I don’t normally post this series on a Friday but I thought there was a little macabre humor in looking at the state of the country under the Mad King Donnie on a Friday the 13th in October. Nothing says “scary” like a would-be tyrant lost in his own cult of personality unraveling before us. 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.
It’s odd, taking time away from this series. When I wrote it (almost) weekly, it was very easy to know what to include and where to start off. However, writing it weekly was taking too much out of me emotionally. Making the series more random is easier to bear. However, it also makes it a lot harder to figure out what to include and know where to start. It feels like every day is filled with mountains of shit that needs to be considered. Alright, that beings said, let’s see what we’ve got huh?
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.
Since I’m posting this Friday, the Senate is already out for the week (to return on Monday) and the House only has a few bills before them. You can check back to this piece late next Monday or next Tuesday to see some legislative matters you can call your representatives about. Please come back!
These aren’t matters our reps will vote on directly but they are still important news we should be aware of:
1) Here’s Gabriel Sherman’s piece from Vanity Fair that’s been in the news. It paints a picture of Trump growing increasingly dangerous and unbalanced as “half a dozen prominent Republicans and Trump advisors…all describe a White House in crisis as advisors struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods.” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis are doing their best to isolate/control access between Trump and the outside world and discussed what they’d do if Trump ordered a preemptive nuclear strike. It also outlines how “West Wing advisors were worried that Trump’s behavior could cause the Cabinet to take extraordinary Constitutional measures to remove him from office. Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment – the provision by which a majority of the Cabinet can vote to remove the president.”
2) Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has expressed both concern and outright disapproval of the job Trump’s been doing in office. This piece in The New York Times outlines his remarks and Trump’s (predictably fiery) reactions. Corker’s said, “President Trump was treating his office like ‘a reality show,’ with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation ‘on the path to World War III.’ ” Then, after Trumpy attacked him on Twitter, he tweeted back, “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.” According to The Times, “Mr. Corker would not directly answer when asked whether he thought Mr. Trump was fit for the presidency. But he did say that the commander in chief was not fully aware of the power of his office.”
3) Desperate for anything he can sell as a win (and apparently not content with merely breeding chaos in his wake, callously leaving Puerto Rico to struggle, and impulsively leading us ever closer to atomic war) Trumpy decided he wanted to fuck with our health care himself. His executive order, “will probably not affect insurance coverage next year, but could lead to major changes in 2019.” According to The New York Times piece,”[M]any patients, doctors, hospital executives and state insurance regulators were not so happy. They said the changes envisioned by Mr. Trump could raise costs for sick people, increase sales of bare-bones insurance and add uncertainty to wobbly health insurance markets….’Today’s executive order could leave millions of cancer patients and survivors unable to access meaningful coverage,’ said Chris Hansen, the president of the lobbying arm of the American Cancer Society….Many health policy experts worry that if large numbers of healthy people move into such plans, it would drive up premiums for those left in Affordable Care Act plans because the risk pool would have sicker people.”
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) The boys are back together!! In response to the Orange One’s tweet-complaints that the late night set doesn’t treat him fairly and he deserves “equal time,” Jon Stewart joins Stephen Colbert on The Late Show to provide the balance.
2) We’ll continue the team-up of former members of The Daily Show as Stephen Colbert joins John Oliver on Last Week Tonight. They brilliantly own the racist and/or ignorant ideologies that argue there’s nothing wrong or there’s something honorable about the Confederacy and it’s place in U.S. history.
3) We can’t forget all that’s happening in Puerto Rico (and all the Trump Administration isn’t doing to help people) in the wake of everything else going on. Samantha Bee does just that on Full Frontal. She also provides a much needed history lesson on U.S. relations with Puerto Rico, how they’ve suffered as a result of U.S. abuse, and what we can do to help now.
4) Jimmy Kimmel looks at the wonderfully dictatorial slant of Trump’s tweets about challenging the licenses of news meida in the wake of the Vanity Fair piece. He also has some fun with the language Trumpy uses in the tweets.
5) Trevor Noah points out the blatant hypocrisy in Fox News’ coverage of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on The Daily Show last week. It would be so sad…if it wasn’t so morally disgusting. Blah.
6) In the wake of Las Vegas it also seems like a good time to look at how John Oliver took the NRA to task for their idolatrous love of guns in the wake of the shooting in Orlando. He illustrates, as only he can, the dangerous tactics and far reach used by this organization.
1) Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s opinion piece in The New York Times examines the danger White Nationalist Movements present to the Western world. “As an ideology, white nationalism poses a significantly greater threat to Western democracies; its proponents and sympathizers have proved, historically and recently, that they can win a sizable share of the vote — as they did this year in France, Germany and the Netherlands — and even win power, as they have in the United States….Anti-Semitic and xenophobic movements did not disappear from Europe after the liberation of Auschwitz, just as white supremacist groups have lurked beneath the surface of American politics ever since the Emancipation Proclamation. What has changed is that these groups have now been stirred from their slumber by savvy politicians seeking to stoke anger toward immigrants, refugees and racial minorities for their own benefit. Leaders from Donald Trump to France’s Marine Le Pen have validated the worldview of these groups, implicitly or explicitly encouraging them to promote their hateful opinions openly. As a result, ideas that were once marginal have now gone mainstream.”
2) Margot Sanger-Katz has written this detailed and easily readable piece about just what Trumpy’s executive order on health care does. It’s not as dangerous, horrifying, or far-reaching as what the GOP’s been trying to push through Congress but it still poses it’s dangers.
“The Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land, and none of the proposed changes would substantially alter its main provisions. The executive order could result in higher insurance premiums for some Obamacare customers and lower premiums for less regulated coverage for those who want to try new insurance options. It could cause some insurers to exit some markets in the long-term. But the rules governing Obamacare insurance, the subsidies to help middle-income people buy it, the expansion of Medicaid to more poor adults, and Obamacare’s many other provisions touching health and health insurance remain the law. The executive order could result in real changes for some people in the insurance market. But those changes are not the same thing as eliminating the health care law.
” If a lot of people decide to buy these short-term or association insurance plans, that will most likely leave fewer Americans in the Obamacare markets. And that smaller group is likely to have more people who care about comprehensive coverage and lower deductibles — that is, people with more health problems. The result could be higher prices for customers who remain. Most Obamacare customers get federal subsidies that help them buy insurance, and they would not feel the increases. But higher-income customers who choose to buy Obamacare insurance may need to pay more.”
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:
I’ve been looking to prayers for strength and perseverance of late. It can be so hard to keep a positive attitude about our potential to affect real change when each day seems to bring a dozen new problems. Praying this has been helpful:
Lord, you are Holy above all others, and all of the strength that I need is in your hands.
I am not asking, Lord, that you take this trial away. Instead, I simply ask that Your will be done in my life. Whatever that means, that is what I want.
But I admit that it’s hard, Lord.
Sometimes I feel like I can’t go on. The pain and the fear are too much for me, and I know that I don’t have the strength on my own to get through this.
I know that I can come to you, Jesus, and that you will hear my prayer. I know that it is not your intent to bring me to this point just to leave me in the wilderness alone.
Please, Lord, give me the strength that I need to face today. I don’t have to worry about tomorrow.
If you just give me the strength that I need today that is all I need.
Keep me from sinning during this trial. Instead, help me to keep my eyes on you. You are the Holy Lord, and all of my hope rests in you.
Thank you for hearing my prayer.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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.
Also, it’s worth noting, I don’t really think Friday the 13th is a bad day. In fact, I kind of dig it. My brother was actually born on a Friday the 13th! As a result, it’s always been a day we appreciate in our family. However, there’s a lot of crazy, scary things going on in the world around us and there seemed to be a certain fun in writing about some of them on Friday the 13th…especially Friday the 13th in October!!! So there you have it!