Happy Friday, ACES!
We survived week 1! Unfortunately, the same can not be said about our democracy. I think all of us are coming to terms with what this administration is going to be like and that's okay. Part of the reason I started making this newsletter was to put some focus on everything that was being hurled at us. Make no mistake, they are trying to overwhelm us but this is where our diversity will be our strength. We're going to lose some battles but this is a war that we will win in the end – we always do.
We're having a conference call – aka Yellowhammer Call – on Sunday, January 29 at 2pm PST (5pm / 4pm CST for my people on the other side of the empire) to discuss the Global Challenges competition and to formalize our team / next steps. We'll also be discussing coalition building steps and how we can connect ACES to movements and organizations already on the frontlines.
I went to an event last night where Becky Bond, one of Bernie's campaign managers, led a discussion about her book and big organizing. Distributed teams (aka spread-the-fuck-out) are difficult to manage but if we develop a clear plan forward, we can have real impact across state or regional borders. If you've never done anything political before, don't let that discourage you because that's actually BETTER. Your enthusiasm and energy will be contagious. Please, if you or your friends are looking for that thing to sink your teeth into – join ACES, and let's build it together. – KGB
PS: Please share In Spades with your friends and family! It's easiest to use this link: http://eepurl.com/cyOFUj! – thanks!
Calls to Action
ACES Action: RSVP for the Global Challenges conference call or email me firstname.lastname@example.org to join the Global Challenges Submission Team – $5 million prize for the best ideas on how to re-envision and re-shape global governance for the 21st century, or RSVP here.
ACES Action – Defend voting rights and education: Call 1-844-USA-0234to oppose Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions, confirmations delayed until 1/31.
1-844-USA-0234 calls all your members of Congress for you, toll-free!
5 Calls: If you have 5 minutes to spare, you can place 5 calls – makes the calls for you and provides a script. All you have to do is choose your topic of choice, enter your info and get calling!
Check out the forming resistance – So far, I’ve found two solidified groups that seem to be vying for the liberal Tea Party: Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats. Check them out! I haven't figured out exactly how, and if, they're connected but as soon as I know more – you will.
Read this! – For your mental health when you feel like the apocalypse is upon us.
And, this! – Trumps supporters leave black DC waitress $450 and kind message.
Accountability → Gerrymandering and Term Limits
To win back America, Democrats need to fight each other – ”But while Republican-controlled seats should unquestionably be the focus, it's also true that no Democrat — no senator, no member of Congress, no governor, and no state legislator — should be able to take their own renomination in 2018 for granted if they cosign any part of the right's agenda to privatize everything, install the extremely wealthy in the halls of government, and roll back decades worth of social progress.” (The Week)
Trump is going to take his anger of illegitimacy out on voting rights – “And just a few days ago, Mr. Sessions declined to commit to continuing the Department of Justice’s litigation against voter suppression laws in Texas and North Carolina — the latter of which was described by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit as targeting African-American voters “with almost surgical precision.” Ominously, the Justice Department recently asked for a postponement of a hearing in the Texas case, which might herald a switch in sides — and a transformation of the department from a reliable defender of voting rights into an enabler of state-mandated voting restrictions.” (NYT)
Capitalism + Government
Gorbachev (yeah, that one) thinks we're on the brink of war: – "The focus should once again be on preventing war, phasing out the arms race, and reducing weapons arsenals. The goal should be to agree, not just on nuclear weapons levels and ceilings, but also on missile defense and strategic stability. In modern world, wars must be outlawed, because none of the global problems we are facing can be resolved by war — not poverty, nor the environment, migration, population growth, or shortages of resources." (TIME)
HELPFUL: Track Trump's agenda step-by-step – "President Trump has started action on several of his major priorities, but most of his proposals require moves by Congress or pose other significant obstacles." (NYT)
West Wing leaker goes dark after pulling back the curtain: Trump "irrational", staff "demoralized" – "On Wednesday, a twitter account was briefly active before being shut down. The tweeter, @WhiteHouseLeak, is an anonymous mid-level staffer in the West Wing of the White House, who described a chaotic atmosphere, a demoralized staff, and an unfocused and irrational President incapable of processing information. The staffer is a Republican who apparently worked on the Trump campaign, but is now thoroughly disillusioned by what has been going on. During his brief presence he was tweeting to real reporters, including Fox News and the New York Daily News." (Daily Kos)
The twitter accounts of federal agencies have gone rogue in response to the Trump administration's crack down on information. Click here for the NYT story.
Connectivity → Fair and Affordable Housing
Democrats see Trump-sized opening, propose $1 TRILLION infrastructure bill – ”The Democrats said their infrastructure plan would rely on direct federal spending and would span a range of projects including not only roads and bridges, but also the nation’s broadband network, hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs and schools.” (The Washington Post)
Rural vs. Suburban vs. Urban
Affordable Housing Is Now a Middle-Class Crisis in California – "What’s driving this housing crisis? It’s a classic problem of supply and demand. Put simply, the state doesn’t build enough housing to accommodate its population growth. California is home to roughly 13 percent of the nation’s population, and has slightly greater than average population growth. Yet, over the last 20 years the state has accounted for only 8 percent of all national building permits. This chronic lack of new residential construction has led to the higher costs associated with less inventory (low housing vacancy rates) and elevated levels of overcrowded housing (8.2 percent of Californians live in overcrowded circumstances compared to 3.4 percent of all Americans)." #YIMBY #LegalizeHousing (KCET)
East Oakland can teach us about displacement – ”When people are being pushed out of a hot housing market that has had little new housing built for the last seven years, the answer to the question of what should be done to alleviate the problem seems almost too simple to need stating. Clearly, more housing needs to be built — a lot more. Of course, this is not the only thing that needs to be done, but it’s unlikely that displacement can be averted without it.” #LegalizeHousing (The Urbanist)
How countryside becomes sprawl in four steps – "So many rural places have been incrementally destroyed by rural sprawl. You see it on the outskirts of metro areas and off of Interstates and other highways from coast to coast. Most communities don't see it happening until it is too late. To help explain this incremental erosion of rural land, I created these diagrams (pictured below) documenting the Four Steps to Rural Sprawl. Take a look and see if you can think of places in your region that experienced this or something similar.
Step 1: Existing farm; Step 2: Farmer sells lots with septic tanks along frontage; Step 3: Farmer sells more lots with septic tanks on long dead-end roads; and Step 4: Farmer sells remaining fields for subdivision of septic tanks lots, preserving the old farmhouse and adding a clubhouse and pool. Variations include a golf course and walking trails.
Equity → Integration
Criminal and Social Justice
BLM co-founder: Our cynicism will not build a movement. Collaboration will. – "I remember who I was before I gave my life to the movement. Someone was patient with me. Someone saw that I had something to contribute. Someone stuck with me. Someone did the work to increase my commitment. Someone taught me how to be accountable. Someone opened my eyes to the root causes of the problems we face. Someone pushed me to call forward my vision for the future. Someone trained me to bring other people who are looking for a movement into one." (Mic)
Rethinking Jail – “The majority of people in jail are presumed innocent. Most are there for nonviolent offenses. Many are simply too poor to post bail. Our overuse of jails carries significant costs—to individuals, families, communities, and society at large. We need solutions to start where incarceration starts: in our nation’s jails.” (Safety and Justice Challenge)
Maryland’s Republican governor wants to privatize education – ”Current law gives local school districts broad authority over charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately run. It also requires educators to be covered by union contracts, a provision that charter operators say hinders the ability to be nimble in hiring and firing staff. Hogan's proposal this year would create an alternative way to approve charter schools, putting them under direct control of an independent board that would also directly funnel state money to the schools.” (Baltimore Sun)
Two highly-touted Oakland charter schools quickly close – ”Backers of the folded schools say their rocky road illustrates how difficult it is to serve primarily Black youth using the charter model. Others say the episode is emblematic of a district that has allowed charters to expand too fast, and that there's not enough oversight and accountability.” (East Bay Express)
Sustainability → Universal Income
SF to mimic Portland and launch Basic Income pilot – ”With that mission in mind, Kline explained, the OFE is considering a study that will examine how children develop in families that receive a basic income, compared to those that receive similarly valued social services and those that receive no government aid at all. The proposed pilot program largely mirrors a plan the city proposed to the MacArthur Foundation last year, for which it did not receive funding. As a result, Kline said, the city is taking on a smaller-scale version of the pilot to develop more evidence, and is looking to the South Bay for a partner.” (Hoodline)