By Doug Porter
The third weekend of the Trump administration saw protests and organizing events in cities large and small around the country.
Two Republican Congressman ignored the advice of their colleagues to stay away from in-person town halls and ended up having catching hell. Republican Reps. Tom McClintock in Roseville Ca., and Mike Coffman in Aurora, Co. tried and failed to limit attendance at their events; both ended up calling for a police escort to escape constituents angry over attempts to repeal Obamacare.
In San Diego, an organizing meeting for the downtown chapter of nascent Indivisible network drew nearly 200 people on Saturday. The Indivisible national registry indicates more than 50 such groups have sprung up in San Diego County since the Women’s March.
Cities Large and Small
From NBC News:
Demonstrations in small cities have been gaining momentum across the country.
During the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., which brought out almost a half-million people, sister marches took place simultaneously in all 50 states, as well as in 300 other cities.
In Janesville, Wisconsin, population 60,000, hundreds of people congregated Saturday at the courthouse to protest anti-immigrant policies among many other Trump actions, only a few block from House Speaker Paul Ryan’s house.
In Florida, over 1000 people marched two miles from Trump Plaza in West Palm Beach, Florida to so-called President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where he’d hunkered down for the weekend.Carrying a flag-draped coffin symbolizing what they called the death of democracy, the marchers chanted “We want a leader, not an angry tweeter.”
Demonstrations were held Saturday in cities around the country including in Denver, Colorado, where thousands gathered for a rally in support of the Muslim community. Participants carried signs, heard speeches, sang and chanted.
In New York City, thousands of LGBT Americans gathered outside the New York City bar where the gay rights movement was born, demanding that the president suspend his immigration ban.
In Los Angeles, thousands of people turned out on Saturday for protests against the proposed $3.8-billion Dakota Access pipeline, now fast-tracked thanks to executive orders signed by President Trump.
From the Los Angeles Times:
“I haven’t seen this kind of thing before and I’ve been involved in protests since the ’70s,” said Karen Pomer of Labor for Standing Rock, one of the groups participating in the demonstration.
The demonstration was the brainchild of Isaac Price, a Web designer in Long Beach who created a Facebook page after the executive orders were signed. He’d never organized a protest before, Pomer said.
“He thought he would have 150 people with picket signs here, and it’s grown and grown,” said Pomer, who said several thousand people were expected to attend.
Local Actions Over the Weekend
Friday’s Ban the Border Wall protest in San Ysidro proves you don’t have to have thousands of people to mount an effective protest. Organizers say they’ll be back next Friday (Feb 10, 6pm) on the bridge over Interstate 5 going into Mexico.
As the backlash continues over President Trump’s plan to build a border wall, demonstrators sent a clear message against it at the San Diego/ Tijuana border Friday night.
Dozens of passionate protesters raised their signs and their voices over an overpass above the last exit in San Diego before the Mexican border.
The newly organizing Forum on Religious Freedom filled a hall at the Islamic Center of San Diego on Friday night.
Organized by the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic-Relations (CAIR San Diego), ACLU San Diego and Alliance San Diego, the event focused on a discussion about the recent Executive Orders and what they mean.
Democracy in Action: Public Land Sale Cancelled
Are all these protests and phone calls having an effect? You betcha, as I learned from a San Diego Democrats for Environmental Action report:
On Thursday, we received news that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) was rescinding H.R. 621, titled the “Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act of 2017”, intended to sell off 3.3 million acres of public land in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming. This did not happen because he had a sudden change of heart. Rep. Chaffetz and his Republican colleagues in the House were inundated with a public outcry. Calls were made, and there was much blasting of this proposal on social media and in editorial letters to the press. Outdoors enthusiasts and conservationists gathered to protest the bill across the nation, including a crowd of over 1,000 in Helena, Montana. This is democracy in action. These public lands belong to all of us–and let’s never forget that no matter how unfortunate circumstances have allowed right-wing Republicans to hijack our Congress and the White House, that we are among the majority.
Find the Missing Congressman
Local activists are convening on Tuesday outside the Vista offices of Congressman Darrell Issa hoping to send messages about the Affordable Care Act, Trump’s Muslim Ban, and the need for a real Town Hall Meeting in his district. The Congressman hosted a recent phone-in event where callers were prescreened for agreeable viewpoints.
How Many Republicans Does It Take to Turn On a Light Switch?
Meanwhile, back at the White House, a New York Times article paints a picture of the so-called President in action:
President Trump loves to set the day’s narrative at dawn, but the deeper story of his White House is best told at night.
Aides confer in the dark because they cannot figure out how to operate the light switches in the cabinet room. Visitors conclude their meetings and then wander around, testing doorknobs until finding one that leads to an exit. In a darkened, mostly empty West Wing, Mr. Trump’s provocative chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, finishes another 16-hour day planning new lines of attack.
Usually around 6:30 p.m., or sometimes later, Mr. Trump retires upstairs to the residence to recharge, vent and intermittently use Twitter. With his wife, Melania, and young son, Barron, staying in New York, he is almost always by himself, sometimes in the protective presence of his imposing longtime aide and former security chief, Keith Schiller. When Mr. Trump is not watching television in his bathrobe or on his phone reaching out to old campaign hands and advisers, he will sometimes set off to explore the unfamiliar surroundings of his new home.
In describing the attempts of the new administration to get organized, the Times lets it slip that Trump was not given details about the executive order he signed giving advisor Steve Bannon a seat on the National Security Council. It’s more likely the case (IMO) that he signed it without reading it.
Angry Push Back
Responding to news stories about recent polling showing that his executive order on immigration is more unpopular than it is popular, the so-called President had a morning tantrum.
“Do you sense,” host Brian Kilmeade asks, “instead of being an organic disruption, do you sense that there is an organized pushback and people are being paid to protest?”
“Oh, absolutely,” Spicer replied. “I mean, protesting has become a profession now. They have every right to do that, don’t get me wrong. But I think we need to call it what it is. It’s not these organic uprisings that we have seen over the last several decades. The tea party was a very organic movement. This has become a very paid, Astroturf-type movement.”
Personally, I went from professional anarchist to thug recently. The benefits program was what won me over.
…And the White House is upset over Saturday Night Live again. I can’t figure out why…
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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