Our biweekly lists lay out notable issues in the news and tell you what you can do about them.
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Hey Teen Resisters!
Wow. Where to start? First off, we hope that those of you on (a much-needed) break from school and/or celebrating any holidays are enjoying yourselves! An incredible amount has happened in the month since our last list; we took a short break (because of our two features--The First Trans Prom King and The Cure Campaign, which you should check out ASAP) but we're back at it again! Before you dive in, make sure to glance at the two urgent updates/actions below. Happy activisting!
1) PARTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
If you've even glanced at the news in the past few days, you have most definitely seen the headlines about the partial government shutdown that is currently ongoing. In case you're at all confused, here's what's happening, very basically: Congress needs to pass a bill giving the government enough funding for it to keep running, and the latest extension expired on Friday night before more funding could be passed. Trump refused to sign a bill that did not allocate $5.1 billion to his proposed border wall, but Democrats refused to include this money in the bill, and Democrats' votes are needed for the bill to pass. Neither side has yet expressed a willingness to compromise. (Do you see the problem?) Check out this article if you want a more detailed description of what is happening (and why).
2) DEATHS AT THE BORDER
This month alone, two children have died in U.S. custody: On December 8th, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin died of dehydration and shock at an El Paso hospital, and on December 24th, 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonso died after being moved from facility to facility in the six days between his arrival and death. Both children were Guatemalan. The situation at the border is disgusting and inhumane--too much so for us to say it with words--and our government needs to start taking more concrete, comprehensive action to fix it.
What can you do?
what went down
What can you do?
Foreign involvement in this war is a key aspect. The U.S., along with other European powers like the United Kingdom and France, have provided the Saudi-led coalition with intelligence and weapons. Due to the recent killing of Jamal Khashoggi, this assistance has come into question. Additionally, the U.S. military has claimed (though Iran denies it) that Iran has been sending arms to the Houthi rebels. This has only perpetuated the ongoing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. At the beginning of December, attempts at peace talks were made, resulting in the exchange of 5,000 prisoners. These are steps in the right direction, but Saudi blockades around Houthi controlled areas have hindered the distribution of vital food and medical assistance by aid organizations.
Check out this New Yorker article about U.S. involvement in the war if you want more info!
What can you do?
The bill was backed by a bipartisan group of senators. Republican Jeff Flake, one of the strongest proponents of the bill, argued that it was necessary in the wake of President Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general. Whitaker, who oversees the Mueller probe, has been openly critical of the investigation, causing widespread worry about the safety of the probe. Opposition among the GOP Senate caucus has been strong, although some Republican leadership has indicated that it would give into Flake’s demand that the bill be brought to vote.
The current government shutdown means that Senators will have a lot on their plate already, so it’s important not to let this key bill go unaddressed. The Senate may be adjourned until Thursday, but you can still call their offices in the meantime, even if just to leave a message. It’s critical that the bill be brought to a vote (and passed!) before the New Year, when the new Congress will meet, including a Senate with a higher Republican majority. If we want Mueller’s probe to be protected (and a constitutional crisis averted!) now is the time to pass this bill.
WHAT TO DO: Call your Senators at 202-224-3121.
Call script: Hello, my name is _______ and I’m a constituent from _______ (city). I’m calling to urge Senator _____ to support the bill protecting Robert Mueller in the case of his firing. In the light of President Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting Attorney General, and his threatening rhetoric towards the investigation, it is clear that the threat of Mueller’s firing is both very real and imminent. The Mueller probe is critical in protecting democracy, and this bill is vital toward ensuring that the President is not treated as immune to the law. I strongly urge Senator ______ to agree to bring this bill to the floor for a vote and to vote for its passage. Thank you.
If the bill became a law, physicians who induce abortions would have to give the pregnant women state-published information about “alternatives” to abortion, as well as submit a report to the Department of Health. The people who perform an ultrasound to determine if the fetus has a heartbeat would, if a heartbeat is detected, have to give the pregnant woman a chance to hear it. The Departments of Health and of Job and Family Services would publish and offer information pertaining to family planning, childbirth, and adoption—but not abortion. In other words, even if an abortion was technically legal (i.e. no heartbeat detected) the bill would still attempt to stop the woman from having the abortion.
HB 258 passed both the House and the Senate. However, it was vetoed by Ohio governor John Kasich, who was concerned that the bill would be immediately struck down for violating Roe v. Wade. The Senate lacked the two votes needed for an override of Kasich’s veto, though the House had a three-fifths majority in support of the bill.
Kasich, however, signed SB 145, which bans a certain abortion procedure called dilation and evacuation, or D&E. 95% of second-trimester abortions are performed using this method. Physicians who perform “dismemberment abortions” (as D&E is referred to in the bill) risk being charged with a fourth-degree felony and spending up to eighteen months in prison, unless the mother’s life is at risk.
What can you do?
And, finally, the puppy vid:
These lists include featured organizations, scripts, numbers, news updates and inspirational activists.