The trial of Paul Manafort continues on, new investigations and criminal charges follow those associated with the thief-in-chief, including his first republican endorser, his former lawyer, and his Secretary of the Interior, bringing us a chance to see criminal politicians accountable for their crimes. Primaries are bringing out loads of democratic voters and progressive candidates are breaking new ground. We may not yet know if Danny O’Connor won in Ohio, but we do know that lots of great actions happened this week and here is a brief roundup of some that hopefully inspire you to keep on fighting for our democracy, My highlights are:
- #FightFor15 Voters in Missouri overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative striking down an anti-union, “right-to-work.” law which bars the collection of fees from private-sector workers who choose not to become union members.
- #ImmigrantRights A federal judge ordered the administration to turn a plane around that was transporting two asylum seekers back to El Salvador who were fighting deportation in the case before him brought by the ACLU.
- #ThereIsNoPlanetB A federal appeals court ordered the EPA to stop allowing the pesticide chlorpyrifos to be used because the agency’s own research showed it had harmful effects on children and farmworkers.
- #Voter A federal judge invalidated part of North Carolina elections law that allows one voter to challenge another’s residency, a provision in a case brought by the NAACP and others.
- #LoveIsLove Costa Rica’s supreme court declared that existing laws banning gay marriage were unconstitutional and gave the legislature 18 months to change the law to allow gay marriage.
☑️ ELECTION RESULTS
- Kansas Democrats selected Sharice Davids as the state’s first openly gay, Native American nominee for Congress.
- Rashida Tlaib, a Muslim, child of immigrants, endorsed by progressive groups, won the democratic primary for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, and since she is running unopposed in the general election is poised to become the first Muslim woman ever elected to Congress.
- Last week, not only did the three democrats I reported on win their elections in Tennessee, but overall Democrats in the state won 21 of 26 county offices up for grabs.
- In the first primary since the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer, in which the St. Louis DA failed to obtain a grand jury indictment against the Officer, the 28-year DA was defeated by Wesley Bell who ran on a platform of reform.
- The Missouri GOP Senate candidate, Courtland Sykes, who claims women should be “traditional homemakers,” lost his bid for the party nomination.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS The Idaho Supreme Court held that an undocumented immigrant’s immigration status isn’t an absolute bar from long-term disability payments in addition to the workers’ compensation and temporary disability payments they are already eligible for if they are injured on the job. The Army is suspending discharges of foreign-born recruits who enlisted as part of a special military program that put them on the path to U.S. citizenship, following lawsuits by soldiers challenging their dismissal. A federal appeals court ruled that the U.S. constitution protects Mexican citizens from being shot by border patrol agents across the border without good cause.
AND STILL FIGHTING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS – The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against the administration over its decision to remove asylum protections for victims of domestic and gang violence. The judge then blocked the administration from deporting any of the plaintiffs while the case is pending and threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt. Freedom for Immigrants in California has raised over $100,000 for the Richmond ICE bail fund and is now training volunteers in the arduous task of completing the bail process. A Nebraska public school stepped up and offered sanctuary and help to families after I.C.E. raided local businesses. Resistance Nashville has again shut down entrances to CoreCivic and Abolish ICE Philly shut down traffic outside an ICE building.
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE The New York City Council passed legislation to cap UBER, LYFT, and other rideshare vehicles in an effort to address the declining wages for drivers and allow them to study and set a minimum pay rate for drivers. A federal judge ruled that the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is constitutional. Neighborhoods First Alliance and other proponents of a citywide paid sick leave ordinance in San Antonio packed City Hall.
👨🏿⚖️WINNING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE A federal judge ruled Memphis gathered “political intelligence” against activists violating a 1978 agreement against such actions, in a partial win for the ACLU of Tennessee in their case against the Memphis Police Department. AND FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE 200 students from youth-led organizations rallied in NYC to demand the Mayor eliminate arrests and summons in NYC schools. The ACLU sued the Flint Police Department for placing a year old student in handcuffs. Former NFL player Randy Moss was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame wearing a tie with the names of 12 black men and women who were killed by police. A number of Miami Dolphins football players took a knee, sat out, or raised their fists during the national anthem before the team’s game.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered a temporary halt to construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline after a decision by a federal appeals court to toss out key federal permits issued for the project. A California jury found Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weed killers, including Roundup, caused a plaintiff’s cancer and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages. The California Coastal Commission ordered a Laguna Beach couple to pay $1 million in fines and tear down a sea wall that protects a single mansion from erosion at the expense of the public beach in front. Maryland launched a pilot program to allow anyone to power their home with solar panels, even renters and condo-dwellers. The New Zealand Government announced that they will ban the use of plastic bags within the next year. Ruth, Bader, and Ginsburg, are doing what goat goats do best and providing a natural way to get rid of poison ivy in Vermont by grazing on the plant in Montpelier.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS USC president stepped down in the wake of protests over how the university handled multiple sex-abuse scandals. Politico has a great article on one sports league that is standing up for justice, the WNBA.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS Pa. Gov. created the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs. A second federal court judge ruled the administration could not ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.
🕫🗳️ JUDGES AND OTHERS ORDERING OPEN AND FAIR ELECTIONS Iowa Supreme Court affirmed portions of a lower-court injunction prohibiting signature- matching requirements for absentee ballots; requiring voters to include an identification number on forms requesting absentee ballots; and telling voters without elaboration that an ID is required to vote in 2018. Massachusetts governor signed the automatic voter registration bill that was passed last week. The N.C. state elections board adopted an election plan that will include early voting at N.C. State University with the lone independent on the board siding with the democrats.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE An Arkansas police officer was fired after telling a group of African-American men that “you don’t belong in my city.” Apple, Facebook, and YouTube have finally banned far-right broadcaster and known conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars network from their platforms. A man who killed a tech worker from India in a racially motivated attack in a Kansas bar received three life sentences. Kellogg’s is offering Rice Krispies Treats “Love Notes” in the form of Braille stickers and record-able audio boxes following their roll out writable wrappers on individual Rice Krispies Treats so as to include those with visual impairments. Anti-racist protesters and activists marched through the streets of Charlottesville in advance of a planned white nationalist rally.
⛼ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST Congressman Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) announced that he would not run for reelection shorty after he is indicted on federal charges for insider trading. Less than a week after CREW filed a Hatch Act complaint against the administration’s director of media affairs for Latino and African-American news outlets, Helen Aguirre Ferré, announced she is leaving the White House.
🙂 FYI The University of Maryland, College Park was awarded a $3 million grant by the Scripps Howard Foundation to start an investigative journalism center, Illinois celebrated the first annual “Barack Obama Day.”
🧗♀️SOME GREAT ACTIVISM Indivisible Phoenix reached its 80th week of protesting in Phoenix. Action Together NJ is helping activists postcard to voters. NoIDC NY made a astounding 5,000 calls for candidates in one day with a blockbuster turnout. The city of West Hollywood approved to request the removal of the racist-in-chief’s star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Broadway performers traveled to D.C. to join the protestors at Lafayette Park. Activists were at work in Cedar Rapids. Indivisible Berkeley held a “Paint Congress Blue” event. Postcards to Voters had 1,600+ volunteers to write 26k Democratic voters in just three days.
SOME INDIVIDUAL ACTS OF KINDNESS A Walmart cashier used her break time to give a woman with a disability that sometimes causes her hands to shake a manicure after she was refused service at a nearby nail salon, a white man on a NYC subway hands his phone to a young black child to play a game, and one woman is helping to collect frequent flyer miles to use to reunite families.