virtual Poor People’s Virtual Campaign Rally Draws Crowd of More Than a Million

Over a million people viewed the Poor People’s Campaign’s Mass Assembly and Moral March on Washington via Facebook last Saturday. Many more viewed MSNBC and C-SPAN simulcasts and two repeat broadcasts over the weekend. According to organizers, the three-and-a-half-hour event was “the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in this nation’s history.”  MORE
With 'Systemic Violations' of Worker Rights, US Comes in Dead Last in Labor Rankings of Wealthy Nations

The International Trade Union Confederation's world rankings of the best and worst countries for working people includes a noticeable difference between the U.S. and other wealthy countries. The U.S. was singled out this year as the only country in the Group of Seven to have "systematic violations of rights" in workplaces. Along with Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other countries with far fewer resources than the U.S., the nation was ranked as a 4 on a scale of 1 to 5. MORE
Millions of Americans Can’t Afford Water as Bills Rise 80% in a Decade

Millions of ordinary Americans are facing rising and unaffordable bills for running water, and risk being disconnected or losing their homes if they cannot pay. Exclusive analysis of 12 US cities shows the combined price of water and sewage increased by an average of 80% between 2010 and 2018, with more than two-fifths of residents in some cities living in neighborhoods with unaffordable bills.  MORE
TAKE ACTION: Help Stop Federal Executions

The federal government is attempting to restart the practice of executions for the first time in 17 years. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice scheduled three executions to take place over a five-day span beginning July 13. A fourth execution has been scheduled for the end of August. Catholic Mobilizing Network urges us to tell President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr to stop these scheduled federal executions.   TAKE ACTION

Billy Joe Wardlow is scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas on July 8 for the murder of Carl Cole. Please hole Billy Joe, Carl, their families, and the people of Texas in prayer.  TAKE ACTION