davemerrill: (harvey)
Went down along with a few million others around the world to the Womens March yesterday. Ours was in Toronto.

photos behind the cut! )

Usually when you go to these things you see a few recurring themes; lefty non-aligned groups trying to make the march all about *them*, black-clad anarchist wannabes breaking American Apparel store windows, and long-winded speeches by professional social-justice marchers. None of that here; just marchers, smiling with their goofy signage and their pink hats, enjoying the cooperating weather, taking pictures of each other and marching down University. Lots of women, men, kids, strollers, dogs, students, older folks, determined to show that short-fingered vulgarian who's now in the White House that we see through his bullshit.












From what I'm told I have already sold one R. Sikoryak book from displaying his work prominently. A lot of people asked Shain and I for photos with our signs; now I know what cosplayers feel like. I've been feeling apocalyptic and powerless for a few months now and it really felt good to get out there and realize that we're not alone, that there are millions like us everywhere. I'm ready for the next march (though I will probably get some better boots)!
davemerrill: (harvey)
If you plan on living in the United States of America past next January,you might want to give this John Scalzi piece a read.

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2016/11/29/three-weeks-in/

Relevant bits:

I think he tweets what he wants to tweet when he wants to tweet it, and simultaneously, his incoming administration is so horrifyingly bad and has such awful plans that it gives the appearance that Trump must be blathering nonsense to hide the horribleness that those things represent. The thing is, that horribleness isn’t actually hidden; it’s being industriously reported on. All that horribleness is out there, standing straight and tall. These aren’t actually sneaky people. They are openly and unapologetically horrible. And why wouldn’t they be? Trump won the election.

We have a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican in the White House. There isn't much stopping them from doing whatever they want to do. And the things they have been saying they want to do are pretty terrible.

So, there's that. Moving forward. What do you do?

We can put Foster Campbell in the Senate in the Dec. 10 Louisiana runoff. https://newrepublic.com/article/139000/last-democrat-left-fighting?utm_content=bufferf17ae&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

There's this useful document now making its way around Twitter, urging progressives to address their frustrations with lawmakers, as opposed to one another. “We’re His Problem Now,” as it is titled, is an easy-to-use calling sheet providing step-by-step instructions for relaying concerns about Trump’s positions directly to party leaders, senators, and representatives.

http://www.dailydot.com/layer8/guide-call-lawmakers-congress-about-trump/

We are going to have to hold our local senators and representatives accountable. The press isn't going to do it. It's on us.

But what do *you* do to prepare for the loss of your health care, Medicare, and Social Security, and the loss of the freedoms we're used to? Trump and his gang are going to move fast and hard to get as much done as they can as early as they can and it's going to impact you directly. Be ready. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Get a checkup. Get refills on your prescriptions. Get your teeth fixed, get a new pair of eyeglasses. Don't assume this stuff - any of it - is going to be around after January.

Start socking away some rainy day money. Ditch the daily Starbucks habit, quit smoking, cut back on the drinking, ditch cable TV, quit buying Funko Pops and toys and video games, maybe. You might need that money for health care or a lawyer someday.

Don't assume the internet is always going to be around when you need it. Print out and keep addresses, phone numbers, and contact information for your friends and family, don't assume free wi-fi or Google Drive or "the cloud" will always be there for you.

Live in a red state? Move to a blue one, one with a governor who's up front about defying Trump. Renew your passport if you need to. It might get you across the border when you need to get across the border.

The FDA and EPA and USDA are likely to be deregulated and defunded, so you may want to start paying more attention to what you eat and where it comes from.

Make sure your taxes are paid up. Pay off those outstanding traffic fines or judgments. Start driving & acting like a responsible adult. If you're a regular weed buyer you might want to quit buying weed. If you're using any sort of illegal drugs, well, quit. Your dealer is going to get popped one of these days and he's going to start naming names and you don't want to be one of the names he names. If there's a police-state crackdown, "terrorism" will be the blanket charge for anything they don't like, the Bush-era closed-door tribunals and the secret prisons are about to make a comeback, and that if you're on the radar of the law-enforcement community you will have a target on your back.

Assume that everything you do or say online will be monitored and recorded. I mean, you should anyway, but now more than ever.

Yes, I know this is paranoid, but when Trump's Homeland Security pick is a guy who says he wants to suspend Habeas Corpus & round up a million Americans, maybe a little paranoia is called for. I hope I *am* just being paranoid and that I'll look back on this LJ post in four years and ask myself how I could have been this simplistic, fearful, and self-pitying. Because let's face it, I'm a middle-aged straight white guy. Even if I lived in the US I wouldn't face the full consequences of what's coming. However, that doesn't stop me from thinking about my friends who aren't, about my friends who will face the loss of their health care and their rights as citizens to go about their lives without being abused & discriminated against.

The larger picture, bigger than any one of us, is going to be made up of the choices we are all going to have to make moving forward. I could bloviate about it at length, but instead I will let Masha Gessen speak for me here:

For nearly a century, individuals in various parts of the Western world have struggled with the question of how, and how much, we should engage politically and personally with governments that we find morally abhorrent.

With the election of Donald Trump—a candidate who has lied his way into power, openly embraced racist discourse and violence, toyed with the idea of jailing his opponents, boasted of his assaults on women and his avoidance of taxes, and denigrated the traditional checks and balances of government—this question has confronted us as urgently as ever
.


I don't have anything to add to what Masha says here, other than to repeat the Boy Scout motto. Be prepared.

oh well

Nov. 9th, 2016 07:24 pm
davemerrill: (harvey)
Well, you can see how much weight MY political endorsement carries. Remember that if you ever need my endorsement for anything.

Obviously I'm socked in the gut. This thing did NOT go the way we thought it was gonna go. We thought it was gonna be a knockout blow, and instead it was a nail-biter to the end. In fact, I went to bed before they called Pennsylvania because I could not take the jittery PBS Newshour hosts and the suspense of waiting for the next state to be called. I tossed and turned all night, alternating between too hot and too cold, my stomach in knots. Maybe Hillary could take PA and MI and WI. Maybe. Didn't get a lick of sleep. Got up at 7 and turned on the PC and there it was, President Trump.

I know some Republicans read this thing, and believe me when I say that I know you're happy to have your guy in, that's how it works. But what he's going to do to America is going to set the clock back fifty years, if we're lucky. We are already seeing goons on the street telling minorities that they're going to have to get packing soon, and Trump's stated plans concerning NATO, reproductive rights, the environment, tax cuts, health care, trade treaties, religious freedom, you name it, not only is the country going to go so far to the right that you won't recognize it, but his policies are going to beat hell out of an economy that had barely gotten back on its feet. We are all going to suffer. You, me, everybody. Yeah, even me, Canada isn't so far away that this isn't going to affect our trade and our jobs.

I could very well be wrong. He might turn out to be a fine administrator. Garfield's VP Chester Arthur was widely thought to be a pudding-headed machine tool, but he surprised everyone. Maybe Trump will surprise us all. I hope he does, for all our sakes.

I don't think he will. I think he's already encouraging the worst aspects of America. The KKK is distributing leaflets in Birmingham this morning. I think he's going to appoint goons and thugs and the granny-starving assholes that have been champing at the bit for this chance to eliminate Social Security and turn America back into a 19th century factory town, and I think it's going to take every one of us to do all we can to monkeywrench all their plans.

The next four years are not going to be pleasant for anybody. Buckle up.

-Dave Merrill, November 9, 2016
davemerrill: (harvey)
I know everybody's sick to death of this endless election. I am too. I can't sleep and I'm cranky and nervous and refreshing 538.com every five minutes to see poll results. I'll tell you why I'm so nervous.

I'm nervous because Donald Trump is singularly unqualified to be President. I'm nervous because in his own words he's a terrible human being who treats people with utter contempt. I'm nervous because the only yardstick of his competence - his business practices - are ruinous and destructive. I'm nervous because of the endless parade of demonstrably false and illegal campaign practices that have been utilized on behalf of the Republican candidate. I'm nervous because of the racists and white supremacists that have come squirming out of the dark to cheer him on. I'm nervous because of the violence and ugliness that his campaign has inspired. Mostly, I'm nervous because this dumpster fire of a candidate is within striking distance of the White House, and what that says about American democracy, what that says about the nature of the American voter, that Trump has been able to get as far as he has. It doesn't say good things about the Republican Party and it doesn't say good things about America.

That's why I'm nervous.

Hillary Clinton is, on the other hand, uniquely and positively qualified to be President. In spite of a concerted and well-funded smear campaign that dates back decades, she's displayed competence and wisdom in both elected and appointed positions. Her public service has helped America on nearly every level for decades. A race between her and a competent Republican candidate that focused on policy and issues would be a tribute to democracy itself. That is not what we have.

It's been a grinding root canal of an election all along. We've all been suffering through angry Bernie supporters, putting up with leftier-than-thou hectoring from professional Presidential candidate Jill Stein and her fans, and the only bright spots have been seeing the look of confusion on Gary Johnson's face when he's asked to consider a foreign city or name a world leader he admires. We've spent eighteen months being pounded day after day with polls and fake scandals and revelations and the jowly paranoia of Rudy Giuliani.

But we must not lose sight of the whole point of this; that this Tuesday, we vote.

I am in honest fear of a Trump administration. His stated campaign goals will cause real, actual, physical harm to many of my friends and will take a sledge hammer to decades of foreign and domestic policy. I am lucky enough to live in Canada, but Canada is not far enough away to escape the effects of a President Trump.

It's rare that we're given such a clear choice at the polls. A lot of us flipped coins over Bush/Gore or felt that McCain was a strong candidate, and reasonable people could debate the issues in those races. This year the gulf between our choices is a wide, yawning chasm, an abyss that is gazing back at us right now. I want to urge you to stare that abyss down and say "no thanks, chaos." I urge you to join me in voting for Hillary Clinton.
davemerrill: (Default)
I haven't made a lot of political posts this season; I spent most of the '00s doing that on LJ and it was frustrating and nonproductive. But I do want to take a moment and tell you who I'm voting for and why. I'm voting for Barack Obama for President of the United States. In 2008 I thought he was the right man for the job, and subsequent events have proven my judgment correct. He's accomplished a lot in the face of terrible economic struggles, tumultuous world events, and a bare-facedly obstructive party across the aisle. As President, Obama passed Health Care Reform which has already proven itself to be of benefit to millions of Americans. His American Recovery & Reinvestment Act brought our economy back from the brink of disaster. He tightened regulation on the banks and institutions behind the Great Recession with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. He ended the war in Iraq. He ordered the Special Forces raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. He repealed "DADT", joined America with the coalition that removed Gaddafi from power, reversed Bush-era torture policies and Bush-era restrictions on stem cell research, streamlined student loan policies, increased support for veterans, passed credit card reforms, and the list goes on.

His opponent stands in stark contrast. Before the election cycle we didn't really know Mitt Romney. Now we do. Turns out he’s an entitled son of privilege, a predatory financier profiting from the misery of others, a hypocritical political animal glad-handing his way from one position to its opposite with amazing speed. His policy advisors are Bush-era fools, his VP choice is an empty suit of right wing talking points, and his ideas for America are mere sound bites without thought or substance. His campaign has been built around deliberately vague plans, and when Romney talks in specifics, he lies- demonstrable, easily debunked lies, demonstrating amazing contempt for the citizens he supposedly wants to lead.

In terms of reproductive rights the Romney campaign and the Republican Party in general have been working very hard to reverse decades of progress. The difference between the candidates and parties is very clear on this issue - the Romney/Ryan team has spoken out again and again against the rights of women to control their own health care. In 2012 this isn’t just reactionary; it is atavistic, full-reverse thinking that rejects a century of struggle and the wishes of the American public.

The nature of this election has brought out the ugly side of America: casual racism, misogyny, paranoia, and hate, spread by people who profit from fear and confusion. It is, however, easier than ever to spot the liars and the haters, because the predictions they made in 2008 have all failed to pass. Obama has shown can take the heat. He has spent the past four years as the target for the ugliest rhetoric seen in the American political process in our lifetimes, and he has not only survived, he has thrived.

Do I agree with all of Obama's decisions? Nope. Do I think he's made mistakes? Sure I do. Are there issues he's sorely neglected or completely failed to take action on? Yes indeed. However, I believe he's done a better job than McCain could have and I believe he'll do a better job than Romney could ever do.

You know me, I'm an honest guy. I may be a sarcastic SOB on occasion, but in the years I've spent working with people in the nerd and real worlds, I'd like to think people know I try to be a straight shooter. I base my observations on facts and I say what I mean and I mean what I say. And right now the man who should be President is not the man who said "let Detroit go bankrupt", not the man endorsed by haters, thugs, and perennial embarrassments, not the man who is on the wrong side of nearly every issue that Americans face. Instead, we need the intelligence, the skill, and the character of the man who’s proven his worth in the struggle of the past four years. The President America needs is Barack Obama.
davemerrill: (Default)
Been following the narrative of the upcoming midterm elections with interest and amusement as the Republicans attempt to wipe the memory of eight years of failure out of the minds of the American voters. And you'd think that after the spectacular train wreck of their governance (see: 2000-2008), they would dust themselves off, look at what they did wrong, and try to fix things, to try to get some smart, principled candidates with the best interests of the nation at heart. But instead, they're determined to saddle America with an even more brain-damaged,fraudulent, looney-tunes gang of screwheads. Thus demonstrating their contempt for the intelligence of the American voter. And who knows? Maybe the American voter deserves it. I mean, they gave the Bush gang the full eight years to screw things up. Do I think the Dems are perfect? Oh hell no. But if it's a choice between a wishy washy Dem and a R who thinks America is under Sharia law, I'll go with the wishy washy every time. Better than insane.

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