Greetings from sunny Guatemala. I am here on a work trip this week, so please pardon the shorter version of this week’s action plan. Over the years my work has taken me to many countries where there is an “administrative state” that has been “deconstructed’ by authoritarians, demagogues, megalomaniacs, and kleptocrats. While I wish I didn’t see so many parallels between these places and the US today, I’m also reminded that we still have a lot to be grateful for, and a lot worth fighting for. Keep up the fight this week!
- Urgent Action: Word got out tonight that Trump will be going to the EPA tomorrow to sign EO’s on the environment. A rally is being pulled together by People’s Climate Action, 350.org, Sierra Club. Details are below — please forward to your groups as appropriate. Details:
Don’t forget you can check out our Google Group page for recent messages that members have posted, many of which have excellent info on local events, issues, and opportunities for action.
We are planning our next group meeting for Sunday, April 23, and are working on lining up a special guest speaker. Hope to see you there!
Issue Group Reports
- Important Reads: Looking for some airplane reading this week, I came across this list from the NY Times of “Six Books to Help Understand Trump’s Win.” I don’t know about you, but since the election, my mind has been stuck on the questions of “Why?” and “How?” when it comes to Trump’s win. I want to try to understand the answers and the chasm dividing America these days, in hopes that we can fix it and avoid generations of Trump-like mistakes to come. I’m starting with STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN LAND: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild. If anyone wants to join me, we can start an RR book club!
ETHICS AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
- Call to Action: Plan to attend the Tax March April 15. Details about our meet up and transportation to follow.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
- Call to Action: Ask your representative to oppose H.R. 1430, the HONEST Act (The Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act), which could come before the House for a vote later this week. The HONEST Act would ostensibly make EPA decisions more transparent by requiring that all scientific data, methods and materials used to reach those decisions be available first online. But in effect the law would hamper EPA’s access to scientific research and allow bureaucratic roadblocks to hinder the decision-making process. The Union of Concerned Scientists outlines its objections to the bill here.
- In the news: The Senate last week voted to block an Obama administration law that would have prevented Internet service providers from selling your browsing history and other online usage data. This week, the House Rules committee will take up the joint resolution, S.J. Res. 34, which could then move to the floor for a full vote. But there’s still time to ask your representative to protect your online privacy by voting no. More info here.
- What we’re working on: Committee member Debbie Menditch attended a forum sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League on “Covering Politics in an Age of Opposition: An Inside View with Journalists on the Front Line.” Among the observations made by journalists in attendance: Trump is a master at manipulating the press and social media to spread his version of “the truth.” The press has to be diligent about finding the core, “base level” truth – and journalists have to fact check again and again.
Positive Mental Attitude
- Further evidence from the Washington Post that, while it’s taking a little longer than we’d have liked, the US at large is finally getting around to rejecting Trump and his agenda. What’s the magic number that his (dis)approval ratings have to reach before even Republicans start to jump off the Trump Train? We may yet find out!
- Have you joined the fantastic Facebook group Trump Watch: Grab Him by the Ethics, founded by our own RR Ethics and Conflicts of Interest team? Go there and be treated to delightful forecasts of the end of the Trump presidency.
- Never forget: THE RESISTANCE IS WORKING! At our second group meeting I handed out some cards for your fridge and nightstand that summarized some of our movement’s early victories. Despite the breakneck pace of bad news still pouring out of the Trump administration, don’t forget that you are making a difference. Here are some refresher facts to lift your spirits about the impact you are having: