Well, it was a…wild week last week, to say the least. And this week the ol’ Man of Orange is travelling abroad. Given everything that began coming to light last week there’s been a lot of talk about impeachment and what exactly may be coming down the line for the Trump Administration. To try and offer some clarification, this week I’m spotlighting some pieces to help explain, through history and the Constitution, what impeachment is, what’s going on now, and what we might be able to expect from the future. This series aims to a) help us stay informed on the events unfolding in America and b) urge readers to add their voice to the chorus calling out for justice. We must be aware. We must be vocal. We must be active. We must be loving. This is how we will triumph and how we will transform our lives, our nation, and our world.
John Oliver is the hero this week – so much so that in lieu of the usual inspirational protest song, I’m just putting this clip from Sunday’s Last Week Tonight here. Honestly, there was SO MUCH that happened last week and his summary – laughs and all – is vitally important. If you read no other links in this post, please watch this. It’s perhaps the most important twenty minutes of television journalism produced in this last week, helping us make sense of all that’s going on.
Here’s what’s coming up that we need to talk to our representatives about or call/email/mail other people in government/power. Note, whenever possible, have the bill number of the issue you’re calling about ready to share with the staffer who answers the phone.
1) H.R. 953: Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017 – This is another act which would deregulate restrictions protecting our water, air, and resources. We only have one planet…the profit of a corrupt few isn’t worth ruining out world.
2) H.R. 676: The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act – we still need to keep the conversation about true universal health care coverage going. This is especially important since Trump’s new proposed budget would bring with it dramatic cuts to Medicaid and other social safety net programs.
These aren’t matters our reps will vote on directly but they are still important news we should be aware of:
1) This piece from Rolling Stone‘s Carl Skutsch explains in precise detail, through the Constitution and with historical examples, just how the impeachment process works. It’s a helpful and informative read.
2) Last week The Atlantic offered a detailed piece exploring just what accusations have been leveled at the Trump Administration and what the possible consequences from it all may be, depending on what ends up being true. It’s an informative, well researched, and easy read that compresses a great deal of information into an accessible, balanced package.
3) Here’s another offering from The Atlantic that outlines more details on the accusations being leveled at the Trump Administration and considers the best possible ways to proceed to uncover the truth. In light of all the discussions about special prosecutors and Congressional testimony and investigations and whatnot, this is a helpful piece.
4) Trumpy’s visit overseas to Saudi Arabia was certainly a financially productive one! In one weekend, Jared Kushner brokered a $100 billion arms deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, officially the largest arms sale in U.S. history and the Saudis reciprocated by donating $100 million to Ivanka Trump’s female entrepreneurship fund. “Kushner’s arms deal with the Saudi government would supply the kingdom with new aerial defense systems by Lockheed Martin, in addition to new tanks, combat ships, and fighter jets. Saudi Arabia is currently engaged in an ongoing war with Yemen, which has stirred up international controversy and condemnation from human rights watchdogs.”
Speaking Truth To Power
This section highlights those who are daring to speak out against the corruption in our government. Sadly, given the way our media operates, we must turn to comedians to do the job journalists should do. Thankfully, we have these insightful, powerful voices – many trained by Jon Stewart over the years – to speak the truth.
1) Trevor Noah does a great job outlining the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate Trump’s connection to Russia, explaining a bit about impeachment, and pointing out the maddening reality of Fox News’ constant stream of bull$#!t defending everything and anything Trump does.
2) Because the last week was crazy and heavy…here’s Stephen Colbert discussing the absurdity of Trump’s commencement speech at Liberty University. It’s every bit as funny as you want and as we need.
3) In light of Trump’s upcoming travel, Stephen helps us all with how to Trump-proof our homes.
4) Annnnd lastly, let’s let Stephen explain Trump’s upcoming international visit for us a little bit shall we?
1) Here’s some good news though! Last week, in a surprise twist, Congress didn’t repeal a key Obama Era climate protection policy that places restrictions on methane emissions! Woo hoo! The rule “requires oil and gas companies to reduce ‘flaring’ and other wastes of natural gas on public lands. According to [the Department of the Interior], between 2009 and 2015 — before the rule was finalized — gas producers lost enough natural gas to fuel 6 million homes.” This is no longer the case, thanks to this legislation and, thankfully, it’s still in place.
2) Here’s a well written and well researched opinion piece written by Laurence H. Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, arguing why Trump should be impeached.
3) The Washington Post ran this piece outlining the growing concern of European leaders that the chaos flowing in Trump’s political wake is beginning to seriously erode the sense of U.S. power abroad.
Now I turn to my faith, Jesus, scripture, and those who have followed those messages best to remind myself why I fight, how I fight, and who I fight for:
This week the prayer I’m using comes from Pope Francis, from his encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home:
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
That we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
The battle for justice is only just beginning. Join the Resistance! Give it all you have! I encourage anyone interested in helping speak out about and challenge the injustices growing around us to do so. If you’d like, reach out to me in the comments or message me on Twitter. You’re certainly welcome to send me news you’d like to see included! I am only one person and, as such, have a finite ability to track these things. If you happen to be a blogger or vlogger yourself, you’re also welcome to take what I post in these weekly calls to action and share it on your own site too if you feel so called. But, most of all, I hope you’ll take advantage of the direct link that is in this post and all the posts to follow to call – and keep calling – your representatives. Democracy works if we participate. Love will triumph if we have faith. We can’t give up our belief in those principles or we’ve already lost the struggle.
Does it seem lazy to put the exact same John Oliver clip I opened the piece with down here? I’m sorry if it does but, again, this is important. So I figured if you didn’t watch it above, I’d give you another chance down here. He does a great job mapping out the importance of everything that transpired last week, it’s implications, and where we all go from here. Plus, it’s totally funny too.