Let’s not be distracted by the smoke and mirrors and instead take a deep breath and a moment to consider the good that was drowned out this week ending 5/13/17.
- We are making progress on the Russia-Trump investigation. The republican led Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed documents from Michael Flynn’s associates after declining to give Flynn immunity. A financial intelligence unit in the Treasury Department has agreed to turn over financial records related to twittler and associates at the Committee’s request. This week a third republican signed onto democratic legislation to create an independent commission to investigate Russian election interference. And who can forget that Sally Yates testified calm, cool, and collected, at the Senate hearing that the WH was told Flynn was compromised by the Russians.
- The FBI raided the Annapolis office of Strategic Campaign Group, a Republican fundraising and campaign consulting firm representing Republican candidates around the country. Can’t wait to hear all about it when criminal charges follow.
- The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking information the WH is using as the basis for its voter fraud claims and the new executive order establishing a “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.” The WH was ordered by a federal judge to disclose a memo drafted under the guidance of Rudy Giuliani that the Arab American Civil Rights League argues served as an outline requested by the WH to make the travel ban look like it wasn’t aimed at Muslims.
- Three republicans joined the democrats in the Senate to block a resolution to repeal an Obama-era rule restricting methane emissions from drilling operations on public lands. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s had archived EPA data posted on the city’s website saying “while this information may not be readily available on the agency’s webpage right now, here in Chicago we know climate change is real and we will continue to take action to fight it” and is promising to add more. A federal judge ruled the EPA should not have approved a particularly toxic strain of pesticides called neonicotinoids that have killed hundreds of thousands of bees. Tillerson signed the Fairbanks Declaration, which states the foreign leaders signing it “recognize that activities taking place outside the Arctic region, including activities occurring in Arctic states, are the main contributors to climate change effects and pollution in the Arctic, and underlining the need for action at all levels”, paralleling the Paris Climate Agreement. I hope he remembers to tell his boss he did this. Even the jewelry company Tiffany & Co is trying to save the planet. They said on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and in an ad in the New York Times “Dear President Trump. We’re still in for bold climate action. Please keep the U.S. in the Paris Climate Agreement. The disaster of climate change is too real, and the threat to our planet and to our children is too great.”
- The Jesuits are returning more than 500 acres in South Dakota to the Rosebud Sioux, given to them in the 1880s for use as churches and cemeteries by the U.S. government. The Jesuits said “It’s now time to give back to the tribe all of those pieces of land that rightly belongs to them”.
- Democratic Rep. Maloney held a town hall in republican Rep. Faso’s district since Faso refused to meet with his own constituents. Maloney told the crowd of over 300 that he was on hand to “adopt” the 19th district and “If at any time [Faso] wants to come here and do his job, well I will pack up and I will leave.” More Democrat led town halls in republican districts without them are being planned. And speaking of town halls, the Town Hall Project that will locate your local town hall for you, including “empty chair” ones where the community holds them even when their rep chooses not to. Arizona, NY, NC and Texas have some this month, check them out.
- Connecticut joined a number of other states and passed a ban on gay conversion therapy. Oregon decided the Elliott State Forest, will stay in public ownership, bringing an end to Oregon’s years-long flirtation with divesting the land. Maryland’s Public Service Commission approved subsidies to support two large scale wind farms, making them viable projects. The wind farms are expected to prevent emissions of hundreds of thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide and create 5,000 jobs.
- In more strong women good news, Connie Schroeder a civil engineer, defeated a 27-year veteran Council Member to become Bastrop, Texas’ first female Mayor. I previously reported that Jeanette Vizguerra, an Immigrant seeking refuge in a church to avoid deportation was named a TIME magazine 100 most influential people in the US, and now ICE has granted her a stay of deportation through March 2019. She can now leave the church without fear and resume her life.
- Like France, South Korea is also rejecting conservatives. Moon Jae-in, an opposition leader won the presidential election, ending a decade of conservative rule.
- Resistance inspires creativity, like the dude who posed for a photo with Speaker Ryan at a pancake breakfast while wearing a “Repeal and go f*ck yourself” shirt and posted it on Instagram. You can see it here. And the Rational Dress Society who are recycling and repurposing Ivanka Trump clothing into cool items.
Check out the new page on the blog with resources for resisting and bringing about change. It isn’t too late to comment on EPA rule rollbacks or protecting national monuments as over 150,000 of you did to the FCC to protect net neutrality. Keep on calling and fighting, and don’t forget to vote in your local elections.