Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

The news may change wildly by the time you read this column. Biggest news this week of course is Trump’s firing of FBI director, Comey. Some political writers are seeing the potential optimism of the act, but the vast majority of articles I’ve read have focused on the dangerous erosion of Democracy that this action implies. The several articles in this week’s Must Reads list present different perspectives on Trump’s action.

In other news, Desiree Fairooz discusses her possible jail time in an article from VOX. Read her story, in her own words. There are also reports here about stealthing, supporting Pride demonstrations, the latest pipeline leak, and an essay on disability and abortion. It’s Mothers Day; read about what folks from the Black Lives Matter movement are doing to help jailed mothers see their families. The Guardian reports on the life expectancy gap between the rich and poor in the US, revealing a 20 year difference, especially among Native Americans in the Dakotas. Along similar lines, The Root discusses the inherent racism of Trumpcare.

This is no time to be complacent. Historian Timothy Snyder, in an interview with Chauncey DeVega at Salon, predicted, before the Comey firing, a Trump coup. Snyder believes that those who don’t act now, at this important precipice in time, will never act. So, if you haven’t already, make a commitment you can sustain…if not daily, then weekly, to take some action to resist the implosion of our Democracy. Call, email, or text your senators. Send donations to organizations that are taking action, and follow us here at ROAR: Sandra de Helen’s column Fight This Hate will inform you about specific actions to take, or contribute your voice to the cause…go to ROAR’s home page and click on submissions. Take action in a way that works for you. And if you missed anything, READ ON.


  1. “I don’t revere James Comey as an arbiter of neutral justice,” said David Greenberg, a professor of history at Rutgers, “But the thought of having the president’s own appointee overseeing that is just tremendously worrisome. I don’t see how you can’t conclude that a coverup is likely to be in the works. I don’t suppose how anyone could come to any other conclusion.”
“‘An Act of Presidential Imperialism’”/ by Adrienne LaFrance/ The Atlantic/ May 9, 2017


2. I hate to sound like a self-help person but I’m going to. Every day you don’t do something, it makes it less likely that you will ever do something. So you’ve got to get started right away. 
“Historian Timothy Snyder: ‘It’s Pretty Much Inevitable’ That Trump Will Try to Stage A Coup and Overthrow Democracy”/ by Chauncey DeVega/ Salon/ May 1, 2017


3. It’s so close, so close to what we say in Nazi Germany in many ways. Well, when you have an attack on the queer community, the kinds of things that we’ve heard from Pence. The man is not Vice President for a minute, and he’s concerned with bathrooms. When you hear the kind of racist rhetoric that catapulted Trump into power, and you know that those rallies are continuing. Then it’s not just about getting elected. It’s about something else. And that is what should terrify us. It should terrify us.
“Claudia Rankine: ‘I Think We Need to Be Frightened’”/ by Emily Temple/ LitHub/ May 11, 2017


4. Virtually every Democrat has called for a special prosecutor or independent investigation toexamine the ties between Trump’s associates and the Russian government.
“How Every Lawmaker Has Reacted To Comey’s Firing So Far”/ by Audrey Carlsen, Kenan Davis, Jasmine C. Lee, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Ford Fessenden, and Adam Pearce/ New York Times/ May 10, 2017


5. Many of the women who will be freed are in jail for low-level offenses such as loitering or small-scale drug possession. Nationwide, nearly a third of all women in jail have serious mental health issues, and the racial disparity is clear: Black women make up 44 percent of women in jails.
“This Mother’s Day, Black Lives Matter Activists Will Give More Than 30 Women Their Freedom”/ by Dani McClain/ The Nation/ May 9, 2017


6. “In theory, no one should have a greater interest in a credible investigation than the president, who has repeatedly insisted the suspicions about his campaign are baseless. Yet rather than try to douse suspicions, he has shown he is more than willing to inflame them by impeding efforts to get to the truth.”
“The New York Times Just Wrote An Open Letter to The Deputy Attorney General About Trump”/ by Sheila Norton/ Occupy Democrats/ May 11, 2017


7. Now, in the wake of Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI director James Comey, the man who was spearheading the investigation into his campaign’s collusion with Russia (and in a way that would’ve made even Tony Soprano wince at the pointless machismo of it all) the GOP is not simply the party that would’ve killed Jimmy Kimmel’s baby—they are carrying water for a president who has thoroughly poisoned the well. – See more at:

“Will Trumpism End the Republican Party?” by Laura Bogart/ Dame/ May 10, 2017


8. Because our bodies and our identities are still policed by the government, religious groups, and even the people we love, we reserve Pride as the opportunity to express ourselves in the way that is most authentic to our community.
“Dear Straight Allies, Please Don’t Come to Pride Until You’ve Understood These 6 Things”/ by Meg Cale/ Matador Network/ June 10, 2016


9. His removing the condom and putting my health at risk for STDs or possibly ruining my life with a pregnancy is sexual assault to me. I felt violated and humiliated by him. I still feel that way about it 22 years later.
“Victims of Stealthing Open Up About Why It’s So Damaging”/ by Jenavieve Hatch/ Huffington Post/ May 10, 2017


10. I do not regret what I did. I do not regret dissenting at the confirmation of Sessions, and being part of a visible statement to draw attention to a dangerous man who does not deserve to be attorney general. This was and is my responsibility as a citizen.
“I’m Facing Jail Time After Laughing at Jeff Sessions. I Regret Nothing.”/ by Desiree Fairooz/ VOX/ May 8, 2017


11. “They keep telling everybody that it is state of the art, that leaks won’t happen, that nothing can go wrong,” said Jan Hasselman, a lawyer for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has been fighting the project for years. “It’s always been false. They haven’t even turned the thing on and it’s shown to be false.”
“Dakota Access Pipeline Has First Leak Before It’s Fully Operational”/ by Sam Levin/ The Guardian/ May 10, 2017


12. The right to legal and safe abortion is a core element of American feminism and the struggle for women’s rights. This puts me in a strange position. When I think about this issue, I feel my very existence questioned. As a disabled woman, I have been told flat out, “I’d rather be dead than be like you.”
“Disability and the Right to Choose”/ by Jennifer Bartlett/ New York Times/ May 10, 2017


13. The repeal of Obamacare won’t simply affect the poor or the elderly—the secret sauce in Republicans’ reasoning for voting for the American Health Care Act is that GOP lawmakers don’t have to worry about the repercussions. More than any other demographic, African Americans will be the group most affected by the erasure of the Affordable Care Act.
“The Inherent Racism of Trumpcare: Blackness is a Pre-Existing Condition”/ by Michael Harrlot/ The Root/ May 9, 2017


14. The researchers found that while residents of certain affluent counties in central Colorado had the highest life expectancy at 87 years, people in several counties of North and South Dakota, typically those with Native American reservations, could expect to die far younger, at only 66.

“Life Expectancy Gap Between Rich and Poor US Regions Is ‘More Than 20 Years’”/ by Richard Luscombe/ The Guardian/ May 8, 2017


Joyce Hayden left her university teaching job two years ago in order to pursue her own artistic work. An assemblage artist, painter, and writer, Joyce is currently in the process of acquiring an agent to represent her memoir, The Out of Body Girl, which describes her 8 year relationship with a charismatic gambler and the dangerous road that eventually led to her freedom. Her chapbook of poems, Lost Handprint, is forthcoming from Dandelion Review. A freelance editor and writing coach, Joyce’s writing services and a selection of her artwork can be found at her website Joyce is available for commission art work, including celebration shrines for loved ones and pets.

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