I have a hard time believing it’s just been just over one week since inauguration day. So much has happened, it’s felt like fires being started all over the place, faster than we can find ways to deal with them. But, we’ve been doing what we can.
Trump has been signing executive orders at a steady rate, including:
- An order to further the elimination of the Affordable Care Act.
- An order instructing Homeland Security to work on building a wall between the United States and Mexico.
- An order that targets undocumented immigrants and Sanctuary Cities.
He also signed memorandums that included:
- A federal hiring freeze.
- Reopening the path for the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines to continue.
In addition to these there was:
- Orders went out to the Interior Department to stop tweeting. This led to some interesting activity (see Good News!)
- An order was issued requiring that the USDA not release any “public-facing” documents. This order was issued on Monday, and rescinded on Tuesday.
- The EPA faced a freeze of all grants and contracts. The freeze was lifted on Friday, however a gag order does still seem to be in place and there is the possibility of the removal on the page about Climate Change.
- A number of federal agencies found themselves under a gag order, being told not to communicate with the public.
Trump made claims of massive voter fraud (which pretty much no-one sees any evidence of).
The White House has begun to use the phrase “Alternate Facts” to refer to flat-out lies, as though they are somehow as valid as actual facts.
A group known as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington have filed a federal lawsuit against Trump claiming that his business interests have put him in violation of the constitution.
But perhaps the most hard-hitting things have happened this weekend.
First came the Immigration Ban. Trump signed an order that went into effect immediately which bars the entry of citizens from seven (predominantly Muslim) nations from entering the US for three months. This includes people from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. And it includes people who have lived and worked in the US for years, and may have just been out of the country on when this ban went into place. This also includes refugees who have been in an already long process to get to the United States. There are heartbreaking stories everywhere at this point, and a number of people were detained at US airports (some illegally deported) as this went into place.
And, while that was happening, Steve Bannon was places onto the National Security Council, while the roles of the Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence have been minimized.
Badlands National Park tweeted some scientific information following the Twitter-ban. These tweets got deleted, but it ended up launching a great series of “alt” and “rogue” NPS accounts that continued to share scientific information, particularly relating to Climate Change.
Full-out gag orders seem to have been at least somewhat lifted (such as with the USDA) following a severe amount of public outcry from citizens and scientists.
In response to the Muslim Ban (though Trump claims it is not about religion no one is really buying that) protests spontaneously appeared at airports around the country. Lawyers jumped into action to do what they could, and the ACLU went right to court and were able to get a federal judge to grant a stay for those who were already in the US and being detained. Airbnb stepped up to offer free housing overseas for those stranded by this ban, and the New York City taxi’s went on a temporary strike, refusing to transport to and from JFK airport. It has been a powerful show of support, and is ongoing.
There was a victory in the fight against Gerrymandering in Wisconsin.
Of course, take care of yourself. It is becoming clear that we’re in a marathon that acts like a sprint… so much happening with, it seems, no end in sight. So it’s vital to take care of ourselves!
With a new issue coming up daily, it can be easy to let some of them fall by the wayside – and we can’t do that.
This week will see the confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions and Betty DeVos – both which really need to be stopped.
DeVos hearing is on Tuesday (January 31st) and we need to get three of these senators to vote against her appointment. So, if you live in any of the states listed below OR KNOW ANYONE WHO DOES, PLEASE call your Senators (or get them to call their senators), and if it’s busy, keep trying:
Susan Collins (ME) 207.622.8414..&..202.224.2523
Lamar Alexander (TN) 615.736.5129..&..202.224.4944
Lisa Murkowski (AK) 907.586.7277..&..202.224.6665
Johnny Isakson (GA) 770.661.0999..&..202.224.3643
Orrin Hatch (UT) 801.524.4380..&..202.224.5251
Richard Burr (NC) 336.631.5125..&..202.224.3154..&.. 910.251.1058..&..828.350.2437
Michael Enzi (WY) 202.224.3424
Dr. Bill Cassidy (LA) 202.224.5824
Pat Roberts (KS) 202.224.4774
Tim Scott (SC) 202.224.6121
Rand Paul (KY) 202.224.4343
Jeff Sessions vote is also on Tuesday. The NAACP has put together a good document with the phone numbers of the representatives on this committee… check it out and give them a call.
Finally, pay attention. If you can do anything to help in the fight against the Muslim Ban please do. Donations to the ACLU or other organizations that help immigrants and refugees are very welcome, if you are able.
If you are on Twitter or Facebook you can always search for the hashtag #Resist to get a start in finding more information, action items, and connections.