Ai yi yi, starting this morning has been a hiccupy business. Don’t know how your brain engagement is working today, but there is one member of FAM who is finding it very difficult to both rev the engine and focus attention this morning. It’s a one or the other but not both at once kind of thing.
So…slowly, step by step…enjoy the sunshine on the snow…gather steam…get to the task at hand…
POTUS45 has gone to Mar-a-Lago, now being called “The Winter White House,” for a brief vacation. Previously this week, he had taken a break from pushing through executive orders and memoranda, but broke the quiet spell yesterday with two executive actions, rolling back both Dodd-Frank and a fiduciary rule.
More judges, in Seattle and Boston, have ruled against the executive order on immigration. Federal judges. Whose rulings affect apply to even the President.
While POTUS45 has tried to fast track DAPL with an executive order, action on other pipelines is now in limbo thanks to moving a new person into position as chair of FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), which prompted the ousted chair to step off the commission entirely. Meaning they no longer have a quorum, and cannot take any actions until appointments to vacancies are confirmed by the Senate.
Pressure on the Senate to reject the DeVos continues, and is having an effect. There is still a chance to affect the vote and prevent her nomination from going through.
Back at home, former chair/current secretary of the Republican Party in Marquette Dan Adamani has upset many with incendiary messages on social media, suggesting that “one bullet” could take care of demonstrators a la Kent State.
…and breathe. It’s a beautiful, if cold, day. Let’s enjoy it. Just as we adjust our clothing, we adjust our balance. If we need to walk like penguins to stay upright on a slippery surface, well, we do.
whatever your style
Continue to encourage friends/family/acquaintances in other states to explain to their senators why DeVos is a terrible choice for Secretary of Education. Paste articles explaining why on your wall that they can share. (We’ve certainly had plenty of them shared in here! Search “DeVos” and see what comes up.)**2**
Push back against Dan Adamani’s comments. Ask your Republican representative to respond. Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper.***3***
Think of things you have done to keep yourself balanced / restore calm when needed. Share with FAM.
It’s Friday the 3rd of February. We are now two weeks into the new presidential administration.
Early this morning, the Senate closed debate on cabinet nominee Betsy DeVos, and she will be up for a vote next Monday or Tuesday. The GOP is sending signals that they will shift their strategy from abolishing the ACA (Obamacare) to “repairing” it.
Back in Michigan, members of Snyder’s staff are heading to jobs in the White House, while the state legislature is moving to make the legislature and governor’s office subject to public records (FOIA) rules and may repeal the failing schools law.
Good morning, FAM. How are you doing today? Are you remembering to set your pace to one that works for you? As a group, we’re not dropping a single ball. Which we can do because in numbers, there is room for each individual to take breaths and breaks as needed.
And attend to humor, like say with #FrederickDouglass2020 or your favorite comedian. And to things beautiful, like your favorite body of water here in the Great Lakes. And to joy.
So, pour today’s cup. Take a moment to reflect on something that makes you smile, and smile.
And then tap into that steady ember that fires up when ready.
Betsy DeVos is going to a vote. There is still time to register influence with Senators whose vote could be “no.” Pressure from the public has affected the course of the process so far, and could still interrupt the outcome. Reach out to anyone you know in the states with Republican senators, and ask if they have contacted their senators to explain why DeVos would be terrible for public education in United States.
Take a moment to thank your own senators for their opposition to DeVos, if you haven’t already. Thank yous are indeed appreciated, and are also registered.
Call the Senate Committee on Homeland Security to express your concern and absolute opposition to Steve Bannon being a member of the Principal’s Committee on the National Security Committee.
Call your senators and representative to express your support of the bill introduced by Stephanie Murphy that would remove Steve Bannon from the NSC.
Call your state representative in support of legislation that would make Michigan’s state legislature and governor subject to FOIA rules.
I know that we are all shocked and have been playing keep up with the break neck pace of the news coming out of Washington this week. Many of us have been ringing our representatives off the hook, marching, protesting, and planning protests. On the facebook page, we have had some wonderful discussions about intersectionality and how to be effective white allies. We will be talking more about that on this blog and on the page, but for now, here are some concrete ways you can fight the Muslim Ban while you remain committed to all the other activism you are currently a part of.
Give to the ACLU. They have been given a massive amount in donations this year, but they are going to need as much money as they can get as they are currently filing petitions and cases at a break neck pace to keep up with the un-vetted executive orders coming down from the White House.
Call your Congressman (even if they are Republican) about passing legislation to overturn the ban. While court orders may eventually render this law making unnecessary. The action itself could rally both Democrats and Republicans together against the President and provide a united front. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced today that Democrats are planning to rally on the steps of the Supreme Court to call on Trump to rescind the order and introduce legislation. We need to call in support of both actions and really put pressure on Republicans to join them. Fissures are happening in the Republican party because of all the public pressure. We need to unite everyone against Trump.
Urge your city to keep its sanctuary status if you live in Ann Arbor (Mayor’s office: (734) 794-6161 or Detroit (mayor’s office: (313) 224-3400. Urge your city mayor to become a sanctuary city if you don’t currently live in one. The Lansing mayor’s office number is: (517) 483-4141.
Call Governor Snyder and thank him for his early condemnation of the Muslim Ban over a year before it took place. The pressure may keep him from doing anything to support it now. His number is(517) 373-3400
Listen and join in any protests you can at an airport near you. Detroit has already experienced a large protest at its airport as has Grand Rapids. More may be needed before this is through.
Talk to people who seem to support the ban but are starting to have doubts seeing the backlash. It can seem like something that won’t be worth your time, but keep in mind, their news sources might not be the same as yours and they may honestly not understand why the ban not only won’t work to keep us safer, but may endanger us and hurt innocents. I spent time speaking to two Trump supporters today and I was shocked by how open they were in private messages and how much they really didn’t understand the details of the ban or how little basis it has in national security reality. (Note both of these people opened the lines of communication. I don’t think it would work if we open it.) It can seem like a waste of time, but being open to respectful engagements to those who ask you earnest questions may bring in new allies.
Still feeling it’s not enough? Consider moving forward with this list of ideas from the Michigan Immigrant Center. This link also includes other immigration centers you can donate to.
Keep up all the advocacy you have been doing. Trump is trying to wow us with a flurry of activity. Let’s keep showing him that we can do the same.
Taking a moment to nod toward your mugs, say hello, taking a few deep breaths.
And then we’re going to look at the suddenly full Senate calendar this morning and the ongoing developments over the immigration executive order. We’re going to remember that deflection is a thing, even when it is negative and chaotic, and we’re going to hold on to the accountability and ethics piece. And yes, we’re going to contemplate that on top of the circus, there will be a Supreme Court nominee announced tonight.
< takes a sip >
We need to burn up some phones today. If you are available, it would be a good day to show up at your representatives office with your concerns. Or at the state capitol. Even without an appointment. Because there was no advance notice that our President was going to fire the acting Attorney General for doing her job — her job as defined by Jeff Sessions, by the way.
Speaking of the state capitol, please note representative Jeremy Moss has brought forth a resolution to denounce anti-immigration policies. That would be a good thing to encourage your own state representative to support.
The big push of the morning: NO to Jeff Sessions as Attorney General (hearing at 9:30am). NO to Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education (hearing at 10:00am). Also terrible candidates: Perry, Mnuchin. Price is no prince, either. More in the Action section.
The big push of the afternoon: Immigration. Accountability.
This post will be updated today. We’re getting it up incomplete because most of you know the phone call drill at this point, and the DeVos and Sessions talking points have been well established. We’ll include the committee list so you can contact committee members attached to the confirmations.
Go forth and roar, FAM. This is the beginning of showing people that demanding accountability and representative government and adhering to democratic principles is not a flash in the pan. It is citizens, watching and acting, ready to keep it up for as long as needed.
Call the members of the Judiciary committee regarding Jeff Sessions, the HELP committee regarding Betsy DeVos.
If you have time/are able/inclined, call also about Rick Perry, Steven Mnuchin, and Thomas Price.
Call your representative and ask them to support Jeremy Moss’s resolution.
And maybe give Bill Schuette a call to let him know what you think about him supporting President Trump and the executive order on immigration.
“You have to watch out; people will just be asking you to do things you need to say no about. Do you think the Attorney General has a responsibility to say ‘no’ to the President if he asks for something that is improper?” Jeff Sessions to Sally Yates in 2015. https://www.theguardian.com/…/sally-yates-sacked-donald-tru…
Michigan Republicans are divided on the executive order. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette supports the executive order on immigration.
Are you familiar with murmurations? Those haunting, fascinating flocks of starlings moving about in the sky, constantly changing shape and direction, looking something like a cross between synchronized swimmers and Dementors?
Scientists are still trying to figure out how the birds are able to coordinate movement like that without crashing into each other. But they think they’ve landed on the reason why: The flock gathers and moves as necessary to foil the attempts of predators.
Good morning, FAM. It is Friday, the 27th of January. Yesterday, we were told that Mexico will pay for the wall/no, a tax will pay for the wall/no, it is either a tax or a tariff will pay for the wall…meanwhile, chief strategist Steve Bannon suggested the media should just shut up. And Executive Orders keep flying.
Things were awfully quiet in Michigan by comparison. Not that we don’t remain aware that Flint’s water situation has been put on mute, that our fresh waters remain threatened and for sale to corporate interests, and gerrymandering has made a mess of much. Among other things.
We’re on it, our FAMflock is.
Today we’d like you to review actions we’ve called for through the week, and see if there are any you missed that you can pick up. (Will put links to earlier posts from the week in the comments.) The new action of the day is to turn your attention toward water. Pick one or both: Nestle’s bid to increase their drilling capacity, or shutting down Enbridge #5.
Alrighty, FAMily. Pour your mug. Set your compass.
Forward into Friday!
Contact your senators and your representative in favor of H.R. 458, which would require the Sec. of Transportation to conduct study of Environmental and Economic impacts of oil spill in Great Lakes.
We are waiting for the announcement of a public hearing on Nestle’s proposal, but meanwhile, contact the DEQ with your concerns and opposition to increasing Nestle’s groundwater extraction permit. Email Carrie Monosmith at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send mail to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance, P.O. Box 30241, Lansing, Michigan 48909. Comments must be received by March 3, 2017.
“For more than a century, innumerable studies have confirmed two simple yet powerful truths about the relationship between immigration and crime: immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than the native-born, and high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime. This holds true for both legal immigrants and the unauthorized, regardless of their country of origin or level of education.”
Whether natural, formal, or social, today let’s give a cheer to science and the scientists who practice it. Especially those scientists who are right now taking a stand for facts, peer review, and transparency.
Good morning, FAM. It is Thursday, January 26. Yesterday the new administration announced the EPA would not only have to run its data and studies by its political staff, but it has to vet any “controversial” public events before holding them. This even as one rogue agency Twitter account started disseminating data on climate change and other science gathered steam (almost a million followers this morning), and nearly a dozen more followed suit.
Scientists don’t do politics, but they sure aren’t happy about politics trying to do science.
Let’s give them a hand, shall we?
There are no senate confirmation hearings today. The Michigan legislature meets today, then will be off until next week.
Breathe deeply. Remember to take that walk. Look at something that makes you smile. Smile at someone you don’t know.
Pour that morning cup. Another breath. And set your action plan for the day.
It’s good to see you here again. Forward!
Contact your senators and representative to let them know you are appalled at the White House administration’s move to silence science. Ask them what their response is to yesterday’s moves to control the presentation of research from the EPA. And ask what they will be doing to protect science and research from being muted or controlled.
Yes, the Dow Jones hit 20,000 ; the LA Times goes through the history of the average and what it means (Note it has been steadily climbing for years; while this is indeed a historic high, it closed at 19,804 one week ago, January 19 — one day before inauguration day.)
When I was seven years old I cast my first presidential ballot in a school election for a candidate of which I would learn later neither of my parents approved. He won in my school, but lost in the “real” vote. I was devastated, but undeterred. I made a promise to myself than as soon as I was old enough to vote, I would vote. I kept that promise and have rarely missed any chances to vote from local school board and millage votes to representatives and presidential elections. I have never cast a vote without thoroughly researching every issue and every candidate. I took pride in my voting record. I thought I was a good citizen because I was such a dedicated voter; I was wrong.
I took a political science course in college and I learned how political parties work and how they intersect with different politicians and positions on issues. I wasn’t a political news junkie, but I paid general attention to whatever the hottest button issues were currently. As the daughter of a twenty year veteran of the army, I always listened very closely for where and how we were deploying our troops. I always listened for up and coming politicians and their positions. I thought I was a good citizen because I tried to stay aware; I was wrong.
When I heard about a bill of which I particularly approved or disapproved, I would contact my representative or senator by letter or email. If I heard that bill passed, I sometimes I contacted my President or Governor. I participated in a few demonstrations in support of issues I cared about. My activism was so infrequent, I always mentioned it on social media. I thought I was a good citizen because I showed up when I felt it really mattered; I was wrong.
When social media became a daily outlet, I slowly felt brave enough to voice my opinion when I felt it really mattered. I carefully selected items to share that I felt merited discussion and I did my best to remain composed and respectful in all my conversations. I tried to remain mindful always of the person on the other end of my interactions and to keep my mind and heart open in case I had not fully realized another nuance of the thought that someone else brought to the conversation. I thought I was a good citizen because I was willing to make reasoned arguments and have conversations with other voters; I was wrong.
When my seven year old son asked me about the election this year, I showed him how to research the candidates. We discussed issues that were important to us as a family philosophically and morally. I let him make his own choice whom he would vote for if he could after he did his own research and he cast that children’s vote with pride only to see his candidate lose. I thought I was a good citizen because I taught my son about voting and issues; I was wrong.
I woke up the morning of November 9, 2016 realizing how wrong I had always been. A good citizen may do all the things I did, but a good citizen is also active every day and cognizant every minute that our “rights” only stay ours as long as we are willing to not just exercise them, but also fight for them. I had always been privileged enough to use my rights as much as I wanted (or didn’t want) to use them. That may no longer be the case without a new phase of active citizenship and vigilance on all our parts. I always took for granted that the struggles of the past that made our rights possible: the Suffrage Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Labor Movement, all of that was in the past. I was privileged enough to think everything was different now. Progress was going to happen inevitably now. I was wrong. Nothing is inevitable. History’s progress depends on the active citizenship we use now. Our future depends on the active citizenship we use now. Everything, always, has depended on now. This is our now.
This weekend, millions of people showed up and showed the world that the progress we have made that people like me were privileged enough to take for granted, means something. We are proof that facts are facts and no spin can change them. Progress means something to us and through the work we do now, we will make progress seem as inevitable as those who struggled before us did. We have to keep listening to others, we have to keep our minds and hearts open, and we have to keep exercising our rights even when we are tired of making phone calls and we are tired of seeing our work seemingly defeated. One of my greatest inspirations has always been Maya Angelou who said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” We will not be defeated. We will be vigilant and active. Remember that today and every day as you address your postcards, visit and call your representatives, campaign for those you believe in, reform the parties that represent us, march when you have to and cast your votes,