THE SENATE IS LOOKING TO VOTE ON HEALTH CARE AS EARLY AS TUESDAY! We have to fight to protect the ACA, until we have a plan that can bring true, compassionate, universal health care to this country. While that’s the most pressing issue at the moment, it’s far from all we have to talk about this week. As usual, 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.
How has it taken this long for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee to show up in this series?? I’m ashamed at myself for this oversight! I love her show too. Another former correspondent from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee now hosts her own show on TBS where she continues to speak truth to power and deliver the news with the same fire, honesty, and humor you’d expect. Yay! Here Sam looks at the Trump Administration’s efforts to suppress voters under the guise of a “voter integrity commission.”
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) Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) – This is still the big fight. THE SENATE MAY BE VOTING AS EARLY AS TUESDAY. This will hurt Americans, especially those most in need of help. So, here are some quick links if you’d like to know more. We can’t let up the heat on this! Call your senators NOW.
NPR outlines with beautiful detail how the BCRA stacks up against the ACA and the AHCA. Spoiler alert, it gives the most money to the wealthy at the expense of the most amount of Americans.
The American Medical Association rejects it. The American Psychological Association rejects it. The AARP rejects. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, the March of Dimes, and American Hospital Association have come out against it as well. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has also denounced it.
2) Defending National and Community Service – by Jeffrey Cagle (The Imperial Talker)
While certain issues like Russia and Health Care continue to dominate the news, other stories unsurprisingly get drowned out or barely even appear on the radar. One of the many reasons I love Michael’s New American Resistance series is that he tries to shed light on some of these lesser known issues, and it is with this in mind that I felt compelled to add my two cents.
Unknown to many, the proposed Trump Administration budget is seeking to effectively gut the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). Under the Trump budget, this federal agency, which oversees the AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, would receive only enough money to shut down its operations. As a two-time veteran of the AmeriCorps (having served in Pennsylvania and Tennessee), I find the proposed cuts to the CNCS not only disappointing but equally shortsighted.
Employing more than 80,000 women and men each year, the AmeriCorps (often described as the “domestic PeaceCorps”) sends members into communities each year to help those communities mobilize efforts to combat poverty, strengthen public safety and the environment, respond to natural disasters, and much more. In turn, research conducted by Voices for National Service has shown that for every $1 spent on national youth service programs, taxpayers reap $2 in savings. That’s right, taxpayers – you and me – actually save money by investing the AmeriCorps and its affiliated programs! While the proposed cuts to CNCS might look like the fiscally “responsible” thing to do on the surface, the financial benefit to taxpayers would actually be WORSE in the long -run. Plus, the communities that are positively affected by CNCS programs like AmeriCorps and Senior Corps would be negatively impacted, having lost access to a vital stream of talent and assistance.
There are countless ways to serve our nation and world, and the Corporation for National and Community Service offers one such way for people – both young and old – to do just that. It is my sincere hope that we will unite to defend, and not defund, the CNCS.
These aren’t matters our reps will vote on directly but they are still important news we should be aware of:
1) Nothing says “innocent” quite like asking your legal team to look into your ability to pardon aides, family members, and yourself in conjunction with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation about your ties to Russia right?? Well, that’s exactly what Trumpy has been up to. There’s also worry/frustration in the White House over Mueller’s ability to look into the Orangest One’s tax returns and investigate matters like perjury and obstruction of justice as well as the Russian connection.
“With the Russia investigation continuing to widen, Trump’s lawyers are working to corral the probe and question the propriety of the special counsel’s work. They are actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work, according to several of Trump’s legal advisers….The president has long called the FBI investigation into his campaign’s possible coordination with the Russians a ‘witch hunt.’ But now, Trump is coming face-to-face with a powerful investigative team that is able to study evidence of any crime it encounters in the probe — including tax fraud, lying to federal agents and interference in the investigation. ‘This is Ken Starr times 1,000,’ said one lawyer involved in the case, referring to the independent counsel who oversaw an investigation that eventually led to House impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton. ‘Of course, it’s going to go into his finances.’ ”
2) Should our Cheeto-in-Chief start pardoning his family members and aids, it could have unintended consequences as, “If Trump pardons a family member or close aide, that individual no longer can be prosecuted in federal court for matters falling within the scope of the pardon — and thus could potentially be compelled to testify [as the Fifth Amendment would no longer apply] on matters that could implicate Trump himself or other top officials…. It’s also worth noting that a president can pardon past conduct, but someone who receives a pardon can still be prosecuted for future crimes. Thus, Harper notes, if the recipient of a Trump pardon lies under oath ‘any future perjury is not covered by past pardon.’ ”
3) As usual, this piece from The Atlantic is rich with detail about how Trumpy is seeking to undermine Mueller’s investigation, why he’s so interested in doing it (hint: think GUILT), and what can come from those actions.
“Any direct efforts to undermine Mueller’s inquiry could pose serious challenges for the American rule of law. In prior administrations, presidents have typically insulated themselves from the day-to-day investigative work of the Justice Department to avoid perceptions of political interference…. In his Wednesday interview with the Times, Trump went even further and suggested that the nation’s top law-enforcement agency answers to him personally, not to the Justice Department.” Yep, nothing terrifying, dystopian, or tyrannical about that!
4) Here’s a great piece by another WordPress blog, Trump Diaries, exploring the danger in Trumpy’s desire to repeal Dodd-Frank and how it primes us for another financial crisis. In addition to spelling out the danger of H.R. 10: Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, this post presents the reality of the Financial Crisis of 2008 in very understandable language. It also warns how we may be on the precipice the same thing happening again. (You should also follow this blog!)
5) In the I’m-not-a-good-enough-writer-to-make-this-up camp, the Orange One’s son-in-law Jared Kushner claims he has no guilt of Russian collusion because when he attended that meeting last summer with Donnie Jr. he hadn’t read the subject line of the email nor did he read all the way to the bottom. For real. This is his defense.
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) Just…you just have to watch this one. These are the people we have representing us in Congress. This is what they spend part of their time talking about. At least we have Samantha Bee to make the absurdity hilarious.
2) As if the Trump Administration wasn’t in hot enough water as it is, Trump and Putin had a “secret meeting” together at the G20 Summit. As we’d expect, Stephen Colbert puts it all in context for us.
3) Lest we get lost in all the Russian news, Trevor Noah reminds us that the GOP’s health care bill is still evil. If this passes the CBO tells us 22 million people will lose coverage with this plan. We can’t let this happen. CALL YOUR SENATORS NOW!
4) Trumper gave a long, rambling interview with The New York Times to commemorate the six month anniversary of his inauguration and…of course, he bragged about how much everyone in the world loves him. Thankfully Stephen Colbert walks us through all the wonderful red flags and ridiculousness provided.
5) Trevor Noah walks through the same interview, hitting different points from it and reminding us how “Trump puts the ‘fun’ in ‘fun-damentally unfit to be president'” annnnd is actively seeking to “dismantle the rule of law.”
6) Lastly, Stephen Colbert reminds us the health care fight lives on as Trump continues to try and marshal votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something dangerous and morally bankrupt. However, he does it by adding a little worldly culture and looking at Trump tweets infused with the spirit of Shakespeare! In case you need the reminder once again, PLEASE CALL YOUR SENATORS ABOUT THIS NOW.
1) Michael Starr Hopkins wrote this thoughtful essay for the Huffington Post about the current state of the Republican Party and how their blind refusal to do anything except back Trump is anchored in their hate of President Obama and may ultimately be the end of their party.
“As president, Obama recognized that he represented all Americans, even the ones who didn’t vote for him. He recognized that he was not bigger than the office of the presidency. He knew that he owed the office a high level of respect. More importantly, though, he realized that our children were watching. A concept unfathomable to the current occupant of the Oval Office….My Republican friends should take note because what they’re supporting, either directly or indirectly, isn’t just an anti-Obama presidency but an anti-American president. Supporting a president who is uninterested, unprepared, and unwilling to learn from his mistakes isn’t just overtly political, it’s immoral. At some point, you are the company you keep.”
2) The Washington Post featured this article showing thousands of people sleeping in their cars as they seek medical treatment while the GOP looks to toss out the Affordable Care Act in favor of something heartless that will leave millions without protection. The Trump Administration has already ended ACA sign-ups in eighteen cities. The lack of compassion should be expected by now but, thankfully, it’s still surprising and saddening.
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:
Continuing in the spirit of health care, here’s the Prayer for Health Care Leaders from the Catholic Health Association of the United States:
May you walk among the people you serve,
May you be one with them.
May others see your care,
May they catch your gift.
May your soul be nourished by the work you do,
The service you perform.
May your heart be lifted in the struggles you endure.
May you know the mission In your very bones.
May it challenge you and sustain you.
May you risk all that is secure for you,
That you may reach all that is central to you
And find goodness there.
May courage befriend you,
Integrity sustain you,
Hope call you forward.
May you walk on the water of faith
Toward the One who calls us all.
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.
And here’s a perfect piece to end on. Samantha Bee sends two of her correspondents – Ashley Nicole Black and Mike Rubens – to an “Impeach Trump!” rally. In the segment they outline a) how lengthy a process impeachment is, b) how if we impeach Trump that leaves us with Mike Pence (or Paul Ryan…gah), and c) the very real fact that, as much as we all want him gone we need to focus on issues like fighting for health care, paying attention to local politics, and using the system for incremental change. All this and it’s hilarious too! It’s a very important point though. We need to not get lost in our frustrations with the man and lose sight of the battles we need to be fighting to score the victories we can in the process.