Happy Hump Day!
I took a couple days to myself last week / over the weekend to decompress from the onslaught of information and change coming from the Trump administration. We've had some setbacks with the confirmation of Betsy DeVos (and the ensuing effort to dismember the Department of Education), the inevitable confirmation of Jeff Sessions to Attorney General (not without its own helping of scandal). Add a dose of Holy War to the craziness surrounding Steve Bannon and it's been a rough week.
Fortunately, it may only take 3.5 percent of population to effectively resist a autocracy! From the looks of things, there's more than enough people impassioned by the resistance of Trump's agenda. As I mentioned in my medium post last week, our coalition's objective is to organize and support initiatives nationwide to bridge the divide isolating American communities from the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
To do that, our first priority should be to gain back the access to our president and executive branch bestowed to us by the Constitution. This is where #StopPresidentBannon comes into play. Trump can be talked to / negotiated wth because the man want's to be liked above all else. Bannon is a monster. I'm going to reach out to Senators Feinstein / Harris next week to find out how our distributed network can best support them. If you agree, RSVP to our Yellowhammer Call this Sunday to discuss next steps in our campaign to limit Bannon's power. – KGB
- RSVP for ACCESS Yellowhammer Call on Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 2pm PST (5pm/4pm CST)
- Sign Senator Kamala Harris' (D-CA) petition to remove Steve Bannon from the National Security Council
- Call the Senate Committee on Homeland Security to express your disapproval of Bannon's placement on the NSC. Call script provided below and the number is: 202-224-4751. You can also email them, but calls are preferable.
Call Script: "My name is [name here]. I am a constituent of [congressional district] represented by [senator(s) name] and a member of the ACCESS Coalition. I'm calling to express my disapproval of Steve Bannon's placement on the National Security Council. I support Senator Feinstein's proposed Strengthening Oversight of National Security Act, because no individual whose primary responsibility is political in nature should be allowed on the NSC or authorized to attend its meetings."
Accountability → Defend American Democracy
9th Circuit Court of Appeals says it will rule soon on whether to restore Trump's travel ban – The Los Angeles Times has a great play-by-play of the battle between the Trump Administration and the Courts. We'll have a decision by EOW. (The Los Angeles Times)
Financial hose down: It's not just Dodd-Frank – "This then was the backdrop for the agenda for the inaugural meeting of Mr. Trump’s business council. Little wonder that the agenda appeared to center on deregulation, the loosening of restrictions of the financial industry and stepped-up protectionism. No surprise either that missing from the menu was the abolition of the carried-interest loophole (a loophole Mr. Trump vowed to close during his campaign) and the deductibility of interest payments. It is wishful thinking that this group will ever contemplate anything so daring as to make private equity principals personally liable for the loans they assign to companies — a move that, with the stroke of a pen, would curb many abuses and protect American workers and others whose standard of living has barely budged in a couple of decades." (NYT)
It’s 2021, and president donald trump will shortly be sworn in for his second term – "Everything imagined above, and everything described below, is possible only if many people other than Donald Trump agree to permit it. It can all be stopped, if individual citizens and public officials make the right choices. The story told here, like that told by Charles Dickens’s Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, is a story not of things that will be, but of things that may be. Other paths remain open. It is up to Americans to decide which one the country will follow." (The Atlantic)
A permanent wound: How the slave tax warped Alabama finances – "Historians estimate that at least through the mid-1850s, the tax on the wealth created by the men, women, and children suffering exploitation — and often, physical and sexual assaults — was the single biggest revenue source for state government. When slavery died, so did the tax. Reconstruction-era efforts to replace the lost revenue with increased property taxes — the only major source left — sparked an angry reaction. Legislators rushed to introduce tax restrictions after Reconstruction without making serious efforts to find other sources of revenue. That set in place decades-long policies that, to this day, make it difficult and sometimes impossible for Alabama to generate enough revenue to pay for its state services. The $1.8 billion General Fund, which pays for most noneducation services in the state, should grow no more than $25 million in 2018; the state’s Medicaid agency alone has requested a $44 million increase for the year. (Montgomery Advertiser)
Character → Build Community Capital
Corporate Social Responsibility
Trump's immigration ban meets Capitalist resistance – "The amicus brief filed by nearly 100 companies on Sunday in the Trump immigration-ban imbroglio marks a turning point in CEO activism. By wading into a high-profile, hyper-politicized national debate, these leaders have ventured where only few have gone before. 'The amicus brief is a striking milestone in CEO activism and advocacy,' Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist at the Weber Shandwick communications firm, tells me. 'These CEOs are taking a stand against a federal order, not a state one, and challenging a president, not a governor. They are now going much further than they did before. They are taking a stand on national policy, urging that immigration is a definite good not just for their companies, but for the country.' The Trump presidency, still not three weeks old, may be prompting business leaders to shift their role in the nation’s public life." (Fortune)
A Controversial Minister Makes Peace With Techies in the Battle for SF’s Soul – "'Many of them have chosen to live here and just don’t know how to make a connection,' James Lin, Glide’s senior director of mission and social justice, tells me—they have a neighborhood, in other words, but scarcely know their neighbors. Enter Glide. The church had both the cred and the networks to facilitate an introduction between its oldest and newest residents. As cofounder and minister of liberation, Williams has stood astride poverty and fame for half a century; he marched in Selma, he’s counted the Mandelas and Obamas and Oprahs and Bonos of the world as friends. A newly arrived company looking for an ally on these blocks, or perhaps a broker, could do far worse." (WIRED)
Connectivity → Invest in the Network
Infrastructure + Transportation
Megaprojects are necessary for the 21st Century but need a facelift – "As a result, the baseline for assessing overall megaproject performance is wrong. The key is to first establish social and economic priorities and only then to consider what projects are best suited to deliver them. That requires developing independent and robust analyses on the true cost and benefits. Some countries are closer to achieving this ideal than others. Singapore, for instance, has a national goal for dense urban living, with public transit accounting for 75 percent of journeys. This aspiration guides how the Land Transport Authority selects transport projects. Without such rigor and oversight, you can imagine bridges to nowhere, excess power supplies, and empty roads." (McKinsey)
Rural + Suburban + Urban
American unemployment is more complicated than laziness or geography – "Because of where the structurally unemployed live, what they’ve done, or the skills they lack, employers can’t or won’t hire them. The problems that keep today's jobless stuck on the sidelines are different than those of past recoveries: a complex web of often interrelated issues from disability and drug use to criminal records. Behind the statistics are people with 20 million unique stories. Here are five." (Bloomberg)
Equity → Balance the Scales
Mass incarceration is the enemy of economic opportunity – "There are many reasons why low-income Americans fail to make it out of poverty, including poor education, housing, or lack of health insurance. But the fact that we lock up so many people is a big and under-acknowledged one. The penal state is a drag on public resources and an unnecessary drag on people's lives. 'Over-criminalization substantially reduces an individual’s chance of reaching middle class by middle age,' said a report from the Bridgespan Group, a Boston-based consulting nonprofit. 'Men who have been imprisoned are significantly less upwardly mobile, in both absolute and relative terms, than those who have not,' the report added. One estimate says incarceration reduces future earnings by 40%. And that's just prison. Even short jail stays 'have toxic effects' says Laurie Garduque, director of justice reform at the MacArthur Foundation, in an interview with Co.Exist. People lose their jobs and lose their children; over time, the effects of jail time compound, meaning even misdemeanors can be life-altering." (Fast Company)
Privatization or Public Investment in Education? – "The findings in this brief compare pairs of countries using these two different approaches. The data suggest that the education sector is better served by a public investment approach that supports each and every child than by a market-based, competition approach that creates winners…and losers. While competition might work in sports leagues, countries should not create education systems in which children lose in the classroom. This report explains how and why some children can lose in a privatized system and makes recommendations to ensure that all children receive equitable, high-quality educational opportunities." (Stanford)
Spirituality → Practice Self-love
Faith in America
I Am a Priest, and This is Why I’m Pro-Choice – "'Is this our place?', I remember asking myself in the days to follow. Is it helpful for me - a person who will never be personally faced with the complex question of whether or not to have an abortion - to form a rigid, moralistic opinion about the matter? A resounding 'No' began to voice itself deep inside of me, a 'No' that haunts me to this very day. I say 'No' because in my work as a priest, I see myself less as a purveyor of pithy moral quips and more as a companion with people through life’s most challenging and complex seasons. The human dimension of reproductive health and justice is often what is ceded in culture wars over hot topic matters like abortion. People seeking out reproductive healthcare - not just abortions - aren’t an 'issue' or a 'question'. They are people with needs, desires, and a right to autonomy and self-determination in their reproductive decisions." (Teen Vogue)
Separation of Church and State
Religious freedom or taxpayer-funded discrimination? Child welfare bill prompts debate – "A bill that would allow state-funded adoption and foster agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples is a high priority for the Alabama Senate GOP in the 2017 legislative session - and a high priority for LGBTQ advocacy groups. HB 24 is the Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act, which would prohibit the state from taking "adverse action" against a foster or adoption agency that declines to place a child in a situation that conflicts with its religious beliefs. A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for Thursday in the House Health Committee. Wingo would not speculate on its chances this session, but said he 'would hope and pray this bill would work its way through committee and be passed and signed into law.'" (AL.com)
Sustainability → Implement Universal Solutions
Automation + Basic Income
Automation is greatest threat to the economy by also biggest opportunity – "'We often think about automation as applying to front-line, low-wage, low-skill activities and jobs — and what we’ve discovered is there are some activities that are high-wage, high-skill that are actually very susceptible to automation,' said Michael Chui, a McKinsey Global Institute partner in San Francisco who studies the issue. 'Almost every job in the economy has a significant percentage of activities that can be automated.' The professional service robot industry expects to sell a third more units from 2016 through 2019 — 333,200 in all — than it sold in the past 17 years, says the International Federation of Robotics. They could be used in place of professionals, whether it's medicine, agriculture, hospitality or even the supermarket down the street." (USA Today)
Light at the end of the tunnel? US Military focused on combating sea-level rise – "Retired Rear Admiral Jonathan White and former chairman of the Navy’s Task Force Climate Change says there’s no time to spare for convincing budget writers to act. By the time the seas have risen, the ice will have melted and there will be no turning back. 'Timing is critical,' he says. 'Just like timing for sorties out of Norfolk in advance of a hurricane is critical—if you wait too late, you can’t get the ships out because the seas are too high. The same kind of thing is going on with sea-level rise. You can’t wait for a certain yes, it’s going to be here or not. You’ve got to make decisions in advance, based on the uncertainty that you have.'" (National Geographic)
The Women’s March organizers want a general strike against Trump – "After the Jan. 21 Women’s March, several activists, including the march’s organizers and Francine Post, suggested that the next step for the resist-Trump movement should be a general strike. One grass-roots movement has named Feb. 17as a pending date, although other dates such as May 1 have also been floated. Unlike workplace strikes, general strikes involve entire communities, include union and nonunion members, and can, if they succeed, cause serious disruption. General strikes have a violent history in the United States and have at times been met with severe repression from police, the National Guard and/or federal troops." (The Washington Post)