Friday Morning Open Thread: Some Well-Earned Schadenfreude

Anything is possible in this fallen world, so there’s still a chance that Ryan and Trump between them can bribe, charm, or bully enough Repub holdouts into voting for their “health care” “plan” (Trump air quotes). But the betting odds are against it, at least for today… and it’s always sweet to see such a bunch of grifters and cravens suffer.

Apart from cheering for more GOP defectors, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up another long week?
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Thursday Evening Open Thread: Same As It Ever Was

Our own Southern Beale went to that Nashville rally:

What a bizarre event.

Trump’s campaign started robo-calling supporters in a four-county area 48 hours ago offering free tickets. The optics they were going for, of course, was, “thousands of people lined up to get in,” which isn’t as hard as it sounds when your venue is the Municipal Auditorium, not exactly the largest rink in town. However, they got the crowd they wanted: thousands of people were, indeed, lined up … all the way down James Robertson Parkway, all the way up to the state capitol, all the way around the building. I’m guessing there were 15-20,000, but I’ve heard other figures that are higher. Let it be said: most if not all of these folks could have fit inside the Titans’ football stadium. But that wouldn’t have provided Trump with the necessary ego-gratification that comes with a “standing room only/thousands turned away” narrative…

Click over to SB’s blog for more — including photos of the event.
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Apart from catching up, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Monday Morning Open Thread: People Power

Probably a more viable alternative, at the present moment:

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — It had all the trappings of a campaign rally: the signs, the Bruce Springsteen songs on repeat, the clipboard-hugging volunteers in matching T-shirts.

But the 2,000-odd people in the University of Miami’s basketball arena were there to hear Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, try to recruit them into a legal army.

“It didn’t take a lot of work to fill this auditorium,” Romero said, as the screens surrounding him showed mass protests against President Trump. “People want to be deployed. They don’t just want to write you a check, or sign a petition. They want to be engaged. You want to be protagonists with us.”

The ACLU is spending millions of dollars on a plunge into grass-roots politics — a “People Power” campaign. It’s the newest and largest development from a sprawling “resistance” movement that regularly moves faster than the Democratic Party’s leaders can think and isn’t waiting on politicians for cues…

“We’ve seen this exponential growth in people becoming card-carrying members of the ACLU,” Romero said in an interview after his speech. “They’re younger. They’re in every state around the country. The biggest danger was in not doing something like this, where people get apathetic and they fall asleep.”

There’s little apparent risk of that, and the biggest organizations on the left, broadly defined, are staffing up to give it direction. The Center for American Progress is planning a grass-roots conference for “rising” activist groups in California next month, and an ideas conference in Washington one month later. Super PACs such as American Priorities have become promotion machines for the Indivisible movement, which in just a few months has begun to organize some local chapters as official nonprofit groups.

But no organization is transforming as quickly or as boldly as the ACLU. Since the 2016 election, it has tripled its membership to more than 1.2 million and raised more than $80 million, with plans to add 100 staff members to a team of about 300…

Here’s the ACLU website’s update. You can watch a recording of the whole session here.

More, from the Christian Science Monitor:

The event marked a distinct strategic shift for the civil liberties group, which has traditionally focused on courtroom litigation. The ACLU’s new campaign, PeoplePower, is the organization’s first grassroots mobilization effort in its nearly 100 years of existence, leaders say, driven by a recent surge in membership and widespread activism efforts across the country in the months since President Trump’s election victory. Since November, group membership has tripled to more than one million, with more than 135,000 people signed up to take part in the PeoplePower campaign as of Saturday.

“Before, our membership was largely older and much smaller,” ACLU executive director Anthony Romero told Reuters. “Our members would provide us with money so we could file the cases and do the advocacy. What’s clear with the Trump election is that our new members are engaged and want to be deployed.”…

Speaking at the event on Saturday, Mr. Romero said priority issues for the campaign are immigration, free speech and religious freedom rights, civil and reproductive rights, and LGBT rights.

“We will bring all the lawsuits necessary to defend these rights,” he said, as reported by the Associated Press. “We’ll do the work in the courts. You do the work in the streets. People are motivated. They want to be engaged.”

The Resistance Training coincided with the ACLU’s launch of a new grassroots online organizing platform, PeoplePower.org, a tool to help people planning a local protest or rally connect and coordinate with others around the country. The site will also provide details of ACLU initiatives…

Apart from staffing The Resistance, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?



Late Night Open Thread: Every Day Is Women’s Day


(Imperator Furiosa)



A Day Without Women?

If I were a True Progressive(tm), I probably wouldn’t be writing this (although, in my defense, for me it’s the end of Tuesday rather than the beginning of Wednesday). Yes, I enjoy putting these posts together — since it’s unpaid labor, Cole could hardly fire me for noncompliance — but it does qualify as work, some days more than others.

Jia Tolentino, in the New Yorker, on “The Women’s Strike and the Messy Space of Change”:

T[oday] is the Women’s Strike, the fourth of ten actions that have been called for by the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington. The strike was planned to coincide with International Women’s Day, and the march organizers, in tandem with a team organizing protests in forty countries around the world, have asked women to take whatever form of action their lives allow for. Take the day off from “paid and unpaid labor,” including housework and child care, if you can, or avoid shopping at corporate or male-owned businesses, or simply wear red in solidarity. There will be rallies in at least fifty cities around the United States.

Comparisons between the strike and the post-Inauguration march—now estimated to be the largest political demonstration in U.S. history—are inevitable, and likely to be unfavorable to the strikers. The decline in unionization has insured that most American workers are unfamiliar with striking and what it entails. And it is, of course, much harder to strike on a weekday than to protest on a Saturday. It is also more difficult to facilitate, measure, and publicize absence than it is to celebrate presence, the way one does at a march. When tens of thousands of immigrants went on strike on February 16th, they did attract some favorable public attention—as well as employer retribution—but a general strike the next day, and a tech-industry strike one week later, escaped public notice almost completely…

From the Washington Post, “The expensive problem with the ‘Day Without a Woman’”:

Rosie Molina, who works at a District restaurant for $7.50 an hour, woke early to march on the Mall in January. Then she rushed downtown for an afternoon shift. Molina was proud to have briefly joined the movement — her cause is immigrant rights — but she cannot afford to take part in Wednesday’s strike, which would cost her about $60. That’s two weeks of groceries.

“I’m a single mother,” Molina said. “I don’t have the luxury. The last time I took a day off, my paycheck was very low.”

Taria Vines, 44, who makes about $350 each week as a caterer in the Bronx, decided to take the day off to march Wednesday in the nation’s capital with some friends. Vines figures she’ll lose a chunk of pay — probably enough to cover her cellphone bill — but she still wanted to take a stand against sexual harassment and discrimination.

“It’s costing me money to do this,” she said, “but if I don’t fight for what’s right for me, who will?”…
Read more



Kiss up, piss down

Just an amazingly fast turn-around by the Kaiser Family Foundation on the distributional impacts of Trumpcare 1.0

 

This neglects tax and Medicaid impact and only looks at Exchange. But it is illustrative of the priorities that the Republican Party embraces.



Muslim Ban 2.0 — First Time Tragedy; Second Time Tragic Farce

I’ll leave it to the more knowledgeable among us to dissect (looking at you, Adam…). But the greatest hits are about what I’d expected.  Iraq’s off the list as we owe too much to too many there.  The other six countries from the original order remain, though the specific restrictions are a little different than in Fear The Furriner version one.  Here’s The Washington Post‘s take:

President Trump signed a new travel ban Monday that administration officials said they hope will end legal challenges over the matter by imposing a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas for citizens of six majority-Muslim nations, authorities said.

In addition, the nation’s refu­gee program will be suspended for 120 days, and it will not accept more than 50,000 refugees in a year, down from the 110,000 cap set by the Obama administration.

 

The goal is obviously to deliver some red meat to the Trump base while sliding past inconvenient judicial reality tests. Trumpistas are already suggesting that the administration should not have to justify the order in court, despite evidence that there is no net national security gain from a Muslim ban:

A Department of Homeland Security report assessing the terrorist threat posed by people from the seven countries covered by President Trump’s original travel ban had cast doubt on the necessity of the executive order, concluding that citizenship was an “unreliable” threat indicator and that people from the affected countries have rarely been implicated in U.S.-based terrorism.

The Department of Homeland Security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, criticized the report as being incomplete and not vetted with other agencies, and he also asserted the administration should not be pressed by the judiciary to unveil sensitive national security details to justify the ban.

“This is not something that the Department of Justice should have to represent to a federal-district court judge,” the official said.

We shall see.

Over to y’all.

Image: Benjamin West, The Ambassador from Tunis with His Attendants as He Appeared in England in 1781, 1781