Day 11: Monday Night Massacre

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Following in the distinguished tradition of Tricky Dick, Emperor Drumpf this evening fired Attorney General Sally Yates for doing her constitutional duty in upholding the rule of law over the ravings of a madman. Of course, new presidents do typically get to pick a new AG as part of their cabinet, so no doubt her days were numbered in any case. Still, the childish petulance of the press release announcing her firing is alarming. It’s use of ‘betrayed’ as a description of her action also suggests a frightening authoritarianism completely detached from normal checks.

So much insanity, it’s hard to know even where to start with today’s act of resistance. Though they’ve already brought in some $24 million over the weekend, I feel like the ACLU is an organization that can fight this administration on many simultaneous fronts.

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Day 10: Lyft Uber Alles

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Already known for ethically challenged corporate citizenship, Uber found itself with more reputation troubles today, after having engaged in what many consider picket crossing behavior by sending its drivers to JFK amidst a 1-hour strike by New York cabbies. The cabbies were, of course, protesting Cheeto Berlusconi’s (HT to my friend Paul Gray for that exquisite epithet) executive order, and Uber reportedly took advantage of the sudden lack of competition at the airport by dropping surge pricing. This charming commercial move did not endear the company to the Resistance, and a movement to delete the app spread on social media under the hashtag #DeleteUber. If you are interested in joining in, you should remember to delete your account on the website as well, since that enables you to leave a message about your motivation. The letter above is the response I got from the company. Clearly in damage control mode.

This leads to the question of other potential consumer boycotts, and though I would never have any use for a Trump branded hotel in any case, I feel like we should refuse to contribute to any venture he’s ever touched. Can we lift a page from Keyser Soze’s revenge strategy and boycott even the people who owe him money?

Day 9: Another Day, Another Protest

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DT, striving to create the most xenophobic disorganized shit show of a security policy possible, unleashed his temporary ban on reentry visas for refugees, immigrants and permanent residents with green cards from seven countries, seemingly without any consultation from Homeland Security or the State Department. Until a Brooklyn judge issued a stay covering at least part of the new policy, the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” have found themselves in detention at destination airports or denied permission to board planes coming to the US. As that news was coming in, my wife and I were encouraging a more humanitarian policy by chanting anti-Trump epithets with marginal rhyme schemes under the entrance to Terminal 5 at O’Hare. Yes, there has been a stay, but it only covers part of the policy. There will be court battles. The ACLU will need your help.

Day 8: Science of Dissent

This tweet sums up the current feeling of scientists on social media. There’s plenty to be worried about: possible efforts to silence government scientists who might publish facts that are unpopular with the current administration, stated hostility toward anthropogenic climate change, and seemingly no enthusiasm for transparency or any respect for actual expertise, but not that much actual change in policy or funding so far. Still, given Littlefinger’s propensity to try to suppress news that is merely unflattering, government scientists who study things like climate and other environmental impacts of human activity are reasonably worried. Not surprisingly, against this background a group of scientists are planning their own march on Washington with a platform encouraging funding, transparency and respect for actual facts. No date is set yet, and who knows if I’ll be able to go in person, but I will support the march in whatever way I can. I imagine most of my readers who are scientists already know about it, but for others I’m sure there will be mechanisms for you to help as well. For example I’d like to set up a travel fund to help young scientists (especially from underrepresented groups) to be able to attend. Stay tuned.

BTW, here is a provocative piece claiming that the left has been much more successful at suppressing unfavored scientific theories than the right, particularly in areas such as GMOs, animal research and genetic theories of behavior. There are many things I could take issue with in this essay, but I do think it raises some reasonable questions about ideological orthodoxy in science and how a lack of diversity of thought may contribute to it.

Day 7: The Senate

Before moving on to our main topic for the day, a quick update. As I’ve mentioned before, our petulant chief executive, who brings to the office all the emotional maturity of a 3-year-old, has had a bee in his bonnet about the lamestream media’s insistence on reporting the actual fact that his inauguration crowds were a little, let’s say, flaccid. There were rumors that the toddler-in-chief had pressured the National Park Service to airbrush a few tens of thousands of people into their crowd estimates, and now the Washington Post gives a play-by-play of that fateful morning when an interim director of an under-the-radar federal agency gets a call from THE PRESIDENT. These new details come from ‘unnamed sources,’ adding to the recent impression that the new administration is leaking like a Russian prostitute (no offense to Russian prostitutes of course, but I couldn’t pass that one up).

Anywho, on a more serious note, Betsy DeVos, multi-billionaire nominee for Secretary of Privatizing Education faced some tough questions in her confirmation hearing, and her appointment seems a little more tenuous now. Here’s a list of the members of the Senate on the committee that will decide whether to pass her nomination on. Do any of you live in Tennessee, Wyoming, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Louisiana, Indiana, Utah, Kansas, Arkansas or South Carolina? Probably not. But if you do (or perhaps know someone who does), give those dear Senators a call. Even if your senators are dems (Washington, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Wisconsin or Connecticut) give them a call anyway. It gives them political cover to take tough positions. Does one phone call really make any difference? Maybe so. It turns out that 1000 calls constitutes a deluge as far as Senate staffers are concerned, meaning that you and a few of your friends can account for a good percentage of a popular uprising. The DeVos nomination may never make it to the floor, but I registered my opinion today via Contact forms on the websites for our new Senator Tammy Duckworth and our liberal stalwart Dick Durban.

Day 6: Know the Opposition

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When it comes to social media echo chambers, Twitter may be the worst–a great home for preaching to your respective choirs. Still I enjoy the immediacy of it, and I have a few small windows in my liberal bubble. I follow a few conservatives (mostly never-Trumpers), but as far as I can tell I have only one real alt-righty follower. He mostly ignores my constant Trump trolling retweets and I mostly ignore his Infowars links. Today however, he singled me out with an @mention and a link to a video, saying that the content reminded him of me.

I’ll include a link for those with a strong stomach for, let’s just say, ‘polemic,’ but I certainly understand if you don’t want to contribute a view to their counter, so I’ll provide a summary. In other words, I watched the video so you don’t have to. Here is the gist:

The narrator argues that feminists and leftists who organized (and participated in) the various Women’s March protests have embraced Islam. Because, he claims, Islam is an intrinsically misogynist ideology and Muslims are determined to destroy western democratic states, such a coalition is a deeply hypocritical choice that constitutes a betrayal of the west.

The evidence for this ‘Unholy Alliance’ as he calls it, consists mostly of a short video clip of protesters watching reverently during a Muslim prayer, a fleeting reference to the ‘We The People’ hijab poster that was seen at the marches, and a claim that one of the organizers (Linda Sarsour) supports Sharia Law and has associated with a Hamas terrorist.

Let’s start with the first premise. Feminists/progressives have not allied with ‘Islam’ in the monolithic conspiratorial sense claimed in the video. Some in the anti-Trump left have certainly sought to support Muslim Americans and Muslim refugees to resist the racial/ethnic profiling Trump has proposed (and is now implementing). Does this constitute some kind of alliance with repressive Islamic states or with ISIS? Of course not.

The narrator goes on to enumerate the misogynist laws and customs of various states, with the implication that western feminists are hypocrites and dupes for associating themselves with the religion those states proclaim. The idea that Muslim American women participating in protests constitutes a feminist endorsement of genital mutilation or some other horror is complete nonsense. There’s always been a tension on the  left between respect for cultural diversity and the concept of universal rights, but western feminists have been some of the most influential critics of these practices, whereas conservatives have not. In fact, the level of disingenuousness in conservatives trying to lecture feminists on how to protect women’s rights is phenomenal. Dear alt-right, when you support pay equity, provide access to abortion and birth control, believe rape victims and stop suggesting women are property by using words like ‘cuck,’ then maybe we’ll take your sudden concern for Saudi women drivers seriously.

Day 5: Our Precious Snowflake-in-Chief

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Despite being the golden child of the famously whiny-liberal hating Alt-Right, Our Glorious Leader’s orange skin is apparently somewhat thin when it comes to the media minimizing the size of his…inauguration crowds. In Sean Spicer’s continued attempt to justify his combative denial of objective reality, he now claims that the White House has been ‘demoralized’ by the media’s constant negativity. Low energy. Sad.

For today I’m signing up with swingleft.org, a website that helps you keep up with congressional swing districts near you. Apparently, my closest is IL-10,  currently occupied by Brad Schneider, a Dem who won by only 5.2% last time around. Swingleft.org will send me updates on opportunities to help with the race.

Day 4: “Ignorance is Strength” Edition

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Confirmed deatheater Kellyanne Conway put the OH-for-fuck’s-sake in “Orwellian” yesterday by defending White House Press Fabulist Sean Spicer’s account of Trump’s inauguration crowds as far larger than they actually were. In a phrase that would make the Minister of Truth blush, she claimed that Spicer was working from “alternative facts.” Much mockery ensued, but when future archaeologists dig up this wordpress server from the nuclear ash heap and reboot it, I think they will be more impressed by this administration’s skills at media distraction and manipulation than by its shaky grasp of reality.

For my act of resistance for today I’m joining the (albeit vaguely suspicious) letter-writing campaign to send Trump a snail mail protest to changes to the Affordable Care Act. Perhaps the torrent of letters will convince…OK, maybe it’ll be a pain in the ass for them to clean up. That’s worth it.

Day 3: Resistance is Fertile

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I’m playing catch-up a little here, trying to fill in the first 3 days. So for today, I resort to a little checkbook liberalism with a recurring donation to Planned Parenthood (see also, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund). Certainly cash can’t be the only strategy, but then again if everyone who marched yesterday made a small donation, it could add up to real money.

Speaking of strategy, Politico has an interesting piece on the question of where democrats should go from here. Will it be the Tea Party of the left, or more like another Occupy movement? An interesting approach (swingleft.org), no doubt drawing from the Tea Party playbook, lets users identify nearby Congressional swing districts where they might help to maintain a Democratic seat or contribute to a Republican loss in the 2018 midterm election. The site lets you sign up for alerts that keep you involved as the campaign progresses.

1461 Acts of Resistance: Day 2

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There is ample reason for pessimism about the long-term efficacy of taking to the streets. The record-setting crowds of women (and feminists of all genders) fill the streets of DC or Chicago might seem like an exercise in preaching to the choir, but the Women’s March inspired thousands throughout the country (some photos from Moscow Idaho here; HT ). Was Trump forced to step down? No. Access to abortion guaranteed? Nope. Scientific understanding restored to policy debate? Certainly not. It did, however, do a few things. The marches reminded us that we can act together, we can find with others who think that resisting a rapey misogynist buffoon is worth a few hours of a Saturday morning. It gave us a little hope and a little inspiration. Hopefully it also sent a signal to those once relatively reasonable conservatives who sold their souls for a chance to privatize schools and Medicare (remember when conservatism meant free trade and family values?). We will not go quietly. Perhaps we’ll take up the tactics of the Tea Party, pestering you about ACA replacement at your town hall meetings. Perhaps we will take up the tactics of the NRA, shoveling money into state/local races to defeat craven hypocrites. Wait and see.

Update: More on small town participation in the march.

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