RESISTANCE WATCH--Progressive activist and filmmaker Michael Moore made headlines last year when he correctly predicted that Donald Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. In February he then launched a new website that would help his fellow activists find and participate in anti-Trump resistance events.
RESISTANCE WATCH--As part of its dragged-out process of rewriting the ordinances governing billboards citywide, the L.A. City Council Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) is about to receive a report on how the city can install digital billboards on city-owned property. Today I submitted the following memo for the record in opposition to this idea. If you don’t want to see billboards on city-owned buildings and properties, send an e-mail to the PLUM assistant: email@example.com and ask them to add your message to the public record in Council File 11-1705.
RESISTANCE WATCH--Sure a guy who lied to his constituents about the healthcare bill, has financial ties to Russia and body slammed a reporter just won a Congressional seat. That’s infuriating. It’s depressing. And, frankly, it’s tempting to allow it to become discouraging. However, Montana Democrats should be proud of what they accomplished...and not just in an “at least you tried” kind of way. There are some major accomplishments of note that we could all benefit from focusing on in the weeks and months ahead.
RESISTANCE WATCH--Putting a fine point on the spin that President Donald Trump's trip to the Middle East has been a glowing, peace-dealing success, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross praised the fact that there were no protesters in Saudi Arabia—a nation where political dissonance is punishable by death. (Photo: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross)
Speaking to CNBC on Monday, Ross, who accompanied Trump on the weekend trip to Riyadh, said he found it "fascinating" that he did not see "a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard."
In turn, "Squawk Box" host Becky Quick pointed out "that might be—not necessarily because they don't have those feelings there—but because they control people and don't allow them to come and express their feelings the same way we do here."
"In theory, that could be true, but boy there was certainly no sign of it," Ross responded. "There was not a single effort at any incursion. There wasn't anything. The mood was a genuinely good mood."
He also noted that the Saudi security guards "all wanted to pose for a big photo op" before he left, after which they gifted him "two gigantic bushels of dates."
The remarks immediately caught the ear of Middle East experts and other observers.
Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in the Center for Middle East Policy, told CNBC afterwards that Saudi Arabia is among the "most repressive" of free speech in the Middle East, adding: "Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy which forbids any political protest or any manifestation of dissent. It is also a police state that beheads opponents."
Others took to social media to highlight how outrageous Ross's statement was:
The New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait wrote, "Ross is a superficial man, inexperienced in foreign affairs, and easily manipulated by symbolism." However, Chait continued, "he also clearly looks at a society where, unlike the United States, he can sweep through his day without encountering any evidence of political discontent. And he sees in this something to admire."
This is in keeping with Trump, of whom Chait observed: "Rather than hypocritically overlook the authoritarianism of our allies, he actually admires it."
Similarly, the Washington Post's Philip Bump pointed out, "Few Americans have been as publicly vocal about their opposition to protests than Ross's boss, President Trump. One of his first tweets as president-elect and one of his first tweets as president both focused on disparaging protests against him."
Ross is the same administration official who described Trump's bombing of Syria as "after dinner entertainment."
(Lauren McCauley writes for Common Dreams [[commondreams.org]] … where this perspective originated.)
RESISTANCE WATCH--Just days before anti-Trump marches are set to take place in over 100 cities across the United States, the results of a new poll just published suggest that a growing number of Americans want Congress to impeach the president, whose young administration is beset with scandals implicating not merely Trump himself, but members of his family and cabinet as well.
RESISTANCE WATCH-In normal times, Dee from New York would have ordered her copy of The Handmaid’s Tale from Amazon, but these are not normal times. Amazon is on the Grab Your Wallet list, a campaign to boycott retailers that sell Trump family products, which began as a response to the video revealing our now-president’s penchant for grabbing women "by the pussy." Dee bought her book from a smaller retailer instead.
RESISTANCE WATCH--One of Trump’s most horrendous campaign promises was to build a border wall — a divisive structure that will not keep us safe from harm nor create infrastructure to help our country fix crumbling roads and bridges.
There are countless examples of the failure of our nation’s outdated, underfunded infrastructure. Hurricane Katrina and the levees in New Orleans. Lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan. The crumbling Oroville dam and resulting evacuation in Northern California. These are all cases of critical structures that year after year are not properly funded in the federal budget.
Trump is either oblivious to or unmoved by the consequences of these catastrophic events on American lives as he remains fixated on the costly wall, even as his administration was forced to pull back the budget allotted for it to prevent a government shutdown.
Resistance from Congress, and from grassroots efforts in cities and nationwide, is gaining momentum. Infrastructure aside, the symbolism of this wall deeply offends American values. It has increased racist anti-immigrant rhetoric and communicated to the entire world that people seeking refuge in America are not welcome here.
Here in Los Angeles in early May, my organization, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), joined Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo when he announced a motion requiring companies seeking contracts with the City to publicly disclose if they are also submitting contracting bids to build the controversial border wall. This proposal, which is the first of its kind, would also impose strict penalties and fines on any company who fails to disclose this required information.
The motion is aimed at ensuring transparency in the City’s contracting process. Nearly two out of three Angelenos are either immigrants or the children of immigrants who are a vital part of the City’s economic engine. Immigrants contribute billions of dollars in income and make up a significant percentage of both the workforce and business community.
Cedillo’s colleagues on the Los Angeles City Council agreed that residents deserve to know how public funding is spent, and whether or not they are supporting individuals or entities who are involved in the construction of a colossal barrier that is chilling and morally unacceptable to a majority of Angelenos.
Los Angeles labor groups have firmly supported the motion. Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, said, “Our message is fairly simple – no wall, no way, not now, not ever. Los Angeles will enshrine the values of respect and inclusion, and reject the false notion that we have to choose between a good job and the safety and well-being of our immigrant neighbors.
Nationally, the Partnership for Working Families (PWF), a national network of leading regional advocacy organizations, has pushed for companies to publicly disclose their affiliation with the border wall. PWF called on Berkshire Hathaway, the company with the largest capacity to provide bonding required for federal construction projects, to publicly commit not to insure the border wall or detention centers.
The pressure is working. Most recently, Zachry Federal Construction Corporation and Shimmick Construction Co. have pulled out of the border wall bidding process. That means that at least 13 companies, including seven of the largest 25 design-build firms, have said they are not bidding.
“It’s bad enough that Trump is focusing his energy on dividing families rather than rebuilding our country,” said Nikki Fortunato Bas, Executive Director of the Partnership for Working Families. “We’re demanding that companies stand up for what is right and refuse to profit off of this politics of hate.”
Whether in Los Angeles or nationally, labor and community leaders are fighting the same fight alongside immigrant rights and other social justice groups. Together, we are resisting, and we are rejecting the false notion that we must choose between jobs and the safety and well-being of our neighbors. We insist that immigrants are not only welcome here — they are critical to the success and the life of our communities and our nation’s economy — and we will never support the building of a border wall.
(Roxana Tynan is Executive Director of the Los Angeles Alliance for New Economy.)