What to do now

As Cheeto Hitler takes the reins of our government, we can expect political conditions to get ugly fast. Next spring is not the time to figure out how you plan to get engaged in politics. This is the time to get organized, while things are quiet and there are still some competent people in charge.

Here are a few steps I’m taking. If you’ll join me on these, particularly in gathering contact information for elected officials, we’ll plan on taking some actions together when the time comes.

Political Contacts

Make a list of your elected officials including office phone numbers. That list should at least include the following:

Mayor
City Councilman
County Commissioner
State Rep
State Senator
Congressman

In the past I’ve volunteered for state and Congressional campaigns, but never once in my life have I called my Congressman about anything. That is going to change. After the Inauguration and the launch of the new Congress we’ll be organizing call campaigns here for certain cross-partisan or trans-partisan issues. This is a chance to make an impact with a 5-minute investment of time.

It is extremely important that this list extend down to city and county levels. We are likely to face issues under the next Administration with implications for schools and law enforcement. Your city councilman doesn’t get a lot of phone calls. One call counts for a lot more at the most local level.

Keep in mind, there is little utility in sending messages to your congressman via email or social media. However, as you go farther down that list social media becomes more important as a pressure point.

Social Media

I decided to trim my social media network. Facebook and Twitter are lousy environments for persuasion, but they are fantastic platforms for organization and activism. I have eliminated a lot of useless people from my Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well as my life, quite frankly. Some people make few contributions beyond distractions and noise. This is a good time to turn down the noise.

Friends on my network who believe stuff that they read on Breitbart are beyond persuasion. They don’t need to hear my positions or arguments; they simply have to be defeated through superior organization, turnout, and advocacy.

With that in mind, consider investing less energy in pointless wrangling with idiots. Find out who stands where and build networks with the right people. On social media, be bold. Be smart. Check your facts and do not apologize.

Consider following this site on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PolOrphans/. I tweet @ChrisALadd.

Donations

Give what you can. Do it aggressively. Big organizations like the Urban League and the Southern Poverty Law Center will need help, but keep an eye on local groups also. Over the past half-decade, we have been building up a stock fund. It’s the pool of money we hope to use to move back to Texas and buy that patch of land I’ve had my eye on. We’re taking a chunk out of that to make a few sizable donations right now. Then we’re setting up repeat donations.

If you have stock, it makes a great donation. Your capital gains are effectively eliminated (with some limits). This makes it possible to give more than if you sold the stock and donated the proceeds. Here’s where our money is going currently:

Our local church
Southern Poverty Law Center
CAIR
Planned Parenthood
Natural Resources Defense Fund

Journalism

The most consistently insightful reporting from the last cycle came from the Washington Post, specifically David Farenthold. We’ve subscribed there, as well as to The Atlantic and the New Yorker. We’re also making donations to Wikipedia and ProPublica.

Other repeat donations will be going to our local public radio and TV.

What have I missed here?

*****

In answer to my own question, here are some things I missed. Credit goes to the lovely Mrs. PoliticalOrphans. This was also mentioned by a commenter, Archetrix. Some very effective boycotts and protests have been organized to target the Trump family businesses and businesses that continue to advertise on Breitbart.

https://grabyourwallet.org/ is posting a list of Trump-owned businesses and the businesses that promote them. The site includes phone numbers and email. Hit em hard and hit em often.

Shannon Coulter helped organize the grabyourwallet effort. You can follow her on Twitter here: @shannoncoulter

You can follow developments in the Brietbart boycott and protests at this Twitter account:@slpng_giants

Social media does have value after all.

100 Comments

    1. Interesting article. It does however miss some very key points.

      The first is that judging from his proposed appointments, Trump does not intend to govern for the people. His appointments of largely cronies and people who are from the big money interests imply that government will continue to be of, for and by the wealthy and oriented largely towards continuation of the redirection of wealth towards the top 0.01, 0.1, and 1 percentiles of the wealth and income distributions.

      Secondly, it appears as if all aspects of the environment will be ignored. That ranges from fossil fuel industry pollution, emissions, rape of public lands to abandoning all efforts to control global warming due to human caused emissions.

      Finally, one of the key aspects of Republicanism is that whenever the party becomes more populist the business interests quickly seize control. Those interests generally pursue short term profit taking. That happened during the Reconstruction Era, when the South was “raped and pillaged”. It also happened during Taft’s administration following T. Roosevelt’s administration. Recall that though Taft was Roosevelt’s chosen successor, Roosevelt felt compelled to run again in 1992, which gave the election to Wilson, who continued the Progressive agenda. The only reason the Republicans became associated with Progressivism during Roosevelt’s administration was the force of his personality and his consequent popularity. The LaFollete period conincided with Roosevelt’s administration.

      In my opinion, the populist aspects of Trumpism, are merely part of the con-job Trump is pulling.

      1. You mean the man who “knows everything”? The man who can do every job better, is smarter than the generals? Evidently he’s now determined…the WSJ doesn’t understand business…..

        I’ll say this for him – he certainly doesn’t lack for ego.

        “http://thehill.com/media/309845-trump-wall-street-journal-doesnt-understand-business

    1. I was not aware of her probable appointment until I read your question.

      Article 1, Section 2, Clause 4 of the US Constitution requires that the vacancy be filled by an election. That means that Inslee will only be calling an election. A special election will probably be held early in 2017, but certainly no later than the next general election in November 2017.

      The Cook PVI for 2013 gives her District (5th) a R+7 rating. I’ve not researched it for more recent years, but there have been no significant changes in Washington to change that. The Cook PVI concurs with my judgement. The 5th is the 2nd most Republican in the state. It generally consists of far Eastern WA and is mainly agricultural. The only significant city is Spokane which has approx 200,000 people. There are no major high-tech industries located there. What industry there is is old line heavy industry, a major USAF base and medical. It is mainly a service city for what is known as the “Inland Empire”, an agricultural, timber and mining area.

      Mary, I can say that there might be a possibility of a more moderate Republican being elected. There has been some dissatisfaction with her far right approach and lack of constituent service. Her positions have often been more conservative than the general consensus in her District.

      Other, than that I can offer little hope. Sorry.

      1. Hey, I’ll take “moderate” over far right anyday (that I can’t get a Dem instead)! Thanks for your digging. I was under the impression that the Gov could appoint a replacement when there was a resignation…guess I was wrong about that.

  1. Re the bill that has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Sam Johnson of TX on Social Security benefits – IThis Mother Jones article offers the entire bill. Those who are approaching SS eligibility are forewarned as should older siblings and parents who will be affected. I need to spend more time studying the details, but it’s clear that both incoming and current SS recipients will be affected simultaneously with increased shifting of health care costs from the repeal of ACA and the changes being proposed to Medicare and Medicaid. Net income is going to be squeezed. Gone is any consideration of increasing the cap on taxes of earned income in favor of cuts. Of course the selling point will be: “These changes are being made to extend the life of these safety net programs, all the while that the most wealthy in America will enjoy the largest tax cuts ever from a myriad of changes being proposed by the GOP… Since individual tax reform is not slated for the 2016 GOP agenda, we don’t know what additional surprises are in store for us.

    Input from anyone with accounting background would be helpful for a more detailed assessment.

    Aaron posted this alert earlier, but this is the first source that has included the actual bill language. Evidently the GOP is so emboldened that they are going to go for broke on their entire entitlement agenda, not just cuts to Medicare/Medicaid and repeal of ACA. Of course, it could also be a “smokescreen” to divert attention away from the ACA and Medicare cuts, or simply a means of putting it out there to see what the opponents attack points will be. Having zero trust in the integrity of the GOP when they start talking about tax and entitlement reform, I will follow this as closely as I can and post new articles as they appear. Please join me in that surveillance effort.

    http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2016/12/republicans-want-to-cut-social-security

    1. Turns out Sam Johnson doesn’t accept email from citizens outside his district.

      Very arrogant, that.

      He can propose a change to the one financial stability in the lives of many people outside his district, but he won’t accept email from them.

      The words I’m thinking right now to describe him are all scatological…

      1. That is the case with most of our elected brethren in TX, Bobo. They do, however, have offices with phones. Given ’em an earful. Before you call, make a written, concise list of your main objections and ask that they write them down and provide your name and contact information. Also make sure you let your US representative know you have called him as they get to vote on this bill.
        US Representative Sam Johnson
        PLANO, TEXAS OFFICE
        1255 W. 15th Street
        Suite 170
        Plano, Texas 75075
        Phone: 469-304-0382
        Fax: 469-304-0392

        One good piece of news – Johnson is almost 86 years old. He can’t live forever. (Thus, his social security benefits are likely to never change, but I digress.) In this op ed from the Dallas News, Johnson talks about “saving social security” noting it “can’t be saved through raising taxes…(like raising the tax cap on earnings…that kind of raising taxes?). For your reading edification…

        http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2016/12/09/can-fix-social-security-without-raising-taxes

  2. Here we go… a way to assuage your white guilt as well support a cause dear to your hearts. Note that you may check off some Trump supporters on your Christmas list by sending them a Revenge Safety Pin Box.

    https://www.safetypinbox.com/

    “Safety Pin Box is a monthly subscription box for white people striving to be allies in the fight for Black Liberation. Box memberships are a way to not only financially support Black femme freedom fighters, but also complete measurable tasks in the fight against white supremacy.”

  3. Interesting article on automation and the future of work.

    https://medium.com/@Inside/amazon-go-special-edition-fe22cdc8ae7#.rxoyzrhsh

    “A 2013 study found that 47% of American workers had jobs considered a “high risk” for potential automation…Members of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee heard testimony on the subject back in June (and concluded that it’s too soon to tell what kind of impact robotics will have on the job market).”

    Can we agree that Members of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee are the most useless people in the world??

    1. The Amazon-Go promo is pretty slick……Wonder what happens if the wifi signal goes down? I use self-check out whenever I can…but there are still lots of times when things go wrong and an attendant has to intervene…guess that will be a “bot” too …. pre-programmed of course….

      Truly, it appears that it may not be that far off when humans will not be essential. The only good thing about that is that conservatives may finally have to accept birth control for the masses (-;

    2. Quite a few who would challenge for that particular distinction, but they’re certainly up there. Regardless, Amazon certainly seems to be one of the leading lights in terms of automation and robotics: flying delivery drones; Amazon-Go (which, needless to say, doesn’t take much imagination to realize that that model can apply to far more than just food); self-driving trucks, etc.

      Public opinion is slowly shifting on proposals like a UBI, but we’ve got to pick up the pace. We’re short on time here.

  4. I believe it was regular commenter Tuttabelamia who said we should be respectful of our political adversaries and use their real names, and I generally agree with that and try to comply. But I’m going to have a hard time resisting “Generallissimo Putinstooge,” which I saw in another comment section.

    1. Bobo, I agree in general with your comments below about the media and Mrs. Clinton but not that she lost because she was so qualified per se but that the media asssumed Mr. Trump was so bad that he would lose. Clinton coverage might have been negative but not as negative as Trump coverage. The difference was that he had more coverage, period. And the bar was so much lower for him that as long as he kept his cool during a debate it was considered a success, while she had to have a command of the issues. The media simply assumed Mrs. Clinton would win. Even Mr. Trump himself was suprised. I came across a stack of back magazine issues here at home and the covers and headlines overall favor a win by Mrs. Clinton.

      And yes, I think this topic merits continued and future discussion because the media was unintentionally responsible in great part for Mr. Trump’s election and must be held accountable.

      Also, I hope this new, activist-oriented blog doesn’t cease being a forum for ideas.

      1. Tutt, charts in the report I linked indicate you are right about the amount of coverage each candidate had. Week by week, DT had more coverage, negative and positive.

        Personally, I think there’s more to this election than just the words in stories by the press.

        For years on television, DT communicated visually with readily recognized symbols of power like a throne-like seat in a corporate boardroom. He had the power to fire people. He didn’t have to use words to express his power.

        Maybe if I were feeling distinctly unpowerful, voting for him would be a reasonable crap shoot. No words required.

      2. What was extremely important in terms of public exposure were the constant WIKI leaks about Clinton. The charts don’t reflect the fake news plants that the Trump campaign paid to install on FB and other digital sites. (I posted a link about how the campaign used several million dollars in this manner rather than on tv advertising to discredit Clinton with lies to her base and energize Trump alt-right to vote.

        It worked, but you won’t find these stats in the traditional charts.

      3. Media hung on to every word, attended every event, and gave Trump a pass on his many transgressions, insulting attacks (do you remember the ugly things he said at the GOP debates?), the lies, his arrogant dismissal of making his tax returns public in an historic break with tradition, and so much more.

        Media did report those sleazy events because they were headline grabbers, but they did not hold Trump to the same standard(s) they did Clinton. We will simply have to disagree with that.

        I have stated that at this point, it really doesn’t matter. What matters more to me is that when the media did tell the truth about DJT, it didn’t matter to his base. Religious rightists didn’t care about his adultery and multiple marriages and foul mouth and vindictiveness, nor his attack on minorites. Capitalists didn’t care about his multiple bankruptcies and shady business operations. Working people didn’t press him on how he would deliver on the over the top promises he made. And, so much more. That is the real tragedy of this election, that and having a man of his shallow intellectual interests and patent self-serving as president.

        I am trying to move on but there is no way I am going to forget the history of this campaign – its ugliness and its hurt – and the fact that Russia directly participated in illegal hacking and release of Clinton and DNC emails to deliberately assist the Trump campaign. These things remain with me even as I understand the election is over. My disgust at Trump as a man and my deep concern(s) for our country under his “reign” and the agenda of the GOP are what are keeping me up at night.

        I’m proud that many here are committed to doing what they can to hold this president, his appointees, and the Republican Party accountable. I’m all in.

    2. Bobo, this story makes me cringe. It affirms all the ugly stories one hears about how capitalism profits at the expense of the “expendables”. I don’t think anyone believes that making profits is not laudable, but profiting in the manner described here is obscene.

      The “carried interest loophole” has long been an area of interest for me. It is wrong but it never seems to be a real target for tax reformers. Paul Ryan has stated that any consideration of carried interest reform is off the table for this year’s corporate tax reform push. Why? It deals with individuals, not corporations….It’s turn will come in 2017, per Ryan. Given the amount of money at stake in operations like Hostess, that will be an interesting process to watch evolve.

      The linkage between these private ventures and pension funds is scary…What is especially sad is that pensions earned by laid off/retired Hostess employees are not protected. That, in my view, is wrong.

      Meanwhile, automation continues. The uber wealthy become even more wealthy. Assembly line jobs disappear….. Hearing the Hostess story encourages me to boycott their products… (Sorry TX teachers)….guess it’s Miss Debbie from here on for me (-; since this is a privately held company..

      http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/tax-practice/carried-interest-tax-change-off-table-until-2017-ryan-says-74657-1.html?bcpg=2

  5. FYI:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/gop-introduces-plan-to-massively-cut-social-security-222200857.html

    “On Thursday, Rep. Sam Johnson, a Republican from Texas and chair of the Ways and Means Committee, introduced legislation to significantly cut Social Security.

    The bill introduced by Johnson, who is also the chair of the Social Security subcommittee, slashes benefits, adds means testing, and would raise the retirement age from 67 to 69.

    For most workers, the bill would cut Social Security benefits substantially. As Michael Linden, associate director for tax and budget policy at Center for American Progress, pointed out on Twitter, a letter from Social Security’s Office of the Actuary calculated workers making around $50,000 would see checks shrink by between 11% and 35%. “

    1. SS bill – a “red herring”? Everything I’ve read up to now has indicated that the GOP legislative plan would leave SS untouched in this initial year of their majority, preferring to focus on tax reform and repeal/delay of the ACA. Trump, of course, wants to take a page out of Obama’s playbook and institute a massive infrastructure effort. His plan would enable private investors to fund the infrastructure costs rather than have government pay for it. This raises an interesting scenario: who would do the work for the least cost and with the best work? Government or for profit companies? And, what areas would likely be most attractive to for profit involvement? Major roads through wealthy areas – they can afford tolls…..Who loses? Schools, aging water/sewer systems, local transit….

  6. Update on my corporate activism: Today I got a personal phone call from an exec at Chevrolet assuring me that an ad of theirs that appeared on Breitbart was placed there without their knowlege and will be removed. A quick glance at Breitbart shows their ad content has been reduced to a few grifter sites. Mostly it is emptier than Paul Ryan’s ethics. In order to insure that no legitimate corporate advertisers will ever again appear on their site, Breitbart itself is running a campaign to boycott Kelloggs, thereby proving that sometimes the devil does God’s own work.

  7. This report on campaign media coverage was compiled by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy in conjunction with Media Tenor this month.

    Snippets:

    The press’ bias is toward negativity.

    “Although the nation’s economy has steadily improved since the financial crisis of 2008, one would not know that from the tone of news coverage. Since 2010, news stories about the nation’s economy have been 2-to-1negative over positive.”

    “Both nominees delivered speech after speech on the campaign trail but journalists followed his speeches more intently. Trump met journalists’ story needs as no other presidential nominee in modern times. ”

    http://shorensteincenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016-General-Election-News-Coverage.pdf

    1. Yep, as the Vox article (Archetrix) pointed out, there were many factors in how this election turned out. In addition to paying more attention to Trump’s comments, he was given cheap access for his media coverage AND media – especially video media – failed time after time to ask tough questions and follow up on weasily answers. It’s like Trump stating he has sold all his stock holdings. How would anyone know this is true? Taking Trump at his word? Really?

    2. Many noticed that the coverage of Clinton was overwhelmingly negative. That was obvious during the primaries. Likewise though the press coverage of Trump was not necessarily positive, he did manage to dominate the coverage. That was actually commented upon in the GOP Lifer Blog.

      I feel that this difference in coverage was attributable to several reasons as listed below:
      1. The conservative media has long demagogued on the leftward bias of the media. While it may be true that the individual reporters tend to be more liberal, that demagoguery combined with the fairness doctrine has led the press to operate with the philosophy that for every story someone needs to be quoted with an opposite outlook. For example, if a politician was to say that the sun rises in the East, the press would then have to find someone to say that No, the sun actually rises in the West. That has led to gross misperceptions among much of the populace and a general lack of trust. Global warming largely due to human caused emissions is a good example of that.

      2. Trump’s criticism of the press and his tendency to blacklist certain reporters and their organizations, had the tendency to intimidate the media organizations. He of course did that deliberately, even though I believe it is an innate part of his character. He is an innate bully and that in turn intimidates people.

      3. Much of the press actually disliked Hillary Clinton. That probably dates to the negative coverage of the Clintons while they were in the White House. To protect her privacy she has adopted an attitude of aloofness and reserve. During much of the primary campaign the press had to use a separate plane from hers and oftentimes restricted their access, during rallies and other events. That of course was not appreciated by the press.

      4. Though Trump was actually worse regarding his treatment of the press, he was able to get away with that because of the factors mentioned in 1 & 2, above.

      5. Trump’s behavior was so outrageous and his Tweets in particular were so ridiculous that he was very easy to cover. He was able to dominate the news cycles. And of course much of the press behaves like pack animals. If one covers a story then they all do so. That is because of the need to generate viewership and there is also the factor of laziness.

      6. Then of course there were the two big Kahunas – Benghazi and the Email Server. Both stories were easy for the Republicans to spin and make for negative coverage. They maximized the potential for negative coverage and for prolonging the coverage. I cannot blame the press for negative coverage on those, but I can blame the press for not keeping the coverage balanced, probably due to the factors mentioned above.

      7. Though there were and continue to be many things in Trump’s background and behavior that bear greater coverage that would be negative, that does not occur. Partly due to the factors discussed above and also because many of his followers do not care. As he stated during the campaign, he could almost literally get away with anything. That was obvious in the video regarding his sexual proclivities during the campaign.

      8. Finally, as Mark Twain stated “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

      1. Profile photo of DS DS

        I would add the natural tendency of the press to want a horse race. I suspect the widespread assumption that Trump couldn’t possibly win, in combination with the polls, lead a number of journalists and news organizations to focus on stories that would could be ‘game changers.’ Well, guess what…

      2. I hate to write this, but Bobo may have a point regarding Clinton’s qualifications. That combined with the other issues mentioned in this thread, may have made the press think that she is obviously a shoo-in, so they could write as they pleased. This just shows out how unprofessional and I hate to say it, “incompetent”, much of the press has become.

      3. As much as it pains me to say this, even though Hillary Clinton was and is the better person and candidate for POTUS, she was guilty of not selling her own plans. Instead, she focused on making sure all Americans knew how despicable a person DJ Trump was/is. It didn’t sell and those who might have been swayed by a more cogent plan from her didn’t hear it.

        I think we need to move on. The election is over and Trump is president-elect. The issue before us now is how to deal with the turmoil he (and mostly) the GOP plan to unleash on our nation. Frankly, as sad as I am for how things turned out, there is nothing more to do except organize to oppose changes that are certain.

        At this juncture, to paraphrase HRC, “at this point, it really doesn’t matter.”

    3. I also think many journalists overcompensate for bias charges from the right.

      But I also think when they do that, other aspects of journalism do not get discussed. Like the questions who, what, when, where, how and why that journalist try to answer for every story.

      Silly me, but I think if readers were aware of these questions it might be easier to tell fake news from real news.

      1. The media obsession with covering Trump’s every move/tweet/appointment is grating. The man is newsworthy but he isn’t POTUS yet! For a group that has been as maligned by Trump as the media have, why doesn’t management of these businesses exert a “check” on coverage? Do they have to cover every person who goes up the elevator? Surely, there could be some practical restraint on what constitutes news vs entertainment.

      2. Profile photo of DS DS

        Unfortunately, it seems to me that most news has become simple infotainment. Regardless of how absolutely meaningless a story is, it is now news if it can get views. If this election demonstrated anything, it’s that every minute Trump spends on TV seems to be a victory for him.

      3. Why isn’t there more preparation to cover ACA repeal plans? There is a great deal of information out there about how significant this repeal will affect ordinary American people. Why can’t the media pre-empt the GOP legislative push by doing a massive, coordinated blitz across many media forums – tv, print, radio – on how the repeal will impact people’s health?

        Take this article from Kaiser (and there are so many others). It states that 30% of Americans have health conditions that are considered pre-existing conditions. We know Rep. Price’s plan requires continuous coverage to qualify people for the new private insurance. The media needs to organize, not just Political Orphans. This is huge and this change will affect millions of people – old, young, disabled.

        And, this is just one area of change that is being proposed. But it is huge. If we want media to help, they have to focus just like we do. They have the mike and the page to get information out that we don’t. Do they have the will?

        http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/12/09/preexisting-conditions-and-republican-plans-to-replace-obamacare/?emailToken=JRrzdvF4Z3uVhtQzacwW8BgXROxWVb7UFw==&utm_campaign=2016-Drew-WSJ-Dec-9-Prex-conditions&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=3903863

  8. Profile photo of EJ EJ

    I’m giving money.

    Is there anything else that we foreigners can do? I plan to contact my representatives in both my country of residence and my home country, to ask them to put diplomatic pressure on America’s new government, but I doubt that will have much effect.

    1. Good for you, EJ. I don’t know if you subscribe to The Guardian, but that journal is staying on top of the American political scene and holds nothing back. Support their efforts to keep the Trump/GOP machine in their reporting.

      There are American corporations who have a major presence in the UK. Would contacts with any of these be worth your efforts? I realize that people who are employed in positions that are politically vulnerable may not be able to be as vocal as those who are either retired or independently employed, but collectively, we can all keep the pressure on by raising our voices. Each of us has to decide how best to do that.

      For me, one thing I have to be very careful about is in how I allocate my time. I read so many journals and newspapers that I don’t want to strip valuable, scarce minutes away from activism…there is only so much time in the day, after all, and I am but one person.

      Thank you for your voice of reason in your commentary and for caring about freedom and equality always.

    1. You are so right, Bobo. Especially in TX where judges are so active outside the courtroom. Great suggestion.

      Thought I’d post a few links of interesting reading from this morning’s purview. Note – There are push-back efforts brewing. Support as you can, as with small numbers, it is essential to be selective to be effective. For those for whom health care issues are important, I suggest you follow Kaiserhealthnews.org. They are on top of what’s happening in America’s health care generally and are a super source for health news.

      http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/12/09/us/politics/ap-us-health-overhaul-pushing-back.html?

      http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/12/obamacare-repeal-doomed-pre-existing-conditions

      http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/obamacare-repeal-tax-cut-wealthy-232379?

      http://khn.org/news/many-parents-with-job-based-coverage-still-turn-to-medicaid-chip-to-insure-kids/?

      1. Here’s another article that deals with women’s problems in obtaining long-lasting birth control devices. God – do these women vote!?????!!!

        For every action that targets a specific group, there needs to be an outreach to people who are affected. Talk to them about the imperative of voting!! Don’t assume they understand the direct relationship between what is happening to them and their decision to vote/not vote. 46 million eligible voters didn’t vote in this election. Their decision not only affects their lives (duh) but our lives. This election was decided by a total of only 80K votes in 3 swing states. Help people understand how important each vote is by telling them how few votes it took to change their lives – 80K out of 52 million votes cast. They have to understand the relationship between their vote and the changes that will happen because we are not going to be able to change the minds of Republicans, 90% of whom voted in lock step for a party and a candidate that are going to make radical changes in our lives – and theirs. Don’t worry about changing the minds of people who are inspired by rally performances and local visits. People vote out of self interest. Let’s do more than hope they will vote in ’18 – let’s identify them, inform them, encourage them to vote for changes that will affect their lives – not just ours. Got a friend who will lose health insurance? Talk to them. Explain what’s happening. Make sure that people you know connect the dots between voting and outcome and that they hold the right party responsible. This requires that each of us be informed so that when we have an opportunity to educate other people, we do so on the basis of information that is correct and understandable to them. Change what you can. If your family are rock-solid Republicans – leave them alone and focus on other people. Get to know your neighbors and build trust with them. Maybe one day they will need your counsel, and then you can help them understand what they can do to impact their world.

        End. Rant.

        https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2016/12/07/low-maintenance-birth-control-gaining-popularity-but-barriers-remain/?

  9. Just a reminder of where we’re currently at, before these actions have started. This is reposted from a friend:

    “It’s been a whirlwind, so let’s just do a quick checklist.
    (I’ve tried to be accurate, but I’m also going kind of quick and off the top of my head. I’m happy to make corrections + additions and perhaps expand and cite it all eventually)
    [In no particular order, cause it’s all f-ed]:

    -EPA: Gutted. To be helmed by a man who is a Climate-Change denier and once sured the EPA for trying to protect the environment.

    -Federal Lands: Gutted. To be opened for drilling/fracking/private enterprise.

    -Abortion Rights: Gutted. Gone as soon a they can. Ohio just passed a bill that bans abortions past a month and a half and Texas now requires burials or cremations for fetuses.

    -Gay Rights: Gone as soon as they can. The VP used to write gay conversion therapy propaganda.

    -Housing and Urban Development: to be helmed by a man with experience in neither – this amidst a massive surge of urban displacement and gentrification.

    -Voter Protections: expect continued/increased escalation of the restrictive measures already advanced since the lifting of the Voter Protection Act.

    -Dept. of Energy: Massive doubling-down on non-sustainable oil
    infrastructure – likely to be helmed by a woman who has said she would do away with the Dept. of Energy if put in charge of the Dept. of Energy.

    -Education: Gutted. To be helmed by someone who has been trying to systematically leech funds from public schools for decades.

    -Freedom of press: Wants to expand libel laws, bar press that doesn’t agree with, and has a top advisor who has systematically delegitimized the very notion of the press.

    -Freedom of religion: has doubled-down on the Muslim registry promise.

    -Immigration: Not good, but no coherent plan. Certainly incredibly hostile to immigrants and so-called “illegals”.

    -Health Care: Wants to repeal ACA and is making motions on Medicare.

    -International Diplomacy: Knows little to nothing about it and can’t be bothered to care. Took a call from Taiwan already causing a stir and has had his family (who will be running his business) sitting in on diplomatic meetings.

    -Conflicts of Interest: Putting his business dealings in a “blind trust” to be helmed by his children – which isn’t at all a blind trust.

    -Trade: Who the hell knows – at odds with RNC towline, but probably whatever best serves his personal business interests.*

    -Supreme Court Vacancy: to be put up by a pool or religious fundamentalists that do not support women, gays, or non-Christian religious rights.

    -Livable Wage: Smashed. Dept. of Labor to be helmed by a Fast Food Billionaire who doesn’t support a higher minimum wage (like, at all) and is opposed to the Overtime expansion.

    None of this is even getting into his manifestly unqualified personality, lack of experience, corruption, misogyny, pandering to white nationalism, neo-nazis, xenophobia, racism, general despicableness, stupidity, pettiness, erratic and unpredictable behavior, lying, dishonesty, bullshittery…

    People are less safe as a direct result of the emboldening or a reactionary right and a misogynistic white-nationalism. People have been and will continue to be attacked and antagonized for being: black, brown, women, queen, trans, muslim, different, assumed to be a, “Hillary Supporter”, a vocal opponent, or just the owner of a business that happens to be the backdrop to an insane conspiracy theory…

    WE. DO. NOT. HAVE. TO. ACCEPT. THIS.
    WE. CANNOT. ACCEPT. THIS.

    In some ways, it maybe had to come to this. This reactionary tide has to be squashed. It can’t merely be kicked aside and left to brood. It requires that we come out, stand up, come together, and stomp it into oblivion, make it realize that it is far too vile to take hold here today. It’s bleak. And it’s going to be bad. America may well be in it’s death knells here, but we are not. We’re all still here, and we are going to have to keep living through this. And WE. DO. NOT. ACCEPT. THIS.

    Nationwide demonstrations in our State’s capitals on December 19.”

    * I kept my friend’s writing as is, even parts I would normally change, but the ONE change I have to write is:

    Trade: Gutted. Replaced by inflationary measures with increased deficit spending, with more inflation from tariffs potentially igniting MOAR inflation with trade wars, corporate welfare on the back of taxpayers whose spending and earnings will be depressed due to inflation anyway and whose paychecks will probably not be increased except in select industries and businesses who decide to take a stand individually.

    1. Your friend’s list is on the money, to which I’d add (off the top of my head):

      * Regulations – gut the CFPB and free Wall St and bankers from oversight
      * women’s health – further reduce women’s access to contraception (types/insurance coverage) Note: The most effective contraception for women are implanted. If you go to the TX women’s services website, they refer to them but the link to how to obtain them is gone…IOW, forgedaboutit ladies.
      * transfer medicaid funding/control to states via block grants
      * children with special needs – foster care, special ed – funding cuts in public ed
      * federal lands – expect more to be sold to highest private bidder
      * Taxes – lower corporate tax rates while retaining corporate loopholes
      * Federal Reserve – WHAT Federal Reserve?
      * Packing District and Appellate courts (appx 150+ vacancies exist) with hard right conservatives
      * Unemployment, workmen’s comp, disability coverage – major cuts
      * Hiring – Trump has promised to freeze federal hiring…we’ll see….more privatization through temp hiring to avoid benefits?

      An area that is going to be interesting to watch Trump deal with are unions. He’s on tricky ground with this sector – So far he’s been petulant and threatening but he has to be careful not to step over the line here. Other unions – federal, postal, aviation – may not fare so well

    1. The President is in an influential position. It is unusual for the party to choose a chairperson who their President doesn’t like. That’s one of the reasons I was working so hard for John McCain a decade ago. The prospect of him getting to influence the senior leadership of the party was very exciting.

  10. Chris,

    You state “Keep in mind, there is little utility in sending messages to your congressman via email …..”. That is particularly true of those that are part of an organized email campaign or even quick emails dashed off without much thought. Those are extremely obvious and tend to be ignored. However, if one takes the time to actually write a courteous well thought out email, that is to the point and states one’s views, the message is generally actually read and noted. In most cases, the staff actually replies. The reply may be a canned reply, but the message has been noted. I have sent numerous emails to my congress people and generally get replies.

    With my particular congress people, they will almost always vote in line with my thinking. My senators are Senators Murray and Cantwell and my current representative is Rep. Jim McDermott. He will be replaced by Pramela Jayapal in January. All are liberal Democrats and place considerable importance on constituent contact. Even so I not infrequently send an email to thank them for particular votes or to thank them for their efforts..

    As a matter of fact, sending snail mail is discouraged by Congress. This is due to the Anthrax scares following 9-11. The mail is now sent to a special sorting facility and is thoroughly screened prior to delivery to the Congressperson’s office. Accordingly, there is a significant delay and additional effort involved in handling snail mail.

  11. In addition to being prepared politically, be prepared mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially.

    Stop eating garbage and pickling your internal organs with alcohol. Save money and buy less crap. Diversify your finances if possible, so that you aren’t all-in with any one aspect of wealth that can be lost/taken away suddenly.

    And be sure to get out and talk to your neighbors. Even if they had Trump yard signs, or don’t mow their lawns enough. Don’t just be the person next door – be a face and a name.

      1. It doesn’t surprise me. Life expectancy follows/mirrors economic security, and we see that the last 35+ years of neoliberal economics that inherently favors the already-rich has brought with it increased drug use. Alcohol, of course, being one of the worst drugs that you can use, although it’s good and legal, so people compartmentalize it out of the category of drugs.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prohibitionist and I myself drink occasionally, but alcohol/drug usage allows people to get what they can’t find elsewhere in their lives – contentment with now.

        Without ranting about alcohol, health issues in general (mental, physical, emotional) are a massive hindrance on working externally on a better world, when you have trouble breathing, moving, and thinking. The next 4 years are going to be very draining on all aspects of health.

        Get healthy. Get involved locally with your neighbors. Becoming more healthy and encouraging others around you to be more healthy and involved is a political act that increases the ability to act politically in other areas. Otherwise, you and your neighbors are bogged down just trying to stay alive and fully functional to stay indoors and fed.

      2. Right now, I believe many here – myself included – are still adjusting to the election. This action platform Chris is launching will be cathartic as well as constructive…..give us a positive, helpful way to make a difference as individuals.

        We can all work on being more healthy – in all respects. Good advice.

  12. I just started a Facebook group and linked this article to it. I am charging my friends and family with committing to doing three actionable things by the end of this year. Those in the group who are local are going to come to my house for a little reception where we all pledge to do what we can. Of course I’ll make it easy for them by having information at the ready.

      1. I plan to leave TX when I can. It may be feet first but I hope to spend the remainder of my life in a state that has more respect for women and diversity than I have witnessed in TX over the 17 years we’ve lived here. Things are not getting better; they are getting worse, and the majority here seem just fine with this. I’m not. Frankly, anyone who values equality should look elsewhere – especially if they are female.

      2. More resources:

        “5 Ways to be a Silent Trump Protestor”: https://medium.com/@patti.mulligan/5-ways-to-be-a-silent-trump-protestor-71a549113119#.ggryjs5wg

        The new information NOT included in previous discussions on this website here is:

        “3. Sign Up To Do What You Can

        There are many action-oriented sites that have sprung up in the last few weeks. Here are several that I’ve signed up on:

        The Donald J. Trump Resistance by Shaun King — Join the Resistance
        FightTrump.co — Civic Action and Education, Made Simple
        Holy Fuck The Election — First things first, are you okay?
        Wall-Of-Us — Subscribe to Get 4 Concrete Actions/Week
        What Do I Do About Trump? — Trump has said some scary stuff. Use these resources to help all people be prepared.”

        (links available in article)

        I’m going to cross-post this in the ‘What are we doing about it’ thread as this blog post will eventually be buried.

      3. Your children may stay put where they were raised. That is a very strong pull and gets stronger after the grandchildren come. My wife wanted to go home to her home state of Georgia after I retired but changed her mind when it became apparent that the children and grandchildren were not following that lead.

      4. Our children and grandchildren are scattered which is becoming more the norm than the exception, Stephen. As for myself, health and finances permitting, I hope to re-locate in an area that is more inclusive and progressive…Kids can visit. Family dynamics are changing with mobility and workplace requirements. If life expectancy improves (see above post that this year for the first time in 20 years, life expectancy went down, not up), choices of retirement will likely be broader. If the trend is downwards….Many seniors choose to live apart from children but sooner or later, health needs will dictate choices more than any other factor. It’s another one of those “facts of life”.

      1. Tutt, I love your puns! A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

        I also wish you and the rest here happy holidays and a Feliz Navidad for inclusivity’s sake. (Please give Cap, my fellow Baptist, a Merry Christmas greeting.) 🙂

  13. Chris,

    I’d like to suggest the addition of some items to your journalism list:
    1. New York Times – sometimes it is problematical, but the analyses is generally good.
    2. Harpers Magazine – There has been some insightful reporting there recently.
    3. The Economist – It gives a different perspective on US Politics and does a good job of covering international news.
    4. Foreign Affairs – The coverage of foreign policy and international trends is quite good. I realize that the focus of this community is on domestic affairs, but foreign issues have a nasty way of upsetting the “apple cart”. For example, I expect that early in 2017 there will be an international incident involving China. IMO, Trump’s conversation with Taiwan’s leader almost certainly guarantees that China will provoke an incident to test Trump and let him know that there are other players on stage. That happened in 2001 when Bush 43 became President. That was the Hainan Island Incident. Also in general, I think that international affairs will become increasingly important with both China and Russia flexing their muscles.

    I had given up on the Washington Post, but under Jeff Bezos it seems to be improving. I do not like some of his policies and as an employer Amazon is rather stressful and difficult. It does not contribute much to the civic life in Seattle. But still the WP seems to be better than prior to his takeover.

  14. Looks great, Chris. I’ll start working on my list today so that when the call to action comes, I’ll be ready. I already support SPLC, PP, NPR/PBS, and the ACLU (you didn’t mention that one (-;) and subscribe to The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Atlantic, WaPo, NYT, Houston Chronicle. In addition to these subscriptions, online sources I regularly track: the New Republic, Politico, and TPM, Rolling Stones and Slate. I wish I could read all in full but focus mostly on the political stories unless there is a business article that interests me.

    I think the actions that Archetrix, Unarmed, and others have suggested – calling corporations (done that in past – need to do more) and specifically commenting on ads, etcs. I’ve done some of that in protest to ALEC membership and that was effective.

    I think we are all going to have to step outside our comfort zones for a while. There are so few of us and the challenge is so large that it will require discipline and united, concerted, focused efforts to make a difference. Phone calls matter. They are logged by staff. Try to get the name of the head staffer for your congressman/senator for greatest input. I write letters to the editor when I am either inspired or so insulted I can’t stand staying silent. Beyond this, I take every opportunity to stand up for the values I believe in with people who will listen…not bothering with the others as they can’t be changed.

    Maybe we need a deadline to consider working towards for completion of this contact list to motivate us in this busy holiday season. I work better with deadlines, possibly others do as well. I rarely post or check FB or tweet but I can learn if it will help.

    As a note of inspiration, here’s a positive article from the Houston Chronicle business columnist who went right at LT Gov Patrick for his bigoted legislation being paraded as safety for women in bathrooms. I intend to write a letter to editor, an email to Chris Tomlinson thanking him for his stand, and contact my local TX representatives on the issue of transgender bathroom legislation. I love how Tomlinson flat out called Patrick a bigot. Journalists need affirmation when they go out on a limb on principle.

    Please join me in thanking him. chris.tomlinson@chron.com; twitter.com/cltomlinson.

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/columnists/tomlinson/article/Business-leaders-to-battle-bigots-in-Austin-10777901.php?cmpid=gsa-chron-result

    1. Note that Tomlinson is giving credit to the Texas Association of Business for leading the way and standing up to Lt Gov Patrick. They deserve a call or note of thanks for their courage as well.

      Chris Wallace, President
      Texas Association of Business,
      1209 Nueces St
      Austin, TX 78701

      512.477.6721

      I had to leave a message as he was out. Basically what I said was this: Gave my name, city, phone number, and thanked him for his leadership on opposing the legislation proposed by LT Gov. Patrick that would restrict use of public bathrooms. Real short, to the point. It’s vital that people like this who will receive lots of negative calls, receive more positive calls thanking them for their action. You don’t have to get in the weeds about “why” they did what they did. Often their reasons are complicated and self-serving but the bottom line is to focus on their stand against bad legislation. Agree where you can and don’t sweat the small stuff. You do need to know what you’re talking about in case they are in and take your call or call you back. So, print the article, (or create an online folder) start a file, and be sure to read it in full and think about why it is wrong.

      This isn’t so hard, is it?

    2. Mime, I thought that Houston Chronicle article was terrific. The writer, Tomlinson, held back nothing. He even listed the negative Patrick actions that would be hidden by the distraction of a bathroom bill. He was pointing out how to be an active citizen for anyone willing to do so.

      1. Yep, he had me at “bigoted”…….I have great admiration for Tomlinson. Every time I’ve emailed him with questions/comments, he has responded. He needs affirmation and I think he was emboldened by the action of the Tx Assn of Business stand. I did write a letter to the editor and cc’d him (one never knows if their letters will be published) so he would get word.

        Dan Patrick is such a loser and it doesn’t take much to inspire me to act when he is the locus of attention….I encourage you to reach out to Tomlinson as well. He needs affirmation.

    3. I just received a phone call from Chris Wallace, Pres. TX Assn of Business in response to my call thanking him and his organization for their stand against LT Gov. Patrick’s ridiculous transgender bathroom bill. On a Saturday. He expressed his appreciation for me taking time to call him. He obviously had been forwarded a copy of the email I sent to the Houston Chronicle business editor, Chris Tomlinson, thanking him for his strong writing and taking on Patrick. Mr. Wallace told me that they often hear from people who criticize their actions but not so much from people who thank them for tough stands. I told him I shared the story with this blog family.

      I share this to encourage each of you to take time to do these kinds of things. Little things. Empowering, important things. I never expected a phone call in response to my own but it was noted and appreciated. So much so that he called me personally to say thank you. That makes the effort very worth while and now I have made an important ally.

      If you haven’t had time to call him, please consider doing so. They’re keeping a list – for all the right reasons.

      In my years of political activism at the local and state level, I was impressed by the value of reaching out to speak with elected officials and their key staff. You don’t get personal calls every time, but your efforts can make a difference. That’s what has to happen with the P.O. outreach. Do those personal things that you are comfortable with and sincere about. It makes a difference.

      1. BTW, I also received an email response from the Houston Chronicle editor, Chris Tomlinson. That’s batting a thousand, right! (I don’t expect to get a letter from LT Gov Patrick…..(-; but that’s ok!

        Geaux Political Orphans!

  15. Count me in.

    I’ve cut my facebook list significantly already, and that has helped my sanity.

    I love Archetrix’s of corporate pressure, too.

    My part in this play right now is to call out assholes when I see them. Perhaps I am going through the stages of grief over this election, but I’m pretty angry right now and I do not suffer fools well. I used to be able to let comment slide, but no more. Want to be a jerk? I’m going to call you out on it publicly.

    1. Yeah, I’m having a hard time getting past my disappointment and anger as well, Armchair, but the VOX article Archetrix linked was really helpful in making me accept there were lots of reasons things turned out as they did. What’s important is what we do going forward. We can’t change the past (even though Jill Stein is trying), all we can do is hunt with a rifle, not a shotgun.

      I don’t have much time for activism outside what I can do from home, but I’ll try to do my part to help as I know all here will. The appointments Trump is making should send a clear signal as to his intentions and those of the GOP. Pay close attention, and, yes – I don’t suffer fools either….there are just so damn many of them!

    2. I don’t agree with cutting Facebook friends off. In addition to the usual issues re: increased polarization from non-communication, I feel a person is more than capable of disengaging / not engaging with time-wasting arguments while still remaining aware — and wary — of what the other side is ‘up to’. People are posting their intentions, beliefs, and actions in public for free. Watch what they’re doing and find countermeasures.

      This is especially so considering that groups that feel ‘contented’ or ‘in control’ tend to be less active than groups that feel not in control. With such major sweeping changes in administration, many people who supported Trump from the beginning will rest on their laurels. In the meantime, activists could be watching what Trump is doing and creating the countermeasures on local and state levels that will happen without their knowledge — in much the same way such a large Tea Party infrastructure was built without liberal or Democrats’ knowledge.

      1. I think what Armchair means, is limiting one’s circle to people we can interact with in a rational manner. Why open ourselves up to those who cannot be reasoned with and are offensive? I certainly am not willing to keep these people around just to see what they are saying/doing… I rarely use FB so it’s not a tool of action for me, but I don’t think it’s hard to know what is happening out there without subjecting one’s personal life to attack by people that are offensive. All of us have close personal friends and then a wider circle of social contacts. Armchair is simply going to take the pruning scissors out and snip off the bad shoots. For people who use FB a lot, that makes sense to me.

  16. I am trying to hold back my personal wave of despair by doing one little activist thing a day, whatever I can think of. Death by a thousand cuts, that’s my motto. Therefore in the last 2 days I contacted 2 local large corporations here in the Seattle area and asked them to take their ads down from Breitbart. I sent emails with the ad snip to people in the corporate communications offices. Both people I sent the ad to reached back to me with personal emails and told me they are taking steps immediately to get their content off Breitbart!

    Yay! Two for two. Today I contacted somebody up at GM, because their Chevy truck ad showed up on Breitbart. I am waiting for an answer. Sometimes I think they might not answer and I’ll take their removal of content as my response, but so far I’ve been lucky.

    I am checking into anybody who is emerging as an organizing leader. I am specifically looking for something like Moral Mondays in North Carolina. I have a couple of minister friends who are on the good side of this fight, and I will be in touch with them as this develops.

    I am planning to attend any local marches that occur, especially if a women’s march happens locally to give support to the national women’s march on DC that’s scheduled for the day after Trump takes control. Since I’m self-employed, I can probably get arrested without doing too much harm to my family.

    So far that’s all I’ve been able to accomplish, but at least I’m not wearing a safety pin on my coat and sending a postcard to Trump Tower beseeching our new fascist overlords not to hire any more giant fascists. Looking for more points of entry.

    Thanks Chris for being a point of light. Your suggestions are good and I will follow up.

  17. Let your public officials know when they do something right as well as when they do something wrong. Write letters to your local newspapers, especially when they publish bullshit. Put pressure on your local broadcast media to put meat in their news programs, not just “all crime all the time.”

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