Elections · Escape Your Bubble · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Escape Your Bubble: Urge Chris Suprun to Run Against House Rep Pete Sessions in Texas

Call Chris Suprun’s bluff and donate to his Crowdpac campaign. If he raises $20,000, he will enter the 2018 race for the House of Representatives seat now held by Republican Pete Sessions.

Suprun gained fame for being one of the few Republican electors to refuse to affirm the election of Donald Trump last year. He took a lot of heat for his decision, and he still does on occasion.

While Suprun was a Republican elector last year, Crowdpac lists his party affiliation as ‘TBD’ on its page for the 32nd House District in Texas.

Obligatory warning, with apologies for bonking you all on the head about this fact: Suprun holds at least some different political beliefs than you do. That means he’ll sometimes say things and do things that don’t match your beliefs, and which might piss you off well and thoroughly. But if we’re going to fix our political system, we need to support not just Democrats, but Republicans and people with Republican leanings who have spines. Suprun’s spine has been tested, and he passed the test.

Standing back and watching bemusedly as moderate Republicans got picked off in primaries by frothing far-right moonbats is partly how we got into our current mess. We can’t afford to sit back bemusedly any longer. We have to stick up for non-moonbat Republicans. Please consider donating to Chris Suprun’s campaign. You’ll only be charged if he reaches his fundraising goal.

 

See Suprun’s “draft me” page on Crowdpac:

https://www.crowdpac.com/campaigns/232649/draft-chris-suprun-for-congress

 

See the Crowdpac page on the 32nd House District in Texas:

https://www.crowdpac.com/races/2018/tx/federal/house/32

 

Read or reread his December 2016 New York Times op-ed, Why I Will Not Cast My Electoral Vote for Donald Trump:

 

 

 

 

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Read These Blog Posts by John Scalzi, Who Nails It

Read these blog posts by John Scalzi on white privilege and being poor. You’ll be better for it.

John Scalzi is a Hugo-award-winning science fiction author of the Old Man series, Redshirts, and others. He’s also written his blog, Whatever, for almost 20 years.

You should read Whatever regardless, because it’s good and he tackles political topics with aplomb. Whatever has one of the few comments sections worth reading because Scalzi moderates exceptionally well.

We wrote this post to direct you to two superlative Whatever posts that relate to issues that underly much of what we talk about on One Thing You Can Do.

 

The first is Being Poor, a 2005 piece that draws on his memories of having grown up with little money. He regards it as one of the best things he’s ever written. He’s right:

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2005/09/03/being-poor/

Here also is its followup, “Being Poor,” Ten Years On:

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/09/03/being-poor-ten-years-on/

 

The second must-read is from 2012. Titled Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is, Scalzi explains the nature of white privilege without using that phrase:

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/

And here is a 2014 followup, The Lowest Difficulty Setting In Action:

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/07/14/the-lowest-difficulty-setting-in-action/

We’re not sure if Scalzi has commented on the quality of Straight White Male but we think it’s among the best things he’s written.

 

Follow Scalzi on Twitter:

@scalzi

 

Like him on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/scalzi

 

See his entry on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4763.John_Scalzi

 

Buy his books via Powell’s:

http://www.powells.com/SearchResults?kw=title:john%20scalzi

 

 

 

Community Activism · Elections · Escape Your Bubble · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Removing Trump Is Not Enough

Just sayin’. Your work is not done when Trump is. We have to remove all the elected Republicans who installed him as a candidate, and all the Republicans who have placed country over party. 

If you learn nothing else from the Trump crisis, learn this: Democracy is fragile, and it needs you to make it work. Yes, you personally. The price of gaining a voice is gaining the responsibility to use it.

Trump will go, but you must not. He is the fetid product of decades of political rot promulgated and abetted by the leaders of the Republican party.

In order for democracy to work in America, we need at least two functional parties. Given the difficulty of launching a viable party in this country, we’re more likely to be stuck with the Republicans for a while yet. A malfunctioning heap of smoking rubble beats a shiny new political machine if the heap of rubble has name recognition and familiar infrastructure.

Trump is not the sole problem. Every Republican who assented to choosing Trump as its candidate is part of the problem, as is every Republican who side-steps rules and norms if they get in the way of what the party wants.

Not every Republican did those things, but too many did. Even after Trump is removed, we have to work to elect Republicans who respect facts and reality rather than making up their own versions and trying to group-think them into being.

 

The types of Republicans who have to go include:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who broke the rules by refusing to give Merrick Garland a hearing as a Supreme Court nominee when Obama was president, and pushed through a far-right candidate, Neil Gorsuch, under Trump. McConnell made up a bullshit excuse about presidents not getting to choose SCOTUS candidates in the last years of their terms to bar Garland, and later refused to entertain the notion that perhaps Trump’s pick shouldn’t get consideration while he was under investigation by the FBI–a far more serious set of circumstances.

McConnell also stopped Obama from going public about the Trump-Russia revelations in 2016 in a bipartisan way, and he threatened to accuse Obama of playing politics if he tried. Anyone who radiates that much bad faith shouldn’t hold elected office at all, never mind lead the Senate.

 

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who has demonstrated his lack of spine on multiple occasions. He has consistently pushed back against calls to investigate the scandals arising from Trump’s entanglements with Russia, and he has downplayed other oddities that would have him screaming bloody murder had they been done by Democrats.

A regrettably routine example of his spinelessness appeared after Greg Gianforte won the special election for Montana’s open house seat the day after he body-slammed a reporter. Ryan decried the violence and called on Gianforte to apologize but said he would still seat him in good faith: “If he wins, he has been chosen by the people of Montana who their congressman is going to be. I’m going to let the people of Montana decide who they want as their representative.”

Not seating a guy who attacks a reporter who asked him a simple question that he should have expected is a no-brainer. If Gianforte can’t handle the stress of campaigning in Montana, one of our most rural states, how will he handle having mics shoved in his face all day, every day? Ryan should have insisted that he complete some anger-management classes first, at minimum. Failing to enforce norms teaches that it’s OK to body-slam a reporter who’s just doing his job. Not only is that not OK, it eats at the very foundations of our democracy–the first amendment is first for a reason.

 

And speaking of Gianforte, he’s another Republican who has to go–not just because he attacked a reporter, but because he lied about what happened in his official statement. This fact that gets glossed over in recounting the incident, and it’s vitally important that we not lose sight of it. Here, for the record, is the statement Gianforte released:

Bozeman, Mont. — “Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.” — Shane Scanlon, spokesperson for Greg for Montana.

So, Gianforte didn’t just attack a reporter, his campaign spokesman wildly mischaracterized what happened. Anyone who’s heard the audio or read the account from the Fox news crew who saw the attack knows this statement is blatantly at odds with reality. Any candidate who lies in this manner about something so critical, knowing there are witnesses to his behavior (it’s not clear if Gianforte and his team were aware of the audio recording), is unfit for high office.

 

Yet another Republican who needs to go is Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, for defending a $2 trillion error in the FY2018 and expressing confidence in the flagrantly borked numbers.

It’s no secret that the Republicans crave tax cuts for the rich like vampires crave blood, but they’ve never resorted to alternative math on quite this big a scale before. Embracing a $2 trillion error on top of math that was already a fantasy (the budget assumed a three percent growth rate, which economists say just doesn’t happen) shows that too many Republicans are just not serious-minded enough to handle the hard, tedious, unglamorous work of governing.

 

Electing Democrats is not enough. We have to work to elect sane Republicans as well. Republicans such as John McCain and Mitt Romney.

We heard that groan, and we feel you. But! We won’t be able to elect a Congress of 100 percent Democrats–not gonna happen, ever. Sorry. And sitting aside bemusedly, election after election, as sane Republicans got knocked out in primaries by mendacious loony-cuckoopants Republicans helped get us into this mess.

To be clear: sane Republicans are Republicans who you don’t agree with on much, or at all, but who act like grownups nonetheless.

They are people who would never pull the shit that McConnell did. They are people who would react far more strongly to Gianforte’s transgressions than Ryan did. They are people who would seek tax cuts through talking to the whole Congress and making their case, not by waiting till they have a majority and putting out budget numbers that are so wrong and unworkable as to be insulting.

As much as it might pain you, you need to be alert to the sane Republicans in your midst, and you need to support them with time and money. Please think about it.

 

Read about how McConnell blocked Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, and how Trump thanked him subsequently for his efforts:

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/16/470664561/mcconnell-blocking-supreme-court-nomination-about-a-principle-not-a-person

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/04/trump-thanks-mcconnell-for-all-that-he-did-to-ruin-merrick-garland

 

Read about how McConnell tanked Obama’s effort to get a bi-partisan admission of Russian interference while the 2016 campaign was still live:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?utm_term=.763c3e1ce37c

 

Read about how Ryan said he would seat Greg Gianforte even though he assaulted a reporter:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/paul-ryan-signals-he-would-still-seat-greg-gianforte-if-he-wins-special-election/

 

Read reactions to Gianforte’s attack:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/25/15689924/greg-gianforte-defense-assault

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/may/25/parsing-statement-montana-politician-who-allegedly/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/25/politics/greg-gianforte-statement-defense/

 

Read about the $2 trillion budget error and Mulvaney’s admission that it’s an error, and he nonetheless stands by the numbers:

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/05/trumps-entire-budget-is-based-on-a-2-trillion-accounting-trick

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/05/mick-mulvaney-tried-to-explain-math-error-in-trump-budget.html

Community Activism · Escape Your Bubble · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Read George Lakoff’s ‘Don’t Think of An Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate’ 10th Anniversary Edition

Stop whatever it is you’re doing, get a copy of the 10th anniversary edition of Don’t Think of an Elephant! by George Lakoff, clear your schedule, and read it. If you already own it, reread it and refresh yourself on it. Do not stop rereading it until you are fully fluent in its concepts. If you are fluent in its concepts, buy and give the book to someone else who isn’t.

Lakoff is a cognitive scientist and linguist. He knows what the rest of us know all too well: left-leaning folks suck at messaging. Unlike the rest of us, he has solid ideas about how to fix it.

In one slim, elegant volume, Lakoff lays out what the right-leaning folks are doing successfully; why they are successful; and what we can learn from them.

Best of all, he shows how left-leaning values are American values and gives us all hope that we can reclaim the national debate by reframing the national debate. It’s doable. It won’t be easy, but it is doable.

While there’s too much to summarize, a big thing to remember is to flatly refuse to embrace and repeat language popularized by right-wingers. Using their language validates the screwy ideas they embody. We need to devise and repeat our own language,  and it can’t just be a mess of talking points–it has to spring from an authentic, cohesive worldview. Conveniently, Lakoff shows how the left does in fact have one, and he talks about how to articulate and defend it.

This is a direct order: Read Don’t Think of an Elephant! and make it the engine that drives your activism.

Buy the 10th anniversary edition of Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate through Powell’s (this is the 2014 edition):

http://www.powells.com/book/dont-think-of-an-elephant-10th-anniversary-edition-know-your-values-frame-the-debate-9781603585941/62-0

Read Lakoff’s blog:

https://georgelakoff.com/blog/

Like him on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/George-Lakoff-Official-165643503477608/

Follow him on Twitter:

@GeorgeLakoff

Escape Your Bubble · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Show Some Love to Snopes.com, the First Fact-Checking Site on the Web

We wrote and queued this post before word broke of Snopes.com’s troubles and its GoFundMe campaign. We are moving up the posting date for this piece and including a link to the fundraiser:

https://www.gofundme.com/savesnopes

As we write this update, the campaign has met its $500,000 goal but is still accepting donations. If you haven’t given, please do.

Let’s hear it for Snopes.com, the first, and still the most fascinating, fact-checking, myth-busting, rumor-stomping site on the web.

Snopes dates back to 1994, which is paleozoic by Internet standards. It evolved over time from being the work of a few people to the work of an entire team of researchers and writers who strive to be transparent and accurate, following the evidence wherever it leads.

We at OTYCD believe that the country passed a dark threshold when rabid right-wingers started claiming that Snopes had a liberal bias, and other such ridiculous things. In retrospect, it seems like a portent of the rise of Trumpism. But we digress.

Snopes, which is named after a family of characters who pop up in William Faulkner novels, is as incisive as it is entertaining, and you should visit it on the regular if you don’t already. It can save you from retweeting or posting information that’s more complex than the memes make it out to be, or just plain wrong, no matter where it comes from.

 

See the Snopes.com site:

http://www.snopes.com

 

Read the Snopes ‘About’ page:

http://www.snopes.com/about-snopes/

 

Read the Snopes FAQ page:

http://www.snopes.com/frequently-asked-questions/

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/snopes

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@snopes

Escape Your Bubble

Learn What the Other Side is Reading on Facebook

 

Check out this startling tool that shows what’s trending on liberal and conservative Facebook pages.

Offered by the Wall Street Journal, carrying Jon Keegan’s byline, and launched in May 2016, it shows just how intractably divided we are. On the left, you see the “liberal” feed on a variety of topics you can choose from: Trump, the ACA, abortion, immigration, protests, guns, ISIS, and executive orders. The “conservative” feed is on the right.

It’s an eye-opener, and not necessarily a good or uplifting way. Don’t go here on days when you need to believe that everything will work out eventually, and brace yourself before clicking. The feeds are updated hourly.

http://graphics.wsj.com/blue-feed-red-feed/#/president-trump