Convict, Expel, stop Trump and his enablers

Trump’s second impeachment trial in the Senate continues today, with House Impeachment managers expected to wrap up their presentation. In a crucial, early, vote six Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in voting that the trial is constitutional and should proceed. We’ve got just a few more days to convince 17 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats in voting to convict Trump.

That’s the whole agenda: We have a few days to convince 11 more Republicans to join six of their fellow partisans that this process is appropriate, and furthermore that Trump is guilty – That he incited a mob to attack the capitol and disrupt the counting of Electoral College votes in an attempted coup that killed multiple people, including one Capitol Police officer, injured many more, and terrorized the entire country.

Call your Senators now at (866) 455-3498 and tell them to vote to convict Trump, and prevent him from running for office ever again and deter future coup attempts. (Can’t call right now? Please chip in if you can to keep this toll-free line open and fund our fight against fossil fueled fascists in the future.)

A lot of pundits and politicians are saying that the evidence in this case doesn’t matter. That there’s nothing that will convince Republicans to convict Trump. That it’s time to move on and focus on President Biden’s plans to build back better and build back fossil free.

I still think that’s wrong for two important reasons:

  1. The coup attempt didn’t end on January 6. Trump is still out there. The FBI confirms that his supporters planned the Jan 6 insurrection in advance, and are planning future violence to this day. And at the same time, Republican leaders in Congress like Kevin McCarthy are plotting with him to re-take political power in 22 months. And it’s worth remembering that the members of the “Sedition Caucus” who are still defending trump are funded by the fossil fuel industryto the tune of $8.8 million dollars last year.
  2. Truth still matters. Lots of ‘very serious people’ spent 4 years telling us Trump was not a fascist, until the coup attempt on Jan 6,2021. And while many of us are eager, if not desperate, to look forward rather than backward we can’t do that until there is a reckoning with what happened on Jan 6. And that reckoning can’t happen without accountability for Trump and his enablers. If you haven’t already, check out the videos of the chaos and violence on Jan6 that house Impeachment managers are using to make their case – it’s a sobering reminder of what happened, and why the country needs this moment of reckoning.

Under our current laws and Constitution that reckoning and accountability starts (doesn’t end) with impeaching and convicting former President Trump. That vote is supposed to be shaped by what we the people tell our Senators about this moment.

That’s how Democracy wins – not just by citizens voting in a new president and “moving on,” but by citizens staying engaged and demanding that our elected officials hold the people who tried to incite a bloody coup against our government are held accountable.

How to stop a coup

I’ve been struggling to pull myself away from the news and twitter to talk about the coup attempt this week. As someone who’s planned and participated in dozens of events and actions at the Capitol – many where we peacefully and non-violently risked arrest and were met with a substantially larger, armed, and violent response – I share the shock, outrage and emotion of all of you.

It’s important to be very clear about two things in the immediate aftermath:

  1. This was a Coup attempt, and it’s not over yet.
  2. This week’s coup is nothing like the non-violent, civil disobedience and protest we’re a part of every day, and we must be mindful that our reaction is orderly, legal and based in love and justice – not hate and violent retribution.

If you agree that Trump must be impeached and removed from office, click here to sign on.

Donald Trump directed the mob to go to the capital, and incited them to violence – not just on January 6 but for weeks before that. For years Trump and his enablers have built a culture of white supremacy, and demonstrated a conviction to rule through force and fear. We’ve been calling Trump a fascist and warning of exactly these kind of outcomes for more than four years. For years Very Serious People called us “deranged” or warned us not to exaggerate the threat. Now, finally, they seem to agree.

Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate soon-to-be Leader Chuck Schumer – who are usually slow to act in a crisis like climate change, or Trump’s previous abuses of power – are calling for swift action to remove the coup-leader, the deposed ex-President Donald Trump from power.

There’s a lot of talk about the 25th amendment, which Trump’s cabinet could invoke. But it’s not an instant solution – requiring complicated votes by the cabinet that are not easy to convene, and confirmation by Congress. And anyway, most of Trump’s cabinet seems to feel that resigning is a safer path to restoring their reputations (another thing we cannot allow to happen), rather than removing Trump from power and risking the wrath of the same people who smashed up the capital days ago.

Which is why invoking impeachment, again, is the only sure step to remove Trump from office. And it’s a step Congress must take right away, before Trumps last 12 days in office expire, because the coup isn’t over yet. Students of history and political insurrection around the world know that often, fascists and authoritarians often have to try more than once, and more than one method, to hold on to power.

What we saw Wednesday was only a link in a long chain of events where fossil fueled, white-supremacist fascists try and seize control of our government, and bend it to their will.

They won’t go away when Trump leaves office on January 20. And Trump himself has already talked about running for President again, and clearly intends to retain ‘control’ of the GOP. But if Congress impeaches, and convicts Trump before Jan 20, he will be barred from running from office ever again.

Click here to sign on to our joint petition with many national partners. Only by working together can we build the pressure necessary for Congress to act. And only through Congressional Action can we stop this coup and prevent Trump from trying to seize power again.

We’ll have lots more to say, and lots more to talk about, why our non violent, civil disobedience actions — including ones where we risk arrest in the US Capitol — are nothing like the fascist coup attempt we saw this week. A short, simple, explanation might be that intent matters, and how we conduct ourselves while speaking truth as a minority political power, to a majority political power.

When we take action, we come in peace and we speak and act – at times disruptively – to cry out for justice and a safe and healthy planet for all. Often we bring or bear in our hearts the stories of those impacted adversely by the policies in question – bearing witness to their pain and bearing it into the sight and hearing of those in power who would rather ignore it.

That’s more or less the opposite of what happened this week: A violent, hateful, mob broke down the doors to stop the functioning of Democracy and demand that their already-powerful leader be given more power, or else. They brought with them the failed emblems of other white supremacist insurrections. And they clearly felt entitled to seize power, no matter who they had to hurt, step over, or disenfranchise to get there. When police pushed back and arrested a paltry few of the thousands or rioters, they responded with shock and alarm – literally saying “they’re supposed to shoot BLM not [us].”

Like I said, lots more to say on this in the future. But for today I’ll leave you with this simple image: Of Rev Warnock, now a United States Senator, being arrested peacefully at a non-violent, civil disobedient prayer vigil for universal health care in 2017. It’s a lot like a lot of actions we’ve helped organize during the Trump regime’s rise to power. And we wont stop until all of them are gone and barred from our government for good.

Tell FERC: No more variances, time’s up on the MVP!

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is back at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking, once again, to be allowed to bend the rules to the breaking point so they can keep building a fracked gas pipeline nobody wants or needs during the pandemic.

The MVP is a 303 mile long fracked gas pipeline from Wetzel County, West Virginia, to Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Along the way it would cross the Appalachian trail, more than 1000 rivers and streams, and require clear-cutting wide tracks of the Appalachian mountains.

For years resistance has built against the MVP — including countless community rallies, several long-standing tree sits, and blockades by activists. Due in part to that diligent work, the MVP is behind schedule and $2 billion over budget.

Sign here to tell FERC: No more variances, waivers or special exceptions. Time is UP on the MVP!

This time, they are asking for special permission – a variance, in legal parlance – to drill under dozens of streams and rivers – a risky plan that could pollute hundreds of communities downstream. Not to mention the fact that the plan will require bringing in dozens of work crews, many from out-of-state, while the pandemic is surging in South Eastern Virginia – putting unnecessary strain on essential workers in food service, transportation, and other industries while over-taxing an already busy health care system.

They need FERC’s permission because a federal court has “stayed” the company’s Clean Water Act permit already – just one of dozens of fines and delays that are raising real questions about whether MVP is accurately reporting how much of the pipeline has been built. The MVP owners are afraid, if FERC doesn’t let them bend the rules so they can continue construction by drilling under all these streams and waterways, investors will get cold feet and abandon the project.

That’s exactly what happened to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline earlier this year. And that’s why it’s so important that FERC not grant this variance right now: Not only is it irresponsible and dangerous to let MVP construction continue during the pandemic right now, but saying no at this critical juncture could just stop the pipeline for good!

Help us stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline by signing this petition demanding that FERC deny Equitrans the variance to cross waterways!

All signatures received before December 21 will be included in official comments to FERC, and once you sign you’ll be redirected to a page with instructions on how to back up your signature with a hand-written comment. 

No more business as usual. Tell the Senate to stop FERC now

We live a in climate changed world. From the wildfires out west to the hurricanes in the east — one making landfall this week while four more are active offshore. So why is Congress rushing to approve more Trump nominees to key energy agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)? What, exactly, would it take to convince Senators to just STOP the madness and extraction?

The Senate Energy Committee, once again, is considering new nominees to serve as commissioners at FERC. And FERC has continued its work rubber stamping new fossil fuel infrastructure all through the pandemic. We’ve called and written them thousands of times: Most recently some 40,000 of us asked FERC not to extend a permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

But FERC won’t stop until Congress stops them by instituting real reforms. Will you tell the Senate Energy Commitee that this is no time for Business as usual – and demand they stop the nomination of two new FERC Commissioners this week?

Call nowCall the Senate switchboard 202-224-3121 & tell them to vote NO on all new FERC Commissioners until there are real reforms!
Click here to tell them on Facebook
TwitterClick here to tell them on Twitter
Or, just forward this post to your friends!

The entire west coast is on fire. Hurricane Sally is making landfall today in the Gulf, even as communities re still struggling to recover from Hurricane Laura, which itself made landfall on the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. And the Mid west is still trying to put itself back together after a massive derecho (a sort of one-directional tornado) and back to back storms that produced massive flooding.

Donald Trump continues to spout his nonsense and ignore science. But it’s his enablers – the agency heads and administrators that keep rolling back climate regulations and rolling out the red carpet for more fossil fuels extraction and infrastructure – who do the real damage.

The two newest nominations — Allison Clements and Mark Christie — aren’t as bad as some of the people Trump has nominated in the past. But that’s hardly the point: As long as Trump and his cronies are calling the shots, FERC will never be an agency that supports real climate action. We need bold changes, like a Green New Deal that changes FERC in to a Federal Renewable Energy Commission – and that change could be coming soon.

But until those changes come, we stand with our allies at Beyond Extreme Energy in calling upon Senators to abstain from voting for either of these nominees. Next week there will be a people’s hearing on FERC’s numerous offenses against the climate, our communities, and people. That needs to be followed quickly by real reform legislation that Congress can vote on FIRST, before they continue to feed the Fires of FERC’s climate disaster.

Tell FERC: Time’s up for the Mountain Valley Pipeline

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is years behind schedule, drowning in debt, and has no clear path to getting the permits it needs, let alone being built. But that didn’t stop them from going back to FERC and asking for more time.

The MVP is a 303 mile long fracked gas pipeline that Equitrans plans to build from Wetzel County, West Virginia, to Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Along the way it would cross the Appalachian trail, more than 1000 rivers and streams, and require clear-cutting wide tracks of the Appalachian mountains.

For years resistance has built against the MVP — including countless community rallies, several long-standing tree sits, and blockades by activists. Click here to tell FERC to deny their request, and stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline for good?

Due in part to that diligent work, the MVP is two years past its initial 2018 completion date and $2 billion over budget – including more than $2 million in fines imposed by the state of Virginia for violating environmental and public health laws. Given all the fines and delays, there are real questions about whether MVP is accurately reporting how much of the pipeline is being built, and investors are starting to get cold feet and abandon the project.

Despite all signs indicating that this pipeline is about to be canceled — as its sibling, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, was canceled in July — Equitrans has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a two-year extension of its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. If this is granted Equitrans will be able to work longer on getting key permits that have halted construction.

You can help us stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline by signing this petition demanding that FERC deny Equitrans the certification extension!

All signatures received before September 11 will be included in official comments to FERC, and once you sign you’ll be redirected to a page with instructions on how to back up your signature with a hand-written comment.

Laura, Katrina & a chemical fire: Katrina 15 anniversary

Tomorrow marks Katrina 15, a decade and a half of ongoing recovery from Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf South. And just as organizers were gathering to mourn, remember, rally and act together – Hurricane Laura slammed into the petrochemical hub West of New Orleans.

Today, thousands are without access to power, or clean water and at least one chemical plant was still burning Thursday evening. That means, as one New Orleans ally just explained to me, that people who lost their roof in the storm are being told to stay ‘indoors’ because the air outside is toxic.

The profound level of environmental and climate in-justice that permeates this moment is hard to take. But community leaders from across the Gulf South have been planning for months to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Katrina.

In the wake of Hurricane Laura, and the unfolding tragedies in its wake, we invite you to join them for a day and honor the sacrifice of the region in the global fight for climate justice.

Here’s an update in their words:

In solidarity with our family recovering from Hurricane Laura which made landfall on the Louisiana central coast this week, we are shifting our #Katrina15 programming to center the frontlines impacted by Hurricane Laura, offer lessons learned from 15 years of ongoing recovery from Hurricane Katrina, and share disaster recovery resources and ways to stand in solidarity with communities in Louisiana and Texas. Register here to join us for an abbreviated virtual program, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020 at 10amCDT.

If you’re able, we encourage you to also make a donation to support frontline groups in Louisiana and on the Gulf coast who are rendering direct, mutual aid to impacted people and communities. Our friends have begun compiling a list and there should be more information on the call tomorrow at 10amCDT.

They tear gassed moms. And then the Mayor. Ban Tear Gas Now.

The use of tear gas is illegal in war. But in the last few weeks, it’s been used so often to disperse protests in the US that many of you can probably recognize the smell at a distance, and know exactly what it looks like in a photo or video.

In Portland, Trump’s storm troopers fire it nightly into the “wall of Moms” peacefully protecting everyone’s children out protesting (the crowds have included babies, toddlers, and lots of young adults). In one memorable incident last week, the mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, was tear gassed outside the federal courthouse right in the middle of an interview.

Nor is this just a problem with federal agents, or only in Portland. Tear gas has been used more, and in more places, in the last few months than ever before in American history. This isn’t just a danger to protesters, it’s a danger to the right to protest. And it’s past time that we banned its use on our streets. Sign our petition to state and local leaders demanding they ban tear gas NOW.

Tear gas is not safe. It has been found to cause long-term health consequences, and intense burning pain in the eyes, throat, lungs, skin and mucous membranes. In some cases, it can cause an asthma attack — potentially leading to asphyxiation or death. When a canister detonates, it can also cause serious burn injuries. When they’re fired into crowds (which is usually the case) tear gas canisters have caused severe head injuries.

This would be enough of a problem in normal times, but now, use of tear gas in the midst of a respiratory pandemic threatens to worsen the coronavirus, along with racial disparities in its spread.

Doctors, nurses and disease experts have warned that dousing crowds with these kind of chemical agents will accelerate the spread of coronavirus. And in a season of mass demonstrations against police brutality and structural racism, the frequent use of these tactics raises fears that police are trying to worsen a pandemic that has already taken a disproportionate toll on Black and brown Americans.

Sign and send the petition to your Governor: Demand a ban on the use of tear gas by the police immediately.

Your Mayor can Defund the police – and they should

For the last few weeks, we’ve been telling you about why we support the demands of the Movement for Black Lives, including and especially the demand to Defund the Police. But the truth is that most of us can’t defund the police ourselves:

Not by voting in local elections (some sheriffs are elected, but not most police chiefs or officers); not by calling and writing Congress (some police are paid or mandated by Congress, but most are locally controlled); And not by marching in the streets, protesting, singing, or taking artistic action (though you can and should do all that as you are able, as we’ve been saying)

The decision about whether to defund the police, and how to re-invest that money in actual community safety, rests with Mayors and city councils across America. And that’s why we’re asking you to sign this petition to all US Mayors telling them we must immediately defund the police at local government levels.

The murders of George Floyd, Dreasjon Reed, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, and countless other Black people at the hands of police have exposed what we’ve known for too long: Policing in the U.S. upholds a violent legacy of racialized trauma and control, diverting crucial resources from communities that most need them.

Defunding the police, like divestment from fossil fuels, is a non-violent, direct action to reduce harm, and create the solutions we need. By reducing the disproportionate budgets of the police, we can redirect those funds to critical resources like schools, affordable housing, healthcare and mental health.

This is also a movement to address the longstanding trauma and harm policing creates and to finally invest in our Black and brown communities that have carried that pain for too long.

The U.S. spends more than $100 billion on policing per year. The city of Chicago spends more than $4 million on police every day, compared to about $600,000 on public health services. And they’re not alone: Police department budgets make up a disproportionate amount of overall spending in most major U.S. cities. It is well past time to reckon with the decades of racism that divest from services that actually keep communities safe and well. We must reclaim public money from the systemic oppression and inequity upheld by policing.

Some cities have already taken action. After immense pressure from protesters, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti rejected a large increase in the LAPDs 2020 budget, reducing it from $1.89 billion to $1.86 billion. The NYPD 2021 budget was set at $6 billion. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that NYPD resources will now be shifted into social services. Dallas, Philadelphia, and Nashville are looking into similar steps to gradually reduce their police budgets.

We are calling on ALL local governments to divest from police budgets and redirect that money to essential services in Black and brown communities most harmed by these violent systems. We demand our city budgets reflect what we value as a community. This begins with supporting life-giving resources, not racist and violent police.

Sign the petition: Cities must divest from law enforcement and finally invest in Black and brown communities.

Tell FERC to make the Atlantic Coast Pipeline History!

On June 15 The Supreme Court ruled that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) can cross under the Appalachian Trail in the George Washington National Forest. Doing so removed a major obstacle to the project, but did not provide a clear path to how or when the project can be completed. A thicket of lawsuits persists and dozens of state and local permits remain in question.

Billions of dollars over budget, years behind schedule, and with no end in sight, the ACP’s corporate owners — Duke and Dominion — are asking for an extension. On June 19 they filed a petition with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to extend their certificate of public good and necessity by two years.

Sign here to tell FERC to reject the extension, and make the ACP History!

Then, RSVP to join BXE and friends on Wednesday July 1 to deliver all the comments in a fun, interactive, arts-based webinar. RSVP here to join us live at 11am ET on July 1, or click here to RSVP for the Facebook invite – we’ll share a recording of the webinar, and more details on how to comment and be involved.

The existing FERC permit, which has been the source of several lawsuits and legal challenges, expires October 13, 2020. If FERC denies the request to extend the permit by 2 years, the ACP is history. But FERC is not known for listening to public comment, or evaluating fracked gas pipelines on the objective merits of whether they will hurt people, communities and the climate. Which is probably why they gave us a measly 14 days, immediately before 4th of July weekend, to offer comments.

Lawyers, environmental groups, and experts are filing formal comments to oppose the extension of the ACP’s permit. But we need more than a good argument – we need public outrage and attention to stop the ACP.

Sign here to tell FERC that they must reject the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s application for a permit extension. If you sign before July 2 we’ll include your comment in the docket as evidence of the public’s opposition and deliver them as part of a creative, artistic, impossible-to-ignore demonstration before FERC’s next commissioners’ meeting on July 17.

Make DC the 51st state – and win climate justice

This is one of my ideas that sounds crazy, but it’s actually really not: Make DC the 51st and deliver climate justice for all.

Like how a Green New Deal that ends fossil fuels would create jobs, rebalance the economy on behalf of millions of working Americans and stop climate catastrophe. Or how chocolate + peanut butter are two great tastes that taste better together. DC statehood is actually a simple, just, good idea – that actually might be a key to solving the climate crisis.

I’ll explain more, but if you’re already on board – Sign here to tell Congress: Make DC the 51st state, and deliver climate justice for all.

Here’s the simple facts: More than 700,000 people, most of them black and brown, live in the District of Columbia. They vote, pay taxes, serve in the armed forces, and are responsible for maintaining the roads, safe drinking water, breathable air, and police that serve and protect every member of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the White House — but they get no vote in Congress, have no say in federal policy, and cannot even stop armed federal troops from attacking their citizens. They are the very definition of “taxation without representation” which the founders of America fought a revolution over.

But this Friday, June 26, Congress will vote on whether to make DC the 51st state for the first time since 1993. And if they vote to approve DC statehood, we could gain more than a 51st neighbor and ally – we could get 2 more votes in the US Senate to affirm a Green New Deal, and end to fossil fuels, and a real, just, response to the climate crisis.

The fight for DC statehood became all the more urgent this month. On June 1, Donald Trump sent federal troops into DC neighborhoods to round up nearly 200 people protesting police violence in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and hundreds of other Black people across the country. 

While Trump has been clear he hates DC statehood, his actions may have galvanized the new the civil rights movement, and lent new urgency to our cause.

Sign and send the petition to your member of Congress: Demand they pass the Washington, DC Admission Act to enact DC statehood.

D.C. residents serve on juries, in the U.S. military, pay taxes, and work hard to build safe, strong communities where they live. But they have no vote on any decisions our Congress makes every day.

And that’s too bad for the climate, as well as civil rights. In the last few years DC has banned plastic bags, considered an aggressive carbon tax, and shut down coal plants and gas pipelines. These people are our allies in the fight for climate justice – and we’ll never have a better chance to add 3/4 of a million votes in favor of our values than right now.

There’s more energy now than ever in Congress to ensure DC residents have direct representation federally. A few weeks ago, the House Oversight Committee voted in favor of legislation supporting DC statehood, and H.R. 51, the Washington, DC Admission Act, has over 223 cosponsors. 

This Friday, the full house will vote on H.R. 51 to recognize DC as the 51st state, and we must ensure that lawmakers pass this overdue civil and climate rights bill for DC residents.

Sign and send the petition: Urge Congress to pass the Washington, DC Admission Act to enact DC statehood.