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November 13, 2016

What now?
Posted by Patrick at 01:26 PM * 414 comments

Donald Trump Will Be President. This Is What We Do Next. By Jon Schwarz. This is the piece that got me back on my feet.

Masha Gessen, Autocracy: Rules for Survival. “I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now.” Rule #1 is “Believe the autocrat. He means what he says.”

Laurie Penny, On the Election of Donald Trump. “I am done listening to my liberal friends contort themselves to take into account the notional opinions of the ‘white working class.’ What does that even mean? How did we come to the craven consensus that the ‘white working class’ is a homogenous mass of blustering bigots who must be pandered to as one might pander to a toddler having a tantrum at the edge of a cliff? A great many white people who are far from wealthy take issue with that particular patronising strain of self-scourgery on the left. A great many non-wealthy white people manage not to blame all their problems on feminazis, immigrants and their black and brown neighbours. Those people are real Americans, too.”

Bruce Sterling, Notes on the 2016 Election. “It’s hard to write of momentous events in the hot, crispy, pan-fried moment in which events are momentous. But I know that the events of this week are just a part of stranger, larger things that are coming. During my lifetime there’s always been something sacrosanct about the American Presidency. Not anymore. Yes, it will still be the office of a chief executive with atomic bombs and a huge military and spy apparatus. But it’s no longer the lay Papacy for a unipolar superpower. Like other aspects of the digital landscape, the Presidency is just up for grabs.”

Monica Hesse, Stop saying “This isn’t my America.” Sorry, it is. “‘I’m seeing so many posts, from mostly white friends, saying, “America, I don’t even know you,”’ says Wendy Tien, a Milwaukee attorney and second-generation Taiwanese American. ‘And I’m thinking, “Where have you been? What do you mean you don’t know this America? Why haven’t you seen it?” I’ve seen it. I see it all the time.’”

Alex Steffen, There Will Never Be a Better Time to Save the Planet. “2°C is a vanished target now. But this isn’t a 2°C or bust fight. It’s a fight to limit consequences. It’s a fight for every 1/10th of a degree. If we fail to hold to 2°C, we have to fight for 2.1°; failing that, we battle on for 2.2°. With millennia of impacts at stake, we never get to give up, even if we end up in 4°C. For future generations, 4° is still better than 4.1°. ‘Game over’ is neither realistic nor responsible. Even the most catastrophic outcomes humanity aren’t the apocalypse—the end of the future itself—they’re just appalling failure and tragedy. We have a duty to people who will live after those failures.”

Teju Cole, A Time for Refusal. “[O]ne by one, various people in the town begin to turn into rhinos. Their skin hardens, bumps appear over their noses and grow into horns. Jean had been one of those scandalized by the first two rhino sightings, but he becomes a rhino, too. Midway through his metamorphosis, Berenger argues with him: ‘You must admit that we have a philosophy that animals don’t share, and an irreplaceable set of values, which it’s taken centuries of human civilization to build up.’ Jean, well on his way to being a rhino, retorts, ‘When we’ve demolished all that, we’ll be better off!’”

Let’s Have a Fresh Start. Bush speechwriter David Frum isn’t buying the everybody-come-together happytalk.

Seems relevant: People will literally risk their lives for stories.

Hope in the Dark: Rebecca Solnit is giving away one of her books for free. You want this one.


Be this guy.
Comments on What now?:
#1 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 02:14 PM:

Artists: We need a Flag 2.0.

#2 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 03:20 PM:

I thought it was hard to keep the candles lit from 2000-2008. I'm hoping I learned enough then to keep on fighting now.

#3 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 03:49 PM:

Can a divided America heal? "How can the US recover after the negative, partisan presidential election of 2016? Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the morals that form the basis of our political choices. In conversation with TED curator Chris Anderson, he describes the patterns of thinking that have led to such sharp divisions in America and in countries around the world -- and provides a vision for how to move forward."

I found this extremely interesting and useful.

#4 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 04:23 PM:

I wrote my own which has, I suspect, something to offend everyone:

Among other things, it takes up the deep roots of voter supression in mass incarceration.

#6 ::: Christine Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 05:56 PM:

The idea I want to spread is this one: The President works for us. The people are sovereign; that's what "public servant" means.

A friend linked to this piece from Medium asking Trump voters to demand the President-Elect denounce the violence and hate crimes done in his name, and I believe if we as a people can take to heart the notion that it's our right, nay our duty, to demand this because we're all his bosses, it'll make a real difference.

Not to mention that he'll hate, hate, hate it.

#7 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 06:06 PM:

There have been a couple of articles imagining what a miserable few years ahead of him Trump has, once he finds himself actually having to be present.

Yes, we knew months ago that Eric Trump asked Pence if he wanted to be the most powerful Vice President in history, and that Trump's job would be to "make America great."

But not reality is staring this clown in the face. Constant reminders that he is a failure, in print, on the air, and from protesters, will help pop the bubble.

I hope they fuck things up royally. I hope it is a total fiasco. Mismanagement will be bad for the country, but perhaps not as bad as a competent autocracy.

2018. The year we retake Congress.

* * *
I totally hate that it has come to this.

#8 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 06:43 PM:

I just sent this to my senators, and I am about to send something similar to my congresswoman:

Dear Senator:

I am deeply distressed to hear that President Elect Trump has selected Steve Bannon, a figure of the far right, as his chief strategist.

It seems that our future president has decided not to leave the hateful rhetoric he employed in his rallies behind him.

I urge you and the entire Oregon delegation to issue a joint statement opposing the presence of such a divisive figure in the future president's cabinet.


Stefan Jones


#9 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 06:54 PM:

Jesus fucking Christ. I really would like to avoid a "you people" meltdown. But with the exception of Terry Karney's #2, the rest of of you are living in a fantasy world.



#10 ::: jenavira ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 07:32 PM:

I'm a Coastal Elite from the Midwest: The Real Bubble is Rural America was the thing that finally kicked me fully awake, which is embarrassing, because I too am an (urban) elite from rural America, and this is the story of my life: If anybody needs to heal to the divide in America, it's the people who have never met a Muslim or a person of color, who don't know they've met a queer person or a trans person, who live in the bubble of former sundown towns where everyone looks like them and they've never had to seriously think about what life is like for other people.

I've spent my life fighting my own ingrained institutionalized racism. It's hard. It sucks. Why am I supposed to "meet in the middle" the people who are willing to give in to it instead?

There has to be a point at which you draw a line. Honestly, that point was probably a long time ago, but here we are now, and late is better than never.

#11 ::: Erik V Olson ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 07:41 PM:

Remember Germany. Remember Cambodia. Remember the Soviet Union. Remember Rwanda.

We have seen this before. We are seeing it again.

You have two choices. Be ready to fight, or go meekly to your death. Protest won't help you, indeed, it'll just make you first against the wall.

Be ready to fight, and if they come for you, fight until you are dead...or you will be.

#12 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 07:46 PM:

This, yes. The farther they are from a city, the less likely they are to realize they know anyone who isn't like them, in those ways.

I was a small shock to the people in west Texas, who had adjusted to my parents, but knew very few people from west of Clovis. They hadn't realized that people in California weren't really that different. (And that was in a city with a Baptist college that got people from other areas, a Chinese-American restaurant that hat been in town since the 30s, and a Turkish surgeon at the local hospital (with his family).

#13 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 08:12 PM:

#11, Erik: Correct.

Everybody else: see #11.

#14 ::: Jameson Quinn ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 08:31 PM:

In January, we become the resistance; the rebels. That does not mean we literally take up arms and hide in the woods. There are many ways to resist. But it's not going to be by asking the other side to be nice.

Trump's primary mode of attack is the Gish gallop. This is really, really hard to face head-on. We will probably never be able to unite the country to repudiate the one straw that broke the camel's back, because before we can hear the crack there will be five other straws we have to respond to.

But if we can support each other, give no inch without a fight, in the end we will win this. Trump is an idiot, and he's destroying the Republican brand for a generation. That doesn't mean he and his goons are not a huge threat in the short term. But it does mean that all we have to do is hold out long enough.

#15 ::: Jameson Quinn ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 08:32 PM:

... And then, when we do win, we have to be ready to fix the system so that a minority of voters will never again be able to control all 3 branches of government. Voting systems matter.

#16 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 08:38 PM:

Not living in a fantasy world. Yes, America elected a would-be autocrat for President, but whether the country actually slides into autocracy is not pre-ordained.

#17 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 08:49 PM:

I think that the people around the Cheeto will be pushing to turn the Secret Service into the Praetorian Guard, and the FBI into the Stasi.
(No, I don't think they really understand what happened with the Praetorian Guard in Rome.)

#18 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 09:45 PM:

I'm just tired and sad and scared. I'm glad I'm in FEHB because I can keep that if i ever get to the point I can afford to retire. Which now looks like never. I'm glad I work for a public safety agency so they aren't as likely to just go 'fuck off and go home.'

But prior to the election apparently our neighbor across the street threatened my husband 'if Trump loses, you are going to be shot.' He didn't tell me that. We live about 10 houses away from his best friend, and he often walks back and forth (among other things, removes the whole 'need a designated driver' thing. They are both sports fans and often are at one place or another watching sportsball).

I've never been so sickened or scared. I'm wagering all the poor-ish folks that voted for Drumpf are going to find themselves fucked too, and that is going to be some shit going down.

I have to hope my mom says nothing because I'm in a mood to just shut her down and stop talking to her if she won't shut up about it. Which is bad for her because she's 91. But whatever.

At least some fiction is happening, in fits and starts. Who knows what will come of that.

#19 ::: C Brust ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 09:56 PM:

I have a plan!

An effective resistance will have three qualities:

First, a political prong. This must be effective at drawing people in and keeping them rallied around the flag of humanitarian and universal human rights, and due process. This will give us hope for political solutions and help to galvanize people for even worse work. From this angle, it's a Human Rights Super-PAC.

Next, it will have a ground game, that must be effective at protecting members at risk communities across a wide-net while maintaining public trust locally. I can't stress enough how important I think it is that policy from state, regional, national or international consensus are always brought home by individual local leaders with known responsibilities representing the trust of their communities. Cops, but also bouncers, doctors and taxi-drivers, as long as they are trusted by the people that actually know and work with them. From this angle it's a community organization NGO, which is probably operated as a Super-PAC.

Finally, lots and lots of attention. To be successful, this must attract much notice and respond with agility and grace to win as many digital and PR battles as possible. Every journalist who comes up with original terms --rather than repeating some tired catch phrase-- to describe what we're up will be a big win. From this perspective, it's ... yeah. Some marketing and development people- right: it's still a Super-PAC.

#20 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 10:15 PM:

Erik @ #11: Some of us remember. I hear history is not much taught these days.

Thousands of us surrounded Lake Merritt this afternoon (or peacefully marched in Golden Gate Park). (I'm not in any of the pictures.) Hands Around Lake Merritt isn't really The Struggle, and probably the result was that everyone felt good about themselves, but it showed that those opposed to Trump are not alone.

#21 ::: Hekilë Esselóra ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2016, 11:56 PM:

I wasn't going to say anything more - was going to try to play it safe and prudent, and not wade further across the waters of Lethe. But words burn my fingertips, and the result is more tl;dr, because between the Purity Snowflakes Firing Squad Roundabout and the Just Calm Down Sensible Centrists and the Raging Id-Monsters , there's no such thing as a safe space, mental or otherwise.

I struggled all day yesterday, out in a "blue state" downtown with people either pretending everything was normal, and lamenting the incivility of the protesters who should at least "give the man a chance" or cheering the godliness of Pence who had given America hope of salvation, with what do I realistically - with my precarious position and scant resources - and effectively, do?

I thought about the Safety Pin symbol, coined in response to #PostBrexitRacism - none of which a surprise to those of us who remembered the BNP before it metastasized into UKIP - or read Jingo, or The Truth, or Unseen Academicals, or the international news these past fifteen years, and wondered if it would be noticed, and what difference it would make.

And then today I learned that the "Alt-Right" (it makes sense to use it if you just accept that it's the German Alt, not the Anglo-American abbreviation) is trying to appropriate that symbol, so that they can use it as a venue for bullying. (Yes. What's the emoticon for weariness?)

I think that will backfire if they try it in real life, rather than as an adjunct to their Pepe avatars: the wrinkled cartoon frog wasn't conceived as a sign of unity and solidarity, for one thing, but for another, if they wear it in public hoping to trick the oppressed into believing them allies so as to mock or hurt them in prison, they may just as well find themselves being mocked or beaten by their own allies for being mistaken for the real thing, and that will force a reconfiguration upon them whether they wish it or not.

But I also spent a lot of time thinking about why I am so divided on the idea of the White Rose as a symbol, why my first impulse was Yes! This! and then a chill: as I said yesterday, it's a monumental symbol, when invoked to call up the memory of WWII Resistance, and not something to be casually picked up by people who have no willingness to bleed in the street or the cellars. Resistance LARPers shouldn't play with such things - and it feels like appropriation, too, wearing the lilac when we weren't there.

Everyone who is worried but thinks it may be okay, still, that the empowered Shad Ledues won't be as bad as their inspiring counterparts in Italy and Germany and Spain and etc because We're America and We have checks and balances needs to read Sinclair Lewis as fast as they can, but before that they need to look up the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 and the Sand Creek Massacre and basically just the whole history of how this country treated African and Chinese and Mexican and Indigenous Americans through all the past seven-eight generations, and keep going back through to the beginnings, Columbus and Erik and all of the history of European first contact a tale of dishonesty and theft written in blood, just like the subsequent history of labor relations. (And no, it doesn't matter that they did it to each other too and first and our ancestors had good intentions and So. Fking. What.)

Reread Night Watch and stick with it through the horrible bits, where the nice beloved relatives are okay with people they don't know and don't like being taken away so long as they don't have to see the torture victims, and just don't care until it starts happening to people they know and like in their own neighborhood. We were warned in 2001.

We were also warned in 2001, and again in 2006, of how horrible and unglorious and soul-killing both fascism and resistance to fascism were, how it isn't like the songs and the rousing stories where it's clear that the Good Guys are righteous and their victory is deserved and even if they die it's in a noble sacrifice and their martyrdom is successful.

Watch Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth and don't skip past the awful bits, because that casual brutality comes from real witnessed incidents reported by survivors and it is toned down from the stuff that is in the records, the old ones and the new ones and the ones in the middle that Amnesty International has been shouting into the wind since before I tripped horrified over them as a young adult. The truth was always out there, but who wants to deal with it if they don't have to?

(All of del Toro's movies are about Fascism and its roots in Colonialism and the Crusades, and how they manifest in our layered mythologies, even the ones about vampires and robots. Or especially those. Dying gods and kings and witches good bad and bystanding, torch and bow and branch of sacrifice, solar heroes and the Titan devouring his own children, maiden-mothers and the price of the harvest, the fasces and the labrys, the minotaur and the tauroctony, the gold and tobacco of Americas as tribute to a modern Conquistador and the arrows of Apollo on the side of a staff car passing the ruins of Belchite 135 years after the Battle of María...We know these tales but we don't remember their lessons - until it's too late, every time.)

So that is a problem, because it represents a claiming of courage and a heritage that we haven't earned, yet, most of us, and at the same time how do we make ourselves brave enough to do so, without claiming these symbols out of our lore? That's the whole point of heraldry: "Do you really believe that men will fight and die for a rag on a pole?" "--You do, Richard. You do."

But there is a deeper problem with the symbolism, and that is this.

The White Rose is an emblem of Defeat. Romantic, but not successful. It has only ever stood for Lost Causes - and not all of them are noble ones. Sophie Scholl and her friends did not Save Germany From Itself with their sacrifice any more than von Stauffenberg and his friends managed to do it. They lost. They did not inspire anyone with their martyrdom until after it was all over but the revelations of evil's gray-suited boardroom banality. (We have to) Deal with it.

Before that, it stood for the Stewart Restoration, which seems as worthy a cause as any past monarchy can be, the True Kings against the foreign puppets, until you look at what the Stuarts actually stood for, and then it looks a lot more like two sets of cruddy theocratic plutocratic elitists fighting at the expense of the little guys, ave bossa nova, similis bossa seneca -- go farther back, and it's just as much or more so, York's against Lancaster, tearing Albion apart until a third comes for the dynastic spoils.

But York as the origin of the White Rose badge has a deeper darker relevance - the city is infamous among loremasters for the dreadful pogrom of 1190, when people fed on years of war-stoked xenophobia on top of a thousand years of ascendant bigotries were emboldened by a new king who'd signaled his willingness to look the other way and what thin protections of law and custom had existed, were swept away in a Springtime of blood against the Jewish community there.

So it is a symbol that is shadowed, with serial defeats, with unworthy causes, and with a forewarning that was ignored: the Holocaust of our (barely) still-living memory that gave us Sophie Scholl's White Rose was rooted all the way back to the less-organized but no less connected pogroms of the 12th century, as at York whose symbol then as now was the White Rose of Albion.

And then, as now, there were allies, good Christians who tried to protect their minority neighbors from the mobs -- and they failed. At York, at London, and elsewhere. Jewish families who had lived in Britain for generations were driven from England centuries before Isabella thought to try it in Spain, using rhetorical language and memes that David Niewert proved was still being used by the Right ten years ago. (They came back as illegal immigrants and got amnesty in the 1600s, finally.) There is a blood-red line between the Inquisition of St. Dominic and Dachau, and it has no clear beginning or endpoint.

So that feels like a bad omen, and inauspicious heraldry, on top of feeling like appropriation. And yet -- how do we rally, without inspiring symbols? I've seen people in fandom, right up to George Takei, invoking the Order of the Phoenix - but that's another dubious, tarnished omen, because after all their struggles Our Heroes leave the enslaved and oppressed Others where they are, they become part of the system they'd fought against, the good guys turn out to be dishonest manipulators sacrificing others all along, and the status quo prevails.

(It really doesn't feel like a coincidence that this is happening a hundred years to the year after the Somme. History is not a circle but a spiral, a widening gyre one might say...)

I don't believe in omens. I don't believe in luck. I don't believe that it matters if you put a piece of ivy on your cap to show your solidarity with La Resistance, that organization and logistics are what matter, numbers and things not nebulous games we play with ourselves.

And on the other hand, morale is also real, and unquantifiable, and runs on symbol logic and dream circuitry.

And all I can come up with, the only thing my heraldry-primed, symbol-riddled brain flings up, is -- what if we take the White Rose of Lost Ideals, and the Returning Fire of the Phoenix that dies and hatches from its own ashes, and combine them somehow?

We can't appropriate the Unitarians' Flaming Chalice for an Artists' Resistance movement, but we can emulate it -- and they, at least, survived and did not fail in their mission of Resistance to fascism when the challenge appeared in their midst like a long-heralded Beheading Game. They had an artist design their symbol in the midst of the war, but they were opposing and working against fascism while the NYT was still excusing and minimizing and writing puff pieces on Dear Leader's vacation home right up to the invasion of Poland. And they're still here.

So maybe someone can design a new one for our Age, or maybe we just take the existing white rose artifacts that are easy to come by, the embroidered patches and Yorkshire County enamel pins, and lay them over a scrap of red or yellow silk or tulle?

But then all I can think is, this - this is foolish, what do the symbols at your door or on your coat or social media avatar even matter in this kind of civilizational clash? What matters is deeds, not logos!

...aaand puns that sneak up on you feel like signs. "Mysterious omens were around all the time. The world was always very nearly drowning in mysterious omens. You just had to pick the one that was convenient."

And I think - perhaps I still have one of my old stray "Friendship pins" from the 80s, with its rainbow assortment of beads, in some box or other. And if I don't - I can make one, easily enough. Seed beads and brass pins are cheap. But I'm scared, because I don't know how much wearing one will cost me in this place of exile.

Will the triumphant (trumphant?) swaggering young masters of 4chan and Reddit and Stormfront really dare to wear something that brings the risk of being called gay or girly or worse than just words by their comrades-in-hate, all for a bit of random spite? I'm really not sure they've thought this "let's steal another symbol, since we've got the Fylfot and the Celtic crosses and futhark and frogs and nobody can stop us!" through.

(Fragano, I'm very glad you're still with us, though sad it is to witness these times of White Spite Ascendant. If you do guess who this is, please hold close your insight: the past is another country, and that nym is dead.)

#22 ::: Hekilë Esselóra ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 12:23 AM:

Also, because I've seen so many Grand Plans fail due to lack of practical planning, here is a question for reflection: Where is the money for any organized resistance going to come from, and how is it going to be apportioned, and who is going to make sure it is properly accounted for?

One thing I see is talk of a new project to protect voter rights, get people registered, help them with ID and transport and challenges (perhaps we could call it OAKTREE and why did the DNC simply surrender ACORN to James O'Keefe anyway?)

But young idealists don't seem to realize that these things cost a lot of money, and somebody has to be the responsible adults who pay the bills, and makes sure that all the forms are filled out in order, and assignments passed on, so that it doesn't implode in a typical commune scenario.

The right, as I said yesterday, has had many billionaires channeling funds towards vote suppression and disinformation projects for several generations now, which is why they think we're all getting checks from Soros. If only! You can do a lot on a shoestring if you're used to working lean, but - obviously! - a bunch of unorganized amateurs is no match for a carefully cultivated, financially-backed, and highly disciplined alliance working in concert.

So who is even thinking about belling this cat? I don't think we dare rely on the career politicians even the nominally left, to be any help, because they only started to stand and fight instead of "keeping the powder dry" this campaign too little too late, and you can't win a crucial battle if you have let your enemies encircle you and cut off your lines of supply and communication for decades without anything stronger than a whispered diplomatic protest.

If Soros and Buffett and the other big liberal donors don't put serious funding into (finally!) countering House Murdoch, Where is it going to come from? Because it won't happen otherwise, and I hear I'm not the only one who unsubbed from all the OFA/DNC/TLA-of-your-choice newsletters that never did anything except ask for money, without providing real information or participation guidelines. They won't work, for crowdsourcing - they had their chance and they blew it after 2008.

So that's the saber-tooth that needs to be belled before we can lay a single foundation block for PAC cloud-castles. Because setting up an organization - a new one, or resurrecting an old one - that even stands a chance of being effective? Will put anyone involved on Team Trump's enemies list.

The people who will run it, will need to have the resources to keep the lights on and the roof over them and pay their workers and defend their territory, no matter what - not crumble like ACORN. Or there's no point.

Because this is reality, not freaking ID4 or Marvel, where the plucky/obsessed can whip up a counterstrike force out of a laptop, some duct tape, and True Grit, or fall back on an endless supply of hidden bases and killer robots and uniformed minions without either deep-pocketed backers or inherited fortunes or incredibly lucrative day jobs.

#23 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 02:21 AM:

We need to build coalitions so that we can coordinate action. This is not a big-money operation. It's as simple and complicated as breathing.

Look at what groups you belong to. No matter now apolitical their primary purpose, this is a time when you ought to feel free to demand that your group take a stand. Your knitting group, even. Your dog park friends.

Also, it's long past time to stop tolerating right-wing crap that creeps in & pretends it's just a fine and dandy variation on the theme. Not that we should demand one single position on all things, but there are certain lines that are easy to draw and will prevent infiltration. And that's important: what do you think all that nonsense with the supposedly left-wing people who said "Since I can't have Bernie I'll vote for Trump"? They never had any goodwill in mind, and we let them act like they were normal. Anybody tries to make this stuff sound normal, they are the enemy, not a variation on a friend.

Now. Your local water conservation group or mycological society has taken a stand, so everybody in that group thinks of what other groups they belong to, and they take overtures from this group to that. Before you know it, your town has a meeting of delegates from all these groups and you're planning actions.

And contrary to @Hekilë Esselóra, this kind of work doesn't need and ought not to wait for a pile of money. Talk is cheap and lots of talk is necessary. People need to be convinced to resist, and honestly, that's best done person to person, rather than with some kind of heavy-donor PAC.

You can't trust the guys with the money to come through when it matters anyway.

What kinds of actions are these local coalitions (and regional coalitions and national coalitions and international coalitions) carrying out? Probably lots of kinds of actions, and probably a lot of them wasted, unsuccessful. Low-level electoral actions, or refusal to carry out immoral orders (like if teachers are asked to identify immigrants), the sheltering of targeted people, the dissemination of propaganda. Court cases as long as the courts function.

The police, as is traditional, are largely on the side of the illegitimate right-wing coup. We don't know about the military. It's urgent to get firefighters and other safety workers to understand they have a part in this, also judges and anybody who works for any public institution. As long as they refuse to follow illegal orders, we still have institutions.

#24 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 06:53 AM:

Lucy Kemnitzer #23: Look at what groups you belong to. No matter now apolitical their primary purpose, this is a time when you ought to feel free to demand that your group take a stand. Your knitting group, even. Your dog park friends.

This assumes everyone around you is anti-Trump, and that's not necessarily so.

#25 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 08:21 AM:

Jordin & I would like our community to know that we are there for them. We have more resources than many people & we will spend them to help. Need money for a passport, medical help, whatever? We got your back. If this travesty is hurting you let us know. We will do what we can. Share this with other community members as necessary.

If you have my email address feel free to give it to people who need help. I'm too old & tired & sick to protest, organize, fight, but we will do our best to help our community members.


#26 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 09:29 AM:

I hesitate to write this, because spreading dismay and despair only aids the bad guys, but I fear that you are all (mostly) optimists.

A few years ago, wandering around the net, I stumbled on a page titled "Why Japan lost the Second World War". (Sorry, I can't find the URL.) It held two photographs. The first was a map of the Pacific Theater used by the Japanese General Staff. It extended from Sakhalin in the north to Australia in the south, from what we now call Bangladesh in the west, to Hawaii in the east. The second photograph was the map of the war in the White House. A Mercator projection showing the entire planet. And the juxtaposition explained in one striking visual exactly why the Japanese military adventure against the United States was doomed from the outset: they weren't even aware of the true size of the battleground.

I'd like you to imagine what it must have been like to be a Japanese staff officer. Because that's where we're standing today.

This is not just about America. This is one move -- a very significant one, bishop-takes-queen maybe -- in a long-drawn-out geopolitical chess game. It's being fought around the world: Brexit was one move, the election and massacres of Dutarte in the Philippines were another, the post-coup crackdown in Turkey is a third. The possible election of Marine Le Pen -- a no-shit out-of-the-closet fascist -- as President of France next year is more of this stuff. The eldritch knot of connections between Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Da'esh in the wreckage of Syria is icing on top. It's happening all over and this is not a coincidence.

Part of it is about the geopolitics of climate change (and mass migration and water wars). Part of it is about the jarring transition from an oil-based economy (opposed by the factions who sell oil and sponsor denial climate change, from Exxon-Mobil to the Kremlin) to a carbon-neutral one.

Part of it is the hellbrew of racism and resentment stirred up by loss of relative advantage, by the stagnation of wages in the west and the perception that other people somewhere else are stealing all the money -- Chinese factories, Wall Street bankers, the faceless Other.

Another big of it is Russia's long-drawn out revenge for the wild ride of misrule the neoconservatives inflicted on the former USSR in the 1990s. Stripped of communism, the old ideologues didn't take their asset-stripping lying down; they no more morphed into whitebread Americans than the Iraqis did during the occupation. They're running the playbook from The Foundations of Geopolitics by Alexander Dugin -- a set text at the Russian staff college for the past two decades -- waging a global ideological war against people like us: "In principle, Eurasia and our space, the heartland Russia, remain the staging area of a new anti-bourgeois, anti-American revolution. ... The new Eurasian empire will be constructed on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us. This common civilizational impulse will be the basis of a political and strategic union."

I don't want to sound like a warmed-over cold warrior, but this faction is ascendent in Putin's Russia, and their leaders remember how the KGB (newly reformed last month) handled black propaganda and disinformation, and they have people who know how new media work and who are updating the old time Moscow rules for a new century. Trump's Russian connections aren't an accident -- they may be the most important thing about him, and Russia's sponsorship of extreme right neo-fascist movements throughout Europe is an alarming part of the picture. China isn't helping, either: they're backing authoritarian regimes wherever they seem useful, for the same reason the US State Department under Henry Kissinger backed fascists throughout central and south America in the 1970s -- it took a generation to fix the damage from Operation Condor, and that was local (at least, to a single continent).

And trying to defeat this kind of attack through grass-roots action at local level ... well, it's not useless, it's brave and it's good, but it's also Quixotic. With hindsight, the period from December 26th, 1991 to September 11th, 2001, wasn't the end of history; it was the Weimar Republic repeating itself, and now we're in the dirty thirties. It's going to take more than local action if we're to climb out of the mass grave the fascists have been digging for us these past decades. It's going to take international solidarity and a coherent global movement and policies and structures I can barely envisage if we're going to rebuild the framework of shared progressive values that have been so fatally undermined.

We haven't lost yet.

But if we focus too narrowly on the local context, we will lose, because there is now a de facto global fascist international at work, they've got a game plan, they're quite capable of applying the methods of Operation Condor in the north, and if we don't work out how to push back globally fast there will be nobody to remember our graves.

#27 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 10:05 AM:

Charlie Stross @ 26: Charlie, I don't disagree. I suspect no one here does, really. But if I, personally, try to think of what action to take on a global scale, I'm going to be lost. What can I do to counteract the forces you are talking about?

That's not a snarky comeback; it's a serious question--because I don't have an answer. If this is the 1930s, then the U.S. has gone and elected Huey Long instead of Franklin Roosevelt (and yes, I also know the parallels aren't exact, but it's what I thought of) and we aren't going to be able to Think Globally very effectively if we don't Act Locally first . . . are we?

Maybe the best I can do at the moment is no more than the equivalent of "helping lame dogs over stiles," but it is the best I can do at the moment. And, well, it's a place to start, at least, one that's within my reach. I hope.

#28 ::: Hekilë Esselóra ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 10:28 AM:

Lucy, tell me where and when in history the unfunded Resistance of the Plucky Rebels has defeated the Empire without backing from a wealthy foreign power?

Because I can't find an example. Not one.

Yes, we need to resist.

But don't delude yourself that it's going to go like the movies, except the ones where rocks fall and everybody dies. Most of us are going to be redshirts.

#29 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 10:41 AM:

We have had threads on preparing for and responding to emergencies.

I would find it helpful and immensely reassuring to get one going on the psychology of lynch mobs.

How do you recognize the earliest signs? What intervention is possible before speaking up makes you a target?

To use a distanced analogy, working on legislation when the Cossacks are liquored up and headed for the ghetto is not the answer.

#30 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 10:49 AM:

This assumes everyone around you is anti-Trump, and that's not necessarily so.

Sorry I left out an important piece. No, I don't assume any such thing. Nor do I assume that everyone will have the courage , decency or vision to agree.

These things do take a lot of arguing and politicking. People need to be prepared for the long haul.

#31 ::: Hekilë Esselóra ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 11:01 AM:

I mean, ask Sophie Scholl how well it went. Ask the mothers of the Disappeared how well protesting worked to stop the secret police from doing their thing. Ask the people who marched against the Iraq War how well that worked out to end it.

Because it isn't just the Evil Overlords and their minions, it never is. The stochastic terrorists have been empowered by winning, and by the silence of the majority of voters who didn't bother to turnout, just as David Neiwert used to warn about why you had to oppose racism and sexism (the twin roots of protofascism) at every turn not ignore them in faith they will go away (ignored problems don't go away, they metastasize like wildfires) and the fact that they lost the popular vote by a percent point or two?

Doesn't matter to them. They won the game. They won where it counts. And who is to say that they're not correct that the larger portion of the half that didn't vote agrees with them, rather than us?

The bullied know how likely it is that bystanders will come to our aid.

Appeal to them as individuals! Sure, but good luck winning the millions over you need to make a difference if you have no resources to get your voice out past the corporate media blockade - where was the coverage of the 8000+ people who marched this weekend in Los Angeles? Just a few snips to show the protesters as unmannerly brats all around the nation. That's what I was hearing from white women who were dismayed by Trump, but letting the media set the tone for their thoughts/feels, in one of the bluest of blue states.

The media has always been on the side of the status quo, and Fox - aka House Murdoch with the ninety-near Long Game - won the media popularity contest, uncontested except by us plucky amateurs in internet land over the past two decades.

Worked real well, didn't it? We need not only a better plan, to outflank them, but the resources to carry it out (I read Sun Tzu, as everyone should) and I don't see where we're to get them.

This isn't a story, where Professor X or the Thermians could sail in and bail us out with secret weapons, because Plot. The Plucky Rebels Save The Day narrative is the action version of the Horatio Alger Exceptional Bootstraps Success trope - but there's no Thermal Exhaust Port, no Stargate and just one Nuke left to blow it up.

It doesn't go well in the truer sort of stories for the betrayed Harlocks and Nemos of the Earth Defense Force, because most people ARE just "Fine" until their own house burns down.

And, again, they'll say after that they shouldn't be blamed, because they "didn't know" what was going on, even though the aims and the goals of mass deportations and fantasies of mass murder of everyone who is "Antisocial" in some way defined by the ruling element of the majority were openly and defiantly published for decades.

Most people don't get happy endings in reality - that's why distracting fictions and myths that promise a better afterlife are so popular. "Long arcs" are no consolation for mass graves. And our opponents have been working together and studying their own past regimes for a long time, and all we had was hope without plans and resources that things would "get better" somehow.

And the Left still hasn't learned the lessons of 1930s Spain.

Or 2000/2004/2010/2012/2014 USA.

When you keep losing ground election after election, when your voter turnout keeps dropping, when overt voter suppression policies keep winning, and you don't change your plans and policies, you can expect to get absolutely trashed by those who get there firstest with the mostest.

And that's where we are today. Regrouping after the Dagor Bragollach.

I see people posting Hurin's cry of hope, "A new day will come!" on game forums and I want to say Do you know what happened to Beleriand? The good guys lose, agonizingly and repeatedly, and only a remnant survives to carry on in the broken world afterwards.

(The whole history of Middle-earth is Survivors Guilt: The Extended Version, as told by a veteran of the Bloody Somme, who watched the world burn itself down again a generation later, despite all the words of warning from the prophets and poets.)

Internet hugs, pictures of candle flames, cat gifs, rainbow flag icons, all the morale boosting you can think of won't stop a single jackboot.

If you didn't dare put a Hillary sticker on your car for fear of it getting keyed, how are you going to stand up against the MAGA hats, our new brownshirts?

Brace yourselves for impact.

#32 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 11:03 AM:

I was thinking that people were focusing on a future which is something like the society is impoverished, targeted groups are at risk, nothing too much changes drastically. This is possible, but it seems optimistic.

I've been wondering about infrastructure collapse.

This is a huge list of things to do to prepare-- I think it's basically for the relatively optimistic scenario.

Radio Free Monday, a weekly list of fannish people to help, mostly, has added a section for activism.

#33 ::: David Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 11:09 AM:

I'm actually starting to come around to the "everyone should know self-defense" POV.

I'm effing terrified about what's coming down the pipe.

#34 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 11:12 AM:

What can I do to counteract the forces you are talking about?

From each according to their ability,to each according to their need (updated for a new century's gender usage). If we want to build something better, then the first step is to accept that we own this future collectively and we all need to pitch in and work for it insofar as we can.

Not facetious here: I totally get that not everyone can do much, or even anything at all. Look after yourself first, stay safe, then try to help your family and friends stay safe. Then, only then, start looking beyond that for stuff you can do for people you don't know personally.

I think most of us here are talkers, thinkers, and predominantly older people, many with health conditions. We won't be doing much street fighting or demonstrating. But just by being seen and by not shutting up and by spreading the word, we can do something.

Engage with Trump (or UKIP, or Front Nationale) voters -- not the hardcore fascists, but the ordinary people who thought they were voting for change -- and try to lead them to an understanding that this is the wrong kind of change. Authors, artists, musicians, game designers, bloggers? Call out the forces of reaction, criticize them, if working in fiction try and portray a better world, or at least an alternative where the bastards don't have it their own way. Or wave the bloody shirt: show the likely consequences if we keep going down this well-trod road.

Remember to vote. Help other people vote. Not just in the public elections that the constitutional machinery runs for you, but in the elections for office within the party apparat that decides who is going to run for election in the public spotlight. School governors, police commissioners, local councils.

But above all, resist the temptation once you score a local victory to pat yourself on the back and tell yourself we won, because we don't get to declare victory until fascism is shoved kicking and screaming into the dumpster of history and the lid locked down again.

I very much fear that this may be a recurrent failure mode of Modernity, of the era dominated by enlightenment liberal values and the end of monarchism that erupted on us in 1918. If so, it's going to happen again in the 22nd century (unless we lose the struggle forever this time round). That's why I'm so anxious about memory. This is not the first time this has happened -- and I fear it won't be the last.

#35 ::: Hekilë Esselóra ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 12:06 PM:

I think that one of the biggest tasks that relatively powerless individuals can accomplish, and it may be one of the most important ones, is to actively counter the gaslighting that the mainstream media is even now inflicting on us: the normalization of Trump, and Trump's followers.

Steve Bannon is being made respectable. Breitbart is now respectable. Giuliani and Pence and Clarke and Gingrich are being given high office in fields where they are entirely unsuited because they are usuited except for wreaking havoc on the existing laws and customs of the land, and they're all being painted as respectable elders by the old gray newsmedia, who are too proper and dainty-mouthed to quote them accurately and thereby give them cover.

Ha ha, what a firebrand that Bannon is!

Niceness and mandatory civility gives cover to people who think rape threats and photoshops of gas chambers are acceptable ways to silence their opponents.

That's one area that the chaos of the blogosphere and social media allows us a bit of upper hand, if we are willing to get said hand dirty. We are allowed to be rude (for now) without worrying about the FCC. We don't have to use circumlocutions to quote the truth. And we don't have to worry about losing "access" to the rich and famous, because we ain't got it.

But being rude alone won't be enough, any more than being honest - we have to be cunning as serpents in our presentation, too.

You want to know how dishonest media works?

The night after the election, Fox was looking for a protester in NYC to interview, saying they wanted to interview them but they were all too foul-mouthed for broadcast, and lo and behold the one they caught up with shouted Trump's line "Grab them by the pussy!" -- and Megan Kelly and Sean Hannity and the kid out in the field all tisked and tutted over how crass and vulgar and disrespectful! the Leftist Youth of Today were. They never once acknowledged that Trump was simply being quoted - and who is going to tell their listeners that?

And Fox is the victorious role model for the news today.

Enthusiasm and energy without strategy is lighting off powder on a plate. We need people to pack fireworks, and aim them, now.

#36 ::: Hekilë Esselóra ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 12:21 PM:

The news media will try to normalize deportations (again) if they bother to report them. They just won't talk about the hate crimes, about the rise in poverty and sickness and discrimination.

They'll run puff pieces on Mar-a-lago as "White House 2.0" and how cute it is that little Barron is being given his own gilded desk in the Oval Office with a nameplate, and Ivanka's new line of shoes stolen from another obscure small-time or overseas designer, what a talented multitasker she is - while fifty people die from a bridge collapse here, a hurricane there, a lack of health care spread out across the year.

(I still can't believe my eyes that any Democrats are sincerely holding out the hope that this team of hardened grifters will somehow shape up and deliver a new infrastructure. WHERE WERE YOU THE PAST FIFTEEN YEARS?)

And the majority will think "But I'm still fine. I work hard and earn my benefits. I'm not illegal. I can drive to Baja if I have an ectopic pregancy..."

The Fourth Estate cannot be trusted to tell the truth until it's too late and the fire has spread to their own eaves, because Fear Sells, but also Fun Sells, and Sex Sells, and Truth has a price and Virtue is the only reward you get for fighting for it.

They won't show the consequences of this election in real time, unless they have a sea-change of heart - and I don't believe in miracles any more - and they certainly won't draw the parallels between this and the creeping tide of the 1920s and 30s, any more than they did back then. (A few pundits here and there, sure - but how much effect did Paul Krugman ever have, on the NYT editorial choices?)

So we will have to do it instead, where and when we can. (Remember the Maine? Same as it ever was.)

And we may very well end up like MP Jo Cox, for doing so. Any one of us, in the street, or in the dead of night to the cellars of Cable Street, or rounded up in stadiums in batches, because that's the precedent we have, in this timeline.

Brace for impact.

#37 ::: venusm ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 12:25 PM:

I thought Vaclav Havel's essay, the Power of the Powerless, was helpful reading. You can read it here:
Obviously, a different situation in specifics, but some is applicable, I think.

#38 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 12:28 PM:

Effective organization is going to need a leader, one with a mandate to be that leader.

And the one person I can think of with that mandate is Hillary Clinton. She's got a clear majority of the popular vote, as well as the political connections.

Large scale political organization, national scale organization, is going to take a national leader.

#39 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 12:45 PM:

Hillary might have made a pretty good president. She's a careful, informed, effective politician. But as a resistance leader, she is hopeless. She is heavily invested (in all senses of the word) in the current political system---which Trump broke. I love and admire her, but her instincts and skills are not what is needed, here.

#40 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 12:56 PM:

Lydy: HRC is also 69 years old. That's a little on the aged side to lead a campaign that's going to have to run for at least four years, and more likely a couple of decades.

Really, it needs leaders who are under 50 right now -- and not identified with the existing political ancien regime. The volcanic pressure behind Trumpism is resentment at the existing political order; anyone who can be identified with it is going to have an uphill battle ahead.

#41 ::: venusm ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 01:03 PM:

What we need is someone like Lin Manuel Miranda, I think.

Charismatic, brilliant, upbeat, inclusive, not-white, young.

Bernie was able to garner supporters who were loyal well beyond the primaries. He should be part of it, despite his age, but if I were queen of the DNC, I'd be on the phone to LMM.

#42 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 01:28 PM:

Could Trump be impeached? If so, when? Would enough Republican officials cooperate? -- after all, they'd still be in power, and at least some of them are appalled by Trump.

To me, Pence's flavour of Lawful Evil is somewhat less terrifying than Trump's species of Chaotic Neutral.

#43 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 01:41 PM:

Pence is Lawful Evil based on religious fanaticism. He's in favor of Conservative Straight White Male Protestants. Not good for anyone else. And not good if you're not the right flavor of Protestant, either.

#44 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 01:42 PM:

Joel Polowin, if you are less scared of Pence than of Trump, then I submit that either (a) you are a cishet white male, or (b) you haven't been paying attention.

Trans folk are terrified of Pence, and LesBiGay people are no happier; he has a track record of pushing abstinency-only sex ed at schools and backing "conversion therapy" for gay kids -- a euphemism for a brainwashing program (with added electroshock on top) that has up to a 50% suicide rate associated with it. And Pence is no better if you're a heterosexual female of reproductive age; this is the dipshit who pushed for a state-level law to require all abortions and stillbirths to be given a funeral by the woman in question. (Hint: roughly one in three planned pregnancies ends in a stillbirth; it's a tragedy and this unspeakable shitbag wants to put bereaved parents through it? Leaving aside the whole point that what they do with their bodies is none of his business in the first place ...)

Trump: random spur-of-the-moment demagoguery. Pence: read "The Handmaid's Tale" and thought it was a really interesting road map, not a horrible warning.

#45 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 01:42 PM:

Jennel Jaquays also pointed out, on Twitter, Section 4 of the 25th Amendment:

The vice president and cabinet can oust the president if he is disabled.

They wouldn't need congress to get rid of Trump if he went off the rails crazy.

Of course, off the rails might be fine with Bannon. Just as long as he can still rouse rabble.

#46 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 02:17 PM:

Charlie Stross @ 34: Thank you. I can do that. I will do my best. (And I never thought for an instant that you were being facetious.)

#47 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 02:18 PM:

A tangent to Hekilë: I thought I recognized your posting voice-- did you disappear offline some years ago after an untreated dental emergency? If so, I am very glad to know that you are Not Dead Yet.

#48 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 02:19 PM:

What might help is a call for "where do we go, what do we face" concise submissions ala's yearly question. I see Stross as having the clearest view of what this is, and surfacing a commonality of sight - to see who else is on this page - would be helpful.
Also, expect a subtle war on communication.

#49 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 02:20 PM:

my older son called from college, "I just wanted to hear your voices again before the end".
my younger son got sent to the principal's office for criticizing Trump and his supporters in an English class.

Given that Hillary won the popular vote by a large margin, please sign here,

First steps:
1. agitate however you can, to prevent Trump from postponing his fraud trial. If convicted he can be impeached, or perhaps kept from the presidency entirely.

2. call (works better than email or letters) your congressperson and senator to ask about investigating the Trump-Russia connections. Check the Dworkin Report.

3. call your congressperson and senator to ask about the voting numbers in Wisconsin and elsewhere.
There are reasonable grounds to believe the voting machines were hacked. Most of these have no audit trail so there is no way to check or recount.

Join every group you can find that is working in opposition. Do what you can.

my feeble opposition to apartheid didn't help much, but I did get to vote for Mandela.
my feeble opposition to Trump won't help much either. But it's all I've got.

"Despair is a form of certainty, certainty that the future will be a lot like the present or will decline from it; despair is a confident memory of the future, in Gonzalez’s resonant phrase. Optimism is similarly confident about what will happen. Both are grounds for not acting. Hope can be the knowledge that we don’t have that memory and that reality doesn’t necessarily match our plans; hope like creative ability can come from what the Romantic poet John Keats called Negative Capability."
- Rebecca Solnit

#50 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 02:24 PM:

when people ask about my safety pin, I tell them:
"I'm a white immigrant, so they'll probably come for me last. By then there will be no-one left to stand with me. So I need to start now."

perhaps it may make someone think. small feeble efforts..

#51 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 02:26 PM:

Does the web have an antifascist advice columnist, or other person or group with political street smarts and the time to advise?

#52 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 02:32 PM:

(by "political" smarts I mean, having some idea of how to survive in a thicket of machinations)

#53 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 02:32 PM:

(by "political" smarts I mean, having some idea of how to survive in a thicket of machinations)

#54 ::: Hekilë Esselóra ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 02:36 PM:

venusm, Bernie has a long sad history of throwing minorities and women under the bus.

He's at it again today, saying that it's Just Too Bad that Democrats didn't pay attention to the White Working Class™. If you're a straight white male who wants a bigger paycheck and not get drafted, you're good, but he is not anyone else's ally except passively. He's not against us, but he's never been a leader, or even particularly vocal, in the fight for LGBT or Latinx or Muslim or atheist or reproductive rights against encroachment.

And now he's saying that it was the Democrats' failure to sympathize with "white working class voters" that led to this, even though the crosstabs say that it was far, far more the ones making $50K a year and over who supported Trump.

And he's always been a friend to the NRA.

(He's also 75 years old, and I don't mean to be ageist, but I don't think he's another General von Blücher, either. But even if he were, he's always been too willing to let evil triumph by doing nothing.)

#55 ::: Hekilë Esselóra ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 02:44 PM:

Julie L - Possibly, but there are far too many of us in the same boat who got no good out of the ACA (or anything of the 2008-12 elections) because we were too poor to access states that were willing to implement it, and I am not in a position to risk what little I have now, so I will not clarify further.

But I thank you for your good will even if only as proxy, because good will should be acknowledged in any case, but especially times like these.

#56 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 02:47 PM:

Charlie Stross @44: Yes, I am cis white mail. I am very afraid for my friends in the U.S. who aren't. But Pence probably wouldn't nuke some other country just because he got really peeved about someone being rude to him (or about him) who absolutely refused to back down, and had the firm support of their government. I am not at all sure about Trump in this respect. "Only a madman would give a loaded revolver to an idiot." Or to use the metaphor from the election, Trump is like being shot and Pence is like being poisoned, and one stands a better chance of recovering from being poisoned.

A factor that may affect my perception of these things is that I'm not living in the U.S. I am more likely to be directly personally affected by Trump as president than I would be by Pence.

Is Pence one of the fanatics who reads the bit about man being given dominion over the Earth and interprets it as "gotta use it all up before the End Times" rather than "steward"?

#57 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 03:11 PM:

Joel, #56: Is Pence one of the fanatics who reads the bit about man being given dominion over the Earth and interprets it as "gotta use it all up before the End Times" rather than "steward"?

Yes. Among other things which are worse, as Charlie has pointed out. I'm already hearing him being called Nehemiah Scudder.

I an fully convinced that Trump's choice of Pence as his running mate had a lot to do with his being elected -- quite possibly even more than his overt racism, religious bigotry, and misogyny. The White Evangelicals looked at that choice, looked at Trump's loose-cannon behavior, and said to themselves, "Well, God will remove this horrible man once he's won the election, and then one of our own will be in the Oval Office." And they voted for him, not despite his character, not because of abortion, but specifically BECAUSE OF PENCE.

Trump, horrible as he is, is literally all that's standing between us and the America of "If This Goes On..." -- or between us and Gilead, if you're female. Because Pence will have the full force of the Republican machine behind him in a way that Trump doesn't.

#58 ::: Hekilë Esselóra ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 03:17 PM:

Ursula L, 2% (if that) is not a mandate. (And the right is even lying about that, and mainstreaming the idea that Trump won the popular vote.) But regardless, it should never have been close enough that 5% of 3rd-party spoilers could throw it.

In my optimism - which died when Oregon jury committed nullification after the self-documented lawlessness of the Bundys at Malheur, that was a very bad omen - I thought we would get a 70/30 split, and that would be alright because it's within a tiny margin of Rogers' Crazification Factor.

(Read that post again. That's how long this particular writing's been on the wall. Here you go:

It's stone cold truth that far too many of us have been left out of any economic boom or bust, but that isn't a new thing - but Obama promised Hope, just like Reagan, and then things got better for the richer faster and maybe not worse for the rest of us, and when you're trying to motivate the majority of people to vote for "Stop it from getting worse" you really have to convince them that Worse is coming, and it will hit them too.

Because the other side is saying, "We will make it better, because it's all those Others, the immigrants and the uppity women taking your jobs, corrupting your children with their sex and drugs and music and general devilish foreign ways, who have made you poor. Don't you hate them? Aren't they scary?"

That's why this false, white-males-only populism has always worked. Because it's not just Fear Itself, it's flattery it's selling:

"You, Random White Guy, you're powerful and wonderful and deserving, you're the Chosen One, the Savior of the World - but all those inferior effeminate sorts are what's keeping you down - not the boot of us 1% who own over 50% of the land and the wealth and everything, oh no, we want you to join us up here on Olympus!"

And it works. Every. Fcking. Time.

I figured that the best we could hope for was to whittle down the Venn set of xenophobes, sexists, plutocrats, theocratic prolifers, hippie-punchers and burn-it-down anarchic hipsters, both the old, like the one leading CBS who said it would be good for ratings, and the young like the gamergaters and channers of the New Right Same As Das Alte Recht - remember when they said that the Internet wasn't Real Life and didn't count?

That if we got it down to 1/3, and that 4 years of Hillary not turning out to be Gozer after all, no matter what Drudge and his legacy have said the past 25 years, would give us a 2012. And we'd keep getting enough incremental change to maybe stave off the rising tide.

Which was wildly optimistic, as it turned out.

(And idiots whose comprehension of strategy comes from playing Civ think that "Cascadia" is a plausible dream, which aside from being More Of The Same bullshit we're all right, jack xenophobic exceptionalism that gave us Trump, is a crack pipe dream. There is no hope to be found in people who refuse to observe reality and can't make sacrifices for the common good, which seems to be most of the Young Left as well as the gray-haired Steins and Naders.)

#59 ::: Hekilë Esselóra ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 03:28 PM:

Lee, if Joel isn't scared enough, the religious right demo that elected Trump for the Pence are huge fans of the Left Behind series, which concretizes the fantasy of an apocalypse bringing them All The Good Things as it rids them of everyone not like them, and which casts anyone who even TALKS of making peace as a potential literal embodiment of Hell.

(To say nothing of Trump himself describing a desire for a state of perpetual occupation in the Mideast, with his "Take the oil" talk, and his spokeswoman Pierson of the Bullet Necklace wondering on CNN why we even HAVE nukes, if we're not going to use them? But it's Hillary who's going to start WWIII, sure...)

Everybody needs to read this (again) because Umberto Eco warned us perhaps more clearly than anyone else besides Orwell and Sinclair Lewis, how the combination of toxic masculinity and nationalism and anti-intellectualism are all wielded to seduce people over to the Dark Side who really, really ought to have known better:

I can hardly pick out any one line from it to highlight, but here's a little bit that says a lot:

"...In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason.

5. Besides, disagreement is a sign of diversity. Ur-Fascism grows up and seeks for consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.

6. Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration. That is why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups. In our time, when the old “proletarians” are becoming petty bourgeois (and the lumpen are largely excluded from the political scene), the fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority.

7. To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country. This is the origin of nationalism. Besides, the only ones who can provide an identity to the nation are its enemies. Thus at the root of the Ur-Fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot, possibly an international one. The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia. But the plot must also come from the inside..."

That's 1995, that bit of graffiti. But as Dessa sang, it all might as well have been lorem ipsum for the good use we made of it.

#60 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 03:30 PM:

Joel: I don't live in the USA either.

My understanding is that the US nuclear stockpile is locked down pretty tightly: ever since Nixon used to get drunk and phone Kissinger at 2am to fantasize about nuking Beijing, they've put checks in place to stop a president who's off his meds from doing that. (Retaliating to a direct attack is a turnkey operation; releasing tactical nukes in event of a full-blown war with another nuclear power is do-able but difficult: randomly lashing out on impulse has to make it through the Joint Chiefs and a Senate committee and plenty of time for the POTUS to be declared incompetent before it can happen.)

#61 ::: Hekilë Esselóra ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 03:53 PM:

Lee #57 - there is also the fear factor of how the double-pronged Handmaid's Tale ethics works as a political tactic.

Firstly and obviously, it's a great motivator which works with its own two pronged approach: people who believe will either pull the lever despite all their qualms about voting for a dishonest adulterous creep because SAVING BABIES TRUMPS ALL ELSE and no logic can pierce that +10 Shield of Sanctity, or they will stay home to keep their souls and fingers "pure" and pray that enough other, already-sinful sorts will save them from the consequences of their failure-to-do.

But that doesn't explain why they're on the attack even against contraception - even condoms!

White nationalism however does.

After they've deported all the non-white Others and locked up all the remaining Traitors and other Bad People, who's going to do the scut work? Who's going to take over the planting, the harvesting, the floor mopping and the meat packing and the dish washing?

They'll make it true, via retconning, that "they took your jobs" or at least had them, when it's "do those jobs you wouldn't do, working-class white people, or watch your many, many children starve! You want raise? LOL that's so cute. You're Fired.™ NEXT!"

And if other countries object to what we're doing by way of "ethnic cleansing", or don't agree that it's our oil under their soil? We will need lots of warm bodies for that, too.

But only the right color ones, for our Warboys. And only boys, because Mike Pence thinks that Mulan is heathen propaganda luring innocent girls astray like the ballad of Mary Ambree. (He really, documentably does. Buzzfeed covered it well.)

Atwood was pretty spot-on, too. And of course Monstrous Regiment - yes, it's possible for an entire nation to turn into a raving maniac with borders and destroy itself, along with a lot of the neighbors.

(Well-off women of course will be safe. They always were, if they could afford a plane ticket and/or a passport. The rules don't apply to them, just like the "no adultery" rules don't apply to tycoons and clergymen.)

#62 ::: Danny Sichel ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 04:09 PM:

I was thinking about the Electoral College. What would have happened if the quantity of a state's EVs were a direct function of voter turnout? E.g., population might grant a state 10 EVs, but if they only have 39% turnout in the election, they can only use 3.9 EV.

Some second-order outcomes I can think of: statistical prediction of outcomes would become a lot more difficult; whether this is a bug or a feature is a matter of opinion. Also, voter suppression would quickly be seen as counterproductive for everyone.

disclaimer: I am neither an American nor a psephologist.

#63 ::: Zora ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 04:43 PM:

Can we have a little less input from the long-winded and frequent?

#64 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 05:11 PM:

It may be possible to discourage bad appointments (and I realize there are plenty worth discouraging) by calling your Senators and Representatives.

I realize Trump may find worse replacements, but Guliani does have a remarkably bady record.

#65 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 05:19 PM:

@58 - Clinton had more people vote for her to lead the US for the next for years than anyone else on the planet.

No one else has a better mandate to lead the US opposition to Trump.

She has a greater margin of the popular vote than either Kennedy or Nixon.

One of the principles we need to defend is the democratic process. The idea that votes, and voting, matters.

Clinton's win of the popular vote represents that. She is a potential leader who has been legitimized by voters on a national level.

And when she speaks, it will give added weight to her words. She isn't a self-appointed leader, or one chosen by a few activists. She's the person that the most people in the US chose for a leader. No one can speak with that power and mandate, except Clinton.

#66 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 05:26 PM:

I'm finding this thread ... reassuring?

All the things that were feared in that thread, either didn't happen (a draft, more restrictions on abortion, anything apocalyptic) or happened, but were done by Democrats not Republicans (abolishing the filibuster for judicial nominees), or went the other way entirely (anything related to gay marriage or contraception).

#67 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 06:03 PM:

(Sam C's link is to Making Light on the day after the 2004 election.)

I would like to see a thread on what to be on the alert for. I am seeing ways that dystopia can be enacted and dissent squelched that would be good to know about beforehand.

#68 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 06:06 PM:

Both of Oregon's senators, and Congresswoman Bonamici, have issued statements opposing Bannon.

Write. Call.

#69 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 06:33 PM:

One last thought: Trump may be a tool, a flagrant extremist provocateur to elicit your extreme reactions to set a precedent, for later escalation by factions whose voters have trouble distinguishing shades of gray. Or maybe not, but it is a possibility.

#70 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 06:38 PM:

Although I disagree with my local US Representative on a number of issues, one of the things he does that I do like is he makes time to meet with his constituents at locations more or less convenient to them (as much as reasonable, given it's a mixed suburban and rural district).

Do those more politically savvy than I think going to one of these Coffee with a Congressman sessions to ask him questions would be more effective or less effective than a call to his offices?

#71 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 06:41 PM:

Also, no matter how much I want Trump out, I want Pence gone first. (I'm from Ohio - Indiana is close enough to make local news, and I never liked what I heard about Pence.)

#72 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 07:10 PM:

w00t! The Oregonian is going to publish my Letter to the Editor on Tuesday:

Dear Editor:

I am saddened, sickened, and a little frightened to read that President Elect Trump has seen fit to appoint Steve Bannon as his chief political advisor. Bannon's misogynistic, anti-semitic, white-supremacist beliefs, boldly demonstrated in numerous Breitbart News stories, is antithetical to the values of this nation.

We have been urged to be patient and give Donald Trump a chance, and assured he would moderate his views once in office. This appointment suggests the new administration will not give up on the divisive rhetoric that candidate Trump employed on the campaign trail.

I believe The Oregonian owes its readers a thorough investigation of Mr. Bannon's background and the nature of the movement he champions.

Given these times, I am now frankly terrified that trolls and stalkers will harass me.

#73 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 07:37 PM:

SamChevre, #66: You can honestly say with a straight face that more restrictions on abortion DIDN'T HAPPEN between 2004 and 2016?

You're not paying attention because it doesn't affect you, and that's nothing new.

#74 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 07:37 PM:

Charlie Stross @34: If we want to build something better, then the first step is to accept that we own this future collectively and we all need to pitch in and work for it insofar as we can.

Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time, and ask a lot of friends over to help.

I'm building an ever-growing list of small, specific things to do (like echoing Stefan Jones's letter, signing the electoral college petition, &c.)

My plan, per (Avram's Phosphene) Anil Dash's call to "set up habits," is to pick of one more item from my list and do that. Every day.

Per Megpie71, I'm listing the issues I'm most concerned about, to triage and focus my efforts.

That's why I'm so anxious about memory.

Charlie, you and Patrick have the capacity to help build our Story (per the Schwarz link in the OP), and make history sexy.

#75 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 07:39 PM:

@Singing Wren: YMMV, obviously, but my previous MP regularly hosted barbecues and gatherings in pubs in the communities he served, and I found them very useful. A call to his office might have arrived when he was in a hurry, or working on something else, and not able to pay full attention; the barbecues and pub gatherings OTOH were time he'd specifically put aside to listen to people in a non-intimidating* setting. I can't draw a direct line between anything specific I said and actual action in Parliament, but he listened and asked followup questions, and we are getting the new bridge into town rather than continuing to patch up the old one, AND it's going to have an LRT line, which is something that I heard coming up a lot.

Current MP doesn't do that, and it's a shame.

So yes, absolutely, I would recommend going to Coffee With A Congressman.

*Dunno about you, but Official Offices give me the heebies. My riding is the most ethnically-diverse riding in Quebec, as well, and a lot of people are new immigrants whose French isn't great yet; they seemed to really appreciate the casual setting without any gatekeepers to have to explain themselves to.

#76 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 07:51 PM:

Lee @ 73

I'm unaware of any increased federal restrictions on abortion in the 2004-2016 timeframe. Can you point me to any? Not state actions; not court decisions supporting restrictions already part of federal law in 2004; but new federal restrictions.

#77 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 07:55 PM:

Singing Wren @ 70

Based on my very-limited experience (I interned for my congressman for a month, two decades ago) in-person events are the best attention-getter there is; a "real" email as a follow-up is also a very good idea. (We tracked every letter, and every individual letter got a response; we logged phone calls, but they got less attention--basically a count; forwarded copy-and-paste letters got a postcard "thank you for your input".)

#78 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 07:56 PM:

Yes - that first. Because he's worse than the Cheeto-colored one, in that he knows what he's doing, and knows how to sound reasonable for long enough to get people to buy it.

But I'm really starting to hope for Giant Meteor.

#79 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 09:09 PM:

SamChevre, #76: Well, DUH. Because that's not how they did it. What they did instead was relax limits on state-level restrictions, which then went thru the roof. Much the same way that gutting the Voting Rights Act produced a wave of voter-suppression laws across the country, not because of any Federal suppression attempts, but because the state-level ones were no longer being stopped.

Your argument is weasel-wording AT BEST, and deliberately so.

#80 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2016, 09:17 PM:

Advice on contacting your representatives:

#81 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 12:11 AM:

Charlie Stross @60: I'm glad to hear that Trump can't just give orders and make nukes fly. But will those controls stand up to determined efforts to subvert or simply ignore them? To efforts to purge anyone who tries to tell Trump that he can't have what he wants? When there's a significant fraction of the U.S. population who really think that the President -- or at least this President -- should in fact be allowed to do anything he wants?

#82 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 12:12 AM:

My two cents on all this. I'm very tired, so this might be a little incoherent:

We probably have somewhere between 4 - 12 months where this can be fixed (whatever fixed might mean in a particular context) without major violence.

1.) The first step is to protest, and continue protests daily at least until the inauguration, but more likely until the Senate votes on Cabinet picks. In many people's minds, the next step after peaceful protests is some kind of violence. Every person who is protesting can be seen as making a public stand that they are willing to die in the Second American Civil War.

At this point Trump's thoughts have to be something like, "I haven't even done anything as President and they're already protesting." And notice how suddenly Trump says "...he's only going to deport criminals, and maybe we'll just modify the ACA..." Because of the protests, he knows that his actions as President will have consequences. Nobody will believe that you're willing to fight if you don't first protest.

Think of protesting as an animal putting on a dominance display, growling and pawing at the air... if an animal's dominance display is good enough, the other animal will back down and they don't have to fight.

2.) Definitely write your senators about Cabinet picks. They are one of the main bulwarks between us and nutcases like Bannon, but many of them believe that a President should be allowed to pick his cabinet. Hopefully enough letters will discourage this type of thinking.

3.) Organize in some of the other ways discussed above. My personal desire would be for someone to form "The Real Democratic Party" in leftwing opposition to the current corruption in the existing party, but there are lots of ways to do this.

Remember that pretty much any organization can be politicized and/or militarized. The example of Muqtada Al Sadr in Iraq is very useful here. After the U.S. invaded he designated members of his mosque as ministers of Education, Health, Trade, etc., and everyone mocked him as a dumbass. Now he leads one of the most important political parties in Iraq. (It was a big mosque. And other stuff. Definitely worth researching.)

My suspicion is that Al Sadr simply told the person in charge of the mosque's "Sunday School" to organize education while the Iraqi government was not available, told the person who ran the Mosque's kitchen to make sure everyone got fed, etc., and things took off from there... Every Church is a miniature country.

4.) Some states have "faithless elector" laws. Start fund-raising for lawyers and money to pay fines in the event you can convince an elector to vote against Trump.

5.) If you are a gun-loving Liberal, start an anti-racist militia immediately. Perform open carry if your state allows it and patrol non-white neighborhoods to keep the inhabitants safe from Trumps Thugs. (The pundits frequently call upon Black people to police their own. If you're white, that goes both ways, right, or are you stuck in your privilege?) This is another way of making a dominance display. I'm not sure how this would play out. Is it for real, or is it theatre, or are you training cadre for possible violence in the future?

One thing I believe very strongly is that White Men (can't speak for the women) who are secure in their manhood don't fear people of color, and my strong feeling is that most Klan types are terrified of a fair fight. This is similar to my idea of a "Dominance Display," but it is more militarized. Advertise in advance that you are doing this, and go door to door beforehand with handouts. It's possible that in a few weeks you'll be handing your patrols off to the locals...

An LGBT militia would also be a good idea.

IANAL, but definitely consult with a lawyer about things like carrying guns/clubs/tasers/pepper spray in public.

6.) Involve others in all of this. Any level of commitment is acceptable. There are places for people who want to be on the front lines, and there are places for people who like to edit newsletters and hate violence, and there are places for people who just hand you $20.00 to feed the volunteers.

7.) Make sure your LGBT friends have passports. Starting something really, really public to do this might be very embarrassing for Trump & Co.

I think if people really work all these steps (and doubtless there are other powerful strategies I haven't thought of) we have a decent chance of keeping the evil and stupidity down to Bush II levels, retaking the Senate in 2018, and also making sure that we don't need to shoot people.

If you believe that violence can't be avoided, I'd recommend John Robbs "Global Guerillas" blog. Go back to the archives and read it from beginning to end. (And do this before the site is taken down by the fascists.) He also has a book called "Brave New War" which is ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED READING for anyone expecting to be involved in armed rebellion.

Also, F _ _ _ is easy and E _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ are hard. When you fill in the blanks, you'll discover that this relates strongly to the John Robb paragraph above. I won't say anything else about avenues of violence on the open web, both because I really strongly hope for peace and for other obvious reasons.

Lastly, in the event that violence becomes necessary, remember that having a peaceful group and a violent group who are dedicated to the same ends is a very powerful strategy. "We don't agree with their tactics, but we understand why they are engaging in violence) is a very useful statement here.

#83 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 12:20 AM:

If anyone has any anti-Trump stuff going in Southern California, let me know.

#84 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 12:51 AM:

There is blood in the water.

Enough people stood up to make the beliefs and character of this man unignorable.

Either Trump keeps Bannon and wears the mantle of White Supremacist supporter, or he ditches the vile bigot and loses face and one of the people keeping him independent of the mainstream GOP.

The NEXT thing to need the GOP on:

Ryan's plan to demolish Medicare. This is a very, very sensitive issue among older people. Ryan is openly announcing his plans now because he thinks there is a mandate for radical change.

Write and call newspapers, senators, representatives. Don't let this slide.

Get this visibility, and either Trump sides with mainstream GOP pol Ryan, or he is forced to defend the end of Medicare.

#85 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 01:00 AM:

Here is an illuminating post:

#86 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 01:09 AM:

Intriguing idea:

Force Trump to provide tax returns to members of the Electoral College.

#87 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 01:27 AM:

One more thing.

Trump benefited immensely from free media coverage, not because the networks and channels necessarily agreed with him, but because he was great for ratings.

The fawning coverage we see now of him and his wife and kids is more of the same. Less normalization as eyeball-bait. Satisfying the natural curiosity of couch potatoes and the disgusting human tendency to adore royalty.

But this is not the only only thing that the media loves. They also love a downfall.

If Trump is wounded, if there is blood in the water, if he falters, they will swarm him like piranhas. Stories that were buried, embarassing tapes kept on a shelf out of fear, whistleblowers and witnesses no one would give the time of day to before . . . it will all come out.




#88 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 05:20 AM:

Further to Charlie @26: Germany's next.

If there is any major leader who has Putin's number, it is Merkel. A Clinton-Merkel tandem at the world's top table would have made things exceptionally difficult for him. Half of that tandem is out of the picture, and Putin would clearly like to see off the other half as well. National elections here are next year (probably in mid- to late September).

We're about to see a stress-test of Germany's democratic institutions, and of the values that the postwar era has strengthened.

I've been following German politics since the mid-1980s (and rather more closely since moving here in 1998), and there has been a steady stream of far-right parties during that period: Republicans, Schill-Party, DVU, NPD, and now AfD. Typically, they arise at a local level, break through into one to three state governments and then fail to make it into the national parliament. After that, they fade a bit and their issues (and sometimes their voters) are latent until the next far-right party comes along to try again.

In this pattern, they tend to fail at the national level for three reasons. First, the center-right steals some of their positions and some of their rhetoric. I used to think this was awful; now I suspect that it is necessary. Second, incompetence and corruption take their toll. The people who lead revisionist parties are (typically) people who could not make it in the existing parties. Often times, that's because they don't know what they are doing. At other times, there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians; or a single leader will not delegate enough for the organization to flourish (splits in the new party also play a role). Political outsiders in the flush of their first power and fame often prove personally corrupt, and that is still a disqualifier in Germany. Third, the far-right parties fail to deliver what they promise, and their voters grow disillusioned. Sometimes what they promise is simply impossible; sometimes the status-quo parties work together to deny the far right any victories.

That's the case for thinking that the latest iteration, AfD, will not go anywhere in next year's national elections. There are some reasons for thinking otherwise.

1. There is a long-term loosening of affiliation with Germany's major parties. The postwar threesome (social democrats, Christian democrats, and classical liberals) became a foursome with the breakthrough of the Greens in the 1980s. The fall of the Berlin Wall eventually made it a fivesome, as the successors of the former ruling party in the East found a steady base of support in that region. Relatedly, voters in the East are more volatile in their support for parties. This follows the pattern of other post-communist states in Europe. Western discourse does not tend to consider Germany a post-communist country, and thus misses important aspects of how its politics work. (To be fair, western Germans, including much of its media establishment, also miss that fact.)

2. Merkel has been in office for a decade. Many parliamentary governments get a bit long in the tooth by that time. She could fall to an intra-party rival. Some voters will be ready enough for any change (especially in the East, as sketched above) that they will make their mark for the AfD.

3. Merkel's clearest policy initiative was to accept around a million refugees in 2015. This was the right thing to do, but (1) the people most pleased by this initiative are not natural conservative voters, and (2) it is an issue tailor made for the far right to rally around.

4. The AfD is in nine of 16 state legislatures. That's more than previous far-right parties have managed, and suggests that they may be overcoming the disorganization that outsider parties are prone to.

So. The Russian troll factories that were active during the US campaign are about to be hiring a lot of people who write reasonably well in German.

Putin has two conduits to meddle in the upcoming German election, the AfD, which will follow some of the approaches of the Trump campaign, and the Left (Die Linke), the successors to the former ruling party in East Germany, which still has a habit of deferring to the Kremlin. Both are useful. If the AfD gets into the national parliament and its share of seats is large enough, it can prevent the continuation of the grand coalition. (It's still safe to assume that the conservatives will not go into coalition with the far right.) Three-party coalitions will not be strong governments, which is itself a win for the forces of instability, and some of the likely permutations are an outright win for Putin in terms of policy goals such as dropping the sanctions that were imposed when Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea.

What are possible good outcomes?

Anything that returns Merkel as chancellor. Any result that brings the Free Democrats back in to parliament. I would say any result that keeps the AfD out of parliament, but they have been polling in the 10% to 12% range for more than a year, so that seems very unlikely. Any result that keeps the Left out of government. In decreasing order of desirability, those would be Grand Coalition (CDU-SPD), Brandt redux (SPD-FDP, extremely unlikely given poll strength), Jamaica (CDU-FDP-Green, named for the parties' traditional colors), and Can the Center Hold (CDU-SPD-FDP-Green, i.e., all of the non-extremist parties).

Good luck to all of us. If anyone would like to explicate France, also due for a national election in 2017, I'd love to hear more.

#89 ::: S.P.Zeidler ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 05:43 AM:

Hekilë Esselóra @#58
Das Alte Recht

If that's supposed to be German, that's The Old Law.

I assume you want "Das Alte Rechts" (the old right).

#90 ::: S.P.Zeidler ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 05:49 AM:

Doug @#88
Any result that brings the Free Democrats back in to parliament.

If they were still the party of civil rights, that'd be true. Since these days they are the party of Manchester capitalism, hang civil rights if it's the proles using them, I do think they are rather the precipitate.

#91 ::: S.P.Zeidler ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 06:02 AM:

This is partly a reaction to Charlie Stross @#26.

Suppose you are rich, powerful, and also both amoral and selfish.
Suppose you read the Club of Rome report and read and understood what climate change is going to do.
Suppose you have more than a decade to live and want to do so well (or care about how your children will be living).
If you decided that you wanted to cull the human herd but leave enough (and preferably the ones able to keep technical civilization going) to keep you in style, and wanted to go about the culling so that your treasured possessions (or your life) didn't get damaged, how would you go about it?

#92 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 06:06 AM:

A recommendation that calling your senators and representatives is the best way to get their attention.

This surprises me-- I'd have thought a letter on paper would be better-- but it's current from a staffer.

It's interesting that people who think government can't do anything right also believe that the government can reliably identify guilt and innocence.

#93 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 06:16 AM:

I'll just say from Down Under: don't expect us to be helping the Resistance. We're going to need all our resources ourselves, because we're heading down the same track.

In a lot of ways, we're in an analogous position to Britain under Prime Minister Chamberlain - except our PM has the British League of Fascists running his party room for him, and threatening his job should he ever diverge from their agendas. Lots of appeasing happening, and no Churchill on the horizon, because the Murdoch machine has already beaten that particular fire out of Australian politics over the course of the last forty years.

I think it's worth considering what happened at the end of one of the stories in Night Watch - what happened at the end of the Cable Street Revolution - from the perspective of the morning of the 26th of May. The revolution ended. The leader of the revolution - the man who steered it, who supplied the guiding hand, who changed the way things went - was removed from the picture. Yes, Carcer was removed from the picture also - some good things happened along the way. But Lord Snapcase was still Patrician. And things got so much worse, before Snapcase was finally removed, and Vetinari stepped into the top job.

And Lance-Constable Samuel Vimes, a young, relatively innocent and idealistic young man, spent those years being disillusioned, disappointed, and depressed by the way the world turned around him, to the point where he retreated into alcoholism. Even Vetinari coming to power didn't improve the fortunes of the Night Watch. Vimes may have been promoted, but things didn't get better.

Now, think about what happens to the story of "Guards! Guards!" if you take out Carrot. What happens if you remove the catalyst who triggers the change in the fortunes of the Watch? Because that's the future we're looking at here. We don't have the One True Heir to the Throne coming to save the city in response to an ancient prophecy. Instead, there's just us. There's no truth on our side, there's no righteousness, there's no justice. There's just us.

To switch authors:

"When the wandering fire
Strikes the heart of stone
Will you follow?
Will you leave your home?
Will you leave your life?
Will you take the longest road?"

How much are you, personally, willing to sacrifice to see change? If your answer isn't "everything", you're not going to see it. The people opposed to us are willing to burn down the world in order to "save" it (or at least save their particular piece of it). We cannot win against them unless we're willing to lose everything and still keep fighting.

Oh, and if you're looking at a real-world example of what you're probably going to be looking at, start with the Irish Republic. Note that the war against English imperialism starts in 1649, and, if you ask the right people, it still isn't finished. (Some will give a date in January 1919; others may list a date in 1998.) How keen are you on winning this particular war? How many generations are you willing to sacrifice to the maw?

It's going to be a long fight, and there will be many stumbles along the way.

#94 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 06:33 AM:

Here are some things we can do to resist on a personal level, on an environmental level, on a political level. This is a rough list of things as they come to mind.

* If you have the space, start a vegetable garden. Feed your family, preserve what you want to keep, then pass the surplus on to your neighbours, or to a food bank, or to the local soup kitchen or whichever organisations that feed the poor and starving in your area there are.
* If you can, install solar panels, a rainwater tank, a windmill in your back yard, and a battery bank. Having your own power means you're less reliant on existing infrastructure.
* Start with the Christian commandments: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, aid the stranger, and visit the sick and imprisoned to remind them they are not forgotten.
* Talk to your neighbours. Ask them how their day is going.
* If you have a car, or similar vehicle, offer people (particularly people in "food desert" areas) who don't have transport a lift to the store once a week for groceries.
* Plant a seed.
* Plant a shrub.
* Plant a tree.
* Start a community/crowd-funding "club" for necessary purchases - everyone in the club gets to add one thing to the list of purchases, $5 per person per week, and purchases are paid out in date order (first come, first served; once your purchase has been paid for, you can add another thing to the list, if you like, and wait your turn for further help; but everyone on the list is committed to remain as part of the list until all of the "first round" purchases have been made).
* Get together online and share information - bulletin boards, discussion boards, comment forums, blogs, Facebook groups etc - anything where you can share information such as: "these people need the following kind of help, can anyone offer it?" "I have the following items available - does anyone need them?" These services may exist already - boost signals.
* Where you can, give of your surplus and don't ask payment. Offer books to libraries. Offer clothes to jumble sales.
* Remember the principle of democracy is that the political class are the servants of the public. Keep their feet to the fire, keep asking questions, keep reminding them their job is up for grabs.
* Get involved in politics down at the local level - find out what your neighbours want, and what's involved in getting this.
* Exploit capitalism: form groups to buy vacant land and turn it into a community garden, or a community park.

(These are ideas. Some of them need a lot of refinement. But they're places to start).

You'll notice a lot of these suggestions are collectivist at the heart. There's a reason for this: fascism is largely an ideology which gains its power from toxic individualism.

Toxic individualism says the individual best can and should outweigh the greater good - so a solution which benefits 99 people out of 100 can and should be scrapped entirely because 1 person won't see any change to their situation from it. Toxic individualism says we're all atoms, that society doesn't exist, that the connections we feel between us and other people are illusory and unnecessary. Fascism exploits this by saying "well, there's one connection which isn't an illusion, one connection which isn't unnecessary, and that's your connection to $TRIBAL_GROUP. This one is real and true and the only one which matters, and anyone who isn't part of $TRIBAL_GROUP wants to take that away from you!" (Fascism always exploits the reaction of a social animal to a profoundly anti-social ideology).

The resistance to fascist thought has to start by reaching out, by creating bonds with others across tribal boundaries, by making those bonds real and believable, and as true as we possibly can. Then we start working together to create something better, making sacrifices of our own comfort where needed, when it benefits the wider group.

#95 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 07:22 AM:

On the scale of possible political responses to this travesty, ranging from "make firm plans to vote in the next election" to "run for the hills", the suggestions on this thread cluster far too close to the former. I feel strongly that we need to explore the other end of the scale. Simply put: we are not in the territory of "donate more to the ACLU" or "pay for the NYT" or "sign a petition" or even "call your reps" anymore. Perhaps that would have mattered under the old rules. But we have, under the old rules, voted the old rules out.

I don't pretend to know what is coming. But I believe Donald when he says that he plans to use the criminal justice system to persecute his enemies, and to punish the media that won't fall in line. The ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the NYT--even the Democratic Party--are not going to be difficult targets for him to attack. More than doubling down on the institutions that already failed to prevent this calamity, we need to be thinking about how we survive their further degradation and how we build new organizations to take their place.

The ACLU will not save us. We need to think about how to pursue legal avenues to slow and hinder authoritarian and racist laws after the ACLU has had its funding frozen as a sponsor of terrorism.

Planned Parenthood will not save us. We need to think about how to provide actual reproductive care after PP has had its funding cut and forced to close in every other state.

The New York Times will not save us. We need to figure out how to get and share news after Sulzberger comes to a gentleman's agreement with Donald about what, precisely, constitutes acceptable coverage.

The Democrats will not save us. Obama will not save us. Center-left technocracy has its talents, but fighting a mass line insurgency against a racist fascist demagogue is manifestly not its strong suit. We need to figure out how we keep up an electoral resistance after Democrats have become the neutered barnyard animals of Grover Norquist's fevered imaginings.

I don't know how we do this. I think it starts at the neighborhood level, building tangible connections to the people around you. It starts with showing up. (I am very bad at this. I plan to get better.)

I'm not saying don't donate, or subscribe, or sign. Every action has its place. But please, please don't mistake it for enough.

#96 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 07:59 AM:

S.P. Zeidler @90: To the extent that the FDP prevents votes from going to AfD, they are good to have. (The AfD got its start as a vehicle for protest against the euro, and some of its more prosperous potential voters might still go that way if they think their natural home in the FDP is a wasted vote.)

To the extent that they offer more possible coalitions that exclude the AfD, they are good to have around. In my jet-lagged state, I forgot to mention the Traffic Light coalition (SPD-FDP-Green), but that is another one that would keep the lid on AfD and have a chance of working against Russian revisionism. The SPD has its own current of reflexive sympathy for Moscow, but it is nowhere near as prostrate as the Left.

#97 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 08:15 AM:

Megpie71 @93: How much are you, personally, willing to sacrifice to see change? If your answer isn't "everything", you're not going to see it. The people opposed to us are willing to burn down the world in order to "save" it (or at least save their particular piece of it). We cannot win against them unless we're willing to lose everything and still keep fighting.

And then @94, you give a list of actions which don't seem consonant with fighting to the last breath. I agree with your logic for that list of actions - my personal list might not be identical, but I agree that the strategy against an individualised ideology must involve community - but "drive people to the store" and "make a community garden" don't seem to require a reckless fervour.

I fall into this same trap. I want to say fight fight fight but everything I can think of to do is small and slow and nonviolent. I don't have a ready form of rhetoric to fire myself up to go out there and build.

#98 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 08:15 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 92

Thank you for the pointer!

In the 1990's, a letter on paper was best. After the Anthrax scare in the early 2000's, the screening of letters led to a lot of delays, and tended to make letters less effective. I had heard email was the best replacement, but it sounds like that's outdated.

#99 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 08:34 AM:

Troutwaxer: I very strongly suggest that for an armed white person to start patrolling a black neighborhood WITHOUT SECURING THE AGREEMENT AND APPROVAL OF THE RESIDENTS IN ADVANCE is the opposite of helpful.

#100 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 09:26 AM:

duckbunny @97: I'd change Megpie71 @93's
How much are you, personally, willing to sacrifice to see change? If your answer isn't "everything", you're not going to see it.
How much are you, personally, willing to risk to see change? If your answer isn't "everything", risk a little more.

I'm looking at this article about Solidarity Networks from Gods and Radicals for ways to increase my level of risk and commitment.

#101 ::: venusm ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 10:37 AM:

I don't know about political processes that will help, but I do know what would be of genuine benefit and also full of reckless fervor: adopt a homeless kid, especially if they're a street prostitute.

My red state neighbors are big fans of kicking kids out as parenting technique. Was Krystal so immoral as to lose her virginity to her longterm boyfriend? Here's the door, you slutty slut, Krys!

It's especially popular as a way to show a pregnant girl what's what. Take that, preggo! No big bellies under my roof!

Also, if one is gay.

I've never quite understood the logic. The last one is especially puzzling, since usually, the kids wind up as street prostitutes. If sex is bad, you'd think that sending them to do sex work would be worse, but maybe I'm interrogating the text from the wrong perspective again.

One of my best friends was kicked out for eating a banana, so there's lots of options, if one's choosing by oppression type. (Her dad was mad because she was too fat. Eating fruit would make her fatter, I guess.)

IME, a lot, even most, street prostitutes are fleeing sexual abuse of one kind of another. Either an abusive family member or being de-homed for being gay. But there's also religious discrimination--not going to Church enough, going to Church at all, being interested in Islam, being interested in Wicca, you name it.

While taking in an unwashed teen isn't exactly going to change the polls, it is grabbing the would-be victim of those politicos from the maw of death. Because, well, any cop will tell you: the life of street prostitutes? Very short.

If teens aren't one's particular cup of tea, I am certain there will soon be plenty of other refugees. If you're in a blue state, maybe think about getting a foldout couch, and planting an extra row in the garden.

#102 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 11:04 AM:

I'm not sure this is entirely correct, but it does make a case that some of the people who are willing to help shouldn't be wearing safety pins. That way, predators won't know when there won't be intervention.

#103 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 11:15 AM:

Troutwaxer @82:

5.) If you are a gun-loving Liberal, start an anti-racist militia immediately. Perform open carry if your state allows it and patrol non-white neighborhoods to keep the inhabitants safe from Trumps Thugs.

That is an extraordinarily bad idea. What makes you think Black people, who are currently and rightly very fearful, are going to take kindly to a bunch of white people walking around their neighborhoods with guns? Are you going to make sure that every single person in the neighborhood knows how to recognize every single person in your patrol so that they know you're one of the 'good guys'? "Door to door with handouts" doesn't cut it. Not to mention the whole white savior "You aren't competent to do this, so we'll do it for you" aspect.

How about patrolling your white neighborhoods to make sure that white supremacists looking for trouble don't actually make it to the black neighborhoods, instead?

#104 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 11:38 AM:

venusm, #193: That's a good thought, but I see a few potential pitfalls.

First and foremost, in order for someone to adopt a minor child, hir parents must relinquish their legal rights of parenthood -- or have said rights legally severed by order of a judge. Somehow I don't think that most of the parents who would throw their child out of the house will be willing to do that; the whole point, after all, is to make sure the child is miserable -- or possibly dead and no longer an embarrassment to them. Going the judicial-order route is risky, because while to us throwing your child out of your house is prima facie evidence of unfitness to be a parent, there are plenty of judges for whom "family uber alles" is a thing.

Second, if you're going for a formal adoption, you will have to go thru whatever your state's procedure is for vetting adoptive parents. (Same thing goes if you decide to offer yourself as a foster parent for kids already in the system.) This is non-trivial, and if you have any sort of non-mainstream facets to your lifestyle is very likely to fail.

Third, if you decide to do this without a formal adoption, you leave yourself open to various legal difficulties. There was an incident when I was living in Nashville where one of the teens in the local science fiction club was thrown out of his house by his parents, an older couple took him in, and then the parents sicced the cops on them for "contributing to the delinquency of a minor". In the current social climate, you might also find yourself being charged with child sexual abuse even if the child denies it.

Now of course, if the child simply disappears off the streets and nobody knows what's happened to them, nobody's going to come looking for you... but that means best you look at taking in a kid from another town in the same state -- because interstate transportation of a minor without their parents' permission opens you up to SERIOUS legal issues.

The minute that child turns 18, all these problems disappear -- but it's the ones who aren't yet close to 18 who are in the worst straits.

I'm not saying don't do this. What I am saying is that if you decide to do this, think it thru and figure out which approach is best for you as well as the child.

#105 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 11:46 AM:

I hope that those who are protesting now will have energy left in January, when Trump can start doing things.

#106 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 11:52 AM:

Something I forgot to mention in my previous post: it's possible for a minor child in that kind of position to petition a judge for "emancipated minor" status, which is legalese for "we declare this minor child to be, legally speaking, an adult".* This is similar to petitioning for severance of parental rights, except that the child is doing it in their own name, not you doing it on their behalf.

The fact that it's possible is all I know about this. If you and the child you're talking to want to pursue that route, you'll need a lawyer who specializes in family and custody law. The upside is that, if successful, you've eliminated the nastier legal pitfalls I outlined above.

* ObSF: Sort of like the way Miles declared Ma Mattulich to be legally dead in "The Mountains of Mourning", without actually executing her.

#107 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 12:17 PM:

Here is an instructive series of events from American history:

In 1764, the British put the tax ship St. John into Narragansett Bay, with the stated intention of collecting taxes to pay off the French and Indian War¹ and reducing smuggling, and with the unstated intention of reminding the independent Rhode Islanders, with their charter and their freedom of religion, that they were under the firm, military thumb of Great Britain. Newporters armed a sloop and fired on the ship. (Another claim says, or perhaps it was in a different incident, that Newporters stormed the local fort, turned its guns on the St. John, and drove it into the Atlantic.)
That same year, The British naval vessel, Maidstone, was likewise very forward in its activity: the impressment of Rhode Island sailors. For its efforts, one of its longboats was removed, dragged through Newport, and burned in front of the courthouse.
In May 1769, the British put the tax ship Liberty into Narragansett Bay, with the stated intention of collecting taxes to pay off the French and Indian War and reducing smuggling, and with the unstated intention of reminding the independent Rhode Islanders, with their charter and their freedom of religion, that they were under the firm, military thumb of Great Britain. In mid-July, a crowd of persons unknown boarded the ship at anchor, removed the crew, set the ship adrift, cut down its masts, scuttled it, and burned its remains on Goat Island.
In March 1772, the British put the tax ship Gaspee into Narragansett Bay, with the stated intention of collecting taxes to pay off the French and Indian War and reducing smuggling, and with the unstated intention of reminding the independent Rhode Islanders, with their charter and their freedom of religion, that they were under the firm, military thumb of Great Britain. In mid-June, the ship was lured aground in the late afternoon. That night, sixty-two men in eight longboats rowed across Narragansett Bay to the grounded ship, shot the captain², removed the crew, and burned the ship to the waterline, blowing its powder magazine in the process.
1. Rhode Islanders had lost 65 vessels in the conflict, and were not inclined to pay even more.
2. He survived, solely through the efforts of a great-grandson of religious refugees.

There were intentions in that last case, but the actual planning was done that very evening, at the Sabin Tavern.

(I composed this originally to demonstrate the three Death Stars did not constitute unbelievable stupidity on the part of a government; it would take five of them.)

#108 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 01:21 PM:

Mary Kay @25 - I'd been thinking about you folks lately; the light of darkness and all that.

Lee @106 - ObSF re: emancepated minors: See also Betty Sorenson in The Star Beast

All: What can I do to help? As a Canadian in relatively poor health? I'm willing to provide temporary lodging for friends, and assist with documentation, sponsorship, etc.

#109 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 01:22 PM:

Rhode Island was, in modern terms, full of wild-eyed radicals.

And for those who aren't familiar with the French and Indian War, it was the North American theater of the Seven Years' War.

#110 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 01:27 PM:

Brenda @ #105, how about the day after inauguration?

#111 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 01:42 PM:

As cis het white people, Jordin & I are relatively safe. Though, of course, Jordin is Jewish. Therefore we have decided to go to level 2 as Charlie outlines above, we want to help our friends stay safe. We have considerable resources so that will mostly be monetary help. Do you need travel money for an abortion or to get out of the country or to demonstrate? Do you need money for a passport or to get your paperwork done before Jan 20? Help with school or training? We are here to help. Our community & family has, for a long time, been fandom. This is the thing we think we can do to best help our friends & family.

#112 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 01:47 PM:

Joel 108: I thank you for your kind words though I'm not sure what you mean exactly. And we mean what we say. We'll help wherever we can. I've just re-posted about it.

#113 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 01:48 PM:

Doug @88:

Thanks for so clearly laying out the situation in Germany. I didn't fail to note that the AfD was already out in force in distributing flyers in the city last Saturday. I've never seen them before.

I'm in the unenviable position to actually have to vote in that election, and yes, I'm scared of a strong right. We of all nations should know better, but after all that happened this year, any confidence that we actually do went out of the window.

#114 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 02:13 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @92: Following on from this:

Common Cause - Find your lawmaker

Here's how my mother (whose superpower was wrangling bureaucracies) would tackle calling a representative's office:


  1. a drink
  2. a snack
  3. your notepad and pencil (and/or computer)
  4. your script and notes
  5. any documentation you need to refer to
  6. something to do/read if you have to wait.

Be prepared for your call to take a while; this makes being patient and kind much easier.

Be polite and considerate to the person who answers the phone. They probably have no power, except to pass your message through. Being kind to them makes your message more likely to get to its target.

#115 ::: venusm ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 02:34 PM:

Lee @104
Well, yes, there are legal, financial, and emotional pitfalls and risks.

As I read this thread, I felt an enormous gulf between approaches, a visceral dichotomy. One outlook speaks of donating to the ACLU, calling senators, writing letters to editor, attending a community gathering of dems, growing a vegetable garden. The other talks about fighting the actions of the upcoming fascist state, in whatever way necessary, including violence; the ACLU won't protect us, they're coming for us, etc.

In between these two divides, I hear, 'OK, sending money to Planned Parenthood isn't enough, I'm ready to fight, I want to protect my country from hatred, but I'm not yet at the barricades, so what *can* I do?'

I provided a possible answer. I don't know if you've seen the NY Times piece about the Canadians who adopted Syrian refugee families, but it's worth reading, I think.

Trump and the Alt-Right want to not only destroy democracy and make themselves rich, they also want to hurt certain groups. Muslims, LGBT, immigrants, Latinos, POC, etc etc.

The orange cheeseball is newly elected, but his platform has been around for a while. As a citizen, my ability to effect broad policy changes is fairly limited in scope, but my ability to effect individual policy changes is more under my control. I can decide to feed my homeless neighbor, not just by donating to a food shelter, but by having them over for dinner every Sunday.

I suggested homeless teens because taking in dumped kids is pretty common in my income bracket. Lots of kids around here are raised by their grandparents, boyscout troop leader, aunt, friend of the family, etc. My own family took in a teen. (His mother had a new boyfriend and said, 'I can only handle one man in my life at a time.') But yes, it's risky.

Maybe taking in a kid doesn't feel right, but there are other victims of the alt right. Refugee families who need to learn to read English. Adults who are soon to lose healthcare in their state. Maybe the need isn't housing, but job skills, like programming. Or legal aid. Or mental health care.

We can't un-elect Trump, but I do believe there's a lot of positive work that can be done, that *needs* to be done, to reduce the brutal impact his policies will have. Some of that work is on a policy level, but a lot of it can be addressed on an individual level, with individual people.

#116 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 02:44 PM:

Well, what an ass...
Colin Kaepernick has never registered to vote.

#117 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 03:10 PM:

Well, I've just called my Rep and Senators over Ryan's mad plan to shred Medicare and Social Security.

Portman's (R) staffer roundly averred that there was no such plan. I told her to Google it. She also said that Portman would not be in favor of it.

Tiberi's (R) staffer, says that he would oppose any dismantling of Medicare and SS, as he has elderly parents and kinfolk depending on it.

Brown's staffer was the only one to say he HAD heard and read of Ryan's plan, and that the senator would oppose it.

#118 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 03:33 PM:

Thank you, Lori.

My letter was published in The Oregonian today. Kind of "late," in that the Bannon appointment has hit the fan.

I plan on calling about Medicare soon.

Every impediment, embarrassment, and inconvenience Trump has to deal with going in will help.

#119 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 03:36 PM:

Alisea @113: If I were a voter here, I would choose one of the big parties for the local constituency and CDU for the party list vote. As a furriner, I am not naturally in favor of the CDU (especially when it looked like they would become the party of the execrable Roland Koch), but I think in this election it would be good to make sure that Merkel has sufficient support to continue.

What she has said and done about refugees is so incredibly important for Germany and for Europe that she really should have the time in office to make good on the promises.

#120 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 04:03 PM:

Doug @119:

Which would be exactly what I'd do, if I didn't happen to live in Bavaria. I can't vote for the CDU, and the CSU has been off the rails towards the right for a while in my eyes, and is thus out of my consideration. But I'll make that decision much closer to the actual election date.

Further note that came to me a few days ago thinking about all the messes piling up: It's been 70 years since the end of WWII, so we're finally at a generation where everybody who's in charge was pretty much born after it was all over. I guess the slogan "Never again!" gets much weaker if there's nobody around who has had to experience that period in history in person. No idea about what to do about that, though.

#121 ::: S.P.Zeidler ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 05:13 PM:

Doug @96: In my impression voters for the FDP and AfD are pretty disjunct these days, at least with voters who care even a tiny little bit what the party programs are.
I'm not quite as much in love with Merkel as you are, but at present she's the only likely-to-rule politician in .de with a brain and not afraid to use it.

alisea @120: for the party list, as long as you don't vote splinter nor AfD it'll contribute to a sane parliament. I'm going to pick my Least-Bad option, and that's not die Partei der Nichtwähler (party of the non-voters).

Are we being derail-y and should stop writing about German politics in this thread?

#122 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 05:20 PM:

Question for people who have local chapters of civic orgs like the ACLU, League of Women Voters, etc: How are they responding? Do you have the sense that they are deeply concerned, or are they acting as though it's nothing out of the ordinary?

#123 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 05:36 PM:

Those who attended Veterans Day parades, was the concern for the electee's interest in abrogating civil rights evident, or would someone who attended probably not notice?

#124 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 05:59 PM:

@92: Full Emily Ellsworth article on Jezebel: How to Effectively Lobby Your Congressperson

#125 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 06:31 PM:

Stefan Jones writes in #7:

Yes, we knew months ago that Eric Trump asked Pence if he wanted to be the most powerful Vice President in history, and that Trump's job would be to "make America great."

I suspect Stefan is thinking of an incident reported last July, involving Donald Trump, Jr. and an unnamed advisor to Governor John Kasich, rather than Eric T. and Governor Pence.

#126 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 06:45 PM:

S.P.Zeidler@121: well, I'm finding the discussion of German politics interesting; it reminds me of an instructive discussion I had with an exasperated German colleague the day after the Brexit vote, about how the modern (British) Conservative Party doesn't really understand or like the Christian Democrat traditions of Europe. (Such lack of understanding and dislike, on a larger scale, being of course a major ingredient of what led to Brexit.)

#127 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 06:51 PM:

Are these dumb questions, or can nobody hear me?

If this was just someone wargaming advent-of-tyranny, how would we tell that from the real thing - or, for that matter, from some O'Keefe type punking people? The pervasive sense of being in a bubble, not getting responses, watching people act strangely, argues for the first or last, and if it's the first, I'd be concerned about whose interests the wargamer was working for.

If you had had the sense several years ago, that something was going on that could be laying the building blocks for tyranny, who is the stirrings-of-tyranny watchdog you could have approached about it?

Has the ACLU been myopic about where threats can lie? Is there anyone, at these bastion-of-liberty organizations, charged with looking forward?

#128 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 07:00 PM:

Suggestion for anybody so inclined: Apparently Trump's team was surprised to find out that the 3,000 or so people responsible for running the White House don't come as part of the package, like, they're actually free agents or something, so the team is advertising for applicants for all positions. Except they're doing it so, so badly. So if you feel like it, have fun applying. And invite a dozen friends to do so, and each of them invite a dozen friends...

#129 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 07:09 PM:

IMO, discussions of attempted fascist takeovers elsewhere are not out of place here. I didn't bookmark the bloody thing and now I can't find it, but the scariest item I've read recently was a "why Japan lost the war" article which made a comparison between the Japanese and American maps used to manage the Pacific theater.*

The Japanese map showed everything affecting the Japanese territories and the areas over which it was trying to establish ownership.

The American map showed the whole world.

We're in the same position now. If we don't think about the global conflict, we'll lose the local one by default.

* If it was posted here -- maybe in the other thread -- I apologize. But I've been reading here, and File 770, and Slacktivist, and a couple of other sites all discussing the same thing, or it might have been a Facebook link, and I just flat don't remember where I saw it.

#130 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 07:13 PM:

Lee@129: the instructive Mr Stross blogged about this today.

#131 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 07:44 PM:

P J Evans@109 wrote: "107: Rhode Island was, in modern terms, full of wild-eyed radicals."

What? They were farmers, fishermen, and sailors. Dull, humble people. My ancestors. One of our greatest heroes, Ida Lewis, was someone who just put her head down and kept rowing.

Honest. If Rhode Islanders can be radicals, anybody can be.

#132 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 08:09 PM:

Cousin! (Probably. I sometimes think everyone who was there in the 17th and 18th centuries was related to everyone else there at that time.)

#133 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 08:10 PM:

an anna @127: If you had had the sense several years ago, that something was going on that could be laying the building blocks for tyranny, who is the stirrings-of-tyranny watchdog you could have approached about it?

Your question is hard to answer as framed, is my best guess as to why nobody's responded.

I don't think there's one sole watchdog to approach; I think the watchdogging is on all of us, and I've certainly been seeing discussions of the erosion of democratic principles for at least the last twenty-five years that I've been paying attention.

"There are no grownups. It's just us." —Lois McMaster Bujold

#134 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 09:00 PM:

Steve w/b, #930: Thank you, that was the article I saw! Still don't remember where, but seriously, everybody, GO READ IT.

#135 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 09:17 PM:

P J Evans@132 wrote: "Cousin! (Probably. I sometimes think everyone who was there in the 17th and 18th centuries was related to everyone else there at that time.)"

I know it wasn't everyone. I'm a Tillinghast, and -- oh, delight! -- Wayne Tillinghast wrote The Tillinghasts in America: The First Four Generations. I have it as an e-book. What name(s) would you like me to look for?

#136 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 09:39 PM:

We are all related -- sometimes some of us know how we're related. It's mostly good for amusement value. I used to be in a business with two people with whom I'm probably as little related as any three people you can pick out on the streets. We still get along with each other, mostly.

#137 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 10:37 PM:

Jacque #133, thanks for responding. I really think though that we could do better functionally, for a watchdog org, than "all of us".

Maybe it was time for an ACLU2.0.

#138 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 10:49 PM:

Benjamin Carpenter is a nephew of a way-great-grandmother. And possibly related to her daughter-in-law who may be another (I haven't sorted that one out, and no one seems to have proof, just assumptions).

#139 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 10:52 PM:

I keep finding connections that cross-link branches. (Mostly via New England and assorted Friends.)

#140 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2016, 11:23 PM:

an anna @137: "all of us" is both the strength, and the weakness, of democracy. E pluribus unum, wot?


I'm interested in what you envision that to look like?

#141 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 12:12 AM:

Okay, here's my list of things to contact my representatives about:

  • Oppose Bannon's (& other extremists) appointments to Trump's cabinet (US Congress)
  • Oppose Paul Ryan's plan to gut Medicare (US Congress)
  • Endorse Colorado signing the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (Colorado Legislature)

What else?

#142 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 02:05 AM:

heresiarch @ 95

The next step, beyond "donate" or "call your congress critter" is to show your teeth. There are lots of ways to do this, and I've noted some of them above. The big idea of "showing your teeth" is that you do something a little more outrageous than protesting, but a little less than illegal... a very tough line to walk.

The big idea behind showing your teeth is that you want the other party to back down... peacefully. If the other party doesn't back down, you have to decide whether you're willing to do violence.

My own personal take on this is that the other side is fairly cowardly and will back away from a fair fight. I could be wrong.

The big problem with all this is that you need to make your big decisions right now, because once the enemy makes their moves, you won't have time to make and implement those decisions. An example of "the big decision" might be whether you buy a gun and lots of bullets, or what level of violence you're willing to engage in.

If, after the inauguration, the enemy decides that only white, heterosexual, Christian males can own guns, you might be too late in arming yourself, and if you decide you want to fight back, you'll end up wishing you'd purchased a gun back in November. To be very clear, I'm not encouraging anyone to buy a gun, just looking at the timetable for any decision you might make about handling the consequences of this election. The same problem holds true for getting a passport, arranging a hiding place, moving to a less dangerous state, etc.

#143 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 02:08 AM:

Lila @ 99

This is why I wrote "Advertise in advance that you are doing this, and go door to door beforehand with handouts."

#144 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 02:19 AM:

lorax @ 103

Remember that much of what I'm suggesting is about baring your teeth, not actually fighting. It's theater of the sort meant to make sure that politicians have trouble sleeping at night. Yes, this one would need to be implemented very carefully, but I think one could successfully make it go.

Actual fighting is the step that gets taken (or not) if baring your teeth isn't enough. What someone who implemented this particular tactic really wants is for a politician to call and say "please don't do this."

And the reply goes. "Fine. Make a public effort to make sure Bannon isn't hired for any position in the Trump White House." Obviously this kind of horse-trading isn't as easy in reality as it looks on paper, but the aim is project some political power and make the other side back down, not to start a riot in the inner city.

#145 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 07:05 AM:

venusm @ 101: 'My red state neighbors are big fans of kicking kids out as parenting technique.... I've never quite understood the logic. The last one is especially puzzling, since usually, the kids wind up as street prostitutes. If sex is bad, you'd think that sending them to do sex work would be worse, but maybe I'm interrogating the text from the wrong perspective again.'

Lee @ 104: 'Somehow I don't think that most of the parents who would throw their child out of the house will be willing to do that; the whole point, after all, is to make sure the child is miserable -- or possibly dead and no longer an embarrassment to them.'

I'd say that the perspective/pseudologic involved is, the kid isn't supposed to actually leave, or not for more than a few days. It's, 'go to your room and think about how naughty you've been, and don't come out until you're truly sorry and are ready to obey me!' writ several magnitudes larger. The expectation is that the child will return, meek, penitent, renouncing their sinful ways, and begging to be allowed to come home (where they will never be allowed to forget their fallen nature or their obligation to be grateful) - and when the kid doesn't come back, and especially if the parents learn their youngster has resorted to sex work to survive, that just proves that the parents were right about the kid's sinful nature. (A similar perspective is at play in many people's - often, but far from always, right-leaning people - assumptions about the effectiveness of punitive 'justice'.)

I'm not sure if this is a side tangent to the thread topic, or a highly relevant note about the sort of thinking that is likely to play an even more dominant role in the mainstream discourse in the coming months/years.

#146 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 07:59 AM:

Ecco qua, Sarah Kendzior writing a few days before the election: "our fate was sealed long before Nov 8."

Like many scholars and historians who study authoritarian regimes, she's been warning for years that the United States was perilously close to crossing the point of no return in the descent toward full-blown authoritarianism, and as with all the others that I follow, the warning message is not any longer prefaced with "unless we do something to prevent it..."— the warning is now, "please return your seats and keep your seat belts fastened."

About a year ago, I started telling my friends that it's either time to get a work visa in a more democratic and liberal country, or it's time to start preparing to live under the rule of a conservative authoritarian police state. No more, "if this or that happens, then it will be time to bug out." I said, "Either get out now or start making survival plans." A surprising number of my more wealthy friends have already packed up and gone.

I don't know. Maybe that's overreaction. On the other hand, maybe not.

#147 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 11:32 AM:

Is PNH OK? He evinced deep concern then went silent.

Designing an ACLU2.0 needs someone with a lot more street smarts than me.

#148 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 12:40 PM:

Rays of Light

Yesterday I was given a tour of one of the more prestigious private schools in my area. These kids are the children of the elite, raised to privilege and groomed to succeed. They will apply and be accepted in droves to ivy league schools, and many of them will wind up as movers and shakers in the world.

The English class that I attended was reading Night by Elliot Weisel. While their reading list included Romeo and Juliet and Of Mice and Men, the majority of the works were written either by a woman or a person of color (or both). The teacher was carefully going over a "How to have a good discussion" rubric which included statements like "Understand that not every discussion needs to have closure" and "Listen respectfully and understand that other people may have different understandings than you do because they come from different places in their life."

The school boasts proudly of their 30+% PoC student body and is actively working to bring their faculty diversity up as well. (It's at 20% presently.) There was a lot of discussion of inclusion, diversity and respect for other viewpoints. They specifically teach social interaction and skills. This is not a liberal school; it may be one of the more traditionally conservative schools in my area. But I couldn't have told you that from the tour that I received.

I have an enormous rant on how the educational system in the States is turning me into a communist, and I remain horrified by the public/private/rich/poor divisions in our school system. But this gave me a small bit of hope -- assuming we can hold on and survive this current nightmare. The kids, at least, are alright.

#149 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 01:07 PM:

When I was a teenager, my mother would tell stories from her girlhood that involved either her parents hiding friends and relatives from the secret police, or relatives being taken out to deserted roads and 'shot while attempting to escape' (the one that sticks in my mind is about the cousin who did escape while wounded, hid in a woodpile, and felt a BIC man pile more logs on him). Four and a half decades later, I find myself confronting the same world. I'm not exactly happy about it.

#150 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 01:37 PM:

troutwaxer @144

Please show your teeth to the people you are actually willing to attack, rather than using people of color as pawns in your posturing, then.

Also, who said anything about riots or inner cities? When I think of "non-white neighborhoods" I think of heading a mile or so in almost any direction from my neighborhood, to leafy suburbs that look exactly like my leafy suburb but with a larger fraction of Ethiopian immigrants or Salvadoran immigrants or African-Americans, depending on which direction you go. And I think about their fear that the armed white men marching through their streets are going to start shooting at them and their kids, not about "riots". (Are you going to make sure those handouts of yours actually get read by everyone, and that they're translated into Spanish and Amharic and French?)

#151 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 02:10 PM:

Also please enjoy this additional droplet of speculative non-fiction: Letter From The Future: On Trump's Racism.

Our basic problem is that Trumpism is just the US manifestation of a larger global far-right Internationale whose opponents are divided everywhere from one another by structural borders now growing in strength at high velocity. Overcoming that strategic disadvantage by organizing an openly democratic and humanistic anti-reactionary international should be at the top of the agenda for everyone in the US dismayed by the outcome of the 2016 elections.

Sadly, that doesn't seem to be happening. Instead we're falling all over ourselves clinging desperately to any sign that normality might return once everybody settles into the new groove and people get used to the new administration, that existing institutions will prove sufficient to arrest our decline into authoritarian barbarism. They're not. It won't stop. We're past the point of no return now.


For those of us who cannot run away, and who cannot fight, and who will not be willing collaborators, there is really only one way forward: learn how to survive life under oppression by an authoritarian police state, and build low-tech social networks to support the cognitive behaviors required for ordinary people to resist and retain their humanity until the spring comes.

#152 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 02:33 PM:

Two things I'm worrying about in addition to attacks on various demographic groups-- one is that Trump will loot the country. Looting is what he does. People are mobilizing to protect plausible victims, but looting is a lot more covert. What, if anything, is to be done?

The start a vegetable garden angle is a reasonable response, but what else?

Oddly, on another blog three people have mentioned a desire to do more cooking.

Looking at the current news about Trump having difficulties with making appointments, another bad path might be drastic incompetence at the top-- I don't think people have been thinking about that as much as they're been thinking about focused malice.

#153 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 03:24 PM:

lorax, #150: For me, it's 3 blocks from our nearly-all-white, upper-middle-class street to one that's heavily Hispanic and entirely blue-collar/pink-collar. But that's partly because Houston doesn't have zoning, so areas just grow.

#154 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 04:07 PM:

Trump looting national resources is a certainty. (There's a current article which mentions one way he was doing it already, as a candidate.) The question is whether he has the imagination to loot billions or trillions instead of merely millions.

Sorry, this isn't much help with the "what can we do" part. Try to make journalists cover it, I guess.

#155 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 04:16 PM:

j h woodyatt @151: organizing an openly democratic and humanistic anti-reactionary international

I would be interested in seeing something in more detail about how to go about this, or what this would (or does, if something like this is already out there) look like.

Nancy Lebovitz @152: looting

I think this concern is very much on point. The Office of Management and Budget would be the obvious agency to keep an eye on that sort of thing, but that's a presidential appointee (IIUC), so no hope there.

To start, this might be a thing to keep paper-clipped to the top of one's list of things to contact one's congressional representatives about.

#156 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 04:36 PM:

re 155: Not OMB but the GAO, and the comptroller general has a 15 year term. The current fellow is in until 2025.

#157 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 05:11 PM:

Hi Jacque @ 155,

I'd like to know how to do this too. I'm certainly not an authoritative voice on this, and I'm not sure the organizations I'm thinking about as possible examples are really worthy of listing here, and I don't wan't to anger the gnomes by link-dumping.

I like the DiEM25 Manifesto, and I wish that we had something similar here in the US, but at this point, I think it might be too late. I'll admit that what we might need now more than a vibrant pro-democracy movement in the USA— which I really do believe we'll need in the long term, and which I think we should start building now— is something more focused on the narrow immediate objective of subverting our right-wing political operations and preventing an American color revolution from being used as a pretext for expanding the power of the police state.

#158 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 05:45 PM:

> ...preventing an American color revolution from being used...

What I meant to write here is "...preventing an unsuccessful American color revolution from being used..."

#159 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 06:07 PM:

Also, to speak directly to PNH's point, I'd say this:

I like the Jon Schwarz piece linked in the head paragraph of the post, and I totally agree that We Need A Story is an important point to make, but I really wasn't positively impressed by what Jon came up with. None of my stories have been published (yet!) but I do think we can do better than all of that complicated mess.

Here's the story I'd tell to counter the trumpisti: most of the world has figured out that social welfare democracies make pretty nice places to live, and we're not going to get one for ourselves by recklessly burning down the marginally democratic institutions we currently have, and replacing them all with a gang of bullies led by a self-centered clown and his immediate family.

Or shorter: authoritarian police states are extremely bad for business and they hurt working class families.

#160 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 06:24 PM:

Troutwaxer @ #143, telling people in advance is not the same as requesting or receiving permission.

Has it occurred to you that any stray shots will be hitting the people you claim to be helping?

#161 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 07:33 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz@152

On the whole, I think Trump focused on looting with limited interest in anything else is probably the BEST case scenario right now.

And I really hate to say this but I think it's mostly true that it's better for Trump appointees to be incompetent than competent. And (up to a point) the more incompetent the better.

#162 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 07:39 PM:

So far as looting is concerned, it might help to support organizations that do investigative journalism about finance.

Still no idea what to do if the faderal government goes into spasms.

#163 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 10:11 PM:

@ lorax and Lila

Theatre. Posturing. A step up from protests, a step down from violence. If bullets start flying, you're doing it wrong!

If you don't like a particular technique, do it your own way. I'm not trying to be the boss here, just making some suggestions.

The point is to push as hard as possible without actually having violence, and doing so at least until the inauguration. The purpose is to make sure everyone understands that going fascist is going to be really, really expensive in terms of both money and lives, and maybe the next administration should find a better plan. If you feel that a particular strategy is one you'd prefer not to implement, I don't have any problems with that. Find your own way of pushing the envelope, and please share it with me, because you might have a better idea.

But don't get bogged down in an argument. Find something to do and do it now.

#164 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 10:20 PM:

Troutwaxer @ 142: "The big idea of "showing your teeth" is that you do something a little more outrageous than protesting, but a little less than illegal... a very tough line to walk.

The big idea behind showing your teeth is that you want the other party to back down... peacefully. If the other party doesn't back down, you have to decide whether you're willing to do violence."

Assumptions in this comment I find problematic:

1. That anti-fascists have teeth worth showing.
An even theoretically violent resistance to the existing US government would have to stand up to, at a minimum, a heavily militarized police force (cf Ferguson) and the investigatory/harassment powers of the FBI (cf Black Panthers, AIM, etc.). That could very quickly grow to include the National Guard, the DOJ, informal militias and, because let's not pretend that Trump knows what posse comitatus means, the US military. What military force do you think could mount a plausible "threat display" against that?

2. That fascists will back down from a threat display.
Fascists are a death cult. They love violence--they fetishize it. (Which, ironically, makes them less good at it, but nonetheless.) Given a vaguely appropriate target, any number of white supremacists, anti-government militias, and crusader wannabes would leap at the chance to do violence unto them.

3. That you get to decide whether you do violence after the display.
Intimations of violence are pebbles rolling down a mountainside. If they do not trigger an avalanche you were lucky, not skillful. You had best know what you are prepared for before you so much as pick up a stone.

4. That if anti-fascist violence becomes necessary/unavoidable at any point, it will help to have advertised our intentions or capabilities.
Concealing your strength is a very basic principle of military force. Broadcasting that information is never smart, and absolutely foolish for the weaker party in a highly asymmetrical contest.

I think there are few responses to the current situation less productive than making noises about violence. It is a direction the forces behind Donald are salivating to go, and it is the direction that the opposition (us) is least well suited to succeed at. We, as a society, have worked very hard for many centuries to build a community where political violence is unacceptable. The last thing we want to do is to help the process of eroding that.

#165 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 11:21 PM:

j h woodyatt @157: If you're of a mind, email me your link dump at the address at the bottom of my linked page.

This has been something that's been on my mind for a while now, and I think maybe it's time to start getting specific.

@159: "Newsflash! Happy and propserous societies are good for everyone's bottom line!" The catch is that this is not new information, and this story has so far failed to catch on. (Maybe it lacks the right kind of dramatic tension.) I also tend to suspect that there's something deeper going on (*cough*oligarchs*cough*), and any story has to deal with that.

Troutwaxer @163: going fascist is going to be really, really expensive in terms of both money and lives

I strongly suspect the would-be fascists would be totally fine with that. If they noticed at all. If anything, they're actually looking for an excuse.

#166 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2016, 11:22 PM:

C. Wingate @156: Yes, thank you.

#167 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 01:48 AM:

Troutwaxer: (1) Don't display a gun unless you're prepared to use it. This is BASIC. What you call "showing teeth" is what I call a "credible threat", especially when a white male is doing it. (2) Doubling down when people point out the problems with your Brilliant Idea is not the path you want to take.

I was at a party over the weekend where a couple of the attendees decided to show up visibly packing. Things got Awkward. How do you throw out someone who's already demonstrating that he might decide to pull out that gun and start shooting?

#168 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 03:49 AM:

Hi Jacque @165,

> I strongly suspect the would-be fascists would be totally fine with that. If they noticed at all. If anything, they're actually looking for an excuse.

Oh, they're looking. For example, c.f. which offers this delightful conclusion:

Having observed these organizations in action, I have listened first-hand to numerous proponents of the left that, regardless of the means necessary to achieve their goal, feel their cause is more important. The recent riots in Portland and Oakland make it clear that many of these individuals will resort to violence. When challenged regarding the legality or the potential for large-scale backlash from the people as a result of their actions, these leaders simply do not care as long as the result is the prevention of the President Elect from assuming office. They are not concerned that their actions could lead to armed conflict with those that they oppose. In fact, many would like nothing more than to instigate a conflict that they believe would result in the elimination of their opposition. They are completely unprepared to back up their bold assertions. They have no idea how quickly their supporters will fold and their plan will fail. Most of their supporters are merely college students. Some are street thugs, but there is no military expertise within their ranks.

Hard to read that and not conclude that if anti-fascists actually "showed teeth" as our dear comrade Troutwaxer is promoting, these Oathkeeper nuts would enthusiastically apply violence preemptively. The reason they haven't done so yet is they clearly that they are making their own judgment that it would be unjustifiable overreaction to a miniscule threat.

#169 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 07:57 AM:

Megpie71@93, duckbunny @97:

I think "small and slow and nonviolent" is exactly where to start. I'm hearing a lot of thoughts of violent resistance and war, and a sense that nonviolent resistance is weak and ineffective, and I want to push back against that. Not to mention that -- as Lee, Jacque, and heresiarch point out -- fascists love violence, and they're very good at it. And the practical argument against buying a gun in case of tyranny: the military severely outguns you (as heresiarch pointed out).

I'm not yet ready to write off existing institutions and organizations. Maybe I'm wrong. But they aren't gone yet and I feel like we have to try. Anyway, if they do have to go underground, existing personal connections made through existing organizations will facilitate that.

And I think the narrative has to be solidarity. We don't rely on a strongman; we help each other.

I'm inclined to read up on other anti-fascist resistance movements. Any book recommendations?

#170 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 08:35 AM:

Lee @134: you're welcome. Please note that the blog essay you're pointing to started life as a comment on Making Light, upstream in this very thread, at comment #26.

#171 ::: Raven Onthill ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 10:37 AM:

We must unify politically.

I asked myself, two days ago, would Hillary Clinton have lost if he was, instead, Hilliard Clinton? Given the blame for his wife's sexual conduct? No. Constantly made to apologize for doing what both Bushes and Colin Powell did with their emails? Probably not. Blamed for bellicosity? In a man that is strength. So far as I can see, Hilliard Clinton would have mopped the floor with Donald Trump; far and away the better man.

We lost to sexism, bad luck, and bad press, not the misconduct of this-or-that faction in the Democratic Party. I've been answering both Clintonites and Sandersites with that. (Yes, they're still fighting.) Now that we have lost, it is important that we not fight among ourselves. But if we are to have success politically, we must unify. The modern US left scorns and fears leaders, yet unify behind leaders is what is needed to win, politically.

#172 ::: Raven Onthill ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 10:47 AM:

Secure communications. Cory Doctorow links some suggestions. There's more at The Intercept. If you use a laptop or desktop computer install GPG.

Many intelligence personnel believe in the freedoms they swore to protect. It is a small thing, but if worse comes to worst, you may find unexpected allies.

#173 ::: Raven Onthill ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 11:04 AM:

Also to be concerned about, a Trump administration is likely to trash the economy. Aside from plain stupid things like defaulting on the national debt, bad policies could lead to the destruction of savings and income. See, for instance, this short excerpt from "Donald Trump's False Promises" at the Financial Times. (You can read the whole thing at the FT web site, but you have to set up a no-charge account.)

There is no easy solution to this. Beware of scams. Do be careful with your savings, if you have them. Perhaps the cryptocurrency types might come up with something helpful, but so far cryptocurrency is more of a problem than a solution.

#174 ::: Raven Onthill ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 11:26 AM:

Ironically, "be careful with your savings" may mean to invest part of them in the stock market or a TIPS fund. Could be that after exploding that national debt (which this lot is going to do because Republicans always do that) they'll try to inflate the debt away.

#175 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 11:36 AM:

Caroline 169: I think "small and slow and nonviolent" is exactly where to start.

(As a side note, it's my understanding that this sort of situation is exactly what the Framers had in mind with the Second Amendment. That the 2nd was conceived in an era of relative government/citizen parity of arms is not their fault.)

That said, my feeling is that resistance is important at every level. And I prefer to think of it not so much as resistance (at this point) as maintainance. As of November 7, 2016, the United States has been presumed (modulo reality/practicality/&c) to be a democratic republic.

The frame I'm working from is to keep it that way. We start with making use of existing avenues to keep our freedoms and protections, do what we can to strangthen existing organizations, and maintain existing institutions.

As has been pointed out elsewhere, right now we're trying to figure out how to respond to a pitch that hasn't been thrown yet.

There are a lot of levels from which we can approach protection/defense, including "small and slow and nonviolent." The better and more broadly we're prepared, the more able we will be to respond appropriately and effectively.

And I think the narrative has to be solidarity. We don't rely on a strongman; we help each other.

This, I think, is our best hope of success. Not least because there isn't a strongman to be relied upon.

I'm inclined to read up on other anti-fascist resistance movements. Any book recommendations?

Not a book, but the Wikipedia Anti-fascism page Patrick links to from his Sidelights might be a place to start, and then follow down the references.

#177 ::: Alex G ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 12:54 PM:

I agree with what has been said above about solidarity. Building local connections of trust and mutual aid is a good thing regardless. It is essential in convincing the unconvinced: empathy for people unlike oneself starts with personal contact. And it is a necessary precondition for survival in the more drastic scenarios - I can talk a good game about hiding people in my basement, but that won't happen so easily unless I know who needs to be hidden, and they have reason to trust me.

Local organizations and institutions are also prime territory for the authoritarian takeover. Police forces. Courts. Unions. Bar associations. Churches. Schools. Local media. We need to be alert and involved. Beware the normalization of militias, where police and courts may make room for harassment and violence, even if they're not (at first) the ones doing it themselves. This is a local manifestation of patterns we will see at the national scale: an administration comfortable with going outside normal channels, sidestepping the rule of law, avoiding transparency.

This is not opposing what Charlie said above. There is a national and international aspect, and local action does not suffice. However, local opposition is necessary, and this is part of what it looks like.

#178 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 12:55 PM:

Jacque @175:

The "Framers" were a very diverse people, and a large number of them. There was very little they agreed upon, and arguments were fierce, leading to compromises which reflected the views of few.

Arguing based on the Framer's "intent" is based on the fallacious belief that there was such a thing.

The 2nd Amendment, I believe, was the result of a "compromise" between two opposing views of the relationship of guns and the state, roughly equivalent to the "collective right" and "individual right" interpretations of the 2nd amendment today. Both sides submitted clearly written proposals that were not compatible, and the committee reported out wording that came half from one, half from the other.

#179 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 01:05 PM:

I knew a guy whose mindset was "a gun = powerful deterrence". A party at a marina had gotten out of hand and people were throwing punches. He was either beside the boat or on top of it when he pulled out his gun and fired it into the air.

Everybody froze. Then everybody looked around. Then they went back at it.

He didn't like our response either, which was "where did the bullet go?" "Up."

"Where did it come down?" He didn't know.

It's been about thirty years and he hasn't used that attempt at a threat display again.

#180 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 01:18 PM:

A gleam of light in the Stygian darkness:

Yesterday as I went out for errands I saw the USPS guy down the street with a package and hoped it was one I'd been expecting. On return, there was nothing in our lobby. It was outside my apartment door, two flights up.

No idea who lugged it up for me. My best guess is a fellow who in all likelihood voted for Trump.

I will be calling my reps in another day or so (still working up the list). I will attend rallies as possible.

I will continue to bring up everybody's packages.

#181 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 02:55 PM:

A request for advice:

I'm about to contact my congress critters to register my opposition to a few of the post-election developments.

Problem: one of these people is... from the same party as the president-elect. Now, from what I understand, when one contacts an office, they take your address - naturally, as a way of verifying you are a constituent.

And, I'm a long-term (read: permanent) expatriate. I have begun to worry, if I phone this particular member of my state's delegation, and leave my US address, that I will open myself at some point to a challenge, along the lines of "Does she really live there?" - I've heard of registered letters being sent, then not received, and the voter losing his/her place in the voter registry afterwards.

I'd like to avoid that. So... do I phone this particular member of our state's delegation? Or just stick with the ones from the friendlier party?

Crazy(but thanking you all in advance)Soph

#182 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 04:42 PM:

Hi Everyone,

Here's a personal story of what happened to me the last time I convinced myself that preparing for political violence might be a good idea.

Rather than march down to the gun store to buy a weapon (because, let's be clear, that's stupid) I spent a few weekends using rented pistols at a range, discovering that you need to spend a lot of time and money there on a regular basis there to be at all competent with one. And the skills you need degrade without regular practice. It didn't take long before I decided that this particular country club was not my style. The game isn't fun, the greens fees are too high, and the people in the lounge are not my type. No harsh judgment meant to anybody here who feels differently— I don't want to shit on your fandom. It's just not for me, and I know it. I might have kept up with the pistol training anyway— because, as you know, preparing for political violence is probably not supposed to be fun, right?— except for a variety of tedious reasons, I had reason to commit my free time for this purpose in a slightly different way: I started training in full-contact knock-down karate. That left me with no more time or money for practicing throwing lead down range.

For the last three years, I've been practicing karate. I've got bruises now in places I didn't know could be injured. I'm still just a yellow belt, but I've learned a lot of things about fighting in those years that I believe you simply cannot learn except by studying with a trainer, sparring in a dojo and fighting in tournaments.

At the top of the list of things I learned: there are still more things that one does not learn except by spending time in a combat zone, and that the reason fascists are better at violence is they know that preparing for it entails joining the military or the police and going into combat. Many of them have been doing just that for the better part of two decades now. They are in a whole other category of fighter.

Another important thing I learned: after three years of karate training, I can probably last longer than a few seconds in a street fight with a single unarmed opponent mostly the same size and age as me. If the opponent is twenty years old, or there's more than one of them, or they have a gun or a knife, or they can call for backup, or or... then I'm probably going to be maimed or killed when I can't run away fast enough.

All this is to say: I'm very nervous when I see fight language deployed in political discussions like this. I have little doubt that the situation in which we find ourselves now may entail an eventual need for us to put our bodies and our lives on the line in the defense of social democracy, but our resistance absolutely positively must be done by non-violent methods.

One of the most valuable lessons that karate training has taught me is how not to be afraid of getting my ass kicked by the fascists when they decide to unload on me. I'm now regularly getting my ass kicked by my classmates, and I know what an ass-kicking feels like when it's happening. I can stand to get roughed up by the cops when they're just trying to be discouraging to the riff-raff. I can last just a little bit longer than the average guy my age, and they might have to hit me a little harder and a few more times before I'll go down. But when the fascists decide that I need to have my liver splashed all over the pavement, I'm pretty damned sure now I'm not going to be able to stop them even if I manage to get my hands on a pistol or a knife. And that's okay, because the one thing I have now that those fuckers will never have, is the courage to stand against them.

Please please please, everyone— if you're feeling emotional about these perilous times, and you're considering the prospect of preparing for political violence, please consider training in a hand-to-hand martial art like karate or aikido. I hope it will direct those dark energies you feel in the most productive direction—  like it did for me.

Thanks for reading this.

#183 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 06:33 PM:

Crazysoph @181: I'm overseas now, and my county has my last address in the states and the overseas physical address where I am, so they can send me a physical ballot if I request one. (There's also an option for electronic ballot downloads for each election. Much faster.). That should be enough in my case to prevent a challenge to my last US address.

I'd check with your local county auditor, they will at least know where to start.

#184 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 08:23 PM:

I've been thinking lately that an underground railroad network is probably one of the trickier things to set up, and that therefore it might be worth starting now just in case.

Would it make sense, as an early step, for communities to organize passport clinics, bringing together a photo booth, at least one notary, lots of blank forms, a sponsor covering the application fees, etc., and perhaps someone dropping hints about who to speak to if you need a lift somewhere?

Obviously anyone doing it would need to work closely with the people in need of passports, otherwise the latter might think it was a government ploy to register them, but it seems like a practical and still-legal opening move.

#185 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 09:14 PM:

A thought I was thinking recently... Authoritarians are, among other things, absolute sticklers for following rules and for the letter of the law. However, they're as prone to carelessness and human error as anyone else (sometimes exacerbated by a feeling that the law doesn't apply to them), and this can be used against them. In office settings, or especially if your neighborhood has a HOA, this could be gold.

#186 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2016, 10:48 PM:

I admire the spirit of those who consider armed self-defense, but remember that self-defense part and choose accordingly. The time for street fighting passed when Trump won. The hard armed right lost the excuse for the spasm of violence so many of them yearn for. They'd been working up to it with all the talk about rigged elections, and Fmr. Cngmn. Joe Walsh clutching his muskrat, and all that. I for one am grateful for that small mercy. Let sleeping muskrats lie.

(If anyone out there can reconcile the balance of mildly irreconcilable terrors between "So unprepared it endangers the country" and "So ready to crack down it endangers the country" please send me the equation and I will apply it!)

I expect there will be violence from extralegal sources, much like violence in the south after Reconstruction began with Klan and mob activity. There will be policemen under some of those robes, but they'll be acting outside their capacity. This sort of violence, being extralegal in origin and illegal in nature, is much safer to resist with violence in turn. So if you feel the need to protect your home, the simple, noble shotgun is, as always, your friend, gunsellers be damned.

The big thing, I think, is to start practicing saying "No." There are going to be positively wonderful times to refuse certain actions. Enough of that and opportunities to say "Yes" to better things should start to appear. Or so we can hope.

This has been one of the bad years, and it's still got a month and a half to run. Possibly there's one nice surprise left before New Year's Eve? I'm not asking for a miracle here. Just something pleasant and not too dear.

#187 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2016, 01:07 AM:

an anna @ 137, Jacque @ 140:

I don't claim a lot of street smarts, but here are the things I think about when I think about how to build an authoritarian-resistant ACLU2.0. The first step is to decompose the institution into its component functions. What is it that the ACLU does that we want to preserve? For the ACLU that might go:

- gather funds to defend civil liberties
- raise awareness about attacks on civil liberties
- employ legal staff to defend civil liberties in the courts

These are all linked, obviously: it's the visibility of the ACLU that allows it to raise awareness, which is what allows it to raise money, which allows it to fight court battles. It serves as a central hub connecting a lot of pro-civil liberties money and talent to people in need of such assistance.

Step two is to think about what makes the institution vulnerable. For the ACLU, the issue is centralization. It pulls resources into a hub and then pushes them back out: if that hub's bank accounts get frozen, their name gets smeared, their lawyers get arrested, the whole thing goes down.

Step three is to think about how to provide the functions identified in step one while bypassing the vulnerabilities identified in step two. So: how do we ensure the flow of a widely dispersed pool of pro-civil liberties resources towards those in need while avoiding the creation of a centralized, vulnerable hub? One model might be the creation of a more fluid network of individualized connections working on a smaller scale: Lawyer A makes it known in her community that she takes on civil liberties cases pro bono, and local supporters kick her cash/etc. in return. One possibility would be to go through Patreon to support lawyers like this, or Kickstarter for expensive cases, though that kind of highly visible networking will not be ideal if suppression becomes overt.

Future movements are going to need to look more like P2P file-shares than central servers. Fortunately for our country, activists have been pioneering these kinds of approaches for the last several years, in the form of Occupy and BLM and NoDAPL. One particular trenchant example might be Occupy Sandy, as it was specifically an attempt to replace a failed centralized institution with a mutual aid network.

That might be the best take-away from this comment: respect the activists. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, they are the ones who have been doing the work and they are the ones who know it gets done. Be willing to learn.

#188 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2016, 02:27 AM:

Addendum: if you are interested in working locally without losing sight of the bigger picture, I can't think of a national issue more in need of sustained grassroots attention and money than flipping the state legislatures away from GOP control before 2020.*

One of the most critical factors in this election (and the most under-reported) was the wide-spread voter suppression efforts, especially critical in the swing states. In 2010, Republicans, powered by SuperPAC spending (unleashed just the previous January), took control of dozens of state legislatures. With the results of the 2010 Census in hand, they proceeded to gerrymander the hell out of every state they controlled. This is what put the House under semi-permanent GOP control at the federal level. Then the 2014 SC decision that basically gutted the VRA, GOP-dominated state legislatures were freed to purge voter rolls, institute unconstitutional voter registration requirements, and generally roll back sixty years of voting laws.

2020 is the big prize: both a presidential election and a census year, whoever wins (and it is unlikely to be a split) will not only control the executive and the legislative branches of the federal government, they'll likely also control the state legislatures setting the next decade's electoral maps. But 2020 will be fought on the terrain of 2018: if we want the next presidential election to actually be anything like a fair fight, we need to retake legislatures and start repealing these voter suppression laws. That means retaking state legislatures state by state, district by district.

State legislative races are a place where a little bit of passion goes a long way. The scale is a lot smaller even though, as you see, the stakes are high. If you want a concrete but manageable site to work on minimizing the coming damage, this is a great place to begin. Plus, it will help you build the skills and connections necessary for any of the more extreme anti-authoritarian measures that may become unavoidable. Knowing who to trust, knowing how to get a group marching in the same direction, knowing how to put actions together--these are basic skills.

* I say "away from GOP" rather than "to Dems" because I'm not completely convinced that this effort can or should be conducted from within the Democratic Party. Sander's machine OurRevolution might be moving in the right direction, but (particularly if the Dems aren't already strong where you are) I'd also think about Working Families Party or similar.

#189 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2016, 11:59 AM:

CrazySoph @181:
With the caveat that I've not been an expatriate, I've contacted my senators and representative several times over the course of this year. And I've supplied my address in doing so.

Specifically, I've contacted Jeff Sessions with a "please repudiate Trump" letter full of pointed comments in the wake of Sessions' endorsement. I figure that's about as counter to a senator's position as you're likely to run in the course of conventional non-threatening communication.

I have received zero feedback from his office.

I've gotten stuff in the mail from my other senator and my representative, but it's always been conventional mail, nothing registered. So, anecdotally, I expect you're fine to contact Republicans and Democrats alike.

#190 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2016, 01:21 PM:

This seems plausible to me, but I'm no expert.

Are there historical examples of a society moving towards fascism/totalitarianism, and then pulling back?

On the optimistic side, people are starting early in a relatively free society.

#191 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2016, 03:17 PM:

Nancy @190: there are examples of fascist regimes decaying and switching back over to democratic norms without external pressure. That's the good news. Examples off the top of my head: Spain, Portugal, much of South America.

The bad news is that it can take a very long time for this to happen. General Franco was in power from 1939 to 1975. Democracy officially resumed in 1978, but was tenuous enough that it took the intervention of the King to prevent an attempted military coup in 1981 from restoring fascism. Also? The king was Franco's anointed successor; he acceded to power within the fascist framework then dismantled it from the top down.

Given how decentralized the US federal system of government is, I don't see any easy path from an entrenched fascist system (that maintains the state/federal hierarchical distinction) back to democracy short of a civil war or total economic collapse (to the point of mass starvation).

#192 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2016, 03:59 PM:

I want to quibble: At the top of the list of things I learned: there are still more things that one does not learn except by spending time in a combat zone, and that the reason fascists are better at violence is they know that preparing for it entails joining the military or the police and going into combat. Many of them have been doing just that for the better part of two decades now. They are in a whole other category of fighter.

They may be, but not because of that. 1: Most of them have never been in the military. 2: Being in the military makes one nominally more capable of certain ways to apply force, but... If you don't practice those, and have trained companions, they aren't as useful as people think.

What makes fascists more effective than non-fascists is simpler than that. In a non-expected instance of violence, the person who initiates has a huge advantage, and fascists are more willing to initiate violence. They are expecting it, and so they aren't taken by surprise.

That's where taking a martial art, esp. a close contact one (e.g. karate, aikido, boxing) comes in handy. It's a first step. It's a bit of mental preparation. Marry that to considering what one might do in the event of x, y, z, &c, and one has mitigated some of the initiators' advantage.

Add some situational paranoia, and one is about as prepared as one can be.

As for myself, I am going to start walking with a cane. I just need to find one of good weight and balance. If I feel the need to convert it to a shillelagh, well I've long ago set standards for myself on what I'm willing to do.

I hope it doesn't come to brawls in the streets. I'm trying to be prepared if it does.

#193 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2016, 05:15 PM:

Anyone who uses a cane should Google "cane-fu" and look at the instructional videos that come up. This was a big fad thing in the self-defense movement some 7 or 8 years ago, and the techniques are still out there and still useful.

#194 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2016, 06:34 PM:

Okay, what I did today:

1. Called my R Senator about Merrick Garland. "Mr. Senator feels that this appointment should be handled by the next president." (No surprise there.) "Do you have a comment I can pass along to him?" "He should move to appoint Mr. Garland because to leave it for the next president is both unconstitutional* and wrong.

2. Called my D Senator. "Can't do anything because the Rs won't let us."

3. Signed the petition arguing that, since the Senate has waived their responsibility to "advise and consent", Obama can move ahead with the appointment.

4. In anticipation of applying for a passport, (per Raven Onthill @176) got my long-overdue state ID renewed (which is probably advisable in its own right.)

No going to go have dinner and fall over.

* For the the purposes of this phone conversation; should have had more research to hand and a better script prepared. Oh well. I'm budgeting for a learning curve here, since I've never done anything like this before.

#195 ::: Jimbeaux D ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2016, 07:24 PM:

I've been a freak and a hippie in the south since '68 when I decided Humphrey was way better than Nixon. I've had my back against the wall ever since. We can't convince talk radio conservatives about anything. Their tribal minds are already made up. In the '70s, the politics of protest still had some umphhh, so I volunteered for the no nukes movement. Since then, protest has been emasculated. It is a waste of time. The only thing that matters is partisan political power. After this last election, we don't have any. In deep red areas I have heard the more astute tell their brethren that "They have sold us out". That is what has to happen. The talk radio conservatives have to convince each other that their leaders have sold them out. We can't convince them, we can't carry them across the finish line. They have to do that themselves. We don't even have to worry about giving the new administration enough rope to hang themselves, because they are going to take that rope anyways. We need to survive and be a model for when the conservatives realize they've been sold out.

#196 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2016, 10:51 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @152: Trump will loot the country. ... What, if anything, is to be done?

Here you go: xlivvielockex on tumblr posts:

Reposted from something I saw on Facebook “I just called the House Oversight Committee (202-225-5074) to support the call for a bipartisan review of Trump’s financials and apparent conflicts of interest. It took me two minutes, and the woman on the phone said that they are absolutely tallying calls - the more they get, the more likely the Committee is to demand ALL of Trump’s financial information.
She said that there’s not much time left, as they are out of the office next week for Thanksgiving. And after that, they’re going to make a decision.
NOW is your chance to use what’s left of democracy to send a strong message and demand change. Please, do this ASAFP. If you get a “mailbox is full” message, call back in a minute or so - that seems to be the default when lines are busy.
That number again is (202-225-5074). Website here:
“Likes” feel nice in the short term. “Shares” get the word out. ACTUALLY CALLING ACTUALLY DOES SOMETHING.”

valadilenne adds:

If that number doesn’t work, try (202) 225-0037. They picked up when I called. All you say is that you support a review of Trump’s finances and his conflicts of interest. They aren’t taking names or phone numbers, just counting phone calls.
Do it—it’s easy, they’re very nice, and it all adds up.
#197 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2016, 12:38 AM:

On the German politics thread: I haven't been following them much lately (other than the usual comments about Angela Merkel now being the leader of the Free World), but I play in a monthly German/Austrian/etc. jam band*, and a couple of the folks the other night had recently been back there, one in Germany and one in Austria. Their main comment was that everybody in the area is appalled and wants to know how we could have done something so stupid as electing Trump, but they also said Austria's likely to elect a right-wing PM in their upcoming election, and that the AfD has been growing worryingly.

(*We mostly play a mix of folk music and oom-pah beer-hall stuff; things with lyrics are often in various dialects, and some of them have the original lyrics in Bavarian or whatever with translations into German so people can understand them :-)

#198 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2016, 12:53 AM:

On guns: Trump made his position on the second amendment really clear - stop&frisk is an effective technique for police to stop bad actors and often take guns and knives away from them. His target audience knew that didn't mean white folks. I'm not personally willing to kill people, and while I'm less of a target because I'm white, I'm not interested in offering police a motivation to shoot at me, so I don't carry the things.

The one time I've been seriously assaulted as an adult, I was still too busy going "WTF?" to remember to do the small amount of martial arts falling-safely stuff I know. Fortunately I wasn't injured too badly, but the bruises lasted a long time.

#199 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2016, 01:11 AM:

As a foreign national, far far away, I can only look on with shock and horror. I thought Clinton would win, despite everything. When it was Trump, despite everything, I started reading whatever I could reach on the net, to try to reconcile the result with what I understood reality to be, and found it only marginally useful.

WTF is this phenomenon, the "Alt-right"? Charles Stross says they're simply fascists. I don't know. I think - going on what I can see - that they don't actually rise to anything that coherent. They seem to be largely composed of Loki trolls. Their, er, spokespersons - usually self-appointed - are conservative in a sense I can only describe as fantastic, that is, informed by fantasy.

How many of them are merely white straight men (and adolescents) who fear disempowerment and loss of privilege? How many have motives more respectable than that? Could they include people enraged against Islamic extremism and fearful of it, and to what extent is that rage and fear justifiable? Absolutely not justified at all? I know that if I were LGBTQ, I'd fear it; being effectively an atheist is alone enough for it to bother me.

Is it true that female unhappiness has steadily increased since the 1980's? If it were true, does that constitute a criticism of third-wave feminism, as the alt-right says it does?

Are there threats to the rights of freedom of speech and assembly in the assertion of "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces"? Does the academic left really attempt to shut its opponents down by disinviting them, refusing them a venue, or showing up to shout them down. rather than engage in debate - or is that purely and only projection on the part of the alt-right? Are there really "political elites", drawn from the same class, the same backgrounds, the same schools, the same clubs and associations, who mostly know one another, and who only listen to one another? To what extent do they exist, and to what extent do they have actual power? To what extent was Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to be President of the United States (even now it gives me the chills) explained by popular reaction to that political class? Would it have made any difference if that class didn't really exist at all?

I don't know.

Yes, you don't need to tell me. There is a class of troll that comes on by asking ingenuous questions. I can only point to my record here, and say that I'm not one of those.

#200 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2016, 09:19 AM:

The committee doesn't seem to have an email address for general contact, just something for whistle blowing.

I suppose the next step is contacting the committee members individually.

#201 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2016, 11:01 AM:

#189 Stephen Rochelle

You expect Jeff Sessions to have a positive response to anything which isn't white Christian Male Christian Dominionist agenda?

Take a look at

I've detested him for decades for his misogyny, his theocracy, his authoritarianism, his anti-equality outlook, his anti-environmentalism and allegiance to fossil fuel exploitation and environment destruction, etc.

Getting him OUT of the Senate would be a boon to humankind and the ecology of the planet--the question is would him in the Cabinet be worse (on the other hand, Trump is unlikely to pick anyone I regard as less despicable than Sessions--and I've despised him for decades--for the position. Bannon is not less obnoxious than Sessions, and the more I find out about Lt Gen Flynn, the more disgusted I get.... he gives no foreign distribution information to Pakistan and other countries, dines with Tsar Vladimir, is an unregistered agent of Erdogan and the Muslim Brotherhood, tells women to wear skirts and heels, has stood up in public egging on Clinton haters yelling "Jail her!" and slander Pres Obama, and is a member of Act! for AMerica which has as its ideas of "empowerment for women" condeming the 25-28 honor killigs of women in the USA every year, and female genital mutilation, and slams Islam, but says nothing whatsoever about pay equity, promotion equity, violence against women other than the above.... Honor killings in the USA is one percent of of the murders of women in the USA--while 40% of the murders are by husbands of boyfriend [around from FBI statistics for all but the honor killing numbers, the latter are form an Act! for America webpage claiming to be about empowerment for women, but actually being screed about extreme Islam....

Oh, and he does anti-semitic tweeting, too, and got fired for what seems to be insubordination along with handing secrets out to foreign nationals--supposed allies, but material not for release to allies....

#202 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2016, 11:07 AM:

The Declaration of Independence makes a big thing of "consent of the governed."

I do not Consent to the fascist women-enchattelizing environment-raping Jesusfailures Trump is selecting for a cabinet.

The plurality of votes in the USA voted for Hillary Clinton.

The consent of the governed is part of the most basic of all legal documents in the legal existing of the United States of America.

And I am not consenting.

#203 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2016, 11:45 AM:

Question -- I've been trying to throw a bit of money to the ACLU since last night, and their website keeps not processing my donation. Has anyone else had the same issue?

#204 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2016, 12:23 PM:

A thing that has been troubling me for some time is Bill Maher's frequent insistence that Islam is intrinsically evil. A liberal/libertarian comedian, very popular among the left and centrist, who does frequent concerts and has a weekly TV show, but who also spouts that line... that's probably doing some damage.

My partner is very fond of his show. I often find him to be more nasty than amusing or funny.

#205 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2016, 12:28 PM:

A short reminder from Molly Ivins on Crooks and Liars, about how we hurt ourselves (as a country) reacting to fear. I wish she were still with us.

#206 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2016, 05:15 PM:

Okay, time to close Twitter, I've had my freakout for the day:
The GOP’s Anti-LGBT, Anti-Women ‘Religious Freedom’ Law on Steroids

#207 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 12:03 AM:

The election's not quite over! Seriously - there's still a Senate race run-off in Louisiana, which has a wide-open contest on election day and then a run-off between the top two candidates on December 10th, and putting one more Democrat in the incoming Senate could be critical. Foster Campbell isn't my ideal candidate, and he's not doing especially well in the polls, and he's running against a guy named "John Kennedy", but he's the choice they've got.

#208 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 01:09 AM:

j h woodyatt @ 159: "I like the Jon Schwarz piece linked in the head paragraph of the post, and I totally agree that We Need A Story is an important point to make, but I really wasn't positively impressed by what Jon came up with."

Me neither. Here's a story that resonates for me:

The United States is a democracy. We declared our independence in order to form a more perfect union, and we've been working at making it more perfect ever since. We're still far from perfect: a nation where the loser of the popular vote still wins is a deeply imperfect democracy. A nation where the party with 45% of the national vote controls both houses of Congress is an imperfect democracy. A nation where eligible voters are turned away because they only had two, not three, forms of acceptable ID is a profoundly imperfect democracy.

The United States has always strived to better itself. Our elections are fairer, truer, and more perfect when more people vote and when their votes matter. In order to fulfill the promise made all those years ago, we owe it to ourselves and to our children to continue the project of expanding democracy to every American citizen. This is not a partisan issue. Yet it has become one because there is a party in this country that knows they benefit when fewer people vote, when more bureaucracy lies between the people and the centers of power. They will tell you so themselves, if you listen.

Let's stop voting for politicians who do not want every American to vote. Let's do everything we can to make voting an important and vital part of our politics, for every citizen.

(As you can see, it fits with my #188.)

#209 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 09:52 AM:

Dave, re #199: Whoo-boy. Forvgive me for this being less detailed than I would like, but 1: i'm on my iPad, which makes some things harder, and 2: I don't want to be trapped in moderation for links.

The "alt right" is a terrifying thing. It's not new, it's not small, and it's not lacking in coherence. What we are seeing is the visible manifestation of a long-running trend in modern american racism/proto-fascism being given legitimacy.

If you look up Dave Neiwert/Orcinuus you can see a good 15 years worth of writing on it. (I started paying attention to it in the late '80s. I think the first book I got [still have] is "Blood in the Face".] when they were committing bank robberies and anti-semetic murders from Wash. to Colorado).

They are/weren't exactly organised, which was by design. The nucleus of how they came ot be what they are is a book, "The Turner Diaries" which was a manifesto, written as end of the world novel. It emphasised a set of beliefs, to talk about, and share, but also that one should never plot to act, because conspiracies fail. "Lone wolves" succeed.

So for thirty plus years they've steeped each ofher in ur-facism, and encouraged those who want to be terrorists, to be so, all the while working the refs to keep themselves from moving above the radar; so they are always referred to as "Fringe" even when they are not.

The big flap when the Bush DoJ released a report saying Fart Right Extremism was the greatest terrorist threat... was quashed because they didn't like the spotlight. Islam is just their present cause celebre. Their aim, first, last, always, is White Supremeacy, enforced through violence; where white = Racially Pure Christian.

They hate "trigger warnings" not so much because they don't believe in safe spaces, but because they create safer spaces they don't like, by putting a focus on history they don't want studied, calling out hateful behaviors they want to be allowed to engage in: not only with impunity, ideally with social sanction. They think they have a right to convert anyone they disagree with into second class citizens.

They have been working the shadows of the US id for 40 years, like the Lernian Hydra their lack of apparent coherence makes them stronger. 1: they manage to keep themselves from being taken seriously. 2: every setback just encourages others to "take action". 3: the internet has made the samizdat of flyers, pulps and local get-together a nationwide network they can use as springboard.

Brietbart is of them, Alex Jones is of them. From those places, memetically their ideas are being forced into the everyday conversations of people who don't know how to responnd to what seems nonsensical, and so they gain more legitimacy.

They are both a physical threat to people, and a cancer on the body politic, because they are inducing a form of dementia; degrading debate, and focusing attention on issues which ought not be up for debate.

Ok, I'll stop, before I move to even more polemical rantings.

#210 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 10:14 AM:

Dave @199:

Adding one thing to Terry Karney @209.

Is it true that female unhappiness has steadily increased since the 1980's? If it were true, does that constitute a criticism of third-wave feminism, as the alt-right says it does?

I would need to see a reliable source for the assertion that "female unhappiness" has increased before I would even want to touch the rest of the question with a carefully-sterilized bargepole.

I know that women (female as a noun is a marker that you're either a Ferengi or a Men's Rights Activist trying to talk about women without actually seeing them as human) feel more able to express their unhappiness now that there are people who will listen to us. We've always been unhappy to be treated as second-class citizens, underpaid, talked over, and assumed to be a variant on the default-model human. Who wouldn't be?

And at the same time, seeing the amount of sheer work it is to demand to be treated as a person, to have to explain over and over again how not being treated fairly makes us miserable (which is why I asked Terry to talk a little bit rather than trying to tackle it all myself)...that does actually make me (us) unhappy. And that work is increasing with the rise of the alt-right, whether it's Gamergate, the Puppies, or the rabid wing of the American right (it's the same cast of characters and the same techniques, honed and polished, sharpened and dipped in salt).

But the place to put the blame there isn't the rise of feminism; it's the very assholes who have got you asking whether we're unhappier now and shouldn't have tried for actual equality but just stayed happily in our little kitchens.

I know you. I like you. I respect you. But I think you need to do some reading from sources that assume that women and vulnerable people are capable of speaking in good faith. Rather than people who are not women and vulnerable people, speaking about them. Lying about them -- us -- because they think that our equality, our value, somehow lessens them. Because treating us well is work, and it's the feeeeeeemales who are supposed to do the emotional work in society.

(Yes, I'm angry. Having someone bring that crap into my space, even to question it, makes me angry that it exists at all. That people make it their passion and their political goal to shove me in a corner and shut me up.)

#211 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 10:57 AM:

Hekilë Esselóra @ 59: 'Everybody needs to read this (again) because Umberto Eco warned us perhaps more clearly than anyone else besides Orwell and Sinclair Lewis, how the combination of toxic masculinity and nationalism and anti-intellectualism are all wielded to seduce people over to the Dark Side who really, really ought to have known better:

(I'll convert this to a clickable link to better encourage reading - Sunf)'

My online-reading list has grown very long, thanks in large part to this thread - but I'm taking a moment after reading the Eco article to strongly second this recommendation.

And while yous are reading it, I encourage you to consider not just Trumpism, but Puppydoggle, particularly The Incredible Mister Beale and his Rabids.

Relatedly, Dave Luckett @ 199: 'WTF is this phenomenon, the "Alt-right"? Charles Stross says they're simply fascists. I don't know. I think - going on what I can see - that they don't actually rise to anything that coherent. They seem to be largely composed of Loki trolls. Their, er, spokespersons - usually self-appointed - are conservative in a sense I can only describe as fantastic, that is, informed by fantasy.'

As the above-linked Umberto Eco article indicates, fascism isn't very coherent (or is that what you meant, tone being hard to convey in text and all that?), and is informed by fantasy (in the broader sense even if not the literary-genre sense). But there is more going on there than fascism alone, just as The alt-right is more than warmed-over white supremacy. It’s that, but way way weirder.

Dave Luckett again: 'How many of them are merely white straight men (and adolescents) who fear disempowerment and loss of privilege? How many have motives more respectable than that? ....'

I wouldn't call that 'mere', myself. But for these and many of your further questions, I direct your attention to the RationalWiki Alt-Right article (many of the sources and external links are well-worth perusing, as well; that's where I found the Vox explainer I linked).

Speaking more generally to the thread: nevertheless, the alt-right Trumpists - and Trump himself - are not what I find most alarming; that'd be the paleoconservative theocrats with whom he's surrounding himself, starting with his VP. I decided months back that Trump would say anything that he thought would get him elected CEO of the USA Corporation; what I failed to consider was that this implied that he'd make a deal with anyone - now, I'm coming to the conclusion that, at whatever point along the way it became clear to the Dominionist contingent in the GOP that they could not field a candidate from their own ranks that could both win the party nomination and be electable in the presidential race, they brokered a deal in which Trump would be their populist front man and get to have all the limelight, in return for him selecting/appointing a team of theocrats to do the actual nation-running (not unlike the way that Dubya was, or at any rate appeared to be, a ventriloquist's dummy for Rummy et al).

#212 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 11:13 AM:

Terry Karney @ 209: 'The "alt right" is a terrifying thing. It's not new, it's not small, and it's not lacking in coherence.'

Me @ 211: '... the alt-right Trumpists - and Trump himself - are not what I find most alarming....'

And while I was posting, Terry came along and said it much better than I did, though hopefully my links will be a useful addition.

I should clarify that I don't find the alt-right unalarming, just that Dominionists alarm me even more (probably because of exposure to Heinlein at an impressionable age). Nor that I think they're discrete factions that might neutralize each other - the positions have more compatibility than difference, at least until everyone else is squashed, and they are an unholy alliance.

#213 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 12:21 PM:

Still one more thing to Dave @199:

Let us be absolutely clear about trigger warnings, or content notices. They are not saying "you cannot say/teach this thing". They are saying "please tell students if there are matters in thsi thing that they need to prepare themselves for".

This allows students (or anyone) to make informed choices about how (or in the cases where there is an option, whether) to approach material. It assists them in dealing with it in the most effective fashion possible.

They are, in other words, an aid to communication, not its closure. They're like movie ratings without the mandatory exclusion of certain age groups.

And as for refusing to let people with specific views's a complicated subject.

* Do we allow people who deny the Holocaust to speak at history conferences? (Surely the institutions running the conferences are allowed discretion about who comes.)

* Should people who think black people have lower IQs be given the respect that a formal debate would confer on them? (This is how the Overton Window moves.)

* Do I have to argue with every rando who thinks women are shit? If so, why, and where then is my entitlement to my own mind and intellectual efforts? See my previous thing about who has to do the emotional work in society.

#214 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 01:07 PM:

@ Everyone

So why "Bare Your Teeth?" Why go as far beyond protesting as is currently legal? Why try to scare the Fascists into backing down even if the strategy is risky?

It's because the risk/reward picture has changed dramatically. The old risk/reward picture looked something like this: Some red-state legislature might pass, and their governor sign, a bill defining what a doctor must and must not say about abortion. Per the bill, the doctor must say abortion is psychologically horrible and physically dangerous. The doctor may never assert that a particular abortion might be necessary to save a woman's life. Etc.

As a good Liberal, you knew that this kind of stuff could happen. You understood the relationship of this kind of law to such issues as freedom of speech, compelled speech, prohibited speech, and the freedom to give counsel which accords with the standards of one's profession. So every year you gave $25.00 to the ACLU so their lawyers could go to court and make sure that laws like this don't survive the inevitable legal review.

The risks were small; there might be a minor anti-abortion victory, and the rewards were small; a string of little victories for various free-speech rights. In opposing this problematic law, your personal risks were very small - you gave up $25.00 and had no worries that anything bad would happen to you because you made a contribution to the ACLU.

That risk/rewards picture no longer exists. It's done. It's gone.

The new risk/rewards picture looks something like this: The Congress of the United States passes, and the President signs, a bill which condemns all Muslims, even those who are U.S. citizens, to special camps.

Given the state of the prison/industrial system, does anyone doubt that these Muslims will all be doing unpaid labor for big companies? Does anyone think that the process of putting the Muslims into the camps will be remotely kind and gentle? Does anyone believe that the American Right has any plans for these Muslims to leave the camps under any circumstances?

Going a step further, can anyone imagine the international consequences of such a decision? All Muslims coming to believe that a Jihad against the United States is just, combined with boycotts of American products, attacks against anything owned by a company based in the U.S., plus other nations deciding to hit us with a trade embargo?

That's what the current risk looks like. Arguably, there are some Republicans in the Senate - Susan Collins comes to mind - who won't vote for such a bill, but Trump can accomplish a lot with executive orders, and it might be possible to pass a bill which did something like allow individual states to make immigration decisions...

Regardless, eleven million Muslims in camps is what Trump wants. He also hates Blacks and Hispanics. Republicans have long despised LGBT people. Trump's advisor Steve Bannon has recently spoken against Asian tech CEOs as "un-civil." The Alt-Right is also heavily anti-Jewish and it despises women much worse than a mere red-state legislature passing a bullshit anti-abortion statute.

Given control of both houses of Congress, plus the Executive Branch, there are many, many paths to pursue these hates, particularly after Trump appoints his first Supreme Court justice. Paths to fascism include executive orders, court cases, and a Republican Congress passing legislation which gives states more rights to discriminate. Fascist thugs can also take violent actions against both people on the street and Senators and Congress-people who "vote wrong."

So the problem for everyone is simple. We must adjust our idea of what risks and rewards look like. The picture of risk/reward has changed vastly in the last two weeks, and we need to change our ideas about risks/rewards quickly! I would also argue that the amount of personal risk we should expect to take are similarly changed.

The current risk is that we put eleven million Muslims in camps, or pass national laws against LGBT people, or "solve the Asian CEO problem," or repeal the Civil Rights Act...

The rewards are that we save those eleven million Muslims, or prevent a wave of attacks on LGBT people, make sure that (cumulatively) trillions of dollars aren't stolen from non-white business owners, or prevent the racists from bringing back Jim Crow.

This is a very new situation, so please adjust your idea of what the risks and rewards look like, and do so very quickly. We don't have a lot of time.

#215 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 01:34 PM:

Troutwaxer @214:

From January 20 we will be one atrocity away from martial law. That atrocity can have happened before January 20, if I read the personalities right. Mutter mutter mutter false flag mutter fake news, but I for one am not falling all over myself to hand them extra evidence to add to the plausibility.

Also, please consider and respond to heresiarch @162. At the moment, I find it a pretty convincing set of arguments.

And finally, note that if you're planning violence, or even escalation of violence in the terms you've been using, you're not going to plan it on Making Light. While we're spitballing approaches, you can discuss it, but if the mood of the room is against you, take it elsewhere.

I, personally, think it's like trying to put a fire out with gasoline. I think there are plenty of fascists who are just spoiling for a fight, and plenty more who won't figure out that they don't have real appetite for it until after it's escalated completely out of control.

#216 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 05:13 PM:

I'm pretty sure that Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happieness by Ariel Gore debunks that study about women becoming less happy after they have more freedom, but I don't have time to reread the book and it doesn't have an index.

Perhaps the book would be of interest to someone else here who would read it-- at the very least, it's got somewhat about the idea that the woman is the heart of the home. It's important for her to be happy for the sake of everyone else's happiness, but there's nothing in the theory about what support she needs.

#217 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 05:56 PM:

heresiarch @162? not 164? (sorry for trivia, but physics of the web seem awry, and Abi has no public email address or twitter DM that I see)

#218 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 06:04 PM:

Dave Luckett #199: Charlie Stross says they're fascists because that's what they are. Ultranationalist warmongers with a side of xenophobia and racism, and lashings of sexism for added flavour.

I am not the only person here, I'm certain, who has spent time in a fascist state. I'm certainly one of the few who learnt to read from an official fascist state-sponsored schoolbook (Why did the Spanish Civil War happen? Because General Franco was moved to tears while walking on the beach in Las Palmas at the thought of all those children in Spanish schools with no images of the BVM looking down on them.)

When I was a lad, it was my mother who told the war stories. The memory of them still frightens the hell out of me.

#219 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 06:06 PM:

(also, I'm seeing a whole lot of provocateuriness these days, I'd guess that's what we're seeing.)

#220 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 06:38 PM:

Someone I know witnessed, and intervened in, a physical assault on a woman (who had a Clinton sticker on her car) at the CostCo gas station at Richmond and Wesleyan in Houston last week. It was not dark, and the Trumpthug was not drunk. Several other people restrained him and the police were called. There has been no media coverage of this incident that I can find.

The Mag-Lite 3-D-cell flashlight is a useful size for most people to handle, and something that's perfectly reasonable to keep in your car. Note that if using it as a hammer, you need to hold the bulb end.

#221 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 06:45 PM:

Hi Terry karney @192,

Over the years here, I've not been one to decline an invitation to quibble, but I'm just not feeling it these days. I could quibble, and if I were to do so, I fear my less than charitable opinions of law enforcement agencies in the USA would rub too many people here very much the wrong way. So I shall keep my filthy socialist mouth shut on the matter— but that should not be read as full concurrence with your viewpoint.

In all other respects, love you and what you have to say. In solidarity…

#222 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 06:56 PM:

I recall an acquaintance referring to that size as "escalation", and the next larger as "massive retaliation."

(I have a large adjustable wrench buried in my car's console. And no Clinton stickers, although I'm seriously considering "Giant Meteor 2016".)

#223 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 07:08 PM:

Hi Everyone,

Also on the list of useful things that everyone can do: take a course (or a refresher) in Non-defensive Communication Techniques.

You may someday soon find yourself in a position to intervene in an angry dialogue before it escalates into violence, or you may find yourself participating in such a dialogue, and having trained in Non-defensive Communication Techniques may turn out to be a life-saver.

#224 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 08:09 PM:

an anna @219: provocateuriness

I'm glad I'm not the only one.

#225 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 09:03 PM:

I was assaulted on Thursday afternoon. A pedestrian took exception to my riding my bike on the sidewalk, though I came nowhere near him; he chased after me and shoved me hard into the adjacent stone wall. Then he sauntered away.

I got up and chased after him, and grabbed his knapsack to stop him. There was a bit of a scuffle, and he walked away more quickly. I chased after him again, grabbed his knapsack again. After another scuffle, he got away, running.

I wasn't seriously hurt -- a slightly banged-up elbow and a minor bruise on my shin. This body has some serious limitations and flaws but it is quite impact-resistant. And I have some idea of how to fall.

But the police officer who took my report suggested, politely, that my chasing after an assailant who was bigger and stronger than me was perhaps not the wisest thing to do.

There is something to that advice. But it's hard for me to just let something like that go.

This has nothing to do with politics, but since people are discussing the psychology of conflict and confrontations...

#226 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 10:02 PM:

abi @ 215

I'm not advocating violence - on either side. And what I have to say about Trump & Co. doesn't break down into any kind of simple statement. So here's a story for you, which relates in every way imaginable:

It so happened that one day many years ago, I was having a very bad afternoon, and was driving along in my car, crying, and hoping very desperately that I could make it home, and back the work the next day, and from then until payday, on a tire which was worn down below "not having any tread," and all the way to "showing the rubber that's beneath the metal wires that run inside a modern tire."

It was about twenty years ago. I had a small baby at home, and the expense was breaking us. Breaking our wallets, breaking our minds, and breaking our spirits. My commute was about 40 miles each way to a low-paying job that was barely worth having, and I'd just walked out of a Pep Boys after realizing that I couldn't afford even their very cheapest tire. Did I mention that I didn't have a spare?

I was driving a tiny, subcompact Honda, probably the smallest car on the road at the time, and just barely staying in my lane because I was so upset. Then this guy in a huge, 4-wheel pickup truck drives up next to me at a stop light, and he looks down at me, notices that I'm having a bad day, stares at me with total, sneering contempt and starts to make nasty comments.

I have no idea what he was saying, because I kept my window rolled up and kept my door locked - I may be mouthy, but I'm not stupid - but he was clearly looking for a fight and he appeared to be a pretty tough and competent guy.

So my brain went into overdrive. I wasn't worried about winning the fight - I've been hypercompetent at that since forever - but the last thing I needed was to get arrested for brawling at the side of the road, or have him follow me home trying to damage my tiny Honda with his huge 4-wheel Manhood-Mobile, or getting into an unintended-by-both-parties accident, or any of the dozen completely stupid things that could have happened. Not to mention that I really do prefer non-violent solutions.

So I assessed the opponent. Well-dressed. Nice, late model truck. Not drunk or high. Just another asshole driving home from work and happy he'd found someone to pick on. I determined that he would go away if I showed him the right amount of force.

"Showing the right amount of force" is a tricky business. If I showed him too-little force, like maybe waving my fist, he'd believe I was accepting his invitation to fight. If I showed him too much force, either by body language, or by exiting the car with a weapon, or in the form of a gun or knife, he might call the police, and I'd very quickly find myself dealing with far more force than I could handle.

So I made myself stop crying, put my face into neutral, reached under the seat, and pulled out my tire iron. Held it carefully above one shoulder and didn't wave it in the air. Raised one eyebrow and attempted to communicate something like "do you really want to do this?"

The message, behind my locked car door and rolled-up window, was "I'm not coming to you. But you shouldn't come to me either." And the asshole shut his mouth. Then he looked at me for a moment, wiped the look of contempt off his face, put Giganto-Truck into first, and drove away as fast as he could.

This is exactly what I wanted him to do.

Getting involved in an act of violence at that time would have been very bad for my little family. At the same time, I was in a very bad situation and dealing with a complete asshole who was determined to make my already-bad day considerably worse. So I picked the least-bad of all my crappy options, played it as best I could, and avoided actual combat. Note carefully here that avoiding actual combat was my objective from the very beginning!

The problem for The Left right now is that all our options are crappy. We've already lost the important fight and right now the best we can do is to minimize the damage.

On the other hand, The Right is not as tough or well-organized as they look. Most would-be Muslim stompers have never been in a real fight. Trump goes berserk when they make fun of him on Saturday Night Live.* These are not people who are filled with confidence. These are people who are desperately afraid that someone will challenge their manhood. I think that they will fold (and merely loot the country while making scary faces) if confronted with anything that looks like real opposition.

Do I want to fight the U.S. government? Don't be silly! Do I actually want to hurt anyone? Of course not. But I want The Left to look The Right in the eye and ask, "Do you really want to do this?"

Because my assessment is, that confronted with the right level of stern resolve, The Right will back down. Too little stern resolve and they'll conclude that we're weak and that's really bad under the current circumstances. Too much resolve and they'll freak out in a really bad way. The message we want to communicate is "We're not coming to you. But don't even think of coming to us."

Does this mean we need to create a leftwing militia or wave guns around? Maybe not. I'm willing to be convinced. But we need to confront the problem strongly. Just how to do that is a very appropriate debate, and I think it's the debate which Patrick intended for us to have.

Do me a favor and let me run with it for a couple more posts. I don't think we're in nearly as much disagreement as you believe. And I have no intention of using Making Light as a forum for plotting violence.

* Does anyone remember when the first George Bush invited Dana Carvey, his Saturday Night Live double, to the White House and had him doing Bush imitations all night long? I didn't like Bush I's politics, but the dude could take a joke - which is one of the attributes I associate with real manhood!

#227 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 10:07 PM:

Well, I asked and was answered. I had no idea about the alt-right as a, a thing to this extent. Good grief. Here was me, thinking that it's a bunch of pimply nerds on forchan who get together more to creep each other out than anything else.

I knew about internet crazies, of course, though I'd mostly encountered them as creationists. I knew about trolls, and I had dismissed raving nutters like Watson as being trolls with a bigger megaphone. In the day, they would have been confined to walking around with sandwich boards, but now we have the net. And to that has to be added the phenomenon of the "clever 19-year-olds" who "discover that insulting it (their parents' most revered ideas) is now the funniest fucking thing in the world. Because it is." In other words, spoiled, entitled, nasty little brats.

But one of the factors in the Trump election appears to be the alt-right megaphone.

As to women's happiness and well-being, this appears to me to be respectable. As to extremist Islam, that appears to me to also be a thing.

So as Our Gracious Host asks, what now? I used to describe myself as a small-c conservative. Well, goddam it, I am one. I really do think that the only recourse for a civil society is to let these lunatics out into the open and have them say their piece, so that they can be destroyed in public.

There does seem to be a lot of cockroaches scuttling about under the floorboards of the enlightenment. If it comes down to that, lift the floorboards and fumigate. I really do think that stuff this toxic has to be dealt with, and that "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" only give the impression that there is something fearsome about these assholes. They like that.

Well, they're not fearsome. I remember my father's friends going back to his days on the lower deck in the Australian Navy in WW2. They came back from that with some real fire in their bellies, became waterfront organisers back when Bob Menzies tried to ban strikes and, essentially, the unions, and they would have eaten Watson, that utter tripehound Moldbug, and their whole tribe for breakfast.

Cripes, it's enough to turn a man Trotskyite.

#228 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 10:20 PM:

Two hashtags: #AltRightMeansBigot and #CtrlAltRightDelete.

#AltRightMeansFascist is also fair.

#229 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 11:37 PM:

abi @ 213: "They are, in other words, an aid to communication, not its closure."

I believe the proper analogy for trigger warnings and safe spaces is to safety equipment. Just as you would not suggest that undergrads in a chemistry class engage with potentially harmful chemicals without gloves, goggles, fume hoods and other necessary protective gear, nor should we expect students to engage with potentially harmful ideas without proper protection either. Having safe spaces for students to retreat to when necessary is no more or less ridiculous than having eyewash stations or first aid rooms.

Troutwaxer @ 214:

I don't think there are many people here who are unconvinced that the stakes have radically shifted in the past few weeks. Yes, the chance of something truly terrible happening is now much higher than it was two weeks ago. That's not where you're losing me.

What your argument fails to establish is why provoking violence is the particular strategy worth taking an exceptional risk on in this particular moment. The potential downside seems huge to me (triggering a violent crackdown, providing ready made justification for the other side's [far more effective] violence). Moreover, I just don't understand the theory of action. How does a show of force accomplish any of the things you want it to accomplish? How does a bunch of people standing around with guns stop Congress from passing a law to register Muslims? What is the mechanism?

Compare that to the theory of action laid out in this series of tweets. Legislators like their position of power. Voters can threaten their position. Therefore, put relentless pressure on them where it hurts. Now, maybe it won't work. Maybe the coming administration will offer such perks and support that legislators will stop fearing electoral revolt. It's possible. But it is a theory of political action that connects the cause and effect in a way that 1) Armed protest. 2) ???? 3) Fascists run scared! does not.

#230 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2016, 11:55 PM:

heresiarch @ 229

O.K. Then I'll phrase this in a way which does not require someone to contemplate even theatrical violence: I want to destroy The Right's morale before they get started on their various projects. I want to damage their morale so badly that they only do the minimum governing necessary to keep society running.

Does that make more sense?

Strategies for making this happen are welcome.

#231 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 12:07 AM:

Troutwaxer @ 230: "I want to destroy The Right's morale before they get started on their various projects."

That sounds like a very worthwhile goal.

#232 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 12:13 AM:

I must note that I am alike taken aback at (1) the purely anecdotal nature of Troutwaxer's evidence and (2) the One-True-Wayist attitude regarding their proposed solution. It might even be reasonable to say that my spider-sense is tingling.

#233 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 12:27 AM:

Lee @ 232

Lee, I am a long-time, albeit irregular commentator who has changed his/her nym due to Trump's election. You have been reading my posts for years, so to put your mind at ease, I am not a provocateur.

And I vastly prefer my own reformulation of the objective at 230, with certain caveats. The big issue for me is for everyone to recognize, very quickly, how much has (potentially) changed, and to react to it appropriately, whatever that might mean for a given individual.

#234 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 01:54 AM:

an anna @217:
I can be emailed at my posting name at this domain. But mistyping a single numeric reference (I'm not good with numbers) is not really on my radar for urgent issues just at the present moment.

Dave Luckett @227:
I really do think that the only recourse for a civil society is to let these lunatics out into the open and have them say their piece, so that they can be destroyed in public.

They are in the open all over the internet. They're very open on Twitter. They say their piece. That consists of ganging up on people and yelling the most monstrous obscenities they can conceive of at them until the targets are miserable enough to leave. Rape threats, some of them realistic. Death threats. Doxxing, so that they can then say their piece on the target's phone number, or via a visit from the SWAT team.

I, frankly, want some places where they aren't free to come in and scream in my ear about what a worthless person I am until I can't take it any more. Your mileage may vary. It will vary, because you're not a likely target for them. That's why you found them even remotely persuasive; you're not accustomed enough to the taint in their language to be repelled.

(Note you're having this discussion in a moderated forum. Have you tried having it in the combox of a popular newspaper?)

#235 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 01:57 AM:

Troutwaxer @226:

As you see, I haven't silenced you; I've stated the limits to what is appropriate here. You're fine.

#236 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 06:16 AM:


I'm ashamed that this thought is so belated, but...what if you went round whatever neighborhood you're thinking of and asked the people there what they want you to do? "Can I help," as Kirk tells Edith Keeler, are three words that are even better than "I love you".

Maybe they don't want their neighborhood to be the venue for teeth-showing. In which case, really don't.

#237 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 06:43 AM:

abi, if that's what they do, then I don't know any answers. They do it because they can, and they can because the internet. The internet isn't out in the open, though. It's anonymous, and there's not a thing to be done about that. If they make you miserable enough to leave, then they win in that place. And if they can frighten opponents by identifying them and monstering them from the darkness and anonymity of the internet, then they just plain win.

I'm sorry. I can't find a solution. Except to say that I know about this now, and that I was always on your side, small-c conservative or not.

#238 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 07:23 AM:

I know you've been always on my side. And you know? That helps.

The one thing you can certainly do is, if someone comes up with a solution, and all the people whom you trust say yes yes do it. Join it. Don't drag heels and require both problem and solution be reinvented in front of you. Trust.

Because this the core thing, the one a lot of the guys who end up in the alt-right start off by failing at: believing that the world looks different (and often worse) to others than it does to them. Cruelty comes later, and easier, if you start with disbelief.

Believe the people who have seen the attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion and the glitter of the C-beams in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

#239 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 09:49 AM:

Jimbeaux D @195 has sensible things to say. Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo says convincingly the first big fight in the legislature will be killing Medicare as per Paul Ryan's stated goal. I agree. That is the hill to die on, legislatively.

Beyond that? The hard right has a mass of young men willing to go out and play Horst Wessell games, and an older cadre of guys who've been itching to lead them for decades. There will be blood. The goal is to make them hit first. The German left made the mistake of being seen as the aggressor, and that gave the Nazis a big advantage. We need to make clear that we are non-violent but not pacifist and there is some shit we will not eat.

So I felt the need to be with my people this weekend and this was maybe the high point. I never expected The Sage of Tuscumbia, Alabama to repurpose his song about the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash into a motivational speech about an off-year election, but he did it anyway. That song is one of the most convincing expressions of modern Stoicism ever and I try to live by it. It might work for you, too.

#240 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 09:51 AM:

Crap. It's hard to write on this tablet. Here's that link raw:

#241 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 10:05 AM:

For the good it will do, I wrote one of my senators (Feinstein; the incoming Harris doesn't have a congressional webpage yet and I'm still looking to see the best contact point), and my representative. He's Republican and an outright global warming denialist, but he at least makes the right mouth noises about human rights and kinda sorta about healthcare. So there might be hope.

Still shortlisting charities and political groups who I want to give my money and/or time to.

Joel Polowin @ 204:

Bill Maher is... problematic. Yes, he pokes fun at the right wing in this country, but he has plenty of his own issues. The Islamophobia, the anti-vax stuff, and other dangerous nonsense. I, personally, am not a fan, and wish he were less popular.

abi @ 210:

Disconcertingly, I have noticed "female" as a noun becoming more a part of normal speech. Every time I hear it, it feels wrong; a non-euphonious clunk in an otherwise coherent sentence. Police speech tends to turn adjectives into nouns, presumably for brevity. I have a fair idea why MRAs use it. I hope the trend reverses itself, because I don't like normal people starting to sound like MRAs.

(I've noticed "male" becoming a noun too, but it's often in slightly befuddled response to "female" becoming a noun.)

#242 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 10:37 AM:

Real Quik, I'll note this from the ever insightful Ferrett Steinmetz, concerning what you might do if you'd like the Democrats to be doing something different...

#243 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 11:17 AM:

I found this interesting piece in a comment on Charlie Stross's blog.

#244 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 11:25 AM:

#241 Keith

I've used "female" as a noun for over 40 years. My objections to "women" include:

1. Context--originally man was gender impersonal, wifman was female persone, wereman was male person. Over time, English evolved out of its myriad roots. Wifman evolved into woman, the gender impersonal "man" replaced "wereman" in use, and the equation of person as default to being male Occurring. That enables such things as "dead by no man's hand" to allow the overlooked women to kill someone in fiction and myth, because women were so beneath notice....

The usage of "man" and "men" is gender ambiguous, and overwhelmingly that gets used to marginalize and disenfranchise and discriminate again and leave out, women.

2. There is no specific term involving "men" in modern English which intrinisically denotes "males only" as opposed to the ambiguity that "men" may be used a generic for adult people, or it may be being used to denote male people only. (There also are no transgender terms, "hermaphorodite, bisexual, pansexual, queer, gay, lesbian, intersex, etc., are all completely different terms unrelated to "man". One gets such terms as plowman, policeman [which got replaced with "police officer," "fireman" (which got replaced with firefighter, businessman as opposed to businesswoman, and the later has not been replaced alas with a gender impersonal form, etc.

The changes in the terms which changed, was long enough ago that it happened before most of the population of the USA was alive--but for me it happened in my lifetime, and I remember the acrimony, and the pure spite at people who wanted the police force, firefighting, military academies, airline and military flying, Caltech, Notre Dame, Princeton, Dartmouth, the Citadel, Texas A&M, Union College, the Supreme Court, Lock-Ober the restaurant, etc. ceasing to be male-only and admitting and respecting women as emancipated seld-directing adults, and ceasing denying women the perquisites of contacts and influence and mentoring and politic access etc. males received, but not females, because those institutions were "men-only"

3. "Women" and "men" designate adult persons, there's not way using those terms, to group by gender or to group that not denoting adults only. "Females include all ages, "women" doesn't.

That it sounds ugly, is an artifact of it not being a default and "sounding" off due it not being the default, and it being alt-right and its antecedents movements' intentions for marginalization if not enchattelization and outright persecution of non-males.

#245 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 12:04 PM:

Injecting a -bit- of levity, maybe...

#21 Hekilë wrote,

All of del Toro's movies are about Fascism and its roots in Colonialism and the Crusades, and how they manifest in our layered mythologies, even the ones about vampires and robots. Or especially those. Dying gods and kings and witches good bad and bystanding, torch and bow and branch of sacrifice, solar heroes and the Titan devouring his own children, maiden-mothers and the price of the harvest, the fasces and the labrys, the minotaur and the tauroctony, the gold and tobacco of Americas as tribute to a modern Conquistador and the arrows of Apollo on the side of a staff car passing the ruins of Belchite 135 years after the Battle of María...We know these tales but we don't remember their lessons - until it's too late, every time.)

I don't think Pacific Rim fits in that description.

With less levity, though

(They came back as illegal immigrants and got amnesty in the 1600s, finally.)

The Expulsion Edict, thought, did not get repealed until 1992, literally half a millennium later. It had gone essentially dormant for enforcement, but was still the law of the land. Nobel Laureate Rosalyn Yalow refused repeated invitations to come to Spain until the the repeal of the edict.


Thinking about symbols -- how about a Trump Tower with six meter ocean rise eroding it into rubble?

#22 Hekilë

Because this is reality, not freaking ID4 or Marvel

The reality of Marvel Entertainment is that the Perlmutters who sold it to ABC and continue as sigificant ownership and executives involved, are big Trump supporters and Republican big money donors

Thirteen supporters gave Trump Victory the $449,400 maximum. They included Dallas banker Andy Beal, whose banks have loaned Trump hundreds of millions; billionaire technology entrepreneur Darwin Deason and his wife, Katerina; Palm Beach developer E. Llwyd Ecclestone and his wife, Diana; New York conservative benefactor Rebekah Mercer; Laura Perlmutter, who is married to Marvel Entertainment chief executive Isaac Perlmutter; San Diego real estate developer Doug Manchester and his wife, Geniya; and Las Vegas casino mogul Phil Ruffin, a close friend of Trump who is set to speak at the Republican National Convention.


#23 Lucy

The police, as is traditional, are largely on the side of the illegitimate right-wing coup.

The police are among the victims, however ironic or fitting--those drive-by executions/attempted executions of police officers, which there have been four of in the past no more than three days, to me seem to be a manifestation of the disrespect and disdain the alt-right fascists have for "regulation" and enforcers of any laws they consider shouldn't apply to them.

We don't know about the military.

The officers promoted by the 2001-2008 regime to field grade who are of the ilk of Flynn and Boykin, are no friend to Of the people, by, the people, and for the people

#246 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 03:31 PM:

Re: Jacque @ 196, I called the first number and got the "mailbox full" message, but got through to a live human at the second number and stated my support for a review. I will be calling again.

Also...hi, y'all. Sorry to have been silent for so long, but I've been reading along on many of the threads. Re: our recent election...hell of a thing, ain't it?

#247 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 03:46 PM:

Syd: I just called the second number, and got through also. They said they'd "note my support."

So: one item off my checklist.

#248 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 05:55 PM:

j h woodyatt: My quibble wasn't minor. I have some strong, experiential reasons for dislike the idea that fascists are fundamentally better trained at violence, and so will prevail.

It ain't so. Do they use violence? Yes. As means to an end; the end being to terrorise people into not being willing to oppose them in the open, so they can cay, "look, EVERYONE supports us". It's a way of imposing censorship through fear of reprisal.

Is reciprocal violence the answer? No. The answer is to hold them to account by all possible means. The problem is they will all possible means to gain total control of the political system. Fascism, as the failure state of democracies is terrifying, because the tools to engineer the takeover are built into the system. They are exacerbated by winner take all elections, but as Germany shows a significant minority, married to intrangsience can effect a win even where the system ought to have mitigations.

My worry isn't that fascist elements of the US go to the woods and "train", because these are the freikorps, with years of time in uniform, and practice in the use of arms against a foe. No, my worry is the combinations of race, class, order and unease at unrest will cause the police (who are quite capable of bottling them up and taking them down, see Bombing of MOVE or Waco, or Ruby Ridge,but that a la Malheur, and the events at the Bundy Ranch, the cops won't care enough to actually supress them.

All of which is my long winded way of saying, yes, they are scary, no they are not supermen, much as the wish us to think so. Buying into that only helps them.

Which is the last I will say, here and now, on this aspect of the subject.

#249 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 06:43 PM:

Terry Karney @ 248:

All of which is my long winded way of saying, yes, they are scary, no they are not supermen, much as the wish us to think so. Buying into that only helps them.

Hear, hear! They're dangerous. So is a chimp with a pistol. Perspective is a Good Thing.

#250 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 08:21 PM:

Terry, John,

I think you miss my point. To clarify, I would simply say that my experience is that, more often than not, the fascists have the cops and the army on their own side rather than lined up against them. And it's too often impossible to tell them all apart.

#251 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 08:43 PM:

That may be your point: it's not what you said.

My "quibble" was, and is, with what you said; and I quoted.

#252 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 08:49 PM:

Way back near the start of 2015, I said that I couldn't think of anything worse than having to choose between another Bush and another Clinton.

What a failure of imagination on my part.

#253 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 10:27 PM:

Allan Beatty @ 252: I won some money betting against that outcome.

Once the Republican race clarified, I was going to multiply it by betting on a President Trump and a Democratic senate, but I lucked out when I couldn't get good enough odds.

#254 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2016, 10:48 PM:

So now CNN interviews a woman who asks if Jews are people?

#255 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 06:47 AM:

Serge Broom @ 254: At least she hasn't made up her mind.

#256 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 10:17 AM:

This. This, a thousand times over.

None of us deserves what’s coming.

I am writing this not for those who oppose him, but for those who support him, because Trump and his backers are going to hurt you too.

It's actually for the rest of us as well.

#257 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 10:21 AM:

Sigh. That third paragraph is also part of the quote.

#258 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 01:43 PM:

John A Arkansawyer@256:That's a powerful piece.

#259 ::: an anna ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 02:12 PM:

Is anyone seeing stuff like this, in practice, and perceiving its implications?

#260 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 03:08 PM:

"Eric, what are you doing here?"
"Why do you ask questions to which you already know the answer?"
"Don't give up on them, Eric."
"What would you have me do, Charles? I've heard these arguments before."
"That was a long time ago. Mankind has evolved since then."
"Yes, into us."

#261 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 05:08 PM:

If anyone needs a bit of comic relief, I'm enjoying the game "Social Justice Warriors", which I got as part of A Good Bundle, benefiting the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.

#262 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 06:13 PM:

The biggest problem I've been having, emotionally, is that I manage to feel decent for a few hours, and then it all comes crashing back down as I realize that any sense of well-being I have is illusory and due only to the fact that Trump hasn't actually taken office yet.

And then today it hit me: THIS IS HOW THEY WANT ME TO FEEL. They want me depressed, discouraged, unable to enjoy anything, beaten before they even start.


"They want me to quit; they say, just give up the fight.
Still, to Donald I say: Goodnight, forever goodnight!
For I have crossed the Rubicon -- let the bridge be burned behind me,
Come what may, come what may.


Take the good that comes, enjoy it to the utmost, and use it to recharge yourself for the fight ahead of us. Do not let terrorists dictate how you live your life. That's how they win.

#263 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 06:30 PM:

Lee: same problem here, and same suggested solution.

We may not be able to stop the sons of bitches, but we can make them work for every goddamn inch.

#264 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 09:02 PM:

Here is a fascinating article on why we should call them the alt-right.

#266 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 09:12 PM:

John A Arkansawyer: Message of Woe when I follow that link.

#267 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 09:18 PM:

Terry Karney @ 266: Sorry! Jacque's link at 265 gets it right.

#268 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 09:21 PM:

re 264: I disagree.

After going to great lengths to argue "the alt-right" has huge divisions, many factions, disparate aim, and several contradictory wings the author concludes:

We are moving into a bleak period, when understanding the forces opposing us will be more important than ever. That means exposing supremacist ideologies in all forms and guises, but it also means developing a political vocabulary that lets us make distinctions, rather than treat all enemies as one undifferentiated mass.

But it doesn't. Calling them "The Alt-Right" is as useless as saying, "the Far Left". It points at a bogeyman, without making it clear which slice of bogeymen one is trying to indicate.

I figure calling the ones who raise their arms in salute Nazis, is useful. It defines them. Calling MRAs, MRAs, does the same, so too PUAs, Goldbuggers, etc.

Putting them all under the umbrella rubric of "alt right" obscures the differences, while pretending to be more finely grained, in addition the lumping makes it seem all those disparate groups are working together, and so grants them a imputation of numbers.

#269 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 09:32 PM:

Dave Luckett @ 199

On the alt-right--here is the definition/description I find most useful:

The alt-right is one of the two European-style rights which have historically been very rare in the US (the other being the throne-and-altar right); it's the US version of a Gaullist right. It's strongly secular (really, the term I want is laic--it's more anti-religious than secular--the English is imprecise; think Dawkins or Hitchens); strongly nationalist, and so not well aligned with the business right; and goal-oriented, not process-oriented (so poorly aligned with the libertarian-leaning portion of the right). It's notably anti-Muslim, but generally anti-Christian as well. Think Geert Wilders, or Charlie Hebdo.

What this means (again IMO) is that the alt-right is not on its own much of a threat, and in the US context has few natural allies; the strong right groups in the US are either religious-friendly or business-friendly (which the alt-right is decidedly not).

#270 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 10:02 PM:

Terry Karney @ 268: There's something to that, too. I'm thinking what we call them is situational and context-based. Sometimes it'll be useful to highlight some aspect like neo-Nazism. Other times, it won't.

Either way, understanding those divisions and factions among them it very valuable, as is seeing how they're different from past fascists. That'is the other part of what makes that piece useful, especially the part about them being relatively virtual.

#271 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 10:23 PM:

From the reading that I am now doing about the alt-right, Terry, it would appear that the main and most revolting factor common to most of them is white supremacism, differently expressed. Some want apartheit, or segregation of states. Some want "slave races". After that there's a compendium: anti-democracy, misogyny, Jew-baiting, extreme laissez-faire unregulated corporatism, and as Abi says, threatening and violently insulting net behaviour amounting to what I would call criminal assault, this enabled by anonymity - which is to say, a disgusting combination of cowardice and cruelty. Sometimes, but rarely, actual physical violence. They really don't like coming out from under their rocks.

The fuhrerprinzip is not common to them all, at least not overtly - but quite obviously, that would be the practical outcome of their hatred of representative democracy - Platonic philosopher-kings be damned. The State itself is not recognized by all - there's a fair sprinkling of wannabe 'sovereigns' among them. Certainly most of them want the smallest possible state, and would differ among themselves about how small that is.

All of this is more Nazi than fascist, but diverges from even the former in the last particular, and also in their isolationism. This is not so much because they want a non-interventionist foreign policy as because they want no interaction with anybody brown at all. Which brings us back to the top.

Call them whatever you like. They're closer to Nazis than anything else in history, but they're a toxic brew of their own making, fuelled by the net.

I'm with you. Now what do we do about them?

#272 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 10:45 PM:

SamChevre @ 269:

From what I can see, and from the events for which we have Abi (and now, I find, others) as witness, the essential operative condition fuelling and enabling the alt-right is implied in their very name itself: ie, the net.

I quite take your point that they are outside the US traditional take on the far-right, being secular and even antireligious, and that they are not "business friendly", mainly because they think the major financial institutions are run by Jews; yet nevertheless they are strongly capital-corporationists, probably because of their (entirely fantastical) notion that they would rule in such a state.

But still, I don't think the net, its anonymity, its universality, its virtual flashmobs, can be left out of an understanding of what they are.

#273 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 11:08 PM:

Re the umbrella set which is the totality of groups in the Alt Right:

They are, I think a nucleic set which could gel into an american fascist movement (as distinct from the various overt, and proto, fascists America has produced to date). The tensions in the various groups which comprise the whole are interesting, but probably no more relevant, than were those between the SA and the SS: if push comes to shove those groups which are detrimental will, in some way, be purged.

Take Roosh (of whom I know far more than I should like to have felt needful). He's a PUA, who; as his ability to grift that group faded, became more Right Wing Nationalist. Milo, in much the same way, took his shock-jock conservatism, and jumped on the Gator bandwagon (and there is a lot to be done in re looking at how GG metastasized from a chan-op to a "based" ideology: to use chan frames of reference). The Cernoviches, and Neros, are in it for the hustle, but as with any who jump on a tiger's back, they are now committed to the ride.

As such, yes, it's important to know there are factions, and divides and deep philosophical difference; only because that will make it easier to call them for what they are, but to refer to them in the clade of "alt right" is somewhat like saying pandas and raccoons are related mammals. True, but distracting.

#274 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2016, 11:32 PM:

SamChevre @ 269... "...the alt-right is not on its own much of a threat..."

I think some of my Jewish friends disagree with that assessment.

#275 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2016, 07:57 AM:

an anna #259: Yeah, though it's been getting poor coverage. I'd say even, pushed to the sidelines by Trump's mysogyny and bigotry. The problem is, voter supression and gerrymandering have come down to "cheater's poker", where whatever the parties get away with (quite a bit) stands.

#276 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2016, 08:41 AM:

Serge @ #274, as would the family and friends of Jo Cox, and the members of Emanuel AME Church.

#277 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2016, 10:48 AM:

#252 Allan

I wouldn't say it was a lack of imagination on your part, but more self-defense of aversion to contemplating worse than the 2001-2008 regime.

I got paid to think and write limited access documents about all-out war with contemporary armament and technology.... I would rather have been researching and writing about e.g. Mars expedition planning, but the US Government was a whole lot less willing to spend money on -that-.

#278 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2016, 11:56 AM:

So... Jim Wright has been banned from Facebook because he criticized actual Nazis.

#279 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2016, 12:10 PM:

#280 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2016, 12:31 PM:

When considering the possibility of Fascism coming to the U.S., and in what form it might arrive, a friend pointed something out that's worth sharing. As we all know, passing a law in the U.S. requires a majority of both the House and Senate, plus the signature of the President. The President and the House are both lost causes where sanity is concerned, but the Senate is a different story, as there are still a few moderate Republicans in office, and they may form a major obstacle to anyone planning to turn the U.S. into a fascist state.

I researched my friend's claim, and decide that given the makeup of the Senate in 2017 and 2018,* his ideas had some merit, though I'm still somewhat doubtful. Consider, for example, the “Green Coalition” formed in 2015 by Republican Senators Mark Kirk, Kelly Ayotte, Lamar Alexander and Lindsey Graham to advocate for environmental issues. Mark Kirk and Kelly Ayotte are no longer senators, but Graham and Alexander are still in office and might vote against an attempt to gut environmental laws, which would be wonderful thing if all the Demoratic Senators held firm.

Or consider the fact that both Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins support Gay Marriage. Lindsay Graham, per TalkingPointsMemo has “collaborated with Democrats on major issues like immigration and climate change, and in the wake of Obama's re-election, is urging his party to soften its opposition on immigration reform in order to win back Hispanics. He has also been vocal about his support for raising tax revenue to reduce the debt.”

So there’s a certain amount of hope that the Senate will prove a moderating influence on a Trump Administration, and this could be vastly influential in any attempt to bring Fascism to the U.S. I have no strong opinion about how this will play out, but it does offer some miniscule amount of hope.

* For 2017 there will be 51 Republican Senators, 46 Democratic Senator, two Independents, (Bernie Sanders and Angus King from Maine, who caucuses with the Democrats,) plus one race which is still being fought.

#281 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2016, 03:49 PM:

In theory a united Senate might be able to hold a Trump/Pence/Ryan agenda at bay... if the filibuster isn't changed. If that happens then it's a floor fight every time a bill moves along.

That' before chicanery in conference comes into play. None of which makes a lick of difference to the broad powers the Executive has both taken, and been granted; which doesn't address the scope of options in both enforcement, and abuse, of the laws as they stand.

Bush broke laws, left, right, and center. Congress didn't care, and Obama said, "this is no time to look backwards".

I am putting little faith in the Senate, given the track record of the senators we have.

#282 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2016, 04:54 PM:

Terry Karney #281: The Republicans have shown repeatedly that party matters more than either principle or country. The Democrats have shown that they're excellent at rolling over and playing dead.

#283 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2016, 06:04 PM:

Fragano: that. Absolutely.

#284 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2016, 08:17 PM:

Strangest damn thing I'm sending money to this year:

Jill Stein (or perhaps Jill "Oh dear God what have I done?" Stein is supporting an effort to do a recount.

Even if Clinton doesn't support a recount / audit / investigation, or doesn't accept the results if an upset if found, I think this is a worth endeavor:

* A large shift in the electoral vote count, much less a win, would help delegitimize trump.

* And Americans can say "Oh . . . maybe we're *not* actually racist misogynist lummoxes who fell for a con man."

#285 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2016, 01:11 AM:

Terry Karney @ 281

And this is why I wrote "...pointed something out that's worth sharing" rather than "pointed something out that I believe implicitly" and then wrote "I have no strong opinion on how this will play out."

The really bad news from today is that Trump plans to scrap NASA climate research. This comes very close to being suicidal.

#286 ::: Raven Onthill ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2016, 03:28 PM:

On the money

I remembered that I had done a post on the monetary and banking ideas of the Republican leadership to months back, so I went and looked it up, and, man, they're all nuts. If they put their ideas into practice, a slam into depression seems likely.

I am left thinking that the most important decisions that this government will undertake are beyond are likely our control.

Bozhe moi!

Mom, they're nuts: part 1, part 2.

#287 ::: S.P.Zeidler ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2016, 03:54 PM:

Troutwaxer @#285: not all is lost, e.g. Russia, China, the EU and Japan also have a few satellites up there. It's of course better if NASA also does their stuff because there's ample enough that wants doing to go around, but humanity won't exactly turn blind if they can't. Too too bad about the teams and the skills if they get scrapped, maybe some of those people will want to come to the EU?

Funky questions here: many of the relevant satellites double as weather satellites, does Trump want to crack down on weather forecasts too or does he want to buy that data from others?

#288 ::: Louis Patterson ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2016, 05:51 PM:

I remembered that I had done a post on the monetary and banking ideas of the Republican leadership to months back, so I went and looked it up, and, man, they're all nuts. If they put their ideas into practice, a slam into depression seems likely.

An economy is a feedback system, and -- undamped -- is dynamically unstable like virtually any other feedback system. Oh, no: it does have one stable state: zero, quiescent. Deepest depression.

Now, from this point we can treat an economy as any other unstable system, which is well understood. We can keep it out of deep depression either by active conscious management, or by massive damping, or by a combination of both. But "active conscious management" means targetted government policy actions, and "damping" means taxes and transfer payments. Take those out, and you have an unstable economy, and if you have an unstable economy and enough time... you no longer have an unstable economy.

This is not actually that unpopular. We know for example that the economy of the antebellum US south was deliberately steered into what we'd call deep depression precisely because it was stable. Everyone knew their place: the people who knew that their place was standing on your face, they liked this.

#289 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2016, 03:17 AM:

Copied from comments over on The Mary Sue because it's both true and it made me laugh:

Kelvin Mace:

Until news sites like this stop calling these people the "alt right" and call them what they are, "Nazis", we have lost.

If you fuck goats you are a goat fucker, not an "alt shepherd"

#290 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2016, 01:20 PM:

Rob Ahnsen @289: We also can't allow racists to shame us out of using the word "racism".
We cannot allow them to continue to play the "playing the race card" card unanswered.

Even if that means playing the "playing the 'playing the race card' card" card.

#291 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2016, 01:20 PM:

Rob Ahnsen @289: We also can't allow racists to shame us out of using the word "racism".
We cannot allow them to continue to play the "playing the race card" card unanswered.

Even if that means playing the "playing the 'playing the race card' card" card.

#292 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2016, 01:50 PM:

There’s been a lot of talk up-thread about fascism, so I’ve been thinking how American society could be moved from its current state to full-blown fascism, and I can imagine several scenarios. The first is a “Fast Hard” takeoff involving a ”Reichstag Fire” type event, second is a “Slow Hard” takeoff, also involving a Reichstag Fire event, the third is a “Soft” takeoff and fourth is what I call The Usual Method.

Either type of “hard” takeoff would involve some kind of terrorist attack, possibly a “false-flag” operation which might be blamed on Democrats, Liberal Terrorists, Muslims, Mexicans, or “The Evil of the Day.” Such an attack would have to involve either heavy casualties or the destruction of some American icon with great sentimental value, such as the Washington Monument or the Statue of Liberty. Following the attack legislation would be passed granting The President extraordinary powers to hunt down the terrorists and deal with them harshly.

Alternately, someone could claim that a coup is taking place and must be suppressed. From there the playbook for the “Hard” fascistic takeoff is similar to what happens after a Reichstag Fire event. For the details on this one consider Indonesia in 1965 or Erdogan’s recent adventures in Turkey.

A hard takeoff for fascism is uninteresting to write about. Most of the readers here are well-versed in history and the story of the Reichstag Fire is well-known. However, there is one really interesting aspect of a “hard” takeoff, and that is the timing.

Our first scenario is the “Fast, Hard” takeoff. In this scenario our “Reichstag Fire” event is already scheduled and it will happen just after Trump gets his Cabinet and other major appointments settled. This represents the very worst case scenario. Imagine that on February 15th “Muslim” terrorists blow up the Statue of Liberty or a skyscraper’s worth of U.S. citizens. By March 1st we could be living in a land without civil liberties in which Trump and Pence are finalizing their plans to round up “troublesome” elements. The important thing to understand is that while the “Fast Hard” scenario is very dangerous, it’s also very unlikely because Trump was not the expected winner, and I think that to some extent Trump’s people are making it up as they go along. (If you don’t believe this read the news.) The end result may be fascism, but I doubt anyone did any real planning until after November 9th.

However, if we do see a “Fast Hard” scenario, it will mean that considerable planning has gone into a fascist coup. Not just “we’d like to have complete control” but “we’d like to have complete control, we’ve picked a building to bomb, we have enabling legislation already written, we’ve got highly organized cadre ready to move into law-enforement positions, etc.” – all the stuff of nightmares. If an “Early Hard” scenario kicks off it’s probably time to leave the country.

A “Slow Hard” scenario is similar to a “Fast Hard” scenario, but the timing is different. This one happens when Trump & Co. figure out that the Senate is not going to change the filibuster rule, plus maybe some Republican senators won’t vote against Gay marriage, other Republican Senators don't want to kill NASA's Earth Science division because their states need several days advance notice of hurricanes. Now it’s August and we haven’t moved nearly as far on our agenda as we’d have liked to. Running a government is hard and it’s nothing like running a business. Mid-Level bureaucrats are slow to implement our decisions, and there’s actually a law against firing Federal employees just because they are Black. Who knew?

”So what we’re gonna do about this is we’re gonna run a false flag operation on September 11th, blow up something important, and blame the goddamn Mooslims.” But at that point enabling legislation might not be written, maybe there isn’t highly organized cadre ready to move into key positions… it’s possibly (not certainly) a little more improvisational.

I regard a “Slow Hard” scenario as being more likely than a “Fast Hard” scenario, but I don’t think any kind of “hard” scenario is likely, particularly in the first year of Trump’s term. If something “hard” kicks off, it will more likely be opportunistic, something more along the lines of “Hey look, our intelligence briefing says ISIS will attack Chicago. Why don’t we let that happen?”

I find the “soft” fascistic takeoff more interesting. In the “Soft” case there is no “Reichstag Fire” and Fascism has to be ramped up fairly slowly, mainly because of manning requirements and legislative inertia.

Take for example Trump’s promise to eject “those three million illegal immigrants who are guilty of crimes” (or whatever number he’s promised this week – as you’ve doubtless noticed, the numbers keep changing.) It’s easy to imagine that police departments across the land will happily arrest illegal immigrants, but this is not, in fact, the case. For example, the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Dept.) refuses to get involved in immigration cases. This is on both constitutional grounds, and due to the practicalities of police work – it’s tough to solve crimes if the local POC won’t talk to you because you might turn them into the Border Patrol. Non-participation by the police is not a hard-and-fast rule, but I’m guessing that compliance on the ground will be pretty spotty.

So, with spotty participation by the police, and without a Reichstag Fire event to stimulate legislation, how does one send three million people back to their own countries? It’s true that the Border Patrol has 21,000 agents, but most of them are actually… patrolling the border! So let’s imagine that Trump can free up a couple thousand Border Patrol agents and send them into the cities. They only have to sort through the 87 million not-obviously-white people who live in America and find those 3 million people who Trump claims to be illegal immigrants who are guilty of crimes. The Border Patrol is clearly undermanned for such as task. And what constitutes a crime in this case? Felonies only? Or do we also deport those who made an illegal left turn?

Also, where are we going to hold those people? What about food and medical care? And how are we going to give them deportation hearings? This obviously presents a very difficult problem in budgeting, facilities, personnel and logistics. The problem is certainly solvable – just add money and spend some time training people and building things - but we’re clearly talking about a multi-billion dollar program just to make one of Trump’s promises come true. What about putting all the Muslims in camps? How about the 30 million LGBTQ people Pence wants to round up and force into conversion therapy? Now we’re looking at some real trouble and expense!

Actually implementing fascism without a “Reichstag Fire” event involves a massive, slow, very expensive ramping up process that’s likely to be fought on budgetary grounds if nothing else. Is it doable? Probably. But what does it look like?

If I were implementing fascism, my first step would be to beef up the Border Patrol, (or possibly some other Federal agency) and I would get rid of all those pesky requirements that Border Patrol applicants have clean records. Background check? Forget about it. Ten thousand Alt-Right posts on your Facebook page? You’re obviously a very patriotic American! Swastika tattoos on both forearms? Welcome to the border patrol, we’re sure you’ll like it here. So in the course of a year or two the Border Patrol would change from a semi-professional force into a gang of thugs. And it would gain 10-20,000 members, all of whom would be tasked to head for big cities and arrest immigrant criminals, but without adequate knowledge of where to find those criminals… If I am implementing fascism, this is not a bug, but a feature!

To make the problem more concrete, for every illegal immigrant named Manuel Garcia who’s guilty of a crime, how many guys named Manuel Garcia are are not guilty of crimes and are possibly even American citizens? Probably the majority of guys named Manuel Garcia! And who stole the I.D. of that Manuel Garcia guy and gave it to all those other guys named Manuel Garcia? And who stole his Social Security number and gave it to Fernando Rodriguez and Jesus Espinoza? So the new, thuggish, super-racist the Border Patrol is driving their Humvee down the streets of Los Angeles looking for Manuel Garcia, and they see a Hispanic-looking guy walking down the street. How does it play out?

Watch the riots happen. Watch hot-heads open fire on Border Patrol cars. Watch the police get called in to suppress the riots. Watch the powers-that-be decide that the rioters are subversive and Anti-American. Later, rinse, repeat. Keep in mind that the Border Patrol is allowed to operate anywhere within 100 miles of a U.S. border, which means it can perform operations that potentially affect about 80% of the U.S. population. Those border areas, by the way, correspond very nicely to those areas where fewer people voted for Trump.

Three years from now, after the new Border Patrol agents have gained experience and hardened themselves they can be used as cadre for other fascist operations. Thus, when it becomes time to implement Pence’s anti-Gay policies, or put the Muslims into camps, or bring back Jim Crow, they can form special task forces out of Border Patrol agents as the seed for a new agency. So 3-5 years from now things could get very ugly indeed.

Our last scenario, The Usual Method, is that we declare war against some other nation and demand that everyone support the war effort. I suspect that the target nation is Iran, and the result is that we’ll take an already existing regional war and make it much, much worse. Then while everyone is paying attention to how much oil we spilled into the Persian Gulf this week, Trump and Co. will ramp up the corruption, do their best to make the Federal government support racist policies, and steal everything that’s not nailed down.

The Usual Method is by far the most likely scenario, but I suspect that The Usual Method, post-Iraq, is getting a bit old and too many people will be cynical about the whole thing, which may cause any nascent fascists to look for a “Hard” or “Soft” takeoff instead.

What’s really important to understanding this is something we’ve already seen, and that is Trump’s ineptness as a leader. I’d expect that in the real world the Trump Administration will try for The Usual Scenario and discover that far too many people are feeling cynical about this approach. Then they’ll try for a Soft launch of fascism (or they’ll try for both The Usual Scenario and a Soft Launch simultaneously) encounter more opposition than they expected, try for a Slow Hard launch… etc., If you have a particularly weird sense of humor it’ll be a laugh a minute. For the rest of us it will be “what color are the storm troopers wearing today, and which laws are they obeying?”

Not much else to say. I’m sorry this has been so basic, (and so long) but I thought it would be useful to take a look at how we might get from where we are now to real fascism. Hopefully this at least it lays a foundation for discussion, and I’ll be interested to see the specifics of what anyone else thinks might happen going forward from a Trump inauguration.

#293 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2016, 06:46 PM:


In Trump we have a candidate that has some alarming characteristics in a so-called leader. The thing that frightens me most about Trump is that he can be manipulated far too easily. He's suggestible, vulnerable to flattery to a very high degree, and has zero critical thinking skills and a very poor base of basic knowledge about the world.

Combine that with a petty and vindictive nature (the guy is the living incarnation of chaotic evil) and it will be very, very easy for some of the power players he's assembling for his advisers and cabinet to manipulate him.

I would NOT be surprised to see a fast and hard fall into fascism in this country. I think they're honestly laying the groundwork and it's deliberate and intentional. Trump is going to be their pawn; it's not Trump I fear, but the people making the moves behind the scenes.

Trump can't be trusted to keep his mouth shut, so I don't expect him to be involved in any grand conspiracy theory, but the people behind the scenes? All they have to do is stage something dramatic (blowing up Trump tower, for example) and take advantage of his vindictive fury to convince him that imprisoning every Muslim in the country is a fantastic idea, and maybe start a war with Iran because "evidence shows Iran did it" and clamp down on the press because "the press are hurting our war effort, and look at the mean things they're saying about you!" and etc.

Look at the document that Kobach was photographed carrying ... scary plan, that, with the goal of getting it done in the first year. Deliberately linking to Snopes rather than a news site because I've started fact checking damn well everything these days.

#294 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2016, 07:48 PM:

Nonyme @ 293

I agree with everything you wrote, except I'd give no odds whether they manipulate him or impeach him.

Did everyone notice how Melania isn't moving herself or their kid to the White House until several months after the inauguration?

#295 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2016, 08:40 PM:

Troutwaxer@294 -- as long as he's president he's a convenient lightning rod. He can't be trusted with much except that he CAN be trusted to say stupid things on twitter, throw public tantrums, offend or incense literally everyone at some point or another, and -- likely at the instigation of his advisers -- tilt at random windmills with vindictive outrage.

So any time the real powers that be need a useful distraction they get Trump all worked up over something and then stand back. Voila. Convenient distraction! ("Trump, you'll never believe what the cast of Hamilton said to Pence ...")

And half the population ends up pointing and jeering and protesting the terrible things he does. The other half supports him with rabid fanaticism because, well, he's Trump. Thus we get a deep divide in the population and we're busy fighting with each other.

And nobody's paying a damned bit of attention to the real power, behind the scenes, as long as Trump keeps getting all the air time and bandwidth on the internet.

By the way, one other thing to watch is what happens with political officials who stand in the way of the Trump administration. For example, Nikki Haley got appointed as UN ambassador .. which conveniently means a rabid Trump supporter is now governor of SC and she's in a position where she's not actually making any policy and not all that important to their plans.

#296 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2016, 08:54 PM:

I have no real arguments with your analysis, but I can easily see the real players getting tired of Trump or Trump doing something so stupid the players have no choice but to take him off the field.

But you're essentially correct one way or another.

#297 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2016, 09:46 PM:

Except that Haley isn't ambassador yet - all they're doing is naming people, at this point; nothing that requires actual nomination and confirmation is going through before January. He can't nominate; he doesn't have that power. Yet.

The other thing is: look at who is named for positions that require confirmation: people who he wants to humiliate, not honor. (If they're smart, they'll refuse.)

#298 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2016, 10:46 PM:

P J Evans @ 297

I'm not sure I would say "humiliation," but Trump reportedly thinks in terms of business negotiations and trade-offs, not governance as someone like Obama or Bush I understands it. It's quite possible that the persons whose names he's advancing aren't the people he'd like to see in his cabinet. He may expect certain people to be rejected and "compromise" candidates to be put forward. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the real world.

#299 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2016, 11:05 PM:

PJ@297 -- true, re: naming/nomination. Though the idea of nominating someone only so that they can be humiliated by a congressional rejection seems a bit too subtle. I'd be more inclined to believe they'll start manufacturing scandals and siccing the alt right on their enemies. Eventually, their enemies might find themselves arrested and sent to jail on fabricated charges of various kinds -- with charges anywhere from sedition and treason to assorted sex offenses, depending on the target. Seems to be more their style.

Troutwaxer@296 -- They could impeach him, or get rid of him through other means. *Ahem* "Other means" might be more useful to their cause than impeachment ... I wouldn't want to be a food taster in Trump's court when his Illuminati buddies get fed up with him.

#300 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2016, 11:06 PM:

PJ@297 -- true, re: naming/nomination. Though the idea of nominating someone only so that they can be humiliated by a congressional rejection seems a bit too subtle. I'd be more inclined to believe they'll start manufacturing scandals and siccing the alt right on their enemies. Eventually, their enemies might find themselves arrested and sent to jail on fabricated charges of various kinds -- with charges anywhere from sedition and treason to assorted sex offenses, depending on the target. Seems to be more their style. Though who knows what they'll do -- anything is possible at this point.

Troutwaxer@296 -- They could impeach him, or get rid of him through other means. *Ahem* "Other means" might be more useful to their cause than impeachment ... I wouldn't want to be a food taster in Trump's court when his Illuminati buddies get fed up with him.

#301 ::: S.P.Zeidler ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2016, 08:04 AM:

Troutwaxer @#292 regarding "where do they find criminals": if they are looking for a quick win and not trolling for trouble, prisons, and the "verdict: guilty" exit of courts. Much cheaper to check all convicts whether they are in fact citizens than the general population. And regarding hearings: "go to prison or be deported" .. how do you think most people would pick?

#302 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2016, 08:21 AM:

I know Jim Mattis. I've worked with Jim Mattis. I respect him a lot and he has a lot of respect all over the political spectrum. I'm sure he laid it down to Trump in plain language that any attempts to reinstitute torture would result in mass resignations by the officer corps and refusal to obey unlawful all up and down the chain of command.

#303 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2016, 01:01 PM:

S.P.Zeidler @ 301

That's an excellent point, and immediately upon reading it I thought "we may end up with the fascism we can afford, not the fascism we really need."

There are probably ways for Trumpists to make similar small inroads against Muslims, Blacks and Gays, then declare victory without spending much money. Any thoughts on how this might work?

#304 ::: chris ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2016, 03:59 PM:

They could impeach him, or get rid of him through other means.

As soon as they pick out the right gay Muslim to frame for the assassination?

I think this subthread is becoming somewhat of a sick joke. From human dumpster fire to human Reichstag fire! But it's just Great Man theory turned on its head.

The government of the United States didn't revolve around Barack Obama and it won't revolve around Donald Trump. The country is huge and it requires hard work to change its course; Trump has never been known for either appetite or aptitude for hard work (that's what distinguishes a CEO from a community organizer).

And while there certainly may be people on the right who feel in their secret hearts that a dead icon Trump would be more useful to them than a living loose cannon, will they have the will, the resources and the competence to arrange it? Dan Brown wouldn't touch that storyline.

P.S. Donald Trump will make history, but he won't make it just as he pleases. Nazism was surely a tragedy, so does that mean we should expect Trumpism to be a farce?

#305 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2016, 05:30 PM:

chris @ 304

So what's your take on the future? Do you think it will get bad, and if so, how?

#306 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2016, 05:55 PM:

So now Trump's gone on Twitter and claimed that he would have won the popular vote if not for three million "illegals" who voted against him.


The man is unhinged.

Meanwhile, Jill Stein is asking for not just a recount but an investigation and audit of the electronic voting machines in Wisconsin. Good for her.

I honestly doubt that anything will come of the recount effort, but man -- can you imagine Trump's reaction if it turns out he actually lost? I'd say it'd be worth epic amounts of popcorn except that his inevitable world class tantrum would inspire his followers to violence, and we really don't need that.

#307 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2016, 06:06 PM:

Troutwaxer@ 294:
"Did everyone notice how Melania isn't moving herself or their kid to the White House until several months after the inauguration?"

It's not unusual, if having multiple homes is affordable, to let a kid finish off the school year before moving to a new home. It happens a lot with professional athletes who get traded, for instance. I don't think there's anything to be read into that.

#308 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2016, 07:08 PM:

Remember that to Trump and his followers, "illegals" means anybody with brown skin -- American citizen or not. It's Humpty-Dumptyism at its finest.

#309 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2016, 09:40 PM:

Rob Hansen quoted #289:

"Until news sites like this stop calling these people the 'alt right' and call them what they are, 'Nazis', we have lost."

Having considered this for a couple of days, I disagree. Winning that terminology war is neither necessary nor sufficient for victory.

Yes, they are neo-Nazis. (I just read Olivia Nuzzi's article "Five myths about the alt-right" (, and I agree with her points.) But the goal is to bring that agreement into common discourse, not to banish the term "alt-right" from it.

In particular, I don't want to get into the deadlock where half the people I agree with are yelling at the other half for using the wrong words. (Which is a war that follows directly from Kelvin Mace's original statement. If I write about the alt-right, he has to attack me no matter what I say.)

They are neo-Nazis. They are also the Internet tendency we already know as GamerGate/Puppies. That means something. They are not just a lump sum with UKIP voters and the (Greek) Golden Dawn.

#310 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2016, 10:56 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @ 309

Agreed completely. We can have an argument over who gets the in-group power by fighting over whether to call them Fascists, Racists, Nazis, Neo-Nazis, Alt-Right, or Cindy Loo-Whoo. The winner gets to be confirmed as Grand Poo-Bah, the losers get exiled from the Left forever.

Or we could do something about the actual problem.

#311 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2016, 09:43 AM:

Okay, so I've read thru all this...I think...and just too burned out to remember, so here's my question--I am most concerned with the integrity of Social Security [disability] and Medicare [and supplements thereto.] Who do I get with to protect them?

#312 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2016, 09:51 AM:

Angiportus, As I understand it, it's Congress that has the power to mess with Medicare and Social Security, so it's your representative and senator that you should be calling. Hope that helps.

#313 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2016, 10:54 AM:

It is also Congress which is pushing on Medicare phaseout, with House Speaker Paul Ryan carrying the flag. It wasn't one of Trump's big campaign issues.

#314 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2016, 03:18 PM:

Angiportus @311: Call BOTH of your senators (each state has two) and your Congress(wo)man.

I've been calling mine once a week, explaining that my mother and I NEED both Medicare and Social Security. The Repub Senator don't know nothin' 'bout changing Medicare. The Republican Congress-critter's elderly parents use both and he will not support any changes. The Democratic Senator knows all about Ryan's dastardly plans and opposes them.

Two out of three isn't bad, even if I would like to kick Portman's butt.

#315 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2016, 05:26 AM:

The AP Stylebook weighs in on "alt-right".

#316 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2016, 01:44 PM:

Report on my wearing a headrail indoors while shopping, etc.: So far I've collected two or three silent dirty looks, from people who look to be about my age, race, and social class. If anybody accosts me, I plan to quote the First Amendment.

I don't think I could do this if I didn't shop, etc., in places where the employees know me.

#317 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2016, 02:17 PM:

Jenny Islander, I've been making a deliberate and conscious effort to smile at women in hijabs, and, if I happen to be near enough to them that it wouldn't be weird, giving them a complement on how lovely the headscarf is. (The women in my area who wear hijabs tend to wear bright, colorful ones.)

It's not nearly enough, but it's what I can do.

#318 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2016, 03:25 PM:

Cassy, #317: I have been making it a point to pleasantly acknowledge (basic social smile/nod) black people -- especially black men -- and women in either hijab or salwars when I run into them while I'm out and about. I don't know how much actual good it does, but I'm thinking that seeing a friendly expression on a white face can't hurt.

#319 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2016, 05:31 PM:

Hi Everyone,

I'd like to offer this excellent piece by Masha Gessen in the New York Review of Books that is relevant to the discussion in this thread:

#320 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2016, 05:53 PM:

Hi S.P.Zeidler @301,

The problem with incarcerating and eventually deporting "first, only the criminal aliens" is that there aren't enough of them to hit the promised 3 million number. They'll need to start manufacturing criminals out of otherwise law-abiding undocumented people.

#321 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2016, 09:07 PM:

j h woodyatt, #320: And that won't be enough either, so then they'll go for people who are here legally who commit a crime, and that's not going to be a lot so next it will be anyone who isn't a US citizen (with a lot more of that hateful talk about "anchor babies") and then anyone with brown skin even if they're citizens. And if that's still not enough, then they'll start in on people with black skins. The endgame here is a lily-white nation.

#322 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2016, 09:40 PM:

Lee@321 -- along those lines, I found Trump's twitter comment today that flag burners should lose their citizenship particularly chilling.

It's a small step from that to thinking anyone who commits a wide range of offenses (crime is not the right word) towards the government should "lose their citizenship" ... and while you can't ACTUALLY take someone's citizenship away under US law without changing the constitution, you could take their "rights as a citizen" away ... or just stick then in an internment camp. And I fully believe at this point that he, and his inner circle, would love to do this.

#323 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2016, 12:09 PM:

Article on dealing with narcissistic personality disorder or similar dysfunctionality in one's acquaintances. Talks more about what to expect than large-scale solutions, but still useful for helping folks around us.

#324 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2016, 03:10 PM:

In another Reality, this is a happier thread, although I expect that, once the relief at her victory has passed, we'd switch back to criticizing our imperfect President.

#325 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2016, 06:23 PM:

An interesting follow-on to Tom's link above.

#326 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2016, 07:30 PM:

Serge, this all feels to me like we're living in a dystopic alternate reality. Somebody's writing a book where Trump won the 2016 election, and we're living in it.

I am not happy about this, but maybe there's an alternate me who's popping popcorn and watching Trump have an epic meltdown on Twitter because he's a sore loser -- rather than, you know, cringing and losing my appetite every time he has an epic meltdown on twitter because he's a sore winner.

#327 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2016, 07:47 PM:

Congresscritters, both sectors, duly contacted. Can one importune senators and reps on this issue for other states than one lives in?

#328 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2016, 11:30 PM:

One can, Angiportus @327, but it's less likely to be effective. One slight exception: it's less effective to importune Senators from a different state, but if they're on a specifically relevant committee it still may be effective enough. Because folks on committees do know that they have to listen to input relevant to that committee.

#329 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2016, 12:06 AM:

Nonyme @ 326... It feels like we're now living in Star Trek's Evil Universe.

#330 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2016, 12:20 AM:

So, what, in the Good Mirror Universe Trump is a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist?

#331 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2016, 12:30 AM:

Or in prison, if not dead, because of all those less-than-savory associates.

#332 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2016, 12:33 AM:

Jenny Islander @330: Yes, with a slight alcohol problem and a serious power suit. Of course that would mean Tony Stark is President-elect, and I'm not sure that wouldn't be worse.

#333 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2016, 08:18 AM:

At least Tony would want to do the right thing, even if he screwed up what exactly that was.

#334 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2016, 08:28 AM:

Tony Stark has a track record of being able to learn from his mistakes, and of being able to work with competent people who disagree with him and will call him on his bullshit.

#335 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2016, 08:54 AM:

In DC's TV reality, Wonder Woman is the President.

#336 ::: nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2016, 09:45 AM:

Imagine Tony Stark's cabinet and other appointments.

Captain America for secretary of state. Bruce Banner for HHS.Charles Xavier in charge of education. Etc.

#337 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2016, 09:49 AM:

Angiportus @ 327:

Seconding Tom Whitmore @ 328. Senators are supposed to represent members of their state, and representatives constituents of their districts. This is why they want contact information for you when you contact them: to verify that they're supposed to represent you in the first place.

Since my state representative and senators are, in theory, proxies for my own issues and interests, I wouldn't necessarily want them to be listening to someone else. In practice, it might be worth trying to contact others if you think they'll listen, but it wouldn't have the same weight.

#338 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2016, 05:09 PM:

Tony Stark is a genius. Donald Trump is a dumbass.

Stark's father was a genius and egomaniac who had some vague sense of duty to the United States and its interests.

Trump's father was a bigot and incredibly selfish flaming asshole who had no sense of duty to anyone but himself and (to a much lesser extent) his children.

If Stark had been dumber and had Trump's father, he would be exactly like Trump.

(Yeah, I hate Tony Stark. What was your first clue?)

#339 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2016, 05:11 PM:

Still, if I had to choose between two smart business men, I'd rather vote for Stark than for Luthor.

#340 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2016, 05:50 PM:

The technique I've used is to find the address for a library in their district, and use that.

#341 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2016, 08:57 AM:


There's a handy list of WHICH company's voting machines were used, by county, in Wisconsin, here:

And a list of election results here:

Has anyone broken down the results by VOTING MACHINE?

Dominion used to be Diebold. They have a history of conflicts of interest and security breeches and general sketchiness.

I'll do it later but can't today because work. If anyone wants to jump on this -- or knows a good investigative journalist hungry for a potential story -- feel free. Just eyeballing the first few pages of results raised my eyebrows.

(ES&S also owned Dominion for a period of time, so all machines may be linked, but I think it's worth comparing the results for the Dominion machines to the results for the ES&S machines as a starter. Because, Diebold.)

#342 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2016, 01:16 AM:

Nonyme @341: There's a spreadsheet of presidential results ward-by-ward linked from the Wisconsin Elections Commission results page. I haven't dug in very far yet, but I noticed that in the equipment list, Wisconsin Dells is listed under Columbia County, but in the spreadsheet, there are wards of that city under 3 different counties, so I'm not sure how easy it will be to correlate the two. I'll probably play with it a bit more tomorrow.

#343 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2016, 11:25 AM:

Jeremy, I'm tied up with family obligations all day -- huge annual neighborhood holiday party and we're hosting it this year -- or I'd be crunching the numbers. Appreciate you taking a whack at it.

Here's my thoughts. Feel free to run with them or not. For locations where the results aren't obvious for for various reasons, we may have to dig up the relevant populations and figure out some weighted averages. For counties where both manufacturer's machines were used, I'd suggest just redacting the numbers entirely for now, because the reality on the ground could be that the ES&S machines were sitting in a closet and the used all Dominion, or vice versa.

Just getting some rough general numbers should give us an idea if there's anything to this.

If the rough numbers seem to show a problem, the next step would be to compare past voting trends in those counties (and demographics -- Democrat vs. Republican registration numbers) to what happened this time.

And if THAT shows a problem I'd say there really is an issue.

#344 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2016, 02:50 PM:

So I found some time to do some basic data entry on the Wisconsin election and come up with some rough and dirty numbers.

Hooh boy. The numbers are ROUGH and I could have made a math error, and there may be some confounding factors, but here's what I came up with. It's startling.

I ignored third party candidates for now as not statistically significant.

I didn't count Adams county because I couldn't tell what people were voting with, but it wouldn't have made a substantial difference to the numbers either way. There were also a couple counties that had a handful of ES&S machines but were Dominion dominated and I just threw my hands up and called it all Dominion. Any differences would not be statistically significant based on population size.

Note again these are rough numbers.

However, this looks REALLY bad.

(Approx) 1,202,330 voters used Dominion machines to vote.

Of those voters, 703,911 voted for Trump and 498,419 voted for Clinton. That means Trump won by 205,492 among voters using Dominion machines.

1,586,748 voters used ES&S machines. Among those voters, 699,573 voted for Trump and 887,175 voted for Clinton, giving Clinton a lead among ES&S users of 187,602.

If you apply that trend to all voters (including the several thousand I couldn't figure out in Adams) Clinton would have WON by 329,754.

Now, there may be confounding factors. There's a large left leaning city in that mix but even if you subtract Milwaukee from the mix just to see what happens, Clinton still wins when the ES&S percentage of 55% for Clinton is applied to all voters. (by 50,000 votes.)

This win with 55% of votes for Clinton is in line with polls before the election.

Anyway -- thoughts?

The next step to refine the numbers would be to break it down by demographics but given the ES&S numbers roughly match poll numbers before the election I'm personally inclined to think there was an issue with the Dominion machines.

#345 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2016, 02:55 PM:

Here's my sources, by the way: (Shows a margin of 8 or so for Clinton, so a win by 5% was actually less than the forecast.)

#346 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2016, 02:55 PM:

Here's my sources, by the way: (Shows a margin of 8 or so for Clinton, so a win by 5% was actually less than the forecast.)

#347 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2016, 03:41 PM:

Nonyme, many thanks for working on this. Native and current Wisconsin resident here; I may be able to help with the lay of the land.

Given that Milwaukee and Dane counties are D strongholds and the Milwaukee collar counties (Waukesha, Ozaukee, a few others) are R strongholds (and we're talking 2:1 to 5:1 ratios in normal elections), and given the level of voter suppression in play, I would suggest that 2016 results be compared against a 2012/2008 average baseline on three axes other than voting machine manufacturer:

1) D vote share above or below national average
2) turnout rate
3) D vote share above or below final state polling

Rationale: if voter suppression is a sufficient explanation, we would expect to see drops in 2016 turnout correlated with 2008/2012 D vote share. If there are issues with how Wisconsin was polled, we might expect to see something unusual in the year to year votes vs. national or vote vs. polls results. If either Trump successfully appealed to people who didn't vote or there were widespread uncoordinated shenanigans independent of machine type, we would expect to see increased turnout in all R leaning counties, independent of their choice of machine. And if there were machine based shenanigans, we would expect to see strong machine related correlations in at least a couple of the year to year indexes I suggest--either higher turnout (heavily R) in counties with one type of machine, or higher deviations from previous behavior/final polls/national average in those counties.

I may have time and energy to take a crack at doing what I propose here but today isn't shaping up to be that day.

#348 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2016, 05:22 PM:

wrw, I'll see what I can do. I'll need to dig the info up.

I sent the initial data on to a news site with a long history of in depth investigative journalism and the occasional scoop, so maybe they'll run with it too.

I'm honestly sick to my stomach over this. I didn't expect there to be such a huge discrepancy.

I wonder if there is reason why Republican counties would favor Dominion and Democrat counties would favor ES&S other than the obvious? It occurs to me that Republicans tend to be notoriously cheap, and may favor "cheap" at the expensive of security. Are the Dominion machines simply cheaper and in Republican counties they are buying them regardless of reputation? Whereas Democrats, who are more discerning about such things, went with ES&S?

I dunno.

#349 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2016, 05:52 PM:

I know that people looking at touchscreen vs scantron in WI found that there was a preference for scantron in bluer counties and vice versa, and that their quick and dirty regressions against county demographics found that machine type on that axis added negligible explanatory power over demographics. Can dig up cites if needed, but I also don't know whether that's a perfect match for the manufacturers. Here in Dane county we use scantron ballots. I would guess that rural counties (which tend to be redder but not universally) were early adopters on touchscreen to save expenses on paper ballots, especially if they have variable turnout and small print runs. Our illustrious governor has been slashing budgets and local funding to the bone for six years, so it may very well be either cheaper machines or lower ongoing costs that made the decision in smaller, poorer counties.

There's certainly precedent here for local officials engaging in the appearance of impropriety with respect to vote tabulation to the point where their fellow republicans felt the need to turf them (in at least one case recently--Waukesha county), and based on the errors and adjustments I've seen I would bet that Wisconsin was not hacked by outsiders but if anything manipulated by people who've been able to do small scale election fraud for years and decided to push a bit harder this year. (Adjustments of the "oops, we added a leading 2 and gave Trump 2k extra votes, sorry" type...)

#350 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2016, 05:59 PM:


There's already been a fair amount of analysis on this topic. Basically any apparent effects tend to disappear when one controls for demographics (espeially race and education level).

Analysis at here.

Tweet from Nate Cohn here.

Similar tweet from Nate Silver here.

#351 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2016, 08:43 PM:

Are we sure that they're asking the same questions? Because that's going to affect the results. I'm not sure they're looking at this kind of thing.

#352 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2016, 09:31 PM:

I am glad to see that I'm not the only one who feels that we're no longer in what might be termed standard reality.

I have a question, for those who were politically active forty-plus years ago. What was it like in the last days of Nixon? What were the signs that the president was unhinged? (I grant that it wasn't until much later that the public learnt about things like Nixon forcing Kissinger to pray with him.) I wasn't in the US in those days, but living directly in its shadow.

#353 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2016, 09:46 PM:

I don't know what the political signs were, but I remember that I was living on Capitol Hill in DC when the tapes came out, and that I read GRAVITY'S RAINBOW while they were trying to impeach Nixon. I don't think I would have gotten through it at any other point in my life....

#354 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2016, 11:45 PM:

PJ, that's my concern. It sounds like five-thirty-eight looked at voting machines as a block and determined there was nothing funny there when contrasting them with paper ballots, but didn't break them down by manufacturer.

I also keep hearing over and over again that it would be impossible to throw an election because there are so many different KINDS of voting machines. And, they claimed, you couldn't hack ALL the machines.

I couldn't help but wonder if an election could be thrown if you only hacked SOME of the machines. They could have left the factory infected. (Hypothetically speaking, one sneaky programmer with an agenda who was working for a manufacturer could do this. It wouldn't even have to be a fancy conspiracy, just some code monkey who hates Democrats and who is in the right position to introduce a hidden line of code.) You don't have to control all the machines, rather, just enough to get your candidate in the lead.

I don't know if the Dominion machines were hacked, but this does clearly show it would have been POSSIBLE to do so.

#355 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2016, 12:28 AM:

I don't think it would take a lot, given the way that states make electors winner-gets-all (that's one thing that really needs to be changed). It would only need some states flipped - and we've seen this kind of thing before, in other "red" states, but not usually enough to change the results in this big a way. And Kansas had some really odd numbers in some of their precincts a few years back, and Kobach [ptui] won't let the data be analyzed at any detail.

#356 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2016, 09:21 AM:


Fivethirtyeight did look at different types of machines to some extent, although they don't go into much detail.

From the next-to-last paragraph of the article I referenced @350: "presumably if someone really did figure out how to hack certain machines, we’d see different results depending on which type of machines were used in a county, but we don’t".

I don't think most people are saying that it would be "impossible" to hack the vote counting of the election (the fivethirtyeight article I referenced @350 certainly isn't), just that it would be extremely difficult to do so in a way that didn't stand out and that there isn't anything in the actual reported vote totals that supports the hypothesis of hacking.

#357 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2016, 09:59 AM:

I spent two or three years after 9-11 feeling as though I was literally in the wrong timeline.

I might have been right, but I think I was actually missing the way I felt before 9-11.

I was one of those people who was completely caught by surprise. Other people said they were expecting something of the sort, and I've see claims it was a generational difference.

#358 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 10:51 AM:

Nancy: A week or two before the election, I found myself thinking, "Hm. Nothing really spectacular has happened for a while."* :-\

Meanwhile, I'm really liking a lot of the responses I'm seeing: frex Penzeys.

* Yeah, yeah, confirmation bias yadda.

#359 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 11:20 AM:

In #339, Serge writes:

Still, if I had to choose between two smart business men, I'd rather vote for Stark than for Luthor.

One can push analogies between Lex Luthor and Donald Trump only so far before they break down. For example, Luthor is bald.

#360 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 12:47 PM:

The article is about a very substantial hateweb which is affecting what turns up in search results.

I was feeling hopeless about this, but then it occurs to me that SEO (search engine optimization) isn't exactly a secret, and if people want to do it for benign information about the various sorts of people in the world and the importance of treating each other decently, we could be doing something to push the bigoted material off google's front page.

#361 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 12:54 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @360:

According to the Guardian, Google has now removed some (but not all) of the offensive autocompletes.

#362 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 01:13 PM:

That's something, but this isn't just about autocompletes.

I'm pretty sure I ran afoul of the hateweb when I tried to check on whether my belief that the Weimar Republic removed all the legal restrictions on Jews was correct.

This was surprisingly difficult to research. Just searching on [weimar republic jews] turned up anti-Semitic material and not much else.

I just checked-- things are better. Only about half of the top search results are probably anti-Semitic.

Okay, that's the hateweb. The rest of this is about other problems.

When I got past that, there was another barrier. The history of legal restrictions on Jews in Germany and their repeal is finicky and detailed. Nazis are much more interesting, so they're what shows up in the search results.

I finally got pointed at Jewish emancipation... and there's a book The Pity of It All: A Portrait of the German-Jewish Epoch, 1743-1933 which I haven't been able to get myself to read.

#363 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 03:41 PM:

So I checked autocomplete for "jews are" and "women are" and the results weren't hateful. Presumably google fixed something.

#364 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 04:49 PM:

So in Michigan they're finding that there's a discrepancy in ballot numbers in a rather large number of precincts ... so ... in a display of logic worthy of Kafka, this means they won't recount those precincts and the original results will stand. And there's other discrepancies. Anywhere there's a discrepancy, the original votes stand.

Nothing to see here, keep moving, nothing funny going on at all ...

Over half of precincts in Detroit are affected, and the machines are showing there should be more ballots than were physically counted.

*head desk*

#365 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 06:20 PM:

I suspect that's why their officials didn't want a recount - they're aware of the discrepancies.

#366 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 07:12 PM:

I can't figure out why we don't have a national standard for voting. Well, I can, and I know the answer is "politics" but we SHOULD.

I work in banking. It's regulated to death with national level standards. I worked in health insurance before that, also regulated to death?

Why can't we regulate voting the same way we regulate other things?

Regulate the machines. Regulate the verification process. Mandate an automatic recount of the paper ballots within X number of days of the election, every time, just as a quality control measure. Or at least audit a representative sample! Regulate the chain of custody for the ballots, including specifying dual control (representatives from each party) from the time the polls open to the time that the results are certified.

I'd go so far as to regulate what kind of building the ballots and machines had to be stored in. Locked doors, fire suppression system, and live cameras so the general public could take a peek any time.

This is not that hard, it's completely possible to do, and given the stakes involved, it's not that expensive. So it would cost a few million dollars per state to implement -- so what? That's chump change considering the stakes.

#367 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 07:23 PM:

@366: SPOILER: TPTB like it the way it is. It serves their purposes.

Start pestering your legislators.

#368 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 08:21 PM:

One suggestion for the machines is security (physical and software) using Nevada Gaming Commission rules. Because slot machines have better security than voting machines.
National standards for registration - well, there's "Motor Voter", but that isn't working as well as it should, because of the states that are more interested in keeping "those people" from voting.

The ballots I've used in L.A., except for the few times I did "early voting" on a machine, were cards with either holes to punch (the earlier ones) or circles that get inked (the more recent ones). There's nothing on the ballot that says who those marks are for.

#369 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 09:51 PM:

PJ Evans, the ballot I use in Illinois is a fill-in-the-oval-with-a-pen ballot that is then run through an optical scanning machine to count. The names are printed on the physical ballot next to the ovals. This can then be easily hand-counted.

(There's also a touchscreen option, but I've never used it because although there's supposed to be a printed receipt... well, I don't trust it.)

This replaced the slip-the-ballot-into-a-holder-and-then-punch-the-candidates'-holes-out ballot which pertained when I was first voting, back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. See also, hanging chads....

#370 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 10:16 PM:

In my part of Georgia, you're issued a chip card that you insert in a machine, and then use a touchscreen to vote. No paper involved at all; no receipt, no way to know if your vote's actually been recorded (or recorded correctly); just take it on faith.

#371 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 10:22 PM:

P.S. Charles M. Blow of the New York Times refers to Trump's cabinet as the Legion of Doom. HEADCANON ACCEPTED. But I think we should include the transition team as well. Bannon=Solomon Grundy.

#372 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 10:35 PM:

Meanwhile, I really like abi's Parhelium Democrats and the idea of a leader of the opposition. I concur: "YES PLEASE LET'S DO THIS."

Okay! What next?
1. Call D congress people.
2. —?

#373 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 11:21 PM:

Brave man, here:®ion=Marginalia&pgtype=article

Republican elector who won't vote for Trump, and is quite eloquent about his reasoning.

#374 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2016, 11:37 PM:

Nonyme: that link goes to an article about how Evan McMullin, a Republican policy chief, thinks Trump does not know the Constitution and represents a real threat to it. This article is about a Texan elector who refuses to vote for Trump, and I think it's the one you wanted to refer to. True?

#375 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2016, 05:47 AM:

Rats, wrong link, sorry about that.

Not the Texas guy who's resigning because religion ... There's another Republican elector now who's indicated he won't vote for Trump and is expressing himself quite well about why. Can't find the link to his original op ed and I've got to leave for work now. Sorry about that.

#376 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2016, 06:18 AM:

*Facepalms* Tom, you're linking to the correct article, yes. I need to learn not to respond to things online before I have my coffee because my reading comprehension is lacking until then ... (Early morning. Training in the big city three hours away, gotta be there by eight AM ... *sighs*)

#377 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2016, 06:34 AM:

#373-375: I note that the elector is saying I believe electors should unify behind a Republican alternative, an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio.

That's IMHO not terribly plausible, with the same basic issue as third-party candidates in general: There is zero chance of all the Republican electors joining him to elect Kasich, which is what that would take. But, it's faintly possible that enough electors defect from Trump, to give Hillary the win. The other Republican electors know this, so the only electors willing to defect will be the ones who would rather see Hillary than Trump -- and Trump's campaign was very much built on "anything but That Woman".

#378 ::: Tony Zbarashuk ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2016, 09:35 AM:

The Electoral College isn't first-past-the-post. Even if a bunch of Republican electors defect from Trump in favor of another Republican candidate, it won't give Hilary the election, since she still wouldn't have an absolute majority of the votes. It would throw things to the House of Representatives, voting one-vote-per-state. (Provision last used in 1824.)

#379 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2016, 09:39 AM:

If Hillary Clinton were to direct her electors to vote for McMullin, I think enough electors would peel off from Trump. That's about as likely as...well, pick your unlikely event. Something technically possible but no.

#380 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2016, 02:16 PM:

AIUI, if enough* Trump electors would defect and switch their votes to Clinton, it would put her over the 270 votes necessary to claim the presidency.

*Enough electors = somewhere between 31 and 36.

It's only if neither candidate gets 270 or ties at the same total that the procedure is pitched into the House.

Can enough electors be flipped?

#381 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2016, 04:56 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 380

Can enough electors be flipped?

Enough for what? They're not going to elect Hillary unless she wins a couple of Jill Stein's recounts, and even then it is very (to the nth power) unlikely.

On the other hand, would it be possible to elect a compromise candidate like Kasich or Romney? I really doubt it because a bunch of democratic electors would have to cross the aisle, but I wouldn't define it as exponentially unlikely.

I'd love to see any version of this happen, but I just don't think they'll be able to turn enough electors.

#382 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2016, 05:43 PM:

Tony Zbarashuk #378: Oh right. In that case, forget about Hillary winning. The recounts are not likely to help -- as I notes above, the various voter-suppression methods in play have been folded into the same game of "cheater's poker" as gerrymandering has.

However, if enough electors defect to deny Trump the win, I could see Kasich coming out of the HR as a compromise -- AIUI, he's one of the few Big Name Republicans who's still respected by a lot of Democrats.

#383 ::: MinaW ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2016, 06:04 PM:

#1 What Now? an anna November 13, 2016, 02:14 PM:

Artists: We need a Flag 2.0.

Like this?

I was illustrating My America Includes Everybody, and look what I found...

Did you hear that VP-elect pence's neighbors have put up rainbow flags?

(copied to Open Thread 215)

#384 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2016, 06:32 PM:

Kasich is only marginally better than Pence, accordign to people from Ohio. Note that he's fine with banning brtn after the 6th week - which is right about when people realize that they might be pregnant, and well before the end of the first trimester.

#385 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2016, 07:45 PM:

Nonyme@366: Well...what's regulated federally and what at the state level is pretty mixed, and always has been (starting more state, growing more federal when Congress discovered the Commerce Clause).

Driving and auto registration for example is very much a state matter. We do have national standards for road signs and such though. The national 55MPH speed limit, while we had it, was not quite federally imposed -- it was a requirement to get matching funding, and all states eventually bought in I think (or was there one exception?).

Murder isn't a Federal crime, it's a state crime (except for special cases).

Insurance regulation is pretty much at the state level.

Education rules have see-sawed a lot, both de jure and de facto (not necessarily in sync).

Gun laws are mixed, there's a very strong Federal basis (all commercial dealers are federally licensed and there are basic federal rules), but states have lots of additional rules, like who can have suppressors and such, there are lots of state rules banning sales of particular items, and carry permitting is entirely at the state level.

There's a "National Electrical Code" but it's (only) a model, and states don't always adopt it unaltered.

Voting was one of the most protected activities and thus very carefully left to the control of the states.

I end up with very mixed feelings about this. My generation, my political life, has kind of been about using the power of the Federal government to "end" many sorts of violations of individual rights -- civil rights act, voting rights act, Roe vs. Wade, availability of birth control, school desesegregation, Loving v. Virginia, gay marriage and the last few states denying all carry permits get kicked in the teeth. But if it's centrally controlled, some hypothetical future government controlling all three branches could change them back, too, just as easily. (I.e. not that easily; it wasn't easy the first time.) That could happen, oh, you know, January 20th.

Imposing those things on states that really weren't ready for them may also have contributed significantly to the "culture wars" and the creation of the current mess. Is that a reason not to? Civil rights are utterly vital, but politics is a long game, and if we end up with a blip of goodness and then a descent into disaster we clearly did something (not necessarily this thing) wrong.

As I say, very mixed feelings.

#386 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2016, 08:07 PM:

David D-B, #385: My feelings are not at all mixed about using Federal power to enforce civil rights. If we'd left that up to the states, we'd still have slavery in Alabama and Mississippi.

It does not escape my attention that the people who argue as you do are almost without exception those for whom it is an academic exercise, not a situation that affects their personal lives in any way.

#387 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2016, 04:53 AM:

David Dyer-Bennet, 385: Imposing those things on states that really weren't ready for them may also have contributed significantly to the "culture wars" and the creation of the current mess. Is that a reason not to? Civil rights are utterly vital, but politics is a long game, and if we end up with a blip of goodness and then a descent into disaster we clearly did something (not necessarily this thing) wrong.

Whose readiness counts?

Women have been ready for equal standing and self-determination since, well, always. Queer people have been ready since always. Black people have been ready since always. When we say a society is "not ready" for justice, what can that mean except that the privileged are not willing to give up their privilege, and the bigoted to set aside their contempt?

I do not think that willingness is something that grows on its own. In a person of genuine good will, who is also given to self-reflection, who is committed to doing the personal work to become ready to uphold justice, in that person the fruit of willingness will grow. But most people are not that. Most people are acting in accordance with their moral understanding (which likely includes things like "it's not wrong just because it's illegal" and "this isn't really stealing" and "it's important to say you believe in X but X itself doesn't matter much") and consequently are not making a concerted effort to improve their moral understanding. When it comes to increased justice, justice that will cost them something, they will never become ready on their own.

Their children might, of course, because youngsters are more easily convinced by the changing culture around them, and the default position of society in fifty years may be different if we all keep making enough noise.

But that's fifty years in which the hungry are not fed and the oppressed are not liberated.

So again: whose readiness? Whose comfort comes first?

#388 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2016, 04:54 AM:

David Dyer-Bennet, 385: Imposing those things on states that really weren't ready for them may also have contributed significantly to the "culture wars" and the creation of the current mess. Is that a reason not to? Civil rights are utterly vital, but politics is a long game, and if we end up with a blip of goodness and then a descent into disaster we clearly did something (not necessarily this thing) wrong.

Whose readiness counts?

Women have been ready for equal standing and self-determination since, well, always. Queer people have been ready since always. Black people have been ready since always. When we say a society is "not ready" for justice, what can that mean except that the privileged are not willing to give up their privilege, and the bigoted to set aside their contempt?

I do not think that willingness is something that grows on its own. In a person of genuine good will, who is also given to self-reflection, who is committed to doing the personal work to become ready to uphold justice, in that person the fruit of willingness will grow. But most people are not that. Most people are acting in accordance with their moral understanding (which likely includes things like "it's not wrong just because it's illegal" and "this isn't really stealing" and "it's important to say you believe in X but X itself doesn't matter much") and consequently are not making a concerted effort to improve their moral understanding. When it comes to increased justice, justice that will cost them something, they will never become ready on their own.

Their children might, of course, because youngsters are more easily convinced by the changing culture around them, and the default position of society in fifty years may be different if we all keep making enough noise.

But that's fifty years in which the hungry are not fed and the oppressed are not liberated.

So again: whose readiness? Whose comfort comes first?

#389 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2016, 08:23 AM:

First, for the election:

What I've seen is that sometimes the national government is better than the states (civil rights) and sometimes it's worse (war on drugs, some of immigration policy).

There is no reason why one size or level of government is reliably more moral than another.

Laws are not magic "only have the effects I want" machines.

If it's possible that civil rights and the like have backfired to some extent, then it should be permissible to say so. Perhaps there is some way to do them better.


To my mind, the most remarkable defeat of bigotry is that America is so much less anti-Semitic than Europe. I don't mean there's no anti-Semitism in the US. I don't mean America isn't racist. I mean that there's been a huge difference.

First, are there any other comparably large lowerings of bigotry?

Secondly, is the American improvement in treatment of Jews just something which is so historically contingent that there's nothing to be learned from it, or are there aspects which can be duplicated?

#390 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2016, 10:01 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 389:

Given that Trump has espoused anti-Semitic conspiracy theories at the drop of a hat, and has appointed Steve Bannon to a position of power, and that swastikas have appeared spray-painted on some synagogues as of late, I wouldn't be so sure. If it's less so, I'd guess it's because, as a society, we have other targets, but bigots don't usually stop with just one target. Especially when the people in charge tell them it's ok.

Not going to lie, it makes me worry for my safety sometimes.

#391 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2016, 10:14 AM:

I'm not sure how worried I should be, either. Still, the difference between European history in re Jews and American history is considerable.

#392 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2016, 08:51 AM:

Trump says he's deliberately picking people who "made a fortune" because they're better than people of common means. He compares them to star athletes.

This isn't going to end well.

#393 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2016, 10:48 AM:

He's not really bright. He's also easily led by people who flatter him. (Most of us learn better while we're young, but most of us aren't type cases for NPD.)

#394 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2016, 11:04 AM:

If you want to support Senator Warren's request to audit President-Elect Trump's finances for conflicts of interest, the woman who answered the phone at the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office said the most effective way to be sure my support counted was to email two administrators, Katherine Siggerud and Timothy Minnelli.

Their email addresses are, There is a third email,, through which they are tracking people who were urging support for an audit.

You can send one email addressed to:,,
Subject line:
Re: Audit for President-Elect Trump's financial concerns

Dear Ms. Siggerud and Mr. Minnelli,

I’m writing in support of Senator Elizabeth Warren's request for an audit of our incoming President-Elect Trump's finances, to prohibit conflicts of interest that would prevent him from carrying out the responsibilities of the office without corrupt influence.


They aren't keeping track of the emails (should we even be bothering the folks at congrel?), but the rest of it is accurate.

I'm also not sure whether identical emails are given as much weight, but I wasn't sure how to improve this one.

#395 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2016, 03:19 PM:

So it has only taken a little over a month for the Republicans to betray the people who voted for them. Yesterday, they took action to take away the health benefits the retired coal miners received, and they struck down the 'Buy American' clause in the infrastructure bill, thereby shafting American steel and aluminum workers.

Right, tell us again how much the GOP CARES about the little guy.

#396 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2016, 04:12 PM:

They're currently working on a bill that would cut Social Security benefits along with redoing COLAs to be much smaller AND raising the retirement age that most companies aren't keeping people until. Because of course.

#397 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2016, 12:54 AM:

Nancy, #394: Done, thank you.

#398 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2016, 03:48 PM:

Lee #386/duckbunny #387: "Ready" or not, justice demands equality. It requires inclusion. David is a decent human being, but as the Jamaican proverb has it raktuon a ribabatam nu fiel sunat (the stone at the bottom of the river does not feel the heat of the sun).

#399 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2016, 04:37 PM:

Let's not assume we know the particulars of anyone's circumstances here.

A few months ago, I heard Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" in a shop, and I was struck by how much of the last decade or so has been best characterized as shit that used to happen to people of color is now happening to everyone.

#400 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2016, 06:39 PM:

I am very concerned about the fact that most Republicans are blowing off the fact that the Russians (acting indirectly, through cutouts and with plausible deniability) interfered in a US presidential election to get Trump elected. I can say with 100% certainty that it happened. Teresa knows where I work; I am now head of the Russian office.

#401 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2016, 07:01 PM:

Robert Glaub @400:

I wonder if they're thinking about the (I don't know if it's confirmed) hack of RNC, and what the Russians could release on them if they stick their heads above the parapet.

Or maybe they've just let their souls trickle out over the years. I'd be sad to see that in any person, of any political persuasion.

I hope their constituents set their phone lines on fire. On fire.

#402 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2016, 05:03 PM:


Now Trump's picking a fight with China again.

China is not willing to compromise on Taiwan, and Trump is likely willing to escalate things rapidly when they refuse to blink first.

#403 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2016, 05:12 PM:

i hope that the pentagon and the intelligence agencies are prepared to ignore him when he tries soemthign stupid.
Better yet, I hope the electors are seeing that fast freight coming down the track toward the handcar we're currently on.

#404 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2016, 06:52 PM:

PJ, I would not be entirely surprised, at this point, if enough electors voted for somebody else to drop him under 270.

I doubt they'll cast their votes for Clinton, however, and that will promptly lead to the whole mess going to the House.

And they'd probably vote in Trump.

However -- in order for them to pick a president in the House, there could be a way for the Democrats and a few sane Republicans to block him even if he had a majority vote.

If it goes to the House, each state gets one vote, right? And whoever gets 26 votes wins.

However, 2/3rds of the states have to actually vote or the vote isn't valid. So rather than voting, any state opposing Trump could just chose to be absent that day -- and assuming that there's at least 17 states willing to stonewall a selection of Trump in that fashion, we promptly end up with a Constitutional crisis but at least no Trump. Hypothetically, they could refuse to vote indefinitely, until the other states agreed to vote for someone more palatable than Trump.

(Basically, I suspect at that point it would come down to chaotic evil in the form of Trump, or lawful evil. At least lawful evil won't pick a fight with China.)

All hypothetical, of course.

Didn't Kasich say he didn't want the job?

#405 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2016, 06:57 PM:

And if they were deadlocked in the House over who to select for President for an extended period of time, I wonder who would end up running the country?

Scary thought, that ...

I can see Trump trying to grab the reins even if he wasn't officially president yet, and that leading to complete chaos.

#406 ::: Jim Parish ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2016, 07:29 PM:

405 In that case, if things were still deadlocked by Inauguration Day, the Vice President, chosen by the Senate, would become President. The Twentieth Amendment also allows Congress to decide what happens if both houses are deadlocked:

#407 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2016, 07:50 PM:

Jim, thanks, I didn't know that (and probably should have). Good to know.

Should the Electoral College actually function as intended and pick somebody else, can you imagine Trump's reaction?

#408 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2016, 08:28 PM:

abby@399: Yeah, that's the wrong way to end white / male / cis / heteosexual privilege (I qualify on all counts), and it's why many allies in this quarter (16th, I guess, with 4 false binaries invoked) hated the terminology ("privileged class" and such were bad things that should be ended, not extended to everyone).

#409 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2016, 05:37 PM:

Can you guys help me out here -- back before the election I remember seeing some articles stating that the Clinton emails posted to wikileaks had been conclusively proven to have been altered. Not just hacked and posted online, but *altered* as well.

(I seem to remember that there were two sets of emails posted, and the text didn't match between them. i.e., same IP address/time/date stamps in the headers, but differing text, and that the headers didn't always make sense either.)

Does anyone else remember seeing this?

#410 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2016, 06:32 PM:

Yes -- I saw the same articles and the emails HAD been tampered with, this is part of HOW they identified the hackers in question.

#411 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2016, 06:38 PM:

ISTR they identified some of them as hacked because of the character encoding - it was from a Cyrillic set which wouldn't be used much elsewhere.

#412 ::: Nonyme ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2016, 07:16 PM:

Thanks, I thought I was losing my mind. I couldn't find the articles I remembered reading.

PJ -- I hadn't heard about the cyrillic encoding, and that makes a tremendous amount of sense. It is fairly region specific -- AFAIK it's not used outside of E. Europe and Russia, and most of the other countries that use it wouldn't have a motive. I'm pretty sure the Ukraine, for example, would rather have Clinton in power ...

#413 ::: Terjemahan ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2016, 04:00 AM:


#414 ::: Lee sees a possible spam probe ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2016, 04:18 AM:

#413 has not posted here before, and the content is suspicious.

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