PSA: Wisconsin — Power to the Polls!

A Viva Public Service Announcement:

Power to the Polls is coming to Milwaukee, WI on July 28!

When:

Saturday, July 28,  2018

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM CDT

Where:

Bradley Tech High School

700 S 4th Street

Milwaukee, WI 53204

This is an opportunity to encourage others to participate and represent in our democracy. If you’re in the Milwaukee metro area and available, please:

  1. Register for this event.
  2. Mark your calendar.
  3. Show up.
  4. Actively participate with others in grassroots political engagement, and please …
  5. Be heard by being seen and have fun!

From the Power To The Polls website:

“The day will include speakers, performances, canvassing, phone and text banking, postcard writing, food trucks, fellowship and more. Additional details will be posted to the Facebook event.

“Wisconsin’s marginalized and progressive communities have been attacked by voter suppression efforts which also impacted the 2016 election results. There’s too much at stake in this election to sit on the sidelines. We have a real chance to turn things around and build a progressive majority. This year, we won special elections in Wisconsin Senate Districts 1 and 10, and we elected Rebecca Dalletto the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Voters are saying to the racist, sexist, xenophobic, ableist, and transphobic policies of the Trump administration and majority in Congress.

We can win by working to amplify the women’s narrative in the electoral space, support local grassroots leaders and elect more women and people of color to public office. The P2P tour is only going to 10 priority states and Wisconsin is one of them, be a part of the movement for victory by registering today!”


Full disclosure: I will be out-of-town during this event but I will be looking for future similar events and will post them here.

Word smatter.

Or words matter. The Prescedense:

We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents…

24 June 2018 8:02 AM. Tweet. @realDonaldTrump

From Brian Klaas, author of How to Rig an Election & The Despot’s Apprentice:Donald Trump’s Attack on Democracy:

“Infest.” “Breed” “Invade.” This dehumanizing language cannot stand. Nazis referred to Jews as “rats.” Hutu leaders called Tutsis in Rwanda “cockroaches.” Slaves were referred to as “stock.” Dehumanizing language lays the groundwork for mass atrocities. The words are no accident

24 June 2018 8:26 AM. Tweet. @brianklaas


Words are no accident and I’ll cast the net a little wider. The origin of ‘slave’ is Slavic. During the Middle Ages, Slavs were forced into … slavery.

The confidential book with the lyrics to the Milwaukee Residential Security Maps emphasized the actual color coding of the maps with verbiage like¹:

  • infiltration of a lower grade population”
  • detrimental influences
  • undesirable population or infiltration of it”
  • “Polish infiltration
  • infiltration of Mexican”
  • “besides the colored people, a large number of lower-type Jewish population”

My bold. “Infiltration,” detrimental influences,” “undesirable population,” “lower-type,” add all that to “infest,” “breed,” “invade.” At various points in US history, groups of people have been ostracized, cast in the role of “the other” and definitely not one of “us.”  Dehumanizing. The other. If not an enemy, definitely a threat. They must be stopped. They must be contained.

And if you’re the one stopped?  Separated from your children? Your family? Detained? Contained? Hmmm. Well. Then. You must not be human.


Words matter.

From Hassan Ahmad, Esq. (specialty immigration law, my bold) Twitter thread²:

“No, we must not only fight back, but create an alternative. So I have a few more concrete suggestions.

1. Scream it from the rooftops. Seeking asylum is a human right.

2. Stop criminalizing brown and black bodies, or the exercise of human rights by brown and black bodies.

3. Don’t be afraid to call out white nationalism. Learn to recognize it. Calling out bigotry never gets old: don’t let them tell you any different.

4. Associate the word “immigrant” with “future citizen,” or “aspiring American” whenever possible, and repeatedly.

5. Not they. Us.

6. Let’s start talking about citizenship law, not just immigration law. And let’s not conflate immigration law with deportation law.

7. Let’s raise the term prosperous border, not “border security.” Let’s not conflate border security with border militarization.

8. Let’s put some blame where it belongs: the government renders people “undocumented” by actively dedocumenting them. “Document” is a verb.

9. Immigration is the cure for cultural stagnation. America is not a pie that needs dividing. It’s a whole kitchen.

10. Our country is defined by its people, not its borders.
Don’t just resist.
Build.”
19 June 2018 9:12 PM. Tweet. @HMAesq
(Full text in footnote 2 below in event link above doesn’t work.)

And to “our country is defined by its people, not its borders,” I would add “and currently not its Prescedense.”


¹ Redlining, Reggie Jackson, head griot at America’s Black Holocaust Museum.

Bullet points were sourced from my furiously scribbled notes taken at the Redlining presentation given by Reggie Jackson at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee 13 February 2018. Redlining was the first in the series ‘Allied in the Fight: Jews, Blacks & the Struggle for Civil Rights.‘ Errors are all my own.

² 19 June 2018 9:12 PM. Tweet. @HMAesq – unrolled using the Threadreaderapp. Text is included here in the event above links don’t work. READ, it is important: 

On separating families: Between fielding inquiries, helping clients, and trying to contextualize this latest act in the ongoing clown show that is this administration, I’ve also felt the ongoing nauseating mix of despair and disgust.

But maybe not for the same reasons.

Sure, I feel despair at not being able to just end family separation. And disgust at the administration that first celebrated it, and now (like clockwork) tries to deny it.

But I despair for another reason: that there is no unified alternative narrative. I am disgusted at the hate movements that successfully created their narrative.

(I’m talking about, among others, the Federation for American Immigration Reform.)

I despair that we are once again pulling out our water pistols to put out yet another fire, instead of taking out their flamethrower. I am disgusted at the complacency of people who legitimize that narrative by trying to find a half-baked common ground with it.

And I despair at the enormity of the task at hand, disgusted that this is where we are.

Here are some unvarnished truths:

1. The laws permitting these atrocities have been on the books for years.

2. There is a lot of money in the business of human detention. I mean, incarceration.

3. At least on the immigration side, the haters have a 40 year headstart. (FAIR dates back to 1979)

4. If you think this is bad, wait and see what happens when the laws themselves are rewritten instead of just being interpreted as cruelly as possible.

Wait and see what Jeff Sessions & Co. have in store.

I’m matter-of-factly glad that there is attention being paid to the due process free zone known as our southern border. I’m glad there is so much outrage. But it’s as useless as a bunch of water pistols if not properly channeled.
The thing about fires is they have to be put out. But if we’re not working toward a common goal, we’ll never take out the flamethrower.

So to put out fires, I recommend donating to @RAICESTEXAS , @cliniclegal , @AlOtroLado_Org, the @immcouncil, and the Texas Civil Rights Project. These folks have been on the ground since before #FamiliesBelongTogether started trending.

But all this advocacy can be focused. We can no longer accept the prevailing framing of the issues. No, we must not only fight back, but create an alternative. So I have a few more concrete suggestions.

1. Scream it from the rooftops. Seeking asylum is a human right.

2. Stop criminalizing brown and black bodies, or the exercise of human rights by brown and black bodies.

3. Don’t be afraid to call out white nationalism. Learn to recognize it. Calling out bigotry never gets old: don’t let them tell you any different.

4. Associate the word “immigrant” with “future citizen,” or “aspiring American” whenever possible, and repeatedly.

5. Not they. Us.

6. Let’s start talking about citizenship law, not just immigration law. And let’s not conflate immigration law with deportation law.

7. Let’s raise the term prosperous border, not “border security.” Let’s not conflate border security with border militarization.

8. Let’s put some blame where it belongs: the government renders people “undocumented” by actively dedocumenting them. “Document” is a verb.

9. Immigration is the cure for cultural stagnation. America is not a pie that needs dividing. It’s a whole kitchen.

10. Our country is defined by its people, not its borders.

Don’t just resist.

Build.

Know s*it Sherlock! The 3.5 % solution!

For love of wordplay, the phrase “no s*it¹ Sherlock” recently resolved itself into “know s*it Sherlock.” Know s*it.  ‘Know’ the homonym of ‘no’ turns the snarky phrase “no s*it Sherlock” into a cheer for furthering one’s education — “know s*it Sherlock.” Know, know, know!

Sherlock Holmes required a 7% solution.

And as an information junkie, I am happy to report that 3.5% of a solution is required to shake this current s*itstorm of an administration apart.  From my new favorite periodical — The New Hampshire Gazette A Non-Fiction Newspaper, Grab Me, I’m Free! Vol. CCLXII, No. 16, April 27, 2018, page 2:

“If enough people stand up to the status quo, eventually it will cave.

“The question is, how many people would that take? According to researchers Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, not as many as one might think.

“They found that ‘no campaigns failed once they’d achieved the active and sustained participation of just 3.5 percent of the population — and lots of them succeeded with far less than that.’ “²

Whoa! What!? If we throw the 3.5% solution at the 2016 election turnout, an additional 4.8M resisters need to participate and march their feet to the polls to effect change.  And though we may not participate for the same reasons —  a metaphorical herd of cats — pick your protest issue(s), make your voice heard, and at election time, make your vote count for change you believe in. Shoot, if you look at the number of votes Jill Stein and Gary Johnson peeled off in 2016, we’re there!

And like it or not, I offer the contemporary Tea Party as a recent example of effective civil resistance. The Tea Party formed in January 2009 after the election of President Obama. Although never a formal political third-party, the Tea Party organized, endorsed, and elected Senators and Representatives that formed a coalition within the current GOP.  And while verifying this assertion, I tripped across this nice essay obituary for the Tea Party by Matt Kibbe, one of the original Tea Party organizers.

The rise and fall of the Tea Party happened within a decade more or less. Horrified as we were, they affected real political change.  And treated us with Ted Cruz. And now their adjunct-cum-Emporer Prescedense Trump. And the damage done by the Trump Prescedensey internationally just this week and the week’s not even over, will persist longer than a decade.

Participate. Encourage others. The 3.5% solution is within our reach.

Know shit hope, Sherlock.


¹ s*it: I recently blogged that s*it looks French and sounds French if pronounced ess-EEE.

² Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan authored the book Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, Columbia University Press, December 2012.

³ The following are links to lists of issues and a gentle reminder, issues persist regardless of administration:

Pick one or two issues from the lists. Get involved. Be involved. Stay involved. And above all, be kind.

 

 

 

 

 

Boiling up some frogs.

On the black-and-white vacuum-tube TV of my youth, Hee Haw¹ was for lazy Saturday afternoons.  In answer to the question “Hey Grandpa, what’s for supper?”, I’d watch Grandpa Jones rattle off menus in horror and sick fascination.

A sample Grandpa Jones Hee Haw menu:

“Here’s what’s on the menu tonight: Turtle stew with onions and crackers, wild greens, stewed auger holes and bread puddin’. “


I enjoy reading science fiction. I don’t make time to read the genre often enough but as I tripped into a Twitter thread by a sci-fi writer, I thought of Grandpa Jones and boiling frogs. According to biology or urban legend or Wikipedia, if frogs are placed in a pan of tepid water and then the heat is turned up, the frogs won’t realize they’re exothermically stranded until the water boils and it’s too late.

We are frogs in water in a pan.

Viva Q. Public finds it nearly impossible to assess the wreckage the Trump cluster sh*tshow administration delivers continuously to our democracy and its strained institutions. What is the temperature difference between a tepid democracy struggling along and a full-blown boil of a dystopian dictatorship or an authoritarian state or a <insert non-democratic form of government here> government?

Just how hot is that water?

This is the full Twitter thread that itemizes some observable changes in public discourse in the transition from a democracy to a dictatorship. From sci-fi writer G. Willow Wilson, (my bold):

 G.(@GWillowWilson) “It’s a mistake to think a dictatorship feels intrinsically different on a day-to-day basis than a democracy does. I’ve lived in one dictatorship and visited several others–there are still movies and work and school and shopping and memes and holidays.

“The difference is the steady disappearance of dissent from the public sphere. Anti-regime bloggers disappear. Dissident political parties are declared “illegal.” Certain books vanish from the libraries.

“The press picks a side. The military picks a side. The judiciary picks a side. This part should already feel familiar.

The genius of a true, functioning dictatorship is the way it carefully titrates justice. Once in awhile it will allow a sound judicial decision or critical op-ed to bubble up. Rational discourse is never entirely absent. There is plausible deniability.

“People still have rights, in theory. The right to vote, to serve on a jury, etc. The difference is that they begin to fear exercising those rights. Voting in an election will get your name put on “a list.”

“So if you’re waiting for the grand moment when the scales tip and we are no longer a functioning democracy, you needn’t bother. It’ll be much more subtle than that. It’ll be more of the president ignoring laws passed by congress. It’ll be more demonizing of the press.

“Until one day we wake up and discover the regime has decided to postpone the 2020 elections until its lawyers are finished investigating something or other. Or until it can ‘ensure’ that the voting process is ‘fair.’

“A sizable proportion of the citizenry will support the postponement. Yes, absolutely, we must postpone elections. The opposition is corrupt! Our leader is just trying to protect us! A dictator is never without supporters.

“And hey, if we pull ourselves back from the brink and the midterms go ahead and the 2020 election is free and transparent and on time, you are cordially invited to point at me and laugh. Honestly. No one will be happier to be wrong than me. Fave this thread. I will laugh with you

“Since people are panicking prematurely in my mentions: I’m not suggesting that this chain of events WILL happen. I’m saying that if we were to slide into authoritarianism, this is how it would look. Bc many USians seem to think autocracy looks like something off the Syfy channel.

“(I actually think we are done a massive disservice by most western dystopian fiction for this reason. It lies about the way real dystopias actually look and feel.)

30 Jan 2018 12:09 PM. Tweet.

Boom! There it is. “Bc many USians seems to think autocracy looks like something off the Syfy channel.”

Meanwhile, the water comes to a boil.


¹ Hee Haw. Oh, my. Today I cringe at this reference. I can, however, sing the chorus to “Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me.” Really.

A Sunday Sundry Assortment

What a whirlwind week it has been!  The list I made last week gives me lots of topics to investigate and focus on that aren’t  politics, but here I am again with my binoculars pointed toward Washington … go figure.

Dodgeball: White Goodman

The character White Goodman in the movie “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”, (2004) — reminds me of the Prescedense — clueless, cheap, arrogant, an *ss**le. He thinks Kate Veatch is attracted to him because he is attracted to her.  She is not.  He thinks she works for him. She doesn’t. He believes his privilege and position make him a winner.  He isn’t.

So when it was reported that the Prescedense loves his McDonalds, I can’t shake the closing credit image of White Goodman, antagonist, chowing down on his sorrows.  I do not include a link. You have to Google it yourself, (‘White Goodman Dodgeball closing credits’).

You have been warned.  You cannot unsee it.

White House smoke & mirrors.

From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks and this week it was reported that during a discussion of immigration policy, the Prescedense referred to certain countries as ‘shithole countries.

And yes, I’m taken aback. And no, I’m not surprised.

And so this week, the New York Times with their motto of “all the news that’s fit to print,” gained a word that’s now fit to print — shithole.

Is the plural of POTUS, POTII? Asking for a friend.

Well, previous POTII have used salty language in White House meetings and it has not made national news in such a bigly way.  Why now? Who decided we should all be outraged over his language? The words from his mouth reflect the abundance in his heart and we are not surprised. But this time, this administration, someone in the room and someone in the MSM decided Teflon Don’s pronouncement — his exact words —  were news worthy.

No, with the current cage match the Prescedense is waging with the office of President OTUS, respect is gone.  Trump did not respect the office before he was elected. He doesn’t respect or step-up to provide behavior, the gravitas expected of someone sitting POTUS.  His tweets, his statements — winners, losers — he treats his role like it’s reality TV. And for the most part, the MSM treats the events in the cage, the events under the big tent like entertainment.

But it is smoke &and mirrors.  While you’re busy twittering on and on about ‘shithole countries’, magicians work on the other bigger s*it that’s happening.

And we are not entertained. (Link: “Trump’s racism is more than rhetoric – it forms policy and ruins lives”, by Sarah Kendzior.)

 

S*it*ole.

I like asterisking the ‘h’s in shithole.  It looks almost foreign.  S’it ole. Maybe it is a greeting. A term of endearment.

Word Mash-up: Pronounciation

Pronounciation (n): A bold declaration of an alternative way of pronouncing a word.

Pronounciation is a mashup of the words pronounce (v): declare or announce, typically formally or solemnly and pronunciation (n): the way a word is pronounced. And by way of example, we offer the following pronounciations:

Shi•the•ad:  SHY-thê-äd

As•sho•le:  as-SHO-lay

Bastard is still BAS-tard though.

Wheel of Fortune: Public Service Announcement

If you’re ever a contestant on Wheel of Fortune and you’re spotted the letters R, S, T, L, N, and E, the solution to:

S – – T – – L E

– – – N T R – E S

is ‘SHITHOLE COUNTRIES’ as stated by a R – – – S T  – S S – – L E.

MSM: Stop it. Get out from under the tent.

Bark, bark, bark! Get angry. Stay angry.

This headline from OZY captures the mission of the MSM: “Annoyed, Frustrated, and Outraged? You need this Nigerian word.”

I am reminded that when you enter a circus, a zoo, a barn, a smelly place, it stinks and after then after you acclimate, it really doesn’t smell at all.  The MSM is still trying to tell us that is it smelly in here.  It is smelly in the Trump circus. We know.  Make note and move on.

The circus is on the move. Follow the money. Income tax statements. Real estate transactions. Follow the documents that get signed, the policies that are implemented.  You are killing us with the chase to publish click-bait. We are sick of the diet of circus cotton candy.

Drilling in Hawaii

For 45 minutes Saturday, Hawaiians were exercised in a drill that had kicked off with the words ‘THIS IS NOT A DRILL.’

How is this? I have participated in bulk electric system restoration drills.  The #1 Rule: Every statement, every announcement, every conversation and announcement end contains the words “THIS IS A DRILL.”

If the Prescedense had not been preoccupied with golf, would we now be busy at another war?

SMDH.

DNC & the SOTU address

Rep. Maxine Waters and Rep. John Lewis among others will not attend the State of the Union address this year.  And that is their right, their perogative, and good Lord, they’ve earned it.

For Democrats who choose to attend —  I mean, you will have primo seats at the circus — comport yourselves with the same solemnity and respect as at a funeral.

Wear black. No smiles. Solemn all the way around. Pay your respects to the dying.

And I would love to see Kamala Harris deliver the rebuttal in the form of a eulogy celebrating the passing of the traditional American values that are missing from the Trump Administration — truth, liberty, equality, independence … it’s a long list.

 

 

 

Shameless Hawking.

Okay. Shameless is not a relative of Stephen and this is something I didn’t think I’d do this soon ever.

I opened the Viva Escritora Boutique Vending store on Zazzle with a collection of products sporting my Morse Code design of Black Lives Matter. (You can view products on Viva here or go directly to Zazzle here.)

And before I wrote an explainer and backgrounder on the why, the what, of the design, I thought I should test drive of a Viva sweatshirt or coffee mug myself.¹ So I visited Zazzle today and they are currently running a promotion of 30% off clothing if you use the PROMO CODE:

CLOTHINGSALE

And 15% off non-clothing items!  Not too shabby. I don’t know how long they’re running this promo. And if you don’t like the Viva Boutique wares, Zazzle features a whole lot of other designs by others on many different products² and I guess Christmas is coming so there’s that.

Shameless hawking over.


¹ Ann test drove the prototype and told me to get the Zazzle Viva E. Boutique up and running. So I did.

² I can’t vouch for the quality of all Zazzle products, but I have been very satisfied the t-shirts I purchased over 6 years ago.  Many washes, many wears and someone remarked on the Roswell reference on the front of Mr. Viva’s t-shirt last week. So there’s that.