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A YEAR WITHOUT A PRESIDENT

It seems like forever, but it was just one year ago that Donald Trump was elected president. So what have we learned about the presidency and who is running the country? 

1. The first big thing we’ve learned is that Trump is not really the president of the United States – because he’s not governing.

A president who’s governing doesn’t blast his Attorney General for doing his duty and recusing himself from an FBI investigation of the president.

A president who’s governing doesn’t leave the top echelons of departments and agencies empty for almost a year.

He doesn’t publicly tell his Secretary of State he’s wasting time trying to open relations with North Korea. Any president with the slightest interest in governing would already know and approve of what his Secretary of State was doing.

He doesn’t fire half his key White House staff in the first nine months, creating utter chaos.

A president who is governing works with his cabinet and staff to develop policy. He doesn’t just tweet new public policy out of the blue – for example, that transgender people can’t serve in the military. His Secretary of Defense is likely to have some thoughts on the matter – and if not consulted might decide to ignore the tweet.

He doesn’t just decide to withdraw from the Paris Accord without any reason or analysis.

A president who is governing works with Congress. He doesn’t just punt to Congress hard decisions – as he did with DACA, the Iran nuclear deal, insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, and details of his tax plan.

He doesn’t tell a crowd of supporters that he’s ended the Clean Power Plan – “Did you see what I did to that? Boom, gone” – when any such repeal requires a legal process, and must then withstand court challenges.

Instead of governing, Donald Trump has been insulting, throwing tantrums, and getting even:

Equating white supremacists with people who protest against them. Questioning the patriotism of NFL players who are peacefully protesting police violence and racism.

Making nasty remarks about journalists, about his predecessor as president, his political opponent in the last election, national heroes like Congressman John Lewis and Senator John McCain, even the mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico.

Or he’s busy lying and then covering up the lies. Claiming he would have won the popular vote if millions hadn’t voted fraudulently for his opponent – without a shred of evidence to support his claim, and then setting up a fraudulent commission to find the evidence.

Or firing the head of the FBI who wouldn’t promise to be more loyal to him than to the American public.

A president’s job is to govern. Trump doesn’t know how to govern, or apparently doesn’t care. So, logically, he’s not President.

2. The second thing we’ve learned is that Trump’s influence is waning.  

Since he lost the popular vote, his approval ratings have dropped even further. One year in, Trump is the least popular president in history with only 37 percent of Americans behind him.

Most Republicans still approve of him, but that may not be for long.

He couldn’t get his pick elected to a Senate primary in Alabama, a state bulging with Trump voters.

Republican senators refused to go along with his repeal of the Affordable Care Act. And they’re taking increased interest in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Business leaders deserted him over his remarks over Charlottesville. They vacated his business advisory councils.

NFL owners have turned on him over his remarks about players. Tom Brady, who once called Trump “a good friend,” now calls him “divisive” and “wrong.”

There’s no question he’s violated the Constitution. There are at least three grounds for impeachment – his violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution by raking in money from foreign governments, his obstruction of justice by firing the head of the FBI, and his failure to faithfully execute the law by not implementing the Affordable Care Act. And a fourth if he or his aides colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

But both houses of Congress would have to vote for his removal, which won’t happen unless Democrats win control in 2018 or Republicans in Congress decide Trump is a political liability.

3. The third big thing we’ve learned is where the governing of the country is actually occurring.

Much is being done by lobbyists for big business, who now swarm over the Trump administration like honey bees over a hedgerow of hollyhocks.

But the real leadership of America is coming from outside the Trump administration.

Leadership on the environment is now coming from California – whose rules every automaker and many other corporations have to meet in order to sell in a state that’s home to one out of eight Americans.

Leadership on civil rights is coming from the federal courts, which have struck down three different versions of Trump’s travel ban, told states their voter ID laws are unconstitutional, and pushed police departments to stop profiling and harassing minorities.

Leadership on the economy is coming from the Federal Reserve Board, whose decisions on interest rates are more important than ever now that the country lacks a fiscal policy guided by the White House.

Most of the rest of leadership in America is now coming from the grassroots – from people all over the country who are determined to reclaim our democracy and make the economy work for the many rather than the few.

They stopped Congress from repealing the Affordable Care Act.

They’re fighting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s plan to spend taxpayer money on for-profit schools and colleges that cheat their students.

They’re fighting EPA director Scott Pruitt’s crusade against climate science.

And Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s attempts to tear down the wall between church and state.

They’re fighting against the biggest tax cut for the wealthy in American history – that will be paid for by draconian cuts in services and dangerous levels of federal debt.

They’re fighting against the bigotry, racism, and xenophobia that Trump has unleashed.

And they’re fighting for a Congress that, starting with next year’s midterm elections, will reverse everything Trump is doing to America.

But their most important effort – your effort, our effort – is not just resisting Trump. It’s laying the groundwork for a new politics in America, a new era of decency and social justice, a reassertion of the common good.

Millions are already mobilizing and organizing. It’s the one good thing that’s happened since Election Day last year – the silver lining on the dark Trump cloud.

If you’re not yet part of it, join up.

BREAKING: A federal court has ordered a complete halt to implementation of Trump’s unconstitutional and discriminatory transgender military ban. #TransMilitaryBan.

Source: ACLU 

Folks, even if you’re a pacifist / anti-military, remember:

THE TRANS BAN DOES NOTHING TO STOP MILITARISM, AND EVERYTHING TO LEGALIZE & NORMALIZE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE TRANS COMMUNITY.

Homosexuals in Brazil need help

Yesterday, in Brazil, the federal court has allowed homosexuality to be treated as a disease.
Since 1999, throughout the world, homosexuality has stopped being treated as a disease that needs healing.
“The Federal Court has allowed, on a preliminary basis, that psychologists can treat homosexuals as patients and can make therapies of ‘sexual reversion’ without suffering any kind of prejudice”. This is what the judiciary says.
Please share this news and spread this nonsense that is happening!
Love wins!

Net Neutrality at the end of 2017: What libraries need to know.

Millions of internet users have weighed in — including hundreds of libraries and information professionals — to tell FCC Chairman Ajit Pai not to roll back 2015’s Net Neutrality Order. So what happens now? Flying in the face of this widespread and deep public support for strong net neutrality rules, the FCC has signaled it will gut these protections. Here’s what we expect in coming weeks and months:

  1. FCC Vote: The FCC is expected to be voting at their December meeting, set for December 14 on the adoption of the “Restoring Internet Freedom” rule. The draft language for the vote is expected to be released later today. There likely will be a vote of 3 to 2 (along party lines) to reverse Title II reclassification of the internet. The final order is expected to fully reverse the FCC’s 2015 order.
  2. Release of the Order: The full text of the adopted FCC order will almost certainly not be ready the day of the vote. In 2010, the text of the order (which was subsequently overturned by a federal court) was released two days after it was voted on, and in 2015, the full text was released 14 days after the vote.
  3. Publication in the Federal Register: The order must then be published in the Federal Register and will not go into effect until at least 30 days after publication. This is an important date for proponents of strong net neutrality rules, as its when appeals to the new order can begin.
  4. Legal challenge: There are 60 days to petition for review or appeal the order in the federal court of appeals.

Want more information? See the full post on District Dispatch.

buzzfeed.com
8-year-old transgender girl sues her private school for discrimination
“I’m a girl. I want to be called a girl,” her lawsuit says.
By Dominic Holden

Nikki Shah-Brar, an 8-year-old transgender girl in California, and her family are suing her private school for refusing to recognize her gender identity. 

Nikki came out to her family as a trans girl last summer, just before she turned 7. But after her family told her school about her transition, the school said they would continue to recognize her as a boy. In fact, they said that allowing her to transition would “create an imbalance in [their] environment.”

She could grow her hair out and use a single-stall staff bathroom separate from the other kids, the school said, but would not be allowed to wear the girls’ uniform, have her correct name and pronouns recognized, or be recognized as a girl in any other way. She was also bullied at school after she came out; her family says she asked them about suicide.

So with Nikki’s blessing, her family has decided to sue the school for discriminating against their daughter. 

The complaint filed on Wednesday is unusual in part because of Shah-Brar’s young age, and also because the case is being brought in state court against a private, secular school. Most high-profile transgender student lawsuits in recent years were brought by teenagers alleging their public schools violated federal civil rights law and the Constitution.

The Obama administration had backed some of those cases in federal court. But under Trump, the Justice and Education departments have reversed transgender student guidance, and indicated that investigators would back away from transgender restroom complaints.

Shah said her daughter, who is now eight years old, supports suing the school — which she quit in February after being bullied by other students.

“We would not have done it if she didn’t support it,” Shah said. “This was a family decision. We thought we had to stand up for our child who was standing up for who she was. This is not something we do lightly.”

Lawyers for Shah-Brar say they want to show that transgender students still have recourse, whether or not the federal government is involved.

“Given that Trump and the Justice Department have turned their back on the discrimination of transgender individuals, it’s important to put the word out there that this sort of discrimination is actionable in every state in the nation,” Mark Rosenbaum, one of Shah-Brar’s lawyers at the legal support organization Public Counsel, told BuzzFeed News.

Do the damn thing, Nikki. You deserve love and respect, at school and everywhere. 

Fuck Donald Trump and Fuck the Racist GOP

Be convicted in federal court for breaking the law you swore to uphold, including fundamental Constitutional principles that were written to protect citizens from abuses of power: get a Presidential pardon before you’re even sentenced.

Be brought to America when you’re a child, grow up here, go to school here, work here, be part of the culture and society: get deported to a country you’ve never known or lived in.

2

The Trump administration is blocking a young immigrant woman in detention from accessing an abortion. Identified as “Jane Doe” to protect her privacy, this young woman, who likely faced countless dangers and hardships in her journey across the border, is being held hostage by a government that refuses to accept her fundamental rights.

A federal appeals court in Washington, DC has temporarily halted a judge’s order requiring the federal government to allow Jane Doe to get an abortion.

Today, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and coalition partners are coming together outside the Department of Health and Human Services in opposition of this gross injustice to send the message that access to safe and legal abortion is a constitutional right for all — no matter who you are or where you’re from.

10

Roger Federer defeats Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-3 (Final) at Shanghai Rolex Masters, 2017.

2nd Shanghai Rolex Masters title.

6th title of 2017. 

27th Masters 1000 title.

94th career titles (equal Ivan Lendl for 2nd most career titles in the Open Era).

5th consecutive wins against Rafael Nadal.

350th masters 1000 match victory. 

700th hard court match victory.

…and still counting. 👑💋🏆🏆🎾🎉❤

High Court Says Germany’s Birth Registry Must Allow Third Gender Option

Germany’s highest court has ruled that the country must provide a third gender option beside male or female in the nation’s birth register – or dispense entirely with information on gender in civil status.

“The assignment of gender is of paramount importance for individual identity; it usually plays a key role both for a person’s self-conception and for the way this person is perceived by others,” the Federal Constitutional Court said in its announcement. “The gender identity of persons who can be assigned neither male nor female gender is also protected under this right.”

The decision concerned a case brought by a plaintiff named only as Vanja, according to The Associated Press. The plaintiff was born in 1989 and wanted to change their entry in the birth register from “female” to “inter/diverse” or simply “diverse.” Vanja’s request was rejected by the registry office.

The plaintiff argued this was a violation of Germany’s general right of personality and was an instance of gender discrimination.

The court agreed. Legislators have until the end of 2018 to come up with new rules, which the court suggested could involve either the creation of a third positive gender option, or doing away with gender entries in civil registries.

Continue reading

Photo: Peter Steffen/AFP/Getty Images

If it wasn’t clear before, it’s clear now: We are living through a battle for the soul of this nation.

The giant forward steps we have taken in recent years on civil liberties and civil rights and human rights are being met by a ferocious pushback from the oldest and darkest forces in America. Are we really surprised they rose up? Are we really surprised they lashed back? Did we really think they would be extinguished with a whimper rather than a fight?

Did we think the charlatans and the con-men and the false prophets who have long dotted our history wouldn’t revisit us, once again prop up the immigrant as the source of all our troubles, and look to prey on the hopelessness and despair that has grown up in the hollowed-out cities and towns of Ohio and Michigan and Pennsylvania and the long-forgotten rural stretches of West Virginia and Kentucky?

We have fought this battle before—but today we have a special challenge.

Today we have an American president who has publicly proclaimed a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and Klansmen and those who would oppose their venom and hate.

We have an American president who has emboldened white supremacists with messages of comfort and support.

This is a moment for this nation to declare what the president can’t with any clarity, consistency, or conviction: There is no place for these hate groups in America. Hatred of blacks, Jews, immigrants—all who are seen as “the other”—won’t be accepted or tolerated or given safe harbor anywhere in this nation.

[…]

A week after Charlottesville, in Boston, we saw the truth of America: Those with the courage to oppose hate far outnumber those who promote it.

Then a week after Boston, we saw the truth of this president: He won’t stop. His contempt for the U.S. Constitution and willingness to divide this nation knows no bounds. Now he’s pardoned a law-enforcement official who terrorized the Latino community, violated its constitutional rights, defied a federal court order to stop, and ran a prison system so rife with torture and abuse he himself called it a “concentration camp”.

In this November 11, 1975 file photo, would-be assassin of Gerald Ford and member of the so-called Manson family Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who refused to walk to her trial, is carried by U.S. Marshal Arthur Van Court into the Sacramento federal court.

nytimes.com
Judge Blocks Trump’s Ban on Transgender Troops in Military
The ruling noted that the policy did not appear to be based on facts.
By Dave Philipps

On Monday, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the ban until the case was resolved, saying the effect of the order was to revert to the status quo.

The ruling allows transgender troops to join the military and re-enlist, pending the outcome of the case, but leaves in place a White House provision that prohibits federal spending on sex reassignment surgery for troops.

Appeals court blocks Trump travel ban

A federal appeals court Thursday refused to let President Trump reinstitute a temporary ban on travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations, ruling that the president’s order violates the due process rights of people affected by the ban.

The quick decision from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit could lead to a showdown at the Supreme Court, unless the administration agrees to dial back the travel ban or try its case before a federal judge in Seattle who ordered it stopped last week.

“Although courts owe considerable deference to the President’s policy determinations with respect to immigration and national security, it is beyond question that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges to executive action,” the judge wrote in their opinion.

The ban, announced Jan. 27, temporarily barred citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days, and Syrian citizens indefinitely. It led to chaos at U.S. and international airports as tens of thousands of visa holders were blocked from entering the country or detained after arriving in the U.S.

Read more. 

(Photo: JOHN G. MABANGLO, EPA)