TrumpWatch: Women convicted for laughing at Jeff Sessions; Congress urged to block Trump's nuke powers; resistance growing, not slowing

May 6, 2017
Protesters in Chicago mark 100 days of Trump's administration on April 29.

Women convicted for laughing at Jeff Sessions

“On Wednesday, a jury convicted a 61-year-old female activist who had laughed during [US Attorney-General Jeff] Sessions’s January confirmation hearing in the Senate,” Vanity Fair said on May 3. 

Desiree Fairooz, a long-time protester affiliated with the anti-war group Code Pink, had been escorted out of the room for laughing in response to Senator Richard Shelby’s assertion that Sessions had a “clear and well-documented” history of “treating all Americans equally under the law”.

Vanity Fair noted that Sessions had, in fact, been denied a federal judgeship in 1986 because of a history of racially charged remarks, and Shelby had once run a campaign ad suggesting that Sessions was a Klan sympathiser.

Fairooz, along with two other protesters, faces up to a year in prison.

The Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly, who was covering the hearing at the time, said Fairooz’s laugh was not disruptive to the hearing. But Fairooz was later charged by the government with “disorderly and disruptive conduct” for her laugh, as well as a second charge for “parading, demonstrating, or picketing within the Capitol” as she was being led out.

Half-a-million urge Congress to block Trump’s nuke powers

Close to 500,000 people have signed a petition, delivered to Congress on May 3, urging lawmakers to take President Donald Trump’s finger off the nuclear button, Common Dreams said that day.

The petition supports the “Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act”, legislation introduced to Congress that would prohibit Trump from launching a nuclear weapon without Congress first authorising a declaration of war.

More than a dozen advocacy groups helped circulate the petition, from the anti-nuclear Peace Action to the democracy watchdog Public Citizen.

“It’s terrifying that Trump currently has unchecked authority to press the button to launch thousands of nuclear weapons at his command in a matter of moments,” said Tessa Levine, campaign manager for the action group CREDO, which endorsed the petition.

“Trump's first 100 days have been marked by series of horrifying demonstrations of his recklessness and incompetence, we cannot trust Trump to make rational or informed decisions about the safety of our country and the world.

“It’s time to take away Trump's nuclear football.”

Trump resistance growing, protest expert says

A scientist who studies protests has said the resistance to President Donald Trump is building momentum, not losing it, Common Dreams said on May 3.

Sociologist Dana Fisher told the Washington Post in a May 3 interview published that she had not seen major protests in the nation's capital in the five years she’d lived in the area, but that demonstrations have now become an almost-weekly occurrence.

Few of her students at the University of Maryland used to participate in activism, she noted, but these days “everybody has to get out of class to go downtown because they’re chaining themselves to something or they're marching”.

Fisher found that there was a lot of crossover between events, with 70% of participants at the recent Peoples Climate March having also come out for the Women’s March in January. She also found little evidence of “resistance fatigue”.

“What I think this is showing is that there are people who are getting involved and staying involved and coming out even if it's every weekend,” Fisher said.

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