What active steps are we taking?

Home Forums Off Topic What active steps are we taking?

This topic contains 81 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Flypusher 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #1166


    I thought I’d start a thread on something that Chris alluded to in one of his post. It was about the need for people o play a much greater part in civic engagement and the democratic process at a local level. It has been a traumatic year, with a lot of worrying ugliness unleashed. We can expect further shocks, as well.

    So, what active steps are folks taking?

  • #1187


    That’s a good question, and something I’m starting to mull over. I have more time than $ to donate, and I’d like to make it count. I also think being very strict with the personal budget will be a good idea, as I don’t see any good for us non-wealthy people coming from this next administration’s economic ideas.

  • #1192

    mary guercio

    I’ve been talking with people with whom we interact who are minorities (Black and Hispanic), who are afraid of the actions Trump and his appointees will pursue. All I can do is offer my friendship and reassure them that the majority of Americans don’t view them negatively. I am trying to stay abreast of changes that will impact our family through medicare etc. Beyond that, like Fly, I am being even more conservative in anticipation of the unknown. Being invested in the market and seniors, with a spouse who has an expensive chronic illness, I have to be very careful with our finances. I’m allowing cash to build rather than investing in new equities or compounding- staying as liquid and safe as possible. Now is not the time of year to liquidate positions and miss those 4th quarter and year end capital gains and dividends….will have to reassess after first of year.

    Finally, I am trying to not be so despondent but not doing as well in that regard as I’d like. I’m doing something Tutta recommended – I’m watching less political television commentary….I have to confess this is mostly driven by the fact that I cannot stand to listen to Trump or about Trump, but it’s time better spent doing anything else.

  • #1194

    mary guercio

    Maybe it would be a positive investment of time to partake of a new venture led by Arianna Huffington, called “Thrive Global”. Here’s more info. Getting positive, being positive.


  • #1195

    Aaron Dow


    Actions for the week of November 27th. I’ve e-mailed the author and will be following up further, if I can keep receiving these (and she follows through) I’ll keep posting them here. Some of these actions on this list are still relevant.

    You don’t have to do all of them and you don’t have to agree that all of them are useful (and some of them might not even appeal to your politics), but wherever you find something useful do it as soon as you can.

    Most activist groups I’ve found have roughly the same information with variations of a theme.

    A lot of these actions are petitions that will likely go nowhere, but they do do the service of creating numbers for your ‘voice’ to ensure that the issues are vocalized. Petitions are much more productive when they’re run by representatives. Oftentimes representatives’ offices will hold phone polls as a method of acquiring counts of people interested in initiatives.

    Protest is a method of also making your argument visible; although I encourage protests, I only do so with the caveat that you also be involved with the organization of it. Getting media involved and controlling the message is of more importance than numbers. Numbers and crowd volume need to exist only in a method to create an image, and should otherwise be contained. Messaging should be managed by specific point people.

    Things to do right now:

    1) Learn who your direct representatives are on every level (municipal, county, state, and national) and start saving their phone numbers in your cell-phone. You’re gonna have to get used to calling them. And calling them often.

    If you haven’t already, do some remedial civics study about what the roles of all these people are and how to contact them about issues that matter. In a lot of cases it’s about contacting the right person, rather than the largest.

    2) If you can afford it, set up monthly donations to reputable activist organizations and subscribe to reputable print periodicals. These institutions will require monetary support in the near future both to lobby / sue against GOP and Trump mis-administration and also to protect themselves from like suits.

    The ACLU, Planned Parenthood, NAACP, and the Southern Poverty Law Center are popularly listed for this purpose. The Washington Post, New York Times, and local newspapers are listed as well. It’s also worth looking into refugee, LGBTQ+, and immigration NGOs.

    3) Racial and bigot verbal and physical violence are now happening in broad daylight so unfortunately now you can’t just be a passerby but have to be prepared to step in. If you feel uncomfortable about doing such, you should at least be prepared to call authorities and may, depending on jurisdiction, carry mace and/or a airhorn as your every day carry.

    Technically this is not necessarily different from before, but most people are pretty light on the survivalist kit.

    4) IF you are going to try to be a highly visible protestor, it would be a good idea to read up on how to protect yourself, double-down on Internet security and lock your cellphone, and make sure to clear away all possible civic and legal liabilities (outstanding parking permits, make sure your taxes are tight, stay away from porn sites, etc.)

    Save up money for bail.

    IF you’re not, you should have been doing all of those things anyway, because privacy doesn’t exist anymore.

    Subset of this is don’t do any of this, at all, on Facebook. If you want an Internet group to share information or mobilize, research secure access chat apps.

    5) Get to know your local politicians even outside your jurisdiction, so that you can pay attention to which ones stand up against the administration. Those are the ones you’re going to want to donate to and pound pavement for in the next few years’ elections.

    In all honesty you might just want to start building spreadsheets where you track politicians’ movements. I’ve started building one for myself. If it goes to my liking I may be able to share a template on Google Sheets.

    6) Write letters to the editor. PRINT editors. Not comments in comment pages. Directly confront information you know to be wrong. Support information you think is important with next-step call to actions.

    7) Be prepared to talk politics a lot more person to person, but even if you already do that (I don’t, and am fucking dreading it, but I have no choice), study diplomacy and persuasion. NEVER get upset, angry, or yell. NEVER say ‘You’re wrong’ or any version of ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Never say never outside this sort of context ( 😛 ). Learn to use leading questions like, “Wouldn’t you like it if…?” or actually try to understand things like “What would you like [politician] to do to achieve that?” At the bare minimum you have to become an active listener — ideally you can become a creative listener. “Forgive me if I’m misunderstanding, but hat I think I’m hearing you say is… ”

    From there make your case for local, regional things you want help in. Try to help out other people’s causes too. You get help from people you help.

    And there’s no such thing as ideological purity, so if you think you have it drop it, and if anyone requests it of you drop them.

    Try to do this only one to one. A group will get complicated.

    8) Take some time to take values tests and value assessment tests. Try to reflect on what your core values are, the ones that drive you and you can’t break (fundamentals), versus the ones that are more flexible or that you don’t care about. Keep reminding yourself of them, because at times of heightened distress, anxiety, fear, pain, confusion, or depression, you can be manipulated to act counter to your values, and thus act unethically and immorally.

    Develop a strong relationship to yourself, because the world is full of misinformation designed to manipulate your cognitive biases. On the more extreme, alarmist end of things, a truly fascist government will attempt to break your sense of self and self-reliance, and as part of the citizenship of that government you will be asked to do things contrary to your values. You’re gonna have to reflect on where to draw the line, and when to refuse.

    9) Figure out which Republican Senators you feel are most likely to vote against things Trump wants that you don’t want. It’ll be different Senators for different issues. Those Republicans will constitute ‘the swing vote’ that can keep those things from moving forward. Follow up to make sure they did it.

    If you find certain Senators from either party say one thing and do another, drop all contact and be prepared to stump against them in upcoming campaigns. That whole spreadsheet thing again.

    10) Lastly, keep reading books, articles, and other literature on civil rights activism, civil rights law, and how to make an impact while protecting yourself. Start making plans for specific areas and issues you want to focus on, and learning which people will a) support those actions and b) you can delegate the stuff you can’t focus on.

    • #1196

      mary guercio

      I made a good start on this week’s assignment…need to mail a postcard/letter and read more about Cair. You’ve done an enormous amount of work, Aaron. Thank you. I will read your post more thoroughly tomorrow. Good ideas and great action steps.

    • #1206

      mary guercio

      I have found it highly beneficial to find out who the significant staffers are for my legislators and members of Congress. Sometimes one can work more effectively with these people because they are more accessible and they take more time to listen. Another means is to sign up for newsletters from one’s members of Congress and take the opportunity to email them by replying to their distributed digital newsletter. Staff does tally these comments by issue so it matters.

  • #1197

    Jay H

    Thanks for all these tips and suggestions! It’ll be great to read these shared links and tips.

    As for me, I am getting involved on the local level with a living wage group in a nearby county as a volunteer. I’ll be doing some messaging work with their LW clients in an effort to educate myself on the issue – and look to work with my company and other contacts I know to help develop a LW initiative in my city/county.

    I’m also looking to get involved in affordable housing issues locally, although I have not found the right entry point as of yet. (Any suggestions are welcomed.)

    And finally, Shaun King is beginning a boycott initiative Monday in an effort to further police and criminal justice reforms in specific cities. Not sure what form that will take but if this might be off interest, here’s a short video clip from Democracy Now –

    • #1198

      Jay H
    • #1376

      mary guercio

      JH, regarding activism for affordable housing. Most cities have housing departments that coordinate with HUD. You may wish to make an appointment with the department head, sharing your interest and see what they recommend. I found that attending city council committee meetings specific to whatever my particular interest area was, informed me more deeply and introduced me to who the players were that I would have to interact with – both within government and without (business interests and other citizen activists).

    • #1377

      mary guercio

      Regarding criminal justice reform….same process. Start attending meetings that deal with this issue at your county level and even state level. Join the SPLC and contact their office for guidance. They do terrific work in this area with a very small staff and budget. There are many programs that are connected to criminal justice reform that you can help with – women and children’s shelters, court monitoring (I did that for 6 months and was pleased with the impact…course, it has to be followed up); local efforts to improve pre-sentencing for alcohol and drug infractions; treatment centers – you’ll figure out which area is paramount to your interest and can focus your time and efforts accordingly. If there is any advice I can offer that I know is solid, it is to be very focused in your efforts if you are working alone. You need to become an expert which means a lot of advance work to understand the breadth of the area you’re going to pursue, and learn “who” are the operatives you’ll need to work with, through, and likely adversaries.

      Good luck. Here’s today’s NYT article on what a Trump administration may portend for criminal justice reform at the national level. Like many things Trump will touch, it will not advance current reform efforts.

  • #1199

    Creigh Gordon

    Two things to do –

    Buy a big American flag and fly it. Our country needs patriots to defend American values now more than ever before in my lifetime. These are the times that try men’s and women’s souls.

    Try to get your state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which is an agreement among a group of U.S. states and the District of Columbia to award all their respective electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. (Call your state representatives.)


  • #1200

    Aaron Dow

    The KKK are planning a march in North Carolina tomorrow, 12/3/2016.

    Pledge $1 for every minute they march:



    For the Democrats here, go to http://www.fostercampbell2016.com/ for ways to stump and GOTV for Foster Campbell (D-LA) in the Louisiana run-off election for Senate.

    Non-Louisianians can still do remote calling and messaging.


    Planned Parenthood has already received over 72,000 donations from …

    ‘Mike Pence.’

    You could keep adding to it. Think of it as a double whammy donation and petition.


    • #1205

      mary guercio

      I am a long time supporter of the ACLU, SPLC, and Planned Parenthood. I have emailed family and friends in LA to urge them to vote for Campbell and to ask that they actively urge others to vote for him. Sadly, my LA list is small….so few Democrats there anymore.

    • #1513

      Aaron Dow

      Just a follow-up regarding the Southern Poverty Law Center’s counter-funding of the KKK protest:


      If you signed the pledge, you owe $5. But that’s good news, because it means that the KKK was only able to ‘march’ for five minutes…

      … by driving their cars…

      … super rushed…

      … a few miles away from where they originally intended to go.

      It’s working.

  • #1203


    Steps taken for 2/12/2016.
    I have finally found out a ) who my Member of Parliament is
    b ) When she holds her surgeries
    c ) What her position is in the shadow Cabinet
    d ) What my actual ward is

    And I’ve finally logged in to her website to educate myself about what might actually be going on where I live, and what her intentions are.

    I’m also going to limit my active participation to a ) campaigns that might actually make a difference and b ) because we all have limited amounts of time and energy, a finite number of campaigns. In my case it’s two: the People’s Plan for Devolution Manchester and the Positive Money campaign

    It’s good to hear from you all.

  • #1204

    Bobo Amerigo

    My city council rep often posts draft city laws on her website for comment. I will comment on one, no longer just skimming them.

  • #1231

    Aaron Dow

    In the event of racist / Neo-Nazi / offensive graffiti, take the initiative to clean it up or cover it. If you get caught covering it just explain what you’re doing, at that point some of it’ll probably be covered up anyway.

  • #1303

  • #1304

    Chris Ladd

    I’m planning a longer post on this. About to make some donations that are (for us) kind of enormous. My wife has become politically active for the first time in her life. She’s making phone calls to Congressmen. She just joined the Democratic Party. She’s made plans to attend protests at the Inauguration and started participating in local demonstrations. This is all completely new, and she’s surrounded by dozens of other people here who have never done this stuff before. More to come.

    • #1320

      mary guercio

      I am so proud of Mrs. Political Orphans. Atta girl! For the life of me, I don’t see how any woman isn’t up in arms over what is happening….even more so than men. I have to tell you, Chris, I don’t think your wife would enjoy being back in TX. Of course, maybe by the time your son finishes high school, TX will have turned purple…your son is 6 (-; right?

  • #1306

    Aaron Dow

    I had mentioned before I would be reposting these weekly to-do lists as I received them. You can sign up to receive them yourself: http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

    I’m going to try to keep posting them here over time because theoretically this site will expand readership and new members will want to know what’s up, as well as this post will be buried eventually. However, signing up for yourself means you receive them in a timely manner and not rely on me in case I can’t post them.


    I believe in equal rights for all Americans

    Action: Petition President Obama to dismantle NSEERS, the inactive Muslim registry system established by President Bush after 9-11.
    Click: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/president-obama-prevent-3
    fact checks:
    1. https://www.aclu.org/blog/speakeasy/homeland-security-suspends-ineffective-discriminatory-immigration-program
    2. http://www.vox.com/2016/12/1/13807816/obama-nseers-stop-trump
    3. https://www.lawfareblog.com/muslim-registry-or-nseers-reboot-would-be-unconstitutional

    Action: Oppose white supremacist Jeff Sessions (ACLU petition)
    fact check: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/12/02/jeff-sessionss-comments-on-race-for-the-record/?utm_term=.da0b42ac852e

    Action: Contribute to Eckshate which empowers young immigrant women in NYC. This organization is part of parent organization DRUM which works for immigrant rights, education reform, and worker justice.
    Click: http://www.drumnyc.org/eckshate/

    Action: Thank Kelloggs for raisin’ awareness about intolerance
    Call: 1-800-962-1413 (Mon-Fri 9-6 ET) and press 0 for customer service
    (optional: buy some extra cereal to donate)
    Script: I’m calling to thank your company for pulling ads from Breitbart.com, the white supremacist news website. Their CEO, Steve Bannon, opposes our values of respect and equality. I have bought/will be buying extra boxes of your cereal and donating it to a food pantry.
    Fact check: http://mashable.com/2016/11/30/breitbart-advertiser-exodus/#ErHqCGMj65qt

    I believe in fair, open elections

    Action: Petition to end the electoral college. Make every vote count.
    Deadline Dec 9: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/constitutional-amendment-end-electoral-college-make-every-vote-equal-presidential-elections
    fact check: http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/15/politics/barbara-boxer-electoral-college-donald-trump-2016-election/

    Action: Insist on an inquiry into Russian interference in the presidential election
    fact check: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/30/senators-hint-russian-interference-us-presidential-election?CMP=share_btn_fb

    I believe a presidency should be free of business conflicts of interest

    Action: Insist Trump honor his lease agreement in Washington DC (MoveOn petition)
    Click: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/sever-trumps-dc-hotel?source=homepage
    fact checks:
    1. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/elizabeth-warren-demands-answers-trump-s-dc-hotel-lease-n690691

    Action: Tell DJT to divest all business and put in a blind trust (MoveOn petition)
    Click: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/trump-must-divest-of?source=homepage
    fact checks:
    2. http://shanghaiist.com/2016/11/18/trump_taiwan_expand.php

    I believe in peaceful, creative solutions to conflict at home and abroad

    Action: Praise Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (Armed Services Committee) for opposing a waiver of rule that requires civilian control of the military.
    Click: https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/
    Script: I’m a registered voter from (State). I’m writing to thank you for opposing the waiver for General Mattis’ appointment and for publicly expressing your views.
    fact checks:
    1. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2016/1202/Enter-the-generals-Why-Trump-s-cabinet-picks-give-Pentagon-pause
    2. http://www.npr.org/2016/12/02/504165486/trumps-defense-pick-challenges-rules-around-civilian-control-of-the-military

    This week’s reading list

    How to stay (literally) sane the next four years
    View story at Medium.com
    The unintended security risk of DJT’s worldwide business

    A smaller America on the world stage (British perspective)

    The state of American women from a French perspective

    An important, thorough article on Mike Pense’s unusual role in this presidency

    From the Department of NOT NORMAL
    This is not a normal president-elect, vice president-elect, nor leadership. #notnormal

    It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to fail to attend daily intelligence briefings. A normal president-elect would be genuinely interested in the safety of the country and eager to receive classified information that assists in his/her leadership.
    fact checks:

    It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to have business holdings that conflict with his leadership role and risk the appearance of corrupt negotiations or quid pro quo. A normal president would liquidate business assets or put them in a blind trust to eliminate any concerns about inappropriate influence in domestic or international affairs.
    fact check: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2016/dec/01/donald-trump-business-interests-conflicts

    It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to go over diplomats’ heads, risking longstanding relationships with foreign powers. It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to tweet defensively about criticism of this mishandling. A normal president would be tactful and deliberate with regard to foreign relations, using established diplomatic channels.
    Fact checks:
    1. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/03/trump-angers-beijing-with-provocative-phone-call-to-taiwan-president
    2. http://www.npr.org/2016/12/02/504202547/trump-speaks-to-taiwans-president-in-move-likely-to-anger-beijing
    3. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/01/us/politics/trumps-off-the-cuff-remarks-to-world-leaders-leave-diplomats-aghast.html

    It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to target one group (refugees) as the source of his/her country’s problems and use inflammatory language that risks inciting hate acts. A normal president would be informed about the process for accepting refugees. A normal president would value both diversity and security—and not see them as mutually exclusive.
    See point five: http://www.npr.org/2016/12/02/504146253/5-fact-checks-from-trumps-cincinnati-thank-you-tour-kick-off

    Good news
    Because we need it.

    Sarah Palin calls out DJT on crony capitalism

    Paris climate agreement signed by US

    Greater peace in San Bernardino one year after anti-Muslim killing

    Jews supporting Muslims in the US

    Support for Standing Rock water protectors

    Final action:
    Please share any or all content in this message today (no attribution needed). If you’d like to subscribe for weekly messages, please visit this link.

    We’re stronger together.


    One final note, about online petitions:

    In the alphabet of activism, they rank nearer to S, for slacktivism. Technically some online petitions have gone resulted in positive change, but they are few and far between.

    The Whitehouse online petition only requires that the administration respond to any petition that receives 100k signatures. Responding to it isn’t the same as doing anything about it. Petitions from sites like Credo, MoveOn, and Change, rarely do much and have little success. Petitions to NGOs, activist groups, nonprofits, and so on tend to be more receptive; then government agencies; then media; then businesses.

    Petitions that are taken more seriously are hand-written and signed, delivered on real paper that weighs backs down and clogs up counter space. These petitions are even more effective if they are delivered to the person petitioned directly, or in public, on the floor of a state legislature, etc.

    If you want to contact representatives, businesspeople, newspapers, and so forth yourself without waiting for the petition, or in addition to the petition, calls matter more, then petitions, then letters, then e-mails. At the farthest limit of ‘give a fuck’ is an anonymously received e-petition with a bunch of people who may not be real.

    Petitions also act as PR, gaining attention in media and social media. This may have limited returns as an activated American populace sends ever larger e-petitions to ever more targets over ever geometrically increasing issues.

    So whenever you receive a list like Jennifer Hofmann’s, take the ‘sign the petition for’ instructions as ‘find out which direct representative / businessperson is responsible for this and call them for’ instructions if possible.

    Also you might as well save your Congressperson’s / Senators’ contact information for direct dial on your cellphone at this point. You’re gonna be in touch quite a bit.

    Good night, and good luck.

  • #1307


    I’ve joined a pressure group to campaign against the mass development of industry and high density housing on Green Belt land.
    I’m actually reading Environmental Sustainability Reports, Local Draft Planning reports etc. released by the local City council for the first time. I’m meeting up with a subgroup of the Citizens Planning Committee that we’ve set up to generate interest in settings a working party to put forward an alternative zero carbon plan for the borough. This is also the first time I’ve done anything like this

    God bless and good luck all, too

  • #1312

    Aaron Dow

    Additional resources: https://medium.com/@patti.mulligan/5-ways-to-be-a-silent-trump-protestor-71a549113119#.ggryjs5wg

    Re-iterates the need to donate to action groups, call representatives directly, and support good journalism. Additional resources for finding your representatives and additional activist group networks for keeping on top of all the issues.

  • #1333

    mary guercio

    This article emailed to me by a friend who is friends with the author. They both served in the state department.

    Trump’s National Security Advisor: A Troubling Appointment

  • #1334

    Aaron Dow

    What to Do This Week of December 11, 2016
    Actions for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of conscience
    There are five weeks until DJT takes office

    The intention of this document is to make clear suggestions for action backed with well-considered research. You don’t need to do them all–just the ones that align with your values and abilities. If an issue doesn’t affect you, consider whether you would support this issue on behalf of other Americans and act accordingly.

    At the end, you’ll find some good news. Bear in mind that although these topics have been well researched and are intended to be helpful, they are still subject to human error. Please do your own research!

    If you’d like to subscribe to this weekly action list, please go here:

    Weekly Action Checklist for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of Conscience

    I believe in the power of my own voice

    Action: Find your elected officials’ local office phone numbers

    If you’re an introvert, you might be tempted to skip this section, but bear with me. Calling your elected officials is infinitely more effective than signing a petition. It’s like signing 1,000 petitions.

    You’ll be using these numbers a lot over the next 4 years, so take two minutes. This is especially important if you’re a Republican of conscience; America needs you! Note: Get the local number in your state, not the DC office.

    Get your senators’ local phone numbers
    Go here: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
    Select your state. Two senators will come up.
    Option A: Click the link the “contact” link (which goes to their website) and locate the office nearest you for a phone number.
    Option B: Type into Google your “_senator’s name_, _state capital_ phone number.”

    Get your congressperson’s local phone number
    Go here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
    Enter your ZIP code
    Google your “_congressperson’s name_, _state capital_ and phone number.”

    Record these names and numbers somewhere handy.

    I believe in integrity and reject corruption

    Action 1: Oppose inappropriate cabinet positions to your senators

    The House and Senate are in recess right now, but they are still paying attention to your views. (A lovely staffer in Louisiana reassured me of this.) Senators will be holding hearings in Jan/Feb for all cabinet positions, but it’s important to tell your elected officials where you stand. Staff keep a tally of calls and issues.

    Call: Using the number you looked up, call both your senators’ local offices to oppose DJT/MRP cabinet positions. Be kind and be specific.

    Script: My name is ____. I’m a constituent from _town_. I’m calling about my concern regarding DJT’s cabinet appointments. Most of them are climate-science deniers with deep ties to oil, wall street, and big banks. However, for me, the three most concerning appointments are … (choose three)

    Scott Pruett to the Environmental Protection Agency. Mr Pruett’s history of suing the EPA for its regulations on mercury levels and asthma makes his appointment deeply concerning. (fact check)
    Steven Mnuchin to Treasury Secretary. With two decades at Goldman Sachs, he is synonymous with predatory lending. (fact check)
    Jeffrey Sessions to Attorney General. In 1986, his unamerican beliefs in white supremacy made him ineligible for a judgeship and should still disqualify him for this new post. (fact check)
    Mike Pompeo to the CIA. His appointment risks our constitutional freedoms because he supports profiling Americans by religion, compromising online privacy, and advocates for torture. (fact check)
    Wilbur Ross to Commerce Secretary. Like DJT, this billionaire has numerous businesses that present a conflict of interest and risk corrupt dealings with foreign countries. (fact check)
    Cathy McMorris to the Interior Department. Her oil connections and climate science denial risks the future of our public lands, national parks, and tribal land. (fact check)

    I am asking (my senator) to reject these nominees when hearings begin next year. Can you tell me anything about their views on these appointees? Thank you for your time.

    Action 2: Tell your congressperson you oppose some of DJT/MRP’s staff appointments

    DJT’s staff appointments are not vetted by the Senate. However, Congress can use their limited power to force a firing in extreme cases. Although they’re unlikely to oust anyone, your views can empower your elected officials. (more on methodology)

    Call: Call your congressperson’s local office to oppose two of DJT’s key advisers.
    Script: My name is ___ and I’m a constituent from _town_. I am deeply concerned about some of DJT’s advisers. I’m calling today to request that (my congressperson) go on public record as opposing two specific appointments:

    The first is Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist. His connection with the far-right Breitbart fake news site, and well-documented anti-semitic and white supremacist views make him a risk to American freedoms. (fact check)
    The second is Lieutenant General Mike Flynn as national security adviser. In previous roles, his paranoid conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim views have been well-documented by superiors. His poor judgment is dangerous for America. (fact check and fact check)
    Can you tell me if (my congressperson) has already publicly opposed these two appointments? If not, I would like to request that they do so. Thank you.

    Action 3: Thank three Republican elected officials for publicly supporting investigations into Russian election hacking.
    Click: Senator McCain’s (R-AZ) email form
    Click: Rep McCaul’s (R-TX) Facebook page
    Click: Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) email form
    Script (feel free to customize): I am a registered (party) in (state) and applaud your public support for investigating the Russian government’s election hacking efforts. America thanks you for putting priorities over party.
    (fact check and fact check)

    I believe in reproductive freedom and a woman’s right to choose

    Action 1: If you live in Ohio, call Gov. Kasich and ask him to veto HB 493 and SB 127. Note: These bills are on their way to his desk, so don’t delay.
    Call: (614) 466-3555
    Script: My name is ___ and am a constituent in _town, OH_. I’m calling today to ask Gov. Kasich to veto HB 493 and SB 127. I believe in reproductive freedom and a woman’s right to choose. Because these bills increase red tape, threaten doctors, and have no exceptions for rape or incest, they severely restrict safe access to abortion. I oppose both and ask Gov Kasich to veto them. Thank you for your time.

    Action 2: If you don’t live in Ohio, make some noise with these two petitions:
    Click: ACLU Ohio SB 127 petition
    Click: ACLU petition against both bills

    I believe in peaceful, creative solutions to conflict at home and abroad

    Action: Sign a petition to support de-escalation trainings to reduce violence between the public and law enforcement.
    Click: ACLU petition
    (fact check and fact check)

    I support creating a healthy planet

    Action: Tell your governor to support renewable energy
    Click: Petition from the Union of Concerned Scientists

    I believe in the value of my dollar

    Action: Spend consciously to support American values.
    Click: #GrabYourWallet
    When the document opens, look at the list of 74 DJT-connected businesses on list. Make a note of the stores you usually frequent. If you planned to shop there in the future, drop them a line on Facebook or Twitter and let them know.

    Action: Make a contribution to a cause on behalf of leaders who oppose it
    Click: http://www.donatebigly.com/
    This site is freaking amazing. Want to donate to Planned Parenthood on behalf of Mike Pence? Or to Black Lives Matter on behalf of Bannon? This site makes it easy. It’s genius. And very satisfying.

    I support free press and outstanding investigative journalism

    Action: Purchase a publication subscription or give one as a gift
    Free news sites are the scourge of this election. Because they make money through ads, their click-bait headlines and opinion-based content keep you coming back for more. No publication is perfect, but supporting paid journalism means you get less slant and more trustworthy research.

    We can’t take journalism for granted. Here are a few options (links not affiliate):

    The New York Times
    The Washington Post
    The Atlantic
    Wall Street Journal
    Christian Science Monitor
    Al Jazeera
    The Economist
    The Guardian (UK)
    Le Monde in English (France)

    This week’s reading list

    Understanding hacking intent: Was Russia trying to get DJT to win?
    Washington Post and New York Times

    The last diplomat in a new world of spying
    Wall Street Journal

    The US is “wobbling between two extremely different futures.”
    The Atlantic

    A fascinating MIT analysis of political news bubbles
    Vice.com exclusive

    Gaslighting America – How DJT’s psychological strategies work

    From the Department of NOT NORMAL
    This is not a normal president-elect, vice president-elect, nor leadership. #notnormal

    It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to miss daily intelligence briefings with the defense that he is “smart”. A normal president understands that some of his or her work might be repetitive, but that being informed is essential to American security.
    (fact check)

    It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to assign powerful cabinet positions to large campaign donors and their spouses. At most, a normal president might give an ambassadorship to a donor.
    (fact check)

    It is NOT NORMAL for an elected leader to pretend that foreign government interference with elections is no big deal. It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to mock or question the expertise of knowledgeable CIA security advisers. A normal president would consider this issue a grave concern and act accordingly to protect our sovereignty as a nation.
    (fact check)

    Good news
    Because we need it.

    Republicans of conscience are not blindly following DJT

    Imagine more Democrat-leaning electoral votes and equal rights for ALL Americans

    New progress on the Equal Pay Pledge

    Anonymous gift of prayer rugs to Muslim students (get your tissues)

    Acts of Kindness: This Facebook group will make your day <3

    A word on petitions

    Although online petitions serve a purpose, groups like MoveOn.org and Change.org lack clout. This and future weekly What To Do action checklists will include only petitions that come from well-respected organizations. Note: To avoid lots of follow-up emails after signing an online petition, be sure to click “unsubscribe” using the link in the follow-up confirmation email.


    If you’d like to subscribe for weekly messages, please visit this link.
    To see archives of What To Do checklists, click here (and scroll to the bottom)
    If you’d like to contribute, click here.

    Final action

    Spread the word! Please share any or all content in this message today (no attribution needed).
    Tweet: Don’t know what to do? Here’s this week’s action checklist! https://goo.gl/B7fYwm
    Facebook: I didn’t know how to make a difference until I found this weekly What To Do action checklist. Make positive change today! https://goo.gl/B7fYwm

    We’re stronger together!

  • #1371


    What I’m doing this week:
    1. Attending an open event organised by the local pressure group to present our written objections to the theft of Green Belt land to inappropriate development, where I will be face to face with a Member of Parliament for the first time
    2. Arranging a meeting with the MP of my local ward to push the agenda of monetary reform.
    Reading about the insanity and non-normality of the President Elect and the proposed cabinet makes me more nauseous by the day. I wish all of you the absolute best, and that he is pushed out a lot sooner then 4 years.

  • #1372

    Bobo Amerigo

    Here are responses from my congress rep and senators re social security.

    congressman poe

    Social Security has been one of the great successes of our government, but the program was designed for a different world than the one we live in today. Any reform proposal first must guarantee that there is no
    change for those now retired or nearing retirement.

    For decades, Congress has spent Social Security Trust funds–investments of hard-working Americans that should be protected–putting this program on an increasingly unsustainable path. I believe it is time to modernize Social Security by providing Americans real ownership of the money they pay into the system, while protecting the benefits of current retirees and those very close to retirement.

    If younger Americans were allowed to save a portion of their current contributions, they could earn higher rates of return and guarantee their retirement benefits. In addition, workers could pass on unused benefits to their children and grandchildren so that they may attend college, purchase a home, or start a business of their own.
    Social Security must be reformed if it is to become a sound system for the 55 million Americans who receive benefits today or be preserved for future generations.

    auto reply

    • #1373

      mary guercio

      Bobo, the proposals I’ve seen (Rep. Sam Johnson, Plano) re SS, do make changes for those “in” and nearing retirement. Many changes – from the change in COLA, to dependents, etc. May I suggest you pull up the posts on Johnson’s proposal and the SS actuarial analysis and call Poe’s office and talk ask them what his position is on these points.

      Cruz – He’s talking about a private option. Call his office and remind him how well this worked out for GW Bush. SS depends upon one fund. Declining numbers of contributors are making it hard enough to sustain benefits. Ask why raising income cap for SS taxation modestly is not a feasible idea.

      Cornyn – didn’t see response. CAll office and discuss as with Cruz above.

      What you did is a great start. Don’t let them off the hook…Follow up. You are a voting constituent. Make your views heard. Good going, Bobo.

  • #1374

    Aaron Dow

    GOLD. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. This is what I previously asked for when I asked for research on Tea Party activism:


    This is a guide to the effectiveness of Tea Party activism formulated by former congressional staffers.

    It’s lengthy, so save the link and take your time with it. It boils down to consistent, direct, straightforward, and effective pressure from a small, largely lockstepped and dedicated group.

    The largest amount of effort involves continually pressuring your Member of Congress to vote on each issue the way you like; making very clear your disagreement when they don’t; praising them when they do; and if they don’t respond to your disagreement, making their lack of response majorly public and newsworthy.

  • #1375

    Bobo Amerigo

    Aaron, this appears to be an excellent document.

    Perhaps you should start a v2 of this thread and put this document as the first entry.

  • #1378

    mary guercio

    Here’s a new tool by WaPo to contextualize Trump’s tweets. I’m not technologically savvy enough to figure out how to use it but hopefully others can.


  • #1384


    Hi Aaron and thanks for all your good work. It has spurred me to e-mail my MP ( I think the US equivalent would be district Representative? ) for the very first time to make an appointment on behalf of my Monetary Reform pressure group. I’ve stated what we’re about, and what our current objective is, and what our end game is. I’m waiting for my face to face appointment to come through. I’m going to ask her to raise questions at the next Parliamentary sitting, and I’m also write her afterwards to thank her for seeing me, and to ask for a response to the issues we raise. I dislike that Tea Party in a lot of ways, and UKIP here is just as objectionable, but we are going to have to start using the same tactics

    • #1385

      mary guercio

      Hoonteo – A thought about your appointment with your MP. It would be appropriate to ask her if there are any specific steps you and your group can take to support her in her efforts to present your concern. She may suggest you educate a colleague so that she has floor support when the issue is raised, or something else. It never hurts to help them help you. Sometimes it’s useful to meet with staff who might inherit the issue you’re raising…but, not always, and she can tell you that.

  • #1397

    Aaron Dow


    What to Do This Week of December 18, 2016
    Actions for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of conscience
    There are four weeks until DJT takes office

    The intention of this document is to make clear suggestions for action backed with well-considered research. You don’t need to do them all–just the ones that align with your values and abilities. If an issue doesn’t affect you, consider whether you would support this issue on behalf of other Americans and act accordingly.

    At the end, you’ll find some good news. Bear in mind that although these topics have been well researched and are intended to be helpful, they are still subject to human error. Please do your own research!

    If you’d like to subscribe to this weekly action list, please go here:

    Weekly Action Checklist for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of Conscience


    When I started this document a month ago, I honestly believed we could change things by signing peitions. In the last four weeks, I’ve been schooled in how democracy really works. If DJT is inaugurated next month, we must put our principles into visible, relentless, and united front against DJT. Look for more detailed actions in coming weeks.

    I believe in fair, open elections

    TIME EXPIRED: Advocate for an electoral college delay and intelligence brief
    Action: Call both your senators and your congressperson (link: http://www.whoismyrepresentative.com). If you get voicemail, DO leave a message.
    Script: Please follow Rep. Don Beyer lead and publically support an electoral college delay and briefing.
    Then cut and paste this action into your FB status update so other people will too. Make NOISE. We have ONE DAY left to do this.

    I oppose DJT & Co., their racist, corrupt, and authoritarian policies

    Get organized
    Update: This is the most important action for this week.
    At this writing, the electoral college has not yet voted. If they fail to overturn DJT’s status as president-elect, three congressional staffers have a step-by-step plan of how to resist the coming changes to the fabric of our democracy.

    For this outstanding resource I reccomend two actions:
    Take 20 minutes to read Indivisble thoroughly (or this updated version)
    Schedule an in-person meeting as soon with 8-10 local people to divvy up the actions in this document.
    Yes, seriously.

    I believe in integrity and reject corruption

    Oppose appointment of Rick Perry
    Call: Using the numbers you looked up, call both your senators’ local offices to oppose DJT/MRP cabinet positions. Be kind and be specific. Leave a message if no one answers.
    Script: My name is ____. I’m a constituent from _town_. I’m calling about my concern regarding DJT’s cabinet appointment of Rick Perry. The former Texas governor sits on two corporate boards – one of them is Energy Transfer Partners, a subsidiary known as Dakota Access LLC.
    (fact check)

    Oppose Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State
    Call: Using the numbers you looked up, call both your senators’ local offices to oppose DJT/MRP cabinet positions. Be kind and be specific. Leave a message if no one answers.
    Script: My name is ____. I’m a constituent from _town_. I’m calling about my concern regarding DJT’s cabinet appointment of Rex Tillerson. His close ties with Russia and big oil present a business conflict of interest and security issue for our country.
    (fact check)

    I believe in equal rights for all Americans

    Democrats: Stop using the term “identity politics” like it’s a bad thing.
    We need to stop worrying about disenfranchised white males who didn’t vote for HRC. We need to focus on the voices of *all* Americans: Black, Latino, immigrant, native American, female, gay, trans, survivors, young students 0-18, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, and people of all economic levels. We are the party that values every citizen.

    I support creating a healthy planet

    Protect the Tsongass National Forest from clearcutting.
    (Sierra Club petition)

    I believe in the value of my dollar

    Action: Spend consciously to support American values in the runup to Christmas.
    Click: #GrabYourWallet
    When the document opens, look at the list of 74 DJT-connected businesses on list. Make a note of the stores you usually frequent. If you planned to shop there in the future, drop them a line on Facebook or Twitter and let them know.

    Action: Make a contribution to a cause on behalf of leaders who oppose it
    Click: http://www.donatebigly.com/
    Want to donate to Planned Parenthood on behalf of Mike Pence? Or to Black Lives Matter on behalf of Bannon? This site makes it easy. It’s genius. And very satisfying.

    Recommended reading

    What are Democrats doing right now?

    Michigan voting machines

    Federalism FTW

    Media accountability

    The danger is real when there’s a watch list for college professors

    A deep look into DJT’s debts and who’s funding his empire

    A key reason why the Kremlin hates the US and wants a cooperative DJT

    A thorough, fascinating play-by-play of the Russian hacking shows how we are underestimating this threat to our nation’s soveringty.

    From the Department of NOT NORMAL
    This is not a normal president-elect, vice president-elect, nor leadership. #notnormal

    It is NOT NORMAL for a president elect to choose a cabinet member by sending his business partner (who is also his son). A normal president use his own judgment in choosing his cabinet.

    It is NOT NORMAL for a president elect to threaten electors if they don’t vote for you. A normal president trusts the electoral process and believes in Amercans’ democratic right to vote.

    It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to use Twitter to communicate about his presidential actions and go without a press conference. A normal president would use the press to communicate and hold a press conference on average 3 days after an election.

    It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect’s public criticism of a company to cause their stocks to tank. A normal president is diplomatic in critiquing businesses publically because he or she values the people and jobs that company represents.

    This tweet from DJT: Just watched @NBCNightlyNews – So biased, inaccurate and bad, point after point. Just can’t get much worse, although @CNN is right up there!

    Compated to this tweet from Dan Diamond‏ @ddiamond:
    Weirdest thing: I just watched Obama meet journalists who have criticized him — and he simply shook hands and thanked them for their work.

    It is NOT NORMAL for a president elect to promise a press-covered event regarding his business conflicts of interests, then postpone via Twitter the night before because he’s is “busy.” A normal president would have already dealt with any business conflicts and kept his or her promise to the American people.

    It is NOT NORMAL for scientists who study the einvironment to be afraid. It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to request the names of people who do this work. A normal president values experts who can inform policy with solid scientific data.

    It is NOT NORMAL for the adult child (and business partner) of a president to move in to the White House. A normal president keeps business connections at an approproate distance and avoids conflicts of interest.

    Good news

    Senate Democrats propose bill to divest president’s assets

    CA Governor stands up for the climate

    1B for climate research

    Oklahoma makes women’s health more accessible

    Trump astrology
    Your Astrological Trump Survival Guide

    Love army

    More than a quarter of PPs donations have been for Mike Pence

    Kids climate lawsuit

    Coming up next week

    Should the DJT be the electoral college’s choice, next week’s message will include a thorough action plan to oppose every cabinet appointment of concern. It will suggest that you make a number of specific phone calls (not petitions or emails). If you’re the shy type, get ready to be vocal. Cabinet appointment hearings beging *before* the inauguration.

    A word on petitions

    Although online petitions serve a purpose, groups like MoveOn.org and Change.org lack clout. This and future weekly What To Do action checklists will include only petitions that come from well-respected organizations. Note: To avoid lots of follow-up emails after signing an online petition, be sure to click “unsubscribe” using the link in the follow-up confirmation email.


    If you’d like to subscribe for this weekly message, please visit this link.
    To see archives of What To Do checklists, click here (and scroll to the bottom)
    If you’d like to contribute, click here.

    Final action

    Spread the word! Please share any or all content in this message today (no attribution needed).

    Tweet: Don’t know what to do? Here’s this week’s action checklist! https://goo.gl/B7fYwm

    Facebook: I didn’t know how to make a difference until I found this weekly What To Do action checklist. Make positive change today! https://goo.gl/B7fYwm

    We’re stronger together!

  • #1400


    I have an actual appointment to speak to my MP at there surgery! Wish me luck!

  • #1401

    mary guercio

    I responded to a request by MoveOn.org to contact the offices of our federal elected officials, Congressman Brady, Senators Cornyn and Cruz regarding GOP plans to repeal the ACA. I called their TX (local) field offices, spoke to an aide in each office, shared my concerns, stated my position, and asked some questions (which they could not answer). I then submitted a summary online via MoveOn of what I learned. In hindsight, I should have asked more questions at the beginning of the discussion and saved my comments for the end. I made certain they knew my name (I spelled it) and my husband’s and our address. They all took down the information…logging it. One of the offices (Cornyn) told me that if I wanted answers to policy concerns, I would need to contact the D.C. office. I didn’t do so as it’s too early to get a definitive answer in that regard.

  • #1431

    mary guercio

    Speaking of little people taking giant steps for others (and themselves), this is going to be an interesting lawsuit. Unfortunately, the original appeal has been delayed to Feb (at GOP request) but these two are not waiting. The legal eagles in the group might give us their opinion of the merits of their case.


  • #1432


    Some good, albeit bitter pill to swallow, advice:


    The unfortunate reality (which echoes Chris’ observations) is that too many Americans didn’t care enough about Trump being a bully/ an immature narcissist/ an encourager of bigotry/ irreligious/ an abuser of women/ lacking in coherent, well thought out policy/ lying and flip flopping an unprecedented amount, or even worse, voted for him BECAUSE of those appalling atributes. What matters is who is he going to screw over. Those are the battles to pick. Bernie Sanders shows you the way in the article.

    One disagreement with the article, I can’t be that blasé about corruption. But him ignoring security briefings and conveniently forgetting about the wall have upsides.

    • #1458

      Aaron Dow

      Part of the mission requirements is that people subscribe to print media to support investigative journalism, but that’s only half of the civics of the matter.

      The other half is that you have to hold that print media accountable. What that means is, every time your newspaper or magazine of choice goes off on Trump’s Tweet du jour, you have to write them a simple, straightforward, and direct letter telling them to focus on the issues. The more succinct it is, the less they can edit.

      Here is a good template:

      Dear [periodical],

      regarding your article of [date], entitled [headline],

      Please do not report on President Trump’s Twitter account, which is not an official government communication. Please focus your reporting on important policies such as [policy du jour] and their potential effects on the American people.

      Best regards,

      [Your name], subscriber

      And send it over and over and over again, every time your periodical of choice strays from important reportage.

    • #1459

      mary guercio

      Good suggestion, Aaron. Email works well. Most reporters are very responsive to direct email. I wish the media would stop camping out in Trump Tower….The grandstanding, theater is nauseating.

  • #1457

    mary guercio

    Here are two new books on how to organize to fight within the political realm. If you decide to read one or both, please report back.

    Jane McAlevey’s No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Guilded Age

    Mark and Paul Engler’s co-written book, This is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt is Shaping the Twenty-First Century.

  • #1464

    Aaron Dow

    Nazis are planning an armed march against Jewish people and businesses in Whitefish, Montana:


    Montana Human Rights Network is hosting a “Love, Not Hate” event scheduled at same time. Though Richard Spenser and the trollish nature of the Nazi groups may mean the march may not happen, donate here to make sure the Love, Not Hate event happens regardless:


    “Last week, Montana’s elected officials, including the governor, attorney general, both U.S. senators and its lone congressman, condemned the anti-Semitic and white-nationalistic views that have tormented the town, telling its residents that, “rest assured, any demonstration or threat of intimidation against any Montanan’s religious liberty will not be tolerated.”

    Whitefish Stands Unified Against Harassment

    Send thank you letters.

  • #1477

    Aaron Dow

    “House Republicans voted 119-74 Monday night in favor of a proposal that would gut Congress’ outside ethics watchdog and remove its independence.”


    “The full House is scheduled to vote on Tuesday on the rules, which would last for two years, until the next congressional elections.”

    That’s today, January 3rd, 2017.

    Call your Representative RIGHT NOW and tell them to vote against the measure.

    Meanwhile, here is the address of the offices of Republican Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the bill’s sponsor:

    Harrisonburg Office
    70 North Mason Street
    Harrisonburg, VA 22802
    Phone: (540) 432-2391
    Fax: (540) 432-6593

    Lynchburg Office
    916 Main Street, Suite 300
    Lynchburg, VA 24504
    Phone: (434) 845-8306
    Fax: (434) 845-8245

    Roanoke Office
    10 Franklin Road SE, Suite 540
    Roanoke, VA 24011
    Phone: (540) 857-2672
    Fax: (540) 857-2675

    Staunton Office
    117 South Lewis Street, Suite 215
    Staunton, VA 24401
    Phone: (540) 885-3861
    Fax: (540) 885-3930

    Washington, DC Office
    2309 Rayburn HOB
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-5431
    Fax: (202) 225-9681

    Pick one any one, and here’s the message to send:

    “Dear Congressman Goodlatte,

    with regard to your proposal to replace the independent Office of Congressional Ethics with a partisan committee;

    if you don’t plan to commit a crime, then why are you worried about surveillance?

    Best regards,

    [Your name]”

  • #1483

    mary guercio
  • #1485

    Aaron Dow

    What to Do This Week of Jan 1, 2017
    Actions for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of conscience.

    There are two weeks until DJT takes office.

    If you’d like to subscribe to this weekly action list, please go here:

    Weekly Action Checklist for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of Conscience

    How to act strategically

    Which brings us to this week’s action checklist. As Americans of conscience, the most important issue for action is the senate’s cabinet confirmation hearings.

    We must oppose djt’s many nominees who have unprecidented conflicts of interest that risk the integrity of our democracy. The good news? Speaking up might effect change since the senate needs 51 votes to confirm, and Republicans hold only 52 spots. Don’t
    assume your senators will make the right choice for our country. Be clear and

    Make calls.​ It works. Based on the advice of my own senator’s staff, make these calls before hearings begin on Jan 10. This means right now, for each cabinet appointee you feel is unfit to serve, there are two specific actions to take:

    1. Tell the Senate committee chair (Republican) you oppose the nominee.

    2. Tell the Senate ranking member (Democrat) you oppose the nominee.
    3. Call your own two senators to let them know.

    Note: Do leave a message if you get voicemail or call after hours.

    The following seven people are the Senate Democrats’ official “oppose” list. I’ll be sugggesting more in next week’s email. Appointments with an asterisk* were major donors to djt campaign and/or PACs.

    1. Oppose Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson for ties to Exxon and Russia

    Committee: Foreign Relations Committee
    Call​: Chair Bob Corker (R-TN) 202-224-3344
    Call​: Ranking member Ben Cardin (D-MD) 202-224-3344

    Script​: I am calling to oppose Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. His ties to Russia and Exxon are a risk to our nation’s integrity and security.

    2. Oppose ​Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions for racial bias and opposition
    to LGBT rights​
    Committee: Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Jan 10 and 11

    Call​: Chair Chuck Grassley 202-224-3744
    Call: ​Ranking member Patrick Leahy 202-224-4242

    Script​: I am calling to oppose Jeff Sessions for Attorney General because I
    believe in the rights of gays and lesbians and people of color.

    3. Oppose Health and Human Svcs Secretary nominee Tom Price for his
    opposition to the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).

    Committee: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    (Note​: this is the same committee as for Betsy DeVos and Andy Pudzer
    (below), so combine them if you wish.)
    Call​: Chairman Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944
    Call: ​Ranking member Patty Murray 202-224-2621

    Script​: I am calling to oppose Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human
    services. I believe we should be expanding health care coverage for Amercans, not making it more difficult to access and afford.

    4. Oppose ​Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos* for her support of
    diverting tax dollars to private schools.​

    Committee: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

    Call​: Chairman Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944
    Call: ​Ranking member Patty Murray 202-224-2621

    Script​: I am calling to oppose Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Educaiton. I believe my tax dollars should fund a robust and free primary education to all Americans. Her plans would leave public schools even more underfunded.

    5. ​Oppose ​Labor Secretary nominee Andy Pudzer* for his opposition to workers
    rights and fair wages​
    Committee: Hearing on Jan 12
    Senate Committee on Health, Education,
    Labor, and Pensions
    Call​: Chairman Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944
    Call: ​Ranking member Patty Murray 202-224-2621

    Script​: I am calling to oppose Andy Pudzer for Labor Secretary. I value fair
    wages and worker’s rights, and Mr. Pudzer seeks to weaken both.

    6. Oppose ​Mick Mulvaney’s appointment to Director of Management and Budget
    Committee 1: Senate Budget Committee
    Call​: ​Chairman Mike Enzi 202-224-3424
    Call​: Ranking member Bernie Sanders 202-224-5141

    Committee 2: Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    Call​: Chairman Ron Johnson 202-224-5323
    Call​: Incoming ranking member Claire McCaskill 202-224-6154

    Script​: I am calling to oppose Mic Mulvaney’s appointment. I believe in honoring our country’s financial obligations and supporting affordable healthcare.

    7. Oppose Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin for his history of
    predatory business practices
    Committee: Senate Finance Committee
    Call​: Chairman Orrin Hatch 202-224-5251
    Call​: Ranking member Ron Wyden 202-224-5244

    Script​: I am calling to oppose Steven Mnuchin (m’NOO-chin) for Treasury
    Secretary. I believe someone in this role needs to have a history of solid ethics and integrity.

    The Living Torah Center in Santa Monica was vandalized with feces and food over the weekend. (http://www.aol.com/…/santa-monica-synagogue-smear…/21642190/)

    Let’s send them love: 1130 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica CA, 90401

    Electoral College’s failure to respect the popular vote, here’s what we can do:
    Peter Courtney, Oregon’s Senate President, has repeatedly blocked legislation for electoral college reform: http://www.opb.org/…/electoral-college-oregon-trump-presid…/

    Call Senator Courtney and politely demand that he allow a vote on the National Popular Vote Compact in 2017.

    Ask your person to support this bill (or find out who’s in charge of the committee and message them)

    Hold press accountable https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/fr/cp0/e15/q65/15337476_1021003238682

    Read progressives 100-day plan to oppose djt http://fusion.net/story/378245/bernie-sanders-rally-congress-donald-trump

    And Democrats plan to vet cabinet pics


    Help oppose rasism

    Recommended reading

    What we know so far about the Russian cyber attacks



    Why Russian ties are bad for the West (prophetic article from July 2016)

    First reports on increased hate crimes since the election

    The limits of the press with a president who tweets his policy

    Winter is coming: prospects for the American press under Trump

    How to prevent normalizing djt & co.


    Preibus’ relationship with djt

    A 20-year-old waiter from Appalachia said it best

    • #1486

      mary guercio

      I have limited time to make calls. I tend to be more issue-oriented than person-oriented. I will select the nominees I most dislike and make calls and focus on issues that are priorities…Clean Water Act, Criminal Justice Reform, Health care changes, Regulation roll back…All of this is important and that’s why we need to form our little groups so we don’t burn out. I simply don’t have time to follow through on this every day and that’s what is going to be needed. Wish I could do more – will do what I can.

    • #1487

      mary guercio

      This was linked on The Weekly Sift and bears reading and passing along.


    • #1488

      Aaron Dow

      Jen Hoffman’s lists are written with the intention that you will select the issues / causes that matter to you.

      I don’t agree with every bullet point and other bullet points I agree with don’t have enough load behind them for me to pick up yet. But I copy and paste as much of it as I can to give the rest of you options (and, for the record, you guys are hardly the only activist network I’m tapping into, nor are these lists the only actions I’m taking).

      One thing I have appreciated about her work so far is that she’s rapidly adapting a learning curve. She started with change.org petitions and is now on direct activities instead of slacktivism.

      I also agree that issues matter more than people… And in fact am heavily on the “Stop talking about Trump’s personality, start focusing specifically on his actions” side of effective activation.


      He chose bad people whichever way you look at it. Unqualified, antagonistic to the institution, sycophantic, and unpredictable.

      My feeling is this: we can’t just let a half dozen really bad decisions go through because we don’t want to overexert on a few primary bad decisions. An effort should be made on every one that you disagree with. The ones that have primacy have priority — but the ones that are lower priority you should at least try to get around to, when you have five minutes, between chores or events or what have you.

      Or to put it this way: if you don’t block these PEOPLE, you’ll have geometrically more ISSUES to block down the line.

      Lastly: my expectations are low. I wouldn’t be surprised if every one of his picks go through. But voicing dissent, creating a record of opposition, informs some groups that these people are being watched, and that they aren’t fully accepted. And the louder the dissent, the more likely the picks themselves will get the message, and understand that they’re working on our time.

      Constant, gentle pressure.

    • #1500

      mary guercio

      I wish I had more time to do all that is needed to help. I am going to link here (I did as well on the main post) this new effort from NC because I think it is simple, smart, and has great potential not only for NC, but for every state in which legislative seats have been gerrymandered away from Dems. A second link is a rah rah link from our own Bernie Sanders who I believe gets it right when he says: the Republican Party doesn’t have a mandate but we need to prove it to them. You “get” that opposition is most effective when it is organized. That doesn’t eliminate the value of each person doing all they can on their own, just that some fights are best waged collectively. Well, here’s such a plan. Please share this with Jenn Hoffman because she will appreciate its simplicity and potential.


    • #1508

      Aaron Dow

      I’ve forwarded the game plan to a few people I know in North Carolina, thanks.

      Meanwhile, I have to wait until February before I am certain my finances are such I know how much to give to ‘by need’ causes. I’ve set up my rollover monthly donations for the year and plan to have some percentage of my paycheck per month to whatever cause du jour rises up (including the occasional natural disaster). Will be monitoring the November 2017 NC special election and determining how much to give from there.

  • #1509

    mary guercio

    We are all doing the best we can per our ability and interests. Thanks for your leadership Aaron.

  • #1512

    Aaron Dow

    So just a reminder:

    The following 8 activities are considered basic civic duties. You are NOT considered politically active from the perspective of representatives unless you do at least half of these things regularly. Too many people assume sharing news stories on Facebook makes them a part of the political landscape. It doesn’t.

    The key term here is regularly. It doesn’t end even when you get what you want. You keep doing it to keep engaged.

    1) Vote in all local and federal elections in your district.

    This doesn’t mean showing up at the general or midterms and calling yourself ‘a voter’. It means school elections, bond issues, and primaries. It means having a relationship with your county clerk such that you’re aware and available for every vote that goes through that office.

    2) Direct contact with representatives to communicate your stance on issues.

    This requires CALLING your representatives’ offices and requesting they vote on upcoming issues in certain manners. It involves keeping track of how often they follow through and thanking them when they do, warning them when they don’t.

    3) Direct petitioning of representatives to take up certain issues.

    This means signing petitions and creating petitions and stumping to get them signed. It means getting them signed in real handwriting and delivering directly to the offices of the petitioned representative, or delivering it at town hall and city council meetings (see below) or even directly to Congress.

    It does not mean change.org or credoaction.com . Those sites have some use but are more valuable as PR and marketing of an issue than affecting change. Direct petitions from constituents always take priority over a list of emails from across the globe, for obvious reasons.

    4) Attending town halls and city councils.

    Probably the most difficult one to do in any regular basis, plus such events are increasingly rare because — sadly — over the last six years of Tea Party activism representatives have gotten tired of holding public events only to get shouted at.

    Nevertheless they are required. City councils allow certain amount of time (five minutes in many cases) to state your case for or against certain policies (or a great time to deliver a petition), town halls are largely outreach events designed to communicate to constituents.

    One thing Trump and Bernie may have changed is the importance of rallies. That may be a good thing. Six years of politicians retreating to behind their doors hasn’t done much good on either side of the aisle.

    5) Visible, coherent public protests.

    I HATE participating in these but nevertheless they’re essential. But what’s more essential than participating is making sure they’re coherent and on message.

    Pro-legalization pickets have to be removed from anti-war protests. Pre-designed on-message pickets should be handed out to those without pickets or off-message pickets. Protest leaders have to be positioned to supervise the activities of individual groups within the protest to make sure nobody damages the image of the group.

    Specific protest leaders should be chosen in advance for their talking points to deliver to media. Media has to be alerted in advance that the protest is happening, with a PR package that contains those talking points.

    Petitions need to be brought to the protest to be signed by participants and interested passers-by. Stumpers with the petitions should be polite and not hassle passers-by. As popular as this is getting to be, protesters should attempt not to block traffic or businesses (even if the protest is against a specific business).

    6) Brief, clean letters to the editor.

    Firstly, the prerequisite to this is that you are subscribed to a journalistic periodical. Secondly, this works far better if you are subscribed and writing to a LOCAL periodical.

    Letters to the editor should concern in most cases the following things:

    A) An article published by the periodical that failed to present your side of the argument.

    Your side should be ‘tweetable’, as in less than 140 characters.

    Example: “Your article of [date] entitled [headline] fails to mention [my point of view]. [Counterpoint I have] is necessary to remember when discussing this issue. Thank you for covering [issue].”

    B) The periodical failing to cover an issue important to you.

    Example: “On [date], [this issue] happened because of [these people]. This is a problem because [140 character-limited reason]. [Your periodical] should report on this issue.”

    C) You intend to stop subscribing because of the paper’s point of view, advertisers, or lack of response to points A and B.

    See boycotting, below.

    7) Donating regularly to charities and activist groups.

    Ultimately you should budget out some percentage of your income for regular donations. Donations should be to tax-deductible recipients capable of giving you receipts.

    First you should isolate one or two specific causes that you consider to be your special interest (such as civil rights, environmentalism, education, constitutional issues, etc.). Then you should go to charitywatch.org or charitynavigator.org and research organizations that effectively handle those issues. Some amount of your charity budget should be donated to those organizations on a monthly basis.

    Secondly you should have funds set aside for issue du jour donations. A lot happens over the course of a month (or a year :/ ) so you should be prepared for funding drives and last minute requests for funds.

    Some organizations are not well covered by charity ratings, or well known. Some things like Mozilla and Wikipedia are tax-deductible and user-funded. Some, like NPR or your local college radio station, typically do specific drives and spend the rest of the year quiet about their funding. Keep an eye out for those organizations as they typically get forgotten.

    A best practice is to pay attention to what you use and depend on, and ask yourself how it’s monetized: do you pay for it, subscribe to it, does it have advertising, or is it ‘user funded’?

    8) Boycotting and divesting

    This one I’m an expert at but most people do ineffectually.

    Your dollars sway businesses: this is sometimes, semi-cynically, called the ‘dollar vote’. The idea is really simple: put your money into companies and goods you feel are ethical and high quality, take them out of companies and goods that you feel are unethical and low quality.

    The typical problems people have with this are the following:

    A) Consistency:

    once you choose to boycott a good or a business, you have to stick to your guns and ‘go without’ for sometimes a long time. Lots of people don’t like not having things they’re used to having or don’t realize how much they depend on them.

    This is ESPECIALLY difficult in the cases of entire industries, conglomerate corporations, or brands. If you choose to boycott P&G corporation, half of your house consummables will have to be sourced from alternative companies, many of which are lower quality or more expensive or harder to find or any mix thereof. If you choose to #GrabYourWallet and refuse to shop at any place that has Trump branded wares, you can’t shop at Amazon. If you want to ‘boycott oil and coal’ then in addition to throwing solar panels onto your roof you also have to avoid buying plastics. Those boycotts are difficult to uphold personally and pretty much impossible in large enough consumer numbers to make a difference.

    Therefore your boycotts have to be targeted and specific in order to be consistent: P&G products featuring palm oil sourced from slave labor should be specifically boycotted, not P&G as a whole. This requires:

    B) Communication:

    P&G has to be TOLD that they are losing money because of your issue with palm oil. Competitors should be mentioned as source of alternative. Competitors should be told that they’re receiving new brand loyalty because of that issue.

    Furthermore, companies, organizations, and governments can be told to DIVEST from these companies because of issues. You can’t personally boycott oil and gas, but teachers unions can divest oil and gas stocks from their pension plans. And so forth.

    C) Follow-up

    If the company or brand or whatever ceases the activity that you take issue with, you still have to communicate that you’re ending your boycott, not just randomly go back to consuming. They have to see a positive result from their decision to yield.


    I have a great example of this. A local burger chain (one that is city-wide, not interstate) had board member who funded California Proposition 8 in 2008 (an anti-gay marriage measure).

    I loved that local burger chain. I sent them an e-mail with some of my receipts from the store and told them I would not be doing business there again until they removed that member from their board. I told everyone else not to shop there, and why. When invited to go there to eat, I suggested alternatives or didn’t go at all.

    It took a little over a year, but the member was finally removed. I then went, bought a hamburger, e-mailed the receipt with a thank you to the company.

    Last point:

    the weird thing I find about most boycotts is that they usually cover businesses I don’t even like in the first place. The whole Chik-Fil-A thing, for example: I know it’s an argument of ‘taste’, but that fast food chain has always tasted like cardboard and sawdust to me. There was no reason to shop there in the first place, so I couldn’t necessarily ‘boycott’ it. The best I could do is communicate to other people, who seem strangely obsessed with those horrid ‘waffle fries’, to stop shopping there instead.

    How can the majority of Americans boycott Trump hotels? They can’t: the majority of Americans can’t afford to stay in those places anyway. Divestment and political pressure to people who would stay there to refuse is the majority way.

    So before boycotting or stating a boycott, you need to plan out in advance what change you really want instituted and how to target that specific area of business. General boycotts of businesses as a whole typically only affect small businesses and franchises.


    If you don’t or are incapable of doing at least 5 of these 8 things, you lose your right to prelude your opinions with “I’m very politically active / aware.” I mean nobody’s going to stop you or know that you’re full of shit, but after reading this you will know you’re full of shit, somewhere deep inside.

    The problem is that it takes a lot. Civic engagement is a part-time job, and can quickly turn into a full-time one. With the world of lifestyle literature asking you to take up any number of hobbies, activities, and social events, it’s much easier to commit your leisure time to consumer engagement rather than civic engagement.

    But these things needn’t preclude each other. Civic engagement is exactly like lifestyle engagement: get disciplined, plan ahead, practice it so regularly it become habit, and before you know it it’s less a matter of how you’ll find the time to do it and more a matter of finding the next big step for even more engagement.

  • #1523

    Bobo Amerigo

    Emailed my state rep and senator that I was not in favor of Dan Patrick’s bathroom bill for both moral and economic reasons.

    I’ll post their responses when/if I get them.

    • #1526

      mary guercio

      YOu may recall my post about my email to Houston Chronicle reporter, Chris Tomlinson (Chris.tomlinson@chron.com) and call to Chris Wallace, President of the TX Business Association (512.477.6721) supporting their public stands in opposition to Patrick’s bill. It hasn’t slowed Patrick down in his quest to play to the religious right (in his early campaign to unseat Abbott) but maybe it would help if you emailed/called/wrote the Chronicle and/or TBI and affirmed your support for their business opposition.

      I got a very positive phone call from Wallace as a result of my contact.

  • #1543

    Aaron Dow

    The most important thing this week: Senate confirmation hearings

    This is a second dense action list in a row, but I promise you a ton of good news at the end as your reward.

    In yet another unprecidented action, most of djt’s cabinet appointment hearings are stacked together starting Tuesday this week. Some will have hearings without a completed ethics review from the Office of Government Ethics. Even if you don’t think this is evasive and creepy, this schedule will make it hard for the OGE, the press, and the American public to understand who the new cabinet leaders are and assess their conflicts of interest.

    What you can do is put pressure on the senate committees so they know we’re paying attention.Yes, making calls can be stressful, but it’s working. Staffers are telling us they’re hearing from lots of people. Never underestimate the power of your voice.

    Your voice matters

    For each cabinet appointee you feel is unfit to serve, take two specific actions:

    1. Tell the Senate committee chair (Republican) you oppose the nominee.

    2. Tell the Senate ranking member (Democrat) you oppose the nominee.

    3. Optional: Call your own two senators to oppose–especially if you are a Republican.

    Note: Do leave a message if you get voicemail or call after hours/weekend.

    Make the calls

    1. Oppose Housing and Urban Development Secretary appointee, Ben Carson.
    Committee: Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
    Call: Chair Richard Shelby 202-224-5744
    Call: Ranking member Sherrod Brown 202-224-2315 (mb full?)
    Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. I would like him to know I oppose Ben Carson for HUD Secretary. I’m concerned about Carson’s lack of experience and opposition to this department. (source)

    2. Oppose Homeland Security Secretary appointee, Gen. John Kelly.
    Committee: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    Call: Chair Ron Johnson 202-224-5323
    Call: Incoming ranking member Claire McKaskill 202-224-6154
    Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his/her role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. I would like him/her to know I oppose General John Kelly for Secretary of Homeland Security. Not because he is unqualified, but I oppose militarizing the US cabinet. (source source)

    3. Oppose Environmental Protection Agency appointee, Scott Pruitt.
    Committee: Senate Environment and Public Works
    Call: Chair John Barrasso 202-224-6441
    Call: Incoming ranking member Tom Carper 202-224-2441
    Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. I would like him to know I oppose Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator. I’m concerned about his climate denial, anti-EPA lawsuit, and ties to energy industry. (source)

    4. Oppose Energy Secretary appointee, Rick Perry.
    Committee: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
    Call: Chair Lisa Murkowski 202-224-6665
    Call: Ranking member Maria Cantwell 202-224-3441
    Script: I am calling Sen ____ in her role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee. I would like her to know I oppose Rick Perry for Energy Secretary. I’m concerned about his ties to oil, climate denial, and history of opposition to this agency. (source)

    Only three more! You can do it!

    5. Oppose Commerce Secretary appointee, Wilbur Ross.
    Committee: Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
    Call: Chair John Thune 202-224-2321
    Call: Ranking member Bill Nelson 202-224-5274
    Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee. I would like him to know I oppose Wilbur Ross for Commerce Secretary. I’m concerned about his deep financial ties to Russia. (source)

    6. Oppose Defense Secretary nominee, Gen. James Mattis.
    Committee: Senate Armed Services
    Call: Chair John McCain 202-224-2235
    Call: Ranking member Jack Reed 202-224-4642
    Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I would like him to know I oppose General James Mattis for Secretary of Homeland Security. He may be qualified, but we et a dangerous precident when militarizing civilian cabinet posts. (source source)

    7. Oppose CIA Director appointment, Mike Pompeo.
    Committee: Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
    Call: Chair Richard Burr 202-224-3154
    Call: Vice chair Mark Warner 202-224-2023
    Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the chair/vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I would like him to know I oppose Mike Pompeo for CIA director. I’m concerned about someone who supports government surveilance, torture, and religious oppression leading this vital agency. (source)

    Still have time?

    Last week’s email had seven additional cabinet appointees to oppose–some of whom will have a hearing this week. If you haven’t yet called to oppose them, here’s the link to last week’s document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GXAnK7asGwXrN_-5ECfwhOxZvhOL4P_9kSZi0y6ZF5U/

    Good news

    You did it! Here’s your reward: news of actual humans being kind, supporting each other, and standing up for what’s right. We are still a fantastic, diverse country (in case you needed a reminder).

    Some Rockettes choose to sit out on inauguration (story from Rolling Stone)

    Vermont governor pardons 192 non-violent marijuana convictions (story from NYT)

    A&E cancels plans for Escaping the KKK documentary (story from WaPo)

    Obama vaporizes anti-Muslim NSEERS program (story from Vox)

    A bunch of awesome senators introduce legislation blocking discriminatory registries (press release)

    Obama bans drilling in Arctic and Atlantic oceans (story from The Guardian)

    Adorable reaction of bystander to lesbian wedding proposal (from HuffPo)

    Billionnaire donates the last of his fortune to charity (story from NYT)

    This will make you tear up. There are GOOD people in the world. (from newsner)

    TOLD you there was good news!

    Final action

    Please share any or all content in this message today (no attribution needed).

    • #1544

      Aaron Dow

      I’m going to add my own to this, too:

      WHEN you call these people, tell them,

      “Also, I do not want any nominee voted on until they are properly vetted by the Office of Government Ethics. Heads of our government should be accountable to the people, not their business interests.”

    • #1546

      mary guercio

      TX Sen. Cornyn and Cruz are going to hear from me tomorrow on this very point, Aaron. I have already written my call comment. Here it is: “Cabinet nominees should be required to complete financial disclosures to ensure they have no conflict of interest or outstanding tax matters. The Ethics Commission responsible for vetting cabinet nominees must be afforded adequate time to complete thorough background checks before hearings are conducted and allow adequate time for all members of Congress to participate in the process and question nominees.”

      Here’s background information to read before calling. “the leader of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter M. Shaub Jr., said on Friday that “the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me. He said the packed schedule had put “undue pressure” on the office to rush its reviews of the nominees and he knew of no other occasion in the office’s four decades when the Senate had held a confirmation hearing before the review was completed.”

      Many of the nominees are billionaires and have complex financial holdings. More importantly, the right of the minority party to appropriately question nominees absent the opportunity to filibuster, becomes their only opportunity to become informed and represent their constituents.

  • #1565

    Aaron Dow

    If you’re worried about the ACA and / or you’re interested in grassroots activism for healthcare, check out the Physicians for a National Health Program http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-resources .

    Your local mileage may vary. At this point it’s worth checking out where your local chapter is (or if you need a local chapter) and then organizing with them individual, state-level advocacy.

  • #1572

    mary guercio

    I contacted the field offices of Senators Cornyn and Cruz in response to Rabbi Berman’s appeal to ask them to vote no to U.S. actions against the UN Resolution sanctioning Israel for illegal West Bank settlements.

  • #1610

    Aaron Dow

    Jen Hoffman’s list has come out and this week it’s a ‘reprieve’ (by her own words), and thus so sparse I’d rather just sum it up than copy and paste it (for space).

    1) Keep sending this link to people who want activist solutions against Donald Trump:

    Weekly Action Checklist for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of Conscience

    2) Read (or reread) the Indivisible Guide and take an action from it this week


    3) Boycott the inauguration

    Side note: I honestly think the inauguration will have historically high viewership. I don’t know anybody who cared to view inaugurations in the past except a few wonks, but now that viewership is an ‘issue’ and the POTUS is a reality TV star, both frothing fascists wanting to make a social media point and abjectly curious regular citizens will watch, making it, in a word, yuge.

    4) Search Google for your local Women’s March protest and attend


    Sidenote: I will be attending but as media, not marcher.

    5) Take care of yourself

    Jen meant warm thoughts and comfort food.

    I would say this week is a good time for you to do some research on how to stay healthy and start saving money.

    Look into HSAs so that you understand them (for two reasons: as they’re an option for health insurance, and because if they become the main option re: Sen. Ryan’s intent, then you might as well get a good idea of how they work).

    If you’re afraid of losing your insurance soon, set up a yearly physical, dental work, and eye exam so that you can get that out of the way early.

    If you don’t exercise, look into a sort of exercise routine you think you could keep up with and make a plan to stick with it. Same with good diet: just stop drinking sodas (outright) and start thinking about how to substitute less healthy foods you typically eat with something more healthy.

    Normally I’d go into a longer thing about what all to do, but frankly that’s beyond scope. If you have a hard time developing new habits, message me: I’m good at it. If you feel reasonably competent at developing new habits, what I’m saying is take your first steps into a self-care lifestyle, no matter where you’re starting out from.

    And that is all for this week.

    • #1611

      Aaron Dow

      Just a note for people attending the Women’s March protest on Saturday the 21st:


      The same site has further information about digital security if you’re interested:


      The main thing is to encrypt your data, keep your phone locked (except when taking pictures and videos, which in some phones you can do without unlocking), keep your phone in airplane mode, and be aware of your surroundings.

      In case of the phone being seized by police, lawyer up, invoke 5th Amendment to refuse to unlock it, and remind them that they are required to return the phone to you promptly at point of release.

    • #1618


      For those who can’t make it to DC, a list of sister marches:


      And there’s one in Houston! I think I can likely make that one- just a minor bit of schedule juggling.

  • #1613


    As I’ve said, I have more time than $. But I did break into the piggy bank today for this step. In the name of supporting a free press, and good journalism, I just ponied up $99 for a year’s subscription to the Washington Post.

  • #1616


    Our local IndivisibleGroup group only started 6 days ago and we have over 50 members. Tonight Turner Classic Movies is showing several excellent documentaries about the civil rights movement and voter registration in the 1960s. I am amazed at the people’s courage and brave dignity in the face of sometimes-lethal violence by the police and the state. I only pray for such resolve if I should come to such a time and place.

    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by  Archetrix.
  • #1650

    Creigh Gordon

    Some of the best commentary on Trumpism and how we should react comes from people who have lived in, or in the shadow of, authoritarian regimes. Here are three excellent articles by Yascha Mounk, a lecturer in Government at Harvard University. Mounk is now at work on “The People versus Democracy: How the Clash Between Individual Rights and the Popular Will is Undermining Liberal Democracy.”

    “ [W]e shouldn’t fear Putin himself so much as the fact that unprecedented numbers of voters in the United States—and so many other democracies around the world—now long for a Putinesque strongman.”


    Stop underestimating Trump: “If he keeps defying his low expectations, he may end up surprisingly popular.”


    And most importantly, how to preserve liberal democracy: “[Mounk has] shown that citizens have increasingly turned against liberal democracy, especially in the United States. The traditional checks and balances that are supposed to safeguard our rights are at best imperfect bulwarks against a president determined to amass power. In many countries around the world, the consequences are already visible: Illiberal democracy, a system in which the people rule but the rights of unpopular minorities are routinely violated, is on the march.” The author lists specific ways that citizens, the press, the government and military, the judiciary must act, and we must support them.


    • #1666

      Aaron Dow

      Good stuff, Creigh.

    • #1671

      mary guercio

      An article today in the Houston Chronicle spoke about the ongoing global financial gathering in Davos. It pointed out that these elite financiers are dazed at how free markets and globalism are under attack.

      There was little agreement on how to deal with the state of the world regarding populist movements. The best quote came from Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group, a political research firm. His adice? “Elites won’t be able to manage populism until they stop seeing it as a threat and start seeing it as a symptom.”

      Most billionaires confessed that they are scared with populism and how it will continue to expand. The few solutions seemed to center around lowering taxes (whose) and loosening regulations (whose)….Bolstering wages and redistribution are anathema to this group which have reduced the bargaining power of workers and corporations have taken full advantage.

      Makes me believe unions will have to rise again because all of the focus in the Trump administration is to enrich the elite. There has been too much expectation generated in the Trump campaign for there not to be a backlash.

    • #1673

      Creigh Gordon

      One of my favorite quotes, from billionaire Nick Hanauer: “You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.”


      “let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now? I see pitchforks.”


  • #1668

    Aaron Dow

    Sign the Whitehouse petition for Donald Trump to immediately release his tax forms:


    100,000 signatures in 30 days requires a response from the Whitehouse (within 60 days). After we receive some bureaucratese about the tax release, create a petition again and start the process over.

    Sign the Whitehouse petition for Donald Trump to immediately divest or put all assets into a truly blind trust:


    Same thing.

    These petitions aren’t about getting things done. He’ll never let us see his money nor will he separate from it. These petitions are about keeping those alert icons up, on all sides of the issue.

  • #1669

    Aaron Dow

    I also created this one.


    Unless it gets 150 signatures, it will not become publicly visible. So sign and disseminate.

    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by  Aaron Dow.
  • #1674

    Aaron Dow

    Take a look at The Obama Foundation website:

    Your Voice

    Not sure if or how it will be useful, but my hunch is that it’ll create inroads to conversation between newly activated people and those who know their way around a government committee. We’ll see. But for now at least be aware of it.

  • #1682

    Aaron Dow

    Women’s March has 10 actions in 100 days plan:



    Write a postcard to your Senators about what matters most to you – and how you’re going to continue to fight for it in the days, weeks and months ahead. We’re offering printable postcards for you to download.

    You can go it alone, or consider inviting some friends, neighbors and fellow Marchers over for a drink or dinner sometime in the next ten days to talk about your experience and fill out your postcards.”

  • #1684

    Aaron Dow

    What to Do This Week of Jan 22, 2017
    Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience

    There are 21 months to mid-term elections. Let’s get cracking!

    The intention of this weekly document is to make clear suggestions for action backed by well-considered research. If an issue doesn’t affect you, consider whether you would support this issue on behalf of other Americans and act accordingly. Although these topics have been well researched and are intended to be helpful, they are still subject to human error. Please do your own research!

    If you’d like get this checklist weekly, sign up here:

    Weekly Action Checklist for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of Conscience

    I believe I can make a difference.

    Gear up for the next 652 days to the midterm elections.
    Print out this worksheet for the steps below:

    Put your representative’s name, local phone, DC phone, address, and email on the worksheet or your phone. Get them here.

    Put your two senators’ names, local phones, DC phones, addresses, and email addresses there too. Get them here.

    Get a pile of postcards (or sheets of 110lb cardstock to make your own) and 34-cent postcard stamps. Snail mail is the new response to full voice mailboxes.

    Decide on your “Top Three” most-important issues. Focusing on just a few issues will prevent overwhelm. Consider choosing at least one issue that doesn’t affect you personally.

    Have a conversation with yourself and/or beloved others about how you want to give time and/or treasure to your Top Three.

    Set aside time each week to be active. 20-60 minutes is a good range. Add this to your calendar. You might consider doing your actions with others for support and community.

    I believe in a free, quality education for America’s youth.

    Oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos to Secretary of Education ASAP.

    Even if you’ve already called and/or left a message,call again. If you get voicemail, leave a message.
    Call: Senate HELP Committee Chair, Lamar Alexander (R-TN) 202-224-4944
    Call: HELP Committee Ranking Member, Patty Murray (D-WA) 202-224-2621
    Call: Your two senators. (lookup)

    Script: Hi! I am calling to oppose Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. (Really, that’s all you need to say.)

    I believe in equal rights for all Americans.

    Oppose Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions

    Call: Senate Judiciary Committee Chair, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) 202-224-3744
    Call: SJJC Ranking Member, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 202-224-3841

    Call: Your two senators local office
    Script: Hi! I am calling to oppose Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.

    Read the ACLU’s 7-point action plan
    Choose what action you will take based on what you read.

    I believe in integrity and reject corruption.

    Sign the first two petitions on the new White House website:

    Release tax returns: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediately-release-donald-trumps-full-tax-returns-all-information-needed-verify-emoluments-clause-compliance

    Divest: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/divest-or-put-blind-trust-all-presidents-business-and-financial-assets

    I believe in creating a healthy environment for future generations.

    Since the new potus and crew don’t believe the climate crisis is real, we must ask our state governors to uphold Obama’s climate goals.

    Click this link for an easy call with complete script. (Weekly Resistance rocks!)

    I believe in my Constitutional right to free speech.

    Call your governor if you live in Michigan, Washington, Minnesota, North Dakota, or Iowa.

    These five states are proposing legislation that criminalizes peaceful protest. (source)

    Also call your state representative if you live in the states above.

    Share: If you know anyone in the states above, ask them to call.

    Script: I am a constituent calling to oppose new legislation that threatens my constitutional right to peacefully protest.

    I believe in the value of social welfare.

    Protest the potus’ wide-ranging, unamerican budget cuts.
    Full instructions on The 65

    I believe in affordable, accessible healthcare for all Americans.

    Read this thorough, timely action plan to prevent dismantling the ACA.
    Choose what action you will take based on what you read.

    I believe in the power of my voice.

    Get coffee: Ask a few friends to meet up and discuss how you’ll proceed over the next four years. This website offers fantastic step-by-step instructions on how to take meaningful action.
    Send an email to friends.
    Use this guide: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/group-toolkit

    Recommended Reading

    Prepare mentally: The next four years will be rough if you don’t understand how psychological manipulation works. Using precise examples, this article shows you how to avoid falling prey to fear-based mind games. Moyers is a little intense for my taste, but his information stellar.
    Read: http://billmoyers.com/story/the-trump-resistance-plan-step-one/

    ACA Executive Order: This article explains what the potus’ executive order means for the Affordable Care Act, signed the day of the inauguration.
    Read: http://www.vox.com/2017/1/20/14343332/trump-obamacare-executive-order

    Good news

    Fair voting: Gerrymandering took another huge hit in Georgia where a judge found twelve congressional districts to be racially discriminatory and subject to redistricting. (http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/politics/southunionstreet/2017/01/20/12-alabama-legislative-districts-ruled-unconstitutional/96830710/)

    Republican leadership: Once again, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is calling for deeper investigation into Russia’s influence in the American election process. His willingness to speak out is courageous and commendable. (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/01/lindsey-graham-calls-investigating-what-fbi-did-about-russia-trump-intelligence)

    NoDAPL progress: Water Protectors in North Dakota have two pieces of good news. First, out-of-state lawyers may now assist with the glut of arrest cases, and, second, the full environmental DAPL study will proceed. (http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/the-latest-army-tells-judge-pipeline-study-should-proceed/article_8094bc8c-6641-52ff-9cac-515772d2356f.html)

    Stronger together: The Women’s March in DC to protest the new potus was a rousing success. Women and allies marched in more than 500 US cities and more than 70 countries in sister marches. The DC march alone surpassed inauguration attendance.

    Commence Impeachment: The ACLU is taking the first step to analyze potus’ business conflicts of interest as an impeachable offense. Expect calls to action on this in the future. (http://www.teenvogue.com/story/aclu-legal-action-donald-trump-conflicts-of-interest)


    If you’d like to receive this message weekly, sign up here: http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/
    To see archives of past Action Checklists, click here and scroll to the bottom.
    If you’d like to contribute, click here.

    Final action

    If you found this useful, spread the word!

    Tweet: If you’re feeling anxious, you’re not doing enough. Take action! https://goo.gl/JRf2u2

    Facebook: Banish anxiety: Use this awesome checklist to take action and make a positive difference today. https://goo.gl/JRf2u2

    We’re stronger together!

    • #1689

      mary guercio

      Wrote my senators with 3 key issues; mailed letters; will call governor Abbott tomorrow about my support for renewable energy when office open; will call Leaders Alexander and Grassley to protest confirmation of DeVos, Sessions, and will also phone senators with same protest.

      Have signed two WH.gov petitions and also sent a personal message via this website directly to Trump administration.

    • #1690

      Aaron Dow

      I wrote out my postcards and will be sending them tomorrow, but tomorrow I’m also going to write state-level cards. The next day I have a few municipal level cards.

      Also, TIL the White House Comment Line is 202 456-1111.

      I suggest you use it as sparingly as Trump uses his Twitter account.

    • #1694

      mary guercio

      I will add the WH Comment phone line to my speed dial directory (-;

      Thanks, Aaron!

      BTW, just finished a lengthy email to Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle commending her for her great story on the Houston Women’s March and elsewhere in TX (Austin had a big turnout as well). I provided Jennifer Hofmann’s link, that of the Indivisible initiative and the new one being launched by Womens March. I asked if she would consider an article profiling empowerment at the grassroots level for women and political novices. I’ll post if she gets permission to run.

    • #1691

      mary guercio

      In reading the AL re-redistricting case which was remanded upon appeal by the AL black legislative caucus back to the state’s circuit court for remedy, my research showed that it was only a partial success. The initial complaint involved 24 charges of improperly drawn election districts. By SCOTUS ruling, 12 of those were found to be unacceptably gerrymandered on the basis of race. The majority Republican Legislature is in charge of re-drawing these districts and are attempting to finesse racial quotas to avoid wholesale change which would likely result in other districts being re-drawn as well.

      As with all challenges to gerrymandering, the problem lies with getting past the majority legislative control, the judges that the plaintiffs (usually black) have to work through (in this case two of whom are GWB appointees and only one a Carter appointee.) If they get turned down at this juncture which is usually the case, their only recourse is SCOTUS. If SCOTUS has a 5-4 conservative majority, the cases will likely dead end right there and the highly racially gerrymandered districts will not be corrected.

      This is why it is so important to have balance in our judicial system. DJT is poised to be able to appoint almost 130 new justices and these can be lifetime appointments.

  • #1693


    Here’s a simple little activism task anybody can do. I like reading ebooks on my ipad from my little public library system, which doesn’t have as many books as the big Seattle system. I wanted to read Derrick Bell’s book, “Voices From the Bottom of the Well,” but it wasn’t in the collection. So I requested it. In less than 10 days my library acquired it and I’m starting to read it tonight. Wow, it actually works. Who knew?

  • #1696


    Two new websites identify swing districts near you, both local and House, that you can help turn or keep Democratic in 2018 to bolster Democrat’s presence in our states and our House.



    The Sister District website is still under development, but they say they welcome any information on your districts you can provide them.

  • #1712


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