Tag Archives: resistance

Thanksgiving 2019: Still Finding Hope

the first detailed photograph of a black hole

Laurie and Debbie say:

Hope can feel hard to come by in these times, is why we think it’s so important to name and celebrate people and things we’re thankful for:

The U.S. impeachment proceedings against Donald J. Trump are in full swing, and the evidence for the narrow case the Democrats are mounting is very hard to refute (which is why the Republicans are doing everything they can to distract from the case and raise red herrings). Polls vary, but it does seem clear that more Americans support impeachment and removal than oppose it. Many other cases and lawsuits against the current presidency are in various stages, including the three emoluments lawsuits, all of which have been granted standing and are moving forward.

In other U.S. national politics issues:

The 2020 census is proceeding without a citizenship question. The controversy around this frightened many Latinx and other immigrants and will have somewhat of a chilling effect on voting, but Latin voting rights organizations are doing terrific work countering that issue.

The practice of “deplatforming” right-wing voices is having a real effect. Both Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones have more or less disappeared from the scene since they were removed from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in 2018. This year, after multiple mass-shooting “manifestos” were posted on the site, hate site 8chan was deplatformed and is still looking for a home.

In the realm of science, we have our first detailed photograph of a black hole (above), from the Event Horizon Telescope’s global network of radio dishes!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved not one but two new drugs to treat sickle cell anemia, an extremely painful and often fatal condition largely found in people of African descent. (The rapper Prodigy died of sickle cell anemia in 2017.) These drugs are outrageously expensive; however, many drugs drop in price a year or two after approval, and some insurance companies will approve them now.

Like U.S. and U.K. politics, the global climate situation inspires a lot of hopelessness. So we’re thankful for Greta Thunberg and the Sunrise Movement, young people who care enough about the world they want to live in to mount an implacable assault on the powers-that-be. And knowing that the European Investment Bank is divesting quickly from fossil fuel investments helps too.

We’re thankful for Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, and the country’s Parliament, who knew how a state should react to a devastating mass shooting: change the laws quickly.

We appreciate the U.S. District Court ruling acquitting Scott Warren of “illegally harboring refugees” when in fact he was providing humanitarian aid to people in need.

One of the ways we survive in these times is through the work of investigative journalists — an imperiled profession. In that context, we want to name Julie K. Brown, who (mostly in 2018) dropped the hammer on Jeffrey Epstein, leading to his imprisonment.

Our home state of California has led the way in a number of important things to be thankful for:

  • The nation’s strongest law limiting police use of force: Officers may shoot only when lives are in immediate danger, not when they are “afraid for their lives.” The ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project is also doing great work in the area of police violence. And Laurie’s home city just elected Chesa Boudin, a superb progressive district attorney.
  • A law permitting (finally!) student athletes to make money from use of their names and images. This law, with similar ones passed by a few other states, has caused the NCAA to finally back down from it’s “we’re rich; you can’t make a dime” historic position, though details still have to be worked out.
  • Along with New York and several cities, a law protecting people whose hairstyles might otherwise be excuses to keep them from jobs and schooling. Of course, this has mostly been used against Black people, so this is an anti-racist trend.
  • A law making a roadmap for local public banks in the state. (Debbie was an organizer on this one.)

We want to mention our personal thanks for the work of Stacey Abrams, magnificent crusader for voting and human rights, and for the work of Ibram X. Kendi, a writer who is  reframing the conversation about racism. There are thousands more people whose work deserves thanks: this list from Bitch Magazine names 50 of them (only a couple of whom we named above). One person we found in the Bitch 50 list is Rebecca Alexander, whose AllGo app helps fat people find the places where the chairs and other furniture will work for them — a much-needed service.

We are grateful to every single person who is engaging in resistance here or in their own country: people doing the amazing work that needs to be done: all the thousands upon thousands of them.









Living in Weimar 8: Stark Days


Laurie and Debbie say:

Valencia St, San Francisco 5/16/18

Since the very beginning of our Weimar series, we have stressed that Trump is not Hitler and the Republicans are not Nazis. The shameful things being done by our government have their own repulsive flavor.

And yet, the parallels are hard to escape. Right now, two pieces of news have made our blood boil.

U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions has announced a new immigration policy: if a family with children is apprehended trying to enter the U.S. “illegally,” the children will not be permitted to stay with their parents. The children may be kept on military bases.  The parents will, presumably, be placed in the current horrible immigration detention centers.

Let us be clear: There is no distinction between this policy and creating child-only concentration camps, as long as we understand that a concentration camp is not necessarily a Nazi-style genocidal death camp. Some children will die in these military camps, and virtually all of them will experience unnecessary trauma and suffering. Others will be “lost”(as more than 1500 have already been “lost” by this administration and the Obama administration) and some of them will wind up destitute on the streets, or victims of human trafficking operations, or both.

This is inexcusable cruelty. Sessions’ “justification” that it will act as a deterrent to illegal immigration is whitewash, which fails to cover his and his colleagues’ racism and complete lack of compassion.

At the same time that the U.S. government is planning on shamelessly warehousing children, the Israeli government is shamelessly slaughtering protesters at the Gaza/Israel boundary fence.  At least 60 people have died and another 2700 (no, that is not a typo) have been injured. We are completely appalled by Israel’s actions: we bring them up because the Trump administration is more or less alone in the world defending Israel’s actions.

What are they defending atrocities? First of all, the inhabitant of the White House probably thinks it’s a pretty cool reality TV show. Second, as American Jewish support for Israel decreases, evangelical Christian support for Israel holds strong, so Trump’s base is right there with him. Third, we’ve written here before about David Friedman, the Trump administration’s ambassador to Israel, and how repulsive he is. And finally, you never know when you might want to open fire on protesters in your own country, so you might as well have an example that you’ve already lauded to back you up.

Thomas Jefferson famously said,

Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events …

Unfortunately, we don’t even have to be theists to agree with Jefferson on this one.