Two weeks ago, citing a Brennan Justice Center report, Retake blogged about how Trump could use emergency powers to do all kinds of undemocratic, borderline fascist actions. Well. Trump is now floating the idea of bypassing Congress, declaring a national emergency and using military funding to build the wall. This could well also be a test of how much America will permit him to do with more ’emergencies’ allowing for more autocratic actions.
Our Statewide Rapid Response Network Alert System is now up and running, and in the first day we had well over 200 people join. We will begin sending out email invitations to various groups across the state and many of our allies will be doing the same. But the best way for us to build a strong base across the state is for those who read the blog to reach out to friends and other organizations in which they are involved and ask them to share information about the Response Network. But first you should JOIN, and then SHARE with others. Click here to JOIN. Use the language below to share with friends and other organizations.
“I have been following the Retake Our Democracy blog for some time. It shares very good and timely information on local, state and national issues. Retake has also spent two years working with 20+ non-profit allies like Common Cause, NAACP, Sierra Club, and NM Voices for Children to develop a set of Priority and MUST PASS bills and an alert system that will notify those who sign up for the Network any time one of the MUST PASS bills is being voted on by your legislator, whether in committee (where good bills die) or on the floor. The Alerts will include bill title, number, sponsor, a summary, speaking points and contact info for your legislator. If you live near the Roundhouse you can use the alerts to tell you when to come to a hearing, or if you can’t make it to the Roundhouse you can use your alerts to contact your legislator to support the bill. This is an especially important system for those who live distant from the Roundhouse or who work and can’t come to hearings. We have a great opportunity to pass some great bills that will significantly improve the quality of life of our most vulnerable New Mexican children and families and to do a far better job of protecting our planet. I just joined the Network and I would encourage you to do the same. Click here to JOIN.”
If you copy and paste the above paragraph and use it in emails to others, customizing as necessary, you will be greatly advancing our efforts to achieve a higher minimum wage, pass the Health Security Act, and protect our planet. JOIN AND SHARE. Let’s Do This!
Thursday, Jan. 10, 6pm–8pm at 1420 Cerrillos, The Center for Progress & Justice. Retake Our Democracy Roundhouse Advocacy Team Organizing & Training Meeting. The Roundhouse will be less than a week away. Many of you are now be back in town and wanting to get active. Over the past 5 weeks, we’ve grown our Advocacy Team sign-ups from 17 to over 140 people. But many have been to one or two meetings with family and holiday conflicts preventing more consistent participation. We are now poised to begin and this Thursday would be a very good time to join us. Orientation for new participants will be from 6-6:30 followed by Q&A. We will then spend 75 minutes in breakouts for:people who want to:
- Serve as liaison with our allies coordinating advocacy, ensuring alignment between ally and our priorities;
- Advocate at the Roundhouse periodically, often according to your personal schedule or due to your desire to support specific bills…there are a good many people like this and they can serve critical roles beyond just attending hearings for their bills….but this needs to be well coordinated;
- Serve as a RH Coordinator one day a week or even just one morning or afternoon, a critical role, but one that requires a very specific commitment of time;
- Research, scan and sort bills and then create summaries for those ranked as Priority or MUST PASS bills; and
- Conduct outreach to specific districts where we need to expand our base.
Our leadership team will have visited the Roundhouse to develop very specific plans for where we meet and when and we’ve spent time plotting out with precision exactly how each of the above roles fit together and the fine details you’ll need to understand to do your piece well. So this is a critical meeting.
Please RSVP by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. And please, please, please, ask 2-3 friends.
Trump To Use National TV to Push Non-Existent National Emergency
Before diving into Trump’s latest departure from reality, it is important to contextualize his claiming near dictatorial power to build the wall. In this instance, he would be bypassing Congress and the American people, both of whom oppose the wall, to build a wall under the pretense of a national emergency. What should alarm us even more than this one abrogation of the democratic process is that it may well be serving as a test of our Nation’s will to protect its institutions. As reported in a blog two weeks ago, the Brennan Center published a report outlining the immense powers afforded a President in a national emergency. Click here to read this blog. It lays out the significant numbers of ways in which a desperate president can LEGALLY circumvent the laws of the land under the pretense of protecting us in a national emergency….that he has sole power to define. the earlier blog on this issue is definitely worth reviewing.
Yesterday, Trump went to mainstream media requesting time to speak to the Nation about his imagined crisis at the border. That free air time during prime time was granted is in itself alarming. Recall that in 2014 President Obama sought prime time air to discuss his immigration policy and the media denied the request.. But today’s fawning media makes every Trump tweet or twitch headline news.
Given that Trump has been floating the idea of using the pretense of a national emergency to justify circumventing Congress and building the wall, it is reasonable to assume that the purpose of this speech is to either announce that he is declaring a national emergency or he is floating the idea. In his twisted mind, he likely believes that his announcement would result in a flood of support. Keep in mind this is a guy who just last week tweeted that he is the most popular president in history, despite having the lowest approval rating in memory. His claims of personal popularity and the popularity of his wall both fly in the face of the facts–as usual–as polling data shows that most Americans oppose the wall and that among those GOP who do support the wall, that support drops precipitously the closer those polled are to the actual border. In other words the perceived threat from refugees is more pervasive among those with very little experience with refugees.
At the bottom of this post, is a video interview with Sara Sanders. Her false narrative is repeatedly countered by facts from the Fox News host, but she remains undeterred. Sanders claims that thousands of the refugees are “special interest aliens.” But the Fox host correctly counters by noting that this Homeland Security label simply means the refugees are fleeing from countries that have had experience with terrorists and in no way asserts that these refugees. The Fox host also correctly countered Sanders by pointing out that Homeland Security has actually stated that there is virtually no evidence of Central American refugees being suspected of being terrorists. Further, Homeland Security has stated that most all suspected terrorists try to enter the US via US airports. When all is said and done, you are left mulling what exactly is the source of the crisis? The answer is that Trump has a political crisis, as he wants to deliver on a campaign promise and motivate his base. That is not a National Emergency.
Trump makes the case that the emergency is a result of thousands of drug dealers, gang members and other never defined “bad people” trying to cross the border illegally. But the reality is that the 3-4000 folks at our border are not trying to sneak in, they are readily identifying themselves and turning themselves in to our government so they can legally seek refugee status. But just because there is no emergency doesn’t mean Trump can’t declare one. From an NPR report this morning: ” There are dozens of laws that give the president special powers to act in an emergency. For example, in an emergency, the president is allowed to divert money to military construction projects, which could conceivably include the border wall. ‘Declaring the emergency is pretty easy,’ said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. ‘There aren’t a lot of legal limits on his ability to do that, frankly, even if there isn’t a real emergency happening.’ ”
And if you are frightened by the utter lack of stability, maturity and depth of thinking of our President, this Christmas Eve tweet will not reassure you:
I was here on Christmas evening. I was all by myself in the White House. It’s a big, big house — except for the guys on the lawn with machine guns. Nicest machine guns I’ve ever seen. I was waving to them. I never saw so many guys with machine guns in my life. Secret Service and military. These are great people. They don’t play games, they don’t, like, wave. But I was all alone with the machine gunners. I felt very safe, I have to tell you. There’s a lot of them. I was hoping somebody would come back and negotiate. They didn’t do that.”
I don’t know if I have the stomach to watch tonight, but it is important we pay attention to this effort to bypass Congress. If the GOP, particularly in the Senate, does not stand up to this abuse of power, it may well encourage Trump to use the same strategy for any of a number nefarious purposes, perhaps even to curtail the Mueller investigation. Recall, the GOP was sharply critical of the Obama administration for GOP claimed abuses of power. What Trump is proposing with the wall is far more serious, so if they stand on their principles, they should oppose this abuse of power. If the Senate does not stand up to Trump now, we will almost certainly see Trump use emergency powers again, To read more about what he could do click here to read the Retake blog on the subject. It includes excerpts from the Brennan Justice Center.
It feels very much as if we are approaching a moment in time when either Trump consolidates his power base significantly or his entire house of cards collapses. I wish I had some idea of an action to be taken that would have any meaningful impact on this man or his Senate minions. If you have ideas, please comment. In the mean time, stay informed and take action where your power can have an impact. Use the links above to JOIN our Network and SHARE the language above to encourage others to do so.
Paul & Roxanne