Sick of the phrase: “It is what it is”

Everyone keeps saying it, even when it doesn’t have to be.

I am a big fan of the serenity prayer, especially the version I learned that puts having the courage to change things that I can first.

God grant me the courage to change things that I can

The serenity to accept things I cannot

And the wisdom to know the difference

I think this was cross-stitched on a sampler at the house of one of my baby-sitters when I was a kid.

“It is what it is” keeps being used not for that second line, but to excuse not having the courage for the first.  And I hate it.  We can fight for injustice.  We can fight for equality.  We can keep calling our representatives and not just give up on them.  We are at a turning point in US history– we can get rid of the filibuster, grab DC state-hood, pass HR1 as new voting rights legislation, protect trans kids, pack the supreme court.  After 12 years of unconscionable changes by Republicans doing things never dreamed of in previous administrations in our memory– Merrick Garland, Kavanaugh, Coney Barrett, refusing to bring any legislature to a vote, removing the VRA, not doing anything on gun control after Sandy Hook, etc. etc. etc.– we can also do the unthinkable.

It doesn’t have to be.

But it will be if we don’t fight for it.  If we give up prematurely.

If we don’t have the wisdom to know the difference.

****************************************************************

Here’s a link to 5calls.  Demand Statehood for Washington DC.  Support Democracy Reform with H.R. 1.  Protect Dreamers.  And so much more.  But none of this will happen if we give up.  Because the bad guys aren’t giving up.

URGENT: Calls for democracy TODAY (Please call or fax!)

Yes, I, too would rather be discussing the merits of different organizational systems.  But Democracy is more important.

US citizen readers, I need you to do the following things today.

Call or Fax your Members of Congress:

Call your members of congress https://myreps.datamade.us/ (<–note:  may be out of date if you have a new MOC from the last election)— senators and congressperson and demand that:
1. Trump be impeached or resign
2. Cruz resign
3. Hawley resign

Why?  If you missed the news and were actually able to work yesterday:  These three people helped incite a riot and attempted coup which resulted in congress being evacuated and at least one death.  So far only 25 people have been arrested (earlier numbers said 13) and possibly some congressional police have been fired for their part in helping protestors in, but that may be an internet rumor.  Washington Post is calling for impeachment and resignations.  We should be too.

If you can’t leave a message, you can send a fax https://faxzero.com/fax_senate.php ,
If you can’t do that, you can send an email or a postcard (or keep trying).

Do this if your MOC are democrats (they need the support) or Republicans (they can put pressure AND they will learn that they cannot join the seditionists with impunity).

Next:  Check to see if your Congressperson is on this list of 138 congresspeople who voted to overturn a free and fair election.  If so, then call them and tell them it was wrong.  I called at 5am this morning and my congressman himself answered the phone and tried to convince me that the debate on the floor made it clear… he hung up on me when I called him a traitor to democracy.  It’s not likely that your congressperson will answer themselves (and fax if you don’t want to talk!), but they need to know that attempted coups are unacceptable.  How much further can they go?  Do we want to let them find out?  [NOTE:  IF THERE WAS AN ELECTION IN YOUR DISTRICT, your congressperson may have changed!  The new congresspeople have been seated. https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative]

After you’ve made your calls, could you ask a friend or tweet or send to a mailing list or something to get the word out so that more people call?  We need to save democracy.  There was an attempted coup yesterday.  It needs to be punished swiftly and with great strength and I’m not sure our leaders have the bravery to do so unless they feel like their constituency is behind it.  And the republicans who supported the coup need to know they cannot keep subverting democracy.

Let me know in the comments that you called/faxed!  Share any scripts you found useful!

Last chance to vote!

Tuesday Nov 3rd is Voting day in the US

Have you voted?

What’s your plan to vote?

Where are you going to vote?  Do you have a mask and water and a snack in case you have to wait in line?

Remember, they can’t turn you away if you’re in line.

Call your senators

Yes, I know it’s all stressful.  I have actually gone on a twitter/reddit freeze because I just cannot after hearing of RBG’s passing.

But I am on a lot of email lists and they are pushing as hard as they can to delay the Supreme Court nomination for as long as possible.  And we all (in the US) need to help.  We need to call our Republican AND our Democrat senators and ask them to delay the nomination until January.  This may not actually delay the nomination, but it could, and more importantly, delaying it means we’re more likely to end up with a Roberts (still too conservative, but not batshit crazy evil) than with a Kavanaugh (drunken misogynist).  It will also change the media narrative from “who is he going to pick” to “will he be allowed to pick?” Republicans need to know that they’re on notice and Democrats need to be able to point to all the calls they’re getting.  Every call is important, every call matters.  You can call during the day and talk to someone or you can wait until after hours and leave a message.  You can send in a fax.  These are all good options.

Now I’m going to quote from an email from Celeste_P with more information.

Call your Senators, and let them know that we cannot confirm a Supreme Court justice until the next Congress is in office. 

(this is to avoid a lame duck session appointment)

Right now, the balance of power in the Senate is 47 (45 Dems + 2 independents) to 53 Republicans.

So, we need FOUR GOP Senators to essentially agree they won’t move forward with any nomination. Here’s our current math:

1. Murkowksi has already said she won’t vote.

So we now need three. This can be three sitting Republicans (e.g. Romney or Collins, the latter of who has given a loophole-filled statement) OR if Mark Kelly is elected and takes his seat before the end of November – we would then need two more. Does that make sense?

But because this is all up-in-the-air math, we should: 
1. Continue calling all Senators. Full stop.
2. And please, please – stick with calling your own Senators.

I know this is so much easier said than done right now. I know we also all really want to also go yell at GOP Senators. But GOP Senators need to hear from their constituents on this, and random non-constituents calling will not help – e.g. see Susan Collins using non-constituent calls to justify her eventual Kavanaugh vote.

Because we’re also deep into the election, GOP senators will also use non-constituent calls for ads and fundraise – so let’s not inadvertently give tools to GOP candidates right now.

SCRIPT:

 

You: Hi, my name is [name], I’m calling from [zip code].

You: I’m calling to demand [SENATOR] commit to NO Senate confirmation vote until after the November election. We are 45 days out from our next general election.

Using previous SCOTUS nomination precedents including the blocked nomination of Merrick Garland, I want [Senator] to confirm they will let the next Senate take this step.

You: [Optional comments]

 

Celeste P doesn’t send out emails very often, but when she does they are extremely helpful.  Here’s a link to get on her mailing list:  https://tinyletter.com/Celeste_pewter Her twitter feed also has regular actions.

Indivisible emails more frequently, maybe once or twice a week (probably half action/half fundraising).  Sign up here:  https://indivisible.org/signup

If you’re a US citizen, let us know in the comments how you contacted your senators today!

Ask the Grumpies: Where should I donate for Activism if I only have a little money?

K asks:

If I only have say, $5,$10 or $25 right now where is the best place to donate, in this present life or death election?

I do not know the answer, but maybe someone from Grumpy Nation will.

If you are someplace in which the local elections matter and aren’t obvious (so you’re not trying to decide between two amazing options), your local elections are probably going to give the most bang for your buck.  A little money will go a long way.  And that money won’t be wasted sending you thick envelopes asking for more money (ugh).  You could also probably pick up a yard sign for someone local for $5 or $10 from your local dems office or from their campaign hq.

If you’re *not* in that situation, I’m not sure.  I’ve been doing a lot of $25 donations to close races in my state that aren’t ones I’m allowed to vote in.  There’s also a lot of small campaigns where you can donate post-card stamps and post-cards.  Or you can combine your small $ with time and write letters to voters (you provide paper, printing, envelopes, stamps) with votefwd.org or write post-cards to voters with a number of organizations (of which postcardstovoters.org is one)

There are also things you can do for free.  Call up your local dems office and/or local (or less local) indivisible office and get on their email mailing list. I find out about lots of important opportunities for giving or doing from mailing lists from a couple of Indivisible groups in nearby cities.

My sister says doing phone-calls this year is way nicer than in previous years– people are happy to talk.  Similarly, there are texting campaigns (I’m not crazy about a lot of texting campaigns, but I do like the “get out the vote” ones).  For many of these you can either use your phone or you can use your wireless internet to actually do the contacting, so if you’re on a limited data plan for your phone you can use the internet instead.

A very simple thing you can do for free is to get your friends and acquaintances to check their voter registration to make sure they’re registered.  Ask folks about their plans to vote– if voting absentee, have they ordered a ballot yet?  Then let people know if/when early voting starts and other deadlines.  You can also call up your local electeds and tell them you are not interested in fascism.  Tell them to impeach Attorney General Barr and to make Postmaster DeJoy resign.  Ask for bipartisan legislation to protect the USPS.  Ask your governor to allow and expand ballot drop boxes.  Ask Congress to support nation-wide mail-in voting.  Demand an extension for the US Census.  And on and on (scripts for these are all available from https://5calls.org/ ).  You can also follow celeste_p on twitter for up-to-date actions.

Grumpy Nation:  Where do you think small donations are best used?  What suggestions do you have for low cost or no-cost actions?

What is your plan to vote?

#1: Will vote during the early voting period in person, likely early morning on a Wednesday during the first week and I will also drag DH with me.

#2: Lives in a state with voting by mail, and always chooses that option. It is important to get the ballot in earlier than the deadline in case of USPS delays.

#1: I will also remind students to register to vote here or request their absentee ballots NOW. I gave the student workers voter registration cards to put in the mailboxes of our majors and I will write emails on how to register and how to vote for our department chair to send out to students.

What is your plan to vote? Have you requested an absentee ballot yet? Do you know where you can turn one in? Have you checked your voter registration to make sure you’re still registered and everything is up to date?  Do you have any suggestions for getting the vote out?

What can we do to combat fascism?

I don’t know if you noticed this, but so far July has been hard-core this week in Fascism every week.  I think Trump’s people are getting worried that he’s going to lose the election and they’ve been testing the ground they’ve been laying these past three years to see how far they can push.

The first major thing is that secret Federal police have been grabbing protesters off the streets in Portland, Oregon.  They’ve been doing standard other police stuff too like throwing tear gas at peaceful protesters, and randomly beating on people including those with press passes… though unlike the usual police MO, they’ve even been attacking middle-aged white women and white dudes in Navy sweatshirts.  Which is to say, they’re not just attacking the most vulnerable– they’re pushing the limits to attack people who are normally protected.  I suspect they’ve started this in Portland rather than say, Dallas, because they can blame it on Antifa and Liberals rather than risking an actual shootout when some white conservative counter-protester gets hit in cross-fire.  Most recently they’ve backed off of Portland and protests are peaceful again, but he’s been spreading these troops to other cities as well.

Here’s a five calls script to protest authoritarian police practices.  Here’s one to block Trump’s secret police force.

The second major thing is the post office slow-down.  They don’t want us to vote by mail.  It’s that simple.  They want black and brown communities to have to stand in line for hours in unsafe conditions at even slower and more limited than usual polling sites so that many never end up being able to vote while white rural and suburban Trump supporters breeze through.  So the new head of the post office has been instituting postal slow-downs.  The senate has been refusing to give the post office relief for the extra expenses caused by corona even as they bail out large private companies.  The following two threads have more information on current Post office struggles (Celeste_Pewter also has small things you can do for your local post office to make their lives easier and safer.)  But definitely make a phone call about this– it’s nearly free.  Yes, it’s more fun to provide gifts to postal employees (they would like caddies with cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, masks, Gatorade, etc. according to celeste P)  or to buy one of their cool pieces of merchandise (their magic kit is top notch and they have jigsaw puzzles among many other cool things), and you can definitely do that, but sometimes resistance means doing the unpleasant things too.

Here’s a 5-calls script for getting the post office help.

The third major thing is that Trump has been attacking the census.  In addition to earlier defunding and citizenship questions etc., he just signed an executive order prohibiting undocumented immigrants from being and he’s trying to get the census to end early (or technically, not allowing an extension when covid has delayed normal counting activities).

Here’s a message from ipums:

We are writing to urge you to contact your Senators to approve a necessary extension of the 2020 Census.

The Census Bureau requested an extension in April to allow for non-response follow-up and delivering the data amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The White House’s abrupt request for additional funding without an extension is at odds with a full, fair, and accurate Census. This move omits historically undercounted and hard-to-count populations from the data, which will have lasting effects through congressional representation and allocation of federal funds. Read more about the Census Bureau’s plans for the extended timeline and coverage from NPR and the New York Times about the risks of an inaccurate count if the process is rushed.

Revisions to the 2020 Census timeline and budget are slated for inclusion with legislation that provides additional COVID-19 relief. The latest proposal in the Senate allocates additional 2020 Census funding, but not the extended timeline. In contrast, the House of Representative’s HR6800 bill (the HEROES Act) allows for the necessary extension.

Please contact your Senators and ask them to take up and approve HR6800 to give the Census Bureau the necessary time to do their vital work of counting everyone.

Oh, also Trump wants to delay the November election.

I googled “how to fight fascism” and limited to the last month… and there’s not really a whole lot out there.  But there are things we can do on the above issues.

  1.  Use these fivecalls scripts to protest police and secret police using violence to limit our rights to free speech and assembly.   Five calls script to protest authoritarian police practicesFive calls script to block Trump’s secret police force.
  2. Call your senator about saving the post office.  5-calls script for getting the post office help.  There are lots of other small things you can do as well, like asking your local office what they need, providing your post office worker with hand sanitizer and gatorade, buying stuff from the post office store, but while these are warm and fuzzy making and definitely worthwhile, they won’t help as much as government action will.
  3. Call your senators and ask them to take up and approve HR6800 to give the Census Bureau time to count everyone.

What suggestions do you have for fighting Fascism in the US? 

Link Love

I’ve seen some folks questioning what they can actually *do* to help, and some of the lists of things that you can do are overwhelming.  Some of them start with folks educating themselves, which while important (and will definitely help with the “first do no harm” step), doesn’t seem like enough for many people.  There are indeed, hundreds of things (or more) you can do, but you cannot do them all.  But it’s important to do SOMETHING.  Whatever it is that you have the spoons for.  Whatever you can bear.  It’s fine to start with smaller things, especially while you’re getting your bearings.  Something is better than nothing.

What are some somethings?  Well, I’m just going to post a few easy things you can do.  If you’re ready for more challenging things, you are probably also ready to figure out what needs doing in your area (google, talk to people, see what the lay of the activism landscape is).  I do believe that voting rights is part and parcel of civil rights, so some of my low-hanging fruit actions are about getting good people to vote.  Because the government is important.  If you have other suggestions, definitely put them in the comments!

Donate:  Indivisible makes it easy with one-stop shopping for a number of charities.  There are many other places to donate– bail funds, gofundmes for destroyed properties, etc.  But this is a good place to start.

Protest:  Go to a BLM protest (search for one in your area– they’re not all posted on the BLM website).  Wear your mask.  Bring masks for others if you have extra.  Bring markers and posterboard if you have them.  Bring water bottles, preferably still wrapped in plastic (there have been reports of bad people putting antifreeze in donated bottles, so you want to make clear you’re not doing that).  Bring bug spray and sunblock.  Bring hand sanitizer (preferably spray bottle) and offer it to people.  If you don’t have any of this, just bring yourself (except the mask, definitely wear a mask).  Protests are outdoors, so that’s good, but we want to minimize the spread of covid at these protests and yelling and singing are big spreaders.  Masks help a lot.  (If you are in an at-risk group for covid or living with someone who is, then support the protests in other ways, like donating to your BLM chapter or doing other actions.)  More on how to protect yourself from cnet.

Call:  Visit 5calls for suggestions, phone numbers, and scripts.  Celeste_P also is a great place for actions with scripts.  (Here’s an example of a script you can use TODAY to call your members of congress.  Here’s one if you want to advocate locally.)

Write:  postcards to voters or letters to voters:  We need to get people to turn out!

The other thing I’d like to see more of is people posting what they’ve been doing.  It isn’t bragging.  It isn’t virtue signaling.  It is helping others to figure out what they can do and it is helping others feel like the norm is doing something rather than the norm not being doing anything.  When you’ve done something, post it in your blog.  Tweet it on your twitter account. Tell your IRL friends.  Come here and tell us about it.  When I see people doing this, *I* get more motivated because it reminds me that I’m not alone.  Every time you let people know you acted, you cause more actions.  Don’t keep it to yourself!

Alternatively here’s captain awkward’s suggestions.

Anti-racism resources from crooked.

Here’s a list of African American personal finance bloggers (my personal favorite from this list is A Purple Life)

Ana and Stacking Pennies sum up a lot of how I’ve been feeling this past week.  And yet I let the handyman post run anyway…

Minneapolis cops sued for shooting, beating and gassing peaceful protesters.

Virginia governor to announce removal of Robert E. Lee Statue.

Self quarantine with a michelin starred chef

Why I am voting for Biden’s team (even though I’m not crazy about him)

Biden is not my first choice.  I think there are probably credible allegations.  I think he’s probably not the person he once was in terms of being mentally all there anymore.  I’m not excited about his candidacy and I really hope he picks a vice president I can get behind.

But for the next election these are my main goals.

  1. Get rid of the fascists in the Whitehouse
  2. Get rid of the racists in the Whitehouse
  3. Get back to something resembling evidence-based policy (this was further down before, but the pandemic has moved it up)
  4. Get rid of Russian spies in the Whitehouse
  5. Get rid of personal corruption in the Whitehouse, or at least get it down to much smaller levels that don’t hurt so many people

(After this there’s a much longer list, but these are the main ones that I feel pretty inflexible on that I do not think are too much to ask of anyone)

I am fairly confident that 1, 2, 3 and 5 will happen with Biden.  I think some of 4 will happen as well, but not to the extent that a Kamala Harris or an Elizabeth Warren would have cleaned house.

Having talked to some folks “in the know” earlier this primary season, I was convinced that Biden will bring back Obama’s people as staff and in appointed positions.  This is a good thing.  Agencies that have been destroyed can just be replaced rather than being rebuilt.  I’m voting for the infrastructure, not for the candidate himself.

So… I will be voting for the lesser of two evils in the Fall.  I hope you will join me.  And if Biden really does pick an awesome VP, I hope you’ll vote for the ticket, that you’ll campaign for the ticket, because of her.