Seizing the Moment: Let’s Get Trump Impeached, Now

Welp, I’m back on the blog. I know. I was tired. But this is important.

I fully believe that the sudden firing of FBI Director (and human giant) James Comey can be a first domino about to tip toward impeachment, if we play our cards right. Yes, that’s right. With THIS Congress.

Resisting Trump and his Republican allies at every juncture is important; but it’s a band-aid. The reality of it is that he is compromised. Our country is compromised. While President Pence will be no picnic (and the succession after him is no better), Trump is fully attempting to dismantle the structure of our government, enrich his family’s personal assets, and use the office of the Presidency for his own personal gain. Pence or no, Trump must be gone. Continue reading “Seizing the Moment: Let’s Get Trump Impeached, Now”

Keep Strong: Our Efforts Are Making a Difference

I know it’s hard to see. I know we are overwhelmed with fear and anger, and the fact that Republicans in office are not acting in the country’s best interest – especially now, as we experience top notch hypocrisy from the “lock her up” crowd. But we are cracking them.

I apologize for my infrequent posting; I’m caught up in Mardi Gras stuff. It’s both a welcome emotional break and terrifying moment of normalcy for me. But I’m still hearing the news. Keep up the good work, resistors. Continue reading “Keep Strong: Our Efforts Are Making a Difference”

Download These Faxes To Send To Your Senator

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Since phone lines have been largely jammed up or closed down (thanks to our great work), some people have taken to faxing their Senators! The current call to action is on Betsy DeVos, because her vote is supposed to be tomorrow, but Senate Democrats plan to debate all night about her, so everyone will be wide awake!

Now, it’s 2017 and you probably don’t have a fax machine at home. The good news is you can fax for free via this link. I have taken the initiative to make a couple faxes for my Louisiana Senators that you are welcome to use:

Click here to download a fax to Senator Cassidy. It looks like this:

Click here to download a fax to Senator Kennedy. It looks like this:

kennedy_fax

If you don’t live in Louisiana, or would like to customize this, click here for a .docx file to use as a template. I got information on the number of students from the Louisiana Department of Education website (and I made estimates about the number of parents, and the numbers who would be voting age). I got the margin that each Senator was elected by from Wikipedia. As it stands, the template works best for a Republican Senator.

Remember, faxes are black and white!

Happy resisting!

Special House of Reps Election (Georgia’s 6th)

Take a break and let’s put our eyes on the future: as soon as Rep. Tom Price resigns to take his position in Trump’s cabinet (assuming that happens), there will be a seat up for grabs in the House, coming from Georgia’s 6th District, which includes some suburbs of Atlanta. Georgia requires that a special election is held 30 days after Price’s resignation, so we do not yet know the exact date, but I figured let’s get it on our radar because this seat is considered competitive! We will have a few special elections on the horizon.

As we know, every seat counts, so it is in the nation’s best interest to get a Democrat elected and motivate the Democrats in the area to vote. We have a 47 seat disadvantage in the House and we need to start chipping away at that.

About This Election:

Special elections typically have very low turnout, so technically they are always competitive if one party can just get its voters mobilized. While there was no significant change in the numbers electing Tom Price (64% in 2012, and 61% in 2016), the state is very anti-Trump, which some analysts believe is largely rooted in the suburbs of Atlanta. For example, in 2012 Georgia went 53% for Romney, while only going 51% for Trump in 2016. That’s a big difference for a presidential election.

There are currently three Democratic candidates and three Republican candidates declared in the race. The Democrats are Jon Ossoff, Ron Slotin, and Sally Harrell.

Georgia runs all candidates on one ballot, and if no one gets over 50% of the vote, there will be a runoff. Here in Louisiana, we are familiar with this style of election. What this means is that we need to support the Democrat that is most likely to eat into the Republicans’ votes, so no Republican gets that 50%.

The Candidates:

Jon Ossoff

15825971_1336470069744293_3642520661797599033_nJon Ossoff is a former Congressional staffer, and a documentary filmmaker (the CEO of Insight TWI: The World Investigates, which investigates political corruption). He also has been endorsed by Rep. John Lewis, who is tremendously popular in the Atlanta area.

I am not qualified to tell you who the front-runner is, but I personally am most impressed by Jon Ossoff (and his ties to John Lewis are important).

Ron Slotin

3160423Ron Slotin is a former state senator and a local business owner. Most importantly, he was instrumental in the passage of Georgia’s HOPE scholarship, which has helped over 1.4 million Georgia students gain access to higher education.

He has been a private citizen (not a senator) since 1996, when he chose not to seek reelection to run for the House instead.

Sally Harrell

15589904_364679157215663_8328778367639821418_nSally Harrell is also a former state rep, serving in Georgia’ House of Representatives for six years (1999-2005). She has a background in social work, and has taken time off to home school her children.

Her special focus is healthcare, and she is staunchly pro-Affordable Care act.

 

What should we do?

If you’re in the district, VOTE! If you’re near the district, volunteer for some boots on the ground turnout efforts for Democrats. If you’re far away, donate and volunteer to phone bank.

#BanTrump: Can we get him out of office?

This month is a pile of shit. I’m taking a trip into fantasy land for a minute. I am still trying to make sense of the confusion of this travel ban nonsense (donate to the ACLU if you can!), but more and more I am concerned that we need to focus bigger: on removing Trump from office. He is destroying everything he touches; we need to remove him and return to Pence (who is a huge nightmare, but a devil we know who may not be interested in destroying our alliances).

Two weeks ago, I would have told you that removing him from office was a far-fetched idea not worth reaching for. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m more and more convinced it might be our only way totally out, because Trump’s regime intends to ignore courts, to bypass the legislative branch almost entirely (along with tons of other agencies), and most of all, dismantling the structure of intelligence behind the office to install his crew of white supremacist cronies.

We can fight our legal battles – and I do believe we will win many of them, over time, but in the immediate future, lives are going to be destroyed while the courts take their time to address these things. The institutions we believe in – the press, the checks and balances of our governments, the courts – will break down the longer they are in chaos. There are supporters who will enforce his will, whether or not it is legal – enforcers in the police force, the border patrol, the agencies he oversees. Whether it is permanent does not matter to him; he is effecting damage now, and that’s what he wants.

I fear that the longer this goes on, the further we will slide into possible totalitarianism. I think we should try every avenue to get him out. We will not suffer from casting a wide net to see what we can catch.

Impeaching Trump

How does impeachment work?

First, the House Judiciary committee has to do an investigation to determine if whatever allegations are true (or likely to be true). If they proceed, the House votes on whether to impeach. Following that, the Senate must agree to convict Trump with a two-thirds majority. If that happens, we will be inaugurating President Pence.

Some fun facts about impeachment:

  • The president can only be impeached on grounds of bribery, treason, or “other High Crimes and Misdemeanors“.
    • That last part essentially means if he uses his office to his own advantage (like imprisoning a political opponent or misappropriation of funds).
    • Some scholars believe that it doesn’t require the act to be illegal.
    • It’s also said to include appointing unfit subordinates. Hmm.
  • During Trump’s potential Senate trial, Chief Justice Roberts would be present (per the constitution). It’s hard to say whether he’d be biased in one way or another; he tends to be a swing vote in the Supreme Court, although he identifies himself as a conservative. That said, all bets are off with Trump.
  • The only two presidents to be impeached were Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon was on his way there but resigned first.
    • Both Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached but not convicted during their Senate trial, so they remained in office.
    • Were Trump to be removed from office, he would be the first President to be successfully impeached and then convicted. But hey, let’s not let that stop us – he has been defying history this whole time.

Do we have a path to impeachment for Trump?

It depends on who you ask, but essentially if you look at the rules, and then look at many of the things he’s done (for instance, like violating the rights protected by the Constitution, or like setting himself up to profit from being president), he seems like he is already there. There is certainly grounds to begin the proceedings.

The problem is that we have a Republican controlled Congress who might be unlikely to impeach him (except that he is losing friends fast with his behavior). As terrifying as it is, it’s probably in our best interest that he continues to act like a bull in a china shop, leaving his potential allies behind to clean up his mess, if we want him impeached.

The required majority of the House of Representatives to impeach would be 218. With the current Congress, this would require all Democrats to vote along party lines (which we shouldn’t take for granted), and 25 Republicans to defect. There is a caucus of around 50 Republicans in the House called the Tuesday Group who are moderate; I cannot find a current list, but if we can figure out who they are, they would be a good tree to bark up.

The required majority to convict in the Senate would be 67 Senators, to get him removed from office. This would require all Democrats to vote along party lines, and 19 Republicans and/or Independents (one of whom is Bernie Sanders) to defect. That is not likely, but not impossible.

In 2018, it might become more likely, which might mean we need to wait. With tremendous effort, we might be able to pick up a couple seats in the Senate (although it looks grim), and maybe in the 20-30 range in the House. Historically, the first round of midterms after a party change in the White House results in some heads rolling, though. And this year is like no other, so we cannot rely on any traditional patterns to hold.

What to do:

If you’re serious about starting the impeachment process, first we need a member of the House to draft legislation. Call your House representatives or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi* to try to get that ball rolling. (*I originally referred to the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rather than House)

Next, we will have to put pressure on the House to vote against Trump. Then, we will have to put pressure on the Senate to do the same. Hopefully, Republicans wouldn’t be so short-sighted as to think that giving up all their power to the Executive Branch is going to benefit them in the long run. It’s unlikely they’d participate in something that would be so unpopular with their base, though. However, I strongly believe they will suffer consequences either way.

The movement has already begun:

The 25th Amendment

I just learned about this one, and it’s…kind of crazy. It would be fun drama to witness, I tell you.

Overview & History:

The main way we’ve used the 25th Amendment is in that it determines the succession of filling a presidential vacancy. The Constitution had been unclear on the exact succession of the president before; often a VP would take over (like in the case of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination) but then not one would take his place.

The amendment was ratified because there was previously no process for declaring a President incapacitated or unfit. There had been plenty of presidents in history with some form of mental illness, or then there was that time noted racist Woodrow Wilson had a stroke and his wife helped cover it up while running the country. We knew that the VP would take over in that case, but never who was in charge of determining that. This proved especially necessary after the JFK assassination, and was ratified in 1965.

Section 4 is the part that concerns us, and his has never been invoked.

What needs to happen to get us there?

A few things:

  • Mike Pence himself has to declare Trump unfit to govern.
  • A majority of the Cabinet would have to be on board as well (this would mean 8 out of 15 of his Cabinet defects from him – I find that difficult to envision but who knows? We’d also have to remember that if Pence was spearheading this, he’d probably get some allies)
  • Trump will inevitably declare that he is indeed fit to rule, and then Congress would have to vote 2/3rds to oust him. While that also seems unlikely, I feel like if Pence and the Cabinet were on board, other Republicans would quickly join in on the fun.

I could not find anyone petitioning for this, but hey, you could be the one to start.


Stray Thoughts:

  • As Alex Pareene argues, why wouldn’t Republicans want a President Pence? It seems like it would be in their best interest.
  • Trump’s very low approval rating might scare some current Republicans into alliances with us; that said, for many of them, not falling in line behind Trump could be a political death sentence. I think this will depend on whether they come from swing states.

Action Items:

  • Keep your eyes on 2018, so we can increase our chances to impeach Trump.
    • Find out if any of your representatives are up for reelection, and set some calendar alarms for important dates (deadlines to register to vote, election day, etc).
    • Depending on how they’re voting, make sure you threaten with your vote when you call them to demand whatever thing you’re demanding that day.
    • Join flippable.org to learn what elections around the country you can help focus in.
    • Join SwingLeft.org to find your nearest seat that might be able to be flipped blue.
  • Urge your House member to begin impeachment proceedings.
  • Sign some petitions about impeachment.
  • Drink water, eat healthy, breathe and go outside. You need to stay strong.

Resistance Is Working

This has been a tough weekend. Make sure you rest well, stay hydrated, and experience joy somewhere, so you can stay strong. And most of all, remember our efforts are not for naught. We’re doing great work, resistors. We are making progress, even if it is in tiny doses. It’s easy to lose sight of that, because we are losing so many big battles. Expect to lose, but not to be totally dominated and trampled over. Be proud of small victories and let them fuel your momentum. Here is some of what we’ve been accomplishing.

We’ve put adequate pressure on Congress to craft a replacement for Obamacare before they repeal.

  • At this point, the mainstream conversation among Congressional Republicans actually includes replacing Obamacare, rather than repeal and delay.
    • We shouted, and with their eyes on their future election runs, they are pushing for a replacement.
    • Rewind to 2010 and then the rest of Obama’s presidency, when there was talk about government “death panels” and other absurd arguments against the very fiber of socialized healthcare. The arguments were ideological: that it was un-American, Communist, Socialist, Fascist, etc. to have government-subsidized healthcare. Look at us now.
  • Congress has been unable to draft legislation to repeal Obamacare by their own deadline, which was January 27th. Now it’s in the “200 Day Plan.”
    • We need to keep the pressure on about tying the repeal to a replacement.
    • If the repeal and replacement are tied together, many Senate conservatives will not be on board. If it does not offer the benefits Obamacare did, liberals will oppose it. This could hang it in the balance indefinitely, keeping it mostly in tact as is.
  • At their retreat last week, it was leaked that they are both aware and afraid of the political consequences when they mess with Obamacare, and also voice concerns about defunding Planned Parenthood.
  • LA Senator Bill Cassidy and ME Senator Susan Collins introduced a “compromise” that would give some control of this to the states, and most significantly allow them to keep their Obamacare.
    • This will keep Obamacare alive. If your state doesn’t have it, others will, and you can still push via local and statewide avenues to join because the program will be in place. This will make the “repeal” of Obamacare much more temporary.
    • There are some problematic provisions in there, such as removing the pre-existing conditions piece, the anti-discrimination piece (so women cannot cost more than men) and the limit on the premiums of elderly patients. So when we get close to this vote, we must pressure our representatives to negotiate these changes out.

Republicans were unable to bust Trump’s Cabinet picks through approval via chaos, like they intended to. Cabinet nominees only require 51 votes in the Senate; the following victories mean that the Republicans in control have been listening.

  • Hearings ended up being postponed and delayed so that the appropriate committee members could actually attend them (many of them were scheduled concurrently to prevent appropriate scrutiny).
  • Despite Republicans being very irritated about it, Trump has started his presidency with one of the most understaffed teams in history. Make no mistake, he will get picks in there eventually (maybe all of the current nominees, maybe not). The delay proves that he cannot sidestep scrutiny.
  • Votes were delayed on Jeff Sessions and Betsy Devos, two of the most dangerous nominees to the Cabinet on domestic issues. When we said, “you need to further investigate these guys”, Congress was listening.
  • Of course, all the picks could very well go through. We could lose this battle. But the point is that Republicans, who had the political capital (and presidential support) to do this the wrong way, were forced to back off.

We participated in the largest protest in US history. Simultaneously, we have offended Trump’s fragile, fragile ego.

Remember a thousand years ago at the beginning of January when Congress tried to neutralize the independent Office of Congressional Ethics? We stopped that.

  • You might be tempted to give Trump credit for that, but he only criticized the optics of the timing (which, to be fair, made the whole move incredibly stupid). While this might have caused the House Republicans to abandon ship (for now), it was the uproar from his very supporters that caused him to interfere.
  • Also, notice that was a group that watches CONGRESS, not the President. He has every reason to support scrutiny of Congress.
  • We ruined what should have been a very exciting first day for Congress by bombarding our House reps with angry voices.

This weekend, we flooded airports and mobilized our legal minds to combat this Muslim ban, and, with the help of the ACLU, we have chipped away at it.


Stay strong. All the accomplishments above don’t secure our situation, but they do prove that our massive movement has legs. They prove to the rest of us that we have brothers and sisters on our side. They prove to the most marginalized people that we will not abandon them in their time of need. They prove to the world that Trump and Bannon do not represent us. Keep resisting.

Executive Orders, Explained: What to Expect and What to Do

What can we expect from all these executive orders Trump is signing, and what can we do to oppose them? You’ve probably noticed that Trump is signing a lot of executive orders. At first I wondered if I only found this weird because I didn’t pay close enough attention to Obama. However, as most things that are happening right now, the narrative that seems most unlikely is actually truth.

Continue reading “Executive Orders, Explained: What to Expect and What to Do”