Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Read The Privilege to Shut Up, An Essay On Whether And When to Talk to Police

Read The Privilege to Shut Up, a powerful essay on whether and when to talk to the police.

Originally published in January 2014 on Popehat, the well-known group blog, and authored by Ken White, it covers the dangers of speaking with the cops, and the reasons why you shouldn’t say much more beyond asking for a lawyer. White advocates for staying mum.

He also acknowledges that you could suffer consequences for exercising your right to stay silent, and he acknowledges that the consequences can be tougher for people who are neither white nor affluent.

This is a strong article on a worthy blog. It’s worth bookmarking.


Read The Privilege to Shut Up:


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Call Your Members of Congress · Elections · Ethics · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your MoCs and Support the Honest Ads Act, Which Requires Internet Companies to Reveal Who Paid for Election-Related Ads on Their Platforms

Support the Honest Ads Act, a bill that would require Internet companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google, to reveal the names and identities of anyone who spends at least $500 on election-related ads on their platforms.


We are learning more and more about how ads on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms and Internet sites might have affected the outcome of the 2016 election.


Current finance campaign law requires television and radio stations to maintain lists of those who purchase a certain amount of political advertising time. Because the law dates to 2002, it does not cover social media platforms or websites.


Lack of mention of digital media permitted a loophole in the law that allowed Facebook to sell roughly $100,000 worth of political ads to Russian customers between 2015 and 2017 without having to maintain a list of buyers.


It should be noted that as of mid-February 2018, only Facebook has volunteered any information of this nature.


Requiring social media platforms and websites that have audiences of at least 50 million to keep public lists of people and organizations that buy at least $500 in political ads makes sense, and it makes campaign finance law apply equally to old media and new. The legal update will also help fight attempts by Russia and other bad actors who try to sow discord and undermine our democracy.


Two versions of the bill exist–one in the House (H.R. 4077, sponsored by Democrat Derek Kilmer of Washington state) and one in the Senate (S. 1989, sponsored by Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota). Both have the same name, and both were introduced in October 2017.


Right now, the Govtrack pages for each reflect a Skopos prognosis of a five percent chance that they will pass. Let’s do what we can to improve those odds.


Sample script for your MoCs: “Dear (Senator/House Rep Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname from town, zipcode.) I am asking you to support (S. 1989/H.R. 4077), the Honest Ads Act. It would require any social media platform or website that has 50 million viewers or more to maintain public lists of people and organizations that buy at least $500 in political ads. This represents an update to existing campaign finance law that was enacted before the Internet became dominant, and makes the law apply equally to old media and new media. It will also help us fight foreign bad actors who want to manipulate our elections and undermine our democracy. The bill was introduced in October 2017 but hasn’t moved forward since. Please support this bill and help shepherd it through the legislative process.”



See the GovTrack pages for S. 1989 and H.R. 4077, the Honest Ads Act:



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Learn to Welcome Others to the Movement, Period, Full Stop

This OTYCD entry originally posted in April 2017.

Learn to welcome others to the movement, period, full stop.

In November 2016, New York magazine published a fascinating article that didn’t get the recognition it deserved. Titled Why Some Protests Succeed While Others Fail and filed under its Science of Us blog, the story contained mind-blowing revelations about how best to cultivate and direct the anti-Trump energy that arose after the election.

First, let’s list the takeaways from the piece, as identified by the writer, Jesse Singal. These boil down to:

Use Trump to draw people in, but don’t make him your lasting focus. Otherwise, your energy and your momentum will evaporate along with him when he goes.

Welcome everyone who wants to protest with youand make them feel welcome.

Don’t be violent.

The mind-blowing bits appear in the section where Singal discusses the second point, about the value of making people feel welcome. He cites the work of sociologist Ziad Munson, who has studied why people join and become increasingly active in causes such as the pro-life movement. Here are the mind-blowing bits, quoted in full (bold is added by OTYCD):

One of the key things he’s found, over and over and over, is that people often get involved in movements without having particularly strong ideological commitments to them.

Take the anti-abortion activists who were the subject of Munson’s book The Making of Pro-life Activists: How Social Mobilization Works. “I went back and I tried to determine what were their beliefs about abortion the first time they were involved in some kind of pro-life activity,” whether a protest in front of a clinic, the March for Life, or whatever else, he explained. “At that moment, only half of them would have considered themselves pro-life.” Moreover, a quarter “would have openly said they were pro-choice.” So why do they get involved? Someone asks them to. In one instance, for example, a woman’s eventually intense, long-term involvement in anti-abortion causes began simply because her doctor, whom she respected a great deal, asked her to come to an event. Prior to that, it just wasn’t something she had thought of.

Why is this mind-blowing? It shows you how much power you have.

Yes, you.

You’re doing so much good work to push back against Trump. You have one more task to add to your To-Do List: Ask someone to join you in pushing back against Trump.

You don’t have to do it thisverysecond. But you should think about who you want to invite, and when, and what you want to invite them to do.

Maybe you ask them to go to a protest with you. Maybe you ask them to go to a League of Women Voters’ meeting with you. Maybe you ask them to phone-bank for a Democratic candidate with you. Maybe you ask them to go to a member of Congress’s next local town hall meeting with you. Maybe you ask them to write and stamp postcards with you.

Whatever works. Whatever makes sense. Just do it.

Then keep doing it. Keep inviting other people–especially those who like you and trust you–to join you in pushing back against Trump.

Keep doing it until Trump is gone and we’ve cleaned up all the wreckage he’ll leave behind.

Call Your State Legislators · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Health Care · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Find Out If Your State Has Abortion Trigger Laws and Make Sure They’re Pro-Choice

This OTYCD entry originally posted in July 2017.

Does your state have abortion trigger laws–laws that instantly go into effect if Roe vs Wade is overturned? Find out, and urge your state legislators to pass pro-choice laws if need be. 

Trump and the Republicans are hell-bent on overturning Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision that ensured that women will have safe, reliable access to abortion on demand. Trump announced his intention to appoint anti-choice SCOTUS judges and, well, just look at the nonsense that so many Republicans have pursued lately on this front.

If Roe vs Wade is overturned, the power to regulate abortion access goes back to the states. It makes eminent sense, then, to see what laws your state has on its books. Many have put so-called ‘trigger laws’ in place–laws that will ban legal abortion instantly should Roe vs Wade disappear.

Is your state one of them?

First, you should learn how accessible abortion services are in your state right now. NARAL Pro-choice America has created an interactive map that will show you (scroll down a bit to find the map).

Mouse over your state to see if it offers strongly restricted access (red); restricted access (pinkish); some access (purple-pink); protected access (purple); or strongly protected access (blue).

Once you have learned how things are now, while abortion is legal on the federal level, go to the link below, find your local chapter of NARAL, ask whether your state has anti-choice trigger laws on the books, and ask what you can do to get them overturned.


You can also use a nifty tool created by the Our States web site that shows you at a glance whether your state is considering anti-choice legislation right now. Click the link below and click on ‘Reproductive Justice’:


Like NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Facebook page:


Follow NARAL Pro-Choice on Twitter:



Donate to NARAL Pro-Choice America:



Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Community Activism · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Support Immigrants and Refugees

#DefendDACA and the Dreamers, Dammit

Time to step up and defend the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which, if taken away, could force almost one million people who have barely or never known another country to leave the U.S.

Late on Sunday September 3, word started circulating that Trump had decided to rescind the DACA policy, which Obama created in 2012 via executive order when it became clear that Congress would fail to address it. Reportedly, DACA will die after a six-month delay that some are characterizing as a chance for Congress to do what they should have done in the first place and pass a law protecting those affected by DACA, who are known as the Dreamers.

The Dreamers have jumped through a fair number of hoops to qualify and stay in compliance. They must not have criminal records, they have to provide personal information to the government, and they have to pay a fee every now and again. So these are young, promising people, exactly the sort who we want here, and who want to be here. Also, on average, they came here at the age of six. Most know no other country than America. To deport them would be jaw-droppingly cruel.

Also, to be scrupulously fair to Trump–he’s acting because a cluster of states is forcing his hand. Nine attorneys general have stated that if Trump hasn’t made a move on killing DACA by Tuesday, September 5, they’d sue. Jeff Sessions has been pressuring him to kill DACA and kick it back to Congress as well. Sure, Trump could tell them all to go screw, and we here at OTYCD wish he would, but this is not like his weird-ass bullshit ban on transfolk serving in the military in that he’s feeling outside pressure to do this, and do it now.

And we’re saying ‘reportedly’ in this context because we’re writing this post before an official White House announcement comes down about DACA. People expect Trump to do this and are bracing for it, but team Trump has yet to go on record.

Anyway. We need to do what we can to protect the Dreamers. For what it’s worth, prominent Republicans, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, have spoken up in favor of the DACA program, and have said explicitly that Trump should not kill it.

If this nonsense actually forces Congress to do the right thing at long last, it could end up being good after all. It will have tortured a bunch of upstanding kids and young adults along the way for no reason, but if they ultimately win the protection of a law rather than an executive order, they’d be better off. But! As always, we the people have to step up and speak up, loudly and firmly, to make our leaders do the right thing.


So, first off, if you live in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, or West Virginia, call your state attorney general and ask him to drop the threat of a lawsuit against the federal government to end DACA.*

Their contact information is here (thanks to CAP Action for compiling it and the Women’s March for tweeting it). And remember, ONLY CALL IF YOU ACTUALLY LIVE IN THESE STATES:

Ken Paxton, Texas: 512.463.2100

Steve Marshall, Alabama: 334.242.7300

Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas, 501.682.2007

Derek Schmidt, Kansas, 785.296.2215

Jeff Landry, Louisiana, 225.326.6079

Doug Peterson, Nebraska, 402.471.2683

Alan Wilson, South Carolina, 803.734.3970

Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia, 304.558.2012


Possible anti-lawsuit script for the nine AGs: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname, and I live in town, zip code). I wanted to tell the state attorney general that I support the DACA program and I want him to leave the group of attorneys general who are threatening to sue the federal government to end it. The Dreamers are not the problem, and they deserve the chance to stay here and become citizens officially. Thank you.”


If you live in Tennessee, call attorney general Herbert Slatery and thank him for pulling his state out of the threatened suit. But again, only call if you actually live in Tennessee:

Herbert Slatery, Tennessee, 615.741.3491


Possible thank-you script for AG Slatery: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname, and I live in town, zip code). I wanted to tell the state attorney general that I support the DACA program and I want to thank him for leaving the group of attorneys general who are threatening to sue the federal government to end it. I appreciate him having the wisdom to change his mind, and I appreciate him having the strength and courage to do the right thing. Thank you.”


If you live in the other 40 states, call your attorney general on Tuesday, September 5 and urge him or her to sue the federal government if it takes DACA away.

To learn who your attorney general is, plug your address into this search engine:

Scroll down about halfway for your state reps. The name of your attorney general should be there. Click the plus sign to the right of the name and it’ll give you the phone number for your AG’s office.


Sample script for your state AG: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname, and I live in town, zip code). I wanted to tell the state attorney general that I support the DACA program and I want him/her to sue the federal government if it moves to abolish it. Please tell the AG that he/she has my support if he/she initiates or joins a lawsuit to protect DACA and the Dreamers. Thank you.”


Everyone, regardless of the states we call home, needs to call our MoCs and ask them to defend DACA.

Possible pro-DACA script for your MoCs: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname, and I live in town, zip code). I wanted to tell (Senator/House Rep Lastname) that I support the DACA program and the Dreamers, and I want him/her to pass a law that formally protects them–preferably a law that would not expire. The Dreamers deserve the chance to stay here and become citizens officially. Thank you.”


To stay on top of DACA-related issues and the #DefendDACA effort, check the web page of United We Dream, the leading organization that protects and defends the Dreamers:


In particular, check this page, see if there’s a pro-DACA protest near you on September 5, and attend it if you can:


If you can’t–and you won’t be the only one who can’t go, seeing as it happens right after Labor Day weekend–get on social media and promote the #DefendDACA and #HereToStay hashtags as best you can. And definitely call all your MoCs. They need to hear from you on this.

On Twitter, follow @UNITEDWEDREAM and @womensmarch


Read about the evident coming disappearance of DACA:


Read about Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery changing his mind and withdrawing his support for the lawsuit to end DACA:


*We’re aware that the original tweets calling for action included the Twitter handles of all nine AGs. We are not including those handles in our post because we are not convinced that tweeting at the AGs will do anything to help the #DefendDACA cause.

Action Alerts · Call for Suggestions · Health Care · Protect the Environment · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Tell EPA Head Scott Pruitt to Stop Coddling Polluters and Keep Protections in Place

Leave comments for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt on what he should do–namely, leave environmental protections in place, thank you very much.

Until May 15, the EPA is accepting comments through its web site on “on regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification.”

Please go to the site and make it clear that you want the EPA to do its best to, you know, protect the environment and keep our air and water clean.

To this end you may want to ask the EPA to restore legislation that prevented hunters from using lead ammunition in national parks and on public lands.

You may want to ask the EPA to keep the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), or even make them stricter.

You may want to ask that regulations protecting the environment be stricter, and punishments for polluters be harsher.

And you might also want to voice your support for policies that recognize that climate change is happening, humans are causing it, and humans can use the EPA to help fight it.

Just a few suggestions.

Remember: These are public comments, and they will be viewable by all. Please compose your thoughts accordingly.


See the page through which the EPA is accepting comments:


Or you can email your comments to the EPA:


You can also mail them:

Office of Policy Regulatory Reform,

Mail Code 1803A,

1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW,

Washington, DC 20460


Read a piece on about the importance of answering Pruitt’s call for comments before the deadline:


Read a Sierra Club piece on how MATS is under threat: