Advocacy: The Conscience of the Government is at Stake

— by Katie O’Connell, PFAW Digital Communications Coordinator 

With three nominees stacked into one hearing today, it’s pretty clear that Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley doesn’t actually want us to know much if anything at all about the nominees for two lifetime court appointments and Eric Dreiband, who is being considered for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

Because if we actually knew about what these nominees stand for, we wouldn’t want them in positions of power in the federal government.

Eric Dreiband has made a name for himself as the go-to lawyer for corporations accused of discrimination. But beyond that, he has devoted his personal time and energy to fighting against civil rights protections like fair pay for women and protections for older Americans challenging age discrimination in the workplace.

Simply put, Dreiband will actively work against the mission of the Civil Rights Division, which has been described as the conscience of the government.

The legacy of the Civil Rights Division must not be tarnished by a Trump/Sessions nominee who doesn’t believe in the mission of the job he was nominated for. This division has a truly remarkable history of seeking justice in the wake of violence and racism and protecting rights for vulnerable and marginalized communities.

Dreiband’s nomination to a division whose mission he has spent his career opposing isn’t an accident or oversight — it’s Trump’s STRATEGY to create an ineffective government that harms communities of color, women, LGBTQ persons, and other vulnerable communities.

Trump and the Republicans in Congress want to distract us with an onslaught of extreme nominees, damaging policy changes, and political drama. Let them know you’re paying attention and speak out!

Speak out and tell Nevada’s senators that they must oppose Dreiband for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

DACA Under Siege by Trump and AG Jeff Sessions

Last week, Trump pardoned Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a notorious national symbol of racism who refused court orders to stop his racial profiling in his zealous multi-year campaign of persecution against Latino communities. Now, one week later, Trump is throwing MORE red meat to his anti-immigrant and white supremacist supporters by going after immigrant kids, once again undermining American values in order to feed the bigotry of his extreme base. 

This morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced to the world that we, as a nation, can no longer be trusted to keep its word, that our word is no longer our bond. You see, in a stunning act of cruelty even for Trump, he had Attorney General Jeff Sessions announce termination of key parts of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program effective six months from now, upending the lives of 800,000+ young people. That 

DACA recipients – often referred to as DREAMers — were brought to the US as children and for many of them this is the only country they’ve ever really known. Under the DACA program, they registered with the government and passed background checks in exchange for being able to work, pay taxes, and feel secure in their homes without the fear of deportation.

Many on the anti-immigrant Right who have been fighting against DACA since Day One have focused their criticism on the way in which it was done – with an executive order by President Obama. They have claimed that the real problem was just that Congress didn’t pass the law – so now it’s up to Congress to call their bluff and pass the DREAM Act.

Congress needs to act now to protect our investment in their education and assimilation before Trump releases his hordes of ICE thugs to begin deportation of DREAMers as their 2-yr authorizations come up for  renewals. And we even have a head start, because the bill already has bipartisan support!

Congress can undo this outrage by passing the DREAM Act of 2017, which would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other young undocumented immigrants who graduate from US high schools and attend college, enter the workforce, or enlist in a military program.

In the Senate, the DREAM Act is sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) … we need to demand that the Senate make this bipartisan bill a priority, to get relief to the DREAMers who need it.

Petition:  << Tell Congress to PASS the DREAM Act of 2017 without delay! >>

Or, better yet, take a moment from your day and call or write your members of Congress and ask them to expedite bringing the Dream Act of 2017 [ House bill#:  H.R.3440 / Senate bill#: S.1615 ] to the floor for a vote AND to vote for its passage:

Trump Set to Deport Dreamers to Appease His Supremacist Base

A Note from Senator Catherine Cortez Masto —

Last month, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of President Obama’s landmark Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program granted hundreds of thousands of young people the opportunity to come out of the shadows and pursue the American Dream.

Dreamers are our soldiers, engineers, teachers and the future of this great nation. They embody everything we stand for as a country. But right now, DACA is under grave threat, and Dreamers are anxious about their future. Anti-immigrant attorneys general are threatening to sue the Trump administration if he doesn’t end DACA – and recent reports suggest Trump is finally about to follow through with his disgraceful campaign pledge to end the program. Now, more than ever, we need to stand up and defend these inspiring young men and women!

More than 12,000 DACA recipients call Nevada home, and I have been fortunate enough to spend time with many of them. They are fighters. They never give up. These young people were brought to our country as children, and for many of them, America is the only place they’ve ever called home. But now, they face constant uncertainty about their futures. This is wrong. We should be helping them live up to their full potential.

Not only is rescinding this program un-American, it is economically unsound. Deporting nearly 800,000 DACA beneficiaries would cost our economy at least $433 billion over the next 10 years. That’s not an economic policy we should embrace.

Welcoming immigrants is an American tradition. We should not be tearing families apart and inciting fear and discrimination. Dreamers are our loved ones, our friends, our neighbors, and we must protect them.

Thank you for standing up for these extraordinary young people.

¡La lucha sigue! 
The fight continues!


Got a Twitter account?  Tweet your demands to respect and protect DACA to: @POTUS, @realDonaldTrump, @VP, @MarkAmodeiNV2, @SenDeanHeller

NV GOP Apparently Believes — When You Can’t Win, Stoop to Gutter Politics!

— An “ask” from Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto

What Nevada Republicans are doing right now is disgusting. Truly an all-time low.

The people of Nevada made their voices heard loud and clear last November. In fact, Nevada was one of the few bright spots on Election Day. Because of your hard work, you sent me to the U.S. Senate – which I am eternally grateful for – and you also flipped both chambers in the state legislature back to a Democratic majority, including winning key battleground districts.

But right now, Republicans in Nevada are so desperate to gain control back, they have stooped to an all-time low by completely disregarding the will of Nevada’s hardworking families. Republicans have filed recall petitions against three women in the Senate Democratic caucus: Joyce Woodhouse, Nicole Cannizzaro, and Patricia Farley – all in extremely competitive districts. And now, I need your help to fight back.

At this very moment, right-wing special interests are funneling incredible amounts of money into Nevada to pay folks to collect the petition signatures they need to get these recalls on the ballot.

Let me be clear: This recall effort is a scam. It is pathetic and it is wrong. The election was nearly 10 months ago, and the people of Nevada have spoken. They want a Democratic majority in the state legislature.

If Nevada Republicans get the number of signatures they need, Democrats will have a tiny window to challenge it in court. This is not good. And we’re running out of time. Please consider stepping up and giving $25 or more to the Nevada State Democratic Party right now so we can fight back against this Republican scam to roll back our Democratic majority?  If you can’t afford giving funds, consider calling NSDP headquarters (702-737-8683) and giving of your time to participate in phone-banking southern Nevada residents in the affected districts and asking them NOT to sign the GOP’s recall petitions.

Thank you for your support and for standing up for our hard-fought Democratic majorities. We will not let Nevada’s Republicans fool us.

¡La lucha sigue!
The fight continues!


Note: The citizens of Nevada are granted the authority to perform a recall election by Section 9 of Article II of the Nevada Constitution, which says:

“Every public officer in the State of Nevada is subject, as herein provided, to recall from office by the registered voters of the state, or of the county, district, or municipality which he represents.”

This broad right of recall in Nevada applies to all elective “State” officers (not Members of Congress, as they’re Federal officers) after the first six months of the term to which the incumbent was elected and does not require a “reason” in order to start a recall petition. For the GOP to get to a recall election, they need gather signatures from 25% of those people who actually voted in the election for that member of the legislature.

  • For Farley — Need to gather more than 7,100 signatures from people who voted in Nevada’s 8th Senate district in 2014 (a low turnout mid-term election) by Nov. 9.
  • For Woodhouse — Need to gather more than 13,000 signatures from people who voted last year in the Senate District 5 race by Oct. 31.
  • For Cannizzaro — Need to gather more than 14,975 of the people who voted in District 6 in 2016 by Nov. 14.

You should also note that GOP “conservatives” are attempting force the State to pay for a repeat election at taxpayer expense for “no stated good reason.” It is NOT “conservative” to force an election just because they don’t like the fact that the voters chose Democrats to represent them in the State Legislature.  Such actions consume vital tax dollars that should be spent on vital infrastructure, education, healthcare, etc.

Also worthy of noting is that should the GOP be successful in a recall, it would shake up the powerful Nevada Legislative Commission. That commission handles the Legislature’s business when it is not in session and when constituents have little input into decisions being made.

Interested in Serving on a State Board/Commission?

Calling all Nevadans! Here’s your chance to have your say in how government operates in Nevada. The Governor will be appointing volunteers to serve on dozens of Nevada boards and commissions. The state is looking for folks who are interested in serving on everything from the Aging Commission to Wildlife Commissioners!

Governor Brian Sandoval is committed to building an efficient and responsive state government. The Governor believes that all citizens should have direct access to their government and have the right to help shape public policy. The Governor has the privilege and authority to confirm or appoint members to numerous boards and commissions. Most boards and commissions are created by federal law, state legislation, or executive order of the Governor. Each state board has a different role and membership requirements. The membership is outlined in the enabling document and is usually narrowly defined, often including requirements for political or geographic diversity.

Advocacy: Don’t Let FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Kill Net Neutrality

Grassroots activists won an epic victory two years ago when together we pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to pass strong net neutrality rules. Hundreds of thousands of CREDO members and millions of others fought for years to protect the free and open internet with net neutrality – the principle that internet providers must treat all users’ content equally. In 2015, we finally won.

Now, Trump’s FCC chairman is quietly moving to scrap the rules.Last week, news reports revealed that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to give up the FCC’s role in protecting internet users and instead ask companies to voluntarily police themselves.1 If he’s successful, the hard-fought victory to protect our rights on the internet will be lost.

Tell FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: Don’t kill net neutrality.

Just as telephone companies connect callers in the order received without regard to how much they can pay, the internet under net neutrality is classified as a protected utility. Internet providers can’t block content, slow traffic, or create “fast lanes” to prioritize websites whose owners pay more.2 Net neutrality protects our privacy, keeps broadband prices competitive and helps new companies to innovate. That’s why consumer groups and internet businesses like Google, Facebook and Netflix all strongly support net neutrality and oppose Pai’s plan to kill it.3

Pai’s plan for the internet looks a lot like Paul Ryan’s plan to repeal Obamacare. In both cases, Republicans are trying to replace a popular policy with an impractical and deceptive proposal. Like the Obamacare repeal plan, Pai’s net neutrality “fix” would help a few corporations earn more profits by eliminating protections for the rest of us.

Pai’s plan would ask telecom companies to voluntarily pledge to follow the principles of net neutrality and task the Federal Trade Commission with punishing offenders. As one commenter noted, the idea that Pai will get every large and small internet service provider to voluntarily put strong open internet provisions in their terms of service agreements is “pure nonsense.”4 Even if companies agree, they could change their terms at any time. Meanwhile, broadband internet would no longer be classified as a utility, and the FCC would have abdicated its authority to protect internet users.

Republicans are trying to revoke our rights on the internet, and we need to fight back. We cannot allow Pai to move forward without a vocal and sustained opposition at every stage. Now, we need to stop Trump’s FCC the same way we stopped Trump and Paul Ryan from repealing Obamacare.

Tell FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to drop his plan to kill neutrality.

References:

  1. Rich McCormick, “FCC head Ajit Pai reportedly outlines plans to roll back net neutrality rules,” The Verge, April 7, 2017.
  2. Jeff Sommer, “What Net Neutrality Rules Say,” The New York Times, March 12, 2015.
  3. Jacob Kastrenakes, “Google, Facebook, Netflix lobbyist tells the FCC not to destroy net neutrality,” The Verge, April 12, 2017.
  4. Nilay Patel, “Ajit Pai’s net neutrality plan is nonsense, The Verge, April 7, 2017.

Voters to Rise Up Across US for “People’s Filibuster” of Gorsuch

Rallies in 14 cities will feature everyday Americans speaking on how the appointment of Neil Gorsuch would advance Trump’s extreme agenda for decades to come

—by Lauren McCauley, staff writer at CommonDreams

Organized by a coalition of pro-democracy and civil rights groups under the umbrella of The People's Defense, rallies are being held across the U.S., from Las Vegas to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Portland, Maine. (Image via The People's Defense)

Organized by a coalition of pro-democracy and civil rights groups under the umbrella of The People’s Defense, rallies are being held across the U.S., from Las Vegas to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Portland, Maine. (Image via The People’s Defense)

With Democratic Party resistance to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch still in flux, American voters are taking to the streets on Saturday to stage a “People’s Filibuster” against the conservative judge.

Organized by a coalition of pro-democracy and civil rights groups under the umbrella of The People’s Defense, rallies are being held in 14 cities across the country, from Las Vegas to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Portland, Maine.

Many events will feature “everyday Americans speaking on why they object to the extreme agenda of the president and how the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court would advance that agenda for decades to come,” as stated by the Seattle call-to-action.

As Common Dreams reported Friday, Gorsuch has “refused to outright state his stance on critical Supreme Court decisions certain to face challenges in upcoming years, such as Roe v. Wade.” However, many are concerned about the ultra-conservative, dark money groups backing his confirmation and what that could mean for the balance of the U.S. Supreme Court.

As NationAction, the political arm of The Nation magazine, wrote Friday:

The likelihood that Gorsuch will move the court to the right, coupled with Republicans’ refusal to even hold a hearing for President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland, make it clear that Democrats should fight back and filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination. Of course, if Democrats do this, Republicans could use the “nuclear option” to end the use of filibusters for Supreme Court nominations altogether. However, as Joshua Holland recently argued, this tactic could ultimately hurt the GOP more than Democrats—and Democrats should fight Gorsuch’s nomination and call their bluff.

Amid the political imbroglio surrounding the nomination, the People’s Filibuster provides a platform for popular response and resistance. For those who do not live near an action, People’s Defense is urging people to “call or tweet your U.S. Senators directly and let them know how you feel about Trump’s agenda getting a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.”

Updates on the protest and larger effort to block Gorsuch are being shared under the hashtags #PeoplesFilibuster and #StopGorsuch.


People’s defense partners include: the American Federation of Teachers, Credo Action, Daily Kos, Democracy for America, Demos, Emily’s List, End Citizens United, Every Voice, Indivisible, Lambda Legal, MoveOn.org, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National LGBTQ TaskForce, People for the American Way, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Sierra Club, SEIU, Stand Up America, Ultraviolet, Women’s March, and the Working Families Party.


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‘Sheer Reckless Folly’: Trump Destroys Obama-Era Climate Rules

“Aside from provoking a large-scale nuclear war, it is hard to imagine an American president taking an action more harmful to the U.S. than Trump’s effort to accelerate greenhouse gas emissions”
— by Nika Knight, staff writer at CommonDreams

Smog envelopes the Salt Lake City skyline in November 2016. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/cc)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday set about aggressively dismantling Obama-era climate policies with an executive order decried as “sheer reckless folly,” which will increase U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the climate crisis.

“Aside from provoking a large-scale nuclear war, it is hard to imagine an American president taking an action more harmful to the U.S. than Trump’s effort to accelerate greenhouse gas emissions,” said David J. Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen’s Climate Program, in a statement.

“This day may be remembered as a low point in human history—a time when the world’s preeminent power could have led the world to a better future but instead moved decisively toward catastrophe,” Arkush added.

The order instructs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rewrite former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which would have limited the emissions of coal-powered power plants. It also lifts the moratorium on federal coal leasing, repeals limits on methane emissions from fracking, and directs the agency to reconsider the Social Cost of Carbon and the National Environmental Policy Act guidance on greenhouse gas emissions.

“The EPA’s rollback of basic environmental rules demonstrates that when it comes to the health of our children, our communities, and our climate, this is an administration of lawlessness and disorder,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of the grassroots sustainability group UPROSE, in statement.

“Indigenous peoples will not stand idle as we tell the world the Earth is the source of life to be protected, not merely a resource to be exploited and abused.”
—Tom BK Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network

“For frontline communities, those of us impacted first and worst by the extraction economy, this means an escalation of public health crises, from asthma to cancer. It means an utter disregard for those of us most vulnerable to climate disasters,” Yeampierre added. “It means a world of volatility and exploitation for our children and grandchildren.”

Environmentalists, local and state leaders, and advocacy groups are vowing to resist.

“The best way to fight against these executive orders is to take to the streets,” as 350.org executive director May Boeve put it.

“President Donald Trump tearing apart the CPP is an act of aggression and violence against the sacredness of Mother Earth and Father Sky,” said Tom BK Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, in a statement. “Our indigenous prophecies and teachings tell us that Life as we know it is in danger. The atmosphere and the environment cannot absorb anymore concentration of greenhouse gases. As Indigenous peoples, we still understand our responsibility as guardians and the need to take action as defenders of the Earth. Indigenous peoples will not stand idle as we tell the world the Earth is the source of life to be protected, not merely a resource to be exploited and abused.”

“As a member of the climate justice movement, we stand defiant in the face of these orders and are prepared to hold the line,” Yeampierre said. “We will meet these violent policies with a deeper commitment to a Just Transition away from fossil fuels, toward renewable energy, local resiliency, and a regenerative economy worthy of leaving our children.”

The climate movement has numbers on its side, groups observe. “Millions of Americans have called for strong climate action, submitting more than 8 million comments asking the EPA to take action to cut carbon pollution from power plants,” noted Environment America. Recent polling confirms that a vast majority of Americans support climate action.

Moreover, despite the Trump administration’s dubious claims of job creation, the Department of Energy showed that renewable energy jobs have already overtaken fossil fuel industry jobs, and the trend shows no sign of slowing.

As the federal government gives up its role in the climate fight, many now see local and state leaders taking up the charge.

“The West Coast will be allied with the rest of the world that understands science.”
— Washington Gov. Jay Inslee”

[A]s our most successful climate programs face attack on the federal level, it is incumbent on states to double down on their climate commitments,” Environment America wrote. “We are calling on our governors to keep leading the charge and push the progress we need to tackle the climate crisis and get 100 percent renewable energy.”

West Coast politicians are already uniting under the umbrella of the Pacific Coast Collaborative to battle the federal government’s rightward turn on climate.

“As the governors of Washington, Oregon, and California and the mayors of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles, we speak today in support of the Clean Power Plan,” the Pacific Coast Collaborative wrote in advance of the executive order. “We speak in unified opposition to the idea of any decision by the President to limit our region’s economic opportunities or our commitment to doing what’s right to make our cities and states cleaner and healthier for future generations.”

“The West Coast is going to move forward to beat climate change,” said Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state, according to Northwest Public Radio. “The West Coast going to move forward to build clean energy jobs. The West Coast will be allied with the rest of the world that understands science.”

“It is up to the American public to move the nation in the right direction on climate and clean energy despite the worst efforts of the so-called leader in the White House.” — David J. Arkush, Public Citizen

“Many states and cities in the West will continue to lead on clean energy because it makes economic sense, and those states that tie their fate to Scott Pruitt’s doomed strategy of delay and deny face an increasingly risky future,” said Bill Corcoran, Western campaign director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.

And despite the frightening actions of the Trump administration, states and cities are already taking strong action to fight climate change. California last week passed the nation’s strictest methane regulations, and on Monday the Maryland state senate passed a statewide fracking ban. Maryland’s Republican governor has already signaled his support for the ban.

People nationwide are also ready to rise up and march for climate justice.

“Even as Trump dismantles environmental protections to shore up the fossil fuel industry, support for action to stop global warming is at an all-time high,” said 350.org’s Boeve. “Now it’s up to communities to bring our vision of a healthy climate and a just transition to renewable energy to life.”

Those who support climate action and oppose Trump’s fossil fuel-friendly administration will gather for the Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C., on April 29, as well as the March for Science in D.C. and elsewhere on April 22.

“From the upcoming congressional recess through the Peoples Climate March and beyond, we’ll be putting pressure on lawmakers to defend the climate and building power to stop the fossil fuel industry for good,” Boeve said.

“Now is the time to come together and build an economy where investments are made to benefit workers, communities of color, women, and low-income folks, not the fossil fuel industry,” said Rae Breaux, lead climate justice organizer for the People’s Action Institute, in a statement.

Public Citizen’s Arkush added: “It is up to the American public to move the nation in the right direction on climate and clean energy despite the worst efforts of the so-called leader in the White House.”


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Hearing on AB159 Prohibiting Hydraulic Fracturing Statewide

Assembly Bill 159 will be heard by the Assembly Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Mining committee Tuesday February 21st at 1:30pm. Click here if you can attend the hearing.

Here is a digest of the bill:

Section 1 of this bill prohibits any person from engaging in hydraulic fracturing in this State, and section 5 of this bill repeals provisions relating to the hydraulic fracturing program. Sections 2 and 3 of this bill make conforming changes. Section 4 of this bill provides that any permit issued by the Division of Minerals before the effective date of this bill, authorizing a person to drill and operate an oil or gas well that is or is intended to be hydraulically fractured, expires on that date.

We strongly suggest all Nevadans opposed to fracking show up and share your testimony, either in Carson City or Las Vegas. Click here for the agenda that includes meeting location room numbers.

We can avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change by keeping fossil fuels where they belong: in the ground. 

Share your opinion on AB159 by using this tool (click here) your comment will be sent to your legislators.

Source: Composite by G_marius based on a darthpedrius’s image

I don’t know about you, but I pay for earthquake insurance on my home, my largest personal investment.  It nearly doubles my insurance premiums.  Given that we live in a frequently drought-stricken state which is also an earthquake zone, here’s some food for thought on this issue:

Dear So-Called President Trump: Where’s My Protest Paycheck?

— by Peter Dreier

The author, with his twenty-year-old daughter Sarah, marching against the Trump agenda on Saturday, January 21, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Courtesy of Peter Dreier)

Dear So-Called President Trump:

I was among the roughly five million Americans who took to the streets in cities across the country a few weeks ago in opposition to your outrageous policies regarding women, Muslims, school children, immigrants, workers, the environment, and people who need health care. (That’s me in the photo above with my 20-year old daughter Sarah). I left my home around 7 am, took the subway from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles, and participated in the demonstration — marching, holding signs, shouting chants, listening to speakers and musicians — until about 4 pm. I got back on the subway and returned to my house around 5 pm. In other words, I spent about 10 hours involved in the protest.

That was the largest one-day protest in American history. A majority of the five million participants (750,000 in LA alone) were protesting for the first time. I didn’t really understand what brought them out to protest on a sunny Saturday when they could have been doing so many other things. But your recent Tweet explained why.

Last week you Tweeted that “Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Thank you for the reminder. I forgot to pick up my paycheck for protesting. Whomever is paying people to protest left me off the list — or just ripped me off. Since the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, I am owed at least $72.50 for the 10 hours I spent protesting that Saturday. However as of this January 1 the California minimum wage is now $10.50 an hour, so I’m actually owed $105, and even more if the people who are paying people to protest against you abide by overtime rules.

If all five million Americans who protested that day got paid the federal minimum wage, and if people spent an average of five hours protesting, those patriotic rabble-rousers are owed a total of at least $181 million in unpaid protest wages.

I think you’ll agree that putting $181 million in Americans’ pockets is good for the economy. If you will recall the Economics 101 course you probably took at college, that is called an increase in “consumer demand.” Economists also call it the “multiplier effect.” The five million protesters will spend that $181 million in their local economies — boosting sales, revenues, and jobs. So thank you for reminding us that protest is good for the economy.

You will be pleased to know that Americans will continue to protest your policies for the next four years. Not all the protests will be as large as the January 21 women’s march, but the number of Americans who feel compelled to protest against you will certainly grow as you pursue reckless, dangerous and inhumane policies. Every week, in cities, suburbs and small towns across America, people will be in the streets, at town meetings, on college campuses, at their workplaces, at airports, in churches and synagogues, and elsewhere raising their voices in opposition to almost everything you are trying to do.

Let’s take a conservative estimate that every week, on average, 100,000 Americans engage in some kind of local protest over the next four years. Let’s assume that each person spends an average of three hours participating in protest and earns the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. That adds up to $452 million during your four years as president — assuming you are not impeached.

Of course, you won’t be surprised that in addition to all those local protests, at least four times a year, Americans will mount the kind of major nationwide protests that we saw a few weeks ago, with five million people taking to the streets. So let’s add another $181 million for each protest — four times a year, for four years. This will increase the protest payroll by another $2.9 billion. Altogether, that’s $3.42 billion in protest paychecks over four years. I haven’t even factored in the higher minimum wage levels in many states and cities.

You are already doing your part by adopting policies and making statements that make Americans so angry that they are joining protests in record numbers. But if you’d really like to do something to improve the economy even more, you could raise the federal minimum to $15 an hour. That would quickly and dramatically increase America’s protest payroll and be a real boost the economy.

I realize that it is selfish of me to bring this up, but what about all the back pay I’m owed for the protests I’ve participated in since the 1960s? I’ve been to hundreds of protests for civil rights, against the Vietnam war, for women’s rights and against apartheid, for more funding for public schools, against the U.S. overthrow of Chile’s president Salvador Allende and against U.S. aid to the Nicaraguan contras, against police killing of unarmed Black Americans, in favor of workers’ rights, and against government bail-outs to Wall Street banks.

As you can see in the above photographs, I brought my twin daughters Amelia and Sarah to a protest in Los Angeles in 2002 against the U.S. invasion of Iraq and I joined with my wife Terry, our dog Mia, and our friends last year at a huge march of workers and supporters demanding a $15 minimum wage in my hometown of Pasadena. (You’ll be please know that we won that fight). On a rainy night two weeks ago I joined about 150 people at a protest in front of the $26 million Los Angeles mansion owned by Steve Mnuchin, the Wall Street predator (known as the “foreclosure king”) who was your campaign finance chair and whom you’ve nominated to be Secretary of the Treasury. (That’s me, with the gray hair, behind the sign).

Shouldn’t the hundreds of millions of Americans who, over the years, sat in at lunch counters, participated in strikes, carried picket signs for reproductive rights and same-sex marriage, rallied against nuclear weapons, and shouted “no justice, no peace” and “end racism” get paid for their protest activism? Rep. John Lewis, who put his body on the line hundreds of times for social justice — and whom you described as “all talk, no action” in a twitter tantrum last month — would be owed a fortune in back protest pay.

Do you think we could find a “so-called” judge who would be sympathetic to this wage-theft cause and order the owners of Protest Inc. to compensate us for our labor?

I don’t consider this reparations for radicals and reformers. I see it as the kind of economic nationalism you’ve been talking about. You can’t export protest jobs. These are Americans jobs for Americans. As any economist could tell you, those back payments would do wonders for the economy.

Just as George W. Bush was known as the “war president,” and Barack Obama was known (at least by Republicans) as the “food stamp president,” you will surely go down in history as the “protest president.” You’ve done more than any other U.S. president to unite Americans and galvanize them into an oppositional protest movement. You’ve called us “paid protesters.” Once we all get paid, we will feel proud to have helped make America great again.


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Peter Dreier is E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, and chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department, at Occidental College. His most recent book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books, 2012). His other books include: Place Matters: Metropolitics for the 21st Century (University Press of Kansas, 3rd edition, 2014), and The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle for a Livable City (University of California Press, revised 2006). He writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times, Common Dreams, The Nation, and Huffington Post.