I do have other topics and news to share, but really, are you thinking about anything other than James Comey’s long-awaited testimony to Congress?
From his startling opening statement revealing his discomfort with Donald’s efforts to demand his loyalty and stifle the investigation into Michael Flynn, to his labeling White House assertions as “lies, plain and simple” (five separate times), to the revelation that he intentionally leaked his memos to force the appointment of a special counsel to investigate because of his grave concerns about national security, Comey’s testimony painted a picture of pretty much what most of us expected: a president abusing his position and power to try to hide the misdeeds of his administration. Here’s a great overview of Comey’s testimony and its potential repercussions.
How Our Voices Are Making a Difference
- As public demand keeps organizations and watchdog organizations digging into Donald and his business interests’ financials, Forbes broke the astonishing story that Donald used his son Eric’s charity to siphon money away from kids with cancer.
- Thanks to relentless pressure from constituents like you guys, dozens of congressional Democrats are suing Donald for conflicts of interest and breaches of ethics in profiting personally from foreign governments through his hotel and investment holdings he refuses to divest himself of.
- White House social media director Dan Scavino was found to have violated federal law (the Hatch Act) by using his position for political activity, when he tweeted to Trump supporters an exhortation to vote against a Congressman. He was issued a warning and advised that additional violations of the law could result in further action by the Office of Special Counsel. It’s a small step, but shows a move toward accountability for this ethically gray White House.
Luke Skywalker smacked down Eric Trump when he claimed Democrats weren’t even human for the way they “viciously came at” his father.
The appointment of a special prosecutor in no way obviates the need for an independent investigation–and it certainly shouldn’t affect Congress’s investigation, which has (or should have, despite Republicans’ efforts to shift focus away from their own actions and onto the red herring of “unmasking”) a broader focus: to bring to light all facts in the interference of Russia with our elections and how much the current administration was complicit. A special counsel only determines whether there has been criminal actions, and releases its findings only in that case. The American people deserve to know all the facts. Here’s a fantastic overview of the different types of investigation and what they entail.
Donald is one pustulant tumor on the face of our current democracy, but he’s not the root illness. That goes much deeper, and it’s a battle we must continue to fight even after Donald leaves office (or is removed to return to private life or, you know, jail). The man in line behind him may be even more dangerous to our democracy: Mike Pence has a deeply troubling track record of dishonesty, lack of ethics, and a fervid dedication to stripping away the rights of anyone who isn’t a Christian white male.
To protect our nation, we need to know whether there was, in fact (and continues to be) White House administration collusion with Russia–and how deep it goes. Call (or fax or text) your MoCs. You can say:
Every new revelation of how the White House tried to interfere in the Russia investigation makes clear that we need an independent special commission to investigate free of political agenda. Will you join the many lawmakers and constituents asking for the appointment of such a commission, so the American people can get the facts we deserve and we can safeguard our nation from all threats–including those from within?
States, cities, and businesses are refusing to accept the White House’s ignorant, damaging denial of the scientific reality of man-influenced climate change that jeopardizes our planet. We can do our part too. Here are some ways you can help counter global warming at the most granular level–and some ways to protect yourself financially from its long-term effects on your wallet. Here’s a great guide from Indivisible for how we can get 60 percent of the way to Paris goals even without federal policy.
You can also call your mayor and governor and ask them to commit to maintaining the standards of the Paris Agreement despite the federal government’s shortsighted, destructive rejection of global plans to reduce the harmful effects of man’s acceleration of global warming. And call your senators–especially if they are among those who actively encouraged Donald to withdraw from the accord–and hold them accountable.
Faced with legislative failure after failure, Republicans are racing to pass a health care bill (with their all-male, all-GOP health care committee) before the August recess without adequate vetting or hearings–after the one passed by the House that the CBO score reveals would still cost millions of Americans their coverage. Call, fax, or text your MoCs. You can say:
I’m deeply alarmed at the haste of the Senate to pass a health care bill without allowing time for thorough vetting and hearings to determine the impact of it on Americans’ lives and health. Will you pledge not to repeal the ACA until a health care plan can be proposed and thoroughly vetted that does not cost any Americans their coverage or coverage levels, and does not contain loopholes for insurers to charge more for preexisting conditions?
To benefit his billionaire cronies (and cabinet), Donald’s administration is working hard to roll back regulations passed to protect consumers after the mortgage crisis decimated our economy and people’s personal finances, like Dodd-Frank. The House passed initial legislation rolling back these protections on Thursday–now it heads to the Senate.
Call your senators and ask them to vote against the “Financial Choice” Act of 2017. You can say:
Legislation like Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Protection Act were put in place to protect American citizens and prevent the abuse of our financial system that resulted in the mortgage crisis and the catastrophic recession that ensued. Will you commit to keeping those protections in place and voting against the Financial Choice Act that leaves Americans vulnerable to predatory Wall Street companies?
I don’t want to give you another thing to be terrified about that you may not even have thought of, but the hard-right GOP’s long game may be even more insidious than we realize: an effort to create a constitutional convention to rewrite our nation’s Constitution. This isn’t a pie-in-the-sky anarchist’s dream–it’s legal, and it’s written into our founding documents: If two-thirds of states call a convention, they can unilaterally alter the entire Constitution–behind closed doors and with whatever representation they choose (meaning it could be 100 percent Republican).
Right now we are two states away from enough Republican-led state governments to call a convention.
Want to be more scared? (I mean, who doesn’t, right?) The proposals made in such a convention have no expiration date to be ratified. That means that at such a convention, Republicans can propose extreme, reckless, discriminatory changes to our Constitution, and even if they don’t have the votes to pass it at that moment, they can pass it at any time in the future if they get enough states to ratify them. This actually happened with the 27th Amendment (restricting Congress’s ability to propose its own salary): It was proposed in 1789, but didn’t muster the votes to enact it for another 202 years.
The GOP just has to gerrymander enough districts–at any time in the future after successfully calling a convention–to allow it to ultimately obtain the necessary votes to completely change the foundation of our nation’s government–to undermine democracy and our republic. And they’re well on their way to doing it. Here’s the scary long version of this process. Here’s the scary short version (courtesy of the DLCC).
The way we fight this is by voting–and helping to get out the vote.
Become a voting registrar. Drive people to the polls. Donate. Call your governor and tell him that you do not support a Constitutional Convention, nor the funneling of your state’s money and resources to attempt to call one to tamper with the documents on which our nation’s republic is based.
- The New York Times continues to have some of the best coverage of current events, the political scene, and this administration. My favorite tool I just discovered is the Agenda Tracker, following the progress of all of Donald’s legislative shenanigans.
- You may have heard of Timothy Snyder’s short book On Tyranny–20 lessons based on history to help the United States avoid descending into fascist authoritarianism.
- The United States of Resistance is a hub for all resistance groups across the country. As groups continue to populate their pages, you will be able to find and connect with groups in your zip, find resources, volunteer your services, and more.
- We can change minds and have an effect. This New Yorker article by a woman who was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church–the notoriously racist, homophobic, vicious “religious” cult–after people on Twitter engaged her in conversation about her beliefs is a touching story of the power of real human connection. You can also see her powerful TED talk here (or read the transcript here), with her four-step approach to reaching out to others who may be laboring under a lifetime of inculcated misbeliefs: 1. Don’t assume bad intent (most of us believe our ideology is right and good, even if our underlying reasoning is misguided) 2. Ask questions. 3. Stay calm (a little tough, but worth it to create an atmosphere where two people can truly communicate). 4. Make the argument.
When you feel overwhelmed and discouraged about the way many in the GOP are acting, remind yourself how good people can be, like this ballet dancer who, despite a herniated disk that had kept him from performing, jumped onto the subway tracks to save this homeless man’s life after a woman pushed him.
Just for fun, watch the faces of journalists during press briefings as Sean Spicer talks.
And above all, stay strong and in the fight, warriors. Donald’s misconduct and potential illegal activities are coming to light. If we keep the pressure high to reveal them we will win.