It’s Only Going to Get Harder

Last Sunday,  July 24, I had quite a busy day.  In the Morning, I went canvassing with MoveOn.org.  This was not the traditional “Are you for or against” canvassing that I was used from my work with campaigns, this was “Deep Canvassing”.  We were looking for stories on health care and the apparent impending “Repeal and Replace” of the Affordable Care Act.  It was challenging, time-consuming and a bit complex.  But there were some good stories that my partner and I gathered.

Later that day, I patched my phone into a phone call with MoveOn.org.  It was in regards to mobilizing in resistance to “Repeal and Replace”.  There was one tidbit from that which stood out.  The reason the Affordable Care Act was so high on Trump’s agenda was that he thought it would be easy.  This has not proved to be the case; as on Friday the latest effort was defeated in the Senate.

Now there are apparently plans to try another repeal.  But I can’t help but thing if the “easy part” has taken this long, what about the harder issues.  The budget, the border wall, etc.  These are issues that finally may put Trump face-to-face with the “firewall”; a group of progressive Senators who will make getting to 60 votes difficult, if not impossible.

Also the success of repelling repeal may embolden “The Resistance”, who showed tremendous ability to mobilize on the phones, on-line and even on the ground.  The image of wheelchair-bound protesters being arrested could be the “Selma Moment” of the opposition to Trump.  They may also see momentum on their side, momentum that may lead to efforts to advance a “Medicare For All” alternative to the Affordable Care act.

When Trump got elected, I saw a scenario where Trump realized that Government is not a boardroom, and that it would bring him to fits.


It’s Up To Me?

As Trump realized that repeal of the Affordable Care Act was failing, he did what his response to any affront to him is.  He threw a temper tantrum!

The worst of these may have been the speech he gave to the Suffolk County Police Department, where he basically urged officers to engage in police brutality.  Now he could realize that much of the resistance to repeal of the Affordable Care Act may come from communities of color, so he’s taking it out on them.  It may have to do with more “dog whistling” of his “trailer park caucus”.

To me it’s more evidence that communities of color are under attack from every corner.  The only solution may a modern-day variation of the “Community Defense” tactics that the Black Panther’s utilized.  I have mentioned this several times to my fellow activists, but the response has been less the impressive.

So perhaps I need to be the one to get the process going, but where to start?  Why not start with what I know well, technology.

Perhaps a variation on a Crypto Party,  is in order.  Introduce people in affected communities to tools like; Mobile Justice PA, Signal, Cell 411, and Orbot.  Make them aware of their rights to film officers, etc.

If they see this catch on, perhaps other activists will follow and add their skills to the mix.

At least I’ll have it out of my system.

 

A Maverick’s Last Ride?

I stated once before that one of my college alma mater’s coaches had a “24-hour rule”.  You had 24 hours to revel in a victory or sulk in defeat.

Yesterday, July 28, we went from one to the other in a matter of one vote.  When Senator John McCain (R-AZ), cast the 51st vote to defeat the “Skinny Repeal”, the last effort by the Senate GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

What is odd is that his vote that Tuesday was what allowed the debate to start.  If he was opposed to repeal, why bring the bill to the floor?  Twitter has been wondering this as well.  I have my own answer.

Senator McCain is trying to leave a legacy, in my opinion.  He was diagnosed with brain cancer and may want the image of him looking Mitch McConnell in the eye, and giving the “Skinny Repeal” the “Thumbs Down” to be how he is remembered.  For a lot of people, it will work.  For folks that can remember more than the last 15 minutes, it won’t.

Showing His Hand?

Besides building the border wall, promises to deport Muslim refugees and people of color, and rebuild the industrial economy, one of the other reasons many people decided to vote for Trump was to have the Affordable Care Act repealed and replaced.

Alas, these efforts have been met with massive resistance, to get the legislation to pass the US House required two votes.  The Senate is on now its third delay, ironically because Senator John McCain need surgery.

I cannot help but think that in some way, Senator McConnell has tipped his hand a bit.  There may not be enough votes to even bring the bill up for a debate, if McCain’s vote didn’t matter, they would press on.

I only hope that the resistance smells blood, and seizes this opportunity to push for killing this bill and advance a proposal that benefits all Americans.

#KeepPounding

I take ideas from everything and anything.  What the late member of the Carolina Panther’s Sam Mills used to rally his teammates is but one example.  Whether it be me working out or working on a skill, more than a few of my social media posts have included the hashtag “Keep Pounding”.

This past week, activists at both the national and local level seemed to show how these words can be applied to the resistance.  At the national level, one can only wonder if the latest delay with the planned replacement to the Affordable Care Act, in reality a package of corporate and %1 tax cuts paid for by cuts in health care, has anything to do with what many US Senators heard over the recess or what calls have come into their office.

At the local level, an attempt by the Harrisburg Police Department to purchase new riot gear, most likely in response to the increase in fascist, etc, rallies since Trump’s election was met by resistance from the community.

Collage1

The vote was delayed until after the August recess.  Part of the reason behind this delay may have been, ironically, a demonstration at what was billed as a “Town Hall” by U.S. Senator Pat Toomey caused the entire police contingent to head there.  At least one council member questioned why the whole command had to head to the disruption.

I already saw that civil disobedience is planned in DC on Monday, and be assured that at the next council meeting, activists will be there.

We plan to “Keep Pounding”, it would seem.

 

Every Voter Matters

Be advised this may be the first of two posts I make today, but I want to get this into the open before another idea crowds it out.

Either late last week, or early this one, an idea made its rounds about one of my Twitter accounts.  The idea seemed to me to be that Democrats should focus on building and gathering support in urban areas at the expense of rural and other non-urban and suburban areas.

On one hand, the idea of building support is a good one.  Trump’s relentless attacks on people of color, refugees, etc, all who tend to gather in urban areas may be a great tool to register and rally voters.  There is still the fact that the Democratic leadership seems reluctant to embrace the ideas of Sanders, Warren, etc, that may bring millennial and independents into the fold.

But this notion also has flaws.  For one, it would likely only help in the United States Senate.  Many, if not most, state and Federal House Districts are gerrymandered; the Republicans have drawn districts to favor the rural areas that their base lives in at the expense of urban areas.   The Electoral College, with its “Winner take all” system, allows narrow victories in a few states, or victories in many less-populated states, to be a path to victory.

The second is that this idea would only be another bone to the dog whistled.  Trump’s election may have been seen by many as a repudiation of urban America.  A triumph of the mostly homogeneous heartland over the diverse urban areas.

Might a better option be to try to get rural voters to ignore the “dog whistles”?  Get them to see how Republican policies affect their jobs, their health and even their environment?  That they may lose their health care or their local clinic, that their job may be shipped to where labor is cheaper and more exploitable, or that their fishing stream may be too polluted to fish in?

 

What, To a Resister, Is The 4th Of July

Today is Independence Day, when we celebrate when a group of citizens made the decision to challenge the leading imperial power of that day.

Now the populist credentials of our Founding Fathers can be questioned.  The men who signed the Declaration of Independence were a landed gentry, many of them held slaves.

But what is often forgotten was that our fight for independence was a resistance.  And it was only the first; there would be struggles for African American’s to first be freed, and then be equal, women needed to fight for their right to vote and then their equality, working Americans had to fight for a 40 hour week, safe places of work, etc.  Recent struggles have been for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered citizens to gain equality.

These efforts have been met by resistance from reactionaries, who pine for an earlier time when power was in the hands of a few.   At this time, these people seem to have seized power.  So, as has happened time and time again, a resistance has rose up.

Folks like me, who have taken to the streets in opposition to racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, environmental destruction, and the rest of the Pandora’s Box of deplorable ideas are standing on shoulders of such giants as; Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, John Brown, Mother Jones, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez , and millions of others who have stood before us.

While we have their efforts to guide us.  We have tools and technology that they could never conceived; the ability to communicate instantly, and access almost any resource we need.  We can bypass corporate media and create our own.

So to those who would say that folks like me are being “unpatriotic” for standing up to Trump.  I say, “Read your history!”

Ain’t No Party Like a Crypto Party?

The roles I play in the resistance to Trump seem to be expanding.  Comments from a few activists lead me to think I am in some way like Templeton “Face” Peck from the 1980’s TV program “The A-Team”.  I’m the guy who can interact with more mainstream progressives like “Indivisibles” and then pass info along to allies.

I also continue to explore the role that my technical skills may play.  My recent trip to B-Sides Rochester was one step deeper down that rabbit hole.  Between issues of The Nation, or when there’s nothing else on television, I have been watching videos from the 2016 Hacker On Planet Earth, or HOPE, conference.   One video that piqued my interest was on starting a “Crypto Party“.  Now I immediately though of a political party, and when I saw that the video was about something more like a “Meet Up”, I could have easily turned it off.

I am glad I did not.  I could see actually running one of these in Harrisburg.  We have a large activist community that may be concerned about keeping their information and activities private.  Also, the communities most under attack from Trump may find information about apps like Signal, Cell 411, Virtual Private Networks. or VPNs, or programs like TOR  useful.

Do I know everything, far from it, but I know more than many people.  I feel this knowledge may be useful to other people.  What I don’t know, someone else may.  It’s now just a matter of figuring out how to put one together.