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Now is the Time!

    Greetings, everybody!

    Now is the time to keep the pressure on our members of Congress.  The hearings on Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court are ongoing and we must tell Senator Nelson to hang tough in opposition.  His office number is 954-693-4851.

    Now is the time to register voters and collect rights restoration petitions.  Now is the time to protest.  Now is the time to get involved.

    Here are a few of the things that are ongoing and happening during the next few weeks:

    1.  On Saturdays, you can help to register voters and collect rights restoration petitions all day at the West Regional Library in Plantation.  If you’d like to help at the Library, please contact John Ziegler at 954-232-3918 or johnjoeziegler@aol.com.

    2.  On Sunday, March 26th, at 3 PM, there will be a general meeting of Indivisible South Florida at the Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 SW 9th Avenue, in Fort Lauderdale.

    3.  On Mondays, you can help to register voters and collect rights restoration petitions at the West Regional Courthouse (Broward & Pine Island) from 10 AM to 2 PM.  If you’d like to help out, please contact Ron McCoy at rmccoyohfl@gmail.com or 954-790-3106.

    4.  On Monday evening, March 27th, at 7:15 PM, there will be an action meeting of a group called Bold Justice at St. David’s Catholic Church, 3900 S. University Drive in Davie.  Bold Justice concentrates on juvenile arrests, mental health, and senior care in Broward County.  They are expecting Sheriff Scott Israel to attend.  To RSVP or for further information, please contact Ron McCoy at rmccoyohfl@gmail.com or 954-790-3106.

    5.  I am looking for volunteers to register voters and collect rights restoration petitions at the West Regional Courthouse on Wednesdays from 10 AM to 2 PM.  Please let me know if you would like to help organize and set this up.

    6.  The next meeting of South Florida Women Rise Up will be on Monday, April 3rd at 6:30 PM, at the E. Pat Larkins Community Center, 620 NW 3rd Street in Pompano Beach.

    7.  On Wednesdays,
from 4 to 6 PM, there are resistance rallies at the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, 299 E. Broward Blvd. (Broward & NE 3rd Ave.)

    8.  On Saturday, April 15th, there will be marches and demonstrations in both Broward and Palm Beach Counties at 12 noon.  More information about the locations will be forthcoming.

    Alan
    954-472-6211

Virus-free. www.avast.com

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BlueBroward Reader: the Danger of Fascism, the Power of Protest

Some of the articles I found interesting this week (my comments in italics).

If We Don’t Act Now, Fascism Will Be on Our Doorstep, Says Yale Historian

Timothy Snyder warns: History gives us a bunch of cases where democratic republics became authoritarian regimes.

http://billmoyers.com/story/dont-act-now-fascism-will-doorstep-says-yale-historian/

Protest Works

The Trump administration’s meltdown proves it.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/01/protest_works.html

People are in the streets protesting Donald Trump. But when does protest actually work?

Outlines lessons from successful nonviolent protests, which the author argues can be a very effective if done right

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/11/21/people-are-in-the-streets-protesting-donald-trump-but-when-does-protest-actually-work/

Do Political Protests Actually Change Anything?

Often, it takes the perspective of history to understand the real impact

https://www.bustle.com/p/do-political-protests-actually-change-anything-29952

IT’S CONTAGIOUS: A Harvard study identified the precise reason protests are an effective way to cause political change

The psychology of protest is most powerful for those who participate, getting them in the habit of being active and involved.

https://qz.com/901411/political-protests-are-effective-but-not-for-the-reason-you-think/

How to Get Your Club Listings on BlueBroward.org

I periodically get notes from club officers asking why their meetings are not included on the calendar. If that is the case, it is because no one from the club has taken responsibility for posting events and ensuring they are kept up to date. Or the contact person has changed and didn’t pass on or share that responsibility with anyone else.

The goal of this website is to share accurate information about where and when clubs meet, so people who want to connect with the Democratic cause can show up at the right place at the right time. I do not want to be publishing that a club typically meets on the first Tuesday at 7 pm at the local library when actually they have changed their meeting place and time.

If you want to use BlueBroward as a marketing tool for your club (which is kind of the point!), you will be much more likely to get people to attend if you post specific details about speakers or opportunities to engage with an issue or cause people care about.

Any BlueBroward.org member is welcome to post any (relevant) event to the calendar at any time. If you get the weekly Sunday “BlueBroward Calendar” newsletter, you should also have a password on the system. If you don’t remember it, try the password reset function or ask me for help.

The way I manage club event listings is with club templates, which define the boilerplate details of where and when a club meets. You can post other sorts of events not based on a template, but the templates help with regularly scheduled events and other events for which most of the details are usually the same.

You do not put specific meeting details, such as the names of speakers in the template, you put them in the individual event listings for a specific date that are based on the template. Think of it as the difference between the cookie cutter and the cookie. You can stamp out lots of cookies (event listings) based on the same cookie cutter (template) but decorate them all differently (with the names of speakers and other details).

Here is how that system works:

  • Minimum information required for a club template includes:
    • Name of the Club (title field for the post)
    • Body of the event listing, including the location and club contact info for those who have questions.
    • Regular schedule, such as first Tuesday at 7 pm (there is also a “Varies” option for organizations that do not have a consistent meeting schedule).
    • I can also help you assign one or more additional people who will have the authority to update the club template.
  • I can set up the club template for you initially, but after that I would like you to manage the template and your club’s own events. Write to me at david@bluebroward.org.
  • If no current club officer has access to the template, or if someone needs to be removed from the list, I can also help with that.
  • When you save the template, you are prompted to create events based on the template, scheduled out up to a year in advance. The dates are presented as a series of checkboxes. If you know the club will not be meeting on a specific date (maybe because of a holiday), you can uncheck that box or change the date.

    Checkboxes for adding events
  • If you update the template with new details such as meeting location or contact information, you can update all of the previously posted events with that new information.
  • You should receive periodic email updates from BlueBroward asking you to check that your event listings are current and update them when they are not (spam filters can interfere). You can also log into the website at any time to add speaker details.

See also: Adding One or Several Club Events. Plus: Adding Multiple Event Editors for Your Club

The dark passageway

We flew in here blind and I don’t know if there is a pilot to get us out of this mess.

If we were inaugurating a normal right-wing Republican administration, our response would be obvious. We would congratulate the new President, cooperate on issues of agreement, push back where we disagreed, and build for a respectful and successful opposition in 4 or 8 years. This is what we do when the pendulum swings, as it always has, and Americans of different political positions put country above self.

This time is different

Donald Trump is a skillful liar who has shown no regard for the Constitution or the Office of President except as a means of ego gratification and personal enrichment. He has proposed violating the Constitution by revoking citizenship for flag burners, using torture, violating treaties, and enabling politicians to sue newspapers for writing hit pieces. Trump favors eminent domain to seize private property for private use. Trump is using the Presidential transition to strengthen his personal business relationship with foreign governments.

How we got here

Donald Trump skillfully gained votes by openly manipulating and lying on immigration, trade, jobs, and other subjects. Media calling out the torrent of unbelievable lies gave Trump more publicity, and some believed the lies. Trump voters may have seen Trump as the least bad candidate, others may have believed the hollow promise without a plan, to make America “Great Again,” and others may have believed Trump’s constant lies about his opponents and fake news by Macedonian youngsters and elsewhere. This is the reality of the election we just lost but is not the end of the story.

We cannot blame Trump for being Trump, we cannot blame Russian spies for doing what they did to expose Hillary’s secrets, and we cannot blame voters who did the best they could. Those were the circumstances of the election along with decades of stagnating wages, the decline of American civics, and addiction to “reality” TV and dancing with “stars” like Donald Trump. We Democrats failed to deal with those and other early warning signs.

By late 2015, Democrats were aware of the decline in the rust belt, Russian hacking in the election, and Trump’s stoking racist anger over a Black in the White House. A few Democrats sensed arrogance in the “inevitability” of Hillary’s election, but this did not figure in the thinking of those who get paid to win elections.

By August 12, 2016, the specific counties where job loss was connected to support for Trump were spelled out in detail in a 3-page spread starting on the front page of the Wall Street Journal (online the day before). The same day the Washington Post rushed to press with a more nuanced view of the geography of Trumpism and job loss and other variables. Either way, Hillary’s “firewall” was leaking like a sieve and this was public knowledge.

In the summer the end may already have come for Democrats by missing all the early warning signs, but October 7 was the day we fell off the cliff. That day we were emboldened by the Washington Post’s release of the video of Donald Trump’s 2005 lewd conversation about women. Party insiders were overconfident.  Ten days later, Democratic strategist James Carville said the Trump campaign had “died” and “Democrats have a chance to win the whole enchilada,” as part of an effort to shift funds to House and Senate candidates.

The same day Hillary’s campaign manager Robby Mook said, “Donald Trump is becoming more unhinged by the day, and that is increasing prospects for Democrats further down the ballot.” States to which campaign funds were redirected were ones with important Senate races, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, Iowa, and New Hampshire, five of which Democrats lost. Clinton appeared on October 3 before a crowd of 2,600 in Akron, Ohio, a state she lost by 8.1%, and she appeared on November 2 before a crowd of 10,000+ in Phoenix, Arizona, a state she lost by 3.5%.

We screwed up then and we have an even bigger problem now. To see how we can fix something when we knew or should have known it was broken in the first place, and we did not fix it then, makes me skeptical of easy solutions.

Going forward

Donald Trump may do some good. In an effort to create jobs, he could foster the repair of crumbling infrastructure. In an effort to reduce spending he could insist on higher participation by allies and reduce military empire building. When the new administration discovers that the job losses in the rust belt were due about 85% to automation and 15% to trade with China, they could modify their response. When they realize that more people have been leaving the U.S. for Mexico than the other way around, they may advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. When Trump voters realize in two years that there has been no effective progress in expanding jobs, the new administration may feel the pressure to steer a different course.

Normally when Trump or anyone does something good, common courtesy and trueness to our goals will be to applaud him when he does. But do not be manipulated by someone who grossly disrespects other human beings, does not respect or understand the Constitution, and is a chronic liar. There is a huge disconnect between what Donald Trump says one day and the next. Trump has shown repeatedly that he can change his mind on things. But this does not mean a change in position. When he softens a harsh posture such as on punishing women who have abortions, it should be no comfort. It may be a bargaining position or an attempt to distract us.

Do not listen only to Trump’s total self-contradictions. Listen to the practical inconsistencies. He did not like the War in Iraq (after he did like it) and he did not like results in Libya. So you think he would reduce the threat of war?

No. Trump would undermine NATO, allow more countries to have nuclear weapons, tear up the Iran deal making it more likely that Iran would reach nuclear strike capability, and acquiesce to Russian territorial expansion. None of these are stabilizing actions in a world on edge. Donald Trump, a New Yorker with experience living in the modern age said he had no problem with transgendered people using whichever bathroom in Trump Tower. But he selected Mike Pence for Vice President and Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, neither of whom is a friend of equal rights. So it is right to be skeptical if there is anything good that will come from a Trump Presidency.

The best good to come from a Trump Presidency

The best thing to come from a Trump administration is that he could get locked into a stalemate with the extreme right in Congress. Don’t count on it. There will be some showdowns, but the game of politics for most politicians is survival. Conservatives who think they can tame Trump are in for a bad surprise. Mr. Trump has been inclined to reward cowards and punish those who question his policy, in a surgically effective way, to amass political strength. As President he will have enormous power to use all the levers of the Executive with very little balance of powers.

The worst bad to come from a Trump Presidency

It took 52 days for the Democratically elected government of Germany to pass the Enabling Act of March 23, 1933, after the appointment as Chancellor of Adolph Hitler. The Enabling Act gave total and complete power of government to the Cabinet, in effect the Führer. We must be watchful of any efforts to reduce the power of Congress, including Trump’s desire for term limits. Anything to weaken Congress or the Supreme Court is bad. There is also the troubling area of emergency Presidential power which is not defined in the Constitution but may be necessary for national security, whether or not it is ratified after-the-fact by Congress or the Supreme Court. It is not inconceivable that, if there was another 9/11 attack, the presumptive President-Elect would suspend Civil Liberties.

American Apartheid?

It may be a mistake to focus on Donald Trump. We may have an even bigger and longer term challenge. Due to the Electoral College system and gerrymandering, there has been a deep division in the nation which has given more voting rights, more welfare, and less tax responsibility to Red states.

The U.S. Constitution gives 3 Electoral College votes to 240,809 registered Wyoming voters and 55 votes to 19,411,771 California voters. Constitutional apportionment for President is thus based on the whole number of Wyoming persons and about one fifth of the number of California persons. A California voter gets 23% of the vote of a Wyoming voter.

To make it worse, as pointed out by the New York Times’ Steven Johnson (“Why blue states are the real ‘Tea Party,’” December 3, 2016, New York Times), most of the states that voted for Hillary, “are paying the highest proportion of the country’s bills while ranking lowest in terms of voting power in the Electoral College.”

For example, Blue state New Jersey generated $12,564 in Federal revenue for $9,279 benefits; Red state Alaska generated $6,697 in Federal revenue for $14,375 benefits. Who are the Welfare Queens? The Red states.

Donald Trump got 63 million votes, so barely 19% of America’s 325 million people voted for him and 81% did not vote for him.

How 19% of a Democracy can rule the other 81% needs mathematical explanation. Many people who could have voted did not try to vote, others had been stripped of their constitutional rights due to past crimes which they had repaid, or they were wrongfully denied the right to vote because of flawed purges and draconian voter identification laws. Still others were children and alien residents. But that still means that 19% of Americans are ruling the other 81%, which, when broken out by region, shows the rulers pay less in taxes and get more in welfare in Red states.

In the darkest days of Apartheid in South African, the ratio of those who ruled to those were ruled was 20:80. That was unsustainable. The White Apartheid rulers realized the instability of such a small minority of people ruling such a large majority. Reforms were implemented but too late to stop the rising tide of civil disobedience. Apartheid took over four decades of determined work to abolish. But there was light at the end of the tunnel. Get ready for a long, dark passageway.

Trump Is Not Uniting Us – The Call For Demonstrations

Donald Trump promised that he would act “Presidential” and unite all the people. He hasn’t done it. He continues to lie, bully, and behave like an egotistical jerk. For example when he hosted SNL it was a “great show” – when SNL makes fun of him, it was the “worst show” in history. He announced that he saved 1,100 jobs at Carrier and prevented them from moving their factory. “The greatest deal in history” according to Trump. The truth – he saved 800 jobs with Carrier getting over $7 Million in tax benefits and he went on Twitter to berate the Union President for saying the truth. Compare that to how many thousands of jobs President Obama saved with the bailout. Trump wanted to cancel a Boeing contract for two Presidential jets because it “cost 4 Billion”, The truth – According to Boeing, each plane cost $170 million. He’s not saving us money. This was a publicity stunt. There has been a rise in prejudice and discrimination that the ADL directly links to Trump’s behavior. Who could ever forget how Trump mimicked a disabled reporter and embraced anti-semitic groups and propaganda.

The First Demonstration – The Woman’s March – January 21, 2017

The first demonstration is scheduled for the day after Trump is sworn in as President. The major march is in Washington, DC. However, every city-area including South Florida will be demonstrating against Trump. Women as well as men are clearly angry over Trump’s treatment of women. During the campaign, Trump made disgusting comments about women who opposed him. Trump has made prejudicial comments about reporters who are physically disabled. He has called women ugly, fat, disgusting, made lewd remarks that treated woman like sex meat.

According to Stephanie Myers, one of the South Florida organizers, women are rallying “ …in solidarity with those marching in Washington DC. We will rally for the marginalized. We will rally to protect each other. We will rally so that humanity continues to move forward, always forward. Our message shall not be lost. Our entire nation will hear us.  Our message of bringing women of all religions, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and color together as one voice for women’s rights shall not be lost. Our message that we will stand together united to defend and protect all those who are being oppressed and marginalized shall not be lost.”

Demonstrations by Americans have led to the founding of our republic, civil rights, stopped the Vietnam War, led to labor unions, and women’s right to vote just to name a few. There may be more demonstrations when Trump’s picks have to be approved by the Senate. Demonstrations have to take place to show Trump that we are not united and do not like his picks and direction that he is taking. Groups that favor the environment or public education will demonstrate. The Woman’s March is only the first of many demonstrations to come.

Just take a look at Trump’s picks for government posts.
Secretary of the Interior who is a strident advocate for increased oil and gas drilling on federal land, off shore drilling and fracking. She favors lumber companies logging on public land – Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Head of Environment Protection Agency who is against climate change and in favor of “dirty” oil and coal energy sources and fought EPA standards – Scott Pruitt
Secretary of Education who is against public education and favors elitist charter schools – who never taught and has no administrative abilities -Betsey DesVos
Attorney General who is against the Voting Rights Act and wants to deny voting rights to minorities and is the Senate’s most extreme anti-immigration, anti-environment, anti-women, anti-veteran, anti-marijuana, anti-health care ideologue – Jeff Sessions
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development who is against the Fair Housing Act and has no administrative or government background -Ben Carson
Treasury Secretary who is against the Dodd-Frank Act and became a millionaire off of the mortgage crisis and the thousands of people who lost their homes.
Commerce Secretary who is known as “King of Bankruptcy” Wilbur Ross
Secretary of Health & Human Services who opposed the Affordable Career Act (Obamacare) and is against Medicaid expansion and subsidies to help middle class buy health insurance – Tom Price
Secretary of Transportation made $1.2 million while overseeing Wells Fargo Bank that admitted to creating millions of fake accounts – Elaine Chao
Secretary of Labor who is against raising the minimum wage and favors robots over human labor – Andrew Puzdnor
National Security Advisor who has also spread false stories and re-tweeted anti-Semitic threats. He’s been criticized for dabbling in conspiracy theories and Islamophobia, for his questionable ties to foreign governments and wants to imprison Hillary Clinton – Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn

None of these picks appeal to the vast majority of Hillary voters or Independent voters. Trump claims that he won the popular vote. The truth – Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.7 Million. Trump cannot lie or bully his way out of the facts. The overwhelming voters of the U.S. do not like these picks and will demonstrate.

See you Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 1 PM to 5 PM at Bayfront Park Amphitheater, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Florida 33132. Please go on Facebook to Woman’s Rally in SoFl to register.

BlueBroward.org tops 20,000 daily views

The other day traffic to BlueBroward.org reached 21,741 views from nearly 16,000 unique visitors, according to WordPress.com metrics.

20k-views

This appears to be an all-time high for the site, powered by views of posts about online strategies for campaigns and causes as well as calendar items and opinion posts from community members.

BlueBroward.org offers free organizing tools for Democrats in Broward, supported by a network of sponsors and donors.

Last Chance for Dems to Win Senate Race

Democrats have one last chance in this election cycle to limit the damage to the U.S. Senate, which can be kept to a 51-49 margin if Democrat Foster Campbell can win the runoff election in Louisiana. Although this is not a Florida race, Democrats throughout the nation have an opportunity to help by participating in virtual phone banks.

South Florida activist Bret Berlin, in an appearance at the Broward Democrats organizing meeting Saturday, explained that in addition to promoting the phone banking he is raising money to send our volunteers to Louisiana to help with canvassing and other GOTV efforts. If you can donate your time, your travel and lodging will be covered, he said. If you are interested in helping in any way, contact bret@jellydoughnut.com.

Positive Energy and Determination

While there has been plenty of discouraging news this week, the news from Broward Democrats has been very positive. Tuesday’s meeting of the county Democratic Executive Committee could have turned into a “bitch session” on what went wrong in the election, but instead we heard about many things that went right in Broward — and need to be replicated across the state.

Cynthia Bush, a grassroots activists who became de facto head of the local party during the time that Chairman Mitch Caesar was running for Clerk of the Court (and continued to head GOTV operations after he returned to his post), is likely to become chair in the upcoming Dec. 3 party organizational meeting where Caesar will not be seeking reelection. She explained how hard Broward Democrats pushed for an effective GOTV effort, often filling in crucial gaps like chasing down absentee ballots that the Clinton campaign and the state party weren’t focusing on.

Cynthia Bush speaks at the Broward DEC
Cynthia Bush speaks at the Broward DEC

As a result, Broward outperformed all expectations, both for Clinton and for Senate candidate Patrick Murphy. “That needs to be replicated if we’re going to win seats, if we’re going to hold seats in 2018,” she said. That means other counties around the state need to adopt the same, activist philosophy. In other words, because Democratic turnout operations were weak in other parts of the state, we were not successful in countering strong turnout for Trump in rural Florida or regions such as Tampa.

Broward needs to have its own organization and structures, informed by local knowledge, she said. “I don’t think we should ever be sitting back and waiting for a campaign to tell us what needs to be done.”

State Committeeman Ken Evans, who is running for reelection and pushing for new leadership at the state party level, gave a similar account at a brainstorming meeting he held on Thursday. The state party has been too narrowly focused on fundraising, and only fundraising to the exclusion of grassroots activism, he said. As chair of a committee dedicated to organizing clubs and caucuses, he found there was way too little focus on giving those organizations productive work to do, he said.

“We need to have operations that never stop,” he said.

With leaders like these, I am more optimistic that will become a reality.