Come on, come on down, you’ve got it in ya

This is great news:

Buoyed by a wave of progressive activism that began after the election of President Trump, Virginia Democrats plan to challenge 45 GOP incumbents in the deep-red House of Delegates this November, including 17 lawmakers whose districts voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Is anyone going to the Not My President’s Day rally today?

My wife and I wrote post-cards to our Senators and Reps telling them to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia.

Consider this an IRL activism open thread.

Moral March tomorrow

The Moral March in Raleigh is tomorrow. The rally and gathering starts at 8:30 and the march itself goes off at 10:00 AM.

Saturday, February 11, 2017
Gather across the street from the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
2 East South St. Raleigh, NC
Gather and Rally at 8:30 a.m. | March begins at 10 a.m.

The Moral March on Raleigh is part of a love and justice movement. We fight for an intersectional agenda to support public education, economic sustainability, workers’ rights and livable wages, health care For all, medicaid expansion, environmental justice, equal protection under the law without regard to race, immigration status, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation, voting rights for all, and criminal justice.

On February 11, 2017, we will gather at 8:30 a.m. in downtown Raleigh. The opening rally will begin at 9:00 a.m. and the march will begin at 10:00 a.m. after which we will begin the mass People’s Assembly on the doorstep of the State Capitol.

This year, the Moral March on Raleigh will focus on our moral duty to stand against the repeal of the life-saving Affordable Care Act, the legislative tyranny of our extremist-led General Assembly, the racist and unconstitutional gerrymandering which undermines the vote of all North Carolinians, the anti-family, anti-worker, and anti-LGBTQ hate bill 2, and the extremism and lies of Trumpism, which undermine our Democracy at the federal, state and local level. Donald Trump and his administration have undermined our Democracy and democratic institutions by making regressive federal appointments and inviting white nationalists into the White House. They have demonized our immigrant and Muslim brothers and sisters by building a wall on our Mexican border, pushing through an Executive Order which effectively bans many refugees and Muslims from our country, and blaming Latinos for voter fraud that does not exist.

I’ll be there as these are the people and allies who know how to get shit done. I need to hook into their organizing efforts. It will be fun and it will be needed.

Any other Juicers going?

You love me, you really love me

Via Comments by Humboldt Blue:

I’m not sure what you motherfuckers are rambling about but I followed some advice from the front page health care guy who types out dense and incomprehensible phalanxes of text and double checked my policies today with covered California. Saved my stupid ass more than a hundred dollars per month with a far better and comprehensive option. Remember, you smug bastards, it aint easy going through life as a dumbfuck and some of us take longer to catch on.

Sure, that shit may be meaningless by summer, but at least Mr. Mind-numbing Actuarial tables got through to someone.

You love me, you really love me!!!

Really, I can’t tell you how much this means to me. Little wins are what I aim for. I needed this … so thank you.

Trump Radicalization Effect (continued)

Anti-Muslim ban protest in Tampa, FL: 1/29/2017

Tonight was the first post-election meeting of my local Democratic organization. So many new people showed up that the building had to bring in a cop, and breakout sessions weren’t possible because the entire cavernous room was jam-packed.

During the comments portion of the meeting, one guy stood up and said he’s been a Democrat for 40+ years, but tonight was his first party meeting. A couple of people said they’d been independents until tonight but were getting off the fence to join the only party that still acts like Americans.

It was a diverse group: women and men, old and young, gay and straight, black, white and brown. They were fired up and energized by the women’s marches, the immigration support rallies and pro-ACA public meetings.

A lot of organizing happened. We worked out ways to coordinate responses to ongoing issues and expected outrages to come.

More anecdata to support the Trump radicalization effect discussed earlier here and here. Just thought I’d share. Open thread!

It takes a nation of millions

Yesterday’s nationwide Women’s March was by far the largest protest in American history:


According to UConn Professor Jeremy Pressman’s Google document of crowd estimates the low-end estimate is 3.66 million marchers. The high-end estimate is 4.57 million. Whether it is the low or high estimate that is accurate the Women’s March On Washington shattered the previous record for the largest one-day protest in the United States.

Consider that the 1963 Civil Rights March On Washington had 250,000 attendees and that the previous record holder was believed to one of either the anti-nuclear protest in Central Park in 1982, the Million Man March in 1995, or the LGBT March for Equal Rights in 1993. Each of these protests had a high-end estimate of 1 million or so.

The Women’s March low-end estimate is more than three and a half times bigger than anything that has ever been done before in the United States of America.

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!

Do Something!

People deal with traumatic events in various ways, and the Trumpocalypse is no exception. Some get stuck on sadness, others on anger. But my sense is that more of us are taking steps to oppose the incoming administration than is generally acknowledged, and that’s a good thing. (I get this impression not just from reading comments here but from observing my real-life circle, which includes non-activists who are suddenly very much activists.)

Valued commenter StringOnAStick wanted to do something constructive. Here’s her account of her post-election journey, some independent activism she engaged in, and how she chose OFA as a vehicle for activism going forward:

Once I started to exit my funk over this election, I realized the only way I was going to get through this was by getting active, and trying to get others to do so too. First I started by putting together easy action emails for friends with all the work done like “here are some letters, here are the addresses, here’s your rep’s phone number so call about this issue”, etc. Kay has been the source for many of my group emails, like her wonderful idea that what we need in the rustbelt/voter suppression states is paid locals on the ground, organizing, getting people registered to vote by helping them through the hoops, not just parachuting in every 4 years for a presidential election then blowing town. That became a letter action for my friends to mail to the DNC, DCCC, DSCC, and whoever else they wanted to send it to. I started feeling that while doing this was something and made me feel better, it wasn’t going to be enough so I started looking around for what group was well organized enough to deserve my time and already had trained people with plans and ideas. I went to an OFA meeting last night to see if this was the group I wanted to be involved with. OFA, formerly Organizing for Action, now Organizing for America, fits the bill, IMO, and the fact that President Obama has said he will be all over this once he is a private citizen means OFA will have a huge and popular presence at the top.

Last night in the Denver area, about 120 people met to listen to the main OFA organizer in this area. She was well organized (duh!) with a timed agenda and speakers so that this would be a well run meeting, and not devolve into hours of kvetching, so my time was not wasted. We heard from various individuals who had put together events such as climate change conferences, a woman with a teachable specialty in writing letters to the editor (newspapers still have more readers than your FB feed, honest), a discussion of gentrification issues here in Denver, how to set up a phone bank; all were people who had received some training from OFA, and these were the directions they went with it. It gave me hope and stiffened my spine, something we all need these days. I will soon be receiving an email summary of what was discussed last night and whom to contact for various subgroups within the group that I will choose to work more deeply with. Like I said, they didn’t waste my time, and they have direction with trained leaders at all levels, plus opportunities to receive training.

I see OFA as our most organized vehicle to push back against the Drumpf agenda because these wheels have already been invented; we don’t have to invent them again. To those who say “oh yeah, well why wasn’t OFA registering voters?” the reality is that since it is a group directly attached to the sitting president, they could not legally do that. This all changes come January 20th, and President Obama made it clear to the people on the phone call to OFA organizers 2 weeks ago that voting rights are going to his post-presidential project; I have no doubt that he’ll have other areas of activity as well through OFA. Considering how much fuss was raised at the idea of an activist ex-President on FOX and Twitter today, I’d say that idea has the right in a bit of a snit. Good; I like it when they snit, it means we are getting to them. President Obama has amazing approval ratings, commands attention and respect, and he is OFA’s secret weapon, so why wouldn’t we want to hitch our wagon to an already organized and operating group? Go to, click on “Connect” in the upper right hand corner and create an account, then start looking for events and issues you feel strongly about on the “Explore” tab after you hit “Connect.” Most states have at least one group, so you can drill down to your local area, join the group by clicking on it, and then you’ll get the emails about what your group is planning and what is coming up.

I know, joining a group is scary because they might want you to, horrors! do something. How hard is it to write a letter to the editor or your congressman? Not that hard; I learned last night that rule #1 for getting your letter published is for it to be under 150 words; good to know. By not engaging in LTTE campaigns, we’ve ceded the whole newspaper space to the crazies; fight back! In general though, the next 4 years are going to be an All Hands on Deck time, and we all need to get organized with others who share our goals, and RESIST what is coming. I’ve made my commitment, and I deeply, sincerely hope the rest of us will too.

Democrats seem divided between those who believe the Trump administration will be a particularly bad Republican presidency but one that our institutions are strong enough to absorb and bounce back from and those who view it as an existential threat to our democracy. Whichever camp you’re in, action will be required to oppose the shitgibbon.

If you’re doing something to resist, feel free to share your experience in comments. Otherwise, open thread!