Link

Another good article summarizing voter laws across the states. If you don’t like what you’re reading, call your reps!

My current question: Why isn’t MD going in for automatic voter registration? Something to research…

https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/voting-laws-roundup-2017

Link

Good article on latest going on with voting rights across the country. Many states are looking to put in place tougher voting laws. Now is the time to get involved locally to tell your state legislatures you want easy access to voting!

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/republican-state-lawmakers-push-restrictions-voting/

How to Get Out of the Cycle of Outrage in a Trump World

Great article here, reminding all of us to unplug often and take care of ourselves first and foremost. Good to have reminders that it’s not healthy to be constantly “on”.

https://journal.thriveglobal.com/how-to-get-out-of-the-cycle-of-outrage-in-a-trump-world-ffc5b2aa1b5f#.5waqasxhx

Two Weeks Since Inauguration Day (Feels So Much Longer)

(Written 2/3 but published late)

Wow, can you believe it has only been 14 days since Inauguration Day?! It feels as though these two weeks have taken months. So much has happened every single day that it has made it hard to catch one’s breath and take stock of anything.
There were so many moments in the news this week that I can’t comment on them all, but here were a few that caught my eye:

The Travel Ban

I think we have to start here. One week ago, President Trump issued an executive order that barred entry of refugees for 120 days (4 months) and immigrants attempting to enter the United States from seven key countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia – for 90 days. The country rose up very quickly to denounce what many called a “Muslim ban”, particularly as it related to seven countries on the list from which immigrants would not be accepted. Questions arose as to whether Trump had left those countries out because of business ties.

mb-loc

Protesters rallied at airports, politicians spoke out against the ban, a federal court ordered a temporary stay, and the Acting Attorney General Sallie Yates refused to enforce the order, stating “At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful“. Very shortly after that, she was fired. Protests have continued and are still ongoing.

 

 

Bannon Given a Seat on the National Security Council

Really, this one is exhausting to think about so just read more here: Bannon is Given a Security Role Usually Held for Generals.

 

Neil M. Gorsuch Chosen to be Next Supreme Court Justice

Weirdest thing about this was Trump’s Bachelor-style announcement where he wanted to have both finalists in Washington to make the announcement that much more interesting. It seemed too much like a play for ratings. I did not watch the live-stream on Facebook but I kept up with the announcement in real-time on Twitter. Gorsuch is known to be a very conservative Justice with rulings in favor of corporations having similar rights to people (the Hobby Lobby decision) and is likely not a friend to the Roe Vs. Wade crowd, although his exact position on abortion is not perfectly clear.

 

Democrats Slow Down Confirmation Hearings

Every little bit of resistance helps. In most cases, the Republicans suspended committee rules and moved candidates ahead. However, it showed the clear displeasure Dems feel toward some of the nominees, most whom they think would be detrimental if appointed to their chosen offices. (You all know how I feel about Betsy DeVos, and that’s been the focus on my activism and many of my tweets this week. More on that, most likely, in a separate post).

 

Trump Has Less-than-Perfect Phone Calls with Australia and Mexico

My favorite response to this bit of news was this, as it expresses what most of us felt:

fhcfa

 

More could be said on all fronts, including updates on the environmental protections Trump wants to get rid of, the latest with plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (with no clear replacement plan), the quiet activities to suppress voter rights across the country, etc., etc., but if all this hasn’t left you needing a glass of wine and a Friday night of unplugging, I don’t know what will.

Keep on keepin’ on! Keep on resisting! Keep writing and calling your Senators! (The DeVos vote will likely happen on Monday, so there’s still time to make your voice heard!) #VoteNoDevos #resist #persist

 Update 2/6: Democratic Senators took to the floor to speak against DeVos. We will see if another Republican Senator does the right thing. If not, Pence will break tie with his vote, and we’ll be stuck with her. 

 

 

 

Feb 3 Voting Rights Roundup via DailyKos

Going to try to keep track of these, as it’s a lot of good information on voter rights and voter suppression efforts all in one place.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/02/03/1628676/-Voting-Rights-Roundup-South-Dakota-GOP-invokes-state-of-emergency-to-undo-voter-backed-ethics-law

CNN’s “The Sixties”, Connections to Present Day

 

Just finished watching The Sixties “The Times They Are A-Changing” episode. Anyone with Netflix should take some time to watch this series. It’s an amazing history lesson, but the similarities between activities going on then – civil rights marches, women’s rights marches and movements, LGBT movements, Latino movements, environmental protection and climate change discussion – and now are powerful to reflect on.

Rachel Maddow touched upon the similarities of “then vs. now” politically when she discussed Barry Goldwater running for President on a platform that pushed for a more conservative agenda for Republicans, one that said there was a need for less government involvement in society. Goldwater’s famous (or infamous) quote says “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” This lead to extremist groups like the KKK endorsing Goldwater’s presidential bid, which in turn forced him to voice his disapproval of the group and rejection of their endorsement. (If this sounds like things we witnessed in 2016, congratulations, you’ve been paying attention).

Beyond the political similarities (like Nixon calling for a stronger “rule of law” during the turbulent year of 1968 – another great episode in the series The Sixties), the social activism during that period is something I had studied as part of my history lessons but I had not realized how many social movements were happening during that time. The women’s liberation movement discussed in “The Times They Are A-Changing” was fascinating to me. There they are in the ’60s discussing equal pay, the right for women to take charge of their reproductive health via family planning and birth control, and the long list of things women were not allowed to do before the movement (such as go to an Ivy League school, get a credit card or a bank account in her own name, or even serve on a jury). While we’ve overcome some of these hurdles, it’s astonishing we’re still arguing over reproductive rights and access as well as equal pay for equal work in 2016!

These are just some of my take-aways from watching this show. It’s worth viewing, both to remind ourselves that the United States has faced some of these present-day challenges before and also to remind us that some of these struggles have been going on for FAR too long.

We’ve come a long way since those days and yet clearly, as exemplified by recent days, have so much further to go.