Newsletter #41, Thursday, January 11, 2017
61 weeks down, 43 weeks to mid-term elections
Greetings!

PEG is a non-partisan volunteer organization whose mission is to assure that our government will treat all Americans with equality and acceptance. We do our work by recruiting, educating and nurturing supporters for worthy organizations, actions and events that reflect our beliefs. Click here to see us on Facebook and our frequent posts. To subscribe to this Free newsletter, click here .
Equality is the soul of liberty; there is, in fact, no liberty without it ."
– Frances Wright
Will you be able to attend on Sunday, January 21, 2018?
LOCATION
Jewish Community Center, 2935 Birch Hollow Dr. Ann Arbor 48108

DATE AND TIME
01/21/18 3:00pm

PEG Speaker Series with Sharon Dolente: Let People Vote!
Find out why Michigan is lagging and what you can do about it. RSVP Optional.
I'll be there!
Maybe
I can't make it
Editors Choice
The most important things you can do this week!
UPDATE ON VNP SIGNATURE DRIVE: NEXT STEPS
They defied all odds. Voters Not Politicians (VNP), the Michigan pop-up group
fighting partisan gerrymandering that no one had ever heard of, accomplished what
all the experts claimed was impossible: 425,000 signatures in less than four months,
with a 100% volunteer force of newly energized and passionate petition circulators.
Many of these new activists had never been involved in politics before. These were
people with day jobs, and there were no big backers behind the scenes.
It was amazing. In order to put a redistricting initiative on the Michigan ballot in
November 2018, VNP managed to get 110,000 more signatures than needed,
representing every single one of Michigan’s 83 counties, two months faster than
required, and with no paid circulators! VNP’s success is fast becoming a national folk
tale.
So, what comes next, now that the signatures are in? A Super PAC has already
formed to challenge the VNP redistricting initiative, and as Michigan Radio’s Jack
Lessenberry noted, the establishment politicians are planning multiple lines of
attack. VNP already knows there will be a court battle (probably a series of court
battles), as current Lansing officeholders try to hang onto their ill-gotten power.
They are looking for any technicality they can find to prevent Michigan voters from
having a voice on redistricting reform at the ballot box.
The opposition plans to accompany their lawsuits with negative attack ads,
spreading misinformation about the initiative. To counter the misinformation, VNP
will need to educate the electorate so that at least 51% of Michigan voters -- about 2
million – vote for the initiative on November 6, 2018. That will involve growing the
volunteer army to 10,000 canvassers who can knock on hundreds of thousands of
doors and run phone banks – to explain how gerrymandering hurts voters and how
the VNP plan for an independent redistricting commission will solve the problem.
And then, of course, VNP will need to get these voters to the polls on Election Day.
Want to join this fight to take back democracy? Here is what you can do:
SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER
The best thing you can do right now is to tell VNP about your interests, skills and
experience by creating your volunteer profile. You can click here to fill out your
information. VNP will place you in a position that is the best fit for you!
VNP needs people who have the strength and conviction to knock on all those doors
and say why redistricting matters.
VNP also needs volunteers for phone banks, VNP needs speakers who are savvy enough to explain the intricacies of redistricting reform.
And, if you are part of an organization that would like a speaker on redistricting,
DONATE AND FUNDRAISE
VNP is gearing up for the fight ahead, and it will be a costly process. Your donation
of any size will help pay for the legal support and response to attack ads. Just go to
https://votersnotpoliticians.nationbuilder.com/donate.
Are you someone who could host a house party with friends and colleagues? Do you
know others who could do so too?
If so, email fundraising@votersnotpoliticians.com . You can also contribute by displaying VNP gear. Get your VNP sweatshirts and bumper stickers and encourage others to do the same.
PLEASE JOIN THE VNP CAMPAIGN
It is a huge challenge to end partisan gerrymandering in Michigan. Join the fight for
fair and transparent elections in Michigan. VNP needs your help!!

MUELLER FIRING RAPID RESPONSE PLAN, BE PREPARED
Donald Trump is publicly considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, the person leading the Department of Justice investigation of possible illegal actions by Donald Trump and members of his presidential campaign, and the efforts to conceal those activities.
This would be a constitutional crisis for our country. It would demand an immediate and unequivocal response to show that we will not tolerate abuse of power from Donald Trump.
Our response in the minutes and hours following a power grab will dictate what happens next, and whether Congress—the only body with the constitutional power and obligation to rein Trump in from his rampage—will do anything to stand up to him.
That's why Move.On is preparing to hold emergency "Nobody is Above the Law" rallies around the country in the event they are needed. Rallies will begin hours after news breaks of a Mueller firing:
To learn how you can participate in your community click here. Please be advised if you respond you respond, you may receive emails from MoveOn unrelated to Mueller.
16 major environmental protections cut in 2017

President Donald Trump has spent the past year steadily undoing Obama-era environmental protections, especially rules designed to fight climate change. By law, agencies must go through a lengthy process to rescind or rewrite many rules, but...

Read more
www.hcn.org
Upcoming Events
Wednesday, January 10 – February 3, MLK Symposium
The University of Michigan Office of Multicultural Initiatives will host over two dozen workshops, discussions and performances that encapsulate the legacy of service and call for cultural competency the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left behind for Americans with almost 50 years ago. For details on individual events, click here.

Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. Constituent Hour with State Rep Donna Lasinski(District 52)
Details and RSVP. Washington Street Education Center – Room 100,
500 Washington St, Chelsea . 10:00 a.m. – 12p.m.

The ACLU’s People Power are presenting this program where they will speak to a new cross organizational initiative to further spread the ACLU freedom city effort to more cities in the metro area. A partial list of the organizations involved in the effort are Michigan United, ACLU-MI, ACCESS, ACRI-MI, SWDCJC. Synod, and SWSOL. They will also talk to us about existing voter laws and comment on the 6 proposals to open up voter access that they have been working on. Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church, 23925 Northwestern Highway, Southfield. 3:00 p.m.

Sunday January 14, Film & Discussion: The Great White Hoax
This film about Donald Trump and The Politics of Race and Class in America Featuring Tim Wise” is a film about Donald Trump’s charged rhetoric about African-Americans, Latinos, and Muslims fits within a longstanding historical pattern, offering a stunning survey of how racism and racial scapegoating have shaped American politics for centuries. After the film, join a community conversation and safely talk and learn about race and racism. This bimonthly discussion series is moderated by La’Ron Williams, racial justice educator, peace activist, and professional storyteller. Location: Ypsilanti District Library (YDL), 5577 Whittaker Road Questions? 734-482-4110 x1377. 2 p.m.

Monday, January 15, The World Premiere of the Film: "Me, The Other"
The film documents a diverse group of students living in Washtenaw County in Southeast Michigan. Through their struggles, we find ourselves in each of them. To learn more about the film and to view the trailer click here or picture below . Tickets and the showing time are available at: http://www.michtheater.org/show/me-the-other-2 /. Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor

Thursday, Jan. 18. Drafts with Donna Lasinski
Details and RSVP . Chelsea Alehouse, 420 N Main St Ste 100, Chelsea . 6 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 20th. LWV Voter Registration Training Session
This program is offered by the League of Women Voters. Come learn how to correctly register voters and also find out about opportunities to volunteer their VOTE 2018 outreach projects. Register and get more information here. Multi-Purpose Room, AADL Downtown Library, 343 South Fifth Avenue , Ann A fymnmmkk99rbor . 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 am

One Year Anniversary of the Inauguration
The Women’s March organization is planning anniversary events on January 21. There is a march in Lansing January 21 at 2 PM.  To learn more, look here .
Facebook Join My List Logo
Sunday, January 21, "Let People Vote!"
Find out how and why Michigan lags behind nearly every other state in the union when it comes to providing full and fair access to the ballot. Sharon Dolente, Voting Rights Strategist for the Michigan ACLU, will explain the potential for voting rights to serve as a uniting issue in our state and around the country. Finally, she will discuss how we all can get involved in the Let People Vote campaign. Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor, 2935 Birch Hollow Dr, Ann Arbor, 48108. 3 p.m.

Monday January 29, Constituent hour with State Rep. Donna Lasinski (District 52)
Saline Senior Center 7190 N. Maple Road, 9-10 a.m.
Sunday, February 11, Following The Money In Michigan Politics
Michigan elections are becoming increasingly expensive, and the upcoming 2018 election in Michigan could be one of the priciest in state history. The presentation will detail how the role of money in Michigan politics has changed over the last decade. The cost of campaigns is going up while the source of the money is becoming harder to track. At the same time, the number of people lobbying state government is increasing while the number of journalists and watchdogs is decreasing.
Craig Mauger, the Director of The Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that seeks to shine the brightest light possible on the role of money in Michigan politics will provide information people can use: how does campaign finance work in Michigan; what is dark money; how can a person identify dark money-funded campaign mailers and advertisements; and how can a person find out who's funding a TV ad?
In addition Roddy Wares of the League of Women Voters will answer our questions on how to register to vote and how to register others. Zion Lutheran Church, 1501 W Liberty St, Ann Arbor, 3:00 p.m.
DACA and Immigration
Things to do now

Action: Oppose a wall that symbolizes racism and intolerance.
Call: Your 2 senators and 1 House rep ( look up).
Note: Your Members of Congress need to be reminded to
  1. vote for a clean DACA bill and
  2. not support the building of a wall!
Script: Hi. I am calling about the president’s demand for an $18 billion wall in exchange for protecting DACA youth. I want to be clear: his idea is wasteful, ineffective, and offensive to American values. I want [name] to refuse fund any aggressive immigration tactic including a wall, 10,000 new ICE agents, and more stringing asylum requirements in exchange for Dreamers’ futures.

Read, Watch and Listen

DACA and the Border Wall are linked by President Trump
Republicans and Democrats face imminent pressure to avoid a government shutdown on January 19. Democrats want the upcoming spending bill to include permanently protecting the roughly 700,000 immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally after being brought in as children. They stand to lose the protected status they were given under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. While both parties were working together over the holidays on a new law to grant rights to those immigrants, President Trump has stated, "We want the wall…..The wall is going to happen, or we're not going to have DACA." On Friday, Democrats indicated they would not accept the latest offer from Republicans because it included $18 billion to build a wall. "President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall," stated Sen Dick Durbin (D-Illinois). Stay tuned, familiarize yourselves with the issues and call your Senators to support DACA. Bipartisan talks are imperiled – National Public Radio, NY Times
In a nutshell – the Top 5 US Immigration Stories
An article in Forbes Magazine clearly and concisely elucidates the top five immigration issues of 2017 as well as what to watch in 2018: the travel ban, cancellation of DACA, crackdown of illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, temporary protected status.
When deportation is a death sentence
Some 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants have been allowed to live and work in the United States in the wake of two devastating 2001 earthquakes in El Salvador that left hundreds of thousands in the country homeless. These immigrants had been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS). They will lose their right to remain in the US as of Sept, 9, 2019 as this program is being ended by the Trump administration. These immigrants will consequently have 18 months to leave or seek lawful residency, and for El Salvador to prepare for their return. Though fewer in numbers, Haitians and Nicaraguans will lose their protected status in 2019 and Hondurans, the second largest group in the program, could lose their rights later this year. These legal immigrants face uncertain and potentially deadly futures when they return to their homelands, as illustrated in this New Yorker article. More information about the discontinuation of the TPS program can be found here.
Will Rogers Meme Quote
Taxes
Things to Do Now

Join Indivisible to make the Tax Scam Artists pay for their vote.
We haven’t forgotten about all the GOP members of Congress (MoCs) who voted to give the wealthiest Americans and corporations a massive tax cut at the expense of the rest of us. We’ll make them pay for this massive betrayal by replacing these elected officials and repealing the tax scam. To that end, we’re hosting “early retirement parties” for those MoCs who voted for this bill ( here’s a toolkit to help you put a party together). If you have a Republican representative or senator who voted for the GOP Tax Scam, throw them a retirement party. There are already parties happening across the country, and you can find one near you here (or register your own!).
Voter Equality
Things to do now

Register to vote and get others registered too
Every vote matters. Indivisible has partnered with TurboVote to help people everywhere get registered to vote. You can also use their online system to help friends, family members, and others get registered to vote. They have have a Guide to get you started on your first voter registration event in your community). The first primaries start in February and run through August, so make sure you and everyone you know has an updated voter registration!

Oppose a judge appointee who has condoned race-based voter suppression
Call: Your 2 senators ( look up). Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP]. It appears the president has renominated Thomas Farr to a lifetime appointment to the US District Court. His history of defending voter suppression and targeting Black voters makes him unfit for this position. I would like the Senate to conduct a second hearing and for [name] to oppose Farr’s appointment. Thanks.

Advocate for weekend voting to make it accessible for working people
Write: House Committee on House Administration leadership
Gregg Harper, 2227 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515
Robert Brady, 2004 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515
Script: I’m a voter from [State], writing to express my enthusiasm for weekend voting which reflects 21st-century Americans’ needs and increases participation. I would like you to use your position on the House Administration committee to bring the Weekend Voting Act ( H.R.1094 ) to a vote. Thank you.
Bonus: Write your own House rep to express support ( look up ).
 
Advocate for paper backups on all voting machines
Write: Senate Rules and Administration leadership
Richard Shelby, 304 Russell SOB, Washington, DC 20510
Amy Klobuchar, 302 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510
Script: I am a voter from [State], writing to express my support for the bipartisan Secure Elections Act ( S. 2261). Providing voting paper trails in elections increases voter confidence, improves audits, and decreases hacking risks. Please use your position on the SSRA Committee to bring this bill to a vote. Thank you.
Bonus: Write your 2 senators to express support ( look up ).

Things to Read, Watch or Listen to

North Carolina Congressional Map Ruled Unconstitutionally Gerrymandered
A panel of federal judges struck down North Carolina’s congressional map on Tuesday, condemning it as unconstitutional because Republicans had drawn the map seeking a political advantage.
The ruling was the first time that a federal court had blocked a congressional map because of a partisan gerrymander, and it instantly endangered Republican seats in the coming elections. Read the full story here. -New York Times

The Trump administration pushes for a change that could derail the census
Investigative reporting organization ProPublica disclosed last week that a Justice Department official formally asked the Census Bureau to add a question to the 2020 Census. Adding any question at this stage would be dicey, given that the bureau often runs extensive field tests before fiddling with its forms, ensuring that last-minute changes do not throw off its counting efforts. Worse, the Justice Department requested that the bureau inquire about people’s citizenship status . This threatens to sabotage the 2020 count. Read the full story here.

Citizen engagement in 2017: Is this the start of something historic?
The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) has been a leading researcher in citizen engagement with Congress for decades and in January, after Donald Trump’s inauguration, something rather extraordinary started to happen in the U.S. They chronicled a rare increase in in citizen-advocacy. Just as the Tea Party movement of 2009 rocked the Congress, the Trump protest movement rose up and exercised its First Amendment rights to petition their government for a “redress of grievances.” Read this fascinating and hopeful story here . -Brookings Institute.
Health Care
Things to do now

Call: Your Members of Congress ( look up ).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling to ask [name] to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program. It’s had 19 years of bipartisan support . The delay in authorizing its funding now puts the health of 9 million kids at risk . Please assure CHIP is re-authorized!

Things to Read, Watch or Listen to

The Answer: It’s the Prices, Stupid
The question? Why does the U.S. spend so much more on healthcare than other countries? For more from the New York Times and in depth analysis, read here.

Whistle While You Work (for Medicaid Benefits)
The Trump administration is poised to release guidelines for states to impose work requirements on those receiving medicaid benefits, Read more here. Arguing that Medicaid and Medicare are welfare, not health insurance, Paul Ryan wants to target benefits now, but McConnell wants to delay action until after the 2018 midterms. Wonder why? Read more here. -The Hill

Good News for Everyone; More Bad News for the Poor
The New York Times reports that Congress, with bipartisan agreement, is set to increase funding for research at the National Institutes of Health by $2 billion dollars, rejecting Trump’s suggested cuts, but it still has not funded the Child Health Insurance Program (C.H.I.P.).   Read more here.
Other
Things to do now

Attend a MI-Resistance calling party

Things to Read, Watch or Listen to

Defrauded by For Profit Colleges?
A coalition of students refused to pay their debts to Corinthian Colleges, citing a clause in their loan contracts allowing “defense to repayment” if they were defrauded. Despite a fine of $30 million by the Department of Education for misrepresentations, and actions by regulators against the bankrupt colleges, Betsy DeVoss still requires payments. Read more here . The New Republic.

Technocrats Over Politicians
What was that Department again? The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Monday unanimously rejected a proposal by Energy Secretary Rick Perry that would have propped up nuclear and coal power plants struggling in competitive electricity markets.The independent five-member commission includes four people appointed by President Trump, three of them Republicans. Its decision is binding. Read more here. Washington Post.
Things That are Good
Protectors of Equality in Government (PEG) has endorsed 12 organizations. A short description of and a link to each organization can be found on the new PEG Website.
Please check out the list and choose those of interest to you for action. For more information regarding Protectors of Equality in Government, go to
To subscribe to this Free newsletter go to our website by clicking here .
Thanks to Newsletter contributors: Ginny Morgan, Bernie Banet, Richard Gaeth, Ellen Halter, Leslie McGraw, Hedieh Briggs, Elizabeth Shogren, Jen Hoffman, Bette Cotzin and Chuck Newman for their help preparing this newsletter. Write us at info@equalityingov.org if you would like to learn how you can help create our weekly newsletter. It’s fun and no ongoing commitment is required.
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