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Archive for February, 2017

Protesting the Protesters

“Ladies and gentlemen, another definition of terrorism is violence in the name of politics,” said Wayne Lapierre, executive director of the NRA.

 

Protesting in Arizona would is on par with terrorism. Senate Bill 1142 seeks to limit political demonstrations by expanding the definition of a “riot” to include actions that damage property, and making rioting an offense that can be prosecuted under racketeering statutes. The bill passed on February 22, 2017 with all 17 Republicans voting in favor, and all 13 Democrats opposed. 

For the record, protesters are NOT terrorists.

Protesting is how people gather to support an issue, or fight an issue. It brings to the forefront issues that many have heard about but haven’t, in some cases, understood. Some issues have been glaringly obvious as to why they were wrong, needed fixing, or needed attention.

Protesting is something that Americans are rather famous for, even if some don’t see it that way.

But now some members in our government want to call protesters terrorists. They want to cease their property, claiming that they have the right under perverse racketeering laws. They spread rumors and lies that protesters are being paid to create disturbances. (Not like some political big-wigs aren’t paying people to sit in audiences and clap and applaud…)

Thinking this way, violating our Freedom of Speech, it is UnAmerican. To prove protesting works and why we do it, I submit to you the following:

Boston Tea Party: December 1773, protesters gathered in Boston Harbor to reject the latest shipment of tea from the East India Company. They were speaking out against the Tea Act. Result: Spurred the movement for independence from England.

Women’s Suffrage (U.S. Movement): The women’s-suffrage movement in the U.S. dates as far back as the Revolutionary War, but women’s-rights leaders, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott, spearheaded the strong push for equal voting rights in the mid-19th century. After the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, the rallying cry for women’s right to vote became a yell too loud to ignore. Result: The 19th Amendment was ratified.

Labor Movement: From the textile factories in Lowell, Mass., where the first labor unions were formed, to the railroad strikes in the Southwest led by the Knights of Labor, which thrust unions and their demands into the national spotlight — there have been many triumphant moments in labor movement history. But not every moment was so joyous. Indeed, it’s a tragedy that we have to thank, in part, for many of the standards and workers’ rights we now enjoy. The Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1911 started as a small factory fire, but quickly became the deadliest industrial accident in New York City history due to insufficient fire escapes and factory bosses giving little care to fire and safety measures. In the aftermath, a commission was formed to investigate the cause of the 146 deaths, and within a few years, legislation was introduced to create and enforce stricter workplace-safety laws, safer factories and shorter hours. Result: The tragedy boosted the strength of the burgeoning union movement and went on to inform many of the rights we enjoy today, including minimum wage and collective-bargaining rights.

Civil Rights March: August 28, 1963, March from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. The gathered masses stood peaceably for hours in the stifling August heat as musicians and orators appealed for equal rights for African Americans and, really, all minorities. Result: Civil Rights Act of 1964

Vietnam War: Fall of 1969, more than 500,000 people marched on Washington to protest U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. The November rallies were part of a string of demonstrations that took place around the world in 1969, with groups from San Francisco and Boston to London petitioning for peace. Result: Despite their cries, the war went on for six more years, ending with the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.

Gay Rights: The riots following the June 28, 1969, police raid on New York City’s Stonewall Inn did not start the discussion on gay rights, but they certainly became the catalyst for a national movement. When the Mafia-owned bar that offered a safe place for gay men and lesbians to drink and dance was shut down as part of a citywide crackdown on homosexual life, Greenwich Village erupted into several days of unrest. Violent police beat-downs and open mocking of the authorities by the protesters escalated the neighborhood protest into a full-scale rally for acceptance and equality. Results: Prior to the Stonewall riots, the gay-rights movement had been mostly underground; only two years later, there were organized groups in every major city in America. 

Occupy Wall Street: Sept. 17, 2011 3,000 people assembled at Battery Park with the intention of occupying Wall Street to protest greed and corruption in the government and financial system. Denied access to Wall Street, the protesters instead found a home at nearby Zuccotti Park, just around the corner from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. During the first week of the occupation, some 300 people camped out, crafted a motto (“We Are the 99%”) and organized small-scale marches to protest a system that they say bailed out the banks and left everyone else to fend for themselves. It was a message that resonated. Within a month, the Occupy movement gained momentum, spreading to cities across the U.S. and around the world. Result: Unknown

Women’s March: A worldwide protest on January 21, 2017, to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights. The rallies were aimed at Donald Trump, immediately following his inauguration as President of the United States, largely due to statements and positions attributed to him regarded by many as anti-women or otherwise offensive. It was the largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history. The Washington March drew at least 500,000 people, and worldwide participation has been estimated at five million. Result: Unknown

 

 

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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

How to stop our present course… I have been unable to even consider the ways to make what is happening in this once great country of ours to stop.

How do we stop the seeds of hatred from being sown?

  • The desecration of cemeteries because of religion/race.
  • The murder of innocents because of their race.
  • The bomb threats on community civic centers

 

How do we teach tolerance when the leaders of our country only insist on intolerance?

  • Banning travel based on religion.
  • Acknowledging a day of observance while ignoring the deaths of over 6 million people who were killed because of their religion.
  • Disregarding people because of their gender.

 

How do we enforce the laws when the highest office in the land flaunts the fact that the laws do not apply to him?

  • Trump doesn’t pay his taxes, which he gladly stated on live television, saying it proves he’s smart.
  • Trump violates the Emolument clause on a daily basis.
  • Threatened cities to withhold funding should they become “sanctuary cities”, though only Congress has the power to withhold/withdraw funding.
  • Refusing to acknowledge the First Amendment by silencing the press.

 

How do we apply the First Amendment when the government denies us our rights? How do we fight this? How do we state our displeasure?

Our first step is to bring our concerns to our representatives in government.

You can call, but you will more likely than not, get voice mail.

You can send an email, but it may never be read.

You can go to the town hall meetings to speak to your representatives. Here lies another problem.

  • Representatives of the government are choosing to not appear for their own meetings.
  • Falsehoods of “paid protesters” are being banded around the country, distracting from the issues.
  • Representatives are lying about the audiences in the meetings, stating that the people there aren’t even their constituents.
  • The representatives don’t want to face angry constituents or answer to them.

How do we fight this? How do we stop this? The same way We, The People, have done in the past.

  • Protest en masse.
  • Let your voice be heard loud and often.
  • Don’t give up.
  • Don’t surrender.
  • Stand up for what you believe in.
  • Stand up for your fellow neighbor, whether they are American born, immigrant, racially different, gender different, religiously different and even politically different.

Left or Right, if you allow a voice to be silenced, who is to say your voice isn’t next?

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

~Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

 

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So, nearly a month and we are still here. Barely.

How about a run down?

His Cabinet Nominations and Confirmations:

 

  • Secretary of Defense – General James Mattis (Confirmed Jan. 20, 2017 with a waiver of the National Security Act of 1947.)
  • Secretary of Homeland Security – John Kelly (Confirmed Jan. 20, 2017)
  • Secretary of State – Rex Tillerson (Trump nominated for the position as top U.S. diplomat, the equivalent of a foreign minister, on December 13, 2016. He was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 23, 2017.)
  • Attorney General – Jeff Sessions (Confirmed Feb. 8, 2017.)
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services – Tom Price (Confirmed Feb. 10, 2017.)
  • Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – Scott Pruitt (Confirmed Feb. 16, 2017.)
  • Secretary of LaborAndy Puzder (Withdrew his nomination on Feb. 15, 2017.) Alexander Acosta (Nominated Feb. 16, 2017.)

Things to Note:

Rex Tillerson: On January 26, 2017, when Tillerson visited the United States State Department, Undersecretaries Joyce Anne Barr, Patrick F. Kennedy, Michele Bond, and Gentry O. Smith all simultaneously resigned from the department. Former State Department chief of staff David Wade called the resignations “the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember.” The Trump administration told CNN the officials had been fired and the Chicago Tribune reported that several senior state department career diplomats left the State Department, claiming they “had been willing to remain at their posts but had no expectation of staying.” link

On Feb. 16, 2017, Much of seventh-floor staff, who work for the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and the Counselor offices, were let go, including Ambassador Kristie Kenney, the Counselor of the State Department and one of the last remaining senior officials. Ambassador Kenney is a career foreign service officer who had served as an ambassador under Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton. Her staff was told that Secretary Tillerson has no intention to fill the counselor’s position anytime soon.

It should also be noted that not a single State Department official was included in the White House meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, however, was in the meetings and Trump is depending on Kushner to handle “peace in the Middle East”. Kushner has no diplomatic experience.


Jeff Sessions: The fight for Sessions confirmation ran hard and deep due to his beliefs. He has flip-flopped most of his decisions during his career on policing, gay rights, investigative priorities and affirmative action. He once called a white civil rights lawyer a “disgrace to his race” and dubbed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People “un-American.” On the reverse side, he helped to promote legislation that honors civil rights leader Rosa Parks, to opposing gay marriage and the inclusion of sexual orientation as a federal hate crime.

KKK – As US Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Sessions’s office filed civil rights charges in the 1981 killing of Michael Donald, a young African-American man who was murdered in Mobile, Alabama by a pair of Ku Klux Klan members. Sessions’s office did not prosecute the case, but both men were arrested and convicted.

African-American Issues – In 1985, Sessions prosecuted three African American community organizers in the Black belt of Alabama, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s former aide Albert Turner (known as the Marion Three), for voter fraud, alleging tampering with 14 absentee ballots. The prosecution stirred charges of selective prosecution of black voter registration. The defendants were acquitted of all charges by a jury after three hours of deliberation.

LBGTQ Issues – He voted against the Matthew Shepard Act, which added acts of bias-motivated violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity to federal hate-crimes law, commenting that it “has been said to cheapen the civil rights movement”.

– Sessions voted in favor of advancing the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006, a U.S. constitutional amendment which would have permanently restricted federal recognition of marriages to those between a man and a woman. (Link no longer is active…)

– Sessions voted against the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.

Health Issues – Sessions is against legalizing marijuana for either recreational or medicinal use.

– Sessions believes “that sanctity of life begins at conception”.

– Sessions voted against the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, which would have provided funding for human embryonic stem cell research (and was vetoed by President Bush).

– In 2006, Sessions coauthored legislation amending the Ryan White CARE Act to increase the share of HIV/AIDS funding going to rural states, including Alabama.

–  Sessions voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009.

– Sessions voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Climate and Energy – Sessions is skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change.

– Sessions has voted in favor of legislation that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.

– Sessions has voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Immigration – Sessions was an opponent of legal and illegal immigration during his time in Congress. He has said that a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants undermines the rule of law, that the inflow of guest workers and immigrants depresses wages and raises unemployment for United States citizens, and that current immigration policy expands an underclass dependent on the welfare state. In a May 2006 floor speech, he said, “Fundamentally, almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming because they have a skill that would benefit us and that would indicate their likely success in our society.”  Steve Bannon talked about Jeff Sessions as the leader of the movement for slowing down both legal and illegal immigration, considering his work to kill immigration reform as akin “to the civil rights movement of 1960”.

– Sessions has opposed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006.

– Sessions has opposed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007.

– Sessions has opposed the Gang of Eight‘s Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.

Foreign and Military Issues – Sessions opposed legislation by Senator John McCain prohibiting the US military from engaging in torture.

– Sessions introduced legislation to increase the death gratuity benefit for families of service members from $12,420 to $100,000. The bill also increased the level of coverage under the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance from $250,000 to $400,000. Sessions’s legislation was accepted in the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2005.

– Sessions voted against additional funding for the VA medical system. He opposed the bill due to cost concerns and indicated that Congress should instead focus on “reforms and solutions that improve the quality of service and the effectiveness that is delivered”.

– Sessions was nominated to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, but his nomination failed due to criticism of his record on civil rights, as well as allegations that he had made racially insensitive remarks.


Tom Price – Price opposes abortion and supported the proposed Protect Life Act of 2011, which would have denied Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) funding to health care plans that offered abortion (the PPACA already prevented public funding covering abortions) and allowed hospitals to decline to provide abortions. The bill excludes cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and in cases where a woman suffers from a medical issue that would place her at risk of death unless an abortion is performed.

– Price voted against federal funding of groups such as Planned Parenthood.

– Price has said that the birth-control coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act violated religious freedoms and suggested that it is not necessary because all women can afford birth control.

– Price voted against a law that allowed the Food & Drug Administration to regulate tobacco as a drug.


Scott Pruitt – Described as a climate change denier, he said of global warming that “that debate is far from settled” and “We don’t know the trajectory, if it is on an unsustainable course. Nor do we know the extent by which the burning of fossil fuels, man’s contribution to that, is making this far worse than it is.” 

– Pruitt has sued to fight the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and regulations on methane emissions.

– Pruitt has called himself “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”

– Pruitt, as Oklahoma Attorney General, sued the EPA at least 14 times. (Regulated industry companies or trade associations who were financial donors to Pruitt’s political causes were co-parties in 13 of these 14 cases.)


Executive Orders [link]:

1. Executive Order Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Signed: January 20, 2017

Trump signed his first order hours after taking the oath of office. It’s aimed at reversing the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s landmark legislation. The order says the Trump administration will “seek prompt repeal” of the law. It weakens parts of the law, instructing the Secretary of Health and Human Services and other agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation” of any part of the law they think places a financial burden on the government.

2. Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High-Priority Infrastructure Projects

Signed: January 24th, 2017

The order explains how the Trump administration will expedite environmental reviews and approval of “high priority” infrastructure projects, like bridge, airport, and highway repairs. The order instructs the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality to determine a project’s “environmental impact” and decide whether it’s “high priority” within 30 days of a request. This was issued in response to protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

3. Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States

Signed: January 25, 2017

The order strips federal grant money to “sanctuary cities.” It also orders the Secretary of Homeland Security to hire 10,000 more immigration officers, create a weekly list of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, and review immigration policies. The order also creates an office to assist victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. Local and state police must now detain people they find that came to the United States illegally.

4. Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements

Signed: January 25, 2017

The order directs federal funds towards construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. It calls on the Secretary of Homeland Security to prepare congressional budget requests for the wall. The order also instructs the government to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, to build facilities to hold undocumented immigrants near the Mexican border, and to end “catch-and-release” protocols.

5. Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States

Signed: January 27, 2017

The order temporarily suspends the entry of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries: Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia, for 90 days. All refugees are barred from the country for 120 days. Syrian refugees, in particular, are banned indefinitely. During the ban, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security will revise the refugee admission process. After this order was signed, thousands of Americans protested at airports across the country.

6. Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Appointees

Signed: January 28, 2017

The order prevent executive branch officials from lobbying for five years after leaving office. It also places a lifetime ban on lobbying a foreign government. The order bans appointees from accepting gifts from registered lobbyists and bans appointees who were lobbyists from participating in any issues they petitioned for within the last two years.

7. Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

Signed: January 30, 2017

The order says the government must cut two regulations for every one, new regulation proposed. Regulations cannot cost anything, meaning any costs associated with regulations must be offset by eliminations. The head of each agency must keep a record of the money saved under this order, and they must send those reports to the president.

8. Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System

Signed: February 3, 2017

The order says the U.S. Financial System must have the following “Core Principles”: making regulation “efficient, effective, and appropriately tailored,” preventing government bailouts, and ensuring that U.S. firms are competitive with foreign companies. The Secretary of the Treasury must review financial regulations and report back to the President in 120 days, to determine whether financial policies are in accordance with the outlined “Core Principles.”

9. Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety

Signed: February 9, 2017

The order instructs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to create a task force that would propose new legislation to reduce crime, uncover drug trafficking, and expose illegal immigration and violent crime. The newly-assembled task force will submit a yearly report to President Trump.

10. Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers

Signed: February 9, 2017

The order calls on the Department of Justice to “enhance the protection and safety” of law enforcement by increasing the penalties for crimes committed against police officers. The Attorney General oversees this order, and is instructed to determine whether existing laws adequately protect law enforcement. If they are not found to do so, the Attorney general must propose legislation to better protect officers.

11. Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking

Signed: February 9, 2017

The order identifies human trafficking, drug smuggling, cyber-crime, financial crimes, and corruption as threats to “public safety and national security.” It instructs the administration to cut down on organized crime (like gangs and cartels) by increasing cooperation with foreign governments and the way they share information and data. The “Threat Mitigation National Intelligence” will lead this initiative, and will deliver a report to President Trump within 120 days. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly serve on the “Threat Mitigation National Intelligence” committee.

12. Providing an Order of Succession within the Department of Justice

Signed: February 9, 2017

The order changes the order of succession for Attorney General. The sequence is now: the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. Jeff Sessions is currently serving as Attorney General, taking office on February 9, 2017. Just a week before leaving office, former President Obama signed an executive order changing the order of A.G. succession without explanation.


Other Items to Note:

Policy

  • Immediate regulatory freeze pending review
  • Spending freeze and media blackout at several government agencies
  • Suspended reduction of Federal Housing Mortgage Insurance Premium rates
  • Withdrawal of Affordable Care Act
  • Withdrawal from Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • Reinstatement of Mexico City Policy
  • Government-wide hiring freeze
  • American Pipelines: Dakota Access and the Keystone XL pipelines
  • High-priority infrastructure
  • Voting fraud
  • Organization of the NSC and Homeland Security Council
  • Changes to Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

First military operation on Al-Qaeda under Trump

January 29 – Trump authorized a raid by US commandos on Al-Qaeda in Yakla, Baida in Yemen. At least 14 jihadists were killed in the raid, as well as 10 civilians, including children. The raid also resulted in the death of Chief Petty Officer William Owens a 36-year-old Virginia-based Navy SEAL, the first U.S. combat casualty in Trump’s presidency.

Supreme Court nomination

On the evening of January 30, Trump announced his nomination of U.S. Appeals Court Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.

And…On Feb. 18, 2017 Trump is holding his first new campaign rally (for apparently his run for re-election) at the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida. link

God Save Us All From This Insanity!!

Your voice will not be heard if you remain silent.

#resist #ImpeachTrump

 

 

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