Sister Marches.

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If you can’t make the women’s march on Washington, there are sister events! They are going on everywhere, not just here in uStates, but all over the world. Check out the sisters page, and see if you can find a march near you. (There are even three here in nDakota!)

World of Wonder has more details.

Rewire announces tracking tool for religious imposition bills.

Rewire this morning announced via email a new interactive tool for tracking the landscape of “religious imposition bills” (generally referred to by the enemies of humanity as “Religious Freedom™ bills”). As the release notes, already in 2017, 30 such bills have been introduced in state legislatures around the nation, including New York. It’s a good page to bookmark whether you are a writer or activist, as the fight on this front directly intersects with so many others. In addition, being a squeaky wheel at your state representatives’ offices and local newspaper is something all of us can do, and do more of, whenever these bills pop up.

__________

To: Interested parties
From: Rewire President and Editor in Chief Jodi L. Jacobson, and Director of Communications Rachel Perrone
Re: Tracking tool for religious imposition bills
Date: January 18, 2017

We are writing to alert you to our Religious Imposition Legislative Tracker, a new resource from Rewire that provides a comprehensive database and interactive map of state and federal legislation that seeks to expand religious power control of decision-making in the public and private sphere.

The past few years have seen a sharp increase in legislative efforts to shield private individuals and businesses from complying with nondiscrimination laws, and permit them to deny people basic services based on stated religious beliefs. Around 30 such religious imposition bills have been introduced so far in 2017, in Alabama, Colorado, Kentucky, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

Religious imposition frequently takes the form of expanded Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) in state legislatures across the country. Other types of religious imposition include anti-transgender bills (or so-called “bathroom bills”), that target specific groups and seek to shield businesses and individuals from anti-discrimination laws. Still others, such as conscience and refusal bills, permit civil servants, health-care workers, and others to deny people access to birth control, abortion and other basic services based on a moral or religious objection.

Additional Resources:

** A Timeline of the Religious Imposition Laws Sweeping the Nation

** How We Can Combat the Legislation Taking Aim at Transgender People Around the Country

** The Biggest Religious Imposition Fight Teed Up for 2017

Rewire, 7315 Wisconsin Ave. Ste. 400, Bethesda, MD 20814 United States

Protest where ever you can #NOFASCISTUSA

trumpprotest

We must protest every step of the way, we must make it clear that Trump is intolerable. There will be a protest tonight in Washington DC, as the Trump Hotel will be surrounded.

But, like many of us, I face a dilemma. We cannot afford to travel to DC or NY on a moment’s notice. We are tied down in a web of obligations and responsibilities — for me, this is the first week of classes, and I can’t abandon the students — so we can only wish we had the freedom to express our anger.

There’s an alternative, though: act locally. The Trump regime is not going to harm only NY and DC and our reputation in foreign countries — it’s going to hit you hard right were you live. The Republicans are already trying to destroy our healthcare, and it’s going to be a blight spreading across the entire nation.

Look to see what’s happening in your community. If nothing is happening, organize something — there will be people willing to join you. Case in point: the Women’s March on Washington is taking next week, and if you can go, you should. But there are also simultaneous Sister Marches being organized everywhere. Look at this map:

sistermarches

Sign up for your nearest march. If there isn’t one close enough, start one yourself, even if it is just you standing in your driveway waving a sign at passing cars. You might just be the nucleus of an anti-Trump cell in your neighborhood.

Screenshot Activism.

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Credit: Matt Chase.

Screenshot activists are reaching out to advertisers, pointing out ads which are right next to hateful commentary, fake news, and open bigotry. The primary target right now is Breitbart. So far the activism has been effective, but as with all activism, this could be, and needs to be, a much larger effort.

One day in late November, an earth and environmental science professor named Nathan Phillips visited Breitbart News for the first time. Mr. Phillips had heard about the hateful headlines on the site — like “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy” — and wondered what kind of companies would support such messages with their ad dollars. When he clicked on the site, he was shocked to discover ads for universities, including one for the graduate school where he’d received his own degree — Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “That was a punch in the stomach,” he said.

Why would an environmental science program want to be promoted on a site that denies the existence of climate change? Mr. Phillips figured — correctly — that Duke officials did not know where their ads were appearing, so he sent a tweet to Duke about its association with the “sexist racist” site. Eventually, after a flurry of communication with the environment department, he received a satisfying resolution — an assurance that its ads would no longer show up on Breitbart.

Mr. Phillips had just engaged in a new form of consumer activism, one that is rewriting the rules of online advertising. In the past month and a half, thousands of activists have started to push companies to take a stand on what you might call “hate news” — a toxic mix of lies, white-supremacist content and bullying that can inspire attacks on Muslims, gay people, women, African-Americans and others.

In mid-November, a Twitter group called Sleeping Giants became the hub of the new movement. The Giants and their followers have communicated with more than 1,000 companies and nonprofit groups whose ads appeared on Breitbart, and about 400 of those organizations have promised to remove the site from future ad buys.

[…]
 
But when I reached out to several organizations that seemed to have joined the ban, they didn’t want to talk about it. A bank and a nonprofit group did not respond to my queries. Two companies — 3M and Zappos — declined to talk about the matter. A Patagonia spokeswoman said that her company did not advertise on white-supremacist sites — but she would not comment on the screenshots that activists had sent to Patagonia in early December showing the company’s logo on Breitbart’s Facebook page. Warby Parker was the most forthcoming; a representative pointed me to a statement that thanked a Twitter activist for inspiring its own ban on Breitbart.
In the behavior of some of these companies, you can detect the way our norms have already shifted. In the old normal, it would have cost little to stand up against neo-Nazi slogans. But in the new normal, doing so might involve angering key players in the White House, including the president-elect, Donald J. Trump, who has hired the former editor of Breitbart as his senior adviser. Mr. Trump recently proved the damage he could do to a company by criticizing Lockheed Martin on Twitter; soon after, its stocks prices tumbled.
 
Still, a new consumer movement is rising, and activists believe that where votes failed, wallets may prevail. This struggle is about much more than ads on Breitbart News — it’s about using corporations as shields to protect vulnerable people from bullying and hate crimes.

Nicholas Reville, a board member of the Participatory Culture Foundation who has worked with the Sleeping Giants, pointed out that businesses benefited from embracing diversity: “You have to be inclusionary if you’re going to try to sell to a very large audience.” And he pointed out that consumer activism might be especially effective because so many people feel they have no other way to express their opposition to Trump-ian values.

The founder of Sleeping Giants agreed. “It’s scary to say it, but maybe companies will have to be the standard-bearers for morals right now,” he said. He added that most corporations embrace policies (on paper at least) that prohibit racist bullying and sexual intimidation. Even if President Trump flouts these rules, corporations may continue to uphold them. “We’ve all seen employee handbooks where they have codes of behavior,” he said. “Maybe that’s all we have to fall back on now.”

If you’re already on Twitter, and can cope with skimming Breitbart, consider joining #sleepinggiants. There’s also a sleeping giants EU.

The NY Times has the full story.

Jeanine Pirro: “He won!”

Pirro is a histrionic nut-bag, and she brought on Carl Dix to argue for the legitimacy of Trump.

The most chilling thing to me was her flat declaration that Trump can carry out his agenda because He won! We do not elect dictators. We do not simply accept heads of state who declare all kinds of dangerous nonsense simply because they carried the electoral college. Authorities must be constantly questioned and policed and kept in the bounds of responsible action by the electorate, and Trump has consistently declared his intent to violate those boundaries. That a corrupt crook and demagogue bamboozled a significant fraction of the American public does not imply that we have to allow him to destroy the country.

How White Supremacy Became Acceptable Discourse

Lindy West’s article on why she quit Twitter is worth a full read. I’ve seen some response to it about how we don’t all have the luxury of quitting various social media and there’s validity to that – certainly she is at a stage in her career where it’s no longer necessary, but it helped her get there. Nonetheless, a righteous takedown on the obscene indifference of these social media CEOs.

During the article, she mentions this:

Twitter abuse was a grand-scale normalisation project, disseminating libel and disinformation, muddying long-held cultural givens such as “racism is bad” and “sexual assault is bad” and “lying is bad” and “authoritarianism is bad”, and ultimately greasing the wheels for Donald Trump’s ascendance to the US presidency.

That’s certainly true. The conversation has changed, the trolls won this much ground – It is fully acceptable to participate in our culture now, as a writer, a pundit, a person with a television platform, and be an open white supremacist. Only the cartoon version remains taboo. You have to leave your supposedly ironic swastika armbands at home, only wear them at baby showers and whatnot. Other than that, you can openly say the motherfucking 14 words.

So in your view, how did this come to pass? My guess is that this flowed from the overwhelming cowardice of the media to ever call anything racist what it is, in the name of being objective, neutral, whatever. Might have even had more to do with this shift on a cultural level than the ku klux uncles of facebook and the anime nazis elsewhere.

Whatever the cause, I don’t feel optimistic about a solution. This stage of history feels like part of a cycle winding down to an utterly cartoonish cyber-dystopia. It’s a reiteration of the 80s, only hella worse. I remember what followed that. I first came to broader awareness of culture in the 90s. That was my high school days. On one hand, society was jingoistic and militarized as all hell. The movie PCU sounded the trumpet of making human decency uncool. Meanwhile, the other side of pop culture figures tried to push a relatively liberal agenda. TLC’s promotion of safe sex in Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg, Kurt Cobain pushing the limits against our collective homophobia, things like that.

Whatever liberals wanted to do, the whole time they had this weird postmodern attitude of civility about it. No sense of the danger. Being conservative was just a different way of knowing, southern pride was totes not about racism. As En Vogue said, “Free your mind and the rest will follow. Be color-blind, don’t be so shallow.”

So if that’s what we have coming next, what will it look like? The Fourth Reich and its pets in the Fifth Estate will clink glasses at the galas. Liberal pop culture figures will tut tut knowingly at different galas. The rest of us will learn what it’s like for your whole country to be a futuristic slum. Everyone slaving to scrape by and failing to do so, selling your organs for cash, daydreaming through the media we drink in between 12 hour shifts at the flesh farm, forgetting how things used to be slightly better and therefore never registering just how much we’ve been ripped off, how far we’ve fallen, how fucked everyone except billionaires truly are.

So, like, more of the same, but worse. Always worse, until climate change and disease finish the job.

You’ll forgive my gloom, I work at a mega-retailer.


Carl Dix and Cornel West on O’Reilly #nofascistUSA

You can tell that O’Reilly wanted them on the show so he could wag a finger at them — He, Bill, is the final arbiter of what is right and just. But Dix and West got in some good points that O’Reilly just dismissed.

Apparently, we are not now supposed to judge a politician on the basis of what he has promised to do.

#MGGA

You think Trump’s slogan, Make America Great Again (#MAGA) is something wonderful and inspiring? It’s nothing new. Someone else used a version of it back in 1934.

makegermanygreatagain

History strikes back!