FIRST WE TOOK ALABAMA – NOW MISSOURI – THE BLUE WAVE IS ROLLING!

With the Olympics starting and the Philadelphia Eagles winning their first ever Superbowl it feels like sports are both a metaphor and a representation of the resistance this week. We saw an underdog democrat winning a race, the first gay athletes at the winter games, football players refusing to attend a White House celebration, and a handshake representing a public easing of tensions in Korea. It was hard to keep up with all the good news. On another note, please accept my apologies in advance for typos and grammar mistakes The blog is mostly a one woman show done in my spare time between working, being a mom, and fighting for change, and the research alone takes many hours. Now onto the best news items;

  • Democrat Mike Revis won a special election to the Missouri House of Representatives, flipping the seat blue in a district 45 won by 28 points. #BlueWave2018
  • The Supreme Court refused to grant a stay in the Pennsylvania gerrymandering case so new districts must be redrawn in time for the May 2018 primaries. The republican led legislature then met the deadline for submitting the new maps to the court after threatening not to. #StopGerrymandering
  • A NY State Supreme Court judge ruled a defendant’s ability to pay must be considered when imposing bail as a condition of pretrial detention. #NoMoneyBail
  • France’s President announced the EU will not make trade agreements with any country that has not signed on to the Paris Climate Agreement (the US is the only non-signer). #ClimateChangeisReal
  • A U.S. District Court judge issued a decision with a host of important wins for citizens and immigrants. She found the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept. and federal officials violated the rights of suspected immigrants who were detained beyond the time they should have been released from jail on their criminal matters. She also rules that the immigrants were improperly denied no-cash bail due to detainers requests. The judge also found the practice of ICE issuing detainer requests without obtaining an administrative warrant violates its own statutory arrest authority and that federal agents can’t issue a detainer for a person solely because the person was born in another country and lacked an immigration file in the federal databases. #DreamActNow

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ONLY THE REAL GOOD NEWS, NO EMPTY MEMOS HERE!

There was so many good things going on this week that I just didn’t have time to pay attention to meaningless televised speeches or memos so there will be no mention of them anywhere here. Instead, as you know I try each week to show important it is to not just take back Congress, but state houses and city and county governments so that we can achieve change in our communities and win back fair election districts. Please consider helping the good people of Florida and Sister District elect Margaret Good for the Florida House in the Feb 13th special election. With that bit of request for you to take action out of the way, here are some highlights for this week of what the resistance can be proud of are;

  • San Francisco and San Diego District Attorneys announced their offices will retroactively apply California’s marijuana-legalization laws to past criminal cases, expunging or reducing convictions going back decades, without those convicted having to pursue the expungement on their own. #SupportLegalMarijuana
  • A U.S. District Judge ruled Florida’s process for restoring voting rights to ex-felons, where partisan officials have extraordinary authority to withhold the right to vote from hundreds of thousands of people without any constraints, guidelines, or standards, is unconstitutional. #VotingRightsForAll
  • The Arizona House voted to expel Rep. Don Shooter for “dishonorable behavior” as a result of proven sexual harassment and they confiscated his gun. #MeToo
  • Senate Democrats blocked a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks and a U.S. District Judge issued a temporary injunction against a Texas law that required medical providers to bury or cremate fetal remains from miscarriages and abortions and banned a common second-trimester abortion procedure widely known as a D&C.  #MyBodyMyChoice
  • A New York Appeals court held that a same sex couple is entitled to the same presumption as a heterosexual couple, that a child born during a marriage is presumed to be the two spouses’ child, and refused a paternity petition by the sperm donor. #LoveisLove
  • A U.S. District Court judge ruled the abrupt detention of an undocumented immigrant at his check-in prior to the date of his stay of removal unconstitutional and cruel, saying he was entitled to the freedom to say goodbye, and that those who have lived without incident in this country for years, have not and should not, be subjected to treatment we associate with regimes we revile as unjust, where people may be taken without notice from streets, home and work and sent away and woe be the day that we become that country under a fiction that laws allow it. #WeAreAllImmigrants

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CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF FAIR ELECTIONS THIS YEAR!

The government has re-opened and we continue to fight for what is right, focusing on the big picture. The marchers inspired us last week, but it was the women gymnasts who came forward to speak poignantly about abuse at the hands of someone who was supposed to help them. That showed us what inner strength and courage looks like. Not only were the athlete’s courage a source of positivity, there were other good things that happened this week and the highlight’s are:

  • Vermont become the seventh state to allow recreational marijuana and the first state where it was legalized by a state legislature and not voter referendum. #LegalPot
  • The PA Supreme Court found the state’s GOP-drawn congressional districts violate its Constitution and ordered all districts redrawn in time for the congressional primaries. This follows on the heels of good decisions in the lower courts in North Carolina and Wisconsin. #NoVoterSupression
  • EPA backs away from allowing gold mining near Bristol Bay in Alaska putting one of the world’s largest fisheries for sockeye salmon at risk. #SaveThePlanet
  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the EPA cannot shelter its “waters of the United States” rule (WOTUS)  from judicial review by limiting the federal courts where suits can be brought for violations. The Clean Water Act, allows those harmed by WOTUS to sue in any federal district court within six years, but the EPA rewrote the rules limiting cases to only the federal courts of appeal and only within 120 days and kept all the challenges to a single appellate court. #StoptheEPA
  • Newly elected NJ democratic Governor reverted the state back to the rule that required residents to show a justifiable need to carry a firearm because they had been the target of “specific threats” or attacks. #GunControlNow
  • Democrat Austin Davis won a special election to the PA House of Representatives and is the first black man in the county to be elected outside of downtown Pittsburgh. While it is a traditionally democratic district he outperformed prior candidates, winning 74 to 26. Since you can only win if you run, I will mention that Ballotpedia reports that as of January 2018, a total of 21 U.S. House races do not have a Democratic candidate and 65 do not have a Republican candidate. #Bluewave2018        IN MORE GOOD NEWS…

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POWER TO THE POLLS – MARCHERS SCREAM OUT THE RESISTANCE ISN’T SLOWING DOWN

This weekend’s Women’s Marches were a source of inspiration. To see hundreds of thousands people come out in cities and towns all across the country to show that a year later our voices have not be silenced and we will not sit idly by and watch our rights and our democracy be dismantled was awesome. This year’s march was all about power to the polls as it kicked off a swing state get out the vote and voter registration drive with a rally in Las Vegas. But not only did we march this weekend, but there were also a lot of other good things that happened this week. The highlights are;

  • ELECTION WIN Democrat Patty Schachtner won the special election for the Wisconsin SD10 state senate seat flipping a solidly republican held seat. #bluewave2018
  • GUN CONTROL NJ passed a law banning the sale or possession of bump stocks. #GunControlNow
  • STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Washington State will no longer release personal information from the Department of Licensing to federal immigration authorities without a court order unless required by law. #IStandWithImmigrants
  • NOT STOPPING THE FIGHT FOR NET NEUTRALITY Attorneys general from 22 states filed a lawsuit to stop the FCC’’s repeal of net neutrality. #SaveNetNeutrality
  • BAIL REFORM Delaware moved one step closer to bail reform with the legislature sending a bill to the democratic governor that encourages judges to first consider using other pretrial release conditions as opposed to money bail and to use a risk-assessment tool to determine the appropriateness of those options for the defendant. #BailReform

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DREAMERS CAN DREAM A LITTLE WHILE LONGER!

After tweeting “Gerrymandering illegal, DACA put on hold, African American Senators on Judiciary Committee for the first time in this century, Feinstein releases GPS testimony, and Bannon forced from Breitbart and it is only Wednesday” I had to sift through a lot of shitholes to finish out the week and find you all the good news for the resistance. But no matter what else grabbed our attention, there is still a full list of positive things that happened this week. Some highlights are;

  • A U.S. District Judge blocked the termination of DACA while it is litigated, finding that the decision to rescind it was based on a flawed legal premise. The icing on the cake was the court referencing some of 45’s own tweets as evidence and the administration, citing the decision, announced it is again accepting DACA renewals. #CleanDREAMActNow
  • Sen. Feinstein released the transcript of the Senate Judiciary interview with Fusion GPS founder over the “Pee Pee dossier.” #TransparentGovernment
  • A Florida judge permanently blocked and declared unconstitutional a law requiring a woman wait at least 24 hours after seeing her doctor before having an abortion in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU. #RightToChoose #ACLUWinsAgain
  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously rejected a proposal by the Energy Secretary to subsidize nuclear and coal power plants, helping a handful of well connected companies, while raising rates for consumers under the bogus claim it was needed to provide for emergencies and the Supreme Court declined to hear a coal company’s appeal of an EPA ruling that the EPA does not have to  regularly report on the impact to coal jobs from its regulations. #COALisDEAD
  • A U.S. District Court held North Carolina congressional districts are unconstitutionally partisan and gave them three weeks to file a new plan so it will be in place before the 2018 elections all on the heels of last week’s dissolution of the Voter Suppression Panel. Outgoing Virginia Governor restored the voting rights of 200,000 felons by signing individual restoration orders for each person. #VotingRightsForAll

Read on to get all the rest of what went right to build up your strength for next weekend’s big Women’s Marches all across the country.  Find your nearest one here. Continue reading

THE 2017 YEAR IN REVIEW

As part of my end of year review, I read over my prior posts and was reminded of the resourcefulness, ingenuity, and unity we showed during this difficult year. Places that I never expected to see progressive activism, surprised me, some acts made me simile like tying up the new ICE Alien hotline with reports of Space Aliens and some so moving and touching it brought me to tears, such as the woman who is the designated guardian for 1,800 U.S. children should their parents be deported. Communities from Alabama to W. Virginia that I never expected to elect democrats, people of color, immigrants, and those from the LGBTQ community, surprised  with their votes.  So many people, companies, courts, organizations, communities, states, and countries did so many good things to make the world a better and more fair world this past year that to include them all would make this a novel. I believe I have grown stronger, more resilient, and more committed than ever, even if I have the occasional day when I Google “How to move to Canada” and I hope you feel the same, because we need each other now just as much as we did a year ago.

Activists showed all kinds of perseverance and creativity in expressing their views, in addition to the millions of phone calls, emails, postcards, letters, twitter messages, and pizza and cake messages, when other forms of mail were rejected.

  • Hanging inspiring resistance banners in awesome places on land and sea, such as D.C. cranes, the statue of liberty, Trump properties and boats by golf courses. Projecting words of resistance on the outside of prominent buildings, along with billboards, mobile messaging vans, and even videos in front of the Washington monument. Hundreds of people using their bodies to spell out protest sayings in different places to be seen from the air.
  • Citizens broke records attending and holding Town Hall meetings in every state, with and without the appearance of their representative, with many meeting videos going viral. Civic engagement gave rise to millions of comments on multiple rules on the federal rules website during comment periods, record-breaking calls and faxes to Congress.
  • Showing up in the rain, sleet, snow, and heat across the country for protests big and small almost every day since the election. We saw anti-hate activists put their lives on the line to come out against white-supremacists at marches in multiple cities outnumbering the hate. And let’s not forget the biggest coordinated world-wide march for women’s rights this planet has ever seen as well as the largest Tax and Science marches.
  • We saw #NeverTheLessShePersisted #ReclaimingMyTime #BareArms from democratic MoC and NFL players #TakingTheKnee against racial inequality

THE POWER OF THE PROGRESSIVE WALLET The new GRABYOURWALLET movement used boycotts to get major retailers to stop selling trump branded merchandize and hundreds of advertisers to pull out from advertising on shows when they promoted hate, fake news, and right-wing garbage (Hannity and O’Reilly included), and SLEEPING GIANTS got over 3,000 advertisers to stop placing ads on Breitbart and  Google changed policies making it easier for advertisers to prevent their ads from appearing on offensive sites.

NEW TOOLS AND ORGANIZATIONS for organizing and making our collective power heard harnessing the power of technology, including, 5 CALLS, RESISTBOT, DAILY ACTION, the RESISTANCE CALENDAR, PEOPLE POWER, and more, to make it easier for people to stay informed and to take quick actions. Groups formed or expanded to help us organize and win at the ballot box, such as Indivisible, Sister District, Flippable, Run For Something, Run Everywhere, Emily’s List and more, with over 22,000 reaching out to them for help running for office, and the Resistance Revival Chorus to bring us music. Feel free to add in your favorite new organization or tool.

MAJOR ELECTION WINS starting with Stephanie Hansen in Delaware, progressives in red states and red counties saw that people all across the country are there to support them by showing up for them with their feet and their wallets. SO LET’S RECOUNT a few of our biggest wins, Governor of New Jersey and Virginia, Alabama elected Doug Jones to replace Jeff Sessions, won trifectas in Washington and New Jersey, record number of women ran and were elected as mayor, council members, school board members, and other elected officials, 7 cities in Utah alone saw first time women mayors as did New Orleans. Dozens of gay candidates elected across the country as were 8 transgendered candidates. We saw the first Sikh mayor elected in New Jersey and first Sudanese American in Iowa.

WE STOPPED THE ACA REPEAL FROM HAPPENING IN 2017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WE SHOWED THAT IMMIGRANTS ARE WELCOME HERE by STOPPING THE FIRST AND SECOND VERSIONS OF THE TRAVEL BAN through the use of our vital donations to the ACLU and others, by showing up by the thousands to protest at major international airports across the country and having hundreds of volunteer lawyers provided on the spot legal representation. Advocates and communities fought and won the release of many undocumented immigrants with U.S. families, disabilities, and no criminal convictions from being deported. New York State and Chicago were among the jurisdictions to substantially increase funding for representing residents facing deportation. Many cities and towns, and the State of California officially declared themselves “sanctuary cities” and the courts said the federal government cannot withhold funds because of this status

ABORTION IS STILL LEGAL AND AVAILABLE IN EVERY STATE AND WOMEN STILL HAVE A RIGHT TO INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR BIRTH CONTROL. Thanks to Planned Parenthood, AG’s and others, Courts blocked a lot of legislative threats to a woman’s right to choose and access to birth control, including laws in bastions of liberalness such as Arkansas, Mississippi, and Indiana. States passed legislation to protect or expand access to birth control or strengthen access to abortion including Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Delaware and Alaska. The federal courts have so far stopped the repeal of the requirement for birth control coverage from the ACA for religious reasons.

IN THIS MIST OF ALL THIS POLITICAL ACTIVISM THE #METOO MOVEMENT finally gained traction and brought the spotlight on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and took down big names in politics, entertainment, news, law, education, and corporate America, and I think we are only getting started.

BABY STEPS ON GUN CONTROL HAPPENED the Maryland ban on assault weapons and California limits were upheld.

THE PLANET HAS NOT YET BEEN ABANDONED The Sierra Club, NRDC, and many others brought lawsuit after lawsuit, to stop the EPA, the Dept. Of the Interior, and others from harming the planet. After the administration announced withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, hundreds of cities and States organized themselves into Climate alliances to agree to abide by the accord regardless of national policy and many fortune 500 companies and Universities pledged to do the same. Maryland banned fracking. A number of companies announced the closing of coal mines and coal-based utility plants and states expanded solar and wind power plans. Other countries stepped up and replaced lost U.S. funding with grants of their own. States and cities expanded their protections of their own environments, like Oregon putting a stop to Nestle taking spring water.

SEEKING REAL ONE PERSON ONE VOTE FOR 2018 AND BEYOND as gains were made in the fight against gerrymandering in Wisconsin, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Texas and North Carolina voter ID’s laws were struck down. The Presidential Voter Suppression Panel has accomplished nothing and has hardly even met they are so bogged down in lawsuits. Social media sites added rules to show who is funding political ads. Groups continue to fight voter suppression in the courts and statehouse.

LGBTQ PEOPLE MADE GAINS IN ACCEPTANCE including the election of multiple transgender candidates at local and state-wide offices. The first of the states and Districts to allow a gender “x” on state id’s included Oregon and Washington. The fist all LGBTQ city council was elected as were many first time LGBTQ candidates in their districts. The attempt to ban transgender military members has so far been blocked by the courts. California added LGBTQ studies as part of their education curriculum.

STOPPING HATE AND THE MONUMENTS TO THEM – Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites have upped the policing of their sites for racist and other unacceptable forms of speech and began deactivating those that violate these policies. Cities began removing confederate monuments and other forms of honor to those who fought for slavery and Georgetown University set the bar high for how to make amends and admitted their first undergraduate student under their new policy to not only give the descendants of the slaves they owned admission to the University, but dedicated the resources to research to track down those descendants.

AROUND THE WORLD Iceland made equal pay a requirement, France, the Netherlands, South Korea, and Iceland elected progressive leaders and a record number of women won seats in England’s parliament, Serbia selected the first female and openly gay prime minister, and Germany, Australia, and Malta legalized same sex marriage.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE WAS FOUGHT FOR AN AND WON IN STATES AND IN THE COURTS The Supreme Court expanded what is racial bias in a jury, placed more restrictions on the death penalty for the mentally impaired, required the automatic return of criminal fees when found not guilty of a crime, The SPLC and others won in efforts to stop some localities from running modern day versions of debtor’s prisons as well as large awards for people subjected to police and judicial wrong doing.  Marijuana was decriminalized in a number of local jurisdictions and New Hampshire. Forms of bail reform was passed or went into effect in Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana and Mississippi.

ON THE EDUCATION FRONT – The Supreme Court expanded the scope of special education rights, Arkansas passed a law requiring more coverage of civil rights in schools. New York made four-year college free for low and middles class families and Tennessee made two-year college education free.

MANY RIGHT-WING, UNQUALIFIED, AND CONFLICT-RIDEN NOMINEES FOR HIGH LEVEL POSITIONS WERE FORCED TO WITHDRAW and MANY WHO MADE IT DIDN’T LAST LONG starting with some now long forgotten names such as Andy Puzder, convicted felon Sheriff Clark, the Trump family wedding planning, and federal court judges who had never been in a federal courtroom.  With probably the largest revolving door administration in history, the blood loss started with Michael Flynn at only 10 seconds and includes favorites such as Steve Bannon, Sean Spicer, the “Mooch”, Reince Priebus, and Tom Price.

LET’S NOT FORGET THE LAUGHS WE HAD ALONG THE WAY the Melania-baby-man-hand swat (twice), the epic handshake battles, the creepy Pope photo, the “Mooch” (thought I forgot him didn’t you?) and all things Covfefe, as we watched the trump name come off of multiple Trump managed buildings because no one wanted to live, stay, work, or shop there.

There were so many other accomplishments on issues such as school lunch shaming, child brides, EEOC and consumer protection, increasing minimum wage laws and paid sick time at the local level, women and people of color breaking barriers and gaining leadership positions that are just too numerous to include. Groups like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, saw huge increases in donations and millions was raised for community bail funds and DACA renewal fees. Take a perusal through the past posts if you need more reminders of WHAT WENT RIGHT.

While we may have lost some battles, I truly believe that not only those who stand for progressive causes, but those who stand for humanity and fairness, are more united, more energized, more active, and more willing to put their money and their bodies were their mouths are and will continue to fight every day to save this country from hate and inequality until their last breath. Thank you all for reading and sharing my small contribution to trying to keep our spirits up and inspire us to keep on fighting every day.

A DOSE OF GOODNESS TO END THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND

Believe it or not there was plenty of positive things that happened last week. I hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend and hope this good news brings you some holiday cheer. Don’t forget to sign up for the weekly summary if you haven’t already, you don’t want to miss the year-end review next week. The highlights for this week include;

  • A jury acquitted six people on charges of rioting and destruction of property connected to violent protests during the presidential inauguration.
  • 8.8 million people enrolled in an ACA health plan during the open enrollment period in the 39 states that use the healthcare.gov website, close to the number of people who signed up last year.
  • Another U.S.Court of Appeals ruled that the third version of the travel ban violates the law (but the decision is on hold until SCOTUS makes a decision).
  • When Tennessee refused to grant Memphis permission to take down confederate statues in local parks, the Memphis City Council then voted to sell the public parks containing the monuments to a private entity, Memphis Greenspace, which immediately took down the monuments.
  • Seven undocumented immigrant youth risked deportation by staging a sit-in at the Capitol building, and are now staging a hunger strike after their arrest. #DACANow
  • A second U.S. judge blocked the administration from enforcing new rules allowing employers to opt out of providing insurance coverage for women’s birth control.
  • Under new rules to combat bigotry and hate, Twitter started removing accounts, belonging to white nationalist and far-right extremists, including leaders of Britain First, the American Nazi Party, and so many others.

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