This has been the reading I’ve done lately that keeps me from finishing the actual books I’m reading This list is all pre-Trump’s travel/immigration ban.
This has been the reading I’ve done lately that keeps me from finishing the actual books I’m reading This list is all pre-Trump’s travel/immigration ban.
There was no script for this. These were just the key points I needed to run through today when calling my reps. Things are happening at a fast pace and that’s no accident. It’s meant to overwhelm.
KXL ,Dakota Access, and Trans-Pecos Pipelines
The President’s executive memorandum to proceed with pipelines needs to be addressed. (NOTE: A executive memorandum can be overturned by the Supreme Court)
This action violates law treaties, disregards sacred lands, and endangers the environment. Trump has invested between $500,000 and $1 Million to Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the Trans-Pecos Pipeline. The CEO contributed a substantial amount to President Trump’s campaign. These transactions need to be examined to ensure Trump is not profiting directly from the building of the pipelines.
(Not something I brought up to reps but the defund and divest DAPL movement is another way to be active on this situiation)
Hostility Toward Press & Alternative Facts, Trump’s Obsession with Ratings/ Popularity
Thus far, Trump’s open disregard & hostility toward press and all media is reminiscent of Hugo Chavez and other dictatorships who tried to silence reporters who did not report on them favorably or reported the truth that contradicted their popularity and credibility. Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer on behalf of Trump have supported falsehoods and outright lies as being official commentary from The White House. Our press freedoms are a hallmark of our democracy that needs to be upheld. The mouthpieces for the president need to be accountable to tell only true facts, not what they wish were facts or what the president wants the American public to think is the truth when it contradicts evidence that says otherwise.
Yesterday Trump was STILL talking about inauguration TV ratings while officials in storm ravaged states were begging him to send help.
It would also be fantastic if Trump stopped bringing his own studio audience when he’s addressing agencies like the CIA in order to create optics that seem as if the agency is applauding him when in fact they are only his own staff.
Gag Orders Against EPA & National Parks Service
My twitter timeline this morning is full of rogue park rangers & scientists tweeting on alternative accounts. They are stating scientific facts that they are not allowed to put forth under their own agencies under yesterday’s gag order. This is not only censorship but it sets the tone for the Trump admin only allowing agencies to research and report on things that serve their own interests.
Federal Hiring Freeze and Freezing of EPA Funds
Again, motives need to be examined here . During past hiring freezes, the government did not save money. They were forced to hire subcontractors to do necessary work instead of permanent federal employees. Does Mr Trump have contractors lined up that would serve his own family’s business interests? The hiring freeze has been done under false pretenses as federal job growth has NOT been enormous. Also, this disproportionately affects veterans who need those federal jobs. . Freezing EPA funds only hurts communities and I do not trust the incoming anti-science,pro-capitalism administration to review currently assigned grants.
Investigation of Voter Fraud
Trump is calling for a full congressional investigation into voter fraud that never existed. There is no proof of what he’s claiming. Both Republicans and Democrats largely agree. To go forward with this investigation is an enormous waste of time and resources . The motive here is to pave the way for voter suppression which can never be allowed to happen.
I think I missed some things but this felt like an exhausting list today. I mentioned the other day that if you’re feeling overwhelmed, choose one or two things to focus on. I probably should take my own advice. However, I also believe that single issue activism is a huge problem in our political process and it works against intersectionality quite often . Still supportive of others who need to scale back what they throw their time into right now.
Mikki who writes the actionnow tinyletter also had some great suggestions yesterday:
Here is how I would suggest you take a step back and think about how you are going to be a change maker now and in the years to come.
Think about all of the things swirling around you, all the opportunities you have to do things and act on your values and choose these three things:One thing to be a leader on
One thing to be a follower on
One thing to make a habit ofOrganizing your energy in this way is really helpful. It helps you make decisions and conserve energy as things come up. It doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t do other things, but these are your three things.
Here is a little more detail.
One thing to be a leader on. This is something where you take charge of or are part of the leadership group for. Maybe it’s a movement to make your city a sanctuary city, or to sustain an abortion fund in an anti-choice state, or to support a local shelter, or to get someone you believe in elected to attorney general or some other office. Maybe you want to lead your local chapter of Emily’s List or something. This is something where you are going to be helping direct others and plot the course. It will be your priority.
One thing to be a follower on. This is a group or a cause that you join, and participate in actively, but let others take the lead on. This may be a preexisting group, like a BLM group, or a group working to support DAPL, or something a friend is doing. It could be joining an Indivisible group that you like and going along with what they plan. This takes a little less topline energy from you, but you are still working to make something happen. You participate, you contribute ideas, you do outreach, but you have less responsibility that you would if you were a leader. You help with the fundraiser but you aren’t in charge of it.
One thing to make a habit of. This is something you just do, every week or every day or every month, whether it’s being a clinic escort twice a month, or donating to a certain cause every month, or working at a soup kitchen every week, doing cop watch twice a week, or making the daily phone call scripts that we all get. Maybe, to start with, it’s the Women’s March 10 Actions/100 Days Initiative. It’s something you are committed to, and you do, but you are bearing the fruits of someone else making an opportunity for you to participate with some ease.
People want to be informed about what’s happening w/ the president-elect but they may not have time to follow all the news or for their own self-care, are limiting their exposure to social media right now. These ICYMI updates will be basic bullet points of the daily happenings with call to actions. I will generally just post the news without my own commentary. I will include essays and thoughts from around the web after the news portion to give perspectives from marginalized folks.
Weekend of November 19- 20
ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR NATIONAL SECURITY: Michael Flynn
DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Rep. Mike Pompeo
This week is a short week due to Thanksgiving break so calls should be made ASAP.
I’ve been seeing this Dylan Thomas quote shared a lot during the past week. The poem is about death but it’s nice how it fits to resistance of other things as well.
(My 1st born is named after Dylan Thomas, so it does give me some warm & fuzzies)
No, not an actual quote from Paul. At least not publicly.
This video is a social experiment conducted by The Pillion Trust Charity.
I was way ahead of the punchline. I see this every single day.
“We knew you cared. Please care enough to give.https://www.justgiving.com/piliontrust/”
Not that everyone CAN give but hey, pennies add up and nearly everyone has spare change.
Speaking of pennies…
This is a glass house a anti-choice organization filled with $500k , all in pennies. It’s a memorial to aborted fetuses. Huh. I don’t think you can really call yourself pro-life (hence, my term anti-choice) if you hoard pennies as symbolism instead of using that $500K to help struggling families who have children living on this planet.
People are strange.
Ok, now back to Paul Ryan. I keep hoping he’ll just go away. Instead, he proposes budgets that cut everything that ever helped a low income America living in poverty, and to get out of poverty. If made into law, it would cut $5.1 trillion from safety net and social welfare programs, like Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, college grants, medical research….
He does so out of love,you guys! This is how the poor will be elevated out of poverty. Don’t worry about the lack of logic behind it. Trust him. It’s all for your own good.
Yeah, I think he really needs to go away now.
(I know,I know…I was supposed to clean up my language for this blog. Allow me one cursing post per week. That’s all I need)
News,thoughts, and going-ons…
The Republicans have the balls to be asking for more cuts to SNAP. Yes,really.
In this 5 minute segment, Bernie Sanders lays out the picture of poverty in the U.S. right now and the insanity of the Republican party’s agenda. “It’s ugly”, he says. There isn’t a better way to put it. Inequality is widening and the immoral Right just push their class warfare deeper and deeper.
Al Sharpton touches on the gross suggestions that poor kids work for their free lunch ,too.
These people are so disgusting. They purposefully are causing the media vilification of poor people. They actually pay trolls to create the focus on blaming the poor and distract from the true issues. 10 red states are also the poorest and have the most people who need food stamps.
I just can’t even….
Tell it, Prof.
Rising inequality forever? Thomas Piketty’s sweeping account of the “central contradiction of capitalism” nyr.kr/1dp847C
It’s a long read but worth it. An excerpt:
Piketty believes that the rise in inequality can’t be understood independently of politics. For his new book, he chose a title evoking Marx, but he doesn’t think that capitalism is doomed, or that ever-rising inequality is inevitable. There are circumstances, he concedes, in which incomes can converge and the living standards of the masses can increase steadily—as happened in the so-called Golden Age, from 1945 to 1973. But Piketty argues that this state of affairs, which many of us regard as normal, may well have been a historical exception. The “forces of divergence can at any point regain the upper hand, as seems to be happening now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century,” he writes. And, if current trends continue, “the consequences for the long-term dynamics of the wealth distribution are potentially terrifying.”
In the nineteen-fifties, the average American chief executive was paid about twenty times as much as the typical employee of his firm. These days, at Fortune 500 companies, the pay ratio between the corner office and the shop floor is more than two hundred to one, and many C.E.O.s do even better. In 2011, Apple’s Tim Cook received three hundred and seventy-eight million dollars in salary, stock, and other benefits, which was sixty-two hundred and fifty-eight times the wage of an average Apple employee. A typical worker at Walmart earns less than twenty-five thousand dollars a year; Michael Duke, the retailer’s former chief executive, was paid more than twenty-three million dollars in 2012. The trend is evident everywhere. According to a recent report by Oxfam, the richest eighty-five people in the world—the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Carlos Slim—own more wealth than the roughly 3.5 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world’s population.
Eventually, Piketty says, we could see the reëmergence of a world familiar to nineteenth-century Europeans; he cites the novels of Austen and Balzac. In this “patrimonial society,” a small group of wealthy rentiers lives lavishly on the fruits of its inherited wealth, and the rest struggle to keep up. For the United States, in particular, this would be a cruel and ironic fate. “The egalitarian pioneer ideal has faded into oblivion,” Piketty writes, “and the New World may be on the verge of becoming the Old Europe of the twenty-first century’s globalized economy.”
What are the “forces of divergence” that produce enormous riches for some and leave the majority scrabbling to make a decent living? Piketty is clear that there are different factors behind stagnation in the middle and riches at the top. But, during periods of modest economic growth, such as the one that many advanced economies have experienced in recent decades, income tends to shift from labor to capital. Because of enmeshed economic, social, and political pressures, Piketty fears “levels of inequality never before seen.”
Now excuse me while I go pack my bug-out bag and go hole up in the woods.
Next Wednesday, I will attend a meeting at the White House and hand-deliver Bread for the World’s petition. We are asking President Obama to set a goal and work with Congress to end hunger.
More than 25,000 people have signed thus far, but we want the strongest possible showing for this meeting with White House staff. Help us get to 30,000 signatures! Please take a moment to add your name to this effort by signing the petition. Once you sign, we’ll keep you updated on our efforts.
Let’s show the president that the movement to end hunger has momentum. Let’s show him that there’s a strong constituency waiting for him to speak up about poverty.
Together we can compel our leaders to show moral courage and work to end hunger. That’s why we started this petition, and that’s why we need your voice.
God’s grace in Jesus Christ moves us to help our neighbors, whether they live in the next house, the next state, or on the next continent. Adding your name to the petition is a simple but powerful way to help your neighbors. Speak out against hunger just as the Hebrew prophets spoke out against injustice in their time.
I invite you to stand with us by signing the petition. I would be honored to bring your name with me to the White House next week.
LaVida Davis is Bread for the World’s director of organizing and grassroots capacity building.
If you can get 10 of your friends to sign, we’ll send you a pack of 10 Bread for the World Christmas cards to say “thank you.” The deadline for signatures is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, August 5. Your friends can indicate that you referred them when signing the petition. You can use Bread’s online petition recruiting page or share the petition usingFacebook.
I talked a little bit about Paul Ryan’s “War on Poverty” hearings here and the lack of real knowledge of poverty represented. Melissa Harris -Perry addresses exactly that and his committee’s refusal to allow Tianna Gaines-Turner to testify about her firsthand knowledge of poverty. You can read her written testimony here.
Last week on this show, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee said she would ask the House Budget Committee chair to invite our guest, Tianna Gaines-Turner, to testify about anti-poverty programs. Tianna is a “Witness to Hunger” and a married mother of three who receives food stamps and other federal benefits to help make ends meet.
But the Republican chairman of the committee refused to have Tianna at his “war on poverty” hearing. My letter this week is to that chairman, Congressman Paul Ryan.
Dear Congressman Ryan,
It’s me, Melissa.
Look, it’s great that you had a hearing on poverty. That you asked whether we’ve made any progress in the “war on poverty” in the past 50 years. I’m glad you had four experts on poverty programs, including our favorite nun-on-the-bus, Sister Simone Campbell.
But you know what would have been a hell of a lot better? If you heard from someone who’s actually living in poverty! Someone who’s working, and still struggling to feed and clothe her children, and to afford health care. Here’s the kind of thing you may have heard from Tianna,describing her life on our show in May:
“Food insecurity is not just a depression or a stress for an adult. It’s very much on the minds of young children every day. And I don’t understand how people can sit and sleep, knowing there’s a child somewhere, 8 years old, 4 years old, worrying about, is my mom gonna eat?”
You had the chance to hear her, Congressman Ryan. But you refused, only allowing Representative Barbara Lee to enter Tianna’s written comments into the record. Would things have been different if she was there? Would you have been able to look Tianna in the eye while telling her that you care about the poor?
At the start of the hearing, you said you want to find ways to lift people out of poverty. You said:
“This is about improving people’s lives. In this country, the condition of your birth shouldn’t determine the outcome of your life. If you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead. That’s something we all believe in. That’s something we all care about.”
But your budget proposals paint a very different picture. Your so-called “Path to Prosperity” budget would cut $135 billion from SNAP. You know, the food stamp program that helps feed 22 million American households a month. Let’s put that in perspective. That’s more than six times the amount House Republicans proposed cutting in their farm bill this earlier year.
Even that much smaller cut–$20.5 billion, to your $135 billion–would be devastating to American families.
According to a new study by the Health Impact Project, the (comparatively small!) $20.5 billion cut could result in 5.1 million people losing their food stamps, including more than one million children. Hundreds of thousands of Americans would go hungry. Is that something that we all believe in, congressman?
The study also found that the SNAP cuts in the farm bill–again, a tiny fraction of the cuts youwant–would increase the poverty rate. Not exactly lifting people out of poverty. And that an increase in hunger and poverty would lede directly to an increase in diseases like diabetes and heart disease in adults, and asthma and cognitive impairment in children.
Tell me, congressman, how exactly that’s “improving people’s lives.” And your plan doesn’t even save any money! The increase in diabetes alone could cost $15 billion more in health costs over the next decade. And the impact from the cuts you want, Congressman Ryan–it would be six times worse.
Could you look Tianna Gaines-Turner in the eye and say you want to improve her life, while taking away the means to feed her family? Could you keep a straight face? Since you refused to allow her at your poverty hearing, I’m guessing not.
Poverty in the news .
One Wisconsin food stamp bill signed while a second remains stalled – That junk food bill Scott Walker introduced is flawed and therefore, faltering. with the new proposal that prohibits more than 15% of groceries brought with EBT from being spent on “unhealthy” food, there are far too many limitations on what can be purchased. The foods that qualify as healthy are only the foods that can be purchased with WIC, which is a limited list.
Paul Ryan organized The War on Poverty: A Progress Report , in which he stated that we are losing the war on poverty and need to know why…then called witnesses for the Republicans who made it obvious that they don’t know the first thing about poverty and probably shouldn’t be talking in the first place. University of Maryland professor Doug Besharov, director of the American Enterprise Institute’s Social and Individual Responsibility Project was there to talk about the incentives to get people out of poverty ….but he doesn’t even know what the minimum wage is in the country. The only Democratic witness was a nun, Sister Simone, who defended The Safety Net (welfare programs) and was asked questions about the morality of feeding people.
As David R Henson writes in The Shameful Neighbor: Food Stamps, Stereotypes and the War on the Hungry “There is no war on poverty in this country. There is no war on hunger.Instead, there is a war on the poor and a war on the hungry.”
-In another article I read this week about poverty being at “shocking” levels, a Professor seemed to think that as the race ratio of poverty balances and more white folks become impoverished, the issue will receive mainstream attention and see solutions manifest. As Hensen points out, the poor are vilified as being lazy, good for nothing , failures and burdens on society that are shamed and ridiculed. I see this happen with poor people, period. The race balance isn’t going to change that.
NYC Mayoral Candidates Talk Food Stamps and School Lunches … I think if I was a New Yorker, I’d pay attention to this in the interest of not ending up with another Bloomberg.
Wal-Mart costs taxpayers about $900,000/year due to low wages – I don’t know if it’s practice anymore but at one point, Wal Mart would routinely urge employees to apply for medicaid and food stamps.