WEEK OF 03/20/2017
"So that's the dissenter's hope: that they are writing not for today but for tomorrow." - Ruth Bader Ginsburg
When Trump’s proposed budget included slashing the Meals on Wheels program -- a program that delivers hot meals to homebound seniors and handicapped individuals -- people took to the internet in droves to help. Their online donations went up by 50% and their volunteer signups went up by 500%.
With voter turnout the highest in decades, Geert Wilders, the far-right candidate in this past week’s Netherlands election, was soundly beaten in an election many considered to be the prediction of how Europe would vote this year. While the anti-Muslim Wilders’ party gained some seats in the Netherlands parliament, his anti-Europe message did not land with Dutch voters.
The former U.S. Attorney General will be going to Virginia as the keynote speaker at the DNC of Virginia’s annual gathering. Holder is the chair of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee which has been fighting against gerrymandering by Republicans in several states.
A federal judge in Hawaii placed a nationwide block on Trump’s second attempt at a travel ban just hours before it was supposed to take effect. The temporary restraining order will allow the court time to consider whether the travel ban is unconstitutional or not.
Seventeen Republicans drafted a resolution on Wednesday vowing to look for “economically viable” ways to fight climate change. This goes against Trump’s stance on human climate change -- that it is “a hoax” the president once claimed the Chinese invented “in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
When the president unveiled his budget it was immediately met with foes on both sides of the aisle. But the real killer to this “skinny budget” will be a law passed in 2010, the Budget Control Act, which includes something called sequestration -- essentially for every dollar you spend on defense you must also spend on domestic programs.
“For a Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill in the age of Trump, the struggle for justice can feel disheartening, if not demoralizing. But with every phone call from a concerned constituent, every tweet in support of our shared resistance, every protest sign held by someone who demands dignity for all, I feel a renewed confidence in the resilience of our democracy. Their activism gives me hope."
Havas, a French advertising company with clients like Dominos, and the BBC, pulled their business from tech giants Google and Youtube when they could not guarantee that Havas ads would not appear with content, such as videos on white supremacy, which have been deemed inappropriate by the advertisers.
In a win for good journalism AND public broadcasting, NPR reports ratings on all platforms at a historic high. Broadcast ratings are up by 26%. Podcast listeners are up by 47%, and digital listeners are up 28%.
WEEK OF 03/13/2017
"Our human compassion binds us the one to the other — not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future." - Nelson Mandela
Key Senate Republicans are already looking to make changes to the Paul Ryan helmed American Health Care Act after the Congressional Budget Office came out with their damning report. Many are looking for make sure that poorer and older Americans get better coverage.
Court Rules Gerrymandering Rule UnConstitutional
A federal court in Texas finds that state officials engaged in gerrymandering districts to dilute the votes of minorities. The ruling stated that Texas was in violation of the Voters Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.
Six-Year Old Girl Celebrates Birthday By Helping the Homeless
A Chicago kindergartener used her birthday as a way to get her parents and church involved in helping the homeless. Armani Crews passed out food and toiletries she asked for her birthday to the homeless in the Windy City instead of having a traditional birthday party.
Mattis Believes in Climate Change
Defense Secretary James Mattis breaks with the rest of the Trump cabinet when it comes to climate change. “Mad Dog” Mattis says that climate change is real and a threat to American lives and security.
WEEK OF 03/06/2017
"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all." - Emily Dickinson
With a win in the Delaware State Senate, the Democrats are showing that the anti-Trump resistance will turn out voters in typically low voter turnout races. Democrat Stephanie Hanson won in a landslide to GOP candidate John Merino, who previously had only lost the district by two points in 2014. Hanson’s win keeps the state senate in Democratic control.
In Santa Ana, California, immigration activists have pressured the city into terminating its contract with ICE to keep a detention unit in their county jail. The contract fully terminates in 2020, so in the meantime, the City of Santa Ana is limiting the number of beds allowed to ICE, which at one point included LBGTQ detainees. ICE confirms that 86 other cities in the country have such contracts with them.
While still being cautious, top Republicans are calling on Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from any investigations on Russia since the news broke that he’d had contact with a Russian envoy while being an advisor for the Trump campaign. Democrats are calling for his resignation because he lied in January during his nomination hearing, claiming he had no contact with the Russians during the campaign.
After news came out that Jeff Sessions’ met with a Russian ambassador in September, House Democrat and all around GOP ball buster Adam Schiff of California took to Twitter to announce that he and Republican Chairman of House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes will broaden the scope of the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.
Former M-16 spy Christopher Steele, whose dossier was one of the first pieces of evidence to start tumbling out about Trump’s ties to the Russian government, has been asked by Democrats and a few Republicans in the Senate to testify about the allegations. Mr. Steele isn’t sure if he will make the trip for what is, for now, being called an informal testimony, but is willing to make the trip under certain safety measures.
WEEK OF 02/27/2017
"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
A federal appeals court in Maryland upheld a ban on 45 different kinds of assault weapons, stating that such weapons are not protected under the Second Amendments. Calling them “weapons of war”, Judge Robert King also upheld a 10-round limit on gun magazines.
Tech giant, Google, is set to give out grants totalling over $11 million this year to organizations that combat racial injustice in the way crimes are prosecuted and convicted.
Top lawyers from the Obama White House have formed a group called United To Protect Democracy, to hold the Trump administration to the fire with a focus on ethical violations
Through a crowdfunding website, the Muslim community has raised over $70,000 and counting to repair a Jewish cemetery outside of St. Louis, Missouri that was vandalized on Sunday night. The proceeds will go to repair the cemetery and anything left over will be donated to repair other vandalized Jewish communities.
A U.S. judge in Austin issued a temporary injunction February 21 that blocks a Texas state plan to cut Medicaid funding of Planned Parenthood. The order would protect the 11,000 Texans on Medicaid that us Planned Parenthood as their primary care provider while the court deliberates to make its final decision..
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on February 17, McCain said "more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent." He also blasted the President’s calling out of the press stating that oppressing the press is “how dictators get started”.
Oregon introduced a bill last week that would make it mandatory for presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their tax returns or they would not appear on that state’s general election ballot. 17 other states have introduced similar legislation on their senate floors, five of which are Republican states. And it also looks as if Congress will debate a similar, national law.
Back in November, when North Carolina elected, Roy Cooper, a Democrat, as their new governor, the GOP state senate passed a series of laws limiting the governor's powers. One was being the head of the election board, a post traditionally belonging to the governor. This week the state’s supreme court blocked this law from taking effect for now.
After calling President Trump an “asset” to the country, Under Armour CEO, Kevin Plank took out a full page ad in the Baltimore Sun to oppose Trump’s travel ban. Amid threats of boycotts and celebrities like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson publicly criticising the brand, the letter published this week states a pro-immigration stance, "I personally believe that immigration is the foundation of our country's exceptionalism."
WEEK OF 02/13/2017
"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence." - Helen Keller
Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor, resigned Monday over allegations that he spoke to a Russia envoy about lifting sanctions back in December, BEFORE Trump took office. Then he lied about it to Vice President Pence.
In what might be the most hopeful news of the last week, the 9th Circuit Court decided to keep the stay on Trump’s immigration ban for now, meaning that it is unenforceable. Following Trump's all caps tweet, the White House decided not to challenge the order but instead they are looking to issue a new executive order.
A march organized by a multiracial coalition of people of faith started 11 years ago has helped to overturn an extremist hold in North Carolina. On February 11, over 80,000 people gathered in this year’s “Moral March”.
In private meetings with senators, Neil Gorsuch has called the attacks on the courts “disheartening” and “demoralizing.” Since then, the White House has said he was referring “broadly” to attacks on the judiciary, but we can only think of one person who’s been attacking the courts on the regular and he lives in the White House.
Straight out of the pages of the Indivisible Guide, Utah voters showed up en masse to Jason Chaffetz’s town hall to grill him about everything from immigration to conflicts of interest. It got real, real fast.
While Utah showed up for Chaffetz, people in Tennessee also battered one of their Republican representatives with questions about Obamacare. One woman took the internet by storm citing her Christian faith (a faith most GOP reps tout as their guide) as the reason she supports the Affordable Care Act.
On Tuesday, West became not only the highest ranking African-American woman in the United States Army, but also the highest ranking female to have ever graduated from West Point. West, once an orphan, will take up her post as the new Army Surgeon General.
In an historic election, ImeIme A. Umana will become the first black woman to head the 150-year-old legal journal. She will oversee 90 student writers and permanent staff, including senior members of Harvard Law’s faculty.
The huge talent agency that reps actors from Bryan Cranston to Oscar Nominee Viggo Mortenson to Ice Cube has cancelled their annual Oscar party in favor of a rally a few days before the annual ceremony.
On Monday of this week, a federal district court in Wisconsin struck down the gerrymandering of their legislative districts, saying that they were intentionally constructed in order to favor Republicans. This, coupled with some rulings in North Carolina, could signal a trend in the courts that could result in redistricting in a lot of states where gerrymandering has cost Democrats seats.
The two discount retailers are removing Trump’s lines due to poor sales, making them the third and fourth chains to distance themselves from Ivanka.
Anti-abortion activists emboldened by the Trump administration staged rallies around the country on Saturday, calling for the federal government to cut off payments to Planned Parenthood. In some cities, however, counter-protests dwarfed the demonstrations
With the backdrop of increasingly negative rhetoric and government policy directed at displaced people, this Brooklyn-based company is working to make sure that refugees — specifically the 51% of whom are children — are afforded the basic human right of the ability to play.
Small Business in Oregon Helps Refugees With Jobs and English lessons
Sparrow Furniture – a business that repurposes and refinishes furniture, lighting, and decor will help refugees adjust to their new city by providing them with work, job training, and English lessons. Refugees fleeing the destructive war plaguing their homeland already have to undergo a strenuous admissions process in order to seek asylum in the United States – once they arrive, however, they’re given very few tools to get by in American society.That’s why Sparrow Furniture is welcoming migrants with open arms as they seek meaningful employment in Salem, Oregon.
Germany’s New President Once Called Donald Trump a ‘Hate Preacher’
In Germany, it’s the chancellor who leads the government – the president’s role is mostly symbolic – but this week they elected long-standing foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin. He’s from the center-left Social Democratic Party and will serve a five-year term. His candidacy didn’t initially have the support of the Christian Democrats, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, but Merkel is also no fan of Trump. Both Merkel and Steinmeier have been publicly critical of Donald Trump, and feel a special responsibility to speak out and push back against populism.
WEEK OF 02/06/2017
"Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment." - Napoleon Bonaparte
A federal court in Wisconsin voted 2-1 that the GOP drawn districts in the state were “intended to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters.” They have asked the two sides to work together to redraw the districts.
From stopping the abolishment of the Committee of Congressional Ethics (doesn’t that seem like so long ago?) to unprecedented difficulty in getting Cabinet picks confirmed, the protests and phone calls resisting this administration’s policies are working.
Jewish people in a small Texas city handed Muslim worshippers the keys to their synagogue after the town's only mosque was destroyed in a fire.
After complaints from constituents, Utah’s Jason Chaffetz withdrew a bill that would transfer federal lands to the states which would limit access to these public lands.
A student bought Breitbart France’s domain name ahead of the French elections and is planning to redirect them to promote organizations fighting racism and anti-semitism. Breitbart was attempting to launch the site in France this spring.
The department store chain claims it is due to low sales which either means people are boycotting or the company doesn’t want to be associated with her anymore. Either way, it’s a win.
After #GrabYourWallet targets the high end department store, Ivanka’s line starts disappearing from their website.
From Uber to Kawaski, consumer-based companies are distancing themselves from the White House as boycotts threaten their bottom line.
The strong GOP rhetoric of “repeal and replace" seems to be softening as key Republican lawmakers are now saying they intend to simply repair some of the provisions they see as contributing to insurers dropping out and raising premiums.
Cameron Esposito raises $15,000 for Trans Lifeline after Gov. Huckabee makes a transphobic joke
Twice failed presidential candidate Governor Mike Huckabee made fun of Senator Chuck Schumer, grandson of Holocaust survivors, for crying while speaking about the immigrant ban, using the title of the 2000 film, “Boys Don’t Cry,” about a trans person as the punchline. Esposito was not having it and used the occasion to raise money for trans nonprofit Trans Lifeline.
WEEK OF 01/31/2017
"The worst thing that can happen in a democracy - as well as in an individual's life - is to become cynical about the future and lose hope." - Hillary Clinton
Since Saturday, over 350,000 individuals stepped up to raise over 24 million dollars for the ACLU, two thirds of which were first time donors!
The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday that it will allow transgender children who identify as boys to enroll in its boys only programs!
The Trump administration seems to feel that scientific facts are up for political debate. So scientists have set up their own version of Emily's List to help their fellow brainiacs run for office!
Republican State Senator Bill Kintner of Nebraska was forced to resign last week after tons of constituents called and emailed to complain about his offensive Facebook posts about the Women's March. In addition to his disrespectful posts Kinter was also under fire for having cyber sex on a government computer. Keep calling your reps! They are listening!
After Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule, a policy that requires foreign NGO's that receive funding from the U.S. to certify that they don't perform abortions or even talk about the word that rhymes with "proportions", the Netherlands set up a fund to aid women who are seeking access to abortion!
In more badass scientist news, members of government agencies like the EPA, FDA and the National Forest Services have set up rogue Twitter accounts and are tweeting scientific facts.
We now marches took place all over the world on January 21st, from liberal cities like New York City and Los Angeles to red state metros like Nashville and Omaha. There were marches in London and Tokyo and even Antarctica. But a few women that couldn't attend a march, made their own, in their cancer ward.
Tennessee's Republican Governor Bill Haslam has upped his promise of free community college for high school graduates and now is pushing the state legislature to make it possible for all adults to receive a free community college education. It seems like the bill has bipartisan support and his speech in the state chambers got a standing ovation. Tennessee will join Minnesota and Oregon as the only states to offer free community college with Kentucky looking to follow suit. Progress!