Hoo boy: the Arizona state Senate passes SB 1142, which would, get this, allow the state to seize the assets of anyone who plans or participates in a protest that could turn violent. Asset forfeiture is an unconstitutional blot on our nation's soul already, and it shouldn't be difficult to imagine how an agent provocateur, or a group of them, could make a peaceful protest go south right quick. But if you aren't being violent at a protest, why should we allow the state punish you? SB 1142's supporters want you to think that anyone who protests Mr. Trump is a paid provocateur -- a profound insult to our patriotism, and you're free to remind them of that! But folks who whine that we've-gotta-do-something-anything also expose themselves as weaklings. And if they don't like protests, maybe they should stop giving the people the back of their hand. SB 1142 goes to the state House now; state House Speaker J.D. Mesnard's phone number is 1.602.926-4481, and Majority Leader John M. Allen's number is 1.602.926.4916. You want more phone numbers? Here they are. Give 'em hell.
H.J.Res. 36, the "resolution of disapproval" that would roll back the Obama Administration's rules curbing methane emissions on public lands, passed the House, but still awaits Senate approval. If you're scratching your head wondering why anyone would think more methane emissions on public lands would be a goodthing, well, you're not alone. Methane emissions, as you know, pack a bigger climate-change punch than even coal emissions do, and "flaring" them on public lands not only pollutes those lands, but it represents energy that could be captured and used, and it represents royalties from capturing that energy and using it that the public could be earning. Since it is, you know, our land. But that's our Republican party -- objectively pro-pollution, objectively pro-wasting natural resources, objectively pro-wasting taxpayer money, as long as these things distribute more of your money upward to their big donors. So, yeah, H.J.Res. 36 warrants a phone call to your Senators today.
Meanwhile, Republicans aren't content with just unleashing more pollution -- they're also aiming to gut the Securities and Exchange Commission's whistleblower program, which has, over the last few years, recovered billions of dollars -- taxpayer dollars, I might add -- from fraud artists. If you're scratching your head wondering why anyone would want to make it harder to catch corporate criminals -- well, actually, you've already figured out that it explains itself. Any big campaign donor -- especially in an age that not only doesn't reward work but seems to hold contempt for work -- might be a corporate criminal, and we can't have any sunlight shining on that, or else some of these Congressfolk might actually lose their jobs. Hence the National Whistleblower Center helps you tell Congress and the President that to reject any attempt to gut SEC whistleblower protections. After all, Congress may pretend it didn't happen, but we all remember that banksters crashed our economy in 2008, and though they feel no shame over that, we're not about to let it happen again.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell your Congressfolk to reject efforts to gut the Endangered Species Act, then Penn Environment still helps you do that. Now that we have a bill (H.R. 717, the so-called Listing Reform Act, always they burn down your house and call it "reform"!), we can guess at the specific aims of Endangered Species Act destruction: H.R. 717 would mandate that government agencies count the financial costs of protecting endangered species, and would even let more unscrupulous government agencies (uh, like the ones we have now!) put "lost" oil and gas profits or "lost" local tax revenue ahead of any other consideration! Because that's the civilization they want -- one that makes every decision not just based on money, but based on short-term gains. That all doesn't sound very conservative, does it? I mean, wouldn't an actual conservative would insist on taking the long view? Of course, our President and our Congress aren't conservatives -- they're reactionaries. But reactionaries don't get all the say. Not in my America.