Saturday Morning Open Thread: Best Wishes to All Marchers!

Anybody takes pics they want to share, email jpgs to me or TaMara and we’ll front-page them. I’m guessing BettyC will have some shots of her own to share, too!

Rebecca Traister, in NYMag, on “The Complicated, Controversial, Historic, Inspiring Women’s March“:

…[T]he media’s treatment of the march has been so fretful that you’d be forgiven for thinking that this grass-roots demonstration of hundreds of thousands on behalf of women’s rights is an example of feminism in crisis and disarray.

“From the beginning the only question the media wanted to ask us was whether we had a permit,” said Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian-American Muslim activist who is one of the four national co-chairs. It was almost funny, the fetishization of the question of whether thousands of angry women literally had permission to show up and protest. Sarsour felt it was indicative of a basic distrust of women as serious activists and organizers. “Logistics became the main focus,” she said. “As if women were not sophisticated enough to know how to obtain permits. I was like, ‘Can someone ask me about my principles and values?’”

The idea that this march is disorganized in some unique or particularly problematic way, Sarsour said, is particularly rich, given that there are about 30 women on the national steering committee, talking to around 400 organizers of marches around the country. “Many of us had never met before this march planning,” she said. “The idea that we were supposed to immediately and seamlessly bring strangers together in a kumbaya march team, when we’re from different backgrounds, have different experiences, religious backgrounds, are from inner cities and suburbs, is crazy. We’re organizing what is going to be the largest mass mobilization any administration has seen on its first day.”…

After the permits were obtained, Sarsour noted, the coverage turned to how contentious the dialogue among organizers and participants was. “As if this contentious dialogue in the women’s movement is by accident,” she laughed. “Contentious dialogue is by design.” To the organizers, the point is pushing hundreds of thousands of marchers to think harder about the connectedness of gender to race, to immigration, to criminal-justice reform and climate policy, to create dialogue among people who could and should be allies on many of these issues, to try to push feminism toward a transformational step…

The way the women’s movement is different from other social movements is in its size and the unwieldy scope of its mission: to represent not an oppressed minority, but a subjugated majority. To campaign on behalf of just over half the population is by definition to build an enterprise on conflicting interests and perspectives and experiences, to try to bind together people who come from divergent backgrounds, who sometimes resent and disagree with each other. And its immensity and diversity is used against it by those who fear its potential power. As Gloria Steinem, who has signed on as an honorary co-chair of the march, told me, “Because it’s a majority movement, it’s subject to the same divide-and-conquer tactics that colonial powers used on countries — turning races, classes, and generations against each other, the myth that women can’t get along and are our own worst enemies.”…

The women’s movement has survived not in spite of its cacophony, but because of it: Because those who have pushed the movement from inside to change and grow and be better — even when they don’t always agree on what better means — have helped us meet the shifting forms of inequity from era to era. The women’s movement has won women’s rights to self-determination, to economic and educational opportunity, to sexual freedom, to reproductive autonomy, to professional opportunity, to legal protection from violence, rape, assault, discrimination, and harassment. And on Saturday, today’s iteration of the women’s movement will give body and voice and form to those who resist this incoming president and his attempts to roll back the rights of women, people of color, and immigrants…


What’s on the agenda for the day — March-related or otherwise?

Early Morning Open Thread: Well Somebody Has A Size Complex…

It was a really, very very small, inadequate, totally SAD! crowd…

Never to be overlooked: YOU OWN THIS, REPUBS!

The last thing they’ll ever do is act in your interest

Trump didn’t win because he’s a political genius or because the voters are dumb. He won because our institutions failed:

These same institutions can still stop Trump from destroying our country if they do their jobs? How can we pressure them to do their jobs? That’s what we have to figure out, and of course there isn’t just one answer.

In the meantime, another example of how our media fucked up and gave us a potential Hitler, in this case by deciding not to run stories about connections between Russia and the Trump campaign:

I have spoken privately with several journalists involved in the reporting last fall, and I believe a strong case can be made that The Times was too timid in its decisions not to publish the material it had.


There were disagreements about whether to hold back. There was even an actual draft of a story. But it never saw daylight. The deciding vote was Baquet’s, who was adamant, then and now, that they made the right call.

“We heard about the back-channel communications between the Russians and Trump,” he said. “We reported it, and found no evidence that it was true. We wrote everything we knew — and we wrote a lot. Anybody that thinks we sat on stuff is outrageous. It’s just false.”

I don’t believe anyone suppressed information for ignoble reasons, and indeed The Times produced strong work on former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. But the idea that you only publish once every piece of information is in and fully vetted is a false construct.

Late Evening Open Thread: The Country’s in the Very Best of Hands…

I mentioned a while back, when cornered in comments by a certain unnamed musical fanatic, that other than the Batman: the Brave and the Bold animated episode The MusicMeister, the only musical I actually like is Lil Abner. Largely because it was the only thing to watch one night while I was stuck on the couch in my house in Scotland with a sinus and respiratory infection. We only had three channels and at least one of the other ones was showing snooker… So Lil Abner it was. Given the events of today, I think these two numbers from the Lil Abner movie are appropriate.


Have at it…

Trump’s EO on the ACA

The Trump administration issued its first executive order. The subject is the ACA. The order seeks to destabilize the non-subsidized and off-Exchange portions of the risk pool by minimizing enforcement of the individual mandate.  Dan Diamond at Politico had the first link to the actual order that I saw:

Section 2 is the critical component for the individual market. Section 3 has significant impact for both Exchanges and Medicaid.

Analysis below the fold:
Read more

Open Thread: I’m With Her

And also with these guys…

Because… really, Trumplodytes? A literal comic-book villain?

A Little More Knowledge Lights Our Way

If you haven’t seen this yet, you might find it helpful.  Indivisible Guide

We can do this. Yes we can.

Open thread

ETA: Definitely one to follow.

You’re Fired! and Ready to Go…Errr, P’raps Not

There’s much to be said about the still-unpossible fact that the shitgibbon is now president.  But in this day one of our national experiment in test-to-destruction governance, there’s something…missing.

That would be a government.  Or at least, an administration.

There are roughly 675 Federal positions that require Senate confirmation.*

There are some four thousand more jobs to be filled by direct appointment, and while many of those are minor, many are not.**

So that’s the hole. How far along is Trump to filling it?

Well, according to The Washington Post‘s tracker, Trump has so far sent 30 names to the Senate.***  None have been confirmed.

Update: James Mattis and John F. Kelly have now been confirmed for Defense and Homeland Security respectively.

By comparison in 2009, six Obama cabinet nominees were confirmed as of the inauguration, and four more followed the next week.

And even if/when all those nominated so far do make it through the Senate process, they’ll be doing — or rather not getting done all the work of the senior management of their departments.

Foreign policy? We ain’t got none, for the time being, no matter how often Trump bellows “America First!”  There are no appointees at State below the secretary level. That’s not “none-confirmed.” That’s none, as in not a single deputy, assistant, or under secretary has yet been named.

We’ve got no boots on the ground either.  In a break with prior custom, Trump demanded the resignation of every serving ambassador as of today.  With only three as-yet unvetted, much less confirmed, ambassadorial appointments, and dozens yet to be made, the US is without its head-of-mission everywhere.  While it’s true that politically appointed ambassadors have professional staffs that are still in place, the fact remains that our international representatives aren’t there.

Same goes for the national security apparatus.  The odious and unfit Michael Flynn does not require Senate confirmation, so he’s on the job.  He’s got no help though:

Trump has made one other NSC appointment, tapping retired Gen. Keith Kellogg to be NSC chief of staff. And some reports indicate that Matt Pottinger, a former Wall Street Journal China correspondent who joined the U.S. Marines and grew close to Flynn, may become the NSC’s director for Asia.

It ain’t going to get any better any time soon.  Flynn’s in charge of filling out his org chart, and, as the same Politico article notes, he’s making a mess of it:   Read more

Emoluments question

I am not a lawyer. But I have a legal question regarding the emoluments clause that could be the start of a constitutional confrontation. Lawyers in the audience, please tell me where I am going wrong in the following scenario?

Let us assume a foreign government official without diplomatic immunity from Fredonia stays at the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C. tonight. The Trump Hotel is still owned by the President. He had not given a credit card to hold the room. The foreign official is conscientious and checks out tomorrow morning. He receives a charge for the room. He refuses to pay for the room as it would be an emolument. He offers to place the money into escrow until the dispute can be resolved.

At that point the hotel management has two choices. Eat the loss to not embarrass the boss or initiate civil or criminal action to get the room fee? If they choose the second option, the entire question of what is an emolument has to be answered. Is that correct?

What am I missing here? And if I am not missing anything big, how do we recruit a good test case?

Breaking News: Protestors and Police Clash in DC

I’ve pulled the Pericles post because a small group of masked protestors is clashing with the DC police. This is off the parade route. MSNBC is reporting three officers injured and at least 95 protestors have been arrested.

I’ll update as more information becomes available.

Updated at 2:45 PM EDT

And by contrast, sparse crowds of folks not protesting:

Stay Frosty.

Fired Up. Ready. To. Go

Your Voice Makes A Difference.

This is beautiful. I spent the inauguration looking for inspirational stuff for posts today. And cleaning out the litter box area. Seemed appropriate.

I will not back down…we are the leaders we’re looking for…

Be safe tomorrow.

A Denver marcher

Open thread.

The Inaugural Address of the 45th President of the United States

Two great philosophers for the next four years

Okay, now it’s real so let us rely on two great philospophers for the next four years:

And it looks like America agrees with Ron Burgundy

CBS News:

It has been 10 weeks since Donald Trump was elected president, and more Americans disapprove (48 percent) than approve (37 percent) of the way he has handled his presidential transition. They are split on his cabinet picks. Views divide heavily along party lines.

Just days before his inauguration, Donald Trump’s favorable rating (32 percent) is the lowest of any president-elect in CBS News polling going back to Ronald Reagan in 1981, when CBS News began taking this measure.

Well we’ll have to survive being “governed” by the Brietbart comment section so we can either laugh or cry while we bang our heads into our desks today.

Peaceful Assembly & Personal Security: Threepeat

I know a number of you all are planning to join one of the marches that will begin taking place between now through, and then after, the inauguration. So I wanted to re-up the post – again – for anyone that missed it the first and second time.

Everyone be safe out there!

(Originally posted on 18 December 2016)

Congress shall make no law… abridging…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. — Amendment 1, Bill of Rights, US Constitution

One of our readers/commenters emailed me about a week ago and asked if I would put up a post about personal security for those going to peaceably assemble to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. I put a list together and ran it past a select group of our Balloon Juice legal eagles (those I’ve corresponded with before/have corresponded with me, so if you didn’t get asked, don’t be insulted I didn’t want to just impose on you with a cold request) – thank you all for getting back to me. Here’s my list of what I think anyone going to peacefully assemble should do to enhance their personal security.

  1. Go with a buddy, that way you have at least one person looking out for you/watching your back and vice versa.
  2. Carry cash and make sure to carry a valid picture ID!
  3. Bring a pocket flashlight.
  4. Get and wear a go pro that is automatically updating to the cloud.
  5. Bring a pocket charger for your cell phone and go pro regardless of whether it is supposed to be a long day.
  6. Make sure your personal electronic devices all have sufficient password protection and encryption on them. And have them set to upload to the cloud at a regular interval.
  7. Turn off fingerprint access to unlock your phone and delete your finger prints from the memory. Some jurisdictions allow law enforcement to compel you to unlock your phone if it has finger print based access. Or get a disposable phone just for this occasion.
  8. Turn off your phone and other personal electronic devices option to connect to known wifi as it can be used as a way to fail your encryption.
  9. Bring a bandana or neck gaiter and water so you can make a make shift gas mask in case things get out of hand and tear gas or pepper spray is deployed.
  10. Bring a bottle of saline eye rinse in case you need to rinse your eyes out if tear gas or pepper spray is deployed.
  11. Bring plenty of water and some snacks to make sure you’re properly hydrated and you’ve got enough fuel in your system to get through the day.
  12. Dress in layers so you are prepared for the weather and make sure you have good shoes/boots and a change of socks in case they should get wet. A set of silk base layer undersocks is a good idea regardless of the weather. They’ll help keep your feet warm or cool as needed and they’ll provide some protection in case your shoes/boots and socks get wet. And something to keep the back of your neck and your ears warm if you’re going to be someplace cold.
  13. Bring/wear a hat to keep the sun off your head or to keep it warm depending on the weather.
  14. Bring/wear eye protection. Specifically sunglasses that are impact rated. (You should be able to pick up military surplus ones pretty cheap).
  15. Sunscreen, skin moisturizer, and lip balm. Even if its cold you’ll need these.
  16. If you need to take regular/routine prescription medication: bring it in its original container, with the prescription details on the label. If its a gel based application and comes in a packet, make sure you’ve got a hard copy of the prescription with you.
  17. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. You don’t have to be paranoid, but have a sufficient level of situational awareness. If something looks and/or feels hinky or the hair on the back of your neck stands up, head on home or go get a drink or go back to your hotel. Know who and what is around you, keep your valuables in front pockets or in secure/securable purses/bags, and keep those where they can’t be easily snatched or accessed.
  18. Have a contact plan for both linking up and communicating in case one gets separated from anyone you’re with.
  19. Have a contact plan to stay in touch with someone who isn’t at the march, but knows that you’re there and a regular set of contact times.
  20. Have a lawyer you can contact if necessary and that your outside contact could contact if you don’t check in. Make sure you have all of your contact’s phone numbers memorized in case your phone is damaged or taken by law enforcement should the worst happen and you’re arrested.
  21. Bring a sharpie to take down badge numbers if necessary. And if necessary write them on your hand.

Should the worst happen and you get caught up in a peaceable assembly that suddenly turns not so peaceable:

  1. Do not resist law enforcement. Just do what they say, let your arms go limp, and do what you can to avoid a reflex response to resist – that can get you charged with assault on a law enforcement officer.
  2. Be respectful and polite when dealing with the authorities – law enforcement, the National Park Service, whoever.
  3. If you are arrested, ask for a lawyer and then shut up. Do not say anything else or answer any other questions until your lawyer arrives. In fact let the lawyer do the talking.

One last item: some of you probably carry a pocket knife or multitool everywhere. Or everywhere that you’re normally allowed. I would recommend not carrying anything on your possession that could be construed as a concealed weapon or even an openly carried one. Even if you’re in a state/jurisdiction that allows for concealed or open carry of knives and/or other weapons – don’t. Being part of a march or peaceful assembly that turns ugly is not a good time to attempt firearms (or knife) normalization.

Stay Frosty!

We The People

Eight years after artist Shepard Fairey created the iconic red and blue Barack Obama “Hope” poster, he and a team of artists have created a new series of public artworks for the inauguration. Named “We the People” after the first three words in the preamble to the Constitution, the series features Muslim-American, African-American, Native American, Latina, and Lesbian women.

“As artists, it is always important to create work with positive uplifting messages, but even more so during these divisive times,” photographer Ridwan Adhami told NBC News. “There is a need to balance all the negativity swirling around. We have a responsibility to the youth in our communities, we need to give them something to look up to that can hopefully inspire and encourage strength. That is what the ‘We The People’ campaign is all about, and I am proud and honored to be part of the movement.”

I believe (and will fight for) a better future. Here’s a hopey-changey open thread.