Thursday, February 23, 2017

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Fwd: ||NaijaObserver|| TRUMP: Resistance Report: More than 1 million sign White House petition for Trump’s tax returns, breaking record

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From: DIPO ENIOLA [NaijaObserver] <>
Date: 22 February 2017 at 15:36
Subject: ||NaijaObserver|| TRUMP: Resistance Report: More than 1 million sign White House petition for Trump's tax returns, breaking record
To: Politics Naija <>


Resistance Report: More than 1 million sign White House petition for Trump's tax returns, breaking record

DON'T MESS WITH TAXES. President Trump has taken to saying that no one cares about his taxes. And it's true that he was able to win office while thumbing his nose at the transparency norm of releasing his tax returns while running for the White House. But the drumbeat of interest in them is not going away, and now the White House petition site registered a new milestone, the pro-transparency Sunlight Foundation noted Monday: The petition to "Immediately release Donald Trump's full tax returns, with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance" passed more than 1 million signatures since it was launched on Inauguration Day. White House petitions need to draw more than 100,000 signatures within 30 days to be considered for an official response from the White House. The previous record holder was a 2012 petition to recognize the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group, with more than 387,000 signatures, according to a Pew study of the White House petition site.
That Trump tax release petition is just one of a number of ongoing efforts to create public — and legal — pressure on the president to release his tax returns. "Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have proposed bills to prevent access to the presidential ballot without disclosing federal tax returns," the AP reported Sunday. These measures are unlikely to succeed in most states where they have been proposed even if they make it through state legislatures, because their Republican governors — such as New Jersey's Chris Christie — are almost certain not to sign them into law. Only five of the 16 states have Democratic governors. But even if only California and New York adopted the measures, turning what was a campaign norm into a campaign law, that would have some kind of impact in a world where the president needs solid support in those states to have a chance of winning the popular vote.
Elsewhere, a coalition of progressive groups has launched plans for a series of protests in more than 60 cities on April 15 to demand that Trump release his tax returns. The main Tax March will be held in Washington, D.C.
ON THE TOWN. Taxes came up at a town hall meeting Monday as well. CNN's Kyung Lah was at Republican Rep. Scott Taylor's town hall in Virginia, where attendees grumbled at his answer — he threw it back on them to hold Trump accountable for releasing his tax returns.

HOW IT'S PLAYING IN PEORIA. Many Republican members of Congress are pulling back from town halls this district work period. But that doesn't mean they are going to be able to avoid protesters, as Illinois GOP Rep. Darin LaHood discovered in Peoria Monday. Reports 25 News – Week of East Peoria: "Here in Central Illinois a group protested outside the Farm Bureau office in Peoria where Congressman Darin Lahood spoke Monday. Armed with signs and a cardboard look alike of 18th District Congressman Darin Lahood about a dozen protesters stood outside the Farm Bureau building in Peoria. They got there about an hour before Lahood arrived to speak to farmers gathered inside. … The protesters claim they have been trying to get a town Hall meeting with Lahood for some time concerning everything from the Republican repeal of the Affordable Care Act, to the travel ban and deregulation of big business."
MISSING MEMBERS. In Murfreesboro, Tenn., activists weren't able to confront their member of Congress — GOP Rep. Scott DesJarlais — directly, so they held their meeting without him on Saturday. Reports WKRN: "Dozens of people who say Rep. Scott DesJarlais isn't around to listen to their concerns met outside his office in Murfreesboro Saturday. They passed out flyers with his picture on it that read, 'Missing: Have you seen this man?' Members of the groups Rutherford Indivisible and Alliance for Healthcare Security say they've been trying to convince the representative of Tennessee's fourth congressional district to hold a public town hall event, but he hasn't responded."
FROM THE 'YOU CAN'T WIN IF YOU DON'T PLAY' FILES. Because the midterm congressional elections aren't until 2018 and because the Democratic Party has been so thoroughly decimated up and down the ticket, activists and organizers have vowed to start the process of rebuilding the party at lower levels and with whatever contests do come up. In Virginia, Democrats "plan to challenge 45 GOP incumbents in the deep-red House of Delegates this November, including 17 lawmakers whose districts voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton," the Washington Post reports. If they do this, "it would be a significant increase over 2015, when only 21 Democrats ran against GOP lawmakers." The Virginia GOP holds 66 of the 100 seats in the House of Delegates. A robust down-ticket effort might also help with the goal of winning the Virginia gubernatorial race in 2017, which along with New Jersey's gubernatorial contest is shaping up to be an early test of whether the resistance can make a difference at the ballot box.
NOT MY PRESIDENT'S DAY. Thousands turned out for the "Not My President" Presidents' Day protests in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, while a smaller crowd gathered in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., before heading off on an impromptu, non-permitted march down 16th Street to the White House.

DAKOTA ACCESS DEADLINE. The number of Standing Rock campers has dwindled from thousands to hundreds, and those remaining have been given a Feb. 22 deadline to leave the No Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp or risk arrest. While the encampment — which has been in place since the summer — was at one time the largest gathering of different tribes in a century, as it shrank leaders of two of the larger protesting tribes split on whether or not it should continue, with the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux saying it is time to seek higher ground in advance of spring flooding and the Cheyenne River Sioux chairman disagreeing. Now a Wednesday confrontation is brewing between campers and authorities, and on Monday night, those remaining released a video calling for help and a media spotlight on how that confrontation is handled.

GOP members of Congress meet with protests at town halls

JONATHAN MATTISE,Associated Press 12 hours ago
FAIRVIEW, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn returned to her district Tuesday in Tennessee and was greeted by tough questions on topics from health care reform to President Donald Trump's cabinet appointees. She also was met with protests.
While 100 people crammed into her town hall gathering about 30 miles from Nashville, another 100 people outside chanted about immigrant rights, Planned Parenthood and other topics in protest against the congresswoman and the president.
Blackburn's town hall was among several protests lobbed at GOP members of Congress returning home this week on break to their districts around the U.S. Now many Republican lawmakers are opting against holding public town halls, instead organizing conference calls or meeting privately.
The crowd inside Blackburn's event held up signs that said "agree" and "disagree," and at times yelled out "alternative facts" and "shame on you for lying" after Blackburn's responses.
"I have always said, you may not agree with me, but you're always going to know where I stand," Blackburn told the protesters outside Fairview City Hall afterward. "Having a good, solid, respectful debate, that is something that serves our country well."
A month into Trump's presidency, protests continue over his immigration policies, Cabinet selections and the GOP's push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, without all the specifics on how to replace it. At the town halls, protesters are probing their lawmakers to see if they will veer from some of Trump's more controversial decisions, and if they will promise coverage for those currently served by the Affordable Care Act.
Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to address the town halls.
"The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!" he tweeted.
In two small Iowa towns, overflow crowds similarly lobbed questions Tuesday at Republican Sens. Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst.
About 18,000 callers participated in a telephone town hall with suburban Chicago Rep. Peter Roskam, who has been criticized for canceling smaller in-person meetings and declining debates.
Protesters booed in Montana when Sen. Steve Daines canceled his speech to state lawmakers. And at a protest town hall in Allentown, Pennsylvania, home of Sen. Pat Toomey, the protest group called Tuesdays with Toomey hung an empty suit in place of the senator.
Similarly, a liberal group in Maine is holding its own town halls against GOP Sen. Susan Collins.
Also Tuesday, the most powerful member of the U.S. Senate faced jeers from nearly 1,000 as he arrived to address a group of local business leaders. In Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, they chanted as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell entered the American Legion Post 34 Fairgrounds in a black limousine.
McConnell said he was "proud" of the demonstrators for expressing their views but told the mostly friendly audience inside that the protesters "had their shot," adding: "Winners make policy and the losers go home."
Sandra Brown, 45, said politics shouldn't matter as Congress moves to replace the health care law. She spoke at the Tennessee town hall about how the Affordable Care Act helped cover her pre-existing condition.
Blackburn said the plan for efforts to repeal and replace the law includes maintaining coverage of pre-existing conditions and young adults on their parents' plans.
"Whatever they do, it needs to be affordable for everybody," Brown said after the Tennessee town hall. "Because even the people that voted for a Republican, they're not going to be very happy if they've been promised they're going to repeal this Affordable Care Act and then they replace it with a garbage policy. They're going to be affected as well."


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