Author Archives: mrswhatsit9

The Next Phase of #TheResistance

Phasesmoon

Hecate and I had dinner last night and as we were chatting about whether it would make sense to immediately drink all the high end booze we’ve each been storing before so-called President Trump gets us all blown up (conclusion: YES), we came to the realization that we’re moving into another phase of #TheResistance.

We had spent Election Night together, cried together, and talked frequently in the following days about our feelings of sadness, loss, betrayal, and devastation. We both quickly jumped into a variety of types of activism (some of which, in retrospect, were not particularly well-considered) out of the need to Just Do Something and fear over what might transpire if we didn’t immediately do EVERYTHING.

And the intervening months have been difficult, to say the least. But (at least) two things have become apparent: one, it could be a lot worse than it is, and thank the Goddess that Trump’s incompetent and The (86% female) Resistance is unbowed; and two, we’re in this for the long haul.

Yes, it’s looking more and more likely that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller will find evidence of impeachable offenses (assuming Trump doesn’t fire him, and if that happens, I’ll see you in the streets – I’ll be the one with the torch and pitchfork). I’m not optimistic that Congressional Republicans will do anything about that, since they seem congenitally unable to do anything (another blessing in disguise, and who knew actually being forced to govern rather than petulantly shout “no” like a nap-deprived two-year-old all the time would be this hard, amirite?), but, Goddess willing and #TheResistance keeps rising, they won’t stay in power forever.

And that led us to the second part of our discussion: #TheResistance needs to move into a Phase Two. Trump and his evil minions are going to continue to yank our chains – or at least try to yank them – with this, that, and the other crisis du jour. And I’m not attempting to belittle the crisis du jour either – threatening to nuke North Korea because Giant Toddler wants his Big Boy War and the only people he has advising him are generals (and you know what they say: when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like global thermonuclear war) is as serious as a coronary – but running from fire to fire prevents us from thinking strategically and planning for the future. Chaos is a feature with these yahoos, not a bug.

So I’d like to urge all of us, in our mundane and magical workings (and aren’t they really the same thing? As Hecate is fond of remarking: it’s all real, it’s all metaphor, there’s always more), to be sure to carve out some time to think on (and meditate on, and craft policy for, and sing for, and lobby our elected representatives for, and dance for, and donate to, and work magic for, and plan for, and make love for, and run for office for) Starhawk’s Good Reality that we want to birth into being.

The Democrats are starting to do this, with the introduction of the Fair Representation Act and state moves to require release of tax returns to get on the ballot (n.b. call your state reps in support of this immediately) and coming up with their own plans to improve the Affordable Care Act and introducing and pushing hard for co-sponsors for the Washington DC Admission Act (not for nothing, #DCStatehood would mean 52-50 rather than 52-48 in the Senate right now, and if your Senators and Representative aren’t on the list of co-sponsors yet, the51st.org offers terrific resources you can use to lobby them about that).

Windows and doors of opportunity will crack open, at the national level, in state legislatures, in your local city council, at your job, at your place of worship, in your circle of friends and family. When that happens, we all need to be ready to kick those fuckers wide open and charge through. The only way that’s going to happen is to take time to think about and plan for what that’s going to look like. That’s our next task, fam, so get on it.

Image found here.

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This Is What Courage Looks Like

ADAPT

This is what courage looks like.

ADAPT members (including activist and badass Anita Cameron pictured above) sitting in – and getting arrested at – Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) Capitol Hill office, protesting Republicans’ efforts to “strip disabled people of lives and liberty…

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 1.50.37 PM

This is what courage looks like.

ADAPT members being arrested while staging a 58-hour sit-in in Senator Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) state office to protect the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.

Collins

This is what courage looks like.

None of us will ever know what kind of pressure McConnell put on her behind the scenes, but Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) was an unwavering no on the Republicans’ efforts to dismantle access to health care for 20+ million Americans from the start.

Murkowski

This is what courage looks like.

Even after so-called President Trump threatened HER ENTIRE STATE, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) held firm. She knew that the AHCA, the BCRA, “repeal and delay,” and “skinny” repeal would ALL be a disaster for her constituents and her country.

Hirono

This is what courage looks like.

Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) is currently battling stage 4 kidney cancer. She knew the Democrats couldn’t afford to lose a single vote, so rather than taking care of herself, she stayed in Washington, DC, to do her part to keep the Democratic Senate Caucus strong.

This is what courage looks like.

Divided Democrats? I don’t think so. The Senate Democrats provided an impenetrable wall of 46 “no” votes to every single attempt the Republicans made to hurt American citizens. They also kept their two Independent caucus members in line throughout, despite the fact that one of them has a REALLY big ego and loves to grandstand.

Look in the mirror.

This is what courage looks like.

Did you call your Republican Senator to try to lobby him to vote “no”?

Did you call your Democratic Senator to thank her for standing firm on the side of her constituents and millions of your fellow citizens?

Did you march, protest, rally, sit in?

Did you go on Facebook to share your story of how the Affordable Care Act allowed you to take the risk of starting your own business because you could finally afford health care without the security of employer-provided insurance? Blog about how Medicaid has helped your nephew, who has been in a wheelchair since his car was hit by a drunk driver when he was 23, to live independently? Write a letter to the editor of your local paper explaining that Medicaid allowed your Nonna to live out her final years with dignity, receiving excellent care in a high quality nursing home? Tweet facts about  how the Republicans’ attempts to dismantle the ACA would harm millions of your fellow citizens to #ProtectOurCare?

Did you work magic to stop the Republicans and strengthen the Democrats?

You, my sisters and brothers of #TheResistance, embody courage.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1

 

Goddamn It, Will This Fucking Zombie Bill Just DIE, Already?

NOTLD

Previously on “Please, Republicans, Don’t Kill Millions of Americans By Taking Away Their Access to Health Care”:

The House of Republicans, after seven years of “repeal Obamacare” show votes, finally had to actually, you know, COME UP WITH A DAMN ALTERNATIVE BILL. Way to procrastinate, guys. It was the AHCA and it was, according to so-called President Trump “mean” (and may I never quote him again), kicking 24 million people off their health insurance.

So #TheResistance rallied. We marched. We called. We emailed. We protested..

And we thought we killed the AHCA. We patted each other on the back for our hard work and moved on to the next Trumpocalypse. Betsy DeVos. Deporting DREAMers – no, wait, they can stay, but their parents are screwed. Russiagate. The travel ban. Trump’s disastrous international trips. Comey. Pick your poison.

But wait! Paul Ryan managed to shove through his deeply unpopular bill with a disingenuous “the Senate will fix it” promise.

Then Mitch McConnell came up with the, “you think YOUR bill is bad? hold my beer!” BCRA in closed door meetings with 12 other old white guys. Not only were no public hearings held and no Democrats consulted, he even excluded most of his own damn caucus.

McConnell then tried to shove BCRA through the Senate before the July 4th recess – before anyone really had a chance to read it or the CBO had a chance to tell us exactly how many millions of our fellow citizens would lose their insurance coverage as a result. Thankfully, he failed, and constituents around the country stalked their cowardly, no-town-hall-meeting-for-you Senators to their local Independence Day parades while disability rights activists got arrested by the dozens staging sit-ins at local Congressional offices.

The CBO score came out: 22 million citizens would lose their health insurance. McConnell tried again to schedule a vote and threatened to take away everyone’s birthdays (aka, the annual August Senate recess)  if the Senate didn’t pass it – remember, as a budget reconciliation (hence the name), which only requires 51 votes. In other words, two Republican Senators could defect and Mitch could still win, by getting so-called Vice President Pence to cast the tie-breaker.

#TheResistance stepped up the calls, the rallies, the visits, the sit-ins, the die-ins, the protests, the marches, the emails…

Then! A ray of light!

Senators Lee (R-UT) and Moran (R-KS) unexpectedly joined Senators Collins (R-ME) and Paul (R-KY) and said they wouldn’t even vote to allow the Senate bill onto the floor for debate.

For good measure, Senators Collins, Murkowski (R-AK), and Capito (R-WV) basically said, “Mitch, don’t even THINK about repeal only” (CBO score: 32 million citizens would lose their insurance) and tanked what we all thought was the last of last ditches attempt: repeal only, something something something later on, IOU: One Health Care Bill.

And we all figured it was really and truly dead this time. And there was much rejoicing.  Hecate even congratulated all of us on our good work stopping the slow-motion disaster that is Trumpcare.

But every time we think we’ve killed off the bastard, it comes back from the grave, like Jason in Friday the 13th: Oh My God, Will This Franchise Ever End?

Now Mitch McConnell has scheduled a health care vote – nobody seems to know on what, exactly – for next Tuesday, July 25.

Why?

Near as I can tell, because lil’ Donny Temper Tantrum took a minute out of playing with his GREAT BIG RED firetruck and firing Sean Spicer to pitch a fit about health care. Not that he knows thing one about either of the bills – or, let’s be serious, the Affordable Care Act, either – but when he says “vote!” he expects McConnell to jump to it. Even though no one knows what they’re voting on. Even though it seems wildly improbable that Mitch will be able to marshal 51 votes, particularly with Senator McCain still recovering from his surgery and absorbing his cancer diagnosis at home in Arizona. Even though the whole thing is a dumpster fire on top of a clusterfuck crossed with an own goal times infinity.

HOWEVER.

That means that AHCA/BCRA/This Space For Rent/Shitburger Bill To Be Determined At A Later Date is not dead, just like Jason is NEVER EVER REALLY DEAD.

You know what to do. Call. Email. Sit-in. Die-in. March. Rally. Protest.

LOTS of cities are holding rallies and other events on Saturday, July 29. Find out more and register for something in your area – or sign up to host an event! – at ourlivesontheline.org.

Edited to add: Andy Slavitt, ACA and health policy expert, just posted a tweet storm on this topic. You need to check out the whole thing, but here’s the related tweet he pinned:

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 5.07.14 PM

Image from zombie film classic Night of the Living Dead found here.

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We Fight On ALL Fronts

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This past week, so-called President Trump, who’s been in seclusion since coming back from the G-20 meeting (probably more appropriately called the G-19 now), mainlining Fox & Friends and venting his spleen on Twitter, gave his first non-Fox News interview since his disastrous NBC interview with Lester Holt (in which he admitted on camera to intentionally obstructing justice in the firing of former FBI director James Comey) with Christian Broadcasting Network’s resident loon, Pat Robertson.

Yes, the same Pat Robertson who blamed the Pulse mass shooting, Hurricane Katrina, and September 11 on “teh gay.” The same Pat Robertson who claims feminism “encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” The same Pat Robertson who blamed Israeli PM Ariel Sharon’s stroke on the UN. The same Pat Robertson who advised nuking the State Department (yes, using a nuclear weapon on ourselves in our own capital city). Pat also predicted that an asteroid would hit and wipe us all out back in 2014. That Pat Robertson. (receipts here and here)

The interview itself was a non-stop barrage of stupidity, of course, ranging from “Putin would never have helped my campaign because he wanted Hillary Clinton as POTUS” (which anyone with any knowledge of anything knows is laughable) to insisting that Putin fears him because “reasons” (SUUUUUURE he does, cowboy), then following that up with a “we [Trump and Putin] get along very, very well” (OK sparky, which is it?).

But my point is not so much the interview itself as the prayer meeting and laying on of hands that took place earlier in the week. The two point to a larger and highly disturbing pattern of (to use the christianist term) “spiritual warfare.”

#TheResistance is fighting by calling Congress and writing emails to Members and sitting in in their offices and attending town hall meetings (when the rare Republican actually deigns to hold one) and pursuing them at Independence Day parades and marching and rallying and protesting and donating and calling and registering people to vote and writing op-eds for local newspapers and writing blogs like this one and tweeting and, and, and…

But don’t kid yourself – we also fight on the etheric plane.

We all fight in our own ways. Some of us are joining in Hecate’s Weekly Battle for America meditations that come out on Saturdays. Some of us are doing white-light workings to strengthen and protect #TheResistance and Democratic legislators and executives at the local, state, and national levels. Some of us are willing to get our hands dirty. And isn’t it *interesting* that Donny Jr.’s emails proving collusion between the Trump team and the Russians to try to change the outcome of the election came to light during the full moon? I wonder what might have caused that? (wink wink nudge nudge say no more)

Rumor has it that during the Robertson meeting, Trump thanked him for “getting rid of the witches who are out to get me.” Well, if he did, it was premature, because we’re still out here fighting, and we don’t plan to quit. We’re in a spiritual war, and we need every soldier we can get. I hope you’ll join us.

Image found: on a right-wing website, and I’m not linking it

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1

ACA: Don’t Stop Now!

Switchboard-Telephone-Operators

Although most Republican Senators refused to hold the customary open town hall meetings with their constituents during the Independence Day holiday break (Senator Jerry Moran, R-KS being the lone exception), members of The Resistance found creative ways to express their thoughts on Republicans’ attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with the “Better Care Reconciliation Act,” a bill that basically amounts to the pointless “thoughts and prayers” they share after yet another mass-shooting (and will be about as effective at helping people afford health care).

Constituents pursued them to July 4th parades. Brave disability rights activists staged multi-day sit-ins at local Congressional offices. People shared their stories on social media (resulting, predictably, in death threats from assholes). Doctors rallied. People staged die-ins.

It’s been a busy “break.”

The Senate returns next week.

Mitch McConnell appears to be wavering. A little bit. Maybe. (Part of the problem being that the BCRA is totally incoherent and seems to have been formed only to solve only the problem of “what could potentially garner 51 votes?” and not necessarily anything related in any way, shape, or form to actually providing health care to actual people.)

Time to take a victory lap?

Hell no.

Time to step up the pressure.

“But I get my health care through my employer. This isn’t really my fight.”

Not so fast!

The BCRA is going to end the essential services, no annual limits, and no lifetime limits provisions of the ACA.

What that means is your employer could decide to switch to a cheaper policy that doesn’t include birth control coverage or mental health care or maternity care. Need those things? Tough luck – you aren’t covered.

What that means is if you have an unlucky year, you could hit your annual limit, be on the hook for a lot of money, and end up having to declare bankruptcy (medical debt being the MOST COMMON cause of personal bankruptcies).

What that means is if you end up being treated for something with an expensive drug or expensive surgeries, you could exhaust your lifetime limit of coverage. That means you’re done with health insurance FOREVER. Anything else that EVER happens to you is ON YOU to pay for.

The status of pre-existing conditions is still pretty shaky, so if you’ve ever had anything more serious that a sprained ankle or the flu, you could be denied coverage if you switch jobs – or if your employer switches carriers.

BCRA also drastically cuts Medicaid, which means Nonna could get thrown out on the street – or you could have to quit your job so you can take her into your home and care for her full time. Which would also mean you would lose your employer-provided coverage.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you that this IS your fight. So now what?

Key Senators to target include:

  • Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
  • Jeff Flake (Arizona)
  • Cory Gardner (Colorado)
  • Susan Collins (Maine)
  • Dean Heller (Nevada)
  • Rob Portman (Ohio)
  • Mike Lee (Utah)
  • Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia)
  • Ron Johnson (Wisconsin)

(Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, John McCain, Mike Rounds, and Bill Cassidy are also not supporting the BCRA – yet – but it’s mostly because they think it’s still too generous, so I’m not sure they’re open to persuasion, unless you’re willing to lie and agree that the BCRA *is* in fact FAR too generous, so they should continue to oppose. But if you’re a good liar, go for it. But don’t bet the farm on McCain – he’s been talking a good game and then folding like wet tissue paper for years.)

Sadly, if you are NOT one of their constituents, there’s really  no point in calling.  Yes, I know, Congress technically works for all of us, but the experts agree: if you aren’t in a Representative’s district or a Senator’s state, they don’t give a good goddamn what you think.

“I don’t live in one of those states. Am I off the hook?”

Nope.

Do you know anyone in one of those states? Like maybe you have family or college friends who live there? Call them and urge *them* to call their Senators.

Not sure about where Great Aunt Rosa or your old roomie Jamal is living these days? Did you know that you can ask Facebook to show you your friends in a particular state? You can.

Is your Senator already on the record opposing BCRA? Then be like Hecate and call her or him to say thank you (and help her/him keep that stiff spine in the process).

When you – or your friends or family – call, make it personal. Share your story about how the ACA has helped you, or how losing that coverage would hurt you. Did it free you to follow your dream of starting your own freelance business? Does Medicaid pay for your Nonna to live comfortably and safely in a nursing home where she receives excellent professional care? Has it allowed you to stay on your parents’ plan – or keep your kids on your plan? Provided access to affordable birth control? Helped you afford better management of a chronic disease? Allowed you to get a screening test that found something while it was still easily treatable? Data and statistics are important, but they don’t resonate the way “the Affordable Care Act saved my life, and let me tell you how” does.

(You can also check out the ACLU’s grassroots People Power initiative to see if there’s a larger event happening near you like a march, protest, rally, or sit-in you could join. Or hell, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can sign up to host/organize one yourself!)

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1

Poem for Independence Day

Let-America-Be-America-Again-e1455130571777

I hope I’m not stepping on a post Hecate has planned for today, but this poem by Langston Hughes seems particularly appropriate this year:

 

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

Poem and image found here.

(Might’ve been nice if he mentioned the ladies, but he was a product of his time.)

 

Should the Dems Dump Nancy Pelosi?

NP

In the wake of the four Democratic losses in recent special elections that I wrote about last week, this has become a major topic of discussion.

Arguments go something like this:

“She’s toxic.”

“Republicans hate her.”

“Jon Ossoff lost because they hung her around his neck in GA-6.”

“She represents highly educated, culturally diverse, wealthy, liberal, ‘coastal elite’ San Francisco, which, in the minds of middle America, stands in for everything they hate.”

[Here’s a thought: how about we stop apologizing for being educated and culturally diverse? There’s no shame in not having a college degree. There’s no shame in working with your hands for a living. There IS shame in being willfully ignorant.]

[Here’s a second thought: Jon Ossoff lost by 4 points. Tom Price’s LAST Democratic opponent lost by 25 points. And we’re using that as evidence that Nancy was a DRAG on the ticket? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ]

I have to ask: whose interests would be served by dumping Nancy Pelosi in favor of a Representative To Be Named Later (But Probably a Penis-American, for reasons that will be shared below)?

Not Democratic interests.

Nancy whips and counts votes like a mo-fo.

In 2009, Nancy held a divided Democratic caucus together and LBJ-ed the hell out of them (aka, twisting arms until they popped out of the socket) to get the Affordable Care Act passed.

Nancy saw through GW Bush from the start – and DIDN’T support the Iraq War, for those of you who STILL insist on hammering Hillary about that.

Nancy raises money like a boss. No matter how much you might want to romanticize $27 donations, running for office is expensive and will remain so, absent structural change that will impossible given the current makeup of the Supreme Court. She brings in the money.

Nancy is holding the Democratic House caucus together now, today, in a time when Democrats’ legislative and executive influence is at its lowest ebb in maybe 100 years. They may be individually demoralized, but she is keeping them unified and enforcing party discipline in a very difficult time.

Want receipts? Here. And here. Also here (on her own website, but a WaPo article). There’s this, too.

[Another thought: Democrats HATE Paul Ryan – in fact, his approval ratings hover at or below Nancy’s. Paul is also UTTERLY ineffective. Yet there’s no rush on the Republican side to dump him, is there?]

So again I ask: whose interests would this serve? To quote Slate’s Political Gabfest podcast from June 22: why should the Democrats do something the other team wants?

Why are we even having this conversation?

I’ll tell you why. Republicans have learned how to weaponize Democratic men’s misogyny and are using it very effectively against us.

Who taught them?

I think you know the answer to this one: Bernie Sanders. And they learned his lessons well.

Want receipts? Sure. Let’s start with Salon (which is STILL Berner central, by the way). The Boston Globe. Snopes. HuffPo. Also, HuffPo. A terrific Medium post from a women’s studies professor. The always-insightful Melissa McEwan. I could go on: Google provided over 400,000 links to this topic.

Dump Nancy?

Fuck, no, Democratic men. And while you’re at it, get over yourselves.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1