Last week’s episode of the Sit and Spin Room podcast featured activists from the disability community. We had several requests for a transcript and I lamented the fact that it would take 5-6 hours to transcribe a 90-minute podcast, time I simply do not have. And to pay for a transcriber to do it is outside of our budget.
Michael Wayne Harris (@miwayha on Twitter) stepped up and made a generous donation so that we could pay to have it transcribed so that deaf folks can enjoy the show.
There are surely many errors in this transcript. We talk fast and make a ridiculous number of arcane references. I didn’t read every word but it’s cleaned up well enough that it’s readable. If you spot any egregious mistakes, feel free to email me at eclectablog at gmail and I’ll fix them.
And please send some love to Michael for making this possible.
The original podcast can be found HERE and wherever fine podcasts are “sold”.
Chris: Here we go again. Welcome to the Sit and Spin Room with LOLGOP and Eclectablog. I’m Chris Savage, Blogger-in-Chief at Eclectablog.com and I’m here today as I am every week with a mysterious LOLGOP.
LOLGOP: This is the only Podcast that tells you exactly how to think about politics. So today we are privileged to kind of jump into the Trumpcare fray with a group that has transformed the debate as far as I’m concerned and I think a lot of people are concerned and that is National ADAPT. It’s a group that you know has been taking drastic Trumpcare actions since the beginning of this year but really caught everyone’s attention.
Chris: Having an impact that others have not had.
LOLGOP: Right. It has become, you know, people, something that’s emulated and has become a group that people are lifting up. There’s a really great article about illness as a metaphor that Chris cites during the interview that illuminates kind of debate that ADAPT has sparked around this whole kind of false notion of personal responsibility that conservatives push when discussing health care. Andy Slavitt, who was a guest of our show who ran Obamacare under Trump, not under Trump, but under Obama. That’s the best way to run Obamacare, and it may turn out to be the only way to run Obamacare. But Andy says that we’re all divided into being temporary, lucky or unlucky.
LOLGOP: And we all are. These are, we are in bags of water, as they say Star Trek
Chris: Right yea.
LOLGOP: We are going to fall apart and it’s, the reality is how much privilege and how much luck we have when we do fall apart.
Chris: Luck is it, because literally any one of us is one accident or illness away from, you know, being negatively impacted by the nefarious garbage that’s going on in the GOP right now.
LOLGOP: And the nefarious garbage in the environment. The nefarious garbage in our food and there are a lot of nefarious garbage.
LOLGOP: But I don’t want, but I’m afraid when I speak about national debt, because I’m so new to this disability rights movement. ADAPT started in the 1970’s as you’ll hear a couple times mentioned here. Aditi’s I’m sorry, Anita. We have two guests, Anita and Aditi, but Anita Cameron is from National ADAPT and Aditi Juneja is an organizer behind the Resistance Manual. There are two guests today. Anita is someone who’s been involved in the ADAPT actions and doing sit-ins for decades and decades and she spoke to us in between arrests. That’s something that really, you know, that was something that really changed the debate when it came to Occupy Wall Street when these people were willing to get arrested. People were willing to get arrested for this idea. We see freedom when it comes to health care as a metaphor, and it’s kind of a privilege to believe that. Because from people that Anita’s is working with, and you’ll hear it very intimately from her own mouth, this is not a metaphor.
Chris: No it’s not.
LOLGOP: This bill is threatening these peoples freedom and their lives and I think if you really listen to what Anita’s saying, it will change the way you think about disability. It changed the way I thought about disability and the whole idea. I’m someone who believes in, had believed in assisted suicide, and now when you think about it from a disabled persons perspective and an insurance company’s perspective, it may change your mind a little bit.
Chris: Yep. I agree.
LOLGOP: It kind of blew my mind. We have to thank David Perry who is the great journalist who covers disability rights who recommended. He said talk to people from ADAPT. Don’t just report on them. We took his recommendation and I want to just give a brief run-down of how ADAPT got broke through and got in the news.
Chris: Yes do that.
LOLGOP: There’s a great article from Jeff Stein on Vox who’s been, Jeff Stein has been covering, he wrote an article a couple weeks ago. He was covering how there’s been no press about this. How they really effectively had hidden the ball so you couldn’t cover the game and there was basically no reporting going on about this senate health care bill. They’re trying new tactics. They’re trying to start this all over again, but that has changed. Largely thanks to National ADAPT at first. Fifty arrests outside Mitch McConnell’s office. There was a sixty hour sit in at Senator Corey Gardner’s office. Four ADAPT activists were arrested outside of Senator John Cornyn’s office, and on Friday, ADAPT protestors staged a twelve hour sit in at the offices of Rob Portman. Anita was there. Shell tell us a little bit about her experiences and how they tried to trick them to come out of the building.
LOLGOP: And it did not work, but has inspired a lot of activism around the, you know, the different groups. They are sit-ins that are organized by Ultraviolet and Our Revolution and Democratic Socialists of America that have come to back them up but these are, when people saw the sit in and people were willing to put their bodies on the line because their freedom and their lives are on the line. I think it really changes the debate.
Chris: I agree. And this is an American protest institution. If you know anything about the major protests or the major things that have happened, transformational societal changes. Its things like the Flint sit-in for labor
Chris: It’s the work that the folks from Act Up did during the AIDS crisis and the sit-ins and the protests that they did. This is unsurprising that it’s working but in some ways surprising that it took us a while to get to this point and ADAPT is pointing the way for us.
LOLGOP: Yeah and until this really happened I mean I think we were at 80/20 that this was going to happen. I think we’re now closer to 60/40. I still think Republicans can now explain why, after these interviews, why I still think they have the advantage, But when you listen to someone like Anita Cameron speak, you’ll realize that these things don’t just come out of nowhere. The resistance may have popped up since Donald Trump, but as we learned today, that’s just our white male perspective of this. Anita is someone who’s been doing this for decades.
Chris: Alright. Let’s go to that interview.
LOLGOP: Hi Anita. So where are you right now, Anita, and what has your last couple of days been like?
Anita: I’m home in Rochester. I’m going out of town tomorrow to Denver but no protesting. From Thursday night, actually it’s a Friday morning, I got on the bus and went to Columbus, Ohio because our Ohio ADAPT chapter asked us to come out there and help them to try to get a meet with Senator Portman to tell him to vote no against this better care reconciliation act and once we got there they, we weren’t allowed up there, so we took over the elevators. In fact, pretty much the whole building. And we were there pretty much all day until about 4:00 pm and then they tried this ruse where they said that someone was having a heart attack and needed the ambulance. Well we left, we had left an elevator open, you know, we didn’t take over all the elevators. We left that one open. The building had someone that controlled the elevator. We didn’t. We, and it was weird because the paramedics just pretty much seemed to, didn’t know what they were , you know, where they were going, what they were there for and they left pretty quickly. Now, to me if someone is having a true medical emergency, you have a sense of urgency and you know you don’t just leave after two minutes. Well, minutes after that happened the police busted in and they violently removed us from the premises and then arrested us and it was interesting because we were handcuffed. Hands behind our backs. People were removed from their wheelchairs. We waited like four hours in the police vehicles waiting to go to jail. For four hours. You know, with handcuffs behind us. And then we get to jail and the folks who use wheelchairs, they couldn’t, you know they figured out pretty quickly that they couldn’t keep them so they were released to go. The four of us women remained and then some of the men who were not wheelchair users. Well, one guy who’s a wheelchair user was allowed to stay. They took the men to a different facility and they took us women straight to jail and so four of us were, you know, we were suited up and sent there to general population and then we were released about four the following morning.
Chris: So do you think this thing with the ambulance was a ruse just to get you out of there then? Like it wasn’t real?
Anita: Yea, it was a ruse. Yea, it was clearly a ruse because the newspapers reported the next day, well they couldn’t find a patient.
Chris: There was no patient, right?
LOLGOP: Maybe it was Rob Portman who was having the heart attack rather than having to speak to any constituents about the bill, right?
Anita: I guess so, and he’s, so what he did was he made a statement that he wasn’t going to allow any socialist activists you interrupt his constituent’s services. Well, some of those people were, there was a, you know, we’re from New York. Folks came up from Chicago. Folks came up from Southwestern Pennsylvania and then there were Ohio folks there as well. He wouldn’t speak to his Ohio people you know.
Anita: And, you know, we’re activists. We’re not paid and such and other things. Oh they’re paid activists. Umm no. All of us are volunteers. Some of us have jobs elsewhere, but we’re all volunteers and we all have a stake in this and I don’t seem to recall that we were Socialists or Leftists, but you know that gets put on anyone you know who doesn’t like, you know, what their GOP is doing so you know. I tweeted out a few times you know for Senator Portman. Stop lying on us. Stop lying on us and stop lying about us and commit to vote no on this Better Care Reconciliation Act.
LOLGOP: And how many people were there? How many people participated in that protest?
Anita: I’m sorry?
LOLGOP: How many people participated in that protest?
Anita: There were probably about thirty or forty who participated.
Anita: And about twenty-three of us were arrested
Chris: No kidding. That’s great.
LOLGOP: And how many times have you been arrested now? Do you keep, can you still tally it up? I found an article…
Anita: Yeah I that arrest was my 131st arrest
Anita: And 31 years with ADAPT.
Chris: That’s impressive.
LOLGOP: So how did you get started? So, ok, so we have to be honest, you know, we’re like most of America. ADAPT is very new to us in the sense that it really broke through with the sit in at Mitch McConnell’s office and then we kind of started to discover the history. The amazing things that you guys have accomplished. The fact that when you get arrested if there’s an ambulance that can handle a wheelchair it’s because of you guys
Chris: Right. That’s right.
LOLGOP: To make sure that it can handle, or a paddy wagon, so it’s new to us, but how did you get started with ADAPT and how has that changed over the last thirty years?
Anita: Well ADAPT was started in 1983 in Denver and then kind of like it’s doing now, new ADAPT chapters are popping up like mushrooms. That’s kind of how it was in the old days. I joined ADAPT in 1986 in Chicago. My hometown. I have a godmother who, and she since passed, but she’s a nun and I learned about social justice from the nuns, and so someone called because a friend of theirs needed a new attendant and interpreter, and had called to ask my godmother did she know of anyone who would be interested in the job, and said he’s a disability rights activist who traveled the country. Well, I happened to be there and my Godmother said for me to check it out Anita. Talk to this guy. And so you know I talked to him for a couple of hours. I then got a formal job interview and there I was. The rest is kind of history. ADAPT when I first joined, we were, they compared us to, we were considered militants and we were compared to the Black Panther Party, Act Up and we used to get hounded because, you know, the FBI and all they saw us as kind of a dangerous, a dangerous group, You know, notwithstanding the fact that we are totally non-violent. We, you know, sat at the feet of the civil rights folks, you know, marched with Dr. King and stuff, and so our style is after the fashion of Dr. King. We’re totally non-violent. We are in your face. We do do direct action. We do do civil disobedience up to an including arrest. They used to be a lot less gentle with us back in the day, so what happened in Columbus didn’t shock me. It just kind of made me think about the old days. We were a smaller group back then when I joined. It was probably maybe you could get forty or fifty people to a national action. Now we have hundreds.
LOLGOP: How many chapters are there?
Anita: There… it’s over… we have chapters in over forty states. I believe there are about forty-three chapters not even counting the new chapters, like I said, that are popping up like mushrooms.
Anita: We just had a chapter form in Alaska. We’ve got new chapters in Ohio. You know, over the years some of the chapters kind of, you know, kind of went out because people, you know, they got old. They passed away and things like that, so a lot of these chapters are now renewing themselves or new chapters are forming, you know, in different places and this is all. We call this the Summer of ADAPT because it seems like, well I was one of the ones arrested in Senator McConnell’s office.
Anita: And since then there’s been actions every day. Actions, visuals, you know, you name it, pretty much every day.
LOLGOP: And you’ve inspired a lot of other groups to imitate the sit in.
LOLGOP: It’s become the mode of protest to kind of make a point against Trumpcare so it’s not just you guys. It took me, you’ve sparked a movement.
Chris: Right. That’s true.
Anita: Yeah I, you know, I think we have people that are kind of imitating the things that we do and a lot of people, you know, now ADAPT is kind of grown mainstream. We’ve been doing this kind of stuff, you know, for thirty some years and it seems like no one pays attention to us, you know, and now since then, you know, I mean, you know, this isn’t our first rodeo.
LOLGOP: Yea. Right.
Anita: You know, there were actions where people were removed from their wheelchairs and all that stuff and nobody paid attention and I’m kind of not sure how and why this all kind of like mushroomed and, you know, like I said, we’re in the Summer of ADAPT. I mean for ADAPT, for us, this Medicaid bill, oh my gosh it’s horrible and if it goes the way, if they vote this in or something similar, you know, millions of people can lose their Medicaid. Lose services. People will get sick. People will die.
Chris: It seems like this is a, I think, and I don’t understand it either. That was one of the questions I was going to ask you is what’s different now than the past thirty five years that you’ve been doing this, but maybe it’s sort of this confluence of national attention being focused on this and this being the most wholesale attempt to literally disenfranchise, or not disenfranchise, but take people away from, you know, the ability to live independently and stuff and it’s now a direct threat in a way that no other particular issue has been. It seems to me that you are empowering people right now in ways that, you know, these are people who have never really felt like they’ve had a lot of power because they haven’t had political power.
LOLGOP: And I think a lot of people just didn’t get it. They literally didn’t understand that Trumpcare was also an attack on Medicaid. They did not, until you guys were getting arrested. I think that part of the story, you know, people who are really informed knew but I think people, you guys just did a public service commercial. A huge infomercial to let people know this is an attack on Medicaid just to pay for tax cuts for the rich is my theory.
Anita: Exactly. Exactly, and you know, and it’s a dire threat that it will have and people don’t realize, you know, the wide array of services and things that Medicaid covers you know. One of the things I tell people is if you have a foster child, your child’s health care is paid for by Medicaid.
Chris: Yea. Right.
Anita: So you could be a middle class person, you know, even fairly wealthy person and you’re fostering kids. If that goes through their health care’s taken away.
LOLGOP: I think that’s it. I think it’s that people always think of it as…
Anita: Or a home or this and that. Yea, those kids’ services homecare services, medical services get taken away.
Chris: I think people just associate Medicaid with medical care for poor people.
Chris: Yea. Right.
LOLGOP: And you guys have really exploded that.
Chris: It’s special ed. It’s nursing homes for kids. Nursing homes for seniors. It’s helping seniors pay for Medicare, but then also, most radically, you know, the person like LOLGOP is saying, the lives that it most directly impacts is the literal freedom. You know it’s a metaphor for freedom like on health insurance, but for you, the people you work with, and its literal freedom. Life or death. I mean what are you hearing from the ADAPT members about their fears if this becomes law?
Anita: Oh everybody is scared and desperate and so am I because I just got on Medicaid. I work part time. I didn’t work, you know, enough hours to qualify for my company’s insurance so I had to apply for Medicaid for people with disabilities who work. It’s called the Medicaid Buy in. if that goes I have a number of disabilities including multiple sclerosis and diabetes. If I can’t see, you know, my doctors, get the meds I need, all that, you know, I’m sick, I’m hospitalized, and then I’ll wind up institutionalized. And so, and for a lot of our ADAPT members, it’s even more dire because Medicaid keeps you in the community. If you have a job or those of us that do work, Medicaid, that’s because of Medicaid because Medicaid pays for the attendants that people need to get them out of bed, bathed, dressed, feed, you know, all that that they can come and get attendants services you know on their jobs and stuff like that, so for many, many ADAPT members, you know, they’re telling me this is, they will die. I mean I know, you know, there are ADAPT members, some of who are on the action, who have extremely complex health care needs that they, you know, likely depend on Medicaid that if it goes they will literally die. Some of these folks are on vents. Some of the folks have like I said, extremely complex health care needs that if they don’t get that, if they don’t get their attendant services, if they don’t get that health care need, they will literally die.
Anita: And so many of us ADAPTers across the country, we are afraid. We are afraid. We’re terrified and desperate.
LOLGOP: I wanted to, I don’t know if you’ve read this, but Lisa Diedrich, she’s a professor at Stony Brook University, wrote a piece this week called Illness Politics, Independent Living Versus Personal Responsibility, and I was just going to read just a tiny bit of this and ask for your thoughts on this because it was something that hadn’t really occurred to me in terms of the framing from Republicans about Medicaid and basically health care for people.
She said Focus on… She’s talking about Focus on the Family. She said they “offers an alternative conservative cultural politics that goes hand-in-hand with neoliberal economic policies seeking to privatize public services, policies that gained steam in the 1980s and are predecessors of many of today’s austerity measures.” And this is the part that’s very interesting to me, “In this privatized and privatizing cultural politics, the family, not the community or state, is expected to care for its own, and women are expected to function as primary carers in families. In this context, Pence used illness as metaphor for individual and social weakness, and personal responsibility and free-market competition became the solution to problems of bodily, and by extension, moral weakness. The rhetoric of personal responsibility denies the fundamentally interdependent condition of society. It relies on a simplistic eugenics logic that suggests whole groups of people might be deemed unfit to participate and left to die.”
And this idea that, you know, that he’s connecting personal responsibility with the ability to get health care and to be, you know, treated as an equal person in a society. Something I had never really considered before, but it’s a different way of looking at it.
Anita: Its, I’m sorry, but that’s just disgusting.
LOLGOP: It is disgusting.
Anita: It’s disgusting. It’s reprehensible and, you know, people this whole personal responsibility. What do they expect, you know, what do they expect you to do, you know, if you, I mean, what it sounds like he’s saying, and I’ve heard some versions of that saying that people are responsible for them being, you know, we’re responsible for us being sick and disabled.
Chris: Yea. I mean he literally tweeted…
Anita: Really? For real dude?
Chris: For real.
Anita: Yeah and so, but it is eugenics and it’s just, you know, I mean that’s just, what he said, that’s just clap trap but you know apparently they’re going to use that, you know, to demonize, especially poor people, to demonize us and that’s just, you know, my actual job is I’m director of Minority Outreach at Not Dead Yet and Not Dead Yet is a national, its grass roots disability rights group just like ADAPT, in fact it was founded by ADAPT, that opposes the utilization of assisted suicide because they are not reforms of discrimination and this Medicaid system and all the way it’s, you know, the way it’s going and all. All it will wind up doing is, especially in the states where assisted suicide is legal, doctors devalue the lives of people with disabilities pretty much all the time. You know, it’s a societal view on disability. They’d rather be dead than disabled and all of that and this bill plays right into that because if you get sick or if you’re terminal and you’re poor, you know, your doctors are going to start, and they’ve been doing it, you know, already your doctors are going to start like gently coercing you into go ahead and take, you know, take the pills, you know, you live a horrible life and just go ahead and so it.
Anita: and the insurance companies will more, you know, deny people. For instance in Washington state and California, cancer patients are being denied their chemotherapy and then given assisted suicide as an option. Like for real? And so that is happening and so, you know, unfortunately it sets up this two tier system by where if you’re non-disabled, “normal” and all, if you’re going to die, you’re going to get help whether you want to, you know, whether you want t or not, you will get help. You will get hospitalized, you know, if necessary. And they fight for your life. But if you are disabled, oh I can see why you’d want to die. Your lie is so horrible. And this is going to play right into that.
Chris: Yea, right.
LOLGOP: So someone asks, as people who are not familiar with this movement, that’s just totally new to me. What is, we have you here Anita, we want to take advantage of this to ask you. What are some of the things that people just get totally wrong? I know there’s a lot of stuff where I know calling people crazy comes off as ablest and these are things that I’ve been learning, you know, one of the good things about interacting with more people who are really informed is that they teach you stuff so you sound less stupid. So Anita, can you make us, just to finish this out, so last questions we have are: Can you make us a little less stupid? What are the things we cannot get wrong that we need to know about the disabled community that make us sound like we actually know what we’re talking about and then what can we do to help ADAPT as you guys help fight the rest of the Summer of ADAPT?
Anita: Well, I think what’s very very important is that people need to realize that it is not terrible to be disabled. It is not bad to be disabled. That people with disabilities, we are ordinary people. That we do ordinary things and sometimes we do extraordinary things.
LOLGOP: That’s right.
Anita: That we are regular people. Some of us are good. Some of us are not so good. We’re just like the regular, you know, non-disabled population, you know, so like don’t write us off. Don’t think that our lives are horrible or anything like that because they aren’t. I mean we can do some incredible things. Some of us have jobs and some of us have families, have children, you know, travel, do all kinds of things and so don’t look upon us as objects of pity.
Anita: You know, or something like that. We are not. We can and do so amazing things and we fight for what’s ours. As for ADAPT, and I don’t know the, I’ve tweeted it out, but we are amassing legal fees up, you know, just we are.
LOLGOP: So a hundred and thirty one arrests.
Anita: There’s a GoFundMe out there that I tweeted, you know, if people can donate to that to help our legal piece because it’s not only just us in Rochester. It’s around the country that, you know, we’re going to be working on, you know, helping us, you know, with our legal fees. Paying our legal fees. Paying off fines and things of that nature. And then spread the word. Just keep, you know, keep spreading the word about what we’re doing, you know, retweeting, you know, tweeting off on your own, you know, and you know, if you are like with your friends and stuff and people say, you know, mean or nasty things about people with disabilities or poor people or whatever, who say oh they’re falling or, stop that. Refute that, you know, because we don’t need that. That’s just a way to erase us and to downplay what we’re doing and that shouldn’t happen. So that’s, you know, that’s definitely some of the ways that you can help our Summer of ADAPT. Yea.
LOLGOP: So Anita, you are, I’ll call you an ordinary person because it sounds like that’s a mantle that you wanted to grab for yourself, but you definitely have extraordinary legal costs, so we want to help support the GoFundMe that you guys are doing and we want to support all of the things that you guys have done. It’s really been a heroic effort that I think has inspired much of what we call the resistance in America and we want to thank you for your time and for everything you’re doing Anita.
Chris: Yea. Thanks for showing us the way because you are, you guys are setting a path for the Resisters that is really having an impact and it’s very noticeable. It’s making a difference. It’s impressive. You’re my hero.
Anita: Thank you. Thank you so much and thank you for having me.
LOLGOP: You bet.
Anita: And I’d say it’s an honor and a privilege but it’s something that has to be done.
Chris: You betchya.
Anita: It definitely is because if we don’t do it, nobody’s going to really, you know, nobody’s going to stand up. Until ADAPT was out there, you know, nobody knew about the Medicaid aspect of this, or people would just go to you so desperate that we put our bodies and our lives on the line for this so thank you for having me and, you know, I am an organizer. People use the term hero or what not, you know, I don’t think I’m really a hero. It was just trying to do, you know, we’re just trying to save our lives you know.
LOLGOP: That’s the thing about being a hero. You don’t get to choose whether or not you are. Other people decide that for you. Well, have a great summer and good luck with everything. We really appreciate it.
Chris: I would say try not to get arrested, but I guess that probably would be antithetical for what you’re doing.
LOLGOP: That’s right.
Chris: So thanks, Anita.
Anita: Thank you. Thank you so much.
Chris: OK. Well that’s, these inspiring people need to be emulated and lifted up and we all need to be sharing their stuff and making sure that they are, you know, that everybody’s aware of what’s going on here and they are really raising the profile of the Trumpcare opposition at a time when, as you know, we’ve heard from other guests on our show, you know, the phones were going silent and they woke the phones up again I think largely. So, another person that we spoke with today is [bungles Aditi Juneja’s name horribly] and she is …
LOLGOP: That sounds like…
Chris: I knew I would screw this up!
LOLGOP: That sounds like it was edited together by, like we took an audio book and…
Chris: Yea. It’s like the ransom note in audio form but she, and a crew of folks, but largely she put together something called the Resistance Manual. This is sort of a complimentary tool resource for folks who are resisting rather than an organizing sort of primer on how to organize. This is a Wiki that is a collection of information for people who are resisting. In addition to that, they’re not just taking a national focus, they’re also focusing on the states with a site called ourstates.org which she will share with us. We’re really thrilled to talk to her and…
LOLGOP: She also has a podcast called…
Chris: Finally, yea, she has a podcast called Self Care Sundays that is a very useful thing for all of us who are toiling day in day out in this volunteer resisting thing to make sure that we keep ourselves grounded and healthy both mentally and physically so that we can keep doing this important work so we’re going to go to that interview and then we’ll come back and talk about Trumpcare.
LOLGOP: You were one of the people that helped put together the Resistance Manual at the beginning of 2017 which feels like ancient history now but actually was just a few months ago. How did you get involved with that, The Resistance Movement? And, we’re just wondering like given that were like a half a year into this, has it turned out the way you thought it might when you were kind of writing it?
Aditi: Sure. So I started tracking policy, vulnerabilities, and processes in actually November shortly after the election and I was working with Stay Woke which is the organization I partnered with to create the Resistance Manual around that time. And so when, so I shared it with them and they thought that it was a useful tool the kind of organizational framework that I had laid out would be a useful tool for people to inform themselves on the issues so they were connected with folks and we worked together to create the platform that you see today which is resistancemanual.org and at the time the intention was really to try to, you know, there was so much information coming up so fast it still feels like that. Just trying to break it down into simple kind of basic language so people who are not familiar, as familiar as politically engaged could understand. The second part of your question about whether it has turned out the way that I had expected. I think yes and no. I think yes and no. So I would say yes it turned out the way I expected that it has very much been a useful tool in informing people in doing this work. I would say no in the sense that I was surprised at who was really using this tool and how they were using it.
LOLGOP: So who did you expect and who did it turn out to be?
Aditi: Yea. So at the time we created it we knew that there was a lot of local organizing going on and Indivisible was kind of in its nascent early stages. There were murmurs of organizations like [inaudible] so we anticipated this being a tool that was going to a resource organization that were doing a lot of local organizing as a way for them to really have solid policy information to act on. What it actually tuned out to be was an entry point and serving folks who did not have the time or resources or kind of knowledge to be immediately locally engaged. So it turned out to be people who were kind of like what’s this health care thing. People who were are just less engaged with the political process so it tuned into an entry point for them to have, to kind of get a basic understanding. It was also being used by a lot of people who don’t have kind of time and resources to be reading a ton of articles. So it turned out to be folks who are more marginalized. Less educated, but also on the other end of the spectrum we would see folks who work in the very specific issue areas of nonprofits. Who work on a very specific area and are less familiar with other areas…
Aditi: …who are using it to kind of get a baseline understanding. So, I think I was expecting it to be a tool in the tool kit of organizers and I think it’s still being used that way, but what was just really interesting to me is it is being used by folks outside of that. Folks who people wouldn’t necessarily think of as part of the resistance.
LOLGOP: One of the differences between what you’re doing here and what the indivisible Guide folks are doing is the yours seems more like a clearing house for short, not super short, but you know condensed talking points and issue points about specific topics whereas the Indivisible Guide is more related to like how do you do this. Here’s the nuts and bolts of how you make this call and how often should you call and who should you talk to and it seems like they kind of complement each other in that way.
Aditi: Yea. I think the attention we are drawing is between tactics and policy content. So I think a lot of the information that currently exists and has become very popular is tactics. That information about exactly what you just said and the gap that we’re trying to fill and what I was focused on at the time of creation was, and the reason I started charting it and mapping it just using it for myself before the decision to make it public was my own realization just that there was not a place that kind of aggregated this information, had it simply and really had a focus on the impact of policy…
Aditi: …as opposed to the kind of, so there are, it’s of place where you can read about the politics of stuff right. Where you can read about the insight. All those things.
Aditi: But if you want to know if you are going to lose health care that is harder.
LOLGOP: Yea. Right.
Aditi: That is harder. That’s harder information to find and often times that information is being developed by policy. A policy oriented organization, think tanks and nonprofits and they are, because they’re experts and people have been working in this space for a long time, they are not always thoughtful about writing at a basic reading level or explaining the nuts and bolts of things like the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. A very kind of simple thing speaking of health care specifically because that’s been pretty salient on people’s minds but one of the things you see frequently is that when a policy brief for a new health care bill its written about parts of the bill and for normal humans who are not policy wonk people don’t think about health care by the parts of the bill. They think about it by how they receive health care.
LOLGOP: So the president could use this basically.
Aditi: You know I think…
Aditi: Maybe just a presentation. Yes.
Chris: Yea. Donald Trump could benefit probably.
LOLGOP: Yes. But it’s much more information than he could probably take in about this but. So you’ve been kind of transitioned from doing this Resistance Guide and now you’ve started up a podcast that’s all about self-care which is something that we’re trying to kind of incorporate more because you talk to these activists and, you know, we just talked to someone who was arrested one hundred and thirty one times. I imagine there’s some wear and tear on your emotional life when you’re kind of investing yourself and this I think for a lot of people, these people who are coming to the, who are finding the, people you didn’t expect to find this manual and are finding it on their own, this is new to them to be so socially engaged. I wonder what prompted you to kind of start this podcast and was it a…
Aditi: Well I was a person who, I was in my third year of law school as I developed the Resistance Manual. At the time it was created it was, it’s a platform. A participatory platform because it’s a look up it’s a Wiki, but we had some volunteers show up and I was organizing them. I was doing a lot of work. A lot of energy organizing these volunteers to make sure that content was being updated on a frequent basis and around March or April I was feeling quite worn between law school and this project and I realized that I knew self-care was a thing. I knew self-care was important but I didn’t know what it really was. What it required and what it entailed. Particularly outside of kind of the commercial corporatized sense of it and I became increasingly concerned as I was thinking about communities who are most directly impacted and on the front lines like ADAPT organizers, Fight for 15, Black Lives Matter, people who are directly impacted and doing the work who had less privilege than I did, right? I was a student. I was in law school. There’s a lot of privilege affiliated with that and thinking about how you create spaces to think about self-care for everyone. How do you create a form of self-care that is inclusive? How do you think through self-care in a ways that are available and anyone can participate in? And so I started looking into that and what I realized was hey, if I’m kind of going on this journey in this learning exercise maybe this information is useful to other folks too and if I do a podcast that might be a way to share that information with them.
LOLGOP: I love it. I think the risks that happens is that people have gotten very excited about this. They’ve taken leadership roles in ways that they never have before and they begin to feel guilty if they have to take a break or you know if they’re not Superman or Wonder Woman all the time they feel like, you know, they’re letting people down and so it’s important to remind people that, you know, even Superman and Wonder Woman have to go to bed once in a while and take a break from things to recharge their batteries.
Aditi: But it’s not just for leader’s right? It’s for your average every day person who is working two jobs, has two kids and is suddenly supposed to call their congressman every day and they’re like when am I supposed to do that.
LOLGOP: Right, right, good point. Yes.
LOLGOP: That’s a very good point.
Aditi: So I think a lot of this people who step into leadership roles have privilege of access of information which is something I had, right? I had privilege of a knowledge base. People who step into leadership roles were able to step into leadership roles. I think what I was really thinking about is what about for volunteers who we want to, we’re looking to sustain this kind of energy long term.
Chris: Right. That’s great.
Aditi: And how do you sustain energy if self-care is not an active part of it. So that was, and I didn’t know the answer to that question, so this isn’t like a let me teach you contest. This is, and I really don’t know and I’m trying to find out. Maybe I can take other people on that journey with me on that podcast.
Chris: That’s terrific. I love it.
LOLGOP: People should definitely listen to it, but what are some of the things that, the most useful things you’ve discovered since you started this process?
Aditi: So I asked people kind of, so the podcast is called Self-Care Sundays and my idea was like well, if there’s a day of the week where people kind of are, or have more time. Maybe it’s like a Sunday. Maybe you can take an hour and you can like listen and that will be relaxing for you, right? Because I was taken an hour on Sundays to try to chill and I’d be like I want something to listen to where people are talking about this stuff and it didn’t exist. So I created it. I was like if it doesn’t exist I’ve got to make it.
LOLGOP: That’s right.
Aditi: Thank you Tony Dorsett. And so I, what I discovered that’s been interesting is that most people did not actively start thinking about self-care until they burnt out and crashed, but they bottomed out before they started making it a priority. Which to me feels like an avoidable thing that is not a thing that everyone else seems to aspire to. That seems like not the best way to be thoughtful about self-care. Maybe there are other things we can do where you don’t have to bottom out. We don’t have to go through a really harsh tragedy before you start actively thinking about it. So maybe we can learn from the lessons of others. And the other thing I learned is that it’s different for everyone which, and kind of where people, what people require to sustain themselves and to be able to thrive is different and that’s why I try to have very varied guests on the show so that people can hear from people with very different life experiences in the hopes that people will find different things that resonate with them kind of in each episode. And I think that’s also important because sometimes the way self-care is talked about is as though it’s one thing that would apply universally to everyone.
Aditi: If you’re a person who’s like I just can’t do the meditation thing. It just doesn’t work for me. I can’t. It’s not it for me. And you feel like you’re just like you are a failure unless you, if self-care is not for you.
LOLGOP: You’ve failed at relaxing.
Chris: Back to Crystal Meth.
Aditi: It’s over right. Like so I thought it was important to talk about different kinds of different methods of self-care. Different practices that people have. And then I thought it was, and then I think, so I think that’s been really interesting. And then the other important thing that has been coming up is the idea of boundaries and how important boundaries, both in relationships and work, and then digital boundaries are for self-care. So how do people who, we have a whole episode. Episode five is with a digital strategist whose whole job it is is to be online. So like how do you create boundaries when your job is to be plugged in?
LOLGOP: And when you can take your job to the bathroom.
Aditi: Exactly. So we really wanted to, we tried to kind of come at it from lots of different angles. And asking people about how engaging with the practice of self-care, and almost really illustrate as well that it’s a journey, right. Like it’s not a thing that like one day you do it and then it’s over, right. Like it’s kind of a moving montage. It’s a constant process and a constant reevaluation and I think that some feedback that I’ve received has been helpful for people in realizing like oh it’s like normal that as I move to a new stage in my life or I take on new responsibilities or have new people in my life that I have to figure this out again. And that’s, and it doesn’t mean that I like screwed up somewhere. It’s that I have to continue to figure out how to restore myself as my life continues to change and evolve.
Chris: Love that. Very important stuff. I see, I mean, I see this in just our local Indivisible Group, you know. People are already starting to drop off and I think that this might be a way to sort of head that off a little bit and keep people engaged and feeling involved with things without feeling like they have to be on 24/7.
LOLGOP: Because Chris was talking about… Chris is kind of a Superman. He’s kind of a guy, this is basically like an intervention for Chris. Him and his wife are. They go overboard and they get real involved. They do things like they go kayaking on a Saturday night down the river, you know, which is a very good self-care thing.
LOLGOP: But yea. He is kind of a Superman thing.
Chris: So I wanted to come back a little bit to the Resistance stuff, and one of the things that you have started as a new project that really is near and dear to my heart is ourstates.org. And I say it’s near and dear to my heart because Chris and I both live in Michigan. It’s pretty much a blue state that’s run completely by republicans you know. We’ve been gerrymandered to the point where it’s very difficult for us to regain control of our state senate.
LOLGOP: Nearly impossible in the state senate. Probably very difficult for the state house and you guys are doing stuff at the state level that I’m not seeing other groups ding so can you talk a little bit about the ourstates.org website an what you’re hoping to accomplish there and what people will find when they go there.
Aditi: Our States was a project that launched several months ago as a lot of the part time state legislators sessions were coming to a close and the goal was to try to do campaign, to activate some energy around what was happening at the state level because, as you said, that was not an area where a lot of organizing was being focused, but it is an area where a lot of decisions are made. There is a page on the Our States website it’s called Why Our State, and I wrote that, which basically screens the intersections between federal and state level decision making and how a lot of the decisions that impact your daily life are actually made at the state level. Even if they’re not made at the state level, they have a lot of discretion in how to implement a federal policy. So a lot of the ways things happen, and that’s the way you see it and manifests in your day to day life, are decided at the state level.
Chris: Got you.
Aditi: And so that was part of it and then the other part of it is because state legislators are often part time legislators, they’re not there full time. The kind of decision making of who chooses to become a state legislature is a bit different of a process than who chooses to become a federal legislator the interaction can be different and so the state legislative guide that we wrote, I wrote and I consulted with some of my law school peers who had worked in state legislative offices in the past to check with them what they thought of it because there was also at the time a consciousness that the kind of interactions at the state level were necessarily different than at the federal level and we wanted to highlight that to give people the tools that they needed. And the data collection and graphics of I mean the whole amount of pages in there and people who worked on it, but [inaudible] is a data scientist by training, so he was the one really focused on aggregating, collecting and storing data and we had a person who is a designer with the maps and photography there that you see there. So, and there are also tech folks working on this project, as well. So it was a bunch, it was lots of people kind of came together to launch this campaign and a lot of the information, it references back to the Resistance Manual in terms of understanding data at state levels, decision making policies and that kind of thing. So they’re really not in my view, like I view Our States as a companion of the Resistance manual although it is a separate platform. It’s very specifically focused on the states but I think that they work in tandem. I don’t think that they necessarily operate separate.
Chris: That’s terrific. I love it. That’s one of the things I’ve seen, I see as a bit of a deficiency with the Indivisible Guide is this strict focus on the federal government when as you say, and other people that we’ve spoken to say, so much of the nefarious bullshit that goes on happens in the state legislatures.
Aditi: Well I mean, in fairness, the creators of the Indivisible Guide were not setting out to launch a mass movement, right?
Chris: Of course.
Aditi: They were writing to guide their professional staffers and they were writing that focus on what they knew trying to provide information to folks.
Aditi: And so, you know, it evolved into something a little bit different and they did a great job of helping us promote Our States as well and seeing how it could compliment the work that they had already put out.
LOLGOP: So Aditi, it’s ones of the reasons I wanted to speak to you is that I think you have just a really strong grasp. Just, you know, I only know people from twitter because I have no digital boundaries. You have an amazing grasp of the kind of, you know, you could say intersectionality, but just the intersection of how all these movements kind of work together. Who needs sense of privilege, who needs to be elevated and kind of a way to show respect and kind of also work together with a lot of people that are just have very diverse interests. As two very, you know, bland white guys that you’re speaking to who are, we’re just wondering how do you see this resistance moving together. What are ways that are people, that there are more intersections and what are the deficiencies of kind of that people may not be seeing?
Aditi: I think Jessica Morales Rocketto actually said it best at the Personal Democracy forum. She said that this resistance movement after the election of Donald trump was not a resistance movement. It was not like an awakening of political wakening for everyone. It was a political awakening for white people.
Aditi: Because, and I think that’s factually true. I think if you look at the numbers of who is engaged and involved, that’s true.
LOLGOP: I totally agree.
Aditi: I think that, I don’t think there’s any evidence that there has been a new surge of political activity from people of color. I think that the folks who were engaged… those are folks that the Dreamers, Fight for 15, Black Lives Matter, like there are lots of organizations focused on issues that affect communities… And maybe I could take a minute to define intersectionality because many folks just don’t know. So, the term intersectionality is a framework to understand how people live at the intersection of different identities, right? So when I walk into a room, I walk into a room and I am a woman, I am an immigrant, my skin is brown, and I [inaudible] at the same time and what we find is that in the way that we think about people, we take mental shortcuts and sometimes that’s harmful and a form of stereotypes and sometimes it’s useful in that I look at you and I see that you’re you know as you described, a bland white guy, and I think like maybe you’ve never had Indian food before. Maybe I’m not wrong! And maybe I never asked you that question before so let’s go get some!
Aditi: Right and that’s fine and it’s a way to help us kind of move through the world. But the challenge that we find is when people live at the intersections of these identities. It can be harder for us to process them because we don’t fit neatly into a box and I think you mentioned that, you know, online I’m good at kind of being thoughtful about it and I don’t think it was necessarily intentional or kind of the education that I had. I think it’s just my life, right? Like I simultaneously exist in these boxes at the same time. And so therefore I don’t feel like the boxes are kind of fair and they don’t fit right and what I think for me, my journey, was kind of having the realization like oh its ok that I don’t fit in one of these boxes and in just the person that I am who lives within lots of different, you know, kind of categories of things. And so the way I see, and what in really hoping that the next step for The Resistance that has come up very organically in many cases as we were talking about indivisible. It wasn’t an intentional kind of organizing effort. It begins to start to form, it begins to become more intersectional. So I’ve noticed with the ADAPT protests, with ADAPT as a national organization with chapters around the country that focuses on disability rights, been around since the 70’s. I’ve noticed that other groups are starting to lift up their work which is great and really powerful. I’ve seen, I believe in a couple of places, where Indivisible and ADAPT were at a protest together which is great right?
Aditi: Like you have organizations working together to achieve a common goal. I think where I’m not seeing that currently is across racial lines. So I see the Resistance. I see it’s supposed to be quite separate and I don’t know that that’s necessarily intentional. I think that a lot of times when you are looking to organize you begin with your social network and our communities are still quite divided for historical reasons, right, like we were intentionally redlined and that has continued. We live more segregated now than we did pre-Jim Crowe and so I think, you know, if you start organizing within your social network you’re inherently going to not have, you know, certain types of people as part of that. And what I’m hoping is that, you know, organizations start encouraging their members to reach out and ask how they can support other organizing efforts that are already happening in their community so that people can work together and lift up each other and make each of the issues that people care about stronger and more likely to succeed. I hope that through that process as folks begin working with each other across kind of issue areas, across difference, across boundaries that they wouldn’t necessarily have felt comfortable with, this progressive kind of resistance continues and continues strongly into the future and people are able to maintain this energy. So, you know, if next week the health care bill dies I hope all the white folks who are suddenly politically awakened do not go away. I hope that they have had an opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with an immigrant and realize that that persons a person too and that, you know, the assault on immigrant rights and the way ICE has been exercising its authority is not ok and they show up for those people. I hope that the next time there is a police shooting, which unfortunately it seems that there will be a next time, that they show up for, for you know, for Black Lives Matter as well as not to overshadow and take over people’s faces and voices, but to amplify them for people to use their relative privilege, use their relative skills in different areas and learn from each other and work together to make this a stronger movement that is inclusive of all people and addresses the various needs and intersections of peoples identity.
Chris: That’s terrific.
LOLGOP: Self-care and amplify.
Chris: I love it.
LOLGOP: Those are our two things that we’re going to work on as bland white guys this week. Thank you so much for your time and it’s a pleasure to follow you online and I hope everyone does and hopefully we’ll talk to you again.
Aditi: Yes. So if I can just plug my podcast its Self Care Sundays.
Aditi: There’s a twitter handle with that. There is Facebook page with that and its available on iTunes, Google Play, wherever podcast are and you can follow me online if that is useful and of interest, my screen name is aditijuneja3.
LOLGOP: We will put all that in the show notes so everybody can easily find you. So really appreciate it Aditi.
LOLGOP: Really great.
Aditi: Thank you so much for having me.
Chris: Alright. It was a busy week for Donald Trump.
LOLGOP: I don’t know. If you know this Donald Trump stuff, he was up to some wild stuff, but poor Donald Trump Junior. To be the worst Donald Trump. That’s like the worst.
Chris: I know, I know. Exactly.
LOLGOP: Being Donald Trump is bad, but you’re like not even the worst Donald Trump. He still believes in Eugenics and I want to stress…
LOLGOP: He does. He does.
Chris: I get it.
LOLGOP: Yea, yea. I’m not the one who believes in eugenics. Don’t get mad at me.
Chris: Just disgusts me either way.
LOLGOP: The horse race theory of genes. Google it. OK. Here’s why I want you to assume that Trumpcare will pass and why it will be the worst Trumpcare possible. They’re going to, they’re releasing a new bill and they’re going to call it a, you know, a new Trumpcare Bill because they realized how fucking unpopular, twelve percent, and you know the highest was thirty eight percent but that was a pole that’s extraordinarily friendly to Republicans.
LOLGOP: This is a bill that basically, Republican leaders knew was so bad that they let them go home and say that, you know, I hate this bill and I don’t want this bill to ever pass, but they still think, Don Cordon says today, he thinks it’s going to pass. He did say he thought it was going to pass before July 4th, then that turned out not to be true, but this time it may be true.
Chris: John McCain doesn’t think it’s going to pass.
LOLGOP: Well he said, notice what John McCain said actually to look back. He said he thinks this bill is dead. They’re doing a resurrection thing. Oh this is a new bill. This one only is going to probably eliminate only eighteen million people. It cuts Medicaid slightly less…
Chris: Oh wow.
LOLGOP: And includes Ted Cruz’s option to separate the sick and people with pre-existing conditions and everybody else.
Chris: What. They go live on an island somewhere?
LOLGOP: No. his amendment would make it two pools, so you have, basically it’s a death pool. It’s a really bad pool.
Chris: A really bad pool and a shittier pool.
LOLGOP: Well it is. It’s for the temporarily lucky get the pool where others, it’s unregulated so you can have any plan. Plans with caps. Shit junk plans that don’t even cover hospitals kind of stuff. Sold before Obamacare became law and then everybody else who has a pre-existing condition, which is tens of millions of people, depending on, has to buy in this high risk pool which will be extraordinarily high premiums, and you do get subsidies that are matched to your premiums, except for its only listed to three hundred and fifty percent of poverty which is, caps out around forty thousand’s. So basically if you earn fifty thousand dollars a year you’re going to be paying twenty thirty thousand dollars a year for your insurance. If you have any sort of pre-existing, if you’ve ever taken Prozac…
LOLGOP: Which is, you know,
Chris: I’m about to. I’m just saying.
LOLGOP: Hasn’t everybody in America taken Prozac? So, this is going to be a nightmare if this actually happens, and if it happens it’s going to be terrible. It’s going to be the worst version because it, the Republicans are counting on the same thing to happen in the Senate that happened in the House, is that the moderates crumble and the conservatives don’t. So, they assume that they will eventually get Heller back. They assume they’ll probably get Murkowski. They’ll get, there’s probably going to be forty to fifty billion dollars just for Alaska because Alaska has such a shitty system. Not shitty system, but it’s so expensive to cover. Alaska is like the size of the northern hemisphere.
Chris: Yea. Pretty Much.
LOLGOP: It is. It’s populated by like the population of…
Chris: New Hampshire or something.
LOLGOP: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s a, it’s very difficult to build hospitals when you have such a, you know, just sparse population.
Chris: You bet.
LOLGOP: So they throw a bunch of money at her. They’ll get Susan Collins and Dean Heller probably, the no votes. They’re anticipating they’re going to pass it. They may take out the investment tax break which is basically three percent on investment income over two hundred fifty thousand-ish. Depends on if you’re married or not. They may take that out. There’s still four hundred billion dollars…
LOLGOP: But they’ll pitch it as hey we took the tax credits off of rich people.
Chris: And dump some other ones in there.
LOLGOP: It’s still four hundred billion dollars in tax credits. Almost half a billion if you factor in interest and everything like that.
LOLGOP: Half a trillion, I’m sorry, for the rich and their corporations. The way it’s structured now it’s literally forty eight million dollars a year for Adelson himself. It will probably go down and will probably be only, you know, twelve million a year for Adelson.
Chris: What’s a billionaire to do? You know.
LOLGOP: Yea. I mean that’s talking about, the way this Trumpcares written right now, its half a billion dollar tax break for Sheldon Adelson.
Chris: Good god.
LOLGOP: While you’re taking people like Anita Cameron, who wants to work, taking her to jail, but you’re also taking away her, the only coverage she can get. Someone who has MS cannot buy coverage in the kind of market that Ted Cruz is talking about.
Chris: You bet you.
LOLGOP: So, and also, another thing they’re talking about, this whole kind of crazy, they’re going to take John Cornyn and I write a post about, you know, where are the Trumpcare rallies? Where are the pro Trumpcare rallies? Someone wrote to us and said, well the Larouchies, the Obama-Hitler moustache people. They’re out there, but you don’t see any Republicans try to do it. I think Mitch McConnell’s told Trump, don’t even go out. Don’t raise attention on this. Don’t put pressure on senators. We need to kind of let me do this, but there’s no one selling this. They’re going to liberate fifteen million people from Medicaid. Where are those fifteen million people saying thank you. There’s no rallies. There’s no one sitting in. there’s no Republican who wants to defend this bill. There’s no one who wants this bill except for GOP donors and that probably is going to be enough.
Chris: NPR did a poll this week. Seventeen percent of Americans support it. Seventeen percent. Only thirteen among independents. I thought that was interesting.
Chris: More than half disapprove of it and sixty eight percent of independents disapprove of it.
LOLGOP: And you said…
Chris: These are huge numbers.
LOLGOP: And you look at the strongly approve and the strongly disapprove, the strongly approve in the pools I’ve seen have been like two or three percent.
Chris: Yea, right.
LOLGOP: The strongly disapprove are forty something percent.
Chris: You bet. It’s heavily weighted in that regard.
LOLGOP: It really is what we imagined what was going on in 2009 but in reverse in the sense that…
Chris: Yea. It is.
LOLGOP: Yea. But it’s the truth. Like, but the consequences, but there was horrible consequences for passing Obamacare. If you think there won’t be horrible consequences for un-insuring eighteen million.
Chris: Ask people like Mark Schauer.
Chris: I mean this is a guy that was a one term member of congress who was out there full throated support of it. Did plenty of rallies and Town Halls and stuff and paid a political price for it.
LOLGOP: He was a one term member of congress. The best one term you could be and they got so much done.
Chris: Absolutely right.
LOLGOP: But they were getting, you know, Trump is basically trying to sell this idea that he’s gotten anything done. There’s not one signature piece of legislation that he’s basically gotten through. Everything has been a kind of a repeal of regulation. Has been a passer of mail or post office.
Chris: He would love to call it Trumpcare, whereas Obama didn’t want to call it Obamacare. I think Trump would love it if everybody called it Trumpcare.
LOLGOP: Right, and he will. That’s another thing to be anticipating, is if this does go through, Trump will go out there and sell it and it will go up among his supporters.
LOLGOP: He’ll get the, it will be about thirty percent stronger.
Chris: Up to thirty. Yea.
LOLGOP: Because he knows how to sell crap with his name on it. That is basically how he makes his living.
Chris: Yes he does. His whole life.
LOLGOP: Yeah, so he will sell it when he puts, when he has to. He’ll go out there and say oh it’s better for you. He keeps calling it beautiful bill.
Chris: Beautiful. Yes.
LOLGOP: It’s beautiful. Repeating shit is, it’s such a stupid tactic that I think everybody’s just like, “Fuck it I can’t be, I’m a grown adult. I cannot call a bill beautiful that is un-insuring eighteen million people and sending people with MS to their death. I cannot call that a beautiful bill.” But Donald Trump has no problem with doing that and he will do that for years.
LOLGOP: So that will have some effect, but I think you just have to understand. Andy Slavitt has a great piece in USA Today about how, if there are any, if there was rational, politics were rational this bill would be dead because it shrinks the Medicaid safety net by thirty five percent. Insurance premiums, when you take out the subsidies you get from Obamacare, are going to go up seventy four percent…
LOLGOP: …across the country for the same type of plans and then those that may not be able to even get a plan that covers maternity in some of these states that are going to go through that Cruz limit. Many services are no longer available and low income people with no, I mean, some of the people that are really brutally hurt, and I know we always talk about this is these are Trump voters who are, you know, people in their sixties will most likely be Trump voters. People that are younger than sixties are going to be asked to pay, you know, almost fifty percent of their income to buy insurance. They just won’t get it and they’re going to go into Medicare sicker than ever.
Chris: That’s right. But, you know, Donald Trump Jr, but the way, you know, he’s the really important thing and I, you brought it up as well.
LOLGOP: He will get prison health care.
Chris: Let’s hope so. Andy Slavitt pointed out this morning that, you know, his revelations about the meeting with the lawyer that has Russian connections to Moscow and stuff, has knocked health care off of the front page of the New York time, the Washington Post and all these other major newspapers and this is not a good thing. It is not an accidental thing. I guarantee you that this was a deliberate intention, intentional act to get this off there and they know that this is, this Russia story and this collusion story is catnip to every conspiracy theorist and every armchair politician out there. I mean.
LOLGOP: But that is a pretty crazy conspiracy theory you’re throwing at us right now. So you think…
Chris: I think that they honestly…
LOLGOP: …you think that they leaked this story right now to try to overshadow Trumpcare.
Chris: No I think, because they could have denied it, but I think that Donald Trump Jr. stepping out and saying of course I did that. I don’t know maybe I’m wrong. Maybe…
LOLGOP: He lawyered up today after all these dumb statements.
Chris: You think so?
LOLGOP: He basically admitted that he was seeking the information from Russians about Hillary Clinton.
Chris: I don’t think it’s an accident. Every single time something goes down with the CBO score and stuff, all the sudden…
Chris: This topic…
LOLGOP: We’re going to get a new CBO score next Monday, by the way.
Chris: So expect another Russia collusion story to pop up, you know, big news.
LOLGOP: See that is the crazy thing right now. I know we’ve…
Chris: This is the world we live in. we don’t know what the actual conspiracies are and what the conspiracy theory is.
LOLGOP: You’ve got to imagine, for your theory to be true, they would rather talk about possible conspiracy with the Russians than twenty two million or eighteen million people being uninsured, and that’s not…
Chris: That’s not that too far, hard to believe.
LOLGOP: It inspires. This is the whole kind of thing I started getting into the Bush thing was like, when people started getting 911 truther, I was like, they can’t even do the things they mean to do. How can they do something that we’ve never found out about?
Chris: But manipulating public opinion and.
LOLGOP: But they’ve been manipulating public opinion by saying it’s a beautiful bill. It’s a beautiful bill. It’s a wonderful bill.
Chris: I don’t know. When the books are written, I believe that we will find that there was intention here. We’ll see. Maybe I’m wrong.
LOLGOP: Well ok. So here’s where I get into being, so that’s one way to go at it. I go at it and I just hector and annoy my twitter followers and I say, listen, you guys aren’t Robert Mueller. Thank goodness Robert Mueller exists.
Chris: That’s right.
LOLGOP: Robert Mueller puts us in a position to have subpoena power, he has all these prosecutors. The dream team of prosecutors. He is doing things that your mega-thread game theory are never going to do. Don’t worry about it. Let’s focus on Trumpcare while we can because this is going to pass by the end of July. I’m an annoying asshole for doing that. People just say to me, Well can you walk and chew gum at the same time? Yea, but they can also uninsured twenty two million people and chew gum at the same time. They are better at doing multiple things at the same time and the distractions…
Chris: That’s why I think they want this distraction. Because they want people to be distracted about something they can’t do anything about so that they don’t go over here and do the thing they can do something about.
LOLGOP: Well, yea, that’s more or less true. The outrage did trigger Sessions to recuse himself which led to this whole chain that, so we, there’s good news, the one thing that I know is true. You don’t have to believe, and I’ve probably said tis before and nobody listens so I don’t care, is that you don’t have to believe that Donald Trump is a master strategist who could plant the story about Russian collusion to know that Mitch McConnell appreciates the distraction.
Chris: Absolutely right. Absolutely right.
LOLGOP: That’s true regardless. This no…
Chris: We cannot allow it no matter what the source is or what the, how this came about. We need to remain focused on this thing absolutely one hundred percent.
LOLGOP: because health care could end up being as bad as Americas standing in the world.
Chris: Here’s an interesting thing. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently did a poll and fifty three percent of people now support single payer and this is up from forty six percent when Obamacare was being debated back in 2008, 2009 so, and the Obamacare itself is actually up to fifty five percent support. So all of this…
LOLGOP: If Trumpcare passes were doing the next show. It will be all about single payer. What single payer means. What people are asking for. People say Medicare for all. Medicare isn’t necessarily a single payer. There are caps on it. There’s these things that are problems with Medicare but I’m pushing off.
LOLGOP: I love, you know, I love universal health care, but like, I can’t even, that’s like I feel the same way about the Russia stuff. It’s like yes, yes single payer.
Chris: That’s for later.
LOLGOP: Yes. That’s for later. Let’s deal with that later.
Chris: You know. Let’s just recall that back in 2009 we couldn’t even get a government option so.
LOLGOP: Right, and they’d just go, ok, single payer, it’s a trillion dollar tax increase, but there’s all kinds of ways to go and to talk about that.
Chris: You bet.
LOLGOP: That we can get into.
Chris: At another time.
LOLGOP: At another time, yes.
Chris: OK. Alright, so.
LOLGOP: I was trying to get you to talk about climate change which is not normally, which is normally not that hard.
Chris: I do want to talk about climate change actually. And I want to talk about how this week Donald Trump went over to Germany, to Hamburg, to the G20 Summit and, as I’ve been…
LOLGOP: He said I would like to chase some of your native Hamburgers.
Chris: Yea. He was, as I’ve been characterizing it, the cheese stands alone. He, literally there are photos and videos of him sitting by himself. The rest of the dignitaries are walking by. They’re ignoring him. The wife of one of the dignitaries there walked right past him to shake, you know, the hand of Melania. Much to his consternation, you know, it was, and nowhere was this more obvious than the climate change stuff and the Paris Accord. His Chief Economic Advisor did a press gaggle. I heard a clip of this. I wish I could find it, where he’s saying that, you know, well the fact that we, you know, pulled out of the Paris Accord doesn’t mean that we don’t support the environment and that President Trump believes in the environment. It’s like he’s, you know, believing in Santa Claus or…
LOLGOP: Or Trump says I won environmental awards and it’s, like, you won like best shrubbery or something like that.
Chris: But he’s basically an outcast. I mean, these people don’t want to have anything to do with him. Angela Merkel said that his decision to pull out was deplorable. Justin Trudeau, you know, he noted that Trumps been very clear about his position. He said it is heartening that nineteen other countries reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement. I mean.
LOLGOP: Even more heartening all the kind of, you know, American cities and states and organizations that are kind of…
Chris: Absolutely right. This is a good thing. So the G20 agreement, they released this like twenty page and in it they said we take note of the decision of the USA to withdraw from the Paris agreement and they, you know, they basically pointed out that there’s only one country, and its America, that’s not supporting this stuff so, you know. Instead of strengthening this country, which is what Obama basically began after the bush, eight years of Bush Trumps isolating us. He’s making us look like this regressive backwards facing monolithic, you know, bunch of redneck whatever.
LOLGOP: But the thing of it, there was a big debate about this speech where he defended, where he defended western civilization and then everybody’s saying, well, obviously this is white dog whistle racism and stuff like that. When Donald Trump talks about western civilization, he’s talking, he’s not talking about free speech and equality and the freedom and separation of church and state. He’s talking about brown people are coming for your daughter.
Chris: Yea. Right
LOLGOP: And when they’re done with your daughter hey can go for your wife. I mean like that’s what he’s talking about and we know this because, Masha Gessen has a great, she’s a journalist who lived under Putin’s Russia and now lives in the United States, she write every time the United States had met with the Russians, first the Soviets in the 70’s, up until now, they expect to hear about one thing. Human Rights. Donald Trump broke that tradition.
LOLGOP: And if you care about western civilization, there’s one thing. There’s a quote from, there’s a great quote from the Four Freedoms Speech that Franklin Roosevelt gave. He said, you know, freedom is the belief that human rights are the most important thing ever, I’m paraphrasing. The belief in human rights, Franklin Roosevelt wasn’t perfect, Thomas Jefferson wasn’t perfect, but this aspiration that human rights is the most important thing is really what freedom is all about. That’s what western civilization is about. He rights matter more than anything and Donald Trump is the greatest attack on that.
LOLGOP: If you care about the enlightenment and the separation of church and state and the ability to, free expression, free association, there’s no greater threat to that. There’s no greater threat to human rights and Americas standing in the world than Donald Trump. He’s not defending that.
Chris: Hell no.
LOLGOP: You can look at this and say this guys a birther. He doesn’t care about civilization. When he says we write the symphonies, what he’s saying is we don’t write rap music like these people. We don’t do that crazy hustle music that the snakes dance to. That’s what he’s talking about.
Chris: Yea. Right. Nice.
LOLGOP: When he says the south and the east have always threatened us, what kind of America is this when the people from the south and east can’t come here and to aspire to our ideas and our values and become part of this idea? If we are an America if ideas that believes that everyone can be, and should aspire to these ideas, Donald Trump is the greatest threat to that and anyone, and Jamelle Bouie had a great rant, an article about this. Anyone who looks at this and doesn’t see, he’s a birther. He started out by saying that immigrants are, if you can’t separate those things and you want to so badly believe that he’s in line with the Republican tradition. That says more about your Republican tradition of dog whistles than it does about Donald Trump.
Chris: Where we are as a country is that a woman who is a fashion designer debutante born wealthy blonde gets to sot at the table between Theresa May and Prime Minister of China.
LOLGOP: The only one that he thinks could be, the only women that he thinks could be President of the United States is one that shot out of his dick. That’s all I can say about that.
Chris: Literally. Ivanka Trump literally sat at the table at the G20 Summit between the Prime Minister of China and…
Chris: The most interesting thing about that is that, you know, this all makes him look good because he’s defending his daughter, but you know how we know that she sat at the table there. A Russian Diplomat tweeted that.
Chris: Yes that’s right, that’s right.
LOLGOP: It shows that Russia has a better sense of it.
LOLGOP: But this is like, there is some kind of like, one the things about the collusion theory is we believe that it has to be an American who kind of had, assisting. I think Russia’s better at. I mean I do think there was a conspiracy and it all happened in public and there was the collusion conspiracy, coordination. Whatever you want to call it, it’s so public that it’s like he doesn’t even feel the need to deny it.
LOLGOP: But Russia has a better understanding how to fuck with us than anyone will ever have…
Chris: They are playing the Trump administration like a fiddle. Alright, that’s all I’ve got about that.
LOLGOP: And then just some good news about…
Chris: Please cheer me up.
LOLGOP: Yea, yea. The Democratic Party is investing in local organizing, so there’s already this state partnership program. So they doubled the number and the amount they give to states.
Chris: Tom Perez promising to do that. He promised us on this show he would do this.
LOLGOP: Yes. He doubled that and now they’ve done another ten million dollars for a state party innovation fund and this is something that Sean McElwee from Demos, who we need to have on the show eventually, always points out, organization movements probably matter more than messaging. There’s a lot of ideas like we each have this debate about identity politics which is just like peoples way of saying stop reminding me I’m white.
LOLGOP: Or economics. Should we focus on issues like economics or should we focus on social issues, and as Lizz Winstead always points out, and I hope people listen to that show. It really…
Chris: She’s great
LOLGOP: If you want to know what life is going to be like under Trumpcare, you’ve got to listen to Lizz Winstead learns, or finds out about these red states when she goes and visits these abortion clinics. Even in Michigan, in a blue state, this, our, one of the biggest clinics in the state lives under siege and these people are attacked. They live in terror.
Chris: They literally are.
LOLGOP: If they lived like, if conservatives lived the way that these people have to live, they would, you know, this is actual terrorism every day in their life.
LOLGOP: There would be, you know, there would be no guns if they had to live…
Chris: Yea. They can’t, if you’re going to send something to them by mail, you’ve got to send a postcard because they don’t dare open envelopes. I mean, it’s just horrible.
Chris: Don’t dare send a picture or a package.
LOLGOP: So these are economic. Everything is an economic issue if you believe Karl Marx, or even if you believe Harpo Marks. It’s all economics in the sense that it’s all about privilege and it’s all about the ability to function as an equal human being, and people with a uterus cannot function as human beings if they cannot make the decision to control, as Lizz says, their destiny.
LOLGOP: Which is a great way to kind of frame this kind of decision. I mean there’s all kinds of crazy stories that you’ll hear about this, but this basic idea is, registering voters and then somehow working our way to automatic registration of voters and mail in ballots is the way to go. Registering, keeping people registered, having people check their registrations matters more than ever. Not unregistering because Kris Kobach wants your digits.
Chris: Yeah right. Oh my god.
LOLGOP: You know, don’t do that.
Chris: My conspiracy theory is tingling about that one too.
LOLGOP: Well you think that… I brought that up just to trigger Chris’ paranoia.
Chris: Thank you. I’m easy to trigger.
LOLGOP: Yeah. No, I understand that and you start to get crazy. It seems like they think they’re never going to lose another election because they were really, they organized, going back to Trumpcare and Obamacare, they organized a massive resistance from Obamacare. It what we’ve learned now is they really didn’t hate Obamacare. It was just a way, a proxy, because they were very uncomfortable with this idea of Obama.
Chris: Yes. Uncomfortable?! That’s putting it mildly!
LOLGOP: Did not serve their purpose. That’s probably why they ended up nominating and electing a birther. It was because it was a very upsetting idea to them.
Chris: You think.
LOLGOP: So, but, from that Obamacare, they created neural networks that are still functioning today. They don’t just have like we look, we talk about Michigan how much they dominate a state. They don’t just gerrymander. They don’t just have immensely well-funded state networks and state think tanks and they also really just have an amazingly activated grass roots.
LOLGOP: And we’re starting to emulate that now, but we don’t have those other factors, and it’s good to see the DNC seeing that.
Chris: I love that.
LOLGOP: But, to really compete, and we need the DNC to be strong because we don’t have the NRA. We don’t have Americans of Prosperity. The Koch brothers. We don’t have these Sheldon Adelson. We don’t have those constant streams of Money that come from other places because democratic politics doesn’t have the profit motivation that conservatism does.
Chris: That’s right. Absolutely right and, you know, we have so few of those benefactors that when somebody like Steyer or Soros or whatever, there’s so few of them that they are instantly attacked and vilified and, you know, it takes very little. I mean you only have a couple three major donors who are having any kind of impact like that because it’s very easy to demonize them.
LOLGOP: Right. There’s all, every time, like with republican politics, it’s almost like they should just do profiles of the rich and famous GOP donors because every once in a while you’ll hear about like Chick Macalerni! He’s the Koch of Texarkana!
Chris: Yeah, right.
LOLGOP: He’s donated seven hundred million dollars to the republican and now he is, his son is the Vice Secretary of Agriculture and its like how did I not hear of this guy whose given nine thousand dollars to every state legislator in America, you know?
Chris: That’s it, that’s it. So we are, you know, we are up against formidable odds so, but
LOLGOP: Now to the cautionary tale of all cautionary tales.
Chris: Oh yes that’s right. So here we go. Again, if you have a thought for which… for a musical interlude to take us into the Flint water crisis update I’d love to hear this. I’m yet to find one.
LOLGOP: It’s tough to put music to Flint.
Chris: It’s not something that we want to joke about, but on the other hand we don’t want to make it, you know, too doom and gloom…
LOLGOP: We should probably, you know who would know this, Flintgate. Melissa Mays.
Chris: I will reach out to Melissa and see.
LOLGOP: Melissa Mays. That’s a great, go back and listen to her. A concert promoter who became an activist because of the Flint water crisis.
Chris: She’s would now, that’s a great way. I’ll reach out to her. So, the big news this week is that the State of Michigan is suing Flint because they are endangering the lives of Flint residents. This is such an outrageous thing that one of the op-ed columnists for the Detroit News, which is our, the op-ed page of that newspaper is Republican and conservative as it gets, has called it just an eye rolling situation basically. But the reason they’re doing this is that, so the back story is that Flint switched over to the Flint River water for their water, for their drinking water while they were waiting for the Karagondi Water Authority pipeline to be built, which would bring water over due west from Lake Huron. They wanted to stop buying Lake Huron water that was piped up from Detroit. That obviously caused all of the problems that we’ve been talking about. The lead in the water. The E.coli poisoning and Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak. So they went back to Detroit River and they are basically buying water from the Great Lakes Water Authority which is the new sort of privatized version of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and they have been extending their contract a few months at a time while things shake out. Karen Weaver, who is the Mayor of Flint, has negotiated a thirty-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority. However, the City Council has not yet approved this. They’re, some of the council members want to make changes to ensure that the city doesn’t lose its investment I the Karagondi Water Authority, they’re still paying a couple of million dollars a month I believe it is to that even though they’re not going to get water from it. So the State of Michigan is now suing the City of Flint for not moving more rapidly on this thirty-year contract and that’s where we stand today. So we have literally come from the situation where the State of Michigan poisoned the City of Flint and harmed the people in Flint, and they are now suing the City Council of Flint to say that they are now putting the health of Flint residents in danger. So, this is down the rabbit hole stuff beyond anything I’ve ever seen.
LOLGOP: Yeah and it’s because of our Governor who is ultimately responsible for this if you go back to really, that he really has no kind of conscience about having a conscience. Meaning, if he was showing too much guilt or showing too much concern, emits guilt.
LOLGOP: So we have to kind of operate as if, oh this is normal, you guys aren’t doing the right thing.
LOLGOP: Instead of kind of if he shows that, because he really is in a position where, you know, our Attorney General is running for, who’s a Republican, is running for Governor and he is positioning himself against the Lieutenant Governor who is kind of Rick Snyder’s…
Chris: Right hand guy.
LOLGOP: Right Hand Guy. So he has, he’s, Schuette, who’s the Attorney General has several times basically publically said I want to interview Rick Snyder about Flint Crisis.
Chris: He won’t talk to me…
LOLGOP: He won’t talk to him. Which is interesting. There’s interesting triangulation going on in the Republican Party in Michigan and…
Chris: It’s a rare example of Republicans feeding on each other, but nobody wins in that situation.
LOLGOP: But the Democrats should be getting out ahead of them and saying, “Hey, Schuette, why aren’t you doing this, why didn’t you do that…” but the thing is…
Chris: I hear you.
LOLGOP: We’ve had a couple GOP, I’m sorry, Democratic possible governor candidates, but they really, the field has grown and grown.
Chris: Yea, and we want to have more of them. They’ve, I’ve got emails from pretty much everybody asking us to have them on.
LOLGOP: Yea. If you want to know who listens to this podcast, it’s you, because you’re already here and it’s…
Chris: People running for Governor of Michigan.
LOLGOP: People who are running for Governor. Yea. People who are running for office in Michigan, we love that you listen to the show. Please give us a five-star review.
Chris: As soon as this Trumpcare thing is over, we’ll talk.
LOLGOP: We’ll be talking about a lot more Michigan. We’ll be talking a lot more single payer. We’ll be talking about a lot. This fifteen dollar minimum wage where they’re attacking it and even though it’s extraordinarily successful and we’re going to be talking about all of those things but the Trumpcare is what we’re going to focus on.
Chris: We are by the way more than a year out from that election so…
Chris: We have time. We have plenty of time.
LOLGOP: We have time and we come and talk about this every week.
Chris: We do, wedo. We’ll be back. We’ll circle back.
LOLGOP: Especially if you give us a five-star review. If you’re running for office, if you want to be an interview on this show and you’re running for office, give us a five-star review.
Chris: That’s right.
LOLGOP: And give to that GoFundMe for our National ADAPT. I’ll be tweeting that out and…
Chris: Yea. We will for sure.
LOLGOP: I’ll be putting that in the show notes. That’s the best was we can support the people who are putting our bodies on the line to fight Trumpcare.
Chris: You betcha. And next week, we will be doing a fundraiser of our own at Eclectablog to make sure that we can keep the lights on here and we can eventually upgrade our equipment so we’d love to do that, might even start a Patreon…
LOLGOP: Should we start a Patreon?. If five people tell us to start a Patreon…
Chris: OK that sounds great. We have t-shirts to give away and glasses and stuff.
LOLGOP: We’ve got really cool glasses.
Chris: We do.
LOLGOP: Chris also brews… I don’t think we can send you an actual…
Chris: You could come to my house and have a beer…
LOLGOP: We’ll do a private show.
Chris: I like it. Alright. So, with that, bye-bye.