Call Your House Rep · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your House Rep and Urge Him or Her to Override Trump’s Veto of Congress’s Termination of His National Emergency Border Declaration

Call your member of the House of Representatives and ask him or her to override Trump’s veto of Congress’s vote to terminate his bullshit national emergency declaration about the southern border.

 

Ok, a recap. Trump has been jonesing for his damn border wall since the campaign, when he claimed he’d get Mexico to pay for it.

 

Of course, Mexico refused to pay for it. So Trump tried to force taxpayers to pay for it.

 

Congress, rightly, said no. There’s no factual basis for a wall that stretches across the entire 2,000-odd mile border between the U.S. and Mexico. It’d be a waste of money, and it won’t do what Trump claims it will. (There are better and more efficient ways to address the legitimate points he has on this score.)

 

When Congress said no, Trump decided to trample the Constitution instead by declaring a “national emergency”.

 

Presidents can declare national emergencies, and until now, they’ve been judicious and responsible in their calls. None have resorted to calling a national emergency when they didn’t get their way on something.

 

In March 2019, Congress called Trump out again. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted to terminate the national emergency, and so did the Senate, after much whingeing and weaseling.

 

Trump vetoed the Congressional termination.

 

Congress can override his veto, but both chambers have to muster two-thirds of their members to be successful.

 

The House had little trouble voting to terminate the national emergency order, but that succeeded with less than two-thirds of its members joining the effort.

 

The second time around is harder, by design.

 

If the House of Representatives can’t get two-thirds of its members to vote to override, the override vote cannot proceed to the Senate, and the national emergency takes effect.

 

We need 290 House members to vote to override.

 

On the first go-round, the vote to terminate succeeded by 245 to 182.

 

We need to hold those 245 and add 45 more.

 

This is where you come in.

 

We at OTYCD want you to call your member of the House of Representatives and urge that person to vote to override Trump’s veto.

 

It is harder to get to 290 than it is to get to 245. It means that almost four dozen Republicans have to switch sides.

 

We probably won’t succeed. But we have to try.

 

We at OTYCD expect to make this a daily action until the point is moot.

 

As always, you need to pick up the phone and call, because that’s what Congressfolk pay attention to. If you can’t call, send email.

 

Sample script:

 

“Dear (House Rep Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname of town, zip code). I am calling to ask you to override Trump’s veto of the termination of the national emergency he called over the border wall.

As an elected official in Congress, I expect you to uphold the Constitution and fulfill your role as a check on Trump. With this act, he is trying to do an end run around our system of laws, and of checks and balances. [If your House Rep voted to terminate the national emergency on the first go round, say thank you here. If your House Rep supported Trump, say something like, ‘This is your chance to show that you will fulfill the oath you took when you were sworn in/sworn in again in January.’ This is bigger than Trump, and is bigger than any one person. Please do the right thing and override Trump’s veto.”

 

See a Business Insider story about the vote in the House to terminate Trump’s national emergency:

https://www.businessinsider.com/house-vote-national-emergency-termination-trump-border-wall-2019-2

 

 

See an NBC News story on the vote in the Senate to terminate Trump’s national emergency, which led to his veto:

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-vows-veto-resolution-terminating-his-national-emergency-declaration-n983106

 

 

See a CNN story about Nancy Pelosi scheduling the House of Representatives vote to override the veto on March 26, 2019:

https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/trump-veto-national-emergency/h_3b298f1c29ee231af2621e6516b5e34f

 

 

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Community Activism · Ethics · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Support the Transgender Law Center

Support the Transgender Law Center (TLC), which defends transgender rights.

 

Founded in California in 2002, TLC is the largest civil rights organization in America that’s run by transgender and gender-nonconforming people. It’s committed to improving the lot of transpeople, as well as those who thrive at different points along the gender spectrum, through advocacy and fighting discrimination.

 

Its concerns include the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, which defends and advocates for this doubly (and sometimes triply) marginalized group; the Trans Immigrant Defense Effort (TIDE), which recruits and trains lawyers to provide pro bono help to trans immigrants fight deportation; and the Detention Project, which seeks ways to minimize and ideally end the abuses trans people suffer in prisons, hospitals, and other facilities that curtail freedom, be it briefly or for life.

 

 

See the Transgender Law Center’s website:

https://transgenderlawcenter.org

 

 

See its About page:

https://transgenderlawcenter.org/about

 

 

See its blog, which provides updates on the TLC’s actions and related issues:

https://transgenderlawcenter.org/blog

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Donate to the Transgender Law Center:

https://transgenderlawcenter.org/donate

 

 

Volunteer with the Transgender Law Center:

https://transgenderlawcenter.org/archives/14237

 

 

Like the Transgender Law Center on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/translawcenter

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@TransLawCenter

Community Activism · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · First Amendment, Defending a Free Press · Vote with your Dollars

Donate to the Ida B. Wells Fellowship and Support Journalists of Color

Donate to the Ida B. Wells Fellowship at the Investigative Fund and support promising journalists who are people of color.

 

Named in honor of Wells, the African-American journalist who investigated and published reports on lynching in America, the one-year fellowship provides $12,000, mentoring, and travel expenses to a reporter of color working on their first substantial investigative story.

 

One of the goals of the fellowship is to help diversify newsrooms. According to the American Society of Newsroom Editors, less than 13 percent of newsroom staffers and 10  percent of supervisors are non-white. Fewer than 10 percent of newsroom journalists have a working-class or poor background.

 

The Ida B. Wells Fellowship is offered by the Investigative Fund, which is in turn a project of The Nation Institute, which is devoted to boosting the independent press as well as advancing civil rights and social justice. The Wells fellowship is not restricted to journalists of color.

 

Read about the Ida B. Wells Fellowship:

https://www.theinvestigativefund.org/about/special-funds/ida-b-wells-fellowship/

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3990701-Ida-B-Wells-FAQ-040516.html

 

 

Donate to the Investigative Fund (specify it’s for the Ida B. Wells Fellowship):

https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1441042

 

 

Learn about the Investigative Fund’s mission:

https://www.theinvestigativefund.org/about/mission/

 

 

Apply for the Ida B. Wells Fellowship for 2019:

https://nationinstitute.submittable.com/submit/71612/ida-b-wells-fellowship

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Community Activism · Ethics · Health Care · Separation of Church and State · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Help Expose Fake Abortion Clinics

Help expose fake abortion clinics–facilities set up by pro-life groups that mimic abortion clinics, but attempt to pressure women out of seeking the help they need.

 

You’re going to want to sit down for this one. Fake abortion clinics have been a thing since the 1960s. Today, there are more than 4,000 of them across America while there are fewer than 800 legitimate clinics.

 

They are designed to look like medical facilities in every respect, but because they are not actual clinics, they don’t have to abide by HIPAA privacy laws. That’s right–they don’t have to safeguard any medical information that they might receive.

 

These facilities can exist and carry on with their borked mission because what they do is regarded as religious outreach, which is in turn protected by the First Amendment.

 

Activists are trying to hold fake clinics accountable by pursuing them on truth in advertising laws–making them more clearly admit that they are not abortion clinics and do not provide abortions or referrals to abortion clinics.

 

One of the ways they’re doing this is through the #ExposeFakeClinics website, which is a resource hub for those trying to spread the word about fake clinics.

 

Exposing fake clinics takes several forms. They include:

 

Liking online reviews of legitimate clinics

 

Reviewing fake clinics

 

Reporting fake clinics that engage in false advertising

 

Protesting outside of fake clinics (but scroll down for important information about this)

 

 

See the main Expose Fake Clinics webpage:

https://exposefakeclinics.squarespace.com

 

 

Learn how to spot a fake abortion clinic:

https://exposefakeclinics.squarespace.com/what-is-a-cpc-2/

 

 

Learn if there are fake abortion clinics near you:

https://exposefakeclinics.squarespace.com/cpc/

 

 

Take action against fake abortion clinics (note: if the fake clinic you want to protest in front of is physically near a genuine abortion clinic, check with the real one before you start work. If the real one asks you not to protest in person, please don’t):

https://exposefakeclinics.squarespace.com/take-action-1/

 

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Read the Expose Fake Clinics blog:

https://exposefakeclinics.squarespace.com/blog/

 

 

Like Expose Fake Clinics on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/exposefakeclinics

 

 

 

Community Activism · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia...

Support the Human Rights Campaign

Support the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBTQ civil rights organization.

Founded in 1980, the HRC now counts more than 1.5 million members and supporters worldwide. It fights for a world where LGBTQ people’s basic civil rights are accepted and affirmed, letting them live and work openly and in safety.

 

Visit the HRC website:

http://www.hrc.org

 

Like the HRC Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/humanrightscampaign

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@HRC

 

Donate to HRC:

https://give.hrc.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1954&ea.campaign.id=51848&ea.tracking.id=or_gnr_hrc_homepage_donate&_ga=2.165630524.201866625.1503266821-556932857.1503266821

 

Call Your Members of Congress · Marches and Protests · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Continue the Work of the No One Is Above the Law Protests: Call Your MoCs to Demand Whitaker Recuse and Demand Investigation of Sessions’s Departure

Continue the work of the No One Is Above the Law protests: Call your members of Congress (MoCs) to demand that Matthew Whitaker recuse from the Mueller probe, and demand investigation of Sessions’s departure.

 

You got the call and answered it. You were out there at 5 pm local time at your No One Is Above the Law protest site. Thank you.

 

The next step is to carry on the work by calling your MoCs and demanding the following:

 

That acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker recuse himself from the Mueller probe; and demand investigation of the circumstances of Jeff Sessions’s exit from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

 

Whitaker is problematic on several levels, not least that an office of this level of importance requires the Senate to weigh in. Trump is evidently trying to avoid scrutiny by making him Acting AG. But, in a November 8, 2018 opinion piece for the New York Times, Neal Katyal and George Conway (Kellyanne Conway’s husband, btw), flatly assert that the move is unconstitutional.

 

Key paragraphs:

It means that Mr. Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.

Much of the commentary about Mr. Whitaker’s appointment has focused on all sorts of technical points about the Vacancies Reform Act and Justice Department succession statutes. But the flaw in the appointment of Mr. Whitaker, who was Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff at the Justice Department, runs much deeper. It defies one of the explicit checks and balances set out in the Constitution, a provision designed to protect us all against the centralization of government power.

If you don’t believe us, then take it from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whom Mr. Trump once called his “favorite” sitting justice. Last year, the Supreme Court examined the question of whether the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board had been lawfully appointed to his job without Senate confirmation. The Supreme Court held the appointment invalid on a statutory ground.

 

Full article here:

 

Even if it was legal to appoint Whitaker, he has known biases against the Mueller probe, and they are on record. Those stated biases would legally compel him to recuse.

 

But Whitaker says he has no intention to recuse:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trumps-acting-attorney-general-matt-whitaker-has-no-intention-of-recusing-from-russia-probe-associates-say/2018/11/08/a5bc8d90-e370-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html?utm_term=.7c669d2b9229

 

As for the Sessions thing–the reason we need to ask for an examination of his exit is it appears to be a firing, but we need to clarify what happened. A firing requires elevating Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein to the role Sessions left. The wording of his resignation letter indicates he did not leave of his own volition–ergo, he was fired.

 

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter), as always, is on top of it. What follows are her scripts for calling your House Rep and your Senators. Scroll down for word on how you can show your appreciation for Pewter.

 

Before you call, check Celeste’s Twitter feed, in case she’s issued updated scripts. Also, check the social media feeds of your MoCs, to see if they’ve made a statement on either matter. If they have, mention it in your calls.

 

Also! Before you call, check to see if your House Rep or one or both Senators are on their chamber’s Judiciary Committees. If they are, it’s extra-important for you to call.

 

Senate members listed here:

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/members

 

House members listed here:

https://judiciary.house.gov/subcommittee/full-committee/

 

Lastly–why it’s important to call. Going into the streets to protest is important and necessary. Backing those protests up with specific demands for your representatives makes for a one-two punch.

 

Here is the script for your House rep:

 

You can show love for Celeste Pewter in many ways.

 

You can follow her on Twitter: @Celeste_Pewter

 

You can tweet about calling your Senators, using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

You can follow @ICalledMyReps on Twitter.

 

And you can subscribe to her peerless newsletter, It’s Time to Fight:

http://itstimetofight.weebly.com

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the
page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Uncategorized

Call Your MoCs and Demand They Enforce Sanctions Against Russia, Dammit, August 9, 2018 Edition

Call your MoCs to demand enforcement of sanctions against Russia.

 

Update, July 18, 2018: In the wake of the July 16, 2018 Helsinki meeting, activists such as Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_pewter) are encouraging citizens to ask their representatives for stronger, bipartisan sanctions against Russia.

 

Recently we published a post about calling your MoCs (members of Congress) to demand action in the wake of Trump’s astonishingly bad performance at the July 16, 2018 Helsinki meeting with Vladimir Putin.

 

See that post, which included a script from Pewter:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/07/17/call-your-mocs-and-leave-no-doubt-in-their-minds-about-how-you-feel-about-trumps-press-conference-in-helsinki/

 

Since we wrote that post, Pewter updated her original Helsinki sample script to include additional talking points. Top of the list of things to request is ‘Sanctions–stronger than the sanctions enacted before. Should be bipartisan.’

 

Those talking points are below. If you haven’t yet called your MoCs about Helsinki, please do, and include a request for new, tougher Russia sanctions in your discussion. If you have, and didn’t have these talking points at hand, call again and ask for these things.

 

Standing accumulated text on the original sanctions, what Trump did and failed to do, and why his failure is scary and important follow after the Pewter talking points.

 

 

Sarah Jane here. While I was sick with the flu back in January 2018, I wrote a few posts asking folks to call their MoCs and demand that they pressure President Trump to impose the sanctions on Russia for meddling with the 2016 election, which Congress passed with a veto-proof margin.

 

Trump’s shrugging off of the deadline and refusal to impose the sanctions has gotten some attention, but not enough, because ridiculous scandals continue to happen.

 

It should not get lost, and I am determined that it won’t.

 

Trump should not be allowed to ignore the will of 530 members of Congress. In my opinion it’s one of the worst, scariest signs of sliding into authoritarianism. We need to push back, and keep pushing back. And given that almost everyone in Congress feels the same way, we have leverage here.

 

Worse, Trump’s blatant shrugging off of the will of 530 members of Congress is evidently being taken as a sign by GOP leadership to remain supine in the face of his disregard for democracy. More than once I recall hearing GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell refuse to advance a bill to a floor vote using the excuse that if the Senate voted for it, Trump wouldn’t sign it.

 

THAT IS NOT A REASON TO AVOID FLOOR VOTES, FFS.

 

Anyway. We did see a small amount of progress on March 15, 2018, when the Trump administration accused Russia of hacking vital American infrastructure and imposed sanctions on 19 individuals, including the 13 that Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted in February 2018. While the move is welcome, it’s not what we’re asking for. The administration still needs to obey Congress and impose the damn sanctions on Russia already.

 

We also saw progress on March 23, when Trump signed an omnibus spending bill that included measures that push back against Russia in various ways. It was also good news when the administration announced it would expel 60 Russian officials from America and close the Seattle consulate over the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain.

 

And as of April 4, we’ve seen reports that the administration might sanction Russian oligarchs. See the stories:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-to-impose-fresh-sanctions-against-russia/2018/04/04/bc09e0b8-3851-11e8-b57c-9445cc4dfa5e_story.html?utm_term=.943e72ddd109

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-sanctions/u-s-plans-to-sanction-russian-oligarchs-this-week-sources-idUSKCN1HB34U

 

But! The sanctions that Congress called for have still not been imposed.

 

And! We saw a serious setback on April 16, 2018, when the Trump administration walked back a new round of sanctions against Russia, throwing the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, under the bus in the process. Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Counsel, evidently claimed she “might have gotten confused”. Read a New York Times story on the walk-back:

 

Haley, for her part, is Not Having It as of April 17, 2018, when she told CNN, “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” Kudlow later apologized for his remarks. Read a Vox story on Haley’s pushback:

https://www.vox.com/2018/4/17/17249652/nikki-haley-russia-sanctions-larry-kudlow-response

 

It’s also worth noting a chilling comment Trump made on June 15, during a White House lawn broadcast of Fox & Friends (noting that for future historians, who will boggle at it). When asked about North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un, he said:

 

“He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

 

Trump himself later tried to downplay the utterance it by calling it sarcasm. [Attempting to blunt the impact of horrible comments by retroactively claiming they’re jokes is a classic strategy of bullies and abusers.] Conservative commentators have tried to soft-pedal it by claiming that Trump was talking about his own staff, not American citizens at large.

 

Given all the other things Trump has said and done, both as a candidate and as president, we at OTYCD are not taking it as sarcasm, or as a reference to how he wants White House staff to behave. He admires dictators. He doesn’t seem to care what dictators do to their people to force obedience.

 

We at OTYCD will continue to devote at least one post per week to the Russian sanctions issue until the Trump administration does what Congress told it to do.

 

This is the entry for August 9, 2018.

 

Below is more material from other past posts, plus a Celeste Pewter calling script. Please stay on this, and please spread the word. Thanks!

 

 

On Monday, January 29, 2018, the Trump administration was due to enforce sanctions imposed on Russia for meddling in our elections, as required by a 2017 law.

 

The administration brushed off the requirement by claiming the threat of the sanctions was deterrent enough.

 

After I wrote a combo Nunes memo-Russia sanctions enforcement post yesterday, Senator Claire McCaskill got to the heart of the problem in a tweet she sent late on January 29, 2018:

 

Congress voted 517-5 to impose sanctions on Russia. The President decides to ignore that law. Folks that is a constitutional crisis. There should be outrage in every corner of this country.

 

To my horror, the implications of Trump’s act are getting ignored, or crowded out by other horrible things.

 

Please, call your members of Congress and demand that they call Trump out for this. He cannot just brush off a law passed with a veto-proof majority. McCaskill is right–it’s a constitutional crisis. Please call.

 

Here’s your @Celeste_Pewter calling script for that topic:

 

 

Since Celeste prepared that calling script, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 13 Russians for interfering in the 2016 Russian election.

 

Read the Washington Post‘s story about the indictments, which came down on February 16, 2018:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-troll-farm-13-suspects-indicted-for-interference-in-us-election/2018/02/16/2504de5e-1342-11e8-9570-29c9830535e5_story.html?utm_term=.be1dd2d76f9d

 

The indictments also make Trump’s refusal to impose the sanctions that Congress voted overwhelmingly to impose that much more flagrant and disgusting. It also makes it that much more important that we at OTYCD stay on this topic and spotlight it until Trump finally does what he should have done back in late January 2018.

 

Here I will reproduce more useful info from past OTYCD post that quote Celeste Pewter and Alexandra Erin.

 

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) helped me keep sane with a series of tweets on January 31, which I’ll reproduce:

 

Ok. I keep seeing certain threads about Russian sanctions/authoritarianism being RTed into my TL, so I think it’s important to have some facts on what Congress can and cannot do to address the WH’s decision. Start with this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/30/even-if-trump-is-blatantly-ignoring-the-russia-sanctions-law-theres-not-a-lot-congress-can-do-about-it/?utm_term=.3b1222b2389a

 

Then follow it up with this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/30/the-trump-administrations-weird-explanation-for-withholding-russia-sanctions/?utm_term=.1821cef97d99

 

I think it’s easy (and understandable) to say: “Rule of law is deaaaaad!” but the question now becomes: What are YOU going to do about it? Senator tweeted this: [She quotes the tweet I reproduce above]

 

Yes, be outraged. But more importantly, channel your outrage. The WaPo article I listed lists four options for Congress to respond to this; these are the three most likely. Your elected work for you. Demand they make any three (or even all three) happen. [She includes a screenshot of the three things, from the first Washington Post piece above.]

 

Don’t just sit around waiting for government to collapse; if you’re truly as upset as all of your RTs seem to indicate – I’m getting a bit [thinking face with arched eyebrow emoji] with the fatalism – then make sure you call and make your electeds hear your voice. Yes, this includes GOP electeds.

 

If you’ve followed me long enough, you’ll know I used to be a constituent affairs director for an elected. Trust me when I say: staff will let their boss(es) hear it, if their phone lines are ringing off the hook. We want it to stop so we can do other work.

 

We want our bosses to give us solutions to make it stop. So make it happen w/ these Russian sanction calls. Make the constituent team know you don’t accept this, and you will keep calling, until they are so tired of you, they will demand the office do something.

 

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: we are many, and they are few. Do you really want these sanctions dictated by a few wankers in the administration? No. This time, you even have a bipartisan majority of the House and the Senate on your side. You have the power.

 

Here also are Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin)’s January 31, 2018 tweets on the topic:

 

There are a pair of recent moves, from the State Department and the Treasury Department, which suggest that in year two of Trump’s reign, the regime is being a lot less circumspect about being in Putin’s pocket, with less ego-clashing feud and less smoke-and-mirrors resistance.

 

Now, you might recall that back in 2017, Congress passed laws calling for tough new sanctions to punish Russia for its election interference. There was a lot of speculation about whether Trump would sign this act, but he finally did, grudgingly and complaining the whole time.

 

In the United States system of government, the theory is that Congress passes the law, and the executive branch *executes* them, hence the term. Trump as chief executive is the chief one responsible for carrying out laws passed by Congress.

So guess where this is going.

 

Monday, January 29th, was the deadline for the executive branch to impose the sanctions, as prescribed in the bill that Donald Trump personally signed into canon as the law of the land.

It came and it went.

 

The law called for the Treasury Department to help guide the sanctions by producing an investigative report of oligarchs and businesses linked to Putin.

 

Serious, lifetime-career experts at the Treasury Department prepared that report, which was then thrown out and replaced with a copy of the Russian Forbes 100 list plus a few public Putin associates and a disclaimer that it’s not a list of people who should face sanctions.

 

And Rex Tillerson, secretary of state and obvious Yosemite Sam pseudonym, told Congress that they haven’t imposed actual sanctions because the threat of sanctions is proving an effective deterrent. Slap on the wrist, everybody learned a valuable lesson. No actual penalty.

 

The actual implementation strategy here is to let everyone else know that doing “significant transactions” with certain Russia-linked entities may result in penalties for the other party. But it’s entirely discretionary. No actual rules per se.

Team America: World Secret Police.

 

This gives the Trump regime a valuable tool for looking tough (Trump’s favorite way to look), a free hand for Putin, and a way to arbitrarily impose sanctions on countries or other entities that Trump or Putin want to weaken.

 

With nothing actually in writing about what transactions get penalized, we could easily see a situation where a group that does significant business with the Ukraine and also had an incidental transaction in Russia gets hit with sanctions for violating the unwritten rules.

 

Or anybody backing dissidents and opposition politicians in Russia. The sub-basement floor is the limit with these guys.

 

I don’t think we are quite at “Treasury and State Department overtly help Putin crush his enemies” territory yet. Nope. But one year and change in to Trump’s rule, and we are at “Treasury and State Department overtly shield Putin and his cronies from consequences” territory.

 

And while it’s not a surprising shift, it is a marked shift from where they were last year, and the main thing that has changed is what year it is. Time makes Trump normal. The passage of the year changed his dislike of the sanctions from an outrage to the way things are.

 

And with Trump’s feet-dragging opposition to the sanctions accepted as the new normal, his executive branch failing to execute them becomes a natural progression of time rather than a startling departure from all norms of governance and the rule of law.

 

So you’ve really got to ask yourself, what would the start of a year 3 of Trump look like? How far would he be able to go after his next calendar reset? How far can he push things between now and then?

 

…this prompted Cathy R to tweet,

So now what? No further actions!? What can be done?

 

Alexandra Erin answered:

 

Talk about it. Spread awareness of it. Make sure everybody you know knows that it’s happening. Post it on your Facebook. Put it in an email forward to your uncle. The right does these things, and it shapes the way people think about politics, and vote.

 

Talk is not the only action required, but talk is an action that is required. There is a national discourse. We have to be shaping it.

 

Believe it or not, talking about the regime’s corruption is doing something. Talking about the resurgence of overt Nazism and white nationalism is doing something. Being willing to talk about these things, to label them as they are rather than accepting them as normal, helps.

 

We could be calling Congress to light a fire under them to demand the executive branch actually execute these things, to write newer, more specific, and tougher sanction laws, but to be honest: the public engagement and awareness aren’t there yet to get the critical mass needed.

 

So step one is: talk about it. Talk to people about it. Get people talking about it. The executive branch is flouting the rule of law, Trump is ignoring a law he himself signed into existence.

 

The right has a hundred talking points about why Russian interference doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter or helped Clinton or whatever. But none of that addresses the fact that Trump signed this law. He made it the law of the land. And he’s ignoring it.