Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Resistance: Direct Action

Greenpeace has been doing shit like this for literally decades, and they are fucking geniuses at it.


Keeping Us Safe From Arthitic Octogenarians

This is just awful. And for no good reason, none. Our threat level from refugees and foreign visitors from these countries is minuscule compared to the threat from some sick person with an AR-15 coming in an mowing down little children in a grade school or people watching a midnight movie or workers in an office or any of the tens of thousands of shootings, purposeful and accidental, that happen every single year in this country.
Donald Trump wants to make that situation worse by letting loose a flood of weapons on the streets of America even as he detains 75 year old ladies from Iran. It is insane.

You tell me who's keeping us safe.

Five Fucking THOUSAND Resistance Fighters in Louisville

UPDATE:  My pictures below.

I was there.  InsiderLouisville has the story and great pictures.

“In Louisville and around the country, these are people who start businesses, join the PTAs, pay taxes and make valuable contributions to their communities,” Mayor Fischer said. “And last week’s travel ban on anyone entering the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries runs counter to the America we know and love — a strong, courageous, outwardly looking, optimistic, multicultural nation.”

He encouraged attendees to get to know one another and “just be a good neighbor.”
Following the ban, some U.S. mayors, including those in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., restated their commitment to serve as “sanctuary cities,” meaning they would not use city funds or resources to enforce immigration laws. Fischer has not declared Louisville a sanctuary city, a largely symbolic title, but said previously that city officials would not start rounding people up.

During his speech at the rally, Fischer again stopped short of calling Louisville a sanctuary city. However, he stated that Louisville Metro Police Department’s main objective is public safety. It is not the police department’s job to enforce immigration laws, and no resources will diverted from public safety initiatives, he said.

Ky. Rep. Attica Scott tweeted out a petition Monday afternoon calling on Fischer to designate Louisville a sanctuary city. The petition had more than 1,000 signatures as of 8:30 p.m. Monday.
It was amazing.  The rally was set up for the plaza in front of the Muhammad Ali Center, but the crowd quicky overflowed the plaza, overflowed the pedestrian bridge across Sixth Street, overflowed the roof of the parking garage, and filled Sixth Street from the river to Main Street.
There was a lady there with a sign saying "Bosnian refugee" and arrows pointing to herself.  I went over and asked if I could hug her, and she said yes, and I hugged her and said "thank you for coming to America, thank you for coming to Kentucky, and thank you for coming here tonight." 
At the end of the rally, we sang the national anthem a capella, then marched down to Jefferson St. and rallied again on the steps of Louisville Metro Hall and around the statue of Thomas Jefferson.

5,000 people.  This is just the beginning.


Monday, January 30, 2017

All the Resistance You Can Manage

If you're a decent human being, there is no possibility of compromise with this administration. Everything this administration does will be an act of conservative revenge against real or perceived enemies, foreign and domestic. If you're a Democrat, that very much includes you.

If you're a Democratic senator in a red state, it won't help you to try to cover your ass with a few pro-Trump votes -- the Trumpers and the rest of the GOP are gunning for you whatever you do. And if you're a blue-state Democrat, I don't want to hear about "promises" you may have heard from this or that appointee. This administration is beyond the pale, and it's just going to get worse. The only principled stand is a constant reminder to the public that all this is unacceptable, accompanied by as much resistance as you can manage. Reject the notion that it's possible to make a reasonable accommodation with these people. It isn't. It's now obvious that the only reasonable response to these people is no, every time. At the very least, you need to vote agaiunst every Trump appointee from now on. History will judge you on the basis of how much you collaborated.
Someone explain to me how we're not one act of violence away from roundup and expulsion or, worse, Manzanar 2.0.

 And they're not going to stop at Muslims.

Nauseating Senseless Cruelty Just Standard Repug Policy

As always, Republicans are ruled by a mean-spiritedness that's just plain nauseating. They're perfectly willing to go along with a plan that will cause tremendous hardship for other people even though they know perfectly well it will do nothing for national security. Its only real purpose is to send a message to a GOP base eager for a show of bravado against the rest of the world. Is that worth a bit of senseless cruelty aimed at defenseless foreigners? Of course it is. Hell, that's the whole point. And the suffering this causes? As usual, they just don't give a damn.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Lawsuits Work: ACLU Wins a Huge One Against Trump

Talking Points Memo:

Federal Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York has issued a temporary stay on President Trump's immigration executive order. The ruling is in response to a petition by the ACLU on behalf of two individuals at JFK airport. The ruling does not overturn or even stop all aspects of the Executive Order. It applies to people who have already arrived in the United States and prevents them from being deported under the Executive Order. My understanding is that the stay has effect nationwide.
From the ACLU yesterday afternoon:
This morning the ACLU and several other legal organizations filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Iraqi men who were en route to the United States when President Trump issued an executive order banning many Muslims from entering the country.

The lead plaintiffs were detained by the U.S. government and threatened with deportation – even though they have valid visas to enter the United States.

One plaintiff, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, worked for the U.S. military. His life was in danger in his home country due to that relationship. A former Obama administration official and platoon commander during the invasion of Iraq said on Twitter yesterday that Mr. Darweesh "spent years keeping U.S. soldiers alive in combat in Iraq."

The family of the other plaintiff, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, was also threatened because of perceived ties to the United States. His wife and 7-year-old son are lawful permanent residents living in Houston, Texas and were eagerly awaiting his arrival. Mr. Alshawi’s son has not seen his father for three years.

Tellingly, Trump’s executive order authorizes the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security to admit refugees on a "case-by-case" basis, for people of a minority religion in their home countries. In effect, Trump has barred Muslims from entering the United States, while favoring the entry of Christians.

Mr. Darweesh was just released from detention at John F. Kennedy International Airport this afternoon, but Mr. Alshawi and others remain in detention. The ACLU and its supporters will not stand for the Trump administration’s unconstitutional discrimination. Today, and every day, we will fight back.

For more information on our lawsuit, please see https://www.aclu.org/cases/darweesh-v-trump.
If you're not white, male, christian, straight AND conservative, the ACLU is the only thing standing between you and Guantanamo.  Give like you know it. 

And be at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville tomorrow, Monday, at 6 p.m. for the big Pro-Immigrant rally.

Resistance Rally in Louisille TOMORROW (Monday)

Of course it's Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer, leader of the Rebel Forces in Kentucky.  Monday, 6 p.m., Muhammad Ali Center.  BE THERE.

From the Courier:

Mayor Greg Fischer announced a rally with Louisville civic, faith and other community leaders will take place Monday at the Muhammad Ali Center in response to President Donald Trump's controversial executive orders that kept an untold number of refugees from entering the U.S. on Saturday.

Fischer said in a tweet Saturday evening the event is "to voice support for our nation and our city, which was founded and is strengthened by immigrants."

Trump's executive actions, enacted on Friday, bar Syrian refugees indefinitely while prohibiting refugees from six other predominately Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — for 90 days. The presidential decrees have also suspended the entry of all refugees for 120 days.

The decision rumbled through the country on Saturday with refugees being detained at U.S. airports, sparking protests and a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union. It has also been met with a sharp rebuke by Trump's critics.


Louisville has seen its immigrant population grow immensely in past 20 years, according to demographers.

Roughly 50,345 Louisville residents were born outside the U.S., which amounts to about 7 percent of the overall population. And about half of the city's foreign-born population originate in one of five countries, the most predominate being Mexico, at 14.3 percent, followed closely by Cuba, India, Bosnia and China.

Fischer's "Rally for American Values" will take place Monday at 6 p.m. at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. 6th St.

god is your answer

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Resistance: Funding Abortion

The Dutch government says it will launch a global fund to help women access abortion services to counter NGO aid cuts announced by the Trump regime yesterday.
We're going to have to smuggle abortion pills and transport minors across state lines very soon.

The Dangerous Part Isn't Funny

Yeah, we're all laughing at the pathetic manbaby in the white house, but the most dangerous thing is not that he has the nuclear codes.

It's been fun to point and laugh at the new administration. It's been fun to mock Sean Spicer's obvious discomfort at the podium, and to sit in awe at the obvious infighting within the White House this early in the game. But, while we're doing that, slowly and steadily, an actual government has been forming, and it is the most dangerously retrograde government that our system has produced in at least the past 150 years. It is secretive and it is resistant to any empirical information that it does not want to hear. It is grotesquely anti-science. It seeks to roll back progressive achievements dating back to Teddy Roosevelt and it has the power to do so, even if it is in its own bungling way. And it really hasn't gotten rolling yet.

Oh, yeah, they may have picked a replacement for Antonin Scalia. His name is Neil Gorsuch. His mother, Anne Gorsuch, was the woman that the Reagan administration selected to destroy the EPA from within, a job that Scott Pruitt has been handed by the current administration. Anne Gorsuch eventually was held in contempt of Congress. The game plan never changes, no matter how incompetent the quarterback may seem.

The Resistance: What to do every day

The Resistance is going to take longer than a week or a year or even a decade.  This is a long fight, an every day fight, but you have the lessons of those who have gone before to keep you going.
After the election, distinguished Yale-based historian Timothy Snyder-- an expert on the dangers of fascism-- took to his Facebook page to compile 20 lessons Americans should learned about combatting the rise of Trumpism or fascism or whatever you want to call it, in light of the European experience of the 20th Century.
Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You've already done this, haven't you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of "our institutions" unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don't protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.

4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of "terrorism" and "extremism." Be alive to the fatal notions of "exception" and "emergency." Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.

5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don't fall for it.

6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don't use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps The Power of the Powerless by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czesław Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.

7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

Art by Tim O'Brien

9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Learn about sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.

10. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.

11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.

12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.

13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.

14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.

15. Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.

16. Learn from others in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.

17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.

18. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.)

19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.

20. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The War on Facts and Truth

For those of you who questioned why I hit the theme of Trump as chaos agent so hard yesterday, this is the kind of environment I see this administration creating. It’s also why so many writers lately, including Mike Lofgren, are using the term “gaslighting” for what is happening. He spells out the effects on the public with this:
Aside from reinforcing the Trump base, the next four years of non-stop gaslighting could erode the basic standards of discourse in a healthy civil society. The truly horrible thing about propaganda in authoritarian regimes is not that it convinces the true believers, but that it demoralizes opponents by saying in effect: “Yes, we know that you know we are lying, but we don’t care! We do it because we can and you can’t stop us!” As for the majority of apolitical citizens, it infects them with a corrosive cynicism and dissuades them from all forms of public engagement. Apathy may be a more powerful silencer of dissent than overt physical coercion.
That’s why, for an authoritarian regime, “If nothing is true, then anything is possible.”

The Resistance: VOTE, goddammit

The deadline for filing to run in Kentucky's 2018 state house and senate races and congressional races is just 12 Months Away. January 30, 2018. Four months ahead of the primary and nine months in advance of the general election.  Ridiculous, I know.  But it means we have to start recruiting candidates, registering voters and raising money yesterday.
Here’s the thing, though: those “uninformed, angry white men and the women who love them” always show up, election after election, be it midterm, special or presidential. You can’t keep them away from the polls on Election Day. What about the rest of us?
Those who failed to show up at the polls on November 8 bear just as much responsibility for Mr. Trump’s rise to power as those who directly backed his candidacy. How many of the folks who will be demonstrating this weekend are doing so out of guilt over the fact that Mr. Trump became President because they fell for the nonsense that there was no moral, ethical or intellectual difference between Trump and Clinton, and thus chose not to vote at all? Those who will be severely hurt by Mr. Trump would appreciate it if these folks would apologize.
If these demonstrators don’t start voting as consistently as the right-wingers do, all the yelling and screaming in the world won’t matter, and Mr. Trump will leave office as a two-term President on January 20, 2025. If protesters from New Jersey and Virginia don’t both to show up in this year’s gubernatorial elections, their complaints will have no power. If protesters don’t show up for the November 6, 2018 midterm elections, their words will be worthless. If they don’t get engaged on a local and state level–the same way the right-wingers have done for decades–they’ll never have a national impact.
Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) nailed it going away a few years ago:
[Frank] said liberals sometimes draw the wrong lesson from the success of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Frank said Gandhi and King were forced to resort to marches and demonstrations because they were representing groups that lacked the right to vote.
He said perhaps for that reason the conservative Tea Party has been more successful than the liberal Occupy Movement.
Frank said, “When the Right gets mad it votes, when the Left gets mad it marches.”
I’m not trying to knock the power of marching. Participating in the September 2014 People’s Climate March was one of the proudest moments of my life. However, the most important march one can make is the one to the polls, on a habitual basis. The Trump crowd understands this. They’ve understood it for years. Koch money, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News weren’t the only things that made the right so powerful in this country. Right-wing activists showed up at the polls consistently to advance a reactionary agenda. If those disgusted and troubled by Donald Trump don’t start demonstrating similar resolve every Election Day, then America’s light will fade away–and “American Carnage” will be real and not just rhetorical.

Spread the Word! ACA enrollment expires NEXT TUESDAY

The Orange Loser has cancelled $5 million in paid-up advertisements crucial to getting people signed up for Obamacare.  So spread the word!

Of Course the ManBaby Hates Regulations

Regarding the manbaby with the nuclear codes, this knee-jerk response to all government regulation as bad is just exactly what toddlers do.

They don't like rules that stop them from running out into traffic or exploring a neighbor's unattended pool or jumping off the roof to see if they can fly.  They don't like rules that make them eat their vegetables and wear heavy coats in cold weather and go to school.

But when they grow up they realize that those rules they hated actually kept them safe and healthy and educated.

Unless they are repugs and trumpians who never grow out of the infantile resentment of rules made to keep them safe and healthy and educated.
That's the big one, folks.  This legislation would allow corporate lobbyists the final say on which regulations they should be subject to.  In other words, the EPA, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, SEC, FDA and FCC?  The regulation they'd make would be rendered toothless.  They wouldn't be watchdog agencies to protect Americans, they'd be government industry groups designed to protect corporations.

The Bush administration made this the default before the Obama administration used these regulatory agencies for their intended purpose.  Now the GOP is changing their intended purpose by law to be nothing more than government industry advocacy groups, wholly subject to Congress.

Hopefully Senate Dems can block this with a filibuster, but I can think of a couple of Senate Dems would would be more than happy to destroy the EPA or the CFPA or to defang the FCC or FDA.  Don't count on them saving us from this.

We'll see where this legislation goes, but expect the shock and awe portion of the Trump regime in earnest in a couple weeks.  Things will move quickly after his inauguration, and America will be inundated by a deluge of GOP garbage like this.  I'm betting a healthy chunk of it will become law.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Resistance: Times Two

* Lest you think that the gatherings on Saturday were the end of it, the people behind the #WomensMarch are organizing “10 Actions for the First 100 Days.” Go take a look.

* Here’s how some Democrats want to build on the momentum created on Saturday:
…Sen. Ben Cardin joined with Senate Democrats to reintroduce the Equal Rights Amendment.
“Many Americans would be shocked to find out that the U.S. Constitution still lacks a provision ensuring gender equality,” the Maryland Democrat said in a statement. “Think about that: in 2017, women lack the same constitutional protections as men. This is clearly wrong and needs permanent correction.”…
On Saturday, Cardin joined Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey in reintroducing the amendment. Co-sponsoring were Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Chris Coons of Delaware, Dianne Feinstein of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Ed Markey of Massachusetts in reintroducing the constitutional amendment first proposed in 1923.

Our Trumpian Future Was Foretold 60 Years Ago in This Twilight Zone Episode

The deplorables gave the nuclear codes to a man-baby and now we have to obey or go into the corn field.

To Resist, You Must Stand and Fight. You Do Not Run Away.

Shame on all of them.  Dramatic gestures and five bucks will get you a cup of cheap coffee.  Cowards and traitors run away.  Patriots stand their ground and fight.

Career civil servants - the ones with the knowledge and experience to slow if not halt the American slide to Somalia - are exactly who the trumpians want gone.
No doubt the provocation was severe.  As someone who has had to work for repugs and freakazoids of the most extreme kind, I do know. But you can NOT resign. No matter how much bourbon it takes.

Putin is smiling.

I cannot believe this is a good thing. From The Washington Post:
The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior foreign service officers who don't want to stick around for the Trump era. Tillerson was actually inside the State Department's headquarters in Foggy Bottom on Wednesday, taking meetings and getting the lay of the land. I reported Wednesday morning that the Trump team was narrowing its search for his No. 2, and that it was looking to replace the State Department's long-serving undersecretary for management, Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy, who has been in that job for nine years, was actively involved in the transition and was angling to keep that job under Tillerson, three State Department officials told me. Then suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, Kennedy and three of his top officials resigned unexpectedly, four State Department officials confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, followed him out the door. All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.
I remember when institutional memory was a thing. Now, though, we're going to have a Texas oilman running the State Department, so who needs, you know, diplomats? Which reminds me—here's an interesting map from the Bloomberg News people. You will note that his executive order banning immigration from certain Middle East countries does not include immigrants from all certain Middle East countries in which the Trump organization does business. This, I think, could affect American foreign policy.

No Negotiation

You can't negotiate with people who want you dead.

Harsh as it might sound to some, the folks who voted for Trump–the folks who actually think White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is honest–did so with malice aforethought, specifically intending to use government power to bring suffering to those they regard as members of a lesser order. Warren (Setti, not Elizabeth) is fooling himself if he thinks folks who have been propagandized into viewing the Democratic Party as America’s home for welfare dependency, inner-city crime, racial quotas and political correctness will ever give the party a second look. Future Democratic victories can only come from turning out as much of the party’s base as possible on a consistent basis, not by bending over backwards to attract those sympathetic to wingnuts.


Those who voted for Trump are Warren’s enemies, whether he knows it or not. Those who voted for Trump are the enemies of Democrats, whether Democrats know it or not. Trumpism cannot be negotiated with, and it damn sure can’t be reasoned with. It can only be conquered via a massive turnout of Democratic troops on the battlefield of ideas–and if that doesn’t happen, Trumpism will continue to prevail politically.

Beshear, Bevin compete to force doctors to rape women with sticks

This is the most disgusting fucking thing I've ever seen.  The state's two most powerful elected officials fighting over who's the most impatient to force doctors to rape their own patients.  Because, again, that's what pre-abortion transvaginal ultrasounds are:  forcing an object deep into a woman's vagina against her will.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear blasted Gov. Matt Bevin for pushing "alternative facts" during a Facebook Live commentary Wednesday that falsely claimed Beshear is no longer going to defend the state's recently passed anti-abortion ultrasound law.

Bevin took to social media to urge Kentuckians to reach out to Beshear and demand that he defend the new abortion law. Bevin called Beshear's position "absolutely unconscionable" but provided no support for his contention.

Beshear rebutted Bevin's claim, saying his office "is actively defending agencies sued over House Bill 2. In doing so, we have taken the most aggressive action possible, moving to have the entire case dismissed as to those agencies.

"I would suggest in the future that if the governor has any questions on the hard work of my office that he walk across the hallway and ask to meet with me, and not hide behind Facebook.”

The law, enacted this month, requires medical professionals to perform pre-abortion ultrasounds and describe the images to their patients. The law allows the patient to look away from the image. Bevin said significant majorities of Kentucky lawmakers and voters support anti-abortion measures.

"We are a pro-life state," he said.

No, motherfucker. We are an anti-woman, misogynistic hellhole thanks to you and the repugs freakazoids that now own the entire legislature.  Anti-life is what you are.
Though Beshear was firm that he will defend the ultrasound law, he has said he would not defend another new abortion law that imposes a ban on the procedure after the 20th week of a pregnancy if that law ends up being challenged in court, too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Resistance: Vow to Preserve and Protect

A gesture, sure, but one that stirs something in people who still value citizenship.

In response to the most unqualified person in history taking the oath of office as President, the ACLU is organizing a movement to get all of us to swear to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. You can do this on your own, and/or you can visit their website and download a shareable statement for social media and blogs.

PS. The ACLU isn't wasting any time. They have as of this writing, filed a FOIA request for Donald Trump's financial records to conduct an audit of his conflicts of interest.

It will be the first of many opportunities the ACLU will take to say to Donald Trump

Final Repug Victory: Voters Too Stupid to Understand Anything.

Repugs have been destroying American education for decades for exactly this purpose:  Make voters too fucking stupid to figure out which policies help them and which policies hurt them.  

This is also, of course, why freakazoids so frantically oppose teaching "critical thinking" in schools.  People who can think critically don't vote for lying demagogues.

Here's the problem, though: When Price (a Republican congressman who's Donald Trump's choice for Health and Human Services secretary) or Ryan proposes a number like $1 billion or $2.5 billion, it doesn't matter how stingy that actually is -- the average voter out there in the heartland is thinking, A billion dollars? Two and a half billion? Hey, that's a lot of money!
Republicans always take advantage of the fact that any dollar amount over, say, $1,000 (if we're talking about a government grant for an eccentric-sounding research project) can be made to seem like a huge outlay that really picks the pocket of Joe and Jane Lunchpail. Liberals can generate all the infographics and floor-of-Congress easel charts they want demonstrating that these proposals are woefully inadequate, and still much of America will think their cost sounds like a king's ransom.

The numbers in that Commonwealth Fund study aren't all that hard to explain. If a Republican plan were to cover as many of those who were priced out the pre-Obamacare insurance market by pre-existing conditions as Obamacare does, it would be covering 13.7 million people. If those people had an average of $20,000 in annual healthcare costs and paid $7,000 of that per year in premiums, that would leave $13,000 to be covered by this high-risk insurance. Multiply $13,000 by 13.7 million people and you get $178 billion. Ryan proposes to pay for less than 1% of that. Price has proposed to cover even less.

But it's likely that explaining this would make the average voter's eyes glaze over. Maybe it's making yours glaze over. Ryan and Price are proposing outlays that are very stingy but sound like really big numbers. And that will probably be enough to bamboozle America.
Or as Wonkette put it:
Fine, we will read this article by “Melody Forbes,” because we are sure she is one of those principled, smart Trump voters literally no one on earth has been hearing about:
I voted for Donald Trump because I wanted to see change in our country. One change I didn’t want to see was access to health care at Planned Parenthood blocked.

Bevin Can't Wait to Kill Half a Million Kentuckians

Because once the ACA - also known as kynect and Obamacare and expanded Medicaid - goes away, we'll be back to the suffering of 10 years ago, when you couldn't get health insurance if you had a pre-existing condition or if you worked a minimum-wage job.

The suffering of 10 years ago, when a single bad accident or serious illness or cancer diagnosis would either bankrupt you or kill you because you turned down treatment you couldn't afford.

The suffering of 10 years ago - only worse, because high-risk pools Do. Not. Work. - is what Governor "I got mine, fuck you" Bevin can't wait to establish in Kentucky
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is urging GOP leaders in Congress to repeal Obamacare “in its entirety,” including the Medicaid expansion and popular consumer protections.

In a Jan. 6 letter to House Republicans, Bevin did not advocate any major replacement ideas. Instead, he said Kentucky should be given “maximum flexibility” to regulate health insurance as the state did before Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

“States understand the unique challenges and demographics of their own populations, so repealing the cumbersome one-size-fits-all” law will allow states to “be nimble” and develop their own health care solutions, Bevin wrote. “Congress should repeal the ACA in its entirety and permit Kentucky to return to regulating the health insurance market under its existing state authority.”

A spokeswoman for the governor did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the Kentucky Republican’s letter stands in sharp contrast to missives from other GOP governors, including Ohio’s John Kasich, who called on lawmakers in Washington to preserve the Medicaid expansion and other elements of the ACA.

The Medicaid expansion helped drive down Kentucky’s uninsured rate from 14.3 percent in 2013 to 6 percent in 2015, one of the sharpest declines of any state in the country, according to data from the U.S. Census and an analysis by Gallup, the nonpartisan polling outlet.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Resistance: How to Help Someone Being Harassed

One of the most moving sections of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Tel Aviv is the Avenue of Righteous Gentiles.  Outside the museum are rows of trees, each one dedicated by name to a non-Jew who risked her life to protect Jews - often complete strangers - from the Nazis.

It's not just history. It's instructions. It starts with refusing to avert your eyes and pretend it has nothing to do with you.

Think Progress:

Trump’s election emboldened people who hold racist, anti-immigrant, and Islamophobic views. Since November 8, there’s been an uptick in reported harassment and hate attacks against marginalized groups all over the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center counted more than 400 hate incidents in the first week after the election alone. Two weeks later, that number jumped to 700.

Some Americans feel helpless in the face of what’s happening to the country. But, if you witness one of these attacks, there are ways to intervene.

Collective Action for Safe Spaces and Think Progress have collected some tools so you can help, if you feel that you can do so safely.

Watch the video above to learn more.

HARASSER 1: Speak English. You’re in America.
HARASSER 2: Black lives don’t matter. There ain’t no proof.
HARASSER 3: She’s a Middle Eastern terrorist and she will probably get deported.
JESSICA RAVEN, Collective Action for Safe Spaces: It’s 2017 and people are scared, but sometimes, as a bystander, there are ways that you can help.

Here are 4 ways you can be an active bystander and respond to harassment:

1. Be Direct

Talk to the target
KRYSTAL ATHA, Collective Action for Safe Spaces: Are you okay?
Do you need help?
RAVEN: Or the harasser.
ATHA: What are you doing?
It looks like they don’t want to talk.

2. Distract

Divert attention away from the situation by distracting the harasser or the target.
ATHA: Do you know what time it is?
Excuse me, where’s the nearest metro?
RAVEN: Or, if you feel safe, use your body to create a physical barrier between the harasser and their target.

3. Delegate

If you don’t feel safe, you can find someone who does.
ATHA: Does the target have friends nearby?
Is there someone who works there?

4. Delay

If you can’t intervene in the moment, offer support to the target after the incident.
ATHA: Is there anything I can do to help?
You deserve to be treated with respect.

RAVEN: These are some of the many strategies for responding to harassment as an active bystander.

Our Anti-Fact World

How do we come to terms with the fact that we are moving towards a society in which a large segment of the population would take the Weekly World News seriously if it were to come back into print? Where actual facts are met with more suspicion than bizarre speculations based on no evidence whatsoever? The people who believe in things like Pizzagate are supposed to be wearing sandwich boards and too many sweaters and hollering at you while you wait for the bus, not on the nightly news. But here we are!

Not Denying Reality, Just Their Own Racism

This is why they won't care when he takes away their health insurance.  They won't care when he fails to create jobs.  They won't care when he doesn't build a wall.  They won't care when he unleashes Wall Street to steal their last dimes.  They won't care when he ushers in a permanent recession.  They won't care when he starts a nuclear war.

As long as he frees police to shoot ni**ers and spics in the streets, rounds up muslins and messicans and makes liberals cry, he's the greatest president ever to them.

In the weeks following the election, the supporters of the candidate who lost the election (but won the popular vote) were treated to a whole series of lectures about their need to empathize with the supporters of the candidate who won. That always struck me as the opposite of what happened after the 2008 election. But that’s simply a casual observation.

Today, Daniel Dale (the Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star) is on the streets of DC interviewing Americans who support the president-elect enough to travel to his inauguration. Specifically, he’s asking them what they like about Trump. I have to admit, I’m frankly blown away by their answers.
Michelle Arnett, of Tennessee, thinks Trump will bring back jobs. She was laid off in a clothing-plant closure she attributes to NAFTA. pic.twitter.com/55KVTAJ5m2

Rick Gardner, a Christian minister in Arizona, says he most likes Trump's honesty - "truly a man of his word" - and his selflessness. pic.twitter.com/ca2vETlWLG

Dennis Poer, painter in Illinois, says tomorrow is the "greatest event in American history." He loves Trump's honesty. pic.twitter.com/kpdwEFYl0D

Rhonda Pearce, homemaker in North Carolina, most admires that Trump is always willing to admit he was wrong after he misspeaks. pic.twitter.com/Mdg8FOFZ0Y

Tyrus and Ashley Cobb, of Indiana, like that Trump is a man of faith who will bring Godliness back. They wish he'd stop tweeting.
You can see more examples on Dale’s Twitter feed.
These look like really nice people. But I seem to live in a completely different reality than the the one they inhabit, and have no idea how they reached these conclusions about Donald Trump that are the opposite of what I believe to be true. This goes way beyond political differences on policy issues to something much more fundamental about how we perceive the world. I’m not sure that even empathy can bridge that divide.
Nothing can bridge the divide, Nancy, but the divide is not about perception of reality.  The divide is racism.  Every single one of them voted for the guy who fed their rage against that ni**er in the white house.  Everything they say is cover to hide the racism.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Resistance: Mayors Fighting Back

You may not like your mayor, but if she is Resisting trumpism, support her.
On the eve of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti had a message for an incoming administration with notoriously backwards views on climate policy.

“Don’t get in our way,” he told a small group of reporters at the United States Conference of Mayors’ winter meeting.

There are projects, Garcetti continued, where federal support would certainly be looked upon favorably — helping Los Angeles reduce its dependence on imported water, for instance, or transition its public transportation fleet from natural gas to electricity. But in the absence of a strong federal ally, the best case scenario for cities under Trump would be the autonomy to carry out their climate policies unencumbered.

“We’d love a federal partner that can help accelerate this, but at the very least, just don’t get in our way,” Garcetti reiterated.

The Official Estimates of 2 Million Worldwide Seems Low

Just scroll.  Picture after picture after picture, every place in the world.

No, Ashley Judd's Speech Was Not "Raunchy."

It was honest.

You give the Orange Loser a pass on 18 months of constant obscenities and incitement to violence, then condemn and insult Ashley Judd for calling him out on it?

Shame on you for cowardice and discrimination.  And good on Ashley.

Only Obstacle to Ending Inequality Is Repugs

We don't have nice things in this country because repugs and the rich are stealing it all for themselves.

Can't decide on a single issue to drive you in The Resistance?  Try income inequality: it's simple and easy to sell.  All it takes to make it happen is working to elect progressives.

Of course growing inequality is not inevitable. Robert Kuttner:
But can we ever get that back? Of course we can—the obstacles are political, not economic.
We could have much higher minimum wages. We could stop the union-bashing. We could restore a brand of globalization that promotes rather than undermines national social standards. We could invest massively in a green transition, modeled on the World War II mobilization that reduced unemployment from 14 percent to 2 percent in two years and produced tens of millions of good jobs.
As technology replaces human work, we could also give everyone a share of that new production, the way the Alaska Permanent Fund gives all Alaskans a share of that state’s oil revenues. Any advances created with the help of government—from subsidy of biomedical research to free-riding on the internet—could be subject to a share-the-wealth levy. Author Peter Barnes is the inspiration for this idea.
Is this broad vision crazy? It is far less crazy than the folly of supply-side economics that is back in fashion, which will only make America more needlessly unequal.
As Kuttner points out, this is a question of political power, not some sort of inevitable force in the economy. In the New Gilded Age, corporations have torn down most of the limitations to their wealth that were erected between the 1930s and 1970s to create a more equitable society. They are now seeking to eliminate the last of those barriers (and largely will in the next 4 years) and repeal much of the Progressive Era as well. These are grim times indeed. But they are not inevitable. The obstacles we have to overcome to turn this tide are certainly no greater than those of workers a century ago. But we have to commit to this fight to do it. A more robust Democratic Party leading an actual fight would help but we are a long ways from that. And the loss of class consciousness, even among the white working class toward other members of the white working class (racism has usually trumped class consciousness across races of course) certainly makes this harder. But it is not impossible. It will however probably be one of the critical struggles of our remaining lives.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Resistance: Stand Against Racism

Moral Mondays brought down despicable North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, and Rev. William Barber founded and still leads Moral Mondays.

If Donald Trump ever planned, as he continually promised, to act “presidential,” this should have been the week. Yet even as grandstands went up along the inaugural parade route, Trump took to Twitter like a Kardashian to attack Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). Targeting the only surviving March on Washington speaker on the MLK holiday weekend, Trump made clear once more how little he knows about the America he has been elected to serve and the historical moment in which he takes office. By attacking the “Conscience of the Congress,” Trump has served notice to all people of conscience that the time to prepare for moral resistance is now.


This is hardly the first time we have faced racism and a disdain for the poor from the White House. But it is our time now to stand against it. Rep. Lewis’s moral resistance is a rallying cry for all people of conscience. With nonviolent love, we will resist every attack and attempt to implement policy violence. Now is the time. Here is the place. We are the people, and we will be heard.