#tbh, I’m already exhausted.
It’s now Day 5, and reading through my Facebook, NYT, and other news feeds, there are too many ridiculous things happening to even feel as though I can address any one of them and be effective, let alone all the ones that anger me and chill me to my core.
Here’s a sampling of things from the roughly last 24 hours that we should all be anywhere from pretty to terribly concerned about. In some cases, I’ve included links to or suggestions for concrete actions:
• Trump withdraws from TPP. I have mixed feelings on the TPP in general, but do appreciate its potential capacity to counteract China’s questionable manufacturing and currency practices.
• Trump instates a federal hiring freeze with the exception of the military, because you know, government is bad but wars started by governments are good. Or something. A surprisingly pragmatic perspective from Fox News here.
• Trump reinstates this gag rule, which is unsurprising given its history and would have likely occurred with any Republican president. Mostly just a waste of time because there is already a law prohibiting U.S. money from financing abortions provided by NGOs abroad. However, the so-called Mexico City rule also prevents NGOs from disseminating information about family planning and abortion or referring women to abortion services.
• Speaking of gag rules, the EPA and the USDA are apparently not allowed to the tell the public about taxpayer funded science anymore per a media blackout order. Because now when we buy things, we don’t get to leave the store with them. Also, good-bye grants. The National Park Service has been effectively censored, too, though Badlands, being bad like they are, are just doing their own thing. Props to the Badlands.
• Alternative facts. Supreme Leader, anyone? This will create a scenario in which we cannot trust a single piece of information coming out of the White House, which is particularly disconcerting for issues and events the public has no way to know for themselves. Time to tune in to C-Span all day, every day, folks. This for a brief analysis on various types of misdirection.
• More alternative facts, but this time fabricated stories about immigrants voting illegally. Empirically verifiable as untrue, but sure to lead to more actions to restrict, impinge upon, and impede the Constitutionally-ordained voting rights of ALL citizens.
• To this, I mostly want to say “are you fucking kidding me”, but I also don’t want to be the one that’s laughing as the country descends rapidly towards authoritarian totalitarianism. It’s creepy AF and I think if they re-made the movie The Dictator, replacing Kim Jung’s face with Trump’s, it wouldn’t be super off-base.
• Those times when Canadians (Canadians!) were denied entry to the U.S. because they wanted to engage in peaceful protest.
• State-controlled press, anyone?
• Disaster. Another AYFKM moment: if the American embassy in Israel moves to Jerusalem, every single peace talk since ever (think in the last 50+ years, from Kissinger to Clinton and back again) will be jeapordized. Not just jeapordized. Neutralized. Eviscerated. The U.S. will be at odds with the entire international community, possibly making itself the target of sanctions, reprimands, maybe even terrorism. Here is a somewhat vitriolic (even for me) op-ed about it, but the consequences it outlines are real, including increased settlement-building at odds with international opinion and U.S. policy up until 5 days ago.
• A bill under consideration in the House cuts EPA and Department of Interior budgets, affecting endangered species protections, limiting environmental protections, and other egregious offenses against our natural world. (Of course, this assumes the new EPA would still try to protect the environment…a slashed budget for an environmentally-damaging EPA could be a good thing?) This one has an easy action plan: CALL YOUR CONGRESSPEOPLE.
“The bill also blocks the issuing of new regulations by the EPA, including changing the definition of “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act and enacting new regulations on power plants for greenhouse gases. … Under the legislation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be cut by $8 million, which affects several species. If enacted, the Department of Interior would end federal protections for gray wolves in Midwestern states. This push to remove these wolves from endangered species list has already been overturned by two federal judges on separate occasions. The legislation would also affect the sage-grouse, a western bird species, by delaying its consideration to be named under the Endangered Species Act. The bird is on the waiting list to be dubbed an endangered species, and has faced population decline over the past 30 years.”
•Additionally, the barriers for transferring power and stewardship of federal lands to the States have been lessened. According to the Guardian, this will cause huge losses in jobs and revenue, as well as environmental and protections.
• We should be reviving #NoDAPL and Keystone activism, even if futile, because this.
• Inappropriate and fairly ridiculous grand-standing and, of course, lying.
• What we’ve all been waiting for: Supreme Court nominees? Since nominees have to be confirmed by the Senate, contact your Senators to weigh in. Or, just tweet @realDonaldTrump, because we know that’ll get a reaction.
• This can be filed under good-bad news. Good because it is great and Russian interference is true, bad because Russian interference is true and we need to be talking more about the violation of our sovereignty as a nation and democracy.
This was fun. Well, as fun as it could be, considering. Thinking about turning it into a real thing — daily headlines/issues with concrete and timely actions. Not to repeat the oodles of other action sites going up these days, or provide a resource for contact info or other, but just a semi-curated collection of stuff that’s happening and what you can do about it, so you can pick and choose based on something that speaks to you in that moment.
As for myself, today I e-commented to both of my Senators about my disapproval of Betsy DeVos, and sent a message to the Governor about the effects of one of his proposed budget cuts. After all, all politics are still local and we can’t forget about local issues despite the chaos of the national stage.