Progressive Maryland's Weekly Memo for Monday, December 14, 2020

The Electoral College meets after Trump's last ditch is filled with the trashed reputations of the House GOP's dead-enders. Meanwhile, progressives fight to keep the Biden transition more aligned with today's needs rather than Obama's dashed dreams. But you knew that. More to the point, here's what progressives are doing to make Maryland better and help us all slog out of the COVID morass. Read the Memo and get the picture.



 

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, December 14, 2020

The Electoral College is meeting today (Monday, December 14) as we prepare the Memo for this afternoon’s send. Each on its own schedule and mostly in state capitols, electors are casting their ballots all day to seal the results of the presidential election despite Trump’s increasingly deranged denial. The final effort by Texas’s Attorney General and all of his Republican fellow AGs plus a majority of GOP House members, slithering in as co-appelants, notoriously failed. Saturday’s 9-0 SCOTUS rejection of their bogus claims was a relief but it bears looking at the Red Wall of Shame’s claims -- they are mortally scared of the trend toward making it easier for every eligible person in the US to vote, not only for president but down-ballot. Trump’s truest statement of his mendacious career in office was that if the moves made by states to make it easier to vote safely in a pandemic became permanent, Republicans would never win another race. 

This was in fact the “un-stolen election,” relaxing the forest of obstacles that Red states had placed in the path of voters who were not White, middle class or rich, and in control of their time independently of punching someone else’s clock. No-excuses absentee voting, extended early voting hours and more early voting sites, and easier voter registration take back the people’s right to vote and would all spell doom for today’s GOP, warped into a poisonous, culturally and economically authoritarian monster by its master, Trump. The GOP of the Eisenhower era would have had far less trouble competing in such an environment. That was then, not the political hellscape of today that will last beyond Trump.

We in Maryland well know that a one-party state, with Democrats in the grip of big money, is no panacea for working families. Progressive Maryland and our allies plan to make sure Democrats face progressive alternatives inside and outside their own party, even though Maryland’s Republicans show few signs of being competitive and every sign of suffering the Trump Effect long after the mad monarchist is back in Mar-a-Lago.

Perhaps reluctantly, the Trump-packed SCOTUS dumped the fairly ludicrous last stand from Texas but as several commentators pointed out, the brief showed exactly what the GOP faithful were frightened of in this un-stolen election, where coping mechanisms due to the pandemic made this a more democratic election than may ever have been conducted. Those gains have to be protected, including in parts of our own state where GOP-dominated county officials may try to push them back.

They say never let a crisis go to waste. The democratizing effects of this horrible virus should be retained and strengthened long after the virus itself has faded.



STATEWIDE ALERTS

 

Monday, December 21 @ 6:30pm (Virtual) -- Baltimore Transit Equity Solidarity Day

Did you know that December 21, 2020 is the 64th anniversary of the victory of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956? The Montgomery Bus Boycott is still the most iconic example of a victory by Black essential workers and communities of color against racist public transportation policies.

 Join us on Baltimore Transit Equity Solidarity Day to celebrate the anniversary of this historic day and for a discussion how we can tackle structural racism in transit policy!

Our rally this day will feature honored guests Ms. Claudette Colvin, the first person arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person on public transit and Attorney Fred Gray, who litigated the Boycott in the US Supreme Court. 

Join this big event to celebrate and thank essential workers – many of whom are employed by our public transportation system or are reliant on its vital services and to discuss how we can work together to end structural racism in our transit policy. 

And be sure to sign a petition in support of a Baltimore regional transportation authority (BRTA), the best path to expand Baltimore’s public transportation system including the completion of the Red Line light rail and other key transit projects. Hope to see you there

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Many members of Progressive Maryland participated in last Tuesday’s Member Welcome Meeting, where our activists old and new-ish got vital updates on Progressive Maryland’s strategy and plans for 2021, including the volatile 2021 General Assembly session. If you were unable to attend, check out our after-action recap blog on the event here.




COVID -19 UPDATE

 

Virus cases and hospitalizations have  been  surging in Maryland and in most states since October. Maryland has reported record numbers on recent days and we have surpassed 5,000 fatalities in our state as of the weekend. As of today, 300,000 Americans have now died. Staggering. Our hearts go out to all the families, friends, neighbors and co-workers who have lost loved ones.  Unfortunately, the situation is expected to get worse in the coming weeks.  That’s why Congress must act to pass a Coronavirus relief package now. It should include a stimulus check (some are calling it a “survival” check) for people and a level of fiscal aid that will help state and local governments meet their critical healthcare and economic needs. (See how you can help in the People’s Action Asks section below)  States and local governments should be given the leeway and flexibility they need to spend any unspent CARES act money allocated earlier this year.

The disturbing trends we’re seeing have also led a number of states and cities to reinstate limits and restrictions on the operations of non-essential businesses, indoor activities, travel and crowd sizes. Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City and Montgomery Counties have curtailed indoor dining for the time being. Other municipalities, seeing the increase in spread, may follow suit. We urge Governor Hogan to examine the state guidelines and measures in light of where we are. Is he and are we as a state doing enough to limit community spread? Clear guidelines and effective public health measures  can help everyone understand the gravity of the situation and act accordingly, especially as the Christmas holiday season gets underway.

All of us can make an individual and collective difference when it comes to containing this virus. Please mask up, wash hands, avoid indoor gatherings, limit non-essential trips of all kinds. If you are feeling any symptoms or think you have been exposed, get tested. And stay informed and engaged. 

One way to stay informed is to join us at our Statewide Forum on COVID this Thursday, December 17,from  6:30 to 8:00. Click here to RSVP and receive the zoom link   We’ll  hear from our friends at the Right Care Alliance about where we are and where we are headed in this pandemic and what to know about vaccines. We’ll also discuss key pieces of a comprehensive  COVID response plan we need the Maryland General Assembly to enact in the upcoming session. Please join the conversation:  Click here to RSVP and receive the zoom link

Our 2021 legislative priorities regarding healthcare and COVID relief are coming together. We know that Progressive Maryland will be advocating bills that help all Marylanders weather this awful crisis: we must strengthen and expand worker protections, health equity initiatives and investments;  protect patients from predatory medical debt practices, and supply direct aid to individuals and families in need. Other states are considering a wide range of health and economic relief measures, especially in light of obstruction from Mitch McConnell and the Republicans in the Senate.  We encourage our lawmakers and Governor Hogan to  take a look at these approaches.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/02/state-stimulus-coronavirus/

 

NATIONAL BRIEFING

Biden Transition Process: We’re relieved to know that significant help is on the way from the Federal government to address the public health crisis that continues to affect communities across the country, particularly communities of color. The President-elect’s picks to lead HHS, the CDC and other health care related posts are qualified, community minded, and experienced leaders who will help create and scale the comprehensive plan we need. For starters, science and medicine will guide the public health response. Additionally the United States  will rejoin the World Health Organization and be able to pull together a long overdue local, state, national and global response to this worldwide pandemic.  

On other fronts, there’s some cause for concern about some of Biden’s choices, for example Tom Vilsack for Secretary of the  USDA. National groups like People’s Action as well as civil rights and other progressive leaders are pushing back on his selection. Susan Rice has been nominated to run the Domestic Policy Council and Denis McDonough has been tapped to run  the Department of Veterans Affairs. Vilsack, Rice, and McDonough are all veterans of the Obama Administration but many activists on the left would like to see some new faces and voices considered for  roles in the new Administration. Stay tuned, as we will be monitoring upcoming appointments and continuing to call on Joe Biden to choose some strong progressive and movement leaders for important slots. How are others feeling about it? asks Joy Blackwood, minding that task for People’s Action from her D.C. desk. Let us know at patty@progressivemaryland.org and we’ll pass it along to Joy and the PA team.

 

People’s Action “Asks” (for this week):

Topline: We Need to Let Legislators Know: COVID Relief MUST Include a Stimulus Check! The bipartisan “emergency COVID relief” bill that is still in negotiations in the U.S. Senate is not a bill we are pleased with (by any stretch) but one thing we know must include another round of cash assistance for all people. We’ve prepared a Phone2Action so member groups and grassroots leaders can once again let their voice be heard by demanding this compromise bipartisan bill includes direct cash assistance. Please help us in letting your U.S. Senator and House Representatives know this bill cannot pass without at least another round of cash payments.

 

OUR CHAPTERS AROUND THE STATE (see chapter contacts here)

Baltimore County --

Progressive Prince George’s

 PMD Montgomery 

 Frederick County Progressives 

Take Action Anne Arundel County

PMD Baltimore

Talbot Rising

State affiliate: Lower Shore Progressive Caucus 

 

EVENTS FROM OUR PROGRESSIVE ALLIES

 

Monday, December 21 @ 6:30pm (Virtual) -- Baltimore Transit Equity Solidarity Day
On this date 64 years ago, the Montgomery Bus Boycott ended in victory after a one-year struggle. Celebrate our frontline transit workers (and riders) today and sign our petition for a Baltimore regional transportaton authority. More details above in STATEWIDE ALERTS.

 

OUR RECENT BLOG POSTS

Reading the Progressive Maryland BlogSpace: our recent blog posts are shown below, but if you want a handy way to keep track – and never miss a blog post – you can sign up to get this Weekly Memo by email. Remember this is your blogspace and your participation is heartily invited. See something going on that you don’t like – or that you do like and hope to see more of? Send us your thoughts; submit to the moderator at woodlanham@gmail.com

December 11, 2020 How Progressive Maryland is preparing for 2021. You are included.

This past Tuesday evening Progressive Maryland hosted our virtual Member Welcome meeting to build community and learn about what it means to be a member of Progressive Maryland. We were joined by both the longtime and relatively new members who make our organization what it is.

We want to build momentum from this meeting and head into 2021 ready to increase our grassroots power across the state, so this post is to carry that meeting’s messages to those who were unable to participate. Here's how we work together to make change in Maryland.

December 07, 2020 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, December 7, 2020

UP FRONT: TOMORROW Member Welcome Meeting:

As we prepare for the new year Progressive Maryland will bring its members, old and new, together on the evening of Tuesday,  December 8 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm for a Member Welcome Meeting. We’ll share critical information for EVERY Progressive Maryland member, whether you have been fighting alongside us for just 3 months or for the past several  years.

December 03, 2020 Reduce police encounters with the public by decriminalizing poverty

Because the harsh economic and social conditions in many parts of Maryland bring desperate people to seek shelter, employment and sustenance  in ways the law calls criminal, police are charged with enforcing those laws. Homelessness,  sex work, recreational drug use and typical adolescent behaviors are all unrelated to actual public safety but currently criminalized, increasing police encounters with the public and inevitably going tragically wrong in all too many cases. The remedy starts with decriminalization, write two with deep experience in this high-risk area.

December 02, 2020 Newly-formed Judiciary Reform Task Force Strikes Blow Against Illegal Foreclosures in Maryland

Wednesday (Dec.  2) a group of activists organized by a new Judiciary Task Force successfully halted an illegal foreclosure sale. Following a concerted effort by policy experts, a federal mortgage fraud whistleblower, and an intrepid group of interfaith leaders, Progressive Maryland was able to stop a sale scheduled for 11:30am. 

November 24, 2020 Exciting News! We were voted one of the best nonprofits in the DC region!

🎉 Exciting news: The Catalogue for Philanthropy has chosen Progressive Maryland as one of the best nonprofits in the DC region! We were selected from a competitive applicant pool by passing through a rigorous review process conducted by a team of 170+ pro bono reviewers from foundations, corporate giving programs, peer nonprofits, local government agencies, and the philanthropic advisory community. We are so honored to be part of this powerful cohort of local changemakers! 🔥


REMEMBER – these blog posts are frequently expressions of political opinion from our wide-ranging membership and circle of allies. They are not expressions of opinion by Progressive Maryland. Don’t be surprised if they sometimes vary in their political content. You might even disagree with them – a good reason to contribute a blog of your own. Send it to the moderator, Woody Woodruff, at woodlanham@gmail.com. 

>>Keeping up with the blogs is easier with the index. The blogs published in the PM BlogSpace from June 2015 through December 2016 are all available with descriptions and links here. You can follow blogs for 2017-18 starting from here