Community Activism · Elections · Escape Your Bubble · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Join Knock Every Door and, Well, #KnockEveryDoor

Join Knock Every Door, a progressive organization that recruits door-to-door canvassers willing to talk about candidates and issues that matter.

Knock Every Door was born in the wake of the 2016 election. It acts on research that shows that face-to-face conversations are the most effective way to get voters to the polls.

It supports volunteer door-knockers through training, providing materials, and helping with data entry. The organization allows local groups a great deal of flexibility over which issues to pursue. It exerts more control over canvassing for candidates; they do not canvass for Republicans and they may choose to back individual Democrats in a primary.

 

See the Knock Every Door website:

https://knockeverydoor.org

 

Read its ‘About’ page:

https://knockeverydoor.org/about/index.html#what

 

Read its FAQ:

https://knockeverydoor.org/about/index.html#faq

 

Read about what, specifically, Knock Every Door will do for its volunteers, and read about the organization’s embrace of what it calls “deep canvassing”:

https://knockeverydoor.org/how-it-works/index.html#how

https://knockeverydoor.org/how-it-works/index.html#deep-canvassing

 

Follow Knock Every Door on Twitter:

@knockeverydoor

 

Donate to Knock Every Door:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/kedthanks?refcode=homepage

 

 

 

Escape Your Bubble

Escape Your Bubble: Follow Rick Wilson on Twitter

This OTYCD entry originally posted in August 2017.

 

Escape your bubble by following Rick Wilson on Twitter.

 

Wilson is a Florida-based political consultant who has worked primarily for Republicans, producing television for Senate candidates, governors, and the like.

 

He gained new prominence during the 2016 presidential campaign, when he turned the full force of his vitriol on Trump and his supporters. Suffice it to say his vitriol is concentrated, deadly, and goddamn entertaining.

 

Obligatory warning, with apologies for bonking you all on the head about this fact: Wilson 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. That’s ok. Really, it’s OK. You’re being asked to look at what he’s doing and support what you like, not endorse every last little everything he does. He understands the danger of Trump–that’s the key thing. One of the reasons this country is so borked right now is we’re fiercely polarized and, in avoiding jerks who disagree with us, we end up avoiding decent people who happen to disagree with us. That’s got to stop if we want to make things better.

 

 

Follow Rick Wilson on Twitter:

@TheRickWilson

 

 

Bonus: Read his articles at The Daily Beast, which include this:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/04/10/the-trouble-with-trump-s-white-house-is-donald-trump

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Escape Your Bubble · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Show Some Love to Snopes.com, the First Fact-Checking Site on the Web (Updated March 13, 2018)

Update, March 13, 2018: David Mikkelson posted an update to the Snopes GoFundMe page last night. Fortunately, Snopes has had success in court to date. They recovered the advertising revenue that had been withheld, they were able to switch to a new hosting service and reassert control of their future ad revenue, and suits against Mikkelson were dismissed last month.

 

In response to questions about how to show support for Snopes going forward, Mikkelson raised the cap on the GoFundMe to $2 million. Legal fees have eaten the funds raised previously, and while things have gone well, they’re not done with the court system just yet. If you can help Snopes, please do.

 

Original text of our post follows:

 

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/

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

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 · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Good News · Vote with your Dollars

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Go to Alabama for Your Next Vacation

Put your money where your mouth is: Reward Alabamians for choosing Democrat Doug Jones as their newest Senator by taking your next vacation in Alabama. 

 

When a state legislature adopts a stupid, hurtful law, the people who fight the law sometimes ask tourists to boycott the state.

 

Do you remember when North Carolina adopted House Bill 2, a law that restricted LGBT rights and demanded that transgender people use the bathroom that corresponded to their sex at birth? The N.C.A.A. protested HB2 by relocating more than a dozen college championship events to venues in other states. The NBA moved the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte to New Orleans. Wired estimated that HB2 cost North Carolina almost $400 million in lost revenue.

 

Boycotting North Carolina for passing HB2 was the right thing to do. Like it or not, when you spend your money, you cast a vote. You should do what you can to avoid voting with your dollars for things that you don’t support.

 

But! There are two sides to this coin. Yes, you should not give your money to vendors and venues that insult and disparage your values. And you should spend it with vendors and venues that uphold them.

 

Which brings us to Alabama. Its citizens made headlines on December 12, 2017 when they elected Democrat Doug Jones to be their next Senator instead of Republican Roy Moore.

 

You should reward Alabama for this.

 

Are you planning a vacation anytime soon? Look into Alabama.

 

See the state’s official tourism website:

http://alabama.travel

 

Also check out the Alabama section on the Visit the USA site:

https://www.visittheusa.com/state/alabama

 

Make notes. Think. Plan. Budget. Go. Add your dollars to the more than $13 billion that more than 25 million visitors spent in Alabama in 2015.

 

And when you do, tell everyone that you chose Alabama because Alabamians chose Doug Jones as their Senator.

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

See a May 2017 article about Alabama tourism figures:

http://www.al.com/news/mobile/index.ssf/2017/05/alabamas_tourism_fueled_by_bea.html

 

See the Wired article that calculated North Carolina’s losses related to HB2:

https://www.wired.com/2016/09/guess-much-anti-lgbtq-law-costing-north-carolina/

 

Also see a Business Insider story that gives details on entities that boycotted North Carolina over HB2:

http://www.businessinsider.com/north-carolina-hb2-economic-impact-2016-9

 

And follow @BuzzHuntsville on Twitter, because he’s charming as all get-out.

Candidates · Choose Your Core Four · Community Activism · Elections · Escape Your Bubble · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Believe It, You Matter, Part V: Your Friends and Family Matter. Are You Talking to Them About Voting in 2018?

Believe it, you matter: Your friends and family matter. Are you talking to them about going to the polls in 2018?

 

If we are to start putting the country right, it’s up to us–you and me and everyone reading this, and everyone we know, and everyone they know–to step up and help put it right by voting for Democrats and sane Republicans who will uphold the rule of law and fight Trump’s authoritarian-leaning agenda.

 

In other words–you personally casting your vote is not enough. You have to reach out to your friends and family and talk to them about voting.

 

You have to put the act of voting on their collective radar, and you have to keep mentioning it to them periodically as the calendar marches closer to November 6, 2018.

 

Be prepared to make voting, and learning what they need to know to vote, as easy for them as possible. You have to make yourself into their Voting Concierge. You have to put yourself at their service.

 

This can mean helping them learn who their representatives are, and whether any of them are up for re-election.

 

As you know, many elected seats are up in 2018–hundreds on the federal level, and thousands on the state level, and who knows how many on the local level.

 

We at OTYCD do not recommend going over all the possibilities with them in a single sitting. Best to pick one or two to talk about at a time, and bring up others later, over the coming months.

 

The first thing you should do with your friends and family is make sure they’re registered to vote. We cover that on the OTYCD page, The Most Important Thing You Can Do, but here’s the website we point you to:

 

http://www.canivote.org

 

It’s maintained by the National Association of Secretaries of State, and it will help your friends and family learn how to register or re-register, and it will help them find their polling place.

 

Once they’ve confirmed their voter registration and know where they need to go to vote, they need to learn about who’s running in November. We’ve been pointing you to the nifty search engine Who Are My Representatives. You may need to help friends and family use it. Here is the link:

 

http://www.whoaremyrepresentatives.org

 

Once they know who their representatives are, tell them that their House Rep is up for re-election in 2018. You will want to school yourself on that Congressperson and be ready to talk to them about whether they’re any good or not.

 

If their Congressperson isn’t any good, be ready to talk about the Democratic opponents, the merits of each, and when the Democratic primary happens in your state. (If you look up the Congressional District on Ballotpedia, you should be able to find the primary dates.)

 

You will also want to talk to them about their two senators. Rely on the OTYCD post about the 34 senators up for re-election in 2018 for help with this:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/02/11/learn-which-34-senators-are-up-for-re-election-in-2018/

 

 

If one or both senators are up for re-election, talk with them about the merits of those electeds. If they’re no good, be ready to talk about Democratic opponents who are worth backing. Again, Ballotpedia should be able to help you.

 

Once you’ve had conversations with your friend or family member about their House rep and their senators, you might want to talk about other races that matter, such as your state’s governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and the like.

 

You might also want to introduce them to the notion of the Core Four:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/22/choose-your-fabulous-four-for-2018/

 

The key thing is to start talking to your friends and family about voting in 2018, and to prepare yourself ahead of time so you can help them learn as easily as possible.

 

Mind you, 2018 should not be the only thing you discuss with them. In general, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s just one thing among many that you talk about. A good rule of thumb is to talk about four other unrelated things for every one time you bring up politics with them.

 

But please, start having these conversations if you haven’t already. And as we get closer to Labor Day, start talking with your friends and family about how, exactly, they will vote.

 

If they need help obtaining an absentee ballot, offer to help them get one, and be ready to help them hunt one down.

 

If they need help traveling to and from their polling place, be ready to help them do that. Offer a ride, or start saving for cab money. Whatever they need.

 

It’s that important.

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Community Activism · Escape Your Bubble · Ethics · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Health Care · Marches and Protests · Public Education · Stand for Science · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Commit Now to Put Any Tax Benefits You Might Get from the GOP Tax Bill to Fighting Its Effects

This OTYCD entry originally appeared in December 2017.

If the GOP tax bill passes, will you benefit from it in the form of lower taxes? Commit now to put any extra money to the work of fighting its effects.

 

Yes, the GOP tax bill rewards the rich at the expense of the middle class and the poor. Not too terribly many people who read this will belong to the group who will benefit if it becomes law.

 

Still. If you are one of those people, think about how you will use that money for good, and use it to fight the ill effects of the bill.

 

The bill treats waived graduate school tuition as taxable income. Fight this by talking to your alma mater, or a favorite public or private university, about how you can help relieve the burden the bill imposes on grad students. In particular, do what you can to assist grad students from marginalized communities, who will be hit hardest.

 

The bill removes a tax credit that employers received if they hired veterans. Look around your community, see which organizations are serving veterans and helping them find jobs, and see about pointing your gains in that direction.

 

The bill removes a tax credit for teachers who buy supplies for their classrooms. Find the neediest public school in your community and commit to underwriting those perpetual costs.

 

The variants are endless, but we should also mention yet again that in addition to what you choose to do, you should also support and elect candidates who will change the laws, fix the flaws, and help the people who will be hurt by the GOP tax bill.

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

 

 

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

Removing Trump Is Not Enough

This OTYCD entry originally posted in August 2017.

 

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 Trump 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.

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

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