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Learn from How Italians Ultimately Defeated Silvio Berlusconi

This OTYCD entry originally posted in January 2017.


Trump has been likened to Hitler, Mussolini, and other 20th-century autocrats, but his closest analog is Silvio Berlusconi, the blustering, womanizing media mogul who served as Italy’s prime minister from 1994 to 2001.


In this November 2016 New York Times op-ed, Luigi Zingales shows us how to avoid the mistakes of Berlusconi opponents, which had the effect of prolonging his grip on power.

The key point to remember:


Attack what Trump does, not who he is. Yes, he’s morally bankrupt. Yes, he’s an awful human being. Yes, he’s unbelievably ignorant. Yes, his view of women is horrific. Yes, his twitter-squawkings are insane. Yes, he looks goddamn ridiculous.


If you need to complain about things like that, vent in a private Facebook group, or some other protected space. Empty it from your mind, then go out and shine a light on what he is doing, and explain why what he’s doing is bad.


You need to do it in a way that spotlights the consequences of his actions as president, and not on why Trump, the man, is repugnant. The instant you start attacking his character, you make him sympathetic. It’s not fair, but it’s what it is. The anti-Berlusconi crowd made that mistake and got seven years of his rule. Do you want eight years of Trump? Then lay off.


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Join the Postcards for America Page and Keep Fighting Trump With Postcards

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

The OTYCD page on joining #TheIdesOfTrump–the effort to bury Trump in postcards on March 15–is the most popular in the young blog’s history.

Seeing as you all have such an appetite for sending postcards, we’re doing a post on one or our favorite Facebook activist pages: Postcards for America.

Its main goal is to encourage you to send postcards to your members of Congress about your fears and concerns. But it also alerts you to other postcard campaigns and suggests legislators who might benefit from receiving great wobbling piles of postcards that tell them they’re wrong, or in some cases, exquisitely correct and in need of thanks.

Apply for admission to the Postcards for America Facebook group:

Please note: Postcards for America is a closed group. You can apply to join and you will have to wait for an administrator to approve you before you are admitted.

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GOOD UPDATE! Democrat David Reid WON A Seat In The Virginia State Legislature

This OTYCD entry originally posted in September 2017.


YES YES YES! Per Flippable, Democrat David Reid won his race for a seat in the Virginia state senate. Hooray!


Original text of this post follows.


Support Democrat David Reid, who is running for a seat in the Virginia state House of Delegates.


Flippable, the organization created after the 2016 elections to focus on state and local elections, has identified the state of Virginia as, well, flippable. All 100 seats in its House of Delegates are up for grabs on November 7, 2017.


We at OTYCD hope to prep and post items on the five Virginia candidates in the districts that Flippable has deemed most worthy of your time and money.


Reid spent some of his formative years in a children’s home and became the first in his family to graduate from college. He served in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 1988 to 2011, retiring as a commander.


He wants to expand Medicaid and implement full-day kindergarten for all children living in Loudon County. Having financed his college education with Pell grants, scholarships, and work-study earnings, he wants to fight tuition rises and find ways to make college more affordable. He fully supports reproductive rights, very much including the right to choose. He wants to end partisan gerrymandering. He supports gun safety measures, including mental health checks, universal background checks, and restricting access for people convicted of domestic violence. He would fight animal abuse and cruelty.



See Reid’s campaign homepage:



See his Meet David page:



See his Priorities page:



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Like him on Facebook:



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Donate to Reid’s campaign:



Volunteer for Reid’s campaign:



See the Flippable page on Reid:



See Flippable’s page on ‘Why Virginia?’, which shows you the other four candidates:



See his Ballotpedia page:



See his Sister District entry:


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Read How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

Read this January 2017 Scientific American column by Michael Shermer on how to convince someone when facts fail.

Once upon a time, everyone agreed that you can have your own opinions, but you can’t have your own facts. Sadly, companies such as Fox News learned to make mad profits off of selling people a set of facts that just plain feels better to them than the reality that the rest of the news media reflects.

Twenty-one years later, we’re in an ugly situation where Fox News finds itself beset by upstarts that pander even more blatantly to what a subset of people want to believe, regardless of whether it’s accurate or true.

Talking to true believers is tough, and maddening. Getting through to them is even harder. Shermer, a professional skeptic and publisher of Skeptic magazine, discusses the phenomenon and has good advice on how best to handle it.

Read his column on how to convince someone when facts fail:

*Full disclosure: One of us at OTYCD was active in the skeptic movement in the 1990s and met and worked with Shermer on several occasions.

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Enough! Join the National School Walkout on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, to Protest Congress’s Failure to Pass Gun Safety Laws

Join the National School Walkout planned for Wednesday, March 14, 2018 to protest Congressional inaction on putting common-sense gun laws in place.


Organized by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER, it calls for students, teachers, administrators, staff, parents, you name it to walk out of classrooms at 10 am in your local time zone for a total of 17 minutes–one for each person who died in the Valentine’s Day 2018 shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida.


Find your nearest walk-out event via the link below:


Learn how to host your own school walk-out event on March 14:


Visit the Facebook page for Enough!: National School Walkout and indicate if you’re interested or going:



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A note: We at OTYCD intend to nurture and encourage the movement sparked by the Margory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting by devoting one post at least every other week to gun safety-related issues.


The reason that the NRA has a death grip on Congress, and in particular, GOP Congressfolk, is that NRA members get off their asses and call if there’s a whisper of a muttering of a hint that a law might pass that could impose even the slightest imposition on ownership of guns in America.


That’s what the politicians are afraid of. It’s not just that some of them get metric buttloads of money for their campaigns from the NRA. Those who embrace the NRA’s outlook pounce on their phones and berate their representatives the instant they think their beloved guns are under threat.


So, yes, it’s on us to shout back.


We have to adopt the tactics of those who support the NRA.


We have to call our representatives often to make it damn clear that the status quo is unacceptable, and we want common-sense gun safety laws.


OTYCD will start out with one weekday post every two weeks, at minimum, that has to do with improving gun safety and pushing back against the NRA.


We do this in honor of the Parkland victims, and all victims of mass shootings in America, and everyone who has been fighting to change our laws on firearms all along.


If Trump finally bows to the will of Congress and imposes the sanctions against Russia for messing with the 2016 election, we will switch to devoting one post per week to these issues.


Honor the victims of the Parkland shooting, and all other shootings, by stepping up and calling your reps about common-sense gun safety laws, and by supporting politicians who have low grades from the NRA, and voting out those who do the NRA’s bidding.


#NeverAgain. For the love of all that is right and good, Never Again.




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Save This Tool for Keeping Tabs on Bills That Concern You: GovTrack

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

Bookmark, a nifty tool for learning about and tracking bills that concern you.


Govtrack debuted in 2004 as a hobby project and blossomed into what you see today. It helps you find federal legislation on issues that you care about, and lets you track them as they work their way through Congress.


It can also show you the bills most tracked by the site’s users, trending bills, and other useful information, such as the total amount of legislation passed by Congress in the current session. And it offers good longer reads in the form of GovTrackInsider, which offers detailed examinations of hot bills and contested issues.



Start using GovTrack:



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Leave Your House

This OTYCD entry originally posted in August 2017.

If you’re going to effectively push back against Trump, you have to commit to leaving your house more than you might like. 


Robert Putnam’s 2001 book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, is a classic for good reason. He traces how civic and community engagement started falling in the 70s or so and continued to drop. He also examines many factors that might have contributed to the decline (increased TV-watching and longer commutes seem to matter). The data he gathers shows that the generation who lived through World War II were the last exceptionally engaged group of Americans. Their children (commonly called the Baby Boomers) somehow failed to follow their example, and the generations that followed the Boomers were even less engaged. This is a problem because widespread civic engagement is the gasoline that fuels democracy–it can’t function without it.


In a subsequent 2010 paper published in the Journal of Democracy, titled Still Bowling Alone? The Post 9/11 Split, Putnam and his co-author, Thomas H. Sander, note that people who were young during the 9/11 attacks–from elementary school to college-age–show more civic involvement. This is good news. (Scroll down for a link to this paper.)


Cataclysmic events that affect everyone, such as World War II and 9/11, seem to have a lasting impact in the form of greater civic engagement among those who live through them. Let’s be dead clear on this–the Trump administration is not on the order of those events, but the 2016 election shocked and mobilized millions of people into action, or into becoming more active than they had been.


Bowling Alone appeared in August 2001, before social media really took hold, but the book makes it clear that routine face-to-face engagement with other human beings is absolutely vital to the survival of democracy. This doesn’t mean that social media lacks value. It means that its greatest value is in cementing and enhancing relationships that also exist in the real world.


Which brings us to the headline of this post: Leave your house. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve done that already, if only to join the big national and international protests that happened throughout 2017. But you need to think about leaving your house on a semi-regular basis to push back against Trump. You need to show up and contribute to groups devoted to that cause, and you need to cultivate friendships that you make in those groups.


Putnam notes that the Rotarians, the Lions Club, the Odd Fellows, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and similar organizations were hemorrhaging members as the 20th century yielded to the 21st. If we work at it, we can ensure that the new anti-Trump groups–the Indivisibles, the Solidarities, and other local coalitions–rise to take their place and keep the garden of democracy watered and nourished.


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Purchase and read Bowling Alone:



Read Putnam and Sander’s 2010 paper, which serves as a hopeful update to Bowling Alone: