Friends, we’ve been at this for nearly 100 days now. And I know it can start to feel like a long uphill slog with no summit in sight.
But I promise that summit is there–closer than you think. And as Donald’s administration flails and his approval rating tanks, conflicts of interest mount, and ever more evidence is uncovered of Donald and his administration’s criminal collusion with Russia, now more than ever we can’t let up in our efforts to defend our country and our democracy. Donald counts on two things to keep skating by: distraction and exhaustion. Donald believes his outrageous words, actions, and tweets will pull focus from all these issues, and that if he simply keeps that up long enough, he’ll wear his opposition out.
He’s wrong. Remember the tortoise and the hare? None of us has to do it all, all at once, to bring this corrupt administration down. We each just have to keep a slow, steady pressure on our members of Congress to do their jobs. All that requires of you is a small effort–but a steady one. Committing to just a few small efforts is enough if all of us do it regularly. Experts say that just 3.5 percent of a population resisting a corrupt government can effect its downfall.
Think of this: If you made only one call a week, that’s 52 more calls per year our MoCs would receive from their constituents than they are getting now, letting them know we are holding them accountable and they must uphold our nation’s laws and tenets, the principles of science and human decency. Now imagine if ten of us did that…a hundred…a hundred thousand–and more. A single call a week, if we all commit to only that, can move mountains. Imagine if we do even more–one call a day each. The exponential aggregate of that will be a tsunami.
Will you commit to keeping the spotlight shining on this administration? Set a bar for yourself that you know you can do–for me, it’s making 6 calls to my MoCs at least three days a week (2 senators and 1 representative, DC offices and Austin offices), and 2 calls a day to my state reps for local issues (right now I am calling the Texas House Redistricting Committee members about gerrymandering). I have these numbers programmed into a group called Activism in my phone so it’s extra easy, and I call via Bluetooth on my dog walks or as I put on makeup, so it doesn’t take up any time in my day.
If all you have time for is one call a day, that’s enough. If it’s one a week, that’s okay too–but do it every single week. Don’t know what to say? Find great scripts on a wide variety of topics (as well as MoC contact numbers) at 5Calls or The 65. Hate calling? Send a text using Resistbot, an easy-peasy app that finds your MoCs and sends your texted message via formatted letter. Just text “Resist” to 50409 to get started. Or fax a letter right from your computer–FaxZero has a list of fax numbers for all MoCs–find yours, click to attach your letter, and boom: you’re finished.
Though Donald and his administration would like us to think so, resistance is not futile. Here are just a few examples of how our steady pressure is having a clear and measurable impact.
- Republicans tried to ram through new health care legislation without proper vetting again this week. YOU all immediately called your MoCs in legions to tell them this haste and the shoddy replacement plan were unacceptable, and the vote broke down before it could be taken.
- Remember the Department of Homeland Security, at the behest of the White House, going after Twitter to reveal the identity of a critic of Donald’s immigration policies, in a chilling 1984 moment? The DHS inspector general is not tolerating that unconstitutional nonsense and has launched an investigation into possible abuse of authority as well as “potential broader misuse of summons authority” within the department. With all of us holding the administration accountable, we can continue to enact these checks and balances to Donald’s abuses of power, even within the government.
- Donald suffered another blow to his attempts to overreach his office when a federal court struck down his executive order withholding federal funds from sanctuary cities, stating that only Congress has the power to allocate those funds. Amusingly, once again the ruling is partially based on Donald’s own administration’s words–Donald, Atty General Jeff Sessions, and press secretary Angry Spicer.
- Public and lawmaker resistance from both sides of the aisle put the kibosh on Donald’s ridiculous border wall plans in a proposed spending bill, to avert a government shutdown.
- The committee that oversees granting congressional access passes to news media rejected alt-right platform Breitbart’s request for press accreditation, for failure to meet proof of non-lobbying connections. Breitbart “reporters” can still get into sessions, but must go through public access–it’s a small victory, but one that helps keep the extremist, incendiary, white-nationalist-driven propaganda site from being legitimized by this White House.
- Thanks in part to unremitting pressure from voters like you, the House Oversight Committee launched an investigation into Michael Flynn’s potentially illegal payments from Russia and Turkey that he failed to disclose as national security adviser–and for which, documents released Thursday reveal, he did not seek the approval he was told to get.
- Meanwhile another watchdog group, United to Protect Democracy, is suing Donald to find out whether he’s bullying civil servants into violating the law.
- Finally, FOX News continues to be shaken by fallout from its employees’ actions–not just the $13 million payouts on Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment suits before his recent ouster, but now 11 current and former employees have filed suit for severe racial discrimination at the network. Perhaps FOX would appreciate a fitting Bible quote: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
Why do I keep drilling Russia as a major action item in these newsletters? Well, for starters, we’ve learned that the Senate investigation into possible collusion between the Trump administration and Russia is stalled–wrapped around the axle of partisan infighting, and understaffed with no single dedicated full-time staffer for the investigation, “investigators” with little experience in this sort of fact-finding work, and no key witnesses called–not Michael Flynn (who, evidence reveals, likely broke the law by failing to declare payments from Russia and Turkey when applying for his security clearance), not Paul Manafort, not Carter Page, not Sally Yates, not Roger Stone, not Jared Kushner. These are the main players in the Russia/Trump collusion criminal investigation, and yet not a single one of these people has given testimony to the Senate committee. The White House is even stonewalling House Investigation Committee attempts to obtain records related to Michael Flynn’s hiring and firing, and phone and correspondence records.
It is unacceptable that an inexperienced, understaffed, ineffective Senate committee is maintaining responsibility for an investigation into actions the FBI has deemed potentially criminal. Will you publicly demand that an independent special commission be appointed to conduct a proper, nonpartisan investigation (similar to the commission that investigated after 9/11), and a special prosecutor, so that Americans can get the answers we deserve about possible collusion between Russia and the Republican administration?
The president of the United States has a disturbing web of intimate ties to Russia, a country that provably meddled in the election that put him in office. This is the lynchpin that will bring Donald down—if we keep the heat on, and hold our MoCs’ feet to the fire in demanding a full, independent investigation. If you make only two calls a day–a week, even–about only one subject, it should be these calls.
2. Conflicts of Interest
In the latest egregious use of his position to promote his own brand and line his own pockets, Donald’s White House posted a fawning history and description of Mar-A-Lago on its site–until the State Department took it down. This is yet another example of how Donald’s refusal to properly divest himself of his business assets or release his tax returns (which Treasury secretary Stephen Mnuchin now says Donald has no plans to release) to reveal potential conflicts of interest leads to abuses of power for his own gain.
House Dems are forcing a vote on a bill that would compel Donald to release his tax returns, reveal compromising conflicts of interest, and unhide the White House visitor logs he recently squirreled away. It will fail–but it will force House Republicans on the record as helping Donald continue to hide his many ethics violations.
Despite President Trump’s unprecedented conflicts of interest–both known and still unrevealed because he will not release his tax returns–Republican lawmakers refuse to join Democrats in passing legislation to force the president to reveal how he personally is potentially benefiting from his office. Will [Senator/Rep X] join the many other lawmakers and voters asking for him to release his taxes, as well as the White House visitor logs he recently hid from public view, so that the American people can trust that their president is working for them, not his own benefit?
3. Tax Reform
Donald’s conflicts of interest tie in with his tax reform efforts, since so many of his proposals will directly benefit him and his cabinet. This is why every president since Eisenhower has released his tax returns and divested himself of his business interests–which Donald refuses to do. So we have a president proposing policy that directly benefits…the president and his cronies. Who won’t win? Possibly the middle class Donald promised to help, by the admission of Donald’s own treasury secretary.
Donald’s hastily written recent tax reform proposals are vague and entirely unsupported, and invoke the “voodoo economics” the first president Bush decried–they are predominantly sweeping tax cuts for the wealthy. Economists think this plan could cause the government to lose trillions in revenue over the next decade.
The tax reform proposed by the Trump administration will raise the national debt by trillions of dollars, while lining the pockets of the rich, like the president and his cabinet, and failing to provide any meaningful relief for the middle class. Will [Senator/Rep X] demand actual tax reform that actually helps the middle class and the poor instead of offering further cuts for the wealthy and is thoroughly vetted by economists, and promise to resist any tax reform legislation until the president releases his tax returns and other conflicts of interests, including actually divesting himself of his business interests he has so far refused to disconnect himself from, so the American people can be sure that his tax plan isn’t designed simply to benefit his own interests?
Or, even more briefly:
Will [Senator/Rep X] promise to oppose any tax reform until Trump releases his tax returns so the public can see how much he would benefit personally from the administration’s plan to overhaul the tax code to benefit wealthy individuals and corporations like his own?
4. Climate Change and Global Warming
Just one day before tens of thousands of people marched to the White House in DC to stand up for the science and facts of global warming in the People’s Climate Marchthe science-denying, tone-deaf administration removed further pages from the EPA’s Web site dedicated to the science of climate change, which EPA head Scott Pruitt has stated he doesn’t believe in. (As a reminder, prior to being named as the head of the EPA, Pruitt sued that organization multiple times to try to avoid complying with federal laws.)
For a president who ran on creating jobs, it’s surprising that he seems blind to the facts, like that the solar industry provides twice as many of them as coal. But worse than that, rolling back legislation that aims to combat global warming will have disastrous effects on our planet and the people living on her, as this NASA site shows.
The United States must continue to lead the fight against the disastrous long-term effects of global warming. Will [Senator/Rep X] act on proven scientific data on the dangerous spike in global warming that 97 percent of experts agree is real and due to human activity, and demand that this administration protect the environment by voting against budget cuts to environmental agencies, against rolling back regulations that safeguard our air and environment, and for the US remaining a signatory in the Paris Climate Agreement?
TrumpTruthHiders.com: This delightful new site launched by several Democratic lawmakers allows you to track which MoCs are helping Donald hide, lie, obfuscate, and dodge the truth of his conflicts of interest, ethics violations, Russia ties, and other corruption. It’s a great way to see the worst offenders as far as hypocrisy and collusion with this corrupt administration, and hold them accountable. Share it widely to help it get launched!
This Washington Post feature (with fantastic graphics) ongoingly charts all of Donald’s lies and misleading statements. As of April 2017, he has logged nine days (not consecutively) without a lie or misleading statement. (Most of those days he was golfing. That is real, not a joke.)
Stay in the fight, warriors! This administration and the party-wide cover-ups and collusion from the GOP are not normal. We’ll take our country and our democracy back, but it’s going to take patience, persistence, and resolve. Remember that Watergate took 27 months to bring Richard Nixon down–it may take time, but commit to making your calls each and every week to hold Congress accountable, stay strong, and we will win!