How Your Voices Made a Difference This Week
You marvelous patriotic people are keeping the heat turned up to 11 on Russia–and things are starting to cook:
- Fired national security director Michael Flynn has taken the Fifth and refused to surrender his personal records regarding his possible collusion with foreign governments to Senate subpoena. Combined with his previous (refused) request for immunity, it’s growing ever clearer that there’s plenty to hide. The Senate Intelligence Committee followed up with two new subpoenas to Flynn’s businesses.
- The Washington Post has learned that in March, Donald asked the heads of two U.S. intelligence agencies to publicly deny James Comey’s revelations that Donald’s campaign was under criminal investigation by the FBI. “The problem wasn’t so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements about an ongoing investigation,” a former senior intelligence official said.
- Oh, and remember that mysterious highly placed White House Trump adviser who was also coming under the FBI’s microscope for possible affiliations with Russia? Yeah…it’s Kushner. To be clear, that doesn’t mean he’s a target, or central focus, of the investigation, but a person of interest who may help shed light on the extent of Russia’s meddling into our last elections.
- And in another sign that those with vested interests in Donald and his agenda are panicking, conservative blowhard and conspiracy theorist Sean Hannity showed his hand in a tweet this week. In trying without any evidence to connect slain DNC staffer Seth Rich with the hack of the DNC, rather than Russia, as all 17 intelligence agencies have agreed, Hannity openly revealed his endgame: to try to shift blame from and exonerate Donald. Yet another sign that GOP loyalists are feeling the noose tighten around their necks.
- In other good news, Donald’s unconstitutional, racist Muslim ban was once again frozen by a federal court–this time on appeal–and once again the court cited Donald’s own words about the ban in defending its decision.
- The White House also backed down in the face of unyielding demands from watchdog agency the Office of Government Ethics and has agreed to provide the ethics waivers the OGE requested for lobbyists lobbying in the fields in which they recently worked, which they had previously refused to release.
- In New Hampshire, voters flipped a reliably Republican house seat blue, and in Long Island (which Donald won by 23 points), voters flipped a state assembly seat Democrat as well.
- The Supreme Court struck down racially gerrymandered districts in North Carolina this week–following on the heels of three federal courts doing the same in Texas, this is a positive development for fairer representation in these artificially manipulated districts.
- Advertisers are fleeing Sean Hannity’s FOX show in response to his dogged perpetuation of a baseless and debunked conspiracy theory about slain DNC staffer Seth Rich (even in the face of direct pleas from Rich’s family). It’s yet another brick in the FOX crypt, amid a flurry of other signs (like its recent third-place drop in ratings) that America may be fed up with the network’s stream of misinformation and propaganda.
For this week’s action items, I am of course starting with Russia–it’s crucial that we bring to light Donald’s ties to and collusion with our greatest adversary. But in case you’re craving more variety, I’ve also included a panoply of pressing legislation on the table so you can choose the topic that matters most to you. Sadly, there is no shortage of choices among appallingly bad governance we need to fight against.
The new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score for RepubliCare reveals that the GOP health plan would leave 23 million Americans without coverage within a decade. The plan hits older, lower-income Americans especially hard, with projected economic models that show as much as 60% of their income could go to pay for health care premiums–a more than 800 percent increase. It slashes Medicaid by more than $800 billion over 10 years, risks coverage for those with preexisting conditions, and defunds Planned Parenthood.
The Senate has rejected the House version and resolved to hammer out a health care plan of its own, forming a committee of 15 senators to do so–yet though women are 51 percent of the population and deeply impacted by decisions such as whether maternity care will be universal, the committee is 100 percent male–and 100 percent Republican–which the committee defends by dismissing calls for balanced representation as “identity politics.”
Indivisible has a wonderful tool kit brimming with info about TrumpCare and specific ways to fight it. Here are a few things you can do for starters:
Call your senators and ask that they propose a plan that covers at least as many Americans as the ACA already in place, and doesn’t cost anyone their benefits nor spike their premiums–or that if they cannot, they leave the ACA in place and work to fine-tune it.
You can also ask that they re-form the committee and include at least half women, to reflect the makeup of America’s actual population and ensure that women’s interests are properly considered and represented, and half Democrat, to also reflect America’s demographics.
Call your state’s governor and ask him to join the growing list of governors opposing Donald’s slashing of federal funds for Medicaid (more than $880 billion over 10 years).
Donald’s new “voter fraud” commission is itself a fraud, a waste of taxpayer money designed to create evidence to support his baseless assertions of widespread voter fraud where there is none. Donald’s unsupported lies about voter fraud–that he would have won the popular vote if not for 3 to 5 million illegal votes–were supported by Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state with a record of promoting voter restrictions, who is now coheading the commission–along with VP Mike Pence and other officials with a long and dreary track record of voter discrimination and suppression.
With many federal courts ruling there is illegal racially discriminatory voter suppression in a number of states, most recently Texas and North Carolina, this commission is moving in exactly the wrong direction–offering nothing but opportunities to narrow and discriminate voter rights.
Call your MoCs and ask that they demand no federal funding for this unnecessary commission based on Donald’s own fraudulent claims, and headed by men with a record of voter suppression and racism.
Call your state attorney general [you can Google the info] and ask that he/she pledge to challenge voting laws that discriminate against minorities and the poor.
Trump’s budget proposal has been released, and it’s draconian. While it reduces or eliminates trillions of dollars in taxes that are paid primarily by the wealthy and allocates $54 million in additional funding for a military department whose current $596 billion budget already exceeds that of the next 7 countries combined, its slash-backs target the poor and working class, exacerbating the economic disparity in our country between rich and poor that is already greater than that of any developed nation in the world.
In Donald’s America, the rich get richer, and the working class and poor can suck it.
Donald’s proposed budget features $1.7 TRILLION of cuts of programs he deems inessential, like slashed funding for Medicaid and food stamps and disability payments, and school funding gutted by more than 10 billion in favor of school choice favoring charter schools and religious institutions, cutting after-school programs that serve mostly impoverished children, teacher training, arts education, gifted programs, foreign language, Special Olympics education programs, and more. It also strips away funding for a number of government oversight agencies–most notably the EPA, with a 31 percent cut to the environmental watchdog organization (amid drastic cutbacks in regulations that protect our environment, air, and water quality).
It’s also unrealistic, assuming economic growth at a rate of 3 percent when the average for a post-recession economy is 2 percent–and it uses made-up math that literally does not compute, with an enormous accounting error that uses its “savings” to both balance the deficit and pay for the tax cuts, and is likely to result in a $2 trillion shortfall in our economy. Here’s a full guide to what we know of the proposed budget, from excellent resistance organization Rise Stronger.
- $627 billion cut to Medicaid*
- $194 billion cut to food stamps
- $87 billion cut to National Institutes of Health
- $45 billion cut to State Department operations
- $28 billion cut to refugee programs
- $18 billion cut to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- $2 billion cut to food safety and inspection
Already lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pushing back, with even frequent Republican yes-man Sen. John Cornyn calling it “dead on arrival”–but we need to make sure Congress knows this draconian, magical-math budget is entirely unacceptable.
Call your MoCs and demand that they fight this inequitable, unworkable budget that’s based on false and misleading accounting, targets the poor and middle class, and strips away funding from agencies created to safeguard our country and its people. You can say:
The budget proposal Donald Trump has just put out is based on imaginary math that doesn’t accurately reflect historical economic growth in a post-recession economy and will cost our nation trillions in deficit. It also targets the poor and working class at the expense of the wealthy, like so much of Trump’s other legislation. I’m calling to ask that you fight this draconian, unrealistic budget and maintain funding for crucial government programs, rather than cutting them to offer the wealthy more tax breaks.
- For all the above and other issues, don’t forget about 5Calls, one of the easiest ways to call your MoCs, complete with background on a wide variety of topics, direct numbers for your Congresspeople, and call scripts.
- No doubt you’ve seen the viral videos on Facebook of people attacking others with racist, ethnic, and religious hate speech in places like Wal-Mart, the grocery store, or the beach. Be prepared to be the one who speaks up if it happens in front of you with Hollaback’s webinar on bystander intervention.
- HandsOff.org is a campaign dedicated to stopping cuts to people’s health care, disability benefits, nutrition assistance, and other basic living standards in the upcoming congressional budgets. You can post your personal health care or ACA story, and find out how you can keep fighting back.
One final note: I recently realized that many of my links are for Washington Post and New York Times–which may limit the number of free articles readers can see each month. There is a reason I so often cite them as sources: these two respected, Pulitzer Prize-winning publications have a history of incisive investigative reporting that keep the public informed–even when government or others may want to obfuscate. (The Post famously broke the Watergate story wide-open.) And they are frequently first with breaking news, or breaking it themselves. If you not only want to receive top-notch reporting on current events, but to support the organizations who are doggedly digging out info that the White House is desperate to hide, you might consider subscribing to one or both.
Stay in the fight, warriors–but make sure to take time away from it too. Sometimes you have to step out of the foxhole and reload, so take care of yourselves. We need you strong in the battle so we will win.