Infiltration in #TheResistance

#TheResistance must be vigilant. The #GOP conned their base by appealing to their emotions. They can and do use the same methods on us. Be cautious of individuals and organizations that are infiltrating our groups to gain counter-intelligence. If it seems off, it likely is. Generally, an infiltrator has four goals:

  1. Gather contact information of Democrats, #HRC Supporters or members of #TheResistance for marketing purposes or harassment
  2. Perform oppositional research on groups and leaders and keep tabs on our activities and knowledge
  3. Exploit fear and anxiety to discourage action, particularly the fear of retribution or violence
  4. Foster distrust and division within #TheResistance and within the Democratic Party

Take note of who one is following and who is following them. What type of information do they share? Do they refer you to a website that is gathering any kind of data? Are they trying to directly gather information? Asking people to email or text them? This is a low-cost method of gathering contact data. Be wary of anyone who claims to have insider knowledge that they can’t tell you because ‘it’s not safe’ or making vague claims they can’t validate.

Remember, fear, anger and anxiety is normal, but it makes us vulnerable targets for those who wish to bait us into giving up personal information that could potentially be used to undermine our efforts. Stay Strong! Stay Aware!

For a more detailed examination of Infiltration in the Resistance and what you can do about it, please read my article in Dame Magazine:  How Can The Resistance Ward Off Infiltrators?

Was the 2016 Election About ‘Movements’? 

Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump described their campaigns as ‘movements’ this election cycle, but there is more to a movement than filling venues. They generated excitement with campaigns high on emotional ideology, but low on policy. Hillary Clinton’s base, in turn, was deemed unenthusiastic. No one declared that the Clinton had a ‘movement.’ She had a plan, the most progressive Democratic platform ever and policies mandated by 68M voters. The party-line of the aforementioned ‘movements’ is that Americans want change. “Give up, switch gears, start over-it’s not working.” 

Hillary Clinton supporters want progress. We want to continue working hard to improve our policies, learn from mistakes, revise and build. Bernie’s ideas excite us, too. But, we have enough respect for our European friends to know their socialized systems took decades to perfect. We also respect that our generations who lived through the Cold War have a negative view of socialism in any form. Change takes time. 

Trump did manage to generate enough excitement to mobilize his base to vote, but this is the purpose of a campaign-not exactly a movement. With an Electoral College win of less than 77K votes, it wouldn’t have been enough to win without the other election factors that resulted in low Democratic voting. The #GOP gerrymandered, the FBI electioneered, and the Russians set out to divide the party. They succeeded. They are still succeeding. 

We have seen the worst possible outcome unfold before us. The true ‘movement’ is our response. #TheResistance #WomensMarch #Indivisible exemplify a true movement. This movement is powerful and widespread. It calls people to awareness and action for a common cause. Organized activism is our new normal. Bernie supporters who either did not vote or voted against #HRC are now part of a movement that is bigger than a candidate and campaign. It is my sincere hope that the factions created in this election not only come together to #resist, but to unify the Party for progress. Because a movement of this size and commitment can accomplish anything.

The World Is Counting On You – A Letter to the U.S. Supreme Court

Dear Honorable Justices,

I would hope you are aware that this decision is coming before you, and that the People do not request your action casually. Our country is in crisis – divided, scared, at risk, and about to go over a precipice that could be the undoing of American democracy and the allied countries that depend on us for stability. The majority of Americans voted against Donald Trump. The system failed. Corruption, gerrymandering, foreign and domestic electioneering proved to be more than it could take. Now, we are mere days from the inauguration of a rogue, incompetent President-Elect with highly questionable foreign loyalties and risky behavior.

Since Election Day, many Americans have fought courageously and diligently for justice. We have protested, petitioned, called and written letters to our government leaders, departments and committees, raised money and organized actions to no avail. The American people are being ignored. Those we have elected to represent us lack either the will or fortitude to take action on our behalf. We look to you, now, as our last line of defense. We ask that you issue a Writ of Mandamus to stay the election, pending investigation into Donald Trump and his campaign, then hold a new election which is a globally standard action when an election has been compromised.

I’m not going to waste your time listing all the reasons why an investigation is warranted, as I’m sure you have been following the news. Unlike Trump, the American people do believe our Intelligence Agencies over Vladimir Putin. We know that he is able to release his tax returns. We know he lies constantly. We fear that Congressional leaders are putting party before country and allowing this travesty to continue due to either complicity or opportunism. You are not bound by the machinations of partisan politics. The American people deserve answers, they deserve accountability, and they deserve a fair election. We are looking to you, as are our foreign allies. Please stop this inauguration.

Sincerely,

Rachel Murphy Azzara

@RachelAzzara

Tax Resistance Is Our Last Recourse

The American people have protested, called government leaders and offices, signed petitions and written letters en masse. Our outcry has been ignored. American democracy is in crisis. Our reputation, the safety of our citizens, our future, and our global relationships are at risk. The gravity of our situation leaves us no recourse but to consider tax resistance as an act of protest if our own elected officials will do nothing. It is dismaying that our political arena has digressed into playground politics where national decisions are made based on personal gain or fear of personal retribution — not on the will of the represented electorate.

No Taxation Without Representation — if our government irresponsibly installs Trump as POTUS as the result of an illegitimate election, at the behest of a foreign government, and against the will of the American majority, then the people have no choice.

The attempts by government and media to normalize this election only serve to further inflame the majority and add to the cognitive dissonance of Trump supporters, who will eventually come to realize what has happened. We cannot accept the unacceptable. Russian interference, gerrymandering, crosscheck and electioneering are ALL unacceptable. Donald Trump as PEOTUS is unacceptable. He is a liar, corrupt, unqualified, mentally unfit, and, likely, treasonous…not all situations allow for giving someone a ‘chance’. One would not give a CFO a ‘chance’ to perform heart surgery. Why? Because their lack of skill poses a clear danger. The danger presented to Americans (and the world) by allowing Trump to take office is not a partisan issue, the damage to our democracy and our nation affects every one of us.

Tax resistance has been used by war protesters and others throughout history and can take many forms. Examining what others have done, this is the plan I propose:

  1. This would only be for Federal tax– state, local and property would still be paid.
  2. For FY17 submit a new W4 taking exempt status if you can, or declaring as many dependents as necessary to nearly eradicate taxes that are deducted from your paycheck. Keep note of what you normally pay, as you will set that money aside in another account with each paycheck.
  3. If self-employed, also set aside the same amount that you would normally pay in income tax and SE tax.
  4. This money can be kept in your own separate account, or, could be paid into an offshore account specifically designated to be paid to the IRS upon the Federal Government’s compliance, as described in 65 Million Americans Should Threaten Not To Pay Taxes by Mark Weston.
  5. Every quarter that the government does not comply, I suggest taking an appropriate portion of the reserved ‘taxes’ and donating it to social charities. Send those receipts to the IRS on a quarterly form with a letter explaining what you did (e.g. I refuse to give tax dollars to pay for a Mexican border wall and have instead chosen to fund Planned Parenthood). Pay specific attention to organizations that rely on federal dollars for operation.
  6. Make sure to calculate and file your tax forms as you normally would, as the money (minus the payouts described in the above step) will be paid back to the IRS upon proper representation of the will of the American people.

I want to be clear that I don’t suggest Tax Resistance as a method of protest within regular partisan politics. We are in an extreme and unique situation — an illegitimate election with an outcome that presents a clear and present danger. We have a crisis that must be addressed. An acceptable forms of resolution would be overturning Donald Trump’s win and holding a new vote with the full protections of the Voting Right’s Act in place. We would also demand a bipartisan investigation with a special prosecutor on the relationship between the Trump Campaign and Russia, including an ethics review of the RNC, GOP and FBI Director Comey’s actions regarding this election. 

This is not a comfortable or desirable situation for any American to find themselves in, but we must protect the greatest aspects of our country. Free and fair elections are integral to our identity and function as a nation. We are a government for the people, by the people. This election turned out to be about more than electing a President — it is about being willing to stand up for freedom and democracy, and demand that our will is reflected by the actions our leaders. If our government irresponsibly installs Trump as POTUS as the result of an illegitimate election, at the behest of a foreign government, and against the will of the American majority, then the people have no choice as we have lost representation.

It is my sincere hope that our government equally realizes the seriousness of this matter, and acts accordingly.

Note:

I conducted a Twitter based poll to see how citizens feel about this action. Time period for poll is 24 hours with about 7000 impressions and 800 engagements within that time frame:


@RachelAzzara

An Open Letter to Donald Trump, Congress, SCOTUS, and DOJ

Dear Esteemed Leaders and Mr. Trump,

As 2016 draws to a close, the rest of the world looks on at our great country with combined feelings of ridicule, fear, and glee, for those who desire our demise and see opportunity in our chaos. Americans have been called the ‘best and the brightest’, and the good news is that we still are. 74 million Americans voted to reject Donald Trump as President. 66 million of these votes were for Secretary Clinton. Yet, it seems our Electoral College system, which Trump himself called a disaster, failed…but, not without help. 

The GOP spent years cultivating an anti-intellectual constituency and provided a fertile environment for Trump to play his con game. He preyed on the uneducated and the desperate, appealing to the basic instinct to blame, hate and divide, and found an audience well-primed to believe the lies of a demagogue and to be shaped by the propaganda of an adversarial foreign power. This group, the 63 million who voted for Trump, is a minority. Thankfully, the majority of Americans are a thinking people. The public outcry against Trump’s election-countless protests, petitions, millions of letters to electors-is unprecedented, as are many aspects of this election. Do not fool yourself that this is a partisan response against losing an election. Elections have been lost before, even with the rare discrepancy between popular and EC vote, but this phenomenon is quite different. Operating the government in a manner against the express will of a majority this large is a social experiment that will fail, and likely leave our country seriously damaged. This is what we, the thinking majority, America’s ‘best and brightest’, know to be true.

The GOP’s culpability in this train-wreck cannot and will not be ignored. Like the protagonist of a child’s fable, the Republican Party has allowed every wrong decision to be driven by greed and power. This stain will not fade easily, but the longer you place Party over Country, the more we see and the longer we will remember. 

We watched as you allowed an unqualified reality tv celebrity become your standard-bearer. We watched as you waffled back and forth between supporting him, endorsing him and shunning him, only to stand with him in the end, despite unignorable and compelling reasons not to. We watched you compromise morality, ethics, character, common-sense, and the well-being of this country, for the chance to push your own agenda through and secure SCOTUS seats. We watched you engage in witch-hunts aimed at Secretary Clinton, turn a blind-eye to foreign election interference, and ignore FBI Director Comey’s 11th hour electioneering. We watched you take advantage of the loss of the Voting Right’s Act to actively suppress the votes of the poor and people of color and purge millions of votes in cross-check. Now you watch on, as we do, as your President-Elect makes a mockery of our country in his transition process, proving his incompetence every day. I teach my children that it is better to right your wrongs, even if that means admitting fault and taking punishment. Our government leaders still have a window of opportunity to set this right and regain public trust and respect.

Mr. Trump, I imagine you are feeling overwhelmed, as you find yourself in a position for which you are in no way qualified. There is nothing similar between running a business and running a country-especially a superpower. There are literally hundreds of millions of eyes on your every move. Your habitual lying and ineptitude will get caught every time. Perhaps you are not finding the job as satisfying as riling up the adoring rubes at your rallies. You claim you do not need to attend intelligence/security briefings because you’re ‘smart’. Your campaign and transition has told a different story. You exhibit the behavior of a pathaological liar. Your vocabulary and communication skills are like a grade-schooler, you are not well read or educated in pertinent matters, nor do you show a willingness or aptitude toward preparation. Poor communication skills combined with your demonstrated lack of self-control is a dangerous combination for diplomacy and foreign relations. 

Your reputation for narcissism is your biggest appeal to those around you, both foreign and domestic, who know they can use you as a puppet to push their own agenda. The help you received in your campaign had purpose. Mercer and Bannon used you to raise the visibility and agenda of the alt-Right. Putin wishes to destabilize NATO and weaken the United States, unltimately to regain status and power. Our chaos is what they want. If it was your goal to put together a Cabinet that would systematically dismantle the progress of all our government divisions, then you succeeded. 

Just your Twitter use, alone, demonstrates your incompetence to be POTUS. But, this is the reality. This is a country of real people-with real consequences. While you’re tweet-baiting China, whining about the media, and trying to re-ignite the nuclear arms race with Russia, you may do irrevocable harm to our country, and that’s without making a single grossly uninformed policy decision. The majority of the American people knew this danger before the election, more and more realize it every day. 

If you truly want to help this country, you should step-down, acknowledge the illegitimacy of an election corrupted by foreign and domestic electioneering and gerrymandering. Go back to your businesses with the goal of utilizing American materials, manufacturing and operations. Use what you learned on the campaign trail to become a better American-pay your taxes, don’t engage in bribery, pay your subcontractors, try being honest (note: creative hyperbole=lying).

As for the rest of our government leaders, realize that you may very quickly have to figure out how to override this election catastrophe. This is not going to sort itself out. A POTUS put in place against the will of the American people and by the combined actions of a foreign adversary, gerrymandering and electioneering is not something our country can come back from. The dangers posed to us are too great, the implications are devastating. The American majority has spoken-we are educated, organized and motivated. We are the best and brightest. We are #TheResistance.

Note to 115th Congress:  Make no mistake, we also see that you attempted to make your first Congressional action the gutting of the Office of Congressional Ethics. Obviously, we did not allow that to happen. We are not going to be complacent and you will not be able to remove yourself from accountability. Judging from Mr. Trump’s tweet regarding the timing of this move, it is reasonable to infer that he has signaled his own message to you. If you investigate him (and you must), some of you are likely going down with him. An independent, bipartisan investigation must take place. You were not elected to represent yourselves,  Mr. Trump, oil and gun lobbyists, Russia or the 1%-you serve the American people. Do your job, or step down.

GOP Electors: Is Your Party Worth It?

As members of the @ElectoralCollege, you are the guards that stand between citizens and dangerous leadership. The actions of Trump during his campaign and time as #PEOTUS are such that no reasonable person would be without severe reservation. 65.5M citizens chose #HRC over Trump. That’s a 2% majority-more than the population of 14 states. She is nearing a record level of votes. These are voters who chose her policies on economy, education, mental-health, autism, and so much more. Voters who actively rejected Trump’s policies.

To ignore the will of the US citizens who are in this large of a majority is unprecedented, and it will assuredly damage our country. If you are so willing to put your political party before the people of this country, then, my question is-does your party deserve it?

Trump did not just happen to the #GOP. He was the end result of a path they had been on for a long time. Some expressed outrage, but, in the end they allowed him to be the standard bearer.

The #GOP has stood back and watched the intensifying of racial division. They stood behind Trump as white-supremacists claimed his views reflected their own. They img_0976allow him to crudely disparage, say nothing about his corruption. They turn a blind eye to his ignorance and endless lying. They let him fear-monger about our friends and neighbors. They allow his paranoid rhetoric to go unchallenged.

The party of ‘family values’ stood by this man as he denigrated women and spoke of sexual assault. They ignored more than a dozen women who came forward to say his words were more than locker-room banter, sharing experiences of sexual abuse, assault, even child rape.

Perhaps most shocking, the #GOP allowed interference in our election by an adversarial foreign power-the depth of which we still do not know. Instead of protecting our country, they utilized the leaks of hacked information and knowingly spread misinformation, even allowing Trump to encourage Russia to continue hacking his opponent. They didn’t care because it was to their benefit.

They let him lie and pander to middle America, promising jobs he can’t deliver because technology isn’t going away, and neither is the global economy. They watched as the low-information voter was transformed into the misinformed voter by Russian trolls and alt-Right fake news.

Why would the GOP lower themselves to such a degree? Why would they openly disenfranchise voters through suppression campaigns and vote purges? Why would they put every person in this country in the hands of this imbecile of low-character?

Why would they allow him to obsessively rant about rigged elections, and then attempt to block the citizens who are asking for validation through #recounts and #AuditTheVote?

Why would @SpeakerRyan say he had not seen any evidence of hate crimes in Trump’s name when they were reported all over the country? Why would @jasoninthehouse refuse to investigate Trump’s Russia ties when he wasted millions in endless investigations against #HRC?

Why are they allowing him to bypass intelligence briefings and protocol, allowing his conflicts to go unchecked, placing every citizen in this country at risk?

For power? I must ask, do the ends truly justify the means? Are you willing to sacrifice the trust of citizens, the integrity of our country, and the fate of our children to further empower the #GOP?

This is the reality. We are in crisis. People in this country are scared, angry, alienated-your party let this happen-you have the power to make it right. The people of the US have chosen their path and their leader. Do not sacrifice us to a demagogue or the party that supported him.