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Originally Posted on June 16, 2017

As of Wednesday, June 14, nearly two hundred members of Congress agreed to file a lawsuit against Donald Trump, citing a violation of the emoluments clause. This suit is directly related to the President's refusal to disclose financial information, which may include gifts from foreign powers, gifts that the Legislative branch must consent for him to receive. Meanwhile, multiple investigations are underway to explore ties the administration has to Russia, including the possibility of treason. Attorney General Sessions has come under fire for failing to initially disclose, under oath, meetings with Russian officials and later claiminghe cannot recall said interactions in a Congressional hearing. With legal pressure ramping up against the Executive Branch, activist groups around the country are banding together for a nationwide Impeachment March on July 2nd. 

Join the Metro-Detroit Political Action Network at noon on Sunday in downtown Detroit to show Congress that Presidential impeachment has not just the consent, but the enthusiastic support of the people! Activists will gather at the Joe Louis Fist, on the corner of Woodward and Jefferson, for a rally before taking to the streets. Loud voices welcome, signs encouraged. 

Even without the suspicious relationship to Russia and violations of the Emoluments Clause, President Trump has done enough in his time in office to warrant removal from it. His travel ban has seen multiple defeats in court, and succeeded only in fomenting racism towards Muslims and refugees fleeing countries under seige by extremist insurgents. He mobilized Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enact mass deportations of residents in America, a policy that finally struck Michigan. This week, ICE detained roughly 80 Iraqi Christians in Southest Michigan, at times raiding churches on Sunday, where the community gathered for worship. A return to Iraq could be a potential death sentence, due to religious persecution in the country.

The President furthered his assault on humanity by gutting regulations meant to protect the environment, including an executive order that removed protections on the country's waterways from waste dumping by coal plants. He's also attempting to sabotage healthcare by refusing to pay cost-share reductions to insurers, meant to protect low-income enrollees in the Affordable Care Act. This move effectively creates the crisis Republican Members of Congress are using to justify an ACA repeal. 

Should that not be enough, his Presidency is costing taxpayer's an extraordinary amount of money. Congress has allocated $120 million dollars in additional security spending to protect Trump and his family when away from the Washington DC. Half of that sum covers reimbursements to New York City and Palm Beach County, where he elects to take up residence instead of his traditional quarters in the White House. With that in mind, Impeachment and removal from office could be a cost saving move for America.

If these issues or a litany of others are a concern, join MDPAN on July 2nd in downtown Detroit, and demand that Congress kicks this administration to the curb! 

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Originally Post on July 8, 2017

In the wake of Donald Trump's assumption of power as President of the United States, a national resistance group formed on December 19th, 2016. It began with a Facebook livestream from the Great Hall of Cooper Union in New York City. Reaching over 200,000 viewers the emergency conference featured speakers such as Jeremy Scahill, founding editor of The Intercept, Fran Luck, radio host for the multicultural feminist program Joy of Liberation, and hip-hop artist Immortal Technique. They called out the fascist character of the Trump/Pence regime and, through their website, have organized demonstrations across the country to thwart its machinations.  

They've disrupted the Sessions confirmation hearing with shouts of "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!", held demonstrations in honor of Holocaust Rememberance Day (drawing parallels with the ICE deportations) and hosting Teach-Ins in April on the warning signs of a government devolving into fascism. The group is present at every major protest, and are easily identified by their "NO!" sign, emblazoned with the core message:

 

On July 15th, Refuse Fascism will mobilize nationally in a march to drive out the Trump/Pence regime, with Detroit's event taking place at the Fist of Joe Louis at 1 PM. 

Vicki Edwards is one of the leaders for the Detroit chapter, a stalwart presence at every MDPAN event. When handed the megaphone, she appears to grow ten feet taller and deliver Refuse Fascism's refrain with a booming alto, and lo, the Earth doth shake. She was involved in the Occupy movement in 2011, and her experience there helped form the mission she carries out today. "It's not one thing, it's everything!" She said of her reasons for resistance. "This current government is fascist. This isn't just a collection of horrible, cruel, and inhumane policies, it's a qualitative change in how society is governed. Group after group is demonized and attacked, xenophobic nationalism is whipped up, dissent is criminalized, and once power is consolidated, traditional democratic rights are eliminated."

Given the President's repeated attacks on the press, travel bans, Russia's voter database hacking, and the ICE's mass deportations, Vicki's case is practically made for her. While the Detroit wing of the organization often tables other group's events, such as Love is Love and the Impeachment March, they're taking the lead more often this summer.

 

The group joined several others to protest against ACT for America's (classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim hate group) anti-Sharia Law rally in Lansing, MI. Thin lines of caution tape and minimal police presence separated the two groups. While ACT was significantly outnumbered, several of their members were dressed in full militia kit, bearing assault rifles. Their opposition came armed only with their signs and their voices, with a rallying cry of "No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here!"

The fight continues in full force this coming Saturday, and the group has been canvassing local events and businesses with fliers demanding the Trump/Pence regime must go. From the pamphlet: "July 15th must mark a leap to more sustained struggle, inspiring people to see the possibility of ousting this regime through unleashing the tremendous power of the people – aiming for the time when millions can be moved to fill the streets of cities and towns day after day and night after night, declaring this whole regime illegitimate – demanding, and not stopping, until the Trump/Pence regime is driven from power." 

Come to the Fist of Joe Louis at 1 PM and answer the call, in the name of not just America, but humanity itself. The rally will feature the following speakers:

Rachel Voltaire: MC for the event.
- Vicki Edwards: The very same from this article.
Stephen Boyle: Longtime Detroit activist and former Green Party candidate.
Fatima Salman: Education/Youth Chair for Michigan Muslim Community Council

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The March of Science was held today in over 600 cities and towns across the country and globe.  I saw protest signs and friends decrying the need to have such a march. Unfortunately, we live in times in which it is necessary to demonstrate, loudly and clearly, that facts are indeed facts and that truth is both real and reveals itself through scientific discovery.

This isn’t new. We are all familiar with the story of Galileo. His use of new technology, the telescope, clearly demonstrated that the Earth was not the center of the universe. The Middle Age power brokers, primarily the church, had a lot vested in the Earth being the center of the universe. God’s chosen people extended not just to ethno-religious boundaries, but indeed humankind special relationship with God was intertwined with us being the center of the universe. The power brokers imprisoned truth-seekers in order to maintain the order of the world they constructed and from which they benefited.  However, if they would have been open to the discovery it would have at least temporarily put God on a much larger creation stage.  As so often happens, being open though to these newly discovered truths, we experience the universe in a more awe-inspiring manner.  Galileo's universe was more magnificent than the simplistic Earth-centered universe prevalent since antiquity and perhaps since our species first started to conceive of itself under the stars.

Similar forces are at work today. Entrenched interests in our capitalist system are hanging onto their worldview that human activity is not affecting the planet in profound ways that we may not be able to undo and which will likely make the Earth a lot less hospitable to life, including human life. The short term monetary gains of a few in the continued pursuit of fossil fuels is driving the planet off, in a gas chugging car, off the proverbial cliff. They refute the clear science through flat out ignoring it or attempting to delegitimize. Various elements of the Trump administration have whitewashed climate change from their communications and removed from their decision making. The single biggest threat to life on the planet is swept under the rug of ignorance.

Such activities by big oil and their allies are supported by perhaps a more pernicious sentiment endemic to elements to our culture, an embrace of ignorance as a positive character trait rather than a quality to oppose. There are two strains to this ignorance, one religious and one proudly ignorant. The religious ignorance is held by fundamentalist Christians who force themselves into the intellectual box of a literal translation of the Bible. These fundamentalists refuse to accept even the most basic facts of science fighting against evolution (the basis of understanding biology) and the Big Bang (the basis of understanding the universe in astronomy and physics) and claim that the age of the Earth is 6,000-20,000 years old (eliminating any need for geology).

There are other proudly ignorant folks who are happy to not believe basic scientific facts that would somehow cloud their worldview. The Atlantic covered this phenomenon recently here (https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/03/this-article-wont-change-your-mind/519093/) in which the research demonstrates that people may ignore facts that cause cognitive dissonance to a worldview. If you don’t care to understand how the world works and  are content to not know, this bias becomes exacerbated. In a social media world in which we can control what content we receive with greater precision, we can indeed bask in our own ignorance and be supported by memes, friends and content which affirm our ignorance.

The truth is that almost all of us have the basic intelligence to be consumers if not creators of the science. Science requires the humility to test your hypothesis in order to provide it wrong. What a different mindset from holding a belief, dismissing any facts that may conflict with that worldview and looking for any shred of evidence that may support that belief. The March for Science is an affirmation of those who choose to take the plunge in deepening their understanding of the world and more importantly of being open to that worldview changing. For example, Pluto was discovered through painstaking astronomy as a planet. Generations of students were taught that our solar system had nine planets. When we fine-tuned our instrumentation, we realized our beloved tiny Pluto wasn’t so unique at all. There are scores of dwarf planets in the Kepler belt, many yet to be discovered. There were even scientists who emotionally held onto Pluto as planet, but discovery led to new truths that science, and humans who practice science, incorporate new facts that lead to new truths.

The questions than that the March for Science demands of those Americans who have turned away from a pursuit of truth, facts, and the scientific method is do you have the moral courage to face inconvenient truths that the science tells us? Do you have an open mind that allows new facts to be incorporated and shift your understanding of the universe? Are you willing to let go of some interest you have in maintaining the status quo to walk into a more magnificent world in which the pursuit of knowledge creates awe-inspiring discoveries that often create as many questions as they answer?

The March on Science was intended to create such dissonance. Instead of turning away, my hope is that folks re-embrace the values that led to the great shifts our thinking: The Enlightenment and the Industrial and Technological Revolutions.

Stupidity isn’t a virtue. A mind open to discovery, facts, and truth is.

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