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Support Your Local Independent Bookstore and Avoid Amazon

Do you have a local independent bookstore? Spend money there, early and often. And stop buying your books, or anything really, at Amazon until it pulls its ads from Breitbart and stops carrying Trump products.

 

Reading is good. Fundamental, even. If you are lucky enough to have an independent bookstore near you–aka not Barnes & Noble–go spend some money there as soon as you can, and make a plan to swing by on a regular basis. Also, follow your local indie bookstore on social media, attend its events, and bring your friends, too.

 

Independent bookstores were vulnerable before Amazon arrived (Barnes & Noble did much to kill them) and not much has changed. Please step up and support your nearest one with your dollars.

 

Giving indie bookstores your business is a social good in and of itself, no matter who’s running the country, but it takes on greater importance under the Trump administration.

 

Both #GrabYourWallet and Sleeping Giants have been targeting Amazon for months, because it sells Trump family products and because it has not moved to pull its ads from Breitbart. It has been deaf to all entreaties, even as Sleeping Giants closes in the milestone of convincing 2,000 advertisers to leave the stomach-turning alt-right web site and despite countless calls, emails, and letters from supporters of #GrabYourWallet (As of early April, Amazon ranks as number 5 on the site’s Top 10 list of retailers to boycott.)

 

Important: You should know that Amazon is a somewhat controversial choice to boycott because its owner, Jeff Bezos, also owns the Washington Post, which has been one of the best, most relentless newspapers covering the Trump administration. Also, the Amazon Prime service makes it cheap and easy to read the Washington Post by offering free access online for six months and then at $4.99 thereafter. For some, Bezos’s support of the Washington Post nullifies any sins that Amazon is perpetrating.

 

Boycotting Amazon is far more difficult than other retailers because it offers so much more than books. Fortunately, the #GrabYourWallet community is way ahead on this, with a whitelist of alternatives to look to.

 

Speaking of which–if you don’t have a local independent bookstore and want to stop giving money to Amazon, try these shops instead:

 

 

Powell’s

http://www.powells.com

 

 

The Strand Bookstore

http://www.strandbooks.com

 

 

See #GrabYourWallet’s whitelist of retailers (bookstores included):

https://grabyourwallet.org/Shop%20These%20Companies.html

 

 

See #GrabYourWallet’s list of retailers to avoid (retailers who sell Trump-branded products):

https://grabyourwallet.org

 

 

See the Sleeping Giants list of advertisers who have dropped Breitbart:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1i9o8CR_kjJ6mBd44k6CRZEhlXuZqq-XCCOoj-e8RJ7Q/edit

 

 

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, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Read Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? by Obama Alum Alyssa Mastromonaco

Read Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House, a refreshingly open and honest book by Alyssa Mastromonaco, alumna of the Obama administration. 

Mastromonaco served as the White House deputy chief of staff for operations and assistant to President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2014.

Her book is a riveting account of what it’s like to work in high-profile political jobs and it’s a breezy read, too. She salts it with useful tips (if you save your bosses money, make sure to tell them; never be a jerk; everyone is replaceable) but its greater value is in showing someone facing challenges and overcoming them.

Mastromonaco’s book, like Al Franken’s book, is one that you need to read right now. She never uses the phrase ‘impostor syndrome’, as far as I can remember, but her approach, her openness, and her willingness to talk about things others would just find too embarrassing, such as how she wrestled with episodes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) on the road, make it a gem.

Mastromonaco is like the senior executive sitting down nervous interns or entry-level staffers on their first day and telling them, “You can do this. I did it, and here’s how.” If you are interested in running for office or helping someone run, it will give you confidence that you can do it.

Note also: Her Twitter bio says she has a new podcast coming soon. We suspect it’ll launch with Crooked Media, given that Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Favreau, and Tommy Vietor are peripheral characters in her book. We’ll update this page accordingly when the time comes.

 

Buy Mastromonaco’s book at these independent bookstores:

http://www.strandbooks.com/index.cfm

http://www.powells.com

 

Follow Mastromonaco on Twitter:

@AlyssaMastro44

Call Your Members of Congress · Community Activism · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Read This New Yorker Piece on What Calling Congress Achieves

Read What Calling Congress Achieves, a New Yorker piece that explores that question and gives a history of Americans calling their Congressional representatives.

 

It’s a long read, but a good one. The author not only explores what works and what doesn’t and why, and what a Congressional office would consider a “flood” of phone calls, she goes back to the late 19th-century beginnings of calling Congress.

 

The story is festooned with tasty little anecdotes and wonderful bits of evidence that calling and emailing Congress actually does something.

 

This paragraph, for example:

 

For political watchers, the most striking thing about this outpouring of political activism is its spontaneity. “If Planned Parenthood sends out an e-mail and asks all their donors to contact their Congress members—that’s honest, it’s real, it’s citizen action,” Fitch said. “But this thing was organic: people saw something in the news, it made them angry, and they called their member of Congress.” At this point, he paused and informed me that he was “not one for hyperbolic statements.” But what was happening was, he said, “amazing,” “unprecedented,” “a level of citizen engagement going on out there outside the Beltway that Congress has never experienced before.”

 

And this one:

 

Perhaps the most striking shift so far, though, has happened on the Democratic side of the aisle, in the form of a swift and dramatic stiffening of the spine. In the past month, at the insistence of constituents, the party line has changed from a cautious willingness to work with the White House to staunch and nearly unified opposition. “If you ask me, before the calls started coming in, someone like Neil Gorsuch”—Trump’s pick for the vacant Supreme Court seat—“would have passed with seventy-one votes,” said one Democratic senator’s chief of staff, who has worked on the Hill for close to twenty years. “Now I’d be surprised if he gets to sixty.” More generally, that staffer noted, the newly galvanized left is suddenly helping to set the Party’s agenda. In thinking about Cabinet nominations, Democratic members of Congress had planned to make their stand over Tom Price, then the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services—until their constituents chose Betsy DeVos. “That was not a strategic decision made in Washington,” the staffer said. “That was a very personal decision made by all these people outside the Beltway worrying about their kids. We’re not managing this resistance. We can participate in it, but there’s no chance of us managing it.”

 

Oh, and this one:

 

Republicans, of course, can’t manage the resistance, either—and, so far, they are struggling to figure out how to respond. Some have merely expressed frustration that so many calls are apparently coming from out of their district or state. But others, including Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Cory Gardner, and President Trump, have tried to discredit concerned citizens by claiming that they are “paid protesters,” an allegation supported by precisely zero evidence. Still others have expressed disingenuous outrage over political organizing, as when Tim Murtaugh, a spokesperson for Representative Lou Barletta, of Pennsylvania, criticized “the significant percentage who are encouraged to call us by some group.” And other legislators simply turned out not to like their job description. “Since Obamacare and these issues have come up,” Representative Dave Brat, of Virginia, said last month, “the women are in my grill no matter where I go.” In an apparent effort to dodge such interactions, a number of Republican legislators, including Representative Mike Coffman, of Colorado, and Representative Peter Roskam, of Illinois, have cancelled or curtailed town-hall meetings. Other G.O.P. legislators have allegedly been locking their office doors, turning off their phones, and, in general, doing what they can to limit contact with their constituents.

 

…but enough quoting. Go enjoy it for yourself.

 

Read What Calling Congress Achieves:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/06/what-calling-congress-achieves

 

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!

 

Subscribe to the New Yorker:

https://subscribe.newyorker.com/subscribe/newyorker/111547?source=AMS_NYR_ARTICLE_NAVBAR_MemorialDay_2017&pos_name=AMS_NYR_ARTICLE_NAVBAR

Community Activism · Ethics · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Read There Is No Good Card For This: What to Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love

Read There Is No Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love, by Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell.

 

TINGCFT might seem like a not-quite-on-topic choice for a political blog, but bear with us. It’s a great textbook on how to have awkward conversations, how to listen, and how not to be a jerk–skills that are ever more precious and valuable in the time of Trump.

 

McDowell is the genius behind a series of greeting cards that you’d actually want to send to someone who’s going through hell but still has a sense of humor. Crowe holds a doctorate in social welfare, and founded Help Each Other Out, which teaches people how to avoid being the person who ghosts or says and does unhelpful things when bad stuff happens to friends and family.

 

The whole book is a gem, but in particular, it goes over how to help people in the grip of illness, fertility issues, divorce, unemployment, and grief.

 

Some general takeaways:

 

It’s better to do something than nothing. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ is doing something.

Remember it’s about them, not you. Don’t make their problem about you.

Listen.

Your kindness is your credential.

The person who needs help may not respond to your overture the way you’d expect. Don’t hold that against them, and don’t let their response deter you from helping others.

 

 

Buy There Is No Good Card for This at great independent book stores such as The Strand or Powell’s:

http://www.strandbooks.com/index.cfm

http://www.powells.com/book/there-is-no-good-card-for-this-9780062469991/1-5

 

 

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 · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Subscribe to Your Local Newspaper, Even If It Stinks, and Urge Its Editors to Improve It

Subscribe to your local newspaper, even if it’s a terrible, poorly-written right-wing rag, and urge its editors to improve its coverage.

Yes, really. You’ve long since heard the calls to support the heavy-hitter papers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. You need to support your local paper with your dollars, too, even if you hate it.

Why? First off, it’s the only game in town. A bad local newspaper is almost always better than no local newspaper because a local newspaper is one of the best checks on local government, and sometimes it’s the only check on local government. A subscription is an investment in checking your local government.

Second, newspapers are obsessed with giving their readers what they say they want. If their readers want coverage that slants to the right, that’s what they’ll print. The only way to make a bad local paper better (aside from starting a competing local paper), is to subscribe and demand that they cover things that matter to you, and praise them when they do.

Third, local papers, even bad ones, will nonetheless tell you, at minimum, the basics of what’s happening with local government, the school board, the police department, the fire department, community groups, and other entities you need to keep an eye on. Again, if the paper is doing a lousy job, give its editorial staff polite constructive criticism in the form of emails and letters to the editor (a future OTYCD post will deal with how to write Letters to the Editor).

Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Read This Blog Post on Living Under a Narcissistic Boss

Read Lessons I Learned Working for a Narcissist and What That Means for Il Trumpe, a December 2016 post on Mike the Mad Biologist’s blog.

Apologies for missing this initially; I only found it by chasing a tweet chain that lead from Steve Silberman to John Scalzi to Mike the Mad Biologist in early September.

Any number of people, with and without medical qualifications, have identified Donald Trump as a narcissist and tried to unpack what that means.

Mad the Mike Biologist speaks as someone who worked under a classic Narcissist, as delineated in Stanley Bing’s book, Crazy Bosses. It’s not a clinical work–Bing is the pseudonym of a business writer–but Mike found it useful nonetheless, and so did his co-workers, with whom he shared Bing’s description of a narcissist.

We’re pointing you to Mike’s post because we feel it’s the sharpest description of a narcissist we’ve come across, and we feel Mike’s observations are the most useful on the subject. It’s also held up solidly, though he wrote it when Trump was president-elect. He shows what Mattis, Kelly, and the rest must be going through.

 

We’re also going to pull out and amplify the last paragraph of Mike’s post, because it shows us all how to deal with President Narcissist. Spoiler alert! You need to carry on as you have been doing–resist, dammit:

“Our refusal to bow before his fantastical order is vital. It will enrage him at times–which can be useful for those of us who then can conciliate him as it makes them appear to be solving his problem. But opposition will also cause him to make mistakes and lash out at those near him. His administration will collapse under its own contradictions, though not without a strong push from us. In the meanwhile, resistance will remind us what we are fighting for. It will keep us sane and ethical. The act of resistance is important for the sake of those who resist–and for those who are unable to do so.”

 

Read Lessons I Learned Working for a Narcissist and What That Means for Il Trumpe (you’ll find the email subscription button for his blog about halfway down on the right side of the page, just above Categories):

Lessons I Learned Working For A Narcissist And What That Means For Il Trumpe

 

Follow Mike the Mad Biologist on Twitter:

@mikethemadbiol

Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Vote with your Dollars · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Separation of Church and State

Follow and Support Christopher Stroop

Follow and support Christopher Stroop, an ex-evangelical who deftly explains the religious right’s baffling infatuation with Trump.

Stroop is a writer, speaker, and postdoc scholar whose evangelical background gives priceless, and frightening, insight into the evangelical mindset. Through his blog, Not Your Mission Field, and his tweets, he sheds light on why Franklin Graham and his ilk have gone all-in on Trump, a twice-divorced, vulgar, areligious, greedy, dishonest, venal, weak-minded would-be autocrat. (Spoiler alert: It has a lot to do with the weak-minded would-be autocrat part.)

 

Read his blog, Not Your Mission Field:

https://chrisstroop.com

 

Follow him on Twitter:

@C_Stroop

 

Support him via Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/cstroop