september 13,2017 things

Kids are back in school. Let’s get back to this blog thing here.

mental wellness:  a Brazilian shaman reveals the dark side of positive thinking – The Law of Attraction and “just think positive!” solution is exhausting and mentally harmful, not to mention completely ineffective. Denying yourself normal emotions your feeling in challenging life situations isn’t going to fix anything or help you cope mentally. Be pissed off if you need to be. It’s healthy. 

But speaking of positivity….
activism: The Small Victories newsletter is a weekly roundup of all the progress made thanks to activism. I’m so glad this exists. It’s easy to lose track of these small victories when the big picture of work to do is so daunting.

podcast: Politically Reactive: Disaster Capitalism and How to Fight It with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Mustafa Santiago Ali  – this episode focuses on environmental and structural racism that influences economic inequality
(this episode also happens to be where I heard about the Small Victories newsletter)

another podcast: Fake the Nation: DACA and Disasters with Dean Obeidallah and Charlie Pickering – it’s a good discussion of what DACA is for anyone trying to fill in the blanks.


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Winter compassion rack in Saranac, New York via Avantgardens



Was reading these links kind of a bummer? I do these nearly-daily link roundups at my other blog,too, and those are a lot happier and prettier.

Other places to find me:

If you like the work I do here at Poor as Folk, please considering being a supporter through Patreon. Your support will help keep the lights on and the content flowing, as well as help me develop printed publications such as cookbooks and zines designed to help low income folks. Even if you can only pledge $1 or $3 per month, that is SO appreciated! If even half the readers of this blog pledged that small amount, it would be significant enough to bring change and growth in my own life.



Healthcare: tweeted the other day about Senate quietly pushing for a change in the new bill that would allow states to eliminate Medicaid entirely. Read the whole thread here

basic income: Rutger Bregman’s TED talk “Poverty isn’t a lack of character;It’s a lack of cash”
There’s a lot in this TED talk that poor people already know (but no one listens to us). Like that poor people aren’t stupid but the stress and conditions of poverty make them do stupid things. Like that the best way out of poverty is to give people money, not for rich people to send them teddy bears and shoes. Unconditional basic income is how to end poverty.



wages: Missouri Republicans Lower St. Louis Minimum Wage From $10 To $7.70.  

LOWERED minimum wage. Those same Republicans probably won’t understand why more people will now be applying for assistance. “Get another job or two, slackers”

podcast: Radio Free Dystopia–  Dystopian fiction is my jam so of course I was going to love this podcast immediately.

A podcast about what we learn when facts and dystopian fiction start to look the same. Join dystopian novelist Toby Ball, journalist Meg Heckman and assorted guests as they talk about authoritarianism, free speech, environmental decay and what it means to commit acts of resistance. Also: Power, privilege, freedom and – perhaps most importantly of all – hope.

soundtrack: “Tin Foil Hat”, Todd Rundgren feat Donald Fagan

It’s about you-know-who



Was reading these links kind of a bummer? I do these nearly-daily link roundups at my other blog,too, and those are a lot happier and prettier.

Other places to find me:

If you like the work I do here at Poor as Folk, please considering being a supporter through Patreon. Your support will help keep the lights on and the content flowing, as well as help me develop printed publications such as cookbooks and zines designed to help low income folks. Even if you can only pledge $1 or $3 per month, that is SO appreciated! If even half the readers of this blog pledged that small amount, it would be significant enough to bring change and growth in my own life.






activism: Why It’s Important To Challenge Gatekeepers
This is from last year but continues to be important. Gatekeepers are totally unaware that they’re taking part in silencing and oppressing others so if you read this and hear your own voice in the examples given of what gatekeepers say and do, challenge yourself to do better,please. Thanks.

podcast: Ep 4 The Spending Clause of What Trump Can Teach About Con Law
This episode explains what the spending clause is and how it works to withhold federal funding to sanctuary cities.

disabilty/wages: A new bill could boost pay for the disabled–to at least the minimum wage. Right now employers do not have to pay disabled workers minimum wage. For real.

labor: Truck driving is a modern form of indentured slavery

Trucking companies force drivers to work against their will – up to 20 hours a day – by threatening to take their trucks and keep the money they paid toward buying them. Bosses create a culture of fear by firing drivers, suspending them without pay or reassigning them the lowest-paying routes.

* To keep drivers working, managers at a few companies have physically barred them from going home. More than once, Marvin Figueroa returned from a full day’s work to find the gate to the parking lot locked and a manager ordering drivers back to work. “That was how they forced me to continue working,” he testified in a 2015 labor case. Truckers at two other companies have made similar claims.

* Employers charge not just for truck leases but for a host of other expenses, including hundreds of dollars a month for insurance and diesel fuel. Some charge truckers a parking fee to use the company lot. One company, Fargo Trucking, charged $2 per week for the office toilet paper and other supplies.

* Drivers at many companies say they had no choice but to break federal safety laws that limit truckers to 11 hours on the road each day. Drivers at Pacific 9 Transportation testified that their managers dispatched truckers up to 20 hours a day, then wouldn’t pay them until drivers falsified inspection reports that track hours. Hundreds of California port truckers have gotten into accidents, leading to more than 20 fatalities from 2013 to 2015, according to the USA TODAY Network’s analysis of federal crash and port trade data.

* Many drivers thought they were paying into their truck like a mortgage. Instead, when they lost their job, they discovered they also lost their truck, along with everything they’d paid toward it. Eddy Gonzalez took seven days off to care for his dying mother and then bury her. When he came back, his company fired him and kept the truck. For two years, Ho Lee was charged more than $1,600 a month for a truck lease. When he got ill and missed a week of work, he lost the truck and everything he’d paid.

* Retailers could refuse to allow companies with labor violations to truck their goods. Instead they’ve let shipping and logistics contractors hire the lowest bidder, while lobbying on behalf of trucking companies in Sacramento and Washington D.C. Walmart, Target and dozens of other Fortune 500 companies have paid lobbyists up to $12.6 million to fight bills that would have held companies liable or given drivers a minimum wage and other protections that most U.S. workers already enjoy.



Reminder: Fight for healthcare is still on

via 2 Hours A Week:

While all eyes were on the Comey testimony, Senate Republicans have been quietly trying to fast-track the AHCA bill through, with little to no transparency.

Sen. McConnell has invoked Senate Rule 14, which allows the bill to bypass committee, and thus without debate, go straight to a floor vote. No committee debates and no public hearings, mean that we, and most likely many Senators will know very little about what’s actually in the bill when it gets voted on. McConnell has been working hard, behind closed doors, to get the 51 votes needed to pass the bill. He may even resort to pulling VP Pence in to break a tie, if necessary.

And if McConnell has his way, the bill will be voted on by July 4th, before Congress goes into August recess.  That is less than a month to reach out to all our senators, and make sure they stand strong against this repeal. We need to make sure at least 4 Republican Senators are a solid NO vote. Whip list below!

1. CALL these Republican Senators below if they represent you and pass on to family and friends in these states:

Probably A No Vote

  • Lisa Murkowski (AK) 202-224-6665
  • Susan Collins (ME) 202-224-2523

On the Fence

  • Dean Heller (NV) 202-224-6244
  • Jeff Flake (AZ) 202-224-4521

Wild Cards

  • Ted Cruz (TX) 202-224-5922
  • Mike Lee (UT) 202-224-5444
  • Rand Paul (KY) 202-224-4343

2. CALL your Senator even if not mentioned above, Democrat and Republican alike. We need to get back to making noise about the AHCA!

USE THIS SCRIPT (feel free to ad-lib, of course)

I am calling to express my deep concern that the AHCA bill will be fast-tracked through Senate without being fully debated and reviewed in committee.  Please do not make the same mistake as the House by approving a bill that few congresspeople read or understood, and that leaves 23 million Americans uninsured.  Our health and lives cannot be gambled with for the sake of political primacy.  If you truly represent us, your constituency, then you will vote NO on AHCA.
Thank You


Ben Wikler had a great thread on Twitter posted last week on paths to fighting this. Read it here.

Updated to add Wikler’s  “Red Alert” thread from this morning: HERE

Scum and Villainy in Congress


It was merely one week ago when Jimmy Kimmel used his opening monologue to tearfully share the story of his newborn’s heart defect and make a plea to all to support health care. In the days following, we say think pieces and musings about how Kimmel’s passionate plea would affect the outcome of the renewed ACA Repeal (and Replace but not really, who are they kidding?) bill.

We got that answer of course when the House voted to kill people. I’m positive that sounds overly dramatic to some people but it’s really not. Just yesterday someone on Twitter explained to me that no one is going to die from ACA repeal because it’s illegal for an ER to refuse anyone treatment. They do chemotherapy in emergency rooms now?
“Everyone will have access to healthcare” does not equal “Everyone will be able to get healthcare they can afford.”

In the day and even hours leading up to the repeal vote, every resistance organizer’s newsletter was urging everyone to pick up their phone and call their congressional rep. At this point, some of us are burnt out with phone calling when we know it isn’t going to do any good for our particular representative. You can tell when it’s doing good to call and when it’s not.

I mean, when your rep is someone like Tom Reed? Save your breath. His staff is wonderful and courteous, for what it’s worth. Reed himself is one of those congresspersons who held town halls with enormous turnout where his constituents told him very clearly not to vote “yes” to repeal ACA. There certainly wasn’t anyone at those town halls begging him to vote yes. You would literally hear conversations where Reed would say, “ACA is terrible and doesn’t work for many people” and have several people reply, “ACA saved my life” and Reed would be like, “I respect that we have a difference of opinion.” It became crystal clear to me that he was not listening and would not be acting on our behalf. The last correspondence I had with Rep Tom Reed was to tell him it would be my personal mission to make sure he doesn’t get reelected. I already started with my Mom. This was easy. All I had to do was tell her he was a Yankees fan. He will not get her vote for sure now.

Then this past weekend, after voting to repeal ACA, Tom Reed bravely held more town halls to try to defend his vote. People weren’t happy. He lied to a 14 year old diabetic boy about preexisting conditions. He also lied to a kidney donor.
Those links are all videos so you can see this awful man in action.

So, if you didn’t call your Congressperson because that’s the same nonsense you have in your district, I get it.  You’ll get no reprimand from me. Moving forward, we’ll see what the Senate comes up with and resist accordingly.  Maybe they’ll be more persuaded by Kimmel’s plea and only put forth something that passes The Kimmel Test.

Podcasts to get you through Trump times

ADHD Coping Tip: Use podcasts to help you focus on tasks. A 40 minute episode=40 minutes of work.  Trump-related Anxiety Coping Tip: When listening to political podcasts, make that task something active to work your aggression out. Gardening is a fantastic option.

The news moves so fast right now and there is so much of it. Worse, some of the news that disappears off the radar quickly is important pieces that are being overlooked. Mainstream news cycle is often focusing on pieces that don’t really matter…or maybe they do but not in a big picture kind of way.  For myself, I’ve been surprised during these past 100 days of how ignorant I feel. I consider myself well informed on current events, politics,history, and civics/government but so far this administration has me scrambling to learn or relearn as the case may be. I mean, some of this stuff about how government works I learned 20 or more years ago in high school. It’s dusty. In my family, I’m the person who everyone goes to to get the explanation of what’s going on in and there’s been times lately where I’ve been at a loss or I’m not sure my information is correct.And this is a huge problem because you can’t properly be an activist working without all the information.

There are several podcasts I’m listening to right now that offer good info and deeper looks at bigger issues, more than an headline or a cable news blurb will get you. While a lot of podcasts I listen to also have seen reason to touch on current politics, I didn’t include those here because politics isn’t the central focus although I’m sure in future posts I’ll share specific episodes. Besides keeping me up to date with current happenings, I’ve bee really appreciating when podcasters take the time to delve into the background of topics (North Korea, Syria, for example) to help me get a refresher course and better understanding of it’s place in current events right now.

If you’re listening to a good podcast right now you’re using to help you keep up with politics that isn’t here, by all means please recommend it! I used to listen to more but scaled back a bit. I also think I impulsively unsubscribed to a few because they probably said something minor to piss me off and I was in a mood at the time. There were a few that were still very focused on “If Hillary had won….” or really still stuck on the election. It’s good to examine what happened and why during this past election (if for no other reason than to figure out how to get Democrats into office and be effective leaders) but this can’t be THE thing to focus on.

Up First : NPR – a daily look at the headlines. This one is only 13 minutes long so it’s enough to get the key headlines in the morning.

Trumpcast –   Slate’s podcast dedicated to resistance in the Trump era. Always informative and hey, they even have a book club happening (although I didn’t finish The Confidence Man because my ebook loan from the library expired before I was finished)

Breakdances With Wolves Podcast  Indigenous centered and valuable conversations about issues white people like me need to take in and learn from

The 45th Podcast  Hosted by Rabia Chaudry (from Serial, among other things) with her cohost from Undisclosed Susan Simpson , and Sarah Basha.  I am gathering that a large reason some don’t like this podcast is because Sarah has Conservative views. Yeah, I mean I don’t agree with her sometimes but it doesn’t keep me from listening.  She still has a valuable voice here and understands policy. I was raised by Republicans and married one (reformed now, thank the gods) so my tolerance level might be different than others who aren’t used to hearing the other side though.

Politically Re-Active Podcast – W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu– my favorite and most reflective of my own views. Always stellar guests.

Pod Save the World 
Pod Save America 
“No-bullshit conversations” about politics and foreign policy. Hosted by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor.

Political Podcast, The Takeout – it’s a CBS podcast so I know some people will be thinking, “Oh, ugh…mainstream news!” but ya’ll, Major Garrett is great and I love him. So there.





I’m so, so tired this week. Winter is wearing on me. Maybe I’m coming down with something. Everything is exhausting and frustrating.
I’ve had technical difficulties getting inventory into my new online shop that I just had no patience to deal with this week, and then felt terrible that I wasn’t working harder on it. The emotional labor required for political activism these days is taxing on it’s own but this week it has felt especially overwhelming.

I need a nap and probably a few hours just to do nothing but watch videos of baby goats in pajamas or a couple episode of Drunk History.

The one bit of good news today was that Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder withdrew his name from consideration. This was one cabinet pick I had intended to fight hard against and had a post ready for tomorrow making that case with actions to take. This saves me the trouble. He was one nominee who had a good chance of not being confirmed, thanks to a pile of allegations that even Republicans couldn’t get behind. We may even have to thank Oprah a bit for this.

One of the reasons given for withdrawing was that he was “tired of the abuse”. Classic abuser and oppressor trying to claim the role of victim.

Earlier this week I was thinking that putting a lot of effort into challenging these nominations might be a waste of time and energy and the best thing to do would be to strategize how to deal with them once confirmed to the administration. At the same time, it would never feel right to not stage a very vocal opposition ,regardless of knowing how it would ultimately play out. The protests and vocal criticism against Puzder played a huge part in his decision today. It can’t ever hurt to organize and oppose anything this administration does, whether it’s cabinet nominees or executive orders. We definitely need to do both of these things – fierce resistance while planning for worst outcomes.

Here’s my song of the day

Action to-dos

Some persistence & resistance to-dos plus just plain good inspiration for activism and involvement.

Get Inspired

Listen to Interviews for Resistance with Sarah Jaffe.

My favorite Mayor Svante Myrick writes about we need younger people to step up to leadership roles in government and how the Young People For program and the Young Elected Officials Network is empowering and mentoring millennials to lead the future.
(send those links to your favorite millennial)

In case you feel like everything is pointless & there’s no hope in even trying anymore, Orange Resistance has a list of things that show the resistance is working.

 emphasizes in recent tweets this point that all these acts of opposition ARE having an impact. “I’ve spent my entire career in politics. I’ve never seen this level of engagement in my life. If I’m astounded by it, the GOP is terrified …Each call we make, each protest that we participate in, each act of resistance we demonstrate, means we push the GOP down a little further….

Seattle and Davis,CA have both pulled more than $3M from Wells Fargo to show solidarity w/ the #NoDAPL divestment movement. We need more of this.

All the Things You Can DO Right Now

Hey, maybe run for office?  Here are a bunch of organizations that help support that:

 Emily’s List – supports Democratic, pro-choice women candidates
She Should Run – supports women who want to run for office at all levels
Run For Something– encouraging young progressives to run for office

or if you have a skill that progressive candidates can use while campaigning, there’s

Ok, the next cabinet confirmations happening are Price, Pruitt, and Mnuchin. It’s obvious that all of these picks are going to go through and be confirmed so many are asking if it’s worth the time even bothering to call their Senators to ask them to oppose them. It’s a fair question and I don’t know that my answer is right here but my thoughts are yes, DO call your Senators and ask them to vote no. A show of open defiance to these cabinet choices is always going to feel more empowering that doing nothing at all.
If you’re reps have already stated that they will vote no, call them to say thanks.

The one cabinet pick I would love to encourage massive opposition to is Puzder for Labor Secretary. I’ll put together an individual post on that this weekend.

Also, on the phone calling front, there’s an app that some of you might find helpful. 5 Calls
It locates your local reps numbers (and I assume calls them for you…I don’t have a cell phone).  I use the app on my ipod to act as reminders of pressing issues with scripts to use.

Another app I just installed is Countable  . This tracks bills that are introduced and gives a very concise overview of them. It will also send emails to your reps on your behalf. I love this app because it saves me so much time I would otherwise spend sifting through the bills introduced and trying to sometimes untangle all the wording to get to the point of what the bills exactly is meant to accomplish. Bills are categorized into areas of concern (environment, abortion, civil rights, EPA,etc) which is incredibly helpful for those of us trying to streamline our activism to a few key issues. The app also very clearly shows the bill’s sponsor(s) which is very important. Most of these bills introduced have a small chance of being passed but it’s important to track the bills and who introduces them so we can vote them out or show them support as needed.

One more thing…

On Feb 11th, anti-choice groups are planning nation wide protests outside of Planned Parenthood clinics. Planned Parenthood is asking their supporters to NOT plan counter protests at their locations. The clinics will be open that day and still trying to meet the needs of clients so the last thing they need is more people adding to the chaos. There are rallies planned to show support for Planned Parenthood away from clinic sites so if one of those is in your area, by all means show up for that.

And on that note, I leave you with this tweet from my friend Kelly at DeBie Hive :

Well, that and a song of the day. It’s a celebratory  doomsday song .Sorry.Unless you’re a certain type of prepper then I bet you’ll like it a lot.

A list of things I’ve called my reps about today

There was no script for this. These were just the key points I needed to run through today when calling my reps. Things are happening at a fast pace and that’s no accident. It’s meant to overwhelm.

KXL ,Dakota Access, and Trans-Pecos Pipelines
The President’s executive memorandum to proceed with pipelines needs to be addressed. (NOTE: A executive memorandum can be overturned by the Supreme Court)
This action violates law treaties, disregards sacred lands, and endangers the environment.  Trump has invested between $500,000 and $1 Million to Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the Trans-Pecos Pipeline. The CEO contributed a substantial amount to President Trump’s campaign. These transactions need to be examined to ensure Trump is not profiting directly from the building of the pipelines.

(Not something I brought up to reps but the defund and divest DAPL movement is another way to be active on this situiation)

Hostility Toward Press & Alternative Facts, Trump’s Obsession with Ratings/ Popularity

Thus far, Trump’s open disregard & hostility toward press and all media is reminiscent of Hugo Chavez and other dictatorships who tried to silence reporters who did not report on them favorably or reported the truth that contradicted their popularity and credibility.  Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer on behalf of Trump have supported falsehoods and outright lies as being official commentary from The White House. Our press freedoms are a hallmark of our democracy that needs to be upheld. The mouthpieces for the president need to be accountable to tell only true facts, not what they wish were facts or what the president wants the American public to think is the truth when it contradicts evidence that says otherwise.
Yesterday Trump was STILL talking about inauguration TV ratings while officials in storm ravaged states were begging him to send help.
It would also be fantastic if Trump stopped bringing his own studio audience when he’s addressing agencies like the CIA in order to create optics that seem as if the agency is applauding him when in fact they are only his own staff.

Gag Orders Against EPA & National Parks Service 

My twitter timeline this morning is full of rogue park rangers & scientists tweeting on alternative accounts. They are stating scientific facts that they are not allowed to put forth under their own agencies under yesterday’s gag order. This is not only censorship but it sets the tone for the Trump admin only allowing agencies to research and report on things that serve their own interests.

Federal Hiring Freeze and Freezing of EPA Funds

Again, motives need to be examined here . During past hiring freezes, the government did not save money. They were forced to hire subcontractors to do necessary work instead of permanent federal employees. Does Mr Trump have contractors lined up that would serve his own family’s business interests? The hiring freeze has been done under false pretenses as federal job growth has NOT been enormous. Also, this disproportionately  affects veterans who need those federal jobs. . Freezing EPA funds only hurts communities and I do not trust the incoming anti-science,pro-capitalism administration to review currently assigned grants.

Investigation of Voter Fraud

Trump is calling for a full congressional investigation into voter fraud that never existed. There is no proof of what he’s claiming. Both Republicans and Democrats largely agree. To go forward with this investigation is an enormous waste of time and resources . The motive here is to pave the way for voter suppression which can never be allowed to happen.


I think I missed some things but this felt like an exhausting list today. I mentioned the other day that if you’re feeling overwhelmed, choose one or two things to focus on. I probably should take my own advice. However, I also believe that single issue activism is a huge problem in our political process and it works against intersectionality quite often . Still supportive of others who need to scale back what they throw their time into right now.

Mikki who writes the actionnow tinyletter also had some great suggestions yesterday:

Here is how I would suggest you take a step back and think about how you are going to be a change maker now and in the years to come.

Think about all of the things swirling around you, all the opportunities you have to do things and act on your values and choose these three things: 

One thing to be a leader on
One thing to be a follower on
One thing to make a habit of
Organizing your energy in this way is really helpful. It helps you make decisions and conserve energy as things come up. It doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t do other things, but these are your three things.

Here is a little more detail.

One thing to be a leader on. This is something where you take charge of or are part of the leadership group for. Maybe it’s a movement to make your city a sanctuary city, or to sustain an abortion fund in an anti-choice state, or to support a local shelter, or to get someone you believe in elected to attorney general or some other office. Maybe you want to lead your local chapter of Emily’s List or something. This is something where you are going to be helping direct others and plot the course. It will be your priority.

One thing to be a follower on. This is a group or a cause that you join, and participate in actively, but let others take the lead on. This may be a preexisting group, like a BLM group, or a group working to support DAPL, or something a friend is doing. It could be joining an Indivisible group that you like and going along with what they plan. This takes a little less topline energy from you, but you are still working to make something happen. You participate, you contribute ideas, you do outreach, but you have less responsibility that you would if you were a leader. You help with the fundraiser but you aren’t in charge of it.

One thing to make a habit of. This is something you just do, every week or every day or every month, whether it’s being a clinic escort twice a month, or donating to a certain cause every month, or working at a soup kitchen every week, doing cop watch twice a week, or making the daily phone call scripts that we all get. Maybe, to start with, it’s the Women’s March 10 Actions/100 Days Initiative. It’s something you are committed to, and you do, but you are bearing the fruits of someone else making an opportunity for you to participate with some ease.

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