News you actually want to know, and what you can do to make a difference.
Welcome to your daily roundup of good news about good people, how you can help make a difference — and a picture of President Obama to keep you motivated.
It’s Election Day in Alabama, and the choice for senator presented to the voters is the starkest one since a certain presidential election a little over one year ago.
Democrat Doug Jones has dedicated his life to the cause of justice, and is a man of honor and integrity. His opponent is … not.
And Jones has one of the most powerful voices any Democratic candidate could hope for in his corner.
On the eve of the election, a robocall in support of Jones went out to the voters, who heard an urgent message to make the right choice from none other than President Barack Obama.
“Doug Jones is a fighter for equality, for progress,” Obama said. “Doug will be our champion for justice.”
And to anyone feeling a tinge of apathy, Obama reminded them of the paramount importance of this day: “This one’s serious. You can’t sit it out.”
Listen to the man, Alabama — get to the polls and get out the vote!
Once again, a federal judge has had to remind Trump that the Constitution does, in fact, apply to him.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denied the administration’s request to delay implementation of an Obama-era policy allowing transgender Americans to serve openly in the military.
“With only a brief hiatus, Defendants have had the opportunity to prepare for the accession of transgender individuals into the military for nearly one and a half years,” since the policy was initially issued in June 2016, she wrote. “Especially in light of the record evidence showing, with specifics, that considerable work has already been done, the Court is not convinced by the vague claims in [the government’s] declaration that a stay is needed.”
Kollar-Kotelly had previously issued an order blocking Trump’s sudden reversal — announced on Twitter, for God’s sake — of Obama’s directive that trans men and women be allowed to serve openly in all branches of the military.
The hateful attack from Trump was blasted from all sides at the time, with Republicans as well as current military leaders and retired generals slamming the announcement for undermining the military and for its cruelty toward people who wish only to serve their country.
And now a judge has said once and for all that Obama’s policy can go into effect as intended, and that Trump can put his bigoted ideas in the trash can where they belong.
In a visual version of Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling, Americans keep using one simple yet effective gesture to show Trump how they feel about him and his disastrous presidency.
The good old middle finger is a picture that speaks a thousand words — or at least two. And Trump can’t escape it.
RawStory helpfully put together a list of the numerous times the White House pool reports amusingly referenced citizens flipping the bird as Trump’s motorcade drove by.
Most recently, as Trump headed to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Saturday, the pool report noted that “one woman held a middle finger up for a long time as the full motorcade passed.”
The most famous of these patriotic displays was from Juli Briskman in Virginia, who was fired from her job after the image of her flipping off the presidential motorcade went viral, but who also raked in nearly $125,000 in donations and over 5,500 job offers.
Because Americans understand that between the democracy-destroying Trump presidency and a woman giving the finger to show her disgust, it’s pretty clear which is the greater affront.
Trump’s Federal Communications Commission is about to vote on commission chair Ajit Pai’s announcement of a rollback of net neutrality regulations. This is a dangerous move designed to appeal to corporate broadband companies, and would tear down free and open access and debate on the internet.
So it’s time to show the administration what you think of this scheme. It’s time to break the internet.
Join the protest and cover your websites and social media accounts with your full-throated defense of net neutrality, via profile pictures, banners, a deluge of tweets and posts and “married to net neutrality” status updates.
Battleforthenet.com has all the info and inspiration you need to show the FCC what you think of its plot.
Democratic women in Congress call for investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Trump
As the #MeToo movement has grown stronger and louder, and as accounts of sexual harassment and abuse against powerful men in all corners of society pile up day after day, one man has thus far managed to avoid accountability.
But Democratic Congresswomen want to change that, and put Trump’s name next on the list.
The Democratic Women’s Working Group — led by Reps. Lois Frankel of Florida, Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, and Jackie Speier of California — sent a powerful letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, demanding an investigation into the multiple allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct made against Trump.
“The American people deserve a full inquiry into the truth of these allegations,” said Frankel.
And while the calls for Trump’s resignation are also valid, the DWWG does not want that to overshadow the critical need for an investigation.
In the time of “Me Too,” women across the country are coming forward with their own harrowing stories of sexual harassment and assault. Members of Congress have also come under scrutiny and investigation, with some resigning, for improper sexual conduct. We cannot ignore the multitude of women who have come forward with accusations against Mr. Trump.
The tax scam bill that Republicans have so gleefully rammed through Congress is not just bad news for millions of Americans’ bank accounts — it would also have a devastating impact on health care.
That’s because, not satisfied with just going after people’s hard-earned money, GOP leadership made sure to insert a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate, which would upend the health insurance system and send the ACA marketplaces into a “death spiral.” Millions of Americans could be left without coverage because they simply couldn’t afford it.
And for kids like Owen, that would truly be a matter of life and death.
Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan highlighted the heart-wrenching account from Owen’s mother, Cassie, whose son was born with a hole in his heart and a missing valve. Owen had to have his first open heart surgery at just three days old, and would have two more before his fourth birthday.
Thanks to Obamacare, Owen’s pre-existing condition did not exclude him from health insurance, and he’s been able to get the urgent medical care he so direly needs.
But if the GOP have their way, that could end. As Pocan said to House Speaker Paul Ryan in his tweet, this is wrong.
Kids like Owen rely on the ACA for affordable & guaranteed health care, but the #GOPTaxScam would threaten their families’ financial security to pay for tax cuts for the rich. @SpeakerRyan, this is wrong. pic.twitter.com/347l8JlNR6
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) December 11, 2017
If you’re in the D.C. area, beyond breaking the internet, you can also pound the pavement to save it.
Head to the FCC’s offices, located at 445 12th Street SW, on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to join other concerned citizens in demanding that the Trump administration cease its attacks on free and open internet access.
We’re nearing the end of Year One under Trump. It’s been a long, dark road for the most part, one that has been mentally and emotionally draining.
Anyone could be forgiven for harboring a little cynicism about the future. But everyone can also lift their eyes, look around them, and find countless reasons why hope and optimism are still worth cultivating.
As Sarah Seltzer details in a poignant piece at Rolling Stone, a lot of women showed a lot of courage in 2017, and their examples can propel us forward with renewed commitment to the cause of progress in 2018 and beyond.
It began early on, the day after the inauguration.
[Women] flooded the streets of Washington, D.C, declaring their commitment to the fight against sexism. It felt as though our shouts were the inverse of Clinton’s intake of breath — our profane and funny signs expressing everything she couldn’t say. In a sense, Clinton’s resolve that day, and the Women’s March the next, set the tone for the year to come, a year in which the spectacle of women’s courage in standing up to bullies, harassers and tyrants large and small became the main feature of “the resistance.”
For some, the feelings of power from that day may have seemed to wane under the nonstop assaults on every facet of our society. But “individual women continued to provide a lesson in what it means to have a backbone,” Seltzer declares.
From young Jane Doe, to Gold Star wife Myeshia Johnson, to grieving mother Susan Bro, to San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, to journalist Jemele Hill, we are reminded that bravery comes in many forms, and that women standing up and speaking out against dangerous and despicable men will inspire so many others to do the same — even when it seems like bailing out a sinking ship with a teaspoon.
“For now, the courage of women and the outing of harassers feels like an end in and of itself,” Seltzer acknowledges. “But it’s key to remember that in industries that are still male-dominated and profit-motivated, any lasting change will be hard-fought.”
And yet you can’t fully discount the power of an inspiring heroine. I recently attended a screening of One of Us, a documentary about three people who leave ultra-Orthodox Judaism behind. Like many viewers, I became haunted by the story of Etty, the sole female subject of the film, who dramatically uncovers her hair and face partway through. Etty had left an abusive husband in the community and been punished with harassment, stalking and the worst fate imaginable: the loss of custody of her kids. The film’s sequence depicting Etty’s supervised visits left viewers in tears …
In Trump’s America, we’re living under a different kind of patriarchal extremism, but an extremism no less. So the story of a woman who stood up against abuse and male domination in her community – and still paid that fabled price, as its institutions closed ranks against her – is one that provides a road map, and a warning, for everyone who wants to keep fighting. Indeed, so many of the women who were our heroines this year experience loss: mourning family members, being attacked and threatened, or losing their livelihoods.
But it seems like whatever the price may be, women simply can’t and won’t shut up. American women are dauntlessly echoing the words of young Jane Doe, who wanted to be an American so much she risked her life to cross the border, as she demanded access to her abortion: “This is my life, my decision. I want a better future. I want justice.”