DUD 25. 1,437 days to go.

Today’s Resistance

Today I called my Representatives to support S 65, The Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act. POTUS needs to answer his conflicts of interest. It’s as simple as that.
POTUS TODAY: 

The biggest news story of today is Michael Flynn’s resignation as National Security Advisor to POTUS. This is the most evident example we’ve seen of the disarray among the new administration. For those who didn’t follow this story: The Washington Post reported that Flynn had conducted secret talks with the Russian ambassador regarding sanctions against Russia. This is super illegal, to be clear, since private citizens are not allowed to negotiate with foreign governments on behalf of the U.S. 

In other security related news, sources from the intelligence community have come out saying they are withholding information from the administration because they believe the Situation Room has been compromised by the Russians. 

In further security related news, pictures and descriptions of POTUS’ meeting turned strategy talks at his Mar-a-Lago resort talks with Japanese Prime Minister Abe were published on a private citizen’s Facebook page. Also posted was a picture with the guy and the U.S. soldier who carries the “football”: the famous suitcase containing the nuclear codes. This is such a ridiculously blatant slip in national security it’s a wonder it wasn’t scripted. But hey. Those emails though! 

Honestly there was something other things that happened, but if we’re being honest, what could matter more than those three stories? Just another DUD. 

DUD 24. 1,438 days to go.

Today’s Resistance:

Today I subscribed to Generation Progress, a national organization that works toward getting Millennials involved in policy and creating change. They are planning a nationwide Week of Action during the Congressional Recess of 2017 (February 18th-25th), that includes showing up en masse to town halls. Go sign up for their emails, find a local chapter, and use this spreadsheet to find where/when your next town hall is.

POTUS Today:

ALMOST NOTHING HAPPENED TODAY, it’s an absolute miracle.

North Korea launched another missile today, and POTUS promised to stand by Japan (though curiously there was no mention of South Korea). But that wasn’t what captured his attention today: it was Mark Cuban, who POTUS got into a twitter fight with. Because he’s the President of the United States, so twitter fights are a necessary part of the office.

DUD 23. 1,439 days to go.

Today’s Resistance:

Today I donated to the National Center for Transgender Equality, an organization that works toward ensuring that transgender individuals are advocated for in Washington, D.C. Given POTUS’ actions today, it is apparent that transgender individuals are not going to be valued by the administration. Organizations like the NCTE and others (listed on the resources page) will need our support now more than ever.

POTUS Today:

It has come to light that POTUS’ son-in-law Jared Kushner is acting as a “shadow diplomat” for U.S. foreign relations, most notably with Mexico. Essentially, he has been performing back channel diplomacy to mitigate the crises caused by his father-in-law. Backchanneling through unofficial (and thereby unaccountable) representatives is nothing new, though it’s rare to see it so close to the Oval Office. Though he has literally no experience in diplomacy or foreign relations, Kushner has proved to be good at getting POTUS to compromise.

The big news story of the day involves some background.

First, I’m sure you all remember the “bathroom laws” passed in North Carolina and beyond the last several years, targeting transgender individuals’ ability to use the bathrooms and locker rooms they identify with. In response to these arcane and inhumane laws, the Obama administration came out with guidelines that stated transgender students’ access to these facilities was protected under existing federal civil rights law. So, because people suck, a lawsuit was brought by more than a dozen states against the administration’s position. The Obama administration then appealed an injunction filed on behalf of the suit.

So now to today: POTUS has dropped the federal government’s challenge to that injunction. This means they are not pushing back against the lawsuit being applied nationwide, rather than just to the filing states. It’s an alarming move, and though it has relatively minor effects now, it signals a broader shift away from defending transgender rights.

 

DUD 22. 1,440 days to go.

Today’s Resistance:

Today was spent bashing my head against a proverbial wall, trying to get my Republican Senator (Cory Gardner, R-CO) to vote against Tom Price. Which is like trying to pull the teeth of someone who has received money from the very people he’s confirming.

Pictured above is a guide to what to do if ICE comes to your residence, from United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth organization in the country, which advocates for the fair treatment of all immigrant youth and families, regardless of their status. They are a fantastic non-profit organization and are always in need of support.

POTUS Today:

Foreign Policy: he had his first call with Chinese President Xi Jingping, during which he said he will honor the “one China” policy. Also, he had a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during which POTUS did not wear a translation headset, but proceeded to nod and smile and agree, despite not knowing the Japanese language. Which is exactly the kind of the first impression you want to make on your allies.

Cabinet: Tom Price was sworn in as Secretary of Health and Human Services in an early morning Senate vote. Just a reminder that not only does he favor a block-grant Medicaid system that would not cover certain low-income folks, but he also actively traded shares of medical and pharmaceutical companies while he was a Representative. Just to make sure this is clear, THAT’S WRONG.

Immigration: ICE had their first major raids under the new administration, arresting hundreds of undocumented immigrants in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, LA, the Carolinas, Florida, Kansas, Texas, and Virginia. Officials claimed the raids targeted known criminals, but it’s already confirmed that among the hundreds arrested were those with no known criminal records.

 

 

DUD 21. 1,441 days to go.

Today’s Resistance:

Today I made a small donation to the Water Protector Legal Collective. The battle on the front lines of DAPL has passed. Tribal leaders have asked that folks stop coming to Standing Rock, and instead focus on supporting their legal battle. Below is a list of great legal aid funds that are working on behalf of the water protectors at Standing Rock:

Red Fawn Legal Fund

Lakota People’s Law Project

Red Warrior Defense Fund

Earth Justice

POTUS Today:

Executive Orders: He signed three new orders today after the swearing-in of Attorney General Sessions. The first order aims to “reduce crime and restore public safety” by directing Sessions to establish a new Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. The Task Force will focus on “strategies to reduce crime, including, in particular, illegal immigration, drug trafficking and violent crime.” The second order aims to combat transnational drug cartels by increasing intelligence sharing among law enforcement partners. The third and final order directs the Justice Department to use existing federal law to prosecute people who commit crimes against law enforcement officers. That last one is particularly important and controversial, as it does nothing to address the underlying problems within the criminal justice system.

The Ban: In a unanimous decision, three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected the administration’s appeal to lift the suspension of POTUS’ illegal travel ban. POTUS was mad, and tweeted “SEE YOU IN COURT.” Which is confusing. Because they were already in court. And he’s lost twice.

Conflicts of interest: Kellyanne Conway broke federal law today when she promoted Ivanka Trump’s product line. In another case of murky ethics, the Department of Defense announced their plan to lease space within Manhattan’s Trump Tower. Which is owned by POTUS. And managed by his company. At this point, whether this is an actual violation is still unknown, simply because the level of conflict of interest being discussed has never been seen before. Which is exactly what you want out of a president.

Foreign Relations: It has come to light that in his first call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, POTUS denounced the New START treaty, which caps the number of deployed nuclear warheads the countries have.

Environment: Construction was restarted last night on the Dakota Access Pipeline, despite the months of protest from the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux, and prolonged legal battles. The pipeline is estimated to be completed in three months. New lawsuits have been brought by the tribes, and they plan to continue most of the resistance in the courts.

 

DUD 20. 1,442 days to go.

Today’s Resistance:

Today was spent pleading with my representative (well, his office) to vote against Sessions’ nomination. He didn’t.

The good that came out of it was the sparking of a new feminist rallying cry. McConnell’s now infamous remark of Warren, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted” has caught the internet by storm. It has become a rallying cry for women and allies against POTUS and his GOP supporters. My favorite side-effect has been the onslaught of posts showing women who persisted after being told to be silent (READ: literally every single one), including Shirley Chisholm, pictured above.

POTUS Today:

His ridiculous action today was tweeting about Nordstrom, saying they treated his daughter Ivanka unfairly. On the surface, this may not seem like it matters. Who cares about whatever garbage he’s tweeting today? But here’s the catch: he retweeted his own personal tweet to the official POTUS account. Which is, in theory, a tax-payer funded twitter account. Which means the President of the United States, not the private citizen, was calling out a corporation over a private issue. Which is incredibly problematic, especially since this has effected stock prices in the past.

Foreign Policy: Because of the completely botched SEAL raid in Yemen several weeks ago, Yemen has withdrawn permission for the U.S. to perform SpecOps missions on its soil. This is yet another ally put in jeopardy.

Supreme Court: Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch spoke out against POTUS’ comments about the judicial branch, showing some cracks already forming in his “team.”

Cabinet: Sessions was confirmed as Attorney General. It is a sad day.

Congress: Republicans really stepped in a trap when, in an incredibly rare instance, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was told to sit down during the debate over Sessions’ nomination. She was chastised because she was reading Coretta Scott King’s letter written in 1986 about Sessions, in which, in sum, she correctly calls him a racist. The GOP claims that she violated a rule that says you can’t impute another senator. Which is obviously a problem when you’re trying to debate about a cabinet pick…who is a senator. Also notice that other Democratic senators, who were men, later read the King letter without being stopped.

DUD 19. 1,443 days to go.

Resistance Today:

Today was spent thanking my representative for voting against DeVos. The Democrats did exactly what they should’ve, and obstructed long enough for us to get in 24 hours’ worth of calls. Unfortunately, it did not matter. She was confirmed in a 51-50 vote, with the tie vote broken by VP Pence. Pictured above are 27 sitting Senators that received contributions from her family. Notice that only Murkowski (R-Alaska) had the constitution to reject her. Remember them in ’18/’20

The Women’s March organization announced today official plans for a worldwide “Women’s Strike” against male violence and in defense of reproductive rights on March 8th. They have called on those who identify as women and their allies to strike, march, block roads, “bridges and squares, abstaining from domestic, care and sex work, boycotting, calling out misogynistic politicians and companies, [and] striking in educational institutions.” So mark that on your calendar folks.

Finally, we have today’s biggest victory: the divestment from Wells Fargo by the Seattle city council. In a 9-0 vote, the city council voted to end a $3 Billion contract with WF, in pursuit of a financial institution that was dedicated to social responsibility. This is the first domino in what is hopefully widespread divestment. It’s important for Resistors to realize that it came as the result of work from grassroots organizations and Indigenous protestors, not from Senators and higher level leaders. The Resistance going forward is going to find its greatest gains in local politics.

POTUS Today:

The three-day vacation is over, POTUS was back at it again today.

He had a White House county sheriffs today, which was significant for two reasons. First, he said that the immigration ban could go to the Supreme Court. Second, he offered to destroy the career of a state Democratic lawmaker. Now, it was said in a joking tone, and the room chuckled. Perhaps it was a joke. But he also talked about the Muslim ban and sexual assault with a joking tone. So let’s just go ahead and skip past that crap rhetoric and go straight to: It’s not ok, as the President of the United States, to joke about destroying the career of state politicians because you disagree with them.

POTUS assistant Sebastian Gorka said that they will continue to use the term “fake news” until the media understands their “monumental desire” to “attack” the President is wrong. So basically, the highest office in the land will continue to discredit media institutions that disagree with him. You know, like fascism.

On the Ban, two things of significance happened today. First, three federal judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments against the Ban, from the attorneys general of Washington and Minnesota. Second, DHS is considering requiring foreign travelers to the U.S. to give passwords and website history information upon entering. Which is just disgusting.

Now for education: DeVos was confirmed today, in what was a blow to Resistance, as many saw her nomination as the most likely to be overturned. This overshadowed a bill introduced into the House by Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, which called for the abolishment of the Department of Education on December 31st, 2018.

And finally, on the environment: The Army Corps of Engineers granted an easement to the DAPL, allowing it to begin construction once again, and bypassing the environmental impact assessment and public comment period. This also leaves very little time to pursue legal action.