Planning

January 10, 2021

Notes and online sources for Ward 3/4 Sunday Solutions

“Day 1 Agenda” meeting 1/10/2020

Ward ¾ organizer Lauren Sargent started out by saying that a lot of people who formerly supported Bernie or another candidate in the primaries signed on to support Joe Biden “with the idea that we would push him to adopt a progressive agenda.” The Day One Agenda was the creation of the American Prospect (David Dayen).

You can view the agenda at:

https://prospect.org/day-one-agenda/277-policies-biden-need-not-ask-permission/

or a lot of more general articles with the same theme at

https://prospect.org/day-one-agenda

Janet Cannon ([email protected]), another member of the Ward 3/4 organizing team, said that she feels we need plenty of forums to discuss how to proceed, particularly considering that even with the Georgia victories, there isn’t an actual Democratic majority in the Senate. We need to discuss communications and strategies, and figure out “who to put our weight behind.” She put the information to join the Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) in order to have a voice at the spring convention (virtual) in the chat – it’s:

https://michigandems.cp.bsd.net/page/signup/member-sign-up

Michelle Deatrick is the founder and chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Council on the Environment and Climate Crisis (and a Washtenaw County resident). She said that how to push Pres. Biden to enact more progressive policies on climate change has been an issue the people on the council have been thinking about “pretty deeply,” with the recognition that executive orders can set the stage for transformative climate action, and now with the possibility of complimentary legislative action. 

Speaking in her personal capacity and not that of the Climate Council chair, she laid out six types of executive actions that can be effective: 1) Personnel, with over 4000 presidential appointments (only 1200 require senate confirmation; 2) Organizational – creating new organizations within government, or transforming the missions of existing; 3) Rules – through Executive Orders that impact rules on purchasing, financial regulations, employee regs (for ex., that all federal employees have access to electrical charging stations), etc.; 4) Diplomacy/international agreements, i.e., rejoining the Paris accords; 5) Budget proposals; and 6) “Bully Pulpit” – leadership in influencing public opinion.

Michelle dropped some URLs into the chat – noting that all of these “day one” recommendations have been vetted by lawyers and are within the Biden administration’s legal authority:

https://www.climatepresident.org/

https://www.demos.org/policy-briefs/frontlines-climate-justice-executive-action-platform

And here’s the platform:

https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/

Some specific actions include: the Build Back Fossil Free campaign (there’s a day of action Jan. 19; petition here:

https://buildbackfossilfree.org/#take-action

Also, to require aggressive methane requirements including on fracking; implement green purchasing on all federal, such as weatherizing and making all federal buildings more climate friendly; an important one, could mandate that all federal permitting decisions consider the effects of greenhouse emissions and climate change; conserve 30% of America’s lands by 2030; rool back Trump’s drawdowns on the Clean Air Act – including national cap on emissions which the Supreme Court has ruled is allowable; reinstate the ban on crude oil exports; consider cumulative impacts of pollution on a given geographic area (a strong component of environment justice); removing FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) and launch an office of public participation; establish a panel on environmental literacy; require that, as part of rejoining the Paris climate agreement (which Biden has already said he will do), require biennial reassessments of our emissions.

Biden has also already established a climate “czar” – Gina McCarthy, who is not without controversy.  Michelle said she thinks Gina has become much more progressive over the last 4-5 years, and likes the appointment.

Michelle also posted an article about Biden’s team underestimating the damage Trump et al imposed:

https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063721853

She had a long list of smaller Trump administration policies Biden should overturn.

There is a lot more information at the DNC Council on the Environment and Climate Change website:

www.dncclimate.org

Michelle’s email is [email protected]

Lauren added that progressives need to be congratulatory when things go well, in addition to critical when they don’t. Michelle added that supporting the great people Biden has nominated is key, Deb Haaland for Interior Secretary in particular, as well as congratulating people like Jennifer Granholm on social media.

Hudson Villeneuve, who would be speaking again later, said that we need to beware of “greenwashing” and “false solutions.” For example, supporting electric vehicles is pointless unless the sources of the electricity are renewable. Article from Friends of the Earth on false solutions:

https://www.foeeurope.org/false-solutions

Upon a question from Michelle, Hudson said, “I think I’ve been dividing what we can accomplish in the Biden Admin. into 2 categories: the low hanging fruit that doesn’t directly challenge capital and industry and everything else that challenges a mode of an industry making money.” 

Rita Mitchell posted in the chat: “A2 can avoid some of the false solutions, right now, by working with the Office of Sustainability to require solar charged EV spaces.”

Michelle pointed out that it’s really tough to decide between two strategies – start with the low hanging fruit and let some of the more important issues wait, or start out with the “hard stuff” and risk more and more opposition so the later days of the tenure Biden will accomplish less. She had no firm answer.

Lauren filled in for expected guest Eli Rubin of Michigan for Single Payer (https://www.michigan4singlepayer.org/), who was unable to make it, in talking about single payer health care. She said that Michigan for Single Payer has had a campaign of getting local resolutions passed in favor of Medicare for All. Universal health care would be life-changing, representing security and freedom from worry. It’s key in the above-mentioned American Prospect agenda, with David Dayen saying, “If not now, when?”

In the Affordable Care Act, there’s a provision that citizens exposed to environmental hazard(s) through no fault of their own can be made eligible for Medicare, reflected in a suit by citizens of Libby Montana with the decision that they could get Medicare if they chose. DHHS Section 1881 of the Society Security Act, same thing. It would be challenged in the courts but it’s also the kind of thing if Americans had a greater understand ofing the possibility for that kind of health security, someone could make it happen. (Nelson Mandela, “it’s always impossible until it is done.”) It requires the declaration of a public health emergency, which has been done; it’s also possible that EPA would have to declare a separate health emergency. “It’s tricky but the road map is there.” Biden has said that he would veto Medicare for All, but a reframing of the issue could change that overnight.

Congressional Rep. Pramila Jayapal is introducing a bill on the subject in Feb. There is a podcast with her by Marianne Williamson at:

Other resources: Physicians for National Healthcare, Center for Change, Committee to Protect Medicare

There are yard signs saying “Improved Medicare for All.” Ken Kellett, who was on the Zoom, designed it. Contact Lauren who can refer you to getting some.

Jim Sherman made a presentation about the false solution of nuclear energy, and talked about ongoing efforts to fight back against it. Citizens’ Resistance at Fermi Two (CRAFT), the organization that Jim and Jesse James Deer in Water, also on the call, was founded after a 1993 near-meltdown, then went on hiatus until the Fukushima (Japanese) disaster in 2010. Fermi Two has the same design as Fukushima. The group tries to offer positive alternatives to nuclear power. For example, when they attend events, they have a bike kids can ride to generate energy and literally feel the difference between halogen and LED in terms of amount of energy produced, and they promote passive solar homes and such “tips” as how to stop drafts in houses. CRAFT can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/519586598157696

We’re all in the zone that would be affected by problems at Fermi II. Book recommendation: John G Fuller, We Almost Lost Detroit

Hudson Villeneuve then spoke about political feasibility. (He is a founder of Sunrise in Washtenaw County, and a former Bernie staffer in DC.)  “In winter 2018 at a leadership summit for sunrise in Lansing, we declared the 2020s the decade of the Green New Deal and worked for a progressive to run for the White House,” he said, and the failure of that is disappointing, but it can still happen under Biden. We can’t let him get away with rhetorical answers and we have to be cautious of the way the administration will frame successes; currently offering a lot of essentially empty gestures to the broader progressive movement to say we’re listening to you but in reality, no. We’ve also seen an increase in right wing terrorism, with the Jan. 6 perpetrators written off by the press as losers. We have to act now to be sure that what makes right-wing nationalism appealing isn’t available, to deliver real material econonic relief to people so they don’t fall victim to the rhetoric.

Hudson posted an article in the chat:

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2021/01/lets-remember-how-authoritarianism-takes-hold

He continued: Pressure the House to reintroduce the Heroes Act – and other bills blocked by Biden. Cancellation of student debt, climate jobs plan, green corps, passage of police reform and the John Lewis Civil Rights Act.

A Variety of “Day One” agenda items for the Biden administration.

Starting with local offices – pressure across the board, not just at the presidential level. Running civilian oversight boards, running candidates. Researching people’s positions such as police support for right-wing agenda is essential. He also mentioned prosecutorial discretion, cash bail elimination.

One hopeful thing Biden said is that he will stop worrying about the deficit and start investing in our economy. Not committed to being a deficit hawk as in the past.

Health care for all, one step is to importing meds – and there are other actions we can take while we’re building, such as allowing Medicare and Medicad to negotiate with suppliers for best prices.

Consequences: if Democrats don’t deliver materials goods to people very soon we will lose the house in 2022, and if we lose in 2022 there’s a good chance we’ll lose the White House in 2024.

We then revisited the “vote” held earlier in the meeting (when it was decided to meet monthly) about whether to meet 3-5 or 7-9, with mixed results.

Cynthia Price, another member of the Ward 3/4 team, said she had compiled a document about the Day One Agenda but it was too lengthy to put in the chat, so it will be emailed. She did put one action into the chat (the Michigan State Capitol Commission meeting to consider guns at the capitol) and there was another posted, a car caravan in Lansing, posted by participants, but both of those have passed.

Additional resources:

First, information from the Washington Post about what Biden intends to do (excerpt not link):

He will rejoin the Paris climate accords, according to those close to his campaign and commitments he has made in recent months, and he will reverse President Trump’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization. He will repeal the ban on almost all travel from some Muslim-majority countries, and he will reinstate the program allowing “dreamers,” who were brought to the United States illegally as children, to remain in the country, according to people familiar with his plans.

The below was unveiled in Oct. 2020 by BLM and the “squad” in Congress, and they wanted sign-ons but probably not now:

https://www.peoplescharter.us/read-the-charter

Known as the Working Families Party’s “People’s Charter,” the 1,000-word proposal calls for universal free health care, a jobs program employing 16 million people, retroactive hazard pay for essential employees and the reallocation of resources from policing toward education and other services. It also promotes giving the public an ownership stake in firms that receive bailouts, as well as buying out gas and oil companies, among other policies.

https://nohoneymoon.org/ – Roots Action and Common Dreams, Cancel Student Debt; End the Wars; Green New Deal; Racial Justice; Fight for $15 – Sign up for alerts, etc.

ACLU – https://www.aclu.org/news/topic/our-asks-bidens-civil-liberties-and-civil-rights-to-do-list/?initms_aff=nat&initms_chan=eml&utm_medium=eml&initms=210104_100days_cultivation_gradead_sail&utm_source=sail&utm_campaign=100days&utm_content=210104_civilliberties_cultivation_gradead&ms_aff=nat&ms_chan=eml&ms=210104_100days_cultivation_gradead_sail

A really comprehensive list of everything from Voting to Women’s Rights to Criminal Reform. 

The emails say “…be ready to take action soon.”

More locally, No Detention Centers in Michigan is calling on people to ask Biden to reinstate the Obama era policy prohibiting Federal use of private prison contractors, which Biden’s platform has expanded to private detention centers. In this, they are supported by the national Detention Watch Network.

Our Revolution:

Has an agenda but not a day-one type. An article about it:

https://btlonline.org/our-revolution-pac-fighting-for-a-progressive-future-pushes-biden-lft/

This on immigration, surprisingly, from the conservative-leaning Cato Institute:

https://www.cato.org/policy-report/november/december-2020/pro-immigration-agenda-biden-administration

From Public Defenders for Immigration Justice:

Other immigration orgs had mentions of the opportunity but not detailed agendas.

350.org – it is possible to sign on to this agenda:

10 Executive Actions we demand on Biden’s first day in office:

1. End fossil fuel extraction on public lands.

2. End crude oil and gas exports.

3. Deny permits for new fossil fuel infrastructure projects and rescind federal permits for Keystone XL.

4. Stop fracking through EPA pollution rules.

5. Create a Just Transition task force.

6. Investigate and prosecute fossil fuel polluters.

7. Direct federal agencies to assess and mitigate environmental harms in low-income areas and communities of color.

8. End fossil fuel subsidies.

9. Use the Clean Air Act to set a science-based national pollution cap.

10. Ensure a just and equitable recovery from climate-related disasters.

Indivisible:

Promoting H.R. 1, and others

H.R. 1 (the “For the People Act”), alongside the D.C. Statehood bill and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, are the cornerstones of the necessary reforms we need to unrig our democracy and make it work for all. 

https://indivisible.org/resource/hr-1-strengthening-our-democracy

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: Passing the Protect The Right To Organize (Pro) Act, the most-comprehensive pro-worker labor law reform since the original National Labor Relations Act of 1935 – “legislation to strengthen and ensure anti-discrimination protections for all working people, including the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, and the Equality Act, and legislation to strengthen protections against workplace harassment.”

Biden should push and Congress should “pass legislation to support the health, safety, and economic security of working people, including the PRO Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, the Healthy Families Act and Family Act, the Raise The (Minimum) Wage Act, and the Fair Act,” which would strengthen job safety and health laws.

Those demands include increased protective personal equipment (PPE) for vulnerable people, stepped-up anti-coronavirus efforts to make schools safe again, raising the minimum wage immediately to $15 an hour and then to “a true housing wage” of $23 hourly by 2028.

Poor People’s Campaign:

14 policies (not a day-one type campaign)

1. Enact comprehensive and just COVID-19 relief that provides free testing, treatment, vaccines and direct payments to the poor

2. Guarantee quality health care for all, regardless of any pre-existing conditions

3. Raise the minimum wage to $15/ hour immediate

4. Update the poverty measure

5. Guarantee quality housing for all

6. Enact a federal jobs program to build up investments, infrastructure, public institutions, climate resilience, energy efficiency and socially beneficial industries and jobs in poor and low-income communities

7. Protect and expand voting rights and civil rights

8. Guarantee safe, quality and equitable public education, with supports for protection against re-segregation

9. Comprehensive and just immigration reform

10. Ensure all of the rights of indigenous peoples

11. Enact fair taxes and targeted tax credits

12. Use the power of executive orders

13. Redirect the bloated Pentagon Budget towards these priorities as matters of national security

14. Work with the PPC to establish a permanent Presidential Council to advocate for this bold agenda

Good ideas from Brookings Institute, though no agenda:

https://www.brookings.edu/topic/transition-2021/

To submit ideas to Biden – hard to find info but here’s the Facebook page and you CAN message him/his staff:

https://www.facebook.com/joebiden/

That’s likely to improve after he takes office.