James Marc Leas at TruthOut may have found a way to punch a hole in the Citizens United decision -- and it derives from another Supreme Court decision authored by the late Antonin Scalia. In Nevada Ethics Commission v. Carrigan (2011), "the Court upheld a portion of Nevada's Ethics in Government Law that prohibits an elected official from voting or taking any other official action when faced with a real or apparent conflict of interest" -- by arguing, quite rightly, that a legislators' vote is not "free speech," but an "official act" taken "as trustee for his constituents, not as a prerogative of personal power." It'd thus be possible for state and local governments, at least, to simply ban legislators from voting on matters concerning their campaign donors -- which would make campaign donations rather poisonous. If we could do this at the federal level, that'd be even better! But doing it at local levels would be a good start.
Amid the flurry of appalling Executive Orders Mr. Trump has issued lately (no worries from the right about this AMURKIAN CAESAR!!!!, apparently!) is this one: he has imposed a freeze on EPA contracts and grants. The EPA contracts a lot of work out to third-party entities, and often the amount they spend on these contracts and grants exceeds their actual budget. I'm not thrilled that the EPA contracts out so much work, but then I'm pretty sure Mr. Trump isn't really very upset about that; he's just upset the EPA exists at all, and keeps his cronies from making all the money.
You may have heard that "not one arrest" resulted from the Women's March, but that sure wasn't true the day before, as Washington, D.C. police not only made mass arrests of over 200 folks but slapped all of them with felony rioting charges. I mean, getting arrested at a protest is hardly new, and in fact has considerable utility, but getting rioting charges is fairly unprecedented. Also fairly unprecedented: these folks not only can't get their cameras and cell phones back, they can't get cell phone chargers back. They can't even get gloves back, which suggests someone in the D.C. police department has a fetish.
Speaking of the Women's March, here are two analyses thereof from Counterpunch: Anthony DiMaggio finds the diversity and sheer size of the March to be strengths and the lack of economic and anti-imperialist critiques to be weaknesses (though he also says most of the protestors he encountered were significantly to the left of Hillary Clinton) while Ted Rall cites the absence of concrete demands made by the marchers as evidence that it was a "Dismal Failure" even as it was a "Hopeful Sign." Still, if these marches are going to be about Mr. Trump, they're ultimately going to fail, because Mr. Trump is, ultimately, just a wedge between us and our goals, just as he intends. It's probably why we still hear, from the "liberal" media no less, stories like Mr. Trump's supposed rage at the size of the crowds protesting him. I mean, if it's true, what a big baby he is. But we can't talk about him all the time.
Finally, BoingBoing presents former Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) advising you on "How to Raise Hell for Members of Congress." The video runs a mere one minute, 44 seconds, but I'll summarize it for you anyway: phone calls are good, emails and letters are "interesting," but asking pointed questions about how your Congressperson voted on a particular matter in a public setting (which could be a townhall meeting or any other event) is the best way to do it. Like the "Indivisible" group's lengthy analysis that so many folks have read on Google docs and elsewhere, Mr. Israel was clearly moved by how well the Tea Party hijacked the conversation back in 2010, and I suppose their energy and commitment was impressive, even if their arguments were rock-stupid. Still, food for thought -- and action.