RESISTANCE WATCH--Monday brought a victory for voting rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a lower court's decision that struck down North Carolina's controversial voter ID law. According to Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, the development means "[a]n ugly chapter in voter suppression is finally closing."

A federal appeals court last year found that law, which shrunk the early voting period and stopped the practice of pre-registering teenagers in addition to the ID requirement, was racially discriminatory as it targeted "African Americans with almost surgical precision."

Now, Ho added, the law has met "its much-deserved demise."

The ACLU, along with other civil rights groups, had challenged the law, which was passed in the wake of the high court's decision in Shelby v. Holder. That decision was decried as having "sounded the death knell" for a key provision in the Voting Rights Act.

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law also applauded the announcement, with its president and executive director, Kristen Clarke, saying it "now renders North Carolina's law null and void, and brings to close a long and protracted battle over a law deemed one of the most egregious voter suppression measures of its kind."

It also, according to Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, "tells the people of North Carolina and across the country that the right to vote unencumbered by expansive restrictions or by racist politicians or racist policies is fundamental, and that under the laws of the land, it will be upheld.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) took to Twitter to call it "a huge victory against sham voter ID laws written to suppress the vote."

"Next," she continued, "we must restore the #VotingRightsAct gutted by #SCOTUS."

(Andrea Germanos writes for the excellent Common Dreams … where this report originated.)

-cw

RESISTANCE WATCH--"Just when we thought all hope was lost, common sense prevailed today in the United States Congress," said Jessica Ennis, senior legislative representative with the environmental law organization Earthjustice.

That's because the Senate on Wednesday failed to pass a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would have killed an Obama-era Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule that limits methane flaring from fossil fuel production on federal and tribal lands. 

"Methane is a potent contributor to climate change, and letting companies simply vent or flare methane in vast quantities from their operations on publicly-owned lands is foolhardy," explained Jeremy Martin, senior scientist with the Clean Vehicles Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). "That’s why it's so important that we protect common-sense standards, and why this resolution deserved a 'no' vote."

That vote was 49-51, with three Republicans—Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Jon McCain of Arizona—joining Democrats in voting "no." 

The House already voted to kill the rule, which environmental groups said amounted to "giving away a taxpayer-owned resource for free," and was thanks to the CRA, "a dirty trick that Congress can use to do the oil industry's bidding."

If the resolution had been successful in the Senate, it would have made making fossil fuel companies accountable for their pollution "nearly impossible," said UCS's Martin—"not only would it have overturned current rules, it would have blocked future administrations from setting standards."

Now, with that effort stopped, climate campaigners are cheering, though "[t]he fact that Congress even considered this giveaway to the oil industry is stunning," said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "We applaud the senators who stepped up to kill this resolution, ensuring that people will breath cleaner air and saving taxpayers millions of dollars."

According to Lukas Ross, Friends of the Earth's climate and energy campaigner, the vote marks a "victory against Trump's plan to hand our public lands to Big Oil [and] is a win for the American people. Reducing venting and flaring from oil wells will reduce emissions contributing to climate change and save public resources. Today the Senate proved it will not always rob taxpayers to line Big Oil's pockets," he continued.

Still, it's not the time for climate campaigners to put their guard down.

"While we have beaten back this attack on the BLM methane rule, we know that Trump and his Big Oil cronies are eyeing other avenues," Ross cautioned. "An earlier Executive Order already instructs [Interior Department] Secretary Zinke to examine how to give Big Oil an ever bigger share of our public lands. We will continue to fight against any efforts to endanger the future of our lands and our climate," he said.

(Andrea Germanos writes for the excellent Common Dreams  where this report was first posted.)

-cw

RESISTANCE WATCH--A scientist who studies protests said this week that the resistance to President Donald Trump is building momentum, not losing it, and the movement's continued existence could be a signal that Americans are changing how they participate in democracy.

Sociologist Dana Fisher told the Washington Post in an interview published Wednesday that she hadn't seen major protests in the nation's capital in the five years she'd lived in the area, but that demonstrations have now become an almost-weekly occurrence. 

Few of her students at the University of Maryland used to participate in activism, but these days "everybody has to get out of class to go downtown because they're chaining themselves to something or they're marching," she told the Post's Sarah Kaplan.

Fisher found that there was a lot of crossover between events, with 70 percent of participants at the recent Peoples Climate March having also come out for the Women's March in January. She also found that reports of "resistance fatigue" have been exaggerated. 

"What I think this is showing is that there are people who are getting involved and staying involved and coming out even if it's every weekend,” Fisher said. "There's only so many weekends in a row you want to march, but we have not hit that exhaustion yet."

The rise of mainstream activism could mean that average people are becoming more engaged with politics.

"Many Americans no longer feel like their concerns are being heard just by voting" every four years, she said.

"Are they really civically engaged, are they going to do something before the midterm election, or are they going to go back to watch TV?" Fisher posited. "The data we have collected so far suggest they are not going back to watching TV."

(Nadia Prupis writes for Common Dreams … where this report originated.)

-cw

RESISTANCE WATCH--I gotta admit, I’ve never been a big Michael Moore fan. Until very recently. I caught a particularly pertinent part of his interview with Chris Hayes on MSNBC one day this week: 'I want the 6-year old off the highway': The first 100 days of Trump is not the story, he said. The story is the First 100 Days of the Resistance. Attempts to kill the ACA are dead because the members of Congress can read the tea leaves well enough to know that if they trash the American people and throw them all off healthcare, they will pay the price for it next year. 

“Everybody has to remember that this 100 days is about the citizens of this county -- that came out in mass. Within 24 hours of his inauguration, the largest demonstrations in the history of this country took place in D.C. and across the country and the world.

“It was an amazing thing.

“Ask anybody of my age or older…this goes way beyond anything we saw in the ‘60’s…I stood on that stage. Have you ever seen what one million people look like?

“For me, it was cathartic. We are not alone. A majority did not vote for him and people have been so active on so many levels…every day the switchboard lines for Congress are lit up … that number again is 202-225-3121…”

He went on about the Resistance being like a swarm of bees, coming from every direction. He’s been right about a lot – listen to the whole interview if you get a chance. Multi-pronged is how I’ve always viewed successful organizing campaigns – the strategic use of multiple grassroots tactics, an authentic coalition, the truth, the correct voice, and relentless work.

Clearly it works and is working. Marches for Science and Climate Change these past two Saturdays have surpassed expectations and for the first time in my memory, Los Angeles will see one unified mass May Day march. In June, local and nationwide LGBT pride parades are organizing as marches instead: Los Angeles Pride trades parade for a ‘resist’ march this year 

In the meantime I’ve found a list of organizing, action, research, support, and activism that I sent it to myself as the “Holy shit!” list. I share it in two parts; spend some time with both. Share ‘em as well, please and thank you! – and keep ‘em coming!

Action Hub 

How to get involved  – the holy shit list

Similarly, every day folks are creating and sharing tools and technology like this collection of Online organizing tools

(Julie Butcher writes for CityWatch and is a retired union leader now enjoying her new La Crescenta home and her first grandchild. She can be reached at juliejbutcher@gmail.com or on her new blog ‘The Butcher Shop - No Bones about It.’)

-cw

RESISTANCE WATCH-- “I’m now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance,” Hillary Clinton said on May 2 during a televised conversation with Christiane Amanpour at an event for Women for Women International. Clinton is identifying with the broad popular resistance that has mobilized against Donald Trump after the 2016 election, and she is not the only Democrat to do so. The party that failed to win either the Senate or the White House last November is positioning itself as the best bulwark against Trumpism. In March, newly elected Democratic National Chairman Tom Perez announced triumphantly: “We’re going to be the resistance to Donald Trump. ... We have the most important lever of power, the power of we, the most important word in a democracy.”

It is tempting to see the Democratic Party as the only way out of the Trumpocalypse. But let’s not be fooled. Before Clinton called herself part of the “resistance,” she was a self-proclaimed centrist and moderate.

American voters fell into three broad categories last November, the smallest of which voted for Trump (25.5 percent). Edging just a sliver ahead of him was Clinton with the second-largest number of voters (25.6 percent). Larger than either of those groups by far was the group that simply did not vote (46.9 percent). If the 1.7 percent of conservative voters who chose Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson had cast ballots for Trump instead, Clinton’s impressive-sounding popular vote margin of 3 million voters, which she touted proudly at the event with Amanpour this week, would have been eviscerated.

Clinton also stated unequivocally that had the election taken place before FBI Director James Comey publicized that the FBI was reviving its investigation into her emails, she would have certainly won the election. She cited pollster Nate Silver, who posited that Comey’s unorthodox statements had an impact on undecided voters in swing states. She also blamed WikiLeaks for leaking her campaign’s internal emails at inopportune times. But at no point did she explain why her vote margin against the worst, most clownish candidate in recent memory was so close that one bad allegation could ruin her chance at the White House. Nor did she refute the veracity of the leaked emails, which confirmed so many Americans’ view of her as corrupt and beholden to Wall Street.

It is likely true that Clinton would have been president today had tiny aberrations that occurred over the course her campaign not thrown her catastrophically off course. But her campaign should have been far more immune to such aberrations given her rival. If Clinton had been truer to the Democrats’ stated principles of progressivism and put forth a Bernie Sanders-like platform of economic justice with a strong critique of big banks and Wall Street, her poll numbers would likely have been higher than Trump’s, and the damaging revelations from Comey and WikiLeaks might not have made enough of a difference to cost her the election.

It is true that had Clinton become president, she would have made a much better “statesman,” conducting foreign policy like her Democratic predecessors—Barack Obama and her own husband—with a combination of diplomacy and merciless bombing justified through eloquent denouncements of terrorism. Speaking to Amanpour, she said with impressive maturity, “Negotiations are critical. But they’ve got to be part of a broader strategy, not just thrown out on a tweet one morning and say, ‘Hey, let’s get together and see if we can’t get along.’ ” Indeed, it would be unimaginable for Clinton to have used social media to sow confusion and chaos through impetuous tantrums, as does the current White House occupant. But would Clinton’s foreign policy have been terribly different than Trump’s as viewed from the war zones we have targeted? As if taking foreign policy advice from his former rival, Trump bombed Syrian government targets just hours after Clinton said about Bashar al Assad’s Syrian regime: “I really believe we should have and still should take out his airfields.”

While Clinton is examining what led to her loss, and a new book, “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign,” co-authored by Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen, has attempted to dig into the minutiae of the story, there is little examination of why the percentage of Americans who voted for Clinton was so close to the percentage of Americans who voted for Trump, or why even more Americans rejected both candidates. Many of us are scratching our heads at why there is so little regret among Trump voters 100 days into his presidency, as a new Washington Post/ABC News poll revealed. There is anecdotal evidence of regret among some Trump voters, but only 4 percent said they would back another candidate today. Meanwhile, according to the poll, a whopping 15 percent of Clinton voters regret backing her. Trump supporters trust their president, and no amount of news coverage exposing his lying, flip-flopping or blustering will persuade them to change their minds—because he has convinced them that the media perpetuates “fake news.”

A very small sample of Trump supporters explained to Vice News how they feel about the president after his first 100 days. What is most interesting about these responses is that some of them acknowledge Trump’s stumbling on the Affordable Care Act and actually back a single-payer system, with one person saying, “I want socialized health care.” With most Democrats having thrown their weight behind the Affordable Care Act instead of backing the hugely popular single-payer system, it is no wonder so many Americans stayed home on election day.

Trump voters also told Vice that they are happy Clinton is not president. One person went so far as to say, “I do not trust Trump,” but added, “What I can say is that I have absolutely no regrets voting for him over Hillary.”

The political dialogue over last November’s election remains important because it is crucial for those of us who want progressive change in this country to not fall into the Democratic Party trap once more and pour all our energy into electing its members. If the Democratic Party sucks up the energy of the resistance to Trump, we will be right back where we started last year. If the Democrats couldn’t beat Trump in 2016, they won’t beat the Republican Party in 2018, and they won’t beat Trump in 2020—unless they change their tune. The only way to get them to change is to force them to adopt progressive ideals in deed, not just in word. Clinton and Perez trying to tie themselves to the resistance is bad news for progressives. The resistance to Trump should not be tainted by establishment Democrats.

Since January the mass demonstrations, from the Women’s March to the May Day march, have shown an impressive opposition to Trump’s madness. Grass-roots organizing at Congressional town hall meetings have thus far helped keep the Republicans’ macabre vision of health care at bay. Unfortunately, there have been a disturbing number of people within the movement echoing Clinton’s line on “Russian interference” with the election as a way to explain why Trump is in office. We are desperate to understand why and how such a madman has hijacked our democracy, and a sordid tale of backroom corruption is much more seductive than the more mundane and discomforting explanation that Clinton was not good enough.

If Democratic Party members can simply sweep away all the real reasons why non-Democratic Party loyalists don’t trust them, they can continue to try to win elections without translating their stated ideals into policy, and most of the time they will lose as they have been doing. But that means that most of the time Republicans will win, to the detriment of all of us, not just the Democratic Party.

Clinton may want to consider herself part of the resistance. But we must resist the temptation to have her on our side. The resistance must reject Clinton, Clintonism and the establishment Democratic Party if it wants to truly undo the Trump presidency

(Sonali Kolhatkar is Co-Director of the Afghan Women's Mission and a political writer at TruthDig …where this piece was first posted.)

-cw

 

100 ORGANIZATIONS UNIFY-- The May Day Coalition of Los Angeles, a network of more than 100 organizations, held one of the nation's largest May 1 marches in resistance, unity, and defiance of efforts by the current administration to curtail, weaken, or take away basic rights and freedoms for most Americans, with the exception of the one percent at the top. 

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SPECIAL--The May Day Coalition of Los Angeles, a network of more than 100 organizations, holds one of the nation's largest May 1 marches in resistance, unity, and defiance of efforts by the current Administration to curtail, weaken, or take away basic rights and freedoms for most Americans, with the exception of the 1% at the top. 

The May 1 march begins at 11 am at MacArthur Park located in the Pico/Union-Westlake district just west of Downtown Los Angeles. A rally kicks things off before marching begins at 12 noon, moving east on Wilshire Blvd. towards downtown Los Angeles. The march concludes with a massive rally in front of Los Angeles City Hall on Grand Park. 

To access Media-Designated Areas at MacArthur Park and Grand Park, members of the press will be required to wear OFFICIAL PRESS BADGES. No exceptions. 

Media Truck suggested parking--

At MacArthur Park: S. Park View St. between 6th and 7th St.

At Grand park: W. Temple St, between N. Hill and N. Main St. 

WHAT: "Resist Los Angeles" march and rally on May 1, 2017, International Workers Day. Largest concentration of marchers to date downtown Los Angeles expected.

WHEN: Today, May 1, 2017, starting at 11 a.m. through 3 p.m.

WHERE: Locations vary.

Start location: 11 a.m., MacArthur Park, Wilshire Blvd. and S. Alvarado St.

Rally: 11 a.m. - 12 noon, MacArthur Park

Marching begins: 12 noon, East on Wilshire to S. Grand Ave., then 6th street to Hill St. heading north all the way to Grand Park/City Hall. 

Merge march/stop at Pershing Square with Women's March LA: 1 p.m.

End location: 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., LA City Hall west, front of Grand Park

See entire route here: http://weresist.la/ 

WHO: Scheduled speakers include (partial list): Kelly Calabrellos, Tongva Tribe Elder; Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Executive Director; David Huerta, President SEIU-USWW; Alex Caputo Pearl, UTLA President; Maria Elena Durazo, UNITE HERE; Alexandra Suh, KIWA executive director; Rusty Hicks, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO; Laphonza Butler, SEIU 2015; Claudia Estrada, Planned Parenthood; Rev. Meschellia Johnson, California NOW; Tom Steyer, NextGen; Hector Villagra, ACLU SoCal; Kevin De Leon, Senate Pro Tem; LA County Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl; LA City Mayor Eric Garcetti; Pastor Lewis Logan, Rev. Walter Contreras, Rabbi Jonathan Klein, Bamby Salcedo, transgender rights advocate; and performances by Jornaleros Del Norte, Very Be Careful, and Inner City Dwellers.

Members of the May Day Coalition of Los Angeles, include:  9to5 Los Angeles, ACLU of Southern CA, ACT-LA, AF3IRM, AFSCME District Council 36, AFT 1521, African Coalition, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), All Saints Church - Pasadena, American Federation of Musicians Local 47, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), ANGELENOS FOR TOMORROW, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Black and Brown Clergy Community Coalition, Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, C.I.C.L.E., CA Nurses Association, California Dream Network, California Faculty Association, California Immigrant Policy Center, California NOW, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Community Change, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN-LA), Church Without Walls, Clinica Mrs. Oscar A. Romero, Coalition for Economic Survival, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Church Without Walls, CLEAN Carwash Campaign, CLUE-LA, COFECA, Coalition for Community Control Over the Police, Comite Fuerza y Unidad Morena  Los Angeles, Communist Party USA, Community Coalition, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area (CAIR-LA), Creating Justice LA, CWA LOCAL 9588, Democratic Socialists of America - Los Angeles, East LA Community Corporation, Equality California, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Fight For 15 LA, Food & Water Watch, Fundación Ilobasco, Global Women's Strike/Los Angeles, Hip-Hop Congress, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles, IATSE Union, IBEW Local 45, Inquilinos Unidos (United Tenants), Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA), International Rescue Committee in Los Angeles, JUUstice LA, KIWA, Korean Resource Center, LA Forward, Labor 411, La Voice, LA-Más, LAANE, Lambda Legal, Latino Equality Alliance, LIUNA Laborers Local 300, Los Angeles Black Worker Center, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Los Angeles Worker Center Network, March and Rally Los Angeles, Mesa Comunitaria Guatemalteca, Miguel Contreras Foundation, Monkey Wrench Brigade, Morena Los Angeles Fuerza y Unidad, Multicultural Communities for Mobility, NALC 24, NextGen Climate, Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California, Promesa Boyle Heights, Red Migrante Guatemalteca, Refuse Fascism LA, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles, Roofers Local 36, SAJE, Salvadoran American National Association (SANA), Strategic Concepts in Organizing Policy Education (SCOPE), SEIU 121 RN Nurses Alliance, SEIU 2015, SEIU Local 721, SEIU Local 99, SEIU USWW, Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA), St John's Well Child & Family Center, Stonewall Democratic Club, T.R.U.S.T. South LA, Teamsters 630, Teamsters JC42, Teamsters Local 2010, Teamsters Local 396, Teamsters Local 399, Teamsters Local 630, Teamsters Local 896, Thai Community Development Center, T.R.U.S.T. South LA, UAW 2865, UCLA Labor Center, UFCW Local 770, UFW Foundation, UNITE HERE Local 11, United Farm Workers, United Teachers Los Angeles, UPLIFT, USW Local 675, Venice Family Clinic, Warehouse Worker Resource Center, Women in Media, Women of Color in the Global Women's Strike, Women's March LA., Writer's  Guild of America, West.

-CW

 

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