It’s been a big week for departures in this episode of Survivor White House Edition (and it’s only Thursday). I wish I had a video to share with you of the celebratory dance I launched into, after the too scared to face the vote so I will just quit Ryan announcement, but the camera crew just wasn’t fast enough. I was told it was fun to watch. With so much exciting news to cover, as one of my favorite TV hosts says, “Let’s get to today’s…” best of the earlier than usual roundup of the good news for resistors.
- Not wanting to face his re-election tribal council without a coveted immunity necklace, Paul Ryan snuffed out his own torch. But Ryan wasn’t alone, he was joined by fellow red tribe member Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL). I’m upgrading my #BlueWave2018 to #BlueTsunami2018 (as long as we register to vote and head to the polls in November, dragging everyone we know with us).
- Lucky for us, this was a double elimination week, as the White House also lost multiple contestants after injuring themselves in a challenge by tying themselves to McMaster, and were carted out of the game, including, National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton, top homeland security aide, Tom Bossert, Nadia Schadlow, the US deputy national security adviser for strategy, and Ricky Waddell, the No. 2 official on the National Security Council.#Chaos
- Working to make sure everyone is playing fair, the FBI raided the offices and hotel room of Michael Cohen, the liar-in-chief’s lawyer, with a warrant for what news reports are saying have to do with a porn star, some possibly illegal payments, NYC taxi medallions, and more. #FBIRaid
- Oklahoma teachers called off the 9 day walkout after they secured historic gains in education funding and raises for teachers and staff while vowing to seek even more gains through the power of voting. #TeachersRock
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS: Taking the opposite approach of red tribe governors hoping to avoid elimination, the blue tribe Virginia Gov. vetoed a bill prohibiting localities from becoming sanctuary cities. The Southern Poverty Law Center has sued the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security for blocking immigrants held in extremely isolated civil immigration prisons from their ability to access lawyers claiming the constitution is still the rule in this game; and the ACLU sued them alleging immigration officials are detaining noncitizen spouses while they are at immigration offices completing the process for seeking lawful immigration status in violation of the rules.
📰REAL NEWS IS KING IN THIS GAME so for those looking for information to sway your fellow tribe mates to vote your way, you can check out the newly released searchable database tool from the Americans for Tax Fairness on how much the big corporations won from the tax scam challenge and how little they shared it with the losing little people. And information on CEO pay to employee pay ratios can now be found thanks to SEC rules to help you in your quest to distribute tribe resources more fairly if you check out this article in Bloomberg News.
👛WORKING TOWARDS ECONOMIC EQUALITY the Absolutely incredible teachers in Oklahoma took on the challenge to march 110 miles to the State capital to protest education cuts and teacher pay and when they arrived they encountered support from Teamsters who stood with them by refusing to cross the picket line to work on renovations there. California Atty. Gen. announced the state is part of a coalition of 16 attorneys general who have filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit filed by Texas and other red states seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act to argue the Texas challenge is unconstitutional. Continue reading
Teachers continue striking and marching on the capitals in Oklahoma and Kentucky, states are taking action on gun control, Sinclair media got caught forcing their “fake news” promos on networks, and we learned that Americans protested in unprecedented numbers in the last year. There are also many state legislatures in session and therefore a lot of great action taking place at state levels that I could not possibly cover all of it in this blog, so I encourage you to check out what is going on in your state. Those of you from New York may notice I have not included the merging of the Independent Democratic Committee (“IDC”) back into the Democratic caucus, as a positive thing, I feel very mixed about this and I’m not calling it a real win, I leave it to you to decide for yourself. With all that being said, my highlights for this week are;
- #TeacherWalkout Thousands of teachers marched on state capitals in Oklahoma and Kentucky, closing down schools, and demanding pay increases and better funding for schools. Teachers in Oklahoma said the legislation raising average salaries by about $6,100 a year is insufficient to bring them on par with teachers in other states and are striking for a more livable wage.
- #BlueWave2018 Judge Rebecca Dallet, a liberal-aligned and democratic party backed candidate, won election to the Wisconsin state Supreme Court, the first time a liberal candidate has been elected to a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court since 1995. Voters in the state also soundly rejected a proposal to eliminate the state treasurer.
- #LoveTrumpsBadParenting One Maryland House member helped to pass a bill prohibiting “gay conversion therapy” on minors, like the one she was threatened with as a child by her Maryland State Senator father, who voted against the ban; the governor has expressed support for the legislation.
- #FairElections A U.S. District Judge ruled that Texas was in violation of the National Voter Registration Act which requires states to give residents the opportunity to register to vote when they apply for or renew their driver’s licenses.
- #LoveisLove Costa Rica elected Carlos Alvarado Quesada for President, who campaigned on a liberal, pro-gay marriage platform and Epsy Campbell Barr for Vice President the first woman of African descent to be elected vice president not just in Costa Rica, but anywhere in North or South America.
IN OTHER ELECTION WINS Sandra Cano (D) won a special election for the Rhode Island senate and Sydney Kamlager (D) won a special election for a seat in the California Assembly, maintaining those seats in democratic control.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS are jurors, San Gabriel, and Washington State. The San Gabriel City Council voted to approve a “safe cities” resolution affirming the city’s commitment to its immigrant population. A jury awarded nearly $17 million to a former Ford engineer who sued the automaker for discrimination after supervisors repeatedly harassed him over his Middle Eastern background and accent. On a related note, Washington state will now officially observe March 31 as Cesar Chavez Day. Continue reading
The students from MSD high school and #NeverAgain have kept their message at the top of media coverage, thanks in part to the insensitive and insulting rants, by the likes of politicians, media hosts, and washed-up musicians. Have you ever seen a March Madness month where important games can’t even get top billing on CNN? Taking a page from West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, are demanding the wages and benefits they deserve. To channel this activism towards the #BlueWave2018 you can check out the newly announced Sister District candidates they are supporting. The highlights this week are;
- #ShowYourTaxes A federal judge ruled that the D.C. and Maryland may proceed with a lawsuit against the twittler-in-chief alleging he has violated the emoluments clause of the constitution’s for his company receiving payments from states and foreign governments, making this the first such lawsuit clearing the initial legal hurdle of proving that the plaintiffs have legal standing to sue.
- #RightToChoose A nationwide order temporarily preventing the government from blocking access to abortion services for teens detained in immigration custody was issued by a federal judge as part of a lawsuit.
- #Vote Maryland’s legislature passed legislation (with a veto-proof majority) adopting automatic voter registration for eligible citizens when they interact with state agencies such as the Dept. of Motor Vehicle, health-care exchange or social services offices. The 11th state to do so.
- #DreamActNow A federal judge who had previously granted an injunction preventing the termination of DACA has now also denied the administration’s request to dismiss the case using strong language suggesting there is racial bias in the decision to end DACA.
- #FairWages Oklahoma approved the largest ever pay raise for teachers and staff, but the teacher’s union is standing strong and is still prepared to strike for better school funding and larger increases to bring their salaries on par with other states. Arizona is next.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS is what members of the Springfield Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition (MA) and the First Universalist Society in New York City are doing by providing sanctuary to women and their families who are in fear of deportation. Together Juntos Caravan started its travel across Texas to educate immigrants about their constitutional rights. Thirteen states have stated that they have or intend to sue to block the citizenship question on the 2020 census. Continue reading
It has been an exhausting and significant week of news on so many fronts. The student activists organized powerful and emotionally moving marches across the country, with estimates of 800,000 in D.C. alone. The Omnibus spending bill was signed and it includes funding for many important areas such as the EPA and education and does not fund a big beautiful see-through wall. And of course you are getting your popcorn and shot glass ready for tonight’s 60 Minutes interview to kick off what will no doubt be another crazy week. This is an edited version of the weekly post. My highlights for this week are;
- #MarchForOurLives The turnout and coverage of the March for Our Lives protests rivaled or may have even surpassed that of the Women’s marches. The media was forced to talk with, listen to, and report on the young people speaking and organizing as most of the adults behind the scenes, including celebrities, refused to be part of the media coverage. Their message was clear, loud, and powerful. I’m in awe and like many others, they give me hope for the future. I don’t think you need me to point you to news coverage. My favorite signs from the NY March
- #ImmigrationReform A Colorado judge ruled that the El Paso County Sheriff cannot continue to jail suspected undocumented immigrants passed the time state law requires their release in order to give ICE more time to pick them up under a detainer request and ordered the sheriff’s office stop the practice. And the Supreme Court declined to hear a case seeking to prevent Arizona’s DACA recipients from keeping their state driver’s licenses.
- #RightToChoose A U.S District Judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks.
- #ClimateChangeIsReal Not only are children working to save us from gun violence, they are also working to save us from destroying the planet as a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lawsuit by young people claiming the federal government is violating their constitutional rights by ignoring the harms caused by climate change can proceed.
- #BlueWave2018 It’s a great time to be a voter in PA as both the U.S. Supreme Court and a three judge panel of a U.S. District Court declined a request by republicans to block the newly drawn, and now free of unfair gerrymandering Pennsylvania congressional map for the 2018 elections.
- #Vote Washington Gov. signed a package of bills aimed at increasing voter participation by instituting automatic voter registration for citizens obtaining a state driver’s license or identification card.
💰BIG WINNERS IN THE OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL – SPOILER ALERT – NOT THE PERSON WHO MADE AN EMPTY THREAT TO VETO IT While the budget is over 2,000 pages and it was just released a lot of the details are not yet fully analyzed yet, but what is clear is that Congress rejected a lot of the bad-negotiator-in-chief’s budget demands. The Education Secretary’s agenda of spending 1 billion on private/charter school choice was ignored, and Congress kept funding for after-school programs for needy youth, programs to help low-income students go to college, and money for the Office for Civil Rights among others. A slew of provisions that would have gutted environmental and campaign finance laws were removed to win democratic support and the EPA saw no cut in funding. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities will continue to get funding. The Election Assistance Commission will receive $380 million for state funding for election-related cybersecurity and the FBI gets $300 million for counterintelligence to combat Russian hacking. Only $1.6 billion was for defenses on the U.S.-Mexico border, but most of the money is earmarked for specific projects that were likely to have been funded regardless of the election, but the biggest gift was the prohibition of using the funding to build any of the new big, beautiful wall prototypes.
IN OTHER GUN REFORM AND GUN CONTROL ACTIVISM NEWS The Omnibus spending bill also takes a step in the right direction on gun control, it “clarifies” that the CDC can’t use taxpayer funds to promote or advocate for gun control, but specifies that the CDC does have the authority to conduct research on gun violence. This weakens the “Dickey Amendment” which has prohibited the CDC from gun research for years. In New York City, a local NRA fundraiser has now been booted from two popular venues because of community outage and Moms Demand Action showed up in the snow for Advocacy Day in NY. The #Pennridge225 students continue to serve detention for participating in the March 17th walkout, by sitting in silence, arms linked in a circle, with the names of the Parkland shooting victims on them, with supports outside the school.
COMPANIES LIKE CITIGROUP AND YOUTUBE DO THEIR PART FOR GUN CONTROL Citigroup will stop doing business with clients that sell high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, including small business, commercial and institutional clients, and credit card partners, including co-brand or private label. YouTube introduced tighter restrictions on videos and now bans videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories and videos with instructions on assembling firearms. Kroger announced it will no longer sell print magazines featuring assault rifles. Continue reading
Young people are refusing to let their efforts at, or even news coverage of, their push for gun reforms and safety at school fade away. Their call for a March 14th, 17 minute walkout led to actions across the country and around the world, from one student in North Carolina standing alone, to schools with full support. The images of their walkouts spread across the news, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms were heartwarming. These actions followed a day after Connor Lamb caused much angst to the Republicans party. It was another inspiring week of action for progressives and my highlights are;
- #BlueWave2018 Connor Lamb won the special election for a House seat in a PA district the twittler-in-chief, carried by 20 percentage points. While votes are being recounted, the recount is not likely to change the outcome.
- #ClimateChangeIsReal A U.S. District Court Judge determined that the EPA violated the law when it failed to announce by Oct. 1 which areas of the country were not in compliance with ozone pollution rules and ordered the EPA to publish the findings for the rest of the country by April 30.
- #BlackLivesMatter A jury awarded $33.5 million in damages, including $18 million in punitive damages, to the parents of a black man who was fatally shot by a California officer, finding he unreasonably detained the man, delayed medical aid, was negligent in use of deadly force.
- #ProtectDACA The Indiana Legislature passed legislation to lift a prohibition on “Dreamers” from obtaining state professional licenses and the governor says he supports the measure.
- #LoveIsLove Dean Trantalis was elected the first openly gay mayor of Fort Lauderdale Florida.
- #ImmigrationReformNow An ICE spokesman resigned and stated that he could not support the perpetuation of false and misleading statements made by Jeff Sessions and ICE’s acting director regarding the Oakland (CA) mayor’s warning about an ICE raid.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS In California, the Long Beach Values Act was passed expanding the cities sanctuary cities policies and an undocumented immigrant was named was appointed to statewide advisory committee on low-income college student California students. The Virginia Governor made clear he intends to veto anti-sanctuary cities law passed by the legislature. The ACLU sued the Administration on behalf of U.S. children whose parents from El Salvador had their Temporary Protected Status terminated challenging the termination as a constitutional violation of the children’s rights. The Westchester County Board of Legislators passed the Immigration Protection Act, which prevents Westchester County from using any of its resources to assist in federal investigations based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity or national origin. Continue reading
The March 17th walkout is coming up, while the students continue advocating, and democrats have a chance to flip a seat in a special election in PA. This upcoming week has so many opportunities for engagement, so consider phone banking, postcard writing with Postcards to Voters, and calling, texting, and writing your elected official on any issue that matters to you. Let’s make more good things happen next week just like we did this week. The highlights are;
- #WVTeachers West Virginia striking school teachers and staff won their demand for a 5% pay increase ending their 9 day strike and the state also included legislation that will give all state employees a 5% raise during upcoming budget negotiations;
- #BlueWave2018 Democrats turned out in the highest numbers in Texas primaries in 16 years, with over one million dems voting;
- #GunReform Florida passed a range of gun limit laws, including raising the minimum age to purchase rifles from 18 to 21, a three-day waiting period for most gun purchases, restricting bump stocks, and creating new mental health programs for schools and aims to restrict guns to those with signs of mental illness;
- #NoHate A federal court ruled that Idaho must allow transgender people to change the sex listed on their birth certificate in a constitutionally-sound approval process and the reissued birth certificate must not include any record of amendment to the listed sex or name change;
- #VotingRights A San Francisco Superior Court Judge ruled that before rejecting ballots voters must be given a chance to explain and correct any discrepancies, such as signatures, so their ballot may be still be counted.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Hudson County (NJ) terminated a memorandum of agreement with ICE which helped the Homeland Security to “flag” any arrested foreign-born individuals brought to the jail for potential deportation. The ACLU filed a class-action lawsuit accusing the administration of indiscriminately separating immigrant families seeking asylum. Continue reading
With the students protesting, Moms Demanding Action at the state houses, teachers on the picket lines, Dreamers sitting in at the Capital, men hiding from women standing up against harassment or out cutting their AR 15’s into pieces, who will even be home to answer the calls and door knocks of the hundreds of thousand of people on the ground mobilized by groups such as Indivisible, Planned Parenthood, People Power by the ACLU, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Let America vote? And let’s not forget that the social media war against guns is still going strong thanks to the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who now have more followers than the NRA after just two weeks. It has been an inspiring week and some of the HIGHLIGHTS are;
- Democrats flipped seats in New Hampshire and Connecticut. Philip Spagnuolo won a state house seat in a district 45 carried by a 13-points and in Connecticut, Philip Young won s state house seat in a district that has been Republican for decades. Democratic have now flipped seats in Wisconsin, Florida, Kentucky and Missouri. #Democrats
- The teachers in West Virginia are holding firm on their 7th day of striking for better wages and healthcare benefits. #TeachersRock
- The Supreme Court issued a ruling that means the administration is temporarily blocked from ending the DACA program leaving in place the injunction against eliminating it for those already in the program. #DreamActNow
- A U.S. District Judge issued an injunction that prevents the administration from revoking DACA grants and work permits without notice, explanation, or the opportunity to respond, and certified the case as a class action, making the injunction apply nationwide. #ImmigrationReform
- The National Labor Relations Board vacated a decision that made it harder for workers and unions to hold corporations responsible for the actions of their franchises after an Inspector General’s report that a 45 appointee to the board should have recused himself from the case because of a conflict. #EthicsMatter
- Democrats in North Carolina announced that for the first time they will have a candidate running for every one of the 170 State House and Senate seats. You have to be in it to win it. #BlueWave2018
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Continue reading