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December 30, 2016

Defense in depth
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 07:33 AM * 127 comments

I’m strongly suspecting that New Year’s is going to be a time of listicles and advocacy. Everyone’s going to be at us to support this cause or that, act in this way or that, over the coming year. Everyone has priorities, urgent issues, things they think we should care about most of all.

And that’s cool. Passion is wonderful, and clearly many hands are going to be needed for the work ahead.

But when others have different priorities than you, things slide so easily into guilt-tripping and blame. Accusations of indifference. Spoon banditry. And that’s not so cool; it robs us of energy and joy that we need as a community. Someone 100% committed to Cause A, if persuaded to switch to Cause B, may only have the talents, resources, or passion to give 70%—even after the energy costs of diverting their attention are paid off.

Can I suggest an XKCD-like reformulation? Can we think of this diversity of tactics and causes not as dilution or diversion, but as defense in depth?

I first encountered the term defense in depth in its infosec incarnation, where we use multiple independent means to combat possible intrusions. Run antivirus software and have a strong-password policy and train your staff against social engineering. It’s based on a broader military strategy where you use multiple layers of resources, even weak ones, to bog an attacker down, rob them of their momentum, and leave them vulnerable to counterattack.

It may not be, in the abstract, the best strategy for the time ahead of us—the Wikipedia entry points out that it’s most effective in opposition to a single, focused attack, and we’re facing something much broader-based than that. But given the costs and risks of circular firing squads, given that our strength as evidence-based thinkers and anti-authoritarians will be in nurturing diverse opinions and tactics and then sharing the results widely to expand everyone’s toolkit, it’s the most pragmatic approach to moving in a generally-agreed direction with people with whom we may not always see eye to eye.

A couple of skills for that toolkit, if you’re going to follow this model:

Any more resources? Or am I talking out of my arse here?

Comments on Defense in depth:
#1 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2016, 09:25 AM:

Depth and diversity of response . . . I like it.

#2 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2016, 09:27 AM:

You are very much not talking out of your arse.

One of the things that this brings to mind is that self-care is an important part of successful long-term resistance. You fundamentally cannot help if you have crashed and burned.

#3 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2016, 09:40 AM:

I have a much less adult metaphor in my head: Red Rover.

If you didn't play this as a kid, I shall describe it. Two teams of kids face each other across a wide space (wide enough to get up some momentum if you run across it). Each team stands side-to-side in a line, holding hands. One team chants,

"Red Rover, Red Rover, send [name] right over!"

Whereupon the named kid runs across the space and tries to break through the line of kids holding hands on the opposite side.

If s/he succeeds, s/he gets to pick one of the two people whose grip broke, and take them to join the other team. If s/he fails, s/he joins the opposing team.

The more kids on the team, the harder it is for opponents to break the chain--BECAUSE, the more kids on the team, the easier it is to yield slightly, transmitting the force of the attack along the length of the chain.

#4 ::: jenavira ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2016, 09:55 AM:

I think this is wonderful. I've been working on a similar kind of attitude for the past few weeks.

Like a lot of people, I was a gibbering wreck for the first few weeks after the election, but weirdly enough it was the announcement by the CIA about the Russian hacking that helped me to feel better, because it was a reminder that there were people out there doing their jobs. I disagree with a huge proportion of what the intelligence community does, but there are, nonetheless, huge numbers of people in the intelligence community who are concerned about the future and doing what they can to stop things from getting worse. And because of the nature of their work I will probably never know what it is, but it's happening anyway. I don't have to do everything, because there are other people in the world also trying to stop this trainwreck. (See also, my newfound appreciation for Lindsay Graham, John McCain, and Evan McMullen.)

Or, as the tumblr post says, "pick your battles. pick… pick fewer battles than that. put some battles back. that’s too many"

There are enough of us that we can all fight different battles in the same war, and lessen the burden on each other.

#5 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2016, 10:41 AM:

I spent an hour or two (and about $4500) yesterday making online contributions to Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Watch, Doctors Without Borders, the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and like causes. These are the people who do the heavy lifting. Even when I'm in despair, I know they won't drop out.

#6 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2016, 10:46 AM:

Theophylact, yes, I wrote larger-than-usual checks this year to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Human Rights Campaign. Because I can't do much, but this I can do.

#7 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2016, 01:30 PM:

Jenavira @4: And many at the CIA have paid the ultimate price...when you go into the CIA HQ at Langley there is a wall with stars on it. No names, as in many cases because their work is still classified -- but each star is for someone who paid the last full measure of devotion for their country.

Memorial Wall

#8 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2016, 02:18 PM:

Diversity in priorities is vital, precisely because it means that no cause will be ignored or abandoned. Perhaps when someone argues with you about your priorities, it might be useful to respond with language indicating that you welcome their passion for that reason. That you consider them a valued ally even if they're working on something else.

#9 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2016, 05:23 PM:

Milton's Areopagitica argues that diversity of opinion overcomes a monopoly of thought.

#10 ::: generic ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2016, 05:24 PM:

I am seeing multiple people and organizations trying to push priorities in "off" ways. Priorities will be something we'll need to talk about, sometimes.
(Maybe it is just my internet, though. Or maybe it's Upton Sinclair being relevant again.)

#11 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2016, 07:48 PM:

Learned that another member of the county Democratic Party letter to the editor "club" scored a published letter. We're encouraging and coaching each other.

#12 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2016, 12:27 AM:

Abi, your words are yea and amen to me. I've been struggling to find good phrasing for some of these ideas, but I hadn't found any way to speak as positively and useful about what I hope for as "defense in depth". Thank you, very much.

#13 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2016, 06:32 AM:

Bruce, your opinion means a lot to me. Thank you for saying this.

#14 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2017, 12:38 AM:

I'm fearfully looking forward, as a Federal employee. The only thing I keep saying to myself that makes hope is that we are a public safety agency.

I did share with others Mr. Ford's Winter Solstice: Camelot Station because it needed being done. And it fit my mood.

Ooh, sounds like fireworks are going off.

Close enough, Happy New Year's, folks. Persevere and do good. Be kind to one another.

#15 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2017, 09:08 AM:

Defense in depth... Yes...

#16 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2017, 12:32 PM:

I wrote this morning about one of the ways I plan to respond, by promoting and defending our cultural memory. It seemed an appropriate thing to write about for Public Domain Day.

I'll do other things as well, as I've tried to do this past year. But since I have particular expertise in librarianing and computering, it seems like a good focus for my energies. And I'm happy to work with anyone else here, and to hear what else folks are planning on doing.

John Scalzi's New Years' post is also well worth reading.

Wishing everyone a fruitful and joyful new year.

#17 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2017, 02:07 PM:

And Mr. Scalzi's post reminds me of a defense that can feel indulgent but, I think, still counts:

Patronize things and people that bend the arc. For me, most obviously, that's things like:

What's on your list?

#18 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2017, 02:42 PM:

Playing for Change and Fury Road, definitely.

Ursula K. LeGuin's Always Coming Home, for envisioning a sustainable society that could be built on the ruins of this one, if necessary.

Terry Pratchett's writing, for its deeply humane quality.

And the odd catch I get in my throat from watching movie credits (especially credits for animated films) and symphony orchestra performances: the sense of "look how many people had to cooperate for a long time to make this happen".

#19 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2017, 02:55 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @ 16: In regard to Scalzi's post, it should be firmly noted that Theodore Parker spent a lot of time and effort bending that arc. He was one of the Secret Six who funded John Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry, and he hid escaped enslaved people in his parsonage, where he wrote sermons with a pistol on his desk, just in case. Few people know Parker these days and lower-case transcendentalist doesn't sound terribly dynamic. I figure he's a great story and ought to be told as often as possible.

(Scalzi underplays, I think, Parker's sense of urgency, but that's a minor point.)

#20 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2017, 04:00 PM:

Arc Benders?

I'll second all of the above. I'll add "The Memory Palace." If you haven't heard of it, start with these two:

Notes on an Imagined Plaque.

The Wheel.

#21 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2017, 01:11 AM:

@18 - Lila, I am an enormous fan of Always Coming Home. One of the few post-apocalyptic societies I have read that seemed to have a lot of real people in it.

#22 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2017, 02:14 AM:

Defense in depth is great. Three-dimensional defense; not only broad and high but deep. No, four: broad, high, deep, and sustained.

UrsulaV 21: And failure. And conflict. And tragic disease and death.

No, those aren't criticisms. It made it so very real, and showed how the society dealt with those things. "Living with my husband is like eating unleached acorns," says one character, and it's pretty clear what she means.

I loved ACH. Next time I was at a Pagan gathering after reading it, I was in a long toning circle (singing long notes without words), and mine kept coming out "HEYahhhh." Afterwards, a woman came up to me and said "Another person who read Always Coming Home and liked it." We've been friends ever since.

#23 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2017, 02:16 AM:

Oops, I made a mistake. It was actually a man, though I didn't know that, and AFAIK neither did he, until years later. I was remembering how the event seemed at the time, not informing it with what I now know. I'm not sure if that's a problem, but if so I hope this fixes it.

#24 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2017, 08:02 AM:

One of the many things I like about Always Coming Home is that the Kesh have ritual without gods, which suits me just fine.

LeGuin has a contentious relationship with religion. The Telling reads to me like a thought-experiment: can I invent a religion I respect?

#25 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2017, 02:18 AM:

Abi, I'm delighted to have such warm feeling to send your way.

Oh, hey, I want to recommend some reading to all and sundry for this year: A Paradise Built in Hell, by Rebecca Solnit. This is a book about five natural and man-made disasters, from the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 to Hurricane Katrina.

What she finds again and again is that a whole lot of people come together in crises. We share and cooperate when there's such visible need, and help keep ourselves and each together in the midst of the mess. She also finds that the most likely perpetrators of violence and chaos are the people who've been accustomed to thinking of themselves as the bosses and are now cut off from their usual chains of command; they lash out in fear and rage. But they are very much the minority.

There are some thoughtful criticisms of some parts of Solnit's work here, particularly in slighting how much difference good rather than bad civic government matters: building codes, emergency preparedness systems, and the like. She admits to anarchist orientation, and even some ideal observer couldn't get everything relevant into one volume. But it's worth noting that the most thoughtful-sounding, careful critics all say "Nonetheless, you should read this, since it's a fine book bringing important truths to light." And it is.

It's really drastically turned around my thinking about chaotic scenes of collapse and what to expect of them, giving foundation and confidence to what had been my occasional drifting hopes for people when all manner of things hit the fan.

#26 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2017, 09:23 AM:

From the "works for some, not for all" dept: I've been going to a Letters to the Editor class at the county Democratic party office.

Three (four?) letters written by class members were published over the last week.

I'm working on one about looming social security / medicaid gutting.

#27 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2017, 01:34 PM:

Stefan Jones @26:

Should you have any questions re: the Social Security/MEDICARE gutting, I worked for SSA for the first three years of my Federal career.

Ryan doesn't want to gut Medicaid, he want to block grant it.

#28 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2017, 01:42 PM:

They're talking about cutting SS by more than 25%. Which is effectively going to gut it, and kill a lot of people.

I'd like that "third rail" to get them now, please.

#29 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2017, 09:48 AM:

Lori Coulson@27

Ryan wants to gut AND block grant Medicaid. More precisely, he wants to block grant Medicaid in order to gut it.

#30 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2017, 01:13 PM:

It's another iteration of "starve these programs, then drown them in a bathtub." The Republicans have never had the welfare of their fellow citizens in mind ever since Nixon.

#31 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2017, 05:50 PM:

P J Evans @ 28
They're also talking about cutting and voucherizing Medicare. The combination of the two will probably mean Eva and I will be forced to cut back on medical treatments & prescriptions. Likely I won't be able to walk without surgery in the next few years, and likely Eva won't be able to get inhalers for asthma. Not immediately fatal, but definitely a reduction in quadlity and possibly length of life.

We live in a blue state, where our Senators and Representative all understand the issues and are fighting as hard as they can. With luck the state will be able to pick up some of the slack. But our situation is not immediate, not the case for much of the country. I'm putting as much money as I can into national organizations like Planned Parenthood, and crowd-funding medical bills of people I know who are in severe straits.

#32 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2017, 08:49 PM:

Won't do me any good, either - I've developed high blood pressure, and while it's relatively inexpensive to treat, it does mean seeing the doctor more often than I want. (And he wants to fix everything, including the much-lower-priority high cholesterol. Depending on how the glucose-tolerance test comes out, that might be easier or harder.)
My sister has type-II diabetes with neuropathy and kidney disease - the drugs she needs for maintenance are many and the collection not cheap. She just signed up for ACA - she hits 65 next year.

#33 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2017, 01:11 PM:

I've been singing hosannas that my main HPB medication FINALLY went generic in November. Which means my cost for a 90 day supply went from $128 to $20. That means I am only on one medication that is still under patent, and while it's not cheap, it's still more affordable than the Benicar...

#34 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2017, 07:55 AM:

Lori Coulson @33

Wow. I am very glad I was only on Benicar long enough to know it was a bad idea for me. Luckily my BP mods are all relatively cheap, it's the SSRI for my ADD that's so expensive. I'd love not to have to take it, but I'm scared of going back to the memory fog I used to be in. Also, taking it knocked me out of a years-long depression that wasn't diagnosed until afterwards; slipping back into *that* would be really scary.

#35 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2017, 10:44 PM:

Some co-workers and I are going to the protest in downtown Portland on Saturday.

Have my sign ready to go:

#36 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2017, 01:20 AM:

A couple of suggestions for Inauguration Day, culled from Tumblr:

1. If you have a Nielsen box, turn on your TV before the inauguration and tune it to any channel that isn't covering That Thing Where Donald Unironically Copies Dear Leader.

2. If you have Twitter, spend the duration of the ceremony enthusiastically livetweeting something other than the ceremony that you're watching/reading/listening to.

3. Whatever you do, don't mention Donald's Big Show, even tangentially, or click anything about it.

#38 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2017, 12:17 PM:

Today I'm going to go full autistic nerd and spend the evening world-building! I highly recommend the World Dream Bank Planetocopia ( if you are interested in the geography of alien worlds. The worldbuilder draws a lot of aliens with human boobs, but his work is otherwise solid and fascinating. Some of his articles include invitations for input; I'm going to work on a detailed response involving the ecosystem of a world that looks like Earth but with the continents and oceans flipped. Lots of research about how monsoons work, what lives in mangrove forests, etc. Have fun with whatever you do, everybody!

#39 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2017, 01:21 PM:

Oooh, just found another suggestion! If you follow the White House Twitter, tonight is a good night to unfollow it and follow the Obamas' personal Twitters instead.

#40 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2017, 08:50 PM:

Useful to remember:

The gist: If you can't participate in your local women's march tomorrow, watch/blog/tweet the hell out of it and keep not talking about Donald.

#42 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2017, 09:28 PM:

Hm. Prev post eaten by an internal server error:

Also: if you've unfollowed @ POTUS & @ FLOTUS, doublecheck your follows. Not only was I set to follow (even though I explicitly unfollowed last night), but I discovered that @POTUS44 was set to BLOCK. (WTF, Twitter?)

#43 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2017, 09:41 PM:

@John: Thanks for Daphnis! Emailed and tweeted that picture all over.

#44 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2017, 09:44 PM:

@Jaque: Good heads-up. I had to unfollow @POTUS. I was able to see and had been signed up for @POTUS44.

I like Obama's most recent post:

"I'm still asking you to believe - not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours. I believe in change because I believe in you."

Which fits in nicely with Daphnis.

#45 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2017, 10:23 AM:

The last protest I was in was an anti-war thing.

The Vietnam war.

I was five or so. I spent a lot of it hitching a ride on the back of a family friend's toddler's stroller.

Hoping for a really good turn-out in downtown Portland today, and that the black block jerks don't cause trouble.

#46 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2017, 01:49 PM:

This essay was linked elseweb: "On Bullshit"

#47 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2017, 12:58 PM:

My calls to Senators today:

Michael Bennet (D-Colo):

  • "Please block Betsy DeVos's nomination for Secretary of Education."

  • "Thank you for supporting the ACA." (The intern sounded particularly pleased with this one.)
  • Cory Gardner (R-Colo) (Had to resort fo email; his phones have broken):

  • "Please block Betsy DeVos's nomination for Secretary of Education."

  • "Please defend the ACA." (He's apparently against it. :-\)
  • #48 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2017, 02:13 PM:

    @Jaque: (visualize a thumbs up emoticon here)

    If I had a GOP Rep or senator, and their staff said they opposed the ACA, I'd demand that they provide details on their replacement . . . and if they don't have the details, ask what the people who were going to lose coverage supposed to do in the meantime.

    #49 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2017, 02:28 PM:

    Whoops @Jaque => @Jacque.

    Oregon Live has a nice photo gallery of Saturday's march:
    Doesn't quite convey the pouring-rain misery of the wait for the march to start. (But I'd do it again.)

    #50 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2017, 05:16 PM:

    Stefan Jones @48: Ah! Very good. I'll add that. Thank you! (I'm terrible at asking questions; the 'care and feeding of' guides suggest this is an especially important tactic to soak up the most attention.)

    Perhaps not surprising his phones broke. I detect a certain, um, defensiveness in the 9 reporter's tone. They may have a point about designating Gardner as the "face of" ACA repeal. But, dude, he is our senator, and he is "presiding over Senate discussions."

    I hope Gardner's getting a clue that Colorado is not down with his objective, here.

    #51 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2017, 05:23 PM:

    ...also, thank you for noticing my "c". That poor "c" always gets left out. (Even on my birth certificate! My dad went back the next day and made 'em fix it.*)

    Have sent additional email with your questions. Mwa-hah.

    * Impressive work: this was back in the days when these were filled out with typewriters. The erasure and correction are absolutely invisible.

    #52 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2017, 06:55 PM:

    I get off easy having Merkley and Wyden as my senators, because they are already pretty much on board with making Potus45*'s job very difficult.

    But I still write. They need to know we have their back.

    (Potus45* = President with an Asterisk, which doesn't necessarily refer to a footnote but is just there to annoy Potus45*.)

    #53 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2017, 07:09 PM:

    Yes. Also, hearing cheers from constituents has gotta be a relief.

    An asterisk like this?

    #54 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2017, 12:22 PM:

    I am trying to take a politics breather today, but it is very hard. I find myself fantasizing that some functionary in Albany will suddenly remember that Trump filed New York State tax returns, too.

    I am going to a Town Hall with Senator Merkley on Saturday. Tonight I will try to claw back to normal and build a rocket and do some lay-out work for my solitaire RPG adventure.

    #55 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 09:19 AM:

    I remember seeing advice about organizations to donate to (ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, etc.) and things to support by purchase (newspaper subscriptions, mainly).

    In response to "alternative facts" and yesterday's gag order on federal scientists, I'm finding that my personal hot button issues include truth and science. Looking for suggestions for not-for-profits that work in those areas.

    #57 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 09:42 AM:

    Dammit, let's try that again. AAAS, Union of Concerned Scientists.

    #58 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 09:52 AM:

    Speaking of alternative facts, has anybody else noticed that the National Enquirer has straight-up become Der Sturmer?

    #59 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 10:03 AM:

    Re #55, also, for those who tweet, @AltUSNatParkService, @NASAClimate. Also @CJR (Columbia Journalism Review) is doing good work.

    #60 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 12:23 PM:

    A number of Greenpeace workers have suspended themselves from a giant crane opposite the Trump hotel in DC, "a few blocks from the White House," and unfurled a huge RESIST banner.

    This is almost science fictional.

    I'd like to see more of those banners. Deployed where ever the POTUS shows himself.

    #61 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 01:43 PM:

    Stefan Jones @60:

    The crane is not anywhere near the Trump hotel. (It's across the street from my office, as it happens; yeah, it's half a mile from the White House, but in a totally different direction.)

    #62 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 02:12 PM:

    @Lorax: Heard the hotel reference on the news this morning. Thanks for update.

    #63 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 02:35 PM:

    @AltNatParkSer - according to the search results.

    #64 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 04:06 PM:

    OtterB, Lila: Also, the Society for Science & the Public.

    #65 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 04:07 PM:

    OtterB, Lila: Sorry, the Society for Science & the Public.

    #66 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 05:06 PM:

    Found elseNet:

    Federal employees: If you've gotten directives from the Trump administration but have been told not to discuss them, there are ways for you to share informaiton with reporters anonymously. Here are some sites that may be useful:

    - Associated Press:
    - Washington Post:
    - NY Times:
    - Buzzfeed:

    #67 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 05:32 PM:

    The "Indivisible guide" folks are starting organizing groups across the country.

    Well, more like a franchise. You start a group, or register an existing group on their page.

    In Oregon there's one for the state as a whole, and one for the second district.

    #68 ::: Cassy B. pages the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 05:51 PM:

    Lee@66 says he's got a post being held.

    Have some chocolate covered graham crackers...

    #69 ::: Elyse ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 06:17 PM:

    There a tweet wandering around:

    "The year is 2017. The country is a tire fire. The resistance is led by Teen Vogue, the national park service, and the Merriam-Webster dictionary."

    I bought a membership to Merriam Webster (which also provides access to cool word-related stuff) and a pass for the national parks (as well as following a bunch of the radio-free-nps feeds).

    Teen Vogue does not seem to have an online-only subscription option, so I'm holding off. I'm already getting hard copies of Rolling Stone that I seldom read, to support their political coverage.

    That reminds me -- I should check to see if Rolling Stone has an online-only option now.

    #70 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2017, 09:26 PM:

    I have also seen that meme with all three things altered so that it reads "The resistance is being led by black women, black women, and black women." (Dunno about the other two, but Teen Vogue's editor-in-chief is a black woman, Elaine Welteroth.)

    #71 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2017, 01:08 AM:

    Cassy B.@ 68 - Lee's she, not he. Ambiguous name, I know.

    #72 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2017, 01:19 AM:

    Just got back from my first county Democratic Party meeting. Lots of feisty Roberts Rules of Order argument about resolutions and amendments to resolutions; there's a lot of remaining testiness between Bernie and Clinton Democrats. One guy is going to hold a Vent Meeting to get the sides together.

    Interesting stuff. I don't have the social energy for canvassing and f-t-f organizing, but I'll see if I can do some writing.

    #73 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2017, 01:23 AM:

    Patrick Farley has been making campaign art for the #Resistance:

    This latest one is a tribute for the non-censored shadow Twitter accounts for national science agencies:

    #74 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2017, 12:24 PM:

    Re: Lee@66, Me@68, Anne Sheller @71 -- my sincere apologies to Lee for misgendering her.

    #75 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2017, 02:55 PM:

    The Washington Post has reported that the State Department's senior management team has resigned en masse. A frightening loss of institutional memory in a major part of the Federal system. No idea how to defend against this sort of change!

    #76 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2017, 03:06 PM:

    I'm wondering if the most likely best case scenario would be a horrifying international blunder that leads to a double impeachment and Paul Ryan presidency with a totally new cabinet and re-hiring of the experienced personnel in effected agencies.

    Which would be horrible, but not as horrible as having Trump/Pence/Bannon running things.

    #77 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2017, 12:40 AM:

    Cassy, #74: No worries -- I thought it was a slip of the fingers, to be honest. I believe we've met, at the Filers dinner on Thursday night at MAC II.

    Tom, #75: I have a feeling that we're going to find out what having "a government small enough to drown in the bathtub" is really like. Which wouldn't bother me if the only people who were going to get hurt by it were the ones who voted for him, but they're not.

    Stefan, #76: Yeah. One of the most nightmarish aspects of all this is that Paul Ryan as President would be less damaging than either Trump or Pence. They really did scrape the very bottom of the barrel for a candidate.

    #78 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2017, 09:15 AM:

    Stefan@76, Lee@77

    I actually don't think that Ryan would be less damaging than either Trump or Pence, at least if we're talking about a median presidency.

    He is less likely than Trump to do something completely catastrophic out of ignorance. Although he isn't anywhere near as smart as the media likes to portray him, he is a lot more knowledgeable than Trump about most relevant matters.

    #79 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2017, 02:16 PM:

    My evil side is working overtime this morning...

    I am wondering how many Federal employees are realizing their vote has cost them, at the very least, a pay raise, and, considering that Trump's choice for agency head wants cut the EPA workforce in half, might cost them a job.

    Be careful what you pray for...

    #80 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2017, 02:23 PM:

    I know a Trump voter who will almost certainly lose his job in the event of a trade war with China. (His job is largely based on imports from China.) He's in denial that this might happen. I'm also hoping this doesn't happen, but I'm less sanguine about the prospect than he is....

    #81 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2017, 02:42 PM:

    Michael, #78: Well, I didn't say how much less damaging, after all. :-)

    But the thing is, Trump is a swaggering, overbearing tin-plated wannabe-dictator with delusions of godhood and nobody to rein him in. Pence is a Dominionist looking to establish a religion-based empire. Ryan is an evil bastard, but he's an ordinary evil bastard.

    It's like choosing whether you want to be ruled over by Doc Doom, Nehemiah Scudder, or the Kingpin. None of them are good choices, but one is less catastrophically toxic than the others.

    #82 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2017, 03:12 PM:

    #79 ::: Lori Coulson

    Is there any information about how many federal employees voted for Trump?

    #83 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2017, 05:57 PM:

    Lee @#77

    They really did scrape the very bottom of the barrel for a candidate.

    No, to borrow a quote from Charlie Stross: "They were fracking for oil in the basement."

    #84 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2017, 02:09 PM:

    Nancy Lebovitz @79: There's no good way to know how many Feds voted for him. I can tell you that during my career the male employees tended to be GOP while the females were likely to be Democrats.

    I'm guessing a third of the Federal workforce voted against it's own interest, nor would I be surprised to find out that the number was higher.

    #85 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2017, 09:57 PM:

    James Martin WJ, editor-at-large in America, the main J-Boy magazine in the US: "I was a stranger and you did not welcome me.”

    The Catholic Church is extremely upset with Trump over immigration policy.

    #86 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2017, 10:29 PM:

    Inept fascists are the best kind. They might conceivably be beaten down without too much damage done, and their rise will prove a valuable object lesson to citizens and government.

    Casting ideas for the dark comedy, to be made in 2025 after Trump's miserable, sad burial on a golf course in Dubai, now open.

    #87 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2017, 11:01 PM:

    That's a beautifully written piece by James Martin. Unfortunately, the religious part of Trump's base is quite happy to reject Catholicism and everything associated with it.

    #88 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2017, 12:51 AM:

    The WA state Democrats have new people at the head. They sent out emails to get people to demonstrations today -- I was at a memorial service and couldn't go, but this is serious progress on getting people to be more engaged with the political process.

    It's a good start. I'm hoping they keep going!

    #90 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2017, 07:12 PM:

    Dave Harmon@89

    The other thing (as the linked blog in a 1/21/17 entry makes clear) is that even Andrew Jackson understood that it's a bad idea to give the kind of inaugural speech that Trump gave.

    #91 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2017, 07:16 PM:

    Some while back, Elliott posted a thing that I really liked, but I forgot to save it. So I've spent the last couple of days hunting it down and tweaking it a bit to make it less personal and more general, because I think the heart of it is important right now.

    Tolerance is not the core value of liberalism.

    The core value of liberalism is participation - the idea that that ALL people deserve to be treated with equal dignity and politeness in their exercise of their rights as citizens and humans, and to be allowed to participate to their fullest capacity in the society in which they live.

    Tolerance is a side effect. Touting tolerance as the be-all and end-all of all "liberal" endeavors wags the dog with the tail; it is wrong to "tolerate" behavior which fights AGAINST the primary goal of achieving equal participation in civic life without rudeness or discrimination against traditionally-downtrodden groups.

    It should go without saying that in America, "traditionally-downtrodden groups" DO NOT include white people, men, straight people, or Christians, but I'll say it anyhow. The diminution of former levels of special privilege is neither bullying nor oppression.

    Liberty is the freedom to have the government prevent your fellow citizens from depriving you of access to the same parts of society that they partake of as a matter of course.

    #92 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2017, 09:56 PM:

    And they just fired the acting AG, Sally Yates, who had told the DOJ not to fight the court orders.
    (Also, apparently Acting president Bannon borrowed staffers from House members to "consult" on that POS immigration order. And, I suspect, the LGBTQ order reportedly coming.)

    #93 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2017, 12:24 AM:

    Lee @ 91 - Excellent! I did bookmark Elliott's post (posts; there were two), and have thought about doing an edited-for-broader-application version; I'll add yours to my bookmarks. (If I do my own version, it'll be a not-US-specific form, since I'm Canadian.) Thank you for sharing your version here!

    #94 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2017, 10:21 PM:

    If this pans out, it is unalloyed wonderful news:

    To sit in on the Security Council, Stephen Bannon would have to be confirmed by the Senate.

    Meaning they could ask him about his white supremacist views, his waving around of the Confederate flag, his desire to be America's Lenin, his alleged wife-beating, and admiration for Darth Vader:

    This might be something to call your Senators about. I will.

    #95 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2017, 11:18 PM:

    More suggestions culled from Tumblr, regarding how to punch a Nazi (and thereby make him look weak and ineffectual and perhaps not cool enough for his more half-hearted followers to follow anymore):

    1. If you can play the bagpipes, do so. This has proven effective both in the U.S. and in Scotland. I've seen the videos.

    2. Find and blow a vuvuzela.

    Make them look stupid.

    (But if they dragged their kids along, do not so much as say boo to their poor kids.)

    #96 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2017, 01:59 PM:

    The Department of the Army is accepting public comments leading up to its environmental impact statement in connection with Dakota Access' request for them to grant an easement for the pipeline to cross North Dakota's Lake Oahe. The comment period is open until Feb. 20, according to the document.

    #97 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2017, 11:44 PM:

    European late-night comedians are lobbying our new President in short videos. Apparently more countries will be added to the website in the coming days and weeks.

    Start with the Netherlands. (Approximately 8:00 on the dial.) No particular order after that one, but that's the one you should watch first.

    #98 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2017, 11:27 AM:

    Ten sf stories about the effects of the Trump presidency

    I found out about it because Elizabeth Bear mentioned it in her patreon.

    I'm not sure which thread this belongs in. It might be sidebar fodder.

    So far, very grim. I'm hoping to see a story about rebuilding, but not counting on it.

    #99 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2017, 10:10 PM:

    Hey, I don't use Google anymore, and I don't tweet or Facebook or whatever. Is my husband's idea feasible? He was thinking that it would be really cool if a bunch of people across the country could coordinate an effort to Google "Trump is a hypocrite" or some other phrase at X o'clock in their time zone, so that a wave of identical searches would roll across the country for much of the day and it would stay on the top of the autofill for weeks.

    #100 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2017, 02:14 PM:

    I just had an odd thought.

    Is the current administration's worldview essentially hurt/comfort fic with America as the forlorn injured woobie?

    #101 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2017, 03:45 PM:

    Not sure what "woobie" is, but there's definitely a strong appeal to aggrievement and victimization; attitudes stoked by conservative media and myths.

    #102 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2017, 05:26 PM:

    "Woobie" is fan-speak for a character whose suffering makes the audience go "aww" and wish they could reach into the story and give the character a big hug.

    There are a couple of sentences in the TV Tropes description that struck me, considering them in the context proposed by Julie L.:

    "An important aspect of the Woobie is that their suffering must be caused by external sources. A character who suffers as the result of their own actions is a Tragic Hero and does not qualify."


    "Woobification of a character is a curious, audience-driven phenomenon, sometimes divorced from the character's canonical morality."

    #103 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2017, 08:09 PM:

    I mean, it looks kinda like a particularly twisted version of white-knighting which depends on fostering/creating a sense of victimhood, as if wooing an averagely fair bourgeoisette with an averagely fair family by bellowing "Here I am, the Noble Prince to sweep you off your feet and make you The Most Beautiful Princess in the Wprld, and I am especially noble for finding True Love despite the festering boils and dung-stained rags with which your evil wiitch stepmother has cursed you. and furthermore because no one else would hace so acutely perceived the agony of your boils and the stench of your rags" when basically she has a mosquito bite and her skirt hem has a loose thread and a splotch of mud.

    And she doesn't even have a stepmother, until he convinces his target that she was really a founndling and her real mother had been murdered by that woman who is only pretending to have given birth to her. And also the dragon on yonder hill should be ardmired for the heat of the flames that it!'s been spewing at nearby villagers who probably deserved it anyway.

    Or somethibg like that.

    todr: it's just a variation on verbally degrading everyone else to artificially boost oneself?

    #104 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2017, 06:47 PM:

    Lee@91, me@93, Elliott - We're not the only ones who think better clarity about the word 'tolerance' is a good idea: Tolerance is Not a Moral Precept.

    #105 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2017, 11:36 PM:

    I enjoyed this: Trump's rise as enantiodromia, an act which results in its opposite.

    #106 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2017, 10:22 AM:

    Got my third Letter to the Editor published in The Oregonian! Waiting to see if it makes it into the publically available online version.

    #107 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2017, 01:35 PM:

    An interesting bit in today's Wall Street Journal: there's a photo on the front page, above the fold, of Trump at a White House appearance: standing in front of a portrait of Hillary Clinton (merely identified as "the former First Lady"). The bold title for the picture: "Photo Bomb."

    Heads will roll in the Trump administration over this one! It's such a lovely subtle way to get under his skin.

    #108 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2017, 03:55 PM:

    The WSJ is a Murdoch vehicle. Heads will definitely roll there as well.

    #109 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2017, 04:42 PM:

    Probably not, Lee. The WSJ has been getting snarkier and snarkier about Trump since the inauural. His attacks on the press seem to be making him fair game in Old Media. The WSJ is also a bit more liberal than you make them out to be (or than I thought they were before I started seeing the paper regularly).

    #110 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2017, 05:13 PM:

    The reporting side of WSJ is more liberal than the op-ed section, and is generally pretty good at its job.

    #111 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2017, 10:43 PM:

    White Rage is America's Religion and Drug of Choice.

    We need to start listening to white folks like this guy, who grew up in "Real America" and knows what the hell he's talking about -- and stop listening to pundits who say we need to "reach out" to the people this article describes.

    The "reach out" thing is a bait. More to the point, it's a tactic that can be used to set progressives arguing with each other, because it appeals to our values -- fact-based reality, inclusion, consensus.

    We've all encountered well-meaning people who are absolutely convinced that if they can just find the right words, the right argument, we'll understand (aka agree that they're right), while they argue a position that we know to be completely wrong. There is no magic sweet spot when you're the person being argued at this way -- and for those "Real Americans", WE are the well-meaning but completely wrong people.

    We can either waste our time and energy trying to "reach" people who can never be reached by any argument at our disposal, or we can spend our effort toward creating the future we want, without reference to them. It's our choice.

    #112 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2017, 10:51 PM:

    We've all encountered well-meaning people who are absolutely convinced that if they can just find the right words, the right argument, we'll understand (aka agree that they're right)

    This is something you run into with proselytizers of all kinds. (The world doesn't actually work that way.)

    #113 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 07:59 PM:

    When tyrants tremble sick with fear
    And hear their death knell ringing
    When friends rejoice both far and near . . .

    Mike Flynn Offers to Testify in Exchange for Immunity

    #114 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 04:46 AM:

    Let's hope he's not just blowing smoke.

    #115 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 01:51 PM:

    Check both ends.

    #116 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 04:24 PM:

    And the FBI said thanks but no thanks.

    If being given immunity indicates that you've committed a crime (as Flynn said about Clinton), does asking for immunity count as a confession?

    #117 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 04:51 PM:

    Trump has said Flynn should get immunity. Doesn't he realize he has the power to give Flynn immunity, through a presidential pardon?

    #118 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 05:57 PM:

    If this is the farce, when was the tragedy?

    #119 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 07:42 PM:

    Tom @117

    I don't think the president (or in this case unpresident) can issue a blanket pardon. He's not Cardinal Richelieu[1] after all, and admitting to approving what he knows Flynn was up to might get him transferred straight from Trump Tower to the nearest Supermax facility. (Not a bad outcome, when you look at it like that.)

    [1] It is by my order and for the good of the State that the bearer of this note has done what he has done. 3 December, 1627 Richelieu

    #120 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 08:40 PM:

    Carter gave a blanket pardon to Nixon, Cadbury Moose. What's the difference here?

    Yeah, it might result in Congress revolting (depending on what Flynn says) -- but it's still within his powers to do so, both by law and by precedent.

    #121 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 09:09 PM:

    Tom, #120: ITYM Ford, not Carter. And yes, he did, and it lost him the next election, and we're still paying for that mistake.

    #122 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 09:15 PM:

    Thank you, Lee. Memory sometimes fails me.

    #123 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 09:41 AM:

    Tom, Lee:

    Carter also did a blanket pardon of Vietnam-era draft dodgers.

    Nixon pardoned a single person for unspecified crimes; Carter pardoned unspecified persons for a single crime. Both blanket pardons, but different.

    #124 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 06:28 PM:

    Ford. FORD pardoned a single person for unspecified crimes.

    #125 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2017, 08:11 AM:

    It's the "pardoned for unspecified crimes" version that this moose has a problem with. That makes a mockery of "no-one is above the law".

    #126 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 01:32 PM:

    So, Mike Pence and a gaggle of vote fraud alarmists want the states to submit detailed voting records.

    Pardon my French but . . . fuck that noise.

    This is obviously a step toward organized voter suppression. At the very least.

    It also opens up the possibility of using those lists, which include voting history, for organized FUD campaigns. Targeted phone calls and emails to discourage and confuse voters. Targeted advertising campaigns. Weaponized bullshit, like that used by the Russians in the 2016 election.

    Many state officials, including those from "red" states, have already told Pence to pound sand.

    If you are up to it:

    Call or email your state's Secretary of State. Urge him or her to refuse the order.

    Call or email your state's governor, your representative, and senators. Urge them to condemn this order.

    Send a letter to the editor to your paper.

    Get ready for a march. Hopefully the biggest, loudest march since January 21.

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    More long-winded spam, but they lost the payload.

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