IUY Update: Save Our Post Office – Save Our Election

A big thank-you to all those who contacted Montana congresspeople!

As of this Monday morning 8-17:

– Pelosi has called House members back to D.C. to consider and pass legislation calling for
   the USPS to rescind recent mail restrictions and restore the functionality of the post office.
– Simultaneously, one or more House committees will meet to discuss the issues
– Requests for appearances by the Postmaster General and and the chairman of the Postal       Board have gone out for sessions to occur before the end of the month
– The White House and Postmaster General appear to realize trouble is brewing and have
    quickly set up a smokescreen of rationales

Whether it’s phone calls, or media coverage, or politicians realizing the Postal Service issue
is toxic – public pressure is working.

Check one off: In our list of three things to do, we obviously don’t need to put pressure on anyone to have the House reconvene or for investigative committee sessions.

Next up: Wednesday’s Demo: Save Our Post Office – Save Our Election
Wednesday, August 12, 4:30 to 5:30 PM, Park Street and 5th St. in Livingston
Please wear a mask and expect heat. Bring friends, lots of them.

Hold on one: We can hold off on calling Montana senators about support for the “Heroes Act.”

Soon: We are monitoring the strategic situation, and expect the House to pass legislation
within a week or two. We need to get the word out about it (when we find out the details) and
when it goes to the Senate, where McConnell will undoubtedly try to kill it, we will need to
put pressure on senators. This might also be at the same time when serious negotiations
about a new coronavirus relief bill are about to resume.


The wheels are in motion. The threat to the 2020 election by a bottleneck at the post office
remains real and unresolved. Trump is not done messing with the Postal Service.

Cheers,
Dixie and Nelson

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IUY Weekly Journal Vol. 2 No. 4 – August 8 – 14, 2020

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, August 8 through Friday, August 14, 2020 [Vol.2 No.4]

“Kamala Harris”

The Week’s Most Notable

It’s “official.” Statements by Trump and actions by his tool, former Republican National Committee lead fundraiser Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, are part of an orchestrated effort to sabotage the ability of the Postal Service to reliably manage the ballots of the general election. Very little effort is being made to cover this up. Trump seems so convinced that voting by mail will result in massive fraud (without any significant evidence) that he sees no need to disguise his position. For his part DeJoy has arrogantly “reassigned” 23 top administrators, changed overtime and other rules to slow the processing of mail, dropped ballots from being first-class mail, begun pulling strategically placed mailboxes and removing 500 automated mail sorters, and warned 46 states that ballots will be delayed. In the offing are executive orders making certain kinds of ballots and ballot handling illegal. For Trump this is win-win: it probably results in calling the general election invalid because of messed up mail voting, and it sets up the USPS as dysfunctional and in need of privatizing.

Trump may have miscalculated. He and his political advisers have no comprehension of the bipartisan support for the U.S. Postal Service. Particularly in rural areas, the local post office is iconic and frequently revered. The Postal Service is the only government agency required by the Constitution. Despite decades-long attempts to privatize, local Postal Service has been defended time and time again. The public wants hands off the post office, and in a time of coronavirus people have a gut understanding of why voting by mail is the best option. Any politician who opposes this becomes vulnerable. The Democrats are preparing to make the post office and mail voting a major campaign issue. The public is already taking to the streets. In Montana swift pushback from the entire congressional delegation forced the Postal Service to stop removing mailboxes not only in Montana but nationwide. In short, Trump’s kicked a hornets’ nest.

Kamala Harris for the Democratic VP nomination is a solid choice, and may be surprisingly effective. Early indications are that Harris is a better match for Biden than many thought after the Democratic primaries. Besides maintaining the growing momentum of support from the Black community, Harris has already demonstrated the energy and campaign aggressiveness that Biden may not be able to sustain. Better yet, she, like Biden, provides a hard and hardened target for the Trump/GOP/right-wing media goulash of lies, innuendo, and gaslighting. This is going to be an historically dirty campaign, mainly because fighting dirty is about all Trump and his party have left. It’s going to take skill and toughness to deflect the crap-blizzard, but there’s reason to hope that Biden and Harris can consistently turn negative campaigning to their advantage.

Saturday, August 8

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 5,153,667; Deaths – 165,089

[Coronavirus] Trump Issues Dubious Executive Orders for Coronavirus Relief – Like fighting a forest fire with a squirt gun, Trump’s one executive order and three memoranda were almost instantaneously dismissed along a continuum from “unconstitutional slop,” to “completely inadequate.” Even the White House admitted most of it would be legally challenged and would not sufficiently deal with the problems of unemployment. The question remained, if these executive actions were absolutely no substitute for real legislation, what next? Next turned out to be Congress going home for summer vacation, leaving the fate of the economy and of millions of people unsettled until mid-September, or thereabouts.

[Racism – Protest] Portland Declares Riot – After protesters set fire to the police union building, Portland authorities declared “riot status” and brought in additional police. However, the fire was extinguished within minutes. The protesting crowd was much smaller than previous weeks. Outside of right-wing media, coverage of the event, and others like it, has been subdued.

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IUY Save Our Post Office – Save Our Election ACTION

SAVE OUR POST OFFICE – SAVE OUR ELECTION    

You may have heard – the U.S. Postal Service began removing mailboxes from “strategic” voting districts nationwide, including Montana.
You may not have heard, a reporter for NBC Montana in Bozeman, caught onto the action, filed the story and contacted, among others,
Sen. Tester. Bolstered by an almost immediate storm of phone calls to all Montana congressmen, the point was made that the ongoing
tampering with the ability of the post office to handle mail – in particular for the upcoming general election – had to stop, now.
By Thursday, Tester, followed somewhat later by Daines and Gianforte, wrote letters to the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy requesting
that he explain removal of the post boxes. By Friday afternoon the USPS in Montana called a halt to removing mailboxes in the state.
By the end of the day on Friday the moratorium was extended nationally. Public pressure works.


LAUNCHING A FOCUSED AND EFFECTIVE CAMPAIGN

Quite literally the ability of the Postal Service to handle the absentee/mail-in ballots is a make or break issue for the democratic process
in this election. Thanks to the coronavirus crisis, a great deal of fear and uncertainty surrounds the process of voting. Only safe and timely
handling of ballots by mail can overcome this barrier to a free and fair election. As has been publicly admitted by Trump, his administration
and by extension the newly installed Trump appointed USPS leadership is doing all it can to make postal service slower and all but dysfunctional. Most
remedies for this are too slow, but public pressure can make things happen, fast.

This is not a general call for participation. This is very specific and very serious. If we don’t force Congress and other officials to solve
the artificial bottleneck at the post office, we are heading for unprecedented chaos and challenges to the election.
This is a numbers game, nationwide and immediate. It’s time to show up.

  1. LET THE PEOPLE KNOW – PUBLIC DEMONSTRATION


Save Our Post Office Demonstration – Wednesday August 19 – 4:30 to 5:30 PM
Starting at the corner of Fifth Street and Park Street (Depot Park), wear a mask,
we will social distance, and with enough people will also send a group to the post office.

It will be warm, dress accordingly, with a sun hat and sunglasses and bring a favorite beverage.. Bring friends. 


  1. DEMAND THE HOUSE GET BACK IN SESSION

We need, at a minimum, for the House of Representatives to come back from “vacation” enough to open relevant committee sessions
to look into the actions of the Postmaster General, the board of the Postal Service, and the potential election interference by
Trump and other members of the White House. Representative Ayanna Pressley has already called for this action.

Contact Representative Gianforte:Gianforte committed Friday to support the USPS, ask him to take it to the next step and agree
to have the House investigate means of forcing the USPS to stop hindering processing of the mail.

Representative Gregg Gianforte  406-969-1736 (Billings)  202-225-3211 (DC)

  1. GET FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THE USPS – PASS THE “HEROES ACT”

It’s necessary to get the U.S. Postal Service administration, e.g. Louis DeJoy, to roll back procedural changes that have caused
slowdowns. However, it is almost equally important that funding be provided to the USPS not only because it needs it, but because
it removes cost-cutting as an excuse. This money, about $25 billion, is already part of the House “Heroes Act” bill, which is languishing
in the Senate. When Congress reconvenes by mid-September, it’s vital to get this or some similar bill passed into law.


Contact Sen. Tester: Thank him for taking quick action on the postbox issue in Montana, for appearing on the Rachel Maddow show,
and hopefully putting pressure on senators to pass a coronavirus relief bill with support for the post office.

Senator Jon Tester  406-586-4450 (Bozeman)  202-224-2644 (DC)

Contact Sen. Daines: Ask that he follow-up by supporting investigation of election tampering at the post office.

Senator Steve Daines  406-587-3446 (Bozeman)  202-224-2651 (DC)

Contact Representative Gianforte: Ask him to support bringing their House into session so that investigation into the U.S. Postal Service

can be conducted.

Representative Gregg Gianforte  406-969-1736 (Billings)  202-225-3211 (DC)  

As always, the point of these contacts is not to convince, but to be registered and let them know we are demanding action on this issue.

   TRUMP HAS KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST   

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IUY Weekly Journal Vol. 2 No. 3 – August 1 – 7, 2020

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, August 1 through Friday, August 7, 2020 [Vol.2 No.3]

“The Vote is in the Mail”

The Week’s Most Notable

With the Friday night putsch of U.S. Postal Service upper management, it’s clear that the post office is the focal point of Trump’s campaign to use anti-voting by mail for voter suppression. His administration is creating a system for actual real-time dysfunction (delaying the mail), combined with the disinformation campaign (mail voting fraud) to either scare people into voting in person, despite the coronavirus risk, or to destroy the incentive to vote at all. It’s gaslighting on a massive scale, and the gas is toxic. People are beginning to wonder if the USPS can handle the November election.

Breaking news: Announced on Friday evening, signed on Saturday (8/8), Trump produced one executive order and three memoranda [see Constitutional, Political, Election (Crises), p. 4] intended to bypass Congress’s authority to create a new coronavirus relief bill. If the order/memoranda were intelligently constituted, they could force a constitutional crisis. The challenge is probably not real. In what has become a characteristic pattern, Trump announces and, in some cases, does blatantly unconstitutional things, such as the Trump Stormtroopers Show in Portland. Then, after gaining the media attention desired, he backs off and the whole thing is revealed as mostly a charade. The executive order/memoranda appear to be in that vein: quasi-legislative smoke and mirrors, where the smoke may or may not be poisonous. The implied danger forces people to take the gambit seriously, but on closer examination most of it is obviously toothless, weak, incomplete, impractical, unconstitutional, or delusional. Nevertheless. . . .

What a mess this will make. By inserting his executive order/memoranda to override negotiations, Trump has probably guaranteed massive delays in achieving a meaningful relief bill and added months of pain and suffering for tens of millions of unemployed, poorly insured, and newly homeless Americans. The mishmash of orders and memoranda will do nothing but confuse issues, force many lengthy legal challenges, and set up the odious paradigm of a wannabe authoritarian bloviating that he has all the answers. Some people are going to be convinced he’s doing the right thing. Expect the next week to be a media miasma.

Saturday, August 1

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 4,763,990; Deaths – 157,894

[Coronavirus] Fifth Consecutive Day with 1,000+ Deaths in U.S. – As predicted, after a period of record new coronavirus infections, followed by record hospitalizations, the death rate per day is now equivalent to that of mid-May. A marker of 160,000 deaths will be reached this week. Without an adequate national plan, most models project more than 250,000 deaths by year’s end.

[Wildfire] California Apple Fire Forces 8,000 to Evacuate – East of Los Angeles, starting in Riverside, the Apple Fire has burned more than 12,000 acres. It’s considered the harbinger of a bad fire season.

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IUY Weekly Journal: Vol. 2 No. 2 – July 25 – 31, 2020

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, July 25 through Friday, July 31, 2020 [Vol.2 No.2]

“John Lewis”

The Week’s Most Notable

On Thursday many pandemic, economic, and political threads came together, not so much in attention-grabbing events as in revealing the underlying fabric of our multiple crises. [See Thursday’s entries.]

Saturday, July 25

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 4,317,768; Deaths – 149,994

[Coronavirus] U.S. Seven-Day Average Highs per Day: 74,000 New Cases, 1,000+ Deaths – Florida alone accounted for more than 12,000 new cases, second only to California, which has had its own surge over the past couple of weeks.

[Hurricane] Category 1 Hurricane Hanna Makes Landfall in South Texas – Primarily a massive rain event with 6 to 12 inches in coastal areas around Corpus Christi, the storm will be most notable for complicating coronavirus mitigation in Nueces County, one of the worst epidemic locations in Texas.

[Racism – Protest] Protests Flare in Several Cities – Largely in sympathy with demonstrations against Trump’s paramilitary action in Portland, protesters took to the streets in Seattle, Los Angeles, Richmond, and Oakland. In some cases, they clashed with police. In Austin one man was shot and killed during a protest.

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IUY Weekly Journal #53 Vol. 2 No. 1 July 18 – 24, 2020

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, July 18 through Friday, July 24, 2020 [#53]

“Trump’s Stormtroopers”

The Week’s Most Notable

It was a week of assaults on protesters in Portland by “Trump’s Stormtroopers.” The incessant war of words, threats, and nightly chaos in a teargas cloud wound up confusing the media and most of the public. Mission accomplished. Events in Portland can be usefully categorized in three ways: For Trump/Fox News/right-wing media this was a heroic culture-clash between forces of law and order and violent city-destroying anarchists. For many small “d” democrats, it was a massive breach of constitutional law perhaps foreshadowing the onset of an authoritarian state. Or, for some analysts, it was an incident of “performative authoritarianism” – a show (of force) designed for maximum propaganda value, though probably without permanent teeth.

The facts, such as we have, seem relatively clear: the DOJ under William Barr with Trump’s authority, led by Homeland Security, assembled a paramilitary unit from members of the Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service, Federal Protection Service, ICE and other agencies. Some were rudimentarily trained near the Mexican border and first transported to Washington D.C. for action on June 1 at Lafayette Square. The deployment to Portland of about 200–250 in battle fatigues was meant to look like regular military but, as in D.C., still without identification. The official government account brings them to Portland for protection of the federal courthouse. Most observers believe their purpose was to agitate protesters toward riot, spectacularly intimidate individuals (e,g., shoving them into unmarked vans), and create scenes of chaos for spectacular media coverage.

As part of a revival of 2016’s “Law and Order” theme, Trump threatened similar deployments in Chicago, Albuquerque, Philadelphia, and any other city that has a Democrat as mayor. Barr made several statements to undercut Trump’s bellicosity, indicating that officers sent to other cities were limited in number, and were asked to work with existing police. Later in the week Trump exploded the ante by saying, “At some point, we have to do something much stronger than being invited in. We go in with 50,000 to 75,000 people, we would be able to solve it like you wouldn’t believe, like, quick.” This was BS, but of a piece to create the atmosphere of chaos in the cities, crime everywhere, and Portland providing the dramatic footage for Fox News.

Ultimately it looks like three things happened: Right-wing media got its “chaos in the cities” theme going; legal experts  were justifiably shaken by an apparently blithe assault on the First and Fourth Amendments; and Trump set up his useful authoritarian theater for any time he needs a diversion or a way to seize the narrative.

Saturday, July 18

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 3,833,271; Deaths – 142,877

[Coronavirus] WHO Reports Record One Day Coronavirus Infections – It’s significant to note that the dramatic increase in coronavirus cases is worldwide. The new world record, 259,848 infections in one 24-hour period, accompanied by 7,360 new deaths, is indicative of fast increases in some countries, such as the U.S., India, Brazil, and South Africa. It’s becoming apparent that this particular virus is unusually tenacious, transmittable, and not well understood. While some scientists had been hopeful the summer heat might knock its advance down a peg or two that hasn’t happened. Meanwhile it seems most continuing studies discover more unpleasant COVID-19 effects, such as lingering damage to lungs and other organs weeks after the primary infection.

[Racism – Protest] Oregon AG Files Lawsuit Against DHS Officers – Seeking a temporary restraining order, Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum cited unlawful detention of Oregon citizens. Similarly, the ACLU has filed suit against the DHS and U.S. Marshals Service. Other lawsuits are expected, including civil suits from some of the protesters involved. [Update: on Friday a U.S. District judge denied the request for a temporary restraining order.] The novel paramilitary tactics used by a variety of agencies complicate the legal situation. Beyond thorny constitutional issues, there are numerous laws (kidnapping, for example) that run into definition (how exactly can an officer of the law “kidnap” somebody?) and jurisdictional issues.

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IUY Weekly Journal #52 July 11 – 17, 2020

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, July 11 through Friday, July 17, 2020 [#52]

“Open the Schools”

The Week’s Most Notable

It was an ides of July with almost nothing but mixed coronavirus messages. Here’s a sample concerning masks:

  • Protest: “Unmasking Tyranny Wisconsin: Mask mandates are a tool to spread fear.” Madison, WI 07/16/20
  • Georgia’s governor and attorney general sue Atlanta mayor for disobeying no masks order.
  • 5% of Americans agree with wearing masks in public. Post-ABC poll, 7/17/20
  • Walmart, Target, CVS to require customers wear masks in stores nationwide.

In some ways it was an exasperating week, yet with no prominent events. The coronavirus surge, seen as a graph comparing April-May and June-July, looks positively grotesque – mountainous. It just keeps getting bigger, the voices clamoring for help grow louder, and the White House continues to concoct denials. There were many irritating reminders of the nation’s descent into political phantasmagoria, such as the surreal images of father and daughter Trump illegally hawking Goya food products from the White House. Apparently, AG Barr didn’t think that amounted to a hill of beans. Then there was Mary Trump, hawking her new book, and revealing in an interview that Uncle Don did, in fact, use racial and Jewish slurs. The media ran with that for about 18 hours.

In an argument that should have begun months ago as to if, when, and how to open schools was the week’s running topic. Unfortunately, while the topic is serious and complicated – there are more than 33,000 school districts and 8,000 institutions of higher learning, all needing plans for opening (August-September) – the heavy hand of the White House, which for re-election reasons demands students physically attend school and has completely disrupted the ability of the CDC to issue credible recommendations, created an almost serio-comic situation. In short: too little honesty, too late, too unhelpful (simplistic guidance, no money). The upshot: Every district/institution for itself. Most will ignore federal stipulations. The result will be, as is common for this crisis, a largely uncoordinated patchwork with some successes, some failures, and a lot of unidentifiable outcomes. Since effects of the coronavirus on children and young people are not yet well understood, there is also a risk for them and their communities. Polls heavily show that parents are not in favor of opening schools too early.

Saturday, July 11

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 3,369,347; Deaths – 137,352

[Coronavirus] Trump Campaign Cancels New Hampshire Rally – The reason given: hurricane Fay. Fay was out in the Atlantic Ocean, New Hampshire had great weather. Real reason: Coronavirus killing attendance. Finding momentum in rallies will be difficult for Trump.

[Mueller Investigation] Mueller Protests Commutation of Stone Sentence – Breaking his unofficial silence, the former Special Counsel used a Washington Post op-ed to remind Americans that Roger Stone was found guilty of multiple serious crimes and remains a convicted felon. [Meanwhile: Lindsay Graham continues to make noises about bringing Mueller to the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of the “investigation into the causes of the Mueller probe.”]

[Coronavirus] Trump Seen Wearing a Mask – It had a presidential seal on it with possible political or cultural significance.

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Urgent Phone Call to Sen. Daines

    ACTION CALL    

Indivisibles, a while back (maybe years) we came to the conclusion that constantly asking for appeals to our state Senators and Representative was draining our energy and not particularly effective. So we switched approach, becoming very selective about when we contacted congresspeople. This is one of those times.

Next Monday, July 20, Congress comes back into session. They have a bare three weeks, until August 7, before Congress is scheduled to go on summer break. During that time they must attempt to deal with a series of related problems connected to the coronavirus crisis and the economic crisis. For example, at the end of July millions of unemployed will no longer receive their additional $600 unemployment benefit, many millions of people will no longer be able to afford August rent or pay the mortgage, states and local governments will begin having serious budget shortfalls leading to major cutbacks in services and employment. There’s more, ongoing efforts to control the coronavirus, for example, but the point is obvious: the condition of the country is perilous, complicated, and plagued with an almost total lack of leadership from the White House and the GOP-controlled Senate. Yet there will be the scant three weeks to pass a major bill. Fortunately, such a bill already exists.

The Democrats in the House put together and passed the “Heroes Act,” a massive and comprehensive bill designed to deal with COVID-19 and keep the economy afloat for at least a few more months. It’s already sitting in the Senate.With an estimated cost of $3 trillion over 10 years, the Heroes Act targets many problems, including:

  • expanded food and unemployment assistance;
  • assistance for struggling state and local governments;
  • another $1,200 relief payments to individuals;
  • hazard pay for essential front-line workers;
  • housing assistance fund to help pay rents and mortgages; and
  • health insurance premium payments for laid off workers.

The Senate Republicans will, of course, object, whine, and prevaricate; but Mitch McConnell has already signaled that he knows something needs to be passed. The question is whether it will be some kind of anemic and corrupt GOP offering, which the Democrats will reject, or the full Heroes Act bill with its $3 trillion price tag, which Republicans will certainly wish to reduce and manipulate.

We do not have time for this bill to fail or become a worthless simulacrum. If we go into the Fall without major relief and stimulation, then not only will our efforts against COVID-19 be hamstrung, but we will also be in the dreaded “economic crisis” that will look a lot like the Great Depression. This, unfortunately, is not hyperbole.

No doubt you see where this is going – we need everybody to get on the phone and put pressure on Sen. Daines. (Sen. Tester is already on board.) We need to tell Daines that there isn’t time to whip up a new bill; that the Senate GOP should accept the Heroes Act for a vote. We need to do this now, before Daines goes back to Washington. We want him to take the message to his colleagues that people understand the gravity of the situation and feel it is absolutely imperative that Congress act. Please, call him and whether you get a person or an answering machine, say something like…

“Tell Mitch McConnell to bring the Heroes Act up for a vote – and Daines needs to vote for it.”  

Senator Steve Daines  406-587-3446 (Bozeman)  202-224-2651 (DC)  

KEY POINT:

Daines needs to tell Mitch McConnell to bring the Heroes Act up for a vote – and Daines needs to vote for it.

The House has already passed it. There is no time for anything else.

If you’re motivated to do more, here are some other questions you can lob at Sen. Daines.

Other Questions:

What does he have to say about Russia paying bounties on US soldiers. Why hasn’t he moved to call for an investigation? Sanctions?

  It is a credible accusation. The info was included in a global top security brief and the report has been substantiated by intelligence sources.

Does he support Dr. Fauci? What does he think about the smear campaign?

  Reports are coming out that Trump signed off on it.

What does he plan to do about the White House side-stepping the CDC?

  This further degrades public trust in the federal response and gives the administration a wide open opportunity to manipulate the data. It’s a purely self-serving political response to a deadly public health crisis.

Did he think the press conference in the Rose Garden, now being called “the Rose Garden Rally” was appropriate?

  Another unprecedented misuse of a presidential platform. A rambling, lie ridden diatribe. Is this the latest “rally” substitute after his big fail using the COVID-19 updates?  

Would he be willing to appear with Trump at a rally where the Confederate flag was being flown?

  Trump says he has no problem with displaying Confederate flags. Says it’s a free speech issue that he supports.

Make your calls as soon as you can this week. Don’t be bashful. For once in all truthfulness we can say this is a matter of life-and-death. As ever, we don’t expect an intelligent response from Daines, but his office does collect the messages and importantly count them. That’s how your “pressure” is transmitted and it’s been proven to work particularly in cases like this with such short notice.

So many thanks for your time and voice,
Nelson and Dixie

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IUY Monthly Meeting – July 15, 2020

     EVENT     
 
As COVID-19 is on the rebound here in Montana, we decided to continue holding our
monthly meetings online.
 
Indivisible Upper Yellowstone: Monthly Meeting: This Wednesday, July 15, 6:30 PM – ONLINE via Zoom

If you wish to participate, please RSVP by email using either this message or indivisible.upper.yellowstone@gmail.com
We’ll send you the login for a zoom conference session the day of the meeting.

We’ re coming up on 100 days before the election. Will our nerves, and our nation survive
until then (almost seriously). On the one hand it’s…special (?)…to be in the middle of history.
On the other hand, this particular point in history is a little much (coronavirus crisis, economic crisis, racial justice crisis, climate change crisis, and you can always include Trump as a crisis unto himself). At the top of our agenda for this meeting is sorting through these crises and deciding how to address them as an Indivisible chapter here in Livingston. We need a bit of hardheaded evaluation of what actions work, or could work, given the incredibly changing and complicated political environment.

To repeat from last week: plague, politics, penury, and protest. We need to make the most of it, including before, during, and yes, after the November election.
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IUY Weekly Journal – #51 July 4 – 10, 2020

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, July 4 through Friday, July 10, 2020 [#51]

“Mixed Messages”

The Week’s Most Notable

Something’s gotta give. As the week progressed, the coronavirus statistics grew worse; nowhere more obviously than in the number of new cases, which began the week at around 55,000 a day and finished the week at 70,000. This is well on the way to what Dr. Fauci predicted as 100,000 cases a day. Trump, his administration, and some Republican governors continued in effect to say “not a real problem.” Meanwhile, Trump rolled out his latest political-medical diversion known as “Open the Schools.” [See Coronavirus Notes.] Although the administration’s messaging on wearing masks and social distancing remains at best mixed, Republican governors in red Sun Belt states face dire conditions (Texas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma), driving them to impose mandatory face mask wearing and other measures up to, but still short of, more lockdowns. It seems the key factor will be the number of deaths. Believe it or not, Trump and many in the GOP seem to think there’s a “sweet spot” – say 500 deaths a day – that Americans will accept in return for filling sports stadiums, opening all businesses, and basically ignoring COVID-19. How about 1,000 deaths a day, which is likely to be the average by the end of the coming week? Meanwhile, medical people and health officials point out that “You can’t restore the economy until you control the virus!” Something’s gotta give.

The Supreme Court finished its session on Thursday, having dropped a number of big legal bombs: The president is not above the law (9-0); Trump cannot block disclosure of his financial records to New York prosecutors (7-2); Trump and the House must relitigate subpoenas using the four guidelines spelled out in the decision (7-2); for legal purposes much of eastern Oklahoma is an Indian reservation (5-4); employers are allowed to deny contraception coverage for female workers on religious or moral grounds (7-2); employment discrimination laws do not apply to teachers at religious schools (7-2); states may require electoral college members to vote as they had pledged (9-0); states may not exclude religious schools from scholarship programs (5-4); the Louisiana abortion Law is unconstitutional (5-4); the president may fire the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without cause (5-4); the Trump administration cannot immediately shut down DACA (5-4); the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination (6-3); unanimous jury verdicts are required for serious crimes (6-3).

Saturday, July 4

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 2,945,147; Deaths – 132,339

[Coronavirus] Florida Matches New York’s Worst Day for New Coronavirus Cases – Indicative of records being set throughout the South, Florida recorded 11,458 new cases, just shy of New York State’s one-day record of 11,571 back in April. The massive surge of new cases is a forerunner of overrunning hospital capacity in at least four states (Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Arizona). The death rate remains relatively low, though probably not for long. Epidemiologists are concerned about a further spike as a result of July 4 celebrations and interstate travel.

[Elections 2020] Trump Continues “Radical Left” Campaign at D.C. Rally – The Independence Day speech continued the divisive tone established at Mount Rushmore. “We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children, or trample on our freedoms.” As for the pandemic, “we’ve learned to put out the flame” and by the way “99% of coronavirus cases are totally harmless.”

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